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 Category:  Romance Fiction
  Posted: February 6, 2022      Views: 210
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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.

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Chapter 74 of the book Football - A Novel
Gabriel's offered a coaching job.
"Football Chapter 45" 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 61 days.


"I'd like that." Katherine hesitated. "During halftime your dad said the UT coach was at the game. He said you talked with him. Was it important?"

"I don't know. I had to get to the team. We basically shook hands and that was it. He said something about getting with me later."

She yawned. "Seems strange."

"It does. You're tired, and I need to get going. Would you like me to zoom part of the cross country meet with you?"

Katherine smiled. "Can you?"

Gabriel stood and offered his hand. After Katherine stood, he kissed her. "I can and I'll see you in the morning. Good night."

"Good night."


Chapter 45

After his Friday morning run, Gabriel knocked on Katherine's door. Jordan answered, "Hi, Coach." When Katherine rushed to the door, Jordan grinned. "I'll wait outside."

After a few kisses, Gabriel exhaled. "As much as I'd enjoy doing this all day, I need to get to school."

"Will you have time to come by at lunch?"

"Wasn't I here every day this week?"

"Yes, but there's a game tonight."

"I'll see you around eleven-thirty." Another kiss, before he said, "See you later."

Katherine went in the kitchen and started breakfast for the other boys. My sewer drainage (seroma drainage) was removed yesterday. I could go back to work. I don't start chemo for ten days. There's absolutely no reason for me to be home. I feel fine.

Sarah joined her in the kitchen. "I can tell your brain's working overtime. What's going on?"

"I should go to work next week. I'm in a little pain but not much and the sewer's gone. There's no reason to sit here and do nothing."

"You have a puzzle that needs to be completed," teased Sarah.


"The doctor wants you to take it easy. I'm sure there's a reason. Besides she won't sign the necessary paperwork for you to return to work."

"She's being over cautious."

"I doubt it. Didn't she say something about catching an infection?" Sarah faced the stairs. "I'll get the boys."

When Gabriel arrived during his lunch break, Katherine and Daisy were sitting on the front porch. "Getting fresh air?"

"I want to go back to work, but Mom has sided with my overly cautious doctor." She paused. "I can do it. I'm feeling fine."

"You're feeling fine because you're resting. If you start doing more, you'll start feeling it. You need to conserve your strength for chemo. The oncologist said it'll be the hardest thing you've ever gone through."

Katherine's eyes met his. "You're siding with Mom and my doctor?"

"I am. I'm sure Paul would agree." He offered his hand. "Let's go in."

"I'm not sure what Mom's fixed for lunch."

Sarah offered, "That's because you've pouted all morning."

Gabriel kissed her. "I hope that helps."

She smiled. "It does."

Sarah set lunch on the table. "Any worries about the Hornets?"

"They have a fast running back we'll need to stop. As long as we can keep him from getting the ball, we'll be fine." Gabriel winked at Katherine. "It should be an easy game." He grunted as he checked his ringing phone and stepped from the table. "Sorry, it's Paul. I need to take it."

Katherine watched Gabriel as he ran his hand through his short hair and checked his watch. "I'll be there in about thirty minutes." After a silence he said, "I don't care. Give him a tour of the weight room."

As he sat, Katherine said, "It's okay if you need to leave."

"I don't want to. I look forward to our time together and won't allow for interruptions." Gabriel took a drink.

Both heads turned as they heard a knock on the door. Gabriel got up. "I wonder who that is."

When he opened it, Melton Ivory said, "Don't slam the door."

Gabriel glared at him. "Why not?"

"I heard Mrs. Riley has breast cancer, and so have her in-laws. I wanted to warn her they're using it to attempt to get custody, again. Please give her the message." He turned to leave.

"You work for their lawyer?" After Melton nodded, Gabriel continued, "It all makes sense now. Why are you telling us?"

"I realized how wrong they are about everything." He left.

Gabriel called after him. "Thank you." He closed the door and faced Katherine. "You heard?"

"Now what?"

He removed his phone. "I'm calling Troy. He'll handle it. Don't worry."

After speaking with Troy, Gabriel checked his watch and kissed Katherine. "It's taken care of. I need to go. The pep rally will be on Zoom. I'll come by after the game." At the door, he faced her. "I love you more each day."

"I love you too. Good luck tonight."

About twenty minutes before game time, the boys, Sarah, and Katherine were ready. Sarah answered a knock on the door. "Rebecca, come in."

Greetings and hugs continued before Rebecca scanned the table. "Sarah, the snacks look so yummy." She checked her watch. "The game starts in fifteen minutes. Has Harold started the pre-game show? I heard the UT head coach met with Gabe this afternoon. I wonder what he wants. It's mysterious. I hope Harold tells us." She hesitated. "Then again, he may not know."

Katherine stared at the TV. That was the meeting Paul called about. I wonder why Gabriel didn't say anything. Maybe there wasn't anything to tell. He wouldn't keep a secret, would he?

Joshua sat beside her. "Mom, is everything all right?"

She hugged her son. "Of course. I'm anxious for kick-off.

As the game began, Sarah said, "Gabriel said during lunch they need to make sure the Hornets' running back doesn't get the ball."

Rebecca nodded. "He's a senior this year. Last year he scored two touchdowns against us. What was his name?" She thought a moment. "O'Henry, that's it. He's really fast. I'm sure a big university will sign him." She picked up a plate. "Let's get this party started."

Everybody filled their plates and readied for the kick-off. As the first quarter ended, O'Henry caught a pass and ran thirty yards for a touchdown.

Harold announced, "Coach's cap just hit the ground. He's not happy. I wonder who missed their tackle. Coach Hudson's animated. Coach Brook came over to talk with him. The score 6-0. We blocked the extra point. There's the buzzer for the end of the first quarter. We need to score in the second quarter or our winning streak's in jeopardy."

Rebecca put her hand on Katherine's arm. "Gabe doesn't take losing well."

"Numerous people have warned me."

Starting the second quarter the Bears got first down after first down and scored.

Katherine whispered, "Don't try for the two-point conversion. They'll expect it."

Harold commented, "Coach still has our boys huddled up. He's staring at the Hornets' huddle. I wonder what he's thinking. They're ready. Let's see what he's going to try." After a few minutes he laughed. "The extra point's good. I wondered if he'd try for the two points. I guess he figured they'd expect it. The one thing I know is Coach Hudson will not be out coached."

Katherine released the breath she'd been holding.

Joshua laughed. "Mom, you called that right. How did you know?"

Sarah smiled. "Your mom grew up in a football family. She probably knows more about football than most people. Your grandpa was the most winning coach in district. Gabe may break his record, if some big university doesn't scoop him up."

Katherine silently studied her mom. Like the UT head coach who's been meeting with him.

The final score: 6-10. The Bears were victorious and O'Henry wasn't able to get another first down.

Katherine walked over to the table. "Boys, finish your snacks.

Jeremy hugged Rebecca. "Will Grandpa come like he did last week?"

She hugged the child. "Yes. We're going to make regular visits. Remember us talking about it last week? Is that okay?"

"It's great." Jeremy took his mom's hand. "Can I stay up until Coach and Grandpa get here?"

"It was a home game, so yes, but soon after that you need to go to bed. Why don't you get on your pajamas before they arrive?"

He stomped upstairs. "Okay."

"It wasn't long before Jordan, Gabriel, and Harold walked in the door. Gabriel kissed Katherine. "I expected you'd be asleep."

Before she answered, she reached for the cap he always hung up as he entered. "I see it's a little extra dirty."

"Dad, did you announce it hitting the ground?"

Harold hugged his wife. "I announce every play-by-play."

Gabriel drew Katherine in a hug before he kissed her. "Maybe, but I think only once."

Sarah said, "Guys, get some food."

Before Gabriel and Harold fixed a plate, they spent time with Jeremy, answering all his questions and allowing him time with Reggie. When it came time for him to go to bed, Reggie and Daisy followed him upstairs.

They continued eating and discussing the game. After the other boys went upstairs, Rebecca said, "Katherine advised you not to try a two-point-conversion because they'd expect it."

Gabriel winked at her. "You were right. I'm glad I listened."

Soon the kitchen was cleaned, and Gabriel's parents left.

Putting his arm around Katherine, he asked, "Are you too tired to sit and cuddle a while?"

"It's one of my favorite things."

"What's another of your favorite things?" interrupted Gabriel.

She kissed him. "That."

After a few lingering kisses, Katherine got quiet, and Gabriel asked, "Are you sure you're not tired?"

"I took a nap this afternoon. I'm fine." Katherine's eyes met his. "Can I ask about something?"


"What did Coach Herman want?"

"He offered me a coaching job."

"I thought we were equal partners. When were you going to tell me?" When Katherine hesitated, Gabriel started to speak, but she continued, "So I'm not part of decision making? I'm to be kept on the shelf until..."

A kiss interrupted her, before Gabriel said, "This conversation's going downhill. Let me explain and then if you have questions we'll go from there."

After exhaling, Gabriel said, "Tom offered me a line-coaching job. He's impressed with the program I've built. I didn't tell you because I turned it down. I saw no reason to discuss it."

When she started to speak, he put his finger over her lips and continued, "I turned it down because I wasn't interested at this time in my life."

"Why?" asked Katherine. "The money. The prestige."

"I don't need the money or the prestige. I have everything I want with you and the boys. I'm happy coaching here."

"Did you turn it down because of me?"

"Not really. Our relationship's in a good place. I have hopes of us getting married." Gabriel paused. "With the hours coaches keep, it's too far to drive daily. I didn't want us to be in different cities."

"This job could lead to other jobs, a head coach of a university and then the pros."

"I know."

"Why didn't you discuss it with me?"

"I felt there wasn't any reason to. I wasn't interested."

"The reasons for turning it down seem to deal with me. I would've told you to take it. I don't want to hold you back. You'll grow to resent me."

"I'd never resent you. You're not holding me back."

"But you could be back with professional football."

"True, but I've been there." Gabriel shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not interested." He kissed her. "Please understand I'm happy here. I'm making changes in boys' lives and if I teach them a little football that's a plus."

He paused before he continued, "I didn't bring it up probably for the same reason you didn't tell me about the doctor finding the lump. You didn't want me to worry unless there was something to worry about. I wasn't interested so there wasn't anything to discuss."

Katherine studied his face.

"I understand your concern. I'm not George. I'm not interested in a trophy wife. We are and we'll continue to be partners." Gabriel grinned and his kiss lingered. "If it'll help, I promise to discuss everything with you."

"That would be ridiculous, wouldn't it?"

His eyes met hers. "It's up to you. If it'll help you trust me..."

Her kiss interrupted him. "I trust you. Are you positive it's what you want?"

"I am. I told Tom at this time in my life I'm not interested, but if something comes up in a few years, maybe. Is that fair enough?"

She cuddled into his chest and yawned. "I'll agree with that. I'm sorry I was being ridiculous.

"Under the circumstances it makes sense."

After another yawn, she said, "You're way too patient with me."

"Either I'm boring or you're tired." Gabriel stood. "I know I'm not boring, so it has to be you're tired." He helped her stand. "There's no cross country meet tomorrow, so I'll be by after practice." He kissed her. "I'll take Jordan to practice." After a few more kisses, he grinned. "Good night." He started out the door but turned back. "That was a good morning kiss, in case you're not up." He winked as he left.


"Incorrigible," interrupted Gabriel. "I know and you love it."
"You're right. I do."

A little background on the seroma drainage. After my first surgery, I didn't need one put in because I only lost 4 lymph nodes. After the second surgery my total lymph node loss was 16, so the surgeon put on it. It literally is a drainage sewer. I called it a sewer. At the beginning, it had to be drained 3 -4 times a day. It was under my arm, so someone was needed to empty it by a syringe. My husband did it. After a few weeks, depending on the person, less and less waste is produced. When there's almost no waste, the surgeon removes it. With this many missing lymph nodes, problems can occur. I've been lucky. I only have a little swelling, when a weather front goes through. When I fly or travel to the mountains, I need to wear a compression sleeve and sometimes a glove on that arm/hand. While you have a seroma drainage in legally you can't drive.

I mentioned in yesterday's post, I will be visiting my mom from February 11-21. I may not be able to post or review because Mom doesn't have Internet. I'll do what I can.


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 org

Benjamin Weinberg Lawyer for George's mistress and baby

Gail Mitchel and her daughter, Jewel George's mistress and baby

Melton Ivory Lawyer who tried to get a date with Katherine

Mr. Novak Riley's lawyer

Judge Ryan Washington Judge Troy asked to sit in the meeting.


The book continues with Football Chapter 46. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Thank you Google images for the photo of Bevo, UT's macott. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. Again, thank you for catching those errors. There are 6 posts left after this one. Katherine and Gabriel still have some life issues to navigate. 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 2100 words.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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