Title: Fallen Crest Home
Series: Fallen Crest #6
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2017
It’s been years since my mother was in my life.
I learned to accept love.
That’s all done. She was away, and now she’s back.
I’ve avoided her for a year and a half, but I can’t hide anymore.
Mason has an internship in Fallen Crest, so we’re heading back for the summer.
And when we got there—no one was prepared for what happened.
FALLEN CREST HOME - AN ALTERNATE BEGINNING THAT WAS CUT
“We’ve set the date! We’re getting married this June.”
This was an announcement that should’ve been received with smiles, cheer, congratulations, the usual merriment. As my mother proclaimed her news over the dinner table, none of that happened. Silence. Pure, awkward, and dread-filled silence filled the room. No one said a thing and for that, I was grateful. Mason sat beside me. Logan was across from me. Mark. Malinda. David. And James. We were all here. The two families, and Analise had thrown that out. She was beaming. Her smile spread from ear to ear, and for a second, my usual loathing for her lessened. She truly was happy. Everyone was waiting for me. I was her daughter. Mason and Logan would follow me in whatever direction I wanted to go, if I wanted to be happy or sarcastic, and I sat there, utterly having no idea how to react.
Malinda cleared her throat. She leaned forward, a timid smile on her face. “Well, congratulate--”
All eyes went to Logan, whose lips were twisted in a glare. His eyes locked on his dad’s and he leaned forward, his hands holding onto the table like he was keeping himself in his chair. “Are you kidding us?”
James’s eyebrow knitted together. “I don’t know why you’re responding like this. She’s been home for a year now. What were you expecting?”
“Maybe to let us know privately.”
Mason spoke up and his voice was low, but it pulled everyone’s attention. His eyes were locked on their father as well. He wore a mask, not showing his emotion, but a shiver went down my spine nonetheless, even though I had no reason to be scared. I loved Mason. He was my soulmate and Logan was family. The three of us, brought together because of my mother and their father, had become our own unit. We depended on each other when we couldn’t rely on anyone else. Since then, David had come back into my life, my father, and with him came Malinda. They were now married and defined what the word ‘parent’ was to me. When I came home from college, I stayed with them. Mark was Malinda’s son and he was family as well, but nothing and no one came as close to Mason and Logan did to me.
“And when would that be?” James glared at his eldest son. “The two of you won’t step foot in the house. You’re home on holiday this year and you still won’t accept any of my calls. Thank God for Malinda, for throwing this dinner or we wouldn’t have seen either of our children this holiday. You’ve all been avoiding us the entire year since Analise returned to Fallen Crest.”
Logan snorted. “Don’t blame us for wanting to avoid the loony bin reject.”
Analise sucked in her breath.
“Logan!” Malinda flashed him a dark look.
He shrugged. “I call it how I see it. Forget this shit.” He stood up, nodded to Malinda. “Thanks for the dinner, but I’m out. I got a girlfriend I’d rather spend time with than hear this bullshit.”
He left, letting the door shut loudly behind him. He didn’t slam it, and that was a testament to Taylor and the effect his girlfriend had on him. PreTaylor Logan would’ve stuck around, throw a few more barbed taunts at Analise, and then stalked out, slamming the door behind him. Or he would’ve just started drinking at the dinner table. This Logan left, only a few insults thrown out, and the door didn’t slam behind him.
He was maturing.
Mason glanced to me. “What do you want to do?”
And that was the crux of everything. What did I want? I wanted Analise to go away. She’d hurt me enough, but she had played nice for an entire year. She only forced her presence on me a couple times, but I was a sophomore in college. Mason was a junior. Logan was a sophomore with me. We weren’t in high school, and holy shit—did that suck. I felt like I had to be mature as well.
I closed my eyes for a moment, just one moment that I wished could’ve lasted into a thousand moments. When I opened them, Analise was waiting. I let myself study her. She was so beautiful. Her black hair was swept up into a braid that led to a bun. There were no glamorous necklaces, earrings, bracelets, or rings. She would’ve been dripping in them before she left for the hospital. Instead, everything was bare. She only had a minimal of make-up on her face and she was dressed in a simple red dress. She looked absolutely breathtaking and in that brief moment, she reminded me of the mom I once had. The one when there were good times, not the bad times, not when she was hurting me or scheming to hurt someone else.
Pain flashed in her eyes as she held my gaze. I didn’t know if that was genuine, or an act, but it worked. I felt my wall melting, just a tiny bit, and I sighed. “I think we’ve had dessert. I don’t think it’d be rude to leave.”
Her eyes shimmered with tears, but she looked down at her lap.
I said, my throat so damn hoarse, “But congratulations Analise.” I nodded at James. “You too. You both love each other and have gone through a lot for each other. I’ve no doubt the wedding will be amazing.”
Her head lifted. Her eyes were brimming with unshed tears, and one fell down. She wiped it away, her hand moving gracefully, but she was beaming at me. A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. She said, so softly, “Thank you, Samantha.”
I nodded, glancing to Malinda. “Do you mind if we leave?”
My stepmother waved at my plate. “Have at it. You came. You ate. You were gracious. Can’t be more proud of you, honey.”
“Mom, Cass called me before. Can she—”
Mark spoke up as Malinda was talking to me and without missing a beat, her hand went from gesturing to my empty plate to pointing a finger in her son’s face. “You might think it’s a good time to ask if your girlfriend can spend the night, but believe me, son that I worship, that girl is definitely not welcomed to spend the night.”
“Mom.” His tone was curt. “Mason sleeps over all the time.”
“And that was the deal worked out ahead of time between Mason, Sam, and your stepfather. There’s no such deal with your girlfriend.” Her hand fell on top of his hand and she squeezed it gently. Her tone softened. “I’m sorry, Marcus. I know it seems hypocritical of me, but you’re still my boy. And I’m still not a fan of hers. This is protective-mother coming out. I want to keep my boy as much to myself as possible.”
“I’m a sophomore in college, Mom.”
“I know.” Her voice grew husky. “Trust me, I’m aware.”
David leaned forward. As Malinda withdrew her hand and sat back in her chair, automatically leaning closer to her husband, his hand came overs hers. “Maybe Cass can come over tomorrow for dinner?”
Mark sighed, but said, “Yeah. That sounds good.” He glanced to me. “Are you coming?”
“I….” ….had no idea. Feeling like a deer caught in headlights, I turned to Mason, who narrowed his eyes.
He said, “Uh…I think we’re having dinner with Logan and Taylor tomorrow night.”
From the press of Mark’s lips, he knew that was a lie, but I had no doubt that we’d be having dinner with them now. Either that or Logan would want to come and harass Cass. She’d been a bitch to me, on more than a handful of times, and he hadn’t gotten over his dislike for her. “And speaking of Logan,” Mason stood up. “We should go and make sure he’s not doing anything that will land him in jail right now.”
I stood as well. Looking at Analise, I nodded to her. “Congratulations again.”
“Thank you, Samantha.”
James nodded to us. I started to pick up my plate, but Malinda said, “Oh phewy on that. Leave it, Sam. I’m going to make Mark help with dishes. He doesn’t know it, but we’re going to have an in-depth conversation about this girlfriend of his.”
“Oh great.” He groaned.
She ignored him. “We’ll see you guys later tonight?”
Mason nodded. “Yeah. We’re just going to our mom’s house. Taylor’s over there. We’ll be back tonight.”
“Good. See you two.”
As we left, it was a weird feeling. I felt like I was running away from my mother and her announcement wasn’t a surprise. It didn’t do anything to change my life. Her and James had been together for four years now. They’d had their own tough times and endured it together. They’d been engaged for the last two years. The marriage part was coming. It had been a matter of time, but still, hearing it said out loud with a date and everything, it was final. My hand found Mason’s as we grabbed our coats and stepped outside the door. He and Logan really would be my stepbrothers. Our family would be finalized.
He glanced down at me. “You okay?”
I shook my head, holding tight to his hand. “That wedding is going to be one big fucked-up ceremony. That’s all I’m thinking right now.”
He grunted, placing his arm around my shoulders. He pulled me close to him. “Well, think of it this way, now Logan will be happy. He really can call you sister now.”
Yeah. That was one silver lining, but it wasn’t the marriage announcement that was the problem. Analise was back and she was never leaving again. That was the real undertones of the dinner.
Start the series with Fallen Crest High
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HATE TO LOVE YOU
Releasing Fall 2017
Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author that writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing later in life and once she started, she was hooked. She’s written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She is currently writing Fallen Crest Seven (untitled) along with so many more from north Minnesota where she lives with a man she couldn’t be without and an English Cocker she adores.