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The Things Everson Lost

The Things Everson Lost

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The Things Everson Lost

ratings:
3.5/5 (12 ratings)
Length:
242 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 10, 2017
ISBN:
9781386741978
Format:
Book

Description

Everson is one of those men. Those sexy, chocolate Blackstone men. He has the perfect house. In June, he’s found a wonderful wife, and marriage has been doing his body good. But the past has a way of finding its way to the present.

The past in the form of an old love.

Eliana Simmons. His high school sweetheart.

Eliana moved away when they were younger. Now, work has made them cross paths, and those old feelings are easy to come to the surface, especially since she was his first love.

When he finds himself lying June, he knows he’s in trouble. But this is just the beginning of what’s to come for a man who gives another woman the attention he should be giving his wife.

******

Book 1 - Evenings With Bryson (Bryson and Kalina)
Book 2 - Leaving Barringer (Barringer and Calista)
Book 2.5 - Forever Us: Barringer and Calista Blackstone - A Short Story
Book 3 - The Things Everson Lost (Everson and June)

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 10, 2017
ISBN:
9781386741978
Format:
Book

About the author

TINA MARTIN is the Amazon #1 Bestselling author of over 70 romantic suspense novels, novellas and short stories. She currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, visit www.tinamartin.net


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The Things Everson Lost - Tina Martin

Chapter 1

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Everson stood near the big SkyWheel – a one-hundred and eighty-seven foot tall Ferris wheel situated along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk – watching the breeze fan through Eliana’s midnight black hair. The swishing sound of the waves added to the moment – added more than what he wanted to feel for the woman who was once his high school sweetheart. He’d known her since junior high, were as close as close could get, but when she was a senior – when they were seniors in high school – her family relocated to Arizona. They tried to keep in contact with each other. He’d admit that she tried more than he had, but eventually, the communication ceased.

Life went on.

Then a month ago, Seaton Data, Incorporated, based out of Atlanta, Georgia, hired him to do a complete review of the software they used for accounting purposes and that’s how their paths would cross again after fourteen years of not seeing each other. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was actually her. Eliana Simmons. His high school girlfriend was the head of communications for Seaton. He knew he probably should’ve turned the job down or at the very least requested to work with someone else from Seaton on the assignment – anyone besides Eliana – but he went along with the CEO’s plan. Besides, he didn’t want to cause a rift in his relationship with a million-dollar company in which he could probably get future contracts with. He’d be shooting himself in the foot if he did that.

So, for two weeks, he worked one-on-one with Eliana, telling himself that he would keep things strictly professional. He was a man. He could handle it. He could decipher if, or when, things started to go too far – when he needed to pull back, hit the brakes and go running home to June. He could handle the business lunches where they’d talk all things Seaton and discussed accounting software the company had used in the past. Then those short business lunches weren’t enough.

During his second week of contracting at Seaton, not only did he and Eliana have lunch together. They also met up for dinner. Every night. Just the two of them. And business talk went by the wayside at dinner, replaced by playing catch-up on each other’s lives over cocktails. Reminiscing about the past of how close they used to be before her family moved away. They were in love. The couple all their peers said would get married after graduation. Unfortunately, life didn’t work out that way and they ended up living on opposite coasts instead.

During the final night of his stay in Atlanta, Eliana suggested they spend a weekend together to see if they could be what they once were – to determine if they could rekindle an old flame or if the spark had flickered out a long time ago without any hope of coming back. She knew he was married, but that didn’t stop her from asking him. That should’ve told him something about her moral character right there. But he chose to ignore the gigantic red flag. Besides, she said he owed it to her. To himself. She even had the audacity to say he owed it to June.

Thoroughly seduced by Eliana’s words, he agreed. He’d gotten caught up with staring at her pretty face – appreciating the beautiful woman she grew up to be – her light skin tone, mesmerizing jet black eyes and the way her body was filled out now that she was a full-grown woman. He enjoyed the temporary trip down memory lane, relishing in the memories only they had shared. Not to say his accepting her proposal was her fault because he was the married one. He was responsible for his own decisions.

She led him to the apple. She didn’t make him bite it.

And so that’s where he found himself now – with Eliana in Myrtle Beach for the weekend, standing near the big wheel, in a trance, wondering what he’d do if June ever found out where he really was this weekend.

Talk to me, Mr. Blackstone. Eliana stroked the side of his face with her hand. We just shared a romantic dinner and now, you get all quiet on me.

Everson sighed. I don’t mean to be distant. I’m just trying to figure out what I’m doing here.

Oh, now he’s having second thoughts...

Hiding her frustration, Eliana replied, "You know what you’re doing here. You came to spend the weekend with me, remember?"

Yes. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about—never mind.

Eliana stared into his troubled eyes, tracing his goatee with her fingertips.

And he let her...

I didn’t twist your arm to make you come here, Everson. You came of your on free will.

I realize that. My—

If you realize that, she said interrupting, What are you so worried about?

Everson frowned. I’m married, Eliana.

Eyebrows raised, she said, You didn’t know that before you drove here?

His heart stung with the ring of truth from Eliana’s question. His jaw clenched as he thought about how he lied to June. He told her he was on a business trip in Atlanta. She wouldn’t think there was anything peculiar about him traveling. After all, it was the nature of his business. He was a freelance analyst – he studied business systems and made suggestions on fixes and tips to make systems operate more effectively. He traveled on a weekly basis. Most of the time, he’d take June with him. Recently, however, he wanted to travel alone. Because of her – Eliana – the high school sweetheart AKA homewrecker in training.

Let’s not get into all of that right now, Eliana said. Let’s do what we came here to do—enjoy each other’s company and get reacquainted. We have soooo much catching up to do. What do you say? Can we do that, Everson?

Everson swallowed. Yeah. We can do that, he told her, "But this thing—whatever this is—will be strictly platonic. You’re right. I came here of my own volition, but I love my wife. Nothing will ever change that."

Then I’m glad we have an understanding, she said, smiling. What do you say we ride this big wheel? It looks like fun.

Yeah. Sure. I’ll go get some tickets. Everson walked over to the ticket booth while simultaneously checking his phone. June had called three times, none of which he’d answered. He was too busy having dinner with Eliana. June had also sent a text message fifteen minutes ago:

Hey. You must be working hard since I can’t get a hold of you. When you get a minute, call me. I’m getting worried. Love you.

He sighed. He couldn’t call her back right now. No doubt she’d hear the loud tourists, giggly teenagers, squawking seagulls and maybe even the roar of the ocean in the background. He had to wait until later – until he was back in his hotel suite.

Standing in line, he glanced over at Eliana who was still standing where he’d left her. She was on her cell phone. For a second, he wondered who she was talking to. He felt like he was privy to that information. Like she was actually his woman. Whoever she was talking to, she was smiling now – a glow of happiness radiating on her face. He wondered how feelings from so long ago could resurface so strongly that it would make him lie to his wife. June was everything a man could ask for, so why was he jeopardizing that by spending a weekend with a long, lost love. And he’d last saw Eliana in high school. Who knows what love is in high school? Infatuation, maybe. Lust, definitely. But not love. Love, true love, was something one could only understand when they were mature enough. Like the love he shared with June.

Sir, are you buying tickets for the SkyWheel?

Coming out of his trance with Eliana, he said, Uh...yes. Two, please. He looked back at Eliana. She had since ended her phone call and when his gaze met hers, she smiled.

Here you go, the ticket attendant said, handing Everson two tickets and his change.

Thanks.

You’re welcome. Enjoy.

Enjoy. Yeah...right...

His stomach was in knots, but being the man he was, he wouldn’t let it show. Not smooth, calm and collected Everson Blackstone. He’d spend the weekend with Eliana, get her out of his system and get out unscathed. Afterward, he’d return home to his wife and leave the past behind him. Everything would work out just fine. He’d call June tonight, reassure her that he was fine and that he would be home Monday evening.

Stepping into the glass-encased gondola they would share for the ride, Eliana took a seat and Everson followed, sitting next to her as the operator secured the door.

This is cozy, huh? Eliana said.

Everson raised his brows, speechless. Yeah, it was cozy – he just wasn’t with the right woman.

Have you ever rode this thing? she asked.

No. My wife has. What’s ironic is, she wanted me to ride it with her, but I wasn’t feeling it at the time.

And you’re here riding it with me. Aw...I feel so special. Somebody told me it was better to ride it at night than during the day.

Why’s that?

Because you get a full view of the boardwalk. The lights. The people. It’s much more romantic and exciting at night.

Everson glanced to his left to look at Eliana. He wanted to change the subject to something that didn’t include any element of romance. I’ve noticed you don’t talk much about yourself. How’s your life back in Atlanta?

I’m doing good for myself. I have a top position with Seaton, as you already know, and I just bought a house a few months ago.

Congratulations.

Thank you, she said with pride.

But I mean your personal life.

If you’re asking me about my love life, then don’t bother. It’s nonexistent.

Oh, come on, Everson said, not buying her story in the least. There must be someone.

Nah. No one. There used to be, but he could never measure up to my expectations.

Ouch.

She giggled. Don’t say that. You’re making me sound like a mean girl.

He chuckled. "You’re making yourself sound like a mean girl."

Okay...it’s like this. Men in this day in age are a lot lazier than men were during my father’s generation.

Everson chuckled.

I’m serious. Back then, men were hard workers. They weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty or work an extra shift for the sake of their families. And they were more aware of a woman’s emotional needs. More attentive and gentlemanlike. Men these days only pretend they have it all together just to impress you long enough to make it to your bedroom. After that, they wouldn’t spend five dollars on you.

Everson laughed again. Hey, don’t lump all men into that category. Just because a man from your past was a slacker doesn’t mean all men fit that bill.

You’re right. Plus, I think I gave him an extra hard time.

You think? Everson teased.

Just a tad. Eliana laughed.

Yeah. That’s just what you women do. Toy with a man’s emotions...

Now, who’s generalizing? she asked.

It’s true, though.

Seriously? she asked, all smiles, tickled into another session of laughter. She couldn’t remember the last time she laughed – like belly laughed – with a man. She usually laughed this hard with her girlfriends while talking about men, but never with a man. Okay, so maybe I did give him a hard time, she admitted.

I knew it.

For a moment, after the laughter subsided, they were quiet, taking in the view – what they could see illuminated by the lights. The more spectacular Everson found it to be, the more he wished the woman sitting beside him was June.

He sighed in a way he hoped Eliana wouldn’t pick up on. In a way that said, I screwed up and I shouldn’t be here with you.

This is wonderful, she said.

Maybe it’s wonderful for you, he thought. I’m the one lying to my wife.

Isn’t it? she asked, glancing over at him, her eyes lingering on his lips before she turned her attention back to the view.

Did you say something? he asked.

Yeah. I asked you if you thought this was nice.

Oh. Ye-yeah. It is, he replied humdrumly.

Eliana looked at him. That didn’t sound convincing.

He looked at her and the moment their eyes locked, just for those few seconds, he looked away.

Butterflies tickled her stomach. Even though she was a bit nervous being this close to him again, she said, As I’ve grown older, I realize I have very high standards when it comes to who I’m going to share my life with. I want a family.

You do?

Of course, I do. Why do you seem surprised, Everson?

Because you’re all into your career...working your way to the top.

Oh, so a woman can’t have a career?

She can. I just think it would be a lot nicer if the woman stayed at home with the children if their circumstances could warrant it.

Ugh...now you sound like Trump. Let me guess...you want to make America great again, too? she quipped.

Everson laughed it off. Don’t get me started on politics. It’s just my opinion that the best way for children to be raised is by their mother as the primary caretaker – not some overcrowded daycare facility.

Eliana rolled her eyes.

It would be a different story if the woman needed to work to make ends meet, but other than that, I think a woman at home is a good thing.

Eliana’s face scrunched up. "Then you’re still living in the dark ages. Women want it all, and can do it all."

If you say so.

"Hmm...I’m curious if this woman-at-home requirement is an idea you sold to your wife. Is she going to stay at home and raise the children?"

June enjoys managing our household.

Nah...she may enjoy being your wife, I mean, what woman wouldn’t? She definitely doesn’t enjoy being your maid, cook, housekeeper, errand girl and whatever else falls into her lap.

That’s what you think, Eliana said. "Being a mother and managing a household is the hardest job in the world. And besides that, I don’t think I could be one of those women who relied on a man for everything. I find that men tend to disrespect women who can’t do for themselves."

June is fully capable of taking care of herself.

Eliana quirked up her mouth. Then why doesn’t she? Anyway, I think there’s a way a woman, and man for that matter, can have the best of both worlds. Trust me, you’ll grow sick of seeing your wife with her hair done up in a ponytail, wearing sweats because she had to keep up with the kiddies all day. That’s why men cheat. After kids, their wives go from fab to drab, looking like candidates for makeovers while the men go to work and see these good-looking businesswomen and daydream about the days when their wives used to look that hot. Or when she had dreams. Goals she wanted to accomplish. Now, her only goal is sleeping through the night without someone crying for a bottle or afraid that the boogeyman is hiding in their closet.

‘‘That’s an awful thing to say."

Awful, but true. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’ve seen it happen to too many women. It happened to my friend. Left her completely devastated.

"So, her man was a jerk. A lot of men don’t know what it takes to keep a woman. And let me drop some knowledge on you, shortstop.’’

She giggled. "Shortstop. Okay. Drop some knowledge."

Men don’t cheat because he thinks a woman looks better than his wife. That’s not the case at all.

Well, school me, then.

In most cases, men cheat because an opportunity presents itself and they’re too weak to resist the advances.

Really?

Yeah. Really.

And what about you, Everson?

What about me? he asked, looking at the ground as the gondola lowered then circled back up again.

Do many opportunities present themselves to you?

He grinned. This is not the conversation I thought we were going to have.

"Oh, come on. You said you were going to school me. So, school me."

‘‘Okay. Yes. I’m a successful black man. I get hit on by women all the time—some who make it blatantly obvious they want me, but I don’t bite. Opportunity or not. Some things are just not worth it. Everson looked around again then glanced at his watch. How long is this ride?"

I think this is the last time around.

Good. The sooner we get off this thing, the faster I can call June.

You’re not getting dizzy are you?

No—just have other things to attend to.

Oh. Hey, can I ask you something?

You haven’t been withholding anything else you wanted to ask. Fire away.

Okay. Why did you wait so long to get married?

"I got married at thirty. You think that’s a long time

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3.4
12 ratings / 2 Reviews
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  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Everson lied to his wife, spent the weekend with other woman (OW), and then couldn’t figure out why his wife was so upset since he didn’t have s*x with OW.

    He conveniently forgets that he made out hot and heavy with OW in OW’s hotel room when he’s telling wife he only kissed her on the cheek. Then suddenly remembers and tells wife about make our sesh.

    Do NOT get me started on her “friend” Kalina. June goes to her and shows her evidence he lied. Kalina KNOWS he was seen with OW and proceeds to tell June that he’s a good guy and prob did nothing wrong. Really?! Then later in the book Kalina tells her he didn’t really cheat because he didn’t have s*x. SERIOUSLY?! This is why men get away with stuff. He lied about work, spent the weekend at the beach with his old flame (OW), made out with her, and then minimized it to his wife. No. Just no. With friends like hers, who needs enemies?

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    It’s hard to feel any sympathy for Everson when he spends 85% of the book thinking that what he did wasn’t a big deal. He doesn’t get why June would be so hurt, so humiliated with his actions. While I appreciate that June was strong and allowed herself time to figure out what she wanted. I think the author having people guilt her into taking Everson back was a cop out. And we don’t really get to see him TRY to get her back. All he does is sulk about how June kicked him out and tries to get everyone to feel sorry for him. If he hadn’t of lied to June, or purposely left things out when telling his parents to make him look better, I could have really enjoyed this. Instead, there was too much missing from Everson’s character portrayal that stopped me from enjoying this.

    1 person found this helpful