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Her words haunt me, even at a distance.
Going to college was supposed to be my freedom, a time to focus on myself and, more importantly, to escape the woman who created every evil thing within me.
I’d be able to breathe.
But it didn’t work out that easily.The harder I fought the voices that followed me, the faster I sank.
Until I met him.
He reminded me what happiness felt like. For the first time in forever, I was important again. Someone saw me.
He was all I needed.
But what happens when the anger and disgust pull you under and nothing can keep you from drowning?
And what happens when you can’t let go?
When the door clicked closed, he kneeled on the bed and prowled over me. I watched the movement of his muscles under his navy thermal as he lowered himself to my side. He propped his elbow on my pillow and used his other hand to grab my thigh and pull my leg over his hip. For the longest moment he let his intense eyes rest on mine. They seemed to be digging for answers, searching for words to say. Whether those answers were in him or me, I didn’t know, but I let myself bask in the depth of his eyes. I let myself soak in the warmth and strength of his arms. I focused on his hand moving slowly up and down my thigh as he studied my face and finally felt at peace for the first time all week.
What would I do without this man, this man who loved me. The reminder took root, and I couldn’t stop the smile tugging at my cheeks. Seeing my smile, his eyes shifted from intense to happy and playful. He brought his fingers to my lips, tracing them.
“For a minute, I never thought I would see that smile again.”
My smile vanished as an embarrassed heat spread up my neck. I diverted my eyes, not wanting him to see my tears. But his fingers on my chin lifted my face to his.
“No. Don’t turn away from me.” His eyebrows were scrunched in determination for me to hear what he had to say. “Jo…” I felt his chest expand as he prepared his words carefully. “You get to feel sad. You get to fall apart. You get to rage and be angry and run away and hate the world.” His head dipped toward mine, and he placed a soft kiss to my lips. Pulling back, he continued, his words whispering across my lips. “But you don’t ever get to take yourself out of it. Do you understand me? You are precious and needed. I need you. You can call me crying and rant and rave about how much you hate everything in your life. But you don’t ever get to threaten to take it.” Another soft kiss. “I love you, Jo. No matter the struggles you face. I love you. I need to know you’re in it, even if you aren’t with me.” Another kiss. “Okay?”
I took it all in, letting his words wash over me. Squeezing my eyes shut and fighting back the tears, I jerked my head in a nod, whispering, “Yeah.”
At my soft affirmation, his hand dove into my hair and pulled me toward him for a deep kiss. His lips pushed onto mine, as though he was trying to prove to himself that I was still there. Never before had someone looked at me and actually seen me; no one had ever told me it was okay to feel the way I did. He was the first person to tell me that I was needed in this world.
Acceptance and understanding spread through me, and I ran my hands up under his shirt, along his abs that tightened in response to my searching fingers.
I never imagined I would ever write a book. I wasn’t even really a reader until the age of twenty. But I picked up a romance and that was it for me. I fell in love. And then one day I stepped into this indie world of books and I started writing. Then I wrote enough to keep going. And then I had a book. Sometimes things happen when you least expect it, but it all falls into place. Writing is it for me.
I’m a stay at home mom with a degree in chemistry and biology. I LOVE science. If you get me started talking about biochemistry, it’s all over. I’ll rattle on for days! But I use all that knowledge to take care of my two little girls. Mostly while my husband is away being a soldier.
It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I like it … And I think I might stay a while.
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