Bad for You(Sea Breeze)

By: Abbi Glines

To Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire. I wouldn't want to travel this road with anyone else. Knowing I have the both of you to talk to is priceless. I love your faces.





Acknowledgments





I need to start by thanking my agent, Jane Dystel, who is beyond brilliant. The moment I signed with her was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Thank you, Jane, for helping me navigate through the waters of the publishing world. You are truly a badass.

My amazing editor, Bethany Buck. She makes my stories better with her insight and always seems as excited about the Sea Breeze stories as I am. That makes it so much easier to create. Anna McKean, Paul Crichton, Mara Anastas, Carolyn Swerdloff, and the rest of the Simon Pulse team for all your hard work in getting my books out there.

The friends that listen to me and understand me the way no one else in my life can: Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and Tammara Webber. You three have listened to me and supported me more than anyone I know. Thanks for everything.

Natasha Tomic for always reading my books the moment I type “The End” even when it requires she stay up all night to do it. She always knows the scenes that need that extra something to make them a quality “peanut-butter-sandwich scene.”

Autumn Hull for always listening to me rant and worry. And she still beta reads my books for me. I can’t figure out how she puts up with my moodiness. I’m just glad she does.

Last by certainly not least: My family. Without their support I wouldn’t be here. My husband, Keith, makes sure I have my coffee and the kids are all taken care of when I need to lock myself away and meet a deadline. My three kids are so understanding, although once I walk out of that writing cave they expect my full attention, and they get it. My parents, who have supported me all along. Even when I decided to write steamier stuff. My friends, who don’t hate me because I can’t spend time with them for weeks at a time because my writing is taking over. They are my ultimate support group and I love them dearly.

My readers. I never expected to have so many of you. Thank you for reading my books. For loving them and telling others about them. Without you I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple.





Prologue





BLYTHE

“Go to bed, Blythe. And don’t forget to say your prayers,” Mrs. Williams’s voice broke into my thoughts. I turned around from the window I was perched next to and looked at the woman who was my guardian. I didn’t refer to her as “Mother” because I had made that mistake once and she had hit me with a belt.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, and climbed down from the window seat I loved so much. It was the only thing that I felt was truly mine. I had asked for a window seat like this when I saw one in a movie once. Mrs. Williams had called me selfish and materialistic. I had been beaten for making a request such as that one.

But her husband, Pastor Williams, had surprised me with one on Christmas morning. It was worth the secret punishments I later received from Mrs. Williams for making her husband sin by giving me a gift.

Mrs. Williams continued as I stood by that seat. “Remember to thank God that you’re alive and not dead like your mother,” she snapped. The tone in her voice was especially nasty tonight. She was angry about something. I hated it when she was angry. That meant she was going to punish me if I wasn’t extra good. Even though I was not the cause of her anger.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied again. I had cringed when she spoke of the mother I had never really known, and of her death. I hated hearing the sordid details of how my mother suffered because of her sins. It made me hate God even more. Why he was so mean and full of vengeance, I didn’t understand. But then over the years I realized that the kind heart I saw in Pastor Williams was what God must really be like.

“And,” Mrs. Williams went on, “thank him for the roof over your head that you do not deserve,” she spit.

She often reminded me of how I didn’t deserve the goodness extended to me by her and Pastor Williams. I was used to this as well. They were the closest things to parents I had ever known all my thirteen years here on Earth. My mother had died giving birth to me. She was sick with pneumonia, and it was a miracle I had lived. I had been born six weeks early.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied again, walking slowly over to my bed. I wanted her to step out of my room before I got too close to her. She liked to strike me, but I didn’t like to be hit.

She stood with her shoulders straight and her nose tilted up so that she had to look down at me. Her red hair was long and pulled back in a tight bun. The black-rimmed glasses she wore made her squinty brown eyes seem even more sinister.

“And, of course, thank the good Lord for your health. Even though you are exceptionally ugly and have no hope for any beauty, you should be thankful that you are alive. That you are healthy. Because you do not deserve it—”

“That’s enough, Margaret.” Pastor Williams voice interrupted her. It wasn’t the first time she had told me how ugly I was. How the sin of my mother had made me unappealing in looks. How no one would ever love me because I was too hard to even look at. I had accepted my life a long time ago. I didn’t look in a mirror if I could help it. I hated seeing that face stare back at me. The one that made Mrs. Williams hate me, and Pastor Williams pity me.

“She needs to know.”

“No. She doesn’t. You’re just angry and taking it out on Blythe. Leave her alone. I’m not warning you another time. This has to stop,” he whispered to his wife, but I could still hear his deep voice.

Whenever he caught her telling me how ugly I was or reminding me of the sin that would forever haunt my life he, would correct her and send her away. I let the relief come because I knew for the next day or so he would be watching her. She wouldn’t come near me. She would pout and stay tucked away in her room.

I didn’t thank him because I knew that he would ignore me and turn and walk away like he always did. He didn’t like looking at me either. The few times in my life he actually looked at me, I could see him wince. Especially lately. I was getting uglier. I had to be.

One day I would be old enough to leave this place. I wouldn’t have to go to church and listen about the loving God these people served. The one who made me so ugly. The one who took my mother away. I wanted to escape all this and hide away in a small town where no one knew me. A place where I could just be alone and write. In my stories I could be beautiful. The prince would love me, and I would know how it felt to belong. I loved my stories. Even if right now they were all in my head.

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