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Wrecking Ball (Hard to Love #1)
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Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.
Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is…there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.
The protagonist of this stand alone novel has a propensity for profanity and sexual shenanigans. You’ve been warned.
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Cautionary tale ladies, never marry a man who quotes the movie Wall Street like it’s his Bible. If Gordon Gekko is his idol, it’s time to pack your bags. Trust me, I wish somebody had given me the heads up.
“Sign here and here––” instructs the vulture also known as the federal prosecutor, “and this case will officially be closed.” He pushes the stack of papers across the conference table. I grab the pen my lawyer hands me and pause.
“What about the money in my checking and personal savings accounts?”
“Claw back.” He always delivers the worst news in a soft, gender-ambiguous, yet effectively scary voice. I know it well by now. A filthy smile tips up the corners of his mouth. My unflinching glare convinces him to put a lid on it. Then I glance askance at my overpaid lawyer who, as usual, has nothing to add. “Mrs. Blake, the more we recover, the better this will go for you in the event a civil suit is filed.”
“Let me get this straight,” I say, exasperated beyond measure because after living this nightmare for three years, I have no patience or filter left. “Even though my husband never used any of the investor’s money for our personal use, you can still confiscate every single thing we own?”
“Mrs. Blake––” he says very softly.
“But he was only covering losses!”
“Mrs. Blake––your husband could’ve stopped after one, two, even three years. But he didn’t. He ran this Ponzi scheme until his unfortunate demise. And had he lived, there’s a very good chance he’d still be running it. In the last five years of his life, he didn’t earn an honest dollar. Who do you think owns all that stuff?”
I swear if he says ‘Mrs. Blake’ one more time I’m going to take this pen and drive into my carotid artery. He has a point though. The management fees Matt had been charging hadn’t been honestly earned when all he managed to do was lose money for his clients.
“Like I said, there’s still a very good chance the victims will file a civil suit,” he repeats, delivering this precious gem with a gleam in his hard eyes.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out…cannot have a panic attack now.
The last thing I want to do is to reward the sadistic turd. I check my mental Rolodex for a soothing image to focus on and get a momentary flash of my husband instead.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe…breathe, bitch, breathe before you pass out.
It’s incomprehensible to me how Matt could have done such a thing. Matthew Edward Blake was my high school sweetheart, the love of my life, the ying to my yang. He was the man I shared my first dance, first kiss, first everything with. He was also the man that had been lying to me for years. And I didn’t have a goddamn clue.
You can’t blame me. We didn’t lead an extravagant life. Idyllic, maybe, but not extravagant. That is, right up until three years ago, when on a cold winter night the police showed up at my front door to inform me that my husband’s car had to be fished out of the Hudson River, along with his body, and the course of my life was forever altered.
That was just the beginning. The investigation came next.
Ambition was always a facet of Matt’s personality. That was never in question. So he liked bright shiny objects, so what. Matt wasn’t greedy. He was always kind and generous with those around him. Hence, I chose to see it as a positive. My ambitions were of a different nature. Being a good wife. Making sure every child that entered my third grade classroom received the best education possible. That’s all that has ever mattered to me.
Did I have aspirations that included becoming a CEO of a fortune five hundred company? No. Did I dream of winning a Pulitzer? No. Qualifying for the Olympics? Mmmnnno. And if that sets the feminist movement back fifty years, then so be it.
For a while, I considered getting a Masters in child development. Until Matt persuaded me that I would eventually be too busy raising our children. There was nothing ever unreasonable about what he wanted. He never gave me cause to doubt him. Therefore, as a good wife, I supported my man. I’m a team player after all, loyal to a fault. If Matt wanted the house in Connecticut that we really couldn’t afford, I went along with it. When he got me the BMW I said I didn’t need or want––well, he was just being generous.
Things are nice, but I had family, friends, and the love of my life. Matt always wanted more. It was never enough. There was a certain restlessness in him that I never cared to look at too closely. In hindsight, I wish I had––I’ll forever be sorry I was too much of a coward to deal with it––because something keeps needling my conscious like a splinter I can’t see yet can feel every so often. And now that he’s gone, I’ll never know where it all went wrong.