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Fresh out of Vet school, I married Pierce Aldridge. Gorgeous, sexy, and smart. He’s a philanthropist with a heart of gold, or so I thought.

After a while he became distant, self-centered, and callous. The man I married disappeared before my eyes. I should leave him, but I can’t do it just yet.

There’s one thing I need but I can’t have it if I divorce him. Just a few more months…

But my plans fall through when his father dies.

The man was just as ruthless as his son.

Now I can either spend eighteen months with Pierce in his hometown playing the happy couple or I could avoid the ordeal entirely if I sign the divorce papers. But I would lose the one thing I’ve been wanting my whole life.

The more time that passes, the more I realize that maybe I’ve been wrong.

Maybe the man I married is still there. The man I still love.

But is it too late?

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Defying Our Forever

Claudia Burgoa

Expected Release Date: 15 October 2020

An all-new romance—part of The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series—is out this week from author Claudia Burgoa, and I have a sneak peek for you. It’s the story of two people on the brink of divorce who get a chance to get to know each other again, and remember why they fell in love in the first place.

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Friday is my day off. I spend all day with the kids. It’s around noon when I notice Pierce arriving at his place. That’s unusual for him. He practically lives in his office. If he didn’t have to wake up early to feed the kids, he’d never come home.

“What do you know that I don’t?” I ask Poppy. We’re riding in the indoor arena.

She shakes her head and continues galloping.

“Fine, I’ll stop asking about him. But if he brings another woman, you promised to tell me,” I remind her.

If I didn’t love my mare so much, I’d just take her with me. Separating her from Alistair would be cruel. These kids are a family, and I can’t tear them apart just because I don’t want to deal with Pierce.

This might be the piece that Breen, my life coach, was talking about the other day. I need to find what matters, hold onto it, and leave the rest behind. Sometimes loving someone isn’t enough, and I have to let that relationship go. Maybe I need to let my kids go. After all, Pierce adores them.

Fifteen minutes later, I spot Pierce wearing jeans, boots, and a sweater. He’s walking toward the barn. His pace is fast, his shoulders hunched, and I wonder who upset him.

I redirect Poppy, and we catch up with him because he looks…troubled. Alistair loves Pierce, but he doesn’t like it when he’s angry.

“You can’t ride Alistair if you’re upset,” I remind him.

He looks at me and shakes his head. “I just need to brush him.”

“What happened?”

“Some asshole called me on behalf of my father,” he states. “He’s sick. Probably dying within the next few weeks.”

I want to say, “Your dad is still alive?” But instead, I go for, “I’m sorry. Do you want to talk about it?”

He shakes his head again and goes to the stables. We follow right behind. I dismount Poppy, set her next to Alistair, and pull out the bucket with brushes.

“Here, start with Poppy,” I suggest, giving him a brush.

He glances at me. Just for a second, I get a glimpse of sadness, but it’s gone almost immediately.

We spend a few minutes brushing the kids. It’s not until I see him doing it with purpose that I finally ask, “When was the last time you spoke to your dad?”

He focuses on Poppy as he speaks, “When Carter died.”

There’s that name again. My heart beats fast because this is my opportunity to ask more about him. I need closure. I understand that I didn’t do anything wrong. Our relationship failed because we aren’t meant for each other. However, I want to learn a few of those secrets that he hid from me. After all, no matter when we sign the divorce papers, we’re still sharing a family.

I have to learn to forgive him and to get along with him—without sex involved in the equation.

“Do you mind if I ask you who Carter is?”

He leans lightly against the wall and drops his voice. “One of my younger brothers.”

I freeze, confused about how to react to the news. I want to reach across and grab his hand. Ask him more about these brothers. He said plural. One of them died. All this time—almost four years—I thought he was an only child.

“How long ago was that?” I’m impressed by how calm my voice comes out and how zen I’m behaving.

This situation calls for a full-blown, what is the matter with you, Pierce Aldridge. You don’t just get married to a woman and hide your entire life.

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The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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