Genre: Romantic Suspense
Blurb: The Past…
As childhood sweethearts, Brian and Melissa's plans were simple: finish school, get married, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, life didn’t go as planned. Melissa went away to college, and Brian married her best friend.
Seventeen years have passed and Brian's stable family life has come crashing down around him. His wife’s a cheater, his teenage daughter is hiding things from him and Melissa is back in town to remind him of what he lost all those years ago.
Melissa’s returned home, ready to forgive and focus on her future, but that all changes the day she gets a desperate phone call from Brian’s daughter, Erin. Thrown back into Brian’s tumultuous life, Melissa struggles to move beyond the pain of his broken promise.
While working together to save Erin from the evil web she’s caught in, Melissa and Brian fight to fix the past or face losing each other all over again.
Brian stood with one hand on his daughter’s shoulder and one on his son’s, looking out over Erin’s bowed head. He felt like he’d been thrown back in time, back to a day he would never forget.
Their blond heads perfectly matched as they tilted toward each other in an iron embrace. He remembered the day like it was yesterday, the picture clear as the bright blue sky above. He knew right then—with every breath—he loved Melissa. Who gets this stuff at eight years old? He would’ve laughed at the idea if he had the energy. Who the hell understands what love is at eight? It didn’t make sense, but he couldn’t deny it.
Watching Melissa and Ali cry over their father’s coffin twenty-six years ago was so like today. There they stood, holding each other again, Ali’s hand reached out to Johnny’s, but her arm around Melissa, their heads together, crying all over again. He remembered how hard it had been for them both. He wanted to cry, too, and he did, for Ali and for Melissa. It hurt him in his soul to see the pain and tears in her eyes.
He looked again at Julie’s shining coffin glinting in the bright sun and wanted to kick himself for thinking about Melissa on this day, the very day he had to put his wife in the ground. If Julie could hear his thoughts, she would hate him. Ironically enough, so would Melissa. Melissa would never respect him, not after what he’d done to her, especially if she knew what he was thinking about now.
How did we get here? How did so many things change since that day? Nothing had turned out the way he’d planned. Back then, and for years after, his future was sure. He never doubted where life would lead him. But how could he regret? How could he—as he stood there with his kids—regret his family? Regret his life to this point? Regret Julie? No, he didn’t, of course not, but regret Melissa? Yes, he regretted losing Melissa. He loved Erin and Cody with his whole heart. He’d loved Julie, too, but Melissa was different. He couldn’t explain it, just different than Julie. Melissa held a part of his soul. To this day, she still gripped it in her hands. That part of him had been missing the day he’d proposed to Julie, and every day since then.
Melissa will always have it, even after she marries that jerk-off from Berkeley. Even then, she’ll still own a part of him. His stomach lurched at the thought of her with him, that puny, little clone with no heart or passion. Melissa was full of piss and vinegar, how long would it take this jerk to squash that out of her.
Is this what it felt like to Melissa? Had she felt this sinking, overwhelming sickness when she’d found out about him and Julie? Had she been living with it for all these years? Had her love for him been equal to his for her? He couldn’t remember if he’d ever told her how much he loved her. Did she know? Did that make everything harder for her? Did Julie understand how much he loved her? It’s too late to fix that—she’s gone—Jules is gone. Julie is dead! Did she understand how important she was to him? Even after the hateful things he’d said, he still loved her, and now she was gone.
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Dana Mason is happily settled in a small valley amongst the California grapevines with her husband and three children. Author of the romantic suspense, Embrace Series, she's written about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don't hold on to what's important. Second chances don't come easy...but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She's also a board member on the local Art's Council and does what she can to support the art community.
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