Title: Then There Was You
(So Much It Hurts Series Book Two)
Author: Melanie Dawn
Chris King never saw it coming…
In some ways, closing the book on my first love was the worst day of life. I was gutted, and yet I was completely at peace with my decision. I walked away knowing that I did what was best for her, unsure if I could ever recover. Little did I know that one concert would change the entire course of my life. There I stood, signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans when a familiar face in the crowd catapulted my mind back in time—Salem Honeycutt, once a balm to my pain and a calm in my storm. Yet again, her smiling face gave me hope. Only one question remained: did she still see me as a wayward teenage boy who was completely off limits, or could she see the man I’d become…focused and driven, yearning for another chance at love?
For Salem Honeycutt, postpartum bliss seemed like a lie…
No one told me that I’d hate my baby when I brought her home from the hospital. No one told me that I’d want to put a pillow over my husband’s head and smother him in his sleep. No one told me that I’d want to slap every person who gave me the ever-so-cliché advice to ‘cherish every moment.’ No one told me that I’d despise my life the minute I became a mother, but I did. Then I met Chris King, the kid who made me want to pull myself up from the dark recesses of my mind and face each day. This kid, whose passion for life and talent for music, touched my soul deeper than I could ever touch his. Chris gave me a reason to live. I was once affectionately known as Mrs. H., Chris’s juvenile detention counselor. This is our story.
Popping the top off his own bottle, he leaned toward me, his voice gravelly, “I mean, come on. I’m not gonna dance around it. You’re beautiful.”
I nearly choked on my beer, but quickly recovered, masking my freaking-the-hell-out face with a subtle smile.
He continued, nervously glancing at the beer in his hand. I wondered if he was praying to the gods of liquid courage like I was. “Salem, you’ve…you’ve always been sexy as hell,” he stammered. “You had to know how hot all the guys at Fairbanks thought you were, and you probably just chalked it up to some silly teenage fantasies.” His eyes shot up to meet my gaze. “But I hope you know that you meant way more to me than that.”
I nodded. I understood where he was coming from because he’d always meant more to me than ‘just some client.’ He was my saving grace. “You were more to me too,” I said softly.
Continuing to stir up my already mixed emotions, he added, “You were my lifeline back then.”
He stood up, walking over to the massive windows. Leaning both hands against the glass, he stared out at the city for several seconds. “And yet, here we are again…crossing paths.”
Without thinking, I spoke what had been on my mind all night, “Does it make you question fate?”
He whirled around to face me. A brooding expression was plastered on his face, and he seemed just as perplexed as I was. With each ragged breath, his sculpted pecs rose and fell, defining themselves in his fitted, thermal shirt. Finally speaking up, he said, “Yeah…yeah, it does.”
Suddenly the air between us changed. I soaked in the way he looked at me with a softness in his eyes. The expression on his face was different than the canned smile he normally used to pose for the cameras of his adoring fans. This smile was warm, inviting, comforting—a smile meant just for me.
What does all this mean? Part of me felt so ridiculously wrong, but then again, another part of me felt so utterly, hopelessly…right.
Melanie Dawn is a thinker, a dreamer, and a hopeless romantic. When her head isn’t in the clouds, she spends her time as a jack of all trades to her family. Melanie resides in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, her three children, and her cat. She enjoys lazy summer afternoons cruising around the lake on the pontoon boat with her family.
Melanie graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and earned her MA in School Counseling from Appalachian State University. She spent the first six years after graduate school as a middle school counselor. Those were years she deems as some of the best years of her life. That is, until she had children of her own. The last seven years have been spent as a stay-at-home mom. She has learned some tough life lessons, like what the inner absorbent pellets of a diaper look like scattered in the washing machine. She has also learned the strength of the willpower of a two year old lacking a nap. Through it all, Melanie has learned how to roll with the punches and appreciate the time she has been able to spend at home with her children.
Now that her last child has started Kindergarten, Melanie is ready to add a new chapter in her life. That chapter begins with her debut novel—So Much It Hurts.