***MATURE CONTENT WARNING****
This book is intended for 17+ due to language, sexual situations, and drug references
Caide thought he had a handle on his life…until he realized he doesn’t.
He’s 23, a professional chef, has his own TV show, a house at the beach, and a beautiful daughter; who can ask for more? That was his question until his ex-girlfriend (and mother to his child) dies from an accidental overdose. Caide is thrust into the courts and they order him to go to Al Anon meetings and parenting classes.
He has a foul mouth and bad attitude about being forced to go to a support group when he doesn’t have a problem. He has a few drinks before he goes to Al Anon and comes face to face with River Murphy, the pretty group leader. She seems all together and doesn’t fall for his gritty attitude like other girls do. One night, he finds her after being roofied in a bar, he takes her home to make sure she’s okay. The next thing they know, River’s life is being turned upside down and she doesn’t know why. Caide steps in and the two find themselves in the middle of trying to repair their broken hearts.
Chapter OneWe loved with a loveThat was more than loveEdgar Allan PoeAugust 7My mind is wandering as the priest walks up and down the aisle swinging back and forth an elaborate incense burner. The scent reminds me of the last time I was in church; it had to have been at least three years ago. I don’t go to church because it isn’t my thing to sit next to liars, the same people who I’ve seen
in the bars, or wasted at the beach. Not much gets past people in our little town, Emerald Isle, North Carolina, population 3800. Most homes along the 14 miles of coastal Emerald Isle, are rental vacation property. The tenants only rent the beach houses for a week, just long enough to party, make false promises and move on to the next.Someone coughing brought my thoughts back to the here and now. Right now, I’m in church with a massive headache and a hard-on.My damn BLANK doesn’t care where it is, church, school, sitting at Sunday brunch with my mother. No, my BLANK pretty much has a mind of its own. I take in a few deep breaths and remind myself why I’m here.My daughter is sitting with her grandparents on the front row. Heather’s dad hates me for things I
didn’t do. Heather’s mom hates me because I walk the earth. She’d sooner see me six feet under than anywhere near my daughter, Lucy Marie. I look over to where they are sitting and Lucy’s standing up and pointing to the person in the pew behind her. Her eyes are bright and her chubby cheeks jiggle when she bounces around. My heart swells with love every time I look at her. They don’t realize I’m here; I snuck in at the last minute.Everyone stands and holds hands as the preacher prays. The woman on my left has wiped her nose with a tissue for the last forty-five minutes. That’s all I can think about, her snot rag. Maybe I am a germ-a-phobe, but is it wrong to not want someone’s nasty germs all over my hand? I have hand sanitizer in my pocket, which I’ll use as soon as we part ways. Until I do, I’ll fixate on the fact, I have her snot all over my hand. I try to focus on the preacher, my brain is telling me to get up and leave before anyone realizes I’m here, but I can’t. I’m not leaving until I hold Lucy. I haven’t seen her since the week of the Fourth of July. Heather brought her over and wanted me to keep her for the night so she could go out and party. She fell off the radar for five days. Her parents came over looking for Lucy and acted as though I stole my own daughter. They berated me because I didn’t call them right away. At least I called them. The minute her mom saw a few empty beer cans on my kitchen counter, she flew off the handle and started screaming at me. Did she bother to remember I’m twenty-three and four beer cans doesn’t make for a drunken stupor.Everyone stands and pew by pew we line up and walk to the front of the church. My heart races, every step feels like I am one step closer to God and to reality. I’ve never taken communion; it always scared me to eat the body of Christ. When you’re a little kid, your thoughts are literal and I didn’t want to be a cannibal.There are two people ahead of me, my palms are sweaty. I hear people whispering, I’m sure they’re pointing at me and calling me names. “Caide is a douche”… “Caide is an alcoholic”… “Caide is a sinner”… They’re probably not dropping the f-bomb in church, since they’re all perfect.Someone nudges me from behind, “You’re next,” she whispers.I turn and I swear my heart stops. The white casket is perfect for Heather. The lining of the casket is pastel pink satin and her blond hair is curled and cascades down over her breasts. My heart suddenly starts and is pounding in my ears. My throat closes up and for the first time since the day Lucy was born, my eyes fill with tears. Heather is dressed in a pink floral dress with a little white sweater. Lucy’s teddy bear is tucked up under her hand as well as a picture of the three of us when things were better.My heart isn’t prepared for the pain, the complete and utter pain. I’ve never been to a funeral before and now I’m sure I never want to go to one again. Her face is peaceful, something it hasn’t been in months. I know they covered her arms to hide her track-marks and the make-up covers the dark circles under her eyes. We were in-love once upon a time. She’s the mother of my daughter and she’s dead. I can’t wrap my brain around it all, how could she do this? How could she check out like that? She was supposed to always be in my life, but I wanted her happy and healthy. I shouldn’t have turned my back on her. If only I had tried harder, she’d still be here.Without thinking, I reach over and brush my hand across her cheek. I almost came apart in front of everyone. Her skin was so cold and hard, like a cement bench in the dead of winter. “Oh baby-girl, what happened? I’m
so sorry….I’m so sorry….I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. Heather baby, you were going to get clean. What happened? How did it happen?” I shake my head back and forth and I know my tears are dripping on her dress. It was her present from me when she lost her pregnancy weight. I bought the dress during my lunch break and gave it to her when I got home that night. She put it on and danced around the house like a little girl in a new dress. I loved her that night and we made love until we both were exhausted. Now she’s dead and I’m alive. I take a letter from my suit pocket and placed it next to her. “I’ll always love you baby-girl. Don’t worry about Lucy, I’ll take care of her and she’ll know how much you loved her. I promise.”Someone clears their throat behind me and I take that as my time is up. As I turn around I make eye contact with Heather’s mom. She motions for me to come over to her. Lucy sees me and her whole face lights up with excitement. Her arms reach for me and I see how reluctant her grandma is to hand her over, but she knows Lucy loves me.“Caide,” She says curtly.“Darla, I’m sorry for your loss.” What else could I say?“I don’t want to discuss our differences today; right now we’re here to honor my daughter. We’ll meet you in the lobby, please take Lucy with you.” Her eyes are cold, her hands clenched together. Darla’s in her early fifties but could pass for forty. If I didn’t know her personally, I’d think she’s good looking. Unlike Heather’s blond hair, Darla’s is short and dark auburn. Darla and her husband, Alan, married right after high-school. They went to college together and while they were still in school, Alan invested in a small company called Wal-Mart. They made their money with blood, sweat and tears. Alan is notorious for telling his rags to riches story to anyone who will listen. Today, both of them look ten years older than they are.And like that, I have my daughter to myself for a few minutes. She reaches for my face, placing both hands on my cheeks and leans forward, giving me the sloppiest kiss I’ve ever had. I wrap my arms around her as tight as possible and tell her how much I’ve missed her. Lucy is an eighteen month old firecracker. She has deep dimples in her cheeks and bright blue eyes to go along with her dark red ringlets all around her head. Heather and I thought she’d be bald forever, we actually asked the doctor if something was wrong with her. He laughed it off and told us she was perfectly normal and right before her birthday, her hair started growing like crazy. Memories like these make me realize that’s exactly what they’ll be forever and never again will we laugh about our little bald pumpkin.Heather and I were together until Lucy was almost six months old. One day, I came home from work early to find her and the next door neighbor, Joan, snorting cocaine. Neither of them realized I was there and after they did their line, they started to make out. I was livid! Thankfully, Lucy was asleep in her crib. We fought about her bringing drugs into our house with our daughter in the next room. She tried to rationalize that making out with another girl isn’t cheating, it’s a freebie.It was me who called Heather’s parents and asked if Heather and Lucy could move in with them. I would have kept Lucy if my schedule wasn’t so unpredictable. They agreed it would be easier for them to keep an eye on Heather if she were living with them. We officially broke up about a month later. She was doing harder drugs and her parents were with Lucy full-time. I thought Heather would straighten up after she got the partying stage over with…she didn’t.A heavy-set woman with big hair comes over to me in the lobby, telling me she is Aunt Josephine and she was asked to take Lucy back to the house. I’ve met her before at a family function or two. It’s time for Lucy to have a nap anyway. She shouldn’t go to the graveside any more than I should. I kissed her goodbye and promised her I’d give her a call tomorrow. My parents are going to the graveside service; they weren’t able to get coverage at the restaurant to make it here in time. I’ll text mom and tell her I’m going home, she’ll understand.
husband’s motorcycle to the beautiful North Carolina beaches, or cuddling her new granddaughters.
And because Devyn is awesome, I’m also going to host a special giveaway to all my followers!