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You’re Everything I Need
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Losing my wife wrecked me – only my little girl pulled me through.
I can’t risk losing Lexi too.
But we’re both hiding secrets, and one of them is big.
Can facing our pasts, and the dangers they bring, give us a second chance?
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“Okay, Aubrey, you go and play, sweetie. Daddy just needs to make a phone call, okay?”
“Yes, Daddy.” She gives me a giant smile that melts my heart. “Thank you.”
My gorgeous little brunette two-year-old races off to the swings. She has dark hair just like me, but everything else is her mother. Those sparkling blue eyes are all Nora, which damn near breaks my heart. I sigh loudly and take a seat on the nearby bench while I make some phone calls. I need to keep myself distracted.
“Hey there, Adam. How’s it going? Things all good at the office?”
“Yeah everything is under control. You know you can trust me, I’m the manager.”
I laugh out a throaty sound. “Good, good, I just wanted to check in. You know what I’m like.”
“I know, I know, the fashion line is your baby, but trust me, I’m doing okay.”
“The photo shoot is going well? Are all the models are behaving?”
“The models are… you know, being models, but they’re doing their best. They all want to be the face of Ventry. I overheard some of them saying that it’s a stepping stone to big things.”
I have to admit, that does make me feel good. I brought this fashion line from the ground up, turning it into a billion-dollar business in a relatively short space of time. It took up a lot of my time and life, but I love it. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. It helped me watching my mother work in fashion her whole life. I learned the ins and outs, the tips of the trade, and I’ve used that to my advantage.
“So, there’s no massive drama? Nothing I need to be worried about?”
“All is good, Cooper, you honestly don’t need to worry.”
“I know that… but you know I will anyway.”
“I know you will. But don’t let it interrupt your family time. It’s important.”
I slide my eyes closed, really hearing that. I know I risk becoming a workaholic. If it weren’t for Aubrey, I wouldn’t be out of that office at all, but I have to be. It’s a good thing really, but the control freak in me won’t let go. I wish I could split myself in two so I could be everywhere at once.
“I know, that’s why I’m enduring the hell of the children’s park right now.”
“Ooh, I bet you’re loving that. All those screaming kids.”
“Oh, it’s so much fun!”
“Oh, sorry. One of the girls is calling out to me…”
“Well, that’s great. Thank you, Adam, I’ll try and let you get on with it a bit.”
“Thanks, boss, and I’ll see you as usual on Monday morning so you can review everything.”
Maybe this is supposed to be the time where I take a step back and just enjoy the fruits of my labor, but I still can’t do that. I’m obsessed with making sure everything is perfect, I’m key to the success of the company.
Well, now I am; once upon a time it wasn’t just me.
I huff sadly as I hang up the phone, confronting the truth that I’m trying to ignore today. It’s six months ago to the day that my whole life was turned upside down. Six months ago, that drunk driver crashed into Nora, killing her instantly. Six months since the whole foundation of my existence changed, and now I’m a bit lost.
Luckily, I have a lot to focus on, but unfortunately, everything I have reminds me of what I’ve lost. Aubrey, obviously; that parts a kicker. Every so often, it’s hard to look at my daughter because she reminds me of her so much. Back in the early days when it first happened, every time I looked at Aubrey, all I saw was Nora’s face as she was crushed to death. The only mercy of the accident is that it killed her instantly. She didn’t suffer.
I can’t even fully throw myself into work either because that reminds me of Nora. She didn’t start it with me, she wasn’t there in the beginning, but as soon as I spotted her across that bar and our romance started to blossom, she helped me. It started with the odd suggestion here and there, but soon she really became a part of the company.
I don’t think it’s the same without her.
I rub my forehead, trying to will away the headache that bangs at the base of my skull. I wonder what Nora would think of me now. Would she be proud of how I’m trying or would she want more of me? Sometimes I feel like I’m spread a little thin trying to be everything to the fashion line and Aubrey, never quite giving enough to either one. She was always so much better at organizing everything than me.
I miss her. I miss her so much that it hurts. Losing her has left a giant gaping hole in my chest. People have told me that I should think about moving on but I don’t think I’m there yet. That’s something I’ll just play by ear. Sure, I was a playboy back in the day, before Nora came along, but at thirty-two years old with a child in tow and a business to run, I can’t go back there.