Through the Fire
Keith “Kat ” Williams is the best friend everyone wants. As bassist for the punk rock band Lightning, his level head and cool composure were the glue that held the band together, even in the worst of times. His fierce loyalty to his best friend Adrian “Bolt” Hall kept the band’s lead singer on a path that eventually led him to marital bliss with his wife, Melody. Kat’s always envied the love Adrian and Melody share because it’s something he’s been unable to obtain. The one woman he gave his heart to left it in shambles. But now, Kat believes he’s found the love of his life with Annette, a woman he’s been close friends with since high school.
Annette Hall, Adrian’s cousin and Melody’s best friend, has left her unfaithful husband and is building a new life for herself and her three sons. In Kat, she sees a gorgeous man with a good heart. One who’s always been there for her even when her husband was not. As the two of them start to look beyond the boundaries of friendship, they begin start to see the possibility of a relationship that could last a lifetime. There’s just one problem…her husband wants her back.
Despite all his failures as a husband and father, Dr. Adam Bryant promises Annette they can pick up the pieces and put their family back together. But when his wife repeatedly refuses him, something snaps, and a dark, sinister side of Adam emerges—a side willing to destroy every relationship Annette has ever had and hurt everyone she loves, including their sons.
She put it down and picked up the black wooden box next to it. It was beautiful and intricately carved. He’d probably picked it up during one of his trips overseas, back when the band was touring all over the world. Carefully, she turned it upside down to see if it was labeled with a country of origin.
“Oh no,” she whispered to herself as the latch broke, allowing the lid to open and the contents to spill out. Condoms. All kinds. All colors. All textures. Many were stamped with foreign languages. Quickly, she tried to cram them all back into the box.
“I see you found my stash.” Kat smiled, walking into the bedroom.
“I was looking... at the box... and they fell out,” she stammered as she continued stuffing them back into the box. No matter what she did, though, the condoms wouldn’t all fit.
Kat stood, staring at her as she kept at it. Then he began laughing.
She peered up at him and laughed as well. “I must look ridiculous.”
He set the water bottles down and began picking up condoms from the floor and putting them on the nightstand.
“No, you look adorable.”
“How did you get them all in here?” she asked.
Kat took the box from her and set it on the nightstand. “Just leave it.”
She handed him some of the condoms that had spilled on the bed. “That’s quite a collection you have.”
“You’re exactly right. It’s a collection. From all the places we traveled when we toured. I started collecting them for some reason, and they’ve been in that box for...” He scratched his head. “At least ten years. Probably petrified at this point.”
“I didn’t realize you were as... uhm... amorous as my cousin.”
He took her hands in his and pulled her up. Hugging her close, he laughed some more. “You’re kidding, right? That’s why I have so many. I had to make sure your cousin and all the guys were safe.”
She stared into his brown eyes that were flecked with gold, like his brown, highlighted hair. He had kind eyes. He was a kind person, a great friend, a great man. She’d met Kat in high school back when they were sophomores and Adrian had first joined his band. But even though she’d found him attractive back then, he’d never seemed interested in her. Back then, he was always with Adrian and the rest of the band, rehearsing and creating music. None of them ever had serious girlfriends, but from what she’d heard there had been plenty of girls. And when they’d hit it big, women followed the five of them everywhere.
“So, you weren’t traveling the world having sex with random women?”
“I didn’t say that. I meant I wasn’t as bad as Bolt... or Buzzy... or Ringo... or Dagger.”
“The virtuous one?”
“Of that bunch. Yeah, I guess so. But, I won’t lie to you, Annette. There have been a lot of women.”
She turned from him, feeling hurt by his declaration. And it wasn’t just hurt but fear as well. Can I please him?