Redeeming Paula-A Love Story?
An Empty House, A Missing Love, No Clues
After spending their prom night together, Paula Casey pleads with Mark Schroder to run away with her. She's terrified of her father, but won't tell Mark why. If she doesn't escape now, it will be too late. Mark delays. he doesn't know how to make that happen. The following day, he comes up with a plan and calls Paula. The number's disconnected. He drives to her house and finds it empty. His searching leads to dead ends. When he finds her eight years later, will she be worth redeeming?
Paula Casey rocked up on her heels. She moved within inches of her father’s chair in their Brooklyn, Ohio home. Hands on her hips, she waited for his response.
“Our agreement precludes a relationship with Mark Schroder.” Barry Casey’s voice wisped icy cold. He glared at her.
“It won’t be a relationship.” Paula struggled to keep the venom in her mind from spilling into her words. The smell of his Old Spice nauseated her. “I turn eighteen soon, and you know what that means. Forbid Mark from taking me to my prom, and you’ll regret it.”
Barry’s face reddened. “What do you think you’ll gain? He’ll find you disgusting once he discovers who you really are.”
“I want this. I want one night. After everything I’ve done, you owe me.”
“I don’t owe you.” His voice was strained, almost cracking. He spoke slowly. But she had no problem translating his words into feelings. “Agree to my proposal, and I might change my mind. It’s in your hands.”
“Never.” She stepped closer, possessing the power to ruin his fantasies and his dreams. “Listen carefully. When I graduate and turn eighteen, you’re not my father anymore. You’re just sick Barry Casey. I agreed to play my part in your dream. But I can play it with fire, or I can play it like a limp dishrag. Which would you prefer?”
Barry stiffened. He lowered his head, hands and jaw trembling. Then he edged to his feet, but she didn’t step back. “If I say yes, you’ll never bring up Mark Schroder again? You’ll forget about this childish infatuation and go on with our life and your violin career as you promised? I’ll hold you to this.”
The trap of her past and her promises for the future overwhelmed her. She swallowed her disdain. “I will, exactly as we planned.”
Barry put a finger under her chin and forced her to look up at him. “All right, Paula. You go to the prom with him. But I’ll drive you.”
“Mark drives.” She pushed away. “And we go to the after-prom events and breakfast. Other people will be around.”
“Fine. Have it your way.” He drew in a long, deep breath. “But remember, one word from me, and Mark Schroder will run from you.”
Paula nodded, turned, and hurried to her bedroom. She had only one chance at happiness, either for a night or a lifetime. Mark might take her away. She’d make love to him. She’d plead with him. If her plan failed, at least she would have the love of her life for one night, and his memory would stay with her forever.