Bigger Than the Sky (Serenity Point #1)
Sept 30, 2014
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Five years ago, I left my fiancé, hotter than hot Navy SEAL Kade Kelly, at the altar.
No, I’m not an idiot.
Yes, I had my reasons.
Now I’ve made a new life for myself working at a large firm in Richmond and I’ve left the past behind. Or so I thought.
Upon returning to my hometown of Serenity Point, Virginia, to take care of some business, I find that Kade’s now home for good and he’s none too happy about my being here.
Two months. That’s all I’m staying then I’m out of here. Unless I believe the town’s pink-haired psychic’s prediction. Or embrace the sense of belonging I feel at being back home. Or give in to the emotions stirring inside when Kade's attention is suddenly on me.
He scares the crap out of me.
He thrills me.
He used to tell me our love was bigger than the sky.
I always knew ours was a once-in-a-lifetime love. So how can he be so sure it can happen again?
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I’m hearing that submarine warning horn in my ears. You know the one. It goes A-ooooo-ga! And that shit’s going off in my head over and over. I think it means the sub’s diving, as in, it’s going down. And that’s my warning right now because likely, I’m going down.
I clutch the sides of my dress and think, I can’t do this!
But that’s not how today’s supposed to go, is it?
What I’m supposed to do is go inside that church, take my bouquet (which is fabulous, by the way) from Cassie, my maid of honor, and walk down the aisle to my handsome fiancé who’s waiting for me in front of the altar.
But now I stand at the bottom of the church steps and suddenly can’t catch my breath. Papaw takes my hand and I smile at him weakly as he helps me up the first step and the horn suddenly stops.
Well. That’s weird. Maybe I can do this.
Second step. Hm. Better. Feeling Papaw’s hand in mine is comforting. All right. I think I’ve got this now. Piece of cake.
Third step. Oh, no. I start sweating. I can’t be sweating right now, damn it! It’s so unladylike! And I’ll get those crusty, yellowy stains on my dress from my armpits! Gross!
Fourth step. Shit! I can’t breathe. The panic has a grip on me and no matter what I do to try to calm myself and get it to let me go—closing my eyes, focusing on my breathing, picturing myself getting a full-body massage from some cute guy named Sven—it seems to dig its claws in tighter. Mayday!
On Deck. A-ooooo-ga! A-ooooo-ga! Ack! I’m going down! I gulp for air trying to fill my lungs but nothing helps. I look at Papaw but I guess my lack of air is making me hallucinate because it’s not him holding my hand and smiling at me but Viper from the movie Top Gun. What the hell?
Soooo I’m hoping you’ve noticed the Navy theme here? That’s because a Navy SEAL is waiting inside to marry me but all this stuff going on right now is messing with my head.
Let me give you the low down on the situation. Or is it the down low? Ugh. I’m so not hip. Wait. Do people still say hip anymore? God. See what living with grandparents does to a girl? I’m twenty-five and I talk like I’m twice my age. Jeez. But back to what I was trying to tell you.
My guy and I have been together since I was a sophomore and he was a senior in high school. But he’s now been enlisted in the Navy for nine years, most of it spent training to be then going on missions as a SEAL, and in all that time I’ve seen him maybe a total, a total, of a little over a year. In nine years! I’m not kidding. Since I’m a CPA I’ll figure that out for you. Out of nine years, he’s been gone almost ninety percent of the time. Can you see the face I’m making at that right now?
Anyway, now’s such a fantastic time to be figuring that out, huh?
I’m not a needy or clingy person. I mean, obviously, right? If I were, I would never have even considered marrying him, but now the alarms are going off in my head because suddenly I don’t know if I can do this. How can you make a life with someone when you only get to see them for just over one month out of the year? Like I said, I don’t have to have a man around all the time, but those statistics are just crazy.
I know you’re wondering why I even let it get this far without doing the math and here’s the answer: I don’t know! Thought you were gonna get a better answer, didn’t you? Well, if I don’t know it, I damned sure can’t tell it to you!
But maybe the answer is that I love him. I really do. Honestly. So now I’m thinking that maybe the idea of being married was what pushed me forward. Or maybe I just got caught up in planning it all—picking out the dress, the bouquet, all that fun stuff—and it kept me distracted for a while. But now that I’m here and about to walk through these doors and down the aisle to become his wife, with the numbers stacked so hugely against me, I don’t think I can.
I look up at Papaw and shake my head. He frowns in confusion but when he sees the tears in my eyes, he knows. He nods and lets my hand go. “Go to him, honey. Tell him.”
But I can’t. I can’t face him after all this.
And the only thing I know to do is run.
So that’s what I do.
Harper Bentley has taught high school English for 22 years. Although she’s managed to maintain her sanity regardless of her career choice, jumping into the world of publishing her own books goes to show that she might be closer to the ledge than was previously thought.
After traveling the nation in her younger years as a military brat, having lived in Alaska, Washington State and California, she now resides in Oklahoma with her teenage daughter, two dogs and one cat, happily writing stories that she hopes her readers will enjoy.