eBook Details

Escalation Clause

Series: Stewart Realty , Book 6.0
By: Liz Crowe | Other books by Liz Crowe
Published By: Tri Destiny Publishing
Published: Nov 03, 2012
ISBN # 9780985991142
Word Count: 100,000
Heat Index
EligiblePrice: $5.99

Available in: Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat
Click here for the print version

Categories: Romance>Drama Romance>Contemporary Romance>Erotic Romance

Description
Young love burns hot and bright. Soul mates are found, then lost in the blink of an eye. When young widow Maureen Gordon Taylor meets her daughter's sexy soccer coach, her body and heart slowly thaw. But will holding tight to the past cost her a future?

A devastating blow shatters a family's fragile happiness. Rob Freitag and Lila Warren now confront life without the emotional glue that once bound them, but a shared goal brings them back together. Is it enough to make them whole again and become the family they were meant to be?

Mutual trust is hard won for the Gordons. Then tragedy strikes, sending Jack and Sara’s lives into a tailspin. To keep her family from falling apart, she must force Jack to admit his deepest fears. After everything they’ve been through, can they revive the spark and move to the next stage of marital fulfillment?”

The sweeping saga of the Stewart Realty series continues as long-time friends learn to rely on each other, and to grab hold of happiness before it's too late.
 
Reader Rating:  Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   Not rated
Excerpt:
The day had a scary edge of unreality, tinged with a distinct
blur of dreamlike crazy he could not shake. Jack sat on his patio,
watched family and friends mingle around the large yard,
murmuring under their breath, nibbling food and sipping drinks. He
turned his head slowly, the effort taking so much out of him he was
convinced he could hear his neck ligaments creaking. Sara. He
needed to see her, to make sure she was okay. Well, actually just to
lay his aching eyes on her—that was what he needed.

He spotted his friend Rob, slumped in a wheelchair. The
man was gaunt after the transplant surgery, which had saved his life.
He had defied doctor’s orders to be there, for Blake’s family, he
claimed. Rob's face was haggard, his eyes vacant until Lila
appeared and put their son in his lap. He brightened then, and he
held the boy close. Jack looked away; the emotion between those
particular people at that moment was more than he could bear.

He glimpsed Suzanne, his old friend, and Blake’s one-time
girlfriend. She was sitting holding a plate of uneaten food, staring
into the middle distance. Craig Robinson had his arm around her,
was whispering in her ear. She nodded, bit her lip. Jack saw a tear
fall from her red-rimmed eyes. He looked away, the complex
intertwining of his immediate world pressing down on him like a
giant boulder.

His exhausted gaze rested on Sara’s parents. Matthew
Thornton had been, was still, a strong personality. Tall, good looking
in his sixties, his presence compelled attention, kind of like
Jack’s own, and probably why his wife’s father made few bones
about despising his daughter’s choice in a husband. Any time spent
with the retired, estimable Doctor Thornton was a personal exercise
in frustration. Today, however, the man sat, shoulders slumped,
staring at the ground. His wife, Beth, had not stopped crying for the
better part of two weeks best Jack could tell. They were utterly
undone; as well they would be. He was unable to tear his eyes away
from the train wreck of his in-laws as they mourned the horrible,
accidental death of their only son.

He closed his eyes for a split second, then opened them,
and met the dark green gaze of his wife. Sara. Mother of his
children. The woman he loved beyond life itself. Her gaze was flat,
devoid of anything. She held Brandis, their infant son. “Can you...?”
she held the boy out. “I need to…,” and she floated away. Her new
habit of speaking in half sentences made him nervous. For the first
time in his adult life, Jack had no idea what to say or do. There was
no way to fix what had brought them all together here, at a
memorial for Sara's beloved brother.

“Sure,” he said to her back. She’d lost weight he mused as
he jiggled his son in his arms. He looked down into the boy’s bright
blue eyes. Gulping at the intensity of his gaze, he imagined their
first little league game, first sand castle, their first visit to Disney World, their first fight over a car, grades, messy rooms, alcohol, girls. Intense panic gripped his chest.

As if sensing his discomfort the baby made a distinctly
unhappy noise, then started crying in earnest. Jack looked around.
He’d not been around for Katie’s babyhood, thanks to the armslength
arrangement he’d then had with Sara. He was utterly lost
when it came to humans this small, even ones he’d helped create.
The myriad levels of his helplessness right now could fill a book.
And that was not sitting well in his gut.

“Daddy,” Katie sat next to him and held out a bottle.
“Mommy said you would need this.” She handed it to him. “I tested
it. It’s not too hot.” She kissed him, moved back to her mother’s
side and gripped her hand. Jack stared at them and then plugged the baby’s screeching with the thing. He resumed observing his world
unraveling around him, helplessness casting a darker pall over his
brain. Everyone around him was miserable, and he couldn’t do
anything about any of it.

He jumped when someone touched his arm. Shaking his
head to clear the cobwebs, then giving up when they stayed fixed in
place, he looked up. His sister Maureen took the chair next to him.

“Can I help you with him?”

He stared at her, then back at his son, who was greedily
sucking on the bottle, his small hands clenched in tight fists as if he could will the milk to move faster into his mouth. Jack leaned his
aching head back. Mo rubbed his neck.

“Thanks,” he said, keeping his eyes closed. “This is….”

“Honey, I know,” his sister whispered. “You have been
through so much.”

“No, no, this isn’t mine.”

“Jack,” She gripped his arm. “You are allowed to grieve.
You don’t have to be the anchor all the time you know. He was your
family, too.”

He opened his eyes and looked up at the flawless blue sky,
pondering the truth of her words. “Here, give me the baby,” she held
out her arms, using his own Gordon bossy tone to let him know she
was serious.

Jack looked down into his son’s peaceful, sleeping face and
felt his heart clench so tight he had to clear his throat to distract
himself. His son. His. He looked up, seeking Sara but she was
sitting with her mother, who appeared to be crying again. As if
sensing his gaze, Sara looked up straight into his eyes. The space
where her brother had once lived as a crucial piece of her was a
visible emptiness—a weird black hole that he could actually see. He
sighed. “I didn’t even really like the guy.” He mumbled into
Brandis’ head, keeping the boy held tight to his chest.

Maureen resumed rubbing his neck. “Of course you did. He
wanted what was best for his sister. So, did you, if I recall.”
Jack chuckled, shifted the baby to his shoulder to pat out a
burp or two and shot her a look. “Yeah, okay. Point taken.”

“Well, it’s true. You were no more interested in me and
Brandis together than Blake was with you and his sister.”

“Touché.” Jack mumbled, still watching his wife try to
comfort her mother. His head pounded.

“Jack, look at me,” Mo demanded.

He let his gaze wander over the clumps of unhappy people
scattered around his lawn once more before coming to rest on his
sister’s eyes. Their deep blue matched his, as did her no-nonsense
demeanor. She put a firm hand on his arm. “You guys have to keep
communicating. Don’t let her shut down. Don’t worry, this is equal
opportunity nagging. I’m telling her the same thing. You’re too
damn much alike. I see both of you looking like the walking dead,
not relying on each other like you should. Are you listening to me?”

He nodded, but he hadn’t been. Not really. All he still saw
was Sara, crumpled on the floor of the hospital hallway. Then Lila’s
wide, dark, shell-shocked stare because he had to be the one to tell
her that Blake was dead in a freak car accident and that they would
be using his lungs to save Rob’s life. He shut his eyes again, trying
to make the giant fucking mess go away.

Escalation Clause

By: Liz Crowe
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