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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Winter, Pain, and Depression. Oh My!

As a person who deals with pain and depression on the best of days, the dreary and cold days of winter can be a real challenge. The challenges don’t just affect me. They also take a toll on my relationships, the state of my house, and the quality of my work.

When you’re used to pain on a daily basis it’s very annoying when people who know you ask, “How are you?” If I say, “I’m fine,” they assume I’m pain free and should be happy-go-lucky. In reality, “I’m fine,” means I’m no worse than usual and I am muddling through. If I say “I’m having a bad day,” suddenly I’m being treated like an invalid who can’t do anything for herself or like I’m going to be a drag to be around.

The truth is I consider it a good day if pain doesn’t stop me in my tracks, if I can walk down the steps of my front porch without holding on for dear life, if I can bend over to scoop my cat’s box without holding onto the wall so I don’t fall over. It’s a pretty good day when my fingers aren’t so stiff I can’t type or my knee isn’t in so much pain I can’t bend it without making noise. If I can shave my legs or stand in the kitchen to fix a meal without breaking out in a sweat because of the additional pain, that’s a fabulous day.

I also suffer from extreme anxiety which has worsened as I age. This mostly appears when I’m aware I’m about to face a large crowd of people or it comes out in my sleep as nightmares of the great “what if” that many of us constantly run through in our heads.

Pain, depression, and anxiety are just a part of my life and I don’t dwell on it. I take medication to help dull the affects and I go on about my day. What I don’t do is talk about it unless necessary to protect myself from making it worse. If I need to rest I say so. If I need a break from people I’ll say so. BUT, people who ask every time they see me, “How are you?” make me want to pull my hair out.

The responses in my life range from, “How am I to know you’re in pain if you don’t tell me?” to “All I hear is how you don’t feel well and it’s unhealthy for me to be around you.” So you learn to say “I’m fine.” because that’s what people want to hear and you try not to limp, and you help carry things even if it hurts, and you join the group activities because it’s “healthy,” and you find a way to sleep and hope you don’t cry too much in your sleep or be loud when you deal with it all in your nightmares. Because, for some reason, if I share with someone my pain or sadness or anxiety I’m an unhealthy person in their life and they need to not be around me.

Why do we do this? Why do we punish people for sharing feelings, for showing weakness, for being uncomfortable, or having a genetic health issue?

I’ve been dealing with arthritis and pain in my knees since I was 17 and had my first car accident, followed by injuries twice in college that affected my knees two more times. Add 30 years and you get that my knees are not super happy. YET, I walk 5K’s for charity when I can get to them. I carry in my own groceries and laundry. I never ask for help carrying in two 35 lb buckets of kitty litter. And I make love as often as I can.

I started recognizing the affects of depression in my teens also. It’s emotional and chemical. I didn’t want to be depressed. I did crazy things trying to chase happiness. (I do need to put in here that I never did drugs, but I did drink.) I played the flirty, social girl who was all in no matter what was going on. I went to all the parties. I had too much sex. I had too much alcohol. I hang out with all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. And then I’d go home and lie in my bed and imagine everyone in my life leaving or dying until I’d cry myself to sleep. Had I lost someone early in life? Nope. No reason for it that I can pinpoint. That was just where my mind drifted to when I’d close my eyes.

Later in life I had some actual bad things to stress about. Bad relationships, a daughter to worry about, a toxic relationship with my mother, the realization that I was losing my hearing, loss of a job I loved when the market crashed, broken bones, increased pains in new places, moving to a new state, and then a fall that left me with a torn hip. I found out I had two torn rotator cuffs, 2 slipped disks in my back, degenerative arthritis, and yes I was going deaf and needed hearing aids. The day I’d found out I’d torn the labrum in my hip during a fall in the snow I fell again and broke 3 bones in my foot. The day I went to get the MRI before surgery to fix one of the rotator cuffs I got a 3rd degree burn that took almost 6 months of doctor visits to close up enough so I could have the surgery.

You can’t make this shit up.

Put all of those things in cold wet weather and “VOILA!” Increased pain, which leads to increased depression, which leads to decreased sleep, which leads to increased pain, which leads to increased anxiety, etc., etc., etc.

I’ve learned to smile and fake it because no one wants to hear all that. I’ve learned that people who aren’t in my skin will never grasp what a day in my life is life. I’ve learned what is getting through a day for me is lazy and unhealthy to others. I rarely drink anymore and I’ve still never done drugs, but if I were to do so and get a jolt of energy to clean and run around the block, no matter the affects it would take on my body, and lose weight because I’d be too high to eat I’d actually get less crap from the people in my life. What kind of bullshit is that?

Because I don’t push my body into more pain I’m “not trying” or I “like feeling bad.” (That second one makes me want to slap someone.) I’ve been told, “It’s easier to feel sorry for yourself than to do something about it.” That’s always a favorite. Because, of course, who wouldn’t want to live in this body and mind. I need to just “be positive” or meditate or walk more.

Am I overweight? Absolutely. Do I want to be smaller so there’s less pressure on my body? Damn right! Do I want to fight tears for 3 days recovering from a walk around the block? Not particularly, but I would if I thought it would make it hurt less the next time. Unfortunately you can’t “walk off” a torn labrum and you can’t exercise away a torn rotator cuff or slipped vertebrae so one at a time I will have the surgeries I need to correct these pains in me and hope to hell I can find that blissful feeling of no more pain than usual after a nice brisk walk again.

Just thinking of the things I want to do, but knowing the pain I would face afterwards causes another burst of depression. The cycle is nonstop.

People who don’t live with pain, or depression, or anxiety will never understand how much we truly want it to be just about being more positive or more active or more whatever else we are told we should do or be. If it were a case of mind over matter no one would choose to live like this. Absolutely no one.

So don’t tell me you can’t be in my life because I’m “unhealthy” to be around, because if you knew what it felt like everyday to get done a fraction of what others do you’d think I was a damn superhero. You’d have mad respect for the fact that I get out of bed, that I want to cook a meal, that I want to walk my dog, that I sometimes take the stairs instead of the elevator, that I participate in any physical or emotional activities, or that I allow your ass to say things to me like I’m “unhealthy.” You SHOULD see me as a survivor, because that’s what I am.

What’s unhealthy is being around people who have no empathy and expect perfection or standards they themselves don’t measure up to.

It’s winter. It’s cold. I’m still making it through one day at a time, but I’m making it through. I’ll be damned if I keep letting anyone who can’t see past their own crap to blame me for their own failings.

Midlife Crisis?

As a person who has battled depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember; sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between depressive episodes and other negative mood traits. Bad just feels bad. Sometimes, however, feeling bad feels like a weight on your chest. You can pretend it’s not there; hide it from those around you, but all you can think about is finding a way to rid yourself of its suffocating effects.

I thought I was just being perimenopausal. I’m that age. Mood swings, hot flashes, yadda yadda yadda. I felt worn out and blamed that on my inability to sleep when my body can’t seem to decide if it’s hot or cold, or most often on fire followed by freezing. My daughter has moved out of the house. My dearest pets are showing their age. All reasons that can explain away my lack of enthusiasm for getting out of bed each day.

Some days I get a spark of “I can take on the world,” usually followed by posts and blogs about the power of positivity and making big changes and being true to myself. (See previous posts.)

In the last few months I’ve discovered I’m more often finding reasons to not participate in the world outside my door. I’m looking at the future with resignation that my best years are behind me. I think of my age and believe I’ve passed the point where I should have my shit together and even attempting to get there now would be a waste of time. I feel the aches and pains of a 47 year old body and it reminds me that it only gets worse from here.

I’ve been considering making efforts to change my occupation, but then I convince myself no one wants a middle aged woman who is trying to start from the bottom.

I list all the “shoulds”:

I SHOULD own a home.

I SHOULD be married.

I SHOULD have a career I enjoy.

I SHOULD be driving a newer car.

I SHOULD have gotten healthier before it was too late.

I SHOULD have traveled more.

I SHOULD feel settled into my life.

I SHOULD be better at being an adult.

I can go nearly a week without leaving my house, without bathing, without changing clothes, without having a single vegetable, without brushing my hair or my teeth, without cleaning a single dish, without spending more than the time it takes to nuke a frozen burrito out of my bed, or without sleeping or staying awake more than a few hours at a time. I can do all this and KNOW I need to do something different, but lack the ability to walk past my bedroom without crawling right back under the blankets.

I lie to people about things I’m accomplishing or things I’ve been doing in all my spare time. I lie to myself and say, “Tomorrow I’ll start [fill in the blank].” I might even believe it when I think it. My gung-ho attitude lasts until my next nap which isn’t far off.

I keep thinking certainly I won’t go another 30 or more years and it not get better than this, then immediately think the best has already came and gone and I wasted it on stupid youthful pursuits and bad decisions.

One moment I think I should just cut ties with my partner, who will leave eventually anyway, and move on to whatever comes next. The next moment I think I’ve dedicated a decade of my life to this person and why would I invest 10 years in someone I love only to wash my hands of her.

There are moments I believe she knows me better than anyone shortly followed by moments where I truly believe she doesn’t even see me.

There are moments of gratitude for the genuine friends I have made in my life and many more moments where I feel completely alone.

There seems to be a change on the horizon, but will it pass by during one of the five naps I take in a day?

Will this pass or am I as stuck as I feel? Is this normal? Is normal actually a thing?

My track record of poor choices isn’t exactly inspirational when it comes to convincing myself to pull myself up by the bootstraps and make things happen. So, for now, I’m going to stay under the blankets with my books and my furbabies and hope this is a phase and, like the cold weather outside, will pass without my intervention.

I just don’t have it in me to do more than survive it right now. I’m choosing to believe surviving it is enough for today.

 

 

Zen or Defeat

There’s an expression I’ve hated for a long time; “It is what it is.” It always felt like someone saying, “Just accept what is happening in your life and deal with the fact that you can’t change it.”

By nature I’m a fighter; or at least I used to be. I believed life is what you make of it, we’re the creators of our own destinies, if you want something bad enough you make it happen, and all those other trite sayings people such as Les Brown and Tony Robbins and the like spent decades putting into our heads. “Envision it and it will happen!” Hook, line, and sinker….I bought in.

Maybe I’m selfish? Maybe I’ve become jaded? Maybe I’ve accepted that those in power stay in power and those that aren’t in power get what they are given and make the best of it? Maybe I’ve just given up? Maybe, just maybe, I realized it truly IS what it is, and you can spend your energy pushing against the brick wall or you can enjoy the little bits of happiness you find creeping in through the cracks.

It’s funny how my other half has come to this conclusion of “it is what it is” and giving up the fight to change things has helped her find a little bit of Zen in her world that is usually full of worry and stress when, for me, giving into that notion feels like defeat. Realizing it is what it is, for me, means setting down my gloves and just bracing myself for the blow that comes next at my head.

Weirdly I use my feeling of defeat to find some happiness. I look harder for it. It used to be easy to find. Cuddles from my furbabies, a four-leaf clover in my path, a wild daisy growing among the weeds, a flock of birds rising across a pink and orange sky at dusk, a thoughtful gesture from a friend, a text message that my honey is thinking of me; these things used to be fuel to my “go grab life by the balls and make it your bitch!” attitude; now they are reasons to get up and keep going through a life that is nothing I had hoped it would be.

For awhile I just kind of folded in. I dragged one day to another and hoped it would go by quickly. In realizing that I likely have decades of this life left ahead of me I had to shake myself up a little, remind myself that there are things to look forward to even if they aren’t the big things I’d hoped for.

I love my partner and while, on one hand, I am so glad to see her find some reasons to smile finally and something to motivate her towards a more fulfilling life, on the other hand, it hurts that her vision of what that means doesn’t include me. I’m apparently that thing that she can not accept as “Is what it is.” Her Zen, her place of acceptance, feels like another defeat for me. (Even though rationally I know it has NOTHING to do with me.)

I am a whole imperfect package with lots of good intentions. I am what I am. It’s interesting to me that I was proud to say that until the last 12 years of my life. It used to be, “I am ME!” Now it’s more of a whisper, “This is just who I am.” I no longer want to fight for the right to be myself, but just be myself a little more quietly so I don’t have to defend it.

I want to feel Zen in acceptance of it is what it is. I say it more now. I’ve noticed that for a few years. Sometimes I catch myself backtracking after I say it, then I think, “What’s the point? It’s true.”

My goal for this year is to just be me more of the time. I need to be “I am ME!” again eventually and stopping whispering and hoping no one notices that I’m different or think outside of the proverbial box. I want to stop feeling defeated by what is. I want to teach myself to stand out again. I want to live for more than 3 furbabies that realistically will be gone within this decade. I want to punch my g/f and make her realize that her life is better shared with someone who pushes her out of her comfort zone, but A. I’m not abusive and B. That’s not the reality she subscribes to. I do hope her Zen starts rubbing off on me however.

My decades of brain-washing that taught me to “MAKE IT HAPPEN” led to a lot of disappointment when it didn’t happen. Now, this decade, I’m retraining myself. I’m going to find a way to live with less expectation and more anticipation. Let’s see what happens next and with some luck, whatever it is, I can say “It is what it is” without feeling like I lost the big game. *Fingers crossed*

Here I come 2020s!

 

 

To Write Love On Her Arms

I just finished a movie called To Write Love on Her Arms and I have to tell you it touched me more than almost any movie I can remember.

Let me start by saying I do not struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. I am not bi-polar. I am not a cutter. I am not suicidal.

I am also not religious and for me this was not a story about any god or religion.

What I am is a person who battles depression and anxiety. I am a person who has struggled in life, at times, to find a reason for waking up another day. I am a person who has felt lost within herself. I am a person who believes in hope. I am a person who KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I NEED other people in my life for me to be okay. No matter what anyone believes about themselves, we all do.

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To Write Love On Her Arms is the true story of a young lady named Renee Yohe. It all started with a blog post by her friend Jamie who, after meeting her and helping her detox, found her story to be encouraging. He wasn’t encouraged because she had already triumphed, but because she was damaged yet still not broken. She was beyond help in the eyes of most of the world but surrounded by a small group of people who loved her enough to help her put her life back together; even if they had to keep gluing the shards of her hope over and over again.

Sometimes that’s all you need in life; that person or those persons who stick. The ones who see your scars, visible or not, self-inflicted or not, and don’t flinch. The ones who love you when you feel unlovable. The ones who hope for you when you feel hopeless. The ones who see you plain as day when you feel completely lost. Everyone needs those people. EVERYONE.

There have been days when the war being waged in me felt like it could rip me to shreds. I can only thank my own fear of being controlled, by persons or substances, that I didn’t use drugs and alcohol to escape to some place away from myself.

Renee’s story reminded me just how much I depend on my people. My best friend, my internet friends, and my chosen family are all intricate stitches in the fabric of my being. When my edges are frayed I just turn to any one of them and their kindness and love and acceptance weaves the hope back in until I’m whole again. For me; that love and that hope are my religion, my higher power. I turn to these things like a flower turns it’s face to the sun.

Renee-Yohe

Some might look upon this young woman’s face and wonder how could a young life be so bad or so difficult that addiction and pain feel better than merely existing. But I get it. Sometimes just waking up to exist another day is the monster beneath the bed, the unknown thing you fear the most. Perhaps it’s true that “it’s never as bad as you imagine it will be,” but then again maybe that’s the lie we tell ourselves to get out of the bed and step foot in front of the beast waiting to devour us. Until it’s your bed, your feet, your monster, you don’t know for sure.

For many of us the thing that gets us past the monster, the fear, is the person or persons waiting outside the door for us. Our children, our spouses, our families, and our true friends give us the courage to hope that our exposed limb won’t be snatched. Not today at least. Trying to find that courage when there’s no one waiting on the other side of your fear, whose mere existence in your life is the reward for getting there, is damn near impossible.

https://twloha.com was founded by Jamie after the overwhelming response to Renee’s story showed him just how many people were in desperate need of someone in their corner. Because honestly the only thing worse than hating yourself, hurting yourself, being afraid, and suffering from mental illness of any kind is doing it all alone. There’s enough people on this big ball we all live on that no one should have to do it all alone.

My hope is that even just one of you will read or watch Renee’s story, now that I’ve told you about it, and you will think of someone who needs to know they aren’t alone in life, and you will SHOW them you are there for them; you will find time in your busy life to help someone hold their pieces together.

And if you are a person who needs to connect to someone who sees you through your own fog; who needs someone to hand you the hope and love you can’t quite grasp on your own; who needs someone to hold the pieces in place as you glue them back together for maybe the hundredth time; who needs a reason to face the monsters that lurk around the corners and behind your eyes…I beg of you…reach out.

I promise you that someone doesn’t have to have walked in your shoes to be exactly who you need. They only need to be let inside your walls. No one can be your person if you don’t allow them to be. Surround yourself with people who want to be there for you and then let them.

Have hope. Be brave. As Renee said, “The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

See the blog post that started the To Write Love On Her Arms movement here: https://twloha.com/learn/story/

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Author Spotlight: Amy L. Gale

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

AMY L. GALE

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HOT ROCK STAR ROMANCE

How would you fair out dating a Rock Star?

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Ambitious 22-year-old Lexie Waters is intent on taking the advertising world by storm. When she’s offered the soon to be open position she’s been vying for at a swanky advertising agency, there’s only one last summer separating her from dreams of corporate success. Still bitter from catching her boyfriend cheating, she heads out for a night of fun to see her favorite band, Devil’s Garden, but fun turns into utter embarrassment when she insults the enticingly confident lead singer, Van Sinclair. Van is intrigued by Lexie’s ability to resist his charm and secretly obtains her cell number. Shocked but eager to get to know this captivating rocker, Lexie accepts Van’s invitation to see his next show, which requires an overnight stay. The overwhelming feelings that follow take them both by surprise, and with two months left before starting her sought after new position, Lexie joins the tour. As she’s catapulted into the world of groupies and wild parties, she questions Van’s commitment to her. So what happens at summer’s end when time runs out?

Amazon http://amzn.to/2nAGl9I

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blissful-tragedy-amy-l-gale/1118598512?ean=2940148116790

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blissful-tragedy/id826054128?mt=11

BLISSFUL TRAGEDY AUDIOBOOK

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Blissful-Tragedy-Audiobook/B00V9LU1W6/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1428016192&sr=1-1

Blissful Disaster

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One night stands.

Career-driven Ali Whitman, never dreamed of having one, until she finds herself waking up next to a handsome tattooed man she knows nothing about. After celebrating her promotion to field reporter at Entertainment Rocks! magazine, she breaks her number one rule – to focus on work without the distraction of the opposite sex.

Rules.

Tyler Young lives by his own set. As bassist for Devil’s Garden, he exudes sexual energy and lives for the moment; no strings attached, no regrets, and no looking back.

When the two are brought face to face during an interview it goes sour, sparking a string of disasters. As their feelings for each other grow, they find themselves living by a new set of rules, but demons from the past haunt their new found love. Is it possible to crawl from the ashes of the aftermath or will it all go down in flames?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oVX7kJ

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/709439

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blissful-disaster/id1213006702?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/blissful-disaster-amy-l-gale/1126013983?ean=2940157595142

🏈Christmas Blitz🏈

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Small town real estate agent Holly Clifford is counting the seconds until she pays off the debt incurred from caring for her sick mother and can move out of Hilldale Vermont forever. After forfeiting her college scholarship to law school to be at her mother’s side, she obtained her real estate license and took a position at Trust Reality. Nick Shaw is on the path to victory. As a high school football hero turned rookie star wide receiver of the newest NFL team, the Iowa Talons, success is all he knows. But sometimes there’s things fame and money can’t buy. When Nick returns to Hilldale, he puts an offer on a lakeside mansion up for sale by Trust Reality and turns Holly’s life upside down. Can she stay on track and resist Nick’s charm or will she be blitzed by Hilldale’s football hero this Christmas?

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2oW1Wul

💖✫BLISSFUL VALENTINE: A NOVELLA✫💖

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Straight-laced 19-year-old Brooke Powers has two goals: First, avoid the party scene and all the drama and disaster that go along with it. Second, focus on attaining her Marketing and Business degrees. When her roommate begs her to attend a fraternity party she reluctantly obliges, but gets more than she bargained for when she meets enticingly charismatic fraternity brother, Dean Parker. After a mishap causes her to wake up in the worst possible place she can imagine, she vows to stay away from anything or anyone fraternity related. Staying away from Dean is a daily battle, one she’s slowly losing. When her feelings conjure up old demons from the past, her strategically planned future turns into chaos. Brooke is desperate to keep herself on track. Will Dean be her downfall or is he exactly what she needs?

Valentine’s Day isn’t always complete bliss.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oVTUBP

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Romance author by night, pharmacist by day, Amy Gale loves rock music and the feel of sand between her toes. She attended Wilkes University where she graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. In addition to writing, she enjoys baking, scary movies, rock concerts, and reading books at the beach. She lives in the lush forest of Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, six cats, and golden retriever.

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Amy-L-Gale-540928695977160/

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/amyg618

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amzie13793/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770893.Amy_L_Gale

Wanna spread the word for Blissful Tragedy, Blissful Valentine and other works of Amy L. Gale?

Sign up for my street team and join the Gale Groupies. Get your backstage pass here http://www.authoramygale.com/the-gale-groupies.html

New Release: Stark Me by Lily Ryan

Happy New Release To Lily Ryan!

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Every good girl needs a bad boy to set her free!

To anyone on the outside, I had a picturesque life, like a scene on the inside of a snow globe.
I didn’t realize how I longed to be set free, until a set of blue eyes looking in, shook things up and shattered the glass around me.

It’s been five long years since I’ve seen Dylan Stark. The man who owns my heart. Five years since we last spoke. Touched. Kissed. Because, Dylan confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

Everything changed since he’s been gone. There are things I need to explain. Secrets I’ve been keeping.

Now Dylan is back, and he’s dangerous as ever, because he still owns my heart. He shakes up my world and makes me want to confront the truth.

I don’t know if he can forgive me, so I’m not sure if this is our story’s end, or if we are at the start of a new beginning…

Stark Me is a second chance romance between a bad boy gone good, and a good girl gone bad.

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 Excerpt

“What the fuck happened?”

Sirens blare. My head hurts. No, it doesn’t hurt, it feels like it’s bursting at the seams. It’s about to blow into a million tiny pieces any second now.

I blink my eyes a few times to clear my blurred vision. Two sets of worried blue eyes stare back at me.

“Thank the fucking Lord,” Shea Sullivan says, gathering me into his arms. I want to push him away, because this only makes the sharp pain in my head worse, but I can’t.

It’s the other pair of eyes I can’t pull my stare from. The blue eyes with a storm, more savage than the tornado that tore Dorothy from Kansas, brewing in them. The deep blue eyes that narrow on me with anger and suspicion. The blue eyes that I long to see a hint of compassion in, even if it’s only for a moment. The eyes of bad boy Dylan Stark.

“What the fuck happened?” Dylan repeats, anger heavy in his voice.

His words hit me like a slap in the face. I don’t know what he’s talking about. I look around, and that’s when I see it. Blood. All over me. Smeared on my shirt. Covering my hands. A scarlet-streaked knife beside me.

Panic settles into my brain, clawing its way into my soul.

“Jimmy,” I whisper. “Where is Jimmy?”

No answers are given before the police storm the front door, guns drawn, arms extended ready to shoot.

“Hands where I can see them,” a voice booms.

We do as we’re told, and I notice that I’m the only one with blood on me.

My eyes are glued to Dylan, because whatever went down here, it’s going to affect him most of all.

“Where is Jimmy?” I demand.

Dylan doesn’t answer. He just stares at me, jaw clenched, a cold, hard look in his eyes, as he’s read his rights and a pair of handcuffs is slapped tight on his wrists. He’s angry, unresponsive, as they shove him out the door.

“Are you hurt?” An unfamiliar voice directs the question at me.

“Yes.” I touch my chest instinctively, but all seems fine. No cuts. No stab wounds. “No.” I’m confused. I look back down at my hands. If I’m not hurt, where did all this blood come from? “I mean, I don’t really know. My head is a wreck.” A new set of eyes evaluates me with scrutiny.

Shea’s taken outside, but unlike Dylan, he goes of his own free will, without the aide of cuffs or anyone pushing him forward. The officer watching me presses a button on the communication device attached to his shirt collar and speaks. I don’t know what he’s saying; it’s all jumbled, and my mind is on Dylan.

A team of two men come in. A penlight is flashed in my eyes, and sharp pain sears through my head.

“Fuck!” I say, screwing my eyes up tight and holding my head between my hands. “That hurts.”

After a brief examination of my body, one of the men asks if I can walk.

“Sure,” I answer, getting to my feet.

As soon as I’m halfway up, a wave of dizziness and nausea sweeps over me. I extend my hands to break my fall, because I’m going down and the floor is coming at me at warp speed.

The men are talking. I don’t know if it’s to me or to each other. Sound has left me. Sight, too. Darkness creeps in from the corner of my eyes and spreads inward until I can’t see anything but the comfort of nothingness it offers.

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Purchase links- Stark Me will be on sale for 99 cents through the weekend.  

Amazon https://bitly.im/oYMwQ

iTunes https://bitly.im/tZV3I

B&N https://bitly.im/6Qdyj

Kobo https://bitly.im/MtPc9

Where To Stalk Lily Ryan:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lilyryansreads/

Twitter https://twitter.com/LilyRyanAuthor

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lilyryanauthor/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16225133.Lily_Ryan

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/42ab7c271/

 

Cover Reveal: A Handful of Fire by Alexis Alvarez

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I am in LOVE with this cover of A Handful of Fire by Alexis Alvarez!

PREORDER NOW!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ob1tIa

Release Date: April 11th
Cover Designer: Okay Creations
ADD TO YOUR TBR: http://bit.ly/2mPPn72

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A taboo relationship…steamy passion…and secrets that can ruin everything.

Single father Gabriel Baystock is rich and powerful, educated and handsome – and helpless when it comes to ensuring his son Michael recovers fully from a childhood cancer. He’ll do anything, even hire award-winning child therapist Shai Bonaventura.

Shai is drawn to brooding, sexy Gabriel, and while she falls in love with the little boy she’s hired to help, she loses her heart to his father. Their powerful chemistry is off the charts hot, and Shai thinks he might be the one to help heal her own demons, even if it means crossing professional boundaries.

But when old secrets from Shai’s past are revealed, it’s not clear if their fragile relationship can survive the harsh reality of the real world…or whether they have the courage to fight for what they really need?

A Handful of Fire is a full-length stand-alone romance (about 80K words) with an HEA. It’s a contemporary love story with a high heat level and gorgeous, poetic prose.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Alexis Alvarez writer erotic fiction. Her books feature strong, intelligent sassy heroines who may enjoy being submissive in the bedroom, but are never doormats or pushovers.

You can find more about her work on her website www.graffitifiction.com, where she and her two real-life sisters – who are also romance writers – blog about their books.

In addition to being a romance author, Alexis is also a photographer and digital designer. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and making really inappropriate jokes.

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AUTHOR LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bjS9vm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexisAlvarezAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14127116.Alexis_Alvarez
Website: http://graffitifiction.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexisAlvarezWr

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