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Authors: ML Ross

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CHAPTER 29

 

Amy

 

    “You’re
not going to decide to become a city girl, are you?  Decide you don’t want
to marry a farm boy and you want to marry a doctor or a lawyer and live in a
high-rise?”

    “Of
course not,” I reply and laugh.

    Once
a week or so, Dillon has been driving with me to Denver to visit with Laney.
 He spends time with Daisy while Laney and I go out for dinner with a
group of her friends.     Sometimes we shop and sometimes we
see a girly movie.  I always look forward to getting away from the ranch,
dressing up, putting some makeup on, and socializing with the girls about the
latest books we’ve read, the new movie releases, fashion trends and of course,
we talk about boys.  

    Although,
I enjoy my time in the city now and then, I know where I belong.  I belong
on the ranch.  It’s been a couple of months since the business has
exploded.  We’ve hired a second therapist and we have new clients signing
up for sessions every day.  I enjoy meeting the teens that come to the
ranch for help.  I love taking care of the horses. I love relaxing with
Dillon by the lake and watching the sunset after a long day. We’ve established
a very comfortable routine.

    “You
don’t want to shop on 16th street every day and have tea and crumpets at the
spa with someone named Jasmine?”

    “Dillon,
stop.  You know I could never be that girl.  I love Buster.  I
would miss him.”

    “Oh.
You’d miss Buster. I see how it is.”  He laughs, squeezing my thigh as I
squirm in the passenger seat of his truck.

    “You
ticklish?”

    “How
would I know?”  He squeezes harder and I jump away from him squealing.

“You so are.  Good to
know.”  He throws me an evil grin.

    Once
we pull up to Laney’s apartment, I see the group of girls walking out.
 Dillon comes around to open the car door for me, always the gentlemen.

    “Dillon,
Caiden got called in for surgery.  He has to leave, so you’re on your own
with Dais,” Laney calls to us.

    “No
problem.  I got this.”  He leans over and kisses my cheek and then
disappears into the apartment complex.

    The
group of girls start giggling and I can feel my cheeks warm.

    “Amy,
you’re one lucky girl.  He is so darn cute,” one of Laney’s friends says,
shaking her head.

   They are a
great group of girls.  They are all a bit older than me, most of them have
kids, but we always have a great time.  We are all reading the newest smut
novel so when drinks start to kick in and conversation flows, they always want
to hear about Dillon and I.  Apparently I’m the only one that uses the
books as manuals.

    We
all pile into Laney’s minivan.  It’s one of those luxury ones with every
upgrade imaginable.  The dashboard looks like an airplane cockpit. There
are televisions falling from the ceiling.  I’ve never seen anything like
it.

    We
decide to eat at a popular Italian restaurant downtown.  As soon as we’re
seated, I start to feel funny.

    “Amy?
 Are you okay?”  Laney asks, putting her hand on my arm.  “You
look pale.”

    “Yeah.
 I’m okay.  Just don’t feel well all of a sudden.”  The smell of
garlic is so strong and overwhelming, it’s making me want to gag.  I feel
nauseous and lightheaded.

    There
are seven girls at the table all talking and laughing.  I push the food
around my plate and try to blend into the conversation, but I’m really not
feeling well.  I’m so thankful when Laney takes notice and ends the dinner
early while not calling any attention to me.

    In
the parking lot of Laney’s apartment, the girls part and Laney guides me
upstairs.

    “I'll
get you something that will calm your stomach, Amy.”  She gives me a
curious look.

    “Thanks
Laney.”

    She
quietly pushes the door to her apartment open and we both tip toe inside,
stepping over dolls and barbie cars.  Laney’s apartment is small, but they
choose to live in the city close to the hospital, so it’s expensive, clean and
modern.  I glance around the living room.  The flat screen television
is playing some princess movie.  Toys are everywhere.  There are
crumbs and sippy cups littering the floor.  Laney disappears into the
kitchen to get me crackers.  Dillon is slumped on the couch with a
sleeping Daisy on his chest.  They are both making soft snoring sounds.
 His arms are wrapped tightly around her back and her head is resting on
his shoulder with her mouth wide open, drool pooling on his shirt.

    I’m
frozen in the middle of the room staring at them.  Seeing him with her
like this triggers visions of motherhood to flash through my mind.  A
swollen belly.  Bottles, diapers, strollers.  Parks, museums, zoos.
 Dillon tickling a little girl or throwing a ball around with a little
boy.  Sounds of laughter.  Crying babies.  A family.

    I
lay my hand flat on my belly and suddenly a flutter of excitement mixed with a
bit of panic stir inside of me as something occurs to me.

    I’m
late.

CHAPTER 30

 

Dillon

 

    Amy
hasn’t been feeling well.  She’s been so tired and she hasn’t been able to
eat.  I think all of the stress has finally caught up with her.  We’ve
been so busy on the ranch.  Today we have a little girl coming to work
with the therapist for the first time.  She was diagnosed with
post-traumatic-stress-disorder.  She’s only twelve.  Her mother was a
drug addict and she doesn’t know her father.  She wasn’t abused, but she
witnessed her mother do things for drugs that no child should ever see.
 She reminds me of Amy.  Seeing the girl smile around the horses
reminds me I’m doing the right thing.  The ranch is now bringing happiness
and healing to girls like Amy.

    Amy
took her journal and some wedding magazines over to the elm.  Since the
fence is gone, she spends a lot of time there reading and writing and planning
our wedding.  We decided to say our vows under the elm and have a small
reception in the barn with just our small group of friends.  Of course,
we’ll have a bonfire and s’mores to follow.  My dad is going to walk Amy
down the aisle.  Laney is going to be Amy’s maid of honor, Danny will be
my best man and Daisy will be the flower girl.  It will be a private,
quaint wedding.  It’s what we both wanted.

    As I
walk across the field toward Amy while she reads under the tree, I recall
seeing her in that exact same spot for the first time.  She was so sad,
lonely and scared.  Now, she’s happy, confident and strong.
   

    She
sees me and sets her journal down.  “Hi,” she says with a sweet smile.

    “Hi.”
 I sit down on the ground with my legs folded beneath me while she leans
against the tree, her legs pulled up to her chest.

    “How
are you feeling?”

    “Better.”

    “Have
you decided on a date?”  I told her I’d marry her tomorrow if I could, but
I wanted her to have enough time to plan a special day.

    “Um.
Is next weekend too soon?”

    “Nope.”

    “Good.
 I have something for you.”

    “You
do?”

    She
hands me a small wrapped rectangular box with a square sheet of paper attached
to the top.  She looks nervous.  Her eyes are shiny with unshed tears
and her cheeks are flush.

    I
remove the piece of paper and before I unfold it, I glance back up at Amy just
as she wipes the tears that she couldn’t stop from falling.  Then I read
it.

    It
says
boy or girl?

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

 

5
years later

 

    “……And
they lived happily ever after.”  I close the old tattered book gently. It’s
held together by tape and glue, but we still read it every day.  It’s
Allison's favorite.

    “Like
you and daddy?”

    “Just
like me and daddy…and you.”  I give her a kiss on her pink cheek before
she leaps up from my lap.

    “Allison,
where are you going?” I ask as she hides behind the trunk of the elm.

    “I’m
hidin’ from daddy behind the big tree.”

    “Don’t
hide baby.”

    “Daddy
will find me,” she says giggling.

    “Yes,
baby.  He will.  He will always find you.”

    “Ally
Cat!” Dillon calls. He squats down, arms wide open, and I watch her blonde
curls bounce as she runs out from behind the tree and bounds into his arms.
 He swings her around, making her squeal with laughter.  It’s the
most beautiful sound in the world.

    Today,
we’re taking Allison to the zoo.  She’s very excited to see the animals.
 Last week, we took her to the aquarium to see the fish.  Every week,
we take her somewhere different to show her a piece of the world.  Some
days, it might just be the grocery store or to the park.  Sometimes we
take a big trip.  Last year, we took her to New York to see her
grandmother.  The year before, we took her to California to show her the
ocean.  Of course, she has no idea that I’ve never seen these things
either.

    “Daddy!”
she yells and giggles.

    Laughing
at the two of them and giving my round belly a pat, I grab my weathered journal
that Dillon gave me years ago and I write.

    I’m
here again, under the elm.  The “Survivor tree”.  Where it all began.
 Where I saw a boy for the first time and he gave me hope.  Where he
spoke to me for the first time and made my heart flutter.  Where I found
the courage to step into the world I had been terrified of in search of a love
I wasn’t even sure existed.  Where I found my happily ever after.
 Where I continue to write my dreams for the future. Where I now watch my
beautiful daughter play. Where there is no more fence.  Where I am no
longer
hidden
.

Author’s Note
  

 

Just wanted to say thanks to all of the
readers that gave a new Author a shot!  Thanks for reading my
stories! 

I owe a special thanks to Nancy Walsh
for catching my extra commas, and exclamations! and taking so much time out of
her life to help a girl out!!! 

Thanks to Sarah Rumptz for being my best
friend and beta reader. Thanks for keeping me on track, but most of all thanks
for your enthusiasm!

Thanks to all of my friends for their
support and encouragement.

Thanks to my husband and my kids for
being patient and supportive while I sat for hours and hours at my
laptop.  Thanks for the high fives.  Thanks for being my biggest
fans.

Don’t Miss!

 

Wanted

By ML Ross

 

18+ adult/explicit sexual content and
language

Standalone

 

Twenty-one year old Vanessa is ready to
take on the world!

After two years of sacrificing her
social life to take care of her family while her mother battled cancer, she is
now free.  Her mother is healthy and the future is bright.

Wanting to live by her mother’s wise
words, “live with no regrets!”  Vanessa decides it’s time to make some
changes in her life. 

First, end her six year relationship
with James, the car salesman that can’t seem to give her the type of passion
she craves.

Second, head into the mountains for
Christmas break with her best friend for some much needed girl time, and
possibly a toe curling, eye rolling, sheet gripping, orgasmic one-night-stand.

Third, be home in time to spend
Christmas Day with her family.

Only……..she doesn’t make it home. 

She remembers the bright lights, the
screeching metal and her body being thrown from her car.  When she opens
her eyes, she expects to find her mangled body in a hospital.

What she doesn’t expect to find?

Being handcuffed to a bed….

in a remote cabin……

in the mountains……

About to come face to face with Ryan Jenson,
a man
WANTED
.

Vanessa’s life is definitely about to
change.

 

Coming Soon!

 

Broken

By ML Ross

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK: Hidden
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