This week’s post comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series (for young detectives) and the sci-fi romance For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal. Check out www.valmuller.com/store for holiday deals, discounts, and free books!
Next week’s post comes to us from Deborah Dera. Deborah traditionally ghostwrites articles and stories but is in the process of finishing up her first eBook to be released on the Kindle platform later this year. Keep your eyes peeled!
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Remy unwrapped her sandwich and opened her bag of chips. She closed her eyes and sighed, enjoying the simplicity of lunch. The break room was empty, and she enjoyed a moment of peace. No drama with Irene, no awkwardness with Dr. Sam, no visits from Jeremy, who was still visiting his sick mother… the moment was short-lived. She felt her blood pressure rise immediately as her cell phone vibrated twice, indicating a new text. She should have left the thing off. What good did it do her to leave it on? Still, she couldn’t help smiling to herself. After all, there were two men fighting over her. How many women could say the same?
Feast or famine, she sighed, biting into her sandwich. Irene’s words of advice echoed in her mind as she ate. Irene had known Dr. Sam for years. He was a nice guy. Give him a chance. Remy couldn’t help the image that popped into her head. She imagined going on another date with Sam. Kissing him. She pictured moving in with him, wondered what he would be like at home. Did he run a household the same way he ran an office? He certainly did take responsibility for his office… and even when he was having a rough day, Remy had seen him with his patients. He always treated them with the utmost respect. Remy wondered if that’s the way he would treat a wife. A wife!? He’s your boss, she mumbled, her voice breaking up the daydream.
Her phone vibrated again, and she flipped it open without thinking, glad for the distraction. She had never let herself settle down with a guy—it seemed so permanent. She shook off the thought and looked at her screen. There were a series of unread texts, all from Jeremy. She had been ignoring him, but he’d be back from visiting his mother eventually, and she’d have to confront him sooner or later.
So did you think it over? Will you come?, the newest text message read.
Remy shook her head and started from the first unread text message.
Mom’s not doing too good, the first message said. The doc’s thinking hospice.
Remy shuddered, feeling sorry for Jeremy despite her frightening experience with him. Remy had known enough people that lost parents to know it was never a pleasant experience—something she wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even on Jeremy after his drunken, violent confrontation.
I wanted to apologize, the next message said. I’m such an idiot sometimes. I wasn’t myself. I can change, just give me a chance.
Remy deleted that one immediately. There was something that bothered her about it. She read the next two:
Barbara is coming and wants to stay for the funeral. I need your help. Call me.
Remy’s heart sunk at the mention of “funeral.” She lost her appetite for lunch, and despite her mixed feelings, she felt terrible for Jeremy at the moment. His comment about Barbara didn’t even register at first.
I need you to come here and pretend to be my fiancé. Barbara needs to see a ring.
I need to know if you’re coming, the final unread text said, and what size ring.
Remy pushed the phone away in horror. Jeremy’s mother had just passed away, and he was going to involve Remy in a deceitful drama? Couldn’t he just confront Barbara? Issue a restraining order? Remy was not going to travel to Jeremy’s mother’s funeral just for the sake of tricking Barbara into leaving Jeremy alone. What was this, a soap opera? What had Remy been thinking? Wasn’t she a better judge of character than this? How had she ever thought Jeremy was a worthwhile find?
She almost didn’t hear Dr. Sam enter the break room. He came in quietly, sneaking behind her to grab a ginger ale from the small office refrigerator. She startled when she realized he was there, and her effort to smile at him failed completely.
“Everything okay?” he asked, his voice neutral. “You look kind of—disturbed.”
“Fine,” Remy lied.
Dr. Sam looked at her for a moment before nodding and turning to the door.
“No,” Remy said. “It’s not okay.”
Dr. Sam turned back as Remy continued speaking.
“It’s not okay, and I’d like someone to talk to. What say we go for a drink after work—and this time, I’ll buy?”
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Catherine A. MacKenzie