Their relationship has been exposed, and now their lives are changed forever.
For Cadence Miller, the fast track to adulthood proves intimidating and frustrating. She’s a little girl lost—abandoned by her parents and uncertain of her future. She doesn’t think she “fits” anywhere. She’s eighteen. She wants to be older. And the result is both comical and heartbreaking.
Mark Connelly will do anything to provide Cadence a stable, loving home—to be her protector. But he’s just as broken and lost, and his heart won’t let go of his past so easily. He knows he must share his secret with Cadence. And he hopes his revelation won't tear them apart. He hopes it will draw them closer, and make their love better.
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Mark sat in his car staring through the windshield. Any minute now, Cadence, dressed in graduation robe and cap, would round the corner with her brother and Fanny. All he wanted was to see her smile.
He knew her parents didn’t show up. They made their intentions clear three nights ago when Cadence called home to speak to her mother. After she hung up, she told Mark she didn’t care that they refused to attend, but he awoke later that night to the sounds of her soft cries. She was curled up lying close to the edge of the bed, far away from him. He reached out to touch her, then stopped. Something told him not to, that it’d be disastrous if he tried to comfort her. So he left her alone. The next morning she was bright and cheery and as fake as he’d ever seen her.
He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Please smile. Please smile. Please smile.”
He thought back to the first time he saw her really smile. She grinned at him on the side of Highway 28, but it wasn’t until she sat on a metal bench in the bus parking lot on the first day of school that he saw a real smile. She giggled about the names she’d been calling him, revealing pretty teeth with one imperfection. She had a calcium deposit on her eye tooth. Yeah, he’d noticed. And he recalled feeling like a total creep for liking it so much.
About the Author
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.
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