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28 Passion Boulevard (Celebrating Love Trilogy) 

 

28 Passion Boulevard (Book three of the Celebrating Love Trilogy) is available at Amazon in e-book and paperback format. Available in paperback at Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace.

E-book only at SmashwordsKoboSonyApple iTunesDieselBaker & Taylor's Blio OmniLit  and All Romance Ebooks

Also available at Amazon UK

The final book of the Celebrating Love Trilogy brings Darcy to passion's door, Ginny to steadfast love and Andrea to a newfound appreciation for the gift of every day. Desire, tears and heart-wrenching life events bring this Happily Ever After tale to its conclusion.

 

Chapter One


Darcy tossed the straps of her bag on the back of a kitchen chair and grabbed a soda from the fridge. A thought had been inching its way to the forefront of her mind for weeks. Now it seemed to be settled right in front of her. No matter where she looked, an image of a ten-year-old girl with eyes that mirrored hers stared at her.

She headed for the two-drawer filing cabinet that served double duty as an end table. The last file folder in the bottom drawer held the information about the adoption of her daughter.

Darcy sat on the floor in front of the black metal box.

She never opened it, even on days when the longing threatened to consume her. Darcy knew the contents. She also knew there was a card with the Department of Children?s Services caseworker?s name and phone number on it.

They wouldn?t give her any information, even if she could bring herself to make the call. She knew that, too.

?There really isn?t time for this, Langston. You?ve got a party to get ready for.?

Still, she stared at the filing cabinet drawer. There was a long, silver scratch followed by a dent on one side from the day she moved into the house on the boulevard. Ginny had insisted they could carry the cabinet and placed two additional boxes on top of it.

When they reached the seventh stair, she lost her footing. Metal scraped against metal as the cabinet slid halfway down the wrought iron banister, then fell to the cement step.

Ginny cringed and offered a meek, ?Sorry. I thought I had it.?

Darcy shook her head. That was eight years ago. She fingered the dent in the cool metal.

The ring of her cell phone startled her. Darcy pulled the phone from her pocket.

?Hello.?

?Costume crisis. Do you have safety pins and duct tape??

?I know I have duct tape. What color do you need??

?It comes in colors??

?Yep.?

?Skin color, if you have it.?

?You know if you put it on your skin and then pull it off it?s going to hurt like hell.?

?These things can?t be helped.?

?You?re starting to worry me.?

?How soon can you get here??

?I haven?t even gotten ready yet.?

?Well, I can?t get ready until I have the duct tape.?

?All right. I?ll come over right now. Besides, I want to get a look at this costume of yours.?

?You can?t see it!?

?But, I?m helping you. You have to let me see it.?

?No, I don?t.?

?Then I?m not coming over.?

?Darcy Langston, I need that duct tape!?

?All right, all right. Keep your pants on. I?ll be over in ten minutes. I?ll try to find some safety pins. If I can?t find any, do you want me to stop and get some??

?Yes, please.?

?You owe me.?

?Put it on my tab.?

?Just when are you going to be paying this ever-increasing tab of yours??

?Someday soon, you?ll see. Then, you?ll be saying you owe me.?

?Fat chance. See you in ten. Bye.?

?Bye.?

Darcy headed for the small utility room just off the kitchen. Besides housing the washer, dryer and hot water heater, the room was a catch-all for cleaning supplies, household tools and things that didn?t have a home anywhere else.

She grabbed the beige and tan rolls of duct tape, then took silver, as well, just in case. A search for safety pins left her empty-handed, but she did find an unopened pack of Trident cinnamon gum that she slipped in her pocket.

A quick survey of kitchen and bathroom drawers revealed no safety pins, so a trip to the store was evident. Darcy headed out the door to run the errand, then went over to Ginny?s apartment.

?Thank you so much.? Ginny poked one bare arm out the door as she received the items from Darcy.

Darcy tried to peek in through the small gap, but Ginny held the door firmly. ?What are you trying to hide, Matthews??

?I don?t want you to see my costume before tonight. Go home and change and let me get ready.?

?I?m going. Just remember, you owe me, big.?

?I?ll remember. Get out of here. And, Darcy??

?Yes??

?Thank you.?

?Any time.? Darcy chuckled as she made her way back to her car. Once there, she called Jim.

?Hello.?

?Hi, it?s Darcy. How?s your costume coming along??

?Mine?s good, but Lexi is having some problems.?

?Want me to come over and help? I?ve already solved one costume crisis. I?m on a roll.?

?Are you sure you don?t mind??

?Not at all. Just give me your address and directions.?

Jim did as Darcy asked and she was on their doorstep in moments.

?Something doesn?t seem quite right, here,? Darcy said as she eyed Lexi?s zombie costume. ?I know what it is??

?What?? Lexi asked.

?You still look too pretty. We need to make you look much more gross and ugly.?

?How??

?Just leave it to me,? Darcy said with a wicked smile. Half an hour later, she presented the new, and decidedly more disgusting, version of Lexi.

Jim applauded loudly. ?Lexi, you look horrible.?

?Do you really mean it?? Lexi asked excitedly.

?I really do.?

Lexi grinned. ?That?s just what I wanted. Thanks, Darcy.? Lexi ran back into the bathroom to look at her reflection.

?Nice job,? Jim said.

?It?s nothing. It?s easy to make someone look horrible. Not so easy to make someone look good.?

?You always look good to me.?

Darcy glanced toward Lexi to make sure she wasn?t watching, then gave Jim a quick kiss.

?You know, it?s okay to kiss me in front of Lexi. She already knows we like each other.?

?How does she know??

?She?s ten, she?s not stupid.?

?I just didn?t know if it would be weird for her. I don?t want to make her uncomfortable.?

?I?m the one who?s uncomfortable. How much starch do you think is in this lousy get-up??

?It?s that stiff collar on your shirt. The glasses are perfectly nerdy. I can?t believe you?ve never actually seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We?ll have to rent it sometime, but it?s much more fun to see it in a movie theater.?

?Why??

?Everyone dresses up, brings props and recites lines. Of course, it?ll never happen in Lexington, but I think at least once a year they have a showing in Darrington. I?ll try to find out when and get us tickets.?

?What exactly is it about??

?Oh, I could never explain. You have to experience it.?

?Now, you?re scaring me.?

?Be afraid. Be very afraid, Brad Majors.?

?That?s me, right??

?Yes. I?m Janet Weiss. We?re newlyweds.?

?Is your costume in the car??

?No. I haven?t even started getting ready yet. It won?t be hard, though, I?ve got the right clothing and the hair barrettes. I just need to master an innocent, dewy-eyed look.?

Lexi rejoined them. ?We?re bringing chips and dip. Dad let me pick out the kinds.?

?What did you get??

?Fritos and Cheetos and Lays. And, we got bean dip and some kind of vegetable dip.?

?Yum. Andrea said Max is going to grill burgers and hot dogs and Ginny is bringing a potato salad.?

?What are you bringing??

?Dessert. How do banana splits sound??

?Yummy.?

?I suppose I should go home and start getting ready. Andrea did give Ginny and I an extra hour or two to prepare. I think I?ve squandered all my time.?

Jim took Darcy?s hand, then leaned in and kissed her cheek. ?Thanks for coming over.?

Darcy was very aware of two little eyes staring up at her. When she glanced down at Lexi?s face, she was smiling.

?I think my dad likes you.?

?I hope so,? Darcy said, ?because I like him.?


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