To my readers,

It has been awhile since I've had the time or opportunity to write. Real life gets in the way of fiction sometimes. Some of you have written encouraging me to write another story. I appreciate your interest and encouragement. I don't like to begin posting until I have several chapters written, but I'm making an exception since I haven't posted anything in so long. Please be patient with my progress; and, as always, I hope you enjoy the story.

The Cove

Chapter 1

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nora paced the hotel room and tousled her hair as she spoke into her phone. She gave Bo an exasperated look as she passed the bed where he was reading.

She spoke impatiently. "I know about your flight on Friday, Susannah. You've mentioned it three times. If the reading is on Thursday, then it won't interfere with your plans…"

She listened for a moment, then continued, "No...I'm not angry. It's not a problem. It's just…"

She rolled her eyes in frustration. Sometimes her sister just didn't know when to quit.

"I'm not yelling!" She squeezed the bridge of her nose and started again, "I'm not yelling," she stated more calmly. "It's just that we've been through all of this, and it's not a big deal."

She sighed as she listened again.

"Okay...look...I'm sorry. It's been a very long and trying week for both of us...we're tired. Like I said before...they'll do the reading on Thursday; then you can leave for your convention Friday morning and I'll tie up loose ends here. It's really not a problem, okay? I'll see you on Thursday then...alright...goodnight, Susannah."

Nora firmly pressed the 'off' button, then looked at Bo.

"Let me see that," Bo said referring to her phone.

"Why?"

"Just…...let me see it," he replied, nodding and gesturing for her to toss it to him. He caught it and turned the ringer to 'silent'. Setting it on the nightstand, he spoke again. "Now...come here," he said quietly, turning back the sheets on her side of the bed.

She tossed her robe on a chair and approached the bed. Noticing two glasses of wine on the bedside table, she spoke again, "Bo, I'm hardly in the mood…"

"I know that," he interrupted. "How insensitive do you think I am? Really, honey." He gave her a look. "I just thought I could give you some wine, some comfort, maybe even a backrub...anything to unfrazzle your nerves and help you relax. Come on," he encouraged.

He propped her pillows up invitingly, and she slipped into bed beside him. He handed her a glass and she swirled the drink before taking a sip, then another, letting the wine work it's magic and fill her with comforting warmth.

After a second glass, she slumped lower and leaned her head on Bo's shoulder.

"More?" he asked her.

"No," she answered softly.

Bo took the glass and set it on the bedside table. "How about a backrub then?" he asked quietly, "It'll loosen those tightened nerves."

"You know...I think I'd rather just...snuggle," she murmured against his shoulder. "Can we do that?"

"Snuggle. You want to snuggle. Well...you know what, honey...you're in luck. I happen to be a master at snuggling."

Nora gave him a sleepy grin. "You're a master of many things, Bo Buchanan."

"That I am," he agreed, "but tonight...we'll settle for snuggling."

He reached over to turn off the lamp, then pulled her to his side. She cuddled close but said nothing. Finally Bo broke the long silence.

"You know, honey, you don't have to be so stoic. I've watched you go through these last few days with hardly a tear. I wish you'd just...let go, have a good cry, talk to me, even scream if you want to...anything but this holding onto your emotions."

When she didn't respond, he continued, "When Asa passed, you saw how I handled it... by drinking and fighting with my brother."

"I remember," she replied softly, running a finger in circles on his chest.

He prodded gently, "So...talk to me, Red. What are you feeling?" He nuzzled his chin in her hair and held her tight. "I'm worried about you, honey. I know you were a daddy's girl...this has to be eating you up inside."

She sighed. "I don't know what's wrong with me, Bo. It just doesn't seem real to me. How can he be gone already? We just buried Mom a year ago. I guess I'm just having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that both of my parents are gone."

Bo nodded softly in understanding. "It'll take some time for the reality to set in. Took me a long time to get used to Pa not being at the mansion...he'd always been such a looming presence there. It just takes time." He stroked her back tenderly. "Lenny's loss is a surprise to all of us...he seemed to be doing so well. But, I've heard this happens a lot with couples...when one goes, their mate follows...can't live without them. Len and Selma were together for a long time."

"Sixty years," Nora replied softly. "Can you even imagine?"

"No, I can't." Bo thought for a moment then added, "I wish we could have had sixty years, Red. But...since we can't...I'm glad I'm older and will go first. I wouldn't want to live without you again."

"That's not exactly how things work, you know...Selma was younger and she went first...and it was the same with your parents. Besides..." Nora continued, peering up at him from her place on his shoulder, "that's not very gallant of you. I don't want to be left here without you either."

He held her tight. "We'll just go together then. We'll be like Romeo and Juliet...only older."

Nora gave him a weak smile, "Not nearly as romantic," she murmured.

They rested in silence for a few moments before Bo changed the subject. "Are you sure you want to handle all of these details alone? I could probably get a couple more days off..."

"No, I can handle it. Susannah will be here for the reading of the will. Then I'll do any other follow up details and fly home on Friday."

"Where I'll be waiting for you," he replied.

"With open arms?" Nora asked, peering up at him.

"Absolutely, honey. With open arms...and maybe even a pizza," he finished with raised brows.

Nora grinned. "You're a man after my own heart, Bo Buchanan," she replied, puckering her mouth to receive his tender kiss.

To be continued...