Home to Stay by Callie James
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Matt Brewer returns home from his latest covert assignment determined to fix his personal life and bond with the autistic son he barely knows. But his ex-wife’s wary response to his untimely visit proves this mission might be one he can’t win.
A decade of starts and stops has left Jessie Brewer hanging on by a frazzled, single-parent thread, and when Matt arrives during a critical point in their son’s homeschooling and horse therapy progress, she worries their success will be dismantled by Matt’s traditional, stubborn ways. Could their mutual love for a gifted son lead them to a new beginning?
“Jess…I’m retiring,” he finally said. “It’s time, don’t you think?”
Time? It was beyond time. Hell and gone beyond time. Two years ago, this move might have been a good thing. It might have even saved their marriage. Surely, he knew that. How could he do this to her now? Because now Matt returning home would disrupt everything. Everything. “But Brody is doing so well.”
“Brody is doing so well?” he said. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Um—” She shrugged. The statement had come across thoughtless, if not a little cruel, but what else could she say? Did he really plan to come back now, after she’d finally managed to get their lives in some type of order?
“I’m a little confused,” he said, frowning. “You’ve asked me to quit every year for twelve years because Brody needs me here. Your words. Now suddenly he doesn’t need me?”
Her thoughts zigzagged in a dozen directions. This was what she’d wanted for over a decade. Matt. Home safe. But why come home now? After all of this time. After years of trying and arguing and trying again. After a divorce that had nearly killed her. And after all of that, after she’d finally come to terms with this new reality—a life without Matt Brewer—he was back for good?
She looked up, the vision of him blurring through a welling of unshed tears. Tears? She turned from him and blinked repeatedly, swiping at her watering eyes and hoping he hadn’t seen. “You’re soaked,” she said, her voice clogged with emotion as she motioned toward the master bedroom with a shaky hand. If she could get a moment, a full minute without him in the room, she could pull herself together. “I still have some of your things here. Maybe you should change your shirt before you catch your death.” How ridiculous. Five minutes in the man’s presence and she was already a mess of nerves.
“I want to talk about this,” he said.
“We will.” She sniffed, sounding like she had a head cold.
“You’ll wait then?”
“Yes,” she said, clearing her throat. “I’ll wait.”
“Thanks. I’ll only be a minute.”
She listened to his footsteps as he left the foyer before turning to see him weave his way through the living room with familiarity, until he disappeared down the hall that would lead to the bedroom.
The impact of a permanent return home, however unlikely, sank in quickly. Dread collided with crippling relief, and she stumbled to the small dining room table, sinking onto a hard chair. He’d be safe. Home and safe.
She tried to blink back a decade of tears and worry, but it was useless. She sagged against the chair’s back. Realized her limbs were shaking. She sniffled and shoved her head into her hands. She had a new life now. A safe life. One that didn’t include Matt Brewer. She loved her responsibilities as new owner of the shop. And the new schooling arrangement with her son. And if she were to believe what Cole McLeod declared to her only last weekend, she had a new love in her life as well.
About the Author
Callie spent the first three decades of her life in Portland, Oregon before picking up everything and moving to the South for much needed sunshine and a change of pace.
When she’s not reading or penning contemporary romance and young adult novels, she’s absorbed in all things supernatural, fantasy, sci-fi, anime, and of course, romance. She’s also very devoted to her numerous adopted animals.
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