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 Category:  Romance Fiction
  Posted: December 19, 2021      Views: 265
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Mrs. Wilkey's first novel, Two Tattered Hearts, was published by G and J Publishers and can be found at It's a novel about how Anna, an abused spouse escapes, with her son, the man-made hell she lives in and finds love. < - more...

She is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #3 spot on the rankings.

She is also an active reviewer and is holding the #7 spot on the top ranked reviewer list.

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Chapter 66 of the book Football - A Novel
Gabriel asks questions about George.
"Football Chapter 36 part 1" by barbara.wilkey

After Katherine's husband dies, she struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is Gabriel the father figure the boys never had and the husband she deserves?

Katherine and Gabriel have known each other for 44 days.


"He was angry when he discovered Mom got her college degree. He said no wife of his was going to work, especially do a common job like teaching. She stood up to him, and he punched her. She had a black eye for weeks. Dad left. We never saw him again."

Gabriel put his hand on Jordan's shoulder. "Did you see it?"

"All of us did. Jeremy was just a baby."

"Thank you. I know it had to be hard to see and hard to share."

Gabriel waited until Jordan got inside before he got behind the steering wheel.

As he did, Paul asked, "Is everything all right?"

"Not really. Kate was abused at least once and in front of the boys. If it happened once, it happened before."

Except for the boys talking, the ride home was silent.

As they drove into town, Gabriel asked, "Guys, I'm grilling outside tonight. What would you like?"

A unanimous 'cheeseburgers' rang out.

"I was thinking pork chops, but cheeseburgers it is. I'll do pork chops tomorrow."

Jeremy bounced up and down in his seat. "Can we have s'mores for dessert?"

"You're going to get me in trouble with your mom, but yes."


Chapter 36

The bus hadn't arrived when Gabriel parked in the school parking lot. He let the boys out and checked his watch. "They should be here in about twenty minutes."

As Gabriel watched the boys, a car drove up and a man jumped out. "Coach Hudson, I'm Peter Clark, Judy's dad. Do you know what happened at the Cross Country meet? Coach Riley called and said Judy tripped. Is she hurt?"

Paul and Bill stood beside Gabriel as he answered, "We were there. Your daughter has a skinned knee from the fall. Coach Riley cleaned and bandaged it."

"Did another girl cause it?"

"The meet officials handled the situation. The girl and her team were disciplined."

Mr. Clark offered his hand. "Thank you, Sir."

Paul called Gabriel aside and almost whispered, "I forgot to ask. How many phone calls am I getting Monday morning?"

Gabriel chuckled. "Maybe one. The girl's coach is the same one who complained last week. So far nothing's happened to Rhonda." He turned as he heard the bus drive in and he pointed to the space around him. "Boys, over here." He cocked his head. "Jeremy, that includes you." He put out his hand. "Hold this."

When Katherine stepped from the bus, Jeremy ran to his mom and hugged her.

She returned it before she walked toward Judy's dad. "Mr. Clark, I'm glad you're here. Judy will be out after she changes."

Gabriel took Jeremy's hand and led him away.

"Coach Hudson said Judy has a skinned knee."

"Yes, Sir. I can't go into details, but the situation has been handled."

"Thank you for all you've done. I appreciate it."

"You're welcome." She faced the locker room. "If there's nothing else, I need to check on the girls."

As Mr. Clark watched her walk away, he said, "Coach Hudson, your boys?"

"No Sir, they're Coach Riley's. I'm just watching them."

"That's right. I remember Judy telling me you two were dating."

Paul said, "On that note, I'm going home. I'm sure Monday will be fun. See you then."

Late that afternoon, Gabriel knocked on Katherine's door with bags of groceries in each hand. When Joshua answered, Gabriel asked, "Where's your mom?"

"In the den."

Standing at the den door, Gabriel said, "I'll be with you after I put these away. I'm grilling tonight."

Katherine glanced up and nodded.

On the way to the kitchen, he asked, "Guys, what does putting a puzzle together mean?"

Jordan shook his head. "We're not sure. We figure she's tired and wants to be left alone. We're staying away."

She's not eating ice cream so I'm not in huge trouble. Maybe just a little. She did text saying she loves me, that's good, right? Gabriel put away the groceries, went to the den, and pulled up a chair. "I'm sorry for the way I spoke to you at the meet."

"You addressed me as if I were one of your players and in front of my girls."

"I was wrong. Once I thought about it, I realized my mistake. My personal feelings got in the way and my only thoughts were for your safety. Then I realized you acted like a coach, which you should've. A good coach always protects their players. If you hadn't, I would've had to counsel you about that. Please accept my apology."

Katherine kissed him. "You're forgiven."

He picked up a puzzle piece. "I understand the gallon of ice cream. What does this mean?"

"It means I'm worn out and need to space out for a while."

"How can I help?"

"I've already picked-up the house, have laundry started, so really nothing."

"What about the boys' rooms?"

"I didn't feel like fighting that battle, but if you want to tackle it, I'd appreciate it."

"Continue with the puzzle. I've got the boys." Gabriel left the room. "Guys, get your rooms cleaned. I'm checking them in fifteen minutes."

Katherine smiled when she heard grumbling from the boys.

While Gabriel cleaned up after dinner, Katherine and Jordan continued his dance lessons. She asked, "Have you checked Youtube for the latest dances?"

"I've been practicing. I think I have it."

"I'm sure you and Sammy will have a great time. I've ordered a wrist corsage. It'll have small peach roses on it. I think she'll like it."

"Thanks, Mom."

After a few more dances, Jordan asked, "Which shirt should I wear?"

"White's always classic, but your light blue shirt looks good with that suit. You could even wear the light gray shirt. You choose."

Jordan laughed. "You're not going to give me a straight answer, are you?"

"No. You can't go wrong with any of them."

Gabriel tapped Jordan's shoulder. "May I cut in?"

"Sure, Coach." Jordan stepped aside and asked, "What color shirt should I wear with a navy suit?"

He glanced at his jeans and T-shirt. "You're asking me? Have you noticed how I dress?"

Jordan grinned. "I bet you're one sharp dresser when you try." He continued upstairs.

Gabriel took Katherine's hand. "Let's dance."

After a few dances, he led her to the couch. "Dancing with you can be dangerous. Let's talk. I have a question." They both sat, before he asked, "Did you love George?"

Katherine's eyes widened. "That's a strange question. What brought it up?"

"I know you were married for sixteen years. I'm curious."

She studied her hands. "I'm guessing you don't want the stock answer, but the truth." Her eyes met his before she continued, "I was seventeen when we got married; too young to understand love. I guess I was star struck because a college man was interested in me. I never questioned why. I just knew he was not a jock."

"You've danced around my question but haven't answered it."

"I never loved him. By the time I realized that, it was too late to do anything."

"You could've divorced him."

Katherine closed her eyes. "Dad didn't believe in divorce. He was a 'you made your bed, now live with it' sort of man." She released a deep breath. "Besides I didn't have an education. I couldn't support my son."

"You only had Jordan at the time?" Gabriel took her hand. "You knew early in your marriage you weren't in love with him."

"That's true." She walked over and touched a photo of the boys on the hearth. "You're wondering since my marriage was a farce why I continued having children, aren't you?"

"It's none of my business."

"Since George traveled often, he made sure I didn't play around. His money controlled every aspect of my life. He paid off doctors so they wouldn't prescribe birth control. The few times he came home he demanded sex and I got pregnant."

Gabriel walked over and held each of her hands. "Are you saying he ...."

"He didn't exactly rape me," interrupted Katherine. "I was his wife. It was my duty. He made that clear."

He put his arms around her and drew her close. "No woman should be treated like that."

"If I could redo it, I would've gone to college." She reached up and kissed him. "And waited for you."

After another lingering kiss, Gabriel said, "At that time in my life I wasn't ready for someone like you. I had a lot of maturing to do."

Gabriel stepped back. "I just realized why you didn't accept the cross country scholarship. George was grooming you for a trophy wife; a trophy wife doesn't do sports. He talked you out of it, didn't he?"

She hung her head and nodded.

He kissed her. "Don't be ashamed. You were young. We both made mistakes."

After a long silence, Katherine said, "You know about George, but you've never shared anybody from your life."

"Because there wasn't just one person. In each city we traveled to, I had two or three girls. In Houston, I had five, maybe six. If one got tired of the life and left, there was always somebody willing to take her place. It was a party lifestyle."

Gabriel led her to the couch, before he continued, "The morning I told you about when I woke up and didn't recognize myself, well, I also realized I used women. I didn't like what I saw and vowed from that day I'd treat women with respect."

"So that's when you became a champion for women?"

"Yep, but as you know I'm still a work in progress."

"You're doing a wonderful job." She kissed him.

"Thank you for the confidence." A lingering kiss followed. "Can I switch the subject?" After she nodded, Gabriel asked, "Joel, is he always so quiet?"

"He's the quiet one in the family. I'm a little worried. I think he gets lost in the shuffle. Jordan's the oldest and a born leader, but in a quiet way. Joshua, he's outspoken and has no filters." Katherine laughed, "Jeremy's still finding his voice, but definitely has one. I've tried to reach out to Joel, but so far no luck. Did something happen?"

"No. Would you mind if I tried?"

"Go ahead." She leaned her head against his arm. "It's nice having somebody I can lean on. Thank you."

He kissed the top of her head. "It's getting late. I need to leave."

Katherine released a deep breath. "I wish you didn't have to."

"I doubt I need to remind you what's at stake if I stay."

His kiss lingered and a second one followed. Gabriel walked toward the door. "Good night. I love you. I'll see you tomorrow." He kissed her. "One of these days, hopefully soon, Reggie and I'll be a permanent fixture. Until then, good night."

Katherine watched him walk to his pick-up before she closed the door.



Katherine Riley: age 33 - widowed: husband died 6 months ago. She moved to Texas from NYC with her four sons. She teaches high school math and also coaches girls cross country.

Daisy: Katherine's yellow Labrador

Gabriel Hudson: High School football coach and former NFL defensive lineman

Reggie: a very large English Mastiff

Jeremy: Katherine's six year old son. He's in first grade.

Jordan: Katherine's fifteen year old son. He's a sophomore.

Joshua Katherine's thirteen year old son. He's in 8th grade

Joel Katherine's eleven year old son. He's in 6th grade.

Paul Edwards: High School principal and Gabriel's friend.

Rodney Frost: Math department head, at least for now.

Angie Brooks Math teacher and Katherine's friend.

Frank Collins Math teacher.

Rebecca and Harold Hudson Gabriel's parents

Sarah and Bob Beck Katherine's parents, Bob is deceased

Alan Green an Assistant Principal

Sandy Frost Rodney Frost's wife

Sam Auto repair shop owner

Bill Brooks Assistant football coach, Gabriel's friend, and Angie's husband.

Harold Hudson Gabriel's dad and football announcer.

Sandy Teenage girl on cross country team.

Judy Teenage girl on cross country team.

Rhonda Morgan Teenage girl on cross country team, and victim of dating violence.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Rhonda's parents.

Kenny Clark Teenager - Rhonda's boyfriend

Grace Former friend of Gabriel and featured in porn magazine

Janette & Jackson Riley Katherine's in-laws

Dr. Martin Jordan's doctor

Troy Elder Lawyer and friend of Gabriel from his pro-football days

UIL The University Interscholastic League exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests. The UIL was created by The University of Texas at Austin in 1910 and has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world.

Melton Ivory Lawyer and possible new suitor


The book continues with Football Chapter 40. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Thank you Google images for sharing a photo of four brothers. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. Again, thank you for catching those errors. This novel is far from over. I'm trying to post entire chapters, instead of posting them in parts. It seems most reviewers didn't have a problem with longer posts. Katherine and Gabriel still have some life issues to navigate. This is truly the calm before the storm. This novel is not actually about football, but is part of the background. High football is a national pastime in Texas. This post is a little over 1600 words. Thank you for having patience.
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