Read Online Books/Novels:
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
From the bestselling author of Weightless and A Love Letter to Whiskey
Wren Ballard is trying to find herself.
She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.
Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.
Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost.
He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.
Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.
|Books by Author:|
Enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another
The first thing I learned as a freshly divorced twenty-seven year old was that no one owed me anything.
My husband didn’t owe me an apology for any of the horrendous things he’d screamed at me as I packed my bags. The first guy I slept with after being with the same man for ten years didn’t owe me a text message the morning after. My friends didn’t owe me all of their time and undivided attention, even though I desperately wanted it.
No one owed me a single damn thing.
And now, for the first time in my life, I was going to live completely on my own.
I’d gone straight from Mom & Dad’s to college dorms to roommates to a house with my now ex-husband, Keith. For the past four months, I’d been staying with my best friend and business partner, Adrian, but his home didn’t feel like one I could call my own. He had his own family, a partner he was madly in love with, and a brand-new baby girl they’d adopted only six months before I moved in.
I had no idea what I was doing, where I should go, who I should be, and maybe that’s what made me load up my SUV once more and drive an hour outside of Seattle to rent out a cabin for the summer. I didn’t even look at pictures, just called the number listed and told them I was on my way to see the place.
It wasn’t easy for me to leave. In fact, I’d nearly changed my mind after Adrian and I called a meeting with our small but close team at the boutique to let them know I was going to take a small hiatus. We’d started it together right after college, and I’d never missed a day of work. I worked more than what some might consider normal, and I guess that was part of the problem that had landed me where I was.
Still, Adrian had ushered me out the door, ensuring he and the team would be able to handle everything while I was gone. I needed time away—he saw it, I felt it.
“Bring us back a summer line,” he’d said, bright smile on his perfectly contoured face. My designs were the backbone of Ballard Boutique—it was my name and brand, after all. But I wasn’t the only one who had something to lose. Adrian and my team did, too. I wasn’t just doing this for me, but for them, and so I loaded up my SUV with what I thought would be necessary and started driving with the intention of finding inspiration and bringing back a summer line like no other.
It was a promise I wasn’t sure I could keep, especially since I hadn’t been able to sketch anything of worth since I’d left Keith in October. The holidays were hard, and the final divorce hearing in January was even harder. I had hoped that once I emerged on the other side of it, I’d be fine—healed, cured of my lack of inspiration. But I still felt broken, and so here I was, driving to a cabin in Gold Bar.
Now that I was halfway there, windows down and tears drying on my cheeks faster than they could fall, I wondered if I really was crazy.
That’s what everyone had been calling me lately—crazy.
My ex-husband said I was crazy for leaving him. His family said I was crazy from the start. Our “friends” said I was crazy to walk away from such a “perfect marriage.” Everyone was saying it, and even though I should have been arguing with them, I couldn’t. Because the truth was I felt as crazy as they accused me of being.
I had to be crazy, didn’t I? After all, I walked away from a ten-year relationship, a seven-year marriage, and not for reasons anyone around me seemed to understand—except for maybe Adrian. Keith hadn’t been physically abusive, he hadn’t cheated on me, and to everyone around us, we seemed perfect. We posted pictures on social media of us opening his first practice, visiting New York for Fashion Week, sharing sweets at Pike Place, and even just lounging around on Sundays. We were perfect.
At least, we made it seem that way.
No one knew the struggles we had behind closed doors. They didn’t know how my loving husband had begun to resent me and the success of the boutique, especially since he’d always seen sketching and sewing as hobbies. He was always so focused on his own dreams that he didn’t think to take mine seriously. And I was okay with that, for a long time, until the “report cards” as I liked to call them, started rolling in.
Every three to four months like clockwork, Keith would get angry about something and we’d fight until dawn. When I say “fight,” I mean he would tell me every way I was failing him as a wife and I would cry and vow to do better, all the while defending everything he called out in the first place. It took me a long time to realize that he wasn’t angry at me, but rather at himself—for reasons he would never explain to me.