Authors: C. J. Corbin
C. J. CORBIN
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. NAMES, CHARACTERS, ORGANIZATIONS, PLACES, BRANDS, MEDIA AND EVENTS PORTRAYED IN THIS STORY ARE EITHER PRODUCTS OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION OR ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY. THE AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGES TRADEMARKED STATUS AND TRADEMARK OWNERS OF VARIOUS PRODUCTS REFERENCED IN THIS WORK OF FICTION, WHICH HAVE BEEN USED WITHOUT PERMISSION. THE PUBLICATION/USE OF THESE TRADEMARKS IS NOT AUTHORIZED, ASSOCIATED WITH, OR SPONSORED BY THE TRADEMARK OWNERS.
Copyright © 201
Christiane J. Corbin
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission from the author, except that brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews are permitted.
Cover design by Scarlett Rugers
Mom, thank you for whispering, “
write the book.
Dad, thank you for pushing me along.
And to my girls,
thank you for
So many people helped me on this journey.
Thank you to Debi Boniface for introducing me to Michael.
Thank you to Nancy Merola, Robin Walker, and Jennifer Sizemore for being with me every step of the way. You listened with infinite patience as I endlessly talked about plot points and character development. I will never forget the day Robin read a few chapters and said, “More!” Thank you my sweet girls, Eagle’s Destiny would not be here without your encouragement, friendship, and love.
Thank you to my
readers, your validation and support gave me the confidence to see this book published. They are Raynell Sterry, Michelle Andrade, Mary Ann Back, Nicole Poulos, Lynn Lykins, Chris and Barbara Coenen, Susan French, Pat DePalma, Lisa Rubio, Raven Jay Taylor, Megan Haskell, Wendy Elsken, and Cara Davidson.
Very special thanks go to Christina Harrison
integral at the end while I was making the final editing changes.
assistance and wonderful ideas enabled me finally to close the book.
Thank you to my cover
Scarlett Rugers Design (
took my scattered vision of the cover and made it come true.
Thank you to Bill Corbin and John Restifo, for giving up
time with me and giving me the time I needed at the end.
, thank you to
the reader. Thank you for taking a chance on me. I hope you fall in love with Michael and Elizabeth the way I did.
“This is the stuff our life is made of; there is no part of the journey tha
t is not important, each moment
and each step whether planned or unplanned, played an important role in our fate.”
It was an ending. I don’t think I realized it at the time, and now wonder if anyone truly does recognize the event that starts an ending. Or is it when we look backwards, that we are finally able to understand?
Outside the Sacramento airport terminal, it was a dark and stormy night. No stars were visible through the thick blanket of clouds. The air was humid and felt heavy. It had been
day down in
, and I had looked forward to the cooler temperatures up north. Since
downpour was imminent, I wondered if I’d make it home to my cabin before the rain started.
The skycap followed me out with two crates and luggage on
cart. He lifted each crate up and gently set it on the sidewalk. I clipped leashes on the wiggling cocker spaniels inside. My chocolate colored Topper
I think just to announce his arrival. Samantha, the smaller black and white cocker came out stretching and then sidled up next to me.
Straightening up, I turned to the skycap, “I’m going to pick up my car. I’ll be back shortly for the crates and luggage, I appreciate your help.”
The skycap nodded at me, “They sure are happy to be out of those crates.”
I agreed, “Yeah, the short hour long flight is easier than an eight hour drive up.”
He nodded again, “I know just what you mean my dogs hate the car too.”
“Samantha, Topper,” I called to the dogs as I set off toward the parking lot, “come with
I found my twenty-year-old cypress green Range Rover easily. It had belonged to my mother’s sister, my aunt Ruth. It was a gas hog, but I loved it anyway. Don, my best friend’s husband had agreed to drive
down to the airport and park it for me since I
expected to catch a late flight
efore getting in, I
under the seat to move the seat back. Don who was several inches shorter than my nearly six-foot frame always forgot to adjust the seat. I maneuvered the Range Rover around the airport and pulled up in front of the skycap. After all the bags and crates were loaded into the back, it was a relief to be on my way. Frowning as I checked my watch, I knew wouldn’t be home until after mid
night, much later than
I sighed audibly and mumbled, “What goes right when I plan something?”
The dogs had already snuggled down in the back seat. Settling myself in, I resigned myself to the drive. The headache that had threatened all day
was only a matter of relaxing, but as I relived the day’s happenings it was surprising the pounding in my head had not
earlier. I loosened the braid that held my waist length auburn hair hoping it would help. My hair felt tight like the rest of my body.
The plan had been to leave early in the morning to avoid the late night drive. A last minute call from my publisher for an interview skewed my plans. Reluctantly
after much discussion because I knew who
had received the interview assignment
, I agreed to the interview.
he interview this afternoon was with none other than my ex-husband Kevin. He worked as a freelance writer for
, although he preferred to write more hard-hitting journalistic pieces
than writing puff articles for what he
considered a stupid magazine.
romance novels, the steamy ones. The kind that starts out
with a mystery to solve, then leading to
he knew her, she knew him,
they both knew each other
up close and personal
. My books sold well landing me on the important best-sellers lists. They were a source of both my pride and independence. Too bad my own life never quite followed the lines of my novels. Kevin had always complained that he could never live up to my books, that I was unrealistic in my expectations. I now considered that his problem, not mine.
We met for lunch at what had been our favorite bistro in Hermosa Beach. It was a cute little place, very French farmhouse chic. Its pretentiousness ended there, the food was good, and the service was attentive. He waited for me at the table when I arrived. I offered him my cheek and he kissed it lingering longer than was necessary. Kevin looked good. He always did. We were the same height, and I always wore flats when I was with him. When I dressed before meeting him, I had debated on my choice of shoes and put the flats on anyway not wanting to cause problems with him. He could become moody and angry when I would do or say things that pointed to his perceived shortcomings.
“You cut your hair?” I asked surprised to see his dark hair cut so short, it was almost a buzz cut. He always took such pride in his hair.
“Yeah,” he replied as we sat down. “
hairdresser is on her honeymoon and no one else can do it like she can
,” he chuckled.
I pursed my lips together
While we were married I had caught them together, as in joined together in the romance novel way. Lucky girl, it sounded like she escaped.
As we settled in to look at the menus, I noticed Kevin was staring intently at something behind me. A redheaded woman in her twenties sat at a table behind me. I turned around and noticed she had her eyes glued on Kevin. He was returning her gaze. I just turned myself back around in my chair and shook my head rolling my eyes.
“What?” Kevin asked fixing his eyes back on me.
“Nothing.” I said looking back down at the menu.
I wanted to get this interview over and be away from him. It did not surprise me that Kevin received looks from women. He certainly did w
we were married. He maintained his well-built six-foot body by regularly working with weights. When you looked up
abs of steel
in the dictionary, his picture was there. Always impeccably groomed, he appeared as if he stepped out of
I understood very clearly the magnetism he held for women. I on the other hand might as well been the placemat on the table for all the attention that I was receiving from him. I reminded myself that nothing had changed.
uring our marriage, Kevin had wanted
more of an
open relationship tha
I was willing to give. He felt he could separate sex and love as two very different emotions. He had not seen a problem at all with having additional sexual partners, of course only on his side.
e told me
more than once
that he needed
His way of telling me I bored him sexually.
His infidelity was only one of the many reasons for our divorce.
After we ordered, Kevin turned his attention back to me. I already had my hackles raised and did not want to be with him any longer
“So, what’s this book about? Wait, let me guess,” he leaned back in his chair with his arms folded behind his head. He had that look of self-confidence on his face because he knew that
most every woman in the place
found him attractive
. “Yes, I know.” He bent forward toward me
his brown eyes challeng
me, “Yes, a woman looking for love. Isn’t that what they all want Liz?” His face wore a smirk.
I bristled at the name
had persistently refused to call me Elizabeth during our five-year marriage,
why would it be different
“Didn’t you bother to read it?”
The frown on my face was evident
, “That is also part of the job of writing the article.”
He spread his hands out in front of him, “Oh come on
our books are all alike.”
“Why do you even bother, if you’re not going to take this seriously?” I asked
not to roll my eyes. “You know this is my livelihood, and I might add yours too.”
He flashed me a warning look and a chill went through me. “
t isn’t like real writing,” he confronted me again
trying to provoke me into arguing with him. Kevin liked our arguments, since he felt they had always fueled our passion.
My energy for these fights was gone.
He saw the change in my expression, “Okay Liz, I’ll admit I didn’t read it, but an underwater archeologist? How did you think of that one?”
Kevin had taken my writing as a fluke. My first book, published just shortly after our second anniversary had him secretly furious. His public reaction certainly showed congratulatory hugs, but his compliments disappeared when we were alone. My books became a refuge for me, while I wrote they enveloped me completely and Kevin did not exist in the world I created.
True to form, by the time my
arrived, Kevin had goaded me into talking about my book. He knew just what to say and how to say it, the magnetism worked on me the same way as every other woman he encountered.
After finishing lunch
and the interview
, he walked me out to my car. As I turned to thank him for lunch, he was standing very close to me, too close.
“Don’t I get a hug and kiss goodbye?” He
already moving his arms around me.
I did not move
I tried to push him away but he pinned my arms behind my back with one hand. Kevin pulled me against him and bent his head toward me, his mouth close to mine. With anger in my eyes, I wished for the courage to tell him my thoughts. As he leaned down to kiss me, I moved my head so he could only kiss me on the cheek, but he was too quick, and his hand came up to move my chin toward his lips. His kiss was not short and
harder. A little voice screamed inside of me.
Unhappy with my lack of response, Kevin broke off the kiss. He looked me in the eyes, “Liz, you know you want it.”
“No Kevin. I don’t.” I shook my head, looking down at the ground and freed my arms to push him back hard.
He stepped back. “I’ll call you
Defiantly I looked at him, “No Kevin. That would not be a good idea.”
In disgust, I wanted to brush the feeling of him off my body. I quickly got into my car. I did not look back at him though I could tell he had turned around and started walking to his car. Snapping my seatbelt on, I looked up and he was standing by his car, grinning me. He had won. He had gotten the last move.
As I drove out of the restaurant parking lot toward my house, I burst into tears.