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.
Grandma O flipped the light switch to what she called my office and stood just inside the door, her soft features and gentle smile inviting me in. I shivered, poised one step away, with a strange yet familiar emotion rushing through me—an awareness that the instant I entered, my life would be forever changed. Again.
Was this Matthew’s plan all along? They all seemed in on it, the thought making me feel railroaded and agitated, yet oddly aroused and enchanted too. Unsure how to deal with such conflicting emotions, I moved forward, looking to Grandma O for answers as I walked through.
The office was spacious, slightly smaller than Matthew’s, with a mahogany desk in the far corner and in front of an expansive bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. I ran my fingertips along the colorful wall of psychology books and periodicals as I walked along, passing a leather couch on my way to the desk, my desk, and paused in front of an empty nook within the bookcase.
It struck me as odd, the cold wooden surface needing something to spruce it up, make it mine. I had to think about that, my anxiety making it difficult to ponder the issue, my restlessness preventing me from staying in one place.
I moved to the windows and stared out the tiny cracks between the blinds, the world outside just as complicated as the one I had chosen to live in.
“We all read your master’s thesis,” Grandma O said, her voice pulling me out of my thoughts. “It’s obvious you have a natural gift for research and writing.”
I turned and looked at her, questioning how they’d gotten their hands on a copy.
Sedation in the ICU: Patient Accounts of Their Dreams, Their Pain, Their Fears; I hadn’t published it. As it was, after countless hours revisiting old charts and conducting hundreds of interviews, I’d never been more nervous or scared the instant it was pulled from my tight grip to be placed into the hands of someone who would actually read it. There was no way I’d ever publish it, opening myself up to a world filled with critics.
“If you’re wondering, Dr. Moi is a personal friend of Professor Marienetti. The sexual fantasies accounted for and described within your research were fascinating, probably more so than Dr. Marienetti could digest. We’re baffled as to why you chose not to publish. The results, Jess, are far reaching, from ICUs to dentists’ offices. You have a special gift; embrace it.”
She walked toward me and leaned her back against the wall, her gaze drinking in the room.
“This office has been vacant, just waiting for you. You could do great things here.” She patted my arm, her grandmotherly smile telling me it would all be okay. “I’m next door if you need anything.”
Embrace it, I thought, watching as she walked out the door. I’d heard that advice before—from Matthew. I sighed and looked down upon the desk, the one I knew would take me a while to start calling my own.
My desk, my office, my couch, it all sounded quite foreign. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.
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About the Author:
J.M. Maurer lives with her family in Chicago. She makes it a point to never work on a full moon and cringes when a coworker uses the “Q” word—never, ever say, “It’s a quiet day today," at her day job.
Known for being overly superstitious, she can usually be found scraping at the remnants of a Nutella container, screaming at a hockey game, or putting pen to paper, allowing the “real” crazy voices in her head to come alive. And after all this, it’s no wonder she’s an incurable romantic and loves escaping the rat race of life to immerse herself inside the world of a really good romance book . . . because, after all, what’s better than a happily-ever-after?
Find J.M. Maurer Here:
Amazon Author Page: bit.ly/AmznJMMaurer