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MIDNIGHT PROMISES
by Sherryl Woods

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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“How are we supposed to make our marriage work, Elliott, if we don’t talk about something that’s going to change our lives?” Karen gave up on fighting the tears and allowed them to flow unchecked. “From what little I know, even I can see that this gym thing is a big deal. Do you have any idea how much it hurt that so many other people already knew about it and I knew nothing?”

“I’m sorry,” he said at once. “I really am. It’s an incredible opportunity, Karen. I’d never be able to do something like this totally on my own. I was trying to work it through in my head, figure out if we could really make it happen.”

“And you didn’t consider that poor brainless me might have any thoughts about that?”

He looked genuinely shocked by her bitter words. “Don’t be crazy, querida. You know how much your opinion matters. You’re everything to me.”

His use of the endearment touched her heart as always. “I thought I was,” she said softly, brushing impatiently at the tears she couldn’t seem to stop.

“Ah, don’t cry,” he pleaded, pulling her into his arms. “You know it tears me up inside, especially when I’m the one at fault.”

After holding herself stiff for a moment, Karen sighed and allowed herself to relax. This caring, adoring side of Elliott was the one she’d fallen in love with. That’s why it was all the more shattering when he did something thoughtless like leaving her totally out of the loop on this decision.

“Can I tell you about it now?” he pleaded. “Will you listen and keep an open mind?”

She nodded slowly, not letting go of him. “I can do that.” “But this can’t keep happening, Elliott. When it comes to the big things—or even the littlest ones that affect our family—we decide together. That’s what we agreed. Otherwise we’re doomed.”

“I know you’re right. I promise to be more considerate,” he assured her. 

“You know what destroyed my first marriage. Ray got us into terrible debt that I knew nothing about, then bailed on me. All I could think about when I heard about this gym was that the same thing was happening all over again. I know it was irrational, but it was like this terrible flashback and I couldn’t help panicking, Elliott.”

Though he had every reason to be offended by the unjust comparison, he merely leveled a look into her eyes. “First of all, I will never be irresponsible about our money,” he assured her. “And second, no matter how hard things get or how many disagreements we have, I will never bail on you. When I married you, it was forever, querida.”

Karen heard the sincerity behind the promises, knew that he meant them with all his heart, but past history had taught her that even the best intentions weren’t always enough. The proof would be in what happened in their relationship from here on out.