Don't forget to stop in at the Mine!!
~ Chapter One ~
Nina Moore let the silky peach drape slide through her fingers as it slipped into place beside its twin. Shoulders heaving with emotion she gulped in a deep breath of air, squeezing her eyes shut against the sting. A single tear escaped and slid down her warm cheek.
He was leaving. Again.
She glanced at the calendar on the wall beside the kitchen doorway as she shuffled into the bright, cheery room, resisting the urge to pick up the pen and mark the date. No! I have to stop this.
His name was super-imposed across the stage of her mind. Max Williams. The man she loved.
“Stop it, Nina. He doesn’t remember you exist.”
Plopping into the high-backed chair, she buried her head in trembling hands.
Huge gasping sobs shook her slender shoulders. “What have I done?”
Pulling her hands away, they slammed against her burgeoning belly.
Her back stiffened and she sniffled.
Her pregnancy was becoming obvious and she wouldn’t be able to hide it much longer. She would take responsibility for the tiny life growing inside her, that’s for sure. And even though she’d believed Max loved her like she loved him that was no excuse for what she’d done with him. Shame heated her skin and her cheeks grew warm with humiliation. Everyone would know. She’d be labeled immoral, maybe even thrown out of the church.
Her abdomen tightened and she cried out. “Oh, what will I do, dear Lord?”
The day she’d found out abortion crossed her mind, but she couldn’t do it. Not only was she a Christian, she couldn’t abide the taking of an innocent life. It wasn’t the baby’s fault she’d slept with someone.
Rocking back and forth, she moaned and cried. Her parents would know soon, too. Would they disown her? Take away her allowance? If so, how would she continue to attend college? It would be such a blow to them. Nina had been such a good daughter—until now.
Get a job. The words echoed through her mind, but were discarded. Not on her list of desirable things to do.
Sliding off the chair, she dropped to her knees on the floor. “Dear Lord, please lead and guide me and help me through this. I know I messed up and sinned against You. I’m sorry, but I need you now more than ever.”
The room was quiet. The only sound the quiet buzzing of the refrigerator. There was no audible answer from God, yet a comforting peace settled over her and she smiled. God was with her, even though she’d done such a horrid thing.
Exhaustion enveloped her and sleep tried to claim her as she knelt on the floor, but she fought it until her pleas to God were finished for the moment.
When her last words were uttered to Him, she stood and headed up the stairs of her little rental house, too tired to think about supper. Reaching her room, she flopped into bed sure she’d fall asleep quick and in a hurry.
Her mind had other ideas. As soon as her head hit the pillow her eyes popped wide and she gazed around the room. “Six months ago,” She whispered.
Somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, Nina’s mind wandered back to that night, and Max. His dark hair and piercing blue eyes jumped to the forefront of her memory. Every detail of his facial features etched into her mind’s eye. His smell. The way he looked deeply into her eyes, seeming to meld with her very soul.
She should’ve clarified. No, she should’ve said no, no matter what. She knew better. Good girls like her didn’t do bad things like that. She was his English tutor for Pete’s sake. How had they even gotten in her room? Oh yeah, she’d gone to use the restroom and when she’d come out, he’d been sitting on her bed. She tried to pass by and not meet his gaze, but long arms had come out and captured her.
Her heart thumped against her ribcage, half-scared, half-excited. Her pulse was so loud in her ears she missed his words. What had he said? She’d asked him to repeat it.
“You’re very beautiful, Nina Blue Moore.”
She’d tried to pull away, but honestly not very hard. His hands were warm and the feel of them around her arms caused the thumping in her ears to escalate.
His hand came up and snuck under her long, dark hair, cupping her neck. His lips swooped down and… “No!”
She sat-up, shaking her head. She mustn’t remember the sin. Though she knew it for what it was, she still desired it. “I’m so awful.”
Irritation filled her and she jumped from the bed. She couldn’t blame it all on Max. She could’ve said no. Would he have stopped if she had?
She couldn’t be sure, but for all intents and purposes it didn’t matter. She hadn’t said no, and now she was pregnant, unmarried, nineteen, and alone.
She skipped down the steps as if the hounds of Hades were on her heels.