Tis The Season_.For Romance(8)

By: Brenda Jackson




* * *



Late that evening after coming in from work, Barbara took a long soak in the tub and then changed into a lounging outfit. She popped a dinner into the microwave and while waiting for it to finish, she thought about her conversation with Peggy at lunch.

Her sister’s words had all but knocked her sideways. She hadn’t known of Courtney’s plans to ask Lake to make Orlando their primary home. Barbara could just imagine how well that would go over with her future son-in-law. He hadn’t been too thrilled with Courtney’s request that they wait until Christmas to marry. Considering Ron’s behavior and the reason he was incapacitated in the first place, Lake hadn’t cared a royal damn if her father walked her down the aisle or not. But in the end, he had pulled in his anger on Courtney’s behalf and agreed to wait.

When the timer to the microwave went off, instead of taking her dinner out, Barbara moved to the nearest chair at the kitchen table, and sank into it. Even now she and Ron were making a mess of their daughter’s life. Courtney had tried talking them into getting a divorce many times, saying they weren’t doing anything but destroying each other, with her father’s whorish ways and with her mother’s easy acceptance of it.

And Barbara was well aware that her and Ron’s behavior was the main reason Courtney had been so standoffish about getting serious about a man. But she hadn’t stood a chance with Lake. He had seen her and had been determined to win her over. Barbara liked him. He was older than Courtney by ten years and was just the person her daughter needed in her life. There was no doubt in Barbara’s mind that he would love Courtney and protect her for the rest of her daughter’s days on earth and for that Barbara was happy.

And the one thing she didn’t intend to do was come between the couple. They would be getting married next month and if Boston was where Lake wanted to live, then that’s where her daughter needed to be.

Barbara knew what she had to do, which was something that she should have done months ago, right after her divorce became final.

She glanced around. This house was too big and there was no reason she should continue to live in it. Later in the week she would contact a realtor about selling it and she would begin looking for a much smaller place. She swallowed when the thought of leaving her home, the one she’d lived in for over fifteen years, nearly suffocated her. But it had been a consolation prize from Ron, after she’d found him and a woman in their other home. He had surprised her with this home with a promise never to be unfaithful again.

She stood and wiped the tears from her eyes when she thought of how many times he’d promised her that, and how many times she had weakened enough to believe him, mainly because she had loved him. Now she knew first hand how love could be destroyed. But it hadn’t gotten demolished easily. There was just so much any woman could take and she had gone her limit.

Starting tonight, at this very moment, she would move ahead. She would not only keep her next appointment with Dr. Banks, but would strive to finish the counseling sessions she had left. More than anything she was determined to try and move her life forward as a single woman.

She left the kitchen and walked into the study to retrieve the piece of paper from her purse. It was the paper where she had jotted Rick Blair’s phone number. It didn’t take her but a few moments to punch in his number and she drew in a deep breath when his line began ringing.

“Hello?”

“Rick?”

“Yes.”

“This is Barbara. If you still want to take me out Saturday night, I’m available. I’d love to go to the movies with you.”





Three




“Now don’t you look sharp, Dad.”

Rick raised a brow as he turned around to his son. Antron had arrived in Orlando unexpectedly that morning after wrapping up a case he’d been working on in Tampa.

“I’m glad you approve,” he said smiling, while studying the young man’s sculpted features that were so much like his own. In fact, there were a number of things he could point out that his son had inherited that were so much like his. One had been his love for law, which was why after completing the University of Georgia, Antron had become a FBI agent. When a bullet almost ended Antron’s life during a case he was working, he took up a college friend’s offer to join him in a PI firm he’d established. That was four years ago and just from listening to the various cases Antron had worked recently, it almost made Rick want to go back to work himself. But Rick knew his days in law were over as they should have been ten years ago.

Antron had been in his second year of college when his mother had died and Rick was certain had Gail lived, she would have been proud of the man their son had become.

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