Posts Tagged ‘love’

It’s not often that I am surprised anymore. Not since the day I went to the grocery store for carrots, and ended up with a head injury that gave me the unexpected side-effect of being able to read minds. Now that you know that, I’m sure you can understand how I usually know what if someone is cooking up a surprise for me… and I have to act surprised, even when I’m not.

But today was a different story.

This morning, I headed to Thrasher Development to give Uncle Joey and Ramos the Christmas gifts I’d picked out for them. It’s not always an easy task to buy something for a mob boss and his hitman, but I’d thought long and hard about the gifts I wanted to give them, and now they were wrapped up and ready to go.

I’d called ahead so they’d know I was coming, and it was nice to find them both in Uncle Joey’s office when I arrived.

“Merry Christmas!” Uncle Joey said, as I came into his office. “Come on in.” I gave both of them a hug and sat down. We caught up for a few minutes, before I pulled their presents from my bag.

“Who wants to go first?” I asked.

“Me.” Uncle Joey took his gift and pulled the paper off his box. He lifted the lid and his face broke out into a pleased smile. “Wow. Would you look at that?” He pulled the pearl-handled knife from the box, and held it up to examine it. “This is great. Thanks Shelby. I don’t have one like this.” He balanced it on his index finger, thinking that it was well-made, and he couldn’t wait to throw it.

Relieved, I glanced at Ramos. “Your turn.”

Ramos was thinking that a knife like that would be pretty handy, and my heart sank, since that wasn’t what was in the box. He pulled off the paper and opened his box to find a glasses case. Prying the case open, he pulled out the dark glasses and grinned. “These are perfect. Thanks.”

“I knew you lost your favorite pair up in the mountains, so I hope you like them.”

“I do. These are great.” He slipped them on his face and sent me that sexy grin of his that always made my heart flutter. “How do they look?”

I swallowed and tried not to drool. “You look amazing… I mean the glasses… they look really good on you.”

His lips tilted up, and I caught his thought that he liked how flustered I got around him. Even my face had turned a little pink. It was adorable.

“Now it’s your turn,” Uncle Joey said, unable to contain his eagerness. “This year, Ramos and I decided to go in on a gift together. So it’s from both of us.” He glanced at Ramos, thinking that it was all Ramos’s idea, but they’d both decided it was more appropriate coming from both of them, since Chris might not like it coming from Ramos.

With my curiosity piqued, I glanced at the box Ramos held in his hands. It was a large rectangular shape, and I had no idea what could be in it. They’d both managed to block their minds and the only thing I picked up was a sense of excitement. Both of them could hardly wait to see my face when I opened the box.

“Merry Christmas, Shelby.” With solemnity and anticipation, Ramos handed the box to me. I glanced between him and Uncle Joey, totally in the dark about what was inside. I knew they wanted me to be surprised, and they had certainly accomplished that.

“You guys! What is it?”

“Uh, uh,” Ramos admonished. “None of that. Hurry and open it.”

I took a deep breath and pulled off the wrapping paper. The black, rectangular box looked like it could be holding jewelry, and a thrill of anticipation washed over me. Holding my breath, I pulled the lid off and gasped.

Inside, a beautiful necklace and earring set rested on a blue velvet cloth. But it wasn’t just any necklace or earrings. The stone was familiar, even though I hadn’t seen it for a while.

“Is this…. ?? Oh my gosh! It is!” The delicate golden chain held a teardrop-shaped piece of smooth, polished, white quartz with veins of gold running through it. The earrings were the same polished quartz, only a little smaller.

“I don’t know what to say… it’s beautiful. How did you do it?”

Uncle Joey smiled. “We know a guy who was more than happy to work with the raw material we provided.”

“We thought you might like something you could keep … without giving anything away.” Ramos added, thinking about our recent adventure into the mountains where he’d almost lost me.

“It’s perfect. Thank you both so much.”

“And if anyone asks,” Uncle Joey continued. “Tell them it’s to make up for not finding all the gold you were looking for… like a consolation prize.”

“That totally works.” I pulled the necklace from the box to put it on.

“Here… let me.” Ramos took it from my fingers and placed it around my neck. After he finished, I took the earrings out of the box, and put them in my ears.

“How do they look?”

“Beautiful,” Ramos said, looking into my eyes.

My eyes teared up, and I gave Uncle Joey a hug and kiss on the cheek. I turned to Ramos and he held me extra tight for a while longer, but I wasn’t about to complain. Then he planted a quick kiss on the side of my mouth before pulling away, and I wiped a tear from my cheek.

We all thanked each other for the gifts, and the warmth of the meaning behind them sent love and gratitude into my heart. After that, we said our goodbyes and I hurried home, grateful for such wonderful people in my life. Glancing at the stone, it caught the light, making the golden veins gleam.

What a sweet surprise. Now, every time I looked at it, I would be reminded of a time when I felt so much love from all my family and special friends who had come to my rescue. They’d saved my life. Because of that, I knew I would treasure this amazing gift forever and ever.

For all of you out there ~ May the gift of love be yours this season!

XOXO ~Shelby

After my trip to Paris, I looked forward to going out to lunch with my best friend, Holly, and telling her all about it. She’s one of the few people who can really appreciate a certain hit-man, and all the juicy details that I always leave out with everyone else.

Naturally, I told her all about my brush with the terrorists, and how Ramos came to my rescue. I picked up that her jealousy spiked a little, mostly when I told her about the motorcycle ride with Ramos through the city. She tried to tamp it down a little, and rationalized that since I’d almost been killed a few times, she wouldn’t ever want to trade places with me.

That reasoning worked for her, especially when I told her about the bomb. Of course, it went out the window after that, because…what kind of a friend would I be if I couldn’t tell her what happened after we took care of the bomb? Her mouth dropped open, and I think she even drooled a little. After that, she was thinking that maybe all the bad stuff that happened to me wasn’t so bad after all.

In some ways, I had to agree that there was a silver lining in there somewhere, but I wasn’t sure coming so close to death made up for that. Still, I had to believe that the outcome was worth it all, or I might want to stay home and never leave my house again.

Then her thoughts turned to Chris, and the time she’d seen him with another woman while I was in Paris. It had troubled her, but after hearing about my adventure, she decided to leave it alone, thinking there had to be a reason for it.

I picked up more details, that she’d seen him at a furniture store with a pretty, younger woman. They were laughing together, and looking at a fine leather couch set and some artwork. Probably something to do with his job, although she couldn’t figure out what that might be.

Now my mouth dropped open, and my stomach tightened with dread. All those old feelings I’d had when Kate was around came to the surface, and threatened to overwhelm me with panic.

“Shelby? Is something wrong?” Holly asked.

“Oh no…nothing. This sandwich is really good. How do you like yours?” While we ate, all kinds of scenarios about what Chris might have been up to filled my head, but I decided that I’d try not to worry. I had no doubt that he loved me, and we were good, so there had to be a reasonable explanation. We’d talk and he’d think about it, and then I’d know. I was sure it was nothing, but I couldn’t help seeing the irony in the situation, either.

In the end, it kind of ruined my enjoyment of telling Holly all the juicy details about Paris, and this was one of those times I wished I couldn’t read minds.

 

 

 

 

 

My trip to Paris was quite the adventure, but once Chris arrived things settled down. Still, we had an amazing time there, and I’m so glad he came. Of course, he wasn’t too thrilled about me leaving him at home in the first place, but since he got to come and spend a few extra days with me, he couldn’t complain too much.

At least that’s what I told him when I had to explain all the little details about my crazy adventure there. Most of them I’d sort of left out when we spoke on the phone, but I couldn’t do that in person. In fact, there was hardly anything I could leave out. Although I did manage to keep a few details from him, 😉 ;).

He thought most of my story was pretty crazy, but knowing me, he had to believe it was true, especially after meeting Inspecteur Dumont, and my friend, Suzette. But it got him to thinking about my experience in the cemetery, and he wanted to go there in the worst way. Me? Not so much. Still, in the light of day, it was hard to refuse a visit there. Maybe I’d sleep better at night with a different memory of that place. It was worth a try, right?

We determined that the cemetery I’d been to had to be Père Lachaise, the most famous cemetery in Paris. My kids weren’t too thrilled about a cemetery, so we left early, telling them we’d be back in an hour or so and took the metro to the nearest stop. Exiting onto the street, Chris thoughtfully bought me a bouquet of spring flowers from a vendor to help cheer me up since I wasn’t real excited about revisiting that part of my adventure.

From there, we followed the map toward the address. Once we came to the tall wall on one side of the street, my heart picked up speed, and I knew exactly where we were. All those feelings of helpless fear came surging back, but I stoically pushed them away and held onto Chris’ hand a little tighter. “This is it. The gate should be coming up on the left.”

It was opened this time, and we followed the little cobbled street between the ornate tombs up the slope while I explained the details of where I’d walked to Chris. In the light of day this place seemed like a place of peace and tranquility.

We came to a crossroad, and I glanced down one side to find the special tomb where I’d hidden. As I pointed it out to Chris, the cracked door hardly seemed big enough to hide behind. Then I read the name carved into the stone. “Colette Marie Joubert, 1843 – 1879”

Was she the one I’d felt there? The one who’d helped me escape? Just then, a breeze carrying the fragrance of Hyacinths caressed my cheek with a gentle touch. As much as it freaked me out, it also sent a swell of serenity down my spine, leaving me a little breathless.

With a sudden idea, I took the flowers Chris had given me, and arranged them on her tombstone. A happy smile lit up my face and I turned to Chris. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to leave them here.”

“Not at all,” he said. “Are you glad you came back?”

“Yes. Thanks for bringing me.”

“Ready to go?” After I nodded he continued. “Good, because I have a surprise for you.”

I listened real close to his thoughts, but he’d shut them up tight. “Wow, how’d you do that?”

He chuckled. “Pure survival. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

A car waited outside the cemetery and Louis opened the door with a broad smile. “Bonjour Madam, Monsieur.”

I had no clue what was going on, but since surprises were rare for me, I could hardly contain my excitement for what Chris had in store. He explained that Suzette had the kids for most of the day, leaving us with a little free time. To make a long story short, we ended up spending the next few hours together doing the most romantic things and treasuring every moment. It ended up being the perfect finale to a trip I will never forget.

 

I first met Ramos not long after I got shot in the head and received my mind-reading ability. He’d just saved my life, but was thinking that he might have to kill me for the big boss. That’s why it came as a shock to ‘hear’ him singing a country song in his mind. Of course, the song was something about the Devil and The Long Road to Hell, so in a way, it made perfect sense. Back then, he was one scary dude, especially since he didn’t seem to possess any of those warm and fuzzy feelings for anyone or anything.

That changed after he met me. I seemed to make him feel guilty about things, and he hadn’t felt that way in years. I also brought out those protective instincts in him, and I knew it bothered him more than he cared to admit.

Since I’m now part of Uncle Joey’s organization, Ramos has had his hands full keeping me alive, and I will be eternally grateful to him for that. But it’s also opened a crack in his heart that kind of ruins his tough-guy image. At least where I’m concerned. That’s how I was able to find out the one thing that always puzzled me about him. How he got his affinity for country music.

He told me that before he worked for Uncle Joey, he started out as a security guard/bouncer at a club in Nashville that featured new artists. There was an amazing singer who got her start in that club. He told me she sang country like it came from somewhere deep inside her soul, and it woke something up inside of Ramos.

Of course being the sexy stud that he is, she was drawn to him, and he told me there were nights when it seemed like she sang to him and him alone. He didn’t tell me any specifics, but said that not long after that, he got in a fight and had to leave town in a hurry, but he never forgot her or her music. Then he told me she was a big star now, and he liked to think that he may have been the cause of her rise to fame.

Puzzled, I asked him why he would think that, and he just laughed. Then he admitted that her breakout album was obviously all about him. I thought that maybe he was a little too full of himself, so I bought the album, just to see what he was talking about. Now, after listening to it a few times, I’m convinced it must be true, and his reputation as a heart-breaker came through loud and clear. Poor girl.

I’d tell you who the singer is, but I promised I wouldn’t. Still, maybe if you listen to that album, you’ll know who I’m talking about. So now you know why Ramos loves country music. He may have broken her heart, but I think it may have broken his a little bit too.

 

I heaved a sigh and tried not to get discouraged. Having mind-reading abilities was helpful for my business as a private investigator, but not so good at Christmas. As much as I tried to block people’s thoughts, it was still hard not to pick up what they were getting me and everyone else for Christmas, and I hated it.

It reminded me of the time I was snooping around in my parent’s bedroom one year and found the mother-lode of unwrapped presents in the closet. I knew I shouldn’t, but the temptation was too great and I looked. I don’t even remember what was in there for me, but it ruined my whole Christmas. It just took all the fun and excitement out of ripping off the paper and opening the box.

Kind of like this year, when I knew there was a crock-pot waiting under the tree for me. Not that I wasn’t grateful, since mine had cracked and I needed a new one…but it wasn’t really anything to look forward to.

At least I was excited about the present I had for Chris. Not long ago, a retired detective had nearly died helping me with a case, and we shared a special bond. He also had a talent for crafting fine watches. Chris had an old watch, but nothing compared to what I could get from Geoff, and I’d spent a few happy hours with him designing the perfect watch for Chris.

When he called to say it was ready, I couldn’t wait to see how it turned out. Geoff seemed pretty happy with it as well, since he had an extra sparkle in his eyes. Once I saw it, I understood that sparkle and my lips spread into a big grin. He explained that it was a gold Swiss watch in a stainless steel case with an exhibition back in sapphire crystal, making the inside visible, and had a twenty-five jewel movement.

Even though none of that really made sense to me, I knew from the way he explained the workings of the watch that it was the highest quality possible…and a Geoff Parker original to boot…which meant a lot to me. It was a beautiful watch and I knew Chris would love it!

I took it home and wrapped it up in a big box so he wouldn’t know what it was and put it under the tree right next to the crock-pot. I grinned, realizing that it didn’t even bother me anymore that I knew about the crock-pot, and I couldn’t wait to see Chris’ face when he opened it.

Christmas morning came and I couldn’t believe how hard it was to open presents. Just before the wrapping paper came off, the person it was from always thought about what was inside and spoiled it for me. I put up my shields, but in the excitement, I failed more often than I liked. At least I had Chris’ present to look forward to, and I couldn’t wait to see his expression when he saw the watch.

After the kids were done, Chris and I opened our presents from each other. I grabbed the present with the crock-pot in it first, just to get it over with. Once the wrapping paper came off, my breath caught in astonishment. It wasn’t a crock-pot box. I glanced at Chris and he smirked.

“This isn’t a crock-pot?” I asked.

This time he chuckled. “What made you think that?”

My lips twisted in consternation. He’d played me! My heart hammered with excitement and I opened the box. Lots of tissue paper blocked my view, so I dug through it until my fingers touched a box. Black and small, it resembled the kind of box that held jewelry, and visions of sparkly diamonds clouded my head.

I glanced at Chris. His thoughts were locked up tight, but his eyes held quiet excitement. Taking a deep breath, I opened the box, then gasped in surprise to find a beautiful watch. I barely heard Chris talking about my detective friend, Geoff, and how he’d made it for me.

As Chris helped fasten it around my wrist, I couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled out…and the tears that clouded my vision. I blinked them back and playfully hit him. “You tricked me,” I said. “And I love it!” I pulled him into a hug. “Thanks for the surprise.” He gave me that special grin that always made me warm inside. I sniffed and got under control, then hugged him again before pulling away. “Now it’s your turn.”

I found the big box I’d wrapped and set it on his lap.

“Is this what I think it is?” he asked.

“You mean a crock-pot?”

“Uh-huh.”

“I’m afraid so,” I responded.

With a bark of laughter, he ripped off the paper and opened the box. Of course, he had no idea what was inside, so when he pawed through the tissue paper and found a little black box just like mine, he froze, glancing at me in complete shock. “Is this…?” He hesitated before pulling it open and I felt his surprise and pleasure as soon as he saw the watch inside. He shook his head in disbelief, and we both started laughing.

“This is crazy,” Chris said. “Who would have thought?”

“I know!” I agreed. “I just picked that up from Geoff a couple of days ago, and I had no idea. Of course, come to think of it, he did have an extra sparkle in his eyes.”

Chris heaved a huge sigh of relief. “I’m so glad you didn’t know, especially since I’ve been thinking about a crock-pot all this time.”

He slipped on the watch, and we sat side-by-side admiring our wrists, both of us in a happy daze and surprised by how perfectly everything had turned out. As I nestled closer to Chris I sighed with contentment, knowing this was going to be a special Christmas I would hold close to my heart for a long time to come.

What to do when…

Posted: July 2, 2013 in Advice
Tags: , , ,

What to do when another woman is after your man. As I’ve recently had some experience with this, I thought I’d pass along some information I hope you find helpful. First of all, don’t freak out! Don’t accuse your husband of anything, as this will only make him defend the woman in question. Don’t assume the worst, but don’t let it go without a fight. Your husband may not realize what the other woman is up to and be flattered by her attention. He might also be uncomfortable by the attention. So … give him an out. Show up to work when she is there and meet her. Be sure you look your absolute best. If possible, try to befriend her, perhaps even go out to lunch. Find out all you can about her. Is she married? Is she in a relationship? Anything you can use as leverage (leverage is any strategic or tactical advantage, and as a verb, means to exploit such an advantage, just as the use of a physical lever gives one an advantage in the physical sense) will be helpful. Also, make sure she knows about you and your family life. How much your husband adores you and you adore him. Go to lunch as often as possible with your husband. Let her see that you are a couple and she has no chance of breaking you up. Now – for the husband part. Re-kindle the flame that brought you together. If possible, surprise him with a night out at a bed and breakfast (no kids!). Buy sexy lingerie. (He will love it). Above all, don’t give up! Your marriage and your husband are worth it. Plus, it just might bring you closer together and that is always a good thing!