Absolution on Sunday

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I'm having a weekend sale and Absolution is one of the books on special. This women's fiction novel has been nominated for a readers award in the Building Relationships Around Books club. Get your copy for $0.99 on Amazon.

When Annette pulled into the premises, it was one o' clock. She was doing this on an off-chance, but something told her she'd be lucky. It was around dismissal time, since classes let out much earlier during summer school.

The boy wasn't sitting on the low fence where he'd been last time, and she didn't spot him in the cluster of children waiting in the small gazebo that separated the entrance and exit. They were a colorful bunch, dressed in casual clothes in honor of the summer.

She eased the Lexus up the driveway and made a U turn in front of a rambling building. Hoping she hadn't made a wasted trip, she coasted toward the gate. Although she wouldn't admit it to anybody but herself, Xavier's son was intelligent. The limited contact she'd had with him was proof that he could take a message to his mother. He'd been trusting when she'd taken him from Justine's yard, because he knew she was Kelleigh's mother, having seen her a few times at Xavier's shop. Now, he wouldn't be as guileless.

Halfway down the driveway, she spotted him walking by himself, knapsack on his back and swinging his lunch bag in one hand. Gripping the steering wheel hard, she wondered what, besides good sense, would prevent her from running him over. Less than a second after the thought crossed her mind, she shook her head. No matter how hurt she was, she wouldn't go there. Bad enough that she'd taken him from his mother's front yard, but Xavier had left her no choice. He'd taken Kelleigh and wouldn't let her come home. It was only fair that he felt the same loss she'd been going through.

She waited until a little girl went past the boy and he was alone again.  Everything about him reminded her of Xavier—even the way he walked as if he had all the time in the world. She pulled up next to him and rolled down the window. "Hi, Emile."

At the sound of her voice, he looked sideways. The whites of his eyes took over his face and the moment he formed the thought, Annette knew what he was going to do. When he ran, she swung the car sideways and blocked his path. It took her only a few seconds to unlock the seatbelt and dart around the back of the car to block his exit.

"I told my daddy I saw you here before," he said. Although his voice was uneven, he stood with his feet spread wide as if ready to fight. "He said to tell him if you came back."

She grabbed him by both arms and spoke into his face. "Don't you dare tell Xavier you saw me."

"Or what?"

For an instant, she thought her ears were fooling her and she shook Emile. "Don't you dare back-answer me, you little bastard."

"Take your hands off him, Annette."

Drawing a sharp breath, she loosed Emile and spun to face his father. "Xavier!"

He brushed her aside and grabbed hold of Emile, who looked as if he was about to cry. "Go sit in the truck," Xavier said.

"But Daddy—"

Xavier pinned Annette in place with a glare while he spoke to the boy. "Just do what I say, Emile."

"What if she cuts you again?"

"She won't," Xavier said, giving Emile a gentle push. "Go."

Walking backward, Emile left them and stood by the door of Xavier's truck watching them.
Annette looked up at Xavier and quailed where she stood. It seemed that every interaction between them in the last two years had been hostile, but this was something on another level. She sucked in a breath to speak and changed her mind. Nothing she said could explain why she was here with Emile when she had no business on the school grounds.
The stickiness in her armpits and the heat on the back of her neck reminded her that she was standing on hot asphalt in the middle of a summer afternoon.

Xavier had to be baking in the navy polo shirt he wore, not that he'd notice right now. The raging heat surrounding them was reflected in his eyes.

Although she expected him to speak, when he did, she stumbled backward.

"Everything I say to you goes in one ear and out the other, doesn't it?"

She held her silence because nothing she said would absolve her of the things she'd done.
Xavier smiled, but didn't say anything else. She could almost believe he was being pleasant, but for the fact that his gaze went cold. "I won't waste any more breath on you."

When he showed his teeth again, in a way that made her think of a lion coming in for the kill, Annette ignored the chill that chased down her back. She didn't have a clue what he was thinking, but the food she'd eaten sat like a cannonball  in her stomach, telling her that she'd pushed Xavier way past his limit.

He walked away, leaving her rooted to the asphalt. As if he'd forgotten something, Xavier returned to stand less than a foot away. "You won't stop until you destroy yourself," he said. "Face facts. Our marriage was over long before the divorce. You've lost your daughter and all sense of decency. For heaven's sake, a social worker stalking a child? Where's your brain and your self-respect? I'm ashamed to say I was married to you and that you're the mother of my child."

Shaking his head, he continued, "I'm beginning to think you're beyond help. You're a train wreck and until you check yourself, I'll do what I have to do to keep Kelleigh, Emile and Justine safe from you."

Her mouth hung open while Xavier got into his vehicle, said something to the boy and rubbed a thumb across his cheek, the way he used to do with Kelleigh when she needed comfort. With wide eyes, the child studied her through the windscreen as if she were some alien creature.

When the truck rolled past her, Annette went to sit inside the Lexus. Hissing air through her teeth, she put the car in gear and drove out of the school premises.

Her thoughts ricocheted in her head, making her madder and madder. Then her eyes smarted and the tears gathered and escaped. Soon she had to swipe the back of her hand across her eyes. Sobs hitched in her throat and the tears came harder. Before she lost control and had an accident, she swung the car into a side road, folded both hands on the steering wheel and howled.

To check out my other books on sales this weekend including a New Adult novel and some romantic suspense reads, please visit Amazon

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