Fire and Rain, Season 2, Episode 5 (Rising Storm)R. K. Lilley
Fire and Rain
By R.K. Lilley
Story created by Julie Kenner and Dee Davis
Fire and Rain, Episode 5
Rising Storm, Season 2
Copyright 2016 Julie Kenner and Dee Davis Oberwetter
Published by Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.
Fire and Rain
By R.K. Lilley
Rising Storm, Season 2, Episode 5
Secrets, Sex and Scandals …
Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.
As Celeste Salt continues to unravel in the wake of Jacob’s death, Travis grows closer with Kristin. Lacey realizes the error of her ways but is afraid it’s too late for reconciliation with her friends. Marcus and Brittany struggle with the continued fallout of Hector’s return, while Chase and Anna Mae face some hard truths about their past…
About R.K. Lilley
R.K. Lilley is the best selling author of the Up In The Air, and Tristan & Danika, and The Wild Side series. She lives in Texas with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She's had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She's been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is currently working on Breaking Him, Boss, and Crossing Fire, Book #2 of Heretic Daughter series.
You can contact R.K. at [email protected]
Like her Facebook page to keep up to date on what she's working on https://www.facebook.com/authorrklilley
Follow her on Twitter twitter.com/authorrklilley
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R.K. also writes urban fantasy under the pseudonym: Rebecca K. Lilley
Also From R.K. Lilley
Click to purchase
THE LOVE IS WAR DUET
THE WILD SIDE SERIES
THE WILD SIDE
THE OTHER MAN
TYRANT - COMING SOON
THE UP IN THE AIR SERIES
LANA (AN UP IN THE AIR COMPANION NOVELLA)
AUTHORITY - COMING SOON
THE TRISTAN & DANIKA SERIES
THE HERETIC DAUGHTERS SERIES
CROSSING FIRE - COMING SOON
THE BISHOP BROTHERS SERIES
BOSS - COMING SOON
Dear reader –
We have wanted to do a project together for over a decade, but nothing really jelled until we started to toy with a kernel of an idea that sprouted way back in 2012 … and ultimately grew into Rising Storm.
We are both excited about and proud of this project—not only of the story itself, but also the incredible authors who have helped bring the world and characters we created to life.
We hope you enjoy visiting Storm, Texas. Settle in and stay a while!
Julie Kenner & Dee Davis
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Rising Storm story
Storm Season: Ginny & Jacob – the Prequel
by Dee Davis
Table of Contents
About R.K. Lilley
Also from R.K. Lilley
An excerpt from Quiet Storm, Rising Storm Season 2, Episode 6, by Julie Kenner
1001 Dark Nights
Travis Salt studied his wife with a carefully gentle detachment.
She was a mess. She’d been unraveling for a while, actually. A slow and steady decline since Jacob’s death, but with Dakota’s revelation about Ginny and Sebastian Rush, things had taken a definite turn for the worse.
“Can I get you anything?” His voice rang out pleasantly, and he hoped it showed the amount of concern she deserved, whether he felt it or not.
They were in their bedroom, it was past noon, and Celeste clearly had no intention of crawling out of bed, let alone showering or getting dressed.
Her red-rimmed eyes swung to him, but she looked right through him. There he was, sacrificing his own wants and desires to please her, and she barely saw him.
When had this happened? And who was to blame? Which one of them had checked out of their marriage to the point that they took so little notice of each other anymore?
He didn’t let his mind linger on that question, because it didn’t really matter. The fact was that he didn’t know what to do with her, and he’d been trying his best.
Well, the best that could be expected from a man with one foot out the door.
He frowned to himself. It was his day off from the pharmacy, but he’d already come up with at least a dozen excuses why he had to go into work.
He wondered if he even needed to voice one aloud. He doubted Celeste would notice in her current state.
Then again, he supposed it could be worse. She could be passed out drunk at the cemetery again.
“Do you want me to bring you some tea?” He eyed the full glass of water by the bed. He’d placed it there the night before. “A fresh glass of water?”
She didn’t respond but her eyes shut suddenly, fresh tears seeping out.
In spite of everything, he felt something in him twist in pain, and not just for their lost son.
Did he still love Celeste? Yes, he reflected. Some part of his heart would always remain soft for this gentle, loving woman who had put her all into being a mother to his children. He wanted her to do well, to get better, and to be there for their daughters. To stand on her own two feet without him.
He wanted her to have that strength, yes. But mostly he had to admit that he wanted her to stand alone so that he would be free to c
ontinue his life without worrying about her.
Because while some part of him might still love his wife, he also loved someone else. He was, above all, a man. A selfish one. And he’d become completely wrapped up in a woman who made him feel passionate, alive again, and younger than his years.
Just the thought of her made his body quicken. Whether it was wrong or right, passion or love, he craved the escape he found in her touch. He needed her. Needed someone who put him and his desires first.
“I have to make a phone call,” he told Celeste blandly. Not that she was listening. “I’ll be in the office if you need me.”
She didn’t say a word and he slipped gratefully away.
He hadn’t been lying. He really was making a call.
Just thinking of Kristin had him feeling desperate.
* * * *
Kristin let the phone ring for a moment, staring at it. She knew who it was and that she shouldn’t answer it. A rare pang of conscience had been troubling her lately.
And on top of that, she’d begun to suspect that her affair with Travis would never become anything beyond the dirty secret that it had always been.
She wanted more. She was sick of being little more than a sidepiece to a married man, no matter how much she loved that man.
The guilt and worry were plaguing her to the point that she ignored the call.
But he called again right away. Her resolve did not go beyond that.
“Hello,” she answered breathily.
“I need you,” Travis began. “Can you meet up now?”
“Are you at home?” She could tell that he was. His voice was always hushed in just this way when he called her from inside of his house.
“Yes,” he answered quietly.
“Where’s Celeste?” she asked, making her voice light and soft to hide the sharpness of the question.
“In bed. She won’t even notice if I leave for a bit.”
She frowned. “We can’t do this forever, Travis. Maybe you should just stay at home. With your wife.”
“I’ve told you, it won’t be like this forever. I promise you that. Are you at home? Can I come over?”
“You said we were going to take the next step soon,” her voice came out harder than she meant for it to, but she forged on. “When is that going to be?”
“I’m making plans, believe me. There’s nothing I want more than for us to be together. I need you, sweetheart. The sooner the better.”
Finally, she smiled. She shouldn’t have doubted him. What they shared was special. She was confident he’d never wanted his wife with the desperation he showed for her. “You promise? You’re leaving your wife soon?”
“I promise. Now, what are you wearing?”
She could make peace with her role in his life at the moment, as long as she knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s only temporary, she told herself for the thousandth time. Someday he’ll leave his wife and when he does, I’ll be here. “Why don’t you come over and find out?”
* * * *
Travis was practically out the door when something gave him pause. Someone was in the kitchen. Cooking. Which was odd, because it certainly wasn’t Celeste.
His next guess would have been Sara Jane, and he was more than a little surprised to find that it was Lacey. “Hey, there. What are you doing?”
She gave him a wobbly smile that made him want to hug her close. “Am I that hopeless? I was trying to cook. I thought that it might make Mom feel better. Back, you know…before, it’s the sort of thing she’d have done to try to make us feel better. I thought it was worth a shot.”
Travis found himself blinking rapidly. “What a sweet, thoughtful daughter you are. I think that’s a great idea.” He sniffed the air and peered into the pot on the stove. “Um, what is it?”
She laughed, and he found himself laughing with her. It felt so good to see something other than misery written across her beautiful young face. “It’s marinara sauce. I was trying to keep it simple. Apparently not simple enough.”
“It’s the thought that counts,” he told her, and meant it. He knew his daughter had been feeling lost, and this meal, which clearly displayed her sensitivity and concern toward her mother, seemed like a step in the right direction.
Lacey studied him, obviously noticing that he was dressed for work. “I thought it was your day off?”
He grimaced. “You know how it is. There’s always something. Luckily I have you to take care of your mother while I’m gone.”
“Oh, my God.” His other daughter, Sara Jane, rounded the corner and came into view. “What on earth is that smell?”
They started laughing again and Sara Jane joined in.
“I was trying to cook something for Mom,” Lacey eventually got out. “To make her feel better.”
They all stopped laughing, but a smile remained on Sara Jane’s face as she said, “Great idea, but let’s start over. I’ll give you some pointers this time.”
Travis hugged his daughters good-bye, and they both hugged him fiercely back. Neither one of them nagged him about going into work on his day off. They were good girls.
He left to see Kristin with a lighter heart. At least his daughters were both beginning to act like themselves again. Surely, when Celeste realized that, she’d begin her own recovery.
Payton Rush was worried about her sister. She couldn’t imagine what it was like to lose her son, and she knew that it would take time for her sister to begin the healing process, but it seemed to her that things were getting worse for Celeste, not better.
Much worse, in fact.
Her sister had withdrawn. Payton couldn’t reach her on the phone, and the last time Payton had shown up at Celeste’s house to check on her, her normally put together sister wouldn’t even leave her bedroom to come greet her.
Payton had left feeling concerned and helpless. But now she was back, and this time she’d brought reinforcements—their mother, Bethany.
Lacey answered the door, looking a little lost, but she smiled tentatively when she saw who was there. “Hi, Aunt Payton. Hello, Grandma. Have you come to see Mom?”
Payton nodded, her gaze soft on her niece. “How is she today?”
Lacey hitched up one shoulder in a shrug that looked awkward on the normally confident girl. “The same. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but nothing seems to help. She’s, um, still in bed. She finally left her room last night, but it was only to grab some photo albums and…a bottle of vodka.”
Payton took a bracing breath. It was worse than she’d thought.
“Is your mother drunk?” Bethany asked her granddaughter, and Payton couldn’t decide if she sounded outraged or scandalized. Either way, it wasn’t good.
Lacey shrugged again, looking more unsure of herself by the second.
Payton smiled gently at her niece. The girl had been through too much. “Would you do me a huge favor? Would you mind going out to grab some things from the grocery store while we talk to your mom?”
Lacey looked relieved as she nodded. “Does that mean you’re going up to her room? She’s not herself right now.”
“We understand,” Bethany assured her. “Don’t worry about it for another second. We’re here to help. With any luck at all, we’ll get your mother back to herself in no time.”
Lacey didn’t look convinced, but she did look more than happy to have an excuse to leave for a bit.
Payton took a quick inventory in the kitchen and made out a short list of essentials, wondering all the while why Travis always seemed to be working. Under the circumstances, it seemed like he’d make a point of at least getting basic grocery shopping done.
She had a bad feeling about what her sister’s husband was up to, but that was a battle for another day.
With Lacey off to the store and effectively distracted, Payton began to fix up a tray for her sister. Nothing fancy. Coffee, water, dry toast. Aspirin.
; She picked up the tray and looked at her mother. “Are you ready for this?”
Bethany squared her shoulders. “It’s gone on long enough. Let’s go handle your sister.”
Payton felt reassured. Their mother had always been a steady, capable, no-nonsense woman. If anyone could get through to Celeste, she figured it was Bethany.
The two women paused briefly outside of Celeste’s closed bedroom door. The house was deathly quiet.
Payton knocked. She couldn’t recall the last time she’d been in her sister’s bedroom. Not for years. A lot of years.
“She might be sleeping,” Payton mused after a few moments of tense silence.
Bethany huffed. “Unacceptable. It’s midafternoon.” She tried the doorknob. It turned easily, and she swung the door open.
What met their gazes was both better and worse than what they’d expected.
The room was relatively neat. The vast majority of it was in order, in fact. Books still on their shelves. All of the knickknacks on the dresser seemed to be in their place. Even the decorative pillows on the chaise lounge by the window were perfectly arranged.
Every out of place thing seemed to be centered on the bed. Strewn across it were photo albums, scrapbooks, and loose pictures.
And most out of place of all was her sister, looking more unkempt than Payton had ever seen. Her normally coifed hair was a tangled rat’s nest and it looked like Celeste hadn’t seen the right end of a shower in days. Her face was gaunt, her eyes open but red-rimmed and swollen, and with no expression at all. Her clothes were a wrinkled mess, and Payton had no doubt she’d been wearing them for days.