The Family Way
A Tabor Heights Ohio Novel
Ebook by Michelle Levigne
Lisa thought she walked into her marriage with her eyes wide open, aware of the hard task of getting the approval of her cold, domineering father-in-law. When she discovered she was pregnant, she thought she would finally be accepted, but Todd’s reaction to the news was the last thing she expected: “Is it mine?”
She had endured his father’s constant criticism because she thought Todd loved her, but now she wasn’t so sure. Maybe Todd had never loved her, and he was more like his father than she dreamed. To protect her baby, should she leave him, and refuse to continue the Montgomery family tradition? Where did being a ‘good Christian wife’ end, and the need to protect her sanity and her baby begin?
Lindsey, Todd’s oldest sister and her husband, Kevin stood in the hall. They were both dressed up for an evening out; suits and high heels, that cashmere coat that looked so good on Kevin, and Lindsey had her hair swept up with the blue and pearl clips Lisa had given her for her birthday.
A stab of envy shot through Lisa, followed by a sharp hunger pang. They were going out for dinner. How long had it been since Todd took her out?
“You’re not ready,” Lindsey said, after looking Lisa up and down. She chuckled. “Are we early again?”
“Ready for what?” Lisa stood back and beckoned for them to come in. The mantel clock in her office chimed the half hour.
“Yep,” Kevin said. “We’re early. How’s the cartoon business treating you, Lisa?”
“Fine.” She looked back and forth between the McNeals, feeling grubbier with each passing second. “What’s going on?”
“Todd said you two had something important to tell everybody, so he made reservations at the Mediterranean.” Lindsey took a step closer, her blue eyes narrowing a little as she looked over Lisa’s baggy jeans and sweatshirt. “Don’t tell me my idiot brother forgot to tell you what time?”
“He didn’t bother inviting me.” Her throat closed for a minute, then Lisa swallowed hard and tried to smile. “Look, whatever is going on, I’m really not in the mood. I spent the whole day bent over my desk and my head hurts — ”
“What do you mean, Todd didn’t invite you?” Kevin said. He and Lindsey exchanged glances. “He asked us to pick you up, since he had to work late tonight.”
“This is the first I’ve heard of it.” Lisa considered Kevin and Lindsey’s clothes and tried to think what she had that was ready to put on and didn’t need much fussing. She couldn’t handle fussing right then.
Then something came to a jolting stop inside her. Why should she put herself out to convenience Todd?
“But … Todd said the two of you wanted to take us to dinner,” Lindsey said. “He’s been a jerk again, hasn’t he?”
“Jerk?” She tried not to burst into tears. Or was it hysterical laughter that caught in her throat?
“He’s done this since we were little. Instead of just saying he’s sorry, he has to buy a present and do something big to make up for what he did.”
“Todd certainly has a hard time saying he’s sorry, doesn’t he?” She forced her lips into a smile.
Why hadn’t she ever seen this before? Todd never said he was sorry when he forgot something they had planned, or he let her down. He made a big fuss the next time they went out together, or he brought her flowers or a full Chinese dinner and rented her favorite movies so they could spend an evening just goofing off at home together. Lisa had always thought he was just being romantic.
It was easier for him to spend money than say he was sorry.
Probably because he wasn’t sorry, just doing what it took to keep her quiet and content.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
When I read “The Family Way”, the first Tabor Heights Ohio novel I’ve read, my reaction was Wow. I was literally glued to the computer screen until I finished it. This novel has a couple with real problems. Todd, the husband, is a complete jerk because of the way he was raised. Yet the author made him likable because even though he treated his wife horribly, he really did love her, but didn’t have a clue how to show it. Lisa, the wife, at first, seems like a saint, the perfect wife who will accept mistreatment because she’s so much in love. But when Todd goes one step too far and asks Lisa if the child she’s carrying is his, she cracks. All the anger and resentment she held inside instead of communicating with Todd comes bubbling to the surface.
At times during this novel, I wasn’t sure Todd and Lisa were going to stay married. Then I didn’t want them to be together. I wasn’t sure how the author was going to accomplish a satisfying ending to this without making it look trite, but she managed it with flying colors. I intend to read every Tabor Heights Ohio novel that has been published. Michelle Levigne is now on my list of favorite authors. I highly recommend this book.
Other Tabor Heights Ohio Novels:
Coming In August, 2010 – Detours