Excerpt for Forever, Sweet Love
Cheri Duncan stared down at the water of Puget Sound, the final resting place of her fiancé's ashes a year earlier. Tears dropped from her lashes while the sides of the ferry pushed away small waves.
How could life be so tough? Josh was the one man in her life who'd believed in her and the one man who'd wanted her to fulfill her dream. When he died, her own life fell apart because she missed him so much. She felt as hollow as the chocolate eggs she filled every Easter, just a shell of a person. The numbness set in the moment she heard of his death and never truly left her fingers. She was forever cold to life and her emotions.
As she stared down into the water again, she imagined Josh's face in each wave and every ripple of water, making her sob more fully. She never wanted the memory of his face to leave her head. Even in her dreams, she thought of his smile, his laugh, and the way his hug reassured her. But when she woke, it was always the same darkness in her heart, the darkness surrounding her life.
Tears poured down her face as the sobs overtook her, making her shudder while gasping for air. How could she go on? If she jumped into the water and forced herself to stay under, would she see Josh again? Who would care if she wasn't alive?
Not a soul. She had no one left because Josh had been her world. With him gone, everything had collapsed before her very eyes.
Cheri lowered her head to her arms resting on the side of the ferry and closed her eyes while she cried. She wanted to hold him again. She wanted to marry him. She wanted to start a family and achieve her lifetime goals with him at her side.
But everything went kaput when he was killed. At least he'd been doing something he loved and believed in.
"Miss?" a male voice said.
Cheri lifted her eyes to see a nice-looking man approach her. "I'm sorry." She wiped her eyes. "I didn't mean to bother anyone. I'll move over to the other side." She took a few steps away but stopped when his hand touched her arm.
"No, don't go away," he said. "What's the matter?"
She lowered her eyebrows, wondering what sort of man would ask such a thing to a stranger. Was he a crazed lunatic? Should she be afraid of him? He looked normal to her, like someone to be respected. But why would he ever ask that?
"You really don't want to know," she said. "I'll just be over here." She pointed toward the other side of the ferry and took a few steps.
He touched her arm again, stopping her. "No, don't go. I want to make sure you're okay. I'll worry about you all night if you just walk away from me."
She studied his handsome face, his blue eyes framed by his dark brown hair. With slight wrinkles beside his eyes, he seemed to about in his mid-thirties. Josh would've turned 28 next month.
Her eyes filled with tears once again, just remembering Josh. "I'll be fine."
"Look," he said. "We have some time left on this ferry and I want to know you're going to be okay."
She wiped her cheeks again. "I'll be fine."
"Come over to the side with me. I promise I won't bite." The man smiled, his white gorgeous teeth filling his mouth. What was it about him that made her stare an extra moment? Even though she was intrigued, she was also scared. But she had to give him the benefit of the doubt because that was her nature.
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