Feels Like Home, an all-new emotional standalone from Jennifer Van Wyk is available NOW!
Andy Simpson never expected to be raising his teenage twin sons alone.
Then again, he also never expected to walk into his house and see his wife with another man. In their bed. Or that it wasn’t her first time.
Bitterness threatened to wrap around his heart, darkening every part of his life.
But a brightness he wasn’t even looking for entered their lives and wouldn’t let it take hold.
Christine Jameson knew all about being a single parent. But she was holding a secret. A secret she wasn’t willing to allow anyone to find out. One she’d held tight for years.
But one look at Andy, and she knew that she needed to be honest with him. That he deserved to know he wasn’t alone.
They both needed friendship. Needed someone who understood, who had compassion without judgement.
What they didn’t imagine was for it to become something more.
That they would come to share something they never thought they would experience again.
They didn’t expect for it to… Feel Like Home.
I reach across the cushion and grasp her hand in mine, squeezing once. “I’m sorry you went through that.”
She squeezes my hand once in response. “I’m sorry you’re going through it now.”
“So, want some advice?”
“Eat more lemon pound cake?”
She releases my hand and sits back, giggling, and again I’m hit with how much I love hearing the sound of her laughter. “Well, that, too. I could even say it’s healthy because it’s made with Greek yogurt.”
“You trying to tell me something?” I tease her.
She smiles, a cross between sad and sort of resigned.
“My advice? Be happy.”
“Be happy. I promise you. First of all, it will drive Heather nuts knowing you are moving on without her. But second of all, and this is the most important part of it, you’ll be happy.”
“You make it sound so easy.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice. When Todd was at his sickest, we practiced a lot of happiness. Happiness because we had good days, or we had quiet moments to spend as a family when he could barely get out of bed. Happiness when we were able to celebrate holidays. After he cheated, one of the things we discovered was that we could either give in to the ugly that it brought on, or we could move on. We moved on. And he had to do the same. We both had guilt. Guilt for how we got there. I questioned if I wasn’t giving him what he needed. He questioned everything. I’m not going to lie… it’s hard, and most days you’ll have to dig deep, but you’ll get there. Trust me. The light is always better than the dark.”
I lay my head on the back of the couch and turn to look at her. She’s so gorgeous it almost hurts to look at her. I’ve always thought so, though I would have never done a thing about it. She has always been the mom who turned heads.
“What was he thinking?” I murmur.
“Todd. What was he thinking?”
“When he stepped out.”
She doesn’t respond, just simply smiles before biting her lip and looking away, her long, dark, silky hair falling over her shoulder. She ducks her head and tucks a lock of hair behind her ear.
“I’m sorry,” I tell her, though I don’t know what I’m apologizing for. Almost admitting how gorgeous I think she is? Her husband cheating? Her husband dying? Me laying my shit out for her? All of it, probably.
“I’m sorry Heather’s such an asshole,” she replies with a shrug.
I bark out a laugh. “She is definitely an asshole.”
“She forgot rule number one.”
“Never mind… it was in a book I read.”
“Ahh. Good book?”
“More than good.” She gives me a ghost of a smile and reaches over to grip my hand, squeezing once before letting go. “So, what are you going to do?”
“Honestly? I have no clue. I need to find a place for the boys and me to stay, talk with a lawyer… that part I know for sure. I can’t stay with her. As sad as it sounds, and maybe it’s kind of a little mean, but I think we fell out of love a long time ago. We’ve been hanging on by a thread for years. I’m sure part of it was my fault, but still…”
“It’s no excuse. This has nothing to do with you, Andy. This is all Heather. You’re a great guy. It’s Heather’s loss.”
“I appreciate you saying that.”
“It’s the truth.”
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From the Ground Up was Jennifer’s first published novel and now that she was bitten by the writing bug, has no intention of ever stopping. Jennifer makes her home in small town Iowa with her high school sweetheart, three beautiful, hilarious and amazing kids, one crazy Jack Russell terrier. This is where her love for all things reading, baking, and cooking happen. Jennifer’s family enjoys camping, boating, and spending time outside as much as possible. You’ll be her best friend if you can make her laugh and follow up with asking her what to read next. When she’s not writing, you can find her cheering the loudest at her kids’ sporting events (read as: embarrassing them), sipping coffee or iced tea out of a mason jar with her Kindle in her lap or binging on Netflix.
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