His fiancée was carrying his child and he was about to take his
career in a new direction. Nothing could stop him.
on the map and take her career to levels people only hoped for.
Nothing was standing her way.
slices of heaven but what happens when one’s heaven turns into hell
and the other was sent to save them giving them the comfort needed
escape the hell they found themselves in.
How had he gotten back here? Rhett sat up in the bed. He remembered being in the square with Bella and watching her with the honey vendors then talking with Carnation, but everything after that was a complete blank. He swung his legs off the side of the bed. Why was he was naked? And wrapped in a towel?
He turned towards Bella’s voice. She was standing in the doorway to the balcony, dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt. She looked adorable with her hair pulled back in a ponytail and the sunrise announcing her presence.
“How long was I out?”
Bella walked further into the room. “A couple of hours,” she replied as she came and stood before him. She placed a hand on his forehead. “I was worried about a fever creeping in with how cold you were when you got here. By the time I got finished giving you a shower, you were warmer and seemed to have warded off any potential fever. Still, I watched for it all night,” she said as she removed her hand.
“You gave me a shower?” Rhett questioned.
“You were in no condition to do it yourself,” she replied, heading over to the breakfast tray Ms. Greene had brought them, wanting to help in Rhett’s recovery as much as possible. The toast, coffee and tea looked appetizing, but all Bella wanted right now was to sleep. She’d been up most of the night watching over Rhett in his catatonic state. She covered a yawn as she poured him a cup of coffee.
“Did you sleep at all?” Rhett questioned. She looked even more exhausted than she had when she’d come there days ago.
“Some,” she lied, handing him his coffee. The rocker had been uncomfortable; but with all the tossing, turning and mumbling Rhett had been doing, there was no way she could have slept in the bed with him.
She wasn’t a very good liar, but he appreciated the effort. Rhett placed the cup on the nightstand. He stood. “Thank you,” he said as he took her hand in his, “for taking care of me. You didn’t have to.”
“No, I didn’t,” she replied with a small smile, “but I did, and you’re welcome. Now back to bed.” She placed a hand on his chest. “Whiskey is hanging out with Mr. Greene, so there is no need to worry about her,” she told him. A few times through the night, Rhett had called out for the dog. Whiskey Girl had lain curled up next to him until he’d almost squished her. That was when she’d sent the animal to the Greenes. Rhett loved that dog. If anything had happened to her, he would have been devastated.
Rhett covered her hand with his. “Join me,” he requested.
“No,” Bella replied. She lifted her hand only for Rhett to press it back to his chest.
“Yes. You watched over me, took care of me. Now it’s time I take care of you.”
“You did that already, remember?” Bella said as she spread her fingers across his bare chest. Last night she had been more worried about getting him clean than thinking about how solid his chest was.
“I remember,” he said, looking at her. She was biting the inside of her lip, trying not to stare at his chest. He had to admit it was adorable since she was the one who had given him a shower last night. “Though I don’t remember a lot about what happened after our run in with Carnation, I do know you cared for me all night without any regard for yourself. And while I was able to sleep on the floor, mind you, when I took care of you, you didn’t sleep at all.” He placed a hand on her cheek. “You stayed up to make sure I was all right. That I lived through the night.”
“It was the Christian thing to do,” she told him, giving voice to her mother’s mantra when it came to helping those in need.
“Most Christians aren’t that helpful, unless there is something in it for them,” Rhett told her.
“Well, I did get to see your toolbox,” she countered. Even now with half-mast, morning wood, it was impressive behind the bath towel.
“My tool … oh!” Rhett rumbled.
“Yes, and I must say it is very impressive,” Bella told him, feeling her skin heat up. She had never been so grateful for her skin tone as she was right at that moment.
“You’re blushing,” Rhett told her.
“Am not,” Bella brushed him off.
“Are so, and I think it’s adorable,” he said. He squeezed the hand on his chest. “Come on. We both need to rest.” He got back into the bed, scooting over, making room for her. “I won’t bite,” Rhett told her.
“‘Unless you want me to’ is supposed to be your next line,” Bella said as she sat down on the bed.
“Too clichéd,” he said with a wink.
Bella chuckled as she lay down in the bed. She turned to face him. “When you’re ready to talk, I’m here,” she told him as she reached up and placed a hand on his cheek.
“My closet friends say the same thing,” Rhett confided.
“Close friends say that, but they have a slight bias,” Bella said.
“Not these friends. Alice and Paul have no problem telling me the truth, but on this….”
“You don’t know how to talk to them?” Bella surmised, rubbing her thumb along his jaw.
“Yes,” he replied somberly.
“And that’s why I’m here. I know some of the situation, but I don’t know all of it. And since Dixie – is it okay if I mention her name?” Bella questioned. “Ms. Greene says sometimes you shut down when people mention her.”
“Once I rejoin the world, a lot of people are going to mention her. I can’t shut down every time,” Rhett replied, feeling a sense of calm lying in bed with this woman.
“That’s why I offered you my ear. I’m not a friend who’s been there since the beginning. I’m an outsider who knows one part of the story but not the other. So when you’re ready, I’m here to listen.”
Rhett smiled down at her. He removed her hand from his cheek, pulled her gently to his chest and rested his head on top of hers. As her breathing became even, he closed his eyes. He needed to talk to someone about this, and Bella was probably the perfect person.
children. EA was raised in Joliet, IL; an suburb of Chicago, and went
to college at Kentucky State University where she earned her
Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and sung in the Gospel Ensemble. EA
had two daughters, Tayla Elizabeth and Ava Elease. EA, Tayla and Ava
reside in Marietta, Ga, an suburb of Atlanta, Ga.
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