The Broken Path
Involved in a debilitating accident at age six, Ethan Searle believes women eye him with a mixture of pity and disdain. He’s tried love before. He won’t again.
Autumn Reader escaped her abusive marriage with her daughter, a stack of debt, and fear. Autumn’s precocious two-year old becomes enraptured by Ethan. Autumn is on the path to following her daughter’s example when her ex-husband reappears.
Autumn teetered on Ethan’s porch, unsure what she was doing here. She smoothed her tan shorts.
The door swung open. Her heart’s palpitations ceased. Ethan’s attire was simple, Levis and a white V-necked shirt. The white of his shirt was a strong contrast to his dark skin and hair. He’d never looked better.
“Autumn,” his deep voice caressed her. “You look beautiful.”
“You-you...” Autumn stuttered, trying to find the right words to express how he looked. “…look beautiful, too.” She barely caught her hand from smacking herself upside the head. What kind of an idiot tells a man he looks beautiful?
Heat crept up her face. “I mean, thank you, um you look nice, too.”
He opened the door wider, a grin splitting his face. “Thanks. Why don’t you come through this way to the garage?”
They made their way through the large great room toward the garage entry, his braces rhythmically slapping the wood floor.
“I thought maybe we’d drive to Pocatello,” Ethan said. “Is that all right with you?”
“It’s great.” Anything’s all right, as long as you keep smiling like that.
“I told your mom I’d come pick you up,” Ethan said, “but she insisted you’d come here.”
“It wasn’t a problem to come here.” Autumn looked up at his profile. It wasn’t a problem at all. She’d go anywhere just to look at him.
“She acted really odd about the whole thing.”
“Odd is a nice way of putting it,” Autumn smiled up at him. “She was outright rude to me.”
Ethan laughed again, shaking his dark head. “I thought she’d be happy you asked me out.”
“Happy? I asked you?” Autumn stopped and stared at him. “What are you talking about? You asked me out.”
“What?” He made a quarter turn with his braces to face her. “Nancy called and said you were too busy with work so you couldn’t call. She said you wanted to take me out to dinner for watching Brit.”
Autumn’s jaw dropped. “Why, that conniving, little…”
Ethan raised an eyebrow. “I guess you didn’t ask me out?”
“No. I sure didn’t. I can’t believe my mother.” Autumn stopped. His shoulders drooped, his eyes filled with pain. “Not that I wouldn’t have asked you out, and I do owe you for watching Brit, it’s just I didn’t think you would want…”
“You don’t owe me anything,” The words were clipped. The pain had left his eyes, they glinted like obsidian: hard and cold.
The Broken Path is available through Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
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