ABOUT THE BOOK
The explosive continuation of the Evergreen Series from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.
The seed of doubt had been planted.
I doubt Laurel and I will ever come back from this. Even if she insists nothing happened between her and that bastard, I know a roughneck like that wouldn’t utter those three words unless he truly meant them. I don’t know what those words mean to Laurel, but to me they spell divorce. Until someone convinces me to see through the haze of doubt. I’ll fight for Laurel, but this time I won’t fight dirty. This time, I’ll win.
I’m beginning to wonder if my life was actually easier before I came back from Afghanistan. At least I knew who the enemy was back then. If I’d stayed there, I wouldn’t have fallen for Laurel, her beauty, her vulnerability, her sexy laugh. Maybe I should move away again, to the middle of nowhere, so I can’t hurt anyone else. Is loving Laurel really worth the risk?
Hell f**king yes.
Two to six weeks. That’s how long it takes, on average, to get a divorce in Oregon.
With Jack convinced that I betrayed him, I expect to be served divorce papers within hours of moving out. But weeks pass without word from Jack, and the papers never arrive. Though my heart isn’t ready to give up on him, I can’t shake the feeling that we may be better off apart.
Just as I begin to move on, a new and improved Jack arrives on my doorstep. Divorce papers are the furthest thing from his mind as he delivers news that both shatters me and restores my faith in the love we shared. But is it too late for us?
SEED – CHAPTER 3
“With all due respect, Dad, you’re hardly the first person I’d take marriage advice from.”
He nodded his head. “You’re right. I was a terrible husband for the first twenty or so years of my marriage. I gave your mother plenty of reasons to give up on me. The point is that she didn’t. She knew why I did the things I did and, though she didn’t excuse my behavior, she tried her best to understand it rather than punishing me and you and your brother and sister. Your mother didn’t stay with me because she was weak. She stayed with me because she was strong — stronger than any of us gave her credit for.”
I rolled my eyes as I fought the urge to get another beer. “You’re trying to tell me that I’m weak for giving up on my marriage? You know nothing, Dad. You don’t know what Laurel did.”
He narrowed his eyes. “I never figured you for a quitter.” He held up his hand to stop me from responding. “Don’t roll your eyes at me, kid. I’ve known you your whole life and I’ve never once seen you quit something just because it got tough.”
On the outside I was seething, but inside I was smiling a little. My dad had lived in Portland for forty years, but when he was really angry, you could just barely hear a hint of his old New England accent. My siblings, Jessica and John, and I would sometimes try to get in trouble just to hear it come out of him.
I pushed off the counter and headed for the French doors leading out onto the back patio with my dad right on my heels. “You don’t understand. You couldn’t possibly understand because you’re the one who always messed up with Mom. I… I know I haven’t been the most attentive husband since Junior died, but I’ve had good reason for my distractions,” I said, taking a seat on the black and cream outdoor sofa and putting my feet up on the coffee table, which Laurel had recently cleaned. “While I was trying to find out who murdered my son, she was trying to deny he was even dead. But I still did what she wanted. I went to that fucking therapist. I did everything except get on my knees and grovel, and she still went behind my back and did God knows what with her fucking neighbor.”
“What neighbor? What are you talking about?”
“See? You don’t know everything.”
“Enough gloating and tell me what’s going on with this neighbor.”
I removed my feet from the table and leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees. “There was a confrontation at Laurel’s mom’s house yesterday. One of my guys — Laurel’s bodyguard had a confrontation with the next door neighbor and it got…ugly. The guy ended up with a bullet in the leg and I still had trouble restraining him until the ambulance got there. Fucker was out of his mind.”
“What do you mean? Like, out of his mind on drugs or something? I told you guys not to move to Portland. It’s overrun with homeless and junkies now.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think he was on drugs. Actually, I don’t know. All I know is Laurel went absolutely fucking berserk when she saw me holding him in a headlock. I mean, the fucker was shot in the leg, he’d already wrestled the gun from my bodyguard and shot him in the arm, and he was still trying to fight us off. What the fuck was I supposed to do? Let him go Rambo on all of us?”
My father was quiet for a moment before he responded. “So, you were just holding onto him until the ambulance got there? You didn’t…kill him, right?”
I looked back at him over my shoulder. “Are you serious, Dad? No, I didn’t kill him. I was just holding him still. When the paramedics got there, they shot him up with some kind of sedative and he calmed down pretty quick, but it didn’t help with Laurel. She tried to climb into the back of the fucking ambulance. And when they wouldn’t let her, they had to sedate her, too.”
This time, my father’s silence felt heavier, like a bad omen.
“Jack, you realize what was happening, right?”
I looked back again and narrowed my eyes at him. “Yeah, something’s been going on between her and her neighbor and I just found out in the worst fucking way.”
He shook his head. “No, son. Laurel was reliving the night Junior died. There is nothing else to it. And I can’t believe you don’t understand that.” He leaned forward so he could look me straight in the eye. “If you think what you saw that night didn’t profoundly change the two of you, you’re an idiot. If you think you’ve seen the worst of what that night did to your marriage, you’re wrong. The pain will never go away, and you’ll never have all the answers. But if you let Laurel go, you’re letting that murderer win. Because even if you find the bastard and serve him justice, you’ll still be left empty-handed. And what kind of life is that? It sure as hell isn’t the kind you fight for. So you know what you have to do, right?”
I rolled my eyes as I tried to think of a reason why my father might be wrong, but I couldn’t. He was infuriatingly right. After a long pause, I nodded in agreement.
“Nope, you’re not getting off that easy, kid. I want you to look me in the eye and say the words so I know you mean it.”
I let out a heavy sigh as I turned to face him. I’d inherited my blue eyes from my mother. Looking at my father reminded me of how much I loved Laurel’s brown eyes. Every quality she had became my favorite quality in a person.
Her silky blonde hair, round brown eyes, the way her top lip was fuller than her bottom lip. The way she snored softly when she’d had too much to drink. The way she coiled those long, gorgeous limbs around me when I was buried deep inside her. I could never find someone to replace her, because there was only one Laurel in this world. And she was everything I’d ever wanted and everything I would ever want.
I sat up straight as I looked my father in the eye. “I have to fight for my wife.”
***end of excerpt***
Disclaimer: This excerpt may be edited or deleted prior to publication. Permission is NOT granted to re-post this content anywhere, so please don’t. You may link to this page if you would like to share it with others. Thank you.
The winners are Brittney Griswold, Taryn Schmidt, Diamond Rose Cook! Congrats!
Today, I will be giving away THREE digital ARC’s of SEED on my Facebook fan page. ARCs will be delivered directly to your Kindle app/device or in the form of an iBooks claim code approximately one week before SEED is published. To enter the giveaway:
1. FOLLOW the instructions in the post pinned to the top of my Facebook fan page.
I will announce the winners’ names on Tuesday, January 30th, on this post and on the Facebook post so make sure you click the FOLLOW button on my page.
If you want to be notified of new teasers and giveaways, make sure you subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the little box at the bottom of the page and click the ‘Sign Up’ button.