Monday, August 31, 2020

New Contributor, Sophie Miller - Introduction

 



       Hi there lovely people!


     I would like to introduce myself and to thank you all for having me on here. 


     My name is Sophie and this is my first attempt at writing devotee fiction. My story began when I arrived in England as a student . During my first year at university I met a guy who was a T12 paraplegic. He was the man who introduced me to disability and what it's like living a life with challenges. 

    Our love story was somewhat out of the ordinary and my first book I decided to write in memory of that particular chapter in my life. 


   We are no longer together but to say he left a significant mark on my life and future would be an understatement. 


   I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing and most of all - living it. 

  

  Here is a link to the first chapter of the book : 

http://stories.paradevo.net/2020/07/the-tortured-billionaire-new-book-by-s.html

 Enjoy!


  With love,


  Sophie

Sunday, August 30, 2020

New Story from Annabelle: The F-Word

Hi all!  Thanks for your inspiration a couple of weeks ago!  I'm going to go ahead and start posting a new story.  As opposed to usual, this one isn't completely written yet and I don't have a book ready to go, but I figured nobody is posting, so I'd go head and get it up there.  Since it's very much in progress, comments are welcome!!!!


THE F-WORD


Audrey

Two weeks ago, I got married.

I’m married. 

I still can’t wrap my head around it entirely. That I’m somebody’s wife. I’ve got a ring on my left fourth finger that I wear all the time now, except when I shower. I have a husband. I still can’t say it without giggling.  Throughout our entire honeymoon, every time Blake or I referred to each other as our husband/wife, we would giggle. It just seemed so preposterous.

And now that we’ve returned from our honeymoon, Blake is unlocking the door to our apartment to start our lives together.  I mean, my husband is unlocking the door to our apartment. My husband. That’s so wild.

As the door swings open, Blake grins at me. We’ve been together four years now, but I still find him so sexy, especially when he smiles. My husband is sexy. My husband.
 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Next week

So after considering the results of the poll I put up, I started writing a new story this week about a divorced couple with kids that reconnects years later over the unthinkable trauma of turning 40. 

In general, it seems like protagonists in romance stories aren’t allowed to be older than 30s, but to hell with that. After all, when I put up that video about the 24-year-old politician, everybody kept saying “yuck, he’s young enough to be my son!” So let’s have a story about a man who is actually mature!

I’m going to post the first chapter next week.  See you then!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Limerence- Chapter 1

 

London, England. 1233 AD

 

     The narrow lane had led him to a dead end. He was surrounded by enemies- the Scarlet Hand Brotherhood had finally discovered his hiding place.

    Adrian was not afraid of dying. Hell, he ALREADY was dead, technically speaking. The excruciating pain caused by the sharp blade of the Celt rippling through his entire body, was still fresh in his memory. The agonizing cries of his brothers in arms never left him alone. They were there in his sleep, so he simply hadn’t slept since that very day.

 

  The day when he betrayed his own men. They relied on him for leadership, and he had simply lead them all into a death trap. Every last one of the Roman soldiers who had been under his command were slaughtered that day. The wild savages had no mercy. He was the last one standing. To die fighting, in battle, was one of the most honorable deaths a Roman centurion could possibly ask for.

 

  But not like this. Not when their grave would never be found by their comrades. Their bones scattered into the four directions of the world, their families unable to at least be offered an honorable burial.

 

  It was his mistake. He better die here and pay in hell for all the lives he couldn’t save. It was too late now. The sharp blade of the savage was like a welcomed, long-awaited lover. It ripped through his muscles and penetrated his heart. Alas, the death didn’t come as swiftly as he had hoped.

 

 He had no idea how long he had been laying in the soft grass for, surrounded by the rotting corpses of his soldiers. Some were friends from childhood. “Please, Gods, I beg of you! Deliver me a swift exit! For I grow eager to meet with my ancestors in the underworld. I pray thee, oh mighty Orcus, punisher of broken oaths. Please do not tarry, take my soul away from this damned savage land already!”

 

    As if the god of the underworld heard him, for a creature unknown to Adrian appeared out of the midnight silver mist. The land here has indeed been cursed, he thought to himself, before the creature materialized fully in front of him. It took Adrian all his willpower not to scream. For nothing- not even years of battling enemies in foreign lands- could prepare him for the sight of … Death? Was this how it all ended then?

 

   The creature looked at him with its hollow black eyes and Adrian stilled. He had no strength left to fight. His sword lay a few meters away from him, buried under the bodies of his soldiers. There was nothing left to do but to wait for his end to come. He closed his eyes and uttered one last prayer. And a goodbye. He would never see his family again. His beautiful young wife, who had just given birth to his son- his firstborn. Thank god they were behind the wall, safe, far away from this hell.

 

  As thoughts of his loved ones filled his mind, Adrian suddenly felt a sharp pain, as if something had bitten him. He quickly opened his eyes in utter panic, and swiftly regretted it. For what he witnesses then, he would never forget, he would remember it for the rest of his eternal life!

 

 The creature was sucking the blood he still had left in him. Adrian made a weak effort to get up, which seemingly frightened the cursed thing, as it made an ugly sound and disappeared into the woods, just as it had appeared earlier.

 

  Completely exhausted, the Roman general prepared to die. But just as he felt his body relax and his soul prepare to enter the next world, a spasm made him bend in two. In a fetal position he tried to crawl, but failed, as another spasm- this time much stronger than the first one- rendered him completely unconscious.

 

 With this, the Transformation of Adrian, Roman general and leader of thousands of Roman soldiers, had begun.

 

 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Limerence- Chapter 1 and 2

 London, England. Present days.



Chapter 1

 

 

 The shop floor was crowded. People from all over the world had travelled to London for the famous Harrod’s Christmas Sale. The staff was manically running around, trying to keep up with the insanely huge demand.

  We all had to wear black and look presentable. Girls were hired for their multilingual skills and their appearance. Most of us had come to London in search for a better life. Some were escaping a traumatic childhood, others were simply looking for a way out of poverty. Regardless, our stories were similar. Pain and suffering tends to somehow unite human beings.

 It was already late and my feet were in a terrible state. Just a few more minutes and I could go to the staff lockers downstairs and take those uncomfortable shoes off. We were all obliged to look a certain way. Young, pretty girls, who were mostly foreign. I blended in well. My hair was long and silky, my make-up, above reproach. My body slim and slender, my clothing-discretely elegant. It was fascinating how we managed to blend in and at the same time stand out. The men who were shopping here never allowed us to completely disappear.

 I was used to the sexual harassment and derogative comments, although more often than not we simply were on the receiving end of longing stares and brazen compliments. Of course all those men were used to getting the best of the best, or at least they desperately wanted to believe they were entitled to it. Most of them had many girlfriends on the side or a wife, whose muted agreement, in exchange of a better life, essentially made her an accomplice, enabling her husband's bad behavior.

  So many stories intertwined on this shop floor. Like a tapestry made up of the lives of humans. I had become immune to the glam and glitter. My only concern at the moment were the uncomfortable shoes I was forced to wear for the last 7 hours. I could barely feel the soles of my feet, dulled down by the pain in my calves. I needed to take them off and soon!

  Just as I was preparing to make a quick dive into the crowd and attempt an early leave, I spotted the manager approaching. Alas, my plan of escape was not going to happen. He wanted to talk to me, so I smiled and listened, only half-heartedly. I was way more interested in getting away from the dreaded hustle and bustle- I had been here since early this morning.

  “Mia, your presence is requested in the VIP lounge. They are waiting for you, so please be quick!’’, and just like this, before I even managed to voice out my protest, he was gone. I. Hated. My. Life.

  Unfortunately, the lounge was on the second floor, which was a significant distance away from where I was currently stationed. With a sigh, I resigned myself to staying behind for a third evening in a row, and headed upstairs. The exact location of the room I was supposed to enter was only made known to members of the staff. What it basically meant was that we had someone who was a member of the elite visiting the shop. People like this generally avoided shopping on the main floor, same as all other mortals. Privacy was valued above all else, and they paid well to ensure they got it.

 Vaguely, I pondered the identity of the mysterious customer. I had some prior experience serving the mega rich and famous, so I felt calm and in control of myself. I was trained for such occasions. The key was to never express any surprise or God forbid- indecent curiosity. Staying professional at all times was what the staff working at Harrods was best known for. That, as well as our grooming and elegance. But most of all- our ability to be discreet.

  I gave myself a quick check in the expensive mirror, hung on the wall I was going past, hastily fixing a stray hair that somehow got teased out of my neatly styled ponytail. I preferred to have my long dark hair away from my face during working hours- it helped with being efficient and kept me looking tidy for the entire duration of my shift.

 I entered the room after announcing my arrival and dipped my head down slightly, not wanting to trespass on the privacy of the individual inside. A tall and well-dressed man was standing in the middle of the room, so I just presumed that was the customer I was called to attend to. I stepped towards him, my heeled shoes making no noise as I moved my body gracefully across the carpeted floor. The room was darkened, the lights dimmed. I could barely make out his expression as I approached him, ready to make my introduction and enquire how I could be of help. Before I even got to ask my question, however, a deep voice coming from somewhere to my right, broke the silence.

“ John , you may leave us. I will let you know when your assistance is required again.”

  I struggled to contain my amazement and surprise. If that wasn’t the person I was supposed to attend to, then why was he standing in the middle of the changing room and who was the owner of the voice, that left me paralyzed with …. Fear? The tone was authoritative. His, had been an order rather than a gentle request. Something told me the man who spoke was not a guy used to hearing ‘No’ for an answer. Ever.

 I awaited obediently for “John’’ to exit the room and carefully turned my body and attention towards what I hoped was the general direction from which the deep voice was coming. I couldn’t understand why the lights were dimmed so much, but remained professional enough to know not to ask questions or blink an eyelid at some of the outrageous request we were used to receiving. This was just one of those occasions, it seemed, when reality appeared to be  stranger than fiction. The ultra rich were used to living in a parallel universe, where their every whim was satisfied at a clicking of a finger. Some even expected to be waited upon similarly to royalty and would become irate if the person serving them would fail to guess their unspoken desires.

 This was going to be a long night, I thought to myself with desperation as I shifted slightly towards the dark figure who was occupying one of the opulent armchairs that lined the walls. My eyes had started to adjust to the lighting already, but I still couldn’t distinguish the man from the shape of the furniture. I also didn’t want to appear like I was gawking or staring indiscreetly, so I kept my head slightly bent and attempted another introduction.

 Before I even got a chance to utter a sound, he interrupted impatiently. “ I know who you are, I need a matching tie, to go with the suit.’’ I followed his gesture – he simply lifted his fingers slightly in the direction of the item of clothing he wanted me to see, then rested his hand back onto the arm of the soft furniture he was occupying. I chanced a quick glance at him, trying to guess his preferences and style. The suit he was wearing was of the highest quality. Undoubtedly the best of the best. The cut was immaculate, at least from what I managed to see with the corner of my eye, as I was already turning around to examine the one he wanted me to find a matching tie for. I caught a glimpse of a signet ring on his left little finger as he got himself a cigar from the small table next to him. He had one leg crossed over the other at the area of the knee, making his presence even more domineering. As though claiming as much space as he possibly could, without lifting so much as a finger. 

The guy was larger than life, I could already tell. I felt sorry for the wife or girlfriend who had to endure this pompous prick! I could hardly wait to escape the room and it hadn’t even been 5 minutes since my arrival here. And I was paid to do it. I wasn’t so sure about the other women…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                  

 

Chapter 2

 

 

 The man was tall. From what I managed to see of the suit he had ordered, he was at least 1.85cm. I needed a dark grey tie, something discreet but also something which would stand out- very much like his future owner. As I was going through the stock we had, I was mentally recovering the image of him in front of my inner vision. No matter how hard I tried, however, I could not flesh out the memory of a real person. Only sensations. The uncomfortable feeling of being watched when I wasn’t aware of it gave me chills. There was something about this man, something about his presence and the way he overpowered all else in the room, dominating the space as if it was his natural habitat.

  I didn’t like it. Hopefully the ties I picked would please him and he could leave quickly. I wasn’t sure what this John guy was there for, and I didn’t want to know. I just wanted them out of the shop so I could finally finish my shift and head home. The walk would be unpleasant as the weather was already reminding us how close we were to the Christmas festivities. I was going to celebrate alone, most likely. Which was fine by me. The other option would have been to go back home, but that was equally unappealing. At least I could enjoy having the entire space all to myself. The way I was feeling currently, I could stay in for a week and not feel the desire to go out or do anything. Being around so many people so much of the time had left me craving the sanctuary of my one bedroom flat more than ever before.

  Satisfied with my choice, I headed back to the VIP lounge. With some luck the mysterious guy could be already gone, leaving the tedious job of arranging the details for the purchase to his right hand man. Perhaps he was a security guard, he seemed big enough to match the job description. And so hopefully I wouldn’t have to endure the presence of his boss. I would have rather dealt with his staff than having to talk to him or help him choose which tie went with which suit the most. Maybe he wasn’t interested in wasting any more of his precious time either and we would never have to see each other ever again. I mean, the chances of me casually bumping into him on the street were close to non-existent. So I just needed to keep it together for a few more minutes, and then I could finally go home.

 The thought gave me the boost I needed. The surge of energy I felt however quickly died down with the sight of the security guard standing in front of the lounge’s closed doors. I guess his boss must be still inside…

 

 I pushed down my irritation and moved past the burly figure. He gave me a quick nod and opened the door for me. The lightning was still the same so I automatically squeezed my eyes, trying to adjust my vision to the significantly reduced amount of clarity I had. The air was filled with the smoke from his cigar, but he hadn’t shifted from where I left him before I went onto my search for his desired clothing items. I wasn’t sure if he recognized me or if he even cared to acknowledge my presence, and I guess it didn’t even matter, as I wouldn’t have been able to see his facial expressions in the darkness anyway. 

 I busied myself with arranging the ties I had picked around the suit that was laid on the settee opposite to where he was sitting. I guess I was rather hasty as I fumbled with the arrangement of my display, which was a far cry from my usual professionalism. The thought of remaining in this enclosed space with this man for longer than the bare necessary minimum required for him to make his decision and leave, was disturbing me in ways I refused to dwell upon. Through my career in sales I had gotten used to attending to a variety of customers, who had some of the most extravagant and downright ridiculous requests. Never before, however, did I feel such dread or repulsion. I could not place the exact sensation that gripped me, but it was suspiciously close to FEAR.




As I finished arranging my display, I stepped back in order to give it one final inspection before I summoned my customer. I was really hoping he would be able to choose quickly so that we could all be on our merry way. And I would never have to serve him or even meet him again.

 With this thought in mind, I walked backward distractedly, trying to decide on the arrangement, until my body was pressed against something warm and hard. Something that definitely wasn’t there when I first entered the room. It couldn’t have been the security detail as I clearly remembered leaving him outside before coming into the lounge. So whose body was it that I was pressing myself against?!

I hadn’t had the chance to recover from my shock when I felt him bend over my shoulder. His warm breath tickled the back of my neck, where a few baby hairs had teased their way out of the tight ponytail. My chest heaved as I tried to regulate my own air intake, when I heard him whisper in my ear, “You took too long.’’

 

 As I wasn’t even sure what to say or if he even expected me to answer him, I preferred to remain silent and buy my time. There was no sign of irritation in his tone. But there was something which bothered me immensely. I fumbled with my head, trying to desperately pinpoint the source of the intense discomfort and when I did, the blood circulation almost seized in my veins. I now knew what had been the reason for the FEAR- there was NO tone in his voice that could be discerned. It was almost as though a dead man had risen from the grave and had spoken to me….

 

 The sensations coursing through my body were impossible to explain. The close proximity of his flesh felt intoxicating. I had to fight back the sudden urge to press myself against him. Was I becoming delusional? The effect his presence had on me was like the most potent drug, injected straight into my veins. I felt alive. More alive than I had ever felt in my life for as long as I could remember. I didn’t want this to stop. I wanted more. To feel more. To see more. To experience more. I wanted depth. Pleasure. Pain. Sorrow. I wanted to love. To breathe. But most of all I wanted RELEASE. I wanted for my torture to end. I couldn’t bear any longer the deep longing that I was aware of, existing inside me. Like a bottomless pit which never got sated. Not during my childhood, nor in my adult life. In this moment I saw with undeniable clarity- despite the darkness of my surroundings and my eyelids being almost shut- the hollow emptiness my entire existence had been, up to this point. Until this man came around. It was as though my heart had seized beating for a split second and restarted suddenly, bringing a fresh flow of blood through my arteries, quickening my pulse, which I could hear the beat of inside my drumming ears. I think he could feel it too, as he bent his head and I felt his lips caress the soft flesh of my extended neck, tracing the pale skin until he reached my ear.

 

“What do you want?’’, his voice was deep but completely void of emotion. I stilled myself, my entire body tensing with the sound of his words penetrating me. I didn’t want to think, to rationalize- it made my head ache. I just wanted this horrible torturous sensation of emptiness to stop. I needed fulfilment. The sort of fulfilment I instinctively knew only this man was capable of giving me. Without thinking I pressed back against him. He shifted his body slightly, welcoming my unconscious movements. He felt so reassuring, and yet so dangerously menacing. It was hard to reconcile the two seemingly completely opposite realities. How could he be so cold and yet enflame me to the core? Why was it that I felt so alive when I was with him? And yet it was as if I were the only present warm blooded human in this room. And he needed me in order to sustain himself, in order to feel alive.

  I wanted desperately to turn around and see his face, but I was afraid to disrupt this fragile connection we had established. The warmth I realized I felt previously was coming from my own body and not from his flesh. A shiver ran across my spine as the thought crossed my mind. As though coming out of a trance suddenly, I pushed against him, this time not driven by uncontrollable lust, but by sheer panic. Terror gripped my throat and a stifled cry escaped my lips. I knew I had to move away from this thing- whatever it was that was happening between us- and leave the room as soon as possible. Before I even managed to move my feet however, his arm snaked around my waste and pinned me back to him. “No!”, his voice was no longer expressionless. It was more of a snarl than actual speech, which sent alarm bells ringing in my head. And I knew exactly why- the voice didn’t have any human quality to it. It sounded beastly….

 

 

 

 

                         

 


"New Beginnings" for Kindle

Hi Fiction Blog readers,

How have you been during these last months? I hope everyone is doing well under the  circumstances.  Times are not easy right now.  

So the Fiction Blog space on Blogger is different now and I am still trying to figure it out. I hope this message displays right.

I kind of miss coming here to post weekly, but I am also busy working on self publishing my stories. I am already working on the next one. 

If you bought "Will Love Prevail" I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoyed it. I know it wasn't perfect, but it was my first try at publishing. People have been buying it and reading it, so this makes me happy. In case you missed it, here is the link.

I have now also published "New Beginnings". I worked a lot on it to get it ready for publishing. If you liked the story here, you can now own it on your Kindle or read on Kindle Unlimited. "New Beginnings" holds a special place in my heart because it was my first dev romance. 

I hope you will check it out. Thanks forI reading and hope this finds you well.  I would be happy to hear from you. 

My email is: torninbetweenseit71@gmail.com 

Here is the link to "New Beginnings"

Sending everyone a big hug, stay safe, be well and healthy. 

Love, Dani

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Poll from Annabelle

So now that I have finished posting my last story, I’ve had a lot of potential ideas bobbing around my head, but I can’t decide which ones to write.  So I’m going to list some of them here and tell me which ones appeal to you:

What do you want to read about most?
The story of my first love—a disabled boy in high school. And reconnecting years later.
A couple with kids that gets divorced when the wife can’t cope after his accident, but then find they still have feelings for each other years later.
A covid-era quarantine story about a man and woman who connect through their apartment windows
Beauty and the Beast retelling in which the beast was injured in an accident
Created with PollMaker

Also, feel free to comment any thoughts or other ideas!

Monday, August 10, 2020

"New" Book: Like a Boss

My new book, Like a Boss, is out today!  This is a revision of Harvard Hottie with the last 20% completely revised and a new epilogue about their future.  Get it on Amazon!


Have you ever met someone and hated them instantly?
For me, that was Luke Thayer.

When I met him freshman year of college, he was as smug as he was rich and gorgeous. A spoiled jerk who would get everything he wanted in life.

Now it’s sixteen years later.

He’s just as obnoxious and handsome as he ever was, and ten times as wealthy. But he’s not the same—a rock climbing accident a decade earlier has landed him in a wheelchair for life.

And I get one other big surprise:

He’s my new boss.


Get it on Amazon today!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Last update to Like a Boss

Thank you everyone for reading my final update to Like a Boss.  I have to figure out what I'm going to do next.  But in the meantime:

Chapter 5

Table of Contents

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Enemy, Mine (Billionaire Series, Book 2) by S. Miller

 

Prologue

 

     London hadn’t changed at all. I didn’t miss the cold winter nights or the chilly air of October early mornings. I never thought I would be coming back to this city again, and yet, here I was.

 

   Everything seemed to be as I remembered. The tall modern skyscraper buildings of The City making a stark contrast to the white opulent facades of the town houses in central London. Tower Bridge, Big Ben, The House of Parliament. All appeared the same. And yet all was different. I was different.

 

  Six years ago I left this place still as a student. Or should I say- a drop out. I never even managed to finish my first year at university. It had become impossible for me to remain or even transfer to another academic institution. It wasn’t like I didn’t try- I did. But the applications all returned with the very same answer- not approved. The reasons given varied, some didn’t even pay me the curtesy of even specifying any.

 Not that I needed them to. I knew damn too well why I got declined from everywhere. The answer had one name- Robert. Or should I say, Professor Green. Lord Winfield. The heir of a vast fortune, wealth and unlimited power. His family owned most of the land in central London. Properties, businesses, you name it. They had their hands on everything lucrative and prestigious. Including the university I had been studying at, at the time. This is where I met him. He was one of my professors in Neuroscience. I didn’t know who he was at the time- he had made sure of it. The plan I guess was to seduce me and have fun with me for as long as he wanted me- then discard. Get rid.

 

The only problem- I happened to accidentally stumble across the whole truth before he could carry out his ploy. He hadn’t predicted the possibility of his father coming to the university building and thus revealing unintentionally the identity of his son. And what identity it was! No wonder he was hiding everything from me. From the playboy past, through numerous model-like blond girlfriends, to multiple affairs and broken promises. The trail of destroyed lives, hopes and dreams that this man had left in his wake was staggering. I remember I felt sick as I was going through numerous pages on the internet with articles on him, with photos upon photos of his smiling arrogant face staring at me, with a stunningly beautiful woman always on his arm.

 

 He was irresistible, the most wanted bachelor in London- and he knew it. And played it well. Of course all this had to end with the accident. The one that got him stuck in a wheelchair. He was driving his latest toy- some crazily expensive car, when he crashed it. It left him paralyzed from the waist down. Of course I didn’t know all this when I first saw him at the lecture hall. All I could remember were the beautiful amber eyes, the masculine jaw, the perfectly sculpted cheek bones and straight nose. This man was beautiful. I could only imagine how attractive he must have been to the women before. The accident had changed him, it was obvious. And therein lay my most crucial mistake- I believed it. I believed he was a changed man.

 

  Of course it wasn’t difficult as back then I had no idea who he was, or what his life had been prior to the car crash. All I saw was a man who was trying to live as best as he could, and to love. Oh, how much was I mistaken. It all became crystal clear when I discovered his past along with the man he used to be. A man I could have never fallen in love with. The familiar face that looked at me from the glossy magazine photos was not the guy I had grown to know and eventually, love. This person was a stranger. And not only that- he was the type of character I would generally avoid at all cost. The arrogance, vanity, egocentric attitude, were all present. He was clearly used to getting what he wanted- always. And this time around- he wanted me. For reasons I still find difficult to understand.

 

  The facts is – I didn’t look like the model, statuesque women he was used to dating. With my brunette hair and medium height, I wasn’t one to basically stand out from the crowd. Perhaps my only very attractive feature were my eyes. He complimented me on them often. They were green, with tiny brown specs scattered throughout the irises. This combination, along with long lashes and the almond shape, gave me somewhat of an exotic, cat-like appearance. So I guess this was my misfortune and why I really hated them every time I looked myself in the mirror ever since. For maybe if I had just ordinary, brown eyes, that didn’t stand out so much, I could have avoided altogether the disaster that was Lord Winfield.

 

  Now, six years later, I had returned to the place I had sworn I would never visit again. Back to the man who had destroyed my life, my teenage hopes and dreams, my career- with just one word of his. I knew Robert was behind all the denied applications. He had connections in all academic institutions in the country and it seemed his influence reached as far as Scotland. After I received a decline from the University of Edinburgh, I knew I was done with trying to continue my degree in the UK. Apparently it wasn’t enough that he managed to destroy my reputation when the truth about our affair came out.

  I don’t know if he managed to keep his position and title, but I figured since his family practically owned the university, he most likely was still teaching there. What was my surprise, therefore, when a month ago I happened to come across an article online, with his name plastered all over the headlines.

 

  The air stopped in my chest and the familiar sickly feeling- one that I hadn’t experienced in years, returned with a vengeance. It was as though no time had passed and I found myself looking again at those arrogant amber eyes. The expression on his face- although he managed to hide it within seconds, was still etched vividly in my memory. He was pleading for me to forgive him. To understand why he had lied and hidden his identity. Why he had purchased a flat for our meetings, in order to keep up the illusion of being an average guy, just living off his professor’s salary, completely obscuring the fact who he really was. Who his family was.

 

 I never gave him the chance to explain. I walked away from him. in that very same corridor where we had met for the first time. I didn’t want to hear more lies and I was convinced he would have tried to manipulate me further, had I given him the opportunity. Robert- I mean Lord Winfield, was obviously very experienced with getting his own way. Especially with women. The doubt I felt regarding his intentions vanished immediately when I caught that expression he had on his face. I would ever forget it. Or the moment all became crystal clear to me. In that moment I knew this man had never truly changed deep inside. The veneer of humility, generosity and consideration for others had been just that- a cover up. Beneath it all he was still the same arrogant guy, looking at me from the covers of the glossy magazines. He could no longer have all the best looking models, actresses and socialites – the crème de la crème of London high society. But he could have me- and at the time I was convinced he wanted me. I have no idea why- perhaps the thought of sleeping with a student of his, the thrill of the forbidden love affair, appeared tempting. Whatever the reason, I was sure he would have dropped me the moment he had satiated his curiosity. For the kind of men he clearly belonged to- the spoiled, super rich, high status mega powerful elite members of London society – would have never been able to see me as anything more than a plaything.

 

  Clearly he had no intentions of ever introducing me to his family, or including me in his real life. He had made sure I was kept in the dark, and actually went as far as creating an entire separate life for himself. We didn’t go out together and mostly stayed in, in the evenings. This went on for almost two months. I was practically living at his place by then, he had insisted it would be easier for us logistically. He would then drive to work and drop me off just a short distance before the university campus, so that no one ever knew we were an item. I had fallen hard for him already, so I didn’t really pay attention as to what was going on around me. There had been some inconsistencies in his story, some things that didn’t add up. Had I not been so infatuated, I would have probably been able to spot those much sooner. And maybe saved me a heartbreak and a total career collapse in the future.

 

 Unfortunately, I discovered the truth when it was already too late to salvage anything, not even my dignity. Somehow the secret had come out and I had no choice but to seek a transfer to a different academic institution. It soon became clear, however, that rumors had reached all the bigger universities in England, which drastically reduced my chances of ever continuing my degree in a reputable, established institute. Scotland was my last option, but their refusal of my application came in so quickly, I was certain by then someone was involved. Someone who clearly didn’t want me to stay and finish my studies here.

 

 So the only choice was to leave. Humiliated and with no prospects, I took a plane back home. It took me almost two years to begin regaining some of my old self back. My passion for life slowly but surely was coming back to me. I ended up travelling across Europe for a year, brushing up on my French while making new friends all over the continent. I had been staying with a girl in Nice- someone I met during my travels and who quickly became one of my closest confidants and companions. It was summer and we had been enjoying the Mediterranean outdoors, sunbathing and playing in the salty waters. During one of our breaks, we were drinking cold lattes at a cute local café near the beach, when with my peripheral vision I suddenly caught a sight of something familiar.

 

  The TV was on, they had been playing some showbiz news from St Tropez. I focused on the presenter, not understanding why I felt like I needed to see what they were about to show next. My French still wasn’t perfect and I struggled to follow the quick barrage of words. Suddenly, a name was mentioned- one which I could recognize anywhere. And one that I wanted desperately to be able to forget forever.

 

  Robert Green, Lord Winfield. The famous bachelor was visiting. The next thing that followed was a series of photos and a video of him, accompanied by a tall, devastatingly beautiful woman, exiting one of the famous 5-star hotels on the Riviere. And he was NOT in a wheelchair. I squinted, cursing myself for not bringing my glasses along. The screen was big enough fortunately and there was no way I wasn’t seeing properly. Robert was walking all on his own. He had a cane which he seemed to be using, putting some of his weight on it. And his gate seems somewhat abnormal. He was concentrating on walking, not paying attention to the crowds of paparazzi waiting outside. The woman who was his companion didn’t seem to have an issue with the media attention, however, as she smiled broadly and looked straight at the waiting cameras. She had the polished skills of a professional actress. They looked perfect together, almost like a Hollywood couple.

 

  I was so entranced by what was unfolding right in front of me, that I didn’t notice my friend talking. I wanted to see every detail, to memorize his expression. Unfortunately, their car pulled right in front of the hotel entrance and Robert and his companion soon disappeared from view. At this point the video footage ended and I slowly moved my eyes across the table where my friend was looking at me speculatively. I hadn’t told her every little detail about my past and the man who had hurt me beyond repair, but I think she managed to put two and two together.

 

 “Emma? It’s him, isn’t it?”, I looked her directly in the eye.

“Yes, it is”.

 “You are going to London, aren’t you?”

 It was more of a statement rather than a question. “Yes, I am going back to London.”

 

 

 

                               Chapter 1

 

  The plane landed with a thud. I grabbed my handbag and prepared myself for the hustle and bustle that was going to follow next. Terminal 5 at Heathrow brought unpleasant memories- ones that I would rather forget. Six years ago I was here again, this time however not arriving but departing. Everything had been a blur, the pain too much to bear. It’s still unclear to me to this day how I managed to gather the courage and strength not to fall apart completely.

 

  Of course the meltdown took place, but much later on, once I was safely in the air, on my way back home. The period immediately after my return was one of the darkest, most terrifying experiences in my life. Something I generally avoided talking about altogether, if I could help it. Today I think of it as a black hole- a gap in my story which is better left uncovered.

   The strength of the memories and sensations once my feet touched London soil took me by surprise. Through the ears I had managed to develop some kind of a shield of self-protection, not many could penetrate. Particularly men. For I had spent the time not only recovering, but building myself up. I had lost most of the baby weight I still carried around with me during my student years. The frequent swims in the Mediterranean along with basking in the sun had given my skin a bronzed, healthy flow. I was in the best shape of my life and I knew it.

   The final alteration that finished off my complete transformation was my hair- it was now a golden blond. The darker shades of auburn had fully disappeared. In fact, this step was the last one and it took some courage to go through with it. At first I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go that far and change my look so drastically. However, after seeing the recent footage on all TV channels, where Robert was being snapped with a string of Barbie-looking socialites and models, had solidified my decision. If I wanted my plan to work, I needed to go all the way. There had to be no compromises, no risks taken. He had to believe I was the person I was going to introduce myself as. My name was changed, my background story along with all the necessary documents.

  To be honest, it turned out to be easier than I thought. This part worried me the most- how was I going to get a job at one of his companies and slowly infiltrate myself into his life. And heart. But the interview went surprisingly smoothly, and soon after I received confirmation of my job application being successful.

 

  Leaving my best friend in France was difficult, but she promised she would pay me a visit in London as soon as possible. Next, I arranged my flights and the flat I was going to be renting while here. It was a very nice small apartment in Knightsbridge. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and the landlord was kind enough to reduce the price for me- which was very odd, I must say. I had my misgivings and expected something to be majorly wrong with the place, but it turned out to be even nicer than what I had seen in the photos. So I signed the lease right away.

   My plan was running so smoothly up to this point, that I almost felt suspicious something was off. Getting the job turned out way easier than expected, as well as finding a place that I loved AND within my price range right away- which, for London, is quite rare, seemed a little bit too good to be true. But when I shared my reservations with my friend, she suggested perhaps it was a sign fortune was finally on my side- and my plan was going to work out. The man who destroyed my life and my future six years ago was going to pay for it. And I fully intended to make sure he did. Yes, karma is a bitch.

 

    

 

  The Kensington flat was even better in reality than those photos I saw when I signed the tenant’s contract. It was rather surreal and almost too good to be true. Maybe, as my friend had said, this was a sign from destiny- that I was indeed supposed to be here and proceed with my plan.

   I settled into my new routine much sooner than expected. The company I was going to work for had its headquarters based in the City, however the commute hadn’t been as bad as I was expected. Not only that, but my first day at my new job went brilliantly. My colleagues seemed pretty chilled and very helpful. My immediate supervisor- a girl my age who was the happiest person I have ever seen- made sure I felt comfortable and had everything I needed.

   Everything just seemed to click in so easily, I had to pinch myself in order to remind me that this was only a temporary thing and once I managed to accomplish what I came here to do, I would be leaving this place and everyone along with it. The thought almost made me sad- all these people seemed so lovely. I had expected much animosity and hypocrisy. Instead, I got kindness, compassion and genuine friendliness.

   But I knew I had to keep my eyes firmly on the goal. Which was to make Lord Winfield, future Viscount Wesley, pay for everything he ever did to me. And so I was going to buy my time and get familiar with my job and immediate surroundings. I didn’t want to attract much attention to myself. So I was going to work diligently, whilst at the same time waiting for the right moment to act. Since this was one of the companies run by Robert’s family, and by now I knew he had assumed the head CEO position from his father, sooner or later he was bound to visit the main office here. And when he did, I was going to be ready. Robert would not be able to see it even coming- and this time around  I was going to be the one to have the last laugh.




 Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this sample, please check out my book here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HL9VNLQ

 


to be continued...

 

 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The F-Word, Chapter 5

Audrey

Andy is the easiest kid in the world. He’s always been like that. Even my pregnancy was easy. My friend Rachel was pregnant at the same time and she couldn’t stop throwing up, but I had a happy, healthy pregnancy.

And then when he was first born, he never cried (yes, Katie was a rude awakening). I remember he had this shock of black hair that even then reminded me of Blake. I remember Blake holding Andy in his arms in the hospital, as we exchanged happy but slightly panicked looks.  Nobody tell this kid we don’t know what we’re doing, Blake joked nervously.

But Andy made it easy. Blake and I would look down at him sleeping peacefully in his bassinet with equally worried expressions on our faces.  Do you think we should wake him up? Is he OK?

Andy was fine. He was always fine. He always ate any food you put in front of him, never argued when you asked him to do a chore, always brushed his teeth without argument (I swear, getting Katie to brush her teeth is going to be the death of me). You couldn’t ask for a better behaved kid.

At the same time, I worry about him. He’s quiet. And ever since Blake moved out, he’s been even more quiet. Sometimes I think he could go whole day without speaking and I might not even notice a change.

Tonight, I check on him in his room while he’s doing his homework. I find him typing something on the laptop I bought him last year.  Actually, it was a gift from me and Blake on his 10th birthday. We somehow managed to go in on it together without murdering each other.

I watch him sitting at his desk, his dark eyes pinned on the computer screen. He looks so freaking much like Blake.  He even started wearing glasses in the last year for distance like Blake does. 

“What are you working on?” I ask him.

“An essay for social studies,” he says.

“What about?”

“The Civil War.”

“Oh?  What about the Civil War?”

Andy’s eyes dart upward and to the side, which is an expression he always gets when he’s thinking. Blake has the same freaking expression.  “Like, about the different causes of the war.  Like, you know, slavery.”

“Interesting,” I lie.  Sometimes I am just so happy to be done with school. Everything my kids have to do for school is so deliriously boring. “Did you finish your math homework?”

Andy nods at the red folder on his desk. “Yep. It’s inside.”

I pick up the folder and flip it open. Sure enough, his completed math assignment is inside. I would ask if he wants me to check it over for him, but I’m not sure if I can do these problems. He may have surpassed me mathematically in fourth grade. Of course, Andy’s always been a whiz at math. Yet another way he takes after his dad.

Under the math assignment, I see a flyer for some sort of class trip. I pull it out and read the big black letters. Apparently, there’s some sort of fun camping trip coming up for his class. Children bring their parents along and go on a hike followed by an overnight camping excursion.

“Hey,” I say, “what’s this?”

“Oh.” Andy glances at the flyer and then back at the computer screen. “It’s just this camping trip a bunch of my classmates are going on.”

“Do you want to go?”

“Well…” Andy lowers his eyes. “I know you hate that stuff.  And Dad… can’t.”

Well, he’s right that I hate anything involving the wilderness. And he’s also right that I can’t even imagine how Blake would be able to manage something like this, although it would kill him to hear Andy talking this way. 

“Hey, I’ve got an idea,” I say. 

He lifts his eyes hopefully.

“What if Patrick goes with you on the trip?”

Andy frowns. “You think he would do that?”

“Sure!” I say with more confidence than I feel. One way or another, I’ll convince Patrick to do it.  “He’d love to. It would be a great chance for the two of you to bond, since he’s going to be your new stepfather.”

“Yeah…” A tiny smile crawls across Andy‘s lips, which makes me realize how rarely I see him smile anymore.  “I guess that would be OK.”

“Wonderful!” I clap my hands together.  “I’ll go talk to him about it right now.”

I leave Andy‘s room and head down the hallway to our bedroom. On the way, I pass Katie coming out of the bathroom.  She has a guilty look on her face. “Did you brush your teeth like I asked?” I say.

“Yes!” she cries.  She punches one hand into each hip, the way I do when I’m angry. If Andy is a little version of Blake, Katie is a little version of me. In other words, I’m being punished for my past sins.

Katie watches me as I go into the bathroom and pull out her toothbrush. I run my fingers over the bristles. They do feel moist. I sniff the toothbrush. It does smell minty.

I can’t believe this is what my life has become. Sniffing toothbrushes.

“Open your mouth,” I instruct her.

Katie looks worried, but she obligingly opens her mouth. I take a sniff—garlic and tomato sauce. Aha!

“You didn’t brush!” I say triumphantly. “You just ran your toothbrush under the water.”

“No, I didn’t!”

“Katherine Marie Campbell,” I say.  “I don’t want to hear any lies coming out of that mouth of yours.”

Katie looks like she’s going to argue further with me, but then she pouts and says, “Fine!”  She marches back into the bathroom and restarts the process of (hopefully for real) brushing her teeth.

I don’t know why she’s so difficult about brushing her teeth. I wonder if she gives Blake a hard time about it too. He never mentioned it to me. Then again, we don’t exactly have a kind of relationship where we can chitchat about our daughter brushing her teeth. Frankly, I’d rather she not brush her teeth all weekend than have to go through a conversation with him about it.

I find Patrick in our bedroom, sitting on our bed with his laptop resting on his legs. The second I walk into the room, he snaps it shut and smiles up at me. “Coming to bed early?”

I climb into bed beside him, tucking my legs under me.  “Not quite.”

Patrick reaches out and tucks a strand of my red hair behind one ear. Lately, I’ve been feeling somewhat self-conscious about the length of my hair. I used to love having long hair, but now it feels like wearing ripped jeans—I’m getting too old for my hairstyle, and something shorter might be more flattering.

“What’s up?” Patrick asks.

“So I’ve got a great idea.” I really need to sell this one. “Andy was asked to go on this hiking/camping trip with his class. And I thought maybe you could go with him. I think it will be a great way for the two of you to bond.”

“Ugh,” he says.

That wasn’t the response I was hoping for. I need to spin this. “Look,” I say, “it’s been a transition for the kids having you live here. And Andy is at a very delicate age, you know?”

“Mmm,” he says.  “I know what you’re saying, but camping? I don’t know about that.”

“But Andy really wants to go,” I say. “And you know Blake can’t go with him.”

Mentioning Blake sure got his attention.  “Yeah, it’s not the kid’s fault his dad is a loser.”

I bristle at his comment. I feel a sudden irrepressible urge to defend my ex-husband.  Blake isn’t a loser.  Considering everything that got thrown at him in the last several years, he’s bounced back remarkably well. But the last thing I want to do is antagonize Patrick when I’m trying to get him to do what I want him to do.  “I think the two of you would have a lot of fun,” I say instead.

He cocks his head to the side, considering it. “It’s not going to cost me anything, right?”

It irks me when Patrick says stuff like that. When Blake and I were married, and even before we were married, it felt like all our money was communal. Everything went into joint accounts and we never kept track of who was contributing what. It was all one big pile of money. But after you’ve been through dividing your money once, you feel a little bit more protective of what’s yours. I want my own bank accounts.

But when that’s the case, you always have to be thinking about who’s going to pay for what.

“I’ll pay for the trip,” I say.

Finally, he smiles. “OK. I’ll do it. Hell, it’ll probably be fun.  And Andy is a good kid. He deserves a good father figure.”

“Yeah,” I mumble. 

I don’t say what I’m thinking, which is that the kids already have a good father figure. What I want them to see is that Patrick can step up as a stepfather.

 

Blake

“Dad, can you give me French braids?”

Katie gets the idea in her head randomly while we’re watching TV.  I did, amazingly, convince her to watch a marathon of Get Smart episodes that randomly came on Nick at Night. I was so excited when I found out about it. It wasn’t easy to convince her though—my kids do not share my love of classic TV.

She really wanted to watch Frozen. Frozen is her absolute favorite movie, which we have watched, without exaggeration, 10 trillion times. I have not only memorized every word of “Let It Go” but I also know several of the other songs by heart.  Like that one about wanting to build a snowman. When I found myself humming the soundtrack in the shower, I knew I had to put some distance between me and Frozen.

So I’m doubly excited we’re watching Get Smart instead of Frozen. And she seems to like it. I just wish Andy were watching with us too, but he’s getting a head start on his homework in my spare bedroom. It was hard to argue TV over homework.

“Now?” I say.  “But you’re going to sleep in a couple of hours.”

It’s Friday night, and it’s my weekend with the kids. That means we get to spend the whole weekend hanging out. Katie has already made a list of the movies she wants to watch this weekend. (Part of my negotiations to watch Get Smart.) I’m going to have to think of an activity for the weekend that Andy would really like.  One that I can do without it being a big production.

Maybe we’ll take the ferry out to see the Statue of Liberty. That will be fun. And I remember from the last time we did it, there weren’t any major accessibility issues.  I think we just went in through the lower level boarding, and there was an elevator to get to the top deck.

Christ, I hate having to worry about this shit.  Why can’t anything in my life be simple?

“I want braids, Dad,” Katie whines. “Please?”

A couple of months ago, Katie asked me for French braids, and of course, being a heterosexual male, I had no clue how to do it. So I looked up a YouTube video on French braids, and now I’m the world’s expert. Every single weekend, I have to braid Katie‘s hair.

“Do you make your mom do this?” I ask. 

“No!  You do it way better.”

I’m flattered. I think.

I pause the current episode of Get Smart while Katie runs to the bathroom to get the brush and hair ties. While she’s rummaging around in there, Andy comes out of the bedroom. My heart leaps at the side of him. Does he want to join us?

“Hey!” I say.  “Do you want to watch Get Smart with us?”

Andy makes a face. “Not really.”

“Why not? It’s about a secret agent, and it’s really funny.  Would you believe… Get Smart was voted the best TV show of all time?”

That’s a joke from the show. Max Smart is always saying “would you believe…” then  he makes some ridiculous statement.  Like that Get Smart was voted best TV show of all time.

Andy looks skeptical. “It doesn’t sound very good.”

“Well, we can watch something else if you want.” I was excited to get Katie to watch Get Smart, but if it means Andy will stay out here with us, I’m willing to watch anything.  “What do you like?”

I search my brain, trying to think of the shows he likes. I can name all of Katie’s favorite TV shows.  I can probably name 20 of them. But somehow, I can’t think of anything Andy likes.

“I just need help with my math homework,” he says.

“Of course!” I’m thrilled he asked me. Math. That’s one thing I’m great at.  Even better than oral sex, if that’s possible, and it’s equally practical.  “Math is a lot of fun, isn’t it?  There’s nothing better than math.”

He gives me that strange look again. “You’re weird, Dad.”

He plops down next to me on the sofa and shoves his folder onto my lap.  They’re doing addition with decimals, and he hadn’t been lining up the decimals properly. I spend a minute showing him how to do it, and that’s all it takes. Andy has always been really quick with math. Like me.

I open the folder to put the worksheet back inside, but then I see a flyer sticking out of one of the pockets. It’s some sort of trip for the kids. A hiking/camping trip. It looks like it’s meant for parents to go on with the kids.

I get a jab in my chest. It sounds like this is a fun trip any kid would want to go on.  But speaking of things that are not wheelchair accessible, there’s no way I would be able to do something like this. It would take so much planning, and I’d wind up making things a drag for everybody else just to accommodate myself.

Andy sees me looking at the form. “It’s OK, Dad. You don’t have to go.”

I flinch. I don’t want him to think I don’t want to go. I do.  More than anything. “Maybe I can figure out a way to—”

“Patrick is taking me.”

I feel like somebody just sucker punched me. “He is?”

Andy nods uncertainly.  “Yeah.  It was Mom’s idea.”

The first father-son trip Andy has been invited on, and fucking Patrick is taking him. I can’t believe this.  What the hell?

Katie shows up with a brush in one hand and a bunch of multicolored hair bands in the other. (Yes, I now have multicolored hair bands in my bathroom.)  She beams at me.  “I’m ready for my French braids, Daddy!”

“Okay,” I mumble. “Just a second.”

And then before I can think about whether it’s a good idea or not, I pick up the phone and punch in Audrey’s number.

She picks up after only one ring. I shouldn’t be surprised, considering I never ever call her when the kids are over. She probably thinks they must be in the hospital. “Blake? Is everything OK?”

Patrick is taking Andy on his class trip?” I blurt out.

There’s a long pause on the other line. “Yes…”

I realize now it was an overreaction to call her. I wish I hadn’t done it.  Yet for some reason, I push on.

“So you don’t see anything wrong with that at all?” I almost spit out.

“It’s a hiking trip. In the woods.”

“So you assume that’s off the table for me.”  To be fair, I assumed the same thing. But there’s probably a way. Somehow. Maybe.

“No,” she says quietly.  Andy assumed it. He assumed he wasn’t going on the trip. I thought it would be good for him to go with Patrick.”

I glance over at my son, who is looking at me with a furrowed brow.  I clear my throat.  “Fine. Whatever.”

There’s another long pause on the other line. “Also, you know Katie’s class play is on Wednesday afternoon, right?”

“Right,” I mumble.  It’s going to be interesting acrobatics to figure out how to avoid Audrey in that tiny auditorium. “Is Patrick coming with you?”

“No,” she says quietly. “I’m just going to take an Uber over from the office.”

“Great.” There’s no expression in my voice. “I guess I’ll see you there.” But not if I can help it.

As I hang up the phone and click the TV back on, Katie climbs onto the sofa beside me. She stretches a hot pink hair band around her wrist.  “Dad?” she says.

“What?”

She stretches out the hair band then lets it snap her in the wrist.  “Why do you hate Mom so much?”

I look up at her in surprise. “I don’t…”

“Yes, you do!” Katie insists.  “You always yell at her. And whenever Mom has to call you, she always gets really nervous.”

Is that true? I look over at Andy for confirmation. He looks away and shrugs.

Great. I’m a fucking monster.

Katie wrinkles her nose. “Why did you and mom have babies together if you hate each other?”

“They used to be married, stupid,” Andy says.  “They didn’t always hate each other.”

Katie gasps.  “Dad, Andy called me stupid!”

I suck in a breath.  “Andy, tell your sister you’re sorry.”

He drops his eyes. “Sorry, Katie.”

I look between my two kids, who are watching me intently. “Listen,” I say. “I… I don’t hate your mom. At all.  It’s, um… complicated.  But…” I rub the back of my neck. “From now on, I’m going to try to be nicer to her. OK?”

Katie nods, unconcerned.  Andy still has his brow furrowed, but he nods too. He probably doesn’t believe me. He’s just barely old enough to remember how bad it got between me and Audrey before I left.

But I intend to make good on my promise. I do Katie‘s hair in two perfect French braids, and as soon as I’m done, I reach for my phone again. But this time I shoot off a text message to Audrey:

Do you want a ride to Katie’s play?

Those three dots appear on the screen, indicating she’s writing something back. It goes on for quite a long time, and I’m beginning to wonder what the hell she’s going to say. Finally, her response comes: No thanks.

Unsurprising.  I wouldn’t want to ride over with me either after the way I’ve been acting. I quickly type back: I promise I won’t yell at you.

The three dots appear again. They flicker for at least a minute. What the hell is she writing that’s taking so long? Before her response comes, I add: I get the really good parking spots, remember?

Three dots again. Fucking finally her response appears on the screen:

OK.

I’m not sure how it took her two minutes to type in two letters. But I’m glad she agreed. Well, I’m mostly glad. It’s going to be painful as hell to spend time with her, but I can’t keep acting this way around her. We’ve got two kids together, and we need to be civil. We should be friends. For Katie and Andy.

For the sake of my kids, I’m going to suck it up and put the past behind me.

To be continued....