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★★★ BROKEN LOVE by Evan Grace ★★★
Series: Love Stings, Book #1
★ SYNOPSIS ★
As a young woman, Abby Carmichael had it all—until the night a stranger tore it away…A year and half after the brutal sexual assault, Abby is finally starting to feel like her old self. Teaching dance classes with enthusiastic kids is just the kind of job she needs—far away from probing eyes or vicious intentions of the opposite sex. When she connects with one of her students, Natalie, it isn’t long until she meets her father, Deputy Ben James.
Ben James is just a regular guy, working to make a life for himself and his daughter…
That’s what Abby tells herself when her sudden attraction for Ben catches her off guard. Abby has been steering clear of men for obvious reasons, and the idea of wanting that kind of relationship is more terrifying than intriguing. But with his doe-eyed daughter tugging at her dance uniform, Ben takes notice.
He’s ready for love, but does her past hold too many secrets?
After the assault, Abby coped by using heavy medication and fell into an ugly chain of one-night stands. But now that she’s out of rehab and finally on the right track, it’s only a matter of time before Ben finds out.
Will Abby be the true love Ben has always wanted? Or is she a tangled challenge, leading to yet another…
★★ #ONECLICK ★★
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★★ EXCERPT ★★
Chapter One: Abby
I stare at the stream of smoke that floats up from the joint burning in my ashtray. The smell is sweet and comforting as I pop another Xanax into my mouth. I need to hurry. I’ve already taken five and I don’t want to pass out before I can finish what I started and end this pain. I need to do this. I need to stop hurting and feeling dirty. I’m tired of watching my parents hurting because they don’t know how to help me. I’m tired of my brothers and sister avoiding me because they don’t know how to deal with what I’ve become. My best friend and cousin, Carrington, watches me constantly with a guilty stare. It’s not her fault I was followed back to our apartment after I went home sick from work and she was gone on a date.
I can’t stand being touched anymore, especially by my family. I’m so dirty now and I don’t want any of that to rub off on them. I can’t remember the last time I let my dad, Dylan, or my real dad, Cash, hug me. I used to love hugs from Gramps, but now the thought of his hands on me makes me want to vomit. My entire family changed after I was raped six months ago. After it happened, I moved back into my parents’ home.
My parents and I fight every day. I’ve become erratic and foolish, going home with men I don’t know and letting them use my body. I feel like I have control when I let them fuck me. Then I come home to scrub the feel of them off my skin and force myself to vomit over and over and over. My parents have tried punishing me, reasoning with me, but I’m twenty-one and they can’t make me do shit. They’ve tried therapy, and all that got me was the constant supply of Xanax.
I take a hit of the joint and let the smoke travel down into my lungs and hold it there until I finally exhale it slowly. I put two more pills in my mouth and swallow them with a swig of the beer I grabbed out of my dad’s refrigerator in the garage. I’m starting to feel a little woozy. I stand on unsteady legs, staggering to my full-length mirror. I stare at my reflection and don’t recognize the person looking back at me. My golden blonde hair is dyed a mousy plain brown. It’s stringy and lifeless along with my complexion. I’ve always had a light tanned glow, but now I’m sallow. My blue eyes are dull. I hate what I’ve become. I hate him for taking something that wasn’t his to take in the first place.
I scream, my fist flying through the air until I strike my mirror. I watch my reflection splinter as the mirror cracks. I hit it again and again until my arms feel too heavy to lift anymore. I collapse to the floor when someone starts pounding on my door. “Abby, let me in right now!” my dad shouts. I ignore him as I begin to cry while crawling to my bed, grabbing two more Xanax. My head feels like it’s filled with marshmallows. I quickly swallow them. “Please, baby girl,” I hear him beg, and I begin to cry harder. Dylan may not be my biological father, but that doesn’t matter. He’s been my daddy since I met him when I was five, then when he married my mom and adopted me. I hear more pounding and shouting as I lie on my back and stare at the ceiling.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper as I hear wood splintering and then more screaming and shouting. I whisper it over and over as I stare up into the tear-filled eyes of my daddy.
I think about when I was nine and he took me to my piano lessons and whenever he left me at the door to the room, he knelt in front of me and said, “I love you, baby girl. No matter what, I will always love you. Forever and ever.”
I felt myself being lifted. Fingers enter my mouth, and I hear those soft words spoken directly into my ear. “I love you, baby girl. Forever and ever.” His words make me feel warm as everything finally ends.
A Midwesterner and self-proclaimed nerd, Evan has been an avid reader most of her life, but five years ago got bit by the writing bug, and it quickly became her addiction, passion and therapy. When the voices in her head give it a rest, she can always be found with her e-reader in her hand. Some of her favorites include, Shayla Black, Jaci Burton, Madeline Sheehan and Jamie Mcguire. Evan finds a lot of her inspiration in music, so if you see her wearing her headphones you know she means business and is in the zone.
During the day Evan works for a large homecare agency and at night she’s superwoman. She’s a wife to Jim and a mom to Ethan and Evan, a cook, a tutor, a friend and a writer. How does she do it? She’ll never tell.
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