Have you ever wondered what you’d do if you had a second chance to do over something in your life? Maybe right a wrong you’d done somebody. Or finish something you’d left unfinished. The possibilities are endless.
I’ve often wondered what I’d do differently if given such an opportunity. Most of us never get that second chance. Then I had a dream. A wounded soul, grieving for a lost brother, the brother who didn’t get to fulfill the thing he wanted most in life, and a wife trying to understand the husband who’s drifting farther and farther away from her. That dream became the basis of my Christmas paranormal romance novella, Second Chances.
Blurb: A firefighter in Denver, Ryan Jackson still grieves the loss of his brother who died almost two years earlier on Christmas Eve. He thought he’d gotten past the loss until he began having dreams about his dead brother. In the dreams his brother asks him for something—impossible.
Ryan’s wife, Rose, knows something’s wrong. For the last several months Ryan’s grown more withdrawn and distant. She loves him and knows he loves her, but doubts begin to creep in. She’s determined to find out why her husband is withdrawing from her and win him back—no matter the cost.
An early Christmas gift, an unexpected trip and haunting dreams. Can the love shared between Ryan and Rose overcome grief and guilt and lend a little magic for a second chance at happiness?
Excerpt from “Second Chances”
Rose walked around the dining room, putting the final touches on the table. Flowers and candles, even a bottle of white wine. Long stem crystal glasses next to the good china. Dinner was ready. She’d stopped at Ryan’s favorite Italian place on the way home, picked up all the foods he loved. Though she was no slouch in the kitchen, the horrendous hours she had put in all week left little time or energy for cooking. And besides, she wanted everything to be extra special tonight.
Soft music played in the background, the strains of the classical piano concerto wafted from the speakers. Soothing and romantic music setting the stage for the evening to come. The lights were dimmed and tall taper candles cast a warm glow across the dining room. Perfect. She’d done her best to set up a long-needed romantic evening with her husband.
Something was bothering him, kept him on edge for the past few months. She hadn’t pressed. He’d tell her whatever it was when the time was right. Still she worried.
Is he unhappy? Am I not enough anymore? The insidious doubts niggled at the back of her mind, managed despite her best efforts to creep into her head each day. She tried to ignore them, push them away, but the fear still managed to insinuate itself into her thoughts.
I can’t lose him. He’s my life. I’ll do whatever it takes, fight whoever I have to fight. I’m not giving up on Ryan. On us.
The front door opened and Ryan strode through, paused a moment when the soft strains of Mozart floated across the air. She watched him inhale deeply and a smile curled his lips as he dropped his gym bag by the console table in the entry hall.
“Honey, I’m home.”
Rose laughed as she always did. He said the same words to her every single day when he came home.
“Hey, stud.” There was a little extra sway in her walk and not just from the four-inch heels she wore. The soft dove-gray dress nipped in at the waist before flaring out at the hips into a tulip skirt that swirled around her legs. She met him halfway through the living room.
Familiar hands slid around her waist, pulled her forward against his body. Anxious to feel his strength beneath her fingers, her hands slid up his shoulders and around his neck. Tilting her head up, she leaned in closer. A flutter of excitement danced inside her at the spark in his eyes. Maybe he still loved her. Maybe she could win him back. In almost painful slow motion, his head lowered. Finally, their lips met. Her mouth opened to deepen the kiss. She loved the feel of his lips, the slide of his tongue, the tingle that shot straight through her core to the very heart of her at his touch. Sighing she leaned further into the kiss. Heavens above, how she loved this man. Her hands threaded through his dark hair, still damp from his shower at the gym.
He pulled back, breaking the kiss to stare deep into her eyes. One brow quirked, a habit of his she loved. Sexy. “What’s going on, hon?”
“Does something have to be going on? Maybe I just wanted to have a romantic dinner with my husband.”
“So, I didn’t forget anything important—like your birthday or our anniversary?” He laughed, wiping his brow in mock terror.
She slapped him lightly on the chest. “You better not be forgetting my birthday, bub.”
He inhaled again deeply followed by an appreciative growl. “Something smells great. Eddie’s?”
“Have I told you lately how much I adore you? You’re the best.”
Rose stared up into his face. The doubts she’d had earlier crowded back into her mind. Did he mean it?
“I love you too, Ryan.” Her hand lifted to brush against his cheek, her thumb slid down curling against the pulse point in his throat, felt the rock steady beat beneath the pad.
“Let’s eat. I’m starving.” His voice broke the silence, and she started to lower her hand. Grasping it, he raised her fingers to his lips, pressed a kiss into the palm and folded her fingers inward, as if catching it inside her closed fist.
This can’t be over, she thought. He still loves me.
Rose stared up into her husband’s face and a wave of something passed over her, sending a shiver down her spine. Chill bumps tingled across her skin and she remembered the old saying her granny used to tell her whenever that had happened as a child. Somebody from the other side just touched you, child. They’ve sent their love.
“You know, I think dinner can wait a bit, don’t you? I’m suddenly hungry—but not for food.” Ryan bent and nudged his shoulder into her midsection and swatted her on the backside as he swung her into a fireman’s carry. Jogging toward the master suite, his laughter filled the hall. Hung suspended over his back, her squeal of protest turned to laughter.
You have to admire the view, she thought, watching the sway of muscles as he carried her through to the bedroom. Even hanging upside down over his shoulder, the man was magnificent.
Falling onto the bed in a tangle of passion and laughter, she vowed to find out what had stolen away her husband’s happiness and to bring it back. . . no matter what it took.
I hope you enjoy Ryan and Rose’s story in Second Chances as much as I loved writing it. Feel free to contact me; I’d love the opportunity to chat.
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Bio: An avid reader of all types of romance, Kathy writes both romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Kathy makes her home in the heart of North Texas doing her best to deal with the Texas heat. She’s a member of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and the Dallas Area Romance Authors (DARA). Her debut romantic suspense, Desperate Choices, won the 2012 OKRWA International Digital Award for suspense.