Dreams- The Fragile Line Series- Book Nine- Preview

Dreams- The Fragile Line Series- Book Nine- Preview

fifteen minutes of fame


I’d planned to change my last name when I returned home from my honeymoon. The paperwork had been completed before we even left home for the wedding. Yet, it still sat on the desk in the living room a month later.

No need for it now.

Picking it up, along with the copies of my birth certificate and social security card, I ran them through the shredder.

I glanced out the window for the school bus. Angel was due home any minute and then we had exactly thirty minutes to get to her dance class. If traffic didn’t cooperate, we would be late. Logan was ready to go, sippy cup in hand. Once I dropped Angel off, I would run by Starbucks and grab a Vanilla Bean Frappe and some cake-pops for the kids to have for dessert later. I’d get back to the dance studio just as class was ending and go inside for pick-up wearing my fake-ass Los Angeles smile while pretending my life wasn’t falling apart.

Once upon a time, I had dreams. My dreams weren’t anything close to what my life had become. I never wanted to live in fake-ass California. I never wanted a fake marriage. I never wanted a fake best friend who would try to steal my husband.

After loading Angel and Logan into my minivan after dance, we headed home, Angel jabbering non-stop about some girl at dance who was chewing gum and got it stuck in her hair.

“Is Daddy Corey making dinner? Because I’m starving to death,” Angel asked.

“I’m gonna make dinner tonight. Corey’s not home.”

“Is him and Aunt Sadie singing?”

I let out an audible sigh. It was so hard to not talk badly about Corey and Sadie in front of Angel. Angel loved them both so much and didn’t understand why Aunt Sadie hadn’t been around even though, “Daddy Tyler said the kidnapper gave her back.”

Yeah, thanks, Tyler.

Now, not only did Angel ask when Sadie was coming over, she also no longer feared strangers because the kidnappers gave Sadie back. I missed Sadie so much sometimes but was nowhere near the forgive and forget stage.

It didn’t help matters that the only other friend I had in LA had now vanished. When we arrived home from Hawaii, we found Rainie’s cell phone and a note on the kitchen counter. The note read: not sure when I’ll be back, if ever. Kiss Maddie for me every chance you get.

“No, they’re not singing today,” I told Angel. “He’s just having a meeting.”

“A ‘portant meeting?”

It was a meeting about whether or not Corey still had a job, so yeah, it was kinda important. “Yeah, it’s an important meeting. He’ll be home in time to have dinner but I’m cooking.”

“Can we have a’sketty?”

“Spaghetti,” I corrected, adding emphasis on the P. “And no, we had that last night. I’m making stir fry.”

“Stir fry has too many vegetables,” Angel said. “Logan doesn't like it.”

“You mean Angel doesn’t like it?” I asked with a laugh.

“The new baby doesn’t like it either. That’s why you fart all the time.”

Even when everything else was falling apart, Angel could make me laugh. “Everyone farts.”

“Does Sadie fart?”

“Probably not,” I said under my breath as we pulled onto our street. “Everyone, Angel.”

Angel laughed. “She should fart on TV. Daddy Corey should fart on the TV too. Everyone would laugh at them.”

I chuckled softly at my daughter’s amusement, picturing them farting on stage. “People would definitely laugh.”

When we got in the house, I settled Angel and Logan in the family room and secured the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs before going into the kitchen to start dinner. While I wanted Corey out of the house and out of my face desperately, he did make dinner a lot. He used to hate cooking, and he probably still did, but everything was balancing on such a fragile line that he’d been pulling more than his weight at home.

From what I’d heard, Sadie was recovering from what she went through. I hoped her recovery included everything Ryan put her through and not just the kidnappers. And maybe as part of all that she could learn how to be a decent human and friend.

That was about the extent of the information I knew from Corey talking to John. We didn’t talk about Sadie. Not directly anyway. But I was all about the snide backhanded comments that Corey didn’t respond to.

At least he stopped telling me he loves her.

I heard the garage door open signaling Corey’s return. Immediately, I felt my shoulder muscles tense.

He didn’t say anything when he came in, but I felt his presence behind me, standing on the other side of the kitchen table, staring at the back of my head while I flipped gas-inducing vegetables and chicken around in the wok. Or maybe he was looking at my pregnancy ass which he loved so much. He thought it was a compliment by telling my ass gets huge when I’m pregnant.

I’m never having another child, I swear.

I turned around briefly. “How’d it go?” I asked because how it went told me if I could move back to Illinois or not. Which, I guess I could regardless of the meeting, but part of me wasn’t ready to give up on our marriage yet.

He cleared his throat. “I’ll tell you about it later. I think this is more important.”

I turned around to see a large envelope in his hand with postage marked in the corner. The return address was printed on the envelope while the mailing address was handwritten. “What is it?”

“Something else you can blame me for.”

I scoffed. “Can you be more specific?” I heard the rumple of the envelope as he opened it.

“Looks like my fifteen minutes of fame as a suspected murderer has prompted a Mr. Dwayne Robinson of Joliet, Illinois, to file suit against us, or actually just you, to establish paternity and parental rights of Logan Corey Renier.”


When Corey reached out to his manager, John, a week after returning from his disastrous honeymoon in Hawaii, he hadn’t known what to expect. He didn’t know if there was a band to go back to given everything that had happened. Corey wasn’t even sure he wanted to continue with Mile 258, but he knew he needed to make amends for his words, even if they had been true.

Three weeks later, he found himself sitting in a conference room at John’s office, four sets of eyes staring expectantly at him, waiting for him to speak.

“I don’t know where to start,” he said finally.

Trevor leaned forward. “I think apologies would be a good place.”

Corey nodded, his gaze dropping to the table. For as long as he and Trevor had been friends, he shouldn’t have waited so long to apologize.

Everything was so confusing.

“I am sorry for all the stuff I said.” He looked up, meeting Eric’s eyes because that’s where the most damage happened. “But you have to understand how betrayed I felt that day. I felt like I didn’t have any choice but to betray all of you. At that moment, I felt nothing but anger and I let it take over.” His eyes shifted to the wall. “Until Dave said Jenny said I was dead to her.”

Jenny had done nothing but slip further and further away from him since that day. He wasn’t sure he would ever get her back. Sure they were married, but it seemed to just be on paper.

“Ryan, I don’t even remember what I said to you that day, but I didn’t need to do it in the way that I did.”

Ryan nodded. “I don’t remember either, but I’m sure I deserved it.”

Corey nodded, looked at John. “John, I was out of line. I know whatever happened between you and Sadie was with good intentions on your part and you didn’t deserve to be dragged into all that.”

He paused before continuing. This was the part he struggled with. The expectation of an apology to Trevor and Eric was there but he didn’t feel like they deserved it. Trevor had cheated on Whitney twice. Corey hadn’t done anything wrong, he was just the bearer of bad news. And Eric had cheated on Rainie with the person Rainie despised the most. Corey hadn’t done that. Eric did that. Eric destroyed his own marriage.

Corey chose his words carefully. “Trevor, I apologize for saying what I did with Whitney in the room. I’m glad you were able to work through that with her.”

He didn’t wait for Trevor to respond. Instead he looked directly at Eric. “I didn’t make Rainie leave. You cannot blame me for that. Sadie told me what happened on the bus, but you probably guessed that by now. That day you walked in on us in Vegas? That’s the day she told me. Literally right before that.”

“Wait,” Trevor said. “He walked in on you and Sadie in Vegas? The day she had that big ass meltdown.”

“Walked in on us talking.”

Eric scoffed. “Talking with his hand between her legs.”

Corey dropped his head back. Then he stood and put his leg up on the chair and pointed at his inner thigh. “My hand was right here.” Dropping his leg, he took his seat again. “I am glad Eric walked in when he did because that’s the closest I’d ever come to cheating on Jenny and I’m not sure I would’ve stopped myself that day.”

“You only say it’s the closest because you got caught,” Ryan said.

Corey pushed his lips together. “Eric, I am sorry I said what I did in front of Rainie, but I am not the one who made her leave.”

Eric leaned back. “So it’s cool if I stop by later and let Jenny know what I saw in Vegas.”

Corey shrugged. “I told her it was a mistake marrying her and that I love Sadie so knock yourself out if you want. My marriage was over before it even started.”

It was quiet for several beats before Ryan spoke. “You actually told her that?”

Corey nodded. “Yeah. And then I sat in the car and cried until snot was coming out of my nose while I sang Whitney Houston.”

“Whitney Houston?” Ryan asked, a smirk on his lips. ‘“I Will Always Love You?”’

“I Have Nothing.”


Trevor cleared his throat. “That’s the name of the song. Sadie sang it at her birthday party.” He looked at Ryan. “There was karaoke. Corey asked the name of the song and ten minutes later him and Sadie disappeared in the house.”

Corey didn’t take his eyes from Ryan. Something was brewing in Ryan; he could see it. “I’m surprised you remember that, Trev.”

“I don’t miss much. I just know when to keep my mouth shut.”

“Did you fuck her?” Ryan asked.

“No. I literally just said I never cheated on Jenny, so why would you even ask? She gave me a copy of her roughs she’d made and then I stole the Whitney Houston CD out of the trashcan because Dave told her to throw it away.”

“I fucked Jenny on Sadie’s birthday once.”

Somewhat taken aback, Corey nodded once. “Probably the same year I fucked Sadie on Sadie’s birthday. You know, because I actually care about her.”

Ryan narrowed his eyes.

“And Jenny’s birthday is coming up if you wanna fuck her on her own birthday this year.” Corey shrugged. “You won’t have to worry about getting her pregnant this time.”

Ryan laughed. “Don’t think that I won’t.”

Corey sniggered. “You forget that she can’t stand you.”

“Yeah, but she can stand this—”

“Ok, ok,” Trevor interrupted. “We’re getting way off track.” He looked at John. “What’s up with Sadie? Is she done with Mile 258 or what?”

John sat up. “She has not said anything one way or another. But I think that’s partly because no one seems to even be sure if there is a Mile 258 anymore.”

No one spoke immediately.

Eric leaned forward, his forearms resting on the table. “I really need to keep working. My plan if Mile 258 dissolved was to be Sadie’s guitarist, but that’s all up in the air now. I don’t have a back-up plan. I don’t have another career to fall back on. This is it. I would have to find something new all over again.” He looked at Corey. “And I’m willing to look past whatever for the sake of the music.”

Ryan clicked his tongue, his eyes on Eric. “I really never thought you would get yourself caught up with Sadie. It’s like she has some kind of superhuman strength or something.” He sighed, switched his gaze to John. “I’m staying. I say we finish this album and reevaluate.”

Trevor nodded. “I agree.”

John looked at Corey. “Corey?”

“Believe it or not, I agree with Ryan. Finish this album and then figure out what’s next.”

John opened his folder. “Ok, well, we need Sadie to finish the album. She was behind on recording when…well, she’s behind on recording. Without knowing what her plans are, you guys only have, like, four songs to finish.”

“What if she’s just done?” Corey asked. “Then what?”

John looked at the paper in front of him. “Then we will have to reformat three songs and three songs will need to be completely redone since they’ve already been edited. Or we can just leave them with her on them.” He shrugged. “Guess we will discuss that when we need to.”

Ryan leaned forward, rubbed his eyes. “Great. So glad we agreed to sign her. Oh, wait, we didn’t.”

“It’s not her fault she got kidnapped, Ryan,” Corey spat.

Ryan shook his head. “She was losing her mind before that. It was only a matter of time before she went off the deep end.”

Corey wanted to retort, but Ryan wasn’t wrong.

“I’ll have Gwen get a schedule drawn up and out to you guys tomorrow,” John said as he stood. “Corey, I have something for you in my office.”

Corey had hoped to talk with Trevor before leaving but followed John anyway. He could always call Trevor, but he didn’t want to be at home with Jenny around when he had the conversation he needed to have. His feelings were mixed about finishing the album. But he knew he needed to see Sadie and that wouldn’t happen anytime soon if he ran back home to Illinois.

“This came in the mail,” John said as he reached behind his desk for something. “Gwen opened it because it says care of John Muszynski, but neither of us realized that it’s actually for Jenny.” He handed it to Corey. “Not sure if you guys were expecting this or not.”

Corey looked at the manilla envelope, noting it was from a lawyer back home and addressed to Jennifer Lynn Boston. He reached in and pulled out the papers. It took him a moment, but then it flooded in.

Sometimes he went days without remembering Logan wasn’t actually his son. And now it seemed someone else had realized Logan was their son.

He looked at John, stunned.

“Uh, so when you got picked up at the airport that day,” John started. “The news showed pictures of your kids…Jenny’s kids. Whatever. Both your names were all over the news that day.”

Corey knew that. “He’s a cop in Joliet. He’d met Sadie when he and Jenny were dating. I’m sure he knew where we were the whole time, but it didn’t matter because he never knew Jenny was pregnant. She never told him or anything. Because we thought he was mine.”

“Well, no offense Corey, but that kid is obviously not yours.”

“He’s mine, John.”

“I get that. But he’s also this guy’s kid.”

They were silent for a moment and John sat down and moved his mouse around to wake his computer.

“Have you seen Sadie?” Corey asked.

“No. She doesn’t want me to come to the house. I’ve been communicating with her through Evy mostly and sometimes Dave.”

“Is she ok?”

John turned his body and looked at Corey. “No.”

“I’m gonna leave Jenny.”

“For what? To be with Sadie?”

Corey didn’t answer.

“I do not suggest that at all.” John turned back to his computer. “Not that any of you have ever listened to any advice I’ve given.”

“I’m gonna leave her because right now I see no reason to stay with her. I’m in love with someone else. The kids aren’t mine. We don’t talk to each other anymore. There’s nothing left.”

“Is the kid she’s carrying now yours?”

A jolt surged through Corey. Like he forgot Logan wasn’t his, he kept forgetting Jenny was pregnant. “She said Logan was mine too.”

John stared hard at him; Corey didn’t even blink. “Vine will not give you guys an extension if Jenny runs back to Illinois, and you suddenly decide you made another mistake.”

Corey smiled. “Per our prenup, she can’t move more than fifty miles away from me with the kids.”

“The kids you just said aren’t yours.”

“They’re mine.”

John made a face like he thought Corey might be losing his mind and Corey took that as his cue to leave and stood up.

“Take some time to think things through before you make any rash decisions,” John said as Corey walked out.

When he got out to his truck, he called Trevor. After some small talk about the meeting, Corey embarked on the real reason he wanted to talk to Trevor.

Trevor listened to Corey ramble, his voice soft when he asked questions or had input. “With Whitney being gone on tour, I have more time. We need to hangout like we used to.”

“I’d appreciate that, Trev.” The conversation had gone well.

When Corey got home, Jenny was making dinner in the kitchen. Stir fry, he guessed based on the wok. He loved stir fry.

She turned around briefly. “How’d it go?”

He cleared his throat. “I’ll tell you about it later. I think this is more important.”

She glanced back at him, her eyes on the envelope. “What is it?”

“Something else you can blame me for.”

“Can you be more specific?”

He pulled the papers from the envelope for a second time. “Looks like my fifteen minutes of fame as a suspected murderer has prompted a Mr. Dwayne Robinson of Joliet, Illinois, to file suit against us, or actually just you, to establish paternity and parental rights of Logan Corey Renier.”

Jenny turned around immediately, her hand covering her mouth. “No.”

Corey nodded. “Delivered to John’s office.”

“Seriously?” She leaned across the table, her hand held out for the papers.

He handed them to her and took her place at the stove, flipping the vegetables and chicken in the wok.

“What do we do?”

We do nothing. But it looks like you go to court.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “What do you mean I go to court? Why wouldn’t you go?”

“My name is nowhere on there.”

“But he’s your son. You just don’t care now?”

Corey didn’t say anything, even though he was fairly sure the stir fry was ready for the sauce.

“Ok, I get it,” she said. “You’ve been fucking up for long enough so now it’s time to put the spotlight back on my fuck ups.” She shoved the papers back into the envelope. “That’s fine, Corey. I’ll just take my kids and go back to Illinois since marrying me was a mistake anyway.”

He rolled his neck, popping it once. “Did you read the prenup?”


“The fucking prenup I made you sign, Jennifer. Did you even read it?”

“No, but I suddenly feel like I should have.”

“You cannot move more than fifty miles away from me with the kids. Actually just Logan because I have no rights to Angel, even though I agreed to pay child support for her. So you can’t move back home.” He paused. “I think this is ready for the sauce.”

“Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

“No, it’s really starting to look dry.” He glanced back at her, seeing her face bright red, tears on her cheeks. “Of course I’m gonna go to court with you, Jenny. He’s my son.”

Jenny turned and left the room, leaving Corey to finish dinner. When she didn’t come back down to eat with them, he made her a plate and wrapped it with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge despite Angel insisting that Jenny didn’t need to eat it because it made Jenny fart.

After he and the kids ate, he went through Angel’s backpack and talked with her about the papers she brought home before reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to her.

Corey felt the book was appropriate given the events of the day.

It was bedtime after their baths, and by the time Angel and Logan were tucked in it was after nine. He found Jenny lying in bed with her eyes closed but he was certain she was awake. He leaned over her and stared at her until she opened her eyes.

“Two things. Mile 258 is still a thing. And,” he paused, taking a moment to confirm he wanted to say his next words.

He did.

“I need space. I need time alone to think. And before you flip out on me, let me remind you that there was a time when you needed space and I know I freaked out on you. I get it now. When you’re dealing with something in your head, sometimes you need to separate from the things you’re thinking about to figure out what direction to go.” He waited for her to say something, anything. She didn’t. “I’m gonna take some things and go stay at Trevor’s condo tomorrow.”

Corey’s throat felt like sandpaper as a lightheaded feeling took over, disbelieving he’d just said those words.

Jenny nodded once, her face screwed up as she started to cry. “Ok.”