Damion

~Damion~
She’s dead.
My wife is dead and no one mourns her but her best friend, Kaeja Ingalles and I.
Ignoring all that was decent when we fell in love, that stigma followed us until she died. I hear words of empathy for my loss and our daughter being motherless at such a young age, but there is very little sympathy for the woman I lost and for whom I grieve.
Kaeja and I have no one to turn to but each other for consolation since we are the only two who suffer the gravity of her untimely death. This powerful connection soon becomes the only thing that helps me survive.
But I refuse to start another relationship all wrong again.
When the twin brother I betrayed offers his forgiveness and proposes to help me raise my daughter and manage our family’s café in Silver Springs with me, I jump at the chance. I return to our small hometown and try to provide a good life for my daughter without my wife… and Kaeja.
Time heals all wounds and eventually, even I start to heal. When I see Kaeja again, and we realize our connection was much more than just our shared grief. We experience a mutual healing and find closure, but we also discover joy and fun and laughter in being together. Having done all my relationships wrong from the start, I worry I can’t kick the habit. Then another tremor rocks my life, and I wonder can I face it without losing the very people that I love the most?

EXCERPT

He starts to climb it with the ease of a gymnast and his sense of balance allows him to jump from one giant rock top to the next. Me? I’m more like a crippled old lady with arthritis in my hips and nearly crawl on all fours to get up. I want to see the view from the top, and it is so worth it. We sit together and meditate with grateful awareness. The river enters the ocean right beneath our feet, and a ring of islands lies across from us. The ocean waves hit them and the high side of the river as it sweeps past us to meet the ocean in an almost parallel route behind the largest island. The sun shines starkly, brightly and brilliantly over it all. To our right, the river flows from an old-world, perfect marina that could be the subject of an idyllic painting of small-town beach life. Wow, do I love it.

It’s beyond amazing to make casual observations and he’s delighted with every reaction I have to it all.

“You really don’t get out much, do you? See what you’ve been missing?” He sweeps his hands out.

I gaze up at him, watching the wind rush over his face. His eyes are dark but shining and the corners of his mouth relax in complete ease. There is a serenity about him, which is new. “I see. I see now what I’ve been missing,” I say but my gaze is rigidly fastened on him.

He must gather something from my more serious tone because he drops his gaze from the view to me. We stare into each other’s eyes without moving. Or smiling. Without need for explanation or excuse. He leans down and his lips touch mine. Just as soft and pure and new as if it were my, I mean, our very first kiss.

It’s sorta weird to kiss. And hug. And touch. We look at each other with unmasked interest and sexy, heavy-lidded gazes or flirty smiles and smug eyes. It’s all so new. And no one is here to judge us. He was right to suggest doing this. We had to get away together to just see. Is it anything? Will it be just here? A vacation from real life? I don’t know. Or are we finally starting something real? Now we have the freedom to fully explore where it’s going to go.

Can something that started out as grief comfort for another woman really become just about us? I don’t know any of the answers, nor would I believe any of them. But damn. Does it feel nice today. Now. In this moment.

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