Karen Schroeder made the choice to be a politician. Her local success has caught the eyes of her party and she’s suddenly thrust into the national stage. She knows how to play the game and exactly who she needs to be, even if it’s not who she really is.
Sarah Lindstrom has never questioned her feelings, even when they made her believe her girlfriend would say yes to her proposal instead of breaking up with her. When she sees Karen Schroeder campaigning the rush of attraction is undeniable. Sarah knows she’s been wrong before, but her feelings for Karen overwhelm any apprehension for this woman who’s trapped in the closet.
As the relationship grows Sarah learns love can be the painful when the one you love can only be herself with the door is closed. More importantly her love of Karen could cost her everything she’s worked for. Can love bloom when hidden in the dark?
Karen’s heart pumped hard as she heard the woman explain her business, the plans, the hard work it must have been. Her blue eyes, though tired when Karen first arrived, were now alive and surrounded by blonde lashes and sun kissed skin.
“I’m Karen by the way,” she said as she extended her hand. “I don’t think we were properly introduced.”
“You mean your first name isn’t Representative?” the woman smiled and gently held Karen’s hand. There was no firm I’m-sure-of-myself squeeze or awkward sweaty palm. It was soft, inviting, and had Karen stepping closer. “I’m Sarah, Sarah Lindstrom.”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Sarah. I hope you have a lot of success with your school.” Karen didn’t want to break the connection. She couldn’t. Her hand stayed nestled in Sarah’s as her lips began to tingle.
Sarah nervously wet her lips and Karen leaned closer, then remembered her surroundings.
“I’m sorry,” she said as she pulled away and moved to the other side of the table.
“You are… aren’t you?” Sarah asked as her hands rested on the table in front of her.
“Are what?” Karen’s breath quickened and the fear of outing herself came back. The gut ache between her want and need to take Sarah in her arms and explore every inch, and throwing away everything she’d worked hard to construct.
“A closeted Republican.”
Karen looked around to see if anyone was hearing their conversation. Sweat beaded on her forehead and the heat of the day finally hit her as her head swum.
“I’ve never heard it put that way,” she finally replied when she’d convinced herself no one was listening. “Can I please sit in that chair?” she asked.
“Yes,” Sarah said as she dug in a cooler under the table and fished out a cold bottle of water. “You okay?”
“I’ll be fine,” Karen assured as she took a drink from the bottle and felt the cold rush through her system. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“I didn’t mean to knock you off balance. It was… Mandy just… Mandy said I wasn’t allowed to daydream about a straight Republican. I guess now I’ll be allowed to have my fantasies.”
The words rolled from Sarah’s lips and sparked Karen into her own fantasies, her own desires. The ones she had to keep hidden from the world. Only a few women had touched her and those had been ones with something to lose too. She dreamed of the day she could hold the woman she loved in public. Everyday going to work during the protests on the capitol steps, she caught herself looking longingly at the couples proud together. Then Ashton would take her hand and guide her to her office. Alone in there she’d cry until she needed to have a brave face again.
“Who’s the man candy you have protecting you?”
“I can’t talk about this…here.” She didn’t know why she hesitated, but she wanted to tell Sarah more. She wanted to have Sarah in her life. It was a rush she’d never felt before, even with the other women.
“I’ve got twenty minutes before they close the doors and I can lock up.” Sarah looked at her watch and let out a light laugh. “I know it sounds bad, but… will you meet me behind the barn at nine?”
Sarah was so sure of herself and who she was. Openly discussing a girlfriend without vetting Karen to make sure her secret wasn’t going to hit the front page. A warmth tingled through Karen’s core at the strength of self Sarah had to have and how that would translate in other areas.
“I… um… it’s just—”
“You can’t come out and play. I gotcha.”
“It’s not that. Anyone I’m with has to understand my belief system on ninety-nine percent of the platform is Republican. I need this to go no further than you and I.”
“You haven’t said anything, I have, and you’ve neither confirmed or denied my accusations. Very good, Representative Schroeder.” Sarah sat back and locked her eyes on Karen’s. “But you caught my eye across a field where there were mini-doughnuts, cheese curds and funnel cake. That’s saying something. And we both know a few minutes ago you were less than an inch from kissing me. That says something too.”
Sarah flipped her phone between her fingers as if that would make it ding with a voicemail or text message. Stalking wasn’t her favorite past time, and Karen had warned her this week she’d be a bit out of touch, but it had been two days since the softball game. With a loud sigh she let the phone drop to the table and began spinning it like a top.
“You ready to go?” Mandy asked as she pulled her long dark hair into a misshapen bun that still had hair unclaimed in the binder.
“Huh?” Sarah replied, knocked from her deep thoughts.
“Our supplies are all in. You know we’re supposed to spend our days off and the weekends to set up our classrooms.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Mandy took the seat across from Sarah at the table.
“Not even a K to my last text.”
“That reporter must have really spooked her.”
“I guess.” Sarah rested her head on her hand with her elbow bent on the table. “It’s just… I don’t get it.”
“What was that?” Mandy asked as she looked around the room and behind her back. “Can you hear it?”
“Hear what?” Sarah strained as she attempted to hear the strange sound.
“The ‘told ya so’ fairy. She’s sprinkling told ya so dust everywhere.”
“I hate you… I really, really hate you.”
“I know, but um… told ya so.” She then reached across the table and brushed her finger on Sarah’s nose and Sarah slapped her away. “You had a little on your nose.”
“I am dating a Republican which means I now have my permit to carry,” Sarah growled in warning.
“I call bullshit, but that was a good one.” Mandy got up and poured the last of the coffee into a travel mug, then turned and leaned against the counter. “So, I assume a shower is out, but could you get out of your jammies?”
A half hour later Sarah was unpacking polynomial squares and bead chains. Arranging each item in its place, she tried to let the day’s work distract her. It’s not like she didn’t have tons to do also. She was busy and it was good that Karen wasn’t clingy and in need of her constant attention and approval. Steeling her emotions away, Sarah tried to come to grips with the first major hiccup in the relationship. Not the first. Signs had been there all along, but she’d been blind to them. Just like always.
Even now she craved Karen. She needed her arms to keep her warm. It was as bad as Lisa leaving. The person she wanted to hold her was the one who broke her heart. What was wrong with her?
Luke rushed into the room and jumped on her back.
“Hey Auntie Sarah,” he cooed. “I can call you that when there isn’t school right?”
“Yes sweetie.” She patted his little arms around her neck.
Behind him Mary Beth carried a fruit tray from a local supermarket and a pint of pistachio ice cream.
“I’m not that bad off.” Sarah passed Luke a thousand and hundred cube so he could place them on their shelf.
“Not what I’ve heard.” Mary Beth passed the ice cream and spoon to her. “I heard you’ve been unpacking the same box for the past hour.”
“Have you ever put together the bead case?”
“No, but honey you’re dating a very busy person. There will be times when you can’t see her for weeks at a time.”
“That doesn’t make me feel better.” Sarah lay back on the floor and stared at the ceiling. “Weeks?”
“You met her in the calm before the storm.”
“If that was the calm I’m not going to handle the storm.” Sarah looked at her friend right as her head got pulled into her Mary Beth’s lap. “A few times a week, and half the time she was on the phone or computer.”
Mary Beth ran her fingers through Sarah’s hair to soothe her. When Sarah closed her eyes she felt a tear escape. A hard lump formed in her throat as she turned and curled against Mary Beth’s leg. She never cried for Lisa. She’d been shocked, but a part of her was relieved. Their relationship had come to a point where they needed to move it forward or end it. She chose the path she’d been raised to take. Her parents had had struggles, but always came through stronger than before. She had been raised to not give up on someone, but maybe this time she’d need to let go.
Michel Prince is an author who graduated with a bachelor degree in History and Political Science. Michel writes new adult and adult paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance.
With characters yelling "It's my turn damn it!!!" She tries to explain to them that alas, she can only type a hundred and twenty words a minute and they will have wait their turn. She knows eventually they find their way out of her head and to her fingertips and she looks forward to sharing them with you.
When Michel can suppress the voices in her head she can be found at a scouting event or cheering for her son in a variety of sports. She would like to thank her family for always being in her corner and especially her husband for supporting her every dream and never letting her give up.
Michel has been awarded Elite Status with Rebel Ink Press in 2013, the service award for her local RWA chapter Midwest Fiction Writers and is a Pro member of RWA. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, son, cat and new puppy.
Website-Michel Prince Books