12.5.2023 | Tuesday

When All is Said and Done Blitz

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When All is Said and Done Blitz

Author: Christy Hayes
Publication date: December 5th 2023
Genres: Women’s Fiction

A heartbreaking novel about the sacrifices we make for love.

After an unstable childhood, marriage isn’t just a promise to Dustin Carver, it’s his lifeline. He and Tegan grew up together, fell in love, and planned their perfect life. When the future they imagined gets derailed by her demanding law career, their marriage slowly slides off the rails.

Tegan can’t believe her husband took her threat of a separation seriously and walked away without a backward glance. Heartbroken and embarrassed, she covers for his absence with lies. Lies she tells herself about her career. Lies she tells her family about her marriage. And lies she’s yet to confess to her husband about a secret she kept while he was away. When Dustin finally returns, she’s running on fumes and her lies are about to be exposed.

Seven weeks in Key West licking his wounds and watching his best friend fall in love is enough to convince Dustin to come home and fight for his marriage. Saving their relationship means returning to therapy and facing a bitter truth neither wants to address. What if their childhood romance doesn’t have a happy-ever-after ending?

This emotional read told with brutal honesty begs the ultimate question for marriages far and wide. At the end of the day-at the end of our lives-what is worth fighting for, and when, if ever, should we walk away?

an excerpt

Tegan’s POV

Tegan dressed for dinner as if preparing for battle. Determined not to blow her cool with her family the way she had with Dustin, she dressed for comfort in her softest linen pants and white cotton T while giving herself a lecture. After yelling at one another and then storming off in opposite directions for the rest of the day—Tegan to her office and Dustin to the garage—one thing remained clear. Forgive and forget was off the table and it was every man for himself.

Her indescribable relief at Dustin’s return home hadn’t lasted long. He’d mercilessly gone for the jugular by calling her a coward. Instead of keeping her cool and assuming the posture of humility, she’d gotten defensive and angry, spouting a litany of the same tired grievances that had sent them spiraling into therapy. But their old arguments took on a new life since she’d mucked everything up with lies.

At half-past five, with Dustin still puttering around in the garage, he’d forced her to wander outside and remind him of the time and her impending date with the guillotine. He’d passed her on his way to their bedroom wearing a layer of dirt and the added stench of gasoline on his skin. He didn’t look at her or say a word, his silence like a middle finger to her face.

She nervously loitered in the kitchen as Dustin showered upstairs, eyeing the keys to their cars hanging side by side on the key hook. Would he even agree to drive together? Did she even want to?

He entered the kitchen wearing khaki shorts and a golf shirt. Tegan bit the inside of her cheek and looked away. She recognized the look on his face, the chilling detachment she’d seen a million times when he’d interacted with his mom. His cold apathy was more potent than a tongue-lashing, and he’d proved earlier he could hold his own on that front.

“Ready?” she asked.

A noncommittal grunt was his only answer.

She followed him outside to his car, anticipating he might lock the car door after he got in and zoom off without her. But he waited for her to settle in the seat and close the door, and even adjusted the air on her side of the car. His kindness made her wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to go alone. Sitting next to him, enveloped by the cologne on his skin and where it had permeated the leather, she choked on longing and chided herself for her earlier behavior.

She cleared her throat to break the silence and muttered, “Thank you for coming with me.”

He flexed his fingers on the wheel and kept his eyes on the road. “I didn’t think it was optional.”

“You could have refused.”

“The jig is up, Tegan. No sense in playing dumb now. One of us needs to admit our issues and deal with the fallout.”

One of us. Meaning her and not him. He was the responsible one. The one who didn’t lie. The one who left her to deal with her family on her own. “I don’t know what we’re walking into, but I can guess it won’t be pretty.”

“Can’t put lipstick on a pig.” He braked, took the turn onto the interstate too fast, and sent her swaying into the door. “May as well get it over with.”

The way he spoke to her as if she didn’t mean more to him than a piece of gum on the bottom of his shoe had tears building behind her eyes. Tegan dug her fingernails into her palm and blinked them away. She deserved his bitterness, and she’d earned his distrust, but his continuous use of that dispassionate tone had her squirming in her seat beneath the too-tight seatbelt attempting to saw away at her neck. She might not need the guillotine if he kept going with his calculated attack.

about the author

Christy Hayes writes romance and romantic women’s fiction. She is the proud mother of two grown children and lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and rescue dogs.

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