Thank you so much reading If I Only Knew. These girls and their tribe are everything to me and I hope you love them as much as I do. I’m truly sad to see them go. As a token of my appreciation for loving them as much as I do, here’s an exclusive bonus scene of Milo and Danielle only available to my newsletter subscribers. Love, Corinne
“Sweetheart, we’re going to be late.”
“If you’d stop opening the door, we won’t be,” I grumble at Milo and shoo him out. It’s Ava’s first professional ballet gig or whatever you call it. She’s dancing for the American Ballet Company in New York.
I never thought it would happen. I know that makes me a shitty mom, but out of the thousands of kids who dream of becoming a prima ballerina, I just never thought her dream would be the one that would become reality.
He knocks again. “I will leave without you. I’m not missing this.” His accent is heavy since he’s frustrated.
“I wouldn’t have been running late if it weren’t for you pawing at me as soon as Ava was out of the apartment.”
We’re at Ava’s apartment, her very tiny apartment that Milo and I pay an arm and leg for. It’s cute, very New York, and very cramped. I wanted to stay at a hotel, but she insisted she gets as much time with us as possible.
“Well, forgive me that my wife was in those tiny shorts, showing her delectable arse in my face and I couldn’t resist.”
I smile. “Yes, well, I’m going to need a few minutes thanks to your lack of self-control.”
Milo’s mouth falls open. “Lack of self-control? I’ve had to keep my bloody hands off of you for days! And,” his voice drops low. “I’m pretty sure Ava knows exactly what she’s doing by popping in when she does.”
I giggle because I’m pretty sure she is doing it to drive her father crazy as well. Milo has always been affectionate, even in front of the kids, which grosses them out. We laugh and figure if nothing else, we’re setting a great example of what marriage should look like, but she’s been extremely attentive, giving us practically no time alone. When she did have rehearsals, she made sure we had someone to take us around the city and entertained.
No matter how much we protested.
“Doesn’t mean you didn’t ravage me the minute that door locked.”
“And you didn’t like it?”
“I never said that, husband. All I said is that’s why I’m running late.” Milo grins with pride. “Now, this conversation is making me even later so go sit on the couch and wait until I’m ready.”
He mutters something and walks away from the door.
That means we’ve spent eight days with her, watching movies, laughing, playing board games, and Milo is ready to kill someone.
I check the mirror, dab more blush onto my cheeks, and then open the door. “I’m ready.”
He gets to his feet. “It’s about bloody time, sweetheart.”
“Yes, way to add that on at the end to avoid my wrath.”
He laughs. “Your wrath of what? Soft pillows being thrown as insults?”
I lean over, kissing his mouth. “I’ll throw something, darling, but it won’t be pillows.”
Milo grabs my butt and chuckles in my ear. “We’re going to the hotel tonight so I can throw your clothes to the floor without our daughter in the other room and when I don’t have to hurry because we’re going somewhere.”
“You should not mention my wrath if your goal is to get me naked.”
“Get naked, and I’ll take all the wrath you have.”
“Only if you behave,” I warn him.
“Let’s go before we miss the ballet and we never hear the end of it.”
I give him a quick kiss, tap his chest, and we head out the door.
It’s been two years since we’ve been in New York, and I’d forgotten how much I love it here. When we see Ava, it’s usually her coming to us in London. Milo and I alternate whenever we come back to the States, but she’s been so busy when I’m in Tampa that we haven’t been able to see each other.
For the last year, Milo has taken most of the trips back since I’m driving Parker all over for his art classes. Besides, it’s good for Milo to suffer through the long flights and have to stay with Nicole and Callum while he’s there.
“Has Parker called today?” Milo asks once we’re in the cab on the way to the theater.
“Yes, he said your mother was behaving, but he’ll let us know if the situation changes.”
He chuckles. “Do you think it’s wise that we let her watch him? I feel as though he’s more mature than she is most days.”
Those two together are trouble, but since she lives with us, it’s really a no-brainer. She did exceptionally well beating cancer, but not so great with walking. After the second fall, I put my foot down and moved her in.
“We’ll be home in two days, I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
He takes my hand in his, moving it to his lap. “I’m sure you’re right.”
I love how much he loves our kids. He’s always doing whatever he can to show them his love. Milo is who encouraged Parker to start drawing. He was doodling a lot with different cartoon-type characters. Then he started illustrating more. Parker has now created four superhero comics that he’s submitting for publishing.
My son, who is thirteen, is incredibly talented and has his own agent.
The cab pulls over, and we exit.
“There you are! Jesus, way to cause an entrance,” Nicole says as soon as my feet are on the sidewalk.
“Nice to see you too.”
“Hey!” Kristin yells and walks over. “You look gorgeous.”
“Thanks.” I sigh and smooth my dress. “I’m so nervous.”
“She’ll do great,” Heather assures me and then pulls me in for a hug.
“As much as I do love standing around four beautiful women, you are all a bit bonkers for me, are the men inside?”
Nicole smirks. “Are you saying we’re crazy?”
“You missed the compliment first, I see.”
I can’t wait to watch this. These two are like actual siblings. They bicker and taunt each other so much that I’m surprised he hasn’t pulled her hair at this point.
“The compliment gets lost when you sling an insult after,” she informs him.
“It is a wonder how my brother puts up with you.”
“You’re something, all right.”
This is going to go downhill fast. Neither of them knows how to let something drop, and I’m too excited to allow it to go on.
“Okay,” I say with a clap of the hand as if I’m talking to toddlers. “Babe, you go inside and find the men. The girls and I are going to freshen up, and then we’ll meet you by the bar.”
Milo walks over, kisses my temple. “I’ll see you inside.”
He grins that devilish smile that always ends with him getting his way. “I always do.”
That’s the biggest lie ever.
I watch him walk away, the tuxedo he’s wearing is extremely sexy and trim. It fits his ass perfectly, but it isn’t just the suit that makes him irresistible, it’s his being. Milo commands the space around him as he walks, as though it’s bending to his will. It’s intoxicating, and I am so glad he’s my husband.
All the years we’ve had so far have only made me yearn for more.
“Can you stop staring at your husband’s ass?” Nicole brings my attention forward.
“Sorry, I like his ass.”
She snorts. “Because he is an ass.”
Kristin rolls her eyes. “And you aren’t?”
Ah, to be together again. The four of us haven’t been in the same city in a very long time. I’ve still seen them when I visit Tampa, but Heather is usually out with Eli either on set or on tour. Kristin and Noah split time while he’s filming or directing. Nicole is always around, plus she’s my sister-in-law, so I see her more often than anyone.
I always thought of them like family and having one actually as one has been . . . interesting. I spend every other Christmas with her in London and then we go to America to see my parents on the years she’s with hers. Callum I see all the time since he’s my boss and brother-in-law.
That’s a relationship I’ve loved seeing be repaired. Mostly, the boys didn’t have a damn choice since Nicole and I refuse to let up.
“So . . .” Heather hooks her arm in mine. “How’s the mother of the ballet?”
I laugh. “I’m good. I’m just so proud of her, you know? She’s worked so damn hard. After all the hell she went through after her father’s death, I just didn’t know how moving across the pond would be for her.”
It was a hard choice to make, but Ava was probably the most excited because of the dance opportunities that were available to her. She also wanted a fresh start, and she was the one who wanted me happy.
“I swear someone in this tribe told you to move to London . . .” Kristin chimes in from behind. “Sometimes change is good.”
“Yes, you were all right, I know.” Not like they don’t remind me constantly.
They were right about that and all the other things.
They were right when they pushed me to see that what I had with Milo was everything I wanted and needed. He loves me beyond reason and supports me each step of the way. Even when we disagree at the office, we find a way to leave it there.
They were right when they said I should take the job at Dovetail where I’m now the co-Vice President. He drives me nuts, but it works.
And they were right when they said that no matter the distance, we’d still be the same crazy girls we always were.
I really don’t hate it when they’re right.
“As usual.” Nicole’s voice is filled with conceit.
Well, maybe I hate it when she’s right.
“You should shut up,” Heather says over her shoulder. “You are almost never right, and you’re the last person who listens to advice.”
We turn to walk away because this will only end in disaster, but Nicole keeps up as we enter the double doors of the theater.
“I’m pretty sure I was right about all of you idiots.”
I roll my eyes. “Please.”
We get to the bar, but there’s no sign of the guys.
“No? Really?” Nicole says, refusing to quit. “Heather didn’t think Eli was a great idea, but I shoved her ass on that bus and took care of that one. Kristin over here was all hesitant thanks to the number that Asshole did on her, but again, Nicole to rescue. Let’s not even go there with you, Danni and your ridiculousness about Milo. I’m the fixer. I’m the one who sees all your dumb mistakes and fixes them.”
The three of us exchange a look as she waits, tapping the toe of her Jimmy Choo on the ground. “And what about you and Callum? You fixed that?” Heather asks.
“No, that was what you all did.”
I smile. “Yes, yes we did.”
“I’m pretty sure I was vocal about Noah and Eli, too.” I remind them.
“And I was about Milo, Callum, and Eli,” Kristin tosses in.
The thing about us is that we can see the truth about ourselves, but know what’s best for the other. It’s strange and fabulous at the same time.
“I missed us,” Nicole says with a smile.
“Me three.” Kristin gets all choked up and can barely say the words.
Heather gets misty too. “Me four.”
“Oh, bloody hell,” Milo says, coming to stand behind us. “You girls aren’t going to start crying, are you?”
I slap his chest playfully. “You should shut up.”
“Of course, sweetheart, but we really need to go find our seats.”
The other guys come around, touching their wives in some sort of manor. I look at the three people who have been at every event in my life without question. The girls who held my hand as I cried or hair back as I got sick. They’re the ones who I’ve never doubted would pick up the phone at three in the morning. We’re sisters in every way. It’s a friendship that none of us have ever taken for granted because it’s once in a lifetime. Here we stand, together with people who love us, and I can’t stop the tears.
I’m not a crier normally, but I’m just so happy.
“What’s wrong?” Kristin asks when she sees my face.
“Nothing. Nothing, that’s the thing.”
Lord knows feelings bother her, but still, she watches me. “She’s finally cracking.”
“Shut up you turd. I’m serious. There’s nothing wrong. Look at us. We’re all happy, with men who truly love us and our kids are great. We’re living the lives that we used to imagine.”
Heather smiles and rests her head on Eli’s shoulder. Noah pulls Kristin a little closer, and she doesn’t even notice she melts into him. And even Nicole—the tough and doesn’t need love friend—laces her fingers in Callum’s. My Milo, my sweet Milo, wraps his arms around my stomach from behind, resting his chin on my shoulder.
“We’re living the lives we deserve with people who deserve us.” Kristin smiles and Noah kisses the top of her head.
Milo squeezes his arms around me just a bit tighter, releases me, and raises his wine glass. “Here’s to the women who we somehow fooled into loving us.”
The guys lift their glasses with a chuckle. Once he takes a sip, I grab it from him and lift it into the air. “Here’s to the second time around and finding the men who we fooled into marrying into this tribe.”
Instead of drinking, the four of us wrap our arms around each other and giggle.
Life works in mysterious ways, I’m just glad the magic was present for us.