Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Series [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Debbie Macomber
eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Dear Reader, for the first time enjoy all of Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series books gathered together in one collection, for one low price!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/MIRA
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2007
10 Reader Ratings:
Cecilia Randall had heard of people who, if granted one wish, would choose to live their lives over again. Not her. She'd be perfectly content to blot just one twelve-month period from her twenty-two years.
The past twelve months.
Last January, shortly after New Year's, she'd met Ian Jacob Randall, a Navy man, a submariner. She'd fallen in love with him and done something completely irresponsible—she'd gotten pregnant. Then she'd complicated the whole situation by marrying him.
That was mistake number three and from there, her errors in judgment had escalated. She hadn't been stupid so much as naïve and in love and—worst of all—romantic. The Navy, and life, had cured her of that fast enough.
Their baby girl had been born premature while Ian was at sea, and it became immediately apparent that she had a defective heart. By the time Ian returned home, Allison Marie had already been laid to rest. It was Cecilia who'd stood alone in the unrelenting rain of the Pacific Northwest while her baby's tiny casket was lowered into the cold, muddy earth. She'd been forced to make life-and-death decisions without the counsel of family or the comfort of her husband.
Her mother lived on the East Coast and, because of a snowstorm, had been unable to fly into Washington State. Her father was as supportive as he knew how to be—which was damn little. His idea of "being there for her" consisted of giving Cecilia a sympathy card and writing a few lines about how sorry he was for her loss. Cecilia had spent countless days and nights by their daughter's empty crib, alternately weeping and in shock. Other Navy wives had tried to console her, but Cecilia wasn't comfortable with strangers. She'd rejected their help and their friendship. And because she'd been in Cedar Cove for such a short time, she hadn't made any close friends in the community, either. As a result, she'd borne her grief alone.
When Ian did return, he'd blamed Navy procedures for his delay. He'd tried to explain, but by then Cecilia was tired of it all. Only one reality had any meaning: her daughter was dead. Her husband didn't know and couldn't possibly understand what she'd endured in his absence. Since he was on a nuclear submarine, all transmissions during his tour of duty were limited to fifty-word "family grams." Nothing could have been done, anyway; the submarine was below the polar ice cap at the time. She did write to tell him about Allison's birth and then her death. She'd written out her grief in these brief messages, not caring that they'd be closely scrutinized by Navy personnel. But Ian's commanding officer had seen fit to postpone relaying the information until the completion of the ten-week tour. I didn't know, Ian had repeatedly insisted. Surely she couldn't hold him responsible. But she did. Unfair though it might be, Cecilia couldn't forgive him.
Now all she wanted was out. Out of her marriage, out of this emotional morass of guilt and regret, just out. The simplest form of escape was to divorce Ian.
Sitting in the hallway near the courtroom, she felt more determined than ever to terminate her marriage. With one swift strike of a judge's gavel, she could put an end to the nightmare of the past year. Eventually she would forget she'd ever met Ian Randall.
Allan Harris, Cecilia's attorney, entered the foyer outside the Kitsap County courtroom. She watched as he glanced around until he saw her. He raised his hand in a brief greeting, then walked over to where she sat on the hard wooden bench and claimed the empty space beside her.
"Tell me again what's going to happen," she said, needing the assurance that her life would return to at least an approximation of what it had been a year ago.
Allan set his briefcase on his lap. "We wait until the docket is announced. The judge will ask if we're ready, I'll announce that we are, and we'll be given a number."
Cecilia nodded, feeling numb.
"We can be assigned any number between one and fifty," her attorney continued. "Then we wait our turn."
Cecilia nodded again, hoping she wouldn't be stuck in the courthouse all day. Bad enough that she had to be here; even worse that Ian's presence was also required. She hadn't seen him yet. Maybe he was meeting somewhere with his own attorney, discussing strategies—not that she expected him to contest the divorce.
"There won't be a problem, will there?" Her palms were damp and cold sweat had broken out across her forehead. She wanted this to be over so she could get on with her life. She believed that couldn't happen until the divorce was filed. Only then would the pain start to go away.
"I can't see that there'll be any hang-ups, especially since you've agreed to divide all the debts." He frowned slightly. "Despite that prenuptial agreement you signed."
A flu-like feeling attacked Cecilia's stomach, and she clutched her purse tightly against her. Soon, she reminded herself, soon she could walk out these doors into a new life.
"It's a rather…unusual agreement," Allan murmured.
In retrospect, the prenuptial agreement had been another in the list of mistakes she'd made in the past year, but according to her attorney one that could easily be rectified. Back when she'd signed it, their agreement had made perfect sense. In an effort to prove their sincerity, they'd come up with the idea that the spouse who wanted the divorce should pay not only the legal costs but all debts incurred during the marriage. It could be seen as either punitive or deterrent; in either case, it hadn't worked. And now it was just one more nuisance to be dealt with.
Copyright © 2006 by Debbie Macomber.