Clashing over the fate of a historic building, Jennifer Aukland and Michael Reynolds are on course to become adversaries. She’s an architect devoted to green building and restoration. He’s a developer hell-bent on ripping down the old hotel she’s racing to save to make way for a new casino.
Chemistry leads to compromise, and for a time, they’re on the same team. Jennifer adds Michael – and marriage – to her safe and steady plan for the future. But when Michael throws caution aside and lands in a life-threatening situation, Jennifer’s world comes crashing down. In her family, she’s learned that recklessness leads to tragedy. She must decide if she can commit her life to someone who takes unnecessary risks with his. Will she take control of her own destiny, even if it means leaving Michael behind? Or will she risk everything for love?
Jennifer left Richard’s office squealing inside. Back in her office, she reached for her calendar, and her next thought nearly sent her to her knees. Tomorrow was September fifth.
She put a hand to her chest as the breath escaped her. Tomorrow was supposed to be her wedding day. She was supposed to be married to Michael Reynolds. How many times had she imagined that day – imagined walking down the aisle to meet him? Visions of yellow roses and bright summer flowers ran through her mind. It would’ve been spectacular. She wondered if he’d remember the date. Her mother would, for sure. Jennifer rubbed her temples. Oh, God, please don’t let her call.
“Hey, Jennifer, do you want to walk down to JJ’s or drive?” Courtney asked, appearing at Jennifer’s office.
Jennifer’s stomach twisted. JJ’s? Happy hour?
Courtney moved closer. “What’s the matter?”
Jennifer’s lips trembled, and tears stung her eyes. She shook her head, unable to speak.
Courtney knelt beside her. “Hey,” she said softly. “What’s going on?”
“I can’t go to JJ’s,” Jennifer whispered.
“Okay,” Courtney said, a soothing tone lacing her words. “You don’t have to. But you look like you need to get out of here. Do you want to do something else?”
Jennifer met her friend’s eyes, and almost choked. “I was supposed to go to my rehearsal dinner tonight.”
Courtney’s expression immediately switched from confusion to sympathy, and she drew Jennifer into a hug. “Oh, no. Oh, Jenny, I’m so sorry.”
A few moments later, Courtney sat back on her heels. “Listen, you shouldn’t be by yourself. Let’s grab carryout somewhere and watch a movie. Or get drunk. It’s close enough to five. We can scoot out early. If anyone asks, we’ll say you don’t feel well and I’m following you home. Not a big deal.” She took hold of Jennifer’s arm. “Let’s get you out of here.”
Yes, she should get out before she broke down and embarrassed herself. Tears she reserved for the shower where they could wash down the drain where they belonged. But eating and drinking? The thought of food turned her stomach, and drinking too much would make her sick, so that wasn’t an option. The fact was, there was nothing she could do. Nothing could take away this hurt. She’d just have to get through it. Somehow.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Darlene Deluca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her characters have a real-life quality and are well-rounded women (with some classy heroes sprinkled in) who juggle careers and personal life, and find fulfillment whether it’s through romance or solid I’ve-got-your-back girlfriends.
Deluca released her debut novel, “Unexpected Legacy,” in January, 2013. “Her Greatest Risk” is her sixth full-length novel.
Deluca has been a reader and writer since childhood. With a degree in Journalism, she started her writing career as a newspaper reporter, and later moved into corporate communications. For 21 years, Deluca was a writer/editor/producer for Hallmark Cards, Inc. She tolerates living in the Midwest (that’s where the fam is), but when the temperature plummets and the ground turns white, she often longs for a distant sunny beach.
Musings from Michigan