After a nearly 30 year marriage to a man suffering from depression, Samantha Powell has decided a nice quiet, drama-free life is for her. She has demons to combat and self-esteem issues to overcome. She has decided to sell her house and find a nice little condo that places virtually no maintenance demands on her and allows her to work on herself for a while.
Grayson Kinkaide has waited his whole life, all 55 years of it, looking for his soul mate, the other half of himself. He suffered through an awful marriage with a manipulative, selfish woman who almost brought him to his knees. The only things that kept him strong were his children and his growing business.
When Gray meets Sam both of their lives are changed drastically. Sam’s dream of a drama-free life is jerked from her grasp as Gray’s exes do everything in their power to tear them apart. Gray finds himself having to fight, hard, to convince Sam they are meant to be together.
Sam walked out of the kitchen and into the living room and sat on the sofa. Gray followed behind her and sat at the opposite end. He faced her and rubbed his face in his hands.
“I’m so sorry, Sam. I shouldn’t have lied to you. I didn’t know how you would handle the fact that I was going to be there with Suzanne. I know we have talked about being open and honest and I am so, so, sorry. I swear to you I’ll never do it again, ever. And for the record, that picture was not what it looks like. We did not spend a happy day together. I got there at the very end of the Grandparents Day gathering and Suzanne told Lily to come and ask me to have her picture taken with me. We were posing for our picture and Suzanne jumped in the picture at the last minute. I swear to you that’s what happened.”
Sam turned her head and looked out the window.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I can’t be in a relationship like this. I want better—no lies, no manipulation. We’ve talked about this. I can’t do it.”
Gray gasped like she had hit him. “Sam, please no, please forgive me. I swear to you I’ll never lie to you again, I swear it. I didn’t want this scene, that’s why I didn’t say anything.”
Sam jumped up off the sofa. She was pissed. “This scene is happening because YOU LIED, you son of a bitch. I know that both you and Suzanne are Lily and Lincoln’s grandparents. I’m not an idiot. I asked you this morning if you had anything special going on today and you said it was a regular day. YOU LIED! Did you know yesterday that you were going? For that matter, how long have you known you were going to Lily’s school for Grandparents Day?”
Gray looked up at her. He had a tear sliding down his cheek. “I knew Wednesday.”
She was stunned; he had been lying for three days.
“You fucking jerk, you make me fall in love with you and you lie to me. You son of a bitch.”
She started to walk away, but Gray jumped up and grabbed her. She tried squirming away, but he wouldn’t let her go.
“Please calm down and talk to me. Don’t run away, please Sam.”
She fought to get away, but he was holding her tight. She finally quit fighting him and stood there, tears running down her face.
“You can call me all the names you want, I deserve it.”
Gray’s breathing was ragged and he was sucking in deep breaths, trying to calm himself down. He wrapped his arms around her, tightly.
“Sam, you said you love me, is that true? Do you love me, Sam?”
Oh my God, she did say that! Crap, she did say it, and she did love him, but right now was not when she felt like saying it to him again. She was not going to tell him she loved him right now. Gray tightened his hold on her, they stood there for a long time. After a while he started rocking them back and forth, slowly, back and forth, back and forth. She heard him sniff and she could hear his heartbeat, strong and solid. He put his hand on her head and pulled her head to his chest. He put his arm back around her to keep holding her tight. He smelled good too, dammit. They rocked back and forth for a long time, maybe ten minutes, not talking, just rocking; she did feel calmer.
When he sensed that she had calmed down, he pulled his arms away slowly, he reached down and put his fingers under her chin and pulled her face up to his, as she looked into his eyes, she could see he had been crying too.
“I love you, Sam. I think I loved you from the first moment I saw you, but one thing I know for sure is I love you now. Please don’t leave me. Please try and work it out with me, please. I swear I will never lie to you again. I swear it.”
“Tell me why you really did it.”
She stepped back and looked at him. She needed him to look at her and tell her the truth.
Gray shook his head back and forth. “Sam, I really didn’t know how you would handle it. I meant to tell you, I tried a couple of times but I just couldn’t get the words out. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings, I would never try to hurt your feelings. I didn’t know if I should invite you to come with me and I knew that Suzanne would be there, although she spends no time with the kids, I’m sure she was there because she wanted to do just what she did, manipulate the situation to look like something it wasn’t.
“After a little while, it seemed like too much time had passed and I had already lied to you on Wednesday when I told you there was nothing special going on this week and I was scared. I swear it, it’s the truth.”
Sam took a deep breath and turned to sit on the sofa. She put her head in her hands and looked down for a while. She needed a little time to process this information.
I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my Grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.
At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the Humane Society because they had been abused, was interesting. I learned to milk cows, the ins and outs of a breeding schedule, feeding schedule and the never ending haying in the summer and trying to stay warm in the winter. Our first winter in Wisconsin, we had thirty-six inches of snow in one storm and were snowed in our house for three days! Needless to say, I wasn’t loving Wisconsin.
I am now married with four children and two grandchildren and a new one on the way this summer. I have learned to love Wisconsin, though I still hate snow. Wisconsin and the United States are beautiful and my husband and I travel around by motorcycle seeing new sites and meeting new people. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are interested in where we are going and what we have seen along the way. At every gas station, restaurant and hotel, we have people come up to us and ask us about what we are doing and offering advice on which roads in the area are better than others and great rides others have been on if we are interested.
I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother and two of my sons and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud. Proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.