I am so excited to share a preview of the beginning of book 17, titled, “My Strongest Weakness”. Please let me know what you think!
Bill and Julie sat on the porch for a little while and just held each other, nothing needing to be said. She knew he had spoken to Brittany and Jade and he would have to figure this out one way or another. She just wanted to be certain he knew she was with him no matter what.
“We should go inside,” he said to break the silence.
“Okay,” she rubbed his chest and kissed his arm before getting up.
“Thank you,” he smiled as she took his hand and helped him stand.
“Being here and allowing me to let all of this sink in.”
She smiled and they walked into the house.
“You need to relax,” Jack said to Tommy as he paced in the backyard. “Brent isn’t the bad guy here.”
“I knew there was a connection to how Jade was tortured. I should never have blown that off. I am such a fucking idiot,” Tommy said.
“You didn’t blow anything off. We will figure this out and deal with it. We aren’t going to be victims again.”
“We already are,” Tommy said. “We were blindsided by this one, man! Brent said it stems from a fucking concert my wife gave where she wasn’t cordial enough for that prick? Who the fuck cares? This is just one more reason both of our wives will feel responsible and it’s shit.”
“No. None of us are going to feel responsible again,” Stephanie said as she walked out slowly and stood between the men. “I know Josh better than anyone else and I know how he thinks. If he’s been alive this whole time, there is a reason he hasn’t come forward. He was waiting for the right time and we need to be ready. He will not win again. He will not hurt another person I love.”
Jack was so proud of her and Tommy shook his head.
“I’m going to take my family home. We can talk more tomorrow.”
Jack held Stephanie to him and nodded.
“Watch your back,” he said.
Tommy had a cold look in his eyes.
Julie walked into the bedroom after checking on the kids while Bill took Hope out. Everyone agreed to spend some time alone tonight and they would meet in the morning to figure out what was next.
She pulled her clothes off and sighed.
Mike and Jade were about to bring their little girls home and it should be the happiest of moments and now she knew they were once again dealing with Rebecca and all of the pain she caused.
She worried about Stephanie and Jack and what the news of Josh being alive would do to them. She worried about her brother and how precarious Brittany’s health was. This was going to add so much stress to all of them.
But worst was her husband. She wondered how much a person could take before they simply quit? Her eyes filled with tears when she thought of all he had endured and how he continued to believe in the good in the world. The things Bill had been through sat on his shoulders and she worried he was going to be crushed under the weight of it all.
“Hey, you okay?” his deep voice startled her and she turned to him.
“I was talking to you for a minute but you didn’t seem to hear me.”
“Sorry,” she smiled and wiped her eyes. “I was just thinking.”
He walked closer and stopped her when she went to put her nightgown on.
“I like what you’re wearing now,” he said as he pulled her into his arms.
“I’m almost naked,” she grinned as she melted against him.
“And your point is?” he nibbled her neck as he removed her bra.
“I forget,” she moaned and pulled his shirt off so she could feel his chest against hers.
“Is it wrong that I just need you? I just want you,” he said as he tilted her chin up and lowered his mouth onto hers, kissing her with a neediness and an aggressiveness that made her feel incredibly turned on.
“It’s not wrong,” she said as he pulled her to him and they came together passionately.
“Shit,” she said softly a little while later.
He turned and smiled at her as he pulled the covers over them.
“Thank you,” he said as he pulled her into his arms.
“I’m pretty sure that was for both of us,” she said as she ran her fingers over his waist.
“Not just for that, although that was amazing. For being here with me and never letting me forget who I am.”
She kissed his chest and felt her eyes fill with tears.
“You are my everything. You are my home.”
Bill held her and realized that her words were so true.
And that was everything.
Tommy put Naomi in her crib while Brittany changed and then fed Tramp. They both met in the family room and sat there for a few minutes before talking.
“Was Stephanie okay?” he asked.
“No, but she will be. Of all of us, Josh really did a number on her for years. She held Nikki in her arms as she died from what Josh did,” she said and put her head in her hands. “Stephanie was on a ledge from that prick. I can’t let her go back to that.”
He ran his hand over her back and smoothed her hair back.
“Jack won’t let her; none of us will.”
“I know,” she sat back and looked at him.
“What did Brent talk to you guys about? Did he say something to upset you while I was in with Stephanie?”
“I don’t trust him. He kept calling you Barb.”
She smiled and took his hand in hers.
“He’s only known me as Barbara. He doesn’t mean it with any disrespect. He and my dad were friends and I spent a lot of time at his house with Stephanie growing up. He’s a good guy.”
Tommy hesitated before telling her everything Brent had said. He knew she would be upset and he didn’t want to add to her stress.
“He thinks everything that’s happened to us has been planned. He doesn’t think there are any coincidences. He thinks Josh went after Nikki to get to Stephanie to get to you.”
She was stunned.
“What are you talking about?”
Tommy was quiet and she faced him.
“What is going on here? What aren’t you telling me?”
“Red,” Tommy began and they were interrupted by a pounding on the door. Tramp barked and ran to check it out and Tommy went to see who it was.
Brittany followed and held Tramp while Tommy looked and then he opened the door.
“Jason?” Brittany asked as her friend walked in.
“I’m so sorry to come over so late, but I think something is wrong.”
Tommy felt like this night was about to get worse.
“What is it?”
“Evan and Elizabeth are missing.”