For Heaven's Sake, Marry The Man

by Patty Campbell

For Heaven's Sake, Marry The Man by Patty Campbell
Caroline Clayton still feels the pain and humiliation of betrayal years after her fiancé ran away with her bridesmaid the day before their wedding. That sickening cliché will never be repeated. Never.

Beautiful, professional and independent, few have an inkling of how fragile she is except for Danny, the man she loves.

Daniel Kavanaugh knows she’s perfect for him. He plans to spend the rest of his life with her, but her shield against heartbreak threatens to take marriage off the table.

Here is guardian angel Matthew’s challenge. Daniel and Caroline have a destiny.

Matthew hasn’t been able to accomplish that simple task for three earthly years. He takes a rare and radical step.

Heaven, we have a problem.

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Release Date: April 5, 2022
Genre: Contemporary | Paranormal Novel




There are angels, and then there are Angels with a capital A. I am of the former category, a garden variety guardian angel to be precise. Truly. It will be several millennia before I reach the Seraphim level—if ever. First, I’d have to be elevated from angel to Angel, an unlikely scenario based on the way things are going.

I am aware that some humans don’t believe we exist, but that’s not my problem. The Kavanaugh family is my problem.

Here I am on the carpet again, even though it feels more like a bed of nails. How this project got so out of hand is the question I keep asking myself, just as my immediate supervisor is presently asking.

“Well, Matthew, it seems we have another difficulty with the Kavanaugh assignment. Please explain yourself.”

She’s a capital A. She is imperious when she takes such a tone with me, but who’s to blame?

I’ve been on assignment for the Kavanaugh family since, well, forever. I thought that after all this time I could predict where I’d be needed, what had to be done, and then do it. But, Caroline Clayton wasn’t in the equation until recently.

Every hint I drop, every nudge, every dream, every subliminal suggestion has flopped. I must change my tactics. It requires showing up in person, not that I haven’t done it before. The director doesn’t like us to resort to such tactics, and I’m way over my quota of personal appearances.

In fact, I’ve been put on notice that I may have to go back for more training if I don’t accomplish this job in a timely, uncomplicated, and efficient manner. Timely, uncomplicated, and efficient are not my strong suits. I have until the earthly Christmas celebration to get it done.

It’s not that the Kavanaughs are a particularly difficult assignment. Daniel Kavanaugh has seldom been a problem. He’s usually responsive to my influence, but this time he’s dragging his feet. It’s not like him.

Daniel and his love interest, Caroline Clayton, are resisting their destiny. It should have been a slam dunk. I love sports metaphors. They’re crazy about each other and have been a couple for almost three years. Caroline has decided she will never marry and will never have children. Oh, dear. Two strikes and you’re out. There I go again.

Daniel is biding his time. He understood early in their relationship that he intended to marry Caroline, but he’s reluctant to press the issue for fear she’ll bolt. Perceptive young man, my Daniel.

For you to fully appreciate what I’m faced with, I should let you inside Caroline’s head. Usually this would not be permitted, but I can’t see any harm in it. Perhaps you can help me with a few new ideas. Get the old wheels turning, as it were.

Caroline is my challenge. Like it or not, she will need my help and support in the coming days. This woman is going to cause me to get a demotion. I just know it. Although now that I think of it, one can’t go any lower on the angel ladder. I’d have to go back to my beginning and start over, be born again. Once is enough, trust me on that.

My deadline is nearing. I can hear those silly jingle bells already.


Chapter One 

It all started with Matthew. I didn’t know his last name, just Matthew. I didn’t know if he had a last name, and I didn’t know if Matthew was even his first name. I called him Matt, and he didn’t like it much. I could tell because I saw him wince a little when I said it.

I’d had a rotten day at work and was sitting in the little bar on the ground floor of my office building, having a scotch and soda, while listening to a mindless loop of Christmas music. Ack!

“Jeez, Jimmy. Why am I hearing Christmas music? We just got past Halloween.”

“I got no control over it, Caroline. Sorry.”

I loved my job and I didn’t usually sit in bars and drink alone. I seldom drank, but in my present mood, I wasn’t ready to go to Danny’s and spoil his mood, too. I refused to simmer in my car waiting for it to pass. That was when I met Matt. He’d been sitting at a booth in the far corner before he walked over and sat next to me.

Oh, sheesh! Just what I need after the day I’ve had. Some desperado who wants to hit on me.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi.” Go away, Buster. I’m not interested.

“It’s a bummer, isn’t it?”

“What is?” Why am I answering this jerk?

“Life. May I buy you a drink?”

“No, thanks, I have a drink.” Goodbye.

“Mind if I buy myself one?”

“Why would I?” I looked at his face. Jeez, he had such a sweet smile, almost angelic. I couldn’t help myself. I smiled.

“You have a lovely smile.”

Oh boy, here it comes. “Thanks.” I stopped smiling, looked into my glass, then out the window. I watched traffic and tried to concentrate on the various noises in the bar.

“Does that make you uncomfortable? A compliment? It wasn’t intended to.”

“Look, I don’t know you, and frankly...”

“Matthew. I’m Matthew. Nice to meet you. Now, you know me.” He smiled that sweet smile again. “You’re Caroline.”

“How do you know my name?” Why was I still sitting there? I should get up and leave.

“We have a mutual friend,” he went on. “I’ve met you before, don’t you remember?” He waved a hand. “That’s okay. I seem to have one of those faces people forget. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens all the time.”

“Look, Matt...” I used my coldest, end-of-the-flirtation voice. He didn’t have ‘one of those faces.’ I would have remembered if I’d met him. “I don’t think we’ve ever met, and I don’t think we have a mutual friend. I’m in a crappy mood, and I think you should go find someone else to hit on, okay?” I can be really mean when the occasion calls for it.

“Hey, I’m sorry. No problem.” He smiled, picked up his wine, and went back to the booth.

Why am I such a complete bitch sometimes? Why do I feel like I’d just kicked a puppy? I breathed a big sigh, picked up my drink and purse, and walked over to his booth.

“Look, I’m sorry. May I sit down?” I slid onto the bench opposite him, not waiting for permission. “I’ve had a really lousy day, and, just so you know, I have a boyfriend. I’m not in here drinking alone so I can get myself picked up.”

“Caroline, I wasn’t trying to pick you up. You looked as if you could use a friend, that’s all. Don’t worry about it. It’s okay.”

There was that sweet smile again. For the first time, I took close notice of his eyes. They were a clear, pale aqua. When I looked into them, it was as if I could see for miles, but see what? I didn’t know. They were very compelling, unusual eyes. That’s all. For reasons I couldn’t explain, I felt comfortable with him. I smiled back.

“That’s better,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me about your bad day?”

I had no intention of discussing my problems with a stranger. I didn’t discuss my problems with anyone, period. Whatever it was, I could handle it, but I began to get a strange, uncomfortable sensation. To my everlasting shock, I started to cry.

“That bad, huh?” He handed me a beautiful white handkerchief that smelled like a breeze off a spring meadow.

Mute, I nodded. I was so shocked at my tears I couldn’t have blown on my bangs if my hair was on fire. I sat there crying into that handkerchief and for some reason I wasn’t embarrassed that he was there. Truthfully, having him there was a comfort to me when I hadn’t realized I needed comforting. All I thought I needed was a drink to brace myself before going home or to Dan’s place.

Home. What a laugh. My apartment was beautiful, tasteful, and expensive, but home? Just thinking of how much it was not a home made me cry again just when I thought I was about finished. Cry. Crap! I never cry. It’s such a stupid indulgence and a total waste of time.

“My life is a mess,” I finally managed.

“Why?” He tilted his head to the side and waited for my answer.

“For starters, I could get canned from the job I love. I dunno. Maybe I’ll quit. My bastard boss is looking for any excuse to fire me.”

“No. Why?”

“He wants me to relocate to Seattle, and I told him to go screw himself. Seems I’m often shooting off my mouth lately.”


“Yeah, oops.” I sighed deeply and shook my head. “I think he’s looking to replace me with the little bimbo he hired and is probably sleeping with.”

“Mmm.” He put his fingers to his lips, a thoughtful expression on his—now that I really looked—handsome face. “Perhaps you should talk it over with Daniel.”

“I’ve thought about talking to Dan about it, but I can’t. I mean, I, uh, I’ve always given him the impression that I can handle any problems that come up on the job. I don’t want him to think I’m a helpless crybaby.”

I leaned onto my elbows and rubbed my temples. The after-work crowd was thinning out in the lobby bar.

“Let me guess. Daniel thinks you’re Superwoman?”

“Yes, well, that’s the way I’ve always acted. Sometimes, I really do some stupid things.” I folded my arms and put my head down. I was hoping I’d sink into a hole.

His fingers patted my hair lightly. It was a sympathetic pat. It didn’t offend me. I sighed.

I rolled my head back and forth on my arms. “Seems all I can think about lately is the sorry state of my love life, my job, my parents, my future.”

He shifted when I looked at him and jiggled the ice cubes in his glass. “That’s not good.”

Who puts ice in their wine?

“No kidding, I feel like hey, I’m smart. I’m successful, for crying out loud. I should know what direction I want to take, what I want.”

He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head. “What do you want?” His eyes squinched up, making him resemble a big question mark.

“I thought I had what I wanted, and when I got it, I could only think it must have been something else I wanted.”

“Mmm.” Matthew signaled the bartender to bring another round.

I was doubtful, but he smiled and patted my hand in a reassuring way. “It’s okay.” He smiled. “Looks like you need it. You can always call Daniel to come and fetch you if you don’t think it’s wise to drive.”

I could feel my forehead wrinkling because I couldn’t remember mentioning Danny by name. I must have. How else would Matthew know?

I nodded. “Thanks.” I asked myself again why I was sitting there with him. I didn’t know him. He could be a serial rapist for all I knew. Yeah, he could be, but not likely. I’d take my chances.I raised my new drink and sipped at it, enjoying the feel of the cold, damp glass.


I couldn’t help it. I smiled again. “Yeah, I guess.” I did feel better. I wasn’t sure if it was the scotch or Matthew, but I definitely felt better.

We sat and talked some more. Actually, I did the talking. He was a great listener. Lousy at giving advice though, because his only comments when I asked his opinion were answers like: “Is that what you want?” or “Would you be happy with that?” or “Could you have done it differently?” Two hours passed before I knew it.

Matthew leaned back against the padded backrest. “Maybe you should be getting home.” His voice was quiet, soothing. “From what you’ve said, tomorrow could be an important day of decision for you.”

He gazed at me with those aqua blue eyes of his. Such eyes, I wanted to sink right into them like a warm blanket. Every time I looked at him, I relaxed more. The tension that had been in the back of my neck for a week was gone. What was it about him, anyway? All he’d done was listen to me.

“Matt.” I noticed the little wince. “Matthew, sorry. Thanks for acting as my crying towel. I haven’t cried since I was in junior high. I must have been saving it for you.” I laughed self-consciously. “You’re right, I should go. Danny will be worried.”

I stood, and he did, too, and extended his hand.

“I’ve enjoyed talking with you, Caroline. Would you like me to walk you to your car?”

“No, the garage is secured. I’ll be fine.” I took his hand and felt currents running right up my arm into my shoulders. My head cleared, and the effect of the scotch disappeared. It was unnerving, and I didn’t hang on long either.

“Have a safe drive home.” He winked at me and left the bar, giving me a little wave as he went out the door.

I stood, wondering what had happened. I’d spent more than two hours with a stranger. Oh, well, okay. He introduced himself and said we’d met before, but I didn’t remember, so maybe he wasn’t a stranger. It didn’t matter anyway. It was just that I was still puzzled about why I’d poured my heart out to him and cried like a baby, for God’s sake.

* * *

When I got to Daniel’s apartment, he was working at his computer, probably preparing a brief or whatever it is that contract lawyers do when they sit at their computers, pecking away for hours. He glanced over his shoulder. “Hi. I didn’t know you were going to be late tonight.”

It wouldn’t cause my teeth to fall out if I apologized. “Sorry, I should have called. I wasn’t planning on being late. It just happened.”

I knew I should have asked him right then if he could be interrupted, so we could talk. Instead, I kept right on going. I’m hopeless.

He continued to stare at that screen. Dan had great concentration. “Hope you’ve had dinner,” he said without turning. “I fixed myself something.”

I’m not sure if I was angry at myself or Danny, but I couldn’t keep the nasty tone out of my voice. “Jeez, Danny, this place is a pigsty. Don’t you ever pick up anything?” I mumbled more complaints on my way to his bedroom.

He called after my retreating back, “If you’d move in with me, you’d only have one apartment to clean.”

His good-humored banter annoyed me further. “Don’t start.”

I was pulling off my clothes before I got through his bedroom door. I hung my clothes in his closet and put on a big, furry, red bathrobe I keep there and a pair of comfy old slippers that I absolutely love, and then headed for the kitchen.

I navigated through an obstacle course of discarded running shoes and newspapers in his cozy–meaning small–apartment and wondered how come such a neat, clean guy could be such a lousy housekeeper.

“Dan?” I called out. “I’m going to fix myself something to eat. Do you want some coffee?”

“Sure, Care,” he said absently. “Coffee would be great. Call me when it’s ready.”

I hate it when he calls me Care. I guess that’s why Matthew winced every time I called him Matt.

I got the coffee pot going, opened the refrigerator, and took out two eggs and the tub of soft butter. I really hated scrambled eggs, but that’s all I could think of fixing. I had to eat something.

While I cooked, I asked myself questions. Why didn’t I quit and look for another job? Why didn’t I go spend some time with my parents at their villa on the Italian Riviera? They kept inviting me, and I kept telling them I couldn’t take time off work. Well, that one I could answer. I didn’t like spending time with them. Maybe I should break up with Danny and take the transfer to Seattle. Why couldn’t I come to a decision? I should talk to Dan. Why didn’t I?

“Dan, coffee’s ready. There or here?” I carried my plate to his tiny bistro table.

“I’ll come there.” He sauntered in and sat at the table across from me. He leaned back, stretching, and ran his hands through his hair. He’s one good-looking son-of-a-gun. I wish I wasn’t in love with him. Well, maybe not. I don’t know what the heck I wish.

Danny’s great in bed, and we have a good time together. But we’ve always had this unspoken understanding that we’re not in love, just happy lust. We’ve been a couple for almost three years. He does some kind of specialized, big company, big celebrity, high tech contract law or something. Jeez, I am interested, but I don’t understand most of it.

He gave me a sympathetic look over the rim of his coffee cup. “You look frazzled, babe.”

I hate it even more when he calls me babe than I do when he calls me Care. He’d probably stop doing it if I ever bothered to tell him I didn’t like it. Why was I so afraid to open up to him? What would he do, bite me?

I chewed a mouthful of eggs. They didn’t taste bad. “Yeah, I had a super crappy day, and I’m going to take a nice, warm bubble bath when I finish eating.”

I studied him as he drank his coffee. He was a bigger, handsomer version of his dad, Liam. Dan’s hair was curlier, and he had more of it. His dad and four older brothers are tall, blue-eyed, and gorgeous. Danny, the baby of the litter, was the best looking one in the bunch.

I asked him, “You have much more work to do tonight?”

“Nope, I can wrap it up any time. Why? You want me to crawl into that bubble bath with you?” He flashed that sexy smile of his, the one that always gave me little twitches you-know-where.

“I was thinking about it.” Some good, hot sex might be good for what ailed me. I picked up my empty plate and stood. “Okay, I’ve thought about it. Why don’t you shut down your computer and clean the bathtub while I clean this kitchen? Then we can go in search of paradise.”

He laughed, stood, and set his cup on the counter. He gave me a little bite on the neck. “You’re funny, and I love that you’re always my ready-when-you-are girl.”

Our relationship worked for both of us, kept us at home. What complicated things was me being stupid in love with him. That definitely put a pothole in my smooth little road.

* * *

Later, just before we fell asleep, I asked him, “Hey, Danny, do you know a guy named Matthew?”

“No, babe.” He gave me a little nip on the earlobe. “Why?”

We were both naked, and he had one arm across me. I was sort of melted across his chest and belly. I like it there. God, he always smelled so good.

“I ran into this guy today, Matthew. He said he’d met me before and knew who you were.”

He mumbled sleepily, “Whatziz last name? I don’t recall anybody named Matthew. I’m usually pretty good with names.”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Go to sleep,” I murmured the words against his neck. I really did intend to discuss things with Dan, but he was almost out, his breathing slow and rhythmic.

I sighed. Tomorrow—I’ll tell him my troubles tomorrow.         


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