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5 Beach Reads for 19.99 - Ebook Bundle

5 Beach Reads for 19.99 - Ebook Bundle

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The Hidden Treasures series is about women who aren't where they think they should be in their lives but refuse to give up on their dreams. The only constant thing is their friendships. They discover a hidden treasure of strength, love, and courage as they try to rebuild their lives. During their self-discovery journey, they encounter men who see the treasure within them and are willing to fight to stand by their side.

Main Tropes

  • Second Chance Romance
  • Small Town Romance
  • Women Friendship

Synopsis

The Hidden Treasures series is about women who aren't where they think they should be in their lives but refuse to give up on their dreams. The only constant thing is their friendships. As they try to rebuild their lives, they discover a hidden treasure of strength, love, and courage. During their self-discovery journey, they encounter men who not only see the treasure within them but are willing to fight to stand by their side.Long Book DescriptionThe Hidden Treasures series is about women who aren't where they think they should be in their lives but refuse to give up on their dreams. The only constant thing is their friendships. As they try to rebuild their lives, they discover a hidden treasure of strength, love, and courage. During their self-discovery journey, they encounter men who not only see the treasure within them but are willing to fight to stand by their side.

Intro into Chapter One

Chapter
One

 

Ava
looked around the apartment she was moving into. She tried not to focus on the
man who had been her husband for twenty years bringing in her belongings. She
also tried not to focus on her children looking around the apartment checking
out her new one-bedroom. It was silly to still call them kids. The youngest was
sixteen and had urged her to get the divorce. Her son was eighteen and had told
her he was happy that she was doing something for herself. Still, he admitted there
was a tiny part of him that wished she had done it last year when he would have
been eligible for double Christmas presents with his parents in two separate
houses.

As
she stood in her apartment, it all became so real. Ava watched Victor Theodore
Reynolds move her into this one-bedroom apartment as if she were a friend who
had called him over to help out, as opposed to the woman he had spent half his
life with and who was the mother of his children. She had to remind herself she
had decided to leave and move here on her own to get a fresh start.

Everyone
had told them not to marry just because she had gotten pregnant. Victor’s
parents weren’t for the union, and Ava’s mother didn’t think she was ready to
deal with men, and she should come live with her in her house until she could
get on her feet.

Ava
remembered telling Victor about the baby and him placing his hands on her
stomach. They had promised each other right then that it would be them against
the world. Neither one of them had finished college. They figured they would go
into computers and get certifications to earn their way.

Night
after night, both would study, with Ava making coffee and crib runs so they
could both be network engineers. Whatever new certification came out, they
studied together since studying wasn’t Victor’s strong suit. Two children later,
she had thought they had it all.

The
early years had been full of struggle and laughter. Those times had been hard,
and money had been scarce, but they had each other. Then, as money came and the
children got older, Victor wanted to do more things with his family, and it was
made clear she was not a part of that picture. His family wanted to see the
kids more, and Ava couldn’t understand because she was raised in a single-parent
home.

Years
of trying to balance what was best for the kids and best for Victor had taken their
toll on Ava. Her perfect home was evolving without her. Then, ten years into
the marriage, Victor had explained that things had changed. He realized that he
and his family understood each other and knew what was best for the kids. They
had the money to give them the best schools and the best chance in life. Ava
had to stop interfering. The kids should spend more time with his parents than
Ava.

Ava
had known then; the marriage was over. Her first instinct was to pick up her
kids and leave. But she was haunted by the scenes from her own childhood.
Sitting in a judge’s chambers being asked about her parents, as if a ten-year-old
could choose. So, she decided to wait until the kids understood and that day
had come. So, she found everyone helping her move out of the house and into her
own place.

When
she had made the decision, she waited for the kids and Victor to try to talk
her out of it or to have some sort of a reaction, but it never came. The only
question that had been put to her as she packed her things in plastic
containers was from Victor. He wanted the list of handyman work to fix the
house to give to his mother for review.

Ava
buried her anger and resentment as they all moved about her apartment as if she
were embarking on a new adventure. She didn’t want a new adventure. She wanted
what she knew. She wanted it to be right. She wanted to not be a failure,
especially at something she thought was going to last forever.

She
also didn’t want to make any waves with the kids. She felt used and thrown away,
and if she were honest with herself, a little desperate. Those were her kids.
She had homeschooled them and helped them study for all of those special exams
to those gifted schools. She had stayed up with them when they were sick. Ava
had taken them to the park and loved them with all that she had. Now, she was
being punished for wanting a life—for wanting to be with someone who wanted to
be with her. 

After
they had gone, Ava sat down on her new couch in her large living room with two
bay windows and cried. The tears started as silent trails down her face and continued
until the pain coiled in her stomach and made her bend over in heartbroken
sobs.

Hours
later, she sat up in the dark and found her cellphone on the floor, a beacon of
light in the dark room. It was a group text from her girlfriends, Karina and
Margo.

Karina:
I know you can’t see it, but this, too, shall pass, and you’ll survive, just
like me.

Margo:
I know  you’re being kind, but you
might feel better if you take him for all he has, I’m just saying.

Ava
looked at the text and smiled. She wasn’t sure if she could embrace Karina’s
words yet, and she didn’t have it in her to be as vindictive as Margo wanted,
no matter how much Victor deserved it. Her heart still ached, and her soul was
still weeping, but she knew she had her friends to help her through one day at
a time. So, for now, she’d do what she was good at. She’d rebuild herself into
something better than before.

* * *

 It took Ava the better part of the afternoon
to find her way to the shared office space that she had managed for Victor. The
room was a fire trap waiting to happen. There was only one window to let in any
light. An old desk sat in front of that window, so that whoever worked there would
benefit from the only natural light in the room. The other two walls were lined
with green metal cabinets that had been donated from the city building. The
office could have served as a set for some gumshoe movie. Instead, it was the
backdrop of her life for the last decade.

Ava
did what she always did, finished what she started. There were several boxes in
the room, and she began to pack up the paper files into them. She had already
agreed to do this when Victor had asked her earlier. It must have been madness on
her part to agree, but she had agreed, nonetheless, and she always kept her
word.

She
had already labeled the boxes and was just putting the files in them for
transport. Like the rest of her life, it had been compartmentalized and
marginalized all at once.

Ava
jumped at a knock on the office door.

“I
bet Karina dinner that you’d be here keeping your word to that louse,” Margo
said as she plucked some imaginary dust from her hair. Margo was the only woman
Ava knew who went to the hairdresser every week, and still, she wasn’t happy
with her hair.

Shaking
her head over her apparent loss was Karina Vale, dressed in her jeans and looking
comfy. She had traded out corporate wear when she decided to run her medical
billing company from home. She did the most claims for a company her size, and
her collection rate made people come to her. On top of that, she passed all of
her audits.

Ava
stood up, bringing the box she was working on with her and placing it on the
desk.

“Karina,
I can’t believe you would have taken that bet. You know me. Just because other
people decide to forget what they’ve promised and move on doesn’t mean I do. I won’t
change me because of them.”

Margo
shook her head and Karina rolled her eyes.

“I
was hoping that you’d be so fed up that you’d make an exception this time and
just give him the finger,” Karina said, stomping her foot every third word. “I
was hoping that when we got here, you would need help setting the place on
fire, just like they do in all of those movies, and then the women walk away in
slow motion with the flames burning behind them,” Karina said with her hands
waving in the air as if she were painting the image in the sky for all to see.

Margo
tsked.

“I
wasn’t aware that was even a possible plan, or I would have dodged all of the
cameras coming here, and it would have been at night,” Margo replied to Karina.
Then she turned to Ava. “While that plan was not on my radar, I have to say I
was thinking about doing something that would have a financial impact on Vic.”

Karina
shook her fist in the air. “Financial impact? No, no, no, I want him to be on
his knees begging!”

Ava
looked at her friends and a smile came to her face. They were the best of
friends in the worst of situations to have.

“I
think it’s a good thing I don’t do revenge because if I did, between the two of
you, I’d have too many options.”

“No
revenge?” Karina repeated, looking at Margo. “After Daniel and I broke up, I
bought a grill and burned some items. It was very cathartic.”

“Well,
I think you two are amazing because I can’t manage the infested waters of
marriage,” Margo chimed in. “Looking at you two, I feel like I’m saving myself
tons of heartache.”

Karina
nodded. “I know when I pulled away from Daniel, I left it open for Victoria to
reach out to him, but she just stopped. I’ve always wondered how much of it was
her and how much of it was him trying to be faithful to me.”

Margo
threw up her hands at that. “Stop it. I can’t listen to the woe-is-me party of
who had the worst ex. I think we need to regroup at my place so we can have a
pow-wow.”

“A
pow-wow. I think that all of the chiefs have left and the decisions are made,”
Ava said.

“Nonsense,
if all the chiefs have left, that just means all of the women with commonsense
can now have a say and speak sensibly to the tribe,” Margo said.

Ava
laughed. “Are we a tribe now?”

Margo
laughed. “The best kind. We’ve taken the men’s goodies and then kicked them to
the curb so we can live richer and fuller lives. That’s what we have to get on
with—the living part. That includes you, Ava.”

Ava
looked at her friends and realized they were up to something. “Okay, guys,
spill it!”

Margo
ushered them both toward the door. “Leave the boxes. Our future awaits, and I
need us at my place so I can think. I need calming music and expensive snack
food to be able to plan properly.”

Ava
picked up her bag and followed Karina, but she threw the question over her
shoulder to Margo. “What are we planning now?”

“We’re planning your
tomorrow and how you’re going to give your ex a run for his money. Literally!”

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