Sometimes you fall so hard you can’t get back up. My closest companions now are
shame and loss. But a sliver of hope lies in the only person I have left in
this world – the one who’s growing inside me.
Survival becomes living again because of my child, and the town where I begin
anew. That’s where I meet the man who starts to melt the ice inside my heart.
As we get closer, reminders of my past become sharper. Clearer. To confront the
pain, I have to discover what’s deep down inside me. Is there enough left there
to become whole again, or am I too wounded to heal?
**Warning** This book has mature content that some readers may find troubling.
It is intended for readers 18 and up.
had been signs that I’d ignored because they were too painful to acknowledge.
Either way, the course of my life was changed that day. After it was over I
just remember watching the snowflakes through my open bedroom window. Falling
silently from the sky, they were the closing curtain on eighteen years of
trusting that all people were inherently good. ———————– It was
the first day back from the winter break and I was wrapped up in the excitement
that filled the hallways of Lexington High School. There was an unspoken energy
circulating around those of us who were seniors. Home stretch, baby. The last
semester of high school is underway. Your future starts now. And, for me, this
new term couldn’t end soon enough. My mom’s death this past September had
plunged me into a deep sadness I still hadn’t fully emerged from. Over the
course of the past four months I’d gotten good at plastering on a phony smile
to let everyone know I’d moved on. Putting this school year behind me would be
more sweet than bitter. Sure, I had great friends I’d miss when I went off to
college in the fall. And dance team…for sure I would miss that. Most of all, I
would miss my boyfriend Levi, but somehow I knew that once high school was over
I really would be able to move on. A warm, familiar arm wrapping around my
waist from behind made me break out in a genuine grin. “How was your day,
baby?” Levi asked, pulling me against his side as we walked down the hall.
“Good. You?” He shrugged. “Everybody’s talking about graduation. It hasn’t
seemed close until now.” “Did you get those scholarship essays done?” “Yep.” He
pulled me a little closer, steering me away from a cluster of loud
underclassmen who were about to run me over. “Am I riding with you today? I can
catch a ride home with Sami if you’re lifting weights after school.” He leaned
down and kissed my temple. “The only weight I’m interested in right now is
yours on top of me.” I held back a smile. Our after school make out sessions
were one of Levi’s favorite things. But between the time off his parents and my
dad had taken off over the holiday break, we hadn’t gotten much time alone.
Excerpt #2 Today I’d eaten lunch in a closed bathroom stall at school to avoid
the stares. And instead I got to listen to Mandy Barton telling two other girls
that she’d slept with Levi last night to comfort him over what his slutty girlfriend
had done to him. They’d speculated about who the father of my child was,
eventually deciding on Mr. Schultz, a teacher and coach at my school whom I’d
never even spoken to. I was on the outskirts of our small city, walking past a
rusted, abandoned factory, when a car slowed to a stop nearby. I turned to see
a marked police car. A familiar sick taste rose in my throat. My dad was giving
me a puzzled glance from a rolled down window, his elbow resting on the door.
“Ivy, what are you doing out here? It’s the dead of winter and you’re miles
from home.” “What are you doing here? Are you following me?” My icy tone was
challenging. What was there to be afraid of now? He’d stolen the vulnerable,
trusting part of me. He’d shown me that there was no one in my life I could
count on. “I was on patrol and I saw you,” he said, glaring at me. “Get in the
car and I’ll drive you home. We need to talk.” “Talk? Is that code?” I spat out
bitterly. His face was a mix of contrition and anger. “Ivy. Let’s not do this.
Get in the car.” “No.” “What’s this I hear about you being pregnant? Is it
true?” A powerful wave of nausea swept through me. He didn’t deserve to know,
and he certainly didn’t deserve to ask me about it.
Rothert lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three sons. She was a
daily print journalist for nine years, during which time she enjoyed writing a
wide range of stories. These
days Brenda writes New Adult Romance in the Contemporary and Dystopian genres.
She loves to hear from readers by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.