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Authors: Melanie Codina

Love Required

BOOK: Love Required
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L
OVE
R
EQUIRED

Book Three

The Real Love series

By Melanie Codina

 

Copyright © 2014 by Melanie Codina

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the publisher.

The book you are about to enjoy is a work of fiction. A resemblance to any person, living or dead, events and/or location is purely coincidental. References to real locale have been allowed by the businesses and used in manner to create atmosphere the reader can relate to. All events, the characters and storylines have been created by the author’s imagination and have been used fictitiously.

Cover design/art done by the awesome Regina Wamba over at Mae I Design and Photography. For more information visit her website at:
http://www.maeidesign.com/

Or find her on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/MaeIDesignandPhotography?fref=ts

Editing done by the fabulous Madison Seidler.  For more information visit her website at:

http://www.madisonsays.com/
 

Or find her on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/mseids

Published by Melanie Codina, San Diego, California.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. 
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
 

Dedication

In life, we make mistakes. It is hoped that we learn from them and the scars they leave behind. Our scars are there to remind us of where we’ve been, they tell our history. All of them are testaments of survival, and that is what makes them noteworthy. Scars don’t define us or tell us where we’re going … they show us where we never want to be again.

This story is for anyone with scars of their own.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

At any given time, there are at least a dozen different voices in my head, all with their own sets of opinions and demands. Even though the majority of them are fictional, there are few based in reality. Some are passerby’s and some can be the supporting structure of my world. Whether you are the guy in line at Starbucks whose bad attitude caught my attention, or a permanent fixture in my life, all of you contribute.

And while I’m sure the jerk at the coffee shop has no idea his little tantrum just landed in a book, those of you who are important, know you have. To all of you, however trivial or vital your existence is in my world … thank you for being a part of it. From my bitches who know how to Keep It Real, to my children who make me whole, I would be nothing without you. I hope that when you read my stories, you can see where your contributions have come through.

As I make another contribution to the world of fiction, I find it hard to acknowledge each and every person who has touched me along the way. The volume of words needed to do so would add chapters on this book. The insane amount of bloggers and readers who have voiced their love and support of my books is humbling. Without you, my books would just be words, waiting to be read. You have given them life, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Taking a step behind-the-scenes of Love Required, I have to give props to my Cover artist, Regina Wamba at MaeIDesign.com. The covers you create find the readers for me, and for that, I thank you.

To my editor, Madison Seidler, you have once again taken my words and made them beautiful. Thank you for hearing what I say and making others want to hear them too. You are my super hero and I am currently working on your super hero name.

My beta readers and friends, Kristy, Jen, Marivett, Angie and Brenda, thank you for being brave enough to read the rough
rough
drafts. I never would have finished without you. To Casey, Starla, Debbie, Melinda and Trish, thank you for taking the time to read my unpolished work and wanting more.

To my children, you are the lights of my life, the pains in my neck and most certainly the foul odors in my day. Keep doing what you’re doing.

And to my husband, Daniel, you are the love of my life, the thorn in my side and the hand that I love to hold. You know there are many songs I hear in my head when I think of you. A list I can sum up with one liners, song titles and quotes like: Me and You; The Only Exception; All I Need To Know; I Won’t Give Up; Hard To Love; and You Had Me From Hello … but I think I hear you the most when Jason Mraz says stuff like, “Maybe I annoy you, with my choices, well you annoy me sometimes too with your voice. But that ain’t enough for me to move out and move on, I’m just gonna love you, like the woman I love.” Thank you for making me laugh out loud, gasp in shock and smile every single day. I love you.

 

Table of Contents

L
OVE
R
EQUIRED

Dedication

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Table of Contents

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

EPILOGUE

About the Author

 

PROLOGUE

Standing at the kitchen sink, Victoria rhythmically washed then snapped the ends off the fresh green beans, before tossing them in the nearby strainer. Recalling the events of her day, she couldn’t help but smile. It wasn’t every day a woman got her first look at her unborn child. After thoroughly drying her hands on her apron, she reached into her pocket and pulled out the paper the ultrasound technician had given her.

She could clearly identify the tiny spinal cord and head in the grainy black-and-white image, as well as the beginnings of what would be arms and legs. It was amazing what technology could produce, and the fact that she could carry around a picture of her developing child, blew her away. After one last look, she carefully folded it and slid it back into her pocket, making a mental note to pick up something from the store so she could protect the image. It’s not like she could put it in a picture frame like the average mother-to-be did.

No. This precious little being needed to be, would be, protected, at all costs, and that meant not displaying his or her existence to her husband. Damien wouldn’t be pleased to learn they’d conceived a child. A shiver ran over her body at the thought of what her husband would do if he ever found out. That was why he wouldn’t—couldn’t—ever find out. She knew time was of the essence, now more so than ever.

Glancing at the clock, she calculated how much time there was before Damien came home. He was nothing if not predictable; she knew that for certain. Which was why she was pushing to get dinner completed before he arrived, while also keeping in mind what could happen if she didn’t. Reaching up, she ran her hand over the thin but raised scar that ran along her right cheek. He called it an ‘everyday reminder’ of why she should always tend to his needs first. It also served to remind her to always make fresh vegetables and avoid having cans in the house.

Victoria had learned to identify the things that Damien could use against or on her. She hadn’t even considered him using the top to an opened can of green beans, which was a mistake she hadn’t made since.

Rinsing the fresh vegetable mixture in her strainer, she dumped them in a pot before checking the chicken in the oven and giving the simmering Alfredo sauce a stir. Turning back to the pot of vegetables slowly filling with water, she closed her eyes and sighed. She smiled at the thought of her child again and placed her hand on her stomach.
My little miracle
, she thought as she turned the water off and placed the pot on a burner.

Once again at the sink, she washed the dishes she’d already used so as not to set Damien off. A clean house was part of her duty, part of the whole “tending to his needs first” routine. For her, a clean kitchen provided less weapons for him to threaten her with. After turning off the water, she reached for a towel to dry her hands when she felt a hand stroke down the length of her hair.

She stiffened as she looked at the clock to see that Damien had come home early. Panic began to bubble up at the thought that his dinner wasn’t prepared yet since he hadn’t been due home for another forty-five minutes. Not only was his meal not ready, she also hadn’t changed or cleaned herself up for dinner, as per his instructions. Battling the sudden need to vomit, she tried to relax for him. Reactions that broadcast her fears had only triggered his need to torment her lately. Victoria wasn’t sure why he had been more aggressive recently, but it was another reminder that time was short. Her plans to protect her child needed to be cemented in place, sooner rather than later.

Trying to find her voice, she cleared her throat and said, “Damien, you’re home early. Is everything okay?”

Damien pressed his body into hers from behind as he swept her hair to one side, away from her face. She fought the urge to shiver as she felt his nose press against the side of her neck. He inhaled deeply before saying, “Can’t a husband come home early to see his wife? Are you not happy to see me?”

Immediately recognizing his words as ones she needed to answer correctly, she said, “Of course I’m happy to see you. I was only expressing my concern for your needs.”

A satisfied groan rumbled against her back. “Your words please me very much, Victoria.”

Slightly relieved, she continued, “I apologize for your dinner not being on the table yet. Since I wasn’t aware of your early arrival, your meal isn’t quite ready. Would you like me to slice up some cheese and tomato for you to snack on while we wait?”

Knowing exactly how to speak and what to say to make him believe she was compliant was imperative. Patiently, she awaited his response as he slowly began to run his fingers through her long, thick hair. Momentarily cursing herself for not putting it up, she prayed that he didn’t come along any tangles. Damien loved to stroke her hair, but despised when she allowed knots in it. Once his hand made the full sweep down the long length, she slowly let out a deep breath.

BOOK: Love Required
5.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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