Four years after the divorce, Maggie Chapparelle still believes she did the right thing in giving Nick his freedom. Their marriage was a youthful mistake and so far she's managed to keep her handsome hunk of an ex at a safe distance in spite of his occasional attempts to worm his way back into her life--and bed.
Her ex, rising NASCAR star Nick Chapparelle, has wandered in and out of her life patiently waiting for her to realize what he's known all along--the divorce was the only mistake they made. So what's a woman to do when the man she set free won't stay away? Damn the man, of course.
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The Wild Rose Press
July 26, 2007
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Excerpt from Damn the Man by Michelle Witvliet
"Last night was as real as anything you'll ever find in this lifetime, Maggie."
She nodded. "Yes, it was," she agreed. "When it's just the two of us behind closed doors everything is perfect and wonderful. It's out here--" She gestured to their immediate surroundings. "Where it all falls apart."
"We'll work on that."
"Why, Nick? Nothing has changed. My life is here and yours is wherever you park your truck. Last night you just happen to park it in my driveway."
He stared at her for a time, searching for the right words. When he realized there were no right words, he said whatever came to mind just to shatter the silence. "Okay, fine, Maggie. You win. I'm leaving." He scooped his keys from the counter and headed for the front door. As he crossed the threshold, he rested his hand on the doorframe, and looked at her over his shoulder with a piercing sadness. "Tell me something, Maggie. When did you know?"
"Know what?" she choked.
"When did you first know you didn't love me anymore?"
Maggie flinched and closed her eyes against his candor. She couldn't give him an answer--at least not a truthful one. She lowered her head instead, staring at the floor as if the mysteries of the universe were written in the black rubber scuffmark etched on the tile beneath her toes.
"I'd really like to know," he prodded. "Was it a gradual thing or did it happen suddenly, like one minute you loved me and the next you didn't?"
Maggie shook her head, her voice barely above a whisper. "It's not that simple."
"You got that right. This thing between us is anything but simple." He drew a long, tortured breath. "Hating you for ripping my heart out would be simple. Hating you for giving me one night of false hope would be simple. But since that's not going to happen any time soon, I guess I'll have to do the next best thing."
"What I should have done four years ago--make a life without you and hope the hate comes later."