BETTER by S.Walden


Better (1)-sm

 Their relationship has been exposed, and now their lives are changed forever.
For Cadence Miller, the fast track to adulthood proves intimidating and frustrating. She’s a little girl lost—abandoned by her parents and uncertain of her future. She doesn’t think she “fits” anywhere. She’s eighteen. She wants to be older. And the result is both comical and heartbreaking.
Mark Connelly will do anything to provide Cadence a stable, loving home—to be her protector. But he’s just as broken and lost, and his heart won’t let go of his past so easily. He knows he must share his secret with Cadence. And he hopes his revelation won’t tear them apart. He hopes it will draw them closer, and make their love better.
Good by S. Walden
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Good by S. Walden is current on is currently on sale for .99¢ on Amazon for a LIMITED TIME to help celebrate the release of Better!
His heart dropped when he watched her walk into the room. He ignored the snickers and whispers and followed her with his eyes as she walked to one of two remaining seats in his class. Both up front. She had no choice. She’d have to be close to him.
When realization dawned that he was the guy from Highway 28, the fear on her face was unmistakable. He felt no such fear. He felt extreme disappointment. And hopelessness.
And then, there was the matter of her orange jumpsuit. He didn’t know how to address it or if he even should address it. A large part of him said to leave it alone. She was clearly being bullied, and she thought she would try to turn the tables.
But she looked ridiculous. She had to know it. He wasn’t sure if she’d actually won or just thought she did. He tried for a gentle, non-confrontational approach.
“Cadence, you might wanna go change,” he said softly.
Her eyes went wide. He wasn’t sure why. And then it hit him. He said her name! Yes, he remembered her name. How could he ever forget that name? Cadence. Rhythmic. His song. His life. He decided that afternoon on the side of the road. She was his cadence. It was an alarming moment of clarity now muddled by the realization that she was his student. He thought God was playing another cruel joke on him.

Tbird’s Review

While the first book, Good, in this series was more controversal, I found Better to be more about picking up the pieces and making a life for yourself.  Cadence and Mark was now free to be together, yet little did they know the adjustments that was going to have to be made to make this work.

Cadence was 18, she hadn’t even had a chance to be on her own and here she was running from her parents house in the middle of the night to move in with her boyfriend/former high school teacher.  She had to finish her senior year of  high school without her parents support.  Her father disowned her and being that they were from a religious family, her mother went along with her father because he was the head of the house. Cadence made a family out of people that she had found along the way.

Mark lost his job as a high school teacher and was trying to find another job.  He eventually did but the dream of going back to school to get his masters was now threatened because it was more important to him that Cadence get a college degree so she could open her own flower shop as she wanted.  He also had skeletons in his closet that he knew he was going to have to reveal to Cadence soon, but there never seem to be a good time.

Cadence found the evidence she needed that confirmed Mark was keeping something from her.  When she confronted him about it, he didn’t react so kindly and this is where they began to fall apart.  We must remember Cadence was 18, wanting to know what it was like to be a normal teenager/young adult, living in the dorms, going to school, having a family.  Just being free to enjoy her life.  The news Mark gave her wasn’t easy for her to hear and accept, nor did she know how to handle his anger.  She went into a revenge/rebellion period that most men would have walked away from.  Mark on the other hand, waited her out, picked her up when she fell and loved her back from the numb state she lived in for a while.

Mark, being ten years older than Cadence, and much wiser than her, waited patiently for her to get it out of her system but he found he did have his limits.  I didn’t enjoy watching Cadence go through the turmoil and how she handled things, I felt at times Mark was being to patient with her but I LOVED watching them beat the odds and figure it out.  Just as with the first book, the characters were so well written, I could understand and feel empathy for them.  I could understand their reasoning that it was worth the fight to validate everything they had lost to just be together. Some readers might be put off by Cadence’s immature behavior but I ask that you remember she grew up in a Bible thumping house with restrictions that didn’t let her do her own thinking.  She was shoved out in a world that was cruel and harsh because she didn’t obey her father’s rules.  She refused to become the sheep led around like her mother had accepted in life.  She had to grow up fast.  I hope that doesn’t get lost on the readers, yes I was at times wanting to scream “GROW UP CADENCE”, but then I realized we were watching her grow up right before our eyes.

I loved this series, it has stayed with me since I read Good a few months ago.  It is a coming of age story for Cadence and a brand new start at life for Mark.  He carries a lot of pain and anger from his past around with him, watching him let it go so he can love Cadence was emotional at times. I am thankful that the author took us far in this story.  We received some closure at the end of the book, we know that they are going to be fine in life.   I highly recommend this series.


S. Walden
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it.
She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.
Twitter: @swaldenauthor

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