Title: Unexpected Legacy
Author: Darlene Deluca
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance with YA thread
Matt Dalton’s world is spinning off its axis. Without warning, he’s thrown into the world of parenting a teenager. Matt meets his son for the first time when the sixteen-year-old is dealing with the consequences of a tragic car accident. Not only has Brady lost his best friend, he faces disability and scars both physical and emotional.
Determined to do whatever it takes to give his son a second chance, Matt looks to his alma mater to step up and help Brady regain his athletic abilities and sense of self. But sparks fly when he meets the high school principal, the captivating Kate Austen. Kate is ready to take Brady under her wing, but to her that means helping him refocus and find a new passion – using his brains rather than his brawn. Kate fully expects the younger Dalton to come with issues and challenges . . . his father may prove to be the biggest one of all.
Though the chemistry is hard to ignore, Kate fights to keep her personal feelings and professional life separate. At the same time, Matt struggles to gain his son’s trust, and Brady must face the road to recovery and find a way to accept the changes in his life.
Unexpected Legacy is a compelling story of bravery, compromise and resilience.
Brady rounded on him. “We told him not to drive, Dad. He thought he was smarter than everybody else. Said he wasn’t drunk and he could handle it. We practically begged him to let me or Garrett drive. You know what he said?” Brady was yelling now. “Get this. He said his parents would kill him if he let someone else drive the damned car!”
Groaning inside, Matt reached out to his son, resting a hand on his shoulder.
“Brady, let’s go outside for a minute.”
He turned away. “It’s cold outside.”
“Yeah, I know. You can cool off a little.”
He put his other hand on Brady’s shoulder and propelled him toward the door.
Brady sank onto a bench on the porch, his head in his hands. Matt leaned against the railing.
“He was my best friend,” Brady choked. “My best friend did this to me. Some friend, huh?”
“You know, Brady, at some point you’re going to have to forgive him. He screwed up. And he paid for it. Paid even more than you have. That doesn’t excuse it. And don’t think there aren’t times when I’d like to punch the kid myself, but you have to move on, let some of this anger go.”
“Why didn’t she tell him to let someone else drive if he was drunk, huh?”
“Probably because he wasn’t supposed to be drunk. He used poor judgment. That’s the whole point. When you’re drunk, you can’t make good decisions. You’re not thinking straight.”
“Yeah. I know. My whole life is about people getting drunk and doing dumb things.”
Matt winced, but kept silent.
“His stupid parents were just worried about that car. His dad was always telling him, ‘better take care of that car, boy.’ God, parents screw kids up more than they do any good.”
Matt forced himself to stay calm, to let Brady vent. This was obviously the source of some lingering pain and anger. He’d never heard any of this before.
“Listen, Brady, parents aren’t superheroes–”
Brady snorted. “Tell me something I don’t know.”
Sitting down, Matt took Brady’s arm. Part of him wanted to shake the kid. Another part wanted to pull him into a hard hug. He did neither. “Listen to me, your life hasn’t even begun yet. You’re seventeen years old. Seventeen. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. You’ve had some shitty luck, I’ll give you that. But so have a lot of people. Don’t let it define who you are. Don’t let it keep you from being the person you want to be. You get to decide that.”
He felt a tremor run through Brady’s body and watched his other arm swipe at his eyes.
Matt’s tone softened as he moved even closer to his son’s face. “Brady, I know you miss Josh, and it hurts to be mad at him. Some really important people you’ve trusted have let you down. I can’t promise you it won’t ever happen again, but I can promise you’ll be stronger every time you pick yourself up off the ground and go at it again.”
Brady looked away, but Matt kept talking, his voice sure and steady. “And I promise to do everything I can to be there for you. I love you. Got that?”
Brady’s eyes flickered down and Matt threw his arm around his son’s shoulder and pulled him close. Brady’s body shook as the boy finally released the pent-up emotion and frustration he’d been holding in for months.
For the first time, Matt felt his son’s arms around him, and his heart swelled. Brady clung to him, his head buried in Matt’s shoulder, his fists clenching his shirt.
“You’re gonna be okay,” Matt told him. “You’ve been given a second chance. Don’t spend it being bitter and angry. You can be more than that.”
Brady hiccupped and sniffled a few moments before pulling back from Matt. He didn’t meet his eyes, but he nodded. Matt patted his back while they sat in silence until a chill wind swept around them, blowing leaves onto the porch.
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Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.
Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.
Darlene has been a reader and writer since childhood. With a degree in Journalism, she started her career as a newspaper reporter. She currently has seven published novels, which are available in paperback and ebook versions.
She writes day or night, whenever the words/mood/deadlines strike, and almost always has a cup of tea and a bit of dark chocolate nearby!
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