Read Online Books/Novels:

Peyton & Noah (Beaumont: Next Generation #3.5)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Heidi McLaughlin

Book Information:

Bells will be ringing!

Books in Series:

Beaumont Next Generation Series by Heidi McLaughlin

Books by Author:

Heidi McLaughlin Books



My college diploma sits on top of the mantle. I don’t know how long I’ve sat here, staring at it, or how many times I stood in front of it so my fingers could rub over the embossed letters in my name. I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet, the fact that I’ve graduated or the idea that I have job offers waiting to be accepted. It’s also one of the last things I have yet to pack for my move to Portland. It’s not that I don’t want to move, it’s that I’m afraid if I box this tangible piece of victory up, the feeling will go away. I achieved another milestone, another win, when doctors all but gave up on me after the accident.

My soon-to-be husband, my lover, my best friend, walks into the living room, carrying two tumblers. Even without tasting the amber colored liquid I know it’s my favorite maple crème liqueur from a winery we found while driving through Vermont. The trip to the Northeast was a surprise during spring break. Somehow, Noah knew I needed to get away, that I needed a reprieve from everything that was coming toward me. Finals, graduation, job offers, and the wedding. I smile as he hands me the glass and bring it to my lips. Before taking a sip, I inhale, letting the sweet smell wash over me. Finally, I tip the glass back and close my eyes, letting the flavor bask over my tongue.

“Still gets you every time?” he asks, sitting down next to me.

“I was never a fan of maple until we found that little winery.”

“Me neither.” Noah reaches for my hand, locking our fingers together. We’re never close enough, and yet sometimes we’re worlds apart, even when we’re sitting right next to each other. Big decisions are weighing heavily on me, on us. Even though he’s proposed a Christmas Day wedding, if I take any one of the jobs offered, I’ll be asked to work. Being the newbie means I’m one of the lowest employees on the totem pole. They’re not going to understand how a quarterback and his sideline reporting fiancée are getting married in the winter. Most of the time I don’t understand it, but it’s what I want. It’s the wedding I envisioned.

We sit in silence, sipping our drinks, while I continue to stare at my degree, and Noah… well, he’s just present. Always my constant, my biggest cheerleader, my confidante. He’s my reason for being, and deep down I know I came back from the brink of death because of him.

I’ve never asked what he said to me, but I know he spoke. That much I remember. I tried telling my therapist about my experience, telling her I saw my dad, my grandma and watched my family weep over my body as it lay there, dying. I told her I felt Noah. I felt it every time he touched my leg, my arm or ran his fingers over my bruised cheek. I was there when he cried, when he begged me to stay.

She hasn’t come out and told me that I’m making it up or that what I’m describing is only a figment of my imagination, but I sense that’s what she thinks. I understand. Death is an unknown. You don’t die and come back, at least not often. And those who do, often keep their thoughts to themselves because it’s such an odd and unexplainable experience.

The support group I’m in, for people like me, they get it though, and they’re helping me come to terms with the memories I have. They’ve experienced something similar, and most say they altered their path because of it. I didn’t, and sometimes I question if I should’ve. If I had, I wouldn’t have to work so hard to avoid the elephant following me around on a daily basis. The amount of pressure I feel to follow my dreams; to be a wife, to become a mother, to be the best friend who helps her guy battle on-the-field demons, wouldn’t be weighing me down so much that I want to give up. I wouldn’t want to throw my career away before it even starts just so I could be on the sidelines and watch Noah play because I’m so afraid of missing something. Right now, that’s the dream I have. To be his constant, his best friend, and his cheerleader. To stand there and cheer my man on. The day I’m asked to critique his game… well, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to. Noah expects it. He doesn’t want any mercy, and deep down, I don’t think I’d show him any but what kind of wife will that make me? What will people say about our relationship? The fact that someone will judge me, judge us by what I say, is bothersome.