FORGIVE ME by Eliza Freed
“The thing he loves most in the world will kill him. It’s only a matter of time . . . ”
College student Charlotte O’Brien is lost and she can’t find her way home. Devastated by her parents’ tragic deaths, she aches for any kind of connection…and finds it in a man who is all wrong for her. Jason Leer is a rough-hewn steer wrestler from Oklahoma-and the hottest thing Charlotte has ever laid eyes on. Yet he has his own dark secrets…
Burying herself in Jason, Charlotte soon discovers that life doesn’t have to be so painful. When they’re together their passion eclipses everything-and Charlotte can finally begin to see a way out of the darkness of her past. Fighting for a future with Jason won’t be easy, but for the first time since her parents’ deaths, this lost soul might have finally found a place that feels like home.
I sit up and a pain jabs from my neck down between my shoulders. I roll my head as I pinch the muscle on both sides. The kink will take days to come out. It’s from attempting to sleep on the concrete wall that is Jason Leer’s chest. He is painful. But the thought of sleeping without him sends a chill down my spine. Watching him sleep, his black hair circling his face, makes him seem so gentle and calm. He looks sweet in his sleep, but Jason’s not sweet. He’s some force between good and evil that whisks me away from everything I’m afraid of.
We should be talking more, though. We exist in silence. No one has sex this often without speaking. I’m not sure what has to be said, but I think everyone else is talking about something. The world is communicating. Jason rolls onto his side. He reaches out and grabs my hip. Without opening his eyes he slides his hand up my side until he comes to my breast and there he rests his hand as he smiles. My stomach flips and I cannot help but smile, too. This cowboy is doing something to me. Jason’s eyes open and rise to me, his hand never leaving my breast.
“What’s your favorite color?” I ask.
Jason seems frustrated, or amused. For Jason, the two emotions might be the same.
“You’ve known my favorite color since we first learned the names of the colors,” he says, sitting up.
“Red? Is it red?”
“Are you thinking, Annie?”
“Thinking about what?”
“Thinking in general. Trying to figure this out? Trying to make sense of everything. It’s probably the reason we’ve never been together before last week. The entire world doesn’t have to make perfect sense.”
I take a deep breath. Why does he piss me off so much?
“I can tell by your anger I’m right,” he says, and pulls me onto his lap. He throws one leg over the side of his body and I’m pretty sure he could hog-tie me if he wanted to. “My favorite color is red.”
“Do you think you’re falling in love with me?” I ask, afraid of the answer.
“What are you doing with me then?” I need to know, but panic seizes me. I need him so much.
“Surviving.” I look down at his chest. My hands find his nipples and with both between my fingers I consider pulling until he yelps.
“I don’t understand,” I say, barely above a whisper.
“Falling in love with you does not begin to describe what’s going on.” Jason tilts my chin up so I’m forced to see his gray eyes. “I felt like I was walking around dead from the day my mom died until I drove you to Stoners Lane.” He pauses and I remember how he stole me. “You are the only thing I need. The only thing I want. And you consume me every minute of every day. With you, I am alive. Without you, I am not,” he says, and the weight of his words crushes me. “‘I love you’ just doesn’t properly convey that.”
“Oh,” I say.
“Stop thinking. Give your mind a break and just be with me.” I slide closer to him and kiss him. By the time he bends me backward onto the bed I forget what we were even talking about.
Charlotte and Jason have known each other most of their lives. They grew up as friends, but drifted apart when they started high school. Tragedy strikes, bringing them together and forming a bond that others don’t seem to understand. Their relationship is not an easy one; Charlotte lives in New Jersey, Jason lives in Oklahoma. Despite the distance, they are determined to try to make their relationship work; however, the distance may turn out to be more than they can handle. Jason is fiercely protective of Charlotte, and doesn’t approve of some of the choices that she makes, and wants her to move to Oklahoma with him. Once given the option, this is a decision that Charlotte struggles with.
Charlotte wants to prove to Jason that they can make their relationship work, even with the distance. They travel to see each other as much as they can, but it eventually it seems to become too much for them both. Charlotte tells Jason that she will move, but keeps asking him for more time. He is extremely patient with her in the beginning, but begins to feel that she is stringing him along, and doesn’t really want to move.
Will it take a near-tragedy for Charlotte to see that her relationship with Jason is more important than a career? Once she finally makes up her mind, will she be too late? There is an unexpected twist at the end that will have you begging for book 2 now. Great 4 star read.
About the author:
Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks and her neighbors began to talk; her mother told her to find a job.
She settled into Corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It’s during this time she became an avid observer of the characters we meet and the heartaches we endure. Her years of study have taught her laughter is the key to survival, even when it’s completely inappropriate.
She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. An avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she’d rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she has always been a sucker for a love story…the more screwed up the better.
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