Title: Imperfect Love, Fatality and Luck
Author: Isabella White
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 2018
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishers
Imperfect Love: PERMA FREE
Two people begrudgingly perfect for each other creates the ideal recipe for imperfect love.
At 24 years old, Holly Scallanger has a perfect life. Everything a girl could want; a beautiful man, a stunning home, as well as being in the midst of preparing for the wedding of her dreams. This all vanishes the night she catches her fiancé, Brandon Morgan, in bed with her worst nightmare, Donna Sinclair, just a week before Holly is set to walk down the aisle.
Attempting to recover from his betrayal, Holly swears off the affections of men in order to pick up the pieces of her crumbling life. Unfortunately, meeting Jake 'Hooligan' Peters is not part of her plan. The tall, dark-haired and handsome as hell med student, sweeps Holly away from the pain of her past and reveals to her the bright future that lies ahead. That is until she falls pregnant just as Jake begins his internship at P&E; his family's hospital.
Will this love, at first sight, lead her to the fairytale she has always craved? Or, will she fall victim to a betrayal of the heart yet again?
What if Holly phoned Jake?
With a broken heart 24-year-old, Holly Scallanger gave birth to Romalie and Jamie Bernice. But things don't look good. Romalia is weak, and the little one finally lost the battle.
Her rage and fury blinded her and she made that one phone call, scolding Jake and voicing her hatred to him? Just a small change, but everything would’ve been so much different.
Luck is What If Novel #3 and an alternative story to Secret Love.
It takes place 4 years later. Jake Peter's engagement to Kate Niagelli is going to be a huge affair. He knows it, and everyone that is invited knows it. His parents booked out an entire resort for everyone to enjoy the weekend with the Peters to celebrate the event. Little do they know that Frank Edwards, a childhood friend of Gus Peters and Jake's godfather, brings an extra special guest, or three.
About the Author
Isabella White is a USA Today Bestselling Author with a few novels under her belt. Her debut novel is Imperfect Love and first in the 4Ever Series. It was followed by From a Jack 2 A King and a few What If Novels that takes place in the 4Ever Series, all of the alternative outcomes of events if different choices were made. She will publish later this year another Standalone novel Finding Mr. Right. To find out more about Isabella and her novels you can visit her website or follow her on any of her social media.
The weekend was upon them before Holly could blink.
She had class until eleven, so her mother was doing their packing since she had taken the day off work. They’d also opted to let Jamie stay home from school, who was so excited about the trip, she’d proudly told Holly that she was going to help Nanna pack.
Frank would be picking Holly up right after her class, and from there they’d all go straight to the airport to catch a flight to Montana—the location of the luxury resort they’d be staying at.
Holly was still dead set against going on the trip because she was stressed about her upcoming test. But since her mother had said she wouldn’t take Jamie if Holly didn’t go, there was no way she’d get any studying done, anyway.
Her stomach turned at the mere thought of the test. It was ridiculous. She knew everything, as both her mother and Rod had pointed out, and she knew every step of each procedure, thanks to Dr. Somers letting her assist him in surgery. However, she couldn’t shake the sick feeling roiling in her stomach.
She wished Rod was joining her on this trip if only so she could have someone other than her mother and Frank to hang out with.
With her class done, she hurried to the front of the building where Frank’s Mercedes was already waiting at the curb. She got in, muttering a greeting to her mother and Frank, then gave Jamie a kiss and a cuddle.
The drive to the airport was excruciating as her mother and Frank tried their level best to make small talk with her, but she wasn’t in the mood for any type of talking.
An unsettling feeling that something bad was going to happen tormented her.
It couldn’t be the flight that was making her feel this way, even though she was a tad nervous, and it couldn’t be the getaway, either, because she had made peace with it. Perhaps she was really stressed about the test. And perhaps, her mother was right; she did need a break.
She tried to push the feeling aside and concentrated on Jamie and her excitement. Jamie kept up a barrage of constant questions, all due to the excitement about flying. It was her first time on a plane, and her four-year-old brain was curious as to how the plane would stay in the air, and a bunch of other questions that no one could explain the answers to.
Holly watched her mother and Frank as they all stood in line, waiting to go through security. It was evident by the look on her mother’s face, as well as her body language, that Jane was head over heels for the guy.
Holly couldn’t deny that they made a great couple.
When they got through security and made themselves comfortable in the waiting area, Jamie recited a song for Frank which, if the smile on his face was anything to go by, he enjoyed tremendously. But his expression suddenly changed, the smile turning into a frown as he studied Jamie’s face.
Holly wasn’t liking the way Frank was looking at Jamie—it wasn’t the first time she’d caught him staring at her—almost as if Jamie reminded him of someone. Whenever he got that look, questions regarding Jamie’s father were brought up. He’d tried on numerous occasions to get Holly to tell him who Jamie’s father was, but Holly never relented. She’d always tell him the same thing, that Jamie’s father wasn’t important enough to discuss, considering he hadn’t wanted them.
Frank never said why he wanted to know who her daughter’s father was, and she never asked. But she‘d always had a nagging feeling in the back of her mind that he somehow knew the Peterses, the reason she’d caught him starting at Jamie a number of times—he was surely seeing Jake in Jamie.
But she couldn’t ask him that straight out as it would lead to more questions, and then she would have no choice but to admit that Jake Peters was Jamie’s father. If that happened, a series of unfortunate, and probably horrible, things would follow. So she kept her mouth shut.
She knew that if Jake ever discovered she’d kept the baby, he would do whatever was in his power to take her away from Holly.
Thinking this way was probably irrational, considering Jake had wanted her to get an abortion, but Jamie was the type of kid who crawled into one’s heart, dirty feet and all. She had everyone falling in love with her on the spot—a trait she shared with her father.
When Frank’s gaze shifted to her, Holly looked away, pretending to read through her textbook.
“Please tell me you are not going to study the whole weekend,” Jane remarked as she dropped into the chair next to her.
“Mom, I don’t feel ready for the test.”
“You are ready, sweetheart. Believe me.”
There was no point arguing with her mother, so Holly gave her a tired smile.
“Put it away, please. It’s family time.”
Acquiescing, she shoved her textbook into her carry-on. Just then, the flight was announced and passengers were called for boarding.
Jamie, beside herself with glee, jumped up and down as they all stood up. She grabbed hold of Frank’s hand and bounced along beside him, Holly and Jane following behind.
Holly took a deep, shaky breath.
“Are you nervous about the flight, sweetheart?”
“Maybe. I don’t know, Mom. I just have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
Jane wrapped an arm around her shoulders and brushed her lips across her cheek. “I’ll be right by your side. Like always.”
Holly smiled. Getting her mother back was the second good thing that had come out of a horrible situation. And this time around, her mother was her rock, just as it was supposed to be.
* * *
The flight was uneventful, and Holly even managed to relax a bit. Once they landed, Frank went to collect what was needed so he could take possession of their rental car. Holly settled in for the four-and-a-half-hour drive, resting her head against the window, watching the trees flash by as they drove.
The words Black River Lodge eventually appeared before they turned into the resort’s entrance. It was clear that this was a getaway for people with expensive tastes and an abundance of money.
Holly’s jaw dropped when the lake came into view. It was magnificent. She saw a marina where various boats and jet skis were moored, and a large board that listed all available water activities. In the winter, it was a ski resort, so the board had all the winter activities listed as well.
Opulent cabins were scattered all over the grounds.
“Oh, Frank, this is gorgeous,” Jane said, her hand on her chest. She couldn’t stop looking every which way, wanting to take everything in.
Holly was doing the same. The place was so beautiful that a part of her was happy she’d come with them.
“We’re going to stay here?” Jamie asked, her eyes as wide as saucers.
“For the entire weekend, munchkin,” Frank answered.
Jamie squealed with glee.
Once inside, Holly, Jamie, and Jane settled themselves on the plush couch in reception, while Frank checked them in.
They were taken on a tour around the resort, which was beyond impressive, and they were led to their cabin. Holly’s eyes nearly popped out of her head at the sheer beauty and opulence of the place. Her eyes darted around the cabin, as her feet took her from room to room—a lounge, kitchen, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms were at their disposal.
She was eager to go the pool and lounge on one of the many deck chairs, and Jamie, who was bouncing on the balls of her feet, clapped her hands excitedly and begged to go swimming. But first, Holly had to get them set up in their room.
“This is beautiful, Mommy,” Jamie said with delight.
“It is, isn’t it?” Holly winked at her. “You should give Uncle Frank a big hug for bringing us with him.”
“I will, I will,” Jamie shrieked and ran out of their room.
Holly trailed her fingers over the soft bedspread. The place was really what dreams were made of. If Jake hadn’t abandoned them, Jamie would’ve been used to this.
She heard Frank laugh as Jamie yelled, “Thank you!” Over and over again. A smile spread across Holly’s face. Her little girl was so excited. The knots in her stomach were slowly unraveling and she blew out a breath. Perhaps this place was just what she needed after all.
Holly quickly changed into her bikini, then called Jamie so she could get her into her swimsuit. She tickled Jamie when she was dressed, then blew a raspberry into the neck.
“Mommy, no!” Jamie squealed through her giggles. “Swim! We’re gonna go swim now.”
Holly chuckled. “Yes, baby. Mommy just needs to get our things together.” She hurriedly threw some towels into a bag, along with sunscreen, a juice box for Jamie and a bottle of water for herself, then left the room with Jamie bouncing alongside her. Her daughter was packed to the brim with pent-up energy; hopefully, the swim would wear her out.
“No, they haven’t checked in yet, but I expect they will soon,” Frank said, just as Holly entered the lounge.
“I can’t wait to meet your brother.”
“He’s going to love you,” Frank said.
Jane looked up at Holly and chuckled. “I see you two are all ready to go to the pool.”
“It’s calling my name.”
“Do you have Jamie’s floating vest?”
“Yes, Mom. It’s in the bag.”
“Just making sure.” Jane got up and hugged her. “Glad I dragged you here?”
“Very.” Holly smiled.
“See, mothers always know best.”
“That they do,” Holly agreed. She waved at Frank, then took Jamie’s hand and headed out to the pool. When they got there, she tightened her grip on Jamie’s hand as she surveyed the area. A few people lounged on deckchairs, and a group of couples were splashing and hanging on to each other in the pool.
She missed that. That closeness, that feeling of safety and home when that special someone wrapped their arms around you.
She shook her head. She was here to relax, not wallow in self-pity. Setting their bag down next to the closest deck chair, she sat down, trapping Jamie between her legs so she could put the swimming vest on her. The minute the last fastening clicked into place, Jamie pried herself loose from between Holly’s legs and ran toward the pool, jumping in without a care in the world.
“Look, Mommy,” she called, waving her arms excitedly.
“I see you, baby.” Holly grinned at her daughter—so happy, so carefree, the joy of her life. The best thing in her life; the picture of perfection.
Someday, she’d give Jamie the life she would have had if Jake had stuck around, it was just going to take a little while longer to get there. But her little girl deserved the best, and Holly would make sure she got it.
An hour or so later, her mother and Frank joined them, greeting a few people around the pool. He also introduced Jane to them.
Holly remained where she was, keeping an eye on Jamie. She was overprotective, but so were most mothers—it went without saying that the world was a terrible place.
She caught a few people glancing at Jamie a couple of times, which wasn’t really out of the ordinary—Jamie was in her element in the pool and it showed—but all it did was make Holly’s stranger-danger radar go off even more than usual.
When the sky turned dark, Holly got Jamie out of the pool, gathered their things, and went back to the cabin. She gave Jamie a warm bath and let her play in the tub while she took a shower.
When both were dressed, they settled themselves on the couch in the lounge, staring out at the view of the lake, Jamie’s head resting on Holly’s lap. The lights from the poolside bar twinkled on the water.
It wasn’t long before Jamie’s head became heavy on her lap. She looked down at her daughter. Jamie had fallen asleep, her face as sweet as an angel’s. Today had been a long day of traveling, and the fun in the pool had tired Jamie out as Holly had thought it would.
She was stroking Jamie’s hair when Jane and Frank entered the cabin. Holly shushed them, nodding down at Jamie’s sleeping form.
Frank walked over to her and scooped Jamie into his arms, taking her into the bedroom. Holly turned slightly to look over her shoulder; Frank tucked Jamie in and then placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. When he returned to the lounge, he had the same look on his face he’d had at the airport, and on many other occasions.
She often wondered if Frank knew the Peterses, and if so, how well he knew them. Or was this train of thought—one she’d had a number of times—all just paranoia?
“They have child care if you want to join us for dinner and drinks, sweetheart.”
“No, but thank you, Mom. I don’t feel comfortable leaving Jamie with a stranger. You could bring me something to eat, though. I’ll be fine.”
“Don’t tell me you’re going to study? You came here to rest.”
“I won’t study. Scout’s honor,” Holly said with a laugh. She’d never been a scout, so it didn’t count. She’d wait until her mother and Frank left before she got her textbooks out. She needed to study.
When her mother and Frank went to their room to get ready, she heard her mother talking. Frank’s brother and his family had finally arrived, and it turned out that most of the resort had been booked out for them.
Holy shit. How wealthy were these people?
Her mother kissed her cheek on their way out, and Frank gave her a hint of a smile. As soon as the door shut behind them, she got her textbooks out, figuring she could at least get an hour or two of studying in before they returned. She’d hide the book behind one of the couch’s pillows and pretend to have fallen asleep in front of the TV.
But she’d only been revising her notes for Tuesday’s test for about forty minutes when the door suddenly opened.
She quickly shoved the book behind the pillow, grabbed the remote and turned the TV on. The one thing she didn’t do was pretend to be asleep as it was too early for that.
Showing surprise, she glanced up at her mother, whose eyes were as big as saucers. Something wasn’t right. “Mom…you’re back early. Everything okay?”
“No.” Her mother stared at her, a panicked look on her face. “We need to leave. Sweetheart, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know this would happen.”
“This? What do you mean? And why do we need to leave? What’s happened?”
“It’s the Peterses. Frank knows them. It’s not his brother who’s here—it’s Gus Peters. Frank explained that the reason he called him brother was because of some childhood bond or whatever. I can’t believe it’s that wretched family. I’m so sorry.”
Every last ounce of air left Holly’s lungs, and something akin to a vice grip squeezed the life out of her heart. Her eyes darted toward the room Jamie was asleep in.
“Holly, did you hear what I said?”
“How, Mom? How are we going to leave? What did you tell Frank?”
“I told him I wasn’t feeling well, and that I was tired.”
“Do you think he bought it?” She was now in full-on panic mode.
“Yes, yes. I’m good at keeping a straight face, even though it was extremely hard to do it with Frank.”
“Did you see Jake?”
“No, I didn’t. But I was introduced to Gus and that wife of his.” Jane didn’t like Mara since the woman had been a part of the event that took place four years ago.
“How are we going to get out of here, Mom? It took us four-and-a-half hours to get here in the first place! We can’t tell Frank the truth. He’ll tell them. This was a mistake.” She took a couple of deep breaths, the knots in her stomach returning, coiling tighter than before. “That’s the reason why I felt so…”
Tears welled in her eyes. This was going to end badly. She could feel it.
There was a knock on the door, and Holly froze, her insides icing over with fear.
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Tour provided by 3Authors Books
Tour provided by 3Authors Books