The Good WifeBy: Jane Porter
Books are work. This book was especially demanding. I tore the story apart over and over to make it into what I wanted it to be. The process was hard and scary but ultimately I wrote the story I wanted. But I didn’t get this story without help.
So, first and foremost, thank you to my amazing editor, Cindy Hwang. You give me such freedom to find my stories and push the boundaries of what I know, I believe, and what I can do.
Thank you to Megan Crane for discussing this story endlessly. Your friendship has changed me, and given me strength to live, love, and create even in the middle of messy.
Thank you to Lilian Darcy for being willing to read this story in various drafts, and give me your insights so I could make it even better. Your input made such a difference. You are a truly gifted writer, a dear friend, and I value you immensely.
Thank you to Lee Hyat. You work so hard for me, and have for years. I’m deeply grateful. You’ve made a significant difference in my life, and career.
Thank you to Kari Andersen, Kimberly Field, and Marlene Engel for being Beta readers. You girls rock! Thank you also to my awesome Street Team. You know who you are. Thank you for being part of my world and making each book launch fun!
Thank you to Shevawn Maida for all your care, compassion, friendship, and love. We are so lucky you agreed to become part of our family.
And last, but not least, thank you to my husband, Ty Gurney. You always have my back, and you make me feel like I can do anything. Thank you for being my guy. I love being your girl.
All you have to do is get through this, Sarah told herself, gulping down wine from her mom’s Waterford Lismore goblet.
She didn’t have to like it. Didn’t have to be at the door, greeting every single person as he or she arrived. Didn’t have to know the right thing to say, or the right thing to do, because that was Mom’s job. Dad might be the rock in the family, but Mom was the glue.
Sarah drank more wine, blinking back tears as she dodged yet another well-meaning guest, trying to avoid her family at the same time, which was even more challenging as the Brennans were a large family, and she the youngest of five, with aunts and uncles and cousins in every corner of the house.
Normally she loved her close, opinionated family, but right now she didn’t want to talk to any of them, unable to deal with them. They’d spent the past few days monitoring her eating, her drinking, her parenting skills, and then bombarding her with unsolicited suggestions and advice, forgetting that at thirty-five, she was an adult, a woman, not little Sarah, the charming, good-natured baby of the family.
It’d been years since she had thought of herself as charming or good-natured. Sarah was also certain that Boone, her husband of thirteen years, wouldn’t call her good-natured either. No, he’d probably describe her as intense, emotional, demanding. Maybe even a little unstable, but honestly, what professional athlete’s wife wasn’t?
Once upon a time, a long time ago, she’d been the athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and softball in elementary school, and then volleyball, basketball, and softball in high school before going on to play volleyball at UCLA. A tall, strong athlete, Sarah had been a physical player, and she’d been blessed with mental toughness, too. After UCLA, she’d planned on going on to law school to take on the bad guys in the world but instead met Boone and gave up law school to be his wife.
She’d never thought it’d been a mistake—trading her dreams for his—until her world fell apart a couple of years ago, and she’d been fighting to rebuild her marriage, and her self-esteem, ever since.
Sarah drained her glass as she eased through the crowd, wobbling ever so slightly in her black heels as she entered the dining room to refill her glass from the collection of wine bottles on the sideboard.
The pale gold bottle, newly opened, felt damp and cold in her hand. The weight of the bottle felt good. It was a familiar feeling, and reassuring. It was a new bottle, recently taken from the refrigerator. Sarah liked newly opened bottles of wine. It meant that there would be plenty more if she wanted another glass.
And she’d want another glass.
Replacing the golden bottle on the silver coaster, Sarah felt her father’s gaze from the other side of the long dining table. He’d been watching her ever since she entered the room, but Sarah pretended to be oblivious—something she’d perfected as the youngest—and slipped from the room without making eye contact.
Being the youngest did have advantages. Sarah had learned how to manage Dad from watching her older sisters and brother. First of all, you never directly challenged him. He was old-school; a sixth-generation San Francisco firefighter, he was all about serving and protecting his family and community.
Second, even if you totally, absolutely disagreed with him, you didn’t ever tell him so. It was a disaster to pull a Brianna. Far better to at least appear to consider his advice, reflect on his wisdom. Even if it was archaic.
Mom had always been so good at managing Dad; whether it was handling a situation before it became a crisis, or smoothing Dad’s feathers once they were ruffled, she knew he needed to feel secure and respected.