home bio books news extra contact


One Night with the Captain -- Linda Steinberg
Just Like a Woman

Tangled Up In Blue
Rainy Day Woman

One Night with the Wrong Brother
One Night with a Stranger

One Night with a Hollywood Hero -- Linda Steinberg
The Frech Deception
Romantic Suspense

View My Privacy Policy

Join Newsletter -- Linda Steinberg

Facebook -- Linda Steinberg AuthorPinterest -- Linda Steinberg



Tomorrow is a Long Time Linda Steinberg

BUY: Amazon | B&N | Apple



The child of bitterly divorced parents, Kelly vowed her own marriage would be harmonious, loving, and eternal. But after seven years of butting heads with her charming but irresponsible husband, she had to accept defeat—and divorce. Now the only thing she and Kevin share is their son. But when she runs into her ex at a wedding, old memories--and old feelings, resurface. Can lightning strike twice in the same place?

Kevin Bannon fell in love with Kelly Jackson in the fifth grade. As the spoiled son of permissive parents, he found her self-discipline, organization, and determination the perfect yin to his yang. They married right out of high school and while he struggled to find his place in the world, Kelly seemed to have all the answers. And wasn’t shy about imposing them on him. In the years since their divorce, Kevin has embraced the single life of freedom and short-term relationships. But he’s never gotten over Kelly. Do they dare to try again? Or would they not only hurt each other, but destroy the relationship with their son?

Read Excerpt


Chapter One 

“Not es-school.” Kelly Bannon scanned the room of adult students, emphasizing the extra syllable. “School.”

“Es-school.” The women hunched over their desks and tried to imitate her.

The phone rang in the Rainy Day Women’s Center office but Kelly ignored it. One of the other volunteers would pick it up, or it could go to voicemail.

Searching through the stack of picture cards she’d purchased to teach this English class, Kelly found one of a snake and held it up. “Sssnake,” she said. Then focused on the initial letter. “Ssssss.”

The students repeated the sound, hissing and giggling.

The ceiling fan circling slowly overhead barely dispersed the heat of the late afternoon sun streaming through the windows. March in North Texas was typically two seasons: winter in the mornings and summer in the afternoon.

Kelly shrugged off her marine blue blazer and set the picture card on her desk. “Now try ssssschool.”

The students repeated the word with varying degrees of success.


“My son he love Es-spiderman,” one of the women said with a grin.

The office phone rang again, stopping abruptly after three rings. Then, a few seconds later, insistently rang again. Either the advertising flyers they’d posted around this west Dallas neighborhood were generating a lot of response, or somebody was anxious, maybe desperate, to reach the Center.

“Page 27 in your workbooks,” Kelly said when the phone jarred again. “I’ll be right back.”

Stepping out of the classroom into the communal area, she grabbed the phone at the beginning of its third ring.

“Rainy Day Women’s Center,” she said cheerily. “This is Kelly. How may I help you?”

“You can cough up my wife,” a male voice rasped.

“Excuse me?” An involuntary shudder rattled Kelly’s bones. “Who is this and who is your wife?”

“Rosita,” the man said. He pronounced the Spanish name correctly but the rest of his speech lacked an accent.

“Sorry, sir, nobody here by that name.” Kelly had three Marias in her class and a couple of Antonias but no Rosita.

“You’re a damn liar. I know she’s there. I found your business card in her bag.”

Kelly grimaced. This wouldn’t be the first time a bullied wife had sneaked behind her husband’s back to utilize Rainy Day’s services.

Her cell phone vibrated in her pocket. She took it out and glanced at the display. Kevin? Why would her ex-husband be calling in the middle of her class? Unless something had happened to Henry... She pressed the red button to ignore, then typed, on phone, call you right back, into a text.

“You’re hiding her there, aren’t you?” The menacing voice sputtered so vehemently Kelly could almost feel the spittle on her phone’s receiver.

“Sir,” she explained in a calm, professional tone, “this is not a shelter. Rainy Day Women provides legal, medical and social services to under-served women in the community who--”

“That’s B.S.” He cut her off with a snarl. “I’d be up there right now to drag Rosita’s ass home butthat bitch broke my jaw and busted my kneecap.”

Kelly tried to make her voice sympathetic but part of her was cheering for ‘that bitch.’ “Have you called the police?”

“I’ll call the police on you, if I have to,” he threatened. “Kelly.”

Every muscle from her neck to her stomach tensed.

Her cell phone buzzed with a text from Kevin. Is Liz there today?

Kelly looked at the door leading to Rainy Day’s medical clinic. It was slightly ajar and she could hear Dr. Elizabeth Carr talking, either on the phone or to a patient. Yes, she typed, her brain struggling for words to calm the irate man on the phone while her heart did a deep dive wondering what her ex wanted with the E.R. doctor.

“That skinny bitch owes me five thousand dollars,” the caller said, “and if I don’t get it back, you and your Rainy Day Women are in for a shitload of trouble.” He clicked off abruptly.

Kelly replaced the receiver in its cradle with a trembling hand. As she reached for her cell phone to call Kevin back, a thought occurred to her. If that man had their business card, he had this address. She doubted he was going anywhere with a busted kneecap, but to be on the safe side, she locked the front door.

Out of caution, Kelly dismissed her class early, urging the women out the back way, offering the explanation that the main entrance door was jammed shut. She wasn’t sure they understood her words, but they gathered their books and notepaper and followed her toward the rear entrance, chattering to each other in Spanish as they filed out.

As she held open the back door, Kelly noticed that one of her newer students, Raquel, clutched her books to her chest with red, bruised knuckles.

But before she could question her, Kelly heard a loud, persistent knocking coming from the front door.

Swallowing her breath, she barred the back door shut after Raquel and skirted along the soft gray wall of her classroom to peer out at the entry area. Outside the Center’s glass door, the huge shadow of a man covered the frame and nearly blocked out the sunlight.

Heart in her throat, she edged closer. Then she let out a relieved sigh.

*   *   *   *

Kevin Bannon rapped on the locked door of the Rainy D ay Women’s Center, pressing his face against the glass pane. C’mon, c’mon, open it.

After long, aggravating seconds, Kelly appeared. “Thank God it’s you,” she said, her voice quavering as she opened the door.

What the hell was going on? He scanned the empty reception area. “Why the hell would you lock the damned doo—”

“Oh my god!” As Henry stepped out from behind Kevin, Kelly’s eyes widened at the sight of the thirteen-year-old’s bloodied face.

“What happened?” she wailed, embracing their son.

“He got into a fight on the school bus,” Kevin explained, to keep Henry from having to work his pummeled jaw.

“Oh no!” she exclaimed, ushering them both inside.

“His pediatrician couldn’t see him until tomorrow and the Urgent Care near the shop said it would be at least a two-hour wait.”

“Good thinking to bring him here.” She patted Henry’s hand. “Let’s go see Dr. Liz.”

The aroma of stale coffee seemed to follow them to the clinic. A patient was just leaving and the E.R. doctor was removing her white coat when they burst in.

“Hi, Henry.” Liz frowned. “Looks like you took on one too many supervillains today.”

Henry’s grin showed a mouthful of bloody teeth.

Kelly groaned. “Did you lose a permanent tooth?”

“Chill mom, it’s just blood.” Henry wiped the red liquid from his teeth. “You should have seen the other guy,” he quipped as Liz directed them to follow her into the clinic’s examining room.

“Other guy?” Kelly’s brows lifted. “You hit some other boy?”

Henry hopped up onto the examining table, the thin paper crinkling as he scooted his butt along it. “He started it.”

The scent of alcohol emerged from a jar. Liz dabbed at the blood on Henry’s face with a cotton ball and examined his jaw. “I don’t think it’s broken but you should get an X-ray to be sure.” When her finger followed the blood trail down his neck, Henry flinched. “Why don’t you get undressed and let me have a look at you.” She reached into a cupboard and handed him a hospital gown.

Henry hesitated. “Could I get a little privacy?”

Kevin rolled his eyes at his son’s teenage modesty as he nudged Kelly out to the waiting area.

“He hit somebody?” she asked as soon as they were out of Henry’s earshot.

“He was defending another boy,” Kevin explained. “Some bozo on the bus was making fun of a ‘special needs’ kid. When Henry told him to knock it off, the bully turned on him.”

“So he was defending himself.”


Kelly narrowed her eyes. “Who threw the first punch?”

Kevin swallowed. “Henry.” He braced himself for the onslaught.

It wasn’t long coming. After sinking into a chair and rubbing her hands together, Kelly asked, “How could you let this happen?”

“Me?” Like he was there? “It happened on the bus.” As a teacher, Kelly had the luxury of picking up Henry at school after she finished her work day. But as the owner of an air-conditioning and heating business, Kevin couldn’t just leave the shop or take off in the middle of a job.

He met his ex-wife’s glare with a steady gaze. “Henry stood up for a kid who couldn’t stand up for himself. But doing the right thing doesn’t always get you a citizenship award. Sometimes it gets you a punch in the jaw.” Which might be considered kind of a badge of honor.

“He had other options. He could have reported the bully to the bus driver.”

“Right. A squealer always wins the respect of his colleagues.” Kevin twisted his mouth wryly. “He wouldn’t have had one friend left in that whole middle school.”

Kelly sighed and looked down at her feet. “I hate that we can’t keep him safe anymore.”

Having known her for most of his life, Kevin was fluent in Kelly-speak. “You can’t stop him from growing up,” he said softly. “Our baby is a teenager on his way to becoming a man.”

A smile edged its way to the corner of Kelly’s mouth. “At his last physical he measured five feet eight and the doctor says he’s not even close to his full height yet. He’s going to be captain of the junior varsity basketball team. And,” she added, beaming proudly, “he’s been getting all A’s at that magnet school.”

“Chip off the old block.” He grinned. “Except for the straight A’s part.” Kevin had been noticing for months now the transformation of his son into a mini-version of him. Not just his looks, but his mannerisms and ways of speaking. Which must be driving Kelly crazy. A wicked smile formed inside his cheeks but he kept this one to himself. No wonder she was wary of letting their son grow up.

Liz Carr beckoned them from the doorway of the clinic. “You can come back in.”

With his face cleaned up, holding an ice pack against his jaw, Henry looked a lot less scared than he had when Kevin had met him at the bus stop. Breathing in the scent of alcohol, he strove for a light tone. “Is he going to live, Doc?”

Liz smiled. “A very long life, I hope.” She tore off a note from her prescription pad. “Here’s the orders to have an X-ray taken at the hospital.” She held the paper out in front of her midway between him and Kelly.

“I guess that’s for me.” Kevin grabbed it.

“And here’s your note for school, Henry.” Liz held out the second paper as well.

“He doesn’t need a note,” Kevin explained. “This happened after school was out.”

“But I’ll need one for tomorrow, won’t I?” Henry gingerly touched his bruised face.

Kevin glanced at Kelly, then at Liz.

“The swelling should go down by tomorrow,” the doctor said, “if you apply ice to it tonight. Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off.”

When Kevin nodded his concurrence, Henry turned to Kelly. “Can’t I stay home tomorrow?” he asked pathetically. “I literally can’t show my face or the kids will make fun of me.”

Kevin doubted that. More likely they’d respect him for standing up to a bully. But he could literally see Kelly starting to buckle.

“Well,” she said, “tomorrow is Friday...”

“You need to show up tomorrow,” Kevin said before she could finish her sentence. “You think the other boy is going to hide out at home? You stand proud and let the kids draw their own conclusions. You might come away a hero.”

Henry turned again to Kelly. “Mom?” he whined.

Kevin held his breath as his ex-wife waffled. A major problem of being a divorced parent was that the kid pitted each against the other to get his best option.

Finally, Kelly let out a sigh. “What your dad said.”

Kevin nearly dropped his jaw. He hadn’t expected Kelly to support him. Normally she’d go into full Mama Bear mode, protecting her cub from the big bad world. But one thing she’d always been good about since the divorce was to refrain from arguing about child-rearing in front of their son.

The bell on the entry door to the center jingled. Kelly stiffened visibly.

“It’s just Jack picking me up,” Liz explained. She grabbed her purse. “My car’s in the shop.”

Kelly let out a shaky breath as Liz’s husband entered the clinic, wearing his Dallas paramedic tee shirt and black boots.

Full-bearded Jack Hardy slapped Kevin on the back. “Hey, Shorty. “How’s it going?”

Everyone on their amateur baseball team, of which Jack was captain, called Kevin ‘Shorty.’ Everyone in his life, practically, except Kelly, who’d known him since he was a foot shorter.

Jack hoisted Liz’s medical bag then spoke again to Kevin. “See you at Evan’s bachelor party tomorrow night?”

He winced. “Sorry, I can’t. I have Henry until Sunday.” According to the shared custody agreement, he and Kelly switched weekly, usually at Kevin’s weekend baseball game. The man who was getting married next week, Police Detective Evan O’Malley, was their best hitter.

“You can’t miss the party,” Kelly said. And unexpectedly added, “Why don’t I just take Henry home with me now?”

“You sure?” It wasn’t like Kelly to depart from the schedule.

“Of course. What’s a few extra days?” She turned to Henry. “You have your backpack?”

“It’s in Dad’s truck,” he answered.

“So, it’s settled.” She plucked the X-ray prescription out of Kevin’s hand. “We’ll hand off now.”

And just like that, she’d thought of every consideration to be managed and created a new plan.

Kevin grinned his thanks. And Kelly grinned back. In that unspoken language of parents who’ve got each other’s’ backs.

As Jack and Liz breezed out the door, Kevin waited with Henry while Kelly went back to her classroom to get her stuff.

“I’m proud of you, son,” he said, awkwardly tapping Henry’s shoulder.

“Yeah?” Henry patted his sore jaw. “Mom told me to always walk away from a fight.”

Kevin considered his words. “Sometimes that’s best. But when you’re dealing with an insensitive bully, he’s not going to back down until someone stops him.”

Henry started to grin, then winced and grasped his swollen jaw. “Ouch!”

Kelly returned with her purse over one shoulder, tote bag over the other, keys in hand. “All right,” she said, nudging Henry toward the front door. “We’ll go by Dallas General to get that X-rayed, then home to ice it, and hopefully you’ll be better in the morning.”Typical take-charge Kelly. Not that Kevin really minded. He didn’t want to admit how worried he’d been when he first saw Henry’s face, but he felt relieved that, under his mother’s care, his son would be properly taken care of.

They’d pushed open the front door and were about to step outside when the land line in the center rang loudly.

Kevin held the door open. “Do you need to get that?” he asked Kelly.

“No.” Her voice was strong and determined, but her face was ashy and worry lines etched her forehead. “I do not.”

She locked the door behind them and hurried toward her Honda Civic.

When Kevin unlocked the pick-up, Henry reached in for his backpack, unzipped it, and scrounged around inside.

“Henry,” Kelly commanded. “Let’s go.”

“I just want to check to make sure my...” Pulling out his phone, he let out a relieved sigh. “Got it.”

Kids. Kevin rolled his eyes. With so many friends on the bus to talk to, why did they need--

“Henry.” He grabbed his son’s arm. “Did you by any chance take a video?”