The Cliff by Christie A. C. Gucker
Steamy Romance*Publisher: Pagan Writers Press (Release: September 28, 2012)
Purchase: Pagan Writers Press
Can a childhood pact affect the lives of three adults?
Love and betrayal surrounds the lives of lifelong friends Lanie Rhodes, Grant Bennett, and Dane Voight. Years ago, they made a pact to remain together as friends forever. The boys also made another secret pact that same day—to never vie for Lanie’s love.
Grant and Lanie have secretly been pining for one another since they were children.
Now grown up, they finally admit their feelings for each other and what ensues is a twisted tale of deception as Dane does everything he can to stop them.
The story weaves around this uneven love triangle. What will happen to the pact? Will friendships be destroyed? Will lovers emerge?
When I got to the house, I headed around back. I knew Jennifer would be there. Whenever Jennifer wanted to have tea, it meant on the veranda in the back of the house. Usually, when she asked for a meeting, it meant she was going to give some sort of speech. I was hoping to get a good talking to.
“Hello, Lanie. I guess some habits never die.”
“Hi, Jennifer. No, they don't.” I smiled and pulled out the chair and sat down. I started fidgeting with my spoon, my shirt, and the table. I looked at the view of the ocean and suddenly my mind was back on the beach the other day with Grant. Funny. Everything led back to Grant. Every memory, Grant was there. Every moment of my life, Grant had been there.
“Are you nervous about something?”
“No. Yes. I have no idea. I—”
“Lanie, you have nothing to be worried about here. Ever. Let's talk. I have some things I thought maybe we should put on the table.”
“Okay,” I said warily.
“I noticed some interesting things with my son. I don't think I've ever seen him quite … so alive as he seems now. Do you think you might want to clue me in on why? I know he's seeing someone, but he doesn't want to talk about it yet. I thought maybe you might fill me in. You know, woman to woman.”
I wanted to spill everything. Jennifer's tea must have had something in it, truth serum or something. I suddenly felt like hiding things was ridiculous. I looked into her beautiful eyes and realized they were the same eyes Grant had. Being so intimate with him made me realize things I had missed that were right in front of me.
“I also heard you're seeing someone, too.”
“Of course. He said you wouldn’t tell him anything. He asked me to get the low down.”
“Now, anything you don't want me to tell him, I promise, stays right here with us. Okay?”
I nodded and waited for the inquisition.
“So. Are you ready to tell me all about you and Grant being together?”
I choked on my tea. I choked so badly I couldn't stop coughing. Jennifer jumped up from her seat and began smacking me on the back. When I finally regained my composure, I just stared at her with wide eyes.
“Lanie, it's so obvious.”
“Yes. You're doing a terrible job of hiding it. All the stares and secret touches and well, you're not hiding it very well.”
“So my career as a secret agent is pretty much out of the question?”
“Pretty much, dear.”
“Jennifer, to be completely honest, I'm in love with your son. I promise you, I'll never hurt him. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. He is just so amazing and perfect and romantic and beautiful inside and out.”
She smiled and nodded. She didn't respond for a few moments. I started to regret saying anything. Then, finally, she spoke. “Lanie, Grant has been pining for you since he was three. It's about time he finally did something about it.”
“Yes. Even at three he used to refer to you as his wife. He's never stopped, you know. He still calls you that.”
“He calls me his wife?” Oh my God. Grant calls me his wife to his parents! I felt my heart start to patter at an alarming rate in my chest, so much so, that I could hear it in my head. I wondered if Jennifer could hear it, too.
“Yes, Lanie. Does that surprise you?”
“A little. I just had no idea. All these years.”
“Yes, all these years. Nicole and I used to joke around about how we had you both married off as toddlers. We always believed that you two would get married someday.”
“Nicole thought that?”
“Nicole wanted that. Do you know what her last words to me were?”
“No. Please, tell me.”
“She told me to take care of you. She asked me to step in and cover for her when she was gone. I said yes, of course. And then she told me that she knew you and Grant were fated to be together. She wanted so much for you to find love and happiness, and that she knew it was going to be with Grant. She knew it. Even back then.”
“So, my mom would be happy that we're together? Do you know how much this means to me?”
“Yes, dear. Do you know how much this means to me?”
“I don't understand.”
“Lanie, all any parent wants for their child is for them to be healthy, happy and find love. Grant is so different now. He's so alive and happy with you. You do that for him. You are the piece that completes him. The piece that has been missing, despite the fact that it was always there right in front of him, in front of both of you. You are his soul mate. I believe that. I always have. I've watched you two for your whole lives. It was so blatant. I can't believe it didn't happen until now.”
“So, you're happy?”
“I'm ecstatic! I can't wait for a wedding and grandchildren and to be able to finally call you my daughter, for real.” Jennifer's eyes got a bit teary. I could tell everything she was saying was heartfelt and true.
I felt my eyes get moist, too, and I got up and threw my arms around her. She laughed and hugged me back.
“Now, can you tell me why you two won't just come out and tell us?”
“It just all happened so fast. It's been so surreal. And I want it to be perfect, and well, there were some other things going on. And it's all tied together and we didn't have time to sort it all out before you got here, and then Dane … .”
“Dane? What's wrong with Dane? Isn't he happy for you?”
“Happy. Yeah, not so much.”
Christie A.C. Gucker lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets. Being a mother is one of the greatest joys of her life. She has worked in the advertising industry for over 20 years as a degreed artist, but also works in the fine arts, especially sculpting out of stone or snapping photographs. Christie is also a singer and musician, and can be found singing on a few CDs.
After the death of her father, Christie searched for something to fill her desire to make a mark in this world. Her love of the arts and creativity allowed her to search for a new medium, which she found with a pen instead of a brush. Being an avid reader her whole life, and with her family cheering her on, she decided to take her shot, and began writing.
Fascinated by the supernatural and sharks, Christie studies both avidly. You’ll be sure to find something spooky lurking somewhere in her stories. Her greatest joy is sitting on a beach with her family while surf fishing, flying kites or building sandcastles with her girls.
a Rafflecopter giveaway