Loving your sisters is easy. Liking them is the hard part.
Brenna Ebans always wanted more than what Hill n’Valley could give her, so it seemed a simple decision to follow her black-sheep sister Dory’s footsteps and leave Hill n’Valley in her rearview, hoping to locate their missing father. Leaving her sisters and her first love Seamus was harder than she thought, she’s made a life for herself in Vancouver, started her career at a prestigious law firm, and has found the man of her dreams. But when she finds her husband Toby in a compromising position at work, she loses both her love and her job, and has nowhere to go but home.
Youngest sister Cat has remained in Hill n’Valley, leaving a string of broken hearts—and ex-husbands—in her wake. She’s happy living in the family home, with the ghost of their dead mother to keep her company during the day, and her latest conquest—Brenna’s old boyfriend, Seamus—to keep her warm at night. And she’s less than thrilled to hear about Brenna’s return.
But when tragedy strikes, it brings their father back to Hill n’Valley, and the three sisters will have a lot of issues to resolve…
One little decision changed my life.
The choice I made to follow my husband into the supply closet at work was it for me.
I was in the middle of finalizing the paperwork of a 2.5 billion dollar acquisition for one of my most problematic clients when my sister Cayleigh called. I almost didn’t take the call. I loved my sister dearly but talking to her on the phone meant a certain guilt trip about why I couldn’t find the time to come home for a visit. I much preferred our weekly email communications. Yes, it’d been fourteen years since I’d left home at eighteen and no, I hadn’t managed to come home even once since then. At first it was because I couldn’t afford the ticket to fly home halfway across the country and then it was because of being swamped with school and then work and then…
Instead of trying to justify it to myself, I picked up the phone with a last longing look at the neat file on my desk. I’d been surviving on pure adrenaline for the past three days trying to get the deal done and to everyone’s amazement, but mine, I had done it. I had found the one little loophole that had changed everything and put the power back in my client’s hands. Complicated yes, tedious to some, but I loved my work. It left me no time or inclination for a social life and my hours spent at work both in the office and at home aggravated my husband Toby to no end, but I loved it.
At least I told myself I loved it.
I was listening to Cayleigh tell me some story when my assistant Krystal poked her head into my office to drop another file on my desk with a big smile. There were two yellow post-it notes: “Call them ASAP” with a happy face and “I’m leaving in 10 mins”, with an even bigger happy face. It was already five thirty on a Monday and I wasn’t getting out of here anytime soon. I was going to have to cancel yet another dinner with Toby. We both worked for Davis and Daniels, Attorneys at Law, so it was possible he was as swamped as I was.
Doubtful. My hours at the firm were so long these days that Toby had given up driving me home from work, forcing me to take the bus if I worked late because I didn’t have my own car. I should have really found time to buy a car.
“Are you coming home for Addison’s wedding?” Cayleigh asked, over the phone. I pulled myself back to the reason Cayleigh had called. “Maggie said you haven’t sent your RSVP back.” Addison was the oldest daughter of my oldest sister Maggie and I didn’t remember being told she was engaged let alone being invited to the wedding. I definitely had no clue who she was marrying. I rummaged through my inbox as Cayleigh tried to guilt me into going home for the wedding. I had two inboxes on my desk—one for personal matters and one for work. The contents of the work one were spread over my desk in an orderly manner while the personal one was overflowing and neglected. I spent the majority of my time in my office so I had begun to get my mail forwarded there about a year ago.
“Oh, Cay…work is just so crazy and—” There was the invitation; still unopened in the middle of the pile with my name written in sparkly green ink, along with a credit card bill and an invitation to join the newest fitness center in the area. “It’s been really bad—really busy,” I corrected. “I’m doing this deal and no one thought it was going to come together but I managed it and—”
“You’re always busy. You work over Christmas and you never take vacations. Look at how late it is and you’re still there. It’s been years since you’ve been home, Brenna, and if it wasn’t for your Facebook page, which you never update anyway, I wouldn’t remember what you look like. Come home.” I was readying my arguments but Cayleigh didn’t give me the chance. “Addison’s wedding is in two weeks. Maggie needs you to be there. It’s her daughter. It’s Maggie.”
I pushed the air out of my lungs with a puff. Our older sister Maggie had guided me through my teenage years after our mother died and while my devotion to her hadn’t gotten me back home, Cayleigh knew I would do just about anything else for her. Any mention of Maggie would also make me feel pretty guilty about not going back.
The sight of my husband Toby walking by the open door of my office distracted me once again from my phone call. I raised a hand in greeting but he continued on without glancing in, leaving me with a hand suspended in the air. “I’ll call you back,” I told Cayleigh.
“I will, just let me check my schedule. Call you right back.” I had hung up before I even finished speaking and hurried to the door of my tiny little box of an office. Davis and Daniels occupied three floors of a high rise in downtown Vancouver and Toby, being the next in line for partner, had one of the cushy top floor offices. What was he doing down there, if it wasn’t to see me? I caught sight of him at the end of the hall, but he stepped into one of the supply closets before I could call to him.
We’d been steadily fighting for weeks, months really, about my inability to make time for him. Toby was just as busy as I was at work, but seemed to be able to shut it down when he came home, which I’d never been able to. I hated fighting. It’s not that Toby and I would have real fights—more like he would make snarky comments I would pretend to ignore because I didn’t know how to respond to them. We did have a pretty heated discussion when I told him I had to go into work last Sunday, but had I left before resolving anything. Toby hated it when things were left hanging. He needed things packaged up with a neat little bow, but problems in life weren’t always that easy.
Because of that discussion, I decided to follow Toby down the hall. The particular supply closet he ducked into held a fond memory for us, back when Toby had recruited me for the firm, and then for himself. I had a rare smile on my face as I took off after him.
The room wasn’t more than a big closet with shelves separating the space. I smiled even wider when I opened the door and saw Toby’s handsome face through a space on the shelves. He seemed surprised to see me. But not that happy.
“Brenna!” he said in a strangled voice. There was a thump and a crash.
“Hi,” I said tentatively. “I thought maybe…”
And then all words failed me as I stepped around the shelves. Toby stood with his pants around his ankles and a woman kneeling in front of him. From the back of her head, I recognized my assistant, Krystal.
Along with my writing and raising my three amazing kids with my equally amazing husband, I have a day job in a bookstore and therefore need a few more hours in each day, just like everyone else! A self-professed geek, I love anything to do with Star Wars, superheroes, Joss Whedon and Harry Potter. I also enjoy running, playing in the dirt and a glass or two of wine with friends.
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