His Best Friend's Widow
His Best Friend's Widow
- Purchase the E-book Instantly
- Receive Download Link via Email
- Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy!
- Single Mom
- Bachelor for life
When Hailey’s husband died, she vowed that she alone would provide for her children. Her heart couldn’t suffer any more hurt and her children needed her more than ever. Even still, she aches for someone to lean on and share life.
Landon swore to his best friend that he would watch over his wife and kids, but how does a man even begin to take on a promise that big? A fun-loving bachelor could never fit into family life, no matter how much he might enjoy it.
In a moment of desperation, Hailey reaches out to Landon for help, but when he comes to her aid, he realizes he’s not been keeping his promise. After he gets a taste of Hailey’s struggles as a single parent, he knows he can’t let them live this way.
The more Landon is around, the more Hailey longs to open up to him and as their feelings grow, so does Landon’s guilt. Soon they discover that unspoken love is almost as heavy a burden as promises unkept.
Can Landon and Hailey let go of their fears and embrace their chance at happiness?
Chapter One Look Inside
Chapter One Look Inside
Hailey Peterson hated being alone. She was afraid of the dark as a child and refused to sleep in her bed by herself. When she was older, she attached herself to friends, never wanting to go anywhere without someone.
These days it was hard to say she was alone in a house where three kids were running wild. That didn’t mean she didn’t feel lonely.
Hailey put one hand to her forehead as she used the other one to stir the taco meat on the stove. She used to say she could eat tacos every day. Tonight she wished for anything else, but tacos was one of the few meals she could guarantee her kids would eat without complaining, and tonight that was the only thing she could muster.
“Charlotte,” Hailey called out to her oldest daughter. “Will you please set the table? Dinner will be ready in five minutes.”
“Yes, ma’am,” ten-year-old Charlotte responded as she walked to the kitchen. Hailey didn’t know what she would do without her.
Hailey tucked her shoulder-length brown hair behind one ear as she bit her lip. If Kyle were here, he could reach the bag of tortilla chips on the top shelf of the pantry. But with her short stature, Hailey needed a stool to climb up and reach. Once she retrieved them, she dragged herself to the refrigerator and pulled out a bag of shredded cheese, and containers of sour cream and salsa. Gone were the days of spending an hour in the kitchen, enjoying crafting a special meal for her family. It was all she could do to get a meal on the table and resist going through a drive-through on her way home from work.
Hailey brushed her hands down the front of her black dress pants, second-hand from her younger sister who gave her a box full of clothes when Hailey took a job. “Ellie and Carter, go wash your hands and come to the table.” The two younger kids were playing a rowdy game in the living room and didn’t even hear her. “Ellie,” Hailey repeated to her eight-year-old daughter, “Go now.” She paused and waited for her to respond. “Carter,” Hailey raised her voice at the six-year-old who was now climbing over the back of the couch. “Get down from there. You know you’re not supposed to do that.” Hailey blew out a big breath. Her husband was the one who had let him play rough, even at a young age. After two girls, Hailey had wanted to let him have his buddy to wrestle with.
Now it was all just a big reminder that he wasn’t here.
“Come on, guys,” she tried to keep the frustration out of her voice, but it was a challenge. All she wanted was to collapse in bed and watch a movie, or maybe take a hot bubble bath with the lights down low. These days that was a pipe dream. By the time she got everyone fed, it would be baths, homework, and dishes. And once they were in bed, there would be laundry and making lunches for the next day. She’d heard the expression burning the candle at both ends, but she was pretty sure she was also melting in the middle.
“Mommy,” Carter came up beside her and spoke in the sweet little voice that meant he was about to ask for something.
“Can we have ice cream after dinner?” He smiled that million-dollar smile, and his eyes twinkled.
Hailey’s heart twisted in a mixture of joy and sadness, seeing him look so much like his dad. “I don’t think so. It’s a school night, and we don’t need that much sugar right before bed.”
“So tomorrow?” Carter asked with a grin.
Hailey ruffled his hair. “Tomorrow is Friday, so maybe.”
“Yes!” Carter jumped with a fist pumping in the air.
“Right now, go wash up for dinner.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Carter said, scampering off.
Hailey attempted a smile, but even her cheek muscles were too tired.
“Mom,” Charlotte asked from the table where she was setting out plates and silverware. “Can I spend the night at Grandma’s this weekend?”
Hailey tried to keep her face even and held in a sigh. “I’m not sure. I don’t know if they have plans.”
“Can I call and ask?” Charlotte asked, her voice full of excitement.
Hailey bit her lip. Charlotte didn’t have to say it, but she knew it would be more fun at her grandparents’ house. Weekends with Hailey were about catching up on everything they were behind on. Which was actually everything. There would be errands and extra cleaning and grocery shopping and laundry. What kid would want to hang around for that? “Not tonight,” she answered Charlotte. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes and dropped her shoulders. She probably guessed that Hailey meant no. She wanted to be able to let them go and have fun, but she would worry over them every second they were gone.
That seemed to be all she did these days. Worry about work, about money, about the kids’ school, about feeding them enough vegetables. Worry that there wasn’t enough of her to go around.
“Mama,” Ellie came walking into the kitchen holding her hands high in the air. “Look, nice and clean.” She beamed as she smiled at her mom. Unlike Carter, Ellie was like looking in a mirror. As the middle child, Ellie was the one always looking for approval, and Hailey hoped and prayed every day she would know she was enough.
“Great job, Ellie girl.” Hailey turned and reached for the condiments. “Will you take these to the table? I’ll bring the meat, and we can fix our tacos over there.”
“Can I eat mine on chips?” Ellie asked.
“Yes, you can. Come on now, scoot.”
Hailey forced a smile as her little family gathered around the table. She bowed her head as the kids closed their eyes, and she thanked God for their food. She didn’t say what she wanted to, though. That she was thankful that they all made it home safely to eat dinner together.
And that she would never get over that her husband hadn’t done the same.