Excerpt from the Prologue
THIS TIME FOREVER
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A relentless northeast wind howled across the Chesapeake, driving angry whitecaps one on top of the other to pound against an ever vulnerable shoreline. Ancient oaks and locusts groaned under the weight of ice laden limbs. Smaller, more delicate branches resembled slender glass fingers that filled the air with a low, eerie peal, as they tapped together like mournful chimes.
Blake Morrison stood motionless, his tall frame filling the opening of the back door to the house he’d grown up in. He stared in silence at the driving snow accumulating across the landscape.
“There’s no doubt in your mind he’s yours?” his brother Justin asked from behind him.
“No.” Blake pushed a hand through thick black hair that tended to curl at the ends when it needed a trim, as it did now. “And that birth certificate you got proves it.”
“All it proves is Connie Kingsley had a child. She listed the father as unknown. The kid could be anyone’s.”
“Cheryl had no reason to lie. And if you count back, the boy’s date of birth works out with the time Connie and I were together.”
Blake glanced back outside. The sailing skiff he’d left tied to the dock for the winter wrestled against its spring lines. They’d made it to March with no major storms. Now, as if to flaunt her power, Mother Nature had decided to sock them good.
He turned from the tempest and walked across the kitchen to join Justin at the table.
His twin eyed him. “Most women don’t tell you they love you then walk out on the relationship without a trace—especially if they’re pregnant. Maybe you weren’t the only guy she was seeing at the time. Maybe the kid belongs to someone else.”
“She wasn’t seeing anyone else. Benjamin’s my son.”
“You can always get a paternity test,” Justin suggested.
“If I can find them I might have to. Obviously, Connie didn’t want me to know anything about the kid.” Blake cleared his throat and glanced at the birth certificate on the table, still struggling to come to grips with his newfound fatherhood.
He’d met Connie and her coworker, Cheryl, when they were on a four month assignment in Annapolis a few years ago. The women had been staying at his buddy Chad’s house because Cheryl and Chad’s wife were sisters.
Blake had fallen in lust with Connie, and they’d quickly become lovers in what had been a mutually enjoyable relationship. She’d even told him she was falling in love with him. He’d thought given some time he might be able to fall in love with her too. But she’d stunned him by taking off without a goodbye. He’d felt pretty foolish to discover he hadn’t meant that much to her after all.