Wanderlust is Book Four in the Soul Mates series
Katie MacKenzie is a wanderer. With her mother dead, her father in prison, and her siblings scattered hither and yon, she refuses to risk the connectedness of a family again. Family means drama and emotions, good and bad. But when you are on your own, you have only your own drama to deal with.
Family is the one thing she does not want.
But she’s pregnant. Alone. And for the first time in her life, more than a little frightened of her future. Her wandering days may soon be over, but that gut-wrenching search for… something, still nags at her. Calls her. And leaves her yearning for peace. A peace that is difficult to come by. She is willing and prepared to go it alone.
And all goes well, until a needy, homeless, and somewhat unworldly stranger enters her life….
Cincinnati, August, 2015
“I need to tell you something.”
In all her days, Katie McKenzie never expected she would utter those words, especially in a predicament such as this, in the hopes of keeping a man in her life. She guessed some sort of natural instinct was kicking in because at the moment, she was pretty much scared shitless, and figured she’d do just about anything it took to right her world again.
Would this right her world? She wasn’t certain about that.
And all the more reason for her to be apprehensive.
Reid, her boyfriend of the month—except this BFOM had stuck around for three months—looked up as he tossed another wad of clothing into a duffle bag on the bed. He stared up at her through a shaggy brown fringe, and even then, his blue eyes pierced through, sticking her to her place.
She could do this. Right?
“So tell me,” he said, then turned his back to her as he picked up another pair of dirty jeans off the floor and rolled them into the bag.
Katie glanced about, taking in the room. She’d done better. Had lived in nicer places at certain times in her life. This was not, by any stretch, her finest hour, nor the finest year of her life.
She’d lived in four cities since February—Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, and now Cincinnati. Next month, they’d planned to head for Richmond, Va., and possibly the Hamptons. They’d heard the work there was plentiful there, especially in the upper crust restaurants and bars. Especially in the summer. She hoped that was true.
Odd, with each move she was getting closer to the coast, closer to home.
What used to be home. Too long ago.
Funny how that had happened.
Reid stuffed more clothes into the bag until it was bursting like a stuffed cannelloni. She took in the orange, dingy curtains behind him, and then glanced through the open window to the russet brick of the apartment building next door. A kid leaned over the sill there—probably about twelve years old—calling to a friend, three stories below. The mothers here didn’t watch their kids. The kids watched over each other.
Kids. A hand went to her stomach.
“So where are you going?” she asked, in an attempt to move her mind to a different subject.
“Are there gigs there? What about the Hamptons?” Reid played guitar. She was a backup singer. Mostly she waited tables.
“Then why are you going?”
Finally, he stopped stuffing and stood to his full six foot height. “Babe, it’s time to go.”
In her gut, she knew what he was telling her, although he didn’t have the fucking fortitude to say it out loud.
He strode toward the door, the duffle over his shoulder.
“So, at least,” she called out after him, “have the decency to tell me why.”
He paused, then slowly turned to face her. “It was real. You’re great in bed. We had a good time. Now, I got to go.”
Someone blared on a car horn outside. He reached for the door handle.
At this moment, Katie knew she had to make a decision. Talk or stay silent forever. She’d never had to make this kind of decision before, so what was best? Her life was about to change either way, shouldn’t his? If she told him, would he perhaps stay? Maybe they could buy a house, settle down, get a dog, build a fence…
Foreign thought. A goddamn fence. What a metaphor for what her life was about to become.
The door swinging open stopped in mid-motion as the butt of his heel hit the wood and stopped it. He didn’t look at her, just stared at the iron railing outside the door. “Good luck with that.”
He took a step forward.
He gave a slight turn and chuckled. “I don’t do kids.”
“Well, you’re doing this one.” She was in it now, might as well forge full steam ahead.
With a huff from his throat, he dropped his bag to the floor and faced her. “Not my problem.”
“Our problem,” she countered.
“Like I said, I don’t do kids.”
“I don’t either.” All right, how am I going to do this?
Stepping forward, she cupped one of his elbows in her palm. “Why don’t you stay and we’ll figure out this thing together.” Is that what I really want? Really? “Looks like weren’t both stuck here.”
Scared here. That’s what she was. The look on his face, however, showed none of that, which frightened her even more.
In about two seconds, she figured, this was going to be all her problem.
He stood there, anchored to the floor, glaring, his gaze narrowed and his facial features frozen. Finally, he broke the façade, picked up the duffle and said, “No, sweetheart, looks like you’re stuck. Time for me to move on.”
He left and a skitter of relief raced through her, followed by flash of panic.
She never panicked about things. She got along, did what she had to do, coped. She always found a job, a ride to wherever she wanted to go, a means to an end. But now, what about this?
Pregnancy meant a lot of things, didn’t it? Foreign things. Things she’d not dealt with in, well, years… Doctors visits. Bills. Different clothes. Insurance. Or lack thereof. A consistent roof over her head. Regular meals for a kid.
What the hell.
How was she going to cope her way out of this mess? Simply moving on wasn’t going to cut it this time.
Wanderlust is coming soon! -- Spring 2016