For Forester - Book cover

For Forester

J. Nathan

Age Rating


Trace Forester is Alabama's star wide receiver. Being back under his parents' roof for the summer isn't the ideal situation, but the moment he runs into Marin, the single mom down the block, he knows it's about to get interesting. She may not have noticed him back when she was the star of his adolescent fantasies, but he's going to make damn sure she does now.

The last time Marin saw Trace he was just a wild kid in the neighborhood. That's when she thought she had the perfect husband and perfect life. But now, with her life in shambles, Trace is back in town for the summer. And he's offering to spend time with her son, doing all the things a dad should be doing with him. And, while Marin doesn't want to be drawn to Trace's good looks, undeniable charm, and connection with her son, being swept up in his world is hard to resist.

But what happens when summer ends and Trace returns to school? Is it just her son he'll be leaving? Or will Marin be left with another broken heart?

View more

Chapter 1


Charles loved the Mercury Hotel. At least it would seem that way given his weekly business meetings there, missing dinner on multiple occasions. And though I’d never been invited along, I always admired its beautiful exterior, with its old brick architecture and tall windows. But as I sped through the streets of downtown Alabama in a pretty black dress, I knew I’d be there soon, surprising Charles with a fortieth birthday party.

CJ sat in his booster seat in the backseat in khakis and a light green button-down that matched his eyes. Getting a five-year-old to dress in anything other than sweats and a T-shirt was a miracle, but we were getting there early to decorate for his dad’s party where a hundred of Charles’ closest friends and associates would be celebrating with us.

I parked in front of the vast steps, leaving my car packed with boxes of decorations and favors for the bellhop to help with. CJ and I raced up the steps and laughed our way through the revolving front door until we’d stepped into the lobby with all its fancy mirrors and elaborate fountains. My heels clicked on the marble floor as we approached the receptionist where I asked for Marianne, the hotel’s event planner. We’d never met in person, planning the entire party over the phone. But she’d asked me to meet her at three o’clock so she could assist with all the last-minute preparations before the guests arrived at seven.

While the receptionist paged her, CJ and I took in the beautiful space around us. From the indoor waterfall to the glass elevator, the place was exquisite. Charles was a partner at a law firm which footed the bills for his meetings here. And I could see why clients would be impressed.

“Hey, Daddy’s here,” CJ said, tugging on my hand.

I gasped as I tugged CJ around the receptionist’s counter so we wouldn’t spoil the surprise.

But why was he four hours early?

Twisting deep in my stomach told me something wasn’t right. Told me I needed to look. Told me I needed to see it with my own two eyes.

I peeked around the desk, catching sight of Charles stepping into the elevator with his hand clutching the hand of a beautiful young redhead. I blinked hard, ensuring my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Vomit crept up the back of my throat as Charles turned and wrapped his arms around the woman, pressing his lips to hers.

I fought to catch my breath as I watched in horror as my husband kissed another woman.

I needed to sit, to breathe, to think.

I turned on unsteady legs and rushed CJ out the revolving door. The fresh February air hit as soon as I stepped outside, dropping down in the middle of the front steps on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

CJ dropped down next to me. “Mom? Are you okay?”

I pulled in another breath as my limbs trembled wildly. “I don’t know.” This was what it felt like to have my world ripped out from beneath me. To know I did everything for a man who could have cared less about destroying his family. To wish someone dead.

“What was Daddy doing in there?” CJ’s voice echoed through my frazzled brain, a clear reminder that I needed to pull it together—even though all I really wanted to do was rip out the redhead’s extensions and claw out Charles’ eyeballs.

But I was a twenty-nine-year-old woman with a son. I was better than that.

“I don’t know, sweetie.” Instead of sitting there basking in self-pity, I grabbed my phone and dialed, shakily lifting it to my ear. “Hi Marianne. No. I actually had to leave. I wasn’t feeling well. Could you do me a favor? Could you make it an open bar tonight instead of the cash bar we decided on? Also, let me give you the new credit card I want everything charged to.”

With trembling hands, I managed to pull Charles’ business credit card from my clutch without dropping it. I read off the card number with the slightest bit of satisfaction that I actually had his card on me. It was only for emergencies. But I’d say having a cheating husband who just went and destroyed his family constituted an emergency.

I left the hotel and dropped CJ at my parents. Luckily, he didn’t bombard me with too many questions about why we were skipping his dad’s party. From there, I called my cousin Jerry, the only lawyer I knew who wasn’t Charles’ coworker or friend. He advised me to visit the bank and open an account in my name, which I did, transferring half our savings into it. My name was on the account, therefore, I had the legal right to do whatever I pleased with it.

And that night, while Charles celebrated with his friends, including the redhead from the elevator, a locksmith changed the locks on our house while I packed up Charles’ belongings and left them on the front lawn. Then I switched off my phone and stayed at my parents’ house until I was sure he was gone.

And hopefully out of our lives forever.



I reached behind me, grabbing for the bag of cheddar goldfish from the floor of the backseat, desperately needing a snack. Yup. That’s what my life had come to. Eating stale goldfish off the floor of my car. If my college friends could see me now.

I’d dropped CJ off at camp and had a few hours to clean the house that had suddenly gone to hell and search the Internet for a job. I pulled into my neighborhood, passing all the fancy homes with their brick fronts, fancy stained-glass doors, and meticulously manicured lawns. The same ones that had drawn Charles and me to this neighborhood seven years ago. I remember imagining our future there. Imagining Charles surprising me with breakfast on Saturday mornings. Twirling me around the kitchen to our favorite song. Our laughter filling our beautiful new space.

At twenty-two, I was such a fool.

Scratch that. At twenty-nine, I was still a fool.

Those days had never happened. My marriage had been a sham. Something I was part of, but never really in. I’d merely been playing a part. I never saw what was going on. Never saw I was the only one invested.

I turned from the houses that lined the street. A basketball bounced out in front of my car. I hit the brakes. A man jogged out in front of my car, bending to grab it. When he stood back up, he turned toward me and flashed a wide smile. Two dimples dug into the sides of his mouth, sending my mind reeling. I recognized those dimples. They belonged to Trace Forester, the neighborhood kid who zipped by on his skateboard always smiling and waving as he passed by. That was well before CJ. That was when I’d just graduated with my Bachelor’s and had nothing to fill my days but homework from my grad classes. Now those dimples belonged to a man. At least he looked like a man, all six foot something and ripped. His white shirt gripped massive arms and his dark hair was now cleanly cut and not shaggy like the little skateboarder years before. And though the blue eyes that were currently staring at me were the same, the face with its square jaw covered in a dusting of stubble had matured.

Trace walked around to the side of my car. I lowered the country music on my radio and dusted the goldfish crumbs off the front of my shirt. I turned toward my open window with a smile that hopefully said I wasn’t trying too hard to look put together when my world had recently fallen apart. No doubt he knew. His mother was the biggest gossip in town.

“Hey,” he said, ducking his head to look in the car window. “I haven't seen you in a while.”

I smiled. “Yeah.” I couldn’t stop my eyes from drifting over his chest, especially with his shirt stretched across it. “Last time I saw you, you were skateboarding around here like a maniac.” Realizing I might’ve been staring a little too long, my eyes jumped to his.

“I haven't skateboarded since junior high.” He ran a hand through his dark hair with an amused laugh. “You do realize I’m a senior in college, right?”

I laughed to myself, unable to recall the last time I’d actually seen him. Once CJ was born, my life became hectic, my mind oftentimes distracted. Probably the reason I didn’t know my husband was cheating on me. “Sorry. I guess life happened.”

“Yeah. I heard you had a kid.”

I nodded. “CJ. He’s five. He kind of reminds me of you when you were younger.”

His brows lifted. “Wild?”

I snickered. “Happy.”

His eyes lingered on mine longer than what was probably acceptable given our substantial age difference.

“So.” I cleared my throat to break the sudden awkwardness. “How do you like college?”

He smirked. “It’s treating me all right.”

I suddenly felt like I’d missed something. “Why do I get the feeling you’re laughing at me?”

He shook his head slowly, his eyes remaining on mine. “I’m not laughing.”

“Then what don’t I understand?”

“I’m Alabama’s number one receiver.”

My eyes rounded. “Sorry. I should probably know that, shouldn’t I?”

“I’m surprised my mother hasn’t told you.”

I shrugged. “I kind of keep to myself these days.”

“Yeah. I heard you’re getting divorced.”

My eyes flashed down. Did people think I hadn’t been a good enough wife? A good enough mother?

“Never liked the guy,” he admitted matter-of-factly.

My eyes shot back to his. “No?”

He scoffed. “Hell, no. The guy seemed like a total douche.”

I threw back my head and laughed, feeling a giant weight lift off my shoulders. If Trace knew the truth about Charles, and he’d been away at school, hopefully the rest of the neighborhood did, too. “So, what are you up to this summer?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Working out so I’m ready for the season, and making some cash. You know Lou’s Beach Bar?”

“Do I?” I laughed, shaking my head at the wild recollections flooding my brain. “My friends and I practically lived there when we were in college…God. That was so long ago.”

“Yeah. Cuz you’re so old.”

“That was another life.”

“You’re getting a divorce. Your life didn’t end,” he said, so nonchalant—so sure—I almost believed him. “Why’d you ask what I was doing this summer?”

I swallowed. Me and my big mouth. “I might have a proposition for you.”

He quirked his brow. “I like where this is going.”

Gah. His confidence was off the charts. “I need a guy around.”

“You don’t say?”

Oh shit. “For CJ,” I quickly added. “Camp ends soon and I need someone to spend some time with him. You know, play catch or something. His father never really takes the time to do that when he sees him. I don’t want him to be an awkward, uncoordinated kid.”

“Yeah. That would suck.”

“Well?” I said. “You up for the challenge?”

Trace’s eyes zoned in on mine. “I’m always up for a challenge.”

For some reason, I got the feeling he wasn’t talking about CJ.

“When do you want me to stop by?” he asked.

“Oh. Whenever you can. Just text me. Do you have your phone on you?”

He slipped his hand into the pocket of his basketball shorts.

My eyes followed his hand, noticing the way his shorts hung low on his hips as he pulled the phone from his pocket. Geez. He even had definition there.

Trace cleared his throat.

My eyes jumped to his, my cheeks pulsing with heat. What the hell was wrong with me?

He wore a slight grin, as if amused by the dirty cougar checking him out. “What is it?”

I rattled off my number and he punched it in. I finished by saying, “Marin.”

He glanced up at me. “You don’t think I know your name?”

I shrugged. “Most kids don’t pay attention to stuff like that.”

“I’m not a kid,” he said, his voice dropping to a lower tenor. “And I did pay attention.”

A ripple rolled through my stomach. A dangerous, unexpected ripple. I needed to get the hell out of there. He was a kid for Christ’s sake. And he clearly wasn’t looking at me the way my body was leading me to believe he was. I was damaged goods. I couldn’t even keep a husband. “Well, just text me when you’re around,” I said off-handedly, so not to appear desperate. “I’ll make sure CJ and I are home.”

He nodded, stepping back from the car.

“I really appreciate this.”

“Not a problem, Marin.”

The smooth way my name rolled off his tongue told me I needed to be careful when it came to Trace Forester. He was a kid. And I was a lonely, twenty-nine-year-old, single mother. Things like that were only glamorized on television with housewives and their landscapers, not in real life.

As I pulled away, I glanced in the rearview mirror. Trace stood with his arms folded across his chest watching me go.

Next chapter
Rated 4.4 of 5 on the App Store
82.5K Ratings
Galatea logo

Unlimited books, immersive experiences.

Galatea FacebookGalatea InstagramGalatea TikTok