Till There Was You

By: Iris Morland

The Thorntons Book 6


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Jubilee Thornton swore when her coffeepot—the one thing she could rely on in a world full of chaos—spluttered, popped, and then seemed to breathe its last. Two tablespoons of coffee splashed into the pot below, and she was almost tempted to drink it anyway.

When had her life gotten this pathetic?

At the age of twenty-five, she’d never dated, never gone to college, never even left her hometown. She lived in a tiny apartment in Fair Haven, Washington, and worked at her sister-in-law Megan’s bakery, The Rise and Shine. And to top it all off, today her coffeepot just had to die, because apparently getting her caffeine fix was too much to ask.

“Come on. Don’t do this to me today,” she muttered to the appliance in question as she began to fiddle with the controls. Despite trying everything she could think of to get it to start again, she had to accept that her coffeepot had finally kicked the bucket.

She could wait for coffee, she told herself. She worked at a bakery that served all kinds of coffee, although it was so busy in the morning that she didn’t have time to drink any that she made for herself.

Taking a deep breath, Jubilee poured herself a bowl of cereal, only to choke when she tasted very sour milk. And because this morning could not go right, that had been the last of her cereal, and she’d yet to get more groceries for the week. I guess I’ll have to eat at work, too.

She dumped the cereal and sour milk, her stomach roiling, her head hurting, and her feet aching, although her sore feet came from wearing stilettos the night before at what should have been the best party of her life—until it had crashed and burned like a train wreck on steroids.

Why am I always stuck on the sidelines of my own life?

It was a realization that hit her squarely in the chest. When everyone else around her was experiencing what life had to offer, here she was, doing a grand total of nothing.

Then again, what did it mean to really live? If she did it like people did in the movies, she’d go skydiving, or mountain climbing. Maybe she should go on a safari and hunt for lions.

She grimaced. Shooting large game sounded depressing, not liberating.

Jubilee had two hours until she had to go into work at The Rise and Shine. This job had been Jubilee’s first ever: two years ago, she’d finally moved out of her parents’ house after being coddled and placed in a protective bubble for the entirety of her life.

Having leukemia—twice—as a child tended to create overly concerned parents. Jubilee understood this. But that didn’t mean she liked it.

Now she lived on her own and earned her own money to pay her bills, but it seemed so pointless in that moment. What had Jubilee really done with her life? Nothing. She hadn’t gone to college because of her mother’s fears that Jubilee would relapse. She hadn’t moved away from her hometown. She hadn’t even traveled out of the state of Washington. What would it be like to go someplace far away? Like Florida, or Iceland, or even Mongolia?

At least a certain stupid man won’t be in any of those places, Jubilee groused.

She needed to make a change. What better way than to make a list of all the things she wanted to accomplish?

Picking up a pen, she nibbled on the end of it as she thought about what, exactly, she wanted to do with her life.

Finally, she wrote at the top: JUBILEE’S LIST OF THINGS SHE WILL DO WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR

Well, she would work on the title later.

Skydiving didn’t appeal to her. Nor did mountain climbing. She wanted to experience things most women her age had already done. Things she’d always wanted to do but couldn’t because of being sick.

When Jubilee completed her list fifteen minutes later, she laughed. Her heart lightened for the first time since last night.

Last night, when she’d kissed her long-time crush Heath DiMarco, and he’d kissed her back. Before pushing her away and telling her it could never, ever happen again.

“Screw Heath,” she muttered as she pulled her hair into a ponytail. She stuffed the list into her back pocket before heading out.

Heath had been her oldest brother Harrison’s best friend since Heath had arrived in Fair Haven seven years ago. Compared to Harrison—and Jubilee’s three other brothers—Heath was unassuming. With his auburn hair and average height, with glasses perched on his nose, he seemed like the type of man who enjoyed a cup of tea and a nice chess game in the evenings. Add to that the fact that he was a fifth-grade teacher, and he should’ve seemed staid.

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