Whoever said change
is good should have their head examined.
As far as Billy
McDonald is concerned, he’s changed enough for one lifetime. He’s been clean
and sober for two years, he’s learned to manage his anger, and he’s uprooted
his life and relocated to Maine to reunite with his wife, Katie.
He’s even helped Katie
create a resource center for at-risk youth, where he teaches guitar to any kid
He’s paid his dues.
He’s evolved. He’s a better man. It was hard work, but his personal life is the
best it’s ever been, and his music career is finally on track.
Life should be
easier now. Smooth sailing. No surprises, right?
Yeah, well. Not so
Katie wants him to
become a father—again.
As the saying goes,
been there, done that. He sucked as a parent the first time around, and as far
as he’s concerned, you don’t get a do-over.
Too bad she doesn’t
see it that way.
they’ve been through and all they’ve fought to overcome, could this be the one
thing they can’t get past?
Better Man is the fourth and final book in the Of
Love and Madness series.
bowl rattled against the granite countertop as Kate pulverized the cooked
potatoes with a potato masher. Pounding something was satisfying, but it made
her only slightly less irritable.
the potatoes until her arm began to ache, then added some milk, sour cream,
seasoning, and grated cheddar and stirred it all together.
scooping the mixture into baked potato shells when Charlie barked and raced
into the mudroom, tap dancing in front of the door that led to the garage.
Tomas were home. She wiped her hands on her apron and hurried to greet them.
the birthday party?” she asked Tomas, squatting down to unbutton his coat and
remove his hat and gloves.
Billy answered, tugging off his jacket and hanging it on one of the pegs behind
him a dark look and waited for Tomas to reply.
Tomas gave his usual answer.
she plowed on. “Did you have fun?”
jump on the trampolines?”
I watch cartoons?”
She let out
a frustrated sigh. “Yeah, sure. You need help?”
four-year-old would’ve been hopped up on cake and adrenaline after a birthday
party, but Tomas walked quietly through the foyer and down the stairs to the
family room. She frowned.
For as much
as she would’ve preferred to ignore her husband, she was more concerned with
how Tomas had done in a new environment.
did it go?”
fine.” Billy pushed past her into the kitchen. “At first he stayed stuck to my
side. I finally got him to try one of the trampolines, but I had to get on it
with him. Do you have any idea how ridiculous a six-foot, four-inch man with a
ponytail looks bouncing up and down on a trampoline surrounded by two dozen
four- and five-year-olds?” He yanked a handful of his green sweater away from
his chest. “Especially wearing this. Some little shit called me the Jolly Green
Giant. And then I caught a few of the moms filming me with their phones. I
guarantee there’s already video up on social media. I can imagine the captions:
Bad boy rocker goes off his rocker.”
not to laugh, but couldn’t help herself. It almost served him right.
think it’s so funny.”
He pulled a
bottle of sparkling water from the refrigerator and poured himself a glass.
“Did Devin give you any idea who he’s bringing to dinner?”
clue.” Kate slid the tray of twice-baked potatoes into the refrigerator to
chill until it was time to put them in the oven.
think it’s a girl?”
She gaped. “Why would you say that? You know he moved up here partly to be
closer to Danielle. How could you even think such a thing?”
know. He’s been acting strange. Keeps talking about keeping an open mind and
that some things happen for the best. Yesterday he told me that life is filled
with surprises and not all of them are bad.” He swirled his glass before taking
a long drink. “Maybe he joined a cult.”
frowned. “A cult. You’re ridiculous.”
shrugged. “I don’t know what’s got into him then. He’s usually not so cryptic.”
what it was. A cult. Good grief.
for Tomas as she pulled five dinner plates from the cupboard. She wanted him to
feel as though he belonged, and she’d noticed that little chores sometimes made
him feel a little brighter. When he appeared, she handed him the napkins she’d
ironed earlier. “Can you place these around the table at each place setting,
finished with the napkins, she handed him the forks. To Billy, she handed the
a friend from college,” Billy said.
across him and tweaked the centerpiece, an antique dough bowl filled with pine
cones, seashells, and white candles.
oven timer dinged, she slid the roast into the oven and reset the timer.
finish setting the table and keep an eye on Tomas? I want to take a shower and
finish getting ready. Devin and his friend should be here in about forty-five
glanced down at what he was wearing. “Do I need to change?”
smirked. “No need. Green is definitely your color.”
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