East of Eden by Lee StraussExcerpt from East of Eden
Publication date: November 12th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Regret is a formidable foe.
Eden Kelley is the primary caregiver for her mother who’s in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and she’s only twenty-four. Not what she planned to do when she left her husband for a new start with her four-year-old daughter in tow. She’d hoped for free babysitting, but instead she found a mystery. The discovery of an erroneous marriage document leads to more questions, and unfortunately Eden can’t ask her mother for answers because she doesn’t remember.
Her mother’s antics drive her crazy, but Eden’s determined to make the best of it. That includes finding the exciting romantic adventure she’d dreamed about. But when trouble knocks, it’s her husband Cade who arrives to help. It’s awkward and tense. And Eden comes to one sure conclusion: leaving her handsome, caring husband was a huge mistake.
Her parents had a second chance at love? Would she and Cade get one, too?
Cade clammed up after their trek down memory lane, and Eden didn’t know how to bring up the subject again. Cade found it easier to ignore her with the news channel blaring. Eden remained in the kitchen watching Sophie finish her bedtime snack. “Hurry up, Sophie. It’s time for bed.”
“Ask Daddy to read to me again.”
“You ask him.”
“Okay.” Sophie slipped off her chair onto the floor and skipped into the living room. Eden remained carefully out of sight until she heard them go up the steps. Then she took up her domain in the living room and switched the channel to a sitcom, wondering how Cade would react to that.
He had his jacket with him when he descended the steps.
“Sophie is waiting for you to say her prayers,” he said. Then he left, leaving Eden feeling like a pile of dog crap he just stepped over. She waited up for him until well after midnight, pretending to be lost in a late movie. When he finally arrived, he didn’t say a word about where he had been, and swiftly retreated to his room. Eden was furious.
What was his problem? Besides her?
She wanted to stomp up the steps and rattle around in the bathroom, slamming the door and the like, but she was forced to stay quiet, otherwise, she would wake up Sophie.
The next morning at breakfast, Eden resolved to stay civil.
“Good morning,” she said when Cade came down.
“Good morning,” he acknowledged, then to Sophie, “Good morning, Pumpkin.”
“Daddy!” Sophie jumped into his arms. Eden watched her wistfully, biting her lip as she thought about how much she would love to do the same thing. She turned away and poured herself a coffee.
“Coffee?” she offered.
He shook his head. “I can get it myself.”
Okay. She changed gears.“I’m going to the hospital soon. What are your plans for today?”
Cade turned to Sophie. “What would you like to do?”
“Go to the park, and then buy ice cream.”
Cade smiled at her and nodded. “Sounds good.”
“So? That’s your plan then?” Eden said, hinting. She was jealous. She wanted to be part of their day.
“She’s the boss,” he said. He knew his way around the kitchen well enough to help himself to breakfast.
Sophie was the only one who didn’t seem to have a problem conversing. Her incessant chatter filled what would otherwise have been awkward dead space. “I saw a dog out the window, Daddy, a black one with a long tail.”
“Yeah, and it was on a leash, with a girl taking it for a walk.”
“Can I get a puppy, Daddy?”
Eden jumped in. “We’ve got enough cats around here, Sophie. We don’t need a dog.”
“We’ll talk about it later, Sophie,” Cade said.
“You know, Cade,” Eden said between clenched teeth. “It wouldn’t hurt you to talk to me about it, to perhaps say more than a few words?”
“Just what would you like me to say, Eden?”
It was suddenly very cold, then really hot in the room. Eden watched Sophie, blissfully oblivious to the tension she was sitting amidst.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Anything would do.”
He stood up, carrying his dirty dishes to the sink, his arm brushing against her as he did so. “I think,” he said stiffly, “we’ll talk when you have something to say.”
Lee Strauss writes historical and science fiction/romance for upper YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff under the name Elle Strauss. To find out more about Lee and her books check out her facebook page. Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/elle_strauss to find out about new releases sign up for her newsletter at www.ellestraussbooks.com
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