All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to choose me. My mother didn’t. My father didn’t. The beautiful boy next door, who grew up to marry me, didn’t. Neither did the next man with whom I thought my heart was safe.
Back in the Bay area, three thousand miles from New York City, I can start fresh. Become one with the sea again, rise or fall on the tide of my own choices. But on the first day of my bright new life, the darkest shadows of my past follow me through my office door. The two men whose names are definitely not on my five-year plan.
If I let it consume me—my need for one man, my love for the other—the darkness will swallow me whole. I can’t let that happen. Not again. This time, the waves of emotion crashing against my heart won’t drown me. This time, I get to choose my happy ending.
Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.
It’s time to get back to the hotel. Fitz and I have been helping Hazel set up her apartment. Installing the sound system was the last thing on her list, and I’m almost done. But I don’t want this day to end. Not yet.
I don’t want to leave her.
I want to bask in the light of the infectiously cute smile she wears everywhere she goes.
I want to stay with her for the rest of the night.
Forever—if she allows it.
Hazel Beesley has been warming my cold soul since the moment I met her. She isn’t like any women I’ve come across. I met her the summer she came to live with her grandfather.
Everything about Hazel captured my heart from the beginning. Her big eyes, long braids, wicked smile and a smart mouth. Her luscious, full lips. The eagerness to learn and help people. Behind the professional hard shell she shows to the world, there’s a smart, sensitive, caring woman. She adores her family and helps everyone around her.
My relationship with her has been by stages. The big crush happened when I met her. Slowly, I fell in love with her, and one day, we kissed. In that instant, her air became mine, and my soul was branded with her name. Her presence calms the demons inside my head. She knows most of my secrets and my fears. Hazel held my hand while we face my most significant challenges.
My phone buzzes. It’s a text from Harrison, my oldest brother.
No one can help me. I let out a long, frustrated breath. Harrison is her best friend. They are so similar. According to him, I have a hefty price to pay before she forgives me. Then, I must grovel, and maybe we will salvage something. At least, that’s what he said after Christmas.
Harrison: That puzzles me. That the two of you fit just right. You are so different. And yet, you stayed together for a long time.
He’s right. On the surface, we don’t look compatible. However, deep down we fit perfectly. Like a key in its lock, I belong to her. It’s in the way she makes me feel. The yearning when she’s away. The joy I experience when she’s steps away from me. She holds the power in our relationship, not me.
Scott: I regret being a coward, and letting her slip out of my hands knowing that this day would come. The day she’d move back to San Francisco and see the boy she fell in love with since they were kids.
Jesus, I rub the back of my neck. What am I doing here?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This story is absolutely beautiful. Claudia’s writing always makes me feel, but this story really hit me. My heart was twisted and healed all in the same story. I adore the main character Hazel. I will be honest when I say I am usually pretty hypocritical in judging the female characters in a story more than the male characters. However, Hazel has to be one of my favorite female characters I have read in a long time. She is so upbeat and fun, despite everything that she deals with and everything she has been through. I love her strength, her independence, and her ability to stay positive.
I have had the privilege of reading this story in a few different incarnations so I thought that I knew what to expect from the story. I thought that I knew what outcome I would like with the story. I was so incredibly wrong. Claudia so surprised me with the direction of the story and the characters. I ended up being so much more torn than I thought I would, but I was hit with how much it is so much more than what is on the surface. This story really deals with a lot of issues and struggles that you don’t always see and I thought it was handled so perfectly.
There is so much I want to say about this book, but I don’t want to give anything away. I loved everything about this story and Claudia really created an amazing story that is definitely one of my top stories already of the year. I can’t wait to read what she will bring us next.