W hen I decided to write about Woods I hadn’t yet envisioned Della. But once I started writing her, wow. I fell in love. It takes more than just me and a MacBook to get a story written, though.
I need to start by thanking my agent, Jane Dystel, who is beyond brilliant. Signing with her was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Thank you, Jane, for helping me navigate through the waters of the publishing world. You are truly a badass.
When I signed with Atria I was lucky enough to be given Jhanteigh Kupihea as my editor. She is always positive and working to make my books the best they can be. Thank you, Jhanteigh, for making my new life with Atria one I am happy to be a part of. The rest of the Atria team: Judith Curr for giving me and my books a chance. Ariele Fredman and Valerie Vennix for always finding the best marketing ideas and being as awesome as they are brilliant.
The friends who listen to me and understand me the way no one else in my life can: Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and Tammara Webber. You three have listened to me and supported me more than anyone I know. Thanks for everything.
When I finished Simple Perfection , I was worried about the major twists I knew no one was expecting. I wanted to know how readers would react. These two ladies always drop what they are doing to read my manuscripts and tell me their honest opinions. I cherish that. Thank you Autumn Hull and Natasha Tomic for being my eager readers and never holding back a punch.
Last but certainly not least:
My family. Without their support I wouldn’t be here. My husband, Keith, makes sure I have my coffee and the kids are all taken care of when I need to lock myself away and meet a deadline. My three kids are so understanding, although once I walk out of that writing cave they expect my full attention and they get it. My parents, who have supported me all along. Even when I decided to write steamier stuff. My friends, who don’t hate me because I can’t spend time with them for weeks at a time because my writing is taking over. They are my ultimate support group and I love them dearly.
My readers. I never expected to have so many of you. Thank you for reading my books. For loving them and telling others about them. Without you I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple.
M y mother hadn’t spoken to me during my father’s funeral. I had gone to comfort her but she turned from me and walked away. There were a lot of things I expected in life, but that hadn’t been one of them. Ever. Nothing that I’d done had affected my mother’s life. However, she’d helped my father as he had tried to destroy mine.
Seeing him lying there cold and still in the casket hadn’t struck me the way I imagined. Everything was too fresh. I hadn’t had time to forgive him. He had hurt Della. I could never forgive that. Even with him dead and buried in the ground I couldn’t forgive what he’d done to her. She was the center of my world.
My mother had been able to see the lack of emotion in my eyes. I wasn’t one for pretending. At least not anymore. A week ago I had walked away from this life I’d been born into without one ounce of remorse. It hadn’t been hard to let it all go. My focus had been on finding Della. The woman who had walked into my life and changed everything. Della Sloane had become my addiction when I hadn’t been available. In all her twisted perfection she had made me fall helplessly in love with her. A life without her in it seemed pointless. I often wondered how people found joy in life without knowing her.
With the sudden death of my father, the life I had just washed my hands of and been so ready to walk away from was now being placed completely on my shoulders. Della had stood beside me quietly from the moment I’d stepped foot back in Rosemary Beach, Florida. Her small hand tucked into mine, she knew when I needed her without my saying anything. A squeeze from her hand would remind me that she was there beside me and I could do this.
Except at this moment she wasn’t with me. She was at my house. I hadn’t wanted to bring her here, to my mother’s house. My mother might have wanted to pretend that I didn’t exist but I now owned everything in her life, including the house she lived in. It came with the country club, and my grandfather had made sure that when my father passed away this would all become mine.
Not once had my father thought this might be something I needed
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