Authors: Ellie Wade
Tags: #Contemporary Romance
Copyright © 2016 by Ellie Wade
All rights reserved.
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Cover Designer: Regina Wamba, Mae-I-Design
Editor and Interior Designer: Jovana Shirley, Unforeseen E
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This is book one of three in The Flawed Heart Series. I am so excited to share this story with you. I hope you love London and Loïc as much as I do.
Also, please note that I have included an excerpt from my best-selling novel
A Beautiful Kind of Love
at the end of this book, so
will end slightly sooner than you anticipate.
Thank you so much for reading!
For Tammi, who is one of the most amazing women I know.
Your love and support mean more to me than you could ever imagine.
I love you something fierce.
Thank you for loving me. ♥
Loïc: (low-ick) of French origin; meaning famed warrior.
“You named me Loïc because it means warrior, and warriors are strong.”
“I spy with my little eye something blue but not just one shade, many beautiful tones…like the blues of an ocean changing with each wave, each ripple, each ray of sunshine.”
“Um, that book cover over there,” I guess.
Daddy smiles and shakes his head. “It’s round.”
I scan my bedroom.
Blue and round?
“A marble in my toy box?” I beam with excitement because that has to be it.
“Nope. One more clue.”
I jump up onto my knees, so I can listen very carefully, and my mattress bounces beneath me.
“You ready?” Daddy asks.
I nod my head.
“Sometimes, the blue goes away when you sleep”—he closes his eyes before quickly opening them again—“or blink.”
I giggle because I definitely know the answer. “My eyes, Daddy.”
“Blimey! You got it!” He pulls me into a hug.
As he tickles my sides, I laugh, and we fall onto my bed. I lay my head on his arm, and he hugs me into his chest.
“I love you, Loïc,” he says.
I know that means he’s getting ready to leave.
I’m not ready to go to bed just yet. “Daddy, can you tell me a story of London?”
He chuckles. “You sure are a cunning little devil, aren’t ya? You know you’ve heard all my stories a hundred times.”
“I want to hear them two hundred times then.”
“Well, tonight, let’s focus on one hundred and one,” he says with happiness in his voice. “What do you want to hear about?”
“Nan and Granddad, your favorites, everything!”
I love Daddy’s stories.
He came from a place called London that is super far away. It’s across the ocean, and we’d need to fly in an airplane to get there. Daddy came to this country for uni—or as my mom calls it, college. That’s where they met. Daddy said that the first time he saw Mommy, he knew that he would love her forever.
London is a magical place with a queen and princes and princesses. They have beautiful old buildings that tell stories. I can’t wait to see the buildings and hear all their stories. Daddy’s favorite food is fish and chips. He says that chips are fries but better. Also, it rains a lot in London, but the rain makes it foggy and mysterious, like in a movie. He says that a lot of people take a train to work instead of a car. I’ve never been on a train before.
Nan and Granddad come to visit us every year at Christmas. They always stay with us for lots of days.
Nan loves to play card games with me. She’s really good, but I always end up winning. I think she cheats, so I can win, but she says that I win by myself.
Granddad is so funny. Sometimes, he has conversations with the wall or starts to yell at something for no reason. I think he does it because he loves to make me laugh, but Daddy says that he’s sick. Granddad has something wrong with his brain that makes him forget stuff. Daddy tells me that, someday, he won’t remember who I am, but I don’t know if I believe that.
I do know that Nan and Granddad aren’t going to come for Christmas this year because she can’t take him on the airplane anymore. I heard Mommy and Daddy talking about how Granddad threw his travel bag at another person on the plane on their way back to London last time because he thought the person was trying to steal Nan. If I thought someone was going to steal Nan, I would throw something at them, too. It’s not Granddad’s fault. He just really loves Nan.
I’m hoping they change their minds and decide to come this year, but at least I get to talk to Nan and Granddad every Sunday on the phone. I love them so much. I can’t wait to go to London to visit them.
Mommy doesn’t have a mom or dad anymore. She said they went to heaven when I was a baby. So, Daddy’s parents are the only other family I have.
I’m never lonely because my parents are the best, but it would be nice to live by my grandparents, too. I wish we could live in England with Nan and Granddad. Daddy says maybe we’ll move there when I’m a little older, if he can find a good job.
I can hardly wait to visit London, but Daddy says it is a lot of money to fly in an airplane. He is saving all his money, so we can go someday. He should have enough money soon because he works all the time.
We have to move a lot because of his work. He sells stuff for his job. Mommy says he is really good at it, too. She says he does so well because he is so handsome and charming. She really loves Daddy.
But I think he loves her most of all. Sometimes, I see him watch her when she’s not looking. He always has a big smile on his face and looks at her like she’s the most awesome Lego set he’s ever seen.
His face is like mine was when I opened my Star Wars Millennium Falcon Lego set for Christmas. I was so happy. Santa got it for me because he knew how much I wanted it. It is supposed to be for nine- to fourteen-year-olds, but I got it when I was five. Daddy said that Santa knew I had been extra good, so he made an exception. It took me and Daddy a really long time to build it, but that’s because we glued every piece. Daddy didn’t want it to break after we’d worked so hard on it.
Daddy says when you really love something, you need to take very good care of it. He always gives Mommy foot rubs and makes her tea. That’s another reason I know he loves her.
I think we don’t have enough money to go to London yet because Mommy and Daddy spend a lot of money trying to have a baby. They want me to have a brother or sister, real bad. I hear Daddy telling Nan how much it costs. It sounds like a lot.
Daddy used to give Mommy shots in her butt every day. I could tell he hated doing it, but Mommy really wanted him to, so he would. Daddy says when you love someone, you will do anything to make them happy. Apparently, the shots make Mommy happy.
The happiest I’ve ever seen Mommy was when she had a baby in her tummy. But the baby had to leave for heaven before she could come out. That’s the saddest I’ve ever seen Mommy. Daddy took extra good care of Mommy after that.
“Daddy, tell me the story about the bat at the cottage again!”
“You’ve heard that one so many times.” He chuckles.
“I know. It’s my favorite.”
Daddy’s main home growing up was right in London. He said it was a flat in the city. Mommy says that’s like an apartment. Daddy said they lived there because Granddad worked nearby. But Daddy’s grandparents had a cottage south of London on the English Channel, which Daddy says is like an ocean between England and France. Nan, Granddad, and Daddy spent all their holidays at the cottage.
Because the cottage was by the water, Daddy used to see lots of bats. He tells me all the time that bats are good creatures and that they eat all the bad bugs that sting us, like mosquitoes. But no matter how hard I try not to be, I’m very scared of bats. They’re just so ugly and creepy.
I pull the covers up to my chin. This story always scares me even though I know what happens.
Daddy tells it the same way every time. “So, I’m looking from room to room because something feels odd. In each room, I open the windows, and the stale, musty air of the closed up space is replaced with the warm, salty air of the water. It blows through the cottage, making whistling sounds as it greets the old wooden beams holding up the roof.
“After each window is wide open, I look around. Everything looks the same. That’s part of the magic of the cottage. Even though I am a year older since the last time I went, nothing within the cottage walls has changed. It is a charming place where time seems to stand still. There isn’t the hustle of the city. It is just calm.
“Finally, I get to the last bedroom and open the window. I lean against the sill and look out at the waves hitting the rocks. A few minutes pass, and I stand there, deciding that I should go and help Mum with the bags. But when I turn around, I see that I’m not alone. Right beside me, hanging upside down is a…humongous…black…
!” He says the last word loudly as he grabs my sides.