Happy Spring everyone!!!!
I have to say, spring is my favorite season out of them all. The temperature is not to hot yet not to cold. Flowers are blooming, baby animals are frolicking in fields of green. Just down the road from my house are a couple of huge fields full of sheep and their lambs. I love driving by and watching the cute, fluffy babies as they run and jump.
If only this story was about the cute fluffy babies, but sadly, it’s not. This story you are about to read is about two people who happened to meet and fall in love, even though they shouldn’t have. I know this story will be covering a topic a lot of people don’t like or don’t want to read about.
Now that being said, when I started thinking about what my next book was going to be about, I wanted it to be something real. I wanted it to be a story that showed the characters good sides as well as their bad.
I am hoping to be able to release this book within the first couple weeks of May. So with that, I give you Life’s Second Chance. I hope you love Stone and Manny as much as I do.
All my love,
LIFE'S SECOND CHANCE
~ Bellingham ~
“Hey, Stone. Can we talk?”
Stone Macdonald felt his heart clench at those whispered words. He wondered how long until Samantha would bring up whatever was bothering her. He’d just hoped she wouldn’t do it as he was trying to go to sleep. But that was when they always seemed to have the most of their heart to heart conversations. They could lay there in the dark, not having to look at the other, while discussing whatever was bothering them.
He tried with everything to be home and present with Samantha and her daughters. There was just always a temptation to compare them to the ghost of another family he once completed.
For a moment or two, Stone considered pretending to be asleep already but Samantha had been stewing on whatever it was for a couple of weeks, causing a lot of tension between the two of them. “Yeah?”
“Who is she?”
With three little words, Stone felt his world turn upside down as he waited for the other shoe to drop. “Who?”
“The other woman you are in love with. Who is she?”
And there it was. The million dollar question. Stone wondered if he should tell the truth or not but one thing he always prided himself on was being honest. Honesty and communication is what made the world go ‘round in his opinion, so just having the thought of lying left him feeling guilty.
“I swear, Samantha, there is no other woman.”
“Uh huh, sure. I figured you wouldn’t tell me the truth. Can’t say I’m not surprised.”
Stone felt the bed shift under him as Samantha rolled onto her side, facing away from him. He couldn’t say how long he laid there staring at the ceiling, knowing that Samantha only pretended to be asleep next to him. Every so often he would hear a sniffle from the other side of the bed, knowing in the pit of his stomach Samantha was crying. He hated himself for hurting her, for making her cry, but how much should he tell her.
“I swear, Samantha, there’s no other woman.”
“And yet the last three times we’ve had sex, you’ve called out Mandy rather than my name.”
Stone could hear the hurt and accusation in Samantha’s voice. How was he supposed to tell her she had it all wrong? “Samantha, I swear to you, I don’t know anyone named Mandy.”
Before the last word finished leaving his mouth, Stone jumped, covering his eyes with his hands as Samantha flipped the bedside light on and rolled over to glare at him.
“Don’t fucking lie to me, damn it. You cried her name out. Three times to be precise. What the hell do you take me for? Stupid?”
Lowering his hands from his eyes, Stone took a moment to take a few deep breaths before pushing himself into a seated position with his back resting against the headboard.
“I, honestly don’t know anyone named Mandy. What you might have heard wasn’t Mandy but Manny.”
It took Samantha all but two minutes to understand just what it was that Stone was trying to say. “Wait a minute. Manny? Please tell me that is short for Amanda or something and it’s not a guy’s name. Tell me, you weren’t cheating on me with another guy?”
“I swear Samantha, I didn’t mean for it to happen but it’s over. He lives on the other side of the country and I haven’t spoken to him since I left.”
“You say that like it makes everything better. As if I shouldn’t be heartbroken over the fact you cheated on me. I thought you loved me. I thought I could trust you and now… now I just don’t know anymore. Let me ask you this, why him? What was so special about him that you couldn’t resist? Was it just because he was there and I wasn’t? Is it because he’s a guy? Or was there something else?”
Staring at his fingers as his thoughts raced through his mind, Stone didn’t know where to start. Each memory flew before his eyes faster than the previous one. From the first time he saw Manny’s sweet smile, the first time Stone heard his nervous giggle, to even the first whimper and moan of an orgasm racing through his forbidden lover.
“Just pick something, anything.”
“Why do you want to know, Samantha? I thought you would have been furious not curious.”
“Stone, I was furious a month ago when you first moaned his name. Hell, I even thought of grabbing one of the three guns in the house. Then, I was angry two weeks ago and after crying for the last three days I want to know what I did that was so awful, you had to resort to cheating on me.”
Sighing in defeat, Stone whispered, “You honestly didn't do anything wrong. It just sort have happened. I never considered a cute young guy being interested in me, especially considering my past. I know it was wrong but at the same time it felt right. Don't take that like there is something wrong with us, but there's something missing between us.”
“Doesn't mean I have to like it. Give me an example of something different. Something the two of you did that we wouldn't do. A memory or something. Show me.” Samantha exclaimed, a look of resignation on her face.
He didn't know how long he sat there thinking over the best four months of his life, trying to pick something out to hopefully show Samantha the difference. Closing his eyes a smile spread across his lips as a memory fluttered through his mind. Just the thought of the memory was enough for him to feel the sea breeze on his skin as the smell of the ocean filled his nose. Refusing to open his eyes, afraid he’d lose the sights and sound playing in his mind. Stone took a deep breath before starting his story.
Pulling his coat tighter around himself to try to chase away the crisp morning air off his neck, Stone anxiously waited for his young lover to pull in. When Manny found out that he actually had two days off, he’d almost begged Stone to accompany him and his daughter on their annual spring trip. Manny looked so earnest and adorable that Stone couldn't have said no, even if he wanted to.
Stone’s curiosity about the plans for the day consumed his mind because Manny had refused to tell him where they were going. The past three weeks had to be the best of his life. No one had ever made him feel the way Manny did. Sometimes Stone would see this look on Manny’s face that made him feel ten- feet-tall and bulletproof; Like he’d hung the moon just for Manny.
Not a day went by that Stone didn’t feel guilt or shame for the choice he made to cheat and yet, at the same time, there was no way he would change anything. Faster than he’d ever thought possible, Stone had fallen head over heals in love and was loath to give it up.
A smile covered his face as he watched Manny’s little gold car pull in the parking lot. Watching the car roll to a stop, Stone found himself chuckling at the sight of Manny’s ten-year-old excitedly waving from the back seat of the car, a wide smile spread across her slightly chubby cheeks. There was something about Manny’s daughter, Christian, that called to something deep down that he’d never felt before.
Climbing into the car before it came to a complete stop, Stone fastened his seatbelt before twisting around to give Christian a fist bump. “Hey guys. How are you today?”
“Hi, Stone! I’m good. Oh my gosh, do you know where we are going? I’m so excited. My dad wasn’t going to tell me because I can’t keep a secret but oh my God… I can’t believe it. We are going to have so much fun.”
Glancing out of the corner of his eye, Stone snickered at the look of annoyance on Manny’s face. It was a running joke with everyone who knew Christian that she couldn’t keep a secret to save her life and the fact her dad specifically told her not to say anything and the first thing she did as he got in the car was say something.
“Well sug, since it’s a surprise I don’t know where it is we are going but if you and your dad say it’s going to be fun then I believe we will have a blast. How was school this week?”
Stone listened as Christian told him all about her week at school, the fun she had with her friends, the trouble she got into in the library, even the award she won and getting picked to toss a whipped cream pie into her principal’s face. Stone laughed at the description of the look on her principal’s face, even though he had already heard the story from her dad and had seen the pictures.
By the time they had been on the road for a couple of hours, Christian ran out of stories to tell about school and had fallen asleep, leaving it safe for Stone to reach his hand out for Manny’s waiting palm. Quickly pulling Manny’s hand to his mouth to kiss the back of his hand, Stone whispered, “Hey gorgeous. I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too. Thank you for listening to her and just letting her ramble. She needed it.”
“Of course I listened to her. Babe, your daughter is an amazing little girl. Why wouldn’t I listen as she answered my question?” He asked. Stone had known from the beginning about Manny’s lack of self confidence but he never considered it would roll over to where his daughter was concerned.
Glancing over his shoulder to make sure his daugher was truly asleep, Manny explained, “While she had a good week at school, she didn’t have a good time at her other dads. It kills me to hear the stories she comes back with.”
“What do you mean, babe?”
“Last weekend was the father-daughter dance at school. Normally they do the dance the weekend before Valentine's Day but for whatever reason this year they decided to have it the first weekend of March instead. Anyways, when Christian had found out about the dance she asked him if he would take her since it was his parenting time and he promised he would. However, on the day of the dance, her other dad informed her that he had promised his new wife's two daughters that he would take them to the movies, so she could either go to the movies with them or stay home in her room. So, she stayed home and cried into her pillow the entire time they were gone.”
Throughout Manny’s entire story a rage like he hadn’t felt in a long time filled his soul. How could someone, a parent at that, treat their daughter with such disrespect? Stone couldn’t understand. He couldn’t blame Christian for refusing to go to the movies when her dad broke their date. “Didn’t you tell me you took her out to buy a brand new dress for this dance?”
“Yep and because I was at work I couldn’t go pick her up and take her myself. I felt like a horrible father because there wasn’t anything I could do. And that was just the tip of the iceberg for her weekend with him. You know, I am glad he met someone else who can fulfill whatever need it was that I couldn’t but the shitty thing is how she is treated as less since he now has other kids to think about. For example, remember how both her and I had food poisoning the other night? The next day, her dad made her stay in her room the entire night, not even allowed to come out for dinner because she might get the new baby and other kids sick. If he doesn’t want her there then why does he make her go? Why can’t he love her the way he’s supposed to?”
“That is seriously fucked up, babe. I’m so sorry for both her and you. I can’t believe he would treat her like that. Then again, after everything you’ve told me about him and how your relationship ended, I honestly can’t say I am too surprised.”
“Yeah, I know. I was so angry and hurt for her. It’s little things like what happened this last week that make these little trips we do all the more important to her. Sometimes, I just wish she had a man, besides myself, to show her and teach her how a man should treat her. Someone to give her a positive example of what a man is.”
It was conversations like this one that drove the nail home that what they were doing was wrong. However, they were moths to flame, unable to stop themselves from getting burned.
Before long the conversation turned to happier and funnier topics. Each of them laughing and joking with the other, simply enjoying the time they had with each other. Pulling into a gas station right off the interstate, Stone offered to pump the gas but Manny just waved him off, telling him he could pay for breakfast if he wanted as there was a great little donut shop down the street.
“Hey Stone?” Christian softly called out from her nest of pillows and blankets that covered the back seat of the car.
“Hey sleepy head. Did you have a nice nap?” He asked, twisting around in his seat to give Christian his attention.
“Mmhmm… Can I tell you a secret?”
Uh oh. Stone thought to himself as he nodded his head. He couldn’t help the feeling of dread which rapidly filled his stomach at her whispered question.
“No one’s ever made my dad laugh like you or even smile like you do. Sometimes, I like to pretend you were my other dad and when we go out like this, I pretend that we are a family. I know it’s wrong and I hope you don’t get mad at me… I just wish we had someone like you to love us.”
And there it was, the reason his stomach clenched at her question. What was he supposed to say to that? He wasn’t a parent. He didn’t have any real experience with kids because of his past, how was he supposed to let her down gently?
Before he could come up with something to say in response, Manny was back in the car and they were pulling away. Christian offered him a small smile while pressing her small finger to her lips in the universal secret sign while laying her head back down and closing her eyes to go back to sleep.
Over the next few hours, Stone could feel the curious looks Manny would shoot his way but he couldn’t help his silence. For the first time in a really long time, he didn’t know what to do. Should he call a halt to their relationship? Were they causing damage to Christian? Stone had so many questions and concerns but had no one he could turn to for advice and the last thing he wanted to do was break Christian’s confidence, so he stayed silent.
By the time they pulled into a parking lot next to a beach, Stone was no closer to figuring out what he should do so he pushed it out of his mind, bound and determined to have a fantastic day with the two people he loved more than anyone else.
“Alright you two, where are we?” He asked looking around at all the different people headed towards the beach. Most everyone had jackets and sweatshirts on to help ward off the cold, wet air but there were also some people dressed in full Native American outfits. The amount of time and patience that had to go into the bead work alone on their vests and jackets were astounding.
“Well you see, we are here to watch the Quinault’s tribe welcome the whales back. They hold this ceremony each spring and afterwards there is a meal and storytelling. We stumbled on this a couple of years ago, during our first trip to Forks and now we come every year.” Manny explained as they followed behind Christian, who was already skipping her way down the path to the beach.
“Come on guys, God you’re so slow sometimes. I hope we get to see Killer Whales today. They are so cool. Wouldn’t it be cool if one caught a seal right in front of us and all the blood squirted out of it, spraying everywhere?”
“Oh my God, Christian! That’s gross. Not to mention, they aren’t whales, they are orcas.” Manny exclaimed in mock horror as Stone started laughing. It was one of those laughs that had him doubled over, holding onto his stomach while gasping for air. Every time his laughter would die down, he would remember the look on the faces of people who’d heard Christian’s comment and start laughing all over again. Maybe it was the stress of everything finally getting to him but it seemed as if he couldn’t stop laughing. Even Manny had joined in laughing until they both had tears streaming down their cheeks.
The ceremony itself took two hours as the tribal people welcomed the whale migration back to the Pacific Northwest with song and dance. Christian became bored before too long and started wandering around, picking wild flowers and playing quietly.
As Stone listened to the ceremony he couldn’t help the idea that came to him as he watched Christian. Part of him longed to be able to make Christian’s wish come true but he knew deep down it just wasn’t possible. He couldn’t move to Washington and Manny couldn’t move away because of the custody agreement.
So with that thought in his mind, Stone decided that maybe just for one whole twenty-four hour period he would let Christian live out her fantasy. Without telling her, of course. By the time the ceremony was over, Christian was chomping at the bit to go walk along the beach and to be able to play in the sand, even if it was starting to rain.
“So why does Forks sound familiar?” He asked once they were walking down the deserted beach.
“One of mine and Christian’s favorite movies took place in Forks and was actually filmed on this beach. You’re going to think we are total geeks.” Manny explained, pausing only long enough to see the puzzled look on Stone’s face but before he could finish Christian butted right into the conversation.
“Haven’t you ever seen the Twilight movies? They’re our favorite besides Harry Potter.” Like a typical ten year old, Christian deposited the information and then took off running down the beach, laughing and giggling like mad. If he didn’t know better, Stone would think that Christian was trying to play match maker.
“Thanks a lot Christian! Now you’re going to really think I’m a geek.” Manny moaned into his hands while his face turned beat red. Stone could see the red creep down Manny’s neck, he was blushing so bad.
“Are you kidding? I’ve read all eleven books. I love both of those series. I’ve never watched the movies but I’ve read each one. Hell, I’ve read the Harry Potter series more than once.”
Laughing at the look of stunned relief that danced across Manny’s face, Stone asked what part was Manny’s favorite part of both series. By the time they turned around to head back towards the car, neither could believe how far they had walked lost in their conversation about the two different book series.
“Hey Stone, come here and look at this!” Christian shouted from the tide pools she had been investigating.
Glancing towards the young girl to make sure she wasn’t paying them any attention, Stone leaned in to press a quick kiss to Manny’s lips before heading across the beach. “Hey shortstop, what’d you find?”
“Look at this really cool sea star I found.”
“Oh wow! That’s really cool. Look, there’s another one on that rock over there.” Stone pointed towards a different rock. They spent twenty minutes or so carefully walking around on the rocks, pointing out different sea anemones and life. Each telling the other all they knew about what they found.
Eventually, Stone decided it was time for them to head back towards Manny. As they walked down the beach hand in hand, he listened to Christian’s idle chatter while just enjoying the time they had together. Spotting his lover sitting in the sand a ways down the beach Stone was hit with what he thought was a brilliant idea.
Bending down to Christian’s level, he pointed to the hillside that was covered with thousands of little yellow and purple wild flowers. Glancing towards Manny once more to make sure he wasn’t paying attention, Stone and Christian headed towards the mountain side. Both of them picked enough flowers to make two small bouquets before hiding them behind their backs as they made their way to where Manny still sat on the beach watching the waves.
As soon as they reached Manny’s side, Christian began counting and on the count of three they both pulled their hands out from behind their backs to present Manny with a small token of their love. Never in his life had Stone seen anyone with a look of such pure surprise and happiness. That look alone was enough to leave him feeling on top of the world.
By the time they headed towards the parking lot, they’d been at the beach for the entire day and they were starving. They’d been so busy enjoying each other's company that they missed out the lunch the tribe provided for everyone who came out to the ceremony but Stone couldn’t bring himself to care. They had fun and enjoyed the day together, even if the sun hid the day away and they spent more time wet than dry because of the misting rain.
Climbing up the hill to the parking lot Stone turned one last time to look out over the water, wishing the sky wasn’t cloudy because he would have loved to spend just a few minutes watching the sunset with his make-believe family.
“You okay?” Manny asked softly as he stopped next to Stone’s side.
“Mhm,” Stone sighed, pulling Manny into the crook of his arms, “just enjoying the sight once more before we have to leave.”
“I love you,” Manny whispered softly.
“Awe, I love you too boo.”
As the rain started softly falling around them once more, Stone quit trying to fight the temptation to pull Manny completely into his arms so he could lean down enough to steal a sweet kiss from his lover. With just the feeling of Manny’s soft lips against his own, everything else fell away until he heard nothing but the sound of his heart racing in his ears.
It wasn’t until his lungs felt as if he was being forced fed hot lava that Stone pulled away, breaking the seal of their lips.
“Damn babe. However am I going to be able to walk away from you? Promise me something, please. Promise me that when I leave, you will still talk to me because I can’t imagine my life without you in it.” He knew it was wrong of him to make Manny promise something like this but the words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.
With Manny’s whispered promise on the wind, they broke apart to head back towards the car only to find Christian curled up in the back seat, sound asleep with what had to be the biggest smile ever seen on her face.
“We stayed the night in Forks before heading back to Bellingham. I started pulling away from Christian after this trip because I realized that when I left she was going to be devastated and there was nothing I could do to fix it.”
Throughout his entire story, Stone never looked at his fiancé. He couldn’t. Between the guilt for how he had hurt her and the deep sadness and longing he had where Manny and Christian was concerned, Stone didn’t know what to do. Even though he hadn’t looked at her, the growing gap between them didn’t escape his notice. Nor did her absolute silence.
“So anyways, it’s not that you did something wrong or that there is something wrong with you. There was just… I don’t know how to explain it. Like… the first time I saw his smile it was like someone held defibrillator paddles to my chest and I couldn’t catch my breath. But at the end of the day, it’s over between us and he wants nothing to do with me. Hell, he hasn’t spoken to me since the day I left.” Unable to say anything more, Stone sat there in silence waiting for Samantha to say something. Anything. Even if she yelled and screamed at him until she woke her daughters up. Hell, even if she woke the neighbors up. Stone wouldn’t care. He just wished she would show something other than silence.
“You really love them both, don’t you?” Samantha finally whispered without looking at him. “Look, everyone makes mistakes. But what you need to decide is if your mistake was falling in love with someone you can’t have or if it was leaving them behind to come home. Either way you need to make a decision. Either you do everything in your power to move on and accept your life with me and my daughters or you fight for what you want.”
Before he knew what was happening, Samantha reached into her night table to pull out a beige colored envelope. “Here, this came for you. There’s no name but I figured since it was from Washington, it was probably from her… well him, all things considered. I think… I think I’m going to go sleep on the couch. Give you some time alone.”
Stone waited until Samantha left the room before picking up the envelope. He was almost afraid to open it. Afraid to see what was inside. How was he supposed to choose between Samantha and Manny? Hadn’t he already made his choice? Hell, he was sitting in Samantha’s bed.
And yet, not a day went by that he didn’t long to hear Manny’s voice or to sit on the couch with Christian and watch a movie, just to listen to her chatter throughout the entire film. He missed them both so much. More than he’d ever missed his mom when she kicked him out as a child, more than he missed his granny when he was locked up.
How did something that was only supposed to be fun and friends with benefits turn into this mess? How did he fix it?
Releasing the breath he didn’t realize he was holding, Stone opened the flip on the envelope and pulled out a folded piece of paper and a photo. Setting the piece of paper down, Stone stared at the photo of Manny’s smiling face, tracing the image with his fingertips.
The first thing he noticed was how Manny’s smile was forced and his eyes didn’t sparkle with happiness. The second and most important was how much weight Manny had lost since he’d last seen him. His face was so sunken in, Stone could see each and every bone. If he didn’t know better, he’d have sworn Manny was on drugs but Stone was positive that Manny would never, ever do drugs because he loved his daughter way too much.
Looking away from Manny’s beautiful face to look over his soon-to-be wife, Stone felt his stomach roll and turn with anger and frustration. After everything he’d heard about Manny’s fiancé, Stone couldn’t stand the woman. He hated the way she talked to Manny and Christian, the way she treated them both. But he always felt like he had no room to say anything so he stayed out of their relationship and Manny stayed out of his relationship with Samantha.
Setting the photo down to open the letter Stone began to read.
My dearest Stone,
I miss you.
I know I promised that I would stay in touch and I broke that promise. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve picked up my phone and started to text you, only to delete it all. Or how many times I’ve wanted to call but didn’t know what to say.
Before I start the next chapter of my life I decided you needed to hear from me why I broke my promise. For three days after you left, I couldn’t function. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. All I did was cry. Even breathing hurt. Nothing made me feel better… Not even Harry Potter and that’s my fix for everything when I am feeling down and depressed. Every time I thought I was starting to feel just the tiniest better, you’d send a text or call and I was right back to where I started from all over again. So I blocked your number. I’m sorry for doing that. I know I’m still not completely over you, nor do I think I ever will be but I don’t want to be alone.
I never imagined falling so head over heels in love with someone, again. And then you happened. How I wish I could change things. I wish I could move there or you could move here but I know it’s not in our cards.
So, before I marry Bethany, I wanted to tell you one last time just how deeply I love you and I always will. No matter how far the time or distance is between us.
Forever yours heart and soul,
Dropping the letter as if it burned him, Stone climbed off of the bed to pace back and forth as he thought about everything Manny wrote in the letter. He knew deep down how bad Manny had to be hurting based off of how much he hurt. Even after three months, his heart ached for both Manny and Christian.
Yet, at the same time they agreed it wasn’t forever. They agreed it was just supposed to be for fun while he was there. Now he was faced with making a very painful decision and he knew deep down, no one would be walking away pain-free from this.
Could he give up everything he had accomplished in the last year to follow his heart? Or would his head outweigh everything he felt, leaving him grounded where he was? Unable to make a decision, Stone collapsed into his favorite weathered captions chair to stare out at the dark sky as he began remembering.
Damian Porter has always known he was bisexual and hated labels, but when he moved to a small town USA, he didn't tell any of his friends and only dated women.
For the last year, Damian has been secretly in love with his friend, Terek martin. Every time they have hung out together his feelings grew stronger and stronger but so too did the fear.
Waking up in the same bed as his friend after a night of drinking was a dream come true. Especially when Terek started moaning in Damian's ear. But will all of his dreams continue to come true as the sun rises or will everything crash and burn?
Welcome to my author biography. Short and sweet.
I love writing about the men in my books and meeting their personalities. The stories we create together make for very lifelike and relatable experiences. For the most part, my books exist in the Lei Carol multi-verse but can line up with some of my influences and real life (but not much). Each story I bring to life has its own trials and tribulations. Pick up one today. My personal favorite is Unlocking the Past.
Currently I live in Southern Oregon with my two cats, Outkazt & Torilei (sounds like Torilie not Torilee) but am in the works to hopefully make a big move this year. I am always amused by my muse and what he finds as inspiration. Anything and everything is up for grabs when it comes to my muse.
More often than not I can be found sitting at the kitchen table, headphones plugged into my computer with Pandora playing, a large cup of coffee next to me growing cold while I try to ignore what ever distraction tactics my cats are deploying.
Feel free to contact me by email, twitter or facebook. I’m usually always around either on my computer or phone.