Better (Too Good series)
Author:Walden, S.

Mark smiled. “I promise, sweetheart. I’ll always be there for you.”


Cadence offered her lips for a light kiss, but Mark decided he needed more. He cradled her head in his hand and kissed her deeply, searching her mouth slowly and thoughtfully with his tongue. She moaned into his mouth, the sensation like a low humming of bees that tickled his tongue. He drew back, kissed the tip of her nose, then released her head.


“I thought you signed up for a pottery class,” he said.


She shrugged. “This seemed like more fun.”


He chuckled. “Are you seriously registered for this class?”




“And you’re gonna sit through an entire semester of it?”




“Who’s watching the shop when you’re here?”




He paused. “You trust her with all those orders?”


“Sort of.”


He grinned. “Who’s putting together the arrangements?”


“Don’t worry about it.”


He shook his head. “I don’t get it. Why?”


She smiled. “You know I’m terrible at math. I thought I could use a refresher course.”


“But I’m compromised, you see? Because I’m sleeping with you. You know I’ll give you an ‘A’ even if you fail every quiz and test.”


She winked at him. “Oh, I know.”


He smirked. “You’re such a bad girl.”


She was quick to jump on that. “I worked for a long damn time to be good, and look where it got me.”


“You ended up with me,” he pointed out.


“Yeah. When I turned bad.”


Mark burst out laughing. Cadence leaned in for a goodbye peck on the cheek.


“Don’t you dare be late to Elizabeth’s recital,” she warned. “Once they close the doors, no one’s allowed in. Seven-thirty tonight.”


“On my schedule.”


“And I told Caleb you’d go with him this weekend to look at snowboards. I don’t know a damn thing about them, so that’s your job.”


“He called me this morning and reminded me. On my calendar,” Mark said.


“I have that wedding this weekend. I can’t take Elizabeth shopping. She needs new jeans.”


“Cadence, please don’t make me do that. I don’t know anything about jeans,” Mark said.


“Figure it out. She needs jeans and dad time,” Cadence replied.


Mark sighed pleasantly. “You got it.”


“Avery has it in her head that we agreed to do dinner at her place this Sunday,” Cadence said.


“We did. I talked to Dylan about it already.”


“Is this teenager-friendly?” Cadence asked.


“Um, I don’t think so.”


Cadence huffed. “I’m not dumping the kids on your mother again.”


“Oh, she loves it,” Mark replied. “Dump all you want. Or let ‘em stay home alone.”


Cadence snorted. “Uh, yeah right.”


“Afraid they’ll sneak off and get into trouble like you and Avery used to?” Mark asked, grinning.


“Yes. And not funny.”


“It’s hilarious. And I’m so glad you did it. Otherwise, there’d be no this,” he said, moving his finger between the two of them.


Cadence smiled. “I love you to pieces.”


He stared at her face. “Did I tell you this morning how beautiful you look?”


She shook her head.


“Then I should make it up to you.”


“How so?”


“Well, why don’t you come to my office right now and find out,” Mark replied. “I have a letter for your parents anyway.” He wiggled his eyebrows.


Cadence laughed. “Yeah, I bet you do.” She checked the time on her cell phone. “Whatever you’ve got planned, I only have five minutes to spare. Ten tops.”


“I’ll work my hardest.”


She took his hand and pulled him along, out the door, and down the hallway to his office. Once the door was closed, he picked her up and set her on the edge of his desk.


“I’m gonna love you for the rest of my life. You know that? Even when my mind goes and I’ve no idea who or where I am, I’ll know you. And I’ll love you.”


She cupped his face in her hands, moving her thumbs over his sandpaper cheeks. She stared into the same steely eyes that captivated her at seventeen, and she was that young girl all over again, desperate for his love.


“Did you hear me, Cadence?” he asked softly. “I’m gonna love you forever.”


“Oh, I heard you,” she replied. “And you better.”






S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.


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