Thank you all so much for the responses both on here and via email. I love seeing how you follow the series and it always amazes me when you are able to remember the details the way you do. It’s daunting, I know, with such a long series and so many twists and turns, but to know you are still following my characters and still care about them means everything to me.
Congratulations to Taylor Conklin for winning the contest! Please email me with your address and which signed paperback you would like.
I have some more fun coming up in the next week and an interview with David to post. He is hard to get any answers out of, but it’s a good thing I teach teenagers, so I got him to talk. 🙂
While we wait, here is another preview from The Hardest Goodbye
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Mike sat on the couch in the family room while Jade took a quick shower. He was waiting for Bill to call him and he tried to process what happened.
The twins were staying over at a friend’s house and he was glad. He didn’t want them to be around him right now.
He didn’t want Jade around him.
He was so full of anger and he didn’t know how to let that go. He didn’t know how to handle the rage.
“I think you need to eat something,” Jade said as she walked into the room, her wet hair pulled up in a twist.
“Okay. I’m going to lie down for a bit. Let me know if you need anything.”
He watched her walk back to the bedroom and he got up, using his crutch to walk to her.
“Are you okay?” he stood at the door and saw her sitting on the side of the bed.
He smiled at her response and limped to the chair they had in the room.
“I’m angry and I don’t know how to deal with that. I don’t want it to come out against you. I don’t think you should have to be a part of this.”
“I’m angry, too. I watched the man who has saved my life more times than I want to admit almost bleed to death and then I spent the next three hours trying to help repair the damage the bullet did. That was after seeing Tessa tossed around like a rag doll and watching my husband shoot someone. I’m pretty messed up myself right now, Mike, so you might want to take a step back.”
He stared at her and she shrugged.
“I’m just saying. I’ve had a really hard time with this, too. I’d love to be able to talk about it, but if you need to hold it all in and act like your pain is worse, then I’d like you to leave me to be alone.”
“Okay, let’s talk about it. Where should we start? With the fact that you saw me shoot someone? That you watched Jack get shot? That we had to see a 12 year old girl manhandled and broken like she was nothing? That Bill had to arrest me? That the man who ruined every part of my life has now ruined the lives of our dear friends?” Mike spoke with a mixture of sarcasm and sadness that was biting.
Jade faced him, her eyes full of fire.
“No, the fact that people we love were hurt and it was because of the actions of a crazy individual. I have been a trauma nurse for a long time. I have treated hundreds of gunshot wounds and I know you have seen hundred of horrific things while at war. This was neither one of those things. This was our family. This doesn’t need to go into a box of things only you can deal with because I was there. I saw it. I lived it and if I had your gun, I would have shot Nick myself. I don’t care that he’s dead. I don’t care that you shot him. I care that you see this for what it was and that you don’t shut me out. Screw Nick. I have wasted my last thought on him and if you continue to let him into our lives, then you need to figure out some way to stop. I need my husband. I need to know that you can look at me as an equal because I need you.”
Mike limped to the dresser and leaned against it.
“Just because you say this, doesn’t mean it works that way. My hatred and anger at Nick doesn’t come from him having a hold over my life. I am in love with you and I just fought for months to get back to a place where I could be a husband to you and a father to our girls. None of that negates the fact that Nick is connected to a part of my life that has seeped into every aspect of who I am right now. I remember. I remember being close to death when he came in and picked me up like I was a piece of trash and threw me in that pit of filth. I lay there for weeks and weeks while I was eaten alive and he made sure nobody knew where I was. When I saw him there with Tessa, it all came back; the smell, the filth and the sense of complete and utter abandonment. I can’t just let that go and I’m terrified it’s going to affect how our daughters look at me.”
Jade walked to him and held his face in her hands.
“And that’s how we talk about this. You let me in. You tell me your fears and we handle them together. You are not alone anymore. You are not in that pit and I am not a weak shell of the woman who was sick with worry about you. We are a team, a unit, and we will work through this together.”
He had gravely underestimated the strength of his beautiful wife.
“Do you think we can?”
She smiled and took his hand in hers.
“When we stand together, there is nothing stronger.”