|Buy Healing Hearts HERE|
by Liz Crowe
It’s New Year’s Day and we all know what THAT means….recovering from whatever overindulgences we used to get us through the holiday season by promising our bleary-eyes selves that we will be stronger, thinner, richer, more organized, swear less, sleep more, drink more water, eat more fruit….all sorts of things that will help us meet any challenge thrown at us by fate in the coming months.
Late in 2012 Decadent Publishing launched a new series of books with “the challenge” in mind. All the stories will turn on people meeting roadblocks and overcoming them, or not as the case may be. I was asked to submit a story and am thrilled to announce the release of HEALINGHEARTS, a short novella-length story about a man who had it all, only to have it taken from him in the blink of an eye. The heart breaking journey ofa successful, typical alpha male breaking down completely when he is unable to save anyone he loves has already been named a “Top Pick” on The Romance Reviews.
The challenge of course, for Jay Longmire, is to simply breathe in and out, eat enough food to survive, fall asleep and wake up with the knowledge of what happened in front of his eyes to his entire family. While I have personally never lost a child, given the horror at that elementary school in Connecticut just a few weeks ago, it has been on my mind—how do you wake up each morning knowing that your heart, in the form of your child, has been ripped from you for no reason whatsoever. Exploring this sort of internal challenge intrigued me, and I remember a true story a few years back with similar elements that I have been unable to shake from my memory banks. So I put it into a book.
I wrote HEALING HEARTS this past fall, before Mr. Lanza decided that he should stare 20 children in the face and kill them, so the timing may seem inappropriate but I believe that hearts do heal—humans are nothing if not completely resilient and whether they draw on their own strengths, their faith or the love of others (as Jay finally does) the opportunities for emotional recovery are worth exploring. Which is the crux of Healing Hearts—all the anger, guilt, sleepless nights and zombie-like days Jay endures will never, ever completely disappear, but with the help of a friend who becomes much more, they will fade and become something that he can use to move forward despite the temptations to do otherwise.
I hope you enjoy it. I will warn you that there are a couple of descriptions of what happened to Jay’s family that may be disturbing, but ultimately that is not what the story is about—it’s about what happens to a man who has hit bottom so hard, he has no choice but to start climbing his way out.
Healing Hearts excerpt:
“Stop flirting with me. That’s a personal bubble violation,” he whispered, letting his lips graze her earlobe, loving how her whole body shivered against him.
“Fine, then stop pressing against me so hard I can feel how much money is in your pocket.”
“Touché.” But he gripped her closer. The candlelight flickered, the music embraced them, and she nearly brought him to his knees with her next words.
“I can’t be what you want me to be, Jay. I have goals. I need my independence. I want to make it on my own.”
He sucked in a breath, slid the hand he had on her hip around to the small of her back. He didn’t need this. But he wanted it so much he was about to explode. “I’m never going to be what you want me to be, either. Let’s just be…what we are…tonight.”
She laid her head against his chest, and he shut his eyes, trying not to let the moment overwhelm him, send him screaming into the night. Christy’s face at their wedding, at the birth of their children, and that last moment when her eyes clouded over after she told him not to blame himself while he watched her die—they all rose, clear and bright. He swallowed, leaned down into Abigail’s thick riot of dark curls, sucked in a deep breath. “What do you want me to be for you…tonight?” he asked.
She put her hand to his face, went up on her tiptoes, and met his lips, urgent and needy. He kissed her, listening to the crowd clap and catcall. Then broke away. “Well?” he asked, his body zinging.
“I want you to be the guy who takes me to bed again.” The simplicity of her words taking his breath away. “I don’t want to be made love to, not now. I need you, Jay. With me, inside me, all over me. And you need it, too. No strings, no emotion. Only physical urges met. I’m willing. Are you?”
He stepped away from her, a little shocked and a lot horny. “Give me two minutes.” Grateful the room had dimmed for the music and dancing, he dropped three hundred in cash on the table, more than enough to cover the meal, wine, and a healthy tip, and took her hand.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said, giggling when he pushed her up against the side of his SUV and dove into her mouth, sweeping into it with his tongue, his hands cradling her face then buried in her hair. She molded into him, making that damn noise, the one that made him insane, down in her throat.
He broke from her, stared into her eyes. “Yes.”
Happy New Year!