The Living Series by Melody Dawn
To Live Again (The Living Series #1)
This is Living (The Living Series #1.5)
New Adult / Contemporary Romance
Chloe: She's broken beyond repair.
Jayson: He's determined to fix her and make her love him in the process.
Chloe has the perfect life or so everyone thinks.
She tried to leave her past behind, but it follows her like a dark shadow. Drowning in guilt, she's dying to live, but sees no way out. So she tries to fool herself and everyone else into believing she is fine.
But Jayson sees through the act that Chloe puts up for everyone else and he's going to do everything in his power to help her to live again.
Can Chloe let go, or will that night forever ruin her future?
“A really sweet strong about overcoming tragedy and learning to forgive yourself. I would recommend it for everyone!” - 5 Star Goodreads Review “I will just say: She has the story. Interesting and somewhat heartbreaking story.” - 5 Star from Ani’s Reviews “I loved this book!!! From the very first pages I was pulled in and didn’t put it down.” - 5 Star from Reading the Sheets “This book is well written, so emotional a tear jerker for sure but a must read.” - 5 Star from AJ’s Book ReMarks
The first time Jayson Reece saw Chloe Schaeffer, he knew she would be his forever. He promised her then that he would show her how to live rather than just letting life pass her by. Now, 9 years later, they’ve had the storybook romance, a picture perfect wedding, and two twin boys to complete the family they always wanted.
But something is missing…
With two rambunctious boys, Chloe decides to be a stay-at-home mom until the boys are old enough to go to school. So, with her dreams of being a social worker put on hold, she throws everything she has into being the perfect mother and wife.
Jayson has a very demanding career as an Emergency Room physician. He tries to balance out his workload and that of being a family man, but lately his job has come first. Is he beginning to lose focus on the things that are most important to him?
Will Chloe’s drive for perfection and the challenges of Jayson’s career drive them apart? Or will they realize that love creates the perfection she desires and the balance he needs to keep his family together?
There’s only one thing left to do. Jayson needs to renew his promise to Chloe and she needs to trust Jayson to get them back to where they belong.
A place where living and loving is required…those only wanting to exist need not apply.
“I laughed, I cried and laughed again. This is a heartwarming story and you will throuoghly enjoy it.” - 5 Star from Alpha Book Club “Man, I just loved this book. Just have a box of tissues handy, and have your best book friend in your messages so you can vent, you will need someone to listen.” - 5 Star from We’re Jumpin’ Books “A must read of 2016. I can't wait for the rest of this series.” - 5 Star from Tracy’s Book Blog “This is at times an extremely emotional read! But hold on for the ride!” - 5 Star from Goodreads Review
To Live Again
After getting out of the shower, I finish my morning routine. Taking in a breath, I know it’s time. I have to look in the mirror to check my appearance before I can leave the bathroom. I slowly raise my head and look, hoping that I can do it quickly without really having to notice my eyes. But, as usual, I stare into my reflection for a moment. I see the dark circles and notice that my violet eyes look the way they usually do, like I have no soul, because really I don’t; not anymore.
I know there is nothing I can do to change it, so I turn around and leave the bathroom and go off to start another new semester at Rice University. Pulling into the student parking lot, I find a place to park. I breathe deeply, relax my face muscles, and pull on the smiling mask that everyone expects of me and go looking for my class.
I am double majoring in Sociology and Psychology since I hope to become a social worker. Because of this, I am always looking to take classes that will help me understand what people are going through and how they react to dire situations. My first class on my new schedule will definitely help with that. It’s called Psychology 305: Death and Dying-Understanding the Grieving Process.
As I make my way across the parking lot, it occurs to me that it’s sort of ironic that I’m taking this class. Maybe I will get some insight into myself and finally some closure. Yeah right, and maybe I will sleep until 5:50 in the morning. Shaking my head in disgust, I square my shoulders and open the door, looking for my favorite seat…1st row, 3rd seat, closest to the door.
Immediately, I see it is already taken by a very large, very beautiful boy. Holy hell and hotness. He’s so gorgeous, but he is in my seat, so hot or not, he’s going to have to move it. If he doesn’t, at least I will have had a chance to talk to him and look at him; yeah, I’m so objectifying him right now. I bet feminism just slid back a couple of centuries, but surely women everywhere will understand when they get a load of what I’m seeing.
Even so, I walk up to his desk and as he looks up at me, I see the most gorgeous green eyes and black hair. Green eyes are my weakness and he is certainly no exception. I am standing there just staring at him so I know I have to act like I’m not affected by him at all. It’s kind of written in the girl code handbook that we can’t let hot guys know how they affect us, right?
Keeping this in mind, I look at him and say, “Excuse me, you’re in my seat.”
He laughs and says, “No sweetheart, I’m in my seat.”
I roll my eyes and move to the next seat over. A few seconds later, he taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey, I’m Jayson or Jase, which ever you would like to call me.”
I glare at him and ask, “So? What makes you think I am going to call you anything?” He just winks at me and smiles a devastating smile. “If you want this seat, the price is introducing yourself.”
Feeling like something big is happening, I reach out my hand and say, “Hi, I’m Chloe Schaeffer.”
As our hands touch, I feel a spark of electricity and we both look at each other in a shocked way. We sit there for a second, staring at each other, with clasped hands. Jerking my hand back, I stand and wait as he gets up to exchange seats with me while feeling a little bad that I made such a big deal about a desk.
When he stands up, I look up at him and it’s a long way up there. He has black hair that looks like he either ran his hands through it a bunch of times or he just naturally has that sexy fall out of bed look. You know the kind people pay stylists a ton of money to get? Not to mention the green eyes, I know I already did, but God can you blame me?
I keep ogling him and the view just gets better and better. He has on a RU t-shirt and faded jeans that fit him just right paired with black Harley boots. But the best thing of all is his mouth. His lips are full and gorgeous and look like they’re made for sinning and I definitely want to be the first to fall from grace. I snap back to myself when I see him just standing there. I think he is secretly laughing at me so now I don’t feel so bad about stealing his seat.
The professor comes into the room and as he begins droning on and on about death, I keep sneaking peeks over at my sexy neighbor and C-R-A-P, crap, he just caught me checking him out. He looks back at me and winks. I immediately blush and look away and it hits me that for a moment, I forgot the hell that is my life.
This is Living
Carrying me over to the small bed, he starts to lay me down; however I refuse to let go of him.
“Wait, are these sheets clean? Who else has been in this bed?”
I feel his chest moving against me and I know he is trying not to laugh out loud. Punching him in the arm, I say, “Don’t laugh at me; you know how I am! I just don’t want to be lying in someone else’s stuff.”
“Well, I’m the only one that’s been on shift the last two days, so you don’t have anything to worry about.”
Are you sure about that? I shut my eyes at the thought that crossed my mind because just the idea of it makes me want to hurl. I open my eyes and he is just staring at me with an odd look on his face.
“Why are you looking at me like that,” I ask in a quiet panic. Surely, he doesn’t know what I was just thinking.
“You tell me. Why did you shut your eyes with a pained look on your face and hesitate when I said it was only me that’s been using this bed?”
His ability to read me has me at a loss for words. I start to answer, but then shut my mouth. I’m not sure what to say that isn’t going to sound like an accusation. Maybe I should just say what’s been bothering me, then he can reassure me and we’ll move on.
“Uh, I don’t know. You haven’t been home for two days and didn’t call, plus you only texted when I texted first. I just thought…” Good one, Chloe, that didn’t sound accusatory at all.
Pulling away from me, he walks over to where he left his scrubs and starts to get dressed. “Wait, what are you doing?”
With his jaw clenched and eyes flashing, he shakes his head. “Get dressed, Chloe. Go home. I will talk to you later.”
“Go home? For your information, I’m not some child you get to send away. I cannot believe you just said that to me.”
“I don’t know what to say to you. I haven’t looked at another woman since the day I laid eyes on you. You can say a lot of things about me, but cheating isn’t one of them.”
Shit, shit, shit! This is not what I wanted. Why the hell didn’t I listen to Madison? “I didn’t mean anything by what I said. I was just stating that I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“It sure as hell sounds like you were accusing me of cheating on you. Is that really what you think I’ve been doing the past couple of days?”
He looks so angry and I hate it more than anything. I don’t do well with confrontation and this is even worse than usual.
Instead of reassuring him, I’m standing there frozen, unable to speak. When he sees I’m not going to answer, he slams his hand down on a locker while cursing.
“Jayson, you are putting words in my mouth,” I finally manage to say.
Feeling exposed, I began yanking my clothes on. It’s obvious nothing is going to happen here and I’m not standing here naked while he yells at me.
“Ok, then tell me what you were thinking and don’t lie to me. I’m really fucking pissed right now so tell me that I’m wrong.”
Without waiting for an answer, he yells, “No, I’m not pissed, I’m fucking hurt that you would think so little of me. All these years and nothing has changed, has it?”
“Stop this now,” I tell him in a shaky voice.
“We need to both take a step back and take a breath before we say something we can’t take back. You haven’t called or come home, so yes, I was feeling a bit insecure. I also may have let my emotions and my brain run away from me, but don’t you EVER accuse me by saying nothing has changed. You know that’s not true. I think I will go home. This is not the place or time to discuss issues such as these and I’m not going to stand here and scream back and forth like some characters on a reality show just to get my point across.”
I can see my words are hitting home with him and now I’m the angry one. I never came out and accused him of cheating on me. You sure didn’t say that he hadn’t when he asked you, did you? I ruthlessly tamp down on these thoughts because while we are both in the wrong here, one of us has to walk away. If it has to be me, then so be it.
He’s still standing in front of the door and as I near him, I can see the tired lines of his face. I hate that he is so exhausted. I hate that we fought with such hateful words…this is the worst fight we’ve ever had…even more so than when I left him sitting in a restaurant 9 years ago. When I reach him, I wrap my arms around his waist and rest my head on his chest. His body is stiff against mine, but finally he wraps his arms around me and squeezes.
“I’m sorry I hurt you. I was freaked out when I didn’t hear from you last night and you didn’t come home this morning. Then, when I got here, the new nurse acted strangely when I asked for you.”
He doesn’t let go, but neither does he respond, so I look up at him and wink, trying to get him in a better mood. “This is where you apologize on bended knee. And then let me out of the deal that says I might have to give any money back for swearing.”
Bending down, he places his forehead against mine and says, “I’m sorry, too…for everything. I’m exhausted and I have a bitch of a headache.”
I close the distance and kiss him in reply. “I love you.”
He mumbles, “Me, too, I have to go.”
Suddenly he lets go of me and turns to open the door. All I can think of is that he didn’t say I love you back, just “me, too.”
Before walking out, he stops and presses his forehead against the door while I stand awkwardly behind him. I’m not sure what is going on, but something is. Though it’s killing me, it’s still not the time to talk about it or spring any other news on him. I place my hand in his and wait.
Melody Dawn is an aspiring contemporary romance author residing in the southern part of the US. She started reading romance novels when she was a teenager and became addicted to Happily Ever After’s. She got her own HEA when she met her soulmate 20 years ago and they have been together ever since. They have two furbabies who think they are Kings of the Castle and require a ton of attention. When she is not reading or writing, she loves to refurbish old furniture into new pieces, scrapbook, and most of all spend time with her main guy.