After the Dark by Kathy Otten

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  • Months in the trenches of France have left Liam Gallagher wondering why he has survived when better men did not. His guilt intensifies when he returns home only to come down with the deadly Spanish Influenza sweeping the country. Once again Liam lives when thousands do not.

    Now the only bright spot in his monotonous life is the time he spends each day walking with Rosalie Moretti. Their talks give him hope for the future, a future possibly to include this vibrant, loving woman. Until one dark, catastrophic afternoon, when Liam realizes the reason his life was spared has come down to minutes and his ability to perform one selfless act.?


    The warmth of Rosalie’s palm pressed against his free hand. Heat rushed to his cheeks, and between their palms, his skin dampened. He laced his fingers with hers. With the pad of his thumb, he traced the top of her hand. Her skin was so smooth. Were all women this soft, or had he just never noticed?

    She tugged him forward, and loath to release his hold, he followed her up the steps.

    He cast one quick glance over his shoulder toward the city livery and blacksmith shop. He should return to his beat, walk around the tank, and chase away the lads and lasses who’d come with their pails to collect the constantly dripping molasses.

    But when he looked back at Rosalie, a secretive smile teased the edges of her full lips, as though she were aware of her own seductive power over him. And like a green lad, fresh off the boat, he allowed her to lead him inside.

    Across the room, Marco and three firemen sat at a table, silent and focused as cards were laid down in a game of whist.

    Another fireman leaned over the pool table, shooting striped balls into the pockets.

    Rosalie tugged free of Liam’s hand and headed toward the table where her brother played cards.

    Liam tucked his uniform helmet under his arm and stood there awkward and out-of-place as one man scooped up the cards allowing Rosalie room to unpack her basket. As tempting as it was to remain here, he needed to be out on his beat, checking in at his next call box, not socializing over Italian food.


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After the Dark

After the Dark

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