Happy Release Day to Molly McAdams!! Show Me How is the perfect book to wrap up the end of the Thatch series and I'm so happy to be able to feature it today! Read on for info about the book, an excerpt, my review and more!
New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams delivers another heart-wrenching, emotional novel in her Thatch series…
After her first love was ripped from her grasp four years earlier, Charlie Easton was sure she would never be able to trust anyone with the shattered pieces of her heart again. That is, until Deacon Carver forces himself into her life, and makes those pieces swirl in chaos. But Charlie doesn't know how to let him in… until a stranger stumbles upon a notebook filled with her innermost secrets, and shows her how.
Deacon Carver is known for sleeping his way through the town of Thatch, as well as the surrounding cities—something he used to take pride in. But that persona has haunted Deacon ever since he decided to leave that life behind for the girl he wants more than anything: Charlie Easton.
But when another girl falls into Deacon's life, allowing him to be himself without judgment for his past, will their conversations hinder his relationship with Charlie … even if he's never seen her?
Once upon a time and happily ever after...words I grew up hearing from Disney and children’s stories, and words I’d always believed in. As I grew up and my reading material grew with me, my standards for my Prince Charming morphed, but never lessened. I was so sure I would find my Prince Charming, even if he wasn’t as princely as I’d dreamed when I was a little girl.
As I said, my reading material had grown with me.
I’d always thought every event in our lives—major or otherwise—was just another part of our story that made us who we were meant to be for our Prince Charming. I knew my story would never be found forever engraved on the pages of a novel, but still I waited for my love story to put all other love stories to shame. For my happily ever after...
Only to find out that none of it was real.
May 22, 2016
“You only graduated three hours ago,” my older brother unnecessarily reminded me in that authoritative tone he often used. “Let’s just focus on moving you home, and get you settled there for a while. Then when you’re ready, you can look into getting your own place. I don’t understand why you’re trying to rush this.”
And I couldn’t figure out why he was dismissing the importance of all that I needed to do. “Because I have a court date in a month, Jagger, and I need to have everything done by then. I don’t understand why you’re trying to stall this.”
“A month? Charlie!”
“Jag,” his wife began, but didn’t continue when Jagger shot her a look.
“She’s barely giving herself any time, Grey,” he said firmly, then glared at me. “And when were you going to tell us that you set up a court date?”
“You should have known that I would schedule it for as soon as possible.”
“It would have been nice to know that you scheduled it at all.”
“You knew this was coming!” I said with a frustrated laugh. “This shouldn’t be as shocking as you’re making it seem.”
He blew out a harsh breath. “It’s not, and of course we did. I want this to happen for you, but you should’ve known that you would need time to get everything in order once you got home. A month isn’t enough time, Charlie. I would have told you that before today, and you wouldn’t have this deadline. We need to push the date back.”
“No,” I said decisively. “It wouldn’t be long enough if I took my time adjusting back to life in Thatch. But I don’t need to adjust to life in Thatch, I was only gone for nine months. I’ve graduated, which was one of the conditions, and as soon as I can, I’m finding a job and I’m moving out.”
Jagger groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face. “Do you realize how much easier everything would be for you if you and Keith just stayed with us?”
“Because that will look so great on me. Single mom chooses to live in back room of brother’s warehouse with toddler son because it’s easier.” I scoffed. “What would the judge say, Jag?”
Jagger didn’t respond, because he already knew.
I dropped my voice so it wouldn’t carry into the living room of my off-campus apartment, where my son was playing with Grey’s parents and my niece. “Once Keith started talking and saying ‘Mama,’ I had to spend over a year making sure he wouldn’t call me his mom until everything finally came out about whose son he really was. Do you have any idea how much that killed me?”
Jagger locked his jaw and his eyes darted to the floor, but he didn’t respond.
Grey stood a few feet away with both hands covering her mouth, her eyebrows pinched and eyes filled with pain.
I knew they both were imagining having to do the same with their daughter, Aly, who had just started saying “Dada” and “Mama” within the last couple months.
“Then, after all that, he spent the next eight months trying to understand that I was his mom, and finally got to the point where he understood it...and I left for school. To him, it probably looked like what Mom always did to us, Jagger, just kept leaving. He probably thought I wouldn’t come back.”
“No, we never let him think that,” Grey assured me. “And you were home every other weekend and you FaceTimed every day. He never thought you weren’t coming back, Charlie.”
I’d already known that, but it never made it easier on me. I waved off her worried look, and waited until I had Jagger’s attention. “You demanded that I go away to finish college. I did. I have two more conditions to fulfill from the judge, and nothing will stop me from checking them off as fast as possible so I can get custody of Keith. He’s three and a half years old, Jagger. I know you want to help me, but I want my life with him.”
One month, I thought to myself. One month and Keith will finally be my son. A tremor or fear rolled through me. Hopefully.
“Okay,” my brother finally said with a deep breath out. “But don’t rush into finding somewhere to live just because of this court date. You two have a place with us, and you can stay there as long as you need. That appointment can be pushed back, all right?”
I nodded quickly, though I had no intentions of doing that. I would find the perfect place for us in time. I knew it.
Jagger held my stare for a few more seconds, then took a step away. “I’m gonna start loading up the cars so we can leave soon.”
Grey knocked her shoulder into mine once Jagger sauntered away, and whispered, “I’m proud of you for standing your ground.”
A soft exhale burst from my chest. “I’ve never had a problem standing up to him, it’s everyone else I have a problem with.”
She sent me an amused look. “Charlie, you have a problem even talking to other people. But I’ve never seen you stand up to Jagger like this, I think maybe this time away has helped you come out of your shell just a tiny bit more.”
“Wishful thinking. I’ve been practicing that speech for about a month now.” I looked to my front door, and tried to keep the hopeful tone from my voice when I asked, “Speaking of loading up the cars, where’s Graham? Are you sure he and Deacon didn’t head back to Thatch already?”
Grey’s brother, Graham, and his best friends had all been at my graduation, but a couple of them had left directly after in order to get back to work on time. Graham and Deacon, however, had been with us at lunch, and I hadn’t seen them since we’d all left to come back to my apartment.
Or, at least, I’d thought we’d all come back here. But we’d been back for close to an hour now, and the guys still hadn’t shown.
I wasn’t exactly torn up about it, even though having Graham’s truck would mean that we would be able to easily fit all of my stuff into the vehicles for one quick trip home.
Grey shook her head and pulled her phone out of her pocket to check the screen. “No, he said they’d meet us back here. Maybe I should call—”
“No, that’s okay,” I said quickly, happy to prolong my time away from a certain cold, brown-eyed boy.
Just then there was a quick rap on the door before it opened, and Graham and Deacon walked in.
My heart and my stomach betrayed me. Both took off in a dizzying swirl of fluttering wings and too-fast beats that were nearly impossible to ignore until I caught on to what the two guys were talking loudly about ...
Who had just had the hotter twin.
“That’s disgusting,” I whispered to myself.
It was also very common for those two.
My arms instinctively wrapped around my waist as I tried to find something or someone to disappear behind. Trying not to draw attention to myself, I stepped slowly back until I was standing behind Grey.
“Wow, moving on to the girls in Walla Walla, huh?” Grey asked. “Must be nice not to have to worry about already having pissed them off.”
Graham sent his sister an annoyed look, and Deacon placed both hands on his chest dramatically as he declared, “Grey LaRue, you know you’re the only girl for me.” “Easton,” Grey and Jagger corrected, at the same time that Graham said, “Dude, she’s married and has a baby.” Each word was annunciated, as if he’d gotten tired of explaining this over and over again.
Deacon shrugged. “Technicalities. And if I call you Grey Easton, I’m admitting defeat to the guy claiming to be your husband,” he said in a teasing tone.
Grey just shook her head as Deacon planted a loud kiss on top of it.
His eyes met mine and turned cold as they dipped down quickly over my body before moving around the apartment.
Irrational, betraying heart.
“Charlie,” Deacon mumbled distractedly, irritably. The only word he’d said to me in well over a year.
I was so busy pushing back the anxious and dejected feeling provoked by his cold stare that I didn’t bother responding. He probably wouldn’t have heard it anyway, or at least pretended not to.
Grey turned to find me behind her. An amused smile joined the sympathetic look in her eyes when she realized what I was doing. One of her eyebrows arched as she stepped away so I was no longer hidden. A challenge to see what I would do.
I didn’t move.
“Hey guys,” she said, turning her attention back to the newcomers. “I know you just got here, but go help Jagger load up the cars so we can leave.”
Deacon nodded as he took slow steps away from us, and pointed toward where the kids were in the living room. “Hey, with the after-lunch special I just had, I’m ready for anything as long as I don’t get stuck with one of those things.”
“Disgusting,” I mumbled again, low enough that it would have been impossible for him to hear me, but his frigid gaze snapped back to me.
Grey made a face at him. “You’re gross. And we already know about your aversion to kids, Deacon. We’re not going to torture you by making you ride in the car with them.”
He looked away from me and clapped loudly, the unexpected sound making me jump. “All right then. Let’s do this.”
Two and a half hours later, the truck and cars were loaded down, we were only a dozen minutes from Thatch, and Keith was talking away...to Deacon, who was sitting in my passenger seat.
We could have easily put the last couple boxes in my passenger seat, but Graham had loaded them in his truck instead, and claimed that he didn’t have any room for Deacon. Before Deacon could understand the depth of his words, Graham had hopped into his truck and driven away—his booming laugh trailed behind.
Even though Deacon had been around Keith more times than I could count, once Jagger and Grey had finally convinced Deacon to get into my car and we had left, he’d spent the first thirty minutes stiff as a board—only moving to look quickly into the backseat to make sure Keith hadn’t made a move toward him, even though he was asleep that entire time.
Soon after Keith woke, they’d somehow gotten into a debate about sharks and bears, and which would make a better best friend. Bears would, if you were wondering, because they like honey and Keith thought he liked honey too. And ever since the conversation had started, I hadn’t gotten the two to shut up ...
Not that I’d tried. It kept Deacon’s glare from me and took away the uncomfortable silence between us.
“... and when the ladybugs land on you, they take your supapowers away.”
“What?” Deacon asked loudly, and from the corner of my eye I saw his face drop from where he was turned in his seat to look at my son. “They’re going to take my superpowers away? I won’t let them. They can’t. I have a protective shield.”
“They dun care,” Keith responded. “They get frew it.”
“But they’re my superpowers.”
I glanced into the rearview mirror in time to see Keith shrug, and with a tone that said this disturbing news weighed heavily on his three-and-a-half-year-old self, said, “I dun make the ladybug wules.”
A startled laugh burst from my chest before I was able to slap my hand over my mouth.
“This isn’t funny, this means war on all ladybugs,” Deacon said seriously, but when I glanced at him, the amusement that had been lighting up his face abruptly disappeared.
I looked back at the road and tried to push back the sick feeling twisting through my stomach, weaving through the betraying fluttering that hadn’t left since he’d sat next to me.
Deacon turned his head again to face Keith, and jerked back. “Hey, kid. Kid,” he called again when he didn’t get a response, prompting me to glance at Keith.
“He’s asleep,” I mumbled.
“But we were just talking.”
It took a few moments for me to realize Deacon was watching me, and when I glanced at him, I found his stare expectant. I swallowed past the tightness in my throat, and lifted a shoulder as I attempted to give him the same indifferent tone he always gave me. “Yeah, he has this thing about cars. He always falls asleep as soon as we start driving, and sleeps throughout the drive and for a few minutes after it ends. If the trip is long, he’ll sleep through most of it, but I think he wanted to talk to you, so he tried to stay awake once he woke up.”
“Huh.” There was a brief pause before Deacon said softly, “This kid...he’s actually really funny. Is he always like this?”
I couldn’t contain my next smile. “For the most part. He just talks about the most ...” I trailed off when I met Deacon’s gaze again.
He’d never treated me like this before, and I didn’t know what had happened to make him look at me and talk to me the way he did now, seeing as we hardly ever spoke to each other, even when we were in the same room.
Deacon—and Graham and their other best friend, Knox, for that matter—had been in my life for as long as I could remember. Those three boys had been inseparable growing up, which meant all three were often found near Grey, acting as protective older brothers. Where Grey was, Jagger wasn’t far behind; and where Jagger went, I went too.
I’d never gotten comfortable enough to talk freely with the boys as I had with Grey, but they’d all been nice. Never hostile. Never like this.
That sickening feeling in my stomach magnified at Deacon’s hardened stare, and I didn’t understand it. It was as if I deserved this look—but I knew I couldn’t. There was nothing I had ever done to him.
“Um, he talks about the most random things. He has a very active imagination.” I hurried to finish, each word quieter than the previous one, then stared straight ahead at the road when Deacon’s aggravation became too much.
Deacon didn’t respond, and after a couple minutes, he straightened in his seat and pulled out his phone for a distraction.
And I was thankful for it. I was able to breathe easier knowing he wouldn’t try to talk to me again...knowing his eyes were busy.
But then the cemetery that rested just before town came into view, and I thought I might have preferred the sick twisting in my stomach from Deacon to the painful clenching of my heart over a guy who would never see or hold his son.
I trailed my fingers absentmindedly through Keith’s hair as he slept sprawled across my lap that evening. We had unloaded everything and gotten my things situated in the warehouse I shared with Jagger and Grey, but I hadn’t been able to put off bringing Keith to the cemetery any longer. He’d been begging me ever since he’d woken up that afternoon, and no matter how much my heart rebelled against being here, I knew Keith wanted this...needed it.
I leaned back, putting my weight on one arm, and let my eyes move from my son to the stone just a foot from where the blanket ended that we were sitting on. The flowers Keith had picked out for him were resting across the base, and something about the look of them bothered me. Like this was all too fresh, too new.
Like I was being sucked back in time four years, to when Ben had been lowered into the ground.
Dozens of beautiful flowers had been on his casket, and even more had been placed on top of the freshly packed dirt. Now whenever we visited his grave with fresh flowers—and Keith demanded we bring new flowers every time—all I could think about was that day.
It felt like I’d never get away from it.
Like I’d never get away from the heartbreak and pain I’d gone through before and after he’d died, and then the years of secrets I’d gone through after.
I’ve been waiting for Charlie’s book ever since she appeared in Letting Go. I knew her story and journey to happily ever after would be a good one full of angst and heartbreak. And then Molly put up on her website that Charlie’s love interest was going to be Deacon. Ahh, Deacon. If you’ve read Letting Go and To The Stars, you’ve met Deacon. J I read Show Me How in one sitting and Molly did not disappoint! Show Me How has the perfect blend of laughter, tears and the urge to punch things…all the feels I’ve come to expect from a Molly McAdams book. I recommend this and the entire Thatch series if you’re looking for a great book to read. You can’t go wrong with a Molly McAdams novel!
Letting Go (Book 1)
To The Stars (Book 2)