Southern Storms Page 1

Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

Series: Compass #1

Genres: Romance



Thirteen years old


I’m sorry if I upset you with my last few letters. I don’t know what to do. Everything is ruined because of me, and I don’t have anyone to talk to anymore. My brother hates me. My dad hates me. He hates me so much, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t stop crying, and I want to run away forever and never look back. You said I could run away to you if I needed to, remember? Can I? Can I come stay with you? Maybe your parents can pick me up. You know my address. If you come, I’ll be ready. I hate it here. It’s all my fault. I want to run away. Please, let me run away to you.

Are you afraid of me now because of what I did? Is that why you won’t write me back? It was a mistake. I swear, it was a mistake. I didn’t mean to do it. She was my best friend, like you are my best friend.

Please write me back.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I hate this. I’m sorry.

Please write me back.

Please, Sun. I need you.




Present day

“Please don’t embarrass me tonight,” Penn said as he fixed his tie for the fiftieth time that night.

The wallpaper of our home was infused with cigarette smoke and broken promises. My husband had broken some promises, and I’d shattered a few all on my own. Was that what marriage was? Days twisting into weeks that morphed into months and years of broken promises? The words “I do” came with fine print no one ever truly read. We scrolled past the terms of agreement and clicked the “I agree” box at the end, not knowing about the hidden consequences we were signing up for.

I’d failed my vows, but he had failed his, too.

Promises, promises, so many broken promises.

That night, I promised him I wouldn’t tear up in front of his coworkers and clients during his real estate company’s event. The evening was a great opportunity for Penn to wine and dine very wealthy individuals who were in search of large properties. The smoother things went that night, the better chance Penn had at building his connections with his clients. He didn’t want to bring me along, but his boss insisted on spouses attending.

I promised Penn I wouldn’t bring up our past, either. I wasn’t intending to break my promises at dinner that night. I took my anxiety medication. I did my breathing exercises. I only closed my eyes when we went through the intersections on the car ride to the event. When we were on the freeway, I was fine. Normal, even—well, my kind of normal.

My promises were intact.

Everything was perfect, as perfect as it could’ve been, given my issues, and then Marybeth—the beautiful, stunning Marybeth—leaned in toward me during our meal. There were five couples at our table, which included Penn’s work colleague, Marybeth. The others were potential clients of Penn’s that were worth more money than I could’ve ever imagine.

I wished I could’ve been more like Marybeth. She was perfect. The perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect realtor. She smelled like Chanel No. 5, and her neck dripped in diamonds. Her pearly white smile made others grin with their lips sealed tight because they knew they couldn’t match the level of wow that Marybeth’s smile delivered. She was everything I wasn’t and everything I’d dreamed of becoming.

There used to be a time in my life when I loved myself so much that I never envied another woman’s life.

What happened to me? When did my strengths escape my body?

Perfect Marybeth touched my wrist lightly and smiled with both her lips and her hazel-colored eyes. “Intriguing tattoo, Kennedy. What does it stand for?”

Right at that moment, the promise I’d made to Penn dissolved. First, it was a crack in the corners of my promise, and then all the pieces shattered.

“It’s…my…” I breathed in a sharply breath as I turned to see Penn staring at me so intensely. I saw it in his blue stare—the disappointment, because he knew the signs of my faults. He knew when I was slipping, slipping, slipping away. My body trembled, my voice cracked, and every breath of air felt labored. “It’s…well…”

I looked down at the tattoo upon my skin: a daisy with a backward D in the middle of the flower.

“My… It’s…” I swallowed the tight breath sitting in my throat and shut my eyes. Tears were waiting to break free, and I hated that I was about to let them fall. “It’s for my parents and my…” I opened my eyes and looked toward Penn, whose eyes were screaming Don’t, but I couldn’t start and not finish the conversation. “Our daughter. The backward D is for our daughter.”