Book 3 of the Emerging From Darkness series
by J.M. Maurer
GENRE: contemporary romance 18+
I’d been given promises in the past, all of which were broken.
Inevitably, they broke me.
I wouldn’t let those broken promises stop me from believing in new ones, though.
Matthew Moi was different.
His dimpled smile and witty sexual banter has held me spellbound since day one.
Falling in love with him came easy.
Marrying him—a dream come true.
Now, he wants something I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for.
As I struggle, he faithfully remains at my side.
Through it all, his protective nature shields me from an evil I didn’t see coming.
Together, we have it all—love, passion, trust.
Apart, the possibilities are endless, even death.
For the first time in a long time, I had an itch to do something ridiculous—two things, in fact. One was the reason I was sitting in the back of a musty old van. The other might just be the solution to my Holly problem.
At least I hoped so, because while my mind should have been racing with thoughts of my upcoming wedding, it wasn’t. Instead, I was thinking of my best friend. Problem was, no matter how I launched my plan to help Holly move beyond her commitment issue with Burdick, it wasn’t going to go over well. And the more I thought about her, the more I dreaded the growing possibility of a headache. I’d just gotten over a nasty headache and was now attempting to shake off the likelihood of another when the van rolled to a stop and the driver’s voice muttered in the distance.
Okay, Jess. You’ve got your plan and it’s a good one.
I was about to remind myself to stick to said plan when the driver hopped out and moved to my side of the van, his open door ushering in a blast of autumn air that chilled my skin. I shivered and scooted to the edge of my seat, waiting for what was to come next. The shrill of metal sliding over metal pierced my ears as the door slid open, and rough skin wrapped a secure hold on my wrist. This was it.
“End of the line.” His gruff tone registered somewhere between the brief time it took him to pull me out and when his tall, burly features came into full view. He snickered as I pulled the hem of my pullover down and worked to smooth it out. Judging by the way his eyes scanned up my body, I presumed his outburst had everything to do with my appearance. After all, this was the first time I’d pieced together an outfit for such an outdoorsy occasion. Eventually, he calmed and took my hand, turning it palm up. “You don’t want to forget this.”
Instinctively, my fingers clasped a tight grip around the cold steel as I stood, staring down at the black metal, hoping I’d do it right. I’d never held a gun before. They all made me nervous. Fact was, with a gun in the wrong hands, things could quickly turn ugly.
I knew all about ugly.
Drawing my attention his way, the driver stretched a tattooed arm, pointed a finger, and then offered his last words of advice. “Never give up.”
I swallowed back a lump of fear, absorbing a deeper meaning of the phrase, and took off running. For what seemed like forever, I ran up and down hills, climbed over a few sizeable rocks, jumped a tiny brook, and pushed forward until I needed to recharge and bring my thoughts back into focus.
At best guess, I’d been in the woods for several hours, alternating between steady jogs in the direction I was supposed to go and quick respites to catch my breath. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was, but as far as I could see, there was nothing but dense forest—and me. Panting, I leaned against a tree and listened to the rustle of withered leaves moving with the breeze.
One thing was comforting: I hadn’t run into anyone. Yet.
One thing I knew: I wasn’t that woman anymore. I wouldn’t be her anymore.
Three years after a bitter divorce, Jessica Winters isn’t sure she’s ready—or capable—to move on. The thought of another relationship terrifies her, but things quickly change when she meets the playfully witty and handsome sex therapist Matthew Moi. At first, she tries to ignore him, but something in the way he levels his sultry gaze on her awakens her soul.
Secretly in love with Jessica, Matthew has been giving her the space she needed to heal. Incapable of waiting any longer and eager to work his way into her broken heart, he seizes an opportunity to have their paths cross. But when her painful past resurfaces, revealing truths that threaten their future, Matthew must prove to Jessica that a shot at true love is worth the risk.
After surviving a bitter divorce and emerging from a darkness that became all too familiar, Jessica finds herself on top of the world, her soulful awakening allowing her to feel again, trust again, and even love again. Her painful past, however, is relentless, both physically and emotionally, bombarding her daily and not allowing her to overcome the lingering demons that ultimately control her life.
As Matthew lovingly guides her toward a healthy future, his own secrets become known, threatening to destroy the trusting relationship that had quickly grown between them. But despite what life throws her way, Jessica pledges to put the past in the past, accepting that events are often out of her control. She fights for a future with the man who drew her out of the darkness, steering her onto a healing path . . . seeking redemption.
J.M. started working as a registered nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where she cared for critically ill children, transported them from outlying hospitals, and even picked up overtime hours treating patients of all ages while inside a hyperbaric chamber. Holding a Bachelor's degree in nursing, she loves to write about strong characters and their struggles in life. Her books explore themes of revenge, redemption, and hope along with the intrigue of true love, sex, and marriage.
An incurable romantic with a penchant for dark chocolate and red wine, no matter what trials or tortures her characters face, love will always prevail . . . because, after all, what's better than a happily-ever-after?
When not writing, you can find her spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, or attempting most any sport. She resides in Chicago with her husband and son.