Greetings. I’m posting an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Speak Tenderly To Her. You can click here to read the synopsis. This is a romance novel, so I know it’s not for everyone. Still, you’re welcome to read it and give it a try. I will be going back and completing The Pledge once I publish this one. After that, we’ll see. Thanks for stopping by my blog. 

4-Speak Tenderly To Her

Isobel made her way to the kitchen and opened the fridge, only to find it lacking: a couple of beers, some milk, half a loaf of bread, leftover takeout burger and three lemons. The cabinets weren’t much better: corn flakes, coffee, sugar, syrup and a couple boxes of rice mixes. It was a pitiful sight, but it was more than what she had. She grabbed what was left of the burger and the milk and sat down at the counter to eat. Hopefully Tory wouldn’t miss it.

She looked around the apartment, as she chewed on the cold meat. It wasn’t cluttered as her bedroom, but it wasn’t neat either. She guessed he only came home to sleep and if that was indeed the case, then she probably wouldn’t be seeing much of him in the next two weeks.

Having eaten, Isobel disposed of the container and noted how messy the kitchen was: dirty dishes in the sink, cold coffee in the pot, crumbs all over the place. She didn’t remember Tory being this messy, but that was four years ago. People change in less time, she reminded herself.

Without thinking twice, she filled the sink with hot, soapy water and washed the dishes.

When she finished cleaning up, she dried her hands and went to find some clean sheets for her bed. The linen closet beside the restroom was empty, though. She smiled, knowing where to look. Tory had a habit of starting laundry but not finishing it. He would often leave his damp clothes in the washer for days, before remembering they were in there, only to have to wash them again. Or he would actually remember to dry the clothes and get them out of the dryer, to leave the laundry basket in the closet, or the hallway. It was annoying when they were married, but it was endearing now.

Isobel’s countenance dropped; it was only endearing because it was familiar, not because there was anything left between them.

She checked the dryer and sure enough, his bed sheets were in there. The fresh laundered smell was gone, but they were clean. She picked a couple for her bed, folded the rest and put them where they belonged. The least she could do to show her gratitude was clean up. She wasn’t sure he would appreciate it, but she would do it anyway.

Isobel spent the next hour moving boxes, fixing her bed and wondering if Tory would eventually come home. Not that she cared; she just didn’t want to feel put out. Tired, she curled up on her bed and fell asleep. Several hours later, she awoke to a loud noise. She was startled for a moment, disoriented even, forgetting where she was. But soon it all came back and she realized it was Tory making the ruckus. She couldn’t see much, it was still dark outside and she didn’t know what time it was – there was no clock in her room, but she knew it was late. She also knew that going by the way Tory was stumbling about, he was drunk.

Isobel lay still on the bed, her eyes on the door. She had left it cracked and watched as Tory went into his bedroom. She couldn’t remember a time she had seen him drink so much – he was always tempered, balanced, sober. But that was four years ago.

She rolled over to face the wall. She didn’t want to think about what she had done to him. She needed some sleep and when she got up in the morning, she was going to do whatever necessary to put the past behind her. She didn’t know what that would entail, but she would figure it out.

Try as she could, though, Isobel just couldn’t go back to sleep. She tossed and turned for several hours before she decided to get up and shower. She grabbed one of the towels in her room, her hygiene kit, which consisted of a travel-size shampoo and conditioner, razor and soap and quietly made her way to the bathroom, so as not to wake Tory.

Isobel wasn’t going to linger in the water, but when the hot water hit her, it felt like heaven. She relaxed as the streams of water massaged her back and gave her a sense of newness. She was clean and fresh and could start this day, having washed everything else off.

She had dried herself off and was reaching for her underwear when the door suddenly opened. Startled, she screamed and frantically reached for her towel to cover herself. Tory looked just as frightened; he apologized and shut the door. Isobel’s heart continued to race as she wrapped the towel tightly around her. She wasn’t prudish, nor was she shy. And she wasn’t showing enough for him to figure out she was pregnant. She just didn’t want him to see the bruises on her legs or her back.

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