When Cela Donovan meets a little girl and her father, she has no idea her world has just been turned upside down. Nor can she figure out the secret Benjamin Wright seems to be keeping from her. When she finally learns the truth, will it tear them apart or grant them the future both are hoping for?
"Daddy, pleeeasse try it," Essie pleaded. "It's just a matter of balance, that's what my teacher says."
"Sure, that's easy for you to say, darlin'. If you fall it's a short drop. My six-four frame would probably crack the ice."
"Oh, Daddy…you're so silly. Aunt Ruth says you're all muscle, 'specially between your ears."
"Essie! I'll have to speak to your aunt about filling your head with such nonsense." Ben ruffled his daughter's hair and felt pride swell his chest.
"It really isn't all that difficult, Mr. Wright," a soft voice said from behind.
Father and daughter turned at the same time. "Cela!" Essie squealed.
"Hi, Essie. How are you? And happy birthday, if I remember correctly."
"Thank you. I'm six today. Daddy, say hello to Cela. See she says it's not hard. I'm going skating with my friends while Cela talks you into it."
Ben's ribs were practically aching from the rise in his blood pressure. He stood as Essie skated onto the ice joining the other children.
"Hi, you two," he said to Cela and Eileen, giving the latter a quick look and absorbing an eyeful of her daughter. Clearly his interest in her was because she had Karen's heart beating inside her. To try and get close to her would be misusing her and himself. He needed to keep this purely on a platonic level. So why wasn't the rest of his body responding in that manner?
He didn't have this kind of reaction to other women 'friends.' Not even the ones who blatantly made it known they were willing to share his life and his bed—with or without marriage.
But that wasn't his way. He believed in a just God and had always ordered his life in that manner. Karen had been the exception. He'd fallen in love with her hoping she'd see and come to believe in his faith. And she had…to an extent. But in his heart of hearts he believed she loved him as best she could.
And she'd given him Essie. The light of his life.
There are other lights beyond your daughter, his mind said.
He tore his eyes away from Cela.