Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: Author Renee Kennedy's Holiday Giveaway

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Author Renee Kennedy's Holiday Giveaway

Bailey Reynolds never thought she would ever in her life have to choose between someone that will give her everything she wants in life and someone that makes her feel like she is everything in his life. How does this southern spitfire choose between what her heart wants versus what her head tells her she wants?

Can make her dreams come true
Reaches in the sky and buys any star she desires
Wants to set up a perfect life for her with everything she needs or could want
But every so often can't dry her tears

He's not perfect but he was until~ CASH

Sets her world on fire.
He is everything her heart wants but, not necessarily what her head wants.
He creates his own stars and catches all her tears.
But is love enough?

Sometimes life is full of hard choices but that is when the biggest blessing take root.

Just when I thought I had everything figured out, Murphy’s Law reared its ugly head and smacked me right back in my place. I never expected to voluntarily give up a scholarship and a life I’ve always dreamed about. But dreams and plans are made to withstand being…altered. They aren’t broken, nope. They’ve merely been put on hold. My ultimate goals are still achievable. I know I can accomplish them, in the future because I have my hope, no one can take it away from me. This is simply a detour, not an end.
Life was hard growing up but now that I’m away at college my future has never been brighter. I never thought I would have the opportunity to go the University of Alabama. Woohoo, Roll Tide! Go Bama! I’m still amazed I made it.
I had a dream. I wrote my dream down. I made action plans on how to achieve that dream. Everything had been right on time and going so well. Then I get a call that unexpectedly changes my life, or at least, puts everything on hold.
The last time I went home, my family was great. We all got together out at my grandparents’ little house, and I had a great time hanging out with everyone. I miss them, but I want something different for my life. I want to live without worrying how I’m going to pay the bills. I want to have things that I will never have if I stay in my little hometown.
Mom called earlier to tell me about Granny and Papa. Those two people right there are my life. They’ve been there for me when no one else was. Now they need help, and I’ve decided I will be the one to help them. A decision didn’t need to be made. They need someone. I’m closest to them, and I want to be the one who takes care of them. Now, I have to tell Hendrix. He will be over in a few hours and I’ve planned an intimate sexy night for us. I do this in hopes that the news is well received.
Last night, before the bottom fell out of my well-ordered life, I had so much fun at Omega House’s spring formal. Hendrix was the sweetest guy ever. He arranged for me to be pampered all day with spa sessions to get ready. He paid for Lizzie to go with me, even though they’re always at each other’s throats. He really went out of his way to make the day special for me. I really thought he might ask me to marry him. He hadn’t, but in hindsight the time wasn’t really right. I still have another year of school.
We’ve been talking about our future so much that I know he has been thinking about marriage too. I can only imagine being on his arm for all the charity events he has to attend. We’ve been dating for nine months, and he has been my knight in shining armor. He took me from eating cheap microwave noodles and barely paying my rent to dining in the finest restaurants. Me. Bailey. In five star restaurants. Unbelievable, I know. This little country girl would have never thought a guy as classy as Hendrix would be interested in her. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
I wished Lizzie could see what I see in him. She thinks he is changing me, but she doesn’t realize how much I want to change. That’s fine. They’ll eventually grow on each other.
Hendrix arrives on time, and he looks as handsome as ever. He’s always so polished even when he is dressed in jeans and a polo shirt. Peeking through the blinds, I see he has a small gift bag in his hand. My sweet guy is always surprising me with thoughtful gifts. I open the door to the apartment I share with Lizzie.
“Well, hello beautiful. You’re looking mighty fine tonight,” Hendrix says.
“Hello yourself, lover boy! Have I got plans for us tonight,” I tell him, sinking into his arms. His strong arms wrap around me, holding me tightly, providing the security I need right now.
“I like the sound of that. Maybe I have plans of my own for us too.” He kisses me softly. “What is all this about, Babe? Don’t get me wrong, I love when you plan nights like these. They’re just very rare. How did you get rid of your pest?”
“Hendrix, be nice.” I take his hand and lead him into the kitchen. I have lit candles everywhere,casting a romantic ambience around us and dinner for two on the table.
“Awe, Babe, you outdid yourself.” Hendrix leans over placing a kiss against my sensitive lips. Then he reaches over and retrieves the bag he brought. “I have a little something for you, Sweetheart.” He pulls out a box and opens it showing me a beautiful diamond studded watch.
“Hendrix! What is this for? I love it!” I jump out of my seat, going to him, throwing my arms around him.
“This is to remind you how much I enjoy our time together.” He picks up my arm and places the watch on my wrist. He lifts my hand to his mouth and kisses it.
I stare at the watch for a few seconds. What did I do to deserve this great guy? “I don’t know how to thank you. This is so thoughtful, you’re the best.”
He flashes me his gorgeous smile. I need to let him know of my new plans for school. I dread doing this, he graduates next month. I really think he’s going to be upset. He likes to have me all to himself. “I got some news from home today that wasn’t so good.” My gaze focuses on my lap as I collect my thoughts.
“What is it, Bailey? Is everything alright?” He pulls me to my feet and wraps me in his arms.
“No, everything isn’t okay. Remember me telling you about my grandfather having dementia? Well, he is getting to be too much for my granny to handle on her own. She gets out of breath just doing their laundry.” Tears fill my eyes.
“That’s horrible, Bailey. What can I do to help? Do you want me to take you to go visit?” He kisses my temple.
“That’s what I want to talk to you about. I want to go take care of them, Hendrix, because they mean the world to me. They’ve done more for me than my own parents.”
“What are you saying, Bay? Are you doing this for summer break?” He pulls back a little, with his eyebrows pinched together.
“I’m going to stay until I’m no longer needed, I’ll put college on hold for a while.” My smile is weak. I know he doesn’t understand. No one understands our family dynamics. My family is extremely close knit, but the bond’s really more than that. My Granny always tells us your family is all you have. That your family will be there for you when no one else will be.
“Why do you have to be the one who takes care of them, Bailey? You have plenty of family that can help out with them.”
“Because I’m the one who they count on. I’m their favorite. I’m the one who they kept from the time I was born until I left for college. It’s my place to take care of them. Besides, everyone else is either too young or works.”
“What about a nursing home? There are plenty of great—”
“NO! They will not be placed in a home. I’ve heard horror stories about the treatment of the elderly in those places. As long as I’m able, I will do everything in my power to keep them in their own home. They gave me and the rest of the family so much when I was growing up. They sacrificed and went without to provide for me.”
“That’s what they are supposed to do, Bailey, that’s kind of the law,” he says, laughing a little.
I lift my chin up so I can look into his eyes again. “That’s what your parents are required to do, not your grandparents. They didn’t have to practically raise me, to provide for me like they did, Hendrix.”
He drops my arms and turns away, “What about our plans, Bailey? Do we just forget about them? I wanted to take you to the beach after graduation.” He turns back to face me and rubs my arm. “I wanted to sit on the beach with you and watch the waves roll in, stay up making love to you all night until the sun rises. It was going to be just the two of us.”
“I know and I’m sorry, but we can still do things like that every once in a while. Taking care of my grandparents won’t be forever, Babe.”
“So when are you leaving? When will this all take place? How much time do we still have together?”
“Hendrix, we’ll still be together. I’ll actually be closer to you there than I’d be here at school. I’m going to finish out this semester so I’ll be here through your graduation then I’ll move in with them.”
“I say we make the most out of the time you have left here at school. What do you say?”
“I say that sounds like a wonderful idea. Why don’t we start that right now?” I pull him toward my bedroom.
“I like the way you think.” He pulls up his shirt before we even get to the door.

Isn’t life really about creating yourself? Sometimes you have to do what is best for yourself and not worry about everyone else. I’m Bailey Reynolds and I’m shallow. At least that is how I’ve been feeling lately. Really, the only person who is being deceived is myself. I’m the only one who can be hurt by pretending to be something I’m not. If I’m the only one who gets hurt, it’s not so bad, right?
How am I shallow, you might ask? I have let someone change me into his idea of perfect. I love most of the changes. I’ve dropped old habits for newer higher standards. Seriously, how many girls would balk at the spoiling Hendrix has lavished upon me? He facilitates those services that keep me impeccably polished, from spa treatments, to keeping my hair, nails and toes perfect. You name it and he pampers me with it. It’s the life I want, or at least I think it is.
The truth is I want out of this small, one-horse town.
I’m not cynical or a pessimist. I’m not desperate for a relationship. I simply want a better life. That’s it. Doesn’t everyone want a better life? I have dreams of being able to make ends meet without struggling.
But I’m feeling very confused about this choice I’ve made. I think I really do love Hendrix and he loves me, but sometimes I feel like I need to move on from him.
Hendrix has changed since I left college to take care of my grandparents. He isn’t as sweet and things are strained between us. I have two forces pulling me in opposite directions. One is my head and the other is my heart. My heart tells me, dating Hendrix is okay because I love him. My head has a hard time grasping the way he has been treating me. Haven’t you ever been confused about love? I need help figuring all of this out before I make a mistake I can’t easily change.

Journal Entry: Here I sit, waiting on Hendrix to let me know when he’s coming to pick me up. I’m keeping one eye on the window, in case he just shows up, and the other on my phone.
I’ve been ready for a couple of hours because he can’t stand for me to delay him. Lately, we’ve been just hooking up at his apartment. He seems to only be up for a little fun. I’m up for anything, as long as we are together. I’m a better person with Hendrix, I’m Bailey 2.0! He makes me want more from my life. Lizzie says this makes me shallow. So what! She can stay in Mt. Hope, Alabama forever, but not me. Audios muchachos!
Hendrix’s not keen on coming here to my grandparents’ house because the drive is a twenty-minute “never ending journey.” He wanted me to move in with him when he graduated a couple of weeks ago, but I have to be here to take care of Granny and Papa. I will always put their needs before my own. I am who I am because of them.
Because my mom got pregnant with me when she was about to graduate from high school, she didn’t go to college. Instead, she got married and went to work. She has always worked long, hard hours, still does. That’s why she can’t take care of Granny and Papa. She also has my little brother to take care of and my dad travels a lot with his job. The rest of my family is in similar situations. Besides Papa has dementia and doesn’t do well with change, so the ideal arrangement is for them to stay in their own home.
My grandparents did everything for me that parents would do for their children. Papa not only taught me to drive but also cosigned on a loan so I could get my beloved Jeep. He paid the down payment and insurance until I started making enough money to pay for it myself. If not for Papa, I would have had to rely on Lizzie to teach me, and she’s a crazy driver. She likes to give me flack over my “flawless” parking skills, but when I’m tired of hearing her complain about them, I remind her that Papa taught me to drive. This effectively shuts her up because Granny and Papa have helped her as much as they’ve helped me. They are this way with our entire family. They might not have two nickels to rub together, but if someone needed those nickels, they would gladly hand them over. I’m thankful to be raised by them and staying here taking care of them is minuscule compared to the multitude of things they’ve sacrificed for me.
While I’ve told Hendrix all these things, he still can’t grasp why I feel like I’m the one who should take care of them. I want to do this. I’m not being forced to do it. His lack of gratitude for all that they have done for me irritates me. I guess, when you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you have a hard time understanding the working class.
We’ve never been what you call dirt poor, but that is about all you can say about our financial state. Dad didn’t go to college until much later so he and mom both had entry-level jobs, most of my life. Dad finally got his degree in business management five years ago. Most of the time Papa worked two jobs at once while Granny took care of me. Papa did this so we could have a few extras, like everyone else. They both wanted to help their kids when they needed it.
They consider all of us their kids. This comprises the honorary kids too. The honorary kids are the ones we bring home, our friends who seem to stay at our house more than they do at their own. Granny never minded us bringing one more mouth to feed, and Papa was always at work. If one of those kids had a problem, Granny or Papa would take it upon themselves to help them out as best they could. That’s why everybody loves them and calls them Granny and Papa. Everybody but Hendrix. He says it is undignified.
The low rumbling of an engine, followed by a honk, alerts me of Hendrix’s arrival. I slip my journal into my purse as I glance at my phone. No, I didn’t miss a text.
My best friend / sister from another mister, Lizzie, is here visiting with us. Our moms grew up together. Her mom Kate is almost two years older than mine, but they are best friends. Kate lived with mom and my grandparents while growing up—an honorary kid. Since Papa and Granny raised Aunt Kate, Lizzie is more like blood. Papa and Granny tried to adopt Kate, but her dad refused to sign over custody. I don’t know the whole story, but I do know Kate feels like Papa and Granny are her parents. Lizzie has always called them Papa and Granny, since Kate doesn’t communicate with her own father.
“Has ‘A Joke’ resorted to just blowing his horn for you now? Is he too good to come to the door?”
Lizzie doesn’t bother hiding her dislike for Hendrix. Unfortunately, Hendrix has the same aversion to Lizzie. I roll my eyes at her. I wish she could keep her opinion to herself, at least in front of Granny. Where three months ago they were at least civil to each other, now they’ve resorted to a verbal death match. “Shut it, Lizzie!” I say through gritted teeth.
Granny looks at her confused, “A Joke?”
“Don’t pay her any mind Granny, she has evidently lost hers.” I give Lizzie the death glare, which she ignores on a regular basis.
“He isn’t a real man, Granny. He’s ‘A Joke’ of a man. Get it?”
Granny can’t contain her amusement. Even if she hid her smile, her eyes would still give her away with their sparkle. They are having an awfully good time at my expense.
“Bailey, it’s not respectful for ‘A Joke’, I mean a boy, to just toot his horn and you go scampering off, baby.”
See what Lizzie started? Granny meant to use that name.
“I’ve hardly met Henry, and I don’t like you dating boys who won’t come to the door and pick you up. He needs to be bringing you flowers.”
Granny really is the sweetest little lady you’ll ever meet, but when she thinks someone’s doing one of her kids wrong she becomes a miniature spitfire. I don’t want her to get upset so I tell a little white lie. “Oh, we’re in a hurry. I told him to just honk his horn and I would run out.” Giving her a kiss on her cheek, I remind her, “I have my cell with me, if anything happens you can call me and I will come right back, okay?” Papa is already asleep in the recliner, which is his favorite pastime.
“I’m leaving too, Granny.” Lizzie gives Granny a kiss then adds, “I’m only a call away too, love you.”
“I love both of you girls, but you don’t have to worry about us, I’ve told you that I can take care of myself just fine. Lizzie, come back soon, but not to take care of me, I’m the Granny and I’m the one who does the taking care of people.”
She throws her hand in the air, that’s her way of telling us to go and leave her be. We both laugh, shaking our heads, at her. Hendrix lays on his horn, making it known to God and everybody he is waiting.
“I guess you better get out there, Bailey, before he wakes up the dead.” Granny sighs.
She looks over to see if the horn woke up Papa. He is still sleeping away. It takes a lot to interrupt his sleep. “Bye. Love you, Granny.” I’m out the door and off the porch as fast as I can go. I hear Lizzie right behind me. Shit. I don’t want to have to deal with Lizzie and Hendrix trading insults tonight. It’s bad enough that it’s eight pm and still in the high eighties. Summer nights are sweltering here. Gotta love it.
“Hey there, Dickwad. Show some respect for my grandparents and my girl by coming to the door. Or are you above good manners?” Lizzie leans into the passenger side of his car. “By the way, why don’t you stick that horn up your ass after you jack off tonight?”
Here we go with the insults. Sometimes this gets intense and being the peacemaker gets old fast.
“Fake Ass Hoe, not working your street corner tonight? What, are you on antibiotics for another yeast infection?” Hendrix throws right back at her, and furrows his brows.
“Guys, stop it, can’t you two get along for five minutes?” I ask.
“Bay, when asswipe shows you some manners and behaves toward you, like you’re a lady, I won’t have any problems with him,” Lizzie says.
“Get in the car and close your door, Bailey. Let’s go, babe.”
“Bye, Lizzie, I’ll call you tomorrow.” I get in and shut the door.
Hendrix slowly backs out of the driveway.
I turn to him and put my arms around his neck. “Hey, babe, I thought you were going to call me to let me know when you were going to pick me up.” I give him a kiss on the cheek. He smells so good, so manly. I love this cologne. I swear it has pheromones in it.
Once he’s off the gravel driveway and onto the road, he punches the gas. My head snaps back from the jolt.
Great! He’s pissed.
“What’s wrong, babe, did you have a bad day? I bet I can make it better.” I smile and sound as sexy as possible.
“Why do you allow Lizzie to talk to me like that? I thought you were in love with me. How can you let a redneck like her say stuff to me like that? Don’t start the shit about her being family because y’all aren’t family.” He forces out a rush of air then starts up again. “I hate you living all the way out here. I’m not going to get my car scratched in that gravel driveway.”
I sit in shock because he has completely blown my mind. Has he gone off the deep end? He and Lizzie always dig at each other, but I’ve never seen him lose it like this at her insults. He knows how close Lizzie and I are. We were raised together for God’s sake. Granny kept both of us while our moms worked. That is family in my book.
“Hendrix, I don’t know what has happened today but you are obviously in a bad mood. Lizzie is my family and I’ve told you before how much I love my family. If I had to choose between you and my family, you would be shit out of luck. This isn’t a forever living arrangement for me. When it’s over, we can go back to being us again. Until then, please understand I have to do this for them. I love you, babe. Let’s just have a good night. I will come to you from now on, okay?” If only he could grasp this. Isn’t family important to everyone?
He still has an intense look on his face and the muscles in his face are flexing. I roll my eyes. When he starts this shit, it pisses me off. When I can keep him and Lizzie away from each other, everything is great. He never acts like this unless they go at each other’s throats. Lizzie only has my best interest at heart. She thinks Hendrix treats me like a dog turd. I don’t know what to think myself.
“Well, if we ever get married, they will not be welcome in our home,” he snarls.
Oh, I know he didn’t just go there. My family is a hard limit for me. So before I rip him a new asshole, he needs to take me home. “What has gotten into you lately? Where did my sweet boy go? You know, Hendrix, I can’t take this tonight. If you are going to be mad the whole night, just turn around and take me back.”
I want to be with Hendrix, but I know how rough he can be when he’s mad. Sex isn’t good when he’s mad. As it is, he doesn’t take the time to make sure I have my own happy ending. I want to go home so I do not have to deal with all of this.
He slows down and carefully pulls off the road. “Are you done, Bailey?” He looks at me with a condescending sneer then shakes his head. “Come here, Sweetheart.” He pulls me over the console of the car and onto his lap, having me straddle him.
His whole tone changes to the sweet, loving Hendrix I adore.
“I’m sorry for talking that way to Lizzie, I’m really just kidding around with her. That’s our thing, we call each other names. You know how much I love you, I just want to be with you.” He points to my head. “I hate for anyone else to be in here but me.”
He kisses me and slips his hands under my skirt to rub me through my panties. He loves me in short skirts and barely there lace panties for this reason. I feel him getting hard and he is pressing into me.
“Feel how much I want you, Bailey? You know I can make you feel good.”
He tears my panties.
Wanting me right now, here on the side of the road. The road that all of my family travels down frequently. I don’t want to do this here. I love how much he wants me, but not here, where we can be seen by anyone passing by.
“No, Hendrix, let’s go to your place, not here, please.”
He rips off my panties and rubs my nub.
Waves of pleasure roll through me. “No, come on, I know a dirt road that isn’t very busy and I’ll do anything you want there.”
“See how wet you are, Bailey? You want this right here, right now.”
All this will be is a quickie because there isn’t any room in his car. I need more than a quick wham-bam thank you ma’am. I have an inner kink goddess, dammit! But I’m getting hot. He knows exactly how to push me to the point where I forget he never brings me over the edge into ecstasy. He licks up my neck as his other hand slides under my shirt and unclasps my bra. He likes when I wear front clasp bras so he can undo them easily. He pinches my nipple with one hand, palming my breast with the other. I’ve lost a lot of the sensation in them from getting my implants so I give him the right reactions.
“These were the best two things I’ve ever spent my money on.”
Hendrix loves my boobs now. He wanted me to get double Ds, but I talked him into regular Ds. I only weigh 115 pounds so I thought I would topple over if I got double Ds. “You were right, I did need them. I look so much better with them.”
He puts two fingers inside of me, and my breath hitches, I move against them. That does feel good. I kiss him, and my arousal grows. I kiss him harder. I want him, dammit. I can’t control myself when he does this and he knows it. He counts on this reaction from me. I muster up all the self-control possible, “Not here, Hendrix. I enjoy you letting your twisted side out to play, but this road is well traveled.”
“Ugghh, where then? I’m not driving twenty miles back to my place and then turning around to bring you back to babysit.”
I nibble on his ear, putting forth my best effort to get him out of this funk. “I know. What was I thinking?” I’m going through every solution possible to come up with a venue to his liking. “So the dirt road is out?”
“To get my car dirty? I just had it detailed, Bailey.”
I wanted us to actually go out, do something fun tonight, but all our relationship has come to over the last few weeks is hooking up. There isn’t any of the romance we had back at college. He doesn’t try to woo me anymore. “I don’t know, Hendrix. Let’s go get something to eat, I’m hungry.” I slide over to my seat. Flipping down the visor, I check to see how much damage has been done to my makeup. None! This shit is good!
“Just forget it.” He does a one-eighty in the middle of the road, scaring the shit out of me, and heads back toward the house, “Look, Bay, when you finally have time for me, why don’t you let me know.” He looks over at me sulking.
I have to pick my jaw up off the floorboard. What. The. Hell. So he didn’t get his way, and now he doesn’t even want to be with me at all? Unbelievable!
He pulls in front of the house, not in the driveway, “Look, sweetheart, I’ve had a long day and it looks like you did too. I’ll call you tomorrow and we will have a real date.” He gives me a quick kiss, “I promise to make this up to you. I should have cancelled tonight. I knew I was already in a horrible mood.”
He does sound contrite.
“You know I love you, right? Here, take some money and buy some sexy new panties for me to tear off of you.” He reaches into his wallet and pulls out several one hundred dollar bills and hands them to me.
This feels more like a transaction than a date, and humiliation blankets me. “Yeah, Hendrix, I know,” I limply show him the cash, giving him a smile. “You show me all the time.”
“That’s my girl.”
My cynicism is lost on him, and I feel frustrated. He’s already gone. His mind is anyway. Times like this is when I question the longevity of our relationship.
After I get out of the car, I stand at the head of the driveway and watch him speed off. I try to calm myself down, but my frustration is at an all-time high.
The cab light of a truck goes on across the road and I see the outline of a guy. I guess he is one of our new neighbors. I take a few deep breaths, saying, “Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. In through the nose, and out through the mouth.” I hear a soft chuckle. Damn, I didn’t know I was being that loud.
I turn down the driveway, feeling like I am taking the walk of shame. I feel horrible I let Hendrix treat me this way. If anyone, other than Lizzie knew this, I would die of embarrassment. It’s bad enough she knows. My family would be so disappointed in me for allowing this.
When I walk inside the house, Granny is all smiles, and Papa is even awake. I’m about to get the Spanish Inquisition because I’ve been gone for less than an hour and Granny is intuitive.
“Well, hey there Bailey, come on in and have a seat,” Papa says. With his dementia, he can’t always remember I live with them. “You just missed meeting our new neighbors.”
Papa loves to have company. He actually wakes up and talks to them. He might not remember them tomorrow, but that’s okay, he still loves having people around. I inwardly sigh as I contemplate his failing health. He still remembers us right now and that is what matters to me.
I look over to Granny for verification and she nods. “Margie Wilson and her son Cash. They seem real nice, Bailey, you need to meet him.”
Geez. “Is that so? That wouldn’t have anything to do with you and Lizzie not liking Hendrix? What kind of name is Cash anyway? Is that like Johnny?” I laugh. I give them both a kiss on their cheek, “I love you guys, I’m going to go settle down for the night, that way I can get up early and work on your roses for you Granny.”
She beams. “Cash said he would mow the yard for us tomorrow, too.”
Good. One less thing I have to do. I can focus more on my job and make a little more money. “Alright, I have the monitor on so I can hear if you call for me, do I need to help get Papa in bed?” I look at him.
He shakes his head. “I can take care of myself, I don’t know why you worry about me.” He holds up his crooked finger to me.
His scolding and stern look gets me in my heart every time because he truly doesn’t realize how sick he is.
The family was told he is still in the early stages, that things will only get worse as time goes by. We are researching everything we can find on the subject to prepare ourselves. We give him the best care we can at home, to keep his schedule and routines the same, to avoid putting him in a nursing home. He deserves the love and care we can give him here.
“Have you both taken your nightly medicine already?” Granny nods and I look over at Papa. “Did you take yours or did you spit it out?”
He grins, “I always take my medicine.”
“Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” I chime out of habit.
“Sweet dreams, baby, love you,” Granny says.

I’m not sure who just left in that little fancy car, but I hope they aren’t around a lot driving like that. Thankfully, they probably don’t live around here because they only dropped someone off at the Jackson’s place across the street and left.
Mom and I just came back from meeting the Jacksons. She’d insisted on meeting them right away. I have a hard time telling her no because she’s been through so much. If meeting these new neighbors was going to make her happy, then that was going to happen, one way or another.
First impressions mean a lot to me. I instantly liked the Jacksons, and I’m glad to have decent neighbors. They’re an elderly couple who look like they can barely get around. Mrs. Jackson is a sweetheart. I can see mom and her getting along fine. Mom can use a friend and maybe a little guidance. Mr. Jackson is a funny fella, I can already tell, he likes to tell stories. I hope he doesn’t drive that Jeep Wrangler himself. If so, I’m staying off the roads, whenever I see it’s gone.
They sent us home with muscadine jelly, which Mrs. Jackson told me is a wild berry that tastes like a grape. I’ve been raised in the country and already know that, but I let her tell me all about the process and how much she loves teaching her granddaughters. She seemed proud that she taught her two granddaughters how to make it.
Mom is back in the house putting things away. She constantly calls me in to ask where I want things. Honestly, I don’t care. She can arrange this house any way she wants, because this will be her house anyway. I plan on building another one as soon as I get this one the way she wants it. She doesn’t know that yet.
When I signed the deed on this fifty acres and little ranch style house, I knew my life was going to change forever, but what I didn’t know was my father had been planning to leave my mom. My one bedroom apartment suddenly became tiny when she moved in with me. Since then, I’ve been hurrying to get things done to make this place livable. I wasn’t planning on having mom live with me, but she is my mom and I wasn’t about to throw her out like yesterday’s trash. She has had enough of that the last twenty-five years. I can’t think about all of that again without getting angry, though. Besides, dwelling on something that can’t be changed is counterproductive. I’ve worked hard, saved most of my money, my company is doing well and taking care of my mom is what I want to do. I don’t want my mom to worry about payments or someone coming home and making her cry.
After heading inside for the night, I grab a beer, and settle back for some old sitcom reruns. Why is it that I can watch this stuff a thousand times, and still laugh every time I watch them? The beer helps take the edge off the stress that has become my life. Twenty-somethings aren’t supposed to be this stressed, or feel this ancient. At least that is what I’m told. I feel so much older than my twenty-six years. That may be because I’ve been working my ass off since I was sixteen years old. All through high school and college, I worked for a firm that did computer system analysis. I saved every penny I could along the way and when Paul, the owner, told me he wanted to retire, I invested all of my savings and financed a loan for the remainder to buy the business. I changed the name and developed new products and services. Now, Cashco is making more money than it ever has and I’m finally breathing a little easier. I have a staff of really good people that I trust which has afforded me the time off to work around here.
Mom comes into the room. “I’m getting a shower and going to bed. Is there anything you need before I do that?”
I’ve been on my own since college, until Mom moved in with me, and she’s been hovering.
She yawns.
She’s been working hard the last few days, too. “No, ma’am, you just take care of yourself, mom.”
She looks at me with red-rimmed eyes. “Cash, I know I’ve told you already, but son, I appreciate you doing this. I know it isn’t what you wanted to do, or had planned. I will get a job, as soon as I can, and be out of your hair.” She puts a hand up over her mouth, trying to control her emotions.
I get up and amble over to her. “Mom, I can’t think of anything else I would rather do. You’re my mom. It’s my job to take care of you. If I was in the same circumstances, you would do the same for me.” I give her a hug. I hate to see her hurting over my dad.
“You are a good person, Cash. You have always had such a good heart and I’m so proud of the man you have become. I just don’t want to become a hindrance to you finding happiness in your life. Not all relationships are like your dad’s and mine. They can be exceptional and there is a soul mate out there for everyone.” She sighs. “One day you are going to meet a girl, she is going to smile at you or laugh and you will know she is the one. She will be your best friend, the person you can tell anything. When you find her, hold on tight. You tell her how important she is to you, and make her feel special.”
Mom has never been philosophical, however here lately she has been telling me stuff like this and she has been so sad. I give her another hug and a kiss on the top of her head. “Mom, I will find someone one day but, I’m not in any hurry.” Laughing, I add, “She just better know how to cook as well as you do.” That makes her smile.
“Oh, Cash. Is food all you ever think about? There is some leftover meatloaf and some shrimp and grits in the fridge,” she says as she leaves the room.
I take off my boots and stretch my muscles. I’ve missed my daily workouts the last few weeks because I haven’t taken the extra time to get them in. Working out tomorrow won’t be possible either. I’ve got yard work to do and I told the Jacksons that I would get their yard while I was doing mine. They said their little granddaughter who lives with them mows their lawn, most of the time, but little girls shouldn’t have to do that. Their lot isn’t very big so it won’t take me very long anyway.
I do need to get out and meet people in town. Although my work is only forty miles from here, seventy-five miles from where we did live is far enough that we have a whole different town to get used to. I plan to get an early start in the morning so I can do just that tomorrow night. I have enough done around here that I can have a social life again.
In my room, I turn on my TV and set the sleep timer. I like to fall asleep watching reruns of Friends, but it isn’t on yet. Any sitcom will do, though. I just need noise. I set my clock for 6:30 because I want to be working by 7:30. The Jacksons said they get up early and 7:30 would be okay for me to mow.
As I settle in, I think about everything mom said tonight. I’ve been in serious relationships, but not the kind she’s talking about because it never bothered me to let the girls go. I’ve never been truly in love, even if I thought I was at the time. I’ll take Mom’s word that I will know my soulmate when I meet her. Maybe now’s the time I settle down. I would have to be physically attracted to her of course. I really like short women. Something about picking them up and holding them in my arms heats my blood.
Looks aren’t everything though, not at all. I’m all too aware of how looks can fade over time. Physical beauty may be only skin-deep, but someone can be ugly to the bone. She would have to have a good heart, to really care about people. Another thing, she can’t wear too much makeup. I hate women who look like they used a spatula to put that shit on. It makes me feel like they’re hiding something underneath it all.
I drift off thinking about this ideal woman I have all made up in my head. She has long brown hair and is a little sassy. She takes me off to dreamland.

What in the hell is that noise? I pull my pillow over my head to drown it. My god, the racket is so loud the pillow doesn’t help. I look over at my alarm clock with my blurry eyes. Sounds like our “wonderful” new neighbor is mowing the yard at freaking seven thirty. On a Saturday morning. What in the crap is wrong with this picture? I normally get up around eight, but I was up a lot last night with Papa. He didn’t have a good night.
Since I’m already awake, I go ahead and get up. It’s too early, but who can sleep with all of that noise? I slip on my cut-offs and a tank top, and pull my hair up in a high ponytail. I drag myself to the kitchen. Granny and Papa have already had breakfast. They don’t need me to cook breakfast for them. I was getting up to eat with them until I gained five pounds in the first two weeks. Granny’s breakfasts are simple, but homemade biscuits, bacon and eggs add on the pounds, especially when she insist you put her jelly on your biscuit. Oh, don’t get me started on her chocolate gravy—a thick, rich chocolate syrup or a thin pudding heaped over your biscuits. This delicacy is irresistible. After having that on your biscuits, you can die happy. But, you can’t eat like that and stay in a healthy weight range so I eat healthier, now—a bowl of Special K and a piece of fruit. But how I do crave that chocolate goodness. It has milk in it and that’s healthy, right?
Other than their breakfast, I try to make sure they eat healthy. I keep plenty of fruit all cut up and on hand. The same with the fresh veggies for salads and snacking. The easier I make things for them to eat, the more likely they are to eat it. They are kind of like kids, in that regards. Feeding them is the easy part of taking care of them. Granny is easy all together. I get her medicine ready on a weekly basis, so she will remember to take it. I do the grocery shopping and clean the house. I roll her hair up in these old fashion rollers a couple of times a week and she is happy.
Papa is a different story. Bless his heart; he can’t help it. He gets agitated if anything changes in his schedule. I’m constantly watching for signs that he may be getting upset so I can deflect as much as possible.
He is full of mischief these days. Sometimes his behavior is comical and sometimes it’s very frustrating. He hides things from me, like my car keys and his medicine. He thought the highlights in my hair were gray hairs once. While I was really into watching a movie with Granny, he cut off a chunk of my hair. I try so hard to not lose my temper with him, but I did that day. That’s when I started learning deep breathing exercises. They don’t always work, but they help some. I’ve also learned to do the hiding of things. Things like my purse, my phone, and every pair of scissors in the damn house.
“Good morning,” Granny calls out in her singsong voice.
I scoot by her. “Mornin’, Granny, did you manage to get any sleep last night?” I mumble, barely awake.
She shakes her head.
Poor thing, I hate that for her. “Maybe you can take a little catnap later.” I open the fridge and take out the sweet tea. Sweet tea is my form of coffee. I crave my caffeine fix. I have to have my delicious nectar as soon as I wake up. I sip on a glass all day long. I really don’t drink many sodas, just my sweet tea. If a restaurant around here doesn’t have sweet tea, I don’t go there. If I go there by mistake, I just have water. You just can’t sweeten tea right after it’s already cold. Give me sweet tea over any glass of wine, or godforsaken beer. I’m supposed to love beer because I’m country girl, but I hate that nasty ale. Lizzie, on the other hand, can drink some beer. She has been known to get a little wild and crazy, going home with everyone and anyone who asks. But that was our first couple of years of college when we were both a little wild.
“Is there any reason why we are having the yard mowed so early?” I sit at the table across from Granny. She likes to sit with me and sip on her coffee while I eat my bowl of cereal. I enjoy this time we always take to be together.
“Oh, he wanted to get our yard and his yard finished before it got too hot with humidity. I heard on the news the temperature is going to be close to a hundred today.” She grins over her cup of steaming coffee.
End of this sample Kindle book.


Renee Kennedy grew up in Decatur, AL and has been married to her high school sweet heart for 23 years. She currently lives in the Houston, TX area with her husband Jason, her son Braxton, and one very spoiled Yorkie, Chico. She also has one son that is serving our Country in the military, Brett.

She loves living in Texas but she’ll always be a Bama girl and that is where her heart remains. Renee has always been an avid reader but never dreamed of writing a book, until reminiscing about her grandparent’s love story, Bailey’s story popped into her head. Her grandparents played a significant role in her life growing up, so sharing a little piece of them with the world, helps keep them alive in her heart.

When she is not reading or writing she loves to cook and try out new recipes. You can often find her hanging out with her family and friends or stalking her own favorite authors.

Chico, her mini Yorkie, runs Renee's house and her so his every need must be catered too, after all he is her 3rd baby.


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1 comment :

  1. RE: . Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. :)


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