Dependable Adele Abberley is tired of seeing to everyone else’s responsibilities, including running the family antique store, taking care of her dad, and tending her brother’s two boys. When idealistic Kipp Waterbury drops by her antique store, will his romantic nature help her to view the world in a brand new light? Will the secrets they find hidden in an antique Victorian chair encourage her to stop trying to please everyone and please herself instead?
Fifteen years ago…
Adele Abberley’s heart raced. She hung up the phone and placed a shaky hand to her mouth, taking a slow deep breath. Her Bull Terrier shoved her nose under her hand, trying to get a pat.
“Okay, Fresca. I didn’t forget about you,” she said, smiling. She kissed that big sloped head of hers. “We both might have Roman noses, but I still say we’re beautiful, especially you.” She kissed Fresca again and then sighed.
She’d done it. She’d finally registered. Late in the year, but she had still done it. She’d finalized registration for her first semester to get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, something she should have done right out of high school. She’d certainly wanted to. But for the past eleven years, life kept getting in the way. Not really her life but everyone else’s she knew.
She leaned back on her bed and flung her arm across her forehead. Fresca whined and licked her cheek.
Dad will have a fit, a complete come apart.
“Yes, he will,” she cooed at Fresca. “Yes, he will.”
And why wouldn’t he? She’d been taking care of him, the antique shop, her nephews, and just about everything else that needed handling. What would he do when he found out she planned to move out and get an apartment closer to the University of Utah? Not that they lived far away. In fact, she lived near downtown Salt Lake City. But, she wanted to be on her own and at twenty-nine she deserved the right. She’d taken care of everyone else for long enough.
She hopped off the bed and grabbed a suitcase from the closet. Fresca looked at her and whined.
“Might as well do a little advance packing, don’t you think?”
Fresca rushed to the closet and brought back one of her slippers. She hopped back up on the bed and dropped it in the suitcase, going for the mate.
Adele’s stomach cringed. Despite having made all the arrangements for college, her gut instinct told her something would stop her again from fulfilling her dreams. It always did. But she just had to start telling people no. This was her life after all.
She brushed the feeling aside and continued adding items to her suitcase. Fresca added more shoes.
“Adele? Are you in there?” her father said from the hall.
She gasped, closed the suitcase, and quickly stuffed it in the closet. “What is it?”
He pushed open the door, coughing. “Sorry about that. Got a tickle in my throat. Just got a call from Rhonda.”
She frowned. He’d been coughing for weeks and kept telling her it was just a lingering cough from a cold. I wonder. His olive skin had a yellowish cast to it and he looked thinner, making his dark eyes appear sunken. Although he still had a thick head of graying black hair, it looked finer and less shiny. Fresca ran over, jumped on his thigh, and did a back flip. Dad looked like he might topple over but steadied himself.
“Down, Fresca,” she said. “Sorry, Dad.”
“Silly dog. Anyway, it’s not good news,” he said, his voice hoarse.
Adele flopped onto her bed. “Is it ever?”
“Rhonda just telephoned the boys, and Zymon isn’t home with them.”
She slapped her cheek. “They’re alone?” Her gaze tore around the room in search of her purse and keys. “Where’s Rhonda this time? And where’s Zymon? This is getting ridiculous.”
“I didn’t think to ask what city she’s in this week. Some buyer’s convention in some city—New York, Maine? Don’t ask me. As for your brother, I haven’t the foggiest idea.”
Probably off on another drunk somewhere. She would never say anything to Dad about Zymon’s drinking, but it seemed to be escalating.
“What about the antique shop?” She pulled open her nightstand drawer, still looking for her keys.
“No answer. Could you…” He waved his hand.
“Sure I’ll go, if I can just find my car keys.”
She had no intention of telling him her college plans right now. She still had a few weeks to gently break the news to him, the time she needed to gain the courage to tell him.
Fresca jumped back on the bed and used her nose to push Adele’s planner aside on the nightstand, revealing the keys.
“Good girl.” She gave Fresca’s neck a rub.
“That dog is smarter than most humans I know,” Dad said, grinning.
“Well, she didn’t get it from me.” She picked up her purse, kissed him, and headed for her car.
Fresca bounced in front of her all the way.
Adele made a mental note to talk to Dad about another doctor’s appointment then turned her attention to other problems. Like what to do about Zeke and Zach. Zeke had just turned thirteen and Zach was eleven. Not exactly babies, but they had been left unsupervised way too often, so much so that their unruly antics had gotten them into trouble with the police on several occasions. Besides that, Zeke had said just enough to her to let her know he had abandonment issues because of his parents’ continued absence from his life.
Adele knew Rhonda loved them, but she couldn’t keep taking advantage of Adele, expecting her to fill in as babysitter all the time. Kids needed their mother. And as for Zymon, he needed to get his act together. He couldn’t keep disappearing on his boys all the time, or the shop. Customers expected the place to be open during normal business hours. They would stop coming in if Zymon didn’t keep it open.
And, since the whole family depended on the income from the antique shop, they couldn’t lose the business. Thus, her not having a life of her own. This had to end. She let Fresca into the car, slipped behind the wheel, turned the key, pulled out onto the street, and drove the couple of miles to Zymon’s house.
Rushing up to the door, she could hear the television blaring and screams and giggles from the boys. Zeke and Zach were running wild. She reached for the doorknob to insert the key, and the door swung open wide. Not even locked. Fresca bounded inside.
“Zeke? Zach? It’s your Aunt Adele,” she called.
Wrestling on the ground next to a toppled over armchair, the boys didn’t notice her until Fresca jumped into the act. Then they jumped up and charged Adele, whooping and laughing, Fresca nipping at their pant legs.
“Whoa, boys,” she said, looking around the disaster of a living room. “Slow down.” She gave them each a big hug and kiss.
Toys upon toys decorated the floor, the couches, the coffee table. Pogs littered the floor and hallway like an explosion had been set off. Multiple super soakers lay on the couch, and she could see streaks of watermarks adorning the walls and drapes. Zeke’s Furby hung from the living room ceiling fan, spinning around and around and chattering away. Her shoulders sagged.
“We’re having a party,” Zach said, swatting at his brother.
“I can see that. Can you tell me where your dad is?”
The two boys, still in their pajamas with their unruly dark hair, stared at her with big almond eyes and shrugged.
“Did he leave a note?” she asked.
They looked at each other and shrugged again.
“When was the last time you ate?” she asked, trying not to notice the spilled grape juice on the carpet.
“We had cereal this morning, but the milk tasted funny,” Zeke answered.
She rushed to the kitchen to find cereal and milk spilled all over the table and floor and the sink full of dirty dishes. She checked the fridge—a few takeout containers, orange juice, and a couple of outdated yogurts. She sighed. How could Zymon be so irresponsible?
Fresca crunched down a few Cheerios off the floor.
“Okay, boys. Go get dressed and we’ll pick up something to eat on the way to the shop.”
The boys whooped it up, and Fresca turned circles.
Rhonda and Zymon were in for a good talking to when they returned. Things had to change. She had enrolled at college and had every intention of going. That was final.
Right from the beginning page of Worth the Wait, I was captivated by the characters and immersed in their story. I also enjoyed the format of this book--it is a novella with all the elements of a full length book, yet it can be read in the same amount of time as watching a movie. 5 out of 5 Stars – Debbie
Can't Wait to Read Next Book
I liked it a lot! Adele is a hard-working woman torn between her family and her own dreams. I really want her to follow her heart, but I'm not sure if she will considering the mess her family seems to get themselves in! I can't wait to see how Kipp and Adele work things out in the next book. 4 out of 5 Stars - Brianna