All my stories are emotional. They pull at you and make you think about life and love. This one was particularly hard to write because of the loss. I’m hoping it stays a secret who is lost in this story, but everyone knows that it’s someone in the family. Henry is upset, and Cynthia is still his best friend. Through distance and pain and love and heartbreak. She’s there for him, and that’s what I worked hard to bring out in this story.

We can get through anything with the right person by our side.

Excerpt from Everything She Never Wanted

“Should I be worried?” he asked, striving for levity in light of what she’d seen inside.

Her eyes betrayed her grin. She was worried about him. She shook her head and stood, brushing the snow from her jeans. She scooped up half the snowballs and carried them to the picnic table.

“This looked like a pretty sturdy wall,” she said, nodding to the side of the house.

“Uh, I think so. Why?”

She shrugged. “I thought you could use it.”

“For what?”

She looked at him and grinned. She grabbed one snowball and tossed it up gently before catching it. Then she turned and threw it at the side of the house. The snow exploded over the dark stone, leaving a beautiful white imprint.

Oh, hell, yeah.

“Seriously? You didn’t lure me out here for a snowball fight?”

She shook her head, that sad look in her eyes again. “You looked like you needed this.”

Henry pulled in a breath, unsure if he was happy she remembered his need to throw things when he was mad, or sad that they were basically strangers who knew each other.

She grabbed another snowball and chucked it at the wall, the packed snow bursting a foot from the first one, and Henry couldn’t resist any longer. He walked over to the pile she’d amassed and tested one. He packed it again, out of instinct, then threw it as hard as he could at the wall.

The blast eased something inside him, ever so slightly. He stood for a moment, enjoying the sight of the snow scattered across the side of his house.

Then threw another one.

And another.

And another.

Cynthia packed snowballs and Henry launched them at the wall. He had no idea how long they were out there. Long enough that the tips of his fingers started to get cold, his gloves soaked through, and he regretted wearing only jeans outside. Cynthia’s nose was red, as were her cheeks, but she didn’t complain. She just kept packing snowballs, not saying a word as Henry threw one after the other at the side of his house.

He finally stopped and looked at her. Really looked at her. She packed another snowball, oblivious to him staring. She looked beautiful with her red face, jeans hugging her lower half. Her white jacket nearly blended in with the snow around them. She finally looked up at him and grinned.

“Feel better?”

He nodded. “Thanks.”

“Any time.”

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Mary