And, yes, I do realize that ‘ignorance’ is misspelled.
Here’s another page of the deleted chapter. This one introduces the hero. (Oh, and not to confused you, I changed Mark’s fiancee’s name to Rebecca. I originally named her Morgan and then Elizabeth.)
I’m writing Rebecca’s story now.
Luke watched his brother exit the room, incredulity still loud in his mind. Elizabeth calls off the wedding and the same day you pick up some woman at a bar. And now you expect me to fix things—again.
He was so tired of fixing his older brother’s mistakes.
He leaped from the sofa and moved toward the assistant’s desk. “Can I go in now?”
“Yes, he’s expecting you.”
His father stood in front of his desk, a wrinkling of concern around his eyes and mouth. “Tell me the rumors about Mark aren’t true.”
“I wish I could.” Luke slammed hard into one of the visitor chairs. “I’m not sure what you heard but it was probably true.”
“Damn.” His father settled into the second one with a disgusted sigh.
“So, what have you heard?”
“The usual thing,” his father said, not looking toward him. “That he got drunk and slept with some strange woman.” He looked at him now, arms crossed tight around his middle. “Doesn’t sound much like a man who’s about to be married, does it?”
“He told me Elizabeth called off the wedding again.” Luke sat forward in his seat and clamped his hands together. “And that’s what caused him to go to the bar.”
“So it’s his lady’s fault,” his father said, disbelief shining clear on his face. “And now that the wedding is back on, he needs you to fix his problem.”
“Fool,” his father said, gazing over at his desk before focusing his attention back on him. “So what are you going to do?”
“I have my legal assistant checking up on her,” he said. “We should know more about her and her business in a bit. I told Dan to email me the stuff as soon as he found out anything.”
“Mark gave you her name?”
“Emma Cook. She owns a catering business with her mother and younger sister. Cook’s Catering.”
His eyes flashed hot his way. “Not good news.”
“The wedding planner Elizabeth hired uses only that company.” He sighed and stood from his seat. “From what I understand they are the best in the area.”
Things were going from bad to worse. “Are you sure of this? Maybe the planner hasn’t contacted them yet.”
“Only this morning,” his father replied. “Or she was supposed to call the business manager of the caterer this morning.”
Then that meant it was a done deal. “Mark messed things up big this time.”
“Yes.” The older man let out a deep breath and moved around his desk, settling in his large, comfortable executive chair. “We’ll have to pay her off like the last woman.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as that, Dad.”
No easy way to say this. “She’s pregnant.”
“What? Pregnant?” He sat forward in his chair. “Are you sure? How do you know that?”
“Mark told me she went to his Columbus office and told him,” he said, anxiety filtering through his words. “And he wasn’t very gracious with his response.”
…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?
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.”
“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.”
No matter where you hide, or how far you run, the past will find you.
When Ryan arrived at Winter Creek, an old ghost town that’s being rebuilt, he never expected to meet a woman like Bri. The free-spirited, decade-younger woman makes his heart sing. But Ryan’s living a lie. Bri doesn’t even know his real name. He’s hiding his true self while she’s an open book.
Bri is half in love with the uptight, controlled accountant. But she’s finding it easier to figure out the name of a century-old killer than getting closer to this man. At one time they used to argue, but now they barely speak to each other. She shouldn’t miss fighting with the man, yet she does.
When Ryan finally tells Bri the truth about his past, it goes surprisingly well. Loving this woman is special and right, and completely fulfilling. But then his past once again comes up to haunt him, and now he needs to leave Winter Creek. He has to put things right with his past before he can move forward with his future.
Will Bri be willing to forgive him when he returns? Or has his stubbornness to go it alone made him lose her forever?
Content Warning: contains strong language and sensual sex scenes
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