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Flash Back — Lina and Phil (the early years)


Phil and Lina in high school…

“Hey, Hunter wait up.”

Phil slowed his stride, allowing a couple of teammates to catch up to him as he headed toward the lacrosse field.

 “Did you hear that Steve’s having a party tonight? His parents are out of town,” one of the boys said, referring to one of their classmates. “His brother is bringing a keg.”

“I can’t make it. I have plans with a girl.”

“What girl?”

“The one from the dance?” the second boy asked.

“Yeah.” Phil continued onto the field, his eyes scanning the stands that were beginning to fill with spectators.

“Wait, I didn’t hear about a girl,” the first boy said. “Who is it? Where does she go to school?”

“Walter Reed,” Phil answered, referring to one of the local public high schools. “Lina Rayburn.”

“Adele’s sister? The middle one with the long dark hair?”

“You know her?” Phil asked.

“I know of her. She’s hot as shit. Reynolds had a thing for her last summer.”

Phil stopped his forward movement, turning to the other boy. “She went out with him?” He hated the thought of Reynolds, who was with a different girl every week, touching Lina.

“No. She blew him off.”

Phil felt the tension leave his body.

“Have you done her yet?”

The tension immediately returned to Phil. “None of your fucking business!”

“Relax man,” the other boy said holding up his hands. “I was just asking? It’s not like you don’t ask.”

“She’s off limits.”

“Hey, save the aggression for the field,” their coach said, stepping between them. “Get your head in the game.”


“I need you to drop me off at Georgetown Prep,” Lina told Adele when she found her in the kitchen. “Mom said you could use the car.”

Adele turned from the open refrigerator. “Why do you want to…” she trailed off, her eyes widening. “You’re going to watch him play.”

“Will you take me?”

“I thought you didn’t like athletes.”

“I don’t normally,” Lina answered, lifting her chin slightly. “But he isn’t like the rest of them.”

Adele laughed. “Oh puleeze. He’s exactly like the rest of them. Phil Hunter is one hundred percent athlete.”

“You don’t know him.”

“And you do? You met him less than a week ago.”

“Are you going to take me or not?”

“Take her where?” Shiloh asked coming into the room. “Can I come?”

“No,” Lina answered.

“She’s meeting a boy,” Adele said.

“The one from last weekend? The one you kissed?” Shiloh asked.

“You kissed him?” Adele asked. “Why am I just hearing this?”

“Because you have a big mouth and so do you,” Lina said, frowning at Shiloh.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me. You wouldn’t have even met him if it wasn’t for me.”

“Can we go? I don’t want to be late.”

“You like him,” Adele said. “Have you talked to him since last weekend?”

“He called me last night,” Lina said and every other night since they met, she thought but didn’t say aloud. “He asked me to come to his game.”

“Why don’t we all go?” Shiloh asked. “I want to meet him.”

“No. I barely know him. He invited me, not my family.”

Lina normally wasn’t shy. She was the opposite of shy. She was confident and comfortable in her own skin, but as she approached the lacrosse field behind Phil’s private school, she felt nerves fluttering in her tummy.

“Lina! Lina!”

Lina turned to find a group of girls from her high school. “Hey.” She smiled relieved to see familiar faces. They weren’t girls she normally hung out with, but she liked them.

“I thought that was you,” a girl named Kelsey said, giving her a hug. “Who are you with?”

“No one,” Lina admitted. “I’m meeting someone after the game.”

“One of the players?”

Lina nodded. “Phil Hunter.”

“Phil Hunter?” Kelsey repeated incredulously, as if he were a movie star. “Did you hear that?” She turned to the other girls in her group. “Lina has a date with Phil Hunter.”

“I didn’t say it was a date. We’re just hanging out.”

“I hate you,” one of the girls said. “He’s like perfect.” For the next few minutes Lina was bombarded with questions.

“You are so lucky,” Kelsey said for the third time.

“Maybe he’s lucky,” Lina said, annoyance creeping into her voice.

“Oh well, yeah, of course. That goes without saying. Come on,” she continued, curving her arm through Lina’s. “Let’s go find a seat. The game is going to start soon.”

Five minutes later the starting players stood at midfield awaiting the singing of the National Anthem. Lina watched Phil stretching his neck from side to side. His number was fourteen, the same as her birthday. She wondered if it meant something. She’d ask her mom.

 Kelsey leaned over to Lina. “Do you want me to yell his name?”

“What?” Lina swung her attention to Kelsey. “No, I—”

“Go Phil!” Kelsey screamed.

Lina’s face heating with embarrassment. “Why did you do that?”

“He’s looking up here,” Kelsey said. “Wave to him.”

Lina shifted her gaze to find Phil staring up at the stands. He’d spotted her. Even from a distance she could see how beautiful he was. He lifted his chin in acknowledgment and her heart leapt.


Phil quickly gathered his gear. He’d had a good game, scoring five goals and assisting another two, but at the moment the only thing on his mind was Lina. She was the first girl he’d ever invited to a game. He’d worried a little that she’d be a distraction and she had been, but in a good way. Knowing she was watching was like an adrenaline rush. He’d wanted to impress her.

“Great game, Phil.” His coach patted his back. “That was a whole other level for you.”

“I felt good.” Phil lifted his bag from the ground, making it clear he didn’t want to linger.

“Keep it up,” his coach said to his departing back.

Phil’s gaze scanned the group of spectators milling about just outside the field. There were at least one hundred, but he was only looking for one. He spotted her off to the side. She was wearing jean shorts and a purple tank top. Her dark hair was falling down around her shoulders. She saw him a few seconds into his perusal and she rewarded him with a small smile. He breathed in. She was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen.

“Phillip,” his mother said. “You looked wonderful out there.”

He reluctantly pulled his gaze from Lina to greet his mother who had stopped beside him. “Thanks, Mom.”

“Your father had to use the restroom. I think he’s going to be hoarse from—”

“I’ve got to go shower.”

“Your dad will be—”

“I can’t wait. I have to be somewhere. Tell Dad I’ll talk to him at home. I’ve gotta go Mom.” He kissed her cheek and left her before she could say more.

He was greeted with a chorus of ‘congratulations’ and ‘great games’ as he made his way through the crowd, but refused to stop, intent only on reaching Lina. “Hey,” he said when he finally did. His heart began to pump harder in his chest as he met her eyes.

“Hi. Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” He let his eyes travel over her face, but refused to give into the urge to drop them to her breasts. “What did you think?” He knew it was her first time seeing a lacrosse game.

“Honestly?” Her brows pulled together in a frown.

He smiled. “You didn’t like it?”

“I was afraid they were going to hurt you. It was hard to relax.”

She was serious. He could see it in her expression. “No one’s going to hurt me. You should worry about the guys I’m up against.”

“I don’t care about them.” As soon as the words left her mouth, a light blush stained her cheeks. “I mean I don’t know them,” she quickly added.

He reached out and hooked his finger into her belt loop, tugging her slowly toward him. “So, you care about me.”

“Don’t be cocky.”

“Your words, not mine.” He slowly lowered his head. “You smell good.”

Lina placed her hand on his chest as he tugged her still closer. “You’re sweaty,” she said.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered against her lips. Before he could say more, he felt her gripping his shirt and then she was pressing her lips into his, kissing him softly.

The sounds of a clearing throat reminded Phil that they were in a public place. He reluctantly lifted his head. When he saw his parents, he stepped back from Lina. “Dad.”

“Good game,” Mr. Hunter said, cupping Phil’s shoulder.

“Thanks.” His eyes shifted back to Lina who was blushing in embarrassment.

“Introduce us to your friend Phillip,” Mrs. Hunter said.

“This is Lina,” Phil said.

“Does Lina have a last name?” Mr. Hunter asked.

“Rayburn,” Lina answered, offering a small smile.

“Oh my, aren’t you beautiful,” Mrs. Hunter gushed, cupping the side of her cheek. “Isn’t she beautiful, Bruce?”

“She sure is.” His gaze shifted between his son and Lina.

“I’ll see you guys at home,” Phil said, hoping his parents would get the hint and leave.

“Twelve thirty,” Mr. Hunter said. “No later.”

“I know.”

“It was so nice to meet you Lina. Don’t be a stranger. Come for dinner some night,” Mrs. Hunter said.

“It was nice meeting you too.” Lina smiled.

“Be good,” Mrs. Hunter said to Phil before letting her husband lead her away.

“I’m going to run to the locker room and take a quick shower. Are you okay waiting here?” Phil asked

Lina nodded. “Sure.”


Lina watched Phil jog toward the locker room, her eyes lingering on the muscles in his back and shoulders outlined beneath his damp jersey. She felt a fluttering in her tummy. He wasn’t the first boy she’d kissed, but he was definitely the first to make her feel butterflies.  

When he returned fifteen minutes later, freshly showered and wearing Khaki shorts and a T-shirt, she again felt fluttering in her tummy.

“Ready?” he asked, holding out his hand.

She placed her palm in his, a shot of awareness coursing through her body as he engulfed her hand in his. It felt both new and familiar at the same time. He was bigger than she remembered. Her head barely reached his shoulder.  

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

“Not really, but I should be. I’ve barely eaten today.”

“I’ve heard that’s what happens to girls when they’re falling in love. They lose their appetite.”

“You wish.” Lina bumped her shoulder into his side.

“You’re right,” he said, giving her hand a squeeze.

Lina watched Phil bite into the last slice of pizza. Besides the slice she’d taken a couple of bites from, he’d consumed an entire pizza. She’d never seen one person eat so much, but in fairness, she wasn’t used to boys.

“Do you want the rest of mine?” she asked when he was done.

“No, I’m good.” He leaned back in his chair.

“Do you always eat that much?”

He shrugged. “Pretty much.”

They stared at each other for several seconds before Lina looked away. “How can you do that?” she asked.

“What?” He reached across the table and snagged her hand. “How can I do what?”

“Just look in my eyes without looking away.”

“Let’s get out of here,” he said, pushing back his chair. “I want to be alone with you.”

Lina’s heart jumped at the sudden change in him. She came to her feet, proceeding him out of the restaurant and into the cool Spring night. The sound of gravel crunching under their feet, echoed in the air as they made their way to his car.

Instead of leading her to the passenger door, he stopped in front of the car, placing his hands on each side of her hips and effortlessly lifting her onto the hood. “Tell me you’re feeling what I’m feeling,” he said deeply. He situated himself between her thighs, his hands curving around the sides of her face as he tilted her head back so he could look into her eyes. “Tell me.”

Lina’s pulsed surged. “I do. Since I first saw you.”

He covered her mouth with his, moaning deeply as his tongue stroked hers.

Lina lost all track of time as she kissed him back, her fingers dipping beneath the collar of his shirt and stroking the warm skin of his shoulders. He was wedged between thighs and she could feel his erection pressing into her stomach. He couldn’t get any closer and yet that’s exactly what she wanted, to feel him closer.

“Fuck,” he groaned dragging his mouth across her cheek to her ear. “We have to stop.”

“No, we don’t.” She fisted his shirt, attempting to keep him from stepping back.

“We’re in a parking lot,” he reminded her. He dropped a hard kiss on her lips before pulling away. “Come on.” He helped her off the car and opened the passenger door.

Her whole body was on fire. When he dropped down into the driver seat, she fought the urge to climb into his lap. “Let’s go to my house.”

He gripped the steering wheel. “What about your parents?”

“It’s just my mom. She won’t care. My sister has taken boys to her room.”

He turned his head and met her eyes. “Have you?”

She shook her head. “No.”

He started up the engine.


Lina’s house was dark when Phil pulled into her driveway, but as they approached the front porch, he could see lights coming through the windows on either side of the front door. They’d been mostly quiet on the ten-minute drive from the restaurant, but with the exception of the short amount of time it took them to get out of the car they hadn’t stopped touching.

He wasn’t having sex with her tonight. He’d decided that on the drive over. There wasn’t enough time. It was already eleven and had to be home by 12:30. He wasn’t going to do it with her and just leave. That wasn’t the memory she was going to have of their first time.

“Shh,” she whispered before turning the knob and opening the front door.

“You leave your door unlocked?”

“Shh.” She frowned at him, pressing her finger against her lip. “I don’t want them to hear us.” She took his hand and led him up the stairs.

As soon as he entered her room, he was assailed by the scent of her perfume. His body hardened in reaction. Coming to her bedroom wasn’t a good idea.

“What’s wrong?” Lina asked when he hesitated just inside her room.

“Why did we have to sneak in if your mom doesn’t care?”

“Because,” she began, taking his hand, “once she saw us, she’d never stop talking.” She tugged him farther into the room. “Do you want to talk to my mom?” She stroked her hands up his chest.

“Not really.” He clasped her hips.

“Me either.” She linked her arms around his neck.

His eyes roamed her face, memorizing everything about her. “You’re so beautiful.”

“So are you.” She brushed her lips over his chin.

“No, I’m not.”

“You are.” She pressed closer against him. 

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said even as he tightened his grip on her hips. “I don’t have a lot of time.”

“It’s only eleven,” she whispered, standing on her tiptoes.

Phil lowered his head, his lips brushing over hers. When he felt her tongue pressing against the seam of his lips, it was his undoing. He lifted her off the ground as he sucked her tongue into his mouth. He crossed to the bed, falling onto the mattress with her still in his arms. He rolled her onto her back and then sat up long enough to yank off his T-shirt. He wanted to feel her skin against his. He helped her off with her tank top and then his hand was at the front clasp of her bra.

“No,” Lina whispered, covering his hand. “I want to leave it on.”

He hesitated, propping himself up on his elbow as he looked down into her clear eyes. He’d obviously misread something.  “Okay.” He released the clasp. “Do you want to put your shirt back on?”

“No.” She reached out and trailed her fingers over the side of his cheek and into his hair, curving her hand around the back of his head. “Can we just kiss tonight? I’ve never, you know. Done more than that.”

He felt a rush of feeling at her words.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked.

“I just…I like what you said, that you haven’t been with anyone. I want to be the only one.”

She returned his gaze. “I want that too.”

It was 12:20 when Phil quietly closed Lina’s door. She’d fallen asleep in his arms fifteen minutes earlier. He’d watched her sleep, liking the feel of her body curled into the side of his. If felt natural. Leaving her didn’t. He plowed his hand back through his hair as he made his way toward the stairs. He wasn’t going to be able to go another week without seeing her. He didn’t care how busy he was with school and lacrosse. He’d figure something out. He was almost to the bottom of the stairs when a woman, he assumed was Lina’s mother, appeared from the back of the house.

“My goodness, you scared me.” She flicked on a light.

Phil squinted at the sudden brightness, stopping in his tracks.  “I’m sorry. I was just…I’m Phil Hunter. I was visiting Lina.” He continued down the stairs and held out his hand. “It isn’t what you think.”

“And what do I think,?”

“That I was, uh—”

“Having sex with my daughter.” She took his hand.

“Yes.” He returned her hand shake which was surprising firm. “But we weren’t.”

“Why not? Is there something wrong with you?”

“What—No.” Heat rushed to his face.

She laughed aloud. “I’m just teasing you. I can see how virile you are. You’re quite tall too, aren’t you?”

“I’m almost six two,” he said absently, trying to play back her words in his head. Had she just called him virile?

“Did you know that you’re the first boy Lina has brought home? I’ll have to deduce from you that tall, dark and handsome is her type.”

“I guess so,” Phil answered. He didn’t know what to make of her. She didn’t dress or act like any mothers he knew. She was wearing shorts and tie-dyed T-shirt with her hair pulled back in a ponytail.   

“Can I expect to see more of you?”

“Yes, ma’am. You’re going to see a lot more of me. I plan to marry your daughter.”

“Is that so.” Alice’s eyes narrowed as she studied him. “In that case, I’m going to need your birth date and time. I’ll have to do your astrological chart to make sure your compatible.”

Next Day

Mr. Hunter looked up from his paper as Phil came into the kitchen the following morning. “You were late last night.”

“Only a few minutes.” He dropped down at the table kitty corner to his father. “No bacon?” he asked his mother when she set a plate of pancakes before him.

“It’s coming. Would you like me to make you some eggs?”

“No this is good.” He reached for the glass of milk beside his plate. “Oh, some orange juice, please.”

“The deal was no later than 12:30,” Mr. Hunter said. “We could go back to 12:00.”

“It won’t happen again.”

“Are you sure this is going to be enough food for you?” Mrs. Hunter set a glass of orange juice before him. “I could cut up some fruit.”

“This is plenty, Mom.”

“You burned a lot of calories last night.”

His thought shifted to Lina and the feel of her body beneath his. He picked up his fork and stabbed it into his pancakes. He needed to see her. He wasn’t waiting another week. “What time are we working on the deck?” He’d promised his father he’d help him build a new deck off their sun room.

“As soon as we get back from church. Hopefully we can get the foundation finished before your grandparent arrive for dinner.”

“Dinner, tonight?” he frowned. “I already have plans.”

“On a Sunday night?” Mrs. Hunter asked. “They’ll be so disappointed. They were looking forward to seeing you. .”

“I can stay for a little while,” he said.

“What are your plans?” His father asked.

“I’m getting together with a friend.”

“You can’t change—“

“No,” Phil interrupted. “The plans are set.”


Lina smiled as she awoke, her first thoughts of Phil. She buried her face into the pillow beside her. It smelled of a mixture of soap and him. Her stomach fluttered at the memory of his body pressed against hers.  

The opening of the door, proceeded the shifting of the mattress as Shiloh, wearing pjs shorts and a tank top, slipped under the comforter. “Mom’s yoga friends are here. Do you think they ate the crumb cake?”

Lina rolled onto her side, so they were facing each other. “Probably, but they always bring food, so they’ll be something else.”

“I wanted the crumb cake.” Shiloh gave an exaggerated pouty face. “Will you go see if there’s any left?”

“Why don’t you?”

“Because you’re better at getting away from them.”

It was true. Lina had learned long ago that if you didn’t want to be caught in a thirty-minute conversation with their mother’s friends, you had to act like you were in a hurry. Adele was even better at it than Lina, but Shiloh couldn’t seem to master the art of getting away.

“Fine, but only because I’m in a very generous mood.”

“The boy?” Shiloh’s already large eyes widened.

“The boy,” Lina agreed. She pushed the pillow she’d been hugging to Shiloh. “Smell it.”

Shiloh touched her nose to the pillow, breathing in. She lifted her eyes to Lina, her mouth had literally fallen open. “He was here?” she whispered. “You did it with him?” 

“Yes he was here. We didn’t do it.” Lina left the bed, pausing at the door. “But we’re going to.”  

Lina was in their backyard swing later that evening, listening to Adele tell her and Shiloh about sneaking into the local community center pool the night before.

“Don’t they have video cameras?” Shiloh asked. “You could get caught.”

“Why would they look?” Adele asked. “We didn’t damage anything. We just used the pool. They only look at the videos if something…” she trailed off as she focused on something behind Lina. “Your jock is here.”

Lina looked back over her shoulder to see Phil, dressed in jeans and a dark polo, walking across the grass toward them. Butterflies swirled in her stomach. She jumped off the swing and crossed to him. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see you.” He clasped one of her hands. “I called but no one answered.”

She looked into his eyes which looked even bluer than she remembered. “Come and meet my sisters.” She tugged on his hand, leading him to the others.

“If you hurt my sister,” Adele began, crossing her arms over her chest. “I’ll kick you in the balls.”

“That’s Adele. You can ignore her.”

“I’ll kick you in them too,” Shiloh promised, but the shy smile on her face was such a contrast to her words, Phil laughed.

He dropped down into the swing, pulling Lina into his lap. “What if she hurts me?”

Lina relaxed back into the hardness of his body, liking how small he made her feel. “I won’t.”

“I’ll give you a band aid,” Adelle said, continuing to study Phil. “I’m not kidding about kicking you in the balls. I may be small but I’m deceptively strong.”

“Stop, Adele,” Lina said.

“Is it true that you’ve already committed to Duke to play lacrosse?” Adele asked.

“Yes.” Phil pushed off the dirt with his foot, sending the swing up in the air. He curved one of his arms over Lina’s middle.

“And they pay for everything?”

“Everything,” Phil confirmed. “Even books.”

“Is that Phillip out there?” Alice called from the patio.

Phil stopped the swing and quickly came to his feet, offering Lina a steadying hand as he stepped back from her. “Yes Ma’am.”

“Did you get your birth time for me?”

“Uh no, Ma’am, but I will.”

“Stop calling me Ma’am.”

“How do you know my mom?” Lina asked.

“When I was leaving—”

“Would you come in here, Phillip? I need your muscle.”

“Mom, he came to visit me,” Lina complained, following him toward the house.

“I just need his help loosening the garbage disposal, so I can install the new one.”

“I don’t mind,” he said.

An hour and a half later after installing a new garbage disposal and carrying some boxes from Alice’s bedroom to the basement, Phil followed Lina outside.

“I can’t believe she made you do that,” Lina complained.

“It’s fine.”

“No, it’s not. You came to visit me and we barely got to spend any time together.” She was so annoyed at her mother.

“I’ll come back tomorrow.” He leaned back against his car.

“You will?” She stepped between his legs, sliding her hands up his chest and around his neck.

“I’ll come by after practice. I won’t be able to stay long, but I’ll come.”

“Do you promise.” She brushed her lips over his.

“Yes.” He curved his hands around her hips, pulling her body closer. “Why’s it so hard for me to leave you?”

“Because you’re not supposed to,” she whispered before meeting his lips.


“What’s the deal with your dad?” Phil asked a few night later. Lina was sitting on the hood of his car and he was standing between her legs with his arms wrapped around her.  

“My parents are divorced. I told you that.”

“But where is he? Do you see him?”

“Not that much. He lives in Chicago. He’s a professor.”

“He doesn’t come down here?” His eyes narrowed in confusion.

“Never. We used to go up there, but…” she trailed off. “Don’t,” she said when she saw the concern in his eyes. “Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t even care anymore. He left when I was six.”

“Six? He just left your mom with three little girls to take care of?” The concern in his eyes was replaced by anger. “What kind of man does that?”

“He gives my mom money.”

“It takes a lot more than money to be a father,” he fumed.

“Stop.” Lina fisted his shirt. “Why are you getting upset? I’m not upset?”

“Because it’s wrong. My dad would never do that.”

“He’s just different.” Lina tugged on his shirt, pulling him closer. “And I don’t care, so you shouldn’t either.” She wound her arms around his neck.

“I care about you.” He pressed his forehead into hers.

“Good.” She wrapped her legs around his hips.

He kissed her then, cupping the sides of her face as his tongue found hers. “Let’s go to my room,” Lina whispered when after a few minutes he lifted his head.

“I can’t. I have too much homework.”

“You could do it here.”

“No.” He shook his head, taking a step back from her. “I can’t think when I’m with you.”

“Will you be back tomorrow?” Saying good bye seemed to get harder every day.

“I can’t tomorrow. We have an assembly.”

“You could come after.”

“I’ll be with my parents, but the next day’s Friday. We’ll have a lot longer than twenty minutes.”

Lina clasped his hand. “Tell your parents you’re spending the night at one of your friends. You could stay here.”

He shook his head. “I don’t think I can.”

“Why not?” She squeezed his hand. “Don’t you want to spend the whole night with me?”

“I do. It’s just…it’s just too hard, you know. If we’re not, you know.”

Heat flamed her cheeks when she understood what he was saying. “Oh.” She lowered her gaze. “So you’re saying you’ll only stay if I—.”

“No!” He framed her face in his hands, tilting it up so he could meet her eyes. “That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying that it’s hard to lay next to you and not do that, so we can’t have sleepovers. I don’t want you to ever feel rushed, okay?”

She nodded, but still felt disappointed that he couldn’t just sleep next to her without sex.


“It’s almost three o’clock in the morning,” Mr. Hunter said as soon as Phil closed and locked the front door, the following Friday.

“Sorry, I fell asleep.”

“What were you thinking,” Mr. Hunter bit out.  

“I told you. I fell asleep.” He took a couple of steps toward the stairs.

“We are not done,” Mr. Hunter called out. “Your mother was worried sick.”

“I’m sorry.” For the first time he noticed that his mother was standing slightly behind his father. “I’m sorry, Mom.”

“We tried to call you,” his father continued.

“It’s dead.” Phil pulled his phone from his pocket. “That’s one of the reasons I was late. I set the alarm for 12:15 but it didn’t go off.”

“You weren’t aware of the time?”

“I fell asleep watching a movie.” His gaze traveled between his parents. “May I go to my room?”

“Two weeks,” his father began pointing his finger at him. “Your weekends are mine for the next two weeks.”

“What!” Phil stopped with his hand on the banister and turned back to his father. “I didn’t do anything wrong!”

 “You came home two-and-a-half hours after your curfew. You worried your mother and you interrupted my sleep. Two weeks.”

“No.” Phil shook his head. “No way.”

“Excuse me.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I fell asleep watching a movie. It’s not like I was drinking or something. You’re not being fair.”

“I think you’re forgetting who makes the rules in this house.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“This isn’t a debate. Your mother and I decided your punishment before you came through the door.”

“Well you’re going to have to undecide it.”

“Phillip!” His father said sternly when Phil headed up the stairs. “Get back here. We aren’t done.”

Phil ignored him, continuing up the stair and to his room, slamming the door hard enough to shake the house. He paced back and forth across his bedroom, his fists clenching and unclenching. There was no fucking way, he was staying in. When there was no knock after five minutes, he began to relax, knowing his father wasn’t following him. He had half a mind to go back to Lina’s and spend the night with her in her bed. If he was going to get punished, he should at least get the benefit of doing something wrong. All he’d done was fall asleep on a couch between Lina and Shiloh.

It took him an hour to fall asleep, adrenaline continuing to pump through his veins. When his mother poked her head into his room at nine the following morning, his anger returned.

“You need to talk to him. I’m almost seventeen. He can’t treat me like a kid.”

“You can’t just come home when you want to.”

“I. Fell. Asleep,” Phil bit out. He pushed himself up on his elbows. “It was a mistake. I shouldn’t be punished for a mistake.”

His mother took a deep breath as she came farther into the room. “You shouldn’t have argued with him like that. It was very disrespectful. He was worried about you. We both were. We had no idea if something happened to you.”

“I was fine.”

“We didn’t know that.” She lowered herself into the chair beside his desk. “You have no idea what goes through a parents mind when their child is missing.”

“I’m not a child.”

She inclined her head.

“I didn’t mean to worry you.”

“Would it really be so awful to stay home with your parents for a couple of nights?”

He dropped his head back on the pillow. She was being ridiculous, just like his dad. “I work hard every day. I go to school. I get straight As. I practice lacrosse. The only time I get to do what I want to do is on the weekend. You can’t take that from me because my phone died.”

“What were you planning to do tonight?”

“I don’t know. Something.” Something with Lina.

“How about this. Why don’t you have her over here tonight and then by Monday or Tuesday this will have blown over enough for me to talk to your father.”

“How did you—”

“Know you were going to see Lina?” She raised her eyebrows. “We’re a savvier than your generation gives us credit. What do you say? I assume if you’re falling asleep at her house, you’ve met her parents? Isn’t it only fair that we have the opportunity to meet the girl who is taking up all of our son’s time?”


“It’s just going to be the four of us?” Lina asked. She was in the passenger seat of Phil’s car for the short drive from her neighborhood to his, a bouquet of freshly-cut flowers, her mom insisted she take, resting in her lap.

“You don’t have to be nervous. They’ll be nice to you.”

“I’m not nervous,” Lina lied. She was completely nervous. Knowing the whole purpose of the meal was so they could meet her, made her stomach twist with anxiety. It wasn’t like she had a problem with parents. She liked most of her friends’ parents, but a planned dinner seemed formal and as much as she tried to convince herself otherwise, she wanted them to like her.

A few minutes later Phil turned into a driveway.

Lina’s eyes traveled over a large brick colonial surrounded by a perfectly manicured lawn. There was a basketball hoop set up at the side of the driveway across from a three-car garage. “It’s so big. Have you always lived here?”

“Since I was born.” He shut off the ignition and stretched his arm out along the seat behind her. “Why are you nervous?”

“I just want them to like me,” she admitted.

“What I think and what you think—that’s all that matters.”

Her tummy fluttered in response to both his word and the seriousness in his eyes. “I know, but they’re your parents. I want them to like me.”

He pressed his forehead against hers. “They will. Just don’t worry about it.”

Lina felt a few degrees better when Mrs. Hunter greeted her with a warm hug. “I’m so happy you could make it.”

“My mom sent these.” Lina held out the flowers.

“Oh, they’re beautiful,” Mrs. Hunter said. “Did she pick them herself?”

“From her garden.”

“They’re lovely. Make sure you thank her. I have just the vase for them.”

Lina felt Phil’s warm fingers entwine with hers as they followed his mother to the kitchen. It was twice the size of hers with large windows overlooking a backyard pool. “I didn’t know you had a pool.”

“We plan to open it next week. You can use it whenever you’d like,” Mrs. Hunter said. She was at the sink, preparing the flowers for a vase.  

“Where’s Dad?” Phil asked.

“Upstairs cleaning up for dinner. He should be down shortly.”

“I’m going to take Lina down to the basement.”

Mrs. Hunter turned from the sink, the filled vase in her hand. “You just arrived. I wanted to chat a bit with Lina.”

“You can talk to her at dinner.” Phil tugged Lina toward a door just outside the kitchen. “I’m going to teach her how to play pool.”

“Dinner’s almost ready.”

“We’re not leaving. We’ll just be downstairs.”

“Do you need help,” Lina thought to ask.

“No, thank you, dear. Everything’s been done.”

“Why would you just assume I couldn’t play?” Lina asked, taking the pool stick from Phil.

“Can you?”

“Yes.” She leaned over her stick and trained her eyes over the cue ball, hitting it squarely and scattering the racked ball around the table. Two balls fell into the pocket. 

“Not bad. You just need to learn how to shoot.”

“What are you talking about. I just got two in.” She pulled her stick back when he reached for it. “It’s still my turn.”  

“I just want to show you how to hold it properly. Come on.”

“What’s wrong with the way I hold it?”

He came behind her, reaching around her to place both his hands over hers on the stick, the front of his body pressed into the back of hers. “It’s all in the hand placement.”

She could feel the heat from his chest as it pressed in to her back. “My placement is fine. You just want to touch me.”

He rested his chin on her shoulder. “I’m trying to teach you. The touching part is just a perk for you.”

“A perk for me?” Lina sputtered, releasing the stick as she turned around to face him. “You’re so full of yourself.”

He backed her into the pool table. “You don’t like when I touch you?” He tossed the pool stick on to the table, the game seemingly forgotten as he looked into her eyes.

“You’re the one who likes to touch me,” she countered.

“I do,” he agreed. “But that doesn’t mean you don’t like it.” He began to stroke his hand over her hip.

Her heart began to beat harder. “Your parents could come down.”

“We’re not doing anything.”

“They saw us kissing the first time I met them. They’re not going to see it again.”

“Are you thinking about kissing me?”

“No.” Her eyes immediately dropped to his lips. They were full, the bottom slightly bigger than the top. She wanted to feel them against her own. “Stop.”

“I’m not doing anything.”

She fisted his shirt. “You’re trying to make me want to kiss you.”

“I’m just standing here.”

“If we kiss my lips and chin will get all red and they’ll know. Adele told me yesterday.” Adele also told her that Phil was only into her because he wanted to have sex with her and as soon as he did, he’d lose interest because that’s what athletes did. Lina knew she was wrong.  

“I don’t care who knows.”  

Lina stood up on her tiptoes, winding her arms around his neck. “I want to make a good second impression.” She brushed her lips over his. “We can kiss later.”

559 Comments on “Flash Back — Lina and Phil (the early years)

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  2. Murlene! Your post today made me LOL!
    “I wonder if the new passcode was the date the affair with Kim started”

    I never once thought about the passcode but that would be another one Phil would have to explain if it has anything to do with Kim.

    • Murlene,
      Please say it ain’t so!!!?.
      Any password but date of meeting or hooking up date with Kim!!!

      • Nothing kim-related! I will lose it again!!

        Quick question ladies..me and a girlfriend are going to Boston for a weekend next month – any recommendations regarding hotel/bars/restos, etc? Thank you!!

        • I think Marlene was being sarcastic? It’s a comment I expect from Katie. Ha. Thanks for the fragile bonds rec. I’m going to read it soon.
          Also, Miri and Holley, I read the good wife and what was noteworthy for me were the difference in texts Phil sent vs the husband sent to OW in Porter’s book. So graphic ?

          Miri my husband was in Boston couple months back and he stayed at Liberty Hotel. Said it was cool. Didn’t talk about restaurants but I’ll ask if anything stood out.

  3. Janet, Eva, or anyone who has read Covenant of Truth… I’m not going to read books 2 or 3, but I’m curious what Tracy wants when she comes back 6 years later?

    • I hope Eva and Holley can confirm but if I remember correctly she’s dying and that is why she brought the son back.

      Also, I remembered another book with OW(nice) perspective but I have to go through the list to find it. Sorry, everything blurs for me if I don’t love the author. The guy is a senator who falls for a biracial waitress and the wife cannot have a baby. HEA with the mistress. Tara, do you remember this book?

      • Katie, I’ve read all 4 Contingency books. So spoilers ahead…
        Tracy comes back after 6 years away and enrolls her son by the hisband in the heroine’s class. The h has had a baby as well after her reconciliation with the husband. There is no reconnection with husband and OW.They have to meet for the child, but the husband always brings someone with him.We find out more about OW’s history. A little bit like SN, as the family tries to accept the new child into their lives. While the other books deal with other themes, the ramifications from the affair are always there. Heavy Christian read, but I enjoyed the books. Finding the Way Back is also good, also Christian read.

        • Terry, if you like Christian stories I read Homestands today, strong Christian theme, it’s a second chance, cheating story. Devotion is also a Christian cheating story, I use cheating loosely.

          • Hi Tara, I recently read Homestands…I liked everything except for the H – wasn’t crazy about him, I thought he was not very redeemable…what did you think?

          • Miri, I thought Homestands was okay, it annoyed me when the heroine announced she was now a christian and he asked something about going to “mass”, I was left wondering if the writer was implying Catholics aren’t christian.

          • Miri, also was he redeemable, again this went back to the “christian” theme, I think the writer is giving the impression that by becoming a christian he automatically becomes redeemable.

          • Tara to me the main reason why I didn’t find him redeemable was because he reminded me of the H in ‘Life Without You’ by SP West…the H had done so much damage when he left the h years before, he purposely hurt the h as much as possible, he was purposely malicious; it was hard for me to believe that a person’s essential character could change so much…Phil, in WPf, made his mistakes, but he never intentionally hurt Lina and it wasn’t like he went from being a terrible person to being a wonderful person, he grew as a person, yes, but his character remained essentially the same throughout…

          • I did like that he was open to becoming a Christian, because it showed that he was really trying to win back the h’s trust…also, I think his newfound faith helped both the H and h deal with the last bombshell they had thrown at them toward the ending..without it they may have not been able to overcome it all and remain together

          • I don’t think it was so much his becoming a Christian that the author was trying to redeem him, but more his openness and willingness toward it, because of the h and their child

      • Hey Janet, I thought I’d answered this, but I’m having internet issues tonight. I don’t know this one, I don’t read many OW books.

        • Whoa. Sorry everyone. I thought Tracy died so I don’t know what I was thinking of. Yes, Homestands is good!

    • Hi Katie,

      I hope I’m not ruining the book for someone with this spoiler, if so I apologize in advance.
      Tracy came back to bring her son to his father, the husband who cheated. She left the law firm and never told the guy she was pregnant. She was afraid to stay in one place because of her father, who threaten to kill her for testifying against him. He murdered her mother in front of her when she was a child, and he was about to get out on parole, so in a nutshell, she was spiraling and afraid that her murderous father would catch up with her. She needed to make sure her son was safe and wanted a better life for him.

    • Katie, I’ve read all 4 Contingency books. So spoilers ahead…
      Tracy comes back after 6 years away and enrolls her son by the hisband in the heroine’s class. The h has had a baby as well after her reconciliation with the husband. There is no reconnection with husband and OW.They have to meet for the child, but the husband always brings someone with him.We find out more about OW’s history. A little bit like SN, as the family tries to accept the new child into their lives. While the other books deal with other themes, the ramifications from the affair are always there. Heavy Christian read, but I enjoyed the books. Finding the Way Back is also good, also Christian read.

    • WOW
      Soap Opera
      The Christian theme didn’t bother me. I liked how he was forced to acknowledge why he cheated from the beginning to the end of the story. Even though he was lame. ?
      Thank you

  4. Heads up. KU membership is on sale. up to 40% off if you sign up for 2 years. I’ve only seen this deal once maybe twice a year so it’s worth it to sign up now.

    • Thanks Janet! I will look into that…

      I listed a bunch more book recs down below a little earlier today if anyone’s looking…

      • I will definitely look. And as far as Tracie’s thesis just look for the longest post. Lol. It was after Ann joined the blog and I was butting heads with Katie and Tracie regarding Nick. I will try and look for it when I get home too.

        • Janet I will go back and look for it…I know I missed many months because I came along only in March I think…should be fun to read! Lol ?

      • Hmm I checked it out and couldn’t find it on the Canadian amazon site…maybe the promo is for the US only?

        Tracie that’s a great deal, I think you’re gonna find some really good books on KU! I’m really liking it ???

      • Miri sorry I cannot find Tracie’s post. We yakked so much on the blog. I just caught up on your posts starting March though and re read some of Tracie’s stories. Bahaha.

        • Hi Janet, no worries! Yeah when I first came on the blog I was totally gunning for Phil..I had just finished reading the books and was sooo mad at him lol

  5. I read the first book of Paula Wiseman’s Covenant of Trust last night. Some similarities to WPF but critically different. This guy wanted a career woman (his mistress) and a doting, Godly wife. He also mentioned how his mistress was more sexual/sexy than his wife, which was annoying to read. Phil might have respected Kim, been highly attracted to her, but he wasn’t looking for anything in her. Lina is everything he wants- the perfect woman. The H from Covenant said he wouldn’t have been able to stop the affair if he hadn’t been found out. Much different from Phil! It would be much harder to forgive an affair if the husband didn’t end it on his own.
    I’m glad you’re OK Tracie- I was worried about you. ?

    • I’m fine doll my family has been over cooking out and swimming in the pool till dark…I didn’t have a chance to check in until this morning. Thank you girls for thinking about me…Love ya!

    • And the mistress was different too. She was calculating but with much different intentions. Kim genuinely wanted Phil, and his family was just an inconvenience. In that way I can *almost* feel bad for Kim because I believe she believed he was her forever, and then he didn’t help dissuade her of that by sleeping with her.

      I’m clearly obsessed with this family again!

      • I’ve stayed obsessed, but Kim knew Phil couldn’t of been her forever if Phil told her straight up I love my wife and I would never leave her! I think she got pregnant because of his declarations about Lina. If she thought she could of led him away from Lina, By her looks and personality, I don’t think she would of resorted to getting pregnant.

        • Tracie, I don’t think they ever talked about Lina…I think he said that about loving and never leaving Lina only after the pregnancy reveal…I think Phil just assumed that because Kim knew he was married that it was a non-issue…he never imagined that Kim would want him to leave Lina for her so he never even mentioned it…

          • No. Phil would have told Kim in the beginning that he loved his wife and was never leaving her. I have no doubt. And Kim would have said something to the effect — I have no interest in more than a physical relationship

          • Because Phil told her in WPF and SN that he was always honest with her about their arrangement and that he loves his wife and would never leave her, that she was just delusional and romanized their affair. He also told her in WPF in Chapter 15 when they were on the phone..

          • Oh I see..I had thought that because Phil had never said that to her, she assumed that it was a possibility that he would leave Lina..I thought that maybe if he’d told her that in the beginning she would have thought twice about continuing their affair… in one of the bonus scenes, when Phil was on the phone with Kim, he said “did I ever tell you I was going to leave my wife? No…because I never had any intention of leaving her…you knew I was married..did you really think I was going to leave my family for you?”…so I thought that he hadn’t made himself clear in the beginning, that he just didn’t tell her that he WOULD leave his wife for her…but he didn’t tell her that he WOULDN’T either…to him because it was obvious, but for her it gave her hope

          • I has thought that if he had said that to her in the very beginning, in that phone conversation he would’ve been like “I told you in the very beginning that I love my wife and would never leave her…”, but instead he said “did I ever tell you that I would leave her?”

          • I had thought he was honest with Kim in that he never told her anything to mislead her, but that he hadn’t been clear enough because he had thought it wasn’t necessary, like, she knew the score

          • I think he said something early on, but Kim thought he could change his mind or that he was like other men who get swept off into the sunset of their affair. I can imagine it would be hard to believe a man really loves his wife when he’s sleeping with another woman.

          • I agree Katie, I think Kim thought she could get him to really fall for her and change his mind about leaving his wife…”I can imagine it would be hard to believe a man really loves his wife when he’s sleeping with another woman”…very true…

            I posted this Q down below…

            remember in chapter 15 in WPF, when he was on the phone with Kim..he says..”did I ever tell you I was going to leave my wife? That’s not true…”…what could Kim have said there that he denied saying? She was trying to make it seem like he had misled her, and we know he didn’t, but did she claim he had said to her?

          • That’s what I think too Kbabe…When she saw he was just screwing her and not making any promises she got pregnant. She probably looked at his kids pictures in his office and he might have even bragged on them a little and then BAM….Prego plan gets thrown out there Like a Hail Mary!

          • Something like she said in WPF…But you can’t get enough of me.

            Laura can tell us

          • Ok Janet replied to this down below…thanks Janet!!

            “Oh we know this one Miri! Another reader Deighj and I went crazy trying to decode this convo with Kim and Laura told us. Kim said I love you to Phil(this was before Laura revealed the after baseball scene so Phil May have heard this for the first time) Also, did you wonder about Ch 9 when Phil explains the affair to Lina and he tells her “then it turned into more” when Lina says “what you just described is a one night stand.” Well “more” meant it turned into an affair. We were freaking out that the more meant Phil’s feelings were involved. Man, we all dissected WPF word for word and it’s true Tracie really wrote a thesis defending Phil. It’s worth it to go back to the very beginning of the posts. Lot of comments raised here Laura has answered many times over.”

          • I’m gonna try to find Tracie’s thesis…it’ll calm me down on my more hormonal days LOL

      • Katie I told you that loser had a boner for the mistress 6 years later. I know we read a lot of these books to understand the cheater but it also backfires on us with more questions.

        I started a really good romance. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary Incase anyone’s interested. ?

        Tracie, I agree with everything you said except for Kim knowing it wasn’t going to be forever with Phil. I have a question. Ok in an alternate universe where Phil never met Lina, could Phil be happy with Kim? Or are they too alike?

        • I don’t think so. Her selfishness would have turned him off. He was a family man and with her actions toward Liam, she would of had him constantly choosing between her and others to include their own kids:

          • Hi Janet, I think Phil would’ve liked Kim for about 5 minutes – until he got to know her character and personality…I think he’s the type of alpha male that wants a yin to his yang, rather than the type of alpha that wants a fellow yang…

        • I agree Tracie, he’s a family man and a pretty traditional one at that…he didn’t really want a career woman, he loved that Lina was home with the kids and was always there for everyone and was very nurturing – similar to his own upbringing

        • Thanks guys. You guys are so right! Also, I always read WPF like Phil told Kim from the get go- at the bar in the City. I imagined Kim trying to seduce him and he just looks at her and says drily “I’m sure you know I’m married.” Or “didn’t you meet my wife at the Xmas party? And Kim replying looking right into Phil’s eyes “I don’t remember her and I’m married to my career.”

          • remember in chapter 15 in WPF, when he was on the phone with Kim..he says..”did I ever tell you I was going to leave my wife? That’s not true…”…what could Kim have said there that he denied saying? She was trying to make it seem like he had misled her, and we know he didn’t, but what was did she say he had said to her?

          • Oh we know this one Miri! Another reader Deighj and I went crazy trying to decode this convo with Kim and Laura told us. Kim said I love you to Phil(this was before Laura revealed the after baseball scene so Phil May have heard this for the first time) Also, did you wonder about Ch 9 when Phil explains the affair to Lina and he tells her “then it turned into more” when Lina says “what you just described is a one night stand.” Well “more” meant it turned into an affair. We were freaking out that the more meant Phil’s feelings were involved. Man, we all dissected WPF word for word and it’s true Tracie really wrote a thesis defending Phil. It’s worth it to go back to the very beginning of the posts. Lot of comments raised here Laura has answered many times over.

  6. Ok I went back and re-read all the posts again and I think Laura needs to re-post my Thesis on Phil…LOL….Phil is a MAN out of control during that affair and Kim was the only thing he could control…I always say that when he told Logan he was running away from his family, he knew that because that’s exactly what he did, but on an adult level. But as soon as the perfect storm had passed and Lina pulled him into her, he knew he had screwed up royally. Phil even told Lina in SN, I was a coward. I remember in the baseball scene in Phil’s POV how his heart was about to beat out of his chest regarding Kim and the pregnancy test….right there he knew he could possibly lose it all. However, Phil’s love for Lina trumped all things Kim and Kim knew that. Thus, texts, pictures, phone calls, etc. Phil took the hit on the affair took the blame and will have to live with the hurt he caused his family, But at least he was a man about it and loved his wife and children through it! In the Epilogue if SN when he scans his family and pulls Lina more securely to his side and kisses her temple, you know them how grateful he is for his family and her forgiveness. He’s not a man that went untouched from his own sins and selfishness.

  7. Of course Phil was discreet and no one in the office besides Wayne would admit to knowing what was going on. I’m sure it took awhile, but then people would start whispering. I don’t think Kim would flaunt it. She’s not stupid. She was in it for the long haul — if it got out and back to Lina, Phil would be more likely to end it.

    • Agree Laura, remember in the scene where Phil is ending the affair, Kim says I would never tell her. Kim needed Phil feeling secure that they were a secret until a she could get pregnant and turn his love for Lina towards her. Which would of never happened. I can just imagine her heart beating quick when he said you will be working for Wayne from now on! Loved it! I wonder if Phil ever worried about Kim telling Lina after she walked out of his office that day or if Phil knew she wouldn’t because he could ruin her career.

      • Thank god you are back. We needed you to adjust our hormonal imbalance last night. Haha.
        Phil wasn’t worried about Kim. She wouldn’t have showed her true side to him during the affair. And Phil has just as much if not more to lose if Kim presses charges for sexual harassment. Whatever Phil threatened her with she could twist it around to suit her needs if she wanted to take that route. If anything she could have destroyed his career. Hello Les Moonves or even Matt Lauer.

        • Matt Lauer – I don’t think so. There was no sexual harassment and her career didn’t suffer. That would be hard to prove. I discussed this at length with the lawyers in my family while writing it. Plus Kim isn’t about getting money from him. She can make her own. She wanted Phil

          • Kim had to buy her time until Liam was born. You saw just how far Kim would let Phil push her with the birth scene. She asked him to come and it didn’t and then the next day he shows up to meet Liam and she’s all smiles and wants him to name his son and he will have your name for life, blah blah… I would be like where the hell were you yesterday….His name is…He would of thought I was Yoda when I imparted all man wisdom on him that day…Lol

          • Again, Kim thought when he held Liam in that hospital he would be like he was with Lina…Wrong! He felt a surge of protectiveness for his son, not her. I can just hear Phil. “I’m having my attorney draw up a standard custody and support agreement that we can sign after the holidays.” I’m going to go now and will contact you regarding my visitation with Liam. I’ll check with the nurse on the way out to add his name and sign the birth certificate.” Phil is really that nonchalant with her….

        • “Thank god you are back. We needed you to adjust our hormonal imbalance last night. Haha.” ? I’m sorry ladies, I turned into a werewolf last night..but I’m back to myself this morning ? I’m happy with Phil again ?

          • Girls you all need to do like I do and just get in the Phil zone and stay there, less emotional turmoil on me! ? Lol

  8. As J-Girl would say “I’m here”. Loved reading all your comments and loved the scene. Phil and Lina’s relationship is going to be one, when sex does happen it’s going to be addictive for them, it still is. I know Phil’s affair wasn’t about Lina’s abilities in bed, i think we will see exactly that as we continue with the early years. Laura thank you for fueling our fire with these scenes, absolutely love them. Miri thank you for the book lists, makes my life so much easier. Lol…you are a doll sweetie.

    Janet I think people would of lost some respect for Phil, but my Phil would of just demanded it back over time. I would love to read Laura’s thoughts as another young sultry associate tried to hit on Phil after he was back with Lina. I bet he would cut her off at the ankles and she wouldn’t know it until she took a step. The office quickies was about all Phil could give and get gone. The nights he stayed at her apartment, I guarantee he was like “I don’t like to be touched when I sleep.” Lol. I know I’m probably going to have to read it, but Laura will make it as painless as possible…

    • Thank you Tracie ? here are some more…my TBR list is getting looong…(sorry if I’ve listed some of these before!)

      Dressing Myself – Rosalind Burgess
      A Life Made Of Lava – Lissa Del
      Riven – Lissa Del (I think it’s infidelity but not 100% certain)
      Rinfall – Melissa Delport
      Adultery For Beginners – Sarah Duncan
      Another Woman’s Husband – Sarah Duncan
      Separate Lives – Kathryn Fleet
      The Fantasy Effect – Paige Fieldsted

      a few by Elizabeth Buchan (they mostly sound like infidelity novels): The Good Wife; Perfect Love; Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman; The second Wife; Secrets of the Heart

      Infidelity – Stacey May Fowles
      Bad Connections – Joyce Johnson
      Do This For Me – eliza Kennedy
      The Almost Sisters – Lisa Gabriele
      Don’t Move – Margaret Mazzantini
      Infidelity’s Fool – Mannie L Magid
      Love Struck – Chantel Simmons
      Seven Years – Peter Stamm
      Marry Me – John Updike
      Me Times Three – Alex Witchel
      The Spare Wife – Alex Witchel
      The Paper Lovers – Gerard Woodward
      England’s Lane – Emma Woolf
      Love All – Callie Wright
      The realm Of Last Chances – Steve Yarbrough
      Coming Home – stacey Hawkins Adams
      Snake – Emilia Beaumont
      The Fallout – Tamar Cohen
      A Thousand Pardons – Jonathan Dee
      The First Affair – Emma McLaughlin
      Man and Boy – Tony Parsons
      Love and Other Impossible Pursuits – Ayelet Waldman (this is after the affair, and the mistress has married the H – I think the OW is a sympathetic character in this one)

      • and there’s one from KU that I read and liked…Fragile Bonds – Sloan Johnson..it’s another ill wife/husband/caretaker triangle, but the H and OW knew each other previously

        • A Life made of Lava as mentioned above is the same type of triangle…also on KU…great writing in this one

          • Oh and I read a really good one a while back, The Good Wife by Jane Porter…it’s the second in a series, but I didn’t read the first one…I was only interested in the sister and her athlete husband…he had cheated on her and in the second book, this one, she pretty much lost her mind slowly…it was really good, because it showed how she wanted to but couldn’t trust him again, and she became paranoid and unstable…there’s a HEA, but it took a while to get there, even a couple years after his affair…I thought it was pretty realistic

          • Hi Miri,
            I read The Good Wife. The wife was quick to forgive the affair. Then she started to struggle with trusting him because he traveled a lot as a baseball player. Three years post the affair, she was checking his emails, showing up at places he was at, imagining the worst when he was not with her. If I remember correctly, he was having the affair when his wife discovered a graphic email to the OW and he broke it off.
            The story is good. I did not like the H, he was not very sympathetic or understanding of the h’s struggle. She was trying but was having a hard time. The end too was unsatisfying, the h decided to go back to grad school? There was no hea.
            I think that book can benefit from a second book showing how they repaired their marriage and had their hea.
            Have you read True by G. Grace?

          • Hi Holley,
            “The wife was quick to forgive the affair. Then she started to struggle with trusting him because he traveled a lot as a baseball player”…that’s what I thought as well..she was so keen to stay together that she wasn’t able to take the time it required to really deal with it all..and his traveling all the time didn’t give them the time together to work through it together, plus he just wanted to forget about it and move on immediately…she was basically on her own in trying to work through it..
            “If I remember correctly, he was having the affair when his wife discovered a graphic email to the OW and he broke it off.”…yes, that’s what happened..
            “I did not like the H, he was not very sympathetic or understanding of the h’s struggle. She was trying but was having a hard time.”…I completely agree! That bugged me so much..he basically left it up to HER to deal with the aftermath of HIS affair..as far as he was concerned she either got over it or she didn’t..then when she was acting irrationally, he was unsympathetic and cold and ready to leave her because of it…she gave him and their marriage her absolute everything, and then when she was so deeply hurt by his cheating, it was basically her problem to deal with…I remember at one point, when he told her to fix herself or he’d leave her, she thought to herself, if they divorced, he’d find a new girlfriend/wife so quickly and easily, while she’d still not be over him or be able to move on…that pissed me off so much because I find that it’s so true to life..he was gorgeous, successful, rich, he’d have his pick of women if she let him go..(similar to Lina and Phil except Phil was willing to do anything to get Lina back, he would have supported her in any way possible in order to reunite with her)…the thing about the grad school ending is this: it basically said that her paranoia and craziness was due to the fact that she hadn’t been keeping herself busy or challenged enough, and that her husband had his career fulfillment so she needed to find hers…umm no actually her distress post affair was because he cheated and proved himself hard to trust, AND because due to the nature of his job he still traveled a lot and partied and basically remained in the same environment (cheating teammates, groupies, etc) that led to his cheating in the first place..of course she remained suspicious and paranoid! The HEA I mentioned had more to do with the fact that they stayed together and seemingly worked out their differences (but really it was the h making all the concessions).

            True is on my TBR list..is the story/characters similar?

          • Hi Miri,
            I agree with everything you said about The Good Wife. He was not a kind H at all. She alone made all the concessions.
            As for True, you have not read yet so I dont want to spoil it. I will say this, the h is the one who “cheats”. Up to that point, the book does a good job of laying out how the H and h got there. Then after the one time “cheating, ” boy you see the consequences for the h. They eventually get back together but the process is brutal. I liked it a lot. It has everything The Good Wife did not.

          • Hmmm…isn’t it interesting that since the cheater in ‘True’ is the h and not the H, she has a much more difficult road in trying to be forgiven by the H? Whereas many of the books we’ve read it’s the H who cheats and just expects to be forgiven and go on his merry way…I will definitely read it soon!

          • I agree with you Mari. The H in The Good Wife and Phil in the beginning just wanted their spouses to moved past the affair because they were done with the affair.
            I have always heard that men have a harder time being cheated on, I dont know how true this is. I dont personally know any men who have been cheated on but I know plenty of women who have been cheated on ?.
            In True, the H was furious, jealous, heartbroken, and definitely unforgiving in the beginning and oh boy she the h suffered a lot.
            I also think many of the cheating books are written by women so it might be harder for them to speak the point of the husband doing the cheating. How do you get in the head of a H to explain how he did his cheating? So we dont always understand why they did it. Then the man is like “get over it” because for most the act itself is just sex but there are many reasons why they have “just sex” with OW.
            Also, Laura said Phil would have forgiven Lina but from jail. I believe that.
            So the wolrd is full of double standards. When it comes tk cheating, I think there is some double standard.

  9. Miri, your lists are amazing. So many good ones! I tried searching amazon (infidelity, adultery, etc.), and all I found were weird erotic shorts, psychological thrillers and really old ones.

    • Thanks Katie! Yes you have to wade through hundreds and hundreds of really weird stuff! Lots of “cuckhold” titles LOL what is that?!? There’s a whole world out there that I never even imagined existed lol!

      I have a bunch more to list, will continue tomorrow..

      Janet, sorry I got you riled up…I had a moment there but my heart rate’s slowed down and I’m fine now..but..do we think that he and Kim did stuff in the office during office hours with employees roaming around? If they did I’m gonna have another meltdown…Remember Phil’s secretary didn’t approve of their shenanigans either? Kim complained about her “disapproval”…WHY was Phil not more discreet? Why did he let Kim wait around for him in his office and make things obvious? He expects everyone to respect him but he behaved so undignified..and by being open-ish about their fling he was publicly disrespecting Lina! Now I’m mad all over again…

        • Lol!…I may have missed that one but I do remember “Cuckold Campout: A Cuckold Short Story” lolll

      • So I believe hanky panky happened after hours when Kim would wait up for Phil to finish up for the night. I think during lunch they made use of the apartment. Phil was discreet but no man can get by a secretary. Lol. They know all the ins and outs of their boss. Yuck! And one more thing. Does Phil expect everyone to respect him? I think more like everybody better listen to him or else.

    • Phil is totally a man already. “What I think and what you think is all that matters”. LOL

      I cannot imagine going to meet your boyfriend’s parents for dinner at 15! How nerve racking.

      • WOW can I just say that I think I love teen Phil maybe even more than adult Phil? You’re right Janet he is ALL MAN!!

        • “Adele also told her that Phil was only into her because he wanted to have sex with her and as soon as he did, he’d lose interest because that’s what athletes did. Lina knew she was wrong.”…awww that part was so sweet..Lina and Phil were so serious about each other from the start, no games whatsoever…

          Laura, how long did they wait before they slept together for the first time? I can’t imagine Phil pressuring her at all…but they seemed to both be equally enamored, so I doubt they waited long

      • Miri, Phil was just going to sleep that night. He avoided Lina and came up late thinking she would be already asleep. So for whatever reason that night doesn’t bother me.

        You know what still upsets me if I think deep about this? It’s that Phil didn’t heed any of Wayne’s warnings. Wayne is his mentor and best friend. And because of the affair, their relationship was strained during the 4 months. Didn’t Phil care that he may lose a friend because of what he was doing? How could he turn a blind eye to that? Lying to Lina and deceiving her was unavoidable but why was he willing to sever a friendship over a fling? Why Phil?Are we all in sync and hormonal right now? My heart is staccato-ing again.

        • I’m sure Wayne didn’t know about the affair right away, and I doubt he thought he was severing a friendship. Wayne didn’t approve but he wasn’t going to throw the friendship away.

          • Yes, where is Tracie?

            Ok. I needed to hear you say that Laura. I know I should step up but when I’m reading all the comments I once raised with you, the cycle of what if’s and why’s starts again. Once in awhile I think about Matt still. He still was my second favorite after Logan. I just loved everything about him so I hope he is selling out stadiums by now.
            Now I will go find BeeSA’s post. I think I missed a lot.

      • Katie, The Other Half by Sarah Rayner isn’t good. The husband is a beta male. Not for you. No HEA either.

    • BeeSA — I somehow missed your post about your family and just read it. Wow — that’s amazing about your father.

        • Hi Laura,
          Thanks 🙂 he’s meeting his sisters and brother and rest of the family. His mother passed away a few years ago but her sister still alive – she just celebrated her 80th birthday. Hopefully he’ll get more information regarding his biological dad since we know he was a result of an affair – so his name was never listed on his birth certificate.
          Patiently waiting for the 20th July (when he flies to visit them)

    • WOW can I just say that I think I love teen Phil maybe even more than adult Phil? You’re right Janet he is ALL MAN!!

  10. Janet, I’ve read Heartstrings, but I’m not sure about the other one you mentioned… doctor caught cheating in the hotel room… sounds interesting… is it Finding the Way Back? He’s a doctor and she teaches in a private school.

    • Yes! By Erin Landy. I don’t know how you all remember all the titles. They all jumbo into one big lump for me. I see that I rated 3 stars. It was good.

      • Oh I read that one! It was pretty good…

        I just emailed Katie on GR, about Tess Stimson…she wrote a few adultery themed books…The Adultery Club,\; The Infidelity Chain; and The Nanny (the blurb says “you can trust her with your child, but can you trust her with your husband?’);.. she also wrote a relationship advice book called Beat The Bitch, it sounds like a how to beat the OW and keep your man sort of thing…I haven’t read them yet but they sounds pretty good!

  11. It would of made me absolutely sick too! I’m so glad you didn’t write a scenario like my thoughts…I thought it after reading the Prologue of Gravity. I think Wayne would of been like You are messing up, do it on your time not ours. Phil could of cared less what people were saying about him. If and when Laura has to write about the affair, I hope it’s like some of the Alpha Males we read about before they are caught in the snare of the h…I don’t cuddle, etc…gets off and gets up…The nights he stays at her apartment, I bet he doesn’t spoon her either…It’s all get in and get out…I have anxiety thinking about!

    • I know Phil wouldn’t care what people thought of his affair at work but what about being a tad bit stressed / worried that someone may mention it to Lina?
      I like to believe he only stayed at her apartment when things got really tense at home and he was desperate to escape but then didnt like it when Kim tried to cuddle with him – that made him feel slightly guilty, which is why he only did it 2 /3 times.
      Also he never shared room with her in NY – he would go back to his own room once finished.

      • Lol, I’m not giving poor Phil a break here….if he stayed with her when Lina was just 30 minutes down the road, (the picture of him naked in her bed proved that) he would have had no problems staying with her in New York.

      • I wonder if Wayne tried at all to try to talk some sense into Phil? Phil’s gonna do whatever he wants to anyhow, but maybe Wayne speaking to him would have given him some doubts about the road he was heading down?

        • I read ‘Homestands’ by Sally Bradley…I liked it but found the H insufferable…has a HEA…I also read ‘The Idea of Him’ by Holly Peterson..it was meh, too much other stuff going on aside from the marriage…the following are on my TBR list, have not read yet, so don’t know how good they are…

          Pitch Dark – Renata Adler
          Private Lies – Warren Adler
          The Other Half- Sarah Rayner
          Strangers When We Meet – Evan Hunter
          Nightingale Woods – Kathryn Brown
          Outtakes from a Marriage – Ann Leary
          Ordinary People – Diana Evans
          Room Service – BB James
          In Office Hours – Kucy Kellaway
          Vital Signs – Tessa McWatt
          Hidden – Catherine McKenzie
          Alienation of Affections – Portia Porter
          Attached – Jasma Pendergrass
          Friend of the Family – Tasmina Perry
          Shattered – JD Reins
          The Last Time They met – Anita Shreve
          Tomorrow – Graham Swift
          Love Changes Everything – Jessica Tendayi

          • Holley my reply to your comment is way down below so I posted it up here…

            Holley – yes!! “The deceptive acts he engaged in with Lina is what I am afraid of learning about”…because Lina never even imagined that Phil could be so duplitious and so convincing in his lies…she thought she knew him inside out, so there’s this whole other side to him that emerged when he was running his scam..You know in the opening scene? when Lina sees the text from Kim and can’t unlock his phone? Maybe I’m too confrontational, but I would’ve been like, ‘unlock this phone right now Phil or we’re gonna have some problems’…I wondered why Lina didn’t do that? I thought, why not find out here and now what’s going on? just the fact that his phone was locked when it never had been before and he changed his passcode was a red flag…would my approach have been wrong? My mom always says men are very delicate creatures and they spook easily ?

          • Miri, I think Lina was reeling from shock and started piecing it together just then. First the tie, then the text, then wrong passcode and she thought my Phil would never… then that night didn’t she look up kim’s name? That’s when she also remembered it was 3 weeks ago they were intimate. She was gut punched.

          • Yes but why didn’t she confront him? Probably she was a bit in denial…which, I don’t blame her..confrontation is easy, but what are you going to do with what you find out? I guess she didn’t want to ask the questions because she was not prepared for the storm that the answers might unleash…I recently read a book (I can’t remember which one right now), and the h suspects her H of cheating…her sister has been down this road before, having been cheated on by her ex-husband, whom she divorced (they had 3 kids together)…anyway, the sister says to the h, do I wish I’d never found out about his affair? yes..I wish I hadn’t know, and I hadn’t confronted him, because now he’s happily engaged to someone else, while I sit here, a middle-aged working single mother of 3 who’s lonely as hell…that really struck a cord with me…it seems that men move on much more easily after divorce because first, there seem to be more single women out there than men, and second, because they don’t have the kids full time…:(

          • The Marlboro man was Hotttt….But I can’t picture him in a suit. Tom Selleck is a Hell No….LOL

          • No that was for Camel cigarettes…The Marlboro Man was a hot sexy cowboy….

            That cracked me up MIri!

    • Tracie, everything ok? What do you think of the Marlboro man as your Phil? I just keep coming back to him(remember those commercials when we were young?) so I’m settling with him. No moreTom Selleck. Lol

    • I want to know every sordid detail about the affair until I am like nope dont need to know anymore. I am afraid that I will hate Phil all over again. The deceptive acts he engaged in with Lina is what I am afraid of learning about, sex is sex I can live with that. The deception might diminish Phil in my eyes. My brain is at war with itself on the affair details ??

      • Hi ladies! Ok, so, we know that throughout his affair, Phil and Lina were still having sex…who do you think would have initiated it more, Phil or Lina? And was it obligatory, perfunctory, but-their-minds-were-elsewhere sex, or was it still steamy and sexy? Did Phil ever (gasp) let his thought wander to Kim (who was always up for a romp and was always stroking Phil’s ego)? Did Phil and Lina ever have sex on the same days that he and Kim had done it? Also, was the hanky panky going on inside Phil’s office taking place after hours or during the day too, like lunch time? Cause that would’ve been ewwww for all the employees who were around and knew what was going on..

        • I feel like I’m a detective, looking for every clue, detail, etc lolll..sigh, but what’s done is done…too late for us stop Phil from committing his crimes 🙁

        • Miri! OMG I already want to upchuck after Katie used the word feral and now you and lunch time hanky. Laura gave us the deleted scenes and Phil said Lina didn’t initiate sex for 9 months. I don’t think this changed in the book. Also, WPF opens with Phil coming home early Thursday and Phil and Lina reconnect that same night. Now, knowing Phil do you think they didn’t have sex in the am in New York? They check in with separate rooms but stay in the same room. I asked Laura long time ago on this and it makes sense to me(more realistic) I’m hoping Phil had enough sense to use the apartment during lunch time like we saw in the texts.

          • Janet I liked Katie’s use of the word feral, it was fitting lol…So, if Lina hadn’t initiated sex that night, do you think his affair would have gone on longer (because he decided to end it the next day)…how long would it have gone on if Lina hadn’t tried to reconnect with Phil that night?!?! ok now I’m freaking out…

          • I don’t know how long. I think if Phil and Lina didn’t reconnect that night I would assume Kim’s Liam news would have broken them up for good. But yes, he was going to meet Kim the next day so he asked Lina what the schedule was for Saturday. Laura told me. Believe me I was not in the right frame of mind for 8 months or so. But obviously Phil wasn’t also. I think his life unraveled when He couldn’t “fix” Katie and he just lost it. Did you read the deleted scene where Phil has a fight with Lina while he was in New York? He threw his cell in the hotel room and went down to the bar. The scene ends there but that’s how Kim got him that first night.

          • Don’t freak out! Just read SN again tonight. Everything’s OK. Phil hates Kim. Phil hates Kim! Phil loves Lina! Where’s Tracie? Help

          • “Believe me I was not in the right frame of mind for 8 months or so” LOL!! Janet I’m so glad I’m not the only one driven crazy by Phil..but yeah, I need to take a few deep breaths here…???

          • honestly, just when I think I’ve forgiven Phil and I’m all kumbaya with him, I start PMS-ing and I get pissed off all over again…so I think it’s expected that after an affair, the cheated on spouse will randomly and unexpectedly get infuriated all over again, like little tremors, for a while until all is truly forgiven…I know Lina is calm and everything, but do you think that for a year or two after the affair, she would get inexplicably mad over a little thing here and there and take it out on Phil? I know she forgave him totally, but here and there, maybe when Liam was having a major meltdown and she had a headache and Megan was being a bitch, ect, did she ever blow up at Phil, as opposed to in the past when she had been more peaceful inside? Does that make sense? Does the anger ever TRULY go away?

          • Omg I was just thinking about Phil screwing Kim in the morning in NY and then reconnecting with Lina that night. It’s so out of character. He was out of his mind. So gross. It pisses me off all over again, but I have to remind myself that he wasn’t in the driver’s seat of his life or body for a period there.

          • Okay, calm down. Phil came home early from New York. He went home, not to Kim’s house. Remember he began losing interest after Steamboat. They were at the beginning of the end.

          • You’re right Katie, the body snatchers got Phil too..or he was “glamoured” by Kim the vampire..this is starting to look like an epidemic..

      • Holley – yes!! “The deceptive acts he engaged in with Lina is what I am afraid of learning about”…because Lina never even imagined that Phil could be so duplitious and so convincing in his lies…she thought she knew him inside out, so there’s this whole other side to him that emerged when he was running his scam..You know in the opening scene? when Lina sees the text from Kim and can’t unlock his phone? Maybe I’m too confrontational, but I would’ve been like, ‘unlock this phone right now Phil or we’re gonna have some problems’…I wondered why Lina didn’t do that? I thought, why not find out here and now what’s going on? just the fact that his phone was locked when it never had been before and he changed his passcode was a red flag…would my approach have been wrong? My mom always says men are very delicate creatures and they spook esasily ?

        • Hi Mira,
          Your mom is a wise woman?. It’s hard to cheat without deception and Phil had plenty of reasons to be deceptive. He did want Lina to know about the affair, he is not that crazy!
          I think Lina did want to have the passcode to the phone at that time because she was afraid her suspicion would have been correct. Lina is not timid or passive, she could have demanded it. She was afraid of the truth at that moment so it was easier for her to believe what was easier which was he just changed it. She did not want to and was not ready to face the truth and Phil took advantage (remember the tie scene, he lied to het). We can agree he was a jackass at that time and Steamboat? Running club?. Based on some of the comments, he didn’t care that Wayne and Anne (his secretary) knew. That boggles my mind because it could have impacted his career negatively. Yeah, he needed SN to show he deserved Lina back and he was worth a 2nd chance. Good guy gone darth vadder, thank God for redemption.

          Miri, dont get mad but Lina was being deceptive too about her reliance and crush on Nick. She thought about him a lot and sometimes in Phil’s presence. She was very close or on her way to having an improper relationship with Nick, dont you think?
          I am glad she did not give into her crush and do it with Nick.

  12. I’m finding myself fascinated by the OW and husband perspectives and how their realities can be so much different than the wive’s. These last two recommend by Miri gave insight into the other perspectives. Does anyone know of other infidelity stories that include the OW and/or husband perspectives?

    • Hi Katie:

      Have you read Contingency: Covenant of Trust by Paula Wiseman?
      The story has a heavy Christian take, but the story also has a lot in common with WPF and SN. It is a 4 book story following this family, (years), and the repercussions of the husband’s affair.

      • Thank you Eva, I’ll look it up!
        I know, Janet. What’s wrong with me? The psychology is interesting to me. Why do people do what they do? How are they justifying it? I like the analysis- how can I forgive or just understand without all of the perspectives?

      • In Contengency, the husband is still in the affair when the wife finds out. Also, the couple receives counseling from their preacher whose name is Phil, I believe ?. The writing style is different fro. Laura. Heavy also on the Christian theme.

      • Hi Eva, I read the first book…I didn’t continue the series because I took a peek and I saw there was a baby with the OW and then the H dies and some stuff like that so I said meh, too much drama for me right now lol…did you read the entire series?

        • Hi Katie, I have a book in my TBR list called ‘The Other Half’, by Sarah Rayner…I think it has the perspective of the OW, if I remember correctly…

    • Hi Katie, I have a book in my TBR list called ‘The Other Half’, by Sarah Rayner…I think it has the perspective of the OW, if I remember correctly…

    • You are such a superstar. Honest to God, I don’t know how you find time to do everything that you do Laura. Thank you so much for these scenes. I love them!!

    • Miri I think Kim conceived in the first month of the affair itself..even if Lina caught them it would have been late..
      And yes Laura as Miri asked “did he ever try to talk some sense into Phil while the affair was ongoing? If he had threatened to tell Lina (he’d be bluffing of course), maybe Phil would have broken off the affair sooner? At what point into the 4 months do you think people in the office began to suspect the affair between Phil and Kim? ”
      I too want to know about when the people in the office began to know about their affair..I’m sure Kim wouldn’t be subtle about keeping it a secret ..she would have made sure everyone knew about what was going… it’s just my guess..?

      • I wondered if Wayne ever threatened to take the work apartment key away from Phil and if Phil needed it, he had to go through him or his secretary instead.

        Also Wayne warning him that he needs to think long and hard if he’s prepared on losing Lina as rumours are already flying around the office.

        Also i believe Phil did have an odd late night ‘quickie’ in the office but he never gave Kim oral at all and always cut the kiss short when she tried to kiss him. It was all mechanical for him (only concerned on himself and his pleasure) and he often had his eyes closed. :p Like he said, it wasn’t about Kim, she could have been anyone, she was just there and easy.

        • Hi BeeSA,

          This is what I think:

          Phil is a very virile and sexy man who LOVES sex, and Kim was a very beautiful and sexy woman. The emails to meet up for sex were all instigated by Phil, sometimes twice a day. I don’t believe he closed his eyes or that the sex was mechanical. Just my take.

          • I have to agree. I imagine they had feral/hurried sex- not affectionate. No cuddling or looking into the other’s eyes. He probably buried his face in her neck if he was face-to-face. I’m sure he preferred positions that avoided that. But he is a virile man with an ego, and even though he chased his own pleasure first and foremost, I think he still would’ve made sure she was pleasured as well. I think Laura said no oral though.

          • All the messages Kim shared were instigated by Phil. I’m sure Kim didn’t plenty of instigating of her own. She just didn’t share them with Lina.

        • I wonder if Wayne tried at all to try to talk some sense into Phil? Phil’s gonna do whatever he wants to anyhow, but maybe Wayne speaking to him would have given him some doubts about the road he was heading down?

      • The affair started in February. According to Liam’s birthdate of December 23. Liam was conceived the end of March thru the first week of April. According to the text messages Lina received from Kim. Phil was with Kim on this week.

  13. I’m reading a really bad cheating “Christian” husband book—very preachy, but had a great way to throw him out—she packed his bag, stuck a giant sign on it with the girl friend’s name and left it in the middle of the driveway.

    • Tara did you like the book? There’s another short Christian romance before. I can look up the title but he is a doctor who cheats and the wife catches them in a hotel. Never got further than that one night. I think the ex wife is a teacher. HEA obviously. Have you read it?

      • Hi Janet,
        I think you might be referring to Heartstrings by Kate Vale? He is a veterinarian and the wife is a doctor. The affair and wife’s pregnancy cause the wife to slip into a depression. He had a one night stand with an ex girlfriend. That was a heavy book. Made me sad ?

        • Hi Holley! I liked Heartstrings too! But it wasn’t Kate Vale. I will look it up and post here. Also, I so agree about Contingency. It was a bit heavy on the Christian theme for me. I think the husband had a boner for the mistress after not seeing her for 6 years. Ugh.

      • I didn’t care for it, the book was somewhat superficial, but it showed the slippery slop from friendship into the cheating.

      • I read Heartstrings, it was okay, for some reason I didn’t really like the wife, I don’t really recall why.

  14. Janet, I read The Affair by CLKnopf last night. That was a situation where the couple shouldn’t be together, and I didn’t hate the guy. The heroine was likable. I’m glad they ended up together after he divorced his wife.
    I think this one felt different than 10 Days because there weren’t very young children involved. Having young kids can be hard on a marriage, and I hate to see people check out during a temporary hard time.

    • Agree Kbabe! ?

      Also, Tracie if we saw Phil and Kim together along with Lina, would you forgive Phil? Just like Holley said it changes the story because it means the affair was on going. I don’t think Lina would be able close her eyes at night after that visual. Btw, that was such a Janet question! Hahaha

      • “it changes the story because it means the affair was on going” great point Janet! so true! Also, it would have been harder for Lina to “unsee” what she saw it it were live right in front of her..but it she did catch them, maybe it would’ve been before Kim conceived, so there would have been one less hurdle to overcome…

        Laura, Did Phil and Kim ever engage in any hanky panky in the office? At one point in one of the bonus scenes, Kim said to Phil that she was sick and tired of his secretary giving her disapproving looks…

        • Laura, another question…since Wayne was so disapproving about the affair, going so far as to make things strained between him and Phil, did he ever try to talk some sense into Phil while the affair was ongoing? If he had threatened to tell Lina (he’d be bluffing of course), maybe Phil would have broken off the affair sooner? At what point into the 4 months do you think people in the office began to suspect the affair between Phil and Kim? Thanks!

        • Yes they engaged in “hanky panky in the office”. 🙁
          As far as Tracie’s question. If Lina walked in on Phil and caught him with Kim, the book would have been very different. At that moment she would have been in complete shock and all her anger would have been directed at Phil. There is no doubt in my mind that she would have immediately kicked him out. I’m sure they would have eventually worked things out, but it would take a lot longer. Catching him in the middle of an affair he hadn’t yet ended on his own — ugh.
          In WPF Lina slowly learned of the affair. First she saw the tie, then received a phone call. She suspected but wasn’t positive. She had time to slowly come to terms with the reality that it may be true. Even knowing about the affair, the pictures almost did them in. Without warning would absolutely crush her.

  15. Hi everyone. Regarding Miri’s list, The Sidelined Wife by Jennifer Peel is good. However, the ending is good but not what we usually want? Do that make sense? I don’t want to give away too much. Taylor Rayne vy JP is also good, and is about a couple reconciliation after 14 years! All of her books have a bit of angst.

    • That was a heavy book Terry! Thank you for recommending Where Hope Begins. I’m a Christian who doesn’t like reading Christian romance novels but I didn’t mind this one at all. Loved Brock so much!

  16. I have a what if question girls. I have had anxiety over it (reading this scenario in other books) and it never happened, but WHAT IF, Lina would have surprised Phil at his office or New York and caught Kim and Phil in a compromising situation? I wonder about Phil’s reaction. I know he would jump and run after Lina trying to grab clothes, get his pants zipped or quit dancing. I can’t imagine how he would of felt, by the look of devastation on Lina’s face. I wonder what Lina would of done, would she run or start shouting… what??? Can you imagine her walking in on the dance picture moment??? I know that is a crazy what if, but my mind goes there….Phil and Lina both would of been more devastated, if the WHAT IF had came to fruition. I’m so glad it didn’t, but I still thought it….

    • Tracia I think Lina would have slapped Kim right then and there and would have shouted on Phil..but still would reconcil with him…
      They are unbreakable and all that..so I think that’s how she would react

    • We discussed this before Tracie. You and Laura said pictures were like being caught in the act because I asked if Lina would have left Phil for good if she walked in on them. Waaahhh.

    • I think she would’ve kicked him out right away but they would’ve reconciled. I can’t imagine. Awful.

      • I’m with Katie, I think the shock of catching them in the act would have devastated Lina to the point she would have thrown him out immediately. I think it would have stopped the affair instantaneously and he would have been doing some serious groveling. I think it goes without saying they would have eventually reconciled.

    • Hi Tracie,
      Your what if had me thinking.
      I think Lina would have been devastated so would Phil.
      Lina would have slapped Phil and had words for him. I dont think she would have slapped Kim at that point. Lina slapped Kim in WPF because Kim was goading her and had tried to hurt Lina prior to the encounter.
      Judging by Lina’s response to the photos of Phil and Kim, I think she would have been too hurt and angry to listen to Phil.
      Also, forgiving Phil would have been a lot harder because he was in the affair when Lina discovered it vs. it had ended when Lina’s suspicion were confirmed.
      I am not sure she would have taken him back. Or she would have taken longer to take him back.

      • I agree with everything you said Holley. I do think she would eventually take him back, but like Tara said he would have to do some serious groveling. It makes me sick to even think about that scenario.

    • Hey Janet from your comment down below
      “If you follow goodreads, the author posted that her husband cheated on her and this book came from a very dark place. They have reconciled since then and their marriage is stronger than ever. I don’t know what to make of the ending. She kinda left it to the readers but I think she will divorce him. He’s a liar and a serial cheater. He had the next girl already picked out. How do we know if he was even in NY really? Who knows? maybe with lots therapy and a personality transplant they can mend what’s broken. It really was a trip.”
      Ya I saw the author mention about her husband being unfaithful
      ..sad to hear …but I my husband was anything like that cheating scum in that book…I would have divorced him without having any second thoughts….
      Ya we don’t know if he was even in NY and remember the part(very starting of the book, tessa still doesn’t know about her husband’s affair) where she calls him and he won’t answer the first time and the second time when he answers he sounds a bit breathless..so creepy..yuck! Ya therapy might help ..I felt the hero was somewhat like the hero in “you,me and other people” he became a sex addict in no time or he was forever an addict maybe..
      But the way the book opened to the ending was fascinating..ya like you said a suspense thriller..

      • That’s right Hinata. He was breathless. Lol. Maybe he’s a sociopath.
        Thank you for the recs. I will look for them!

    • Anyone who loves astrology, hippie stuff ,neglecting husband no cheating and a HEA can read The Divorce..I liked it…it is a bit relaxing and sweet from racking brains because of stupid cheating dudes

  17. Ladies, might I suggest “Where Hope Begins” by Catherine West. I have mentioned it before, and I am re reading it. Warning, this is about a couple dealing with the loss of a child. By the way, I also read “10 Days”. I did not like David and his wife. Hello, ever hear of marriage counseling Jackass? When my second daughter was born, I was having a tough time dealing with 2 kids under 2. My husband and I were not connecting at all. My husband suggested marriage counseling. We had a great counselor. Sometimes even marriages need a tune up. We just celebrated our 20 year anniversary. I have to tell you, our counselor told us to look at our future. Did we want to have each other there? When something is bugging me and I want to lose my s&*t, I have to ask myself, “Does this contribute or take away from the big picture” ie. Us being together? It is a good strategy for lots of things.

    • Hi ladies!
      Terry, I read that book (where Hope begins) and I really did like it!

      Janet, last night I woke up at 3 am and couldn’t fall back asleep so I polished off another book – Gravity, by LD Cedergreen…I didn’t find it to be the usual cheating book…it was actually very beautifully written and I didn’t really hate anyone lol..
      I really see what you mean about David (10 days) falling in love at first sight, I thought that too, but then I figured I was being naive and that he owed it to his family (kids) to try to work things out with his wife…I do think they will not last, he is miserable…I small part of me finished the book hoping that maybe a few years down the road, they will both be divorced, and will meet up again..but only once they’re no longer married to their spouses…their spouses will be less devastated I think, to be divorced because things didn’t work out rather than because David and Ellen each fell in love with someone else (one another) and left them for it…also it would be less traumatic for their kids that way I think…
      So have any of you read Gravity?

      • But Back to 10 days…the ending was what really made me wonder, if I was in David or Ellen’s shoes, what would I have done? Would I pursue my own happiness (not lust, but happiness) at the expense of my spouse and kids, or would I sacrifice my happiness for them?? I don’t know..Ellen was just so sad in the end 🙁

        • Oh and Janet, I kept Hoping the gold digger would get caught cheating and then thrown out on her ass! I was disappointed that she didn’t get found out by Daddy Moneybags …they were both gross, and both deserved to be disappointed by the other lol

          • exactly Miri! I liked reading about those two.

            I read both of Cedargreen’s books. Her other one deals with cheating too. Both were good!

          • Oh! which one is that? I think she has 3 books out now..I will definitely check out the second cheating one you mentioned…thanks!

          • I agree Miri. Dave needed to do right by his wife and tie up loose ends there. Divorce if he was that unhappy. And then find Ellen. If they are soul mates, she will still be there.

        • Ellen had the affair because she was going through a rough time in her marriage,just like Phil. The affair was a diversion from her problems, and a way for her to feel wanted. I felt David was just looking for a way out of his marriage, and wanted to be single again.I think when Ellen thought of her future, she did not see David in it. Also,there is no way an older woman with no kids in the house would want to get involved with David’s young family.

    • Hi Terry! I know you suggested this book before so I will get it. It was not on KU so I was hesitant to buy a book that I wouldn’t like. You loved it?

      I know I have a lot to say when I didn’t like the book but…don’t you think it was a deliberate choice on the author to make the OW 45years old and a woman of faith? I keep asking myself why does David say I love you to Ellen when it should be I want you? Was it to rationalize his cheating? I don’t believe that because he didn’t feel any guilt that should come with cheating on your spouse. I’m not sure if it was to garner sympathy for David’s character but I did feel bad for all of them at the end. As far as Marianne goes, I think she keeps having kids because it fulfills HER needs. As harried as her life seems she loves being a mom. I mean how many of us love reading self help books on how to connect with a toddler who doesn’t speak? David and Marianne just don’t share the same goals. Once they may have but not anymore. He shouldn’t have cheated but I didn’t see him as a jerk either.

      • Janet, you’re right, I just realized David didn’t feel any guilt about cheating..it’s like he felt nothing for his wife anymore…I see what you mean about Ellen…he wasn’t looking to hook up in a sleazy vacay thing with any hot young thing that came along…his emotions were definitely engaged..”He shouldn’t have cheated but I didn’t see him as a jerk either”..I agree there..definitely he and Marianne have nothing keeping them together except for the kids, but I still think that when you have kids and are married, it’s not all about your own happiness anymore but about the best for the whole family unit…then again I’ve never found myself in a miserable marriage with someone I can’t stand lol ..I maybe I’d be singing a different tune then ..

      • Janet, did you hope that David and Ellen would have stayed together in the end? That’s what I struggled with…I kinda hoped they would..

        • Ladies, I did more searching this weekend, if you’re still up for more cheating books I’m gonna make a list…

          • I haven’t read these yet, so I don’t know if they’re any good…

            on Kindle Unlimited:

            Choices – Laura Wynne Berry
            Shattered – Heather D’Agostino (it has a prequel called ‘Destined’)
            Man of my dreams – Faith Andrews
            Excuse me miss -Phillip Thomas Duck
            Lover – Marni Mann
            The Truth About Heartbreak – B Celeste
            The Secret Marriage Vows – Jeffrey K Hill
            Trying – Heather MacKinnon
            Beautiful Mistakes – Sam Mariano
            Crazy, A True Love Story – Judy Marshall
            If You Were Mine – KS Marshall
            The Sidelined Wife – Jennifer Peel
            A Vow To Cherish – Deborah Raney
            On a Hot August Afternoon – Ms. Bridget M Straub
            Birds Flying High- Rebecca Suzanne
            Taking Time Out – Reinhard Tenberg
            And Then There Was You – Suzy Turner
            Grand Prismatic – Ashlee Wetherington

            I will continue this list in a bit…I found a bunch of non-KU books that I’m gonna list 🙂

        • I don’t think they were meant to be because Ellen would never leave her boy nor her husband when he said he wants to change and become a better husband. Unless Jeremy screws up big time Ellen will try to make their relationship work. That’s why I like her. David is a pipe dream at the end. It’s corny but I saw them as star crossed lovers of sorts. What do you think? David on the other hand I think will cheat and remarry. Maybe more than once because he will compare others to Ellen and they won’t measure up to his fantasy of the perfect woman-Ellen.

          • I agree with you about both Ellen and David..Jeremy would have to really mess up big time for her to leave him, and David is not gonna stay in his marriage much longer…but he shouldn’t cheat anymore, go and get a divorce if he has to and then move on, but no more cheating David!

        • Gosh, I wouldn’t want Ellen to be stuck with a deadbeat dad like David! It says a lot about his character that he would ditch his family for something easier. Kids are messy and crazy, I SO get that, but please…

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Terry!
      I love this book, so far. The interactions between the husband and wife feel so authentic.

  18. Ok Miri
    10 Days…
    Definitely more realistic than the other. I liked Dave and Ellen’s story the best of the 5+ concurrent stories (yikes). Very, very good writing.

    I understand cheating during crisis. Like legit crisis, not, “our daughter throws tantrums and you spoil her too much” (eye roll, David). People gamble, drink too much, do drugs, go into debt, and cheat during crisis- it’s an escape. That’s why I understood Phil and can accept his affair. That’s also why I understand the OW in 10 Days. She had a crisis at home. Overall, she’s very likable honestly.

    Now, beyond crisis, I have a harder time and my thoughts are all over the place. I agree that David and Marianne could’ve use counseling. They had what I consider pretty typical issues for the time of life they’re in. Kids 2-4-6. Wife is all about the kids, not trying very hard in her marriage. Husband works too much, thereby probably not giving his wife what she needs. They don’t agree about how to raise the kids often. Classic lead-up to an affair…but I don’t buy it. That excuse is overdone. Talk it out- don’t cheat. So, basically he wants life before kids? A lot of sex and few interruptions or complications. Sorry dude, I don’t want crow’s feet, but I deal. Why do people have so many damn kids, just to decide they shouldn’t have?

    Dave’s internal thoughts about maybe not being in love with his wife anymore complicate things. In love or not…the mother of your children deserves respect. Separate, don’t cheat. David thinks he meets his soul mate on vacation. 2x eye roll. He’s an asshole. He took another woman on a date and slept with her while on a family vacation? Major asshole move. Instead, he should have taken his feelings for this stranger as a sign of bigger issues in his marriage, done what’s right (counseling, separation, etc.) then pursued the woman. I know it rarely goes down this way…
    Basically I don’t sympathize with David. His feelings, yes, maybe. His actions, no. He made that affair happen- Didn’t even attempt to resist temptation. She didn’t pursue him. He had weak reasoning.

    Now the ending did make me feel bad for David because it immobilizes him. But he’s still an asshat.

    • I love your reviews Kbabe and agree 100 percent. Now did David get a divorce or not? We know what Ellen’s choice was by the Epilogue.

      • I don’t think so. Do you think he would have if Ellen had chosen him? Regardless of the pregnancy?
        David is a prick, but I don’t see him leaving his pregnant wife. I wouldn’t put it past him to keep cheating though, and leave her later.

      • Just finished 10 Days. I now think David will divorce Marianne 100%. There really isn’t a reason for him to stick around in a miserable marriage because of the kids. I’m hesitant to say this because this is a story where everything happens in 10 days but I do believe David fell in love with Ellen at first sight. Here’s what I saw. David and Marianne clearly grew apart over the years instead of growing together in the same direction. Counseling may help but this is a couple that shouldn’t be together anymore. Life continues and they are just coexisting. David isn’t a bad person but I think he stepped away from his marriage way before Ellen came along. Also, Ellen’s choice to stay in her marriage is practical and the right thing to do(her faith) but she won’t be truly happy with Jeremy and we saw a glimpse of that in the epilogue. Honestly, this author put so many characters in the book I had a hard time caring about any one of them including David and Ellen. She’s a good writer who tried to convey human struggles but that didn’t equal a good book to me. I was bored but I wanted to know the outcome so I read to the end.

          • no because this is one couple who grew apart long before the vacation. He already had one foot out the door without realizing it. Remember the dinner scene with their Boston couple friend? That dinner told me everything. I can’t blame him for cheating because I do think he fell in love. Ugh sorry guys. I didn’t like him but I understood him.

    • Hi ladies! Thank you for reading the book, I really wanted to know what you thought..
      So for me, I really liked Ellen, I thought she was a decent person. With David, I thought he considered himself something of a martyr, because he was always “doing the right thing” (umm you’re supposed to always do the right thing, or at least try to), and was always doing his wife’s bidding and holding his tongue, and he was not a man who usually checked out other women (so he felt that it was ok to do it just once, with Ellen, since he’d been such a good boy), and at one point he woke up so horny (after dreaming about Ellen) that he was willing to “overlook” the fact that she’d gained weight from the 3 pregnancies so he could get off…the things that were bothering him about his wife (the lack of sex also) he didn’t really try to resolve them with her, maybe with the help of a therapist if they weren’t getting somewhere themselves…and at worse, yes, separation and even divorce is always an option…he didn’t really give her a heads up like, listen, I’m not happy, we need to work some things out…he just decided he had a right to pursue “love” and passion with another woman…I also felt he looked down on her and kind of kind of thought he was better than her (you try having 3 kids buddy! see how fast your body will bounce back! and neat and tidy you’ll look after chasing them around all day!)

      I got the sense though, and I think this is what bothered me, that David was written in a very sympathetic way, almost like we should, as the readers, understand where he’s coming from, that his life is a complete horror show and his wife is a shrew, so can we really blame him?

      You’re right Katie, he was actively seeking out moments with Ellen so he could cheat, rather than trying to stay away…after their initial meeting, where he saw he was constantly dreaming and fantasizing about her after, he goes and invites her to dinner?? The whole time I kept thinking, don’t do it don’t do it don’t do it..shit they did it (the cheating).

      At the end of the book, when his wife tells him she’s pregnant again, and he feels like she lied about it being an accident, I understand his anger about that…if she got pregnant on purpose then that is definitely dishonest…but, his cheating or running off with Ellen will not help the situation..he’s an escapist…Katie, I think that in the end if Ellen had agreed to leave her husband for him, even after his wife’s pregnancy news, I do think that he would rationalize it to himself and end up leaving his wife for Ellen..he’s a weak guy

      At the very end, I did feel for Ellen, but she had my sympathy because she did the right thing, which was the hard thing but she did it anyway

      • Hi Laura, all this talk of marriage counseling makes me wonder…when Phil and Lina were being kind of cold with each other (before the affair and even during it), did they ever think to themselves maybe they should see a marriage therapist? And after Lina learned about the affair, did they ever consider it then, especially after Lina threw Phil out? He was so miserable being away from Lina and his home, did he ever suggest to Lina that they should see someone together? Just wondering…thanks!!

      • I agree with you Miri. He was giving himself a pass because his life is so awful, and he usually just deals with it, but this is love! I rolled my eyes so much I didn’t think they’d ever see straight again. I’m not sure he was written as a sympathetic character. I do think Davids are typical though. This author was trying to highlight the many reasons people cheat and have marriages fall apart, and I think she did that well. David’s story is a common one. I think men might sympathize, but not women, especially ones who stay at home with the kids. I have to say this though. His wife isn’t entirely innocent. You can’t neglect your husband. Sex is pretty awesome, and if you don’t want to be having it with your spouse, there’s an issue. They weren’t communicating AT ALL. Not to excuse David. Not at all. He’s a fool. But I think she probably got pregnant the 4th time to save her marriage. I’ve seen that in my circles several times (it never works). So much could be different if people just talked to each other.

        • Katie, I agree about the sex thing, 100%, but he never brought it up to her…He didn’t give her a chance to put more effort in…if he had made it very clear to her that lack of sex was a very big problem for him, maybe she would’ve been more flexible and receptive..definitely would’ve been less drastic for her than getting pregnant again…maybe she didn’t see the lack of sex as a big deal and figured he didn’t either..he should have made her aware of it in a constructive way…I can’t see the pregnancy working in keeping them together long term either..you’re right in that it rarely works..the problems they had before get compounded…if 3 kids won’t keep you together then how will a 4th help? I think that David will still end up leaving eventually, if not for Ellen then for someone else…the thing is, he really doesn’t see himself as selfish or anything, he sees himself as a hen-pecked husband who’s been patient for too long and just wants to find happiness (bleh)

          • I have friend whose husband complains about lack of sex incessantly (yes he has cheated), but, when you talk to her, it’s obvious that she doesn’t think there is an issue (and she doesn’t seem to know he has been unfaithful). I’m like, uh, do these people not talk? Ever? But I think that’s so common. It seems crazy- why cheat instead of talk to your wife? Why get pregnant instead of talking to your husband?
            Who the hell knows.

            What book is next?

        • hmmm. I rationalized this book completely different. I saw it as the author trying to explain what people go through each day from different perspectives. Remember, this isn’t a romance novel so the central theme really wasn’t about David and Ellen cheating. I understood it as human struggles and mistakes people make every single day. Marianne to me was portrayed as a shrew of a wife. She was stretched so thin with her 3 kids she didn’t really have time for her husband. She and David aren’t religious. If the third child wasn’t what they signed up for they had options. And now she is preggers with the 4th. This will be the straw that broke the camel’s back for David. I’m not defending him and yes, that’s marriage but I don’t think he will stay in the marriage. He pretty much said it to himself in the restaurant.

          • See everyone reads things differently. It’s fun. I saw each couple as an example of a different kind of relationship, and why those people are together or not or will remain to be. Cheating and finding happiness as central themes.

        • regarding Phil, I can’t see him taking a stranger’s advice. If Lina pleaded he would attend but doesn’t mean he will listen. He will psychoanalyze the therapist instead, come home and rip him apart to Lina.

      • yup. she did the right thing. But the author made it seem like the right thing isn’t always the best thing and life goes on. She reminds me of Susan Issac type of a writer. whatever. What’s next Miri? LOL

          • bahaha. I hate cheaters! I think because David and Ellen makes sense as a couple but it won’t happen because of the timing. If David was a cheater with a wondering eye, he wouldn’t have latched onto a woman who is 45 years old. She was no bombshell. She is just Ellen and he felt something move in his chest right away. Ellen reminded me of the wife in Evidence of the affair. What did you think? Omg, it would have been angsty if she became pregnant with David’s child. Who knows? unless they delete or change numbers, it’s on their cell.

  19. Tara, the book is The Affair by CL Knopf. It was a decent cheating theme if you haven’t read it yet.

    Do you guys remember the movie Unfaithful with Diane lane and Richard Gere? We talked about it here before. The wife was seemingly happy and in love with her husband. Then out of nowhere she engages in that torrid affair with Olivier Martinez’s character. Why? Because he pushed her into it? She was caught up in the moment? Didn’t think about consequences or what her husband would do if he found out? Sexual chemistry aside, maybe it is all about temptation and being weak in that moment. I think Diane’s character was portrayed as a good person but what happened in that movie was so ugly. So I do think authors can write cheating books without making the OW/OM evil but it will be harder for the readers to accept it. We feel the need to put the blame on someone and it does feel better when we can clearly see who is the bad one.

    • That was movie was so well done. Sexual desire is powerful. That alone is a terrible reason to cheat. But add in personal or family issues and allowing oneself to be in situation with temptation are when lines get blurred and crossed. That’s my issue so far with 10 Days…he puts himself in the situation. Attraction is fine. It’s normal, biological. I’ll have more to say when I’m done.

      • Ok. I’m going to say one more thing about fat neck and Herb and I’ll stop. I know you all are reading 10 days now.

        How I read it(because we don’t have Neck’s POV) was he was attracted to Herb pretty early on. I started questioning when their convos became uncomfortable and he seemed stiff around her at times. When Reid didn’t oppose Rose’s reasons to travel with him I think he knew something may happen or was open to having a one night stand. What happily married man of 14 years travels with a young attractive assistant alone when he didn’t need to in the past? He probably tried to fight the attraction for months but after that one night together he was a goner. So I don’t think he became another person all of a sudden but gave into his desire.

        • I agree with you Janet. I don’t care enough to go look for the clues, but I think he was attracted to her early on and fought it. I guess he really was unhappy in his marriage, and the wife didn’t realize it? Or maybe he didn’t realize it until he cheated? I dunno. Still an asshole.

          • I think he was happy. Remember his moronic happy sighs after having sex with the wife? It was such a girly thing to do I would wince each time Abbie made note of it. Then this Delilah tart comes along and he became enslaved by lust. Ugh, he was so wishy washy and I think that characteristic bothered me most of all. He just became Rose’s puppet towards the end.

          • What’s the absolute best is that Abbie was still his wife and he hadn’t had time to change his beneficiary stuff yet and everything His was still hers. Oh Rose got stuck with a lease and a empty bed that she was responsible for…..Abbie for everything…Old Rose got the thorns….

          • I would’ve been much more satisfied if in the ending, instead of what happened to Reid, that hadn’t happened at all; instead, he found out Rose was pregnant…he would know without a doubt that it wasn’t his, he’d regret leaving his wife and kids, and Abbie would kick him in the balls when he came back trying to apologize (like, literally), and he ended up all alone and crying haha!!! take that sucker!

          • Me too Miri. And thank god Tracie! I wonder why the author ended it that way. I didn’t see it as justice. He should have been stuck with the tart and regretting his decision for the rest of his life. I will start 10 days tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with another headache tonight. LOL

          • Katie, I think he truly was happy in his marriage, but was just dumb enough to be flattered and turned on by trash…and Janet I think you’re right, by the time Rose asked to travel with him, he knew he was going to cheat on his wife, otherwise he wouldn’t have agreed to Rose coming along..very unsatisfying ending 🙁

  20. Ladies, I read through yesterday conversations about the two books and did a pass in both. Just curious has anyone found a cheating book with a likable other woman? Or one that didn’t know he was married?

      • Isn’t he the other man? Isn’t she cheating on her husband while he’s away? I may need to reread this.

        Over the last couple of years I’ve read too many cheating stories, in most cases the OW is horrible, over the top, looking to steal someone else’s husband. I’d like a story where she’s not horrible or a stereotype. I’m not sure it’s doable, how likable is the OW when she knows he’s married? Is it doable?

        I like the cheating husband trope. I like to see if a marriage can sustain cheating, and the process the characters go through. I’d like a book where the trope is flipped and the OW isn’t really the villain.

        • Yes, you’re right. The wife is cheating.
          The OW is a stereotype, but a stereotype based on reality. I have known plenty of women who have cheated, even women I consider friends, but there is no way around the fact that what they were doing was selfish and had the power to hurt many lives. No one is black and white, but cheating is a selfish act, especially if you know the person you are cheating with has a spouse and family. So good luck finding a story with a female cheater readers will like. I can just imagine the hate mail the author would receive if they made the other woman the heroine. No way.

          • there was that one book where the man stood the OW up on Valentine Day. I can’t remember the name. That woman wasn’t a villain, she was just pitiful. Sitting around waiting for the man ugh

          • I completely agree that cheating is selfish activity, everyone involved is being selfish. And, I don’t hate the OW being over the top.

            I think I’d like to see it changed up a little. It’s not that I want the other woman the heroine, I’d like it to be a little grey. I read one the other day that I think was recommended here, The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue. The OW isn’t really horrible, in the end I felt some sympathy for her.

            And you’re right, the author is going to be beat up either way. Cheating stories are to polarizing.

          • The only way to get what you are asking for is to show more of the OW — you would have to have her as a main character. For instance, if Kim was a main character you would have seen her interactions away from Phil. I’m sure she had friends and coworkers that liked her. Her part in WPF was as the OW. That almost made her one dimensional. Look how likeable Matt Lauer was. Of course if you centered in only on the predator aspects of his personality he wouldn’t be. So, I don’t see how you could get what you are asking for without the OW being a major character — you’d have to show her away from the H and wife.

          • I think it depends on how it’s handled.

            If you make the OW a main character, trying to make her more likable, you’re showing her in a different environment. Any interaction between the husband and OW only enforces the fact that they’ve been/are cheaters.

            In the book I mentioned, she’s not a main character but near the end of the book you find out how and why the relationship started. To be honest, in the end I felt more sympathy for the OW than I did the husband. Whoever recommended the book said he was a good man, I’m not so sure I’d completely agree completely as the cheating went on for a long time, I’d say he wasn’t a bad man. It was an interesting twist to the cheating trope.

            Please do not think I wanted Kim more sympathetic, she completely fits the story you told. I’ve probably read too many cheating books and am looking for the same emotional connection but with a change to the trope.

          • I’ve heard stories where a spouse is sick and bedridden and has an affair for years. There are lots of different opinions on that type of scenario.

          • So, what is the book where he stands up the OW on Valentine’s Day? I don’t remember this one.

          • Gosh I don’t remember. I usually delete these books from my Kindle. I think it was by an English writer. It was recommended on this blog months ago. He had a date with the OW at a restaurant and he shows up with his wife. Does anyone else remember?

        • Tara,the book where the OW is supposed to meet the lover on Valentine’s Day, and he shows up with the wife is “The Adultery Club”.

          • Yes. I recommended it here because I wanted to read something with the OW’s perspective. to me she wasn’t evil per say but immature and selfish. The hero is the weak character here. However I liked it better than last nights book.

          • I read that one, as soon as I read English author, I remembered. He annoyed me in that one, too wishy washy.

          • I thought of one for you Tara. Jewel E Ann. When Life Happens. Definitely a likeable OW

          • Laura, I’ve read When Life Happened, it’s a good story. She’s the OW and the heroine 🙂 couldn’t stand the sister even after they make up and the mother couldn’t buy a clue.

          • I hated her too, Tara. No excuses for her sister. That was crossing every line.

    • Tara, I think you’d like Ten Days in Paradise that Miri recommended. I’m at about 50%, and I don’t see the OW as a villain. The husband…hmmm…I have some opinions.
      Miri- Hopefully I’ll finish this one today so we can discuss.

      • Katie, I agree about 10 Days, the OW isn’t despicable..still wrong, but I definitely didn’t hate her…excited to hear what you thought of them! ?

        Tara, another book you might wanna check out is Leaving Haven…there’s enough perspective from the OW that she’s more we’ll rounded..I didn’t sympathize with what she did, but she was still human (as opposed to evil incarnate lol)

    • Tara I read one or two. Let me look up the author. One was called The Honor I think. unfortunately, the wife is more of the wicked one here.

  21. Starting a new thread here about Rose-Colored…
    Miri- I didn’t really see the issue with their marriage until his affair. It seemed like pretty typical family life. They probably had more and better sex than most married couples with two kids. They seemed to really love each other. So it was giving into Rose’s advances that caused him to be dissatisfied in his marriage- not the other way around. Doesn’t send a good message.

    • What I got from the book is this: an incredibly happy man, who has been a dedicated father and husband would throw it away, virtually overnight for a good blowjob. I just don’t buy it. A perfectly happy man, may take the sleazy woman up on her advances, but he’d come to his senses because he is ultimately a dedicated father and husband. This book was full of inconsistencies. Very unsatisfying read.

      • Yes, I’m sure Kim tried to everything in her power to win Phil. That would include never complaining, acting like she just wanted sex, etc. etc.

      • Laura the reason I mentioned this book was because the OW reminded me so much of Kim in her scheming and calculating…she had a very well thought out plan..she saw a married man and said, I’m gonna have him, I don’t care that he’s married…in WPF remember how Kim joined the running club just to weasel her way into spending time with Phil (I think that happened before the affair began?)…she even moved to a new city just to get her hands on him…I just found that cold calculating capability was very similar between both women

        • they both had no reservations about breaking up a marriage and family just to get what they wanted..

          Anyway the main H and h in ’10 days of Paradise’ make a lot more sense, are more realistic and sympathetic

        • Yes, she was definitely a Kim type. Very calculating! And at first he did seem like a Phil. Even his reaction to the OW crying in his office seemed authentic. Most men would be completely uncomfortable. The turn was too quick. There should have at least been some unhappiness at home. It was shocking to me when he suddenly became receptive. There was no sign of it coming.

          • Laura, that’s exactly what I thought..that’s why he reminded me of Phil a little in the beginning (before then took a nose-dive)..he wasn’t super alpha like Phil or with such a strong personality, but he was so in love with his wife and kids..I completely agree that there should have been some segueway showing how he was slowly changing his attitudes…

          • Am I correct about Kim joining the running club before the affair began? I thought it was just another chess move for her..

          • Kim joined the running group after they first got together, but without Phil’s knowledge beforehand.

          • Oh ok, I had thought that she joined the group before the affair began in order to see Phil outside the office (kind of like Rose did when she suggested she travel with Reid for work)..

      • Rose is a wannabe Kim and this fat size 17 neck is a wannabe Ned! I actually don’t think she was all that evil in her plans to seduce Reid. It’s probably how Candace(?) snagged Ned. Both came off pathetic and unattractive to me. I had to laugh when Rosemary said banana republic pencil skirt is one of her favorite outfits and the blouse was unbuttoned to show off her A cup bra size. Gross and sorry but totally Jersey trash!

        • LOL Janet. As I’m reading this I’m thinking who in the heck is Ned and Candace — duh — When I Saw You

        • Janet – I thought Rose was absolutely diabolical..she masterminded the whole thing…bleh

          As for Ned, he’s just as bad as any OW I’ve ever come across in any book…and he thought he was so smart until he came up against someone smarter than him…I loved it when the H said to him “welcome to the big leagues Ned” or something like that…I thought Ha!! Ned you’re not such a tough guy after all lol

    • Hi Katie, their marriage was as perfect as it gets! The marriage counseling comment that I made way down below was in regards to David and his wife in the book ’10 Days of Paradise’…Reid and Abbie’s marriage was fantastic! They were so happy together and loved each other so much…that’s why I was so puzzled that Reid could go from being so in love with his wife and family, so concientous and protective over them, to falling completely under the spell of the OW and just cutting them off so callously..I kept thinking that he would snap out of it and come to his senses and realize that he was making the biggest mistake of his life..even when the OW gave him the ultimatum, I still was convinced that he would choose his wife…Laura you hit the nail on the head with that, it was totally UNSATISFYING…I thought he H and OW had absolutely zero growth

      • Oh that makes sense! Different book! Sorry about that. 10 days looks good.

        Rose-Colored was only satisfying in that Phil is such a better man than that guy. I can forgive a guy like Phil. Not Reid. Reid was an effing coward. He didn’t even tell his wife he had an affair. Phil was always straight up!

        • Katie, yes, sorry about the confusion, I had been replying to Tracie’s question about whether David was as horrible as Reid (he’s not)…David and his wife *might* have been able to work it out with a marriage counselor (but maybe not)..I’d love to know all you ladies’ thoughts on David and Ellen..they’re very different from Reid and his OW

          • Then at the end he must’ve thought his marriage was over anyway if he admitted the truth- might as well start fresh with Rose. Meanwhile all along he could’ve probably worked it out with his wife.

          • even at the very end his wife had no idea about the affair…it would have been so easy to just say he’d been stressed with work and that he’d do better..she would’ve been totally fine with that..she was very patient and understanding with him throughout, she would’ve believed him and they could’ve moved on easily…

        • I know! Abbie had no idea why he was leaving her! His went from being so loving and warm to having zero empathy..I mean, at least to care enough about her to give her that, seeing as they’d been together for so long…it was just plain odd..

          • When he stared at the closet after putting his clothes away at the OW apartment it implied that he was thinking. But his thoughts never amounted to anything. If anything he just kept falling deeper for the OW. He didn’t even care about his girls anymore. And extended family was never even touched on.

          • yes, there was a lot of depth missing from the story..family input would have given it more depth and made it more realistic..at least it might have shown Reid struggling and trying to defend/rationalize his actions..I had no idea what his rationalization was for cheating (like, my wife neglects me, or maybe even my wife is great but I want this shiny new toy, etc)

          • I have to wonder about the psychology. After the first BJ he must’ve been like, well fuck, I cheated by any standard, I might as well fuck her. Then he’s stuck. He fucked her once, might as well keep fucking her. Then his life starts falling apart at home because of his actions. I just wonder how much of his actions are guilt- driven. With the kids especially- he started retreating with them and didn’t want Rose to meet them. Like I said, coward.

          • Katie, when he got mad at Rose and yelled at her for agreeing to come to his house for the holidays, I thought that he obviously still had some sense, because he was still afraid to lose his wife and kids at that point…then after that you’re right, he just totally stopped caring about any of them, no guilt or self awareness…

          • at that point he was totally ‘glamoured’ by rose lol (when he checked out so completely)…throughout the story though, I kept wondering why Abbie didn’t confront him sooner about his behaviour..by the time she did he was already leaving…I thought there’s only so much burying your head in the sand you can do, you know? I thought that also was a little unrealistic, that she waited so long

          • and I see what you mean about his actions being guilt-driven…I guess he figured go big or go home lol…you know sometimes when you eat a few cookies and feel guilty, then you’re like, may as well eat the whole box! lol

          • At the end he acted very manically. Either he was elated to be “free,” which is sick. Or it was indicative of reckless behavior, like addiction. We’ll never know. I’m moving on! This fucking book!

          • I know, I’m sorry I got us all worked up over this book, I think we gave it way more attention than it warranted lol…but read ’10 days’ or at least skip to the chapters with David and Ellen! 🙂 much more realistic in my opinion

        • Hi Katie,
          If there was no Liam, do you think Phil would have told Lina? Especially if Kim had quietly faded in the background.

          • Hey Holley! I don’t think Phil would’ve told Lina. But Phil is also a more confident, stronger personality than Reid, and Kim was irrelevant to him. When Reid leaves his wife in this one, it’s weird that he didn’t just come out about the affair. Either it was just a total lack of respect for her or he wasn’t sure about his decision. I don’t know. Not much to go on. But you’re right- I think most men wouldn’t tell their wives, and most wives wouldn’t want to know, especially if the husband wasn’t leaving. What do you think?

          • Holy. Cow. Holley, thank you for your reply….those details about the cheating just changed everything for me…I dont even have the words…that evil pos OW, was it her intention to harm the pregnancy? Because that could have easily happened by sending photos and calling your friend while she was pregnant…wow…even if your friend had left her husband, I still think she would benefit from counseling..the trauma that she sustained from that situation I cant imagine can resolve itself..talk about a nightmare scenario..and after trying for years to get pregnant..That wasn’t a betrayal, that was like 10 betrayals in one…I’m am so sorry your friend went through this and continues to have to deal with the rage and fury she feels

        • Hi Katie,
          I think most men and women would not tell their spouses if the affair ends quietly and if it was just sex or infatuation. I think most spouses tell when they fall in love for the other person or they are forced to tell when the other woman/man threatens to tell the unsuspecting spouse.

          In most of the cheating in my orbit, the affair was discovered so they had to fess up. I have a brother and I asked him if he would tell, and he said he would never cheat but if he did he would never tell either, sigh ?. Two of my closest friends were cheated on by their husbands and none divorced. One was forgiving like Lina and they have a great marriage 10 years post cheating. The other friend has stayed and I believe has tried her best but their marriage is shaky because the affair changed my friend. I think she was traumatized because she never saw it coming. She has bouts of anger with her husband like I had never seen before. They are 4 years post the affair and I think she would have left if not for the kids. She is not forgiving type I think. Her husband has tried, bought her 60k car, built a pool, vacations, etc…he apologized to her whole family but I think in her mind the affair equals = he is bad person. Affairs can suck!

          • Holley, I remember in WPF, in chapter 8, when Phil tells Lina about the affair (because he found out Kim was pregnant), she said to him “Why are you telling me this? Why couldn’t you have just let me pretend you were the man I wanted you to be?” (this was before he told her about Kim’s pregnancy)..I think if Kim hadn’t been pregnant, and Phil had broken it off with her, Lina would have preferred not to know about the affair…

          • Cheating is a fascinating topic. I didn’t like to think of it or read about it until Laura’s novels. I’m a bit naive- I haven’t been personally touched by infidelity, e.g. in my own marriage, my parents, etc. (that I know of). Except, my husband’s mom cheated 30 years ago, divorced his dad, they both remarried, divorced those spouses, and are back together again now. Kind of sweet and sour.
            I seem to be able to easily forgive and move past hurt in other ways, so I know I’d forgive an affair, especially a purely physical one. Sex is something I can rationalize. Love is where I have a hard time. Men leaving their families, falling out of love with their spouses and in love with others. But I’m realistic enough to know it happens. A lot. But anyway, a lifetime with someone is a long time. There are many seasons. Families are impacted by financial, health, life issues. This might be controversial to say, but I think anyone is capable of an affair, given the right circumstances. Issues at home and a willing participant. Boom. Sorry I totally ranted right there. ?

          • “Cheating is a fascinating topic. I didn’t like to think of it or read about it until Laura’s novels.” – same with me Katie, until I met the Hunters lol

            “I think anyone is capable of an affair, given the right circumstances.” – it’s funny you say that because generally I’ve always thought that “There Are People Who Cheat!” and “There Are People Who Don’t Cheat!”, very black and white and thinking..then today I was mulling over the two characters in ’10 days in paradise’ (David and Ellen), and I pretty much have come to the same conclusion..every person is capable of it..I guess the cocktail of circumstances is specific to each person, but ultimately we don’t know what we’re capable of until we end up doing it

          • Right? There are so many factors that make it more or less likely. Do I think I’d ever cheat? Of course not. Do I think my husband would? Not at all. But saying never is unrealistic. Again, I’m probably straddling a very controversial line here. ?
            I just started 10 days. So far so good.

          • Hi Holley, I apologize if I’m asking too personal a question (you don’t have to reply! lol)…but do you think their marriage is going to go the distance? (the second couple that you mentioned)..is her husband being patient with her regarding her anger and lack of trust, or is he starting to give up? Again I’m sorry if I’m over stepping!

          • Katie, I’m a ridiculous romantic, but I realize that there are limitations to human love…even in the best of marriages, as we saw in WPF, there are no guarantees…I think Lina (and Phil) learned this the hard way…their family/friends would never imagine that Phil would ever cheat on Lina, but he did…I guess it’s best not to get too complacent/comfortable and stop putting in the effort…There’s this author, Esther Perel, who’s written several books on infidelity and has a youtube channel…she gives the analogy of, if you’re a business person courting a potential client, once you get the client’s business, you don’t get comfortable and let things slide or you’ll easily lose their business..so it is with marriage partners..we should never assume it’s in the bag and we can afford to get lazy, or we’ll lose their “business”..she says always treat your spouse like they’re you most important client..I think that’s an interesting analogy

          • That’s sad, Holley. I think if you choose to forgive someone, you have to let go of the anger, otherwise you just torture yourself and the other person.

          • Hi Miri,
            It’s ok to ask. No one knows what goes on between a couple behind closed door. But from what I have seen from my friend’s husband, he has been and continues to be patient. He knows he fucked up. What I had left out in my initial post was that he cheated on my friend when she was pregnant. The affair started before her pregnancy. My friend and her husband went through infertility for 10 years and then she got pregnant and found out about the cheating in her thrid trimester. I think she has never been able to shake the anger and resentment she felt after discovering the cheating. The other woman called her and revealed affair and sent photos. As her friend, we have suggested she get therapy and counseling to help with the anger but she wont. I think moving on/past an affair has to do with the type of cheating that occured, the personality of the person who was cheating on, how the affair was revealed and when, and the behavior of the cheater afterward. It has been difficult to watch cause my friend is like a sister to me and she was one of the most gregarious people ever and she has changed ?

          • Oh this would be awful. Your poor friend. I can’t even imagine. You’re right, she need therapy. The poor child too. This makes me sad and angry at the OW.

          • That’s awful, Holley. That would be hard to move past. Did he ever explain himself? Talk about souring what should have been a beautiful time in life! Ugh!

          • Hi Holley, I’m sorry again, I replied to this in the wrong spot again, it’s up above …

          • reposted here..

            Holy. Cow. Holley, thank you for your reply….those details about the cheating just changed everything for me…I dont even have the words…that evil pos OW, was it her intention to harm the pregnancy? Because that could have easily happened by sending photos and calling your friend while she was pregnant…wow…even if your friend had left her husband, I still think she would benefit from counseling..the trauma that she sustained from that situation I cant imagine can resolve itself..talk about a nightmare scenario..and after trying for years to get pregnant..That wasn’t a betrayal, that was like 10 betrayals in one…I’m am so sorry your friend went through this and continues to have to deal with the rage and fury she feels

    • Yes Laura, exactly! The abrupt reversal in his attitude and values was not believable at all…his home life was perfect! He was so happy, and he had a great sex life already with his wife so it’s not even like he was hurting in that department..it just made no real sense

    • OMGG I have a freaking headache from reading this book. I have to go through all the comments now but I agree with Katie 100%. The big stinky piece of turd was fine until the nasty condiment came along. He should have lived and suffered for the rest of his life in misery. What an idiot.

  22. I CAN’T with Through Rose-Colored Glasses by Donna Small. Everyone read it so we can discuss why we love Phil. Ugh!

      • Shoot! I took a break from
        Cheating and started Keelands book. I’ll read it tonight Katie. I’m thinking we all hate the guy then?

        • Janet! I just saw your question about ‘Mercy’ by JP..it’s on my TBR list but I’ve been putting it off because her books are so tragic! lol

          • Yes her books are totally tragic. Same with Mercy! And yes k Stewart does have a resting bitch face. Bahaha

            Ok I feel like I read this book before. Does the husband die?! If so I read it and it was written by a British author. I’m home now so I will start but this sounds familiar to me.

          • do you mean ’10 days in paradise’? no, nobody dies, and it’s by an American author (set in the US)…

      • Hi girls! This is what I wrote on Friday about ‘Rose colored glasses’…

        “I feel like I’m getting an inside look at how things went down between Phil and Kim (he wasn’t looking to cheat and he didn’t really know what hit him, while she was on a total mission from the moment she saw him)…but oooh I’m getting mad reading it (why do do this to myself?! Lol)”

        “Ok, so now for the spoiler alert, please stop reading here if you don’t want to know what happens….
        In the first half of the book, he was such a good family man, like Phil, and the OW just met him and figured she’d do whatever it took to make him hers, she didn’t care that he was married…he really loved his wife and was devoted to her and the kids…then in the second half I was like, wtf?? He just totally changed character and starts cheating…so I thought ok, his wife will find out, he will come to his senses, and they will work it out…wrong!! The ending is crazy! I did not see it coming and I did not like it, because nothing was resolved and there was no growth in the characters..the ending was just plain weird”

        Katie, the book was so maddening that It kinda ruined my Friday also lol


          • I don’t think so Tracie. He sounds bad and if he pissed off both Miri and Kbabe I’m afraid of your reaction. Why does a book with 248 pages and no review cost so much. Lol. But I’m definitely curious enough to read it.

          • It pissed Laura off, which made me curious enough to read it. Now my whole day is ruined. But I don’t regret it- it’s making me think. Although now I need a smutty older man romance to help me move on.

          • I bought that it, but now I have anxiety..I’m thinking about doing the Kindle Unlimited I But so many books! Do you guys have it?

          • Hi Tracie! I’m really liking Kindle Unlimited…I’d say I get about half of my books from KU and another half just regular buys..I find that it’s definitely worth it (I’ve had it maybe a year or so)

          • Laura, what did you think the overall message was (rose colored glasses)? When I finished it I was like, what was the point of that? lol…It almost felt like the husband did a complete 360 so suddenly…maybe it felt that way to me because we didn’t get his perspective as much as the womens’…but to me it seemed like he went so abruptly from doting on his wife and kids, to just not caring about them anymore…what was your take on it?

        • Yes I have and love KU. I think it’s $10 a month but probably saves me $30-50 a month. I rarely have to buy books.

          • Wait. The book is on KU? I have KU but had to pay for this one. Damn it. Let me go see what happened.

            Laura and Katie, I found my Katie! Kristen Stewart! When she had long hair anyway.

          • Ok I just saw your review. Ugh. A lot of these cheating books starts off well. Then the details come out and I get so mad. I’m hating all of these horn dogs right now.

          • Janet I see what you mean about Kristen Stewart (petite, delicate features), but she’s a bit more androgynous than I imagine Katie being..and too much resting bitch face lol

          • I ended up skimming the book OMG I had heart palpitations. What a bitch and bastard! It was definitely an absolute resolution…Geez

          • I wish the revelation at the end came to light sooner and he would of suffered through that…..

          • Tracie- totally. Do you think he would’ve come to his senses?
            Doesn’t it totally highlight why Phil really is different- just a good man who totally screwed up?

          • Tracie I had the same thought!! I wish he had found out what she (the mistress) did, I would’ve loved to see his reaction! ha!

          • Katie, there’s no way on earth any woman could have convinced Phil to leave his wife and family…I saw some similarities between the two men in the beginning, because they were such loving family men, but then the husband (Reid?) went and got himself invaded by the body snatchers and his brain stopped functioning…it was such an abrupt transformation…Phil’s character was consistent throughout both books…and Phil wouldn’t have left Lina even at gunpoint!

          • No Reid wouldn’t have come around…He was on cloud nine for a lousy below ground Ho Bag! Talk about the epitome of Stupid! I was so pissed reading it…Girls I need cheating books where the H is groveling and taken back with an HEA or is left out in the cold by the h and the OW…..That book today almost made me crack a molar!

          • Also, Phil rocks and is a real man….He was a Superstar compared to that worthless bag of flesh…

          • I didn’t say that right. I didn’t think the characters were necessarily comparable. Especially the H. But I thought it was good for comparison to WPF and SN, because it really highlights why Phil is forgivable and this guy isn’t. Reid just discards his family. It happens over a year+ period of time (her seduction, the affair, etc.), so I guess he fell in love with her? It was just awful. He fell in love with sex and lies for no good reason that I could see.

          • Tracie while I was reading it I could feel my blood pressure rising and rising lol..my stomach was in knots…and the OW was so unbelievably calculating! There’s no comparison at all…Phil has a strong character, Reid is like a flopping fish

          • So in this 10 day book is David as callous as Reid….I don’t know if I can take another one

          • Katie you know in vampire books and movies and shows like True Blood, where the vampires could “glamour” their prey, bend their will and put them into a trance-like state? That’s how it felt with the OW and the H…like he just stopped thinking

          • No Tracie, I see David as being different from Reid..he didn’t piss me off as much lol

          • Tracie I could kind of see where David was coming from…not to excuse his choices…

          • I was still mad at him for doing the things he did, but I also kind of felt bad for him…overall I just found him to be a sympathetic character

          • Omg Miri- yes. She like possessed him. I literally asked laura the exact same thing today- did she put something in his drink that night she gave him the ultimatum? It was just so sad. You never want to think a man can stray and LEAVE his family seemingly so easily. Ugh!

          • I think instead of making the choices he made, he should have tried counselling with his wife, or at worst, ending the marriage before moving on…who knows, maybe his wife could have become more flexible with the help of a marriage counselor, but he didn’t really give her that opportunity…ok I’ll stop now lol

          • Katie, sorry, my last comment was still about David, not Reid…I was totally rambling lol…but yes, that’s the perfect word for it, she totally possessed him!

          • Katie, what I found puzzling about Reid is that for the first half of the book he was at one extreme (all about his wife and kids) and then he went to the other extreme and left them so easily, without any emotion or concern (almost like a zombie!)…the guy that he was in the first half of the book would have been more conflicted right?

          • the marriage counseling comment I made above was about David, not Reid…sorry if I’m being confusing lol

    • Ok, so, Last night I read another cheating novel, but this one really made me think…it’s called ’10 days in paradise’ by Linda Abbott, and it’s on Kindle Unlimited…so it has a main story line (Ellen and David) and way to many sub plots (I skimmed some of the chapters because I was mainly interested in Ellen and David’s story)…if anyone has read it I’m really curious to know what you thought of their story and the choices they made…these characters were interesting to me because they actually were very decent people…

  23. I’m sorry Tara 🙁
    There was no argument and no offense taken in the comments. I just have to defend Phil because I see his goodness. As Holley pointed out, he helped his father with the deck, he helped Alice. Yes, he talked back, but he’s not all good or bad.

      • Tara, I am so sorry to hear about your dog. You have my deepest condolences. Please try to take solace in the fact that he or she lived their best life because of the life you gave them; (s)he went home knowing that it was very much beloved, and will always be.

      • Hey Janet I read MINE yesterday..that was awesome!!and the drama?! it was mind blowing!!
        Evening the ending indicated they would end up being together..I wanted an epilogue..and I hate the hero? and the ending
        Phil is soooooo much better..actually not even comparable!
        Thanks for telling about that book?

        • Yay Hinata! It read like a suspense thriller at times no? If you follow goodreads, the author posted that her husband cheated on her and this book came from a very dark place. They have reconciled since then and their marriage is stronger than ever. I don’t know what to make of the ending. She kinda left it to the readers but I think she will divorce him. He’s a liar and a serial cheater. He had the next girl already picked out. How do we know if he was even in NY really? Who knows? maybe with lots therapy and a personality transplant they can mend what’s broken. It really was a trip.

        • Hinata and Janet – I haven’t read Mine, but when I checked it out on GR, the author wrote that it was partially based on a true story (hers and her husband), but it was also partly her fantasy of what she has wished she could do to the other woman…sounds intriguing! It’s definitely on my TBR list…

    • Sorry about your dog Tara…I know that hurts sweetie..:

      I too can’t help but defend Phil. He will always be my favorite hero…

      Laura did they take Liam to church before they got full custody? I always wondered if they would have taken him to church on the weekends when Logan didn’t stay home.

    • Hey, sorry to change the subject but I’m reading vi Keeland’s All Grown Up and it’s goooood. You have to like older woman/younger man subject though. I love this genre!

      Miri, your “there is only one Ray Robinson” quote is perfect. Lina took Phil back for selfish reasons not altruistic ones. She’s no martyr. It wasn’t for her kids and it wasn’t for financial reasons. She wanted Phil for herself so she had to reconcile with the betrayal. Why should she let another woman be happy with HER husband? When I read those weak comment reviews, I get so so so annoyed.

      Tara, I understand the confusion. It’s because we can excuse a 4 week affair but 4 months seem so long. If anything maybe Kim became his habit after the first few times.

        • Also remember if Chapter 2 of SN when she was staring at his chest and thought to herself how much she had missed him or at the Partner dinner when she admitted to Gina she was happier with him and also her thoughts were no matter WHAT Phil did she was happier….

          • yes! I remember! The age gap for Keeland’s book is 12. I like ten and under but oh well. She’s 37 and he’s the neighbor’s kid all grown up and a manwhore. lol Have you read Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun? That one was more angsty than this one(so far) and so good.

      • Janet, exactly!! I was just thinking that! Towards the end of WPF, when Lina and Adele were talking, Lina said something like, he’s an idiot and he doesn’t deserve me, but why should I suffer by being without him?! …something along those lines…Lina took Phil back for Lina, not for Phil or family or anyone else..she did it from a place of strength, not because she was browbeaten

        • It still was a bitter pill for her to swallow, the affair and the baby, and she did not deserve that at all…but she tried being without Phil for 6 months and it just didn’t work for her…if it had, she would have moved on happily with someone else and left Phil in the dust, no guilt and no regrets..(and I wouldn’t have felt bad for him! Ha!)…there just isn’t anyone else for Lina except Phil Hunter

        • I agree Miri and if truth be told Lina has a career now. She could totally dump him later if she wants to j/k!!

          • Yes Janet, I love that part! She became way less dependent on Phil, so the balance of power between them has shifter in that sense..he can’t think of her as a dependent anymore, so he better keep himself in check! Lol ? plus when she travels he gets all sad and lonely and I loooove that hehehe ???

          • LOL I loooove those scenes too Miri. Remember when Phil wakes up from a nightmare that he is in Farside all alone? I was so happy to read that. Phil was miserable without Lina. And please lets discuss him being lonely with only beer to keep him company while waiting up for Lina to come home. That’s right Phil. Now you know what Lina went through every single time she had to stay up late for you. What did you think of the scene where Phil finds Lina in the jacuzzi? That was one of my favorite scenes from WPF.

          • Beautiful, kind talented and successful Lina => poor Phil – especially when she travels. He loves that woman and any male attention is enough to raise his blood pressure.

          • Janet I remember that nightmare! And how when he lived alone in Farside he had dreams that he was back with Lina only to wake up all alone…sigh..I like to imagine a few tears rolling down his cheeks…just makes me so happy ? and remember when Lina was in NYC and went out dancing and he couldn’t sleep until she was back in her hotel room? He was imagining all these men hitting on her and he was miserable..he couldn’t appreciate how she had lived for his return home from trips until he experienced it himself..I really love that after Lina took him back, not everything went back to the status quo…her new career was so important in that sense…I think as a housewife you’re taken for granted by everyone at home until you’re not there and everyone’s lost, like, wait, so…breakfast doesn’t make itself? Laundry doesn’t get dropped off clean and folded by the laundry-fairies?? It’s definitely an eye opener for some lol

          • So about the jacuzzi scene, remember when she woke up and remembered kissing Nick and felt guilty and was like “oh no”, and Phil thought she was remembering the stuff about Kim, and so he felt super guilty? I liked that lol…he needed to see the devastation that he caused…early on after confessing to the affair, he kept trying to downplay all the damage that he caused, like the affair should just be forgiven and forgotten…he needed to understand that it wasn’t going to be that easy

          • Holley remember when she came back from NYC, Phil was like, if you wanna go dancing I’LL take you dancing, you can’t go alone where I can’t protect you…I wonder if he was worried about protecting her (from what exactly??) or if he was worried that some handsome guy might catch her eye? Hmmm ??

          • Hi Miri,
            Yeah I loved that steamy bathroom scene between Phil and Lina after she came back from NYC when she went dancing. I think Phil is a man and he knows what he loves and is attracted to when it comes to Lina. In his mind, other men will see same thing and steal her affections. Afterall, Lina pulled away from him because of a certain hot doctor before Phil cheating. I liked those scenes, I could feel his loneliness and just missing his sexy wife. Damn, Laura is really a great writer!

        • Janet it’s an oldie but goodie, it’s the first book in a series (of race car drivers)…the romance between the H and h just felt so genuine and real…let me know if you start to remember it!

      • Janet I read Liberating Lacey a while back, I loved it!! There’s another age gap romance that I read maybe 10 years ago, and it was awesome, like, really really good…hold on a sec, I’m gonna find the name…

  24. Morning Girls, there is no argument. Emotions will slip back and forth on Phil; however, he cannot always be the woman at the well. Those without sin cast the first stone…He was imperfect and selfish and there is not a one of us that don’t fit that same mold in one way or another. Like he told Megan there is no excuse 100 percent me, but he loved his wife only. Plus, Lina wouldn’t have forgiven him, without knowing Phil the way she did, she knew his heart, she knew she pulled away from him emotionally and physically…That was a two way mess up! She also knew their love would survive this or she couldn’t have trusted Phil enough to take him back…

    • Hi Girls, I’m just catching up on the discussion below, and I’m always so excited to see that people are still so interested in this family…I just skimmed it so far and will now read the comments in depth, but what a testament to Laura’s writing that we are all so emotionally involved..I’ve read many cheating books by now and I can’t recall much of anything about them lol…this family though…I know their dialogue word for word by now (well, almost lol)..

      • Miri I always think about the scene in Chapter 2 of SN when Logan askes Phil if he would ever cheat on Lina again….broke my heart…Phil immediately said no and thought to himself how his own heart-ached at seeing that hurt in his sons eyes..There was no way in the world Phil would of ever cheated again.

        • Yes..it made a difference to me that he truly did comprehend the damage he did (though I took him a while), and was genuinely remorseful…if he was a serial cheater Lina would’ve been like, ‘not in a million years’ (would she have taken him back)…she is softhearted but she does know her worth

    • Tracie, I agree that there is no way in hell Phil will ever do this again (cheat); contrary to what some readers have said on goodreads, Lina is NOT a doormat, she’s intelligent and strong…if she thought for one moment that he might cheat again, she wouldn’t have taken him back..when I read WPF the first time around, I was reminded of a scene from the movie ‘Ray’ (about Ray Charles)…toward the end of the movie he and his wife were arguing and she let him have it, and said that after all that he put her through (the other women and the drugs, ect) she still stayed, because “where was I gonna find another Ray Robinson?”…Lina had to swallow a very bitter pill, but at the end of the day, for her, where was she gonna find another Phil Hunter?

      • Laura, I read your comment below about your friends’ marriage..I think that is a very common reason why some men cheat, because they feel neglected after the kids are born and the mom focuses on them mainly…it takes a super mature guy to be able to rationalize that, like, ‘hey, this is what we signed up for when we had kids, I’m not the star of the show right now and that’s ok, this is only temporary’…but we know most men are babies LOL!
        I’m glad to hear that they worked it out and became stronger for it…I think many couples that really love each other can recover from this kind of thing as long as it never happens again…for me, what made it so challenging at first to accept that Lina took him back was the fact that there was now another woman’s baby involved..it was no longer a matter of forgiving the betrayal and moving forward and having zero contact with the OW, because now all their lives were forever linked…I kept trying to put myself in Lina’s shoes, and I still don’t know what I would do in her place..I think all us ladies on here imagine ourselves in her shoes and that’s why we get so riled up! lol
        Also, I am THRILLED that you will be writing about the year(s) leading up to the affair..we’re always asking ‘what the hell was he thinking?!?’..now we will have an idea lol

        • Quick question Laura..if you go ahead and publish a prequel (please please please, fingers crossed), in what order would you recommend the 3 books be read (to someone who hasn’t read any of them yet)? Should they still read WPF first? Thanks!!

  25. I’m sorry for the loss Tara
    And I’m sorry Laura and Tara to have triggered an argument on Phil..
    Okay I get it that they moved on because they loved each other and had a strong foundation
    And Phil even vowed to put Lina first…I am content knowing that Phil will always be with Lina till death do them apart

    • Thank you and I didn’t consider it an argument, I hope Laura didn’t. I truly appreciate that she lets the level of discussion, I feel bad if I’ve offended anyone.

  26. Nice!
    Sorry for late review?

    I find younger Lina to be a little bit of Katie

    And Phil’s father is lot more better than Phil..he actually likes to discipline his son rather than shouting and controlling…and I also like the part where his dad respects Phil’s mother’s decision on Phil’s punishment.
    Phil always went one man army deciding for his children and getting pissed whenever Lina involved and objected.

    And I near that breakfast table if it was the discussion between Phil and Logan and Lina interrupted their conversation like Phil’s mom did..I imagine Phil telling Lina to stop babying him and that he was having a serious conversation. And I could also find the difference between Logan and younger Phil,Logan was capable of making breakfast for himself(maybe because of his stomach problem)but still he tried cooking..

    And I hope that liam won’t be completely like younger Phil..I hope that he won’t be as selfish as him..?

    • I have seen the conversation threads down below

      I hope that Kim would realise that everything in life is not just a win..and look at her relationship in a positive way for Liam’s sake and find her true happy ending.. I’m not supporting Kim here..but after reading few chapters of SN where Phil has conversation with Kim’s sister and parents..I realised that Kim is a flawed woman who is capable of a good change in her attitude..I think she was never a real threat to Phil or his family she lusted and then loved him..maybe after he rejected her she felt used and thus the bitterness came…in the whole plot of WPF Phil was his own enemy..he ruined his relationship..I still wonder that if he loved Lina so much how could he bed another woman on a trivial fight like Katie getting her phone back because the doctor said..even if he was biased by the doc’s involvement he never tried to attend a single session until he saw Nick..why was he so adamant about it?(I don’t really understand Phil’s fears and his big ego.. didn’t he want his daughter to be with everyone in the family)
      I also wonder if Kim threw herself on Phil after that fight or Phil took her invitation very easily wihout rejecting because he was pretty much sober..
      And the four months affair text message proof showed that he also initiated sex with Kim..eventhough he was fighting with something(dealing with the situation between Lina and Katie) ..he was the same Phil who returned back to same Lina and the same home and family of 25years..did he ever feel guilty of sleeping with Kim for the first time and vowed not to do it again..?

      • Until he saw Nick and felt threatened towards him because of lina openess about their family..and then went to shift Katie to another doc

      • This young version of Phil and Lina’s relationship is soo much nice and peaceful…they wouldn’t even have imagined that some ugliness would nearly destroy their relation..I wish it was like this forever

      • Hinata, I think you hit on something that I still have a hard time reconciling. His cheating doesn’t make sense, what triggers it doesn’t make sense. If you feel like the love of your life is slipping away, don’t you fight to save it? When he says he can’t justify, he really can’t. It’s him, it’s all on him. Does he feel any guilt before Steamboat? Ugh!! Phil in WPF still frustrates and angers me.

        I love Swimming Naked! I think he’s redeemed, I think he grows as an individual. He feels guilt and remorse, he comes to understand how much what he did hurt his entire family, not just Lina. And, I still want to throat punch him for what he puts his family through.

        I’m enjoying their younger years, but it makes his behavior and cheating even more grievous.

        Laura, thank you for tolerating us! I don’t think many authors would allow the level of discussion that you do!

        • It doesn’t make sense to whom? This is the reality — good men sometimes cheat. Sex isn’t always as intimate to them as it is to women. One mistake whether four days or four months wasn’t enough to crumble their foundation. It was too strong. And the scenes I’m writing now are laying that foundation. One of the strongest couples I know survived a brief affair. I watched first hand as their relationship suffered and then ultimately grew stronger. She could have thrown him out and started over with her three children, but she didn’t. They’d been together since 19 and she chose to swallow her pride and forgive him. Their love is real. I can feel it when I’m with them. Why did he cheat? I think he was feeling neglected as she concentrated on the kids — it was completely selfish and he knew it and regretted it deeply, but like I said it made them stronger. And he became a better husband. In this scenario, the children never found out which made healing a little easier. Plus there was no child.

          • “it was completely selfish…” I guess that’s it in a nutshell. It happened, and how they fix their relationship is the point of the stories. I do get it. He’s complex and not perfect, Perfect is boring, and Phil isn’t boring.

          • I have to apologize, I’m in a melancholy mood, we put our dog to sleep last night. It’s a sad day in our house.

        • Hi Tara and Hinata, and thanks Laura for the scenes and putting up with all our opinions ?.

          I love the younger years, you can just feel their commitment to each other. Phil’s mom is so sweet and Alice just cracks me up. I dont know anyone like her. My mom is more like Phil’s mom and Lina. Phil’s parents had defined roles and that is where Phil learned it from. Dad works and supports family and mom keeps the home and mom and Lina sweet enough to make plates for their husbands. Phil grew up in a happy home. You can tell though that he may be immature in some ways but Phil is kind of a responsible kid, he helps with the deck and was super helpful with Alice and always mindful of his curfew.

          I think when Phil said he could not justify what he did, he was right. He could not with a clear head.
          After 4 months of hot sex with Kim, he could not repeat his internal thoughts at the time of the affair because they could not justify his actions.
          I think at the time of the affair and during it, he did justify the affair to himself “Lina pulled awaw, she had checked out emotionally, she did not want me, etc..) and with that he felt he could have Kim distract him from his problems. Voicing that out loud later would have made it look like he was blaming Lina and I think with a clear head he knew his justications were just excuses. Like Phil said himself, he could have made different choices but he chose not to because he was having fun with Kim. I dont think Phil liked being home right before and during the affair because he and Lina were not in a good place. I read a deleted scene from Laura where he was super cold and mean to Lina during their 25th year anniversary. The aura of the home was heavy to borrow Alice’s words. With Kim it was so simple: she is pretty, smart, fun and no problems to discuss or resolve and not face what he perceived as his failure with Katie. I think what happened with Katie almost broke Phil but I think he didn’t express it or deal with it the right way and couple that with fact Phil is selfish made him prime for Kim’s affections/attention. Yes, Phil used Kim and that’s not ok either, he was way older than her and had more life experience. But it is so hard for me to feel any empathy for Kim. Phil said he was clear about not leaving his family, really? Maybe he and Kim had conversations and he made it clear she was just a fun bang and he was not leaving his wfe. Kim was around 30 at that time so we could say being young and untested in life is her excuse for being dumb and falling for Phil. I think she confused hot sex and fact that Phil could not seem to get enough of her sexuality with “he loves me”. Uhh no, he does not love you Kim, the sex is helping him take his mind of Lina, the love of his life and fact he can’t deal with Lina pulling away from him. When she started to torture Lina, I wanted to bitch slap her and any understanding I had for her vanished.

          I too have wondered how Phil came home after the first sexual act with Kim. Did he kiss Lina, did he say I love you, did he feel any guilt or shame or remorse? Or he came home and Lina was mad at him, distant towards him and he said to himself “this is why I dont like being here, she does like me, I will be with someone (kim) who likes me” and went to sleep soundly. It is just so hard to think like him in that moment, I have no idea, just guessing here.
          The fact that he broke up with Kim before Lina had confirmation of the affair is ok I guess but Lina had started to suspect something and Phil was slowly clearing his head anyway off the fog betweeb his ears by then.
          Yeah, I am glad he redeemed himself in SN but like I have said in the past I so wish he had suffered way way way more before she took him back. By time I read WPF, SN was out. I would have hated snd never liked Phil if I had stopped reading their story in WPF, thank god for SN.

          I saw a picture of MacKenzie Bezos yesterday she just reminded me of Lina – pretty, classy. Lina and Phil are stuck in my head.

          • Yes, Holley. I agree with most of your points. As much as I’m going to hate to do it, I will eventually have to write the year leading up to and including the affair.

          • I’ll be hating it right along with you sweet lady! The only saving grace for me will be if you write how he was pulling away from her before it ended…He also said he couldn’t look at her those last few weeks without thinking about Lina..

          • Holley, yes! The whole Bezos affair is ugly to me. Bezo’s mistress allegedly has a reputation as a gold digger. At the very was least, a climber. Who knows? She was a family friend. That seems crazy to me that she would do that. But, I guess we never know what happens behind closed doors. And let’s face it, 38 billion dollars could be a balm to her.

          • Will be hard to read about the affair and the build up to it. Wouldn’t mind reading about it when he’s living on his own and relecting on the whole events, so we get a mix of both – how it happened and his suffering when he was kicked out. Love to know what went through his mind when he recieved the sms from Lina wanting him to move out.

            Laura – love the flashbacks. Thank you.

            Affair hits home for me. Parents split up because of an affair – my mother. Also my dad just recently found his biological family and he’s meeting his family on the 20th July. Turns out his mother had an affair with a married man, but in the 1950s it was frowned upon, so he was born in secrecy and given up for an adoption.

  27. Hi girls…I’m exhausted ?! Helped Taryn today with a yard sale. She wanted to supplement her summer income before going back to college, so Mimi was the only cheerleader/ helper for her today. Janet I only had one altercation! Toward the end we had a $10 fill the bag promotion so we didn’t have to haul so much to Shared Blessing…This woman way over filled her bag and started heading back to the tables and I said YOUR BAG IS FULL! Now I will be more than happy to provide you another Hefty for an additional $10. I felt like she was trying to steal from my granddaughter! UGH! Irritated me…Lol!

    How do you girls think Lina compares to Susan? She babied Phil just as much as Lina babies Logan…Phil said “no bacon?” Susan said it’s coming….Lina spoils him just like his own mother did..Poor Mike his wife puts a cereal bowl by the box!

    • People become weird at garage sales right? I’m selling you a bag full of hefty for $10! She was totally trying to steal! Did Taryn make some $$ though?

      Lina and Susan are like mother and daughter! I totally caught the where’s the bacon comment and Susan’s response. LOL. And yes, totally poor Mike!!

      What do you guys think of Kim coming back years from now and trying to twist the truth to mess up Phil’s relationship with Liam? Not just between Phil and Lina but to put a wedge between father and son? Let’s say when Liam is Logan’s age. I think he may go to Logan for the truth rather than Lina and Phil??

    • Taryn made a little over 500 yesterday. She was thrilled…She told her mom and dad about my little altercation and she said Mimi sounded like a robot mom, each word was one sentence Lol… I love my time with her, I could just eat her up.

      I don’t think Kim could ever mess Phil and Liam’s relationship up, she was an absent mother. Now I do believe Logan will be Liam’s best friend. His go to instead of Phil, with their age difference Logan will be a mentor to Liam, especially on Phil issues. I wonder if Logan would ever confess to Liam his original feelings about him? I can also envision Logan being a success having his own business and maybe Liam being something like a successful structural engineer working with Logan building impressive buildings or bridges all over the world! Liam can transition from the boardroom to the construction site, whereas Logan is the face of the company and always in the boardroom….Hot brothers…swoon!

  28. Okay Phil has a hair trigger compared to Bruce…slamming the door in my house would of got me in some trouble back in the day. My mama always use to say that I had every right to get mad at her, but I damn sure better watch how I did it. Wow Phil is a lot harder than Bruce, I’m kind of shocked. Phil will be harder on Liam than he is Logan. Logan can bend somewhat to Phil’s will, Liam won’t be able to do that if he has Phil’s exact personality. Loving the scenes Laura…this is so exciting…

    • In the final cut this scene may be a little softer (I will probably loose the door slamming). I thought it was a little interesting, considering that Phil had to repair the door frame in Katie’s room. Door slamming seems like more of a girl thing — boys punch walls (I’m not going to do that).
      While I think Liam will inherit Phil’s shorter fuse, he won’t have the exact same personality as his father. They will probably buck heads more, but Phil will still win. He’s Phil. An adult Phil trumps a boy Phil.

      • Hi all, happy Saturday!!

        Janet that wolf shape shifting analogy was perfect! I’ve read a lot of those books and you are spot on! One that I really highly recommend is the ‘Born to be Bound’ series by Addison Cane…soooo GOOD!!

        Laura when I read that you might turn this into a full novel I gave a whoop so loud my dog looked at me like, you ok? That would be you making my dream come true lol (but no pressure or anything haha!)

        I read the first bit of The Bronze Horseman..it was really good but I just couldn’t get into it…the time period it was set in isn’t my cup of tea..both of my parents are from Georgia (former USSR) and they lost so many relatives fighting in the war, almost an entire generation, 2 out 12 came home (and not whole)..not to mention the stories I’ve heard about living under communism, it defies the imagination…a couple countries over in Ukraine my brother in law lost the majority of his relatives in the Holocaust (we’re Jewish)…I usually don’t read books set in those days (the exception was the Tatooist of Aushwitz – I had met the author and she was so so lovely so I read that)…maybe at some point I’ll pick up TBH, but not right now…

        About Casey – I actually thought she was super mature…it wouldn’t have worked out with her and Tony if she hadn’t been…she didn’t play with their relationship, she was all about the relationship and not about herself..and she babied Tony instead of expecting to be babied herself, even though he was the older one..you asked what my favorite non-cheating romance is, well SOB is my number one recommendation! lol

        As for other non-cheating romances that stand out for me, going back a few years (I’m including romantic comedies as well)..Shannon McKenna’s ‘McCloud’ series (especially books # 3, 4, and 5..very alpha-licious!); Too Good to be True – Kristan Higgins; The Trouble with Valentine’s day – Rachel Gibson; Breathe – Kristen Ashley; Captive in the Dark – CJ Roberts; the Krinar Chronicles (trilogy) – Anna Zaires; Sugar Daddy – Lisa Kleypas; Prey – Linda Howard; Aint She Sweet – Susan Elizabeth Phillips; Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes; The Pact – Jodi Picoult (but no HEA); Mr Maybe – Jane Green (but I don’t think it’s on kindle yet); Owning Wednesday – Annabel Joseph (BDSM lifestyle); Reaper’s Property – Joanna Wylde; Sarah’s Surrender – Lynda Chance; Surviving Raine – Shay Savage; any book by Mariana Zapata; Real – Katy Evans; Eternally North – Tillie Cole; the Songs of Submission series – CD Reiss; any book by Penny Reid; most of Natasha Knight; the Aquisition series, and Kicked- Celia Aaron; Gallows Pole, and The 8th circle (retelling of Persephone myth, amaaazing)- Rris Adderly; Helpless – AJ Adams; After Hours – Cara Mckenna; Hold- claire kent; Shortstop – AM Madden; Bad Judgement – Meghan March; Anything you can do – RS Grey; Born to be Bound series – Addison Cain; Untouchable (trigger warning) – Sam Mariano;…I tried to keep the list short, but these are some of my more recent faves… 🙂

          • Ooh Thanks Miri!! We share love for the same authors! I think I have every paperback copy of SEP, Lisa K and Linda H. I have addison Cain in my tbr pile. I will get to it asap after I read the book you recommended yesterday.

            Yes, forget about the horseman trilogy. It is just too close to home for you.

          • I’m not mad! I’m sure I won’t like the husband though. Have you read Mercy by Jodi Picoult? That one is about cheating with no hea so I don’t recommend it but I wonder what you thought of the book? It was so sad.. And I love AM Madden too! I ended up buying her Back up series after I read them through KU!

        • Miri! What an awesome list! Thank you Thank you Thank you. It has a bit of everything. I completely understand why you wouldn’t want to read TBH — with that in the back of your head — the suffering in the book in palatable.
          I love Cara McKenna — unfortunately she doesn’t seem to be writing much these days. I also enjoyed Owning Wednesday (not sure everyone on this blog would). Reaper’s Property was a great MC romance! I can’t wait to check the others out — of course, I have to keep writing too LOL

          • Ok awesome! I’m so glad your likes are similar to mine – I will post more books/authors as I go along…the above authors are my automatic-buys…

            Janet, another one of Addison Cain’s (if you don’t wanna start a trilogy) that I recommend is The Golden Line..that one can be read as a stand-alone…about yesterday’s book, I recommend the first half but not the second half lol…please don’t be mad at me if you hate it!! ???❤️

            Laura, you are so welcome! I wasn’t sure about listing some of them because they’re BDMS-y, but I’m so glad you like those too! And I agree about CM…Thank you again for these wonderful scenes!! ??❤️?

    • I think Phil was more obedient about rules before but this is Lina that he can’t see for two weeks. It’s almost like he went a little beserk because Bruce will keep them apart- even for a couple of weeks. Remember when I used that shapeshifting analogy for Phil? it applies here. Like a wolf scenting his mate nearby but can’t get to her. He will howl.

  29. I just added another scene — this is classic Phil. Tell me if you see a difference between the parenting skills of Bruce Hunter and the Phil we see later in WPF and SN

    • Ok. This is what I noticed. Bruce is a bit gentler than Phil. Phil would never ever take that form of talking back from Logan in a zillion years. When young Phil slammed his door shut, Bruce didn’t go after him. Instead, he let his wife deal with the situation the next day and she was the one who set boundaries, or rather, appeased Phil. Phil wouldn’t have let his sons get away with questioning his authority. I think Bruce is more mature than Phil to have reined in his anger knowing it was 3am. Lord, is Liam going to be just like Phil? My palm twitched from wanting to smack his thick skull.

      • LOL — yes, exactly. Bruce has more control than Phil. We can now officially blame Phil’s parents for Phil

        • Control! yes. thats the word. Also, if Liam says no to Phil but yes to Lina then I’m OK with that since I think she’s always right. Holy moly, I can just see the father and son going head to head on future issues. It may even involve Kim lying to Liam about how the affair began. OMG I cannot wait. I miss the evil witch Laura. haha

          • wow – I never even considered Kim sharing details about he affair — she could really mess with Liam’s head. She’s smart though. I’m sure she wouldn’t try to hurt Liam, but she might try to cause issues for Phil and Lina — what a witch!

        • Laura I had mentioned that I think last week, when I asked when Phil and Lina would tell Liam about who Kim is…because I figured at some point Kim would tell Liam her “side” of the story (of their affair)…which would be skewed to make her look better

          • I just can’t imagine a mother bringing such a sensitive subject up. That is an adult conversation. A child isn’t going to ask about an affair — they may figure it out, but I doubt they would ask for details.

          • Ummm no I wouldn’t ??? LOL…but I’m sure Kim would haha..I wouldn’t put it past her

          • right Miri! I don’t think she cares enough about Liam to hurt him or protect him as long as it hurts Phil and Lina. I’m sure further down the road, Kim will stew in jealousy watching the close bond Liam and Lina have together. Maybe she will weave the story with some truth mixed in….how she was a young lawyer in NYC when Phil and Kims eyes met and she was mesmerized by Phil and that it was mutual…

            Ok, I’m going to start the book you recommended. just finished a perfect marriage by Laurey Bright. Hero did not deserve HEA.

          • Oh i meant when Liam is a teenager. I don’t think Kim is interested in Liam as a baby.

          • In a word, I think Kim is just a plain old narcissist…no empathy for others, and her ego won’t let go of the fact that Phil didn’t fall for her shit and didn’t leave Lina for her, so she will always harbour resentment toward them…I don’t think she’d intentionally hurt Liam, but if it got her what she wanted (to cause problems between any of them, including Liam’s relationship with Lina and Phil), she wouldn’t hesitate to use any weapon at her disposal…I remember that scene in SN in her townhouse where she was having an argument with Phil and Liam started crying, Phil was like “take him” (Liam) and she was like,”no”…she didn’t care that Liam was upset, all she cared about was hurting Phil in that moment…she will use anyone, including Liam (this is my opinion only) to get whatever she wants…
            Ok, thanks Janet, I will check that one out also! ???

      • Ha! Phil Hunter and Bruce Hunter are the same man, except that Phil got lucky with Logan and Bruce not so much with Phil ?? I noticed in one of the other scenes, at the breakfast table, first of all, he was pretty demanding for a teenage kid living with his parents…he asked his mom to get him orange juice while he sat there and ate (that wouldn’t fly with most parents I know), and also, when Bruce asked Phil if he would change his plans, Phil was very abrupt, bordering on rude when he said “no, they’re set” …Phil got soooo lucky with Logan, it bugs me that instead of appreciating that he complained about his lacrosse skills and took offence when Logan spoke his mind about the Phil’s affair

      • Janet I totally agree about everything you just said!! Phil would have gone up to Logan’s room and raged of Logan had been so disrespectful and slammed his door like that…Bruce is definitely more mature than Phil (which is also evident in the choices he’s made in life, which did not include cheating in his wife)

      • Janet I totally agree about everything you just said!! Phil would have gone up to Logan’s room and raged if Logan had been so disrespectful and slammed the door like that…Bruce is definitely more mature than Phil (which is also evident in the choices he’s made in life, which do not include cheating on his wife)

    • Aaaaaaaa!!! Young love!!! That was so sweet Laura!!! All these early scenes make me so giddy!! I love them, thank you for sharing this with us!!! ?❤️???

    • Ooooh, thank you Laura! They are so sweet with one another. They could be 15 or 18 imo so I like to tack on a few years to these scenes for my sanity!

  30. Miri I had a hard time with that scene, but I respected Phil in that he wouldn’t turn his back on Liam. I felt Logan’s torment to, when Phil asked him what he was afraid of I thought to myself that Logan’s feels like Liam will be everything Logan’s not and he said it himself A star athlete and student. I also thought what if Logan said if you can put my incredible mother aside for a new woman, what are my chances of being put aside for a new son. I felt the whole families struggle, but Laura worked them through it eloquently. Laura knows this, I had trouble with Phil constantly saying my son, and thanking Lina constantly if she did something for Liam. I wondered if he was that attentive toward Logan when he was a baby. The flash forward scene eased my mind on that when Logan asked Phil if he could throw the ball like that and he said Just like that….

    Laura did Phil ever think of Liam as Lina’s son? He said in the flash forward scene that she thought of Liam as her own son, but did he?

    • Tracie, you pretty much put all my thoughts into words…I think I felt for Logan almost as much as I did for Lina..just as the affair affected Lina’s confidence (I remember Phil said that to his coworker after they got back together, when Lina was very focused on looking her best for a function they were attending), it also brought out Logan’s insecurities regarding his dad…and to answer your question, I do think that Phil thought of Liam as Lina’s son, in fact he depended on it, because he really couldn’t do it alone (raise him alone without Lina’s participation)…

      Tara, I don’t know how Phil would have responded if that’s how Lina wanted to approach the situation..I got the feeling that he wouldn’t have been willing to keep Liam separate from his existing family, to not have Lina and their kids get to know Liam…Laura, if that was the only way Lina would reconcile with Phil, if he would have a relationship with Liam but she and the kids would not (unless they wanted to of course, as Katie and Alice did), would he have agreed to that arrangement?

      Another interesting opinion I came across in my googling was the idea that forgiveness need not be an all or nothing thing, but rather a continuum…like if 0 means no forgiveness at all and 100 means total forgiveness, it’s ok to fall somewhere along the continuum (and that can change with time, or not); but in order to reconcile successfully it isn’t necessary or always realistic to be at 100…I thought that was a different way at looking at forgiveness (forgiveness in general)…

    • Yes, he thought of Liam as Lina’s. Remember what a hard time he had reconciling that he had a child with Kim. Thinking of Liam as Lina’s son was more natural for him.

    • Ladies! I’m reading a cheating book that I found on amazon..I’m only halfway through (it’s a quick read) but I feel like it’s LITERALLY a behind the scenes look at how Kim similarly manipulated the situation with Phil…it’s told in alternate chapters by the wife and the OW…it’s called ‘through rose colored glasses’ by Donna Small…I can’t say the writing is anything close to Laura’s level, but Im enjoying reading it because I feel like I’m getting an inside look at how things went down between Phil and Kim (he wasn’t looking to cheat and he didn’t really know what hit him, while she was on a total mission from the moment she saw him)…but oooh I’m getting mad reading it (why do do this to myself?! Lol)

      • Thanks Miri! I’m going to get it right now. I finished Mine by Courtney Cole(not romance). It’s 11.99 so not sure if you want to purchase but I left a short review on goodreads. Alternate pov between wife and mistress and well written.

        • Update…Janet I’m sorry if you end up not liking the book ? I just finished reading it and the second have shows that the H is nothing at all like Phil (in the first half he reminded me of him a bit in some ways)…the OW is alllll Kim though…I won’t give away the ending, but it is nothing like WPF unfortunately ? but still I hope you enjoy it, I feel like I got a good inside look at how a scheming OW operates…

          • Miri — how did you find that book? It had zero reviews? Does he end up cheating with her?

          • Laura, you have created a monster in me! Lol…I swear until WPF I had zero interest in cheating books, but I got so much out of reading your stories that now I’m always on the prowl for other cheating books…unfortunately (and I’m NOT exaggerating here, no other book dealing with this subject have nearly as much heart, compelling characters that make you really care, or are as well written as yours…not blowing smoke here, this is just fact…after your books all the others are like cheap filler)…anyway to answer your question, on amazon I put in the search box something like ‘infidelity’ or something like that, and I got more than 200 books…I’m still sifting through them, and will post the titles that I think look promising….
            Ok, so now for the spoiler alert, please stop reading here if you don’t want to know what happens….
            In the first half of the book, he was such a good family man, like Phil, and the OW just met him and figured she’d do whatever it took to make him hers, she didn’t care that he was married…he really loved his wife and was devoted to her and the kids…then in the second half I was like, wtf?? He just totally changed character and starts cheating…so I thought ok, his wife will find out, he will come to his senses, and they will work it out…wrong!! The ending is crazy! I did not see it coming and I did not like it, because nothing was resolved and there was no growth in the characters..the ending was just plain weird

          • Miri – thank you! Did you read The Bronze Horseman yet? I really felt those characters. I know what you mean about filler. I have a really hard time finding good romance novel where characters have depth. I like to feel and care when I’m reading. What are your favorite romance novels without cheating. I haven’t read a cheating novel that I like besides the one that was all letters

    • Beautiful Laura…I can just see Phil in WPF, Chapter 44, when Lina asked Phil…Don’t you remember what it felt like to be young and in love? Phil hesitated for a few seconds then said I remember in almost a whisper….

      • Tracie, I remember that scene…very bittersweet…

        Something I’ve wondered about on and off for some time…Do you ladies remember in WPF, in the same scene and conversation as Tracie mentioned above (chapter 44), Lina asked Phil if she (Kim) had had the baby yet, and he said yes…and then she says “You have a baby with another woman, Phil. There is no undoing that.” He replies “You’re right, there isn’t. And I regret the circumstances surrounding his conception and how much I’ve hurt you, and I wish to God he was yours, but I am not ashamed of him and I can’t regret him. He’s my son.” The conversation and chapter end there, and in my mind I’ve always kind of imagined her possible replies…(and believe me they were not pretty lol)…How do you all suppose the conversation may have ended? After he said that, would she have just said something like, “I have to go”, or would she have let him know just how painful those words were for her (“I can’t regret him, he’s my son”)…in the beginning of the next chapter she discusses it with Alice, and says “…I didn’t expect him to say he didn’t regret him. That hurt”…up until that point, I was mellowing toward Phil because he was so regretful, and when he said that it was like a slap in the face (which is how Lina felt, I imagine)…anyway, how do you see that conversation between Lina and Phil continuing or ending?…sorry for the looong post lol, but I’ve been curious about that conversation’s resolution/ending for a while…

        • Hi Miri,
          That conversation right there made me hate Phil. What he said was the right thing to say “ I don’t regret him, he is my son”. No one should regret their child. But he seemed very detached from the pain his choice of words would cause anyone in Lina’s shoes. I actually stopped reading WPF at that point for a couple of nights. I am not sure why but those were painful words to read.
          Once I went back to reading the book WPF and finished reading SN, I think now that in that moment, he was angry that Lina was not with him, he was pissed about Nick, and probably feeling shame for what he had done and lashed out at Lina. I wished he had at least called and apologized to Lina but he didn’t and in the book Lina said he went radio silent after that conversation (what a jerk move!). He redeemed himself in SN. He for example did not force Liam on Lina until she was ready and said sorry so many times when a Liam came.
          Now I am not sure how that conversation with Phil ended but I imagine Lina said bye and cried after the conversation about how callous Phil was to her.
          I wanted some serious pain and suffering for Phil after that. ?
          I wish Lina had said something like this to him:
          “you don’t have to regret him, but I regret marrying you” or
          “Congratulations on your baby boy Phil, I forgot to get you a baby shower gift, where are you registered?” Or
          “I guess this is a good time to tell you, I am had f’ng hot sex with Nick that night and I wish to God I was pregnant with his baby” or
          “Since you visit him ever Wednesday, be sure to stop by the house to get the divorce paper, I want to save you the embarrassment of being served at work”
          I realize Lina would not say any of these things but it would have made me feel better if she had lashed out at that moment but she is kinder and gentler than me. ?
          I have read both books countless times but I skip that scene and scene where they have sex after affair reveal and scene where Logan tells Phil everyone knows and Phil says I only have to answer to your mothers.
          Phil was so grateful in SN that Lina had taken him back that I am ok with him now but I wish he had suffered so much more than he did ?.

          • Hi Holley,
            Thanks for the comment. That was one of the most powerful scenes in the book, in my opinion. It is one of those scenes where my fingers were just flying across the keyboard without thought. When I reread it, I realized that it would upset some readers but it was critical to leave in. Phil was not mad at Lina, but he needed her to know that Liam was as important to him as Logan, Katie and Megan. That was information she needed. This is a man that practically begged Kim to abort his son. Now that son is here and no one in Phil’s family is asking to meet him, no one at work asks about him — every one important to Phil is ignoring the fact that Liam is alive. The world is treating Liam like he is less legitimate than his other children. That scene made me like Phil more, not less. I have zero respect for men who abandon their children.

          • Lina is definitely human, ending the call with I hate you probably broke Phil’s heart. Phil was really at that point in a no win situation…This is where he is suffering he has four kids that he will only get to see part-time if Lina doesn’t take him back. The love of his life hating him and a crazy delusional opportunist trying to get him to put a ring on it….During the separation he saw Liam a few hours on Sat or Sun and maybe a few on Wednesday…Saw Logan and Katie on Tues and Thur and Sunday for church. For a family man such as Phil, never having them all together and only having them with him sometimes must have been terrible for him. Miri you asked why Phil quit talking to Lina after chapter 44, I think it was because Lina needed to come to him. He couldn’t make her forgive him, she had to do that on her own. I think he saw that in the Christmas scene in WPF. But when she texted Phil about the dance pictures, for him it was game on!

          • I had more respect for Phil after that scene. Here is a man that had an affair that resulted in a child he wanted aborted. He had so many regrets, but how could he regret his child. In all of this Liam is an innocent baby brought into an emotionally disastrous environment.

        • Miri — I think that scene ended with Lina saying “I hate you”. Sorry, Tracie — but Lina is human.

          • Thanks Laura, I hear you. I had more respect for phil for standing up for his son. Liking him more not so much ?. My oldest sister was abandoned by her mom at age 2. My dad had her prior to meeting and marrying my mom and my mom adopted her so I saw the effect the abandonment had on her during our teen years. But today, she is 50 and thriving and all 4 of sisters are extremely close! Her mom reappeared when my sister was 25 but my sister has chosen not to have a relationship with her. She calls my mom “mom” and her biological mother by her first name.

          • Holley — That’s very interesting and a testament to your mother. I have known people in similar circumstances and some continued to have issues long into adulthood.

        • Hi ladies, thank you for your replies..

          Holley thank you for sharing that – I’m so glad your sister got a HEA with you mom…I imagine they share a very special bond.

          When I first read what Phil said, I was angry and hurt, but also confused…like, he’d been doing so well up until then, saying many of the right things, showing contrition and genuine regret, and then he drops that little bomb and just craps on all that..why did he have to say that, I wondered..was he being thoughtless? Intentionally mean? Rebuking her? Giving Lina an ultimatum? like, if you can’t accept Liam then we don’t have a chance..and then when he didn’t contact Lina again after that convo, I was like what kind of game is he playing? I admit my immediate reaction (imagining I was Lina) was Divorce! Divorce! I imagined her reply was something like, “Until now I thought a reconciliation was possible, because you’re right, I do still love you..but after what you just said I don’t think I can, I think a divorce is inevitable..I don’t want to be without you, but I can’t possibly bear to watch you love and raise this child, it would be cause me so much pain every single day”…I think after what Phil said, I would just give up…

          So obviously, I totally geeked out and googled how couples in real life resolve having a child from an affair and still stay together..some people suggest that the only way to stay together is to completely cut off any ties with the child, except financially (very extreme and heartbreaking); others try to integrate the child into their family part or full time (depending on the state of the birth mother) as the Hunters did; and somewhere in the middle, couples who stayed together agreed that the father would see the child separately, exercise his visitation rights (kind of like how Phil did in the beginning after Liam’s birth), but would not bring the child home or integrate him/her into his existing family..do you ladies think that if Lina asked Phil to do that (the last scenario) he would have agreed? Or was he adamant that he bring Liam home and integrate him into his existing family, even if only on his visitation days (as they did until Kim went back to NYC)?

          • I think Phil would have done whatever Lina wanted regarding visitation. Once he had her back, he wasn’t going to do anything to risk losing her again.

          • Yes, exactly. Phil would never have tried to force a relationship with Liam on Lina. He would have wanted his children to have one, but again, he would have followed Lina’s lead on that as well.

      • Miri Lina was hurt knowing Liam was definitely a realty and Phil didn’t regret that he was here…:When Phil held Liam in his arms he felt the same urge of feelings he did for all his children. Like he said to Logan what kind of man would I be if I didn’t acknowledge him, Liam is innocent. Alice told Lina the truth, how can you regret your own child? Phil’s regret was Kim, his affair and how much he hurt Lina, not an innocent little boy.

        Lina probably would of said Goodnight Phil or I wish I could say the same. She wouldn’t be cruel….

    • Swoon swoon swoon!!! These scenes are so delectable!! I just cannot get enough ??? Phil is practically obsessed! And Shiloh is so sweet..she seems like the most sensitive out of the 3 girls…

      Happy 4 of July ladies! ???
      Laura, thank you again for theses amazing goodies you keep posting… enjoy your cookout!

  31. Okay, so I’m going to post these scenes as I write them. But you should know that I often go back and change scenes. I reread what I wrote the previous day and tweak it. So if you reread something and feel like it’s new, it probably is. I changed the scene with Phil having breakfast with his parents.

  32. Oh Phil, you swoony mofo. A novella like this will shut anyone up who doubts their love for each other. Love it.
    Ugh, I think I’ll be totally direct and inappropriate like Alice.

    • and I love your direct and inappropriate Kbabe…I can relate, Adele Jr tells me all the time I need to go to Couth School…LOL

  33. This is an interesting experiment, writing about the younger years. I have no idea how long it will be. I thought SN was going to be a novella — it ended up longer than WPF. I want to explore Phil’s relationship with his parents — his personality feels very different than Logan’s. I’m also thinking that Phil’s mother wasn’t thrilled with Lina’s background when she first met her. Of course, she a nice person, so I can’t imagine her being too judgmental. It will be interesting to see how Phil responds to parenting.

    • Laura I’m loving the experiment…Phil being parented will also help us with insight on why He parented Logan the way he did..Will we get to see Mike or is he already in college?

    • This is awesome Laura!! And if it ends up getting long-ish, maybe consider publishing it as a prequel novella, just for kindle/e-readers?…This is so exciting for us Hunter fans, thank you!!

      In the scene above, if Lina is 15, is Shiloh 13? I can’t believe how mature Lina was at that age..I remember at 15 I was so immature and hyper (I guess not much has changed LOL), and the thought of kissing and sex totally freaked me out ( I was a late bloomer haha)(I didn’t start dating till I was in my 20’s)..and Phil was like a grown man at 17…Thank you again for these wonderful scenes!!

      • Do you think, prior to Kim, Phil was ever even slightly tempted to step out on Lina? He must have had so may girls throwing themselves at him, in college and law school, etc…did he ever think to himself, hmmm maybe just one time? As Alice has noted, he is very virile lol…I’m still giggling over that one, “had she just called him virile?”

        • Miri that would be a definite no from me….Laura has said many times that Phil didn’t notice Kim until he did. Lina and him had been at odds for months and her pulling away from him physically made him notice Kim’s advances. I don’t think for a minute it ever entered Phil’s mind to cheat on Lina, prior to their rough patch at home.

          • But Tracie, not even just a stray thought here or there? He’s only human!!! lol

          • He wasn’t blind, but in his mind Lina is the most beautiful, sexy woman alive. No one could hold a candle to her.

          • I completely agree with Tracie. There’s no way Phil would have been tempted. I think all he saw was Lina as Lina only saw Phil until the bond was broken. If he had a wondering eye or a stray thought before we would all agree that Phil doesn’t deserve Lina and the affair with Kim was inevitable. No way. However, I disagree with Laura and Tracie that he shouldn’t be tortured. I loved seeing him lonely without Lina holding a glass scotch or cold beer feeling sorry for himself.

          • No way! Phil was 100 percent loyal to Lina until Kim. And hey, I know he deserved to suffer.

          • I agree with you ladies, it’s just, sometimes I need some reassurance LOL

            And Janet you know I’m with you on that one..his 6 months of suffering just warmed the cockles of my heart haha

        • That’s one of the main things that drew me to you Laura was Casey…You make all your characters age appropriate.

          J-Girl I noticed you have ramped up your feelings for Phil from suffer to torture…LOL

          • LOL. I think I was going along with Miri with using that word but I remember wanting to pour clorox down Phil’s pants when he told Lina about the affair in ch 9 of WPF. So little of torture in the beginning Tracie.

            Yes, I loved Casey too so I don’t understand the immature comment. I really loved how she faced the paparazzi at her school and the statement she gave to the reporter. So good!!

          • J-Girl, would you damage a Picasso? Hurting anything in Phil’s pants would be like damaging a piece of art….Lol

      • I’ll eventually publish it in some form. It will definitely be long enough to be a novella, maybe even a full-length novel.
        I suppose Lina is mature for a fifteen-year-old, but she will act her age at times. I am around so many teenage girls and they are vastly different — I was accused of making Casey (A Sense of Belonging) way too immature — she was a composite of two twenty-one year old’s I knew very well. I thought she was more mature than most girls her age LOL. I started dating at about 10 LOL

    • Hi Laura
      I’d like to say I Love You ❤️ Very much ?Thank you thank you thank you! It’s awesomely well written. These scenes seem so authentic.
      Pozdrawiam serdecznie

    • LOL. I love Alice. She’s an original! “Is there something wrong with you?” Hahaha! You are on fire Laura. Please keep the scene coming!

      Kids are good! They were away for two weeks on a school Europe trip and it was the first time I was apart from them for more than 3 days. Huge wake up call for me. Couldn’t really find my rhythm. I didn’t know what schedule to keep and couldn’t even figure out what and when to eat. It was hard! Now Im OK. The boy is in Ohio with husband for nationals and the girl started her volunteer program so I’m on solid ground again. All I can say is time flies and I don’t like it.

      • Alice is the bomb…Tie-dyed T shirts are my favorite….I’m going to marry your daughter HOT!

        Janet I told my husband that when our kids turned 16, I felt like I had been left behind…They didn’t need me to run them there or pick them up…I felt bummed…but I remember my mama saying “Baby, kids are meant to fly the coop! The best part though, is you still get to go along for the ride in one way or another. So enjoy each of their milestones, set back and reap the benefits of being a loving mother.” You are a great mom Janet in their lifetime you will reap many blessings and rewards from your children….

        • Yes Tracie. I feel like they are leaving me behind. Good for them but not so good for me. I took baby steps for 2 weeks so I better keep it up so I don’t fall into depression in 3 years. Thank you for your advice. I kinda get Phil. He didn’t mind so much when he was the one leaving Lina on business trips over the years but it was much harder when he was the one staying at home.

      • Janet, right?! Alice is so cool!! She reminds me of my teen years, because any time I liked a guy in high school, I’d get his birth info so I could do his chart…I totally get her!!! Lol

        • You are so cute Miri! I am a libra too and have some interest in astrology. Nothing like you or Alice but I remember not wanting to go out with one guy and using his sign as an excuse-Aquarius. Lol.
          Thanks for requesting the flashback scene to Laura.

      • Nationals — that’s exciting. And yes, it’s a tough adjustment. It’s been six years since Jordan left for college and I still haven’t completely found my footing without her. I have a hard time with change. They just take up so much of our energy and then there’s this huge void — ugh, especially when they leave the state and don’t come back!

          • She calls me everyday and I see her often. We’re taking a vacation later this month. The hardest part is getting used to the fact that she doesn’t need me directing her life — I think I probably did that a bit too much LOL
            Now, I’ll just have to throw myself back into my writing.

          • It’s wonderful that you’re still so close despite the distance…you sound like a truly amazing mother..maybe one day she’ll move back to Maryland!

        • Waaaahhh. Basically you are telling me I will grieve forever Laura. Lord have mercy! I hate change too. You are so right. It takes up so much energy..

          I’m re reading RK Lilley’s Danika and Tristan series. I know you couldn’t get into it while back but I think you will like it. Another long trilogy but the third one is especially good! The hero is possessive like Phil!

          • LOL I’m sorry Janet. I just haven’t been the most successful at moving on. I’m super close to my sisters and nieces and see them all the time, but I miss having Jordan underfoot and my mind still thinks I should be mothering her.

          • I’ll check it out again. At the moment I’m one hundred percent into what is basically a teenage love story LOL — it just feels a little different since it’s Phil and Lina.

    • Today just keeps better and better Laura, thank you!!! ???????

      I love seeing a younger Alice! She’s awesome! “Had she just called him virile?”…?? that was hilarious!! And notice, he didn’t say to Lina that he wanted to be the first one, he told Lina he wanted to be the ONLY one…omg be still my beating heart, this is more delicious than birthday cake (and believe me, I rarely compare ANYTHING to birthday cake)…

      And Tracie, how much did Phil LOVE hearing that Lina was a virgin?!?! He almost had a heart attack (in a good way lol)…this is soooo goooodddd!!! Ok, gonna scroll back up now for a reread ??

      • I know Miri he is smoking! Lina will only know him forever that’s really hot too! I can see now where he said in Chapter 7 of SN he was between rage and devastation thinking Lina was having sex with Nick….Phil knew he felt nothing for Kim. But he didn’t know Lina’s feelings for Nick and it must have been tearing him up, knowing he left Lina in the wind for another man to draw her attention.

        • Wow…when they were young and falling in love, who would have thought that they’d end up together forever, and that the road to HEA would not always be a smooth one…these flashback scenes are so poignant and beautiful, and Janet said it exactly right when she called it bittersweet..for the longest time, their love and relationship was pure and innocent, they were so sure of each other, there were no doubts, nothing of the outside world could taint their little world of two…even though they made it past Phil’s affair, that innocence will never be the same, it’s almost as though “real life” intruded on their little garden of eden and they will never have that innocence back…these flashback scenes add so much depth and dimension to their overall story…it’s like, you can see why Lina couldn’t leave Phil after what he did, who can throw away that kind of beautiful history? Overall, his affair was not the total sum of their relationship, even though in the moment, it might have felt that way…I’m so glad they stayed together
          Laura, thank you so so much, you’ve

          • It is sad that their perfect story was tainted, but they survived. And they survived because the foundation was so strong. I’m really enjoying writing these flashbacks. I’m just continuing. Right now my plan is to take them to their wedding.

          • Omg! That sounds awesome. There is your novella right there! I would love to see them in college together. I can see some cheerleaders trying their tricks on Phil and he just tells them to get lost. I’ve always wondered how they survived college years as a couple.

          • Janet!! Yes! I was totally gonna say that!! Laura, you’re writing so much that it can be like a “prequel” novella..The prequel to WPF

            And Laura, that “taint” is what sets this story apart from all the rest…that’s what makes them so special..they went through hell and came out the other side…most romance novels end as soon as the couple gets together, we never get to see the “after”, once the kids and bills and stress and health issues etc come along….the Real life that happens after is so much more interesting and relatable…

            And Janet, yes!! I often think of their college years also, and their wedding day, and how Phil proposed, etc..the cheerleaders in college must have been relentless!! How could Lina stand it?!

          • Laura I hope you get a scene in where Lina sneaks past security and is dancing with the band in the black bikini. Wouldn’t that be swoon worthy him watching her move like water…..

          • I love you Miri?…He did suffer by his own hand, even in the scene above, his thoughts are how natural Lina felt against him in sleep and how it didn’t feel right leaving her. Those six months that his arms were void of Lina he suffered….

        • But! I have to say Tracie, I still think Phil deserved that torture of thinking of Lina and Nick together! Loll

          • I know you do Miri and I can feel Lina’s emotion and betrayal knowing her Phil got naked with someone else. But her love for him far out weighed her hurt. Now that is a love story. Him suffering made her suffer.

          • I love your extra scenes regarding Phil and Lina. I also read the comments from you and others. As long as you keep posting, I will keep reading. I have enjoyed all 4 of your books. Phil and Lina’s book’s are my favorite.

    • Holy hannah is right. Loved it! Almost bittersweet for me to read the flashback scene because I got to see their immediate connection with one another. Also, I liked reading how Phil’s heart pumped as he talked to Lina. Thank you!

  34. Thank you Laura.I enjoy this blog very much. I left a 5 star review on both books at Amazon, and I mentioned this blog.

  35. Laura that scene was absolutely beautiful…I can see them falling in love and being all swooney….Geez made me hot under the collar…Lol

      • Miri…it was HOTTTTT…….I can see this leading to Lina being a virgin and Phil being the man….Love it! Loved when he asked Lina if she had taken any boys to her bedroom!!!!! His ALPHA is sucking up all the air in that car, and I would gladly let myself go to needing CPR!