To Live & Love Again (Book Excerpt)
Susan Bennett lost all she ever hoped for when her husband of four months dies in a car accident and leaves her not only expecting their first baby, but scared and alone as she has to rebuild her life with the help of his family, his best friend and confidant Jason McGregor and her estranged sister Teri. At first the desire to go on without him was difficult but soon she came to anticipate the birth of their child and the hope of falling in love again.
“All I’m saying is that I intend to give up bachelorhood if you decide to give us a chance.” he said.
“And once again I ask why?” I said before he got up and kneeled before me. “Please don’t,” I said. “Don’t what? I’m not going to propose to you cutie I just need you to look at me closely because the words you are about to hear haven’t been spoken in a very long time,” he began as he looked me in the eyes and cupped my hands in his. “I believe I’m falling in love with you.” “And I believe you had a bit too much to drink tonight.” “Don’t do that. This isn’t easy for me and the last thing I need is for you to belittle my feelings. My drinking has nothing to do with this and if it makes you feel any better I had one beer the entire evening. That alone doesn’t constitute me being drunk.” Really, well I find it difficult to swallow when just a few hours ago you were banging your date in the basement,” I retorted. “So that’s the reason why you are choosing to be difficult? Yes I had sex earlier today and I know it was stupid and selfish in my part, but think about it. You chose to shut me out by avoiding me, you refused to take my calls when I did call and you were the one that said being together would be wrong. So therefore if I chose to handle the situation the only way I know how you shouldn’t have an issue with it.”
“I still don’t understand what you want from me.” “Fine then I’ll clue you in. For the first time in a very long time I feel good around someone I haven’t even been intimate with. It only makes me wonder how intense those feelings can get once I have the opportunity to be and as I stated before I’m falling in love with you.” “Please say something,” he added when I didn’t respond. “I can’t do this right now. I’m sorry,” I said when Teri stumbled into the kitchen. “Well, well, well. If it isn’t Senor Casanova,” Teri said as he stood up and once again sat across from me. Teri then went straight to the coffee pot and poured herself a mug. ‘Ummmm,” she mumbled as she took her first sip and then walked over and sat next to Jason. “How do you feel?” he asked. “What do you care?” she blurted out. “Actually I don’t I was just trying to be cordial,” he countered. “Why bother. I already know you don’t like me and I bet it has a lot to do with her and what she told you about me,” she said as she glared at me. “I haven’t told him a thing about you that wasn’t true. The rest he pretty much figured out on his own. How anyone could be so oblivious to their ways is beyond me,” I said curtly. “What does that mean?” she asked. “Point proven,” I said when she leaped over the table, knocked over the coffee mug and grabbed me by the hair.
The next thing I know I was holding on to the table trying to protect my belly as Jason grabbed her by the wrist and pushed into one of her pressure points so she could let go of me. The next thing I heard was her cry out in pain as he whisked her away from me and pinned her against the wall. Everything happened so fast and I couldn’t believe she would actually put her hands on me. “Are you out of your mind?” he shouted as he glared at her and then turned to me and asked. “Are you okay? “Just great I may have a massive headache later but other than that I’m fine, thanks,” I said and looked over at Teri who was now staring me down. “You are so lucky you’re pregnant,” she shouted at me as she massaged her hand and winced. “You might want to place an ice pack on that,” he said before he released her and walked over to inspect my face. “Belly or not remember I can still kick your ass,” she said. “Excuse me,” Jason said as he looked at her sternly. “I wasn’t talking to you.”
Demons from the Past
“It really amazes me how bitter and evil you turned out to be,” I said and she rolled her eyes at me. “Bitter and evil huh, just be grateful I saved you from becoming the same,” she stated. “Grateful I was. For getting as far away from you as possible,” I yelled before I felt the baby move and noticed I was getting too worked up. “Things in here are becoming intense. Maybe you should go upstairs,” Jason began when Teri interrupted. “No. She wants to be brought up to speed so be it. You want to know why I became so distant. You really want to know?” she asked. “Yes, I do,” I replied as Jason looked on and then tried to excuse himself. “Where are you going? Might as well stay, she is only going to clue you in later she told him. “What the hell are you talking about?” I asked as the tears rolled down my face. “Our father was selling me off to his friends and would’ve done the same with you if I hadn’t intervened. Once mama died it got worse and with her death I completely lost my innocence,” she blurted out. “You can’t be serious,” I said and she glared at me. “Oh but I am little sister,” she said and started to cry herself.
“I was there Teri and I didn’t notice any change upon mama’s death other than Dad drinking a bit more,” I uttered and she balked at me. “Well I’m glad you noticed one thing when you didn’t have your nose in a book.” “If this is true Teri then I am very sorry.” “I don’t need or want your sympathy. I just need you to understand the why,” she stated. “What I need to understand is why didn’t you tell me sooner?” “Maybe because if I had you never would’ve gone to Boston and I couldn’t have that. One of us had to make mama proud and I loved you too much to let you ruin your life, or put it on hold because of me. We both wanted out of the Bronx so bad. You were just smart enough to accomplish it. Just hearing that you got your scholarship made me so very happy. I must admit I was a bit sad but the joy of you making it out outweighed it all and my job was done.” Once she said that I looked over at Jason who was still standing by the back door taking all of this in without saying a word. When I focused back on Teri she was sobbing uncontrollably and my heart went out to her. I couldn’t even fathom what she had to endure.
“Teri, please forgive me for being oblivious. You are right about one thing though. I never would’ve left if I had known,” I uttered when Jason approached us. “The Bennett’s are home. Maybe you should finish this upstairs and I’ll distract them until you make it to your room,” he said as Teri continued to cry. That night I found out the horrible nightmare my sister had to endure alone and that my father was not only evil but deserved his fate for being such a monster with his own child. Hours later Teri fell asleep and after watching her for a while I realized I never said good night to Jason or finished the conversation we started in the kitchen so I went downstairs and called him from the land line since I no longer had a cell phone. “Hey cutie,” he said as soon as he answered. “Do you have a habit of calling every woman you know cutie or are you screening your calls. “I only call you cutie and yes. I didn’t think I’ll hear from you again tonight,” he added. “I just wanted to thank you for distracting the Bennett’s and say sorry for not being able to finish our conversation.” “Don’t worry about it. It was for the best for both,” he said and my heart stopped momentarily. “Oh okay then, so I guess I should now say have a safe trip and good night,” I said. “Are you okay?” he asked before I ended the call.
“I doubt after tonight I ever will be,” I replied. “I’m really sorry. I wish I could take the pain away,” he said and once again took me off guard. “Thanks,” I uttered before I started to cry. We then remained on the line without saying a word for a matter of minutes before he broke the silence and said he will be here soon. A half hour later he pulled into the driveway and as soon as he reached me he pulled me in for an embrace and I completely lost it as I wept into his chest. He then held me and stroked my hair for a few minutes before letting me go and asking. “Should we go inside?” “I’d prefer to sit in the SUV if you don’t mind,” I replied before he grabbed my hand and led me to the passenger side. Inside the SUV we talked a bit about Teri and I told him how guilty I felt for not seeing or even asking her what caused the change between us. “She was protecting you the only way she knew how, and I for one can admit I appreciate her more for doing so,” he said as he placed a hand on my knee. “It just seems never ending. Just when I think things can’t get any worse they do. I’ve cried so much since Kevin passed away and today to last a lifetime,” I replied as he caressed my hand with his thumb. ‘I’m sorry,” he said and I saw the sincerity in his eyes.
“No, I am. I seem to lean on you a lot, not to mention vent huh?” I asked and he laughed. “I’m not complaining cutie,” he said before his hand went to my chin and he turned my head so I can face him. “Like I already said on the phone, I wish I could take the pain away.” “Believe it or not, you just did,” I said and he smiled. “Thank you,” I added before he leaned in and kissed me. This time I didn’t resist or pull back. I basically relished his tongue as it explored my mouth. His lips were smooth and his touch was sensational. I don’t think I ever desired Kevin as I desired him and so moments into our kiss I placed my hand on his face as he intensified the kiss, and literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. “I hope you know now there’s no turning back,” he whispered between kisses. “Hey, are you zoning out on me again?” he asked when he pulled back. “Just making sure I wasn’t imagining this,” I replied. “Oh you’re not imagining anything cutie. We just had our first real kiss,” he said with a grin. “That I’m aware of,” I said and he laughed before checking his watch. “Let me guess. You have to go,” I said and he nodded. “Not that I want to at this point, but yes. I just need one thing before I go. Can you please give me your sister’s car keys? he asked.
Back inside the house I searched Teri’s purse, found the keys and handed them to him. “Have a great trip,” I mumbled when I walked him to the door. “Thanks,” he replied as he caressed my hair then leaned in and sniffed it. “God you smell good,” he whispered as he pulled me in for another embrace. I for one enjoyed the way he smelled myself and the more I thought about the kiss we shared in the SUV the more I yearned for him to do it again. Therefore, I took the initiative and kissed him repeatedly on the neck until I reached his earlobe and he let out a low moan. “Are you trying to drive me mad?” he asked between moans. “No, I just need you to kiss me again,” I said and he immediately placed his lips on mine. “You never have to ask me twice,” he mumbled between kisses, and I smiled as he gave me what I yearned for and kissed me with a passion I never quite experienced before. Again his lips were amazing and his hands well let’s just say he had a technique to the way he touched that made my skin tingle not to mention my lower half. This time when he pulled back we were both panting and breathing a bit heavily as he took a step back. “I really need to go,” he said as he got close enough to kiss me on the forehead, said good night and swaggered out the door as my heart skipped a beat and I was left wondering what the hell I got myself into.
“You better make this work McGregor, Jason thought as he drove back to his house and tried to ignore the massive erection he now had. No other woman ever made him feel this strongly and the more he tried to remember how things were with Vanessa, the last woman he loved the more he knew it wasn’t the same. Susan was everything he hoped for and wanted in a mate and he was determined to make things with her work no matter how much falling in love scared him. Somehow he had a feeling this was it and he could finally settle down and work on having a family of his own. Loving her was easy enough. Making sure he could handle a monogamous relationship was something else entirely. He’s been a bachelor for so long he had no clue if being committed was for him but for her he was willing to try.
“Where the hell were you?” Pete asked Teri when she returned home from visiting her sister for the first time. “I told you I had to see my sister,” she said angrily and soon regretted it when she felt his fist on her face and she landed on the floor. “Do you take me for a fool you freaking whoa? Now tell me who the hell were you really with?” he questioned. “I just told you,” she replied as she rubbed the spot he hit and glared at him. “Okay so I guess we’ll do this the hard way, which is just how you prefer it isn’t it,” he said as he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her through the studio apartment she rented which she was glad wasn’t completely furnished because he made sure he dragged her through anything that got in the way. “Stop it Pete,” she yelled to no avail as he literally pulled her hair out of the root and continued to drag her into the bedroom.
Once there he picked her up as if she was a feather and flung her unto the bed as he unfastened his belt. “You want to mess with me honey I’m going to show you once and for all that I am not one to fuck with,” he stated as he once again grabbed her but this time by the neck and asked her to take her clothes off. “No,” she uttered as he tightened the grip and began to choke her. “I will kill you and no one will give two shits about it,” he said as she gagged and he loosened his grip. “I warned you once he said as she gasped for air. “Are you listening to me?” he asked before he ripped her blouse and shorts off. As you may already guess that night Pete forced her to have sex with him and she was still reeling from the aftermath.
Her lower half was still so very tender, and the bleeding although subsided since then hasn’t completely stopped, which made her a bit worried. The last thing she wanted was to go back but eventually knew she had to. There was no way she could impose on her sister now when she had her own issues to deal with she thought as she watched her sleep and then gently rubbed her belly. There was so much Teri regretted in life and losing her sister was one of them. The more she thought about the years they lost the more she felt like shit, but knew she was now capable of making things up to her and her unborn nephew. Teri watched her sister sleep a bit longer before she once again flashed back to her nightmare with Pete. “I think I should go to the hospital. I’m in a lot of pain and the bleeding hasn’t stopped,” she said. “Don’t bother you’ll be fine,” he replied with a grunt as he continued to read the paper never once giving her eye contact. “Why? Are you afraid of me seeing a doctor because they might find out you raped me,” she countered and he slammed the paper down and glared at her.
“You don’t seem to get it do you. I’m a cop and before me you were known to be a slut. Who the hell will believe you if you said I raped you,” he said without even blinking. “I don’t deserve this Pete. Please take me to a doctor?” she asked. “Forget it, I have to go to work soon and if I find out you went anyway I’ll make sure the next time you don’t see the light of day,” he said as he got up, kissed her on the cheek and walked into the bedroom for his gun and shield. “Stay out of trouble,” he said when he came back out and Teri nodded. “I’m sorry baby when I get back tonight I’ll make it up to you,” he said before adding, “I love you,” and walking out the door. The way he said it she knew he thought he meant it. Maybe he did. Well at least she thought he did once. Everything was great when they first started dating. Pete was attentive, protective and a bit romantic at times. Teri never imagined she would feel so safe but she did. Pete gave her a taste of love and then it all changed when his partner was shot and killed during a steak out gone bad. Pete himself got wounded but it was only a flesh wound. After that he became withdrawn and eventually verbally and physically abusive towards her.
Several minutes later Teri decided to go down and face the Bennett’s since Susan would probably be asleep for a while anyway, and she needed some coffee badly. When she reached the kitchen she smelled it brewing and Kelvin was already at the breakfast nook reading the morning paper. “Good morning,” he said as soon as he saw her. “Good morning Mr. Bennett." “Kelvin,” he corrected and Teri smiled. “May I,” she asked as she stared at the coffee pot. “Of course, in fact you can get me a cup too,” he replied and she obliged. “Sorry about yesterday,” Teri said as she poured each of them a cup. Kelvin then placed the paper down and waited for Teri to join him at the table. “I was a complete idiot and I promise never to drink myself to oblivion again,” she stated as she handed him his mug. “Thank you and that would be wise,” he replied with a smile so warm it made Teri feel good inside.
“You plan on staying in your sister’s life this time?” he asked as he went into father mode and the good feeling inside instantly faded. “Yes I do." “That’s good because I know how scared she was to wake up to strangers when she finally came out of the coma,” he said before taking a sip of his coffee. “I have every intention of being there for her and the baby, if she’ll let me that is,” Teri replied. “Oh she’ll let you but we still don’t want her to get hurt, so if you are here to rekindle your relationship that’s great but if you aren’t it would be wise for you to leave before you hurt her again,” Kelvin said. “In a way it sounds like you’re threatening me Kelvin,” Teri stated before they heard a car drive up and he got up to see who it was.
To be continued...