Authors: Jennifer Rose
Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Rose
All rights reserved.
This book is purely fictional. Names, characters and events are the mind creation of the author. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead or events is entirely coincidental. This book shall not be copied or reproduced in any way, shape or form without the written consent of the author Jennifer Rose.
Created and printed in the United States. July 2015
All songs, titles, and lyrics are the property of the songwriters.
Rose Petal Publishing MMXV
Book covers design by: Karrie Jax Designs
Editing by Melissa Burton
Proofing by Lynn Martin
Formatting by CL. Foster
Special thanks to Author Piper Kay and Billy Putman for your insight
Other Books by Jennifer Rose
(Book One of The Pulse Series)
(Book Two of The Pulse Series)
(Book Three of The Pulse Series)
If Not For You
Where You Can Find Jennifer Rose
Author Jennifer Rose
Jennifer Rose’s Street Team
To my very special GP&V weekend girls.
Karrie Allen, Heather Soutar, Heather Thompson, Jennifer Gosley,
Ruth Ann Fielding and June Mazurek
I love you all!
Eternity is where
true love exists
Imagine a morning when the sun lit up the sky so brightly that even sunglasses couldn’t darken the gleam, pulling the shades could not stifle its luster and stepping into a windowless room still could not disguise the intensity. Well this morning was just like that for me.
Allow me to elaborate.
Sure I had been told that we would be adding a new sales associate to the team, that come Monday morning our little business family would be bigger by one. But I certainly was not prepared to meet the man my brother EJ said would be the best thing to happen to the Michaels family.
After making a fresh pot of coffee and rummaging through a pile of mail on the reception desk, taking out only what pertained to me and my department, I went to my office to get my Monday morning started on its way to being over. God knows, no one likes Mondays.
Leaving my door ajar and stepping into my office I noticed there was a file folder on my desk. The first page was a hand written note from EJ.
Set up a personnel file and payroll schedule for Mr. Cooper, all the info is enclosed in his file. And make sure you set him up with drug, medical and vision care to start immediately. Play nice, he’s a good friend of mine and
to the team!
I rolled my eyes. My brother treated me like I didn’t know how to do my job. I doubted anyone was any more important around here. What a crock of shit. Who was this guy anyway, and how in the hell did he manage to have my brother jumping through hoops? This guy didn’t require the standard three month probation period before starting benefits? My brother jumped for no one, in fact everyone, including clients, did the jumping when he snapped his fingers. Why this guy? Time would tell, sooner or later I would have to meet this hotshot and see what all the fuss was about.
Of course I did as requested, but instead of handling it personally, I gave it to Roger. My workload was already maxed; I could do without some pretentious asshole to take care of. Besides, Roger needed something to do to stop his incessant whistling today, the man could not hold a tune to save his life.
“Hey kid,” EJ said, from my office doorway. “Come to my office and meet the new guy.”
“Kind of busy here,” I said, acting nonchalant, as if I were far too busy to give a shit. When in actuality, I was dying to see this guy who had my big brothers lips glued to his ass.
“Now!” EJ demanded, forcing me to saunter slowly from my office to his.
From the back, this Cooper guy looked like any other hotshot sales associate dressed in a dark gray suit. That was, until he turned around.
“Dyson, I’d like to introduce you to Harley Cooper,” EJ said, as Harley started to turn.
Like a slow motion moment placed strategically into a romantic movie for dramatic effect, Harley turned and smiled outstretching his arm to offer me his hand. I could practically feel the pool of pending drool forming in my mouth, this guy was hot. In fact on the hot meter he was reading one hundred plus degrees and rising. Did I mention he was sizzling hot? Excuse me while I wipe away the drool.
“Nice to meet you Dyson,” he said, with a sexy baritone voice that only increased his sex appeal.
“Uh, I…yeah…you too,” I stammered.
His eyes stared into mine for what felt like several minutes, gorgeous smiling eyes that creased happily at the corners. It was one of those smiles that couldn’t be denied.
We shook hands, the warm feeling of his hand in mine, our palms caressing one another, I would never forget it as long as I lived.
“You’re the accounts manager?” he asked, I was surprised he knew. “EJ’s little brother.”
“I’m sure we’ll become good friends before you know,” he said, attempting to pull his hand free of the death grip I had on him.
When his hand left mine, it was like a piece of my wildest fantasy had been torn away. I cleared my throat and straightened my tie, trying to take a more professional stance, instead of acting like a crazed idiot.
“You’ll need to come to my office and sign a few things so we can set you up with direct deposit and get your benefits started.”
“Will do,” Harley smiled again, he had such a beautiful smile.
I swear in that moment, Harley Cooper set my sole on fire. He ignited something in me I knew was always there but until now had been dull and lifeless. My heart was all ablaze, the great fire of London was a backyard barbeque compared to how my heart was feeling. I think I fell in love, right there and then.
Then, as I gracelessly turned away towards my office, I slammed into the edge of the partly open door. Bright red blood splattered from my nose, over my lips and dribbled off of my chin onto my brand new shirt and tie, I was so embarrassed. Of course everyone started to laugh. I wanted the floor to open up and swallowed me whole. Harley was the only one who didn’t laugh, as he grabbed a box of tissues from a nearby desk and whipped a handful at me, with a gorgeous smile. It was the smile of a god.
“You okay?” he asked, with a genuine look of concern.
“He’ll be fine,” EJ said, snatching Harley away before I had a chance to thank him properly. “Let me show you to your new office, its right this way.”
EJ shot me a glare, as if I had slammed my face into a door on purpose. Bastard.
~Four Years Later~
There is a single drop of sweat trailing its way along my spine, headed for the waistband of my underwear, it tickles yet it’s painfully agonizing. My Palms are clammy, as I rub them together a layer of perspiration has formed on my upper lip and my tongue juts out to sweep it away. There is a band of sweat on my forehead, that I’m sure has not gone unnoticed, and my heart is racing to beat the band, the lapel on my suit is twitching with each thump. I’m finding it hard to take a breath because my lungs feel constricted. Maybe I should succumb to the darkness it promises and then this nightmare would all be over, for a short time anyway.
As my eyes gaze out at my family and friends gathered together sitting in anticipation, my gut begins rolling, waves of nausea are settling deep in my belly as all eyes seem to be focused solely on me. I can feel the burn of bile rising, it’s scorching as it reaches my esophagus and I could puke.
Look, there’s my mom. She’s all dressed up pretty in the lavender taffeta gown that took forever to find, I think we went to six stores to find the right one, not to mention the search we had for matching shoes. Her hair is neatly piled on top of her head with a jewel encrusted hair pin, her makeup has been professionally applied, just for today. She has the biggest smile on her face. Oh dear god, she’s wiping away a tear with a balled up tissue, she’s killing me. Being her youngest of her four boys, she has looked forward to this day for months with immeasurable joy.
Then there’s my father. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him looking so proud. He’s dressed in the black tux I had to convince him to wear, he said he wasn’t into fancy attire and he felt like a waiter at some high-class restaurant. He was a funny man, he could always make me laugh.
Even when I made the touch down that won me my scholarship I don’t think he looked as proud as he does today. I swallow back a lump of fear and lick across my dry lips but it doesn’t help. My mouth is bone-dry as if the moisture has been sucked out of it and replaced by mountains of sand. I could use a shot about now, fuck that make it the entire bottle. No particular spirit as long as it’s strong enough to cause irreversible damage.
Mrs. Turner and Rebecca’s Aunt Ruth were whispering, I could only imagine what they were saying. Maybe they know something. Perhaps they are reading my mind with some kind of telepathic, witching powers that I’m fairly sure they both possess. Could they know? Christ, what am I doing? Mrs. Turner’s already not my biggest fan, not since the day I met her and tripped on the area rug with my big clumsy feet, breaking her favorite vase that sat proudly on a pedestal. It was a god awful looking thing and besides, who puts a vase on a pedestal anyway? If I don’t go through with this today I’m a dead man. I’m almost positive she has a mafia connection. Uncle Gino’s probably sitting in the back row with a semi-automatic aimed at my head, if not, she’ll have a hit put out on me in less than an hour.
I look over at Tag standing at my side, he’s my best friend and my best man, we’ve known each other since grade school and he is the only one that knows my secret. I feel like a schmuck after all the years we’ve shared together, the good and the bad, all the trials and tribulations, I told him everything. Everything except, that I can’t do this. He’s nodding at me with an at-a-boy smile and an encouraging clap on my shoulder. I follow his eyes to the doors as they open wide to reveal Rebecca and her beaming smile. And of course the man who will crush me like a grape given half the chance, her father. He told me up front
hurt my baby and I’ll skin you alive before I tear your guts out
. He would and he will, all six foot five of him. I can feel myself quaking in my boots as his eyes fix on me and narrow.
Everyone is smiling now, except me.
Kill me now, strike me dead, surely the floor could open up about now and shallow me whole? The music’s blaring, why is it so fucking loud? The base is booming in my chest, competing with my terror stricken heart. Everyone is standing, their eyes have all turned to watch Rebecca, this is it, my opportunity to run has come, but my fucking feet won’t move.
I wipe my forehead and suck in a lung full of air, but it’s not enough, not nearly enough as I begin to panic. I tug at my shirt collar, it’s not loosening and in fact I think it’s getting tighter. My eyes are darting across the crowd to Rebecca and back across the crowd again. I feel like one of those ridiculous kitty clocks hanging on a kitchen wall with its eyes ticking from side to side.
Run you idiot, run!
Becca has almost reached me.
Her father shakes my hand and whispers as they enter my space, the only space I had left, “It won’t be long now, boy.”
“Hi,” Rebecca says, with a jubilant smile.
I’m frozen in time, it’s like everything is suddenly slowing to intensify this agony. I can only muster a tiny smile as we turn in the direction of the Minister. I’m going to hell. Everything goes eerily silent. It’s as if I’m trapped in an episode of the twilight zone, not quite here and not quite there, just hovering between what’s real and another dimension.
The next words that I hear zap me from my dreamlike state, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
Lawfully wedded wife!
My head involuntarily starts shaking, or is it voluntary? Rebecca’s eyes widen and her bottom lip starts to quiver because I’ve somehow managed to utter the word
. My mouth opened and I said no without my being present. It’s the quick smarting slap across my face from her tiny hand that forces me into the here and now.
“You bastard!” Becca roars, “What do you mean no?”
The echo reverberates through the church, the sound bouncing off the walls over and over like another slap to my stinging hot cheek.
“Holy shit Dyson, have you lost your fucking mind?” Tag asks, leaning over my shoulder.
“We need to talk,” I whisper, finally finding my tongue and the courage to speak.
“Why are you doing this Dyson?” Rebecca asks, while tears stream over her pretty pink cheeks, her mascara leaving a black trail after each drop. I never understood why anyone wore mascara that wasn’t waterproof, now I knew, it was for dramatic affect. It leaves just the right evidence of scorn. It’s like a haunting validity. The undeniable proof that I am the biggest prick on the face of the planet.
“We should talk privately, Becs,” I say, trying to convince her to give me an opportunity to speak without an audience. This was hard enough without stares and whispers from the peanut gallery.
“No!” Becca screamed, striking her bouquet dramatically against my chest. I watch it fall at our feet, tiny pieces of baby’s breath and roses spraying across the crimson colored carpeting. She stomps her feet wildly like an upset child having a temper tantrum. “Don’t you dare call me Becs!”
She has the right to be angry, hell it’s her wedding day after all. This was the day she’d been dreaming of most of her life and I was ruining it for her. Yes it was me taking her dreams and crushing them like a cheap tin can. This day would probably haunt her, hell it would haunt me for all of eternity, but I’d rather she was discomfited by the truth now, than living with a lie and both of us being tormented a few years down the road. Because deep in my gut I know I would break sooner or later and the ramifications would be immense. If I thought my demise at the hands of this congregation was terrifying now, I could only imagine if I had waited a year down the road to tell the truth what they would have done to me.
“I can’t marry you Rebecca, I’m so sorry,” I say, but I know it is falling on deaf ears because I can see the wheels in her mind turning, she wants to hurt me. I can see her tearing a few limbs from my body, perhaps a ball or two being ripped from my nether region and slammed to the ground, while she demonically laughs like a woman crazed with rage.