Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chapter Reveal: Truly Mine by Amy Roe


Book Information: 

Cover Design: Sarah Hanson at Okay Creations

Interior Design and Editing: Jovana Shirley at Unforeseen Editing

Release date: 8/17


Getting older is such a mindfuck. But I’m about to make forty my bitch. Truly has spent her entire adult life proving that she’s more than the small town where she grew up, more than Tyler Burke’s secret friend with benefits, and so much more than the homewrecker her mother was. Now living in New York City, she has a fulfilling, although unconventional, career that keeps families united. Most importantly, she’s a strong, independent woman. When family business brings her back to Fallport, she comes face-to-face with Tyler and the mess her mother left behind. Why do the people and places that once made Truly feel so hopeless look so very different to her now?



  

Chapter 1 Reveal

Truly

Getting older is such a mindfuck. 



I’m forty today, but mentally and emotionally, I feel just the same as I did the day I turned thirty. Shit, for that matter, I honestly don’t feel much different than I did when I was twenty. Smarter and stronger, for sure. But I still feel young. I certainly don’t look as old as I envisioned a forty-year-old to look. I dare say that I look damn good for my age. 

I might finally buy into that theory that age is just a number. 

To celebrate my birthday, I planned a night out on the town with my friends Lissa and Marie. Not a big production. Just a night out with the only two people that I give a flying fuck about. We were supposed to dress up in short skirts and high heels, go to dinner, and then head to a club full of beautiful people to make a few memories. 

My attire for the evening is now sitting in my closet, waiting to be worn. Marie had designed the form-fitting pale-pink tunic top with a strap over one shoulder. The fabric would have shimmered and shone beautifully as the lights in the club danced around me. I would have paired it with a black leather mini and black stockings. I’d requested the most gorgeous pair of Christian Louboutin leather pumps to be sent over last week. A few diamonds would have finished it off, and I would have made forty my bitch.
But that’s not at all what I’ll be doing tonight. I’ve had to rearrange my schedule to deal with a ghost from my past, so to speak. And that leaves me spending my birthday in the town where I grew up. Only my mother could time this so well. 

Passing the Welcome to Fallport sign, my stomach lurches into somersaults. In an attempt to settle my nerves, I grip the steering wheel tight and take a deep breath. 

After all these years, how can I still be so affected? Get a grip, Tru. You’ve got this. Handle this shit, and get out of here as fast as you can. Not five minutes in this town, and I’m already talking to myself. 

Perfect. 

Everything looks exactly the same. Fallport is the same sleepy little town it was when I left. The bar where my mother would get drunk every night now has a new name, Perdue’s Grill, and sits in an otherwise empty field. The buildings are familiar but in an odd way. They are worn-down and sad. The old lumberyard appears to be full of the same old wood planks that lined the fences all those years ago. Across the street is the big church that’s really not so big after all. I make a right, entering the business district of town. It’s the size of a mini strip mall. On one side of the road is a small produce market, several abandoned shops, a bar, and the tiniest of libraries. 

For shame. Every town should have a beautiful grandiose library. 

On the opposite side are a pharmacy, grocery store, and a savings and loan financial institution. The grocery store is the only new building I’ve seen so far. 

I welcome the foreign feeling of a town that should be so familiar. Once upon a time, I thought I would never make it out of here. At best, I thought I would be the waitress at the local diner, knowing everyone’s orders by heart. Or if I were really lucky, the receptionist at Dr. Bord’s office. 

If you had asked my classmates where I would be at forty, they would have surely predicted that I would be a divorcĂ©e with four or five kids, few with the same father, and living in a trailer park with a sloppy, fat unemployed loser. Sadly, gossip travels fast in a small town, and even sadder is that everyone believes what they hear. 

But here I am, driving my Lexus LFA, while wearing a white sleeveless Gucci pantsuit. My earrings cost more than some of the houses in this town, and my shoes cost more than the cars I’m sharing the road with. But more important than any of the expensive things I own is that I love my life. I love what I do for a living even if the people in this small town would not approve. 

Just off Main Street is my destination. The Burke Law Firm is as old as Fallport. The brick building looks the same, aside from the new sign hanging in the front window—Burke and Burke Law Firm

The Burkes ran this town when I was a kid. Mr. and Mrs. Burke were both lawyers. The whole family knew their status in town and made sure that everyone else knew it as well. 

The only people who had a higher rank around here were Dr. Bord’s family. The two Bord daughters, Christina and Jennifer, were the prettiest girls I’d ever seen. They wore expensive clothes and jewelry, and they carried themselves with poise and confidence. I was in awe of them…and maybe a little jealous. 

They had a queen for a mother, and I had a dirty whore for a mother. 

Mrs. Bord had been crowned Miss Fallport long before each one of her daughters won their titles. And, no matter how much money they had or how perfect their lives appeared, they were kind. Even to me. 
I pull into the parking space in front of Burke and Burke and just sit in my car. In my warped mind, I fear I will be tainted again the minute I step out and expose myself to this town. I’ve worked my ass off to get to where I am today, and I toe a fine line to ensure I’ll never end up as the girl I once was. 

After several cleansing deep breaths, I exit the car and make my way down the sidewalk to the law office. The warmth of the sun beats down on my bare shoulders, and the smell of chlorine coming from the swimming pool a few blocks away permeates the air. 
As if I’ve been smacked upside the head with a brick, childhood memories flood my mind. I stop dead in my tracks and lay my arm across my stomach as a miserable punch of insecurity hits me. As clear as day, I see flashbacks of myself as a child walking on this exact sidewalk. The crumbling concrete curb I would inevitably trip over at least once a day has been fixed, and there are no more cracks to step over so that I won’t break my mother’s back. 

A skinny little girl with long dark hair and an attitude for miles, I was always up to no good. The smile I wore hid my deep pain. 

Much the same as today actually. I guess some things never change. 

I remember, even that young, I could be in a crowd of people that I called my friends, yet I’d feel so alone. I think about who or what could have stopped me from myself. Surely, someone knew what was coming, long before it became my reality. I will forever wonder why not one single person wanted to save that good little girl before all the bad consumed her. 

“Are you okay, ma’am?” 

I snap out of my haze to find a familiar face. Golden boy Tyler Burke is staring at me. 

My heart pounds in my chest. I was praying I could get in and out of this town without opening old wounds—specifically ones caused by Tyler. 

In high school, Tyler was gorgeous and smart and funny. He had the attention of every girl with a pulse. I swear, he’s not aged one bit. His dirty-blond hair is messier than I’ve ever seen it, and his shoulders are broader than they were the last time I saw him. The tight black T-shirt clings to his chest. His muscles bulge under that tee like artwork. He still takes my breath away. 

It’s not that I don’t see stupidly hot men every day in New York. The difference is, those men are stuffy and proper. Tyler is rough and rugged, unrefined at best. They wear suits, and Tyler wears…whatever the fuck he wants. 

In high school, he looked good in workout wear, sports uniforms, and skater clothes. My world stopped spinning on its axis the first time I saw him in a formal tux. And the last time I saw him, I enjoyed the view while he wore jeans and a hoodie—until he offered it to me. I still have that hoodie. 

Today, he makes my mouth water in jeans and a tee. It’s that small-town country look that still does something for me. 

Not to mention, Tyler was my first everything. Every single first worth remembering was his. During my high school years, all I ever wanted was for him to love me the way I did him, for him to treat me the same way in public as he did when we were in private. To this day, I’ve never had a man worship me the way Tyler did. What had started out as uncontrollable hormones turned into a trust that turned into a connection like none I’ve had. Even if he kept our relationship under the radar, I knew he felt that connection. But I also knew that I was never a candidate to become the popular rich kid’s girlfriend. My mother’s actions made sure of that. So, I took him the way I could have him. There’s not a whole lot to do in a small Midwestern-farming town, so we got creative. As the years went on and we became comfortable with each other in every way, we started to experiment with new things, pushing each other’s limits. 

I feel warm from just thinking of the things we did in the good name of sexual experimentation. I’m pretty sure we left nothing to the imagination. I pushed Tyler to hold back as long as he could before letting go and to help me experience pain in its most raw and pleasurable form. We experienced sex on a more mature level than most adults ever would. 

Then, my senior year, I became sick of being his secret lover. I was sick of wondering if he was having as much fun with the girls that he was dating, the girls he didn’t hide. I wondered why I was good enough to fuck but not good enough to date. So I asked him. He barely acknowledged me. So, I fucked him one last time. Yes, I fucked him like he had been doing to me all those years. The next morning I packed my things and left for New York without telling him. 

I guess I showed him. Yeah

I gasp, forgetting how to breathe for a moment. 

“Are you okay?” he asks again as he takes his sunglasses off. 

His icy-blue eyes take my breath away—just like they used to. I’m quite possibly going to pass out if I don’t separate myself from this grown-up version of a person who really did play a huge role in where I am today. He has no idea the impact he’s had on my life.
“Uh…yes. Yes, I’m fine.” Catching my breath, I take a step back. I purposely don’t take off my oversized sunglasses, but I offer him a kind enough smile and then quickly walk around him. I enter the office and grab hold of the wall inside the door. My knees are actually weak from that brief encounter with Tyler.

Turning to get one last look at the man who somehow occupies my mind no matter how far away from him I am, I’m blessed with the sight of him mounting a shiny black motorcycle. He’s still so perfect to admire. He pulls out of the parking space and speeds off down the road. 

I imagine he has a gorgeous wife and beautiful children waiting for him at home. He’s probably a lawyer just like his dad. From the looks of the sign, they must be partners. 

I walk to the empty receptionist desk and wait for someone to appear. Looking around, I see photos on the wall of Mr. Burke and his wife. There is a photo of Tyler’s sisters as well. I don’t see a single photo of Tyler though. 

That’s odd. Maybe he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps. 

Or, by the looks of it, his entire family’s footsteps. He certainly did not look like the partner in a law firm a few moments ago. 

My aggravation spikes as the moments pass. I pull my phone out of my purse. I have a missed call from Scott—again. I haven’t answered a call from him since last week when I had to educate him on the definition of verbal abuse. That hasn’t stopped him from calling me daily and showing up at my apartment. He’s wasting his time and energy. Abuse in any form is a deal-breaker for me. I also have a text from Lissa, asking if I made it okay. I delete the missed call alert but answer Lissa’s text. 

Me: Yes, I made it to the hellhole. Hope to leave in a few hours. 

I stuff my phone back into my purse just as the receptionist appears. 

Finally

“Can I help you?” the young lady asks in a sweet voice. 

“Yes. Truly Rowan. I’m here to see Mr. Burke.” 

“Okay. Have a seat, and someone will be right with you.” 

I turn toward the small seating area just as three long-legged beautiful women wearing business dress suits file in. They are Tyler’s sisters. They look exactly the same as they did in high school. They laugh as they pass through the office and disappear. 

Thankfully, they didn’t even notice me. I am in no mood to socialize. Just as I sit down, Tyler’s oldest sister, Dara, reappears in the doorway and calls my name. She looks straight past me and around the room at the other chairs, which are all empty. When I step toward her, she is obviously taken aback, not expecting me to have the appearance that I do. 

“Truly, hi!” Her tone of voice is that of a mother speaking to her child. She pretends to be genuinely excited to see me, which is bullshit, and I see straight through the show. We didn’t exactly hang out in the same circle, and Dara would have been one to predict that I’d be living in a trailer with a loser at right about this point in my life. She inspects me from head to toe. As much as I would like to tell her all about myself and what I’m doing these days, I don’t bother. 

“Hi, Dara. How are you?” While I won’t brag, I also won’t encourage her to treat me like the person she clearly thinks I am…or should be. 

Sadness laces her voice as she continues, “I’m good. How are you?” 

“I’m great.” I look her dead in the eyes and smile, clearly letting her know I am not sad, not in the least bit. 

Dara smiles that sweet smile she has always had. “I’m so sorry about your loss, Truly.” She opens a door and motions for me to enter. As I sit down in the large leather chair on the opposite side of her desk, I contemplate telling her that I am elated that the bitch is dead. But I think better of it. 

“Thank you. I appreciate that.” And now, it’s me pretending. 

Dara gently lowers herself into the chair behind her desk and begins shuffling through a stack of papers. She pulls out a file folder and places it on top. “My father was called out of town last night. I hope you don’t mind meeting with me.” 

“Not at all.” I don’t care if I meet with the devil himself as long as I make it out of here unscathed, and sooner rather than later would be my preference. 

“I have a few papers for you to sign, and I need to collect the documents that my father requested.” 

I glance from the folder to Dara, puzzled. “I’m sorry. I don’t recall Mr. Burke requesting that I bring any documents.” 

“Didn’t my father fax you a list of paperwork needed to close out the estate?” she asks with worry in her tone. 

“No, I’m afraid not,” I answer. 

“I apologize, Truly.” Dara looks down at the file folder and begins rifling through it. She pulls out a paper and twirls it around so that I can read it. “This is what we will need to satisfy the legal requirements and button up all the loose ends.” With her expensive pen, she points to each bulleted item on the letter as she reads aloud, “Tax return for this year, deed for the house, checking and savings account information, and any stock or bond certificates she might have had. We already have a copy of her will, so don’t worry about that.” 

I felt sick before, and now, I’m instantly exhausted even though I’ve not even started the hunt. 

“I have no idea where these documents are.” I look at Dara as if she should know. 

“I’m sorry, Truly. You should have received this list last week. That’s our fault, and again, I apologize.” She leans forward, laying her hands on the desk and clasping them together. “Did your mother ever mention a file at home where she kept all her documents? Or could she have a safe deposit box somewhere?” 

Ha! She certainly did not mention anything to me. I haven’t the slightest clue as to where in the hell I am supposed to find these things. 

“I’m not sure. Honestly, Dara, I don’t care to deal with this at all. I don’t want anything that she had, and as soon as the legalities are taken care of, I am willing to donate the house and what little I’m sure she had to a charity.” 

Dara’s head tips to the side in confusion, and her eyes narrow. “Truly, when was the last time you spoke to your mother?” 

“Why do you ask?” Although my tone is emotionless, I do feel a bit embarrassed. I have no intention of spilling all my family drama out on this desk, but what I’ve just said makes it clear that my mother and I were not in contact for longer than is normal. 

“Because you are obviously under the impression that your mother didn’t have much. Truly, your mother married a very wealthy man. He passed a few years ago and left everything to her. By everything, I mean, a significant amount of money. You had no idea, did you?” 

I sit back in the chair, lift my chin high, meet Dara’s intent stare, and very boldly make my feelings clear.  “No, not only did I not know, but I don’t give a damn. I want to settle this estate and donate everything. I am very happy where I am today, and that’s no thanks to her. Anything that woman ever touched, she ruined. Including me. Correction—including the old me. I need nothing that is associated with her in my life. Not when I was a child. Not now. And never, ever in the future. So, I would greatly appreciate it if you would help me find these documents and the proper places in town to donate her money. Quickly, please.” 

Halfway through my tirade, Dara’s mouth drops open. She must clearly understand my position on this topic as she does not attempt to inform me of anything else that I’m ignorant about where my mother is concerned. 

“Uh…okay. If that’s what you want, then of course.”  Without breaking eye contact, she collects her cell phone off her desk along with the file. “If you’ll excuse me for just a moment, I’m going to make a few phone calls to see if I can get you some help.” 

Dara exits the room, and I immediately slump back in the chair. 

So, the lousy bitch had a rich husband who had left her everything. How unbelievable. I have a good idea how she met him, and it makes me sick. I hate everything about that woman, and I hate that I’m here, dealing with this mess that she left behind. 

I close my eyes for a moment, and for the first time in a very long time, I visualize what my mom looked like the last time I saw her—long chestnut hair, big brown eyes that were just a little too far apart, and a perfect little nose. Her smile was big and bright, and her small frame and assets a man couldn’t ignore if he tried guaranteed she always got what she wanted. 

I see myself. Today, I look just like my mother did the last time I saw her. I open my eyes in hopes that she will go away. I might look like her, but I am the exact opposite of who she was. She ruined marriages and tore apart families. I do the exact opposite. My hope is that I repair ten families for every one she decimated. 

Frustrated, I stand and gather the papers that Dara left behind along with the list of documents and my purse. Just as I turn the door handle, Dara pushes it open. I take a few steps back. 

“I’m sorry I took so long.” She hands me a small white card. 

I look at the address but don’t recognize the street. 

“It’s okay. I’m going to head on over to her house and see if I can locate the documents.” I hold up the paper and step around Dara. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find them.” 

“Wait, Truly. I’ve arranged for someone to help you find the paperwork. My brother can meet you there now.” 

Great. That’s exactly who I want to see again
I hold my hand up to protest. “Oh, that’s not necessary.” 

Damn it! Of all the times I’ve come back to Fallport, not once have I made it out without spending the night with Tyler. I promise, this will be the first. I’ve dodged him once, and now, his own sister is throwing him in my path again. 

Sensing my rising frustration, Dara attempts to calm me. “Truly, I know you’re upset, and I’m so sorry about our mistake. It’s obvious that you don’t want to be here and that this has turned into more than you expected to deal with today.” 

I can’t even bring myself to bitch at her because she’s so apologetic. 

“Tyler’s on his way over there now. Please let him help you.” 

Fucking great.



Amy Roe lives in Illinois with her husband, son, and two dogs. She also has two grown sons, two daughters, and three granddaughters she adores. She is a Project Manager by day and storyteller by night. With the help of triple shot vanilla latte’s and chocolate by the bars full, she’s been working on her first four novels over the past year. In addition to coffee and chocolate, Amy loves her family and friends, her mutts, naps, rainy days, naps on rainy days, and daydreaming about her next story.



Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/amydroe 



   

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