eBook Details

Meant To Be

By: Karen Stivali | Other books by Karen Stivali
Published By: Turquoise Morning Press
Published: Aug 26, 2012
ISBN # 9781622370269
Word Count: 101,000
Heat Index
Eligible Price: $4.99

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc), Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub

Categories: Romance>Drama Romance>Romantic Literature Fiction

Description

Meant To Be by Karen Stivali - Romance>Drama

Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.
 
Reader Rating:   0.0 Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   Not rated
Excerpt:
Marienne watched as Daniel grabbed a bottle of Coke out of her fridge.
He unscrewed the cap and took a drink. “It’s quite difficult to understand American slang when English isn’t your native tongue.”
He continued speaking but Marienne’s mind was caught on the words native tongue. Or, more specifically, tongue. More precisely still, Daniel’s tongue. She’d always loved the sound of his voice, the expressiveness of his choice of words, but sometimes she just enjoyed watching his mouth. This was one of those times. She studied his tongue as it moved to form his words, as it licked his lips when he paused to think, as it pressed against the Coke bottle when he drank. Heat prickled through her.

Is it hot in here or is it him? She was unable to focus on the thought, as once again she was mesmerized. Now it was curved upward, pressing against the back of his top teeth as he looked at her, eyes narrowed.

“Are you all right?” he asked. The concern in his voice caught her attention, as did the puzzled look on his face.

“What?” She no longer remembered what they’d been discussing.

“You’re not listening to a word I say, and that’s not like you. I’ve been speaking total gibberish and you didn’t even react. Are you okay? You’re all flushed.”

She tried to think of a way to explain to her best friend that she’d been too busy obsessing to concentrate. He’s divorced. Frank’s gone. Maybe I should. Her heart galloped.

He leaned over and felt her forehead. She held her breath, dizzy from his touch. She wanted to scoot forward and kiss him, hard, on the lips, but didn’t dare to move. Thoughts of the kiss, and his tongue, flashed through her mind.

“You’re really warm.” His hand trailed to her cheek, flipping over so he could assess her with the back of his fingers. They felt cool and silky along the contours of her face, and she pressed against them.
His brow furrowed. “You’ve got a fever.”

What? Her hand flew to her forehead. “Shit,” she said, as even she could feel the burning warmth.

He grabbed a glass from her cupboard and held it beneath the ice dispenser. The crystal chunks tumbled into it. “You must have finally caught whatever Ella had last weekend.” He filled it with water and handed it to her.

“Oh, God. You’re right.” Ella had come home sick from preschool three days ago, and that was the standard grace period Marienne usually got before catching things from her daughter. She rested her head on the kitchen table.

****

Daniel smiled at Marienne’s whining. She was acting like Ella.

“Drink your water.” He opened another cabinet and reached for the Tylenol. He shook out two and returned the bottle to the top shelf.
“Here.” He rubbed his knuckles against the top of her hand. “Take these.”

She groaned.

“Take them.” He nudged a second time. Heat radiated from her skin. Enticing. Alluring. He shuddered, trying to shake the thoughts from his mind. “Come on now, be a good girl.”

She sat up and scowled. He smiled and dropped the tablets into her upturned hand. The backs of his fingers grazed her palm and a tingling flush rippled through him.

She stared at him, eyes defiant, then popped the pills into her mouth and took a sip of water. She flipped her head back and swallowed hard, an action that caused Daniel to gulp as well. He wanted nothing more than to swoop down and kiss her with total abandon, to feel her overheated body, to be immersed inside her.

He said the only words he could think: “Let’s get you up to bed.”

****

Four Years Earlier

Daniel Gardner hated being late. It seemed disrespectful. Like other people’s time wasn’t as important as his. He willed the train to move faster, but to his dismay it slowed to a stop. A collective groan rose from the passengers. He peered out the window. He could see the station right up ahead. What the bloody hell….

The conductor’s voice came over the PA system. “This is New Jersey Transit. Sorry folks, there’s a problem with the tracks. We should be arriving at New Brunswick station in just a few minutes.”

Daniel raked his hand through his hair. Bugger. He was already running late because so many students had questions after class. It was to be expected as it was only the first week of NYU’s summer session. He’d stayed to answer every question and had missed the earlier train by an annoying two minutes.

Normally he wouldn’t have minded, much. He’d have sat and read while waiting for the next train. His wife, Justine, was hardly ever around these days, no matter what time he got home. The grand opening of her women’s spa was only a week away, and she spent practically every waking hour there. Tonight, however, Daniel had someplace he wanted to go.

The community theater group was having the first meeting for their upcoming charity production. They were looking for both cast and crew members. Daniel loved plays and enjoyed building things. He was only teaching two classes during the summer session so this seemed like a promising way to fill his time and, hopefully, make some new friends.
In the three months since they’d moved to Highland Park, NJ, he’d only gotten to know one person, a fellow commuter named Frank Valeti. Frank worked as a trader and had a similarly erratic schedule to Daniel, so they often ran into each other on the train and had even carpooled a few times. They didn’t have a lot in common, but Daniel appreciated having someone to talk to on the commute.

Frank had also recently become a neighbor. He and his wife, Marienne, had purchased the house behind Daniel and Justine’s. They’d only moved in the week before, after weeks of living in a nearby apartment while awaiting their closing. Daniel had yet to meet Marienne, but Frank had mentioned that she was planning to volunteer for the play. Daniel hoped to introduce himself to her tonight. If I ever get there. The train gave a chugging start then sighed to a halt again. Come on….
By the time he got into New Brunswick, he had no time to stop home. He rushed straight to the theater. The heavy wooden door creaked and groaned as it opened. He followed the signs past the stage to the community room in the back of the building.

Someone was already addressing the large gathering. Daniel gave an apologetic wave as he slipped into a seat near the door.

He scanned the u-shaped group of chairs while he listened. He’d seen Marienne once, from a distance, while she was carrying plants out to her deck. It only took a second before he spotted her, seated directly across the room. She sipped from a travel mug and appeared to be doodling.

Her hair was longer than it had looked from across the yard. It flowed past her shoulders, falling across her face every time she looked down. She had the roundest, darkest eyes he’d ever seen.

Meant To Be

By: Karen Stivali
x