Original First Page…

…of Without Love. I actually deleted the entire first chapter before releasing this story. Much, much better. (Well, this was before the story was exactly edited, so beware.)



She had to get off the phone before she lost her breakfast.


“So do you think you can cater both weddings for my clients?” the anxious voice spoke louder than necessary. “Emma, both of these clients plan on big, big weddings.”

“Yes.” Emma Cook took a deep breath, yet her stomach still flared. “Yes.”

“Great,” the woman said, joyfulness ringing in her laughter. “Both brides specifically asked for you. Cook’s is considered the best caterer in the area.”

“Thank you, Meg,” she said quickly, swallowing down another hiccup of sour breath. “When can you come and talk with Mom?”

“Probably before the Thanksgiving Festival,” she said, joy still roaring in her voice. “And it’s only the first week of October, so we have plenty time.”

Yes, but the summer schedule fills up quick for weddings.

“I’ll call you back after I talk with everyone,” Meg said, voice finally going back to normal. “Friday or Saturday.”

“That’ll be fine,” Emma said, swallowing down another burning breath. She wrote the wedding planner’s name on her desk calendar. “There. I’ll expect your call back on Friday or Saturday with more details. Don’t forget that the place is closed Sunday and Monday.”

“I haven’t forgotten that,” she said, with a laugh. “I’ll talk to you soon. Good-bye for now, Emma.”

Breathing out a grateful good-bye, she threw the phone on the desk and bolted from the chair. Swallowing down another breath, she covered her mouth and raced out of the office, through the kitchen area into the bathroom beyond it. She just made it in time.

“You okay, Em.” Her mother’s concerned voice echoed through the thick doorway. “You look so pale.”

Yes, she could guess that.


After emptying her stomach, she flushed the toilet and rinsed out her mouth, flipping handfuls of cold water on her face. She didn’t look much better when she looked into the mirror. How did her sister manage to do this twice?

“Emma Rose?”

First and middle names only meant one thing–Mom was upset. “I’m okay, Mom.”

“You were throwing up,” her mother said, the bite of anger switching into concern. She backed away and allowed her to exit the room. “I don’t think you’re okay.”

“I’m not.”

“The morning sickness will pass, honey.” Apprehension overrode her anger. “The first three months are the worse.”

“Oh, that’s so comforting.” Whining about her situation wouldn’t make it any better, yet she didn’t care. “I’m too old for this.”


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