by A.L. Jackson
Published by Sapphire Star Publishing
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Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love they believed bonded them together for life. After the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in unanswered questions.
For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds their heart.
Now, when their lives again intersect, will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past?
Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.
I glanced at the clock.
Shit—nearly six o’clock. I needed to hurry. I’d lost track of time and Nicholas would be home soon. I wiped the tears from my face before carefully gathering the pictures from the bedroom floor. My chest weighed heavy as I collected each one, cherishing the memories a moment longer as I tucked them away in the envelope.
The memories were all I had and I clung to them as if they were my last breath, knowing that once they faded, there would truly be no reason to go on. I hid the envelope at the bottom of the large jewelry box in the back of the closet, mindful to spread the necklaces out over the hidden compartment. Nicholas had never found them, but I was certain he would destroy them if he ever did.
Drawing in a deep breath, I ran my hands through my hair and dragged myself from the past I had immersed myself in for the last two hours and forced myself downstairs.
My footsteps echoed against the marble floor, each an accent of emptiness. I entered the kitchen, the only sanctuary I had. Every room of this house was gaudy and overdone, designed by the pompous for the pompous, except for this haven. It was no less extravagant, but held a warmth missing from all of the others.
As I worked, my thoughts inevitably wandered back to those beloved pictures hidden away in the back of my closet, but even they weren’t enough to ward off the anxiety steadily building within me as the passing minutes warned of Nicholas’s arrival. At six thirty-one, I heard the garage door open. Bile rose in my throat.
“Melanie?” Nicholas called from the entryway.
“In the kitchen,” I called weakly. Maybe he would go upstairs and spare me a few more minutes, but of course, I never had that kind of luck. I heard his footsteps approaching and prepared myself.
“Dinner ready?” He yanked at his tie as he came through the door.
“Um, not quite, just a couple more minutes,” I said, not meeting his face.
I felt him pause, though I refused to look up. I’d learned a long time ago how to survive in hell. The less I interacted with him the better.
He snorted through his nose, muttering, “Worthless whore,” under his breath.
I gritted my teeth, holding in the anger his accusation triggered.
He set his briefcase on the island next to me and tossed his tie over the top of it. “What time do I get home from work, Melanie?” Nicholas dipped his head, forcing me to look at him.
“Is it too much to ask that dinner is ready when I get home?” he said, “or do you have something better to do with your useless life?”
I cringed but said nothing. He was the one who didn’t want me to work.
“I didn’t think so.” He leaned in closer, his words a low warning. “When I tell you dinner needs to be ready at six-thirty, it means dinner is to be ready at six-thirty. Do you understand?”
I saw the threat in his eyes. He had never hurt me physically, but he made sure I knew who was in charge. I’d given up any control nine years ago when I’d followed him here to Chicago, looking for an escape from the pain.
I knew then what this life would be like. I’d met him at the airport when I’d fled Colorado that final time, the trip that severed the last thread holding my heart together. Nicholas hadn’t seen the broken girl who sat numb with nothing but pain swimming in her eyes. He saw the young, beautiful girl, the one who said nothing at all but seemed to be willing to do whatever he said.
I wasn’t stupid. I had known exactly what he wanted, but I could never go back to Colorado Springs to face what I could no longer have, and I refused to stay with my
mother in Dallas.
So I left all of it behind, moving with Nicholas to Chicago just days after I returned from Colorado.
I knew then Nicholas would never bring me happiness. That had never been the point. My heart belonged to another and would never be his. All I wanted was a way out, while Nicholas got the trophy wife he thought he deserved. The only thing I hadn’t anticipated was how the numbness I felt for him would evolve over nine years into bitterness and loathing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel, Pulled.
A.L. resides in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.
Starline Publishing: http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/aljackson
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Apr 25: Jersey Girl Book Reviews (Review/Book Feature)
Apr 26: Books Like Breathing (Review/Book Feature)
Apr 27: Kacey's Konnections (Giveaway/Book Feature)
Apr 28: From the TBR Pile (Interview/Book Feature)