Title: Circles of Fate
Author: Pamela S Thibodeaux
Genre: Edgy Inspirational Women’s Fiction
Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Todd heard the car door slam behind him and knew it was her. He knew even before he heard her say his name and felt her hand, soft on his arm. Her touch seared his flesh, his muscles quivered. He took an uneven breath and jerked away, but didn’t turn to face her.
“You’re leaving.” He’d been on his way to see Mike when he’d overheard their raised, angry voices. He hadn’t meant to eavesdrop but hadn’t been able to tear himself away from the door until he heard her say she still loved her husband.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
He turned, and the pain in her eyes cut him like a knife. “But I love you,” he whispered, his voice so thick he could hardly get the words past his raw throat. She shook her head, as if by sheer will she could deny his words, could change his mind. He grabbed her by the shoulders, gave her a slight shake.
“Yes! I’ve always loved you. From the first time I laid eyes on you.”
She spun away. Her fists clenched, breath gasped in and out in jagged pants, and eyes flashed fire when she turned back to face him.
“Oh, no, you don’t, you’re not going to lay all of this at my feet! You never told me you loved me! You told me to go on with my life. You made me promise! It’s too late to tell me now!”
Todd took a step back before he either shook or kissed some sense into her. “It’s not too late. You’re just not giving me, giving us, a chance.”
Tears filled her eyes. She didn’t try to stem them but crossed her arms over her chest as though trying to contain her shattered heart. “I can’t. Don’t you understand? I have to do what’s right.” She choked back a sob.
“How do you know it’s right?”
“I just know. I’m so sorry I’ve hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you.”
A single tear escaped his eye and spurred her into action. She groaned and reached to wipe it away.
“Oh, don’t. Please, don’t.” She cupped his face in her hands. Her lips quivered. “This is killing me.”
Her pain, as deep and raw as his, cut through him like a sword. Todd emitted a harsh cry of her name, dragged her into his arms, and buried his face in her thick mass of hair.
The pain of losing him again, this time by choice, was more than Shaunna could bear. She wrapped her arms around his waist, buried her face into his chest, and drenched his shirt. “I wish I didn’t have to make a choice, I wish I could love you both.”
Todd drew in a sharp breath. He swallowed hard, groaned and hauled her against him. “I know. Don’t cry, baby. Please, I can’t stand it when you cry like this.”
When her sobs subsided, he cupped her face in his hands and brushed the tears off her cheeks. “Are you sure this is what you want?”
Shaunna didn’t want him to see how unsure she felt so she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and nodded then bowed her head, ashamed of the hurt she knew she caused. She knew he was not satisfied with her response when he gave her a slight shake and demanded she look at him.
“Promise me you’re sure or I won’t let you go.”
She would have to convince him or he’d never let her leave. She also knew he’d see through anything less than complete honesty.
“Oh, Todd,” she whispered, her voice urgent. “I wish it were that easy. I’m sure I have to try. But I want you to know something…” She hesitated, unsure how to say what she needed to say. “If things were different, if he weren’t so determined, if nothing was left between us, if I didn’t think there was a chance, I would stay.” Her eyes searched his for some sign he understood.
A ghost of a smile played around his sensuous lips, he nodded. “I know,” he whispered. “And I understand,” he said and gathered her close once more.
She should leave. Shaunna knew Joe waited for her, but was unable, unwilling, to end it, to end them, just yet. She held him firm in her embrace, committed the feel of his body to heart.
“I have to go,” she whispered, then clung, not yet able to turn him loose.
“I know,” he answered and tightened his arms around her. With a sigh of surrender, he stepped away, loosened his hold but rubbed her back and shoulders in a tender gesture.
“Don’t look back,” he whispered then dropped his hands to his side, clenched his fists.
She saw the struggle in his eyes, felt it in her heart, as each fought not to grab hold and cling. They gazed at each other, read the naked truth in each other’s eyes.
Neither wanted to be the first to walk away.
Shaunna touched his face, traced his features…his eyes, his jaw, his mouth. A shiver shook her when he held her hand and pressed his lips to her fingertips.
“I almost wish we had made love the other night.”
The word echoed between them like a silent scream. The despair in his eyes slashed her heart another degree. He shook his head, swallowed hard.
“Know this. If we had, you would not leave here today.”
She stroked his cheek, her smile tender, bittersweet. “Take care of yourself. Please,” she whispered then placed her mouth on his.
Lips met on a sigh, breaths mingled on a sob. Each of them committed the kiss to heart, and fought not to cling to the other. With a final touch, a last trembling smile, Shaunna did one of the hardest things she’d ever done in her life.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/CirclesofFate
B&N Print: http://bit.ly/1WpcegU
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23885515-circles-of-fate (note GR does not have correct cover but this is the same book)
Why is your featured book a must-read?
If you love steamy, gritty, sensual, edgy, true-to-life Inspirational Women’s Fiction, with a military hero this is a must-read. As one reviewer put it…. “Oh the passion, faith and just LIFE flows through this book...”
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Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s