Diane and Zeke have one tragic thing in common—they’ve lost their spouses. Despite years of group therapy, neither has been able to move on with their life. So when Zeke suggests a one-night, no-strings fling, Diane decides she has nothing to lose. It will take a passionate evening to reawaken desires, fantasies and sexual pleasures they’ve long forgotten. And before the sun rises, they’ll discover letting go isn’t as bad as it seems.
The small circular area created by plastic chairs with metal legs became crowded as people rose from their places and started retrieving their things. It was the end of another Friday night of sharing pain, of tasting someone else’s tears, of listening to the outpouring of grief that came from loss. For a little over two years Diane had been coming here. It was a safe place to speak about the senseless robbery in a gas station that took her husband’s life and turned her world upside down. One minute she was a wife anxious to start a family, the next she was consumed by grief with nowhere to go.
Then she found out about a support group for grieving spouses.
The first few months, she listened. It was too personal to break down and cry in front of strangers. She wondered how so many of the people who came to the group could unload so easily, without any hesitation or embarrassment. It wasn’t until her wedding anniversary came, went, and she returned to the men and women who knew her by name that everything clicked. No one could possibly understand her anguish, her fury or her desolation better than those who experienced it themselves.
Her first good cry broke down the walls, but it didn’t make things easier. Only time was capable of mending her heart. Weeks had turned to months and months became a year. Now it was nearing that pivotal turning point. Everyone was allowed to remain in the group as long as they wanted, but most felt it was time to move on around the two year mark. It was a slow realization but eventually people understood they were getting older and their lives were passing them by. She’d confessed she was thinking it was time to move on with her life. Everyone was supportive about her announcement.
Now it was her time to decide. Was she ready to let go?
“Diane?” a deep, husky voice intruded on her thoughts. “Will we see you next week?”
She craned her neck and gazed at the owner of the voice, none other than the gorgeous and mysterious Zeke Greer. Of all the members of the support group, he seemed out of place. Several years older than her twenty-five years, he was massive, covered in tattoos and he never cried. His dark black hair was pulled back at the nape and secured with a black elastic band, bringing focus to the sharp planes of his face, the dark shadow across his jaw and his large blue eyes. Every Friday night he showed up, listened and left. Sometimes he spoke with members, inquiring about how they were doing. Yet he kept himself distant, apart, and never allowed anyone to get close.
“I haven’t decided yet.” She sighed and hoisted her purse over her shoulder. “It’s a big decision.”
He folded his arms over his chest and the intricate tattoos on his biceps stretched. “It doesn’t have to be.”
“Are you talking from experience?”
His corresponding frown made her wonder if she’d overstepped her bounds. Zeke wasn’t a talker, he was a listener. In fact, the only thing she knew about his wife was that she’d died unexpectedly. People speculated that drugs were the cause, or that she’d committed suicide, but nothing was confirmed. The only one who knew what happened to Ms. Greer was her husband, and he didn’t share details.
“How would you feel about a cup of coffee?”
The question caught her off guard. Zeke didn’t socialize. It wasn’t his style.
He shrugged. “Why not? If this is the last time we’ll see each other, the least I can do is buy you a cup of coffee. You have somewhere else to be?”
There was the tragedy of it. She didn’t have anywhere to be. Her apartment had become a prison and the bars were forged with memories. Every single room became laden with things she didn’t want to forget but couldn’t bear to remember. Mark carrying her from the kitchen to the bedroom as she struggled, making love to her against the wall in the living room, chasing her down the hallway to the bathroom.
“There’s a diner around the corner. Come on.” He grabbed her jacket from the back of the chair and handed it to her. “Let’s go.”