Another fun blog hop!
I would like to share with you a story that is near and dear to my heart. It was heartwrenching to write, but oh-so-satisfying to finish because I am all about the happily ever afters.
Brave is a story about Dakota and Alissa and how they crash into each other. Both scarred, both dealing with terrible memories and hard decisions. They meet at Dakota's cabin in Aspen on the eve of a Christmas blizzard and change each others' lives.
Here is the blurb:
In the season of hope, in the season of giving…
How far would you go for your friend?
Alissa Thompson has been the good girl her whole life. Her uninterested parents don’t understand her hopes and dreams. But this Christmas when her steadfast childhood friend Charlie needs her more than ever, she can’t back down. Crossing the line means being braver than she has ever been in her life. It means changing and growing and taking a stand.
Dakota Gray was brave in the face of debilitating fear. But he lost himself in that blood soaked day and has shunned everything he once knew. Now shattered and broken, he hides out in isolation, his wounds beyond healing. His heart closed, his emotions buried, he’s a man on the edge of self-destructing. Little does he know that courage would be found in another searching for the strength to be brave.
Now snowbound in the Colorado Rockies one week before Christmas, Alissa thought this was about her journey and her friend, about setting him free. But from the moment she meets Dakota, she learns about what real bravery is all about. What real love is all about. But is the season enough, her courage enough, her love enough to heal this hero’s brave heart and in the end set herself free?
Here is an excerpt:
I couldn’t forget how he’d come to my rescue, and it was only natural to be thankful for his help. He’d hefted me up an almost sheer rock face on his bare back. He’d carried me so easily against that wide chest of his. But I knew that my response wasn’t just gratitude for his heroic rescue. I wasn’t exactly innocent. I’d dated in high school and some in college, lost my virginity to a drummer I met at a roadhouse in California. It hadn’t lasted, but he was amazing in bed.
But even back then, I’d known that guy had been a boy. Dakota was a man. He was at least twenty-five or twenty-six, and if he wasn’t a doctor by now, he was still some kind of medical professional.
He was also closed down, tight as a skinflint with his money. I shouldn’t be intrigued by him, but I couldn’t seem to help it. Okay, so he was gorgeous, brooding, and built, but I was no Katherine and he was no Heathcliff, and this certainly wasn’t the moor. As I pondered my rescuer, I absent-mindedly reached down to touch the backpack, to assure myself that the precious cargo was still inside and safe.
His eyes darted to it when he came back into the room, and my possession of it clearly registered. But I certainly wasn’t going to clue him into what was inside. That was strictly my business. This was mine to do and I intended to carry it out. Alone. It was all for Charlie. Emotions from the last time we spoke tried to overwhelm me, but I couldn’t let anything sidetrack me until what I came here to do was done.
Dakota knelt down again, and when he did, the scent of him washed over me, making me breathe deep. Wow, musky and male. What a delicious combination. He set the ice on my ankle, then handed me a glass of water and some ibuprofen.
I reached out and grabbed the medication, my fingertips brushing his palm. I saw him flex his hand when he brought it back to his side.
Still on his knees, he said, “Are you all right?”
“What do you mean?”
“What happened to you out there could have ended very badly.”
I melted. Most of the time I live with people who didn’t even make eye contact with me. Who could care less what happened to me, yet this man, who didn’t want me here, was concerned about my mental state.
“I’m tougher than I look,” I said. “I was scared, but you saved me. Are you asking me if I feel safe here?”
“Yes. I do. Thank you for taking care of me. If you hadn’t been a jerk, I would have said it sooner.”
That brought a reluctant smile to his mouth. Damn, I didn’t think I could melt any more. “I realize it’s an inconvenience and I’m crashing your holiday.”
“That doesn’t matter. What are you doing here in this part of Aspen? This isn’t exactly part of the tourist haunt.”
“I don’t know. Your abominable snowman was pretty interesting.” He wasn’t amused and I shrugged. “It’s private. I’m not discussing it.”
He did that heavy, huffing breath thing again, rose and glared at me. I guess the niceties were over.
“Do you have any luggage?”
“In my car down the hill.”
More huffy breathing, but I saw he was going to get my stuff for me. I don’t think he could have refused. He muttered to himself the whole time he was putting on his coat and fitting on snow shoes.
Our gazes collided and I realized that he knew exactly what I was thinking. Could he see it in my eyes, how sexy I thought he was? Fire blazed in the gray depths. I saw longing there, not lust, but confusion, and wondered if he was attracted against his will.
I was floating, unanchored as our eyes met and held and fused. I felt as lost as he looked. I might have had sex, but I’d had no clue what passion was. No clue at all.
I’d just discovered that passion was tanned skin and gray eyes as elusive and light-tricked as smoke, and a character that wouldn’t falter, even when it was dangerous to continue. This man knew about passion, and my pounding heart responded to the way he returned my gaze. A part of me wanted him to teach me what he knew.
Who was this guy? I trembled with the need to understand, to know him intimately. Even more deeply than I had known my dearest friend and brother of my heart, Charlie.
I trembled because the intensity between us was palpable. Looking at him was almost unbearable.
“Don’t,” he whispered.
“Don’t what?” I noticed his mouth again. It was so sexy, and this time when he spoke, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
The tortured sound of his voice made my stomach clench. The pain in his eyes deepened. “Don’t look at me like that.”
His voice was soft and broken. “I’m not a damn hero.”
I hope you enjoyed my excerpt. We have all sorts of fun posts and giveaways in celebration of the season. Visit these blogs to learn more:
Dec 12th - Zane Sachs
Dec 13th - Krista Pakseresht // Kira Adams
Dec 14th - Chess Desalls
Dec 15th - Kai Strand
Dec 16th - Zoe Dawson
Dec 17th - Amanda Porter
Dec 18th - Joy Penny
Dec 19th - Mary Waibel
Dec 20th - Cynthia Witherspoon
Dec 21st - K.K. Allen
Dec 22nd - Ann Everett
See the entry widget on the above pages and enter to here to win my prize: