This week’s Friday Fiction guest author is Pamela S Thibodeaux, with an excerpt from her novel, Cathy’s Angel.
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Cathy ignored the shivers of delight that curled up her spine at the sound of his velvety-rough voice and glared at him for the second time that day. Nice voice, dumb question. Unless he was blind, he could see the tears on her face. She swiped at them. “No, I’m not all right. I twisted my ankle and it’s all your fault.” She dropped the blame squarely at his feet.
He halted his movements. “Me? What’d I do? I don’t even know you, Lady.”
“You interrupted my quiet time.”
“Well excuse me for living and breathing.” He glared down at her. The gold flames of fury sparking his dark eyes demanded that she not interrupt his tirade. Still, she jerked up her chin a notch, and narrowed her gaze, but bit her tongue.
“I happen to be new to this neighborhood and haven’t run across any signs informing me to ‘stay out of Ms…’ what’s your name?”
“Ms. Cathy’s quiet time.”
To Jared’s surprise and consternation, she burst into tears.
“I’m sorry,” she sobbed. “I’m usually not so rude.”
“Of course you’re not,” he soothed. “PMS I’m sure,” he remarked, patting her shoulder and feeling even more awkward. Women were never his strong point. They were too emotional, and his analytical mind couldn’t cope.
“I don’t have time for PMS,” she wailed, confirming his opinion. “My oldest child is right now fixing breakfast for the other three, and I’ve got to get home.”
Okay Lord, he thought with a sigh, you leave me no choice but to play the Good Samaritan. Reaching down, he swung her up in his arms. She stiffened.
“Easy now, I’m not going to hurt you,” he chided. “Where do you live?”
“Two blocks down, first house on the right,” she muttered. Unable to resist the comfort his broad shoulder offered, Cathy buried her head in it and sobbed. “I try to be strong, to take care of everything and everyone,” she mumbled. “And I’m so tired of doing it all.”
“No one can do it all.”
“I have no choice!”
She was hysterical, he decided, and he was at a complete loss as to what to do about it. “Okay, okay,” he soothed. “Take it easy. You won’t have to do it all today.”
Standing on her porch, he looked into the tear-drenched green eyes. “Do you think you can open the door?” he asked, arching a brow at her. “I happen to have my hands full.”
Shifting in his embrace, Cathy reached down and turned the knob. The door swung open with a squeaky complaint.
Needs oiling, Jared thought, stepping through the doorway. Looking around, he met with three pair of wide eyes, all various shades of green and gold.
“Who are you?”
“Why are you carrying my mama?”
The questions came all at once. Jared answered them in the same manner. “Hurt her foot, she can’t walk. Jared. What are your names?”
“Samantha,” the oldest child replied.
“Sabrina and Salena,” the other two chorused while he carried their mother into the kitchen. “And this is Samuel,” they pointed to the baby who sat in a high-chair playing with his oatmeal instead of eating it.
“Lot’s of S’s,” he remarked, taking in the chaos in front of him.
“Our dad’s name was Samuel too.”
Must be quite a winner, he thought, wondering what possessed people to give children names based on their initials.
“He died before Sammy was born,” Sabrina (or was it Salena?) informed him, making Jared ashamed of his unwarranted thoughts.
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