Single motherdoesn'tseek loveRaising a teenager kept widow Aimee Blake too busy for a relationship. Or so she said. Her daughter was trying--with all her rebellious might--to cut the apron strings. So Aimee took some "me time." She attended a singles group and met a handsome counselor as not interested in romance as she was. With his painful family past and a failed engagement Jacob Mallory was a one-date kind of man. These days he committed only to his work. Problem was Aimee had discovered that she and Jacob were made for each other...
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May 31, 2008
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Excerpt from Made for Each Other by Irene Brand
"You're going to do what?"
Aimee Blake pivoted quickly away from the vanity where she was applying her makeup and stared at her daughter. With a bulging backpack slung over her shoulder, Samantha leaned carelessly against the doorjamb, her face serene, as if she hadn't just tossed a bombshell in her mother's lap.
"I'm going to ride to school with Jennifer. She's picking me up."
"Duh--because she can drive now," Samantha said, avoiding her mother's stare. "Jennifer's parents bought her the most awesome car. I'll just ride to school with her from now on."
"Without asking me if it's okay?"
Samantha rolled her heavily made-up, smoky-gray eyes, too heavily made up for Aimee's taste. "Puh-leeze, Mom. I'm not a kid anymore."
"Well, at fourteen, you aren't an adult, either," Aimee stated decisively. "Besides, Jennifer hasn't had her driver's license more than a month."
Samantha shrugged dismissively. "So? She hasn't gotten a ticket. Proves she's a safe driver."
Aimee stifled a grin. Even in her frustration, she was amused at Samantha's adolescent reasoning. Before she could discuss it any further with Samantha, Jennifer Nibert's screeching tires announced her arrival as she sped into the driveway. A slamming car door indicated that she was on her way to the house.
"You can go with Jennifer this morning, but we'll discuss the future tonight," Aimee said quietly. She stepped into the hallway a second before the front door opened and Jennifer wandered inside. As usual, Aimee was startled by the girl's appearance. She was dressed totally in black, except for the silver chains around her waist and neck. Aimee counted four earrings in her left ear, two in the other one. Heavy makeup disguised Jennifer's beautiful facial features and gold-green eyes.
"Ready, Sam? We've got to go. Oh, hi, Mrs. Blake. Come and see my new car."
With an inward sigh, Aimee stepped out on the porch. Jennifer pointed with pride to the two-door blue sports car parked in the driveway. "Pretty sweet ride, huh, Mrs. B.?" she asked Aimee.
"It's awesome!" Samantha agreed. "I love it already."
Although Aimee was worried at the thought of a girl as seemingly immature as Jennifer being turned loose in that car and with Samantha in it, she admitted, "It's very pretty. But it isn't a toy, Jennifer, so drive carefully."
"I always do," Jennifer said, and a beaming grin crossed her friendly, if a little scary-looking, face.
The two girls slid into the leather-covered bucket seats and fastened their seat belts. Jennifer threw the car into Reverse and backed toward the street, then stopped abruptly.
Samantha rolled down her window. "Hey, Mom. I forgot to tell you. I'm going to a sleepover at Jennifer's tonight. Okay? Bye." She closed the window and Jennifer quickly backed into the street and sped away.
This announcement, coming on top of her daughter's surprise decision to stop riding to school with her, was more than Aimee could stomach. Her first reaction was anger, but the shock of Samantha's sudden independence--or was it rebellion?--yielded quickly to concern. Aimee hadn't suspected her daughter of deceiving her before, but she was convinced now that Samantha had deliberately waited to tell her about the sleepover after she thought it would be too late for her mother to forbid it.
Aimee wiped away the angry tears that threatened to spill from the corners of her eyes as she returned to the house. The pain in her heart was beyond tears. Was she losing her daughter, or was Samantha just growing up?
Glancing at the clock, she knew she didn't have time to fret about the situation now. She had to be at work in forty-five minutes. She rushed into the bedroom to finish dressing for the day. Feeling in need of an extra boost to her self-confidence, Aimee sprayed on some expensive perfume she'd recently bought as a gift to herself. The aromatic lavender fragrance swirled around her as she left the house. Dreading the workday, Aimee drove out of the cul-de-sac where she'd lived for several years.
With a few minutes to spare, Aimee arrived at Eastside Elementary School where she had worked as a secretary ever since the year Samantha had started kindergarten there. As she parked, Aimee glanced across the street to the high school where her daughter was now a student. Where had the time gone? She saw Jennifer's car in the parking lot and breathed a sigh of relief that they'd arrived safely.
Aimee glanced in the side mirror as she stepped out of the car, noting that her brows were drawn together and her lips were drawn tight, too. She couldn't greet her coworkers and the children looking as uptight as she felt, so she forced herself to put on a smile. Her efforts fell a little short, but at least she looked slightly more pleasant as she hurried toward the door.