Title: Sworn to Remember
Author: Maria Imbalzano
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Blindsided by her husband's infidelity, Samantha Winslow, an up-and-coming NYC family law attorney, takes a leave of absence, jeopardizing her rise to partnership. Facing divorce, she heads to the shore town of Crescent Beach to pull herself together.
Buoyed by advice and solace from her lifelong girlfriends, known as the Sworn Sisters, Sam gains insight into how her complicated teen years set her on her workaholic path—a path which destroyed her marriage and her spirit.
Although not looking for male distraction, she finds one in local lawyer, Michael McCain. Having spurned his high-powered job in the city, he knows the importance of leading a balanced life. Their time together is magical. But it comes to an abrupt end when Sam goes back to her job in NYC and achieves partnership. Yet, happiness is missing. Will Sam finally recognize that life is about balance, compromise, and love?
Dwelling on her future took the better part of an hour. Finally tired of her own musings, she thought about stopping by the volley ball court to say hello to Michael. She could be a groupie too. Maybe she’d meet some new people, have a gang of newfound friends. She could certainly use the distraction.
But when she arrived back, the court was empty, eerily silent. Only footprints in the sand remained, along with a lone volley ball which someone had left behind. Sam picked it up and tossed it over the net.
“You need more than one player if you want the ball returned.” A voice behind her sent a tremble through her gut.
She turned, and the melancholy that surrounded her, dissipated with his smile.
“Michael. You’re still here.”
“I forgot my ball.”
Sam ducked under the net and picked it up. She held it out to him, forcing him to come closer. Her heart beat wildly and she tried desperately to come up with something to say, but her tongue tied.
“Michael! Are you coming?” An impatient cry echoed from the boardwalk.
Both Michael and Sam looked up. It was one of the models, the one with the red bikini. Sam’s hope for some time and conversation with Michael evaporated like the mist from a crashing wave.
“I’ll meet you there,” he called.
“Okay,” she pouted. “But hurry. We’re all starving.”
Michael turned back to Sam. “Would you like to come and get something to eat with us? We’re going to Bill’s Ale House.”
What had seemed like a wonderful plan during her solitary walk on the beach, now seemed awful. She didn’t want to make idle chitchat with rowdy strangers, vying for attention, having to scream above the other voices to be heard. Besides, she wasn’t in the mood to compete with the clones.
“Thanks. But I don’t think I’d be very good company tonight.”
“Did you sign the Complaint?”
“Yes but . . . “She was about to say that wasn’t the reason for her glumness. She shook her head. “Yes. I signed the Complaint.”
“Would you like to talk?” His empathetic voice curled around her and warmed her heart.
Not about that. “No, thanks.”
She blinked and looked back up toward the boardwalk. “Your friends are waiting for you. You should go.”
Her walls inched up. She was pushing him away, not permitting him to see her vulnerable side.
“If you change your mind, I’ll be at Bill’s.”
“Thanks, but I won’t.” She watched his back as he headed toward his friends.
Sam kicked at the sand, then smoothed it, wondering if she was stepping on Michael’s footprints, yearning to take back the words which made him leave. He had offered to stay and talk, but she had stubbornly refused his proposal even though she’d wanted to spend time with him more than anything. Only she didn’t want to talk about the demise of her marriage, or her feelings about filing for divorce. She wanted to talk about his day. About how many points he scored in the game, or what his plans were for the weekend. Michael had offered consolation. She needed distraction. And maybe even excitement, which she felt every time she laid eyes on him.
She longed to forget about her divorce when with him. The two were mutually exclusive. Michael made her feel alive, confident, sexy. Yet she felt guilty over her attraction toward him.
Last night she had melted like liquid gold in his arms, desire washing over her with every touch of his lips, his hands, his tongue. Her blood pulsed merely thinking about his body pressing into hers, the evidence of his lust straining against the clothes she had ached to rip off. And she had been halfway there, her shirt discarded in a heap on the floor as his hands and tongue awakened every nerve, every synapse, along their route. She wanted him. And he wanted her.
But some misguided sense of moral behavior had made her stop. It wasn’t because she was married. That was in name only. Was it because of the possibility that Michael collected women and she didn’t want to be one of many? That shouldn’t bother her. She was leaving in a month and a half anyway. Hadn’t she previously attempted to convince herself that a fling was what she needed to move on? And Michael was the perfect candidate. The only candidate.
She knew the answer. She just didn’t want to believe it.
She was afraid of getting hurt.
She was afraid she could care about Michael. That her fling to get over the remnants of her failed marriage could turn into a romance that would do more damage to her than good.
Sam walked toward her house. She needed a friend to talk to. These conversations with herself were getting her nowhere. Thankfully, her Sworn Sisters were only a phone call away.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
An emotional, realistic, and sensitive novel, “Sworn to Remember” is the story of a thirty-two-year-old woman facing divorce, who spends her summer at the shore to pull herself together. She not only learns the importance of leading a balanced life, but finds love again with her high-school crush.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 51 books featured in the Beach Reads Bookish Event:
Runs July 17 – 22, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on July 30, 2020.
Maria Imbalzano is a retired matrimonial lawyer who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, she now spends her days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through her contemporary romance novels.
In addition to writing fiction, Maria is on the Friends of Thomas Edison State University Foundation Committee and is still involved with Dress for Success Central Jersey, having been a founding Board member. She also serves on the finance committee for The Present Day Club. She has received the distinguished Family of Edison Award for her work with The Thomas Edison State University Foundation, the Iron Mike Professional Achievement Award from Trenton Catholic Academy and was inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame.
Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award.
Visit Maria at www.mariaimbalzano.com
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