5 Stars Amazon Rating
More than a year after becoming a loving couple, one phone call threatens Azure and Frank's relationship on the eve of their Valentine's Day wedding.
Frank clams up due to a health concern, keeps it secret, and distances himself from Azure. His bride-to-be deserves better than an ailing husband.
Azure feels the sting of Frank's rejection. No matter how hard she tries, she can't breakthrough his wall of silence. To her, his failure to communicate means one thing. He's called off the wedding.
Will Cupid's arrow strike a nerve? Or—will love conquer all in time for their Valentine's Day vows?
Copyright © February 2017 by Mickie Sherwood All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are coincidental, and if not coincidental, are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. No part of this ebook may be reproduced or shared by any electronic or mechanical means, including but not limited to printing, file sharing, and email, without prior written permission from Mickie Sherwood.
(The Vow)Valentine's Day Eve…
New Orleans' frosty midday air didn't affect Azure one bit. And her snug-fit jeans, sweater, and short jacket had little to do with the warmth she felt. She strolled with Frank through the French Quarter. The clutch he had on her hand heated her all over. Even though heels gave her five-foot-six inches a boost, she still had to look up into his dark, brown eyes.
He looked at her, his jovial attitude on display. "You're so easy to love, Azure."
Her heart thumped with delight. Here they were, at the caterer's door, a day before their Valentine's Day wedding, ready to confirm the cake choice for their intimate reception. "Let me hear you say the words."
"I…love…you." He leaned down toward her.
His smooth baritone voice wrapped her like silk. Her erratic heartbeat intensified. She trembled when he kissed the soft spot under her ear. "I love you, too, Frank. Imagine where I'd be if you hadn't followed your instincts that night. I might have died in the trunk of my car."
"Either the cosmos had aligned or PlayDate dating service possessed supernatural powers."
"When your apparition appeared—" He stopped talking. "I don't want to think about that."
"You found me. That's what matters." Azure resituated her teal-colored, knit beret, fingering shoulder length, chestnut strands of hair from her mouth.
Feathery wisps of air touched her skin. She scrunched her shoulder, lengthening the time he snuggled her there. His lips transferred to the tip of her nose. Then, his mind-blowing kiss surpassed her expectations.
Frank's touch was a magnet drawing her arms up to surround his neck. Her cheek grazed his black leather jacket. The straps of her purse slid down to her shoulder. Weight swung the bag from side to side. High energy fused her to him.
"Go, Pops!" A passerby exclaimed.
The call chilled her faster than a cold water bath. Their tête-à-tête took place in the door's alcove. Compelled to break the connection, Azure stepped back. Passion glistened in Frank's eyes. He smiled at her; a slow, sizzling smile before he looked after the young man's departure.
"Pops?" Grimacing, he shook his head. "My boys call me Pops. But, when they say it, it doesn't make me feel quite so old. He looks about college age, too."
"Are they here, yet?" She turned the knob.
"Their flights arrive tomorrow afternoon." He stymied a cough and propped the door open above her head with his other hand.
"Frank, you do know forty isn't old, right? Besides…I'm not attracted to old men."
He squared his shoulders at her compliment. At the same time, his cell rang. A flash of concern lit up his eyes after he answered. Then, he swiped his hand over his face. "I need to take this."
Before he walked off, she noticed the smiley dimple in his cheek disappear along with his playful manner. Their separation lasted only seconds. "Is everything all right?"
"Nothing that can't wait."
Her skepticism blossomed. She saw his attempts to regain his easygoing demeanor. Azure decided not to push the issue for that reason. "Okay. Come on. The cake samples are waiting."
Frank seemed back to himself by the time they entered and walked to the counter.
"Miss Blackstone, you're right on time."
"Hi, Chiffon. I brought company with me. This is Frank, my fiancé."
The caterer's eyes brightened. Her tongue flicked out to wet her lips.
Azure recognized the admiring look cast his way. She looked at Frank, too. He did project an air of confidence that was hard to ignore. Add to that—his tall, toned physique. He struck a debonair figure attired in black from head to toe. The swagger she knew he possessed, and his undeniable brown-skinned, good looks completed the awesome package. However, he appeared surprised at the reaction.
"Nice meeting you, Frank." Once clear of the counter, she stripped off her apron and strutted across the room.
Azure knew Chiffon's sashay was for his benefit. The face he made behind her back confirmed he also realized this. Gleeful, Azure did a hip bump into him. "Still feel old?" she whispered.
"What?" His hand caressed her lower back.
"Old men don't get goo-goo eyes from young chicks."
"I have you set up over here." Chiffon interrupted their private conversation. At the round table, she uncovered a silver tray. "The samples are labeled. Take your time with the taste test."
"Thanks." Azure examined the assortment of cake slices. She looked at Frank who sat across from her. "Which would you like to taste, first?"
He didn't answer. Instead, he leaned over to kiss her.
Azure gazed lovingly at him when he sat again.
"The only goo-goo eyes I want are from this young chick." He pointed to her.
"Thanks, sweetie." She wiped lipstick from his mouth. "Our wedding day is twenty-fours away. Scared, yet?"
Melancholy flickered in his eyes. He pressed a fist to his chest and coughed.
"What's that look?"
Frank watched her select a slice of cake.
"I've been here before, boo. Are you?"
Licking frosting from her finger, she countered, "Me, too. But, I asked you first."
He paused. "Not scared. However, sometimes…I do wonder how I got so lucky."
"Fate"—she reached him a taste fork—"ushered in love."
Frank smiled. Next, he fed her the first bite.
"Hmm." She wondered. "Who made the cake taste so delicious? Her baker or her fiancé?" A sip of water cleared her palate for the next sample.
During the tasting session, Azure thanked her lucky stars each time he smiled at her. She and Frank were simpatico. Otherwise, they never would have had such a psychic connection that awful Halloween night he rescued her. Before her sat a humble man who was also kind, compassionate, thoughtful, and loving. What more could a woman want in her future husband?
"Which did you like best?" he asked.
She tilted her head and laughed. "I liked them all. You know me."
"I'm happy to say I do." He pulled at his chin. "That had a double meaning."
Slow to catch on, she raised her eyebrows.
"Come on, boo. Think about it."
"I said…" She glanced up into the air, thinking, and hummed her previous statements. "And you said 'I'm happy to say I do'."
"Get it? Get it?" Frank pushed.
"Oh." Giggling like a teen on her first date, the thirty-four-year-old stifled the laugh with her fingers. "I do. I do…get it."