Arielle Abbott has the world at her fingertips but soon loses her way. As a young Navy wife, she thought she was headed for a life of adventure, but instead found herself in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man. In a chance meeting with a handsome stranger named Mick, Arielle begins to envision a way out. She soon finds out that Mick is a Navy JAG officer. He is the person best in a position to help her. However, she begins to fall for him and learns that their relationship is taboo. With just a pet tortoise and her new friend Macy to keep her sane, Arielle embarks on a journey to find self-fulfillment and love.
Arielle, reaches over to me and gently massages my ear as she searches my face- for what, I’m not certain. Then, she leans into me and kisses me delicately.
I love all of her kisses; they all speak different words and sometimes even different languages, but I understand each and every one.
We hold hands as we get up from the table and walk into the grass, which is cool and soft.
We sit next to one another, she lays her head on my shoulder, and we look out onto the moon reflecting off the water. I hear Arielle taking in controlled and deliberate breaths as if she’s gearing up to say something. I wait patiently for her to say what she needs to say.
Upon completion of a few more deep breathing exercises, she keeps her head on my shoulder, looking out onto the water, and says hesitantly, “Show me the way.”
Not sure that I heard her correctly, I ask to clarify. “What?”
She keeps staring at the water, but grips my hand tighter. “Show me the way. I trust you to light the way, so lead the way, and I am right there behind you.” She lifts her head, searching my face in the darkness.
“I'd rather you be beside me,” I say as I take in her soft and lovely features.
Her eyes show a degree of uncertainty.
I smile in response and brush her wavy hair behind her ear. “I will hold your hand the entire way.”
Arielle’s face is illuminated by the moonlight, and I can see signs of both worry and hope in it. Her expression is earnest as she asks, “Promise?”
I kiss her knuckles one by one as she nestles her head and body deeper into my shoulder.
I am both thrilled and fearful of her trusting me so unconditionally. The gift of holding someone’s heart is a monumental responsibility with the potential for very grave and detrimental consequences. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, but Arielle trusts me enough to give it to me, and I will prove to her that I am worthy of her tribute. I need to show her what she means to me and how seriously I feel about her. I need her to know, without a doubt, that she too holds my heart, and together we are complete. I will protect her and devote myself to her happiness, because from this moment forward, my life and future is no longer I or me- only us.
I run my hand over her soft hair and inhale her. I brush my thumb behind her ear and move it down her cheek, across her jaw, and to her chin. I gently pull away, leaving her chin resting in my hand, and lower my head so that my eyes are level with hers.
I look into her uncertain, yet trusting eyes.
“Let’s wrap the moon around us and feel what it is for me to worship you.”
“What are you afraid of?” he asks, still kissing me lightly.
“I'm afraid that if I take the leap, you will watch me fall and then tell me how stupid I was for leaping in the first place. Against all of my rationale and efforts otherwise, I have fallen for you. You have my heart, which means you control it. My poor heart is just pieced together with duct tape around it. I'm afraid if I allow you to keep it that when you return it, because I am certain you will, it will be beyond repair.”
I turn my body into his and worry he’s going to tell me I’m right.
He looks down at me, water rolling off the ends of his hair. “If you give me your heart, I will gently remove the duct tape as you let go of your fears and painstakingly sew it together piece by piece, stitch by stitch. I will fill any gaps or missing pieces with my love and ensure that it will be nothing but whole and delicate and beautiful ever again, just like you. I believe in you. I believe in us. If you'll let me, I will show you how far a little faith can take you.”
His words make my legs feel as if they could just melt into the ground, my heart race, my stomach drop, and send electrical pulses coursing throughout my appendages. I’m not sure that I am what he needs or if I am even right for him, but I do know he is what I need. I need him like I need air in my lungs and blood in my veins. The same sense of urgency I felt the first time I told him to kiss me returns, but this time, I need more than just his kisses. I need all of him.
I kiss his mouth and whisper in his ear, “When we get back, we’re going to shower, and then you’re going to make love to me like you never made love to anyone before. But first, we have to get there.”
I feel his excitement through his shorts and his breathing deepens.
He takes a deep swallow and whispers out, “Yes?”
I brush my lips against his earlobe and feel the hair on the back of his neck stand up. “Tag! “You’re it!” I take off running.
From behind me, I hear him yell, “You’re evil!”
Karina Sharp is a former Navy spouse and former Navy Command Family Ombudsman. Karina is passionate about creating stories about relationships with strong female characters who not only find romance, but also learn about themselves in the process.
Karina Sharp was born in Southeast Texas, but has lived all over the country. Karina holds a Master’s of Education in Counseling Psychology from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from Chaminade University of Honolulu.
She has worked with a diverse population of clients- from convicted felons to the severely mentally ill to adolescents who have been placed in the care of the Child and Family Services, and she uses her experiences as inspiration to help give others a voice.
When she is not writing, Karina teaches aerobics, and runs races. She has also danced burlesque.
Karina lives in Louisville, KY with her husband, their two children, two chocolate labs, and two turtles.