A Journey of Passion Ch. 01by_Lynn_©
Her divorce left her leery of men. Gabriela Bartolome knew that they weren't all cheaters and liars like her ex-husband, but she wasn't ready to take that chance, either. Her job as administrative assistant kept her busy enough anyway, she reasoned.
Life was okay but dull. Gabriela lived in an apartment so she didn't have to do any yard work. Her few friends were married and never found as much time to get together as they wanted to. Days slid into weeks with nothing exciting happening.
Her daughter Nicole was a freshman at the local college and worked a part-time job. The two got along well and saw each other as often as Nicole's schedule allowed.
Until she began dating a young man who didn't like that she spent so much time away from him. Gabriela worried about their relationship, but her daughter seemed happy. He convinced her to drop out of school right about when they announced their engagement.
The early December wedding was less than two months away when he took off with a coworker. Left in shock, Nicole had to deal with canceling all the plans. Gabriela helped as much as she could while she longed to take the pain away from her daughter.
Christmas that year wasn't the best for them. They shopped for one of their favorite charities and dropped off the gifts. Dinner was quiet but they did their best. Both promised to make the next year better. Neither knew how but they could hope.
Gabriela went to a New Year's Eve party with a girl friend. They decided it was time to have a good time. She tried. She really did, but went home disappointed and discouraged at the drunken imbeciles she'd encountered.
January started out like the old year ended. Gabriela sighed and wondered if this was all she had to look forward to again. There had to be more out there for her than sitting home alone.
Or so she hoped.
One day blended into another until they all seemed alike. Seth stopped trying to evaluate his life and just hoped to stay on top of things. Business kept him so busy he didn't have time for much else. Friends set him up on dates, but nothing ever panned out with those. No, Seth Flynch was a loner and looked to stay that way.
He hadn't always been that way, he knew. A bad marriage turned him off women for a while. Then there was the work he did that took him away for weeks or even months at a time. Seth's association with a small elite group often put him in dangerous situations. They'd rescued captured soldiers, sought out intelligence information and hunted down some of the world's worst criminals. He knew the risks and prepared for them well but the uncertainty didn't help in building a relationship.
Therefore, he threw himself into his real estate and land development business and forgot about everything else. His only daughter Shelby was married and doing well. He got along great with her husband Rex and approved of the young man. Their two-year-old son Dallas was a true joy to Seth.
Erik Corlett was not only one of his employees but a good friend as well. They managed a few nights out here and there along with hitting the gym together a couple of times a week. Almost twenty years separated them in age, but it didn't bother them at all.
Then tragedy struck. Shelby's husband died in a car accident on his way to work. He was only twenty-five years old. Little Dallas was too young to understand why his daddy wasn't there. Seth saw the haunted look in his daughters face and ached to help her.
Now it was Christmas and Seth just couldn't get into the mood. He picked up the usual gifts for his staff and had a small party at the office. Everyone seemed excited and ready for the gatherings with their family and friends. Seth smiled and wished them all a Merry Christmas. He went home to an empty house with no tree and wondered why he couldn't be more like them.
Seth's mother was having the family over for dinner this year. She thought Dallas should have a good Christmas even if no one else was in the mood for it. The adults agreed and pulled together for the young boy. The day wasn't one of joy and laughter as it should be but Seth knew his grandson had a good time. That was important to him.
New Years Eve Seth went to a party. Erik had arranged a date for Seth, so the real estate magnate took a deep breath and vowed to be polite. The woman was obnoxious. Seth cringed when she pretended an interest in him only after learning he owned a real estate company. He dropped her off at her door and never called her again. January looked like it would begin as the old year ended.
Or so he thought.