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Libby Miller is a good Southern girl, and good Southern girls know the rules. But fate has no rules. On her nineteenth wedding anniversary, fate whips up a tornado of turmoil when Libby finds her husband Neil in the arms of his assistant. But the storm’s not over. Neil flips his BMW, and Libby comes home to find his ghost in the dining room. How is Libby supposed to grieve and move on with Neil’s ever-present, meddling ethereal presence in her life?
With her twentieth high school reunion looming, Libby finds herself torn between two men from her past. One man promises passion and a new beginning, and the other wants to pick up where they left off. Neil stirs up a maelstrom of mischief, making it almost impossible for Libby to sort through the rubble. Libby anticipates a confrontation between her two suitors–not a shadowy stalker who chooses the reunion as his setting for a showdown.
In Libby’s quest for independence, she rejects the one man who can save her. Can she compromise the price of her freedom, or will it cost her a second chance at love and put her life in danger?
Page Count: 356
Word Count: 88885
Jesse tapped my watch. “What’s your rush, Lib? I wanted to talk about Neil’s office building. My real estate guy said he’s been trying to get you to show him the property.”
Neil’s diaphanous form grew more solid, and he shook his fist in Jesse’s face. “It’s not for sale.”
“Why are you annoyed?” Oh, my God. I’d asked Neil a question—out loud.
Jesse answered. “I’m not annoyed. Now my real estate guy is a little pissed because you won’t return his calls.”
“He’s wasting his time calling. I haven’t made a decision on selling Neil’s building,” I said.
The air crackled and swelled. A cloud of Neil hung heavy over Jesse. “Why’s he so interested?”
Eli’s plastic cup crunched in his hand. “Not a cool time to talk business.”
“Still protecting her.” Jesse leaned back and then an ah-ha look sparked a grin. “Wait a minute. Are you two together?”
Before I could answer, Neil jumped in my face. “Well? Are you together?”
“Don’t be stupid,” I said to Neil.
Eli smashed his coffee cup flat and shot Jesse a deadly look. “You heard the lady.”
Jesse was being Jesse—making trouble. I answered Neil, but my response hit a nerve with Eli. They were too close and pressing in. I wanted to run away from the memories. From the three musketeers. From everything. The air felt thick and clogged my windpipe. I pulled my shirt from my neck and rested my hand at my throat. My pulse beat out an SOS. I pressed my fingers to stop the dots and dashes and warned my feet to stay put.
“Uh-oh.” Neil said.
If I thought things couldn’t get worse, I was wrong. A woman I hated worse than rattlesnakes walked by wearing a white blouse a size too small tucked into a black skirt a foot too short. Flanked by two little boys, her hands held fast. She walked past and long red curls bounced on her shoulders. Breathing ceased. Blackness pinched my vision to a pinpoint.
Neil swooped in front of me and hovered on his knees. “Please, please, please don’t say anything.”
I pressed my chest, forcing air up through my trachea and breathed in. I uncrossed my legs and wound them around the chair legs to hold me down. All of my anger and rage streamed at the woman who’d ruined my life, and if looks were lethal…But then the smaller of the two boys started crying and pulling away from the line to see Santa. She bent down, dried his cheeks, and hugged him.
“Maybe I should introduce her.” I said.
Eli and Jesse gave me confused looks. “Huh?”
I couldn’t look away from the Santa display. The other little boy helped his mom console his little brother. “See that redhead in line with the two little boys?”
“She’s hot,” Jesse inspected her from top to bottom. “You know her?”
I wanted to scream and throw my coffee cup at her, but she wasn’t a monster. She was a mom. A single mom. Like me.
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