She’s made the most of this opportunity, repairing her relationship with the best friend she lost the first time, avoiding the romantic mistakes she made originally, and even bringing her family closer together. But she’s also done something she wasn’t planning on—she’s fallen in love with someone other than her future husband.
Stepping onto a plane and flying across country to attend university is the hardest decision she’s had to make. But unless she follows through with it, her future with Austin might never happen. And what becomes of her beautiful baby if she stays with James, the man she was never supposed to love?
The only thing she knows for certain is that she has to see Austin again, and she’s intent on reliving that part of her previous life exactly like she did the first time. Even if that means she has to lie to James to do it. Because, deep down, she can’t quite bring herself to let him go.
Now, past and future are about to collide, and Cadence has to make her final choice—follow the uncertain path of a life with James, or the one she came back to save . . . with Austin.
In this emotional conclusion to the story that began in Deceptive Cadence, relationships will be tested, identities revealed, and the past will overshadow the future, putting the finishing touches on an unforgettable tale of courage, sacrifice, and, above all, love.
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At home, I climbed into bed with my scrapbook. The first time, we hadn’t done a group date, but I had spent that evening with Austin and Aaron. My heart warmed with the memories. Although things were slightly different, they were mostly the same.
Someone sat by my feet. I gasped, pulling back. “Angel?”
He smiled sadly at me. “You might want to turn that back on.”
I followed his gaze to my phone. “Oh.”
I snatched it up.
“Why are you doing this to him?”
My heart felt like it tore itself in two. I clutched at my chest from the pain. “I can’t break up with him over the phone.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want?”
I pursed my lips, my chin quivering as I stared down at the picture of Austin. “Yes. I did this for Austin and Melody.”
“I told you, Melody will always be yours.”
I shook my head, confused. “What does that mean?”
“Mortality isn’t the beginning or the end.” He stood, offering me his hand.
With a sigh, I took his hand and stood. He wouldn’t give me any more on Melody, so I decided to go along with what he wanted to show me.
We stepped through my bedroom door into James’s room. I drew a sharp breath as he paced the room, ruffling his hair.
Dusty sat on his bed, his brows furrowed and wearing a deep scowl. “That is really weird.”
“I can’t help thinking she must still be upset about how I reacted to Mel bringing home a guy. I mean, I was being way too overprotective. Maybe she’s thinking I’m like that with her. I hate this distance. It makes things a million times worse than they should be. If she were here, we’d have had it out that night and that would be it. But this? This is driving me mad.”
“Is this tonight?” I asked.
The angel nodded, gazing ahead.
“She hasn’t said anything about it to any of us,” Dusty responded to James.
“It’s just so frustrating.” James rubbed his temples. “I don’t mean to be overprotective, but Mel doesn’t exactly have a great track record. Can you blame me?”
“Mmm.” Dusty stared at his lap.
“Can you maybe get Geri to talk to her?” James swung to face Dusty, hands on his hips.
Dusty’s head snapped up. “Who? Mel?”
“No.” James ran his hands through his hair.
“Oh, Cadence. Of course.” Dusty cleared his throat. “What makes you think Geri would listen to me?”
James raised an eyebrow. “Really? I’m not oblivious to your sneaking around.”
“Don’t tell Dad,” Dusty muttered, staring at his hands.
“I’m not stupid. Of course I won’t.” James sat beside him, resting his head on his hand. “I just want her back.”
“You can’t have Geri.” Dusty smirked.
James punched his shoulder. “Moron.”
Dusty chuckled, rubbing his arm. “Seriously though, I really don’t get Cadence lately. She’s all weird and elusive.”
“Do you think . . . ?” James swallowed, looking to Dusty. “Do you think she might be cheating on me?”
Dusty scoffed. “Cadence? No way.”
“It’s just . . . she seems to be busy a lot lately. I wouldn’t blame her. She’s gorgeous and amazing, and I’m not exactly—”
“I really don’t think she’s cheating. That’s not her. Yeah, there’s definitely something weird going on, but I doubt that’s it.”
James’s face fell into his hands. “I just love her so much. I have to get out there to be with her. When we’re together, everything is always okay again. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”
I swung to the angel. “Stop. I can’t watch this.”
He raised his hand and the scene froze. He stared me dead in the eyes. “What do you see?”
“I see that I’m destroying him.” I walked over, squatting in front of James. “I can’t keep on like this. He deserves so much better.”
“All he wants is you.”
I sighed, letting a tear fall. “It can’t be him. It’s supposed to be Austin. I did all of this for Austin.”
“James already loves you. Austin’s on his way, but he’s not quite there yet. Which heart do you think will break the most?”
I leapt to my feet. Fists clenched, I yelled, “It’s always been Austin. How can you say that?”
His dark eyes turned cold and everything went black. As light faded back in, my bedroom formed around us. The man stood in the corner with his back to me. “Choose wisely, Cadence. It’s not just about their hearts; yours is at stake too.”
In a flash, he vanished.
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dogs.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.
Find Katie Hamstead on twitter, facebook, and her website.