Claire Martin's life is perfect, or at least she tells herself it is. She owns a successful clothing boutique, has a steady, dependable boyfriend, and a beautiful grown daughter who is about to be married. Sure, Claire's husband of twenty years left her for a younger woman four years ago, but that is all in the past. Now, Claire is looking forward to her daughter's Bahama wedding and spending a week in paradise. The only thing Claire dreads is her ex-husband and his wife will also be on the island. Claire is determined to make the best of it, though. What Claire doesn't realize is ignoring her ex-husband for the week is going to be impossible.
James Martin's life is a mess. His wife of less than four years has made him the most miserable man on earth and now they are in the middle of a messy divorce. He's happy that he can forget her for a week as he goes off to the Bahamas to attend his lovely daughter's wedding. Jim is embarrassed to admit to his daughter and his ex-wife, Claire, that he made the biggest mistake of his life when he left her for another woman, so he makes up a story as to why his new wife didn't come along. When he and Claire are unexpectedly forced upon each other, Jim soon realizes what he's lost and he begins to wonder if he can find a way back into Claire's heart.
From his seat at the back of the plane, Jim could watch everyone in the wedding party. He'd purposely boarded the plane early so he could get on without any questions from Mandy. Soon enough, he'd have to explain why Diane wasn't with him. He just wasn't sure yet what he was going to say.
To admit to his daughter that he'd failed at his second marriage after leaving her mother for Diane left a lump in his throat. What an idiot he'd been. The grass hadn't been greener on the other side. In fact, it had been brown, prickly, and downright nasty. When he'd left Claire to start a new life with Diane, he'd thought it would be a life full of love, laughter, and carefree fun. Boy, had he been wrong. The minute he'd said "I do," Diane ran over him like a steam shovel. She wanted a brand new house, brand new furniture to fill it with, and expensive vacations. She wanted to change the way he dressed, the way he cut his hair, the way he ate, and even the way he walked. What the hell was wrong with the way he walked? Diane became a living nightmare. And the fact that they worked in the same office and that he was her superior didn't help matters. She thought she could reign over him at work like she did at home. But the worst part of all, she'd done everything she could to keep him away from his only child. That had hit Jim hard. When Mandy began planning the wedding, Diane flat-out refused to go on the island vacation and attend the wedding. They fought over it endlessly. He literally had to bribe her to agree to go to the engagement party by giving her a ridiculously expensive diamond necklace. It was all too much for Jim. When Diane refused to go to the wedding during their umpteenth argument six months ago, it was the final straw for Jim. He gave her an ultimatum. Go to the wedding with him, or leave. She chose to leave, thank God. As bad as it sounded, he'd actually been relieved.
Jim looked up in time to see Claire staring back at him. He gave her a small smile and a wave, which made her turn around instantly. Jim sighed. He'd really screwed up his life the day he'd left Claire. True, their marriage had been faltering and it had seemed like their work life had become more important than their relationship. Looking back, however, he realized that it had been his fault completely since he'd let himself become distracted with a younger woman at work while Claire had stayed true.
Jim watched the back of Claire's head as she seemed to be rocking in her seat and chanting something. Then he saw Mandy turn around in her seat and say something to her mother. Jim wondered what Claire had been doing. She seemed nervous. He'd secretly watched her as she'd boarded the plane with the rest of the group and was amazed at how young and vibrant she looked. She'd grown out her sandy blond hair a little and she looked like she'd lost a little weight. Not that Claire had ever been overweight; she'd always looked neat and trim. But today, she looked amazing in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Since the day they met in college, Claire had always been a smart, confident woman who knew what direction she was heading. Jim had always envied that about her. But today, she looked nervous, almost vulnerable. He wondered if she was, or if it was just his imagination.
As the plane landed in Marsh Harbour, James decided he'd keep his divorce to himself for as long as he was able. There was no sense dumping that information onto a fun family vacation and Mandy's special day. He'd make up an excuse for Diane's absence. He was pretty sure that no one was going to miss her anyway. He sure as hell knew he wasn't going to.
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About the Author:
Deanna Lynn Sletten is a bestselling and award-winning author. She writes women's fiction and romance novels that dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.
Deanna's women's fiction novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore, made the top 100 bestselling books on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble in 2014. Her romance novel, Memories, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Books of 2012. Her novel, Sara's Promise, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Books of 2013 and a finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.
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