New Release Giveaway
An Online Angel by Kelly Abell
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An innocent trip to an online store to buy her three year old son a Christmas gift turns into a living nightmare for Cheryl. Mark, her poker obsessed husband has just cleaned out their entire savings account for a high stakes poker tournament three weeks before Christmas. On top of that he’s decided to leave her and the son he never wanted because Cheryl “doesn’t get him”. Devastated, scared, and confused Cheryl must find a way to keep her struggling law practice alive and provide some kind of Christmas for Robbie.
Cheryl had her doubts about marrying Mark in the first place, and she should have listened to her instincts. Letting go of her first love, Kevin, was something she regretted even more now. At the time he wasn’t good enough for her, or so her parents tried to convince her. When Kevin contacts her out of the blue right before Christmas, is Cheryl due a Christmas miracle? Can one innocent message on Facebook rewind the past?
When Cheryl opened the door, Kevin knew something bothered her. The tight line of her lips, her furrowed brow, the slight bow of her head as she backed away from the door to let him in. Whenever she displayed these behaviors, it always meant bad news for him.
“Hey,” he said, stepping into the doorway. “What’s wrong?”
“You want to sit down?” Cheryl asked, leading him into the living room. Many nights he’d sat happily beside her on the couch, nuzzling that gorgeous neck, smelling the apple scented shampoo she used while some chick flick played on TV. Often those nights ended blissfully making love in her small bedroom about ten feet away. Instinct told him tonight wouldn’t be one of those nights.
“What’s going on? You’ve been acting weird for over a week now. You don’t want to go out, you don’t want me to come over and then, all of a sudden, you call me and say you want to see me. I don’t get it. What’s the matter with you?”
Kevin noticed the change after Cheryl’s sister came for a visit in June. Very soon after Meg left, this odd behavior began. He waited patiently for her response.
Cheryl curled her feet under her on the couch and sighed. “This isn’t going to be easy for me Kevin, but I want you to know I’ve given this a lot of thought.”
Uh oh. I don’t think I’m going to like where this ends up. He recognized the beginning of a break up speech. His heart stalled, fear gripping and squeezing hard. “Are you breaking up with me?”
The look of relief in Cheryl’s eyes answered his question. It’s true. Oh God, no. What am I going to do?
“What? Why?” He responded before she spoke. “I love you, Cher. I’ve told you a thousand times. I thought you loved me too.” He rose and paced the small room. “I even went ring shopping the other day to see what I thought you might like.” He fought to hide the desperation in his voice. He couldn’t lose her. Not now.
“Rings?” She swung around to face him, laying her arms on the back of the sofa and rising to her knees. “Oh, Kevin, what are you thinking? I can’t marry you.”
The words struck him like an arrow to the heart. Pain sliced through him, stealing his breath. What was she saying?
“I leave for Harvard in August. You’re planning to leave town for that month-long photography trip to Kenya. There is so much working against us.”
He stared at her, jaw dropping. “What are you talking about? It’s only three to four weeks. We’ve been apart longer than that. Besides, there’s Skype. We can see each other virtually every day. I’m not going to outer space for God’s sake.”
He rushed around the sofa, sat next to her, and grabbed her hands, turning her to face him. “I know you have three years of law school to get through. I’m not asking you not to go and get married instead. I’m proud of you. I can wait until you’re through. Please don’t let that be the reason. I love Mass. I can find a job near campus. Hell, I can work for the college paper.”
Cheryl hung her head, slowly withdrew her hands from his. “Kevin, it’s just not going to work out. You’re leaving school; you haven’t even finished your degree. Your life is moving in a different direction from mine. It’s just not a good fit any more. Besides, you’ve got other obligations. You can’t move to Cambridge.”
Kevin stared at the woman he’d given his heart to, the underlying meaning of her words striking him full force. He couldn’t breathe. He saw it more clearly now. Ever since he’d told her he wanted to take time off from school and pursue photojournalism, she’d backed away. He’d overheard her talking to her parents one night when she thought he was asleep, and heard her express her disappointment in his leaving school.
He could hear her father now. “That Kevin is a loser, honey. You can do so much better than that. You’ll meet lots of more suitable men in law school. Cut this bum loose.”
AND she was listening.
I can’t believe she’s doing this to me. Other obligations? She’s holding Tony against me – or her family is.
“This is about my son, isn’t it?”
“Kevin, you know I’ve never cared that you had a son. I think the circumstances are unfortunate, but it has nothing to do with this conversation.”
He didn’t believe her. He’d told her about the girl he got pregnant in high school, and how they’d decided to go their separate ways. Gloria wanted the baby, but she didn’t want him. In fact, she made seeing his son very difficult. Last he heard, Gloria was engaged to some football coach.
What’s wrong with me? First Gloria, now Cheryl? Am I that terrible a man to be with?
This conversation made no sense. He met her gaze fighting the despondency threatening to pour out. He cleared his throat. “Are you sure about this Cheryl? How can you say that you don’t love me at all? We’ve been together for two years. We’ve had fun, haven’t we?” He gestured toward the bedroom. “We’re compatible in bed. I love you, babe. What went wrong?”
Her expression remained grim, but a tear did leak down her cheek. “I’ve just been giving us a lot of thought. It’s not that I don’t have feelings for you, I do. But we’re headed down different paths. You’re a free spirit, I’m not. I want this law degree.”
“More than me?”
She slapped the sofa cushion. “Stop putting words in my mouth. Why are you making this so hard? We just don’t fit. Our futures are too different.”
Her blue eyes went hard, her face determined. He knew he wasn’t going to change her mind. Not today, anyway. Once she settled on an idea, there was no changing her mind until she wanted to change it herself.
Sighing, he pulled his car keys from his pocket. When he looked down a tear slipped from his eye. He swiped it away.
“Okay. I’m going. Good luck at Harvard this fall. I leave for Kenya in two days. If you change your mind call me, but if I don’t hear from you in two days, I’ll write this off.”
Kevin walked to the door and opened it. Without turning, he said, “Cheryl, I will always love you.” He could hear her weeping softly as he closed the door. When he reached the street, he could no longer hold his grief. Blindly, he made his way home.
Two days later he left for Kenya without hearing from Cheryl.
About the Author:
Kelly is an international best selling author with novels that are traditionally and Indie published. She writes romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. Her aim is to write about gripping characters in tense situations that keep a reader turning the pages. She also spends a great deal of time helping other writers through her Writing Tips on her website and as a member of the Florida Writer’s Association.
When not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her husband of 30 years and her two college age children, when they find the time. She lives in Florida and enjoys all that living in the sunshine state brings, boating, fishing, beaches, theme parks, and more. Her favorite pass time is reading (what a surprise!) She likes Thrillers, Romantic Suspense, and Romantic Comedy.