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About the author:
I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher, and finally an author. I started writing because I couldn't get enough of the books I was reading. I published my first novel, Keeping Our Forever, in April 2017. Since then, I've published six more. My favorite series to write have been the Steel Daggers MC. The first book was just a fun project I was working on and I wasn't expecting much, after I finished writing His Sweet Treat, the first in the series, I needed to tell everyone else's story. I have so many characters waiting to have their books written. I can't wait to see where they take me.
What inspired you to write your book?
I started writing this book for me, to work through things that were going on in my life at the time. I ended up falling in love with the characters and made them the first couple in my Panthera Security series.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Maci Kate Gallagher
“Yes Mom, I know I need to be there in an hour,” I drone.
Why is this woman telling me, again, what time the barbecue is starting? Like she hasn’t already told me five times? I mean, I know I’ll probably be late to my own funeral, but come on, I’m an adult. At twenty-six, I think I’ve earned the right to be treated as an adult, and less like a child.
“Don’t you ‘yes Mom’ me, Maci Kate. I want you and Bennett here early.”
“So, what you’re saying is the party isn’t really starting in an hour, and I can be a little late if I have to be?”
I snicker, knowing she’s going to blow a fuse any minute now from dealing with my crazy.
“Maci, your ass better be in this house by the time noon hits, or you’re going to be one sorry girl!” she scolds.
After twenty-six years, Cassandra Lee Gallagher still scares the bejeezus out of me. So, although I love riling her up, I will be there when she tells me to. Today only, since she needs me and all.
“I got ya’, Momma. I’ll be there, with Bennett in tow. Love you, Mom. Gotta get in the shower if you want me there so early.”
As I go to click off the phone, I hear her say, “Of course she hasn’t gotten in the freaking shower yet…”
I laugh to myself. I know I’m a lazy ass on the weekends, but hey, they’re mine, and I will spend them how I want. I get up early Monday through Friday to get Bennett to VPK and me to work on time. By the time I drag my tired ass home from school, where twenty-two third graders have annihilated me with their madness, I’m exhausted. I still have dinner, bath, and bedtime to get through. So yes, I will most likely be in my yoga pants and tank tops, vegging out with my main man on the weekends.
Hearing a loud thud coming from the living room, I check on Bennett, who is currently sporting a chocolate milk ’stache and Spider-Man PJ pants. This four-year-old has mastered the art of entertaining himself. His specialty is the high jump from the couch cushions, followed by a flip, onto the hard wood floors. I roll my eyes at my son.
“Hey, booger, we’re going to Nana's soon. I’m getting a shower. Be good and we’ll get you ready soon, okay?”
He looks over from the TV show he’s trying to emulate, nods his head at me, and goes back to living room karate. I go to my room and open the closet. Damn, I have a shit ton of laundry I need to finish. Hell, what am I going to wear today? It’s late October in Sweet Briar, Tennessee. Fall is here, cooling off the mountains, and I couldn’t be happier. I tap my index finger to my chin as my eyes sweep my deathtrap of a closet, trying to figure out my outfit dilemma.
At 5’1”, I’m on the softer side of curvy. My thighs touch, my arms jiggle, and I have a round face. I’ve also got a big ass, huge tits, and a natural tan. Thank you, genetics. You won’t hear me complaining. I’m confident in the way I look, even if I’m not most men’s wet dream. Men are the last thing I need to be worrying about these days—Bennett is way more than enough for me to handle.
I glance over at my nightstand that is currently holding my iPad. I shake my head at my decision to read my current book. I should have gotten a jump on my piles of laundry instead. I turn back to my closet and grab a pair of dark wash cropped jeans and an orange cardigan, deciding to wear it over one of my many white short-sleeved t-shirts. It will be comfy and cute. Score!
I hop in the shower to get my mess of dark hair washed. Twenty minutes later, I step out of my room. My long hair is up in one of my infamous messy buns, and I'm sporting the outfit I picked out earlier. I’m feeling good, especially with my signature Calvin Klein perfume sprayed all over me. Yeah, I’m a smell person. I love amazing smelling things like candles and wax burners—not to mention perfumes, body sprays, and lotions. I also love men’s cologne. And I do mean love, not like. Guys are even sexier when they smell all spicy and clean
“Benny, it’s time to get ready, little man,” I say as I round the corner to the living room.
I’m confused when the toons aren’t blaring, and I look up to find my ex, David, sitting on the couch with my son grinning in his lap. I see red immediately. My doors have been locked since I went to bed last night. I stop my entrance into the living room, and my spine stiffens. What. In. The. Actual. Fuck? Why is he here in my home? My home that he hasn’t lived in for over two years? I bought him out of his part of the house. He shouldn’t have keys anymore, which was part of the agreement in our divorce.
My eyes take in his 6’2” muscular frame. He’s a good-looking man with tan skin and light brown, short cropped hair. He isn’t mine though, not anymore. He hasn't been mine since finding him in bed with one of my so-called friends over two years ago.
It was a hard decision that took me way too long to make. In the end, his affair made the decision clear and easy for me to follow through with the divorce. I wasn’t in love with my husband as I should have been. We didn’t click. We never had the relationship that I always wanted to.
He didn’t make the divorce easy, dragging it on longer than necessary. He tried using our son to get what he wanted, which was me. David wanted back in our house and me as his wife. After months of me not conceding, he finally signed the papers. We agreed to co-parent our son and share custody—not that he’s been picking Bennett up as much as he did in the beginning. It’s getting less and less as time goes on. I know he’s busy, being a cop and all, but he needs to make more time for his son.
I wonder why he's here. I picked Bennett up last night after spending one night, not the three that were planned, with his dad. What’s up his sleeve? He didn’t mention anything to me about coming over today. My gaze goes to my happy son. His joyful expression from having both his parents in his home again kills me, but I remain strong.
“Benny, go to your room and start getting ready to go to Nana’s house, okay?”
“Ah Mom, not yet. Daddy just got here,” he whines, giving me his irresistible puppy dog eyes.
“Now, mister. We are already running a little late as it is.”
I said this, hoping David would catch on to the fact that I don’t have time for a long conversation.
“Yes ma’am,” he says quietly, and walks with his head down to his room.
“Your outfit is on your bed, Bennett. Make sure to go brush your teeth first!” I holler after his retreating body.
Bennett changes directions and walks to the bathroom. When I hear him turn the faucet on to start brushing, I turn to David.
“Listen, Maci, I know you didn’t expect to find me sitting on the couch when you came into the living room. I knew you were home, and I saw Bennet in here watching TV by himself and—”
I don’t give him a chance to finish. I smile to myself, remembering how much he hates when I interrupt him.
“So, what? You thought to yourself that you would join him? How did you even get in here, David? You shouldn’t even have a key anymore.” I glare at him, pointing my finger in his direction. "This is crossing the line."
He looks down at his hands and stretches his fingers out a few times. “Maci, you know I didn’t want this. I’ve been doing it your way for some time now. I gave you the divorce. I hoped that after a few months, you would be over the fight and start to miss us again. I want my family back. I want my home back.”
I can’t go back to that life. There was something that didn’t connect with us. We didn’t enjoy doing the same things. When he did make time for us, our conversations were stilted, and our sex life was almost non-existent. You’re not supposed to be lonely while married. That’s not the kind of marriage I wanted, anyway.
His pleading eyes almost have me feeling guilty. Then, I remember Alison bouncing on his dick on our bed, and my anger is back. I still can't believe she did that to me.
“The key, David. How do you still have a key to MY home? I want it back, and any other copies you may have.”
I stand my ground, exhausted already at 11:45 in the morning. He sighs heavily, but stands up and reaches into his pocket for his keys. He pulls one of them off and hands it to me. I hold out my hand, waiting for him to drop it into my palm. He places the key in my hand but doesn’t let go. His fingers wrap around mine, and he caresses them for a moment. His touch is equivalent to that feeling you get when you see bugs in your house. You know there isn’t anything on you, but the fear has a creepy sensation running over your skin. He lets go before I can pull my hand away from him.
“I only kept a copy for emergencies, Maci. I saw him sitting in there alone, and you didn’t answer when I knocked. He saw me, though. You know Bennett; he was excited, and I couldn’t just leave him there without talking to him. I waited a few minutes and decided to come in. I wasn’t sure where you were.”
I give him an incredulous look. “I was just—” I start.
“I know, babe. I heard the shower when I came in. Look, I came over to see if you and little man wanted to go and do something together. When you all left last night, I started to do some thinking. I miss you and Bennett. Damn, Maci, I miss us, our family. Maybe we could try again, see if we could do things differently this time around.”
David looks at me so expectantly, his eyes drilling holes into mine, begging me to agree. He’s a decent father to Bennett—from what I’ve seen, at least. He gives him attention while I’m around, but he never keeps him for the entire time he’s supposed to. At first, he claimed it was because he had been called into work, but eventually he would call me and tell me to come pick him up early, not giving any explanation.
It breaks my heart each time I must pick him up early, because I see how much it hurts my son. I know he craves his father’s attention and love, and I see how he tries to please him when they are around each other. I want to say yes, to stop the hurt I see in his gaze, but I can’t agree. I would only be giving hope to a relationship that is already dead, a relationship with too many scars. Damn, I hate doing this, being the villain.
My shoulders sag. “David, I’m going to tell you no. Not because I’m not willing to do things together as a family, but because I know it will mean something different to you than it will to me. I want you to be happy, just not with me.” I try gently.
“You're such a stubborn bitch, Maci!” he explodes.
Yep, and there it is. His asshole is shining through like it always does when he doesn’t get his way. I’m not phased that he’s acting this way, because it’s nothing new, but I am pissed. Even though this behavior is normal, it still doesn’t make it okay for him to talk to me that way.
“Okay, David. Well, I listened to what you wanted to say. I will see you on Wednesday to drop off Bennett. Now, I’m going to call him in here so you can say goodbye, and then I’m asking that you leave.”
He gives me a sharp nod, knowing he screwed up with me.
“Bennett, come say goodbye to your daddy. He needs to get going. He wanted to stop by and say hi on his way to town.”
Bennett comes back into the living room. He's wearing the jeans and t-shirt that I picked out, with a Volunteer’s ball cap on his head. He jumps into David’s arms and squeezes him tight.
“I’m going to miss you, Daddy. Love you.”
David hugs him back tight and kisses his head, and stares at me pointedly while he does. I can feel the range of emotions going through him in that one look.
“Love you too, buddy. See you on Wednesday, okay?”
David sets him down and walks to the door. Opening the door, he looks back at me. “See you later, Maci. Think about what I said.”
I stare at his retreating back, baffled that he is still pushing. Why won’t he listen after everything I said to him? Taking a deep breath, I look at Bennett and smile.
“You ready to watch some football, little dude?”
“Oh yeah, Momma. I love football game days.”
“Me too, buddy. Let’s go. Nana is already going to skin me alive for being late as it is.”