Authors: Jennifer Smith
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #45 Minutes (22-32 Pages), #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary Fiction
Love without You
By: Jennifer Smith
When Jessica is blindsided by her husband Ben leaving her, his excuse simply being they are no longer compatible. She is left wondering, what did she do wrong and did she miss any signs? Jessica continues on with life as best as she can only to be constantly reminded about Ben and the life they had, life often becomes so unbearable that she resorts to other methods to alleviate the pain. Life seems bleak until Jessica meets Josh, she is instantly attracted to him, who is this mystery man? Is it love at first sight or a heartbreak in the making?
Table of Contents
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Ian James was raised in the lap of luxury, but he was also raised knowing that
nothing worth having comes without working for it. Expected to follow in his
father’s footsteps and take over the law firm one day, Ian works as an errand boy
during the summer months between high school and college. One of those
errands sends him to a very young, very wealthy, and very sexy widow who has
plans of her own for Ian. When Ian discovers that older, wealthy women will pay
him for sex, becoming a lawyer is no longer in his future.
Gillian Carmichael needs a vacation, so when her best friend, Sylvia suggests she
accompany her back home to Chicago, Gillian accepts. But when Gillian meets
Sylvia’s brother, Ian, the attraction is instant. There’s just one little thing standing
in the way . . . .
The Many Shades of Love
Jim Williams is tall, black and beautiful and when he meets gorgeous
Steve Wheeler, the attraction is instantaneous and hot!
Steve Wheeler hasn't been with a man in more than seven months, but
when he meets his new associate, Steve wants to know more about Jim.
As the two men get to know each other over golf and beer, they realize
their chemistry is right on target and when they have dinner together at
Steve's house, the sex is hotter still. But when Jim's ex-lover, Alan,
comes back into his life with devastating news, will it be more than Jim
and Steve's new love can survive?
Patty just recently lost her job due to her company downsizing. Even worse, she has no way to take care of her financial obligations. On her way home from just being fired, things get worse, while Patty is struggling to get together all of her belongings, she looks up to meet Dion. Dion instantly falls for Patty, and figures out a way to see her again. Dion knows this is not allowed, but proceeds with his plan anyways, knowing what consequences may come for such actions.
Jessica lay on her bed with her heart s
hattered into a thousand pieces. The tears had long since dried and now just the racking sobs persisted. She still heard the excuse Ben gave her of not being compatible anymore as he asked for his Grandmother’s ring back and as she took it off she felt like part of her had died. Where did this come from? Had she missed any signs? She tried to think back over the last few weeks to see what had happened but her head was throbbing so hard she couldn't even think straight. She knew he had been having a hard time at work with an assignment but didn't know what was going on. He kept saying it was nothing he wanted to talk about. But, this? What was this all about? He said it had been coming for several months but it had never been mentioned before.
So where did she go from here? What did she do? After five years of being together with Ben she didn’t think she knew what to do. Everything had been surrounded by him.
She got up and went to the medicine cabinet and took two aspirin and then went through the house, grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and headed out the back door. The beach lay in front of her and she knew this is where she would find her answers. The water had a strange and alluring effect on her and had often added comfort to her when she needed it. She needed it to straighten her thoughts out today. She didn't sleep well last night and today she didn't know if she would make it through it or not.
She sat down on the beach and picked up a hand full of sand and let it go through her hand. This was a simple gesture that had significant meaning which she didn't even recognize. As the sand slipped through her hand so did her life as she knew it. She didn't realize how dependent she was on Ben till she started planning her life without him in it. Surely the ache in her heart would stop hurting so bad soon. Was she so insecure that she was dependent on a man to make her day a wreck or a success?
There was a small breeze blowing as she watched the waves lap onto the shore. The sound of the water was like a serene pacifier for Jessica, always calming. Out of the corner of her eye she saw activity going on down the beach and it wasn't long before the dog that lived two doors down, Sassy, had loped up onto her lap and was giving her frantic kisses all over her face. It was like she knew that Jessica needed extra attention today. Josh the owner of the dog came shortly after the dog knowing where it would be.
Josh was a good looking guy, six foot with a good personality but also engaged to be married so that was the common bond they shared, until today that is. The sun had given him blond highlights in his hair which added to his good looks. But the best part about him was his sense of humor. He was always smiling and had a tremendous positive attitude about life.
Josh pulled up a beach chair and sat down beside her as he found a stick to throw for Sassy to chase. It was a few minutes before the conversation began. They just sat watching the water and throwing the stick for Sassy. There were many times when they sat like this, saying nothing, just enjoying being together, and appreciating the beauty of the scenery. No communication was needed.
Today however Josh picked up on the vibe she was giving out and after looking at her hand accessed the situation very quickly. After talking to Josh she did feel a lot better. He seemed to understand because he said two weeks before he had broken up with his finance’. The relationship according to him was to intense and hard work. He thought when you were in love it was supposed to be simple and enjoyable. He said he got tired of trying so hard to please her and not knowing how to do so. Everything he did seemed to be wrong so finally he just gave up and broke off the engagement and he was much more content now which proved what he said was right.
Combined with the water Josh had made her morning bearable and blocked the migraine that was starting. The sun was hot beating down on her and suddenly she was so tired and sleepy. She made her excuses to Josh and went back to the house and laid down on her bed. When she woke up it was almost 5:00. She couldn't believe she had slept the afternoon away but after last night she guessed she needed it. Exhaustion had taken over and an emotional nap had been in order. Whatever it was she felt a little better. She fixed her a salad and a glass of wine and went out to the patio.
Jessica worked for a publishing house and was responsible for proof reading manuscripts and she had one that was due on Monday morning so she drug it out of her bag and sat at the table. After eating and reading for a couple of hours the sun was starting to do down. Jessica put the manuscript down and her thoughts went back to Ben. Where was he and what was he doing? Was he missing her as much as she missed him? Should she call him or would he call her? Ever again? Did she want him to call her?
As she sat there looking over the water she saw Josh and Sassy walking along the shore and called to him. They both came running across the beach. Josh brought a smile that Jessica needed and Sassy brought a bone to chew on. She poured Josh a glass of wine and they talked and a good talk it was. For several hours they discussed what if’s in life and what went wrong and finally what was right. Josh said he thought it was important to list what she had to offer in a relationship and she knew what she wanted. This was what was lacking with Ben. He didn't seem to want the same things anymore. Years before they had the same dreams and were going in the same direction but lately as she looked back she could see where things had changed. The same was true with Josh and his girlfriend Sandra; they went their separate ways because they didn’t want the same things anymore. They sat and talked and shared until after midnight and finally Josh and Sassy went home leaving Jessica with much to think over. The things Josh had said made good sense to her but it still hurt knowing that the commitment was gone, and she was alone. She went to bed thinking she probably wouldn't sleep but she did and when she woke up the next morning the sun was shining and people were leading their normal lives.
She got dressed and went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and when she came back Ben was waiting for her. He said he had come by to pick up some of his stuff. She made sure she got his key to the house and told him to get everything he needed now because he wasn’t welcomed back. She vowed she wouldn't cry and that lasted a good two minutes. It upset Ben and he tried to explain the reasons again but she already knew, she just didn't want to admit it. She knew about the intern that worked down the hall and the interest Ben had in her. She also knew about the connection she had with the president of the company that Ben worked for. Jessica had done her research to it just hurt that he would actually betray her and that she would be the other girl. This entire scene she knew to be true but she refused to let herself believe any of it was true. Well it was so she might as well get used to it. It didn't take Ben long to get his things together and by the time he left they were speaking civil to each other, as much as possible anyway.
After he left she went for a long walk on the beach and thought about things. The way things were when they first met and how much they loved each other when they got engaged and how they clung to each other. But then all that was a farce so now she had to deal with reality. She went by Josh’s house and saw him lying out in the sun with Sassy close beside him with her bone. She went up and started to talk to him and found herself spending the afternoon. Josh decided that they should eat so he put on a couple of steaks on the grill and threw in some baked potatoes and they sat and drank wine and ate. The one thing they did that was so unexpected for her was that they laughed, a lot. More than she thought she had ever laughed before. She was supposed to be depressed but instead she was having a terrific time. Maybe it was the wine, but wherever it was it felt good and free. Josh walked her home that night and watched the moon over the ocean sparkle and dance on the water. It was breathtakingly beautiful and so peaceful. Jessica felt a peace that she hadn't felt in years and she knew then that Ben was gone and that she didn’t need him for her life to be complete. She could do it on her own.
The weeks went by quickly and so did life and she didn't shrink up and die. The hurt she got over and it was replaced by a wall that Ben would never come in contact with again. It was three weeks before she ran into Josh again. He had been working out of town and she had been busy at work. Their paths just never met up. But tonight Josh knocked on her door and invited her to a cook out at his house, just some friends and family, some she already knew. She was tired of staying at home so she agreed to go.
At 7:00 she found herself surrounded by people she didn't know and loving every minute of it. They were funny and she really had a good time. The food was great and the whole evening was terrific. She couldn’t believe how much she enjoyed it and to think she almost didn't go because she was by herself. She stayed till late and helped Josh clean up and then he walked her home. The lights on the water glimmered like fire flies and the waves lapped at the edge of the sand sending spray up on you just enough to get your feet wet. It was the perfect night and Josh took her hand as they walked down the beach. She thanked him for a wonderful evening and promised to get in touch with him over the weekend. He kissed her hand as he released her and she went into the house and closed the door. What was she thinking? It had to have been the amount of wine she drank or the evening or something strange. She knew she couldn’t or shouldn't be falling for Josh, it was way too soon. But her hand seemed to burn where he had laid the kiss and she couldn't help but wonder what it would be like.
Life could be hectic sometimes. Deadlines were coming due and Jessica had to work a lot of late nights to keep caught up at work. There were lots of nights she burned the midnight oil till much too late and paid for it the next day. But she kept up and she loved what she did so she didn’t mind a little extra work. Besides what else did she have to do? It was one of these nights when she heard a knock on her door. Startled she peaked out and saw Josh standing there. She opened the door and he apologized for the time but he said he had been coming home and saw her light on and wanted to make sure she was all right. He took his hand and adjusted a piece of hair that had fallen across her face, a simple act of kindness that brought a hot searing flash with it. She caught his hand as it came down he bent down and kissed her. He didn't apologize and neither did she. It was the best kiss she had ever had and she wanted more. But, she knew better, she didn't want Josh to be a rebound lover. She coveted the friendship they had and if she ever wanted more it would be better to go real slow. That kiss would linger on her lips a long time just as the thought of Josh would be there.
After that they saw more of each other but not a lot. They still had their own lives to lead and once or twice a week they would get together and have dinner or share a bottle of wine. Once they went to a movie and they went shopping a few times but nothing earth shaking was happening, till Christmas. At Christmas everything seemed to change for the better. They started spending more time with each other and going out a lot more. They became closer and talked continuously about everything. They were almost inseparable by the time Valentine’s Day came taking time out for work of course. In early April they took a short vacation and stayed gone for 4 days.