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Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolias #1) by Sherryl Woods Read Online (FREE)

Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolias #1) by Sherryl Woods

Read Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolias, #1) by Sherryl Woods online free here.

1
Maddie focused on the wide expanse of mahogany stretching between her and the man who’d been her husband for twenty years. Half her life. She and William Henry Townsend had been high-school sweethearts in Serenity, South Carolina. They’d married before their senior year in college, not because she was pregnant as some of her hastily married friends had been, but because they hadn’t wanted to wait one more second before starting their lives together.

Then, after they’d graduated, there had been the exhausting years of medical school for Bill, when she’d worked as an entry-level bookkeeper, making poor use of her degree in business, just to keep their heads above water financially. And then the joyous arrival of three kids—athletic, outgoing Tyler, now sixteen, their jokester, Kyle, fourteen, and their surprise blessing, Katie, who was just turning six.

They’d had the perfect life in the historic Townsend family home in Serenity’s oldest neighborhood, surrounded by family and lifelong friends. The passion they’d once shared might have cooled ever so slightly, but they’d been happy.

Or so she’d thought until the day a few months ago when Bill had looked at her after dinner, his expression as distant as a stranger’s, and calmly explained that he was moving out and moving on…with his twenty-four-year-old nurse, who was already pregnant. It was, he’d said, one of those things that just happened. He certainly hadn’t planned to fall out of love with Maddie, much less in love with someone else.

Maddie’s first reaction hadn’t been shock or dismay. Nope, she’d laughed, sure that her intelligent, compassionate Bill was incapable of such a pitiful cliché. Only when his distant expression remained firmly in place did she realize he was stone-cold serious. Just when life had settled into a comfortable groove, the man she’d loved with all her heart had traded her in for a newer model.

In a disbelieving daze, she’d sat by his side while he’d explained to the children what he was doing and why. He’d omitted the part about a new little half brother or sister being on the way. Then, still in a daze, she’d watched him move out.

And after he’d gone, she’d been left to deal with Tyler’s angry acting out, with Kyle’s slow descent into unfamiliar silence and Katie’s heartbroken sobs, all while she herself was frozen and empty inside.

She’d been the one to cope with their shock when they found out about the baby, too. She’d had to hide her resentment and anger, all in the name of good parenting, maturity and peace. There were days she’d wanted to curse Dr. Phil and all those cool, reasoned episodes on which he advised parents that the needs of the children came first. When, she’d wondered, did her needs start to count?

The day of being completely on her own as a single parent was coming sooner than she’d anticipated. All that was left was getting the details of the divorce on paper, spelling out in black and white the end of a twenty-year marriage. Nothing on those pieces of paper mentioned the broken dreams. Nothing mentioned the heartache of those left behind. It was all reduced to deciding who lived where, who drove which car, the amount of child support—and the amount of temporary spousal support until she could stand on her own feet financially or until she married again.