Seeking Happily Ever After (Ever After #8) - Elena Aitken Page 0,1
the math. It didn’t add up.
Amelia couldn’t be his. Not biologically. He hadn’t known that when Jessica’s sister, Lacy, had appeared at his friend’s wedding six months ago and unceremoniously dumped the baby with him, declaring him the father. It hadn’t been until the days and weeks after when he knew it with certainty and had begun the investigation into where exactly Jessica was and why she didn’t want to be a mother.
He scrolled through the file his private investigator had provided him with, even though he already knew it by heart.
There was nothing positive in it. Drugs. Alcohol. A series of men. Crappy apartments.
Until very recently.
Jessica had a steady job now. She was clean. She’d rented a townhouse with a small yard, in a decent neighborhood.
All good signs that she was getting her life together.
Nick clicked the phone off and gazed down at the now sleeping baby. His heart swelled with a love he didn’t even know was possible to feel until Amelia had been dropped into his life.
And now, he couldn’t imagine his life without her. Which was why he couldn’t stop thinking about how to make sure he never would have to.
Charlotte Davis clicked through the photos her mother, Darlene, had emailed her for the real estate listing they were working on. Dishes piled on the counter, with every type of appliance ever invented covering every inch of space. Dirty dishtowels hung from the oven and refrigerator door.
Char tried not to roll her eyes and even though her mother hadn’t asked, she jotted down a few notes about how to make the space look more appealing. It wouldn’t take much to transform the space. She couldn’t completely tell from the photos, but it looked like the kitchen itself was pretty nice, with a classic white tile backsplash and granite countertops that should be showcased instead of cluttered up.
Her parents, Darlene and Dwayne Davis, had been Glacier Falls’ top real estate agents, and had recently come back out of retirement to take advantage of the market that was starting to heat up. In their absence, things had changed. A lot.
Not only was Glacier Falls starting to become a hot spot for city folk who were desperate to escape the hustle and bustle and experience the beauty of the mountains and all that was offered with small-town living, but there was more competition between agents. Maybe Char didn’t have much experience in real estate, but it didn’t take an expert to see that the photos her mother had sent over were terrible, and were not going to help get top dollar for the house.
Charlotte sighed and dropped her chin to her chest in a quick neck stretch.
She was grateful her parents had offered her the job, to be sure. But working for her parents when she was thirty-two years old because she’d just had to move home to live with them after an epically failed relationship was not exactly where Charlotte thought she would be in her life at this point.
Not even close.
But it was better than the alternative. She still shuddered when she thought about the poor decision-making that had led her to a relationship with Billy Grant, the man she’d met with an online dating app. He’d seemed like a good guy, if not a little rough around the edges, when they’d first started talking online and then moved things to phone and video calls. He’d really cared about her and what she was interested in and what she was doing. He proclaimed his love early and often. All signs that, in hindsight, should have alerted her, but her judgment was off.
No. It was completely malfunctioning.
It made her so angry with herself to think about how she’d fallen for him and had ignored all the red flags that had been so apparent. She was smarter than that. Yet, when he’d asked her to move across the country to be with him, she hadn’t even hesitated. She quit her interior design job with an up-and-coming home builder in the city, sold everything she owned, pushed away her family’s concerns and had jumped on a plane to Halifax. Only three months later, it had become clear that Billy Grant was not the sweet, caring, happily ever after she’d dreamed he was.
He was a controlling narcissist who’d managed to, piece by piece, strip away her self-esteem and self-worth until she didn’t even recognize herself. It wasn’t until after Christmas when her parents came for a visit that she had begun