Title HEART STORMS
Author N. Christine Samuelson
Genre Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance
When three people’s lives collide in a perfect storm of heartbreak and ruin, betrayal and love, will they be destroyed or transformed by their fate? One woman and two men are drawn to coastal South Carolina to an oceanfront Victorian B & B inn. Jade Armstrong is newly divorced and left with nothing by her treacherous ex-husband. Gabriel Montoro is reeling from a cheating wife. Rick Stirling owns the inn and has suffered a devastating personal loss. Through work and friendship, their inner conflicts extend to each other while vying for the need for survival, healing, attraction and love.
None of them seek love or relationship, but as they move into and through the emotional storm of their lives, destiny brings them together in an extraordinary way. A charming oceanfront inn complete with mystical elements lifts the characters’ spirits and helps them on their journeys. Their passionate triangle must be broken for them to move on with their lives, but who ends up with whom, or do they, and when?
Jade married the wrong man. But it took five years and one morning to find out. As she gathered her things to leave for her job managing a hotel in Los Angeles, her husband said, “We need to talk… now.”
“I’m going out the door. Can’t it wait?”
“No.” He sat on a stool at the kitchen island. “And you might want to tell your boss you’ll be late. This might take a while.” He looked down at his hands, wringing them together.
While Jade grabbed the phone to text her boss, her stomach sickened and her nerves tingled. Something awful was about to happen. Scenarios whirled through her mind—Did he lose his job, is he sick, did someone die, is he in trouble? Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it, we’ll survive and go on. She stood across the island from him.
Still not looking at her, he spewed out statements so fast she heard only certain words, only the most impossible, devastating words: “leaving for good… have to… the end… sorry.”
His sentences were drowned out by the shattering white noise of her denial and heartbreak. This wasn’t happening. No, no, no, this wasn’t her husband speaking even though it was his face and voice. This was no ‘talk;’ it was a bomb dropped in the middle of her life with the words no woman ever wants to hear.
Inside her head, Jade’s reaction was, ‘This is not my life, not the one I agreed to, not the one I planned on and saved for, the one I envisioned since I was a girl.’ While outside of herself, her husband’s words burst like firecrackers in her head, “… other women… you and I hardly ever together… drank too much… drugs… gambling… I love someone else, didn’t mean to, sorry… addicted, need help.”
In the same way a deep scratch on a CD causes the music to halt and skip until silenced by pressing the stop button, Jade’s brain skipped at the deep cuts of his revelations. With shock magnifying at hearing each confession, Jade’s desperate thoughts skipped to: If he cleans up, he’ll come to his senses; SKIP: He’ll revert to the man I married. Another SKIP: We’ll have a second chance. SKIP again: “I’ll help you,” she pleaded, “we’ll do this together.” But there was no magic button to stop his words.
His uncaring expression froze into a grimace while he slung words like darts, her heart being the target. “No. Nothing will change how I feel. I don’t need your help. I don’t want it.”
Through sobs she asked, “But why? I love you. We’re partners.”
He finally looked into her eyes. “Because I love her. She’ll be my partner as soon as our divorce is final.”
Jade’s knees buckled and the room spun around. When they’d married, her mother, Maggie, had given her a fairytale wedding because she’d never seen her daughter so happy as with this man who lit up her world. Now Prince Charming was leaving, taking his light and love, making her world go black as she crumpled to the floor. She became conscious a minute later and found herself in his arms, her head still spinning. “Please tell me this isn’t real; it’s some kind of nightmare.”
He leaned Jade against a kitchen cabinet and told her she wasn’t dreaming. He sat on the floor beside her gazing straight ahead to avoid seeing the agony in her eyes.
Jade’s breath turned shallow; her mind swam in a fog of disbelief. When he spoke, his voice showed no emotion. “I don’t mean to be cruel, but this is real and you need to deal with it.”
Stunned and grasping at anything to fix this, she placed her head on his shoulder and her hand on his arm hoping he’d feel her love and respond in kind. “Why are you doing this? Now? So fast? You don’t have to do this.” With no response, she said, “Please tell me why. You owe me the truth.”
He wiped perspiration from his forehead through his hair, and muttered, “There’s no easy way to say it. I have to do this. She’s pregnant. I’m going to marry her.”
Jade yanked her head and arm away as if he were a leper and shrieked, “A child? You bastard. Why would any woman want a cheating, drug-addicted man for a husband and father to her child?”
“I wasn’t addicted when I met her. My affair with her differed from the others…”
“Others?!” Jade screamed so loud he jerked his head back. Her voice was part sobbing, part gasping for air like being punched in the gut and stabbed at the same time. “You had other women?!”
With his head hung low, he uttered a barely audible, “Yes.”
Jade’s mind paralyzed like he’d slammed her head with a bat. Incapable of speech and struggling to accept this new reality, she asked herself, ‘Why?’ Her heart split in half as she wondered how and why her husband did this to her; how did she not see it coming? Her rational mind said, ‘He was never home long enough. He hid his true self and actions.’ Then her conscience argued, ‘You didn’t see it because you didn’t want to. You wanted the fairytale; you lived it and trusted him.’ Jade closed her eyes and clutched her head to hold it together. She delved deep into her memory where she’d tucked suspicions of him away but never let them out, never confronted him, and barely whispered, “Why?”
He shrugged. “I guess because I could. We rarely had time together and you know I can’t be alone or bored or serious. I did what made me happy.”
Jade was afraid to say or do anything because she wanted to kill him, to get him out of her face and off the planet except she wasn’t capable of murder. Her dreams were the only things dying now.
Google Play coming soon…
I’m one of the authors participating in the Firecracker Summer Reading Giveaway and you can win an autographed print copy of one of my books.
Runs July 1 - 31 and is open internationally.
Winner will be drawn August 1, 2019.
N. Christine Samuelson writes Women’s Fiction and contemporary novels of love, life and relationships, and of the eternal bonds that transform life and transcend time. Her stories reflect the challenges, fears and conflicts, tragedies and victories that manifest through a powerful connection of love. Her characters and storylines are grounded in reality but have a touch of mysticism and mystery.
From living in 14 cities in 10 states, with years of formal and self-taught education and three different careers, (from Fortune 500 to entrepreneur, to graphic designer and newspaper production) she’s always been a writer. Through these situations and events she acquired a wealth of personal, professional and life experiences which inspire the diverse settings, characters, and authentic storylines of her novels written in a unique voice.
Currently living in coastal South Carolina, the people, land and sea are constant sources of inspiration. She hopes readers of her books will be inspired to look at life and love through a different lens and realize no matter your circumstances, we all share similar stories in our lives and our hearts.
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