One last moment…

March 21, 2009 at 1:05 am (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you have all enjoyed Lake of Lies.  I have one last treat for you.  It’s the epilogue of the book and it will give you some final moments with Samantha and Nick.  I hope you like it as much as I do.  I am starting edits on the sequel to The Pleasure of Sin.  If you haven’t checked it out, make sure to visit http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=364.  It just made #9 on the Bestsellers list.

Epilogue

 

One year later, Christmas Eve

 

Samantha watched as Nick, Derek and Christina happily hung ornaments on the Christmas tree.  Nick hoisted Brandon on his hip as he reached up to place a large gold star on the top.  Brandon‘s bluish green eyes lit up with excitement as the lights on the tree blinked out a Christmas carol.  Nick looked over his shoulder, his boyish grin warming her heart.  Tears of happiness crept into her eyes.  Every day she found a new reason to fall in love with him all over again.  She glanced around the room.  If someone had told her two years ago that she would be sitting amongst her new family, she would’ve told them that they were crazy.  Yet, here she sat, happier than she had been in a long time. 

Derek joked that the tree had so many ornaments it might fall over, which earned him an elbow in the side from Christina.  Samantha couldn’t help but wonder if the two of them would ever come to their senses, and stop fighting their feelings for each other.  She guessed that she didn’t really have any room to talk in that arena.  She had taken her fair share of time doing exactly that.  Still, from the look in Derek’s eyes when he looked at Christina, he wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer. 

“Cookie?” Margaret asked gleefully, as she held up a tray full of red and green Christmas cookies. 

“No more for me, thank you.  I’m still trying to lose the rest of the weight from Brandon,” she admitted ruefully. 

Margaret huffed.  “Oh, please honey, if you get any skinnier you’ll blow over.  Take one more,” she admonished, handing Samantha a green butter cookie in the shape of a Christmas tree. 

She chuckled, throwing up her hands in surrender.  The cookie seemed to melt in her mouth.  Everyone seemed to agree that Margaret had never seemed happier than she was right now with her family growing.  She watched as the other woman walked over to Nick to take Brandon out of his arms, despite his protests.  She carried him over to the wooden rocking chair.  Brandon snuggled against her, as she rocked him to sleep singing a Christmas carol that meant for his ears only. 

Nick walked across the room to take a seat beside Samantha.  “Our child has been kidnapped, again,” he explained softly, his lips twitching in amusement. 

“I see that,” she observed, handing the remains of her cookie to him. 

He popped the rest of the cookie into his mouth, and ate it in one bite.  “Dad can’t seem to get enough of the excitement,” he joked, motioning to where his father was snoring peacefully.  Thomas, who had fallen asleep early on in the festivities, was slouched in a chair, a blanket thrown haphazardly across him.  Even all the laughter wasn’t enough to wake him. 

“I’m going to put this little angel to bed,” Margaret announced, carrying Brandon toward the stairs. 

“We’ll be up in a minute to kiss him goodnight,” Nick said, putting a restraining hand on Samantha’s arm to stop her from following his mother. 

“What is it?” she asked in curiosity. 

He waited until Derek and Christina went into the kitchen, before turning to her with a mischievous smile.  He slowly pulled a black velvet box out of his pocket.  “I wanted to give this to you tonight, while we were alone,” he explained, placing the box into her hands. 

Her eyes narrowed, her lips curving into a smile.  She lifted the lid with shaking hands.  A gold necklace with a heart in the center lay inside.  The heart in the center was the most unusual color of blue she had ever seen.  Her gaze met Nick’s in awe, her throat constricting with emotion.  “It’s a blue diamond,” he explained, taking the necklace out and securing it around her neck.  “The color reminded me of your eyes, and the heart is because you’ve always had mine.  Merry Christmas.” 

Tears formed in the corner of her eyes, as she threw her arms around his neck hugging him tightly.  No matter what happened in their lifetimes, she knew she would never forget this moment.  “I love you,” she whispered huskily. 

He pulled back to look deeply into her eyes.  “No, I love you.  Thank you for making my life worthwhile.” 

She pressed her lips against his, wondering how she could ever be this lucky.  She guessed the old saying really was true. 

Sometimes, dreams really do come true.  

Have a great weekend,

Shauna

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Will love save them?

March 10, 2009 at 12:27 am (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I haven’t posted lately.   As most of you know, I just moved so I am still living among boxes.  Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I got sick.  So, I’ve been recovering.    Also, I received the release date for my next book, Den of Desire.  It will be out July 1st.  Keep an eye out for it 🙂   And don’t forget to check out The Pleasure of Sin which just hit number 9 on the Torrid site.

Excerpt 24

Every day was the same for Samantha, now.  In the blink of an eye, her entire life had changed.  She went from a single woman with a career, to a married one expecting a child.  With the move to Nick’s, she no longer had her career to distract her.  Nick left early each morning, and she was left alone to stare at the same four walls all day.  She did her part.  She busied herself with new projects around the house, kept her regular doctor appointments, and began to attend Lamaze classes.  But deep down she was lonely. 

If only she had someone to talk to, to confide in, but she didn’t.  Nick wasn’t much for talking these days.  He barely spoke to her, and after what she had witnessed at the wedding she was afraid she knew why.  The days passed quickly into weeks and the weeks into months.  She glanced down at the large bulge that used to be her stomach.  Soon, the baby would come.  Then, she would have to face the tension between them.  She wouldn’t allow her child to be raised in such a cold environment.  Despite what she had resigned herself to, she couldn’t allow her child to face the same fate. 

She knew now that she should never have agreed to marry him.  On the outside, he appeared to be the perfect husband.  He bought child-rearing books and doted on her at Lamaze classes, but on the inside the tension between them seemed to crackle with a life of its own.  Christmas was coming soon.  It had always been her favorite holiday.  The festive decorations on the street never failed to make her smile. 

Nick, too, seemed to be caught up in the season.  He bought a lush evergreen that filled the apartment with its invigorating scent.  Neither one of them had bothered with a tree when they were single, so they spent an entire evening picking out multi-colored ornaments to hang.  She smiled as she pulled them out of the boxes remembering how it had almost felt like they were the happy couple they presented to everyone. 

Nat King Cole crooned Silent Night behind her, as she reached out to hang an ornament on a higher branch.  A sharp pain seized her abdomen.  She took a couple of deep breaths, closing her eyes as her hand came up to cover her stomach.  Another pain sliced into her midsection, making her stumble to the couch.  She collapsed on the cushions. 

“Please stop.  It’s too soon,” she pleaded out loud. 

She waited for a few minutes, taking deep breaths.  Just when she thought the pains might recede, another hit her hard making her double over in pain.  Something’s wrong, her mind screamed.  She reached the phone dialing 9-1-1.  She cradled the receiver in her hand, willing the pains to stop.  She gave the operator her condition and address in short gasps of air.  When they confirmed that they were on their way, she dialed Nick’s office.  She barely explained what was happening to the secretary, before another pain seized her stomach. 

The phone fell to the floor as she gulped in air.  She curled up on the couch, her arms curved protectively around her stomach.  Tears slid down her face.  Some from pain, others from fear.  “Oh God, please don’t take my baby,” she whimpered. 

Nick and Pete strolled in to the office after a leisurely lunch.  They had decided to walk the few short blocks, since it was such a nice day.  When the elevator doors slid open, Karen, his secretary, was waiting for them.  Panic covered her face, causing fear to race up his spine.  “What’s wrong?” he asked in a gruff voice. 

“Mr. Daniels, it’s your wife.  She called me about fifteen minutes ago.  She said that an ambulance was coming to take her to the hospital.  She sounded like she was in a lot of pain.  I tried to call the restaurant, but you had already left,” she stumbled through the words, following Nick into his office as he went to get his car keys. 

After finding out what hospital, he hurried downstairs.  He drove through the city streets like a lunatic, barely avoiding a couple of accidents.  Thoughts raced through his mind.  Was she okay?  What was happening?  She was only eight months pregnant! 

He arrived at the hospital, sprinting over to the admittance desk. 

“Can I help you, sir?” a white haired nurse inquired. 

“Yes, I’m looking for my wife, Samantha Daniels.  She was admitted here just a little while ago.”  He tried to swallow his panic, as the nurse searched the files on the computer.  Before the nurse even finished giving him the room number, he was already running toward the elevator.  He raced through the maze of hallways, until he finally reached the maternity ward.  He frantically asked the nurses what was going on. 

At that moment, a door opened at the end of the corridor.  He saw Samantha’s obstetrician come out.  He rushed down the hall to meet him.  “Dr. Beardson, what’s going on?  I got a message that they brought Samantha here!  Is she okay?”

The doctor led him to a small waiting area.  “Samantha is in premature labor,” the doctor informed him. 

“But she’s only eight months pregnant?”

The doctor gently pushed him into a chair, leaning down.  “I know.  We’ve tried everything to stop the contractions, but nothing is working.  Unfortunately, she’s going to have to deliver this baby now.” 

He swallowed hard.  He had read enough to know how dangerous premature delivery could be for the baby and the mother.  “What can I do?” he asked, his voice cracking. 

The doctor placed a consoling hand on his shoulder.  “Unfortunately, nothing.  I know that’s tough to hear, but the best thing you can do for her now is wait.  Once it’s over, I’ll come get you.” 

With that, the doctor disappeared into the restricted corridor.  Nick buried his face in his hands, trying to still the tears that were beginning to well up.  He couldn’t lose her.  He just couldn’t.  Never in all his life had he felt so helpless, so useless.  He wasn’t sure how long he had been sitting there, when he felt a hand on his shoulder.  He looked up to see Pete looming over him. 

“What are you doing here?”  He couldn’t believe it.  After all the times that he had been inconsiderate lately, Pete was here to offer support.  He watched as his friend took a seat next to him. 

“I couldn’t let you sit here by yourself,” he said honestly.  “Besides, what are friends for, right?” 

How a selfish bastard like him had ever been lucky enough to gain a friend like Pete he wasn’t sure?  But he thanked the powers above for giving him such an understanding friend.  He wanted to say something to let his friend know how much he appreciated his kindness, but all that came out was, “Thanks.” 

For Pete, however, it was enough.  As he explained what he knew of the situation to Pete, thoughts raced through his mind.  What was she going through in there?  God, she must be so scared.  His hands curled into fists so tightly they hurt.  He would give anything right now to take her place in there.  She didn’t deserve to go through this.  He cursed himself inwardly.  He was the reason that she was laying in there.  Looking up at the ceiling, he made a promise to God.  If she made it through, he would do whatever he had to do to make her happy, even if that meant letting her go. 

 

Samantha’s heart was pounding, as the nurses scurried around her.  A man appeared leaning over her, as he placed an oxygen mask over her mouth and nose.  “Just breathe in nice and easy.  Now, I want you to count to fifty,” he instructed. 

She tried to keep her eyes focused on the ceiling as she repeated the numbers.  Soon, her vision began to blur.  Numbers were left out or skipped.  Her eyelids slowly drifted down, despite her best attempts to keep them open.  Was the baby okay?  What was happening?  Her eyelids fluttered, before closing all together.  Her last thought was that she would give anything for her baby to live, even if it meant giving up her life.

 

  Nick paced the small waiting room, running his hand through his hair.  He glanced over at Pete who had now read every magazine twice, regardless of the fact that they were all two months old.  “It’s been over two hours,” he bit out. 

Pete raised his head.  “I’m sure it won’t be much longer,” he assured in an even tone. 

Nick glared at him.  “That’s what you said thirty minutes ago,” he reminded gritting his teeth. 

“Well, wait another thirty minutes, then,” Pete replied curtly. 

He paced back and forth for a few more minutes, before stopping.  “That’s it!  One way or another, I’m getting into that room, and I’m going to find out what’s happening!” 

He headed toward the entrance of the room like a man on a mission.  Just as he was about to reach the doorway, Pete jumped out of his chair, stopping him with a restraining hand on his chest.  “Whoa!  You’re not going anywhere, big guy!” 

He glared down at his hand for a moment, before his gaze pinned Pete.  “Pete, get out of my way!”

“Let’s run the scenario, shall we?  You go busting in there.  The nurses call security.  They escort you out of the building.  What good will that do Samantha?” 

His lips formed a thin line.  Pete was right, damn him!  Busting in there would only serve to get him kicked out, and then he would be even further away than he was right now.  He collapsed in a chair, rubbing his eyes. 

Pete took a seat next to him. 

“I just can’t stand this waiting,” he explained, his voice laced with exhaustion. 

The look in Pete’s eyes spoke of his sympathy.  “I know,” he replied. 

“What am I going to do if something happens to her?” he whispered, his voice revealing the fear he was trying not to show. 

“Samantha’s strong.  She’s going to be okay,” Pete said reassuringly. 

He took a deep breath, hoping desperately that Pete was right.  Suddenly, he heard the door open.  He jumped to his feet, as he saw Dr. Beardson come into the room.  The haggard look on his face made Nick’s heart jump into his throat.  He pulled the green cap off his head.  Nick didn’t breath as he waited for the doctor to speak. 

“Why don’t we sit down?” the doctor suggested, pointing out a chair behind him.  He practically fell into the chair, as his knees threatened to give way.  Pete sat beside him, the line on his forehead etched with concern. 

“How is she?” Nick asked, his voice barely audible. 

The doctor smiled reassuringly.  “She’s doing fine, Nick.” 

He heaved a sigh of relief.  “Thank God,” he breathed, his eyes closing for a moment before opening again. 

“The baby is doing fine, too, right now.  We have him in an incubator for the time being, because of his size,” the doctor explained. 

Nick felt his heart leap with joy at the doctor’s words.  “Him?” 

Dr. Beardson beamed.  “Yes, you have a son, Nick.  Congratulations.” 

As soon as the doctor made the announcement, the intercom blasted that he was needed elsewhere.  “When can I see her?” he asked anxiously. 

“She’s sleeping, now.  Wait about a half an hour, and then she’ll being in room 413,” he called over his shoulder, as he began to leave.  Nick leaned back, resting his head on the back of the chair. 

“Congratulations,” Pete exclaimed happily. 

He grinned.  A son!  He had a son!  “Thank God,” he said reverently. 

Dr. Beardson turned around as he reached the doorway.  “Oh, Mr. Daniels, would you like to see your son?” 

His chest seemed to expand with joy.  Nothing had ever sounded so wonderful.  As the nurse led them to the ward, he tried to blink back the tears.  But, when he saw his son, there was no stopping the deluge.  He had never seen anything more perfect in his life.  His son lay peacefully enclosed in his glass house, amidst a sea of squalling babies.  He looked over every inch of his new addition.  Black hair covered his head.  He had Samantha’s nose, and his lips.  He was beautiful.  He knew without a doubt that he would do anything in his power to make this child happy for the rest of his life.

“He’s beautiful, Nick,” Pete observed, patting him on the back. 

“He is, isn’t he?  My son,” he repeated, savoring the words as he said them.   

After Pete left, he made his way to Samantha’s room.  He hesitated in the doorway.  She looked so peaceful, as she slept.  As if sensing his presence, her eyes fluttered open. 

“Come here,” she mouthed sleepily. 

He walked in slowly, taking a seat beside her.  After everything she had been through today, she still looked incredibly beautiful.  “How is he? Did you see him?” she asked, wetting her lips with her tongue. 

“He’s beautiful,” he replied, his eyes lighting up.  He took her hand in his, testing its fragile strength.  “Sam, there’s something I need to tell you,” he began slowly. 

She turned her head away, refusing to meet his eyes.  “I know, Nick,” she whispered in a broken voice. 

His eyes widened.  “You know what?” 

She blinked back the tears, as she slowly described the scene she witnessed between him and Lauren. 

Suddenly, he leaned his head back, howling with laughter.  “You thought that I had something going on with Lauren?” he asked, gulping for air. 

“Well, don’t you?” she demanded, angry at his callous behavior.  She tried in vain to pull her hand away. 

“No honey, she was drunk.  Maybe she wanted something to happen, but it didn’t.  She made a play for me, and I stopped her.  I had Derek drive her home.” 

She desperately tried to remember the events of the night.  Had she misread the whole thing?  She hadn’t actually seen Nick make any advances toward Lauren.  Lauren had been the aggressor.  She did remember him telling Lauren several times that she had had too much to drink.  Okay, she admitted to herself, so maybe she had jumped to conclusions a little.  Still, with the tension between them at the time, she couldn’t be blamed for her overreaction, could she? 

“Honey,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s always been you.  Don’t you know that by now?”

She stared at him.  Love sparkled in the green depths of his eyes.  Had that love always been there, but she had been blind to it?  A slow hesitant smile crept across her face.  “What were you going to tell me, then?” she reminded. 

He looked down at her hand, tracing the delicate patterns with his fingers.  “I heard what you said to Christina about our marriage being a mistake,” he started. 

She tried to put up a hand to stop his unnecessary words, but he stilled her.  “No, let me get this out, while I still can,” he said, leaving the chair to pace around her bed.  “When I found out you were pregnant, I was selfish.” 

Seeing her curious look, he explained. “I used it to my advantage to keep you with me.  It was wrong.  I know that now.  I thought that what I was doing was for the best at the time.  But I realized that I hurt you more than I ever could have helped.  Sitting out there in that waiting room not knowing if you were okay or not, I realized something.  I realized that the most important thing to me is that you’re all right, that you’re happy.  I, also, realized that for the past few months I’m the reason that you haven’t been able to be either one of those things.  So, if you want to leave me, I won’t fight you anymore.” 

At first, she wasn’t sure she had heard him right.  He had used the pregnancy as a way to keep her with him?  He wanted her?  She knew that baring his soul was one of the hardest things in the world for Nick to do.  And she loved him even more for allowing her the unguarded moment.  His stiff back told her what her silence was costing him.  Had she ever loved another man like she loved him?  She knew the answer as soon as the question posed itself.  He was the man she loved, the man she would always love. 

“Nick, I don’t want to leave you,” she replied honestly. 

She admitted to herself now that she never had.  She had only been afraid, afraid that he didn’t really want her, afraid that she couldn’t make him happy.  Now, she realized how much time she had wasted.  His head rose, and he spun on his heel to face her.  The relief she saw in his eyes made her heart flutter. 

He walked over to her bedside, leaning a hip on the edge as he reached out to take her hand in his.  He brought it to his lips, pressing tender kisses into the palm.  “I promise that I’ll make you happy, Sam,” he vowed vehemently. 

Her smile lit up his heart.  “You already have.” 

She looked at his bent head, and thought of another little dark haired boy that waited for her in the other room.  “You already have.”

 

  

 

Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies…

 

 

 

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