Reunited (Tueday Temptations)

BOOK: Reunited (Tueday Temptations)
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Cover

 

Title Page

Reunited

Tuesday Temptations

Helen Hardt

...

 

An imprint of
Musa Publishing

Copyright Information

Reunited, Copyright © Helen Hardt, 2012

All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher.

...

This e-Book is a work of fiction. While references may be made to actual places or events, the names, characters, incidents, and locations within are from the author’s imagination and are not a resemblance to actual living or dead persons, businesses, or events. Any similarity is coincidental.

...

Musa Publishing
633 Edgewood Ave
Lancaster, OH 43130

www.musapublishing.com

...

First Published in
Love Notes
(anthology) by Musa Publishing, January
2012
Published as a stand-alone story by Musa Publishing, September
2012
...

This e-Book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines and/or imprisonment. No part of this ebook can be reproduced or sold by any person or business without the express permission of the publisher.

...

ISBN: 978-1-61937-516-1

...

Editor: Elizabeth Silver

Cover Design: Kelly Shorten

Interior Book Design: Coreen Montagna

Content Warning

This e-Book contains adult language and scenes. This story is meant only for adults as defined by the laws of the country where you made your purchase. Store your e-Books carefully where they cannot be accessed by younger readers.

Dedication

To everyone who believes in the power of love—Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chapter One

Kathryn’s flesh tingled, her tummy tightened, and her heart made a mad dash to leap from her chest. Her fingers, seemingly of their own accord, pushed the numbers to replay the message she had just heard.

“I’m calling for Mr. or Mrs. Abbott. My name is Brett Falcone, and it looks like Maya’s going to be on my soccer team. Practice will start next Monday at six o’clock…”

Kathryn let the words fade.

Brett Falcone.

His voice had deepened just a little, but it was him—the man from her past she thought she’d never see again. Yet that glimmer of hope, that flicker of desire, had always burned within her heart.

She hadn’t known he was still in town. Of course, she’d only been back a few months. After her divorce from Danny, she’d moved back to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Danny still lived in Cleveland, close enough that Maya could see him on the weekends.

Twenty years ago, Kathryn had left Columbus and vowed never to return. She’d met Danny in California ten years later. Five years later, when he’d gotten a job offer in Cleveland, she’d agreed to return to Ohio. Cleveland was far enough away from Columbus that she didn’t have to think about her former life of heartbreak and humiliation.

When her marriage had crumbled, though, Columbus had seemed like the place to pick up the pieces. Sometimes, she’d said to herself, you just want to go home.

Home.

Amazing how, even after twenty years of telling herself she’d never set foot in Columbus again, it still felt like home. The townhome she’d rented had grown on her, and she enjoyed her pediatric practice at a local clinic. She’d even made a few friends, though she hadn’t contacted anyone from her high school days. She couldn’t.

Brett Falcone.
For twenty years she’d tried to erase him from her memory. For twenty years she’d been unsuccessful.

What could she do? Call the county sports association and ask that Maya be put on a different team? Maybe. She couldn’t withdraw Maya from soccer. She was only four, and she was excited about her first chance to play a team sport. Kathryn couldn’t take that away from her daughter.

She checked her watch quickly. Four-thirty. Her mother was picking Maya up at the sitter’s and taking her for the night. Danny would pick her up tomorrow morning and take her for the rest of the weekend. Kathryn had nowhere to go. Though it was Friday, someone would likely still be at the sports registration office until five. She shuffled the papers on her desk until she found the copy of Maya’s registration and keyed in the number.

“Tri-County sports.”

“Yes, hello. This is Kathryn Abbott. My daughter is registered for Pee Wee soccer, and I was wondering if there were any chance we could change her to a different team.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. All the teams are full. We didn’t have as many volunteers for coaching, so there aren’t any open slots. Unless you’d like to coach a team?”

Kathryn arched her brows. Avoiding Brett Falcone might be worth learning soccer. Unfortunately, Kathryn had no athletic talent whatsoever. The sheer unfairness of all this! Brett Falcone would be a great coach. He was a natural athlete, great at soccer and football. But his first love had been baseball.

“Ma’am?”

Kathryn jolted back to reality. “I’m sorry. No, I can’t coach, though I wish I could. I know nothing about soccer, about any sports. I really want my daughter to learn. To do what I never had the talent to do.”

Geez, she was babbling. The teenybopper on the other end of the line didn’t care about her lack of sports experience.

“Then I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

“I understand. Thank you for your time.”

Kathryn set the phone back on the cradle.

Brett Falcone.

The Italian Stallion.

How he’d lived up to that name.

Kathryn poured herself a glass of iced tea and sat down in her recliner. She took a long sip of the crisp beverage, letting it float over her tongue and coat her throat. Then another. She needed to cool off. Just the name Brett Falcone had made her entire body blaze like an inferno.

She set the tea down on an end table, leaned back, and closed her eyes.

Brett Falcone.

Twenty freaking years. Well, in three days, she’d see him again.

What would happen? She had no idea.

 

Twenty years earlier

“You wanted to see me, Mr. Phillips?”

“Yes, Kathryn.” The guidance counselor motioned for her to enter his office. “Close the door and have a seat.”

Kathryn complied. She’d never been in a counselor’s office. She was a straight-A student, editor of the school newspaper, member of the orchestra, president of National Honor Society. She’d received early admission to Stanford, her dream school. Spring was here, the school year was nearly over, and graduation was just around the corner. Why was the senior guidance counselor summoning her? What had she done wrong?

She sat, quiet, and waited for him to tell her.

He cleared his throat. “I suppose you’re wondering why I called you in here.”

“I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?”

He smiled. “No, of course not. You’re a model student.”

She heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness.”

Mr. Phillips chuckled, shaking his head, and part of his comb-over fell over one ear. “You weren’t really worried about that, were you?”

“No. Not really, but you never know.”

He nodded. “I called you here because I need your help, Kathryn.”

“Of course. What do you need?”

“We have a student who needs a tutor. I think you might be the best fit.”

“Oh? Who is the student?”

“Brett Falcone.”

“The Italian Stallion?” She clamped her hand on her mouth. Not the thing to say to the senior guidance counselor.

Mr. Phillips, however, let out a laugh. “Yes. The Italian Stallion. He’s failing math, Kathryn. If he doesn’t get his grades up, he can’t play baseball. Our team needs him.”

“You’re kidding, right? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but you want me to tutor Brett Falcone so he can play baseball? Why are sports so important, Mr. Phillips? Why isn’t it important that he learn math because it’s math? Math is a lot more useful in life than batting a ball.”

Kathryn was overreacting, but still she seethed. The emphasis schools put on athletics angered her. She’d never been good at sports, was always the last picked for any team in gym class, had revered the day, sophomore year, when she’d finished the last required physical education class of her high school career. No doubt all the jocks and jockettes had revered that day, too. No longer would they be saddled with the class nerd on any of their teams.

“Normally, I’d agree with that assessment,” Mr. Phillips said, “but he’s already been offered a scholarship to play baseball at OSU. If he doesn’t get his Math grade up, he won’t get the scholarship.”

“A scholarship?” Kathryn shook her head. Brett Falcone would never make it in college. Clearly, he was barely making it through high school. “So you want me to tutor him and get his math grade up so he can play in college?”

Phillips cleared his throat again and his cheeks reddened. “Yes, that’s correct.”

“I think I might be too busy. I have my own grades to think of, you know. And the newspaper and—”

“We all know you’ve already been admitted to Stanford. Your grades at high school level no longer matter.”

Kathryn opened her mouth, but Mr. Phillips held up his hand.

“You’re an incredibly gifted young lady, Kathryn. Your grades won’t suffer for helping another. You know that as well as I do.”

“Be that as it may, Mr. Phillips, I cannot help Brett Falcone. He and I have a…history.”

“A history?”

Mr. Phillips’s bulgy eyes bulged out even farther. No doubt he was wondering what kind of history the Italian Stallion could possibly have with Kathryn Zurakowsky, nerd extraordinaire.

“Yes.”

“May I ask what kind of history?”

“Not a good one and nothing I care to talk about.”

“How would you have a history? You don’t run in the same crowds. Do you even know Brett?”

Did she know Brett Falcone? Know was such an innocuous word. It didn’t describe her relationship with Brett Falcone. Granted, once they’d gotten to high school, he’d left her alone. Middle school, though, had been hell on earth, courtesy of the Italian Stallion.

But Mr. Phillips didn’t know that and Kathryn had no desire to enlighten him.

“I’m afraid I have to decline,” she said. “I’m sure you can find another tutor for Brett.”

“Kathryn, there isn’t anyone else who can tutor him.”

“That’s ridiculous. How about Leon Bates? He’s as good in math as I am. Seth Connors might even be better. Or do you want a female tutor? How about Mary Beth Rogers? She’s pretty good. Or Amy Eckard.”

“All fine students,” Mr. Phillips said, “however none of them are acceptable.”

“Why not?”

“Because—” He sighed. “Brett refuses to work with anyone but you.”

She widened her eyes. “Me? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Brett hasn’t said a word to me in four years.”

“Believe me, I’m as flabbergasted as you are.” Mr. Phillips nodded. “But Coach Henderson said Brett would only agree to a tutor if it was you.”

Kathryn’s jaw dropped open. What in the world was Brett Falcone thinking?

“Well, it just so happens that I don’t give a hoot whether Brett Falcone gets to play baseball in college, so the answer is no.”

“Kathryn.” Mr. Phillips rose and came around to face her. “There’s more at stake than that.”

“Oh?”

“His family has suffered a setback. His father was injured on the job a few weeks ago.”

“I’m very sorry, but—”

“A scholarship would be a great help to Brett and his family. Otherwise, if Brett doesn’t go to school, he’ll probably have to get a job and help support his family.”

“Maybe that’s his lot in life.”

“Maybe so. But he can have so much more. Brett Falcone is not stupid. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but he scored in the ‘superior’ range in the state-administered tests. The boy just needs some guidance, some hope for a future. You can help him.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Then you’ll have to live with that.”

“Mr. Phillips, I’m quite capable of living with that.” Kathryn stood and turned to walk out the door, but Mr. Phillips’s voice stopped her cold.

“Kathryn. Please.”

BOOK: Reunited (Tueday Temptations)
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