Good morning and welcome to this week’s Midweek tease. Since we are so close to Valentine’s day, I thought I would tease from Hello Again, my romantic suspense novel with more than a little paranormal in it. Love transcends time and space, right?
For Charley Winters love means loss and pain. She’s spent the last five years struggling with her grief. Existing, not living. Drawn to Saskatchewan, she travels west take the job she’s always wanted. But life gets complicated when she’s rescued from a vicious tornado by her dead husband’s double, a man who makes her feel things she hasn’t in years. Add to that a native myth, a shaman, a green-eyed wolf, and her husband’s ghost … Can she lift a millennia old curse and find joy and love again?
Here’s this week’s tease:
She’d told Phil she’d sprinkled Mike’s ashes on the wind the day after the funeral. She’d driven near the place where Mike had rescued the wolf, but the truth was she hadn’t even been able to get out of the car. She couldn’t let the ashes go. If she did, she’d be truly alone, and she’d never survive that final separation. No, she’d cling to Mike and her memories until her number was up, and while she prayed it would be soon, she was convinced her prayers fell on deaf ears.
“I love you, Mike,” she said caressing the urn as she done so many times recently. “I understand why your mother did what she did. Some losses are too painful to accept. I’m as trapped here as you are.”
The letter Mike had left for her, the one he’d written before he’d been deployed, sat on the coffee table, now covered with watermarks from the glasses littering its wooden surface. She reached over and picked up the sheet of paper. His instructions were specific, but she’d never be able to follow through with his requests. It wasn’t fair of him to expect her to.
“Damn you, Mike for dying, for leaving me this way. You didn’t have the right,” she said aloud, her voice echoing in the empty room. Drawn to the page, she read the words once more although she didn’t need to. Each one was engraved on a piece of her shattered heart.
If you’re reading this, it’s because I let you down. I didn’t come back to you the way I promised, and I’ll always regret not being able to look into those baby blues of yours, and say goodbye. I never thought it would come to this, that we’d have so little time together. I wanted to take care of you, make you happy, and spend the rest of my days telling you how thankful I am that you are part of my life. We knew this might happen, and it was a choice we made when I enlisted and you married me, but saying goodbye like this is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.
You’re the light of my life. I imagine our children running around the house, around that garage we were going to open—a boy who’d resemble me, a little girl who’d look just like her mama. We’d grow old together doing the things we loved, checking off each item on that bucket list we made before we were married.
I still want you to do those things, babe, even if I can’t be there to do them with you. There isn’t a lot of insurance money—I always meant to get more, but there was always something else that needed to be done, and since I expected to be there, earning it side by side, I figured fifty grand was enough.
There were so many things I wanted to show you, places I wanted to take you, but you’ll have to find someone else to do those things with now. That’s right. Once I’m gone, you need to move on.
I can hear you saying no, see you shaking your head, but you need to listen to me. I know you’re still mourning your father, but you have to let me go, let both of us go, and the best way to do it is to get rid of the things chaining you to the past—like that old car you baby all the time. You need something safe and reliable. You may be the best damn mechanic in the world, but eventually, a car needs to be scrapped. As far as I go, I’ve left instructions with Phil to cremate my body as quickly as he can after my death. I know you’ll want to see me, but babe, I want you to remember me the way I was when I was with you. Scatter my ashes on the wind. Don’t keep me cooped up in a fancy vase or box like my mother kept my dad. Once that’s done, I need you to open your heart and find a good man, a decent man who’ll love you and make you happy. I’d find one for you, if I could, but there are some things you’ll have to do for yourself.
I don’t know what there is after death, and religion wasn’t part of my life growing up, but when I think of moving on like this, I’m reminded of the stories my grandfather told. He was fascinated by his First Nations’ ancestor, even if he couldn’t claim status. The Sioux believed that the living and the dead lived together, even if only the shamans could see those who’d died. If that’s true, I’ll never leave you. I’ll watch out for you in any way I can. You won’t see me, hear me, or feel me, but I’ll be there waiting for the day when I can say hello again.
Right now, I can picture you standing there, tears running down your cheeks, and that’s the last thing I want. I know how stubborn you can be, but Charley, this is important for both of us, so please, mourn a little like I know you need to, but then move on.
Live, love, laugh, darling. Enjoy life the way you were meant to. I’ll always love you, now and forever,
She swiped at the tears that crept down her cheeks.
“You’re wrong, Mike. I’ll never be happy again. The only way there’ll ever be a man in my life, is if you find a way to come back to me, because I’m not going looking for one. So ‘Rescues Wolf Pup and Gets into Trouble,’ if I can’t have you here and now, I’ll wait until we can be together, but don’t make me wait too long.”
Now, please visit the rest of this week’s teasers.