I originally wrote an epilogue into the ending of Her Knight in Black Leather that got cut during the editing process. Since then, I've had more than a few readers say they wish they could have read this, so I've decided to share it here.
This hasn't been edited, but I hope you enjoy. ~Joanne
This day had been ten years in the making.
Michael squatted down beside the grave and rested his elbows on his thighs, clasping his hands together between his knees. He stared at the name, reached out and ran the pad of his thumb over the carved letters. The old familiar pain slipped up to wrap around him.
It was time.
“I came to say good-bye, Kay. I need to move on.”
He paused, waited, as if somehow expecting a response, then he drew in a deep breath and released it.
“See that woman down there?” He turned his head, looking across the expanse of grass to where Cat stood on the sidewalk beside his bike. Upon seeing his glance, her mouth curled into a soft smile that filled his soul. He turned back to the stone and shook his head. “That’s my wife. Got married this morning at the courthouse. I’m pretty sure I want to have kids with her. I need to forgive myself and let this go, for her sake, as well as mine. I can’t live the rest of my life with this.”
The emotion rose up around, choking him, the tightness in his chest squeezing the air from his lungs. He laid a palm flat against the headstone and closed his eyes.
“It would just be a whole lot easier if you could actually answer me.” He ducked his head to stare at the ground between his knees.
The wind kicked up, swirling like a vortex around him, and he lifted his head. The flowers in the vase on her gravestone swayed in the strength of the breeze, yet the trees in the distance remained still and silent. The bold scent of perfume drifted past him, so familiar and so strong he half expected to find her beside him. An eerie sense crawled down his spine, sending goose bumps skittering along the back of his neck.
Something grazed his right cheek that felt remarkably like lips and another burst of wind whipped around him then just as suddenly died down. With the settling of the flowers in the vase, the perfume disappeared.
Not entirely sure he wasn’t hallucinating, he glanced around, only to find himself, as suspected, alone. Wherever she was, she was at peace now, of that he was positive. The knowledge swelled within him then settled deep in his chest. He smiled at the picture of Kaylee that filled his mind and the knot in his chest that had been a permanent fixture since her death released.
He touched the stone again.
“Thanks, Kay.” Bracing his hands on his knees, he pushed to his feet. “I’ll visit more often from now on. Promise.”
Michael turned and meandered his way across the grass to where Cat waited for him. When he stopped in front of her, she slipped her arms around him, peering at him with worried eyes. “Are you okay?”
He leaned down and kissed her gently. Without her, he wasn’t sure he’d even be here. She’d given him a reason to join the land of the living again, to open his heart. He was so much more than okay. He was free and he had her. Life was good. Life was damn good.