Taking Chances came from a suggestion by a reader, but I quickly fell in love with Lauren's story. She became as precious to me as Cassie. I've been re-reading the book and I wanted to share an excerpt that I love.
She turned back towards the house and smiled, her eyes glistening with tears. He went to her, taking her in his arms as she cried.
"It's all right, Lauren. Mark knew you loved him, I'm sure of that."
"It just hurts so much."
He lifted her chin with his finger to look her in the eyes. "I'm so sorry I never got to meet him. I know Mark was your whole world."
She nodded. "He was just always there. He wasn't just my brother. When my parents died, he became my father, too. When he died I felt that loss all over again."
"Well, now you have me. I know it's not the same as blood, but I'll never turn my back on you. You're my whole world."
Lauren buried her face in his chest, and he felt her shake as she cried. He kissed the top of her head, stroking her hair to comfort her.
"Let's go to bed. I think a snuggle and a good night's sleep is in order."
He felt her laughing now, her shoulders shaking as the giggles took hold.
"What is it?"
"I love how that's our thing. Having a snuggle."
"Me too, baby. Come on."
Ethan led her inside the house, pausing at the door while she went ahead. He looked up at the sky where Lauren had been looking.
She's safe. I'll take care of her from here.
He was sure the stars twinkled in response.
Ariadne Wayne is the pen name of an overworked, often exhausted mother of two who frequently turns to the internet for relaxation. It doesn't always work...