Published by Montlake Romance on January 30th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
For Hunter and Sara, getting married was easy. It’s staying together that’s the true test of love…
Hunter Cabot deeply loves two things: the international tea company he’s helped his father build, and his wife, Sara. From the moment he first saw her wide smile on their college campus years ago, Hunter fell hard. Yet now, with other family members pushing to sell the thriving business and Sara grieving their failure to start a family, he’s suddenly facing the crushing loss of both.
The relentless ambition that Sara once admired in Hunter is now driving them apart. Each missed doctor’s appointment, neglected dinner date, and family squabble accentuates their differing priorities. Still, Sara struggles to create the home life they’d envisioned, until unsettling developments—both personal and professional—push them to the breaking point.
When love is put to the ultimate test, can Hunter and Sara stop fighting each other long enough to fight for their marriage?
Thank you for inviting me to speak to your readers about my recent release, ALL WE KNEW. This is the second book in my Cabot novels, and is, in essence, a marriage-in-trouble story. We first meet Hunter and Sara Cabot as secondary characters in BEFORE I KNEW, where we see hints of trouble in paradise.
Their relationship began with a thunderstruck meeting at college. They married young and, until recently, have been living happily just outside Portland, Oregon. They’ve been together for more than a decade and, in addition to the normal friction that crops up in long-term relationships, are also having trouble starting a family. Now they are facing additional stress because Hunter is fighting with his father and stepmother over the family business (an international tea company). There are a couple of unexpected twists that occur in the story that also present Hunter and Sara with new challenges and opportunities.
This excerpt is near the end of chapter two and encapsulates their core conflict. Hunter has taken Sara back to their college for an alumni weekend, hoping to recapture some of the magic that brought them together. Unfortunately, things aren’t going so well for them, so they leave the party and have this discussion:
He blinked, jaw slack as if she’d spoken Farsi or some other language he didn’t understand.
“I love you, and I’m happy to start a family, but I’m not about to be a stay-at-home dad.” Without another word, he clasped her hand and tugged her out of the building.
“Where are we going?” She stumbled in an attempt to keep up with his long strides because he still had a tight grip on her wrist.
Hunter brought her back to the center of the glade, surrounded by the benches he’d purchased as some kind of memorial to them.
“Am I not exactly the same person I was the day we met?” Hunter’s handsome face could look quite fierce when he got defensive. His alpine cheekbones, square jaw, and aquiline nose intimidated. Those see-through hazel eyes flashed from soft to assessing on a moment’s notice. He was the only man she knew who could look that formidable while wearing glasses.
“Aside from being older?” She tugged her wrist free. On the grass, she noticed the shadows of the new benches forming a dark wall around them.
“Naturally, Sara.” His arms stretched out from his sides. “I don’t understand why you’re so impatient with me lately. I’m the same guy who chased you down here. Who took you for pizza at Zachary’s that first night and told you my dreams for the future—a plan that included growing my family’s business and legacy. The same guy whose dedication to that goal has never wavered.” His hands dropped. “If anyone in this relationship should be frustrated, it’s me. You’re the one who’s changed. You used to have lots of dreams, not just one. You used to smile and laugh and want sex for something other than getting pregnant.”
That last remark smarted the most. “Excuse me if I don’t think ambition is the only, or most important, goal in life. If I were you, I wouldn’t brag about the fact that you haven’t changed at all since we graduated. Most adults evolve, Hunter.”
Her husband stared at her. She’d hurt him, and she regretted it immediately. In his way, he loved her. She knew that. And yet, she’d been so dazzled by him early on, she hadn’t seen that his first true love had been CTC. He had a connection to that company that went beyond normal ambition. Maybe because it had been where he’d bonded with his father after his parents’ divorce. Or maybe it was just in his blood.
It didn’t matter, really. She suspected Hunter felt most at home in his office, not with her.
He’d deny it, of course. But she couldn’t deny the fact that she’d been growing lonelier in this marriage as the years wore on.
They stood there, sunlight fading in the late afternoon, the bells of Sather Tower playing a song, stirring up old memories. Hunter lifted his face toward the sky. He closed his eyes, listening to the music until he lowered his chin and looked at her. “You think I came here because of some Peter Pan fantasy of being twenty again?”
“Honestly, Hunter, I don’t know why it was so important that we come to this homecoming.”
“I did this for you.” He gestured to the benches. “All of it, for you. I’d hoped being here would remind you of what we have together and get us back on track.”
“I don’t need grand gestures.” She stepped closer, wishing her intense, beautiful man would really hear and understand her needs. She set her hands on the hard muscles of his broad chest. “I just want you to be present.”
He stepped back and then scrubbed his hands through his hair. “I am present! I’m doing everything in my power to give you the baby you want.”
“The baby I want?” Sara looked at the ground. He didn’t even hear how that sounded, did he? He’d call it semantics, but if he wanted a family, he would’ve said the baby “we” want. Actually, he wouldn’t have said it at all. He’d feel the same desperation she felt. He’d hurt from seeing other couples starting families, too. “And you wonder why I feel like I’m in this alone.”
“I don’t want to argue.” Hunter closed his eyes again and breathed deeply through his nostrils. When he opened his eyes, he remained still and unsmiling. “When’s your next shot due?”
“I’m going back to the party. I’d like you to come, but if not, I’ll meet you at the hotel in time to help with your shot.”
Typical Hunter, retreating when they argued. She almost wished he’d stay and fight it out because then she’d know it mattered. Instead, he chose “space” to collect himself. Space was exactly what they didn’t need, but that was another tired argument.
At least he’d given her the out, so she wouldn’t have to suffer through more small talk or give vague answers to questions at the party.
“I’ll meet you at the hotel.” She turned to go, leaving him standing in the middle of the glade, knowing neither of them won anything in that argument.
Jamie is giving away a signed copy of ALL WE KNEW today. If you go to her website’s “Extras” page, you will find a Pinterest board and Spotify playlist for the book. One of the songs that inspired this story is A Great Big World’s Say Something.
For a chance to win the signed book, share one of your favorite sad love songs!