I also wished to share with you the first chapter of Bitten By Regret. This is the second novel in the Just One Bite series, also available for only $3.99 on Amazon.
Diandra Malone sat on the rear deck of her Bethany Beach home with a cup of coffee in hand, much as she did every morning when the weather was nice. It was a typical August day on the beach, and that meant that it was a comfortable 80 degrees at 9 a.m. much to her delight. Enjoying the comforting sunshine, she reclined on the pale blue lounge chair wearing her favorite black sheer robe and a pair of oversized purple rimmed sunglasses.
RaeLynn was in her playpen on the deck with a sippy cup of milk in one hand and a teething biscuit in the other. She was four months old now, and her curly strawberry blonde hair was shoulder length already. A gentle breeze whipped it up and around her face, and she dropped her cup to try and catch the hair as it blew into her eyes, giggling at this newfound game. She caught a fistful and tugged, then let out a little yip of surprise when she learned the hard way that the fistful of fun was actually attached. Diandra looked down at her precious child and once again marveled at how special she was. In some ways just a baby, in others she was so much more.
“Hey, you,” Lizbeth said as she stepped out onto the deck. She was already dressed for the day in a pair of comfortable hip-hugger jeans and a hot pink tank top. Her chestnut colored hair was pulled back in a stubby ponytail, the best she could manage since she kept her hair rigidly at shoulder length. Her face was shiny and clean, free of makeup. Lizzie hated to wear any makeup, even just some lipstick. She wore a light coat of foundation, a touch of blush, and a tinted lip gloss to work, but on the weekends she skipped it altogether.
Lizbeth set her coffee down on the low ivory-colored table in between the two lounge chairs and stretched thoroughly, making sure each part of her body felt loose and easy. Then with a smile she bent down and gave Diandra a long, lingering kiss. “Good morning, love.” RaeLynn made cooing sounds, holding her chubby hands up in the air, opening and closing them in her demand to be picked up. Lizbeth laughed and scooped up the baby, raining kisses all over her chubby pink cheeks. “Good morning to you, too, Princess!” RaeLynn giggled and started making smacking noises with her lips- her own version of giving kisses back.
Lizzie sat down in her lounge chair, a pale rose color, to play her usual morning game of peekaboo with RaeLynn while Diandra looked on fondly. Lizbeth would say, “Peekaboo, baby!” and Rae would giggle and disappear from sight. Lizbeth would then make a pretense of trying to find where the baby had gone, and after a few seconds RaeLynn would drop the veil that protected her, making her visible to the human eye once more. While this little trick had terrified both women in the past, now it was a part of everyday life for them, especially since this gift had helped protect RaeLynn while Diandra had rescued Lizbeth. It was only a month ago but on days like this one it seemed like another lifetime.
After spending some quiet time on the deck, the two women went in to have breakfast. Margaret, the housekeeper who had been with Diandra for the last eight years, had their breakfast ready for them as she did each morning. The woman was truly a wonder in the kitchen, and the never failed to enjoy whatever meal had been placed before them. Since Diandra hadn’t excused herself to go to another room for a bit, Lizzie assumed her lover had already consumed her morning baggie of blood. She normally did so before indulging in coffee so it was a safe assumption. The women shared a breakfast of bacon, French toast, and fresh strawberries while Lizbeth reminisced.
It was hard to believe that it had been nearly a year since she had come into Diandra’s life. This time last year she had been homeless for nearly a month, still struggling to survive each day. She had survived and persevered, and somehow she had made it from that life to this one with barely a stumble. She looked around, taking in her surroundings. Everywhere she looked she saw gleaming wood, glistening glass, and dust-free antiques, all due to Margaret’s loving ministrations. The house didn’t necessarily scream money- it was more like it bore a discreet plaque. It was all very tastefully decorated but, if you had an eye for it, you could spot a large bank account at work.
This was certainly the last place you expected to find a women like her, Lizbeth mused. A year ago she certainly wouldn’t have believed it. At that point she expected she’d be dead before much longer, simply because being a cop and being street-smart were not entirely the same thing. While she’d been a cop for years before being kicked off the force so unceremoniously she had still been rather naïve, still a little girl on her quest to right the wrongs of the world. A little chuckle escaped her at that thought and she shook her head at Diandra’s look of puzzlement.
Lizbeth was so grateful for the twist her life had taken, although she didn’t necessarily like the route she’d taken to get here. Finding a dead body in an alley had led her to the life she never knew she could have. Funny, she would have figured it would’ve been her body dead in an alley if she’d had to survive on the streets much longer. And after last month’s story had hit the news about the drug smuggling case and those involved, a formal apology had been issued to her, making her life worth living again. She’d also been given a year’s salary at the pay rate she had been receiving at the time they threw her off the force, and she had been reinstated in full. Of course, she had already been working as a cop for Alexar Thompson, Bethany Beach’s chief of police, but it was still delightful to finally have her name cleared of all charges. If nothing else, being reinstated in full had given her back a measure of self-worth.
A laugh broke through her concentration. Lizbeth looked up from her musings to find Diandra wiping tears from the corners of her eyes as RaeLynn cheerfully nibbled on the French toast she’d obviously swiped from Lizbeth’s plate while she was lost in thought. She chuckled as well, ruffling the baby’s hair, all deep thoughts gone in a massive uprising of love for the two females in her life. It didn’t get much better than this.