How They Met

How They Met

by Charlene Mathis


Publisher Charlene Mathis

Published in Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Romance, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Three couples find love unexpectedly in the same town. Carissa Harrington is fed up with the dating scene. She turns to social media and reconnects with and old friend. Can their friendship grow into something else?

Daphne Scott discovers that her boyfriend of six years has been using her to cover up his relationship with his best friend. Luckily, her new friend Daniel is there to help her pick up the pieces.

Crystal Waters find solace in her friendship with Professor Harry Gottlieb after a terrible break-up, but will she be able to open herself to love again?

Sample Chapter

“I’m going to strangle her,” Carissa swore as she stomped angrily along the concrete walkway leading to her four-bedroom Cape Cod. The red porch light was on, slightly brightening the shadows. Behind her, the sound of George’s car engine stopped. She hurried the rest of the way, almost sprinting up the five steps to her porch, key in hand, and yanked open the winterized screen door with its glass panel temporarily replacing the mesh.

Her heart was beating like a kettle drum in her chest, and her hands were shaking as she fitted the key into the lock. She was struggling to catch her breath and her trembling hands were making it difficult, but she managed to quickly unlock the inside door and open it. Stepping inside, Carissa turned and pulled the glass door shut and locked it just as George was loping up the steps to the porch. She stepped back into her house and slammed the wooden door before turning and collapsing against it, her chest heaving.

Okay, okay, calm down. You’re safe now, she told herself. What had she been thinking to get into a car with a guy with whom she hadn’t even felt at ease? Her body temperature fluctuated between hot and cold. But for the grace of God, she could have easily become another sad statistic.

“Hey, Kerry! Open the door!” George Nixon rapped sharply on the glass. “What is all this?”

Don’t answer. Don’t say a word, she warned herself silently. He’ll just go away.

She held her breath and closed her eyes tightly, wishing him away with everything that was within her.

The glass rattled from another series of knocks. Okay, now it was time to call the cops, and then she was going to kill Andi and dump the body where even the worms couldn’t find it.

She reached into her purse and took out her cell phone as terror gave way to anger.

Why was she cowering inside her own house while that piss ant banged at her door?

Her anger gave her the courage she needed, and she stood upright and turned to face the door. Carissa reached out and yanked the door open.

“George, leave,” she said in a clear, commanding voice. “Get the heck off my porch and off my property, or I’m going to call the police.”

“What the heck? Why would you do a thing like that, Kerry? I don’t understand what’s going on? Why are you acting like this?”

The red, porch light did not compliment George at all, but rather made him seem almost as menacing as he’d been a few minutes ago when she’d had to fight him off in the front seat of his car. Carissa’s fear wrestled with her anger as she realized that there was only one flimsy glass door between her and the man who was now scowling at her diabolically.

“My name is Carissa! Carissa, George, not Kerry!” she bit out, hoping that he did not detect the shaking in her voice underneath the anger.

“I want you to leave right now. You tried to force sex on me after I told you that I was waiting until I got married to do that! I should have squeezed you where it hurts when you forced my hand over your crotch and then tried to push your big ham fist up under my dress. You can’t claim that I was leading you on in any way. The cops are going to believe me, so get the hell away from here and forget my address. I don’t ever want to see you again.”

Carissa put her hands on her hips and looked at him with a hard glare.

He looked back at her disbelievingly in the dim light. “Are you for real?” he demanded scornfully.

“Which red-blooded man do you think is going to sit back and let you make a fool of him by not serving it up whenever he wants it? No man is going to stay put if you don’t put out, honey. It’s just the way it is.”

George gave a cynical smile which caused her blood to begin to boil.

“Get lost, jerk!” she spat as she brought her hands up and began punching in 911 on her phone.

How in heaven’s name did Andrea think that she and this raptor would suit? She was going to kill Andi for sure!

“All right, all right. Take it easy there,” George implored as he saw that she meant business. “It’s not like anything really happened.”

“Something did happen, George,” she said, poising her right index finger over the button to put the call through. “My "no" was meaningless to you! I swear I’m going to push this button if you don’t leave in exactly ten seconds! Ten . . . nine . . .”

George shifted nervously as Carissa began the countdown.

“All I’m trying to tell you, honey, is that you have to wake up to reality. What the hell are you holding on to it for? Keep holding out, and by the time you get a man, it will be all dried up and useless,” George said, furling his lips in scorn. She glared at him and continued.

“Five . . . four . . .”

“Oh, forget you,” George suddenly muttered as she was nearing the end of the countdown. “Do you know how many women would kill to go out with me? I am a successful businessman. Oh, forget you, you puritanical bitch!”

He spun on his heels and stalked away, across the porch, down the steps, and along the dim walkway without a backward glance. Carissa watched his hurried departure with relief and filed the latest in a series of bad dates arranged by none other than her best friend Andrea Linton, in her “Live and Learn” mental folder with a shudder. She stepped back and closed her door.

No more, she vowed. Not another date arranged by Andi. She surely was going to kill Andi.

With that rather vengefully delicious thought in mind, she canceled the 911 call and dialed Andi’s number instead.

“Hey, girlfriend, how did it go?” Andi’s sing-song voice came through loud and clear.

“You’re dead meat,” Carissa replied angrily. “How did it go? How did it go? Shall I tell you how it went? That jerk refused to take no for an answer, right after I told him I was waiting to have sex until after I was married! If it wasn’t for his big belly getting in the way of the steering wheel, he would have raped me right there in the front seat of his car in front of my own house!”

“Oh no!” Andi exclaimed in consternation. “Are you all right?”

“I’m okay now,” she replied forcing herself to calm down. “I managed to fight him off and run into my house. Can you believe that idiot thought I was going to let him in?”

“Okay, okay. Calm down, sweetie. I’m so sorry. He seemed like such a nice guy too. Chase said that he was an okay guy; otherwise, I wouldn’t have encouraged you to accept his offer of a ride home.”

She wasn’t going to get into how Andi had tricked her into meeting this guy in the first place. She thought that she and Andi were going out for a quick drink. Andi had picked her up from home and driven them both to Buffalo Wild Wings for a quick girls’ night. How convenient that Chase just happened to show up, and also just happened to have a friend with him!

Carissa had leveled a gimlet stare on Andi, and the other girl had blushed but offered no apology.

“You know if I told you, you wouldn’t have come,” she said defensively after Carissa had dragged her to the ladies room. “I think this guy is great for you. I know he’s a little bit on the heavy side, but he’s handsome, successful, and he wants to settle down. He also likes you a lot. I can tell. Come on; don’t tell me you don’t find him just a teeny bit attractive.”

Carissa tightened her lips in frustration at the memory. Andi just didn’t get it. None of the men she’d tried pairing Carissa with had been suitable. What made her think that this one would be any different? She’d been on her guard, but Andi had still been able to manipulate her into accepting a ride home from George Nixon.

“Listen to me, Andi,” she ground out. “We’ve been friends for a long time, but there are certain things that can threaten the bonds of friendship. I don’t ever want to go through another evening like this one. You’ve managed to shake my trust in you, and it’s going to take a while to fix that.”

“I’m really sorry,” Andi said repentantly. “I really was trying to help.”

“I know, Andi. But believe me when I say that I am fine with God’s timing. I’m sick of dating all these prospects who turn out to be duds. I am ready to take a long break from all this dating business. I hope that you will respect that.”

Carissa sighed with relief as Andi promised to cease trying to manage and manipulate her dating life. Thankfully, they ended the conversation on a happy note.

Later, as she slipped into her pink, plush, Sherpa robe and slipped her feet into a pair of matching house slippers, Carissa sighed almost despondently. Why was it so difficult for her to find someone with whom to share her life? Was she being so unreasonable? Was it so wrong for her to want to have her very own fairy tale where the prince she’d been waiting for all her life would show up and, voila!?

“Oh, damn it! He’s out there somewhere. He has to be!” she told her reflection in the bathroom mirror. She pulled back her soft, chestnut hair and secured it from her face with a scrunchie before slathering cream on her face to remove her makeup.

After washing her face with a cleansing rinse, she gazed critically at her features: wide-spaced, almond-shaped, violet eyes, a pert nose with a slightly turned up tip; a wide forehead and a delicately pointed chin which gave her face an almost heart-shaped appearance. Her cheekbones were high, and her mouth was small with an enticingly full bottom lip. Her facial features were never an issue. She knew that she was a beautiful woman, and she was confident in that beauty, yet not vain.

She took care of her body and had the right proportion of curves in all the right places. Her shape hinted at an hourglass without being too exaggerated. Her style of dress was modest and professional, perfectly matching her personal philosophy.

Everything about her presented a beautiful package that most men she met found pleasing. The problem, she discovered, was in the way she thought about and approached life. She wanted to marry and raise a family, and she wanted to wait until after marriage to consummate the act of marriage. That was a philosophy that was at odds with her society. Still, she felt this was right for her.

She was twenty-five years old and was still very much a virgin – pretty much an anomaly in this day and age. This made her a challenge to the guys once they discovered that she had barely kissed much less made love with a man. It wasn’t long before each guy would think that he would be the one to storm her citadel. How inconvenient that she kept holding out for marriage first?

Carissa grinned humorlessly. She’d discovered a lot of toads and to her credit had refused to even kiss any of them other than the occasional perfunctory peck on the cheek. Her hugs with the opposite sex were usually the sideways variety, and she always made sure that she gave good, strong, handshakes. All in all, they sent a message – a warning to those who would try to take liberties with her person that she wasn’t interested.

“You’re too cold,” her honey-blonde, turquoise-eyed best friend had told her time and again. “The way you are doing it, that is no way to find a husband. Believe me!”

“And what do you suggest, Andi? How am I supposed to be?” she’d asked Andi once, smiling sardonically at the irony that Andi wasn’t doing any better finding a husband. She knew Andi would be quick to deny that she even wanted a husband and always delighted in boasting that she could have any man she wanted whenever she wanted. Still, Carissa wondered if Andi thought one could use the same methods to find a husband as one did to incite lust in any man.

“Stop covering up your beauty, and relax a little. I understand all about you wanting to wait until the honeymoon to give up your virginity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun until that time comes. Guys won’t want to wait if you don’t give them a little sample every now and then. There are things you can do with your hands – and your mouth and still keep your virginity for your wedding night.”

She had rolled her eyes at Andi’s words, having not the least bit desire to indulge in such a cavalier attitude towards sex. Somewhere there must be a man who felt the same as her about sex; a man who would cherish and appreciate her most precious gift. She knew he existed for she had been waiting for him all her life. Sometimes in her dreams, she could almost see him, but his face was always hidden.

A heavy sigh escaped her lips and drew her attention back to the reflection of the glowing, pink face in the mirror. The wait would have to continue.

She headed to her lonely bed, knelt down and said a prayer before slipping in between the cool, fresh, cotton sheets.

God’s willing tomorrow may just turn out to be the day.


Excerpted from "How They Met" by Charlene Mathis. Copyright © 2017 by Charlene Mathis. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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