Rachel didnâ€™t doubt that. Josh was basically a good kid. He didnâ€™t whine, he
didnâ€™t ask for a lot. His passions were simpleâ€”anything sports-related and the
occasional computer game. That was it. Christmas and birthday presents revolved
around whatever sport most had his interest. As they had for the past three
years, spring and summer meant baseball.
Los Lobos didnâ€™t have a Little League team, but there was a county league. Josh
insisted they sign him up the first hour they could, something she was happy to
do. He was elevenâ€”she figured she had all of two, maybe three years before he
became a raging male hormone and then all bets were off.
â€śDad said he would buy it for me but I had to check with you first.â€ť
At least she was driving and had an excuse not to look at Josh. Because she
couldnâ€™tâ€”not without him seeing the rage in her eyes. Damn Greg, she thought
bitterly. Of course he could afford to buy his son a new glove. Greg only had
himself to worry about.
Her ex-husband made a good living as a Los Lobos county firefighter. He also had
excellent medical benefitsâ€”something sheâ€™d lost after the divorce. Even more
annoying, his schedule was a ridiculous twenty-four hours on, twenty-four hours
off for six days, followed by four days off. Which gave him plenty of time to
play, and play he did. Add in the fact that heâ€™d moved back home with his folks,
so he basically had no living expenses, and the man was swimming in both cash
Donâ€™t think about it, she instructed herself. Dwelling on how good Greg had it
only made her angrier. She had to remember that the man paid his child support
on time. That was something. But as for the rest of itâ€”she couldnâ€™t help
resenting how easy he had it.
Yes, she did well at the salon. She was able to support herself and her son. The
child support covered the mortgage, and she paid for everything else. But it
wasnâ€™t like there was a bunch of extra cash at the end of the month. She was
doing her best to build up an emergency fund and keep current on household
repairs. There wasnâ€™t anything left over for things like baseball gloves.
When she was sure she could speak in a happy, excited tone, she said, â€śGo for
it, Josh. You need a new glove. Itâ€™s great that your dad can afford to get it.
Do you already know what you want or do you need to do some research?â€ť
â€śI know exactly what I need.â€ť And he was off, describing the glove down to the
kind of stitching.
Oh, to be that young and innocent, she thought with regret. To trust that
everything was going to turn out the way it was supposed to. To believe in
Sheâ€™d been that way, once. Sheâ€™d had hopes and dreamsâ€”mostly of finding her
handsome prince. And when sheâ€™d laid eyes on Greg, sheâ€™d known, just known, he
was the one. Back then everyone had believed he was the one. Greg had been the
guy every girl wanted.
And sheâ€™d been the one to get himâ€”right up until heâ€™d cheated on her.
She turned the corner, then pulled into Lenaâ€™s driveway. Josh was out of the car
before sheâ€™d come to a full stop.
â€śBye, Mom. See you later.â€ť
He ran into the house without bothering to knock. She was still shaking her head
when her friend Lena appeared on the porch. Lena turned back to kiss her
husband, then hurried to the car. She got inside and waved the bag she held.
â€śGreat cheese and dark chocolate. Am I good to you or what?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re the best,â€ť Rachel told her. â€śThanks for coming over tonight. I could use
some girl time.â€ť
â€śMe, too. Tell me the wine is red.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s red and there are two bottles.â€ť
She and Lena had been friends since elementary school. They were physical
oppositesâ€”Lena was petite and curvy, with brown hair and dark eyes. Rachel was
taller and blond.
Theyâ€™d played together, dreamed together, and when theyâ€™d grown up, theyâ€™d been
each otherâ€™s maids of honor. Theyâ€™d married young and then had sons within a few
months of each other. But things were different now. Lena and Toby were still
â€śWhat?â€ť her friend asked. â€śYouâ€™re looking fierce.â€ť
â€śNothing. Iâ€™m fine. Just the usual crap.â€ť
Rachel sighed. â€śYes. Josh needs a new glove and his dad is going to buy it for
Her friend didnâ€™t say anything.
Rachel turned onto her street. â€śI know what youâ€™re thinking. I should be
grateful heâ€™s an involved father. That the extra money he has could be spent on
women and drinking, but he spends it on his kid.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re doing all the talking.â€ť
Rachel pulled into her driveway. â€śI just wishâ€¦â€ť
â€śThat a really big rock would fall on him?â€ť
She smiled. â€śMaybe not that, but something close.â€ť
Because it was Gregâ€™s fault their marriage had failed. Heâ€™d chosen to have a
one-night stand with a tourist. Sheâ€™d known the second sheâ€™d seen himâ€”had
guessed what heâ€™d done. He hadnâ€™t tried to deny it, and that had been that. Her
marriage had ended.
When they got back to Rachelâ€™s they poured wine. Rachel eyed the beautiful wedge
of brie and knew there had to be maybe five thousand calories in that chunk of
soft goodness, and she honestly couldnâ€™t care. Had she put on weight lately?
Probably, but so what? Her clothes still fit, at least the loose ones did. She
worked hard and deserved to reward herself. It wasnâ€™t as if she had anyone to
look good for.
She sipped her wine and knew that the right response was that she needed to look
good for herself. That she was worth it and all those other stupid platitudes.
That if she wanted to feel better, she had to take better care of herself. All
of which didnâ€™t get the laundry washed or the bathrooms cleaned.
â€śYou need to get over him.â€ť
Lenaâ€™s comment was so at odds with what Rachel had been thinking that it took
her a second to figure out what her friend was saying.
â€śGreg? I am. Weâ€™ve been divorced nearly two years.â€ť
â€śYou might be legally divorced, but emotionally youâ€™re still enmeshed.â€ť
Rachel rolled her eyes. â€śDid you have too much waiting time in a doctorâ€™s
office? Did you read some womenâ€™s magazine? Enmeshed? No one actually uses that
â€śYou just did.â€ť
Rachel made a strangled noise in her throat. â€śI donâ€™t want to think about him,â€ť
she admitted. â€śI want to move on with my life.â€ť
â€śFind a man? Fall in love?â€ť
A lie, she thought, but one her friend would want to hear. Fall in love? She
couldnâ€™t imagine going out with someone who wasnâ€™t Greg. Heâ€™d been her first
date, her first time, her first everything. The world still divided itself
neatly into Greg and not Greg. How was she supposed to get over that?
â€śYouâ€™re so lying,â€ť Lena said cheerfully. â€śBut I appreciate that youâ€™re making
the effort to humor me.â€ť
â€śI want to move on,â€ť Rachel admitted. â€śI just donâ€™t know how. Maybe if I could
get away from him. But with us having Josh together, thereâ€™s no escape.â€ť
â€śYou could move.â€ť
The suggestion was spoken in a soft voice, as if Lena knew what Rachel would
think. Rachel did her best to remain calm when on the inside she wanted to start
Move? Move! No way. She couldnâ€™t. She loved her house. She needed her house and
all it represented. It was proof that she was okay. She would take a second job
to pay for the house, if she had to.
None of which made sense. She understood that. She also knew she was reacting to
a traumatic event in her childhoodâ€”the death of her father and the fact that the
family had been forced out of their house a few months later.
Rachel remembered hating everything about living at the Los Lobos Hotel. Looking
back she knew she should be grateful that theyâ€™d been taken in, that they hadnâ€™t
had to live in a shelter. But she couldnâ€™t get over the shock and pain the day
sheâ€™d come home from school to find her mother sobbing that theyâ€™d lost
everything and it was her fatherâ€™s fault. Sheâ€™d been so scared. Daddy was
deadâ€”how could he continue to be in trouble?
When sheâ€™d been older sheâ€™d realized their father hadnâ€™t been a bad manâ€”just
financially careless. There hadnâ€™t been any life insurance, no savings.
When she and Greg had married, sheâ€™d been focused on buying a house. Theyâ€™d been
young and it had been a financial struggle, especially with a baby, but theyâ€™d
made it. This was her homeâ€”she was never leaving.
But the price of that was living with the ghosts of her lost marriage. Gregâ€™s
memory still lingered in every room.
â€śMaybe I could get someone to do a spiritual cleansing of the house. With sage.
And salt. Do you need salt?â€ť
Lena briefly closed her eyes. â€śI love you like my best friend.â€ť
â€śI am your best friend.â€ť
â€śI know, so please understand why Iâ€™m saying this. The problem isnâ€™t the house,
Rachel. Itâ€™s you. And there isnâ€™t enough sage or salt in the world to get you
over Greg. Youâ€™re going to have to decide once and for all to emotionally move
on. Until you do, youâ€™re trapped. Forever.â€ť
The truth, however lovingly delivered, could still hurt like a son of a bitch.
Rachel blinked a couple of times, then reached for the wine. â€śWeâ€™re so going to
need another bottle.â€ť
With Joy, Love, and a Little
Trepidation Courtney, Sienna and Rachel Invite You To
the Most Emotional Wedding of the Yearâ€¦ Their Mother's
Courtney ~ The Misfit ~
As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not
be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thingâ€”keeping secrets,
including her white-hot affair with a sexy music producer. Planning Mom's
wedding exposes her startling hidden life, changing her family's view of herâ€”and
how she views herselfâ€”forever.
Sienna ~ The Free Spirit ~
When Sienna's boyfriend proposesâ€”in front of her mom and sisters, for crying out
loudâ€”he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her
belt. Should she say "I do" even if she's not sure she does?
The Cynic ~
Rachel thought love would last foreverâ€¦right up until her
divorce. As Mom's wedding day draws near and her ex begs for a second chance,
she's forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about why her marriage
failed, and decide if she'll let pride stand in the way of her own happily ever
A must-read for anyone who has survived the wedding of a sister,
a mother, a daughterâ€”as told by #1 New York Times bestselling author
and master storyteller Susan Mallery!
[HQN, On Sale: July 12, 2016, Hardcover / e-Book,
ISBN: 9780373789719 / eISBN: 9781460394359]
Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of
novels about the relationships that define women's livesâ€”romance, friendship,
family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and
feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes
heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan's books have spent more
than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever
growing legions of fans.
Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two
ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Animals play a big role in her books,
as well, as she believes they're an integral component to a happy life.
This book sounds very interesting and a book I really want to read (Jeri Dickinson 3:50pm July 12, 2016)
Oh Susan. I'm really looking forward to reading this! I love the way you say what we women think a n d feel! (Kathleen Bylsma 9:52pm July 12, 2016)
I love that cover! It eludes to the tone and the subject of the book without being too obvious. And those dresses are delicately beautiful! (Meghan Stith 12:43pm July 13, 2016)
The book sounds captivating and lovely. I would treasure this book. (Sharon Berger 1:58pm July 13, 2016)
I am so looking forward to this, thanks for the review. Penney (Penney Wilfort 11:25am July 14, 2016)
I'm sooo excited to read Susan's new book! I love the cover! I have a lot of weddings to attend this year and I'd love to attend Courtney, Sienna and Rachel's mom's too! (Jamie Stein 12:03pm July 14, 2016)
A beautiful story of love and acceptance between a mother and daughter!!! (Tiffany Miles 7:44pm July 14, 2016)
This book sounds so much like real live up to date problems of the things going on between Moms and Daughters this time of the year . I know what they are going through with planning weddings and so on . I'd love to read this book and thanks for this chance to win . (Joan Thrasher 10:23am July 15, 2016)