Enjoy the BONUS Extended Epilogue and Scene below!!! Also enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card! Good luck!
Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen-year-old girl could desire. She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school. She’s perfect…
Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex.
Then she meets her soulmate. But he doesn’t want her.
When it comes to girls, twenty-five-year-old Leo Tate has one rule: never fall in love. His gym and his brother are all he cares about…until he meets Nora. He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.
As they struggle to stay away from each other, secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.
Welcome to Briarcrest Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.
Very Bad Things is the story of Nora Blakely, a 19 year old who on paper, who has everything a girl could want, well until you stop to think what do children want, what do they really need and the answer to that is the love and support of their parents. This is the one thing Nora does not have in her life and it is something that Leo Tate had in life before it was ripped away as he lost his parents early in life in a tragic accident.
This event Leo forever altered the course of his life; I so taken by how Leo did not let this break him, he moved forward and built a new life, not the one he intended but one that allows him to raise his younger brother, Sebastian. If you have read my prior reviews you know I love the theme it is not what life gives you it is what you do with it, well Leo is that in spades!
Ah Leo, as the blurb and the trailer reveal, Leo is 25 years old so this couple and the reader are dealing with a 6 year age gap. Ms. Madden-Mills did a wonderful job at connecting these two characters, Leo and Nora, allowing the readers to see past this gap and feel the connection these two share.
I truly adored Leo’s character, he almost immediately sees thru the facade around Nora. And though he fights his attraction to her, which yes at times is frustrating, Leo does care for Nora and works to keep her safe.
This book has one the best uses of a secondary character to endear me to the main character; as soon as Leo introduces Nora and the reader to Teddy, Leo captured my heart!!!!
Leo’s brother, well I would remise if I did not mention Sebastain Tate; I adored this young man and I truly hope we get a story about him!! Not only does he deserve his own happy he was thoroughly enjoyable to read about, quick witted, flirty and serious and wise beyond his years when needed.
This book also provides the reader with secondary characters to hate; this is more than the mean girl stuff from high school; Nora’s family will at times turn your stomach.
Leo and Nora’s extended epilogue made me so happy!!! If you have read this book and not read the bonus material Go Read it Now!
This was my first book from Ms. Madden-Mills and was a wonderful debut novel! I am very much looking forward to Briarcrest Academy #2.
Epilogue (round 2 of the National Belltone Spelling Bee) is defined as a brief description of the fates of characters within a novel. On the day of the big competition, epilogue hadn’t been my word to spell, yet the term comes to mind as I consider my future with Leo.
Perhaps our fates have been on your mind as well…
“Sometimes, for no discernible reason, I wake up at 3:00 am and gaze at Leo. Without him knowing, I gently stroke his face and kiss his lips.” –Nora Blakely
A few days before Christmas
I pulled into the parking lot at Club Vita, my stomach fluttering at the thought of seeing Leo after being gone for two days on a shopping trip to Austin with Aunt Portia. I loved spending time with Aunt Portia, but I’d missed Leo terribly.
At least it was late, and the gym was closed. He wasn’t expecting me for another hour or so, and I was nervous. What if he didn’t like surprises? What if he had too much work to do and I’d just be in the way? Barely able to contain my jitters, I looked up at his window, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.
We’d be completely alone since Sebastian was out with Cuba at a Briarcrest Academy winter dance. It was the annual football and cheerleader formal, and while most guys took dates, Sebastian and Cuba hadn’t. I didn’t think for a minute those two would be alone though. They never were. Leo had sent me a pic of them in their tuxes, and I felt sorry for the hearts they’d break tonight.
I carried Aunt Portia’s bags to her car, kissed her cheek, and promised to call her in the morning so we could talk about the big Christmas dinner Leo had decided to have at the Tate loft. Aunt Portia was doing the desserts, Leo was cooking the turkey and stuffing, Sebastian volunteered for the mashed potatoes, Teddy and his sister were bringing the green bean casserole, and believe it or not…Cuba was coming as well.
Although I’d kept my surprise to myself, I’d been floored when Leo had acquiesced to Sebastian’s plea to invite him. I guess he hadn’t been able to say no. It was no secret Leo had a soft heart when it came to those without a family, and according to Sebastian, Cuba would be alone for Christmas. His mother had passed away a few years ago and since his dad was part-owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he was never around much either.
Leo couldn’t stand to see someone be alone. True, he’d freaked out like a madman when he’d thought I was interested in Cuba, but now he knew the truth. Cuba and I had never been together nor had we had a real spark. Yes, we’d flirted at the park and at Emma’s party, but the entire time, I’d sensed it was all just an act on his part. I could have been any girl. When I’d turned down his threesome idea, he hadn’t cared. Not really. He’d moved on to the next available person in line, which had turned out to be Emma Eason herself. In fact, the rumor at BA was that he’d been seen having sex with Emma and another girl from the party. Nice.
Thinking of Emma brought back the memory of the pool incident. I guess they’d hooked up after she’d dried off? Who knew?
I was just thankful it wasn’t Sebastian who had a thing for her.
I’d gotten brave and invited Dad to Christmas dinner as well. He’d said yes. We would see if he really showed up. We’d been meeting for lunch after my therapy sessions once a week. Our reconciliation would be a good thing and would take time and effort on both our parts. I didn’t have a crystal ball; I didn’t know where our talking was leading, but I wanted to spend time with him. I needed to see where it would go…because I wanted him as part of my future.
As far as Mother went, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to forgive her, mostly because it’s hard to forgive someone when they haven’t asked for it. Yet because my heart knew that letting go of the past was the best way to move forward, I was trying. I’d hardened my heart against her years ago, but I think…I think I was beginning to feel pity for her instead. She had nothing, not the love of a husband or a daughter or a son.
Like a shell, she was empty and cold.
She would never be one of the beads on my happy necklace.
She was yesterday’s garbage, and I wouldn’t ever let her influence me or make me into someone who did bad things. I would never let her steal the light from me again, never let her break my spirit.
But, just maybe, I could release her. Forgive her.
I had Leo and it was enough. Deep inside my soul, I was putting one foot in front of the other, taking each day as it came, and I knew I was moving in the direction I wanted to go, in the direction of happiness. The sun felt brighter, the birds sounded sweeter, and the world was mine. Why? Because I knew I loved Leo and myself enough to work on making myself better for us.
It was progress.
Chilly from the evening breeze, I hurried to the gym door, a handful of wrapped packages in my hand. Today had been a successful shopping day with a pair of handmade boots for Sebastian, some music CDs for Teddy, and a book of Bob Dylan’s song lyrics for Leo.
I smiled to myself, picturing him reading to me aloud while we were in bed, something he’d taken to doing since we’d been together these past two months. I’d lie there and watch his full lips move, relishing every syllable that fell from his lips.
It seemed we talked constantly to each other, whether it was mundane and silly or vital to our future. I don’t think he’s a man of many words; he says what he needs and moves on. Yet we couldn’t get enough of conversation. I ached to hear his voice tell me about his day; I devoured his facial expressions when he told a story about something Teddy or Sebastian had done that day.
Aunt Portia claimed that being able to have a meaningful conversation with the person you loved was a gift. She said it meant we would make it, that we would grow old together, still talking about the things we loved. I think she’s right.
I jangled the keys as I opened the front door, hoping to get Leo’s attention. I walked into the darkened foyer and looked around, expecting to see him come running down the stairs. He didn’t. Disappointed, I rushed up the stairs to the loft where I’d been living since the night of the Halloween party.
Loud music blared from his closed door. I opened it and bam! someone scooped me up and swung me around, causing the packages to cascade to the ground. I squealed in delight and wrapped my legs around his hips.
“About fucking time you got here. Been going insane without you,” Leo said in a growly voice. He kissed me hard, his eager mouth searching, his tongue demanding entry. Passionately, I gave it right back to him, eating him up with my mouth, returning his ferocity. He pushed me up against the bedroom wall, pinning me there, and I moaned. Leo. He was all I ever wanted.
He came up for air but barely moved his mouth from mine. “Mmm, I needed that,” he said, closing his eyes briefly. “So damn glad you’re here early.”
I stared at him for a moment, taking it all in: the overly long blonde hair, the shadow on his hard as granite jaw, and his pale-blue eyes that seemed to see right to the heart of me.
This man loved me.
“Miss me?” I said, giving him a swift nuzzle on his neck.
He pressed his hardness firmly against my center. “How’s that for an answer?” he murmured.
“How is it possible that two little days seemed like a million years,” I said breathlessly, tightening my legs around him, arching closer.
“Thought I was gonna have to come to Austin and get you,” he said, his heavy-lidded eyes never leaving mine. “I don’t like sleeping without you, Buttercup.”
“Then let’s move to the bed,” I said with urgency.
He chuckled. “Hold on, there’s something I want to show you first,” he said, setting me down and stepping away from me. I immediately missed him.
“Uh, okay,” I said. What could be more important that making love?
He kissed the tip of my nose and grinned like he had a secret.
“Come over by the window.” He laced our fingers together and led me over the floor-to-ceiling window that looked out over Dallas.
I let him lead me, watching how his powerful body moved across the floor in his low-slung jeans and black wife-beater. I wanted to rip that shirt off him and lick all over his dragon. I wanted to toss him on that bed and show him a few things I’d thought of this weekend.
And he wanted me to look out the window.
We reached it. He held me tight with one arm while his other hand pointed up at the sky. “I know stars are important to you because I see you looking at them all the time. Your face gets all dreamy when you look out this window…and sometimes…I can’t help but wonder what you’re thinking about when you gaze up at them.”
“About you,” I said, feeling emotional. “Stars give me hope.”
“And you’ve never given up wishing on stars. You told me so.” He paused and glanced at me sheepishly. “Honestly, you inspired me a little, and well…I’ve been doing some reading up on stars myself.”
I inspired him? He was the one who loved others selflessly. He was the one who’d taken over the care of a child at eighteen. He was my inspiration.
“What did you find out during your research?” I asked.
He pointed up at one of the constellations. “That group of stars over to the left is called Orion the Hunter. It was named after a fierce warrior in Greek mythology.”
I nodded and looked up, recognizing the familiar group of stars he was referring to.
He continued. “The two stars at the top are his shoulders, the two toward the bottom are his legs. In the middle, you have the three stars that make the belt and then…here’s the important part…there’s several stars going down from the belt. Those are his sword…and that’s what I want you to see…that’s what I want you to realize. That you are like Orion’s sword…that you are a star.”
“I’m not a star,” I whispered, blinking at the sudden dampness in my eyes.
“Yes, you are.”
I bit my lip and peered up at the heavens. “How?”
“Can you tell that one of the stars in his sword is fuzzier than the rest?”
I squinted, and then nodded. Sure enough the stars going down from the belt were not as clear.
He said, “It’s blurry because one of those isn’t really a star at all; it’s something much more beautiful.” He turned me to face him. “It’s a nebula…a fucking nebula…where new stars are being born every day, every minute, becoming part of our universe. That fuzzy star actually creates life…that star, just like you, is a beginning: it’s life, it’s truth, it’s hope, it’s what we are made of.” He paused and shook his head as if in amazement. “That star is creation at its best, and just like those new stars being born, so are you. You are being born again. You are starting all over, with a fresh slate, and the night sky is all yours, Nora.”
He kissed my hands reverently and lifted his eyes to mine. “Inside you right now is the life you’ve always deserved…a soulmate, a family, happiness. You’re my shining star; you’re everything. Our love is written somewhere up there in the heavens, and our love will last until the last star is gone from the sky.”
Tears streamed down my face at the promise and love I heard in his voice.
God, how he looked at me. How he loved me. How I loved him.
He kissed my tears away, his lips warm and sweet. “Did I make you cry? I didn’t mean to.”
“Happy tears, Leo,” I said. “It’s been such a long road, but here I am, in your arms. You are my home, you are my family, and life doesn’t get any better than this.”
He slid to his knees in front of me.
I stared down at him in confusion. What?
He spoke quietly, yet with assurance. “A hundred years from now nebulas will still be creating the universe. A hundred years from now…if we are still around…I will still love you. I want to be with you for as long as we both have left in this world. I want to be the one to wipe your tears, soothe your heartaches, rejoice in your successes. I want to help you destroy the demons that haunt you. Someday, the bitterness and hurt you carry will fade…I can see it already…and I yearn, and I mean physically yearn to be there with you. Let me part of your chaos.”
He tugged something from his jeans and opened it.
The world held its breath.
With quivering hands I lightly touched the diamond solitaire ring resting inside the teal box.
“Nora Grace Blakely, will you marry me? I want it now, but it doesn’t have to be tomorrow or next year, but I need to know you’re mine. I promise I will never waver again, never be unsure, never be a pussy about how I feel. I was half a man until I met you. I thought I had it all together, but I was dead wrong. I want to be committed to you…long term.” He sucked in a deep breath. “Be my star, Nora.”
I cupped his face, slid down to my knees and nodded, mute.
With shaking hands, he slid the ring on my finger.
This was our new beginning, the creation of our future.
“There’s nothing I want more than to be with you. I belong to you,” I said softly.
His mouth tipped up in a grin. “That’s a yes, then?”
I looked into his opal eyes, the ones that had captured me in that parking lot months ago. That fateful day, his gaze had given me strength and hope. Destiny had intertwined our lives, had thrown us together time and time again.
Some people say that true love is a myth, that soulmates don’t exist. I feel sadness for those cynical souls; they’ll never know the high that comes from being with the one you’re meant to be with. They will never experience the absolute rightness of finding their true mate.
“Hey, Buttercup, I lost you there,” he murmured, lifting my chin up.
“Yes, Leo. Yes, yes, yes. I want to marry you. I want to follow you wherever you go. I want to have little Tate babies who play the guitar and piano. I am yours.”
He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing painfully. His eyes misted as he rested his forehead against mine, as if in relief. “Best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten,” he croaked.
We stared at each other for a long time, our bodies fitting like pieces of a puzzle, our hearts beating as one. This was one of those extraordinary moments I would never forget; this was a moment that would sustain me in times of strife; this was the universe aligning; this was perfection.
This was love.
As the constellations watched, as the night sounds of the city buzzed in the background, as people went about their normal lives, we combusted. Like fire.
We lunged for each other, both of us falling to the ground in a tangle of legs and arms.
He stripped me in seconds, his hands shaking with emotion.
I tore his tank off and traced every part of his tat with my tongue. I kissed his face, his neck, his shoulders. I couldn’t get enough.
“Forever,” he whispered against my bare skin, the yearning in his voice making my heart fly.
“Forever,” I promised.
And it was.
BONUS Extended Scene
Bonus Scene (unedited)
Inspired by and for Denise
“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently.” –Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes)
Sometime in the future…
We were late.
“Let’s go. We have an appointment to keep, woman,” I called up to Nora from the landing at the bottom of the stairs. She was in the loft getting ready after her workout, and I was getting impatient. And nervous. I kept picturing her face when she realized where we were going and what I was doing. God, what if she didn’t like it?
Either way, I wanted to capture this day with film. Nora had started a scrapbook of all the places we’ve visited, and although this wasn’t like our island getaway last year, I still wanted the memory. Going into my office, I opened the desk drawer, pulling out the Nikon camera I’d purchased when I’d taken Nora to Paris for her twenty-first birthday.
It was Sunday evening and the gym had closed already, and as soon as the last client had left, we’d gotten our own private workout. We’d tried to get in a full hour, but we’d had a hard time keeping our hands off each other. First we’d made love on the weight bench, then the butterfly press—creativity at its best—and then on the mats. And when I couldn’t move another muscle, she’d dragged me to the shower and showed me all I had to do was stand there while she took care of everything. That’s my girl. Hot, sexy, brilliant.
Good thing the cleaning lady came tomorrow.
Club Vita had been doing well lately and was almost running itself, giving me and Nora time to spend with each other. I’d put a lot of work into this place, and it showed. People came because it had the rep as a serious gym. Even big-time bodybuilders and models showed up to work out. Last year, we’d also gotten a few of the Dallas Maverick basketball players to join…thanks to Cuba who knew most of them. Of course we didn’t charge the VIPs. Having them here only raise the street cred of the place.
“Still waiting,” I called back up, checking my watch. The owner of the business was staying open late just for us.
“If you’d tell me where we’re going, I could figure out what to wear. Do I need a dress or jeans?” A drawer slammed shut. Sounded like Nora was miffed, and I grinned. That girl couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on, and I guarantee she was up there, trying to suss it out. I bet she even had a little wrinkle right there on her forehead.
Even in the middle of our intense weight bench moment, she’d been begging me to tell her, and even though I’d been tempted, I held out.
“Just wear something I like,” I told her.
Footsteps came across the floor. “Like this?” She leaned her head over the balcony wearing a luscious pout and a white towel draped toga style around her torso. Long, tanned legs got my attention through the slats of the railing, and I gave a mental groan, knowing exactly how good she looked underneath, her body all pink and clean from our shower.
“No,” I said.
“That’s funny. I thought you preferred me in nothing at all.” She gave me a low-lidded look. Naughty.
“I love you naked, I love you clothed, I love you anyway I can get you. But your luscious body might be a little to risqué for…” I cut myself off.
“You almost told me, didn’t you?” she said with narrowed eyes.
I chuckled, half amused, half exasperated. “Just dress like you’re going to the movies. I think you’ll love where we’re going.”
“Alright. Be down in five minutes,” she promised, turning to sashay back into the loft area. I watched her until I couldn’t see her anymore, knowing it’d be more like twenty minutes.
She came down wearing a tight pair of skinny jeans, red heels, and a black Vital Rejects t-shirt that clung to her breasts. I’d had the shirts made for the band before the last gig even though I was officially no longer the guitar player. Sebastian was still the front guy, but Teddy and I had moved on. I’d decided to manage the band instead, to keep Sebastian steady in a world full of manipulative wolves. He needed me to guide him, and it gave me purpose in music and left more time with Nora. Maybe someday I’d change my mind. Maybe I’d want back in, but for now, I didn’t. Life is too short to not love well, and Nora was everything.
She consumed me, not music.
Teddy had left because the stress of playing clubs and being on the road had been hard for him. He craved routine, so he was back at the piano bar on the weekends, keeping the place packed. Nora and I had just been there last night to see him.
Nora grabbed her purse and we left, both of us quiet as we got in the Escalade. She said she didn’t like surprises, but what that really meant was that if I was going to surprise her, it had better be a good one. So I’d this planned for weeks. Doing it was long overdue, too.
She turned up the radio when an Ed Sheeran song came on, and I bit back a smile at her serene expression. Underneath that placid façade was a clever girl who was racking her brain trying to figure out where the hell we were going on a Sunday evening when most people were at home.
The song ended. Minutes ticked by. “Just tell me where we are going.”
“No can do,” I said.
“At least give me a hint.”
I exhaled a fake sigh and nodded. Fine. “We’re going somewhere we’ve been before, but never together,” I said, shooting for mysterious. “Oh, and it’s bigger than a breadbox.”
“That could be anywhere,” she said with a little huff. “Canada, Nordstrom’s, Los Angles.” She scrunched up her face. “Burger King?”
“Not flying anywhere tonight, babe. And no, I am not taking you to Burger King.”
I saw the shop I wanted and pulled into a parallel spot in front of our destination.
“What are we doing at the tattoo parlor?” she asked with a bemused expression, craning her neck to look up and down the empty street. “And when have you ever been to Shayla’s shop? You haven’t gotten a new tat since we met.”
I rested my hands on the steering wheel and faced her. “It’s like this: I have everyone I love tattooed somewhere on me.” I leaned in close to her, caught her tantalizing sent and pushed a lock of red hair out of her eyes. “It’s past time I added you.”
Big pause and then, “You mean it?”
“So what are you getting…more importantly…where?” Her eyes strayed to the crotch of my jeans. “It’s not a piercing, it is?”
I grinned. “I love you, but I’m never getting that done. Let’s go in and I’ll show you.”
Shayla met us at the door with a wide smile. “I was wondering if you’d chickened out.” That wasn’t going to happen. I’d been coming by for a month or more working with her on the perfect sketch. There’s no way I wasn’t showing up. This tat was destined.
“It took a little more coaxing that I’d planned to get her here,” I joked, nodding back at Nora who had her keen eyes trained on me. I knew that look.
I leaned over and gave her a peck. “Stop trying to get in my head and figure this out. Relax.”
She grasped my hand and squeezed. “Just surprised you went to so much trouble for me. That you kept it such a secret.”
“I’d go to the ends of the earth for you. To make you happy. Never doubt it.”
We followed Shayla back to one of the rooms where she opened up the sketch book. Nora gazed it for a long time—forever it seemed like—until she smiled.
“You like?” I murmured in her ear. This whole idea had been mine and the image of the tat was the cornerstone of the way I’d proposed to her. I peered at the celestial drawing and then moved my hot gaze to hers. “You’ll always be my star, Nora. Some stars aren’t meant to be in the sky, and you’re one of them. You belong to me.”
Her green eyes gleamed, probably at the possessiveness she heard in my voice, making goose bumps tingle down my spine at how she got me. I’m demanding and cocky and liked my control. And she loved it. Scanning her gaze over the drawing of the Orion constellation, she gave me a shy smile. Pleased.
The shoulders of the warrior would be at my shoulders, his feet at my lower-back, and the belt and sword in the middle. But instead of stars—or nebulas—in the hunter’s sword, there would be a line of four hearts, each one with a letter from Nora’s name. I took the tat in, a kaleidoscope of varying emotions shimmering in me. Those hearts represented Nora and how everlasting she was, how she shined brighter than anything in the sky.
Memories of the night I’d fallen to my knees and asked her to be mine colored my thoughts.
“Forever,” I’d promised her.
“Forever,” she’d vowed.
“So where is this mighty warrior going?” Nora asked, her voice soft and hushed.
I came up behind her, running my fingers over the shape of the wings I knew she wore under her shirt. “On my back. You’ll have your wings, and I’ll have my universe. This tat is my poetry for you. My declaration that you’ll always be with me, even when we are no more on this earth.”
She leaned back into my arms, and the feel of her in my arms, the scent of her, the essence of her made me content. Stilled my erratic heart. “It’s gorgeous and beautiful. You’ve already proved your love to me a long time ago. But this…it’s us.” Her head rested on my shoulder until our eyes met, our connection electric. She pulled my head down and brushed my lips.
Relief and a deep satisfaction filled me. I turned her to face me and kissed her like I wanted, openmouthed, taking her lips desperately, like I needed her to breathe, like I’d never need oxygen again to keep my heart pumping. Just her. She returned my intensity with a fire of her own. She was absolutely and categorically mine.
Shayla squirmed uncomfortably for a moment, muttered, “Newlyweds,” and then slipped out the door. Not that we noticed.
“I have a surprise too,” Nora whispered against my mouth. “You’ll need to save a little space for at least one more person.”
I stood there for a second, blinking, not comprehending until…holy shit, it dawned on me what she meant. Placing unsteady hands her belly, I managed to mumble, “You mean…?” I swallowed, not able to say the word, scared.
She nodded, her eyes searching, lingering on my face. “Eight weeks. I found out Friday…and I wanted to tell you then…but you said you had a surprise for me, and well, I couldn’t resist surprising you, too.” She cupped my face, her thumbs brushing my cheeks. “Are you okay? You look like you might throw-up. Tell me you’re good with this, Leo.”
Fear hit me, but not for what she thought. “But today we got kinda crazy…on the butterfly press and other places. Shit, shit, shit.” I shifted, my hands tightening on her hips. “Are you feeling alright? Did I hurt you? Do you need to sit down? Do I need to take you to the doctor?” I sounded a bit off.
She laughed. “Leo Jamison Tate, I’m perfectly fine. I can do all those things. Being pregnant doesn’t make someone an invalid.” She bit her lip. “It’s…simply amazing to think of it, to think that I’m nurturing life within my womb. That I’m going to have a baby. Your baby.”
I fumbled around behind me, grabbed a chair and sat down. I looked around the room, wondering when it would stop spinning. “Fuck…oh wait…I have to stop cussing, don’t I? I need to set up a college fund. I need to call Sebastian and Teddy. I need to buy us a house and a minivan. I need to…”
Nora sat in my lap, ran her fingers through my hair and spoke, her voice a soothing balm to my scattered thoughts. “All is well. Fate is on our side, my love. You have to remember…we’re like a real storybook romance. Not everyone gets what we have. We’re living a happily-ever-after.”
And that’s when I realized what a miracle this was, my brain allowing the dawning excitement to overtake the fear. This baby was us; we’d created something good, something magical.
I cupped her face. “You’re so perfect,” I said with truth, my eyes caressing the softness of her face, the gentleness in her gaze. I kissed her ring finger, the one with the same platinum matching band that I wore.
“Okay, know I know you’re freaking out. I am most definitely not perfect.” She nuzzled her nose into mine in the way that had become our little trademark.
I squeezed her tight, vowing to never let her go. “As perfect as it gets, Buttercup.”
About the Author
Ilsa Madden-Mills is a loving wife and mother, a loyal friend, and a teacher. When all that is done, she writes. Obsessively.
She spends her days with two small kids, a neurotic cat, and her Viking husband. She collects magnets and rarely cooks except to bake her own pretzels.
When she’s not typing away at a story, you can find her drinking too much Diet Coke, jamming out to Pink, or checking on her carefully maintained chocolate stash.
She loves to hear from from fans and fellow authors. Drop her a line on the contact page.
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