The Love Song Series Box Set

By: Emily Minton & Dawn Martens

Whiskey Lullaby

By: Dawn Martens and Emily Minton





Prologue

Julie

I pick up the towel and wipe my hands as I stare down at Jase’s birthday cake. It’s the first time I’ve ever made one by myself, and it’s his favorite; chocolate with vanilla pudding in the middle. It’s the same kind his momma used to make, the same one she taught me to make for him. Since she’s not here anymore, I want to be the one to make it for him.

Jase and I have been together for years. We started dating when I was just a teen, but I think I’ve been his girl my entire life. We’ve known each other since we were just kids, but we didn’t become a couple until I was a freshman and he was a senior. I remember talking to my two best friends, Kristen and Becca, when he came up and told me we were going out. Yes, he told me I was going out with him that night. He didn’t ask, and he didn’t wait for an answer. He just told me then kissed my cheek and walked away. Since then, we’ve been inseparable.

He was, and is, the sexiest thing I have ever seen, with his thick, light-brown hair that hangs just below his chin, and beautiful dark-brown eyes that sparkle when he laughs and turn nearly black when he’s inside me. He’s also tall, a little over six feet, and slim but muscular. He was on the school’s football team. All the girls wanted him; I couldn’t believe he wanted me. Sometimes, I still can’t.

I was a shy bookworm, still am most of the time. Back in school, I never did anything except study. I was quiet and kept mostly to myself, though I really only had a few friends. It was just Kristen, Becca, and me against the world.

The phone rings and I shake off my thoughts. “Hey, cuz. I was just thinking about you.”

“Only good things, I hope,” she says with a soft laugh.

Kristen is my cousin, but she is really more of a sister. My brother and I have lived with her family since I was seven. See, my mom ran off with some trucker and left me and Brandon alone in our little trailer. He was just nine, but he tried his best to take care of me. Three days after she left, we ran out of food. The next day, the Department of Children’s Services was at our door.

We haven’t seen Mom since. My dad was never in the picture. Honestly, I wonder if Mom even knew who he was. Luckily, Mom’s brother Mack was more of a parent than she ever was. He and his wife took us in. They have two kids of their own, Kristen and Will. We had never even met them before we moved in, but it didn’t take long for us all to become one big family.

“Everything about you is good.”

“I didn’t call to get my ego stroked.” She laughs before going on. “Is Jase home? I wanted to tell him happy birthday.”

Jase and I moved in together my senior year of high school. It was two weeks before my birthday, but he swore he just couldn’t wait to share a home with me. My uncle and aunt flipped out when I said I wanted to move in with Jase. They knew him, and his dad was Uncle Mack’s best friend, but they’d been really protective of me since Brandon and I moved in with them.

After lots of long talks, and lots of pleading from me and Jase, Uncle Mack and Aunt Angie relented and allowed me to move in with Jase, but not before they gave him the ‘talk’. I wasn’t allowed in the room, so I’m not sure what was said, but Jase was as white as a sheet when they were done. A week later, they helped me pack up my things and moved me into Jase’s place. That was three years ago, and we’ve been living our own happily ever after ever since.

“No, he had to work late.”

“On his birthday?” She sounds pissed for him, but I’ve gotten used to his long hours.

“They’ve been busy at the shop lately, so he’s been pulling a lot of overtime. Hopefully, we’ll be able to buy us a house before long.”

Jase works at his pop’s garage. He comes home smelling like gas and covered in grease, but it’s good money. His brothers work there too, and I think he enjoys being with them every day. It seems like he works all the time, but he’s doing what he loves. That is all that matters to me.

Kristen and I talk for a few more minutes before saying goodbye. Then, I finish cleaning up the mess from the cake and head to mine and Jase’s bedroom. I plan to surprise Jase at work. I’ve never just showed up at the shop before, but I think he’ll love my surprise. He turned twenty-two today. It is his first birthday since his mom died, and I want to make sure it’s the best birthday he’s ever had.

Also By Emily Minton & Dawn Martens

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