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Authors: Shiree McCarver,E. Gail Flowers

The Flavor Of Love

BOOK: The Flavor Of Love
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Shiree McCarver

 

 
THE FLAVOR OF LOVE

 

 

Shiree McCarver

 

 

 

 

Copyright©2008 by Shiree McCarver

Cover art by Shiree McCarver

Proofer: E. Gail Flowers

 

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author except brief quotes used in reviews. This work is fiction. Any similarities to actual persons or events are purely coincidental. May contain adult content of an erotic nature; be advised.

 

 

Other books by Shiree McCarver

 

Shifter Series:

A SATYR’S TALE: SELBY AND DARIUS

FOREVER MOONLIGHT

A SATYR’S TALE: ZAZA AND SYLUS

 

African Warrior Women Series:

THE LORD AND THE SCORPION

THE PRINCE AND THE PANTHER

 

Others:

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

ALL I WANT IS YOU

FLAVOR OF LOVE

ZOLA’S MAGIC TOUCH

 

Obsidian Opus Vampire Series:

ETERNALLY I DO

 

Musicians in Love Series:

J-POP LOVE SONG

VISUAL-KEI ROCK STAR

A HOLIDAY TO REMEMBER

 

Anthology:

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS: JAPANESE MALE HOSTS

DEDICATION

I dedicate this book to my Grandmother Gracie who told me, “Being a good cook is the way to a man’s heart.” Bless her. I love her, but she was wrong. It only got me his attention. It was the spices we used in the bedroom that kept the heart fires burning. Cooking for me is very relaxing. The kitchen is where I do some of my deepest thinking and it’s a place where my characters like to congregate in my mind. Thank you Granny for all the Sunday suppers you fixed us as a family. You taught me there were many flavors to love. I miss you.

PROLOGUE

 

San Francisco, 2004

 


What is it Mom? You’re having a vision aren’t you? I can tell.” Etta clasped her mother’s cool hand in hers. Before her mother could reply, she let go of her fingers and moved towards the glass window of the waiting room as the double outside doors opened in the corridor. “They are bringing in someone else!”

Her mother came to stand beside her. Etta moved to the opening of the reception room door and waited for them to come by. She looked on in horror, her breath catching in the back of her throat as the third hospital gurney in the past fifteen minutes rolled through the automatic doors of the hospital emergency room. Fisting the ample skirts of the wet and stained white taffeta wedding gown she wore, she lifted them and rushed forward towards the approaching gurney.


Oh God…don’t let it be him,” she prayed. Her mother grasped her arm to pull her out of the way as they rushed by.


Mom, did you see all the blood? I know it wasn’t Toby because I could tell the man wasn’t a Black man, but it could have been Neil. Could you tell?”


It wasn’t Neil, Etta dear,” her mother, Fay Jones, announced placing a hand on her arm.


If it wasn’t Neil, why did you have that look on your face when the gurney passed?” she argued.


Etta, sweetheart, calm down,” her mother crooned. “It wasn't Neil. The man was Asian.”


Did you have a vision?”

A light frown puckered the older woman’s brow. “Yes, about the man that just entered the emergency room.”


Is he going to make it?”


Yes, but I’m afraid the people with him didn’t make it.” She tugged on Etta’s arm. “Come, let’s go back into the waiting room and have a seat. We are just in the way out here.”


I don’t want to sit down. I can’t” Etta fretted, strolling back inside the sitting area. Her shaking fingers twisted at the delicate ivory-laced trimmed handkerchief in her hands. She looked at the kerchief. It was the “something old” because it once belonged to her great-great grandmother who hand-stitched the trellis of blue roses sprouting from the center. The color also gave her the “something blue.”

It was her dream to carry on the traditions of the women in her family and carry this most precious heirloom down the aisle with her. It also represented the “something borrowed” because it currently belonged to her mother until the day she passed away. All of the women that carried this token of love had remained with their husbands until death did them part. There had never been a divorce; however the women in her family always outlived the men they married. So that could be why the divorce rate was low and the widow rate was high.

Etta reached up to finger the “something new.” Neil had gifted her, as a pre-wedding gift, a pair of squared diamond-studded earrings that she now wore in the second piercing of her ears.


Dammit, someone should have told us something by now. Didn’t they call because they were on the way here? If so, why aren’t they here?”

If her emotional outburst disturbed the others in the waiting room, they didn't let on.


Etta, keep your voice down. This is a hospital emergency room,” Fay chastised. “Everyone here is suffering along with you and getting angry at the medical staff is not going to change what has happened. This is a big hospital and if they came in by helicopter, they most likely came in through another entrance.”

Etta took in a long breath of air and blew it out slowly. Her mother was right. They could be here somewhere in the hospital being helped and this wasn't just happening to her. This awful moment in time was happening to everyone from her family to Neil's and others that were involved in the accident. Her eyes trailed over to her brother's girlfriend. Each of them had someone they love to lose.


I’m sorry,” she apologized to her mother. “Still, if you do sense that Neil or Toby has left us, you would tell me, wouldn’t you?”


Etta…” her voice trailed off. Tears welled in her soft brown eyes. “Don’t ask this of me, please. With the wedding and all, it…I’ve been an emotional wreck all day. I don’t trust all of what I’m seeing. Let’s just wait it out like we would if I didn’t have visions.”


Mom, I can tell you’re dancing around my question. You knew Daddy had passed away in his sleep before we left the hospital cafeteria and went back up to his room. Don’t start lying to me now. Not today, when I need you the most,” she begged.


Etta.” Fay’s expressive face changed and became somber.


I knew it. You do know.” Etta's voice grew flat. “Who is it mom? Neil? Toby?”


Etta, don’t make me say it aloud,” she sobbed, biting on her bottom lip.


Is it both of them? Mommy, noooo!”


No…no, not both of them…it’s…” Her mother's lovely face crumpled in grief.


Who?” Etta hissed. “Just say it!”


What’s going on over here?”

Etta looked up through tear-filled eyes at Neil’s father, Frank Tutillo, as he approached and placed a comforting hand on her mother’s arm. “What’s going on? You’ve heard something?”


Mom has had a vision about Neil and Toby. One of them didn’t make it.”


Is that true?” Frank’s shaggy eyebrows came together in a frown. “I respect your gift Fay, but if you don’t mind, I rather wait and hear what the doctors have to say.”


This is why I didn’t say anything. At this time, I don’t believe my visions will benefit anyone in my current state of mind. I don’t feel I can rely on my own visions as the moment and I tried to explain this to my daughter. It would be best if we wait and see what happens,” Fay murmured.

Etta grew still. She heard her mother’s words but she knew from experience her mother’s visions about death were never wrong. She also knew if the one that had died affected only their family she wouldn’t avoid saying it aloud. It had to be Neil. Her mother didn’t want to dash away what little hope his father was holding on to.

She didn’t know if she could take another breath knowing Neil was gone. How could she pretend to be oblivious in front of Frank when she felt as if she was dying inside?


I can’t breathe.” Etta moved off to the side and leaned against the wall.


Etta, don’t do this. Baby, please don’t come to any conclusions,” Fay said and walked over to where she was standing. “Let’s wait and see what the doctor will say, okay?”

Neil…Neil…Neil
. His name played over and over in her mind like a scratched place on his favorite jazz album. There was no way he would leave her on their wedding day. He wanted this as much as she did. They were in the midst of the beginning of an awesome future. Neil signed a new six-year football contract. They’d just placed a down payment on a new house with enough room for the three children they’d planned on having.

She closed her eyes for a moment and a wretched moan tore from her throat before she whispered, “I can’t do this. Your visions aren’t ever wrong when it comes to death. We both know this and if it had been Toby, you would have just said so. But because it’s Neil, you didn’t want to tell his father the truth.”


It’s not my place. I promise you, we can get through this together,” Fay assured her.


Mom, how will I be able to go on without him?”


Sweetheart--”


I need him and he needs me. You know he’s color blind and without me how is he going to pick out matching socks?”


Come Etta, you’re shaking,” Neil’s father stepped forward and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Sweetheart, why don’t you have a seat over here?”

She moved away from his hands. She couldn’t bear to look at him. He was an older version of Neil. “Don’t worry about me. Why don’t you go to the reception desk and remind them that we are still waiting on news.”


Yeah, it has been about an hour since I asked last,” Frank’s deep voice cracked with emotions. “I think I will go down the hall and get another cup of coffee. Either of you want me to bring you back anything?”

Both women declined.

As soon as Frank left the room, Etta looked at her mother. “I can’t believe this his happening,” she sobbed. “I woke up so happy this morning. I haven’t seen Neil for two days. I missed sleeping with him, touching him and now I never will again! What am I going to do? How am I going to finish getting through this day without him? What if I won’t be able to see him again and say goodbye? What--”


Etta, you must stop this sweetheart. It’s not good for you or anyone else,” Fay Jones voiced, caressing the tears from her daughter’s moist cheeks. “


It's got to be okay, Momma.” One corner of her mouth twisted upward. “Don’t you see what this is? You’re right, you could be wrong. Neil and Toby probably forgot to turn on their cell phones. They might even be at the chapel right now wondering where we are!”

BOOK: The Flavor Of Love
9.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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