One Red Rose

One Red Rose by Elizabeth Rose Page A

Book: One Red Rose by Elizabeth Rose Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Rose
chair. She hadn’t thought about dating anyone since she and Cooper split up. After all, they were still legally married.
    “It’s been a long time, Eva. Maybe a date is just what you need.”
    “Never.” She pushed the rose aside and pulled open a drawer to retrieve her work. “I don’t need a man in my life. I’m too busy.”
    “You’re still in love with that no-good husband of yours, aren’t you?”
    Eva spun around in her chair. “Don’t call him no-good.”
    Startled, Carol spilled her coffee on the top of her desk. She grabbed at the tissue box to mop it up.
    “But honey, he never even bought you a birthday or Christmas present in nearly the last twenty-five years.”
    “It wasn’t always that way,” she relayed. “We used to exchange presents. We only stopped when we realized it was easier to go out and buy things for ourselves. It was better than hurting each other’s feelings when we exchanged presents we didn’t like. It was a mutual agreement. We didn’t need presents.”
    “Presents?” Carol wadded up the wet tissues and deposited them in the trash can under the desk. “I’m not talking about just presents. I’m talking about romance.”
    “Romance,” Eva repeated the word, turning slowly in her chair. Yes, there had been something missing in her life, and she wondered if Carol was right. Was the missing romance in their relationship what caused them to lose interest in each other and finally split up?
    She picked up the rose and ran a soft petal across her cheek, her eyes squeezing closed in the process. If only she had thought of this years ago. Maybe things would be different now, if she had. Maybe Cooper would still be in her life. And maybe their splitting up wouldn’t still be so hard to handle.
    She wiped the tear from her eye and tried to put the thought from her mind. How could one red rose bring all these emotions to the surface?
    The phone on her desk rang, and she jumped in surprise. Rose still in hand, she picked up the receiver with the other.
    “The Tyme Travel Agency. Eva speaking, may I help you?”
    “Eva?” came a very familiar deep voice from the other end of the line. “Eva, this is Cooper.”
    Her hand squeezed around the stem of the rose, pricking her fingers with the thorns in the process. Her heart beat rapidly, and her mouth went dry. He hadn’t contacted her once in the year after he’d moved from their hometown of Joliet, Illinois to Gary, Indiana. Why was he calling her now?
    “Cooper,” she said and watched as Carol’s head popped up, but her hands stayed busy at the task of wiping off her desk. “It’s been a long time. What’s up?”
    “I’m in town on a construction job,” he told her. “I’m going to need a place to live for awhile and I wondered….I wondered if I could stay at the house for a few weeks?”
    Heart lodged in her throat, she didn’t know what to say. When they’d parted, it had not been on pleasant terms. Things were different now. She lived by herself. Accepting him back into the house might signal that she wanted to get back together. She didn’t know if she was ready for that.
    “I don’t know, Cooper.” She looked to Carol for support, but since the woman had no idea what he was saying, she just shrugged her shoulders and raised her hands.
    “Moving back into the house seems so…so final.”
    Carol’s mouth opened in surprise at hearing those words. Her phone rang and she hurried to pick it up.
    “Nothing’s final, Eva. I just thought maybe we could talk. I’m not asking you to make any kind of decisions about us.”
    “All right,” she said, never being able to deny the man anything. “When will you be here?”
    “I’m here now,” he said. “Look out in the hall.”
    She looked up, peering through the glass door to the office, seeing Cooper, looking sexier than a body had the right to, leaning against the opposite wall, cell phone to his ear.
    She placed the receiver back in the phone cradle. She

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