How do you keep existing when your heart is so splintered, so completely torn to shreds, your pulse is fading? You’re...broken. How do you move forward when every breath is nothing more than a constant ache? Living becomes an insidious reminder that you threw away the single largest part of yourself. Your...soul. No amount of distraction can pull you from the torture of losing your...life. Now that Emily Cooper has walked away from her first love, she finds herself running toward her only love. Unraveling fast, but clinging to hope, Emily risks all she has left on the man that has consumed her every thought and dream since the day they met. Will Gavin take her back? And if so, will their reunion be a collision of two hearts destined to complete one another and rekindle a love that knew no boundaries? Or will scars from their past rip open, tearing slowly at what each of them was meant to be? Can fate, the ultimate game changer, mend the shattered road it laid out from the start? Only time will tell... Tick-Tock...
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I've always been a lover of writing, but mostly dabbled in creating poetry while raising my three beautiful children. I am grateful my husband of fifteen years has supported me—albeit sometimes kicking and screaming—as I pursue this "hobby" of mine. Without his help, writing would be an impossible endeavor. In late June 2012, I felt an urgent tug of my pen, and I began writing one of my first novels, Collide. Although I thought it might never see the light of day, it gave me the courage to plunge headfirst onto a path I had never considered before.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
A Missed Last Encounter
Emily leaned her head against the taxi window, watching the city lights of Manhattan with tear-soaked eyes. In a blur, the look on Gavin‚€™s face as he had walked away from her a few hours before rushed through her mind. The closer she got to his building, and the further away she got from her past with Dillon, the more she felt as though her sanity and heart were hanging by a delicate thread. She shifted restlessly and her gaze fell on the glowing green light of the digital clock. It was nearly one o‚€™clock in the morning. A glimmer of hope flooded her body, and she squeezed her eyes shut, praying Gavin would take her back. As the taxi pulled up in front of his high-rise, she reached in her purse and pulled out a wad of cash. After handing the unknown amount to the driver, she swung open the door and stepped onto the sidewalk into the cold, late November air.
“Hey!” the Middle Eastern driver called. “You have to close the door, lady!”
Emily heard his words but paid him no mind. Her fumbling feet pushed her forward, kept her moving toward what she hoped would be a new start. A new future with the man she knew she couldn‚€™t live without. She pulled open the door and crossed the lobby. Sweat clung like decay across her flesh. With a trembling hand, she pressed the button for the elevator. Her nerves skyrocketed with love and anxiety. Once the elevator doors opened, she stepped inside and leaned against the wall, physically and mentally exhausted. As she tried to stop shaking, tears steadily fell. Unsure of Gavin‚€™s reaction, Emily struggled to pull in a decent breath.
She tried to tamp down the wicked emotions curling through her. The doors opened to what would either be a new beginning . . . or an end. Feet glued to the ground, she stood frozen for a moment, her eyes trained on the wall across the hallway. Vaguely aware of the elevator doors gliding closed, she became dizzy as she lifted her hand to hold it open. Slowly, she stepped out. Her vision tunneled as she turned toward Gavin‚€™s penthouse, and her mind spun out of control with every possible scenario. She strained to focus on his words from earlier, allowing her fear to wane as her feet led her closer. Her pace quickened with every step.
Once she reached his unit, her fears returned with a vengeance, anchoring heavy in her chest. With trepidation, she knocked on his door, each knock mimicking the fierce pounding of her heart. She wiped away tears as her body trembled from head to toe. The minutes ticked by with no answer, and she knocked again, harder.
“Please answer.” She chanted the silent prayer while ringing his doorbell.
With tears trickling down her cheeks, she stared at the peephole, envisioning him staring back. The thought of him watching her stung and cut a path through her heart.
“Please,” she cried, ringing the doorbell again. “God, Gavin, please. I love you. I‚€™m so sorry.”
Hands still shaking, she reached in her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She dialed Gavin‚€™s number. Eyes locked on his door, she listened to it ring over and over again.
“You‚€™ve reached Gavin Blake. You know what to do.”
Emily‚€™s heart clenched, tightened, and dropped into the pit of her stomach when she heard his voice. That sweet voice would forever haunt her if he didn‚€™t take her back. That sweet, pleading voice that had begged her to believe him. She hung up, dialed again, and listened once more. She didn‚€™t speak. She couldn‚€™t. Her frantic breathing would be the only message he would receive.
Words . . . she had none.
Emily pressed a hand to her mouth as the realization he wasn‚€™t forgiving her set in. For a few painful moments, she was silent. Then grief erupted in her chest. A torrent of tears flew down her cheeks. Her cries echoed throughout the hallway. She retreated and felt her back hit the wall. She stared at his door, the vivid memory of his face ingrained in her head. Searing pain surged and twisted in her gut as she slowly made her way into the elevator, her heart plummeting with its descent.
• • •
Shoulders slumped and spirit broken, Emily unlocked the door to her apartment. A small light above the stove cast a faint glow across the living room. Quieting her footsteps, so as not to wake Olivia, Emily made her way into her bedroom. Still shaking, a cloak of sadness enveloped her as she padded into her bathroom.
She flipped on the light and stared at her reflection. The green eyes, once vivid with hope, held no semblance of life. She ran her fingers over her cheeks, muddied with mascara. Her face looked pale. Even worse, her heart was stricken with loss. She flattened her palms against the cool marble surface of the sink, hung her head, and wept, gulping for air as pain so deep blanketed her soul. Regret in the most brutal form tightened like an unforgiving noose around her neck.
She tried to calm down by turning on the hot water and splashing her face. After reaching for a towel, she dried herself and shut off the light. Fatigue slowed her feet as she made her way to her bed, and she curled up on her side. Exhausted, she sank into the mattress, attempting to gain a few hours of sleep. But that wouldn‚€™t come.
As seconds, minutes, and hours ticked by, Gavin‚€™s pained face and confused blue eyes invaded Emily‚€™s conscience. She drew in a shaky breath, rolled onto her back, and stared at the ceiling. Over the next few hours, swells of gut-wrenching pain rippled across her heart. She‚€™d let him slip through her fingers.
• • •
Trying to ignore the ear-piercing sound of Blake Industries‚€™ private jet‚€™s engines firing up, Gavin wondered if Emily would remember things he‚€™d never forget. Wondered how this was truly the end. He‚€™d lost her. In less than seven hours, she would be Dillon‚€™s for good.
He tugged his suitcase from the back of Colton‚€™s Jeep, his heart sinking further into his stomach as he peered into the clear, cold night sky. Colton stepped onto the tarmac‚€”his expression no more at ease than it‚€™d been when Gavin came to him.
“You don‚€™t have to do this, little man,” Colton yelled, tufts of his dark hair whipping around in the engines‚€™ fury. “Bouncing out of the city in the middle of the night won‚€™t bring her back.”
Gavin wasn‚€™t sure if leaving would erase the mark Emily had seared into his soul. He also wasn‚€™t sure if he‚€™d ever be free from the ache of needing her. The only emotion he truly fucking owned . . . he knew he had to get out of New York. Get the fuck out, and get far away from the ghost of Emily that would no doubt haunt him.
“I told you, I need to get off the grid for a while, Colton,” Gavin argued, roughing a hand over his face. “I can‚€™t be here. Just take care of switching our stocks out of Dillon‚€™s hands.”
Colton released a weighty breath and nodded. “I‚€™ll take care of it first thing Monday morning.” He clapped Gavin‚€™s shoulder, his eyes softening. “You have to be good with all of this when you get back. Promise me you‚€™ll put Emily to rest while you‚€™re down there.”
Gavin‚€™s chest palpitated at the sound of her name. “Yeah,” he replied, his voice grave. “I‚€™ll try.”
After a few moments of staring at each other, Gavin climbed the stairs to the jet. Turning, he watched his brother drive off the property of the small, private airport. Mind-fucked and in the deepest turmoil of his life, Gavin dug into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out his cell phone. Without looking at it, he tossed it onto the runway. It shattered when it hit the ground. Off the grid meant off the grid. No contact with anyone. No one trying to pull him from his pain, and no one trying to convince him his actions were destructive. After handing his bags to the flight attendant, the pilot came out to greet him.
“Good evening, Mr. Blake.” The pilot, gray hair spilling over his forehead, firmly shook Gavin‚€™s hand. “Everything you‚€™ve requested has been prepared, and we should arrive in Playa del Carmen in just over four hours, sir.”
Gavin gave a weak nod and headed into his private cabin. He closed the door, and his eyes immediately landed on a minibar bottle of bourbon screaming his name. He gazed at it with contempt. Darkness seeped in around him. He peeled off his coat and tossed it onto the bed. Trying to stave off the evil angel invading his thoughts, he strode across the small space and reached for the mind-numbing amber liquid. Deciding to forgo a glass, he twisted off the cap and brought the bottle to his lips. The alcohol burned his throat, offering up not an ounce of reprieve from his pain.
It was then that Gavin knew there would never be a time in his life he wouldn‚€™t be aware of Emily‚€™s absence. Drunk or sober, she would riddle his heart and soul until the day he died. He loved her. Breathed her in as if she were the air around him . . . the air he would be deprived of forever. He put down the bottle, ran an exhausted hand through his hair, and attempted to cast visions of Emily‚€™s beautiful eyes staring back at him from his memory. He walked over to the window, peering out at the city below, and knew it didn‚€™t work. Nothing would. Neither soaking his pain in alcohol nor running from her could mend what he was feeling.
She was gone. As the twinkling lights faded with the jet‚€™s climbing altitude, Gavin‚€™s heart continued to mourn the woman he‚€™d lost while his mind wondered how long he would be at her funeral.
• • •
With the morning light sucking the last of the stars from the sky, and without a minute of sleep claimed, Emily sat up and made her way into the kitchen. Nausea filled her stomach. She reached for the refrigerator door, pulled it open, and grabbed a bottle of water. She sank into a seat at the table as Olivia rounded the corner.
“Hmm, I see Douchenugget dropped you off early this morning,” Olivia clipped, glancing at Emily. She walked over to one of the cabinets and tugged it open. “How nice of him to allow his bride to actually get ready on her wedding day at her place.”
“Before you defend Dillmonster, or your delusional thoughts, Emily, I want you to know how upset Gavin was last night.” Olivia slammed the cabinet closed. “I‚€™ve never seen him so hurt.”
Emily closed her stinging eyes, her heart constricting at the thought of the pain she‚€™d caused Gavin. She shook her head. “Olivia, please. I‚€™m not‚€””
“I know, Emily. You‚€™re not in the mood to talk about this,” she huffed, yanking open another cabinet. “Or let me guess, you‚€™re not delusional thinking you should marry Dillon because you don‚€™t believe Gavin?”
“Olivia,” Emily let out, rising. “You‚€™re not listening to me. I‚€™m not‚€””
Olivia whipped around, her brown eyes narrowed. “I fucking hate saying this, Em, but I can‚€™t be a part of this today. You love Gavin, and Gavin loves you. Done deal. I believe Gavin, and even if you don‚€™t, you‚€™re forcing me to choose.” She placed one hand on her hip and rushed the other through her thick blonde hair. “I‚€™m sorry, but I‚€™m not going to the wedding today.”
“Good, because neither am I,” Emily whispered, sitting back down. “I‚€™m not marrying Dillon.”
Eyes wide with shock, a smile split Olivia‚€™s face. “You‚€™re not?” she gasped, rushing to Emily‚€™s side.
Emily shook her head as a fresh round of tears seeped from her eyes.
Olivia kneeled beside her and wrapped her arms around Emily‚€™s waist. Her words tumbled out against Emily‚€™s stomach. “Oh my God, oh my God. You‚€™re so not on my shit list anymore. I fucking love you to death right now!”
“I hurt Gavin.” Emily nearly choked over her words. “I wanted to believe him, and part of me did, I guess, but I was afraid, and now it‚€™s too late.”
Confusion peppered Olivia‚€™s expression as she stood, bringing Emily with her. She cupped Emily‚€™s cheeks. “It‚€™s not too late. As soon as you call him, he‚€™ll forget everything. Gavin loves you. He was pissed last night, but he would die for you. Believe me. That‚€™s all he kept saying.”
Trembling, Emily sucked in an unsteady breath. “No. I went to his penthouse last night, and he didn‚€™t open his door.” She backed away from Olivia and tucked herself into a seat at the table. “I called his phone a few times, and he didn‚€™t answer. He‚€™s done with me, and I deserve every bit of pain coming to me.” Emily shook her head, her voice trailing off. “I can‚€™t believe I let this happen.”
“He didn‚€™t have me take him home last night.” Olivia dropped to her knees again and grabbed Emily‚€™s hands. “From the rehearsal dinner, he had me bring him by Colton‚€™s house. What happened sobered him up a little, but I‚€™m pretty damn sure homeboy‚€™s still knocked out. Think about how tanked he was. It‚€™s only seven in the morning. He probably didn‚€™t hear his phone. I‚€™ll call him in a little while, but you need to try to calm down, okay?”
Emily slowly pulled her hands away and pressed the heels of her palms against her eyes. She reluctantly nodded, swallowing some of the worry coursing through her mind. “Okay, I‚€™ll try to calm down.”
A slow smile touched the edge of Olivia‚€™s mouth. “I‚€™m proud of you, Emily.”
“Proud of me?” she questioned, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. “For what? For hurting Gavin? His face, Olivia. I can‚€™t get his face out of my head.”
Eyes softening, Olivia brushed her hand against Emily‚€™s jaw. “I‚€™m proud of you for finally seeing you deserve a better life with a man who honestly loves and cares for you. Again, you may have temporarily hurt Gavin, but the two of you are going to be fine. You‚€™ll see.”
Emily stared at Olivia and allowed a flutter of hope to settle through her limbs. She nodded, praying Olivia‚€™s statement would prove true.
“All right,” Olivia said, standing and looking at her watch, “your un-wedding day is supposed take place in a little less than four hours. What do you need me to do, other than go get us some coffee because there‚€™s none here? You definitely look like you can use a cup, and I know I can, too.” Olivia walked to the hall closet, pulled out her coat, and slipped it on. “Do you want me to call your sister?” She halted midstride. “Better yet, can I call your ex-future husband and tell him to fuck off?”
Emily rose and moved across the kitchen. She grabbed a paper towel and blew her nose. The thought of Dillon waking to find her gone sent chills up her spine. “He doesn‚€™t know yet.”
Confusion pinched Olivia‚€™s forehead. “What do you mean? I thought‚€””
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishi, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Satisfaction 100% guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # mon0001744185
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR006379808