Soft Copy: $11.89 Kindle: $3.99
Soft Copy: $11.89 Kindle: $3.99
Breanna Allister’s forever after fairytale crumbled within a couple of years of marriage. Her forward thinking helped her to survive—support her and Luke’s sons—also, her half-breed son she took in when her husband left for months at a time to lead a wastrel lifestyle.
Chance Marley loved Breanna since childhood, yet let her slip through his fingertips. Now, after twenty-six years of Luke’s abuse, can their unrequited love become reality when she goes against propriety and leaves her husband? At what cost can love be found? Do they dare to dream?
“Loyalty to one’s creed can push even the
strongest beyond endurance…”
Breanna realized her decision, many years in the making, would set forth a day of reckoning. Albeit, how it would unfold didn’t seem to matter anymore. Unfulfilled dreams and weariness over the course her topsy-turvy life had left her at loose ends as she strived for resolution—peace.
While taking a last walk through her once loving home, she rubbed her hand over the white wainscoting in the kitchen. Cherished memories brought a smile over the uncertainty about painting the upper walls a cheery, pale yellow. In the end, she did, and her choice served to complement the room.
She even made the curtains and matching tablecloth speckled with her favorite flowers—daisies. The outline of objects, which once hung on the walls served to remind her of how she had turned a house into their home—at least for a while.
In the beginning, the kitchen was a happy place for Zackary and Gabriel. Their mischievous laughter had filled the air. A smile of nostalgia caused her to grin, imagining other times when her boys engaged in water fights while washing the dishes. They had been sure she wasn’t any the wiser about their tomfoolery, yet managing to end up with more water on themselves than the dishes.
She could almost smell fresh molasses cookies baking. Her
special treat for them when she had kissed a skinned knee or elbow to make it all better.
Breanna wiped away tears as she walked upstairs and entered the bedroom she and Luke shared when their love was fresh and new. Besides their bed, the only things remaining were a washstand, which held a cracked bowl and pitcher atop it. Her once favorite full-length looking glass was now cracked from one of their many clashes.
The dressing screen Luke had given her soon after their marriage had been broken years ago, as was a hole in the wall, just to the right of the only window, giving witness to yet another skirmish.
Breanna turned to leave, but caught her reflection in the looking glass. She was proud, because during the twenty-six years of their tumultuous marriage, she had managed to maintain her slender figure. Even her blonde hair still had its golden hue, with eyes hinting of blue skies.
Nonetheless, as she left the bedroom behind, life’s cruelties existed—her desolate home bared witness.
“Dammit,” Luke growled, entering his home, “what’s going on in this place?” He stalked into the sitting room—bare. He spun on his heel, charged over to the stairs, but came to an abrupt halt.
With a heavy heart, Breanna stood at the top. “Luke, I wasn’t expecting you.”
“That’s rather obvious. What in the hell’s going on around here, Breanna?”
“There’s a letter on the kitchen table,” she said in an
impassive tone. “I have left the bedroom somewhat intact for you—”
“Answer my question.” His face grew red with anger. “I don’t give a rat’s arse about any letter, or what you did or didn’t leave. This is our home. What did you do with our things?”
“No, this is just a house. It hasn’t been our home for many years.”
He took the stairs two at a time until he stood toe-to-toe with him.
She raised her palm. “Stop right there, Luke.”
“The hell I will!” He reached out and grabbed her by the upper arm. “You better start talking.”
“You’re hurting me.”
He clenched his teeth. “Then answer my question.”
“Wade and Virginia Marley have been kind enough to allow the storing of heavier furnishings in the barn at the Bar =M= Ranch. There is no room at—”
“I don’t give a damn about your arrangement with the Marley’s, Breanna, because you’re not going anywhere.” He pointed his finger. “You will put our things back as they were—got it”
The throbbing in her arm to worsen. “Please, Luke, don’t make this more difficult.”
His eyes shot darts. “Difficult ... you haven’t seen difficult.”
“I ... please, Luke, there is no longer a purpose for your anger.”
“That, my dear, is debatable.” He loosened his grip. “I don’t know what you have up your sleeve, but you’re my wife, and here is where you’ll stay.”
She tried to stand stoically, but felt her angst rise. “Yes, I am married to you. However, it has been your choice to leave for months at a time—enjoying your trollops, which is why I haven’t felt like a wife for many years.”
“Well, we can certainly rectify the wife part, right now, and here in this bed.” Luke shoved Breanna into the bedroom, and then let her go to unbutton his pants. “You know the routine, Mrs. Allister, or do I need to refresh your memory?”
“Oh, Luke, please don’t do this. Let’s stop gainsaying each other.”
He let out a guttural groan. “Make no mistake, Breanna, I’m not laying down a challenge. Unbutton your dress, or I will—your choice. This,” he said, patting the bed with his hand, “is where I’ll make you feel like my wife.”
Tears threatened to fall from her eyes.
Luke made the mistake of bending over to step out of his pants.
Breanna seized the opportunity and ran for the stairs.
While he pulled his trousers back up and refastened them, she got as far as the kitchen before he caught up and grabbed her bruised arm. She kicked his shin, broke away, and then ran to the door. “No, Luke! This torment must stop.”
Gritting his teeth, he forced her against the doorjamb with his hand around her throat. “You’re mine.”
“Please ... Luke ... I ... I can’t ... br ... breathe. ...”
A hand grabbed the nape of Luke’s neck, flinging him around, forcing him to stand face to face with his oldest son.
Dazed, and rubbing her throat, Breanna stumbled into a chair at the kitchen table.
Giving his father a shove toward the porch steps, he pointed his finger. “Don’t you ever again touch Ma!”
Luke stomped over to the doorway, and then splayed his hand to the barren walls while jutting his chin. “Are you the one responsible for your ma doing this?”
“Luke, stop it. This is my decision—not Zackary’s.”
“Ma, it’s okay. I’ll deal with him.” He turned his attention back to his father. “It doesn’t matter who had the idea—she should have left your sorry arse years ago—so hit the road, Pop. It’s what you do best.”
“Well, you can just undo it. Your ma isn’t going anywhere. Not now—not ever, so move outta my way.”
Zack scowled. “Ma, go home, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Breanna wrung her hands. “Please, Zack ... Luke—”
Luke’s eyes darted back and forth between his wife and son. “What do you mean new place?”
“Ma, get going.”
Although worried for what might happen between father
and son, she shook her head while hurrying out the door.
“You can’t order your ma and me around—I’m still your father.”
“Right now, I’m the sheriff ... not your son. Dammit, you smell
as if you crawled inside a bottle of rotgut and stayed there for weeks. When you clean yourself up and can talk rational, come to the jail. I’m not asking, I’m telling you, Pop.”
Luke charged his son.
Zack stepped sideways and gained the advantage by grabbing his father’s arm.
Luke tried to free himself. “Let go of me.”
“Not until you calm down your arse.”
Luke jerked free when Zack loosened his hold. “All right, I’ll see you later. Whatever is going on, it’s not over by a long shot.” Luke staggered off down the street.
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Jacqueline has been writing for almost fifteen years. And, thanks to so many loyal followers, by popular demand ... she's currently in the process of editing to publish more novels … also her second book of poetry to come out in 2017.