Title: Planning An Addition, Book 4
Series: Love Under Construction Series
Author: Deanndra Hall
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2014
Dating two younger men! Molly Walters never thought she’d be that woman. Younger Peyton Stokes is the perfect man, and sparks fly. When his much-younger best friend José Flores asks her out too, Molly decides she wants them both. That’s fine with José, but when the secret he’s never been able to tell Peyton comes out, things fall apart fast.
Is it true that blood’s thicker than water? The answer thrusts José into the biggest crisis of his life, and Peyton must decide if his self-imposed labels are worth losing his best friend forever. It’ll take a real man to make that leap of faith, but failing could cost him the love of his life – maybe even both of them.
As Peyton struggles, Nikki Walters grows weaker. Tony and his broken heart can’t survive without her, but will the tiny bit of faith he still has be enough?
He retrieved the envelope from the dresser and sat down on the side of the bed with it. Did he even dare open it? Could his heart survive it? He reached in and pulled out the flattened, carefully-typed pieces of paper, once folded and stuffed in a sling and a pocket, and unfolded his to scan the page through tear-swollen eyes.
“Precious, I’m going to read this to you. I want you to listen, okay? We never got to do this, and it’s important to me that you hear it.” I hope you can hear it, his heart begged.
“Dearest Nikki, today is the most important day of my life. It’s a day I thought would never come, a dream I never dared to believe would come true, and yet it has. It’s here, it’s real, and it’s more than I could’ve ever hoped for.
“I had long given up on ever being loved by a woman. My heart had grown cold, and my bed even colder. There was no hope, I’d decided, and I forced my way through my day-to-day existence, alone and resigned to remaining that way.
“Girl, I couldn’t have anticipated you, not in a million years. From the first day I saw you at the gym, I knew that you were somehow different. I wasn’t sure exactly how, but I just knew. Too petrified of being shot down to even dare to speak to you, I just watched you, waiting, hoping that somehow you’d take an interest in me, that you’d speak, show me that you wanted to know me as much as I wanted to know you. I couldn’t have known that you were as scared as I, not for the same reasons, but just as afraid and alone. It was my assumption that you were taken, and I could only dream. And dream of you I did, often, my heart breaking.
“There is no way to describe to you how I felt when I walked through the door of that little flower shop and you turned and smiled at me. It was as though my whole world had tipped on its axis and everything I knew flew out the window. That one smile did something for me that nothing else had: It brought me back to life. I could feel it, my blood warming in my veins, my heart beginning to beat again. I knew because of my daughter, that wise young woman I was privileged to raise, that you were exactly where I needed you to be in your life, and finding my way to you was my top priority from that day forward. Frightened? Yes. Determined? Most definitely. That first date was the beginning of my life. That first kiss was the one that woke me from my slumber. That first night in our home in that little mountain town was the one that locked me to you and assured me that I’d never let you go, and that you felt the same about me.
“Your smile is my salvation. Your touch is my inspiration. Your arms are my destiny. I could never love or want another more than I love and want you. You, beautiful girl, are my whole reason for being, and without you, I’d be lost.”
Tony stopped. It was getting hard to breathe, and he wasn’t sure he could finish. Nikki hadn’t moved, hadn’t twitched, and he knew it was too late, but he had to finish just in case she could hear him.
“This day, in this house we both call home, in front of everyone who loves us, I pledge to you my love, my fidelity, and my undying loyalty and faith. And believe me when I say, if you ever lose faith, I have enough for both of us. You’ve given me that, and I’ll be eternally grateful. When I leave this earth, I don’t know what lies ahead, but if it includes you, my eternity will be complete. I bless the day I met you, and I bless your heart for opening to me. May I never be a disappointment to you, never let you fall, always build you up, always show you how much you mean to me, and never, never forget the life I had before you. You healed it; you healed me. And body and soul, I’m forever yours. I love you, my wife.”
He smoothed the paper again. He’d never gotten to say those words to her, but he’d lived them every day they’d been together. He slid the sheet back into the envelope and picked up the sheet of notebook paper with Nikki’s vows written there in blue ink, the edge ragged where it had been torn from its spiral binding. That made him chuckle – that was Nikki, always working on the fly, always thinking, always living in the moment. She’d taken his ordinary, dreary, planned-out life and turned it upside-down. He loved that about her. The vows had never been read by anyone but her, and he decided it was time. He wanted to know what the love of his life had intended to say to him on that beautiful day.
Shaking hands and breaking heart, Tony smoothed out the paper and read the loving handwriting there, handwriting he’d never see again.
Today is a day I never thought would come. I’d imagined it in my dreams, but standing next to me was a faceless man, someone who would never exist, whose arms I’d never feel around me or whose hand would never hold mine tight.
Now he has a face, and what a face it is, the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. Every glance at it, every glimpse of it, fills my heart with joy. Seeing you smile at me takes my breath away. When you speak, I feel dragonflies flitting about inside my chest. One touch, and my heart melts into a puddle at your feet. You hold my heart in your hands and, thankfully for me, you hold it tenderly and with such kindness and passion that it beats stronger than ever before.
Tony, I was never loved. I’d never had anyone until Randy came along. He loved me insofar as he knew how. We had a good life. All I’d hoped for was to find someone who could make me maybe half as happy as I’d been with him. I knew hoping for more was unrealistic. Who was I kidding? I was over fifty, sad, tired, hopeless. No one would want me. I’d become a useless commodity in the world, a woman alone, struggling to exist. I don’t want to frighten you, but I wish you knew how many times I thought about just ending my life and making room for someone more important or needed or loved than me in the world. I’d given up. My life was a waste, and I knew it.
I wanted to die.
And one day, the most amazing thing happened. A gorgeous man, elegant and graceful, smiled at me. Oh, I knew he was just being nice since I’d finally had the nerve to actually meet his gaze, but his face, that small smile, got me through some dark times. I knew I’d never know him, he’d never speak, he wasn’t interested in me, but at least a girl could dream, right?
But the day you walked into the shop and I turned to find you standing there, I thought I would die right on the spot. And a month later when you actually asked me out, I thought someone was trying to play some huge, sad, cruel trick on me. Why anyone would hate me that much I didn’t know, but I knew it couldn’t be real.
I was afraid to believe, even as we got to know each other and spent time together, that you’d ever want me to be more than just a passing fling. Bracing myself for the day you’d laugh and walk away, I waited and dreaded that moment when my heart would break like it had never been broken before.
But that first kiss was real. When I woke that morning and found you, still dressed and reeking of smoke, snuggled up against me and sleeping soundly, I realized it just might be real. But that first trip to the mountains took my heart to the peak. You told me in more than just words that your love was real and forever. You told me you’d never hurt me, and I believed you. Those lips said you’d never betray me. Those arms said I’d never be alone or afraid. And those moments we shared there told me that it was more than a passing fling; it was eternal and never-ending, and it was everything I could’ve hoped for.
Antonio Luigi Walters, there are no words for the way I feel about you. You have given me everything I never had in my life and more. You’ve been to me what no one has ever been, the person I know I can always turn to, no matter what. You’ve seen me at my absolute worst and loved me in it and right through it to the other side. No person has ever been to me what you are. Today I pledge to you my faithfulness, my loyalty, my honesty, my truthfulness, and my undying love. I swear before the gods and these friends and family who’ve come to support us on this day that I will never, never let you down, I’ll always build you up, always trust you, always want you.
I’ll always love you, Tony. That will never, never change. We’ll grow old, but our love will always remain young, fresh, and new. You are my life. I will never love another.
I love you, my husband.
It was hard to get the piece of paper back into the envelope without letting tears fall on it, but he didn’t want to ruin it. He knew he’d want to read it over and over when he was finally able to, but being able to in the near future didn’t seem possible. When the envelope was finally safely returned to the drawer, he turned and took one look at the frail woman in the bed, her body rapidly releasing her to the angels. A silent scream formed in his head and he dropped to his knees, face in the carpet, hands clutching his chest, and Tony Walters cried like he’d never cried in his life. He cried so hard that he was frightened, that his throat ached, that he couldn’t breathe or speak. All the love and faith and hope he’d ever had spilled out everywhere. His life was over. There would be no more happy days, no more wondrously sleepless nights, no more quiet evenings or sweet, peaceful breakfasts. The door was closing, and he was on the wrong side.
A strong hand landed on his spine right between his shoulders, and then found its way to the back of his head and began to stroke his hair. He didn’t have to look; he knew. He turned, threw his arms around Vic’s waist as the big man sat beside him on the carpet, and sobbed. Even in his state he could feel Vic sobbing too, but knowing someone else was sharing in his pain didn’t help. When he was finally able to calm himself even a tiny bit, he whispered out hoarsely, “What will I do?”
Through his own sobs, Vic answered simply, “I have no idea.”
Love Under Construction Series
About The Author
Deanndra Hall is a working writer living in far western Kentucky. A free spirit and chronic jokester, she and her partner of over 30 years enjoy visiting their two adult children and their partners and playing with their three crazy little dogs. When she's not writing, Deanndra can be found kayaking, working out at the gym, cooking something healthy, or reading. After writing for business, industry, academia, and non-profits for years and having her work credited to others, she jumped into the fiction realm, particularly erotic fiction and erotica, and had so much fun she never looked back. Look for her on Twitter and Facebook and on her website and blog.
Connect with Deanndra
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B00I397U08
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B00I397U08
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