Broken Embrace by Dana Mason

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00008]Broken Embrace is the third book in a ‘romantic thriller’ series by Mason, one that I’ve been wrapped up in for more than a few days.  The first book “Dangerous Embrace” is the most excellent story of Mark and Sarah who meet under awful circumstances and try to find a way to make their connection stick.  The second book “Precious Embrace” follows Mark’s ex-wife, Ali, and Sarah’s ex from high school, Johnny Rhay, who spend a sensual evening in Hawaii together…can it turn into more when disaster strikes?

The third book – “Broken Embrace” – follows the story of Brian and Melissa, past lovers who find themselves in a unique position to start again.  I’ll be posting my full reviews of all three books throughout this week, but in the meantime here is a great excerpt from Broken Embrace…

Brian stood with one hand on his daughter’s shoulder and one on his son’s, looking out over Erin’s bowed head. He felt like he’d been thrown back in time, back to a day he would never forget.

Their blond heads perfectly matched as they tilted toward each other in an iron embrace. He remembered the day like it was yesterday, the picture clear as the bright blue sky above. He knew right then—with every breath—he loved Melissa. Who gets this stuff at eight years old? He would’ve laughed at the idea if he had the energy. Who the hell understands what love is at eight? It didn’t make sense, but he couldn’t deny it.

Watching Melissa and Ali cry over their father’s coffin twenty-six years ago was so like today. There they stood, holding each other again, Ali’s hand reached out to Johnny’s, but her arm around Melissa, their heads together, crying all over again. He remembered how hard it had been for them both. He wanted to cry, too, and he did, for Ali and for Melissa. It hurt him in his soul to see the pain and tears in her eyes.

He looked again at Julie’s shining coffin glinting in the bright sun and wanted to kick himself for thinking about Melissa on this day, the very day he had to put his wife in the ground. If Julie could hear his thoughts, she would hate him. Ironically enough, so would Melissa. Melissa would never respect him, not after what he’d done to her, especially if she knew what he was thinking about now.

How did we get here? How did so many things change since that day? Nothing had turned out the way he’d planned. Back then, and for years after, his future was sure. He never doubted where life would lead him. But how could he regret? How could he—as he stood there with his kids—regret his family? Regret his life to this point? Regret Julie? No, he didn’t, of course not, but regret Melissa? Yes, he regretted losing Melissa. He loved Erin and Cody with his whole heart. He’d loved Julie, too, but Melissa was different. He couldn’t explain it, just different than Julie. Melissa held a part of his soul. To this day, she still gripped it in her hands. That part of him had been missing the day he’d proposed to Julie, and every day since then.

Melissa will always have it, even after she marries that jerk-off from Berkeley. Even then, she’ll still own a part of him. His stomach lurched at the thought of her with him, that puny, little clone with no heart or passion. Melissa was full of piss and vinegar, how long would it take this jerk to squash that out of her.

Is this what it felt like to Melissa? Had she felt this sinking, overwhelming sickness when she’d found out about him and Julie? Had she been living with it for all these years? Had her love for him been equal to his for her? He couldn’t remember if he’d ever told her how much he loved her. Did she know? Did that make everything harder for her? Did Julie understand how much he loved her? It’s too late to fix that—she’s gone—Jules is gone. Julie is dead! Did she understand how important she was to him? Even after the hateful things he’d said, he still loved her, and now she was gone.

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