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Dilemma of the CEO’s Widow (coming out in 2014)
“Hey, Mom, how was the party for Vince and Sylvia?” Travis hugged his mother and stepped into the house. “Sorry I couldn’t make it. I’m busy at work on a new case that needs some extra attention.”
Marianne watched him stroll into the living room, his tall good looks reminding her so much of the man who’d captured her heart so many years ago. Jack Clark had been her world. She didn’t believe she’d ever love anyone like that again. Nor did she want to. The cost of losing him required a price she refused to pay.
Not liking the direction of her thoughts, she closed the door and turned.
Travis sank into his father’s favorite recliner with a low sigh of pleasure.
Not certain of the attraction, she contemplated getting rid of the chair. No, her boys rebelled each time she suggested it.
Why? Did they see the worn-out recliner as a reminder of their dad?
“Did everyone else show up?” Travis settled deeper into the lumpy cushions and kicked up the foot rest.
“Yes, the whole gang was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good time. With each of them happily married, they’re now looking at me as if they expect me to head to the altar next.” Marianne recalled the covert glances between the other executive wives. They were excited about their new lives and wanted her to share in their joy.
She did, but that didn’t mean she wanted to travel the same path. With numerous activities in her life, she didn’t need a man.
“I bet Knox was willing to throw himself under the bus and do the deed with you.” Travis’ teasing tone played against Marianne’s already frazzled nerves.
“Not yet, he’s more concern with what is going on between you and his daughter.” She locked gazes with her son and studied his reaction to the question.
“Oh, right. Now, that she’s working in the same building as I am, we’re carrying on a nefarious affair.” Travis shook his head and waved her into the chair next to him.
“Please tell me it’s not true. The girl is ten years younger than you are.” Marianne sank into the rocker beside her son, convinced she’d never persuade Knox to just let it be. He’d want to charge in and rescue his daughter. He wouldn’t be able to see that Lyndsey only wanted to have a little fun and then move onto someone else.
Marianne leaned back and guided the rocker into motion. Did she have any hope of persuading Knox to listen? If he didn’t, he just might lose his daughter.
“She’s over twenty-one.” Travis continued, “And from what I hear she’s now living on her own.”
“Look, there’s too many years between the two of you. You can’t have anything in common,” she argued, knowing as she said the words, her son wouldn’t listen. Still, she had to try for Knox’s peace of mind.
“Is that why you won’t marry Knox? Are you’re worried he’s too young for you?” Travis leaned forward and the foot rest slid into place under his chair.
Anger shot through Marianne at her son’s attempt to shift the conversation to her instead of answering her questions about his involvement with Lyndsey. She knotted her hands into fists and glared at him. “At our age it doesn’t matter as much.”
“Right, because you guys are already over the hill.” The smirk on her son’s face reminded her so much of his father. A flash of grief pierced through her chest. She lowered her gaze and fought to draw in a breath. So many times Jack had used the same wicked grin when he believed he had the upper hand in an argument.
“No. Knox is still young enough to remarry and have another family. I, on the other hand, have one smart ass son who won’t behave.” She turned and glared at him, distinguishing him as the one she was referring too.
With a small groan, she continued, “And I have another one who has several children. As a grandmother, I have no business getting involved with a younger man.”
“Oh, please, are you hearing what you’re saying?” Travis stared at her and then his face fell. “Damn, you do believe that dribble, don’t you?”
“I won’t disgrace my family by running after a man half my age.” Marianne stiffened in her seat and fought the desire to do the exact opposite. Knox in so many ways offered her a second chance. They shared interests she hadn’t enjoyed with Jack.
“Mom, are you crazy? The man is no more than ten years younger than you are.” Travis dropped out of his chair onto his knees and clasped her hands in his. “You have a right to enjoy the rest of your life with someone who loves you. If Knox wants you as his wife, why say no?”
Tears blurred her vision and emotions clogged her throat. Unable to speak, she shook her head and swallowed several times. How could she explain?
Knox was a good man, fun, carefree, loving, someone she like spending time with...his touch, kisses, heated glances caused desire to bloom. Then as quickly as her blood heated, it cooled when her mind shifted to thoughts of Jack. A heavy cloak of guilt fell over her shoulders. She fought not to crumble under the weight and straightened. “I can’t do that to your father. I’m his wife. I can’t turn my commitment off to him just because he’s not here with me anymore.”
“Oh, Mom, don’t you think he’d want you to be happy?” Travis stared into her face, his eyes drilling into her with the same intensity as Jack’s had.
“I’m, uh, not sure I can give Knox everything he deserves.” Visions of making love to Knox flashed in her head and her cheeks burned. Embarrassed, she tugged her hands free. “This is not a subject I should be talking to you about.”
“Why? You have no problem butting into my love life.” He caressed a hand across her cheek, wiping her tears from her face.
She batted away his caress. “Then you don’t mind telling me what’s going on between you and Lyndsey?”
He smiled. “I’ll tell if you will.”
Staring at her son, Marianne fought the emotions building in her chest. Her children had always consumed her world, their happiness paramount to her own. “Do you really care that much about Lyndsey?”
“Yes. I enjoy spending time with her, just like you adore time with Knox.” He rocked onto his heels and rose to his feet. Stepping away from his chair, he paced across the room.
After a moment, he turned. “Am I thinking about getting serious? I can’t say, but I’m not opposed to the idea either. I plan to take it one day at a time and see what develops.”
He paced back to her. “Can’t you do the same? Knox deserves a chance. In fact, so do you.”
Disgusted with herself for overreacting, she pushed to her feet. “We still meet for coffee every Saturday morning. So I guess for now, you can say we’re still reviewing our options.”
Her son grinned and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Good, then we’ll both see where this leads us. If it’s to a little white chapel, fine. If not, then we still have each other.”
“Oh, man, can you imagine if Knox was both your step-father and your-father-in-law?” Marianne considered the opposite scenario of Lyndsey being her...chills went down Marianne’s spine.
Damn, could life get any more complicated?
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