Happy Mother’s Day – A Sneak Peek at Tie Me
Happy Mother’s Day!
I’ve been busy unpacking. I’m finally almost settled into my new place. There are still pictures to hang and the garage to organize (what a mess!), but I thought I’d take a short break to share a snippet from Tie Me as a Mother’s Day gift to all my fans (whether you’re a mother or not). Enjoy!
(first draft, unedited, subject to change)
The night washed over Kellen, wrapping him in a cocoon of nothingness. The occasional flash of yellow in the distant clouds would soon be upon him and he’d have to go inside. Although a powerful storm brewed over the Gulf of Mexico, he wasn’t ready to face the empty house yet. He’d stay on the beach a while longer.
As the flickers above the horizon intensified, the wind picked up, whipping his long black hair around his neck and face. He stared out at the endless water before him, fighting shivers as the damp bite of the salty sea air drew more warmth from his body. His skin had become numb. He wished the ocean breeze could numb the raw ache deep in his chest. Would the feeling that part of him was missing ever leave him or was he destined to feel empty for the rest of his life? Sara’s loss was still as tangible to him as it had been five years ago when he’d been staring at that fucking heart rate monitor, holding his breath, waiting for just one more blip. Just one more.
Just one more, Sara. I’ll do anything.
It had never come.
All the hope in the world—all the love he had to give—hadn’t amounted to anything in the end.
Beneath the angry clouds, the water looked like shifting obsidian—shiny, black glass with tiny peaks and valleys. Random curves of white froth approached the damp sand at Kellen’s feet in a ceaseless pattern of surge and withdrawal. The surf toyed with him—slowly retreating as the tide went out. Waves churned beneath the power of the storm, sometimes washing over his bare feet and drawing the sand from beneath his soles, but those waves never claimed him. Never pulled him under. Kellen took a step forward, following the slowly ebbing water, knowing eventually the sea would push him back toward the shore as the tide returned. There was little a man could count on in life, but he could count on the tides. And Kellen could count on his memories of Sara haunting him.
He glanced over his shoulder at the dark house behind him. He knew it was painted a sunny yellow, but at night it looked gray. Cheerless. Not like the happy place he’d shared with her before she’d gotten sick.
Oh, look at this house, Kellen, Sara’s cheerful voice echoed through his memory. Wouldn’t it be fun to rent it for a week and pretend it’s ours? Even though the ocean is only four hours away, I’ve never seen it before.
Kellen peered at the computer screen over Sara’s shoulder. She flipped through pictures of an enormous, sunny yellow vacation rental with open, airy rooms, inviting furnishings, and sprawling decks with ocean views.
You want to go see the ocean, baby. We go, he’d said. How much is it?
She clicked on a reservation link and both their jaws dropped when they saw the weekly rental rate. She closed the laptop and looked up at him, her big blue eyes drawing him in. They always pulled him under.
I don’t need that, she’d said. I have you. And she’d kissed him the way only Sara could kiss him. A kiss that stirred his body into a heated frenzy. A kiss that touched his heart and soul. Her kiss had always turned him inside out. That’s what love did to him. That’s why he wanted it back and at the same time never wanted to find it again.
So Kellen had done what any fool in love with his perfect girl would do. He’d hocked his most prized possession—his late grandfather’s vintage Les Paul guitar—and surprised Sara with a week in her dream house. She hadn’t made him feel bad about giving up his guitar. She turned the sacrifice of his most cherished belonging into a week of his most cherished memories. The delight on her face as she’d stood in front of that obnoxiously large vacation rental with her hands clutched before her chest had been worth any cost to him.
I love you more than all the water in the ocean. All the grains of sand on the beaches. All the stars in the sky, she’d said as she’d flung herself into his waiting arms.
That’s a lot of love, he’d said, burying his nose in her sweet-smelling hair and taking a moment to just feel her. She was his everything. She would be his forever. He didn’t doubt it for an instant.
I love you more than that, Kellen. So much more.
Me too, baby.
Echoes of the past. Sara’s memory continually tormented Kellen. It ripped his fucking heart out, but he still sought things that reminded him of her. Losing her body and soul had been difficult enough. Losing his memories of her? He couldn’t take that too. He needed reminders of her. Constant reminders. That’s why even though she was gone, he’d bought that huge fucking house on the Galveston shore as soon as he could afford it. Money had become a non-issue after his band Sole Regret’s second album had gone platinum and they sold out concert after concert on their first headlining tour. What would Sara think of his success? Would she be proud? Jealous? She’d never really understood his need to make music.
He’d have given it all up for one more moment with her.
Hold those you love close today.