Thursday, May 16, 2013

Drowning in Love by Beth Rinyu ~ Prologue and giveaway


Mia Taylor has a huge heart, but just how much pain can one heart endure? Mia was living the picture perfect life, engaged to her high school sweetheart and working at her dream job at an upscale salon in New York City. She had it all. Until the day her past, present and future were taken away, leaving her to face the world scared and alone. Trying to pick up the pieces of her broken life, while mourning the devastating loss of her fiancé she just goes through the motions as an empty shell.

Enter Travis Montgomery, Olympic swimmer and totally gorgeous. He has several medals under his belt and just as many women. Mia is well aware of his womanizing reputation and refuses to be his next conquest, but finds herself coming alive again whenever she’s around him. They agree to be “just friends,” quickly finding that they are unable to fight the attraction between them. Mia’s life becomes complete once again with Travis in it; but nothing good lasts forever, at least not in Mia’s world. Torn apart by an ugly secret, Mia’s heart is broken once again.

When the unthinkable happens and Travis needs Mia the most, she must reach deep inside to find forgiveness for the one man who will always hold the key to her shattered heart. But will doing so only break it further; this time beyond repair?

Drowning in Love

 What defines the perfect life? Well, I wasn’t quite sure but I was fairly certain that mine was pretty close to it. I was marrying my high school sweetheart in just a few short months. Together, we had pursued our dream of living in New York City in our tiny Greenwich Village apartment. But to me, it didn’t matter where we lived, as long as I was with Eric Callahan - I was happy. I first met Eric in the fifth grade. I was the new girl and couldn’t help but notice the cute boy with the big brown doe eyes who sat in the front of the class because of his constant chattering. I was told to stay away from him because he belonged to Tiffany Bennet, the most popular and mean spirited girl in the fifth grade. All of the boys liked her, probably because she had something that most ten year old girls lack - boobs. So, being the new girl and wanting to fit in, I kept my distance.  All throughout middle school, I crushed on him from afar, and even though Tiffany had long since moved on to someone new, I still never had the guts to tell him how I felt. It wasn’t until Mrs. McVay’s tenth grade biology class, that I finally got the nerve to talk to him. Eric and I were partnered up during the frog dissection unit. Since I was totally grossed out by the whole thing, Eric just took charge and did everything. Ever since that day that’s how it’s been. Eric was my best friend, my finder of lost things, my foot warmer on a cold winter night, keeper of my heart and my soul mate. He was a New York City Police officer, and I had followed my love of cosmetology and was working at a very upscale New York City Salon. I had never been happier. But sometimes happiness can be taken away in the blink of an eye, leaving you scared, alone and wondering how you will ever pick up the pieces of what was once a fairy tale life.
 I stepped out of the shower into the tiny steam ridden bathroom, while Eric stood at the bathroom sink, shaving and wiping the condensation from the mirror.

       “Sorry,” I said as I wrapped myself in the towel and hugged him from behind.

      He turned around with his half shaven face and hugged me back. “That’s okay, but only because you’re so cute.”

      “Can you believe that in a little less than three months, I will no longer be Mia Taylor?”
He kissed me on the forehead. “I can’t wait. All of these overtime shifts will have paid off when I’m sitting on a beach in Aruba with Mrs. Mia Callahan.”

     I smiled just thinking about our honeymoon. “I wish we could both call out today and stay in bed and practice for that honeymoon.” My towel fell off when I lifted my arms and wrapped them around his neck.

     He looked down at my naked body. “You’re killin’ me Mia.” He glanced at his watch. “Ten minutes?”

     “I’ll take it!” I grabbed his hand and led him into the bedroom.
     I got through the work day with ease and stopped off at the store. I called Eric once I was home. It was six o’clock and he was working until seven. “I’m cooking your favorite tonight, eggplant parm, so don’t eat anything.”

     “You will be home on time, right?”
     “Yup, and you know I want to pick up where we left off this morning.”
     I giggled. “Eric….is Ian right there with you?” Ian was Eric’s partner.
     “Yeah, he doesn’t pay attention to anything though.” He was silent for a moment as I heard a call coming over the radio. “Awe damn! I may be just a little late.”

     “Ugh….Okay, I’ll keep it warm for you. I love you and be careful.”
     “Always and I love you too.”
     I hated his crazy schedule. He had been working so hard, picking up every over-time shift that he could get to pay for our wedding and honeymoon. We just had to get through the next three days and then we were on vacation for a whole week. We didn’t have any plans other than finalizing the wedding details and just taking time to slow down and relax. After two hours of slicing, breading, frying and baking I was finally taking the eggplant from the oven when I heard a knock on my door. Eric must have forgotten his key again. His timing was perfect. I opened the door and instead of seeing Eric on the other side, it was two police officers who I didn’t know.
      “Mia Taylor?”
     “Yeah?” I felt my heart drop to my knees. Somehow I knew, they didn’t need to say anything – I just knew.

     “Mia there’s been a shooting…..” those were the last words I heard before I totally blacked out.

     I was sitting on my couch; I didn’t even know how I got there. The female police officer handed me a glass of water as she held a cold rag on my head. “Are you okay?” I couldn’t answer. I was in shock. She took my hand and rubbed it gently.

     “I need to go see him.” My voice was shaking.
     “Okay, are you sure you’re okay. Do you need us to call you an ambulance to have you checked out?” The male police officer asked.

     “No, I just need to see Eric, he needs me.” I began to cry.
     The female police officer placed her hand on my shoulder. “We’ll take you to the hospital, Mia.”

     “Has anyone notified his parents?” I asked.
     “Yes, they’re on their way.”
      I threw on my flip-flops and followed them out the door.
     When we arrived at the hospital, the male police officer checked in with the nurse. Eric was still in surgery. I took a seat in the waiting area. The female police officer, who had finally introduced herself as Judy, took a seat next to me.

     “Mia, is there anyone that you would like me to call, to be here with you?” I knew that I had to break the news to my mother. Since I probably wouldn’t even be able to get the words out without breaking down; I gave Judy her phone number to handle it.

      I pulled my legs up onto the chair and wrapped my arms around them. I rested my head on my knees and thought back to this morning. We were talking about our wedding, our honeymoon, our life together as husband and wife. Never in a million years, did I imagine that I’d be sitting in a hospital while he was fighting to make that life happen.

     “Is Ian okay?” I asked finally lifting my head from my knees.
     “He’s okay. He’s in a state of shock. He’s not handling this too well,” Judy said.
     Of course, he wasn’t handling this well. He and Eric were super close. They had been partners since Eric had joined the force.  He thought of Eric as a younger brother.

     My tears began to fall once again when I saw Eric’s parents. His mother’s eyes were swollen and I could tell that she was feeling the same way that I was.

     “Mia!” The tears rolled down her face. She wrapped her arms around me and we both broke down together. Eric’s mom and dad were like a second set of parents to me. Eric’s father was always such a big strong looking man, but tonight he seemed as fragile as glass as he hugged me tightly.

     We sat together in silence waiting for Eric’s doctor to appear and tell us that everything was going to be okay. Unfortunately, the news that he had to deliver was the opposite of what we wanted to hear. Eric was shot in the jaw. The bullet had lodged in his shoulder and tore through two main arteries in his neck, which had severely affected his blood flow. His brain was greatly affected by the lack of oxygen. There were a few more tests they wanted to do, but right now the prognosis seemed grim.
It was if my mother and stepfather appeared right when I needed them most. “Mom!” I cried.
     “Oh, Mia!” She hugged me tightly. I felt like a little kid again as I curled up in her arms. My stepfather took the empty seat on the other side of me and gently rubbed my back. Once I felt calm enough to speak, I gave them an update on Eric.
     “But it’s okay, he’s going to pull through this and everything is going to be okay, I just know it,” I said.
     “Mia, they have him in a room. Would you like to go see him?” Eric’s father asked.
     I nodded and stood up on my shaky legs.  I followed Eric’s father down the hallway and into Eric’s room. He led me in and then immediately walked out to give me some privacy.
     Eric was hooked up to every machine imaginable with a tube down his throat. It pained me just to look at him. I took his hand in mine as the tears rolled down my face.
     “This wasn’t supposed to happen, Eric. You can’t leave me. I won’t be able to live in a world without you.” The haunting rhythm of the beeping machines was a painful reminder that this was the only thing keeping him alive. “I can’t say goodbye to you, I just can’t. You have to pull through this. We have so many things that we have planned in life and if you think I’m going to let you back out of them because of this, you’re wrong.  Please, Eric…..please.” I buried my face into his chest and began to sob.

     I still had my head buried in his chest and was clutching to his hand tightly when his father walked back in the room.
     “Mia,” his tone was gentle.
     I lifted my head and smiled through my tear filled eyes. “He’s going to be okay, you don’t have to worry,” I said.
     He closed his eyes as if my words pained him. He took my hand and helped me up, leading me back into the waiting area, to my parents.
     “Mia, why don’t you let us take you home and get some sleep and we’ll come back first thing in the morning?” My stepfather gently asked.
     “No, if he wakes up I need to be here.”
     “Mia, sweetie. It’s after midnight, you need to go home and get some rest,” my mother said.
     “Mom, he is going to wake up. You know that right? He would never leave me.” I could feel the hysteria in my voice as I tried not only to convince my mother but also myself of that fact.
     Her eyes filled up with tears. She didn’t respond. She just pulled me to her and kissed me on the head.
I said my goodbyes to Eric’s parents. They were sticking around for a little while longer and then staying at Eric’s Aunt’s apartment, who also lived in the city.
     “Promise me that you will call me if anything happens?” I asked.
     “I promise.” Eric’s mother answered
     I hugged her tightly. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said. It was now just a waiting game – the longest wait of my life.
     Three days had past and the test results were not what anyone had hoped for. Eric had no brain activity whatsoever. But I was still holding out hope. Eric was still here physically and that’s all that mattered. I could still feel the warmth of his skin and kiss his lips, so to me he was still alive. I hunkered down in his room for the past seventy two hours, only leaving when the nurse’s would come in and tell me that visiting hours were over. I would talk to him just as if he were there listening to me. I talked about our wedding, our honeymoon and what our life together would be like after we were married.
     I was in my usual spot, sitting in the chair right along Eric’s bedside with his hand in mine, when his dad walked in the room.

     “I was just telling Eric, that once we have kids we really need to move back home, away from the city.  That would be better for you guys too, because then you would get to see your grandkids all the time,” I said.

     Eric’s dad looked at me sympathetically. “Mia, we’ve made the decision. Eric wouldn’t want to be kept alive this way.”

     I shook my head in disbelief. “No, no, no!” I shouted. “Please, don’t! He’s alive, he’s breathing. Please don’t take him away from me. I will die right along with him. Eric is strong, he’s going to wake up; I know it.” I was trying to catch my breath. Eric’s father looked at me with tear-filled eyes as the nurse came running in, hearing my screams.

     “Is everything okay?” she asked.

     I bent down and hugged Eric. “Please don’t let them do this….please. He loves me and I love him. We’re going to get married and have kids. Please I’m begging you.”

     Eric’s father had tears rolling down his face as he looked at me. “I’m sorry Mia.” He put his head down and walked out the door.

     I buried my head into Eric’s chest and began to sob. “Eric, please wake up, baby. Don’t let them do this to you.”

     The nurse came over and tried to gently pry me away from him, but it was useless. I wasn’t budging. She finally gave up and walked out the door, leaving me alone one last time with Eric.  I kissed him over and over again. I wanted to taste him on my lips for the rest of my life. I took a deep breath, memorizing every inch of his familiar face. I rested my head on his shoulder and whispered in his ear, “I will love you forever Eric….”

Release date:  Summer 2013

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Other titles by Beth Rinyu

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