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 Category:  Romance Fiction
  Posted: February 21, 2022      Views: 204
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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 76 of the book Football - A Novel
Gabriel and Katherine talk.
"Football Chapter 47" by barbara.wilkey

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

Katherine and Gabriel have known each other for 69 days.


During dinner, Gabriel set his fork down and then said, "Katherine, next weekend is the last free time you have before chemotherapy. If it's all right with Sarah, why don't we go out on a real date, not a Homecoming dance?"

"I don't know..."

"It's a wonderful idea," interrupted Sarah.

Katherine closed her eyes before smiling. "It's a date."


Chapter 48

After Saturday morning practice, Gabriel and Jordan got in the pick-up and Jordan asked, "Coach, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, I've told you that you're welcome to ask me anything."

"Do you wish you had Mom to yourself?"

"That's a loaded question." Gabriel exhaled and then his eyes met Jordan's. "I'll answer honestly. My first choice would've been to spend time alone with her before there were kids. That wasn't an option."

Chuckling Gabriel added, "First Reggie's size scared your mom and Daisy. Next, Jeremy ran a shopping cart into me, and then I spilled hot coffee on her and met you. Remember when I threw the football and you caught it, but knocked your mom into Mr. Edwards? Hardly a normal start to a relationship."

"But you still pursued her."

Gabriel turned the ignition key. "I felt from the beginning your mom was special. I don't give up. She tried to keep me out of her life."

"When you realized there were two more of us, didn't you get concerned?"

"Joel and Joshua?" When Jordan nodded, Gabriel continued, "Naw, somehow it seemed normal." After parking, Gabriel asked, "Did I answer your question?"

"Sort of. I guess your answer would be, it would've been nice, but wasn't in the cards, and Mom and we are worth it."

Gabriel shook his head. "You summed it up perfectly. I wouldn't change a thing."

"Got it."

After the Saturday chores were completed, Gabriel checked his watch and then winked at Katherine. "Are you ready for our date?" After she nodded, he continued, "I need to get home and get ready. I'll return about seven o'clock. Okay?"

When Gabriel returned and Katherine answered the door, he asked, "I forgot to ask, can I leave Reggie here. He doesn't need to go on our date."

"Of course."

"Good." He grinned. "You'd better say goodbye to the boys. Our ride's waiting."

"Our ride?"

"You'll see, do your goodbyes."

Outside, Katherine asked, "What's this?"

He cocked his head. "A car." As she frowned, he continued, "My pick-up wasn't suitable and your SUV might be used by Sarah, so I rented a limousine." He pecked her cheek. "I hope you approve."

"I do."

He held out his hand. "One more thing. Give me your phone."

She set it in his hand. "Why?"

He handed both cell phones to the driver. "I gave Sarah our driver's number. Unless it's a true emergency, we won't be bothered."

"Are you sure?"

Gabriel opened the back door for her. "I'm positive. You deserve it." He studied her. "Would you get in?"

She tucked her skirt and sat. "All right, already."

Once Katherine was seated, Gabriel leaned in and kissed her before he got in on the opposite side. "Philip, we're ready."

Philip nodded. Once he put the limousine in drive, he asked, "Sir, continue as planned?"

Nodding, Gabriel said, "Yes." His eyes met Katherine's. "I hope you enjoy yourself."

"I'm sure I will." She caressed his hand. "You've put a lot of planning into this, didn't you?"

"Maybe a little. Sit back and relax."

"You sure I can't have my phone back?"

He chuckled. "Philip, no matter what she says don't give it to her."

Philip grinned. "Understood."

Continuing, Gabriel said, "We're on an honest-to-goodness date. Nothing counts but us." He grinned. "It'll be hard, but we can do it."

"We can."

Once the limousine parked, Katherine stared out the window at the decorated outside gazebo. "You did this for me?"

Gabriel opened his door. "I did." After he helped her out, he continued, "I wanted alone time, something special, and romantic. I hope you approve."

She walked in circles, studying the lights trimming the tree branches, candles, and table setting.

He put his hand on the small of her back, led her to the table, and held her chair.

Moments later, a waiter placed on the table a fruit and cheese board. "I hope you enjoy."

Katherine glanced around. "Where's this coming from?"

Pointing behind him, Gabriel said, "There's a van back there."

As soft music began, she smiled. "You thought of everything."

"I tried." He took her hand. "Help yourself. I was afraid of taking you to a public restaurant because your oncologist is worried about you catching something. Also, I was afraid in public we'd get interrupted. So here we are."

The dinner continued with the main course and dessert. After dinner, they danced under the stars.

A few dances later, Gabriel asked, "Can we sit and talk?"

"Sure. Is there a problem?"

Gabriel exhaled. "I know you're insecure. I'm worried you feel I'm not fully committed to you. I need you to know I am." He kissed her. "I'm not George or some fancy jock."

"It's me, not you. You're wonderful." She released a deep breath. "Growing up I felt I didn't live up to Dad's expectations. I didn't play football. I tried to make myself worthy, I got the best grades and ran the fastest to prove myself. It didn't make any difference. I still felt I didn't measure up."

Gabriel started to say something but Katherine put her finger across his lips. "Let me finish." She swallowed. "While married to George, I felt I couldn't be the wife he wanted/needed. As you know, he had numerous affairs. Just more proof I'm not good enough. I've disappointed every man in my life."

He encompassed her in a hug, drawing her close. "Please stop. George was the problem, not you. I'll share what first attracted me to you. First, your intelligence." He chuckled. "Even jocks want an intelligent wife."

After a long pause, he continued, "With everything you've been through, you moved across country by yourself with the boys, the Frost insults, your in-laws, and now cancer you've impressed me with your strength and emotional stability."

Katherine smiled. "You've dried numerous tears. You mentioned early on that you didn't do tears."

"I've discovered I do tears when there's a reason. I don't do manipulative tears." With a grin, he said, "It didn't take long to figure out you wanted a home and family."

"You couldn't miss the boys."

"That's true. I hope you never question my devotion to the boys."

"I've marveled at how good you are with them."

A kiss ensued. "Last but not least, you're gorgeous. Any man would be proud to have you on their arm."

Pink tinged her cheeks. "You're exaggerating."

His eyes met hers. "I'm not. You're my first priority." He paused. "Then the boys."

She put her arms around his muscular arm and laid her head against it. "I'm not used to somebody putting me first." She swallowed. "It feels good but guilty."

"Get used to the feeling. I plan on it happening often."

"I know." She pecked his cheek then turned away.

After a lengthy silence, Gabriel asked, "What's on your mind?"

Silence followed, before she faced him. "I start Chemo day after tomorrow."

"You're not going through it alone. I'll be by your side."

She held his hand. "Thank you." After she kissed him, she said, "I don't want the night to end."

"Neither do I."

When Katherine entered her house, Sarah and Rebecca were talking and Sarah said, "Welcome back. I hope you relaxed."

"I did. We had a wonderful time. How'd everything go here?"

"Very well.

Sarah continued, "Jordan's upstairs and the others are asleep."

Rebecca released a deep breath. "I hope it's okay. Jordan wanted information about Chemo. I helped him with research. He's scared." When tears entered Katherine's eyes, Rebecca hugged her. "I hope I didn't overstep."

"I'm glad you were here to help."

"Sweetheart, there's no way you're going through this alone."

Gabriel walked in. "What's wrong?"

Katherine dried her eyes. "Everything's perfect."

Shaking his head, Gabriel said, "Of course, it's normal to walk into a room and the two ladies whom I love very much are embraced and crying. Why would I be worried?"

Katherine hugged him. "I'm blessed and it's because you pushed your way into my life. Thank you."

A day late, but I'm posting while waiting for my flight home. I'll catch up on reviews and reviewing tomorrow.


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.

Book of the Month contest entry


The book continues with Football Chapter 48. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Thank you Google images for the photo of a gazebo. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. Again, thank you for catching those errors. There are 4 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 under 1400 words.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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