USA Today Bestselling Author
Some scars are visible.
Some scars are hidden.
But the worst scars are buried within…
Existing in their own private worlds, Robin and Sean are not really living. With a need to move forward, Robin attends a workshop geared to help her do just that. At his sister’s request, Sean struggles to heal the darkness in his soul by attending a workshop to help him find balance with his life and let go of a painful history.
But at what cost?
As they confront their pain, Robin and Sean evolve, healing the scars of their past.
Can a story of sorrow, loss, and betrayal turn to success, joy, and love?
Dr. Jenna Komack does some very unique workshops with select patients. The goal is for each of them to make a breakthrough while paired as a team on a project devised specifically for each team.
This book runs in tandem with the previous book and that’s where we first met Robin. Although she would have rather been paired with her friend Tania, Jenna had other ideas.
Sean is there having been encouraged by his sister Paris. They both have problems stemming from the same event in their lives. Jenna didn’t feel Paris was quite ready for the seminar, however when Sean applied he fit the bill.
Robin has always hidden her scars, she’s refused any more surgeries wanting to just get on with her life. She was done with the pain and recovery required there.
Seth on the other hand has his own internal demons, and while he’s checking this out for his sister he also hopes to come to terms with his own anger.
Their assignment is to visit with children at the Children’s Hospital here, and Robin is more than a little panicked over that. Her scars scare children.
This is a favorite scene as Robin and Sean get to know one another.
She better not. Brooding, he sat across from one of the biggest mixed-up females he’d met in a long time. Of course he’d also seen more of her than he had anyone else in a long time. She’d had a breakdown at the thought of the children’s hospital, ran away, came back, then chose a seat at the furthest corner in the restaurant to watch everyone like a hawk. She might be studying him, and damn, she seemed to be doing a good job of understanding him too, but she didn’t know him.
If she really knew him, she’d have run screaming out the door already.
Like everyone else had.
He wasn’t the most popular guy. That was okay. He had his sister. Paris was softer, gentler than he was. She’d taken the path of least resistance and had suffered more for it then. He’d taken the full frontal aggressive route, but he was suffering more now.
At least that’s what Paris said he was doing. He thought it was all psychobabble. Still, he loved her. She loved him. They had each other, and there’d never been anyone else in their lives for more than a night or two. Neither had a partner in any real sense of the word – only each other. Through the tough times, that had been enough.
Except Paris wanted more in her life. Children. A husband. To be loved in every sense of the word. Sean wasn’t sure that she could ever have such a thing. And he knew he couldn’t. So it was not something he’d ever brought into his psyche as a wish or a want. Why yearn for what he couldn’t have? But Paris did, and by God, he’d do what he could to see her get it.
One of them deserved to know what happiness was.
“What is it?”
The voice penetrated the black cloud in his mind. He started, realizing he’d been glaring out the window. With considerable effort, he pulled himself out of the place he always ended up in – regardless of his best efforts to not go there.
Moodily, he played with the fork on the table. Pivoting it over end to end. He didn’t know what to say.
“Never mind. It’s obvious that the subject is painful.”
He raised his gaze to stare at her, marveling that her hairstyle completely hid the one half of her face. Why? Was she blind in that one eye to the extent that it didn’t bother her to only see with half her normal vision?
“It’s not painful,” he said abruptly. Then frowned. Why the hell had he said that?
“Well, it can’t be pleasant. You looked like you wanted to kill someone.”
He smiled darkly, remembering his thoughts. “Can’t. That’s already been done.”
She raised her eyebrows and narrowed her gaze at him.
Let her think he was a killer. Let her think the worst of him. That would keep her away.
“Well, if that’s the case, you didn’t kill them.”
Damn. Was she for real? “Who are you, Pollyanna?”
It was her turn to frown. “I don’t know the reference.”
He waved his hand. “Really? Loosely, it means you have a positive-look-only-on-the-bright-side-of-life attitude.”
“I don’t,” she protested. “I’m nothing like that.”
“So you decided I haven’t killed anyone? Are you nuts? I’m perfectly capable of killing.”
“Oh, absolutely.” She grinned. “But only in the right circumstances.”
He stopped in the act of picking up his coffee cup, stared, then shook his head. “You aren’t making any sense.” Trust him to get paired with a lightweight in the brain department.
“You are capable, but you haven’t done it yet. That’s probably part of the anger. You wanted to be able to do something like that, but you couldn’t…”
Just as he was about to lash out at her again, she added, “…someone beat you to it.”
Holy crap. She was dangerous. How the hell had she figured that out? And what was he going to do about it?
Just as he was about to open his mouth and Lord only knew what was about to pour forth – because he had no idea – the waitress arrived and placed full steaming plates down. He had a massive amount of fries in front of him. On cue, his stomach grumbled. The waitress was rattling off something about enjoying their meal, but he was already reaching for one long particularly good-looking fry on his plate – when it was snatched out from under him.
Astonished, he could only follow its trail where it disappeared into Robin’s mouth.
She caught his look and grinned. Then she laughed and laughed.
When she could, she said, “Sorry, that fry had my name on it.” She giggled again. “And the look on your face was so worth it.”
Stunned, but at her huge face-splitting smile that completely transformed her features, he picked up another fry and studied her. When she’d laughed, her hair had moved slightly. Now that she was eating, the hair was brushed out of her way with a quick movement of her hand. And he realized that the hair was more than a style. It was a front. Behind which hid scars. And from what he could see, they were long and ugly.
Hence the comment about what Jenna might be subjecting the children to.
He ate slowly, thinking about all the things her and Jenna had said…and not said, and realized that this was likely one of the core issues why Robin was here. The one side of her face was stunning with pure white skin and huge green eyes that could cloud with emotion or twinkle with laughter. Her hairstyle was dramatic and eye-catching. But she kept to herself and avoided letting anyone see the other side of her face. And now he understood why.
What impact it was going to have, he didn’t know. But as they had a lot of work to get done, maybe honesty was the best policy.
Deciding to be upfront, he asked, “What happened to your face? House fire or car accident?”
She stilled, then choked on her food. She swallowed hard, her gaze flickering in his direction then back at her burger. He kept his gaze steady, figuring he already knew the answer.
Finally, she reached for the glass of water and took a long drink. Her voice was cool and controlled as she said, “Why?”
“Considering what we have ahead of us, I’d appreciate knowing how your face became scarred.”
She stared at him, belligerent but direct. God, he loved that about her. She never seemed to back down. Maybe it would get irritating if she turned out to be one of those women who needed to pick fights to clear the air or one who just liked to cause trouble – create a little drama. Yet it was refreshing to see someone with enough backbone to stand up to him.
“I’ll tell you if you tell me how you got your scars.”
Ouch. He hadn’t seen that one coming. He settled back slightly. “What scars?”
She used her fork to point at the open collar of his shirt, then moved it to the side of his neck by his ear before it finally dropped to his hand. Scarred areas visible to the eye of anyone looking. He’d given up trying to hide the scars a long time ago. They were small and not unsightly. The biggest scars were inside. Of course it was a different story once he took his shirt off. But that rarely happened in daylight and as he wasn’t physically self-conscious – who gave a damn?
But she was right. They both had scars. If he wanted answers, then she had the right to ask for answers as well. His usual lie well-prepared, he opened his mouth and out came the truth instead. “I was abused as a child.”
His own gaze widened in shock as the truth came out. A truth he never shared. Jenna knew. Paris knew of course. She’d been there. But that was it. Except for the odd doctor and social worker or case worker. People without faces. Where he was a number only. A statistic to help fill in the dots on their data graphs.
Her eyes widened first in shock then softened in sympathy.
That part he didn’t like. He said brusquely, “Your turn.”
“It was a car accident.” She winced. “My father was driving my mother, brother, and me to a special event. I’m the only one that survived.”
And damn if she didn’t chip away at another stone on the defensive wall he’d built to keep others out. A wall he’d never been in danger of having any breach before.
But this woman…she had weapons he had no defenses against.
One of them was her forthright honesty.
Dale Mayer. Broken but Mending: Books 1-3 (Kindle Locations 2514-2581). Valley Publishing. Kindle Edition.
What seems slow and painful progress also has Sean and Robin beginning a relationship. I truly loved the way this seminar helps them to work their way through the things holding them back.
I’m glad I have the bundle so I can just move right into Paris’ experience with this type of seminar.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.