Things have been a bit nuts for me lately, but I want to share this before the month disappears completely. In the End was selected as one of iBooks 25 best books of the month!
To say I was excited to find this out is an understatement. Out of all of my books, it feels right that it's happened with this one. Sam and Natasha's story is something special.
Here's the gorgeous graphic iBooks sent me to share. :D
It was Tuesday.
I don’t know why proposing to Vanessa became a Tuesday thing. Maybe it’s because I first met her on a Tuesday. I bet anything Vanessa doesn’t even remember that fact, but I do.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed, and reached for the clothes I left out the night before. Vanessa was already out of bed, making the most of the later shift she was working this week. By the time she got home tonight, Isabella would already be asleep.
It sucked, but it was just a part of life. She’d had to spend longer on her internship, having taken time out to have our baby. It’d be worth it in the end, but we were nearly at the point where she’d completed that stage of her career.
Dragging my clothes on, I made my way out to the kitchen.
She stood at the bench, whisking eggs in a bowl. Isabella sat on the floor, just outside the kitchen, playing with her toys.
“Good morning.” I said.
“Daddy!” Isabella stood, launching herself at my legs, and I reached down and scooped her up into my arms.
“How’s my girl? Being good for Mummy?”
She looked at me with the big hazel eyes she shared with Vanessa and grinned, cupping my face and planting a kiss on my nose.
“Hey. That’s my move.”
“She started doing that yesterday. I’m surprised she didn’t catch you last night.” Vanessa laughed.
I smiled. “She flaked right after dinner.” Tickling little Ella until she giggled, I dropped her down and she returned to playing with her toys.
“I hate working this shift.” Vanessa turned back to what she’d been doing, and I wrapped my arms around her waist, dropping my nose to her neck. Caressing her thighs, I ran my hands up her body until I cupped her breasts.
“Connor, Ella’s right there.”
“She’s not paying any attention to us, and you’ve got your back to her. I hate this shift as well. Lucky it’s only for a two weeks every two months.”
Leaning her head back on my shoulder, she sighed. “Maybe I should become a GP and work days.”
“Whatever you want to do is fine by me.” I planted a kiss on her neck.
“It’s hard to focus when you do that.”
“Marry me.” Might as well get her when she’s distracted.
I groped her breasts before running one hand down to between her legs. “I’ll be waiting for you tonight. No falling asleep, I promise.”
“Better keep that promise, or else.”
“Or else what?”
She twisted free, turning toward me. “You’ll be in so much trouble. Now, let me get breakfast finished so you can get to work and I can get on with spending some time with my daughter.”
People sometimes didn’t get our relationship. Vanessa could be sweet, and she could also be sour, but I loved every aspect of her personality. I always knew where I stood with her, and her love for our family was raw and unconditional. From the outside she could be prickly, but when Vanessa loved, it was everything.
I sat at my desk and flicked on the computer. It was the end of the month, and today would be a bitch as I analysed billing data for the internet provider I worked at. Back when Isabella was born, I’d been able to spend more time at home. The company had grown, and with it; so had my responsibilities.
Maybe if I got through as much as I could today, I could slip off a little early and spend time with my little girl. Sure, we got time together at the weekends, when Vanessa wasn’t working, but every single second counted. I missed them both when I wasn’t with them.
“Wanna order in for lunch today?” My boss, Terry, asked.
“That’d be great. If I can get everything out of the way, I’d like to leave a bit earlier today.”
He smiled. “Should be fine. You work hard, Connor. As long as I’ve got my reports, you can go.”
“Thanks, boss. I want to spend some time with my daughter before she falls asleep. She was so tired last night.”
Terry sighed. “I understand. My girls never see enough of me.”
He disappeared back into his office, and I turned my attention back to my computer.
“I think that was his way of telling us to work through lunch.” Colin, my colleague, spoke up.
I laughed. “I think you’re right.”
Opening the programme that collected the data, all I could do was watch as it downloaded.
The sooner the day was over, the better.
By lunchtime, I’d made a huge amount of headway. Colin had coded a new piece of software to help us and this was the first month he’d put it into production. It was processing data like a dream, and we both grinned when the pizza turned up.
“You’ll be good to go early, Connor,” Colin said. “This’ll be done in an hour.”
“That’s brilliant. I’m freaking starving. Let’s eat.”
I picked up a piece of pizza from the box. Grease dripped from it, and I screwed up my face as I set it on a napkin.
Colin laughed. “Gross, but delicious.”
“It’s only the delicious part that matters.”
I kept an eye on my screen as the computer went through its tasks.
This morning, Vanessa said yes. Well, she said okay, which is as good as yes. I mean, it means … Even my thoughts are jumbled. Two years, one hundred and seven proposals.
At least, I think that’s what she said.
I picked up the phone and dialled her mobile. If I was lucky, I’d catch her at a good time, otherwise I’d have to wait until tonight to confirm what I thought I’d heard.
“Hey,” she said as she answered.
“You said okay.”
She chuckled down the phone. “Yes, Connor. I said okay.”
“So that’s a yes?”
Vanessa hesitated. “It’s nearly 1.30 p.m. Have you just worked that out?”
“Well, you said no a hundred and six times.”
“Maybe the hundred and seventh is the charm?”
I laughed. “I so want to kiss you right now.”
Across the room, Colin, stared at me with raised eyebrows.
“Well, if you’re a good boy, I’ll see if I can find someone to cover the second half of my shift and try and get home early.”
I sighed. “I would like that very much. Love you, Ness.”
“Love you too, you doofus. I’ll text you and let you know what’s going on.”
“See, now you’re saying okay. It must be our thing.”
Laughing I rolled my eyes. “Must be. See you tonight. Bye.”
I grinned at Colin as I hung up the phone. “Vanessa and I just got engaged.”
He smiled back. “Really? Over the phone?”
“No, at seven this morning. I’ve asked her every week since Isabella was born and she said no. This morning she said yes. I was so used to hearing no, I didn’t even hear it.”
He laughed. “Congratulations, man. She must really be worth it if you asked her that many times.”
Nothing could wipe the smile off my face. “I would have asked her every week for eternity if I’d had to.”
Getting home was an even bigger priority now.
She said yes.
Here's a post I never thought I'd write.
In a Lifetime was supposed to be a standalone. But a couple of things happened that stopped that.
When I sent it to my editor, one of her comments was that it was a great series starter. The other thing that turned it into a series was me falling completely and utterly in love with the characters.
The book ended, and I wanted to know what happened with Finn. Did he find out the truth about his parentage? Could they ever become one big happy family, dealing with the aftermath of the events of In a Lifetime?
Besides, I wanted to write more Vanessa. The much younger, snarky sister of Ella, she deserved a whole book to herself. So, I decided to write one.
Then, to fill the gap, I wrote In an Instant. This isn't essential to read between the two books, but I loved writing my favourite characters, their love for each other, and their love for their family.
In a Heartbeat is Vanessa's story. Her story is similar to Ella's in that there is love and loss, heartache and triumph. At her core is that snarky girl, but she's older and trying to be more responsible.
What also surprised me were the comments requesting more Sam. Readers wanted him to have some resolution, or to find out what happened to him. I really tossed up writing a book for him because there are some things that can't be forgiven, and I'd already faced a backlash writing Andrew's redemption book in the Friends series. People still comment that they don't want to read that because of Andrew's actions in Loving Rowan.
Despite this, once the seed was planted, I couldn't get the idea out of my head. So, I decided to compromise with myself. I want to see how Finn's relationship with Sam plays out, and how he handles finding out the truth about his father. Plus, I have what I think is an amazing story for him. He's older, more mature and has had his love life on hold since everything blew up in his face.
So, In the End will be out first quarter of 2017. It's Sam's story, but it's also Finn's. Of all the characters I love, I think he deserves a happy ending too. ;)
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...