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WAIT FOR ME
by Tia Louise
I should have told you this years ago…
Is there a time-limit on forgiveness?
If there is, I haven’t reached it…
I still love you…
A letter never sent…
Heck, I never even finished it.
Taron Rhodes was my brother’s best friend.
He was sexy as sin.
But he was more than that…
He was ponytail-pulling, ice down your shirt teasing, throw you in the lake screaming…
Strong, tanned arms and blue-green eyes over a heart-stopping, naughty grin…
Did I mention his tight end?
I gave him my first kiss, my heart, my everything.
I said I’d wait for him…
I’m still waiting, because Taron Rhodes is still the man of my dreams,
And I have a secret that has his blue-green eyes.
Noel LaGrange stole my heart at eighteen, when she pushed me off a flatbed and called me a city slicker.
Her brother Sawyer would kick my ass if he knew how many times we made out that summer—how close we got.
Everything changed when Sawyer and I joined the military.
We were honorably discharged, but I didn’t go to her.
Instead, I went back to the city… where no amount of money, no amount of pills can heal this wound.
Only her whiskey eyes and dark hair, her slim arms and her sweet scent, give me hope.
I broke her heart just as surely as I broke mine, but I’m going back to make it right.
If she’s still waiting…
(WAIT FOR ME is a STAND-ALONE small-town, brother’s best friend, second-chance, military, secret-baby romance with a guaranteed HEA. No cheating. No cliffhangers.)
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© TLM Productions LLC, 2019
My momma was too beautiful to die.
At least, that’s what everybody said.
Penelope Jean Harris was the scion of our town’s founder and prettiest girl in three parishes. She was head majorette in high school and Homecoming queen and Prom queen and every other queen. She was Peach Princess, Teen Dixie Peach, and Miss Dixie Gem. She would’ve gone on to be Miss Louisiana if my daddy hadn’t made her a Mrs.
I was eleven—that strange age between too big to play in the creek in only my panties and too little to sleep without the closet light on. I loved Dolly Parton and butterflies and picking peaches straight off my Daddy’s trees and eating them, jumping in the lake and running after jackrabbits with my little brother Leon.
In the summer the trees were rich green, and the sweet scent of peach juice filled the air. In the winter they were sparse, branches like bony fingers spread, palms up grasping at heaven.
Momma’s hazel eyes crinkled at the corners whenever she looked at me or my brothers or my daddy. Her sweet smile was warm sunshine when I got cold.
She would wrap me in her arms and sing an old sad song when I was sleepy or cranky or “out of sorts,” which is how she’d put it. I pictured “sorts” as ivory dominoes I could line up and knock down or slap off the table, across the room. I’d pull her silky brown hair around me like a cape and close my eyes and breathe…
Then she was gone.
She went for a walk one crisp winter evening along the narrow, dirt road that runs past our orchard out to the old house on the hill. Frost was in the air; bonfires were burning. The man driving the truck said she came out of nowhere.
He never saw her.
She never saw him.
Six weeks later, in that same orchard with peach blossoms on the trees and dew tipping the grass, on the very spot she died, my daddy took his life with his own gun.
I guess sometimes love makes you forget things can get better.
I guess he didn’t see a bend in the road up ahead.
I guess he only saw a straight line leading deeper and deeper into black.
My daddy was the star of his high school football team… but Life threw him a pass he couldn’t catch with Momma’s death.
Our world changed forever that winter.
Dolly says love is like a butterfly, soft and gentle as a sigh, but from what I’ve seen of love, I think it’s more like a tornado, shocking and violent and so powerful it can rip your soul out of your mouth…
It’s faster than you can run, and it blows one house away while leaving the next one peacefully standing.
I didn’t know which way love would take me, quietly or with the roar of a freight train. I should’ve known. I should’ve realized the moment I saw him.
It was both. It was quiet as the brush of peach fuzz, but it left my insides in splinters. It twisted my lungs and lifted me up so high only to throw me down with a force that rang my ears and flooded my eyes.
It all started the summer before they left, a month before my brother was sent to fight in a war everybody said was over.
It all started in the kitchen of my momma’s house…
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