Tempest – March 25, 2014
Winner, 2nd Place Contemporary Short in the IDA ~ 2014!
Sometimes it takes a storm to clear the air. . .
An emotional, heartwarming, contemporary romance novella from Chantilly White, Tempest is the poignant tale of two damaged souls on the verge of losing the most important thing in either of their lives. . . Each other.
One year ago, Tracey and Adam Wesley’s relationship was strong, happy, fulfilling. Now, their ten-year marriage is at a terrible crossroads. They stumble through their days, pretending everything is fine, but inside, they fear their love is dying.
Win or lose, the heartbreaking battle for their marriage will end tonight. Will a push from Mother Nature help them remember just how rare and precious their love truly is, or put an end to it forever?
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"I love LOVE LOVE Chantilly White's stories. She creates characters with so much believability, so much relatable soul, you can't help crying with them or laughing with them.." ~M. Britt
"Emotionally and romantically satisfying, the story had me turning the digital page one after another.” ~J. Tate
"Ms. White has once again had me reaching for the tissues even while was fanning myself. The blend of passion, emotional pain and intense love is perfection.." ~Lori Lyn
Extra Info For Tempest
Tracey Wesley: Wife of ten years to Adam, Tracey has reached the frazzled end of her last remaining strand of hope for her marriage. Tonight, she is going to put everything out there, risking her heart, her security, and the continuation of their marriage.
Adam Wesley: Husband to Tracey, Adam is as desperate as his wife to find a solution to the distance between them and to rescue their marriage. He knows tonight is the night, win or lose. He intends to win his wife back, no matter the cost.
Hannah: Their usual waitress at Chez Charlie’s, Hannah knows Adam and Tracey well. It is her sympathetic, though silent, support for Tracey that almost unleashes Tracey’s emotions right at the dinner table.
Tempest takes place in a fictional restaurant, Chez Charlie’s, in the real location of Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin, along the southern tip of Lake Winnebago, and in the outskirts of Fond-du-Lac. Chantilly White and her family lived in Wisconsin for three years in a small town south of Fond-du-Lac, and loved it there. They traveled to Fond-du-Lac quite often, whether for dinner out, to celebrate one of the kids’ birthdays in Lakeside Park, or to shop in the Christmas store on the outskirts of town. Setting Tempest there is her way of going back to one of her favorite places, even if only in a story.
Rising silently from the linen-draped table, Tracey preceded Adam out of the restaurant. His hand guiding at the small of her back felt impersonal, a courtesy to a stranger. She wanted to move away from him, to stand on her own, to prove that she could. She wanted to turn into his familiarity and strength, to hold on to everything they’d built together. Everything she felt slipping away.
The taut flexing of Adam’s fingers against her spine communicated his own tension. She wasn’t the only one unhappy with the state of their marriage.
They stopped in the doorway of the restaurant as muggy heat hit them like a fist. It was unseasonably warm for a May evening in Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin, despite the heavy showers pouring down most of the day. A brief, brilliant sunset had shone over the wind-ruffled water of Lake Winnebago before thick black clouds had rolled back in, obscuring the view.
Now, fretful, gunmetal-grey waves slapped against the rocks lining the shore to her left, and the scent of ozone stung the air. The previous storm had turned Chez Charlie’s tiny parking lot into a mud-covered quagmire, but it looked even worse now than when she’d arrived, well-churned by the tread of many vehicles.
Adam nudged her forward, his large, warm hand now curving around her right hip. Her body, unconflicted by the emotions roiling inside her heart, came alive, responding with a delicious shiver at his touch.
Regardless of their emotional distance and the many worries crowding her thoughts, it had been too long since she’d had her husband’s hands on her body. Too long since they’d turned to each other for lovemaking, or even for comfort.
And she wanted.
But. . .
No. Damn it. No.
She did not want the suddenly intense cravings prickling over her body distracting her from her purpose, didn’t want to risk getting home only to fall into bed together as they had so many times in days past, once again putting off the discussion they needed to have. He might have stopped touching her in all but the most casual ways months ago, but her traitorous body remembered. Remembered the days when he never stopped touching her, kissing her, wanting her, even in public.
In those days, from the moment she’d sit down to their weekly dinners at Chez Charlie’s, he would stroke her hands, her arms, her legs beneath the table. Stoking her desires. Her skin would sear with passion, nearly flayed from the heat of her drawn-out response by the time they got to dessert. He would tease and torment her until she couldn’t take it any longer, and they would decimate the speed limit driving home.
Unwelcome fire pooled in Tracey’s belly at the memory. How different those nights were compared to the stilted ones of late. Including this one just ended, the worst of all.
There had been a time when they’d raced home from their jobs, so eager to start their evenings together. To leave work and the rest of the world behind. On Chez Charlie Fridays, they’d begin with a snuggle at home after a quick—or not—mutual shower to wash off the day. Maybe a shared glass of wine, staring into each other’s eyes and sipping from the same spot on the glass to catch each other’s flavor along with the liquid. When they were hungry enough, they’d drive to the restaurant together, hand in hand.
Now they dawdled at work, each guilty of squandering what used to be their special time. Sacrificing their relationship for one more to-do item on some stupid checklist, one more piece of paper in the in-box. One more business call. They got “delayed” or sidetracked or lost track of time. The excuse du jour.
These days, they drove separately from work straight to the restaurant. Running in late, distracted, exhausted. Then following each other home, where they’d engage in their own activities, sharing only the most trivial conversation.
They didn’t even sleep together anymore.
Adam’s hand shifted on her hip as he walked her silently toward her car. Her body shivered despite the thick, humid warmth of the air pressing against her skin as the storm rolled in. There was so much she wanted to say. But desire battled worry, and both emotions tightened her throat equally, cutting off her words. Words that could save or end them with a single thrust.
If only she knew which words would come when they finally got home and faced each other.
Tempest is available wherever ebooks are sold. Now also in print! Get your copy today!