Tormented by the question of ‘what if…’
Home for Hanukkah, Sergeant Isaac Janko has never forgotten the baby his girlfriend gave up for adoption years ago. But he didn’t realize how angry he still was….
More than time separates them….
A chance meeting at Temple brings Zehava Elbaz face-to-face with the first and only man she’s ever loved. She sees a deep and hidden pain in him, one she blames herself for…
An invitation to Hanukkah brings them together….
The two must confront their pain and loss. They have only eight days to face their past, and win each other’s trust, but it is a time for healing, reconciliation and miracles….
This December is not only for Christmas, last night at sundown, Hanukkah, The Festival Of Lights began. This is Issac’s story as he returns home to celebrate with his family for the first time in eight years. He knows he will have to face his ex Zehava at some point, it’s a small community. He’s not sure of his emotions where she is concerned but he’s sure the time has come to figure it all out.
Zehava blames herself for Issac’s anger. She was the one who gave their child away. Although she lives with the heartbreak of doing that, she also knows it was the best thing for the child.
Surrounded by the magic of the holiday season Zehava in her way opens the door to both their pain to hopefully lead to forgiveness.
This is a favorite scene as Zehava shares her promises to her son with Issac.
So man up, Marine, and listen.
The silence stretched out between them, and he forced patience while she studied him. Whatever she sought must have satisfied her because she held out her hand. “I want to share something I do every Hanukkah. Normally I do it alone, but you’re here and I want—I need to do it with you this year.”
Mild alarm rang through him and he ignored that as well, in favor of taking her hand. Her fingers threaded through his and the palm to palm clasp soothed him like a warm embrace. “Okay,” he said, the only word he could push out past the emotion clogging his throat. She tugged and he followed her into the community center, curiosity and dread an uncomfortable cocktail in his system.
Once inside, she hit the light switch and he shut the doors. Since the center should be closed, he went ahead and turned the lock. He didn’t need any unpleasant surprises walking in on them. Zehava gave his hand a squeeze then, releasing him, headed to the table with all of the menorahs. Wary, but curious, he followed.
“He was born in summer.” The words crashed down on him, and he was grateful her back was to him so he had time to absorb the blow and mitigate his reaction. “Our son, I mean,” she explained as though he might need the clarification.
His jaw hurt from clamping it shut, but he kept it closed. He couldn’t guarantee what would come out because the old anger roused like a bad case of heartburn to claw at his insides.
Squatting, Zehava pulled another menorah from beneath the table and set it on top. She ducked down again and took out two fresh candles. “I held him for a couple of hours after his birth.” The words were so soft he had to strain to hear them. “It took that long for the adopting family to arrive at the hospital. Mama stayed with me. She never said a word about the decision, in favor or against.”
Muscles cramping, he folded his arms and forced himself to stay exactly in place. The urge to storm out warred with the urge to hold her—both intent on tearing him apart. Maintaining his position was the best he could manage.
“I held him and I made him a promise. Well, a promise and a wish, actually.” Her voice trembled. “The first was I wished for him to have the best life he could have, with a wealth of opportunity, and a family who loved him. Both the parents who adopted him, and of course, the parents who gave him life.”
Hell opened up beneath Isaac and bellowed its fire through his soul. He stayed firm and didn’t give in to the need to slam his fist into the wall until it broke, or his knuckles did. He didn’t want to hear her damn story.
Yet, he desperately hung on every word.
“The second promise was I would light the menorah for him every year and remember him and pray for him. The first Hanukkah after his birth was very hard, but I kept my promise. I think I cried every night I lit the candles for him.” She twisted finally and looked at Isaac. “Would you light it with me this year?”
She held her breath after asking the question that had danced around in her mind all evening. Never had she felt so connected and yet utterly divided from the same person in the same moment. He stared at her, his expression inscrutable save for the muscle flexing in his jaw.
The one word answer, single, rough, and raw, let her exhale and she fought a wave of dizzying relief. She held a candle out to him with trembling fingers.
Long, Heather. A Candle for a Marine (Always a Marine series Book 18) (Kindle Locations 611-640). Decadent Publishing Company, LLC. Kindle Edition.
In a way unique to her, Heather made me feel their pain, their sorrow, and their love not only for the child they gave up but for each other.
I loved seeing Zach again and was glad he was able to give Issac the kick he needed.
Have tissues handy for this one, you’ll need them as Issac and Zahava find their way.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
Click the Collage for Buy Links and More!
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.