Authors: Kimi Flores
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary
Copyright © 2013 Kimi Flores
Cover Design & Photography by Dawn Malone Photography
Editing by Katie Mac
Interior Design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats
Images are property of Dawn Malone & Kim Flores
Permission for use of The Premonition book series was obtained by
Amy A. Bartol.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author or publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, or incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to the actual events, locales, and persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products refernced 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 owner.
This book is dedicated to my loving husband, Orlando
and the best son’s a mother could ever ask for, Jacob & Shane.
You guys are my happily ever after.
“No, please.” He choked out. “I can’t do this without you.” His chest was tight. Agony strangled his heart with its greedy hands. Caleb shook his head as tears fell from his swollen eyes that had witnessed his wife go through so much hell that past year. Softly, he whispered while closing his tired lids and tilting his head back, “Please don’t take her.” The corner of his lips trembled when he sucked in a shaky breath. This was not the way to let her go. Their family and friends gathered in the brightly lit room, witnessing him behaving with such desperation. The life he’d created with his wife Rene was crashing down all around, shredding his soul into pieces like glass shards of a shattering window, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. The smell of sickness and death lingered in the air, assaulting his nostrils and lungs. This scent would be ingrained in his memories forever.
“It’s okay Caleb.” Her chest rose up and down as she labored to take in shallow breaths. His gaze fell upon her sunken eyes. Laying in the hospital bed she’d spent entirely too much time in, she let out another painful moan. “Everything is going to be fine. You know I’m going to a better place. We will be together again.” Rene gave an exhausted cough, further proof of her lengthy suffering.
“I know, but I can’t let you go.” With quivering hands, he leaned over to stroke her cheek, using the pad of his thumb while holding the side of her neck. His long fingers extended to her nape. “You are my everything.” A trembling hand touched his shoulder, attempting to provide comfort. Caleb didn’t need to look up to know it was his mother-in-law, Grace. Everyone in the confined space of the hospital room had said goodbye to Rene before Caleb took the seat beside her bed. Now that her end was so close, he wished more than anything that they all would leave. He couldn’t ask anyone to do that though. They were all hurting.
He sensed in her once brilliant blue eyes that she only had moments left. With a weak smile, she whispered so softly it was difficult to hear, “I love you. Please make sure Madison knows how much I love her too.” Her labored breaths came few and far between, and she winced with the effort it simply took to breathe. She spoke those last words before falling into a morphine-induced slumber. A nurse stayed close administering the pain medication as needed to ensure Rene’s comfort.
With tear streaked cheeks, Caleb bent down, gently placing his trembling lips onto hers. “I love you too. I always will.” The woman he’d counted on spending the rest of his life with took her last breath under his kiss. The piercing hum of the heart monitor confirmed what he couldn’t bear to accept; she was gone.
“No, no, no! Come back to me, please!” Caleb’s violent sobs echoed throughout the room while he gripped his wife’s withered, unresponsive body.
Rene danced across the luminous room wearing his favorite cream-colored dress. Snug on top and flowing from the waist down, the silk that covered her tantalized and called out to him. Long auburn hair cascaded over her shoulder, enticing him to touch her one last time.
Caleb approached his beautiful bride and took her into his loving arms before dipping her slender body backwards. Seeking the warm comfort of her lips, he covered her mouth with his own, only to feel cold rigid skin. Jerking away, he looked at her face and found lifeless eyes staring back. Anguish overtook him, penetrating his heart.
Caleb bolted up in his king sized bed. His lungs sought relief with the morning air. All these years later, he still felt the gut wrenching hospital scent lingering in them. Blinking rapidly, he focused on his surroundings. Just enough light filtered into the bedroom through the heavy drapery hanging from sturdy metal curtain rods. Relief spilled over him once he recognized where he was. “Oh man. It was just a nightmare.” The impact of the actual event haunted his dreams many nights. His wife was dead, and he remained here, alone, to care for their daughter. Was it ever going to get easier? They say time heals all wounds, but with the heartache he’d experienced in the last four years, Caleb wasn’t so sure about that. Although he was in a much better place, the gaping dark hole in his heart still left him in agony.
Following a low grunt, Caleb ran strong fingers through his thick messy black hair. He rubbed his palms over soulful coffee brown eyes and the overnight scruff on his face. Doing his best to shake the disturbing visions he’d just roused from, he stood and stretched his back. He reminded himself that today was a new day, a special one. His baby girl, Madison, was starting kindergarten, and he had to keep himself together for her sake. She hadn’t talked about anything else all week.
Grabbing a shirt and pulling it over his head before exiting his bedroom, Caleb made his way down the dark wooden floored hallway into the pink princess room. He fixed his eyes on the small wooden chair next to the linen covered window, and spotted the ‘first day of school’ outfit Madison had picked out. Tiny jean capris laid spread out under a light pink top with daisies embroidered on the sleeves. She’d also placed her matching pink Mary Jane shoes under the chair. Rene would have loved this sight. Pushing that thought far from his mind, Caleb tiptoed to the twin bed and sat down on the fluffy comforter that covered his sleeping angel. He moved strands of her ash brown hair away from her face, and leaned over to place gentle butterfly kisses on her baby soft cheek. She loved when he did that and let out a giggle.
“You faker, you were awake the whole time.” He tickled her ribs.
“Yes Daddy but I don’t want you to be sad. You had not given me my butterfly kiss yet, so I stayed here until you did.” A silly little girl smile appeared on her rose bud lips.
“Let’s get ready for your special day, my big kindergartener.” He stood, and then turned around so she could climb onto his broad back just as she did every morning. She jumped onto her daddy’s back with her nightgown scrunched up around her knees. This allowed her to wrap both legs around his waist while her arms hung onto his neck and shoulders. Madison made her first request of the day. “Can I have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast today?”