Dare to Forgive

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Chapter 1

“I don’t know why you can’t try to talk with him. He is your father, Adel,” her mom Gladys told her over the phone. Adel took a deep breath and released it. She was at work. She didn’t need this call today or any day for that matter. Why couldn’t her mom understand how hurt Adel was?

“I have nothing to say to him. I really can’t talk right now. I’m working.”

“You wouldn’t have to work if you were with Bentley.”

Her mother’s comments were so cruel and sliced through her heart like a very sharp knife. How could she say these things to her?

Easy for you to say, but I for one will not marry or be with a man who isn’t faithful.

“I’m sorry, Mom, but I need to go.”

She disconnected the call and then tossed the cell phone into her bag on the floor next to her chair. She lowered her head, rubbed her temples, and closed her eyes.

The instant headache was right on cue. It always followed a conversation like this one with her mom. Then came the images. Bentley Ross, her fiancé, had cheated on her. Not once. Not twice. Hell, not three times but too many to track and prove. Considering she had photographs and documented hotel room receipts with video surveillance, there was no way the lying weasel prick could get away with it. None of that concrete evidence mattered to the power-hungry business tycoon she was to call her father? No. When he chose Bentley and a business merger over his own daughter that was it for her. She practically growled with her teeth clenched. She took a deep breath and then exhaled. She was at work. She didn’t need this aggravation.


She heard the deep voice and looked up to see Leo and Hank, two of her bosses. She sat up straight, her head pounding, and forced a smile. “Good morning, Leo, Hank, can I get you some coffee?” she asked, getting up too quickly. She gripped the desk then felt the hand on her arm steadying her.

“Whoa, are you feeling okay?” Leo asked her.

“Oh yes. I just…I just got up too quickly. I’m fine. Really,” she said, staring into Leo’s dark blue eyes. The man was intense and his entire body, including his face, appeared chiseled from stone. Even in the dress pants and dress shirt she could tell how fit he was. She swallowed hard.

He reached out and caressed her cheek. The man was taller than most. His brothers were close at six foot three.

“You look a little flushed. Could you be coming down with something?” he asked, appearing concerned. She knew better. These men were hard, strict, demanding men that didn’t show much thoughtfulness or concern. Fourteen months she worked for them and she still couldn’t read them entirely. They were all business. It both aroused her and reminded her too much of the past.

“No. Just a headache.”

“Well, be sure to take something. The last thing we need is for you to spread some sort of sickness or virus through the office. We’ve got a lot to work on,” Hank stated, giving her the once-over then walking by. She felt contaminated as she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and stared at her desk.

Leo had already released her arm. He touched her hand.

She looked at him.

“Don’t mind him. You should know by now how grumpy he is in the morning. Plus we’re working on a big contract. We’ll need you to take some notes and do a few phone calls. Will you be okay in about ten minutes?” he asked, sounding concerned.

She was still bent over Hank’s insulting comment about possibly spreading a virus through the office. Men were all the same. Maybe Leo was just being nice because he wanted something from her? By the way they always had plans and by the phone calls she had to forward to them, she’d say they were ladies’ men.

“I’ll be fine,” she replied when she realized she was staring at him.

“Good, and if you don’t have any ibuprofen to take, I have some in my top desk drawer.”

“That’s okay, I have my own. Thank you, Leo.”

He winked at her, holding her gaze a moment too long, making her belly flutter with curiosity, but then he turned around and headed toward his office.

She needed the painkillers quick. With her head hurting this much she was bound to miss something one of them said in the meeting and then Hank would bite her head off. No thank you. She reached into her bag and grabbed the water bottle and the large bottle of ibuprofen. Staring at it a moment she realized it was getting low. This was a definite indication of how much the past and her mom’s weekly phone calls were weighing their toll. Maybe if I just forgive them and forget them, they’ll leave me the hell alone?

Now all she needed was a call from Bentley.

* * * *

“Is she getting the ibuprofen?” Hank barked at Leo over the phone.

“Yes, but she’s staring at the bottle. She looks so upset. Something is going on with her,” Leo added, feeling very concerned. He wondered if she got a call from her mother. It seemed to him whenever Adel’s mother called she hit that bottle for the painkillers, instantly getting a wicked headache. What would her mother say to her to get her so upset?

“It’s none of our business. We have more important things to prepare for, like this potential project. Don’t you realize how much money could be made from this construction project?” Hank asked, sounding very serious. Leo wondered when his brother would admit to his feelings for Adel. After all, he and Will were growing impatient and if they held out any longer they could potentially lose the chance they wanted.