Blurb for Protecting Melissa
Melissa sees herself as a woman well-rid of a jerk, rather than as a widow. Since she learned the distressing news that her philandering husband swindled her neighbors and friends before an irate husband killed him in bed with his wife, she figures nothing can shock her. Right! She wants a quiet world, a safe world where she can teach and never think about the problems her husband caused.
Gabe has a lot to make up for, since he left his son and wife stateside while he served as a career Marine. In his defense, she had insisted she wanted to stay near her parents instead of traveling all over the world. Time and distance worked their magic, and he and his wife drifted apart, just as he and his son did. The years he nursed her and tried to be a better father weren't enough to make up for not being there for her when she learned she had cancer.
Of all the things Melissa would have expected, seeing her old crush standing in her classroom door hadn't made the list. Having him hang around and flirt outrageously would have been wonderful when she trailed around him and her brother. Now it didn't make her happy.
Gabe's need to protect his best friend's baby sister kicks in when they leave a high school basketball game to find someone has slashed the tires on her vintage Mustang. Emails sending photos of her nude or looking way too sexy scare her so much he knows he can't leave her until he finds who is responsible and who wants to harm her.
Melissa almost didn’t go to the basketball game. She knew Gabe would be there, he was always at the games. But she loved basketball and she liked to cheer her students.
Everyone laughed and talked. Students called out to her, some of the younger ones waved and giggled. She had a good time, too, until she felt Gabe staring at her from the floor. Then he’d actually climbed up to sit beside her.
Gabe was the kind of man who had a way of taking up more space than his size required. He used his knees and elbows and energy to crowd people, her in particular.
“Ref, are you blind?” he yelled. “He was charging and you know it.”
The cheerleaders were in good form, bouncing on the sneaker toes and jumping as usual, waving their arms in the air and all youthful animation. For a moment their yelling combined with the crowd noise, reaching a dizzying pitch. Melissa shook her head to dispel the fog surrounding her brain. She watched one of her students on the team miss a free throw.
Suddenly a chill ran down her spine. In the midst of people she’d known all her life, she felt uneasy. Fear pressed her chest. Menace. She felt menace. Everyone appeared to be watching the action on the court, not her. But she retreated into herself until she felt an elbow hit her side.
“Did you see that basket?” Gabe’s enthusiasm seeped through her fear. “Thirty-nine to thirty-nine. God, what a game,” he yelled as the half-time buzzer sent both teams to the locker rooms. “You okay?”
He grasped her shoulders, turning her body toward his.
“Huh? Sure. The noise was giving me a headache. I could use an aspirin.”
“I’ll go get you something to drink. Be right back.”
“Yeah, you do that.” Melissa smiled her most insincere smile. As much as she didn’t want the pest near her, she felt some safety in his presence. Right!
Mary Marvella is a tutor, an author, and an editor. A retired teacher, Mary found a way to keep teaching. She often has teachers in her books. She has classic Mustangs, too. The first year she taught school she bought her first car, a 64 1/2 Mustang. Mary has 6 novels, 2 novellas, and short stories in 5 Anthologies, all available on Amazon. She has Indie published novels and novels with 2 publishers.
Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab