The Perfect GentlemanBy: Delaney Foster
To strong women.
You are incredible. The world is a little bit more hopeful because of you. Someone’s smile is a little bit brighter because of you. Keep fighting. The hardest battles are won by the bravest soldiers.
I have so many things to be thankful for. But I have to say first and foremost is the gift of prose and the readers that keep my dream alive.
I need to thank my family, who suffers through my mood swings, my freak outs, and my moments of silence when I’m pushing my deadline. To my boys- momma loves you (not that you’ll EVER read this) but I do. You are my world. None of this would matter without you. And to the baby daddy- you’re a patient man lol. Thank you for loving me. I love you more…
My PA, my lifeline, my saving grace. Kristi Lynn- I couldn’t do this without you, any of it. I love you, my girl. Thank you for all you do. You’re overworked and underappreciated. You deserve the world. You’re totally the boss. And now it’s in writing so I can’t take it back. But that doesn’t mean I have to like the beard…
Two of my very best friends, Roux and Lee Ann- You keep me sane when I don’t think it’s possible. You make me laugh. You make me cry. You inspire and encourage me when I want to quit. Thank you. I love you both.
Kari Nappi- As always you are my angel. You nailed it with this cover. You have helped me with so much and listen to me vent when I want to break down and cry. You have been here from “go” and I will always be grateful to you. Always. Love your gorgeous face!
To my betas- Jami, Nicole, and Ardent Rose- You ladies are GOLD. This is my first time using betas and you have made it an amazing experience. Thank you for all your input and hard work.
To my divas- I love you hookers! That is all. You rock my socks. Every one of you.
To all the blogs, and professional pimp mamas out there who took the time to read and promote my book- You are the backbone of what us authors do. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you so much for your countless hours and dedication to my craft. You’re the real MVP.
To my editor and proofreader- Sorry for the hot mess. You two are awesome. Thank you for all you do. I know I don’t make it easy.
To Inkslingers PR- Thank you for taking a chance on little ole me. Nazarea, you have been amazing. Thank you!
And to Golden and Dusty- Thank you for turning my vision into beauty. Alex turned out to be everything I imagined. Thank you for all your hard work. You guys are rockstars.
I witnessed a murder.
For the second time in my existence, I watched as the last breath of life was stolen from someone’s lungs.
This time was different from the first, though. This time, the woman is still alive. Her heart still beats. The only thing holding it together is the very weapon that sliced it open to begin with- Love.
It was all so gradual she didn’t even realize she was dying. The toxic words and deadly rage were like poison streaming through her veins.
She still speaks, sings, laughs- but that’s not her. It’s nothing more than an empty shell of who she used to be, dressed in her clothing, wearing her smile.
She’s gone, but no one knows it.
I do. I miss her every single day.
“I can’t fucking stand that sound. Do you really have to make so much noise when you laugh?”
The memory of Bastain’s voice rings loud in my head, like an album stuck on repeat. When I need a break from it all, when I just can’t pretend anymore, an oversize tub and bubbles are my therapy. Sometimes I light candles and pour a glass of wine while I just sit. Finding solace in the darkness. It’s quiet here. The water is my fortress. I sink down into its depths, letting it wrap me in the security of its warmth.
“You’re overreacting. You sound like a crazy person right now.”
The scent of sweet cashmere washes away the worries of the day and drowns out the static in my head. Voices that try to convince me I’m worthless, crazy… lost. The little girl that used to dance around her room using a baton as a microphone as she pretended to be Madonna disappeared a long time ago. The confident young woman that graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business hides behind baggy sweatshirts and messy buns. And all that’s left of the energetic girlfriend that used to find joy in making beauty out of everyday yardwork and laughing at her own jokes is a perfectly fabricated smile that lets the world know everything is okay. Even when it isn’t.