Never Without Hope (Sacred Vows Book 1)

BOOK: Never Without Hope (Sacred Vows Book 1)
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Never Without Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Sutton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing Hearts books

 

 

 

Dear
Reader,

 

Never Without Hope
is a first-person account of a modern-day Christian woman, Hope Williams, who finds herself caught in the sticky web of adultery. Rather than dealing with the typical question of why bad things happen to good people, however, this story addresses the question: Why do good people do bad things?

 

Often, married women who once experienced satisfying marital relations will find themselves sharing less intimacy with their spouses over time. For some women, this isn’t an issue, but for many women physical neglect in marriage slowly destroys their security, leaving them vulnerable to temptation regardless of their moral worldview.

 

Why are there so many women having affairs? This novel provides one answer to that difficult question as you read about how Hope learns a gut-wrenching lesson about love and faithfulness when her husband starts experiencing impotence and fails to provide her the intimacy she yearns for. I hope you enjoy the story.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Michelle Sutton

 

 

Endorsements:

 

 

“People don’t often talk about the kind of topics Michelle writes about—like what goes on behind closed doors. One of the things I love about Michelle’s writing is that she blows those doors off the hinges.”

 

Tosca Lee, author of
Demon; A Memoir
,
Havah
, and
Iscariot

www.toscalee.com

 

"Sutton is not afraid to be real and tell it like it is.
Never Without Hope
takes the reader on an emotional ride they won't soon forget. The character's issues are so intense and realistic that everyone can learn something about faith and their relationship with God as they meet the characters in this book and grow with them. This would be a great ministry tool for couples dealing with intimacy struggles in their marriage."

 

Victoria Christopher Murray, best-selling author of
The Ex-Files
,
A Sin and a Shame
,
Too Little
,
Too Late
and
Lady Jasmine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

I never made friends on airplanes. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. I talked to people all the time, but I never got to know them well enough to carry on a relationship after the plane landed. That was before I met a man who changed the course of my life…forever.

I had
just attended a writers’ conference in L.A. and really wanted an appointment with the Book Nook Publishing House, but their rep had not shown up. That really discouraged me. The fact that my husband had refused to come with me and provide moral support hadn’t helped.

James could be a great guy, but he was too cheap to spend money on what he considered frivolous vacation activities. He
’d rather use the money to remodel the house. So when I told him I wanted to spend a few more days in L.A., he tried to talk me out of it, probably to spare me the humiliation of being brushed off.

I
’d tried to convince James that an editor would agree to see me once they found out I’d come all the way from New York just to present my proposal. I was still shocked when someone agreed to meet with me at the office without an appointment. At least the trip hadn’t been a waste of money.

The editor
's assistant had loved my story idea about a college graduate who discovered her one true love while spending the summer traveling Europe. She'd requested the full manuscript. Fortunately I’d brought one with me.

Once I told him
my exciting news, my husband would have to devour his words. In fact, I’d wanted to tell him right away, but he wouldn’t answer his phone!  Frustrated, I hung up without leaving a message. Again.

James
always answered his cell phone. So why not today?

A
heavy sigh whooshed from me and my shoulders sagged with disappointment. I really missed my family and couldn’t wait to return to Crandall, New York, my virtually unknown hometown on the outskirts of Rochester, and give my family a hug.

B
ut back to the reason for my trip. The fact that the publishing house had seemed very interested in my book had produced a manic-like euphoria in my brain. I just knew my husband would be thrilled with the news, though he still preferred a book contract in hand. I always told him these things took time. I guess I’m just more patient than he is.

Anyway, I was bursting
with excitement, and I needed to share my good news. I tried calling him again, but no one answered. I glanced briefly at the men seated to my right and my left. I hated bragging, especially to complete strangers, but if the conversation turned in that direction, what could it hurt? 

I smiled at the thought
and peered at my seat neighbors. The blond man to my right glared at his PDA, then muttered something before turning it off. The dark-haired man to my left dozed peacefully.

Returning my attention to the blond PDA guy, I noted wire-rimmed glasses sliding down his nose. They made him look mature, like a businessman minus the suit.  On the other hand
, the blemishes on his forehead caused him to look younger, more like a college student. I focused on his eyes, reluctant to draw attention to his marred complexion. Nothing bugged me more than when I had a pimple and someone stared at it while they were talking to me.

Yeah, I still g
et an occasional blemish.

I extracted my Palm Pilot from my purse.
“Nice PDA. What games have you got?”

He turned his PDA back on and scrolled through the menu.

Scrabble
! I’d always wanted that game on my handheld.


Want to swap?” I asked.

PDA guy watched as I scrolled through my game list, trying to tempt him with a reasonable trade.
“All right, I’ll trade you
Bounce Out
for
Scrabble
.”


It’s a deal.” Rather than shaking on it, we pointed our PDAs at each other and beamed the games while giggling like junior high students. I know, it’s pathetic for a thirty-six-year-old woman to act like that, especially with a young twenty-something guy. Maybe having a child kept me young. That was my excuse today.

Though we had fun swapping games, to my relief, blond PDA guy
didn’t flirt with me, and for whatever reason, I never asked him his name. Frankly, I disliked overly-flirtatious men. That coy dog look got old pretty fast.

The dark-haired guy
on my left had been snoozing pretty soundly since the plane left the runway. He’d even dozed through the distribution of our freebie drinks. Unfortunately, the plane didn’t have a movie showing, and I’d never liked listening to music over the airline headphones. I literally had nothing to do and was getting bored tinkering with my PDA.

And stupid me, I hadn
’t packed an extra book to read. The one in my purse had less than a chapter left. But I picked it up and delved into the story anyway.

My body tingled as
the story concluded with a heated lovemaking scene that took my breath away. I just hope no one noticed me panting as I shut the book. I really needed to stop reading those types of stories. They tended to get me worked up. I sighed and slipped the novel into my purse.

S
till euphoric from the romance I’d read, I watched Dozing Man for a few minutes as he slept. He had a really nice profile, kind of how I pictured the hero in the book, except with a straight nose and full lips.

His olive skin intrigued me
. I noted his jaw line held a trace of shadow.

My body still humming,
I admired his lips and wondered what it would be like to kiss him. A jolt shot through me as I realized the scene in the novel had made my mind go places better avoided.

As if he sensed me watching him, his dark lashes fluttered. Still
too intrigued to turn away, I gazed at him as he stirred and opened his eyes.

Nodding briefly because I knew I
’d been caught, I turned away and did my best to act like I found my PDA fascinating. But first, I had to turn it back on.

I don
’t normally stare at people, not even handsome ones.

My PDA made this
tiny buzzing noise, and a few seconds later the battery died.

Sigh.

A sudden urge to use the restroom made me squirm. I really hated to wake Dozing Man again, but a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do. So I carefully stood and turned until I faced my chair. Stretching one foot into the aisle, I lunged, missed, and lost my balance.

Ungf
, he grunted.

Yep,
you guessed right. I’d fallen right onto Dozing Man’s chest and knocked the wind out of him. I wish I were kidding about that.

With
now-burning cheeks, I apologized and pointed. “I was just trying to get to the rest…” Before I finished my sentence the man had closed his eyes again, as if totally unfazed. No snapping at me; in fact, no response at all. I was intrigued to say the least.

And more than a little relieved.

Forcing the sensation of his rock hard chest under my palms from my mind, I answered nature’s call in the restroom, and tried not to lose my balance when I stood back up. Seemed like people were destined to experience turbulence the moment they started pulling up their drawers. But I digress.

I hesitated before entering the row of seats. Glancing at Dozing Man, I noticed a trace of a smile on his full lips. He must
’ve sensed me standing there because he tipped his legs to the side so I could slide by. This time I fell directly onto my seat instead of dropping onto the stranger’s lap. Doubtful I’d ever live down that embarrassing moment, now I always request an aisle seat.


Hi,” he said to me as he straightened in his chair.

Clipping my seatbelt, I nodded.
“Nice to meet you. What’s your name?”

With
a tentative smile, he extended his hand. “Antonio Perotta. But friends call me Tony.”


Hope…Williams.” I clasped his offered hand and shook it, unable to keep from noticing how his large hand swallowed mine up. And it felt so warm, and strong. Lingering a few seconds longer than was socially acceptable, I then folded my hands on my lap.

A growl erupted from his abdomen. He laughed and patted his firm abs through a skin-tight Hard Rock Caf
é T-shirt. I peered closer and saw it was from Rome, Italy.


You miss lunch before boarding?” Lame comment, but it was a conversation starter. A way to keep occupied for the duration of the flight.


Yeah.” He quirked a half-grin. “You eat yet?”

It was then that I
honed in on his accent. I shook my head. “No, not lunch, anyway.”

He smiled and his eyes flashed with delight.
“That is very good.”

I hesitated at his enthusiasm, wondering what he meant by that, then licked my lips.
“You know, you talk just like this Italian guy I dated in high school.” I pointed at his chest. “I see you got your T-shirt in Rome.”

His grin broadened.
“Yes. I move from Italy three years now. My English is not so good, but I get more better with much practice.”


Sounds pretty good to me.” I smiled in response. “Want to grab lunch in the terminal? I’d love to ask you a few questions about Italy, and I’m starved.”


Very good, yes.” He glanced at my lips, then his gaze dragged back to my eyes. I couldn’t help noticing he was pretty good-looking. I may have been married, but I wasn’t blind. Of course, handsome men never affected me that much, so I wasn’t worried. Though the physical aspect of my love life had waned a bit, and sex had become more infrequent over the past few months, I got my needs met at home, where they should be.

I
had  to admit I’d had a number of men hit on me over the years. They never cared that I was married. Of course I said no to their suggestions and subtle advances, though the attention was a bit flattering at times. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

But I had a loving husband. There was no way I
’d jeopardize our relationship for a fling. I couldn’t believe my thoughts even headed in that direction. James was my best friend, despite our occasional differences of opinion. He was my son’s father, and we’d always trusted each other completely. It was as simple as that.

So why
try so hard to convince myself? I shook off the thought.

Tony was
so good-looking. Maybe I shouldn’t have thought that way about him, but it was true. He also smelled great. Like spices and leather. However, I only asked him to go to lunch with me because I hated eating alone, plus I had a few questions for my book. And he was obviously hungry. How wrong could that be?

Anyway, back to our rendezvous. The pilot
had announced that the plane had prepared for landing. Queasiness enveloped me the entire time the plane circled the airport. I had to blow cool air from the above nozzle straight into my face to prevent my stomach from heaving. The last thing I needed to do after falling onto Tony was to lose my stomach contents—meager as they were—onto his lap as well.

Relief swept over me like an ocean breeze when the aircraft finally hit solid ground. Within a few short minutes, I caught my breath and said goodbye to PDA man. He waved at us over his shoulder and took off.

Tony pulled a leather bomber jacket from the overhead bin and slid it on. It smelled wonderful. He stood in front of me while passengers packed the aisles. I tried not to notice his tight jeans. Didn’t do so well, though.

He grabbed my carry
-on luggage and draped it over his shoulder as he waved for me to follow him. I did, and soon we stopped at a fast food restaurant. At first I declined food due to nausea, but a vanilla milkshake sounded good. To my surprise Tony paid for my lunch. Of course, it totaled less than five dollars, but I still appreciated it.


Thanks. That was so nice of you.” I smiled.

He nodded shyly and proceeded to get a table.

While eating we discussed his recent trip to see his family in Italy, how he ended up living in New York, and a variety of other mundane subjects like where he worked, why he’d flown to Dallas, etc. As we chatted about our travels I told him about the novel I’d brought to the conference in L.A. God bless the man, but he asked me about my writing. That’s when things really picked up. I’m very passionate about storytelling.

After indulging him with tales of my favorite plot scenarios, I handed him my business card. He
’d said he wanted to read my book but I’d left my only hard copy with the editor. “Here’s my e-mail address. I can send you some of my chapters if you want.”


Wow, I would like very much. You sound like very good writer. I bet you sell many, many books.” He grinned and his eyes held a distinct sparkle in them. Like he thought I was famous or something. Hardly!

BOOK: Never Without Hope (Sacred Vows Book 1)
5.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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