The Politician's Heart
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 painful when the one you love can only be herself when 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.
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Genre: Contemporary | LGBT
~ A White Satin Romance ~
“Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing...”
Sarah Lindstrom’s hands glided down her girlfriend’s bare arms. Sarah loved the feel of Lisa’s smooth satin skin after she toweled off and lotioned herself. Her short, black hair was still damp and smelled of lilacs bringing spring into her dark winter’s night.
Kneeling on the bed, Sarah rested her head on Lisa’s shoulder.
“All right, what is it?” Lisa teased as her hand reached back to cradle Sarah’s head and keep her close.
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve been extremely snuggly the last few days, and I doubt it’s because of Valentine’s Day.”
Lisa turned her head to the side so her pale, green eyes would make Sarah speak the truth. Something about her eyes could unlock every secret Sarah held close to her heart. That’s how Sarah knew Lisa was the one she couldn’t live without, and even though she had it all planned out for Valentine’s Day, Sarah smiled and finally asked.
“Marry me?” The butterflies were at warp speed in her belly even if her head couldn’t have been clearer.
“You’re funny,” Lisa said as she got up off the bed and crossed to the dresser, ripping the air from Sarah’s lungs as she did.
“It’s legal now, you know?”
“Yes, I’m very aware of that.” Lisa pulled a sweatshirt out of her drawer and covered the little bit of exposed skin left from her camisole.
Sarah could feel the cold wall Lisa put up sometimes when she’d come to a place she didn’t want to venture.
“Lisa, you do want to be with me, right?”
Lisa turned and gave the condescending face Sarah had gotten used to over the last few years. It was supposed to be her ‘awe baby, you know I love you face’, but Sarah knew better. It was more of an ‘if I have sex with you, can this conversation be over’? face.
“Baby, you know—”
Sarah held up her hand to cut Lisa off. “Why did you insist on going to the capital to protest day after day?”
Lisa rocked back on her heels, and then headed toward the living room. Sarah leapt from the bed and stopped her at the bedroom door.
“Where are you going?”
“I need to take a drive.”
“You need to stay and talk this out.”
“Talk what out? Geez Sarah, you’re so dramatic over every little thing.”
“Dramatic? I just asked you to marry me.”
“I don’t think you fully understand what that means, honey.”
If there was one thing Sarah hated more than the ‘awe baby’ face, it was when Lisa acted as if Sarah were still a child. She was twenty-five to Lisa’s thirty-two, but that didn’t change the fact that Sarah was leaps and bounds more mature than Lisa would ever be.
“Enlighten me, o-ancient-one.”
“Childish,” she chided back.
“We love each other. I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Awe, baby,” Lisa said as she cradled Sarah’s face in her hands. “I love you, too.”
Awe baby…that told Sarah more than anything ever could. Lisa ‘awe, babied’ half the people she worked with at the spa right before she dumped a crap load of work on them. “Awe, baby,” she’d start, “you’re so good at that, could you unload the truck that just brought three new massage tables? Awe baby, if you aren’t the sweetest thing ever, could you do the laundry for me?”
“I thought we were building a life together. Isn’t that why you moved in with me?” Sarah held in the tears that burned in her eyes.
“Awe—” Sarah’s hand shot up so fast to silence Lisa she almost backhanded her. Lisa’s sing song voice dissipated as she finally spoke truthfully to Sarah. “What do you want from me, Sarah? Get married, buy a starter home, and adopt a couple of kids from China or Guatemala? Better yet, how about we both get inseminated on the same day until one of us gets pregnant?” Lisa clapped her hands together in feigned excitement. “Maybe we’ll both get pregnant at the same time and we can have twins, because of course we’d use the same donor.”
“You’re not funny,” Sarah said as she turned and crossed to the window. Looking out to the snow covered parking lot of their apartment as an orange light flashed from the plow, her head felt thick and heavy as thoughts screamed at her. How had it all fallen apart? Had she missed the signs?
“I’m realistic,” Lisa sighed. “You’re not.”
“What’s so bad about having a real home together? Even a kid or two? Isn’t that why we fought to have the right to marry? The right for you to be in the room if, God forbid, I get some terminal disease.”
“I wouldn’t be the one in the room and we both know it.”
Sarah turned to look at her.
“Why not? I’d be there in a heartbeat if I ever heard you were sick or injured.”
“Mary Beth would be there, Gabbie or Mandy, they’ve always come before me, and even if they didn’t, I’m not the type of person that’s there to hold your hand in the end. I’m the person that’ll put you in the hospital.”
“You’re jealous of my friends? I’ve put you before them on so many occasions I’m surprised they still talk to me some days.”
“Look, Sarah, it’s been fun, but obviously, we’ve come to the end.”
“I ask you to marry me and you break up with me? You can throw away two great years that easily?”
“I could tell you were getting more clingy. It seemed as if you wanted more. I wasn’t really surprised when you asked me.”
“You already have someone new, don’t you?”
“Don’t be paranoid.” Lisa pushed past Sarah and snagged her keys from the kitchen counter.
“I’m dramatic and paranoid.” Sarah held her hand to her chest, and then dropped it quickly. “I guess I’m also an idiot, because I believed you loved me.”
“Your friends are all pairing up and you’re just playing at being a lesbian. You want a picket fence and two point three kids like every hetero you know.”
“I want a family with the woman I love. That’s not gay or straight, that’s human.”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Lisa mocked. “I’ve tried to bring you into the lifestyle, but you insist on hanging on to your past.”
“You love the sound of your voice, don’t you? It doesn’t matter if what you say even makes sense.”
“Why would you even want to get married?”
“Five minutes ago I could have answered you instantly.” Sarah ran her hand over her hair. “Now, I guess I should be thanking you for saying no.”
“Yes, you should.” Lisa raised her eyebrow.
“How about I leave,” Sarah said, reaching for her jacket and keys. “You pack.”
After driving aimlessly for an hour, Sarah turned into the apartment building of one of her best friends, Mary Beth Wallace.
Mary Beth had been in trouble seven years ago and gotten pregnant. The two of them, along with their friends Mandy and Gabbie, used their college funds to buy a business—Growing Strong Montessori Day Care Center. After enrolling in classes to be certified caregivers for young children, first the simple early childhood educators, then the Montessori training center, the three of them went from taking over a day care center to creating a school. They had recently acquired an abandoned St. Paul School District building and were bringing the old school back to life.
With her messenger bag still in the car, she had an excuse to see Mary Beth. Since it was almost ten, Sarah knocked lightly to not wake up Mary Beth’s six year old, Luke.
Sarah drifted, trying to find an anchor to hold on to. Maybe Lisa was right, she did depend on her friends too much, but when Mary Beth opened the door Sarah instantly felt warmth creep into her bones.
“Sarah? What’s up?” Mary Beth asked as she smoothed back her short, red hair. Mary Beth’s hazel eyes, with green speckles, looked worried at her friend’s sudden, late night arrival.
“I thought you’d want to work on our presentation for a few hours tonight.”
“At ten o’clock?”
“Is it that late already?”
“Come in,” Mary Beth said as she opened her door wider and Sarah caught sight of Eli, Mary Beth’s boyfriend, on the couch. When he saw Sarah he stood up and headed for the door.
“I don’t want to disturb you.”
“It’s okay,” Eli said with his hands up in surrender. “I know better than to mess with the mafia.”
Eli gave Mary Beth a quick kiss, then whispered a few words in her ear before he left.
“I really didn’t—” Sarah began, and Mary Beth held up her hand to stop her as she opened the freezer.
“One or two scoops?”
“What makes you think—” Mary Beth peeked around the corner of the freezer door and raised her eyebrow. “Five.”
Mary Beth nodded in acknowledgement as she grabbed a bowl and spoon and scooped out three scoops of pistachio ice cream for her.
“This has to be about Lisa.”
“I asked her to marry me,” Sarah said as she scraped at a mound of ice cream.
“I take it she wasn’t mad because you stole her idea.”
“Not in the least.”
Sarah reached to wipe a tear, but found none. It’d been years since she cried and she’d never been upset about a break-up. Maybe Lisa was right. Her friends were pairing off long term and suddenly the idea of dating for fun wasn’t as appealing. Still no tears escaped, the only thing that told her she was in pain was a lump in her throat.
Mary Beth would be living with Eli if her Catholic guilt didn’t make him go home each night. Gabbie was married. The only free one was Mandy, and she was just a ball of crazy right now. Half the time she spent around Mandy was to control an outburst.
Before she knew what happened Sarah’s bowl was empty and Mary Beth was leaning against the breakfast bar holding her hands.
“What was I thinking?” Sarah asked.
“That you fell in love and wanted to give every bit of yourself to someone. Lisa’s the one who lost in this, not you. You’re going to come out of this better than you were when you entered the relationship.”
“Is it stupid of me to think I can ever have a real family?”
“No. You’re going to have a beautiful family someday, just not with Lisa.”
“Maybe I should go after men.”
“If you were Mandy I’d say yes, you should, but you’ve never felt comfortable with men that way. Ever. I don’t even think you have ever had a boy crush?”
“God, I’m so gay. Aren’t women supposed to be overly possessive in wanting a relationship?”
“I think some people want a family and some don’t. It’s not a guy/girl thing. Lisa’s not that person.”
“You know the worst part?”
“What?” Mary Beth said as she spooned the last of her ice cream in her mouth.
“I just want to curl up in her arms and have her tell me everything is going to be okay.”
“I’d be worried if you didn’t.”
“God, she’ll probably have her stuff out of the apartment by the time I’m back.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. We renewed our lease in October. Actually, I renewed the lease. I should have seen this coming.”
“Can you afford your place?”
“Not by myself.”
“I know someone looking for a new apartment.”
“Who?” Sarah asked, trepidatiously.
“Keep an open mind—”
“She’s one of your best friends.”
“I beg to differ.”
“She’s my sister.”
“Technically you’ve only known that for less than six months.”
“Technically she’s been our best friend since we were seven.”
“I hate you right now.”
“It’s only for a few months.”
“She’ll never say yes anyway. No woman will say yes to me, it seems.”
“There you go, look on the bright side.”
“Mandy,” Sarah said with a sigh. “This day just keeps getting better and better.”