Authors: Heather M. Orgeron
Tags: #General Fiction
HEATHER M. ORGERON
© 2016 Heather M. Orgeron
All rights reserved.
Edee M. Fallon, Mad Spark Editing
Cover and interior design by
Juliana Cabrera, Jersey Girl & Co.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products, bands, and/ or restaurants referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/ use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite e-book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Like a cancer, it festers, slowly stealing your life bit by painful bit.
What do you do when you have betrayed the love of your life but he is no longer there to grant you forgiveness? How do you carry the weight of your gravest mistake knowing there is no way to atone for it?
I’ve made a terrible choice–one that can’t be undone.
Hiding this secret is eating me alive.
But if it ever came out?
If it were ever discovered?
It would destroy everything
They say you always want what you can’t have.
From the moment I laid eyes on Vivienne Parker, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. I want to believe that I’m better than this–that I wouldn’t cross that line–but deep down, I know if I were ever given a chance, there’s no way in hell I’d refuse.
She’s my uncle’s wife, so why does it feel as if she is mine?
***For ages 18+ due to adult language and sexual content.***
“Tillie, honey...let’s go!” I whine. Yes, whine. That is what spending every waking moment with a toddler has reduced me to. “Daddy will be here any minute!”
“No, no-no, no-no, NO! I’m not wearing this one!” my sweet angel screeches as she stomps her fat little foot on the bathroom tile. “I want the
bow!” She turns her back to me and crosses her arms over her chest in a stance that lets me know she means business.
Dear Lord, here we go again with the freaking pink
! If being the mother of a three-year-old girl has taught me anything, it is that they are serious about their pink, and you can’t rationalize with three-year-old girls.
. About anything. From the moment Matilda Grace could walk and talk, she has been a little tyrant! I am sure Abbott and I don’t help matters by catering to her every whim, but she is just too damn cute with her golden blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, and the deepest set of dimples you’ve ever seen. I know, we are going to regret it later, but we choose to enjoy her now.
“Baby girl, your dress is blue, just like your beautiful blue eyes,” I tell her as I hold the pink bow against the silky blue fabric of her dress. “See, the pink bow won’t match. Don’t you want to look pretty for your date with Daddy?”
Tillie tilts her head to the side as she considers this for a moment before coming up with a solution of her own. “Ummm, I sink pink is fwitty, Mommy, right? You said pink is your favorite, too! Pink is my faaaavorite, Mommy! We can just pick something else to wear that’s pink, and I get to wear the pink bow! That’s a great idea, right?” she suggests, a little too pleased with herself.
Sure, it’s a great idea. It’s not like we went shopping for a “date dress” and matching shoes only yesterday. It isn’t like it took her hours to pick a dress she liked. Now she wants to wear something else so she can match the dress to the bow, rather than matching the bow to the dress. I thought this stuff didn’t start until they were teens. Mommy needs to get creative fast. Abbott really will be here any second to pick her up.
He’s taking her to see Disney on Ice. She has no clue where they will be going, only that she has a birthday date with her daddy. She’s bubbling over with excitement, and I could not be more in love with that man. Seriously, I thought I loved him before Matilda, but there is just something about watching a man dote on his baby girl that multiplies that love tenfold.
will be three tomorrow. Where has the time gone?
“It’s a fantastic idea, sweetie, but I just remembered a surprise Mommy got for you. I think it will be perfect!” The word surprise, of course, captures her attention. She is all eyes as I rifle through the vanity drawer for a little crown that I bought for her to wear to a princess dress up party in a few weeks.
And there it is—that million-dollar smile. As I pull the hairpiece from the drawer, I know I have won this round.
“Oh. My. God! Mommy! Is that for me?” she asks, practically bouncing out of her skin. “I’m going to be like a reeeeeal princess!” Tillie squeals in excitement.
“You sure will, sweet girl. Now hop up here on the stool so I can get it in your hair before you’re late.”
“Can I wear some make-ups?”
“Makeup is for Mommies,” I say as I slide the comb of the crown into the golden bun atop her head.
“Can I pleeeeeease just wear some lipsticks? Please? Please? Pleeeeease?” she begs with a pout. Oh God. Not the pout. I can never refuse that pitiful look, and she knows it. Manipulative little shit.
We settle on lip gloss and light pink blush. Just as I finish strapping her sparkly, silver dress shoes, there is a knock at the door.
“I believe your date is here, baby girl! Go answer the door!” Tillie sprints across the living room to the door and opens it just as I power on the camera. The sheer joy that crosses my beautiful girl’s face at the sight of her prince makes my heart skip a beat. Abbott looks like a dream in his suit and tie, perfectly styled blond locks, and the same striking blue eyes as Tillie. Her smile is radiant, and the look of adoration on Abbott’s face makes my eyes well up.
My girl is living her own little fairytale.
God, I love that man.
Abbott crouches down to her level and pulls a dozen pink roses from behind his back with one hand and swoops her up into his arms with the other. “You look stunning, Bossyrella!” he says as he kisses her chubby little cheeks. “Are you ready for our date?”
“Yes, Prince Abbott. Do you like my fwitty dress? And look,” she says as she points to the top of her head, “Mommy gotted me a real princess
“I love it!” he tells her as he leans over to give me a light kiss. “Great job, Momma,” he whispers against my lips. His scent and the warmth of his breath leaves me momentarily flustered.
“You didn’t do so bad yourself, Charming,” I say, and I give him a lingering look that lets him know just how significantly he will be rewarded for his efforts. “You two better get going or you’ll be late.”
Abbott glances down at his watch. “Mommy’s right. We better head out.” He sets Tillie down and reaches for her hand. “You don’t have too much fun with Cassie while we’re gone...and make sure you’re alone when we get back,” he whispers suggestively into my ear. He brushes his nose along my nape, causing the baby hairs to stand on end as a shiver moves through my body.
I smother my sweet girl in kisses and instruct her to have a great time. As I practically shove both halves of my heart out of the door, a pang of guilt hits me because of how much I am looking forward to some girl time.
About thirty minutes later, Cassie arrives armed with tequila and strawberry margarita fixings.
“Hey, hooker!” she says as she wraps me in her boney arms. “God, I’ve missed you!”
Cassie and I were roommates through all four years at Tulane University. We spent the first year together in the dorms before getting our own apartment. Both transplants from different states, we quickly became more than friends. Cassie and I are family. She is the only person I have beyond my mother, who still lives back home in Alabama, and Abbott. Abbott and I decided to settle down in Louisiana near the university because he’s from Georgia and I’m from Alabama, so we didn’t know how to choose. Also, I couldn’t bring myself to leave Cassie. Cassie grew up in and out of different foster homes in Mississippi and has no one else. She has no family. Although we have been here nine years now, she has yet to find “the one” or even come close. Cassie is the sister I never had and Tillie’s godmother. She spends every holiday with us, whether it is here in Magnolia Pines or back home at Mom’s house. Cassie is always saying how lucky she is to have us, but I know without a doubt that we are the lucky ones.