Loving Again Series | Mel Gough
January 25, 2019 – A World Apart
February 22, 2019 – A New Life
March 22, 2019 – A Broken Promise
A Broken Promise | Mel Gough
Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design
Genre/s: Contemporary romance
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 127 print pages
Release Date: March 22, 2019
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Ben and Donnie are happier than they’ve ever been. Zac’s adoption went off without a hitch, their new home is tranquil and the perfect place to build their future.
But Donnie can never catch a break. An old affliction flares up again and as a result, his physical condition is more precarious than ever. Helen is nervous about the environment to which Ben subjects their daughter, and Ben struggles to keep everything ticking over.
Then he meets Paul, an enigmatic, handsome journalist who is more than a little interested in Ben. In equal measures flattered and disturbed by the attention, Ben finds himself on the brink of a decision that might shatter the happiness he’s worked so hard to achieve
How could they have so much stuff?
When Donnie and Ben had moved into the duplex just over six months ago there had been ten boxes, eight of which had been Ben’s. Donnie had had a ruthless clear-out of his and Floyd’s little house, and had thrown away most of his meagre possessions.
Of course, adding a baby—toddler now—to the mix meant a lot more stuff, and it all needed packing up.
Still, fifteen boxes in the bedroom alone seemed excessive.
Ben straightened and wiped his brow. He surveyed the result of three hours’ hard labor. Only a small suitcase remained open, with a couple of changes of clothes for each of them. The living room and kitchen were equally crammed with boxes, though they’d held back packing the crockery so far. The kitchen was chaotic enough with all of their different dietary requirements without having to hunt around for plates to eat from, too.
The new house, a find of Arthur’s just like their condo had been, was less than a mile from the apartment. Ben and Donnie had both come to love Ormewood with its quiet, leafy streets. The small bungalow had two bedrooms, which they’d badly need. The smaller one was going to be the nursery, with a second bed for Laura. Unlike the condo, the house wasn’t freshly decorated, but the road it stood on was quiet, and they would have a large yard at the front and back, where flower and vegetable beds had already been in good use.
The front door banged shut. “Evening,” Ben called, but there was no response. He put down the parcel tape and scissors and went into the hall.
Donnie stood by the front door gripping the doorknob hard, his head lowered. His breath came in painful-sounding gasps. Zac, who stood by Donnie’s side, looked around. The confusion on his round face cleared as he spotted Ben. “Pa!” He came running, and Ben picked him up. Fear churned his gut at the sight of Donnie’s bent-over form.
Hoisting Zac onto his hip, he asked, “What’s the matter?” In response, Donnie lifted his head and Ben’s question was answered at once. His face was white as chalk. “Whoa,” Ben exclaimed. “You look terrible.”
“Some kids got the stomach flu, and… shit…” With a low moan, Donnie staggered past Ben into the bathroom and shut the door.
“Dadda?” Zac asked tentatively.
Ben stroked his back. “I think Dadda’s not feeling so good. We gotta be nice, all right?”
Zac nodded, looking scared.
Ben hugged him. “It’s gonna be okay,” he whispered into the little boy’s dark curls, as much to reassure himself as Zac.
Donnie reemerged a long few minutes later, seemingly on the verge of passing out, his face ashen and sweaty. Ben hurriedly stood Zac on his feet and took Donnie by the elbow, his own heart hammering. “C’mere.” Donnie leaned his head against Ben’s neck, breaths ragged, his forehead burning. They stood still for a moment until Donnie began to shiver. “Let’s get you horizontal,” Ben murmured. Zac trailed them into the bedroom.
Ben struggled getting Donnie out of his shoes and pants. He had sweated through his shirt so Ben got a fresh T-shirt from the open suitcase. Great timing.As if moving wasn’t stressful enough already.
“Here, stretch out.” Ben pulled the blankets back. Donnie curled up, shuddering, his hands pressed hard to his stomach.
“You sure it’s just flu?” Ben asked, dread twisting his insides.
Donnie buried his face in the pillow. “What else?” His voice was tense and despondent.
“Could be your pancreas again?” Ben swallowed, dismayed at the thought. He sat on the edge of the bed and put a hand on Donnie’s neck, which was clammy and hot.
“Daycare kids’re sick,” Donnie insisted. “I just picked up their virus.”
“Even if that’s true,” Ben interrupted. “We need to get you looked at, have your T-cells checked.” He broke off as Donnie groaned and struggled to sit up.
Ben helped him to his feet, but Donnie pulled away. “Can manage.”
To distract himself and give Donnie some space, Ben went into the kitchen to locate a basin in one of the boxes. He was on his way back to the bedroom when Donnie reappeared, looking even whiter than before. Ben took him into his arms and Donnie clung on hard.
“Feeling any better?”
“Not really.” The hands went back to Donnie’s belly. Fear gripped Ben like an icy fist, but he said nothing.
Zac had somehow managed to climb into their bed. He looked at them with a serious expression on his little round face. “Dadda,” he said and stretched his arms out.
Donnie stopped dead. “He’ll get sick, Ben.”
“If he’s going to catch this it’s already happened,” Ben said. “But I’ll call Arthur, ask him if he can take Zac until you’re over the worst. I can’t look after you both, not with the move, as well.”
Donnie’s face creased. “I don’t like it when he’s away,” he whispered. “But you’re right. I’m real sorry, Ben.”
“It’s okay.” Ben hugged him and kissed his temple. “For now, give bub a cuddle. You need it.” He helped Donnie back into bed, and Donnie pulled Zac close, curling around him with a whimper. Ben watched them a moment. Donnie shivered and shifted around. With a sigh, Ben went to find his phone which he last remembered seeing in the chaotic living room.
When he returned to the bedroom Donnie had fallen asleep. Zac was stroking his face, but when he saw Ben, he started to wriggle free. Ben extracted him with care. Donnie sighed and turned over without waking. Ben put Zac in his cot, then, phone pressed to his ear, he started to pack a bag for Zac’s visit to Arthur.
About the Author
Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.
If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.
Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.
In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.
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