Set in Ireland, a steamy series about three brothers finding and holding on to the love of their lives.
An excerpt from Tangled Hearts:
“Gretchen! He did what?” I held the phone back while my best friend, Suzanne, screamed.
“You heard me.” I hated recounting the story once. Twice was unbearable.
“I don’t think I did. There’s no way…” Her voice was quieter as she no doubt remembered how late it was.
I sighed and settled back into the couch, pulling a sherpa blanket more tightly around myself to create a cocoon from the outside world.
“George had barely finished when he told me he wanted to ‘start seeing other people’. He hadn’t even dismounted me yet.” I spat each word out, hoping to disassociate them from the horrendous scene replaying in my mind.
“The nerve of him! I bet he’s been trying to find someone else and couldn’t so he figured he’d have one last hurrah with a guaranteed lay—oh, sorry! That didn’t come out right.”
“No, I get it.” George and I had been together for five years. Our sex life had become a predictable routine. I’m sure he had planned on breaking up with me long before that moment and knew that it was a date night, so postponing it a little wouldn’t hurt, at least in his mind. Suzanne was right.
I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or outright disgusted.
I was leaning towards disgusted because what wasn’t predictable, and what did hurt, was hastily moving back into my mom’s house at ten o’clock that night. George, being the gentleman he is, informed me I was being silly, and that I was perfectly welcome to stay in his apartment until morning.
“Be sensible,” he had said to me while I was in the bathroom cleaning myself up. When I went to hop into our shower, I realized it was his shower and promptly dressed instead.
When you no longer care about the memories attached to certain items, five years can be packed up quickly. Two hours later, I called my mom from the car and put George in the rearview mirror.
My mom welcomed me home with open arms, made one comment about how much of a scumbag George was, and then said that was the end of it until I was ready to talk more about him. My grandma welcomed me with equally open arms, but with a few more snide comments about George and no promises of stopping.
After she and my grandma went to sleep, I found myself wholly unable to lie still, so I snuck out into the family room, and that was when I called Suzanne.
“What are you going to do?” she asked in a hushed voice.
“I don’t know. It all happened so fast. I haven’t even caught my bearings.” There was a loose thread on the edge of the blanket that I couldn’t help but pick at. “At least it’s a Friday night. If I had to go to work tomorrow, it wouldn’t be good.”
“Considerate of him,” Suzanne snorted.
“I guess I’m just going to bum around my mom’s house and figure out life.” I accidentally tugged the string all the way out of the blanket and inspected the seam for any weakness. It was a cozy blanket and its demise would definitely add insult to injury. It looked good, so I smoothed it back out and ignored the urge to pick at it anymore.
“Do you need me to come over?”
“No, it’s after one. I know you need to get up in the morning, so don’t worry about me. Even if she didn’t say it outright, I can tell my mom is thrilled that George is gone. She’ll make sure I’m well-taken care of.”
“Okay, well, don’t lose any more sleep over him.”
We got off the phone with promises to meet up when she woke up in the morning and I flipped the TV on, letting the background noise quiet my mind enough to lull me to sleep.
“Morning, sunshine!” My grandmother sang as she threw open the curtains before the sun had hit the horizon.
“Don’t you know I’m nursing a broken heart?” I pulled a throw pillow over my face and groaned.
“Nope. The women in this family have wasted too many years breaking their hearts, pining over men who couldn’t care less. No more.”
“What a way to talk about grandpa,” I muttered.
“Oh, no. Don’t bring your grandfather into this. He was a god amongst men. I’m talking about the decade of men that came before him.”
“Okay, so you and I pick the wrong men at first?” I sat up, feeling some hope. “So my right guy is out there just waiting for me to find him?”
“Oh, the chances of that aren’t looking good. I was watching the news, and it said men today—”
“Mother! I told you to leave her alone this morning.” My mom rushed into the room and closed the front curtain.
“I promised I wouldn’t open her bedroom door.” She put her arms out wide as if to make it painfully obvious she was in the family room and nowhere near my room.
“Way to find a loophole.” My mom rolled her eyes and sat on the edge of the couch, pulling my foot onto her lap to rub it.
“She’s going to waste her life away,” my grandma scoffed.
“It hasn’t even been twelve hours since George showed his true colors.” My mom’s face matched the visceral tone of her voice.
“You never liked him, did you?”
“Honestly? No. But your grandma is right about the women in this family. We have a hard time finding good men.”
“Listen to your mother. She knows what she’s talking about. She’s forty-five and a spinster.”
“Can spinsters have children?” My mom enjoyed poking holes in my grandma’s theories about life, and this one seemed to perplex her to a satisfactory level.
My grandma pulled the curtains back open and sat down in a chair, giving my mom a look that dared her to think about shutting them again.
My mom gave her a knowing look and then patted my leg. “What do you want for breakfast?”
“I can make my own breakfast.”
“I know you can. But I want to make it for you. I’ll make Grandma Maeve’s white pudding. That’s an excellent remedy for most broken things.”
My grandma nodded. “My mother knew how to fix anything. I ate many a white pudding at her kitchen table.”
“Her and grandpa were married a long time, weren’t they? She’d be one to get some good advice from if we could.”
My great-grandma, Maeve, died before I was born. I grew up hearing stories about how incredible she was and how my green eyes and red hair looked just like hers. It always felt like an unfair travesty that I never got to know her.
“Where do I start?” My mom stopped in the doorway, contemplating my question.
My grandma waved her away. “I’ve got this. You go get breakfast made. I won’t complain about you making mine.”
“Of course you won’t. Make sure you stick to the facts. Don’t add you own opinion into the story. It’s tragic enough as it is.”
My grandma sat up straighter, smoothing down her collar, and looking at my mom with indignation on her face that she would ever do something so ridiculous as add her own spin to a story.
She waited until my mom was out of earshot—a sure sign this story would be filled with Mary Meddlings, a phrase my mom coined for whenever my grandma embellished a story a little more than necessary.
“I think the beginning is a good place to start my mother’s story.” Her eyes sparkled with memories and I settled back into the couch, certain we’d be there for a while.