The Sidelined Wife(109)

By: Jennifer Peel


“Black Day Dawning hit number one.” I couldn’t say it without smiling.

“I’m so proud of you, Autumn Moone.” Only he could call me that.

I tensed. “I hope you’re not around anyone.”

“I’m in the truck all by myself.”

“You could come home for lunch.” Our private lunch hours were my favorite.

He groaned. “I want to more than anything, but we have to finish up the Finley job before tomorrow. They’re having a huge summer bash this weekend. But how about I take you to dinner tonight to celebrate?”

“I’d like that.”

“Think of where you want to go, and I’ll be home as soon as I can.”

“Hurry.”

“Delanie?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry about earlier. You know I love you more than anything, and whether we have a baby or not isn’t going to change that.”

I sighed. “I know.”

“I’ll see you soon.”

I leaned back in my office chair and stretched my neck. I loved this space, and the man that built it for me. My secret hiding place. When we had the house built, Peter insisted that he finish the attic for me. There was no one more thoughtful than him. I only had to look at every aspect of my office, from the countertops that lined one side of the room, lending me a huge desk. I loved that I could spread out on it when I researched each project and book. The built-in shelves were filled with not only the books I’d written, but the books I loved, like To Kill a Mockingbird, or Jane Eyre. The most thoughtful items were all the framed posters of each one of my books that hit the New York Times Best Seller list. He would get an actual copy of the paper, blow it up, and frame it. There were five on the wall now. Soon, I knew there would be six.

I swiveled in my chair, stopping to run my fingers across my old, red manual typewriter. I thought my parents were so weird when they gave that to me for my tenth birthday. My parents were weird, or at least different than most. When Cat and Ron—my parents, who insisted on being called by their first names (long story)—presented me with the typewriter instead of the computer I asked for, they changed my life, though I thought they had ruined it. I wrote my first novel with it when I was twelve. If I Lived on the Moon. It inspired my pen name and the moon tattoo hidden where only Peter could see it.

I also wrote the book that launched my career on the old thing. I missed the sound of the keys and the typebars making contact with the ribbon and paper. I never intended to write romance, but I found I had a penchant for it. I blamed it on the built up sexual tension from being in love with a man I thought could never be mine. A priest.

I never wanted anything or anyone more in my life. Hunter Black came to life because of it all. Every one of Peter’s qualities were poured into him. Laine, his true love that he could never have, was me. I cried into the typewriter many a night, trying to purge myself of Peter. It didn’t work; if anything, I wanted him more.

I was supposed to be writing gritty, raw, real-life pieces that changed lives. Instead, I was fueling fantasies, mine the most. Now that I was living out my fantasy with my priest, it didn’t make me feel so guilty.

. . . That wasn’t as awful as it sounded.

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