Champagne Kisses

Champagne Kisses

By:  Krista Lakes  Ongoing
Language: English
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In the summer of 1990, Rachel Weber spent a week down on the Florida coast, soaking up the sun's rays while she waited for her life to begin. It was there that she met Dean Sherman, a handsome, muscular soldier with crystal blue eyes. The two spent a week together full of champagne kisses that only ended when Operation Desert Storm forced Dean to choose between his duty and his love. He chose duty. Twenty years later, Rachel figured it was just summer love, but she never forgot those eyes. As personal assistant to powerful billionaire Jack Saunders, she never expected Dean to walk into her office after being hired as Jack's personal bodyguard. Even though she had spent the last two decades trying to forget Dean, she found herself falling for him once again. When fate forced both Rachel and Dean to choose yet again between love and duty, Rachel had to decide between the man she had always loved and the family that had become her life. She knew she couldn't have both, but she knew she wouldn't be happy with just one. Would she choose love, or be forever haunted by the memory of those Champagne Kisses?

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31 Chapters
Chapter One
Present Day The cursor blinked steadily on the laptop screen in front of me, but I barely saw the dark pixels repeatedly dimming against the stark whiteness. I couldn't focus on writing the memo Jack requested, or even the website I had up in the background. My thoughts weren't even organized or even actual thoughts; I was just letting nothingness sit in my brain. The blank thoughts were a pleasant respite from the emotions running through the house. A hand settling on my shoulder roused me from my silent thoughts. Jack Saunders, my boss and friend, gave me a small smile. "How's that memo coming, Rachel?" he asked. I sighed. "It's not. What did the doctor say?" Jack's face fell a little. He sat down at the kitchen table next to me and played with the edge of the big wooden table. I could have worked anywhere in the Saunders' mansion, but I preferred the kitchen's warmth and sunny feeling in the mornings. The big country-style table was comfortable and I could hear the sounds of t
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Chapter Two
June 5th, 1990 An old man walked by wearing a Speedo swimsuit that left nothing to the imagination. You've got guts, dude, I thought, and then snickered in my head. Yup. You’ve got guts- and that's the problem! The man continued to strut up the beach, but my eyes didn't follow him. I was pretending to read a book, laying on my stomach facing the ocean, but really I was just people watching. I had read the same paragraph four times and hadn't turned the page yet. The tourists were just too interesting. Granted, I was a tourist too, but that wasn't going to stop me from people watching. My roommate, Jenny, nudged my beach chair with her foot, tipping her head toward the man who had just walked by. I peeked over the top of my Ray Ban sunglasses just in time to see him scratch himself. "Thanks, Jenny," I said, sticking my tongue out at her. She gave me a innocent smile and made sure the long brown hair in her side ponytail was still tight against her head. "No problem, Rachel. I thoug
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Chapter Three
June 5th, 1990- Evening That night, in the tiny beach town, Jenny, Kimberly, and I were dressed to kill. Jenny wore shiny black leggings that emphasized her dancer-like legs with a purple and gold shirt, while Kimberly chose some amazing acid-washed jean shorts with a neon green tank-top. I had on a hot pink mini skirt with an oversized teal t-shirt hanging off one shoulder. We had used up a bottle of hairspray getting ready, so our hair looked fantastic, despite the humidity. We were ready to have some fun. We headed down to the main bar in town. It was called "The Pirate's Revenge" but everyone knew it as just "Revenge." Half of the venue was open to night air, music blasting out and the lights twinkling into the darkness. It was the place to be. Jenny giggled and grabbed my hand, pulling me urgently toward the welcoming lights. If those military boys were anywhere tonight, they were at this bar. We stepped inside, adjusting our eyes to the revolving colored disco lights, and the
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Chapter Four
June 5th, 1990- EveningDean took me by the hand, and we stumbled out of the brightly-lit bar and onto the sidewalk. I knew that the other girls would wonder about where I went, but I didn't care. I could feel the whiskey and beer buzzing through my system, making me giddy. We were outside before I realized that Dean hadn't let go of my hand. I could feel his heat seeping into my skin, sending little tendrils of electricity up my spine. I was lightheaded, and I knew it wasn't just from the alcohol.Since I'd seen the house while out on the beach with Jenny and Kimberly, I already knew the way to the house. I half-consciously started to lead the way. "What's your hurry?" he asked. "That eager to get me to my house?"I stuck my tongue out at him. "All right, big guy, what else do you have in mind?"He shrugged his shoulders. I couldn't help but notice the strength in them whenever he did that. "Have you ever checked out the shops in Old Town?"I smiled. "Yes, we went there earlier today
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Chapter Five
Present Day Half of a turkey sandwich stared up at me, daring me to eat it, but I just couldn't find the appetite. I had eaten the first half, and had even enjoyed it, but my aching heart was taking up all the space in my body and I just didn't have room to fit the sandwich. I pushed the food away, the plate making a soft grating noise along the wood table. The Saunders family portrait stared out at me from across the table. It was one from when the two boys were young. Jack stood next to his father, his hair neat and eyes bright. Robbie, his younger brother, sat on his mother's knee. Despite the outward calm of the picture, I remembered running around trying to catch Robbie to make his hair lay flat for the picture. He had run around the studio like a wild child, eventually tripping and scraping his knee. I could see the edge of the bandage poking out from beneath his shorts. The table vibrated. I looked askance at the plate, wondering if I had angered the turkey sandwich gods by
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Chapter Six
Two and a half years ago Bianca Saunders strode toward me with anger flashing in her eyes. I froze in my seat, quickly forgetting the memo I was typing. She should have looked demure in her dress suit, gold flowers shining out happily from a field of silver, but instead, she just looked like an angry bee. I hoped I wasn't the one about to be stung. "Jack needs a new bodyguard." She threw a newspaper at my chest as she stomped across my office and into the executive lounge, heading toward the coffee pot. She tottered on her golden heels, shaking in her rage and splashing coffee across the counter. Some of the dark liquid spilled on her jacket, and she cursed under her breath as she grabbed a napkin and began dabbing at the silver and gold embroidery. I fumbled with the newspaper and groaned slightly when I saw the headline. Billionaire's Bodyguard Assaults Photographer blazed out in bold letters across the heading of the page. In a blurry black and white photo, Jack looked on in hor
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Chapter Seven
June 6th, 1990 I woke up nestled on Dean's arm, using it as a pillow. We were still in more or less the same spot that we had had sex in a few hours before. He was snoring softly, which was really cute. I looked at my watch and found that it was still really early. My head was swimming a little bit and I really had to go to the bathroom. I didn't want to wake Dean, so I tried to sneak out of the bed. However, my hair must have tickled his arm, because his arm shot out and grabbed mine. He took me by surprise, and I squealed a little bit. He laughed. "Where do you think you're going? We're supposed to go surfing," he said, obviously still half asleep. He blinked, then let go of my arm. His eyes focused, and he looked me up and down. I blushed. The sun's light was much more illuminating than the moon's, and I realized that he was drinking in his first clear sight of my naked body. This man was a stranger, and suddenly I felt extremely self conscious. I pulled the sheet from the bed up
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Chapter Eight
June 6th, 1990 "Okay, now this time I'm going to just give you a little push on the back of the surfboard. Center yourself and get ready." We were out in the ocean. Dean was taking the time to show me how to surf and it was not going well. As he gave my surfboard a little tap, I found myself staying up on the surfboard for about a half second before crashing into the water again. Oh well, I thought. At least my top is still on. I came to the surface, sputtering once again. Dean grabbed my hand, steadying me before going after the surfboard. He grabbed it and brought it back to me. "Quick, get back on the board, I can see a great swell coming," he said, obviously excited. "You take it." I unlatched the surfboard from my ankle and handed him the strap. Dean had seemed excited about surfing, yet he hadn't even gotten on the board yet. "Please, just ride this wave. Then you can watch me surf for the rest of the afternoon," he said, pushing the strap away. I laughed. "Okay." I laid
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Chapter Nine
Two and a half years ago I alternated between staring at the heavy wooden doors and glaring at my watch. A notepad with a new pen sat waiting at my fingertips, but I wasn't even tempted to doodle. Dean Sherman had my complete and utter attention, and he wasn't even in the room yet. What would I say to him? Hi, Dean. I sent you a letter every day for a month, but I never got one from you. That sounded too harsh. Especially since I knew he had never gotten a single one of my letters. I had sent them out religiously once I moved to New York to work for the Saunders family, but after a month of no replies, the postman had handed me a stack of unopened letters. Something in the address Dean had given me had made them undeliverable. You could have just told me you weren't interested. Instead I waited for you. I asked my landlord to forward all my mail, but I never got anything. Not even a postcard! No, that wasn't fair either. It was very possible that my landlord just was lazy and threw
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Chapter Ten
June 7th, 1990 The sky was just beginning to glow with the promise of morning when I felt Dean slip out of bed. He padded quietly on the floor, picking up his clothes and dressing. I peeked one eye open to watch him wriggle into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, admiring the view. It was worth it to wake up a little to see his body move. His blue eyes caught me peeking and he came over and sat on the edge of the bed. "Go back to sleep," he whispered, leaning over to kiss my forehead. His lips were warm and soft, so soft that I never wanted them to leave. "Where are you going?" Sleep made my voice creak like an old door. Dean brushed the hair off my forehead, smiling down at me. He looked like an angel in the morning light. "Boy things today. Remember?" Dean's blue eyes twinkled with excitement. I nodded slowly, remembering that he had said something about going out with Matt and Tony today. "Have fun. When will you be back?" I asked, sitting up slightly. "Late afternoon." He kissed
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