Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cover Reveal - Tattered by Devney Perry


Today we are so happy to share to cover of Tattered by Devney Perry, Lark Cove Book #1 coming June 19th.

Thea Landry has always known her place in modern-day society. It’s somewhere just above the trash can her mother dumped her in as a newborn but below the class where much comes easy. With her tattered shoes and bargain-bin clothes, her life has never been full of glamour. 

So when a rich and charismatic man takes interest, she doesn’t fool herself into thinking their encounter is anything more than a one-night stand. Months later, she’s kicking herself for not getting his phone number. Or his last name. She’s given up hope of seeing him ever again. 

Until one day, years later, Logan Kendrick waltzes into her life once more and turns everything she’s built upside down. This time around, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s going to fight to keep him in her life—not for herself. 

But for their daughter. 



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Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media. 
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Never Give Up on Me - My Review of My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

Title: My Oxford Year
Author: Julia Whelan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: 4/24/2018
Source: ARC from the publisher


American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day. 

When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret. 

Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for.

Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, lifelong actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and creative writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While she was in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a tea master.

Ella Durran has a plan for her life; attend Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, be a consult for THE candidate to beat in the Presidential race, return to the U.S. as the deputy political director for the leading Presidential nominee. Nowhere on her schedule is there time for emotions, for falling in love, for Jamie Davenport.

Jamie Davenport’s Day has been filled with bad news, fights with family and now a loud-mouthed American calling him a ‘posh prat’. It’s really too bad that she is exactly right.

Despite the fact that Jamie Davenport turns out to be Dr. Jamie Davenport, the TA taking over as Ella’s professor, Ella and Jamie have an incredible chemistry. As there are no ‘rules’ about being involved in a relationship with your TA at Oxford, Jamie and Ella begin to spend a lot of time together. Neither one is looking for a commitment and on the surface, it appears to be a perfect arrangement. 

The story is told with shimmering detail, painting the Oxford landscape with skillful precision. I was instantly transported to the centuries-old buildings having pretentious conversations with scholars. I felt Ella's excitement and awe as she prepared for a year of study.

Of course with all of this perfection you know there has to be conflict. I won't spoil what happens, but suddenly Ella finds herself making decisions that influence the candidates for the President of the United States. She also finds herself torn between her dream job and a life she never knew she wanted.

This book gripped me by the feels in the beginning and held on tightly to the very last page. It was an emotional ride I will gladly take again and again.

5 out of 5 Stars

Misterwives - Never Give Up On Me

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Long & Lost - My Review of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: 4/24/18
Source: ARC from the publisher


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

YA fantasy author, SKY IN THE DEEP (4.24.18) & UNTITLED (2019) from Wednesday Books. Agent: Barbara Poelle, IGLA

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

For information on release, appearances, ARCs, giveaways, and exclusive content, sign up for the newsletter at

Instagram: @adrienneyoungbooks
Twitter: @adriennebooks

I don't exactly know what to say or where to start with this one. I'm not sure that I even have the right words. It was such an incredible ride.

First of all, I guess I should say that I feel so unbelievably blessed to have had the opportunity to read this book before release. I've been watching it ever since I first saw the cover. (OMG, how amazing is that cover?) I could tell that it was a dark and raw fantasy novel that I desperately needed in my life. When I started seeing reviews and comments rolling in, it was solidified and I knew that I would have to own this book.

Secondly, I think I have to say that one of my favorite things about this book is also something that makes me very sad. Sky in the Deep is a STANDALONE!!! I love it because there was no waiting to find out how the heroine would resolve the conflict. I'm sad because I was enjoying the book so much that I didn't want it to end. EVER.

The stage is set at the time of Vikings. This book holds nothing back. It is violent and descriptive. Eelyn's prejudices are well-earned, and her enemy, The Riki's treatment of her is harsh and brutal. The time that Eelyn spends as a captive of The Riki is filled with hatred and taunting and Eelyn often fears for her life. This is not a fluffy feel-good book, but in the end, it did make me think and make me aware of some pretty harsh realities of our world today.

Sky in the Deep has some absolutely amazing characters and some of the strongest women I've ever read. Also, while it may seem completely impossible, this book contains some pretty epic romance. The family relationships and friendships that are explored are quite thought-provoking. 

  1. Can Iri's actions still be seen as traitorous after all that Eelyn has seen and felt?
  2. After all that has happened would Eelyn be welcomed back in her own village?
  3. Can the love you feel for the family you choose be as strong as the love you have for your family by blood?
I loved everything about this book except for the fact that it ended.

5 out of 5 stars

Florence and the Machine - Long & Lost

Release Day Blitz - Flightpath by Amber Addison

Today we have the release blitz for Amber Addison’s Flightpath! Check out the release day festivities and be sure to grab your copy today!

Title: Flightpath

Author: Amber Addison

Genre: Contemporary Military Romance


Being married young isn't a thing of the past in Louisiana. And for Madelyn and Seth, it's a way of life. Except, no one prepared them for the skies ahead. 

Moving to new places more times than either of them could count with new battles to fight at every stop, their Flightpath to happiness is turbulent. 

Between Air Force Pararescue school, deployments, a baby, and the strain that military life can put on a family, they’ve discovered life has to fall apart in order to fall back together again. 

When a terrorist attack puts Maddie's life in grave danger, their lives definitely fall apart, and Seth knows saving her might be the only thing that saves them. 

FLIGHTPATH can be read as a standalone or as book one in The Love and Valor Series. 

*Previously released as a Titan World Novella, with New York Times best-selling author Cristin Harber…now available with an extended epilogue as a full-length novel.

Get Your Copy Today!

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Exclusive Excerpt:

I was married to the most beautiful girl in the world, inside and out. We made it through basic training and a couple of specialized training schools, despite the time apart. I knew she was with me for the long haul. When we moved away from Texas and on to the next round of training, she never looked back. She squeezed my hand and told me as long as she had me and I had her everything would fall into place. It was always our thing. Maddie squeezing my hand or me squeezing hers. That unsaid reassurance both of us needed from time to time. When I was away from her, I of course missed her body—which she so graciously made sure I had plenty of pictures of—Thank you internet!—but I missed the way she squeezed my hand when I felt like I was struggling. I missed the way her eyes twinkled and turned super green when she saw me walking toward her. I missed the way her eyes turned dark green, almost brown when she was angry, and even how they turned blue when she was sad. I missed that gold ring she would get around her pupils on the “hazel days” as we called them. So yeah, I missed fucking her. But I also just missed her, and it was something not many of the guys understood.   

The Pipeline, a seemingly endless chain of classes and schools across the country that I had to take over the next two years were easy in terms of our relationship, but hard as hell in terms of finishing each step and getting to the next. Maddie was able to be with me most of the time, and we got family housing. I felt like I was taking care of her while I was training. She kept writing. I didn’t want her to, at least not for money. I wanted her to write for fun. I swear she wrote all the time...unless she was watching those dumbass shows that make trauma medicine look like a joke. But she wrote a lot. Mostly random pieces in small online publications, but she said it gave her a sense of having something to do, and I couldn’t argue with that logic. It felt good to take care of my girl, though. So, I was always a bit torn but didn’t want to be that dude who looked like an asshole by telling his wife not to work. Growing up definitely wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.   

There was a lot riding on my success in the PJ program. Maddie and I were kind of living school to school for a few months. If I failed, I’d be out and back to trying to decide what I wanted to do in the service. I wasn’t the only one who’d be starting all over again. We both would be. And, because I’m stubborn, I’d try to be a PJ again. I would’ve kept training and trying. I wanted to be a PJ more than anything in my life. For the first time, I knew my purpose was to love my wife and save people’s lives. Maddie tried to take a break from school for me while we spent a little over a year in New Mexico where I finished my Pararescue EMT/Paramedic and my Recovery Specialist courses. I wouldn’t let her though. I mean, she could’ve told me no. Maddie had no qualms about being independent. She was really cute, always thinking she would get her way. She ended up enrolling in school for two semesters in New Mexico. I still claim that as a point in the win column, even though it was only a couple of semesters. After that, they shipped us off to a new base in Arizona. I never thought I’d call Arizona home. But it sure as fuck beat that humid shit I was so used to in Louisiana. Maddie reenrolled in college while we settled in, and I continued my training with my unit for an eventual deployment. I was officially a PJ, and Arizona was home, for now. I had my wife. I had my passion. I was pretty fucking happy. It did scare me how badly I wanted to see some action overseas, though, and it outright terrified Mads.   

It felt like years, but sooner rather than later, I was able to use my hard training. I was going to be more than a new recruit. I was going to do more than just train. I was going to implement skills very few people could.   I was going to war.   

My first deployment was really hard on everyone. Myself included. Maddie was about to graduate college and there was nothing I could do to stop my deployment. In the military, you don’t get to call the shots. I wanted to be there for her. I wanted to be there to hug her, to celebrate with her. I wanted to be the man I was supposed to be. But, maybe I was. Maybe the man I was supposed to be could do both. I was sure as fuck going to try. There was nothing I could do to properly portray how much I would miss her smile in my life every day. She’d never understand how much I would worry about her. I tried to tell her. I tried to show her—in some of the dirtiest ways possible—that I wasn’t going anywhere. That she was mine. I was hers. War wouldn’t tear us apart. We wouldn’t be one of those statistics. Plus, the Air Force would be in and out of this conflict in no time.   

The problem with my plan was that we weren’t in and out of the conflict in no time. When I enlisted, I knew there was a chance I’d go to war. I didn’t think it was likely, but I realized it was a possibility. I wasn’t a fucking moron. I also knew there was a chance I could very well die serving my country. That was a sacrifice I decided I was willing to make without consulting with my new wife. I never asked her how she felt about it. Later, I would learn to regret never asking her opinion. She might’ve told me how much she’d hurt without me. My little copilot, having to pilot life on her own. She always did a fine job, but I know now that she always wished I was there to keep her on course.   

But when I’m honest with myself? I would’ve chosen the same anyway. Saving lives? That’s a feeling I’m unable to describe. Saving kids, being the one to save my brothers and sisters at war, knowing I could save the life of an innocent civilian? That’s what I was supposed to be. That was what I was always supposed to be, even before I knew it. I just hoped I didn’t lose the only woman I would ever love over my need to do something for the greater good. 

It had been nice stateside, pretending war wasn’t looming in the background. I never thought it would actually happen, not to an extent where I would need to be deployed. Wars were a thing of the past, right? But, when terrorists attacked Americans on United States soil, it was only a matter of time before we got called to serve. That whole thing happened rather quickly. I went from being a pretty carefree, happily married young man, the man that loved coming home to my wife every night and fucking her in ways that only I knew how. I equally loved holding her hand during a movie night on the couch or having her crawl into my lap and go to sleep as I played video games. Life was easy. It was good. Life was unreal.   

But life got real. Shit got real. Shit got real in a real big fucking hurry.   

The day before my deployment snuck up on me, and before I knew it, I was facing months without my girl. I knew we’d be okay. We’d made it through plenty of long distance periods. But each one hurt just as much as the first time, and as time went on, each one hurt as bad as the worst times. I was better at hiding it than she was. She was so free with her emotions. I had always been pretty open with my emotions around her, too. But the closer deployment came, the more I began to try to turn a lot of my emotions off. I knew my training, while it was the best around, was nothing compared to the wounds I’d be seeing. I knew learning to close a body bag would be nothing like actually doing it with a lifeless body inside of it. I knew what war did to my friends who had been and come back. I thought if I started to shut down before I left, I would definitely be okay. The problem with that plan?   

My beautiful, emotional, Maddie.

About Amber Addison:

Amber Addison is a southern mama who writes about real life love in small town USA. She enjoys writing contemporary romance that has it’s ups and downs just like the trials that we face in our day to day. Love isn’t perfect and she doesn’t pretend that it is. Amber writes anything from swoon worthy military guys to sexy soccer players. When she’s not writing about hot guys and strong women, she’s reading or cleaning up an endless trail of toys left behind by her dog and daughter or getting tattoos. Nominated for Best Debut Author, 2017, UtopiaCon

Connect with Amber:

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Monday, April 23, 2018

The Promise - My Review of Savor You by Kristen Proby

Title: Savor You
Author: Kristen Proby
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: 4/24/2018
Source: ARC from Publisher

In the next sizzling romance in Kristen Proby's New York Timesbestselling Fusion series, two celebrity chefs compete in a culinary competition, but resisting each other will prove to be the greater challenge.

Cooking isn't what Mia Palazzo does, it's who she is. Food is her passion . . . her pride . . . her true love. She's built a stellar menu full of delicious and sexy meals for her restaurant, Seduction. Now, after being open for only a few short years, Mia’s restaurant is being featured on Best Bites TV. To say Seduction is a wild success is an understatement. All the blood, sweat, tears, and endless hours of work Mia has put into the restaurant has finally paid off. 

Then Camden Sawyer, the biggest mistake of her life, walks into her kitchen . . . 

Camden's celebrity chef status is world-renowned. He's the best there is, and the kitchen is where he's most at home. He can't resist the invitation to Portland for a showdown against Mia for a new television show. Mia was in his life years ago, and just like before, he's met his match in the beautiful Italian spitfire. The way she commands the kitchen is mesmerizing, and her recipes are clever and delicious. He's never had qualms about competition, and this is no different. He can't wait to go head to head with Mia. But can he convince her the chemistry they share in the kitchen would be just as great in the bedroom as well?

As Mia and Camden face off, neither realizes how high the stakes are as their reputations are put on the line and their hearts are put to the ultimate test.

Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years. 

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series. 

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats. 

Savor You is book #5 in the Fusion series by Kristen Proby. It is finally Mia's turn. The kitchen at Seduction is the stage for a new television show. Mia is not excited about the show and is only going along with it because it is good for the restaurant.

Mia and Camden are both strong successful chefs. Once upon a time, back in culinary school, they were roommates, good friends, and for a time they were more. Put together by the television network in a cooking competition show, Camden and Mia find themselves suddenly back in each other's orbit after 10 years and Mia has some 'splainin' to do.

Mia and Camden are both amazing characters. They have great chemistry and a great friendship. While in the past, Mia ran from her problems and her relationship, nowadays Mia and Camden have great conversations. Camden is overlooking past hurts and trusts that Mia will be a grown-up about their relationship this time. They've learned to communicate and it is quite impressive and unexpected.

This series is so much fun. I love that the restaurant is owned by this group of friends. Each woman is in charge of an area of the business. Mia's area is the kitchen. In Savor You we get a front row seat of what goes on in Mia's kitchen. Mia and Camden are sexy and fun and I enjoy their banter in the kitchen and out of it.

Savor You is a fun and flirty book. It's filled with friendship and romance and all of the fluffy goodness you'd expect from a romance. The Fusion series as a whole is sexy and shows the strength of these incredible women. They are sharp and shrewd in business and supportive in their friendships. These characters are real and likable and I heartily recommend it.

4 out of 5 Stars

Tracy Chapman - The Promise

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Happy Release Day - Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate + Excerpt


From New York Times bestseller Courtney Cole, writing as Courtney Evan Tate, comes the psychological thriller that will keep readers up turning pages long into the night, SUCH DARK THINGS! "Written in breathless style, this page-turner relies on quick thrills, surprise twists...[for] readers seeking a fast entertaining tale..."(Publishers Weekly). Grab your copy of SUCH DARK THINGS today!



Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream. She’s a successful ER physician in Chicago who’s married to a handsome husband. Together they live in a charming house in the suburbs. But appearances can be deceiving—and what no one can see is Corinne’s dark past. Troubling gaps in her memory mean she recalls little about a haunting event in her life years ago that changed everything.

She remembers only being in the house the night two people were found murdered. Her father was there, too. Now her father is in prison; she hasn’t been in contact in years. Repressing that terrifying memory has caused Corinne moments of paranoia and panic. Sometimes she thinks she sees things that aren’t there, hears words that haven’t been spoken. Or have they? She fears she may be losing her mind, unable to determine what’s real and what’s not.

So when she senses her husband’s growing distance, she thinks she’s imagining things. She writes her suspicions off to fatigue, overwork, anything to explain what she can’t accept—that her life really isn’t what it seems.

Grab your copy of SUCH DARK THINGS here!

Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo


“Fans of domestic thrillers with an unreliable narrator will gobble this one up...Recommended for all thriller/suspense collections." --Booklist

Add it to your Goodreads Now!


Courtney Evan Tate’s SUCH DARK THINGS – Tour Schedule:
April 16th
Aurora B's Book Blog – Interview
Devilishly dirty book blog – Review & Excerpt
Smut Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Book Hammock – Excerpt
April 17th
Book Freak – Review
Bookish Proclivity – Review & Excerpt
Ficwishes – Excerpt
April 18th
Read more sleep less – Review & Excerpt
Suey Library – Review
The Bashful BookWhore – Excerpt & Interview
April 19th
A Literary Perusal – Excerpt
Feel the Book – Excerpt
TBR Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
April 20th
Roxy's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 21st
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
April 22nd
Angela's Opinion – Excerpt
Evermore Books – Excerpt
Lattes & Paperbacks – Review & Excerpt
April 23rd
Becky on Books – Excerpt & Interview
Linz Readz – Review & Excerpt
Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt
V's Reads – Review & Excerpt
April 24th
M&J’s book blog – Review & Excerpt
Quesarasera Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Talkbooks – Review & Excerpt
April 25th
Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 26th
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Literary Misfit – Review & Excerpt
No BS Book Reviews – Review
The Book Hookup – Review & Excerpt
The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 27th
Just Me & My Kindle – Excerpt
Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt
Next Book Review – Review & Excerpt
Sassy Moms Say Read Romance – Review & Excerpt
Shh Moms Reading – Excerpt
Smokin' Hot Reads Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
April 28th
@all_encompassing_books – Review & Excerpt
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
Books A-Brewin' – Excerpt
Bout-a-Book blog – Review & Excerpt
Rainy Day Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt
Tfaulcbookreviews – Review

I miss you. I hate this place.
The text is from my wife.
My head falls back on the pillows, my hand grazing the empty side of the bed. The sheets there are cold. Corinne should be there next to me, her breath even and strong, her hair splayed out on the pillow, her warmth leaching into my body.
But she’s not.
I don’t know how she got access to her phone.
I miss you, too, babe, I answer. Um. How do you have your phone? Isn’t that against the rules?
They aren’t supposed to use their cellphones at Reflections since the devices are considered a distraction from treatment. As a therapist myself, I can’t say I disagree with that theory.
I had a bad night, so the day nurse is giving me 5 min to chat with you.
My gut contracts at that, at the notion that she has to get “permission” to talk with me, and once again I wonder if we’re doing the right thing. If I’m doing the right thing. I pushed hard for her to admit herself, so that I wouldn’t have to do it against her will.
But the idea of Corinne in a mental hospital kills me.
Are you ok now? I ask.
Her answer is immediate. Not really. I’m ready to come home.
She adds a smiley face, but I know she’s not feeling smiley. No one in her situation would.
It’ll be ok, I assure her again, as I have four thousand other times this week. I promise.
I’ll take your word for it, she replies, and if I concentrate, I can almost see the wry expression on her face as she types. Her blue eyes will be wide, her brow furrowed. I smile. I love you, Ju.
I love you, too.
I gotta go, she tells me. My five minutes are up. See you Saturday?
Yes! I answer. I’ll be there.
Who would’ve ever thought I’d have to schedule a visit to my wife within a two-hour visiting window? Not me. Not her. In fact, not anyone who knows us.
But it’s our reality.
I burrow my head under my pillow, as though if I tunnel far enough into my bed, this new reality will escape me. It doesn’t, though. The image of finding my wife the way I did, in a pool of blood and insanity, will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I’ll never be able to un-see it.
My dog whines two minutes later, saving me from the memory, her bladder having shrunk with her old age.
“Just a minute, girl,” I mumble. “Give me a few minutes.”
She can’t wait, though, and I eventually haul myself out of bed, trudging out into the October cold, opening the back door.
Artie ambles out and relieves herself, taking her time. She sniffs at this and that, and I know she can’t see what she’s doing. Her eyes are cloudy with cataracts, and she can’t hear a thing.
“Come on, girl,” I call to her, loudly, shivering. “Get in here. It’s cold.”
When she’s good and ready, she returns to the house, and after I feed her breakfast, I throw some clothes on. I go running every morning. It used to be for fitness reasons only, but now it is also to relieve stress.
Lord knows, these days I’ve got an excess amount of that.
I run my normal route, through the running trails at the park, through the trees. I can see my breath and my shoes crunch through the dead leaves drifted into piles on the ground. One foot in front of the other, pounding down the path, because this is something I can control. I can run and run and run, until all thoughts evade me, pushed out of my brain by the simple and basal need for oxygen. The need to breathe.
The human body is interesting in that way. It will allow your mind to play its games, right up to the point where the basic need to live overtakes all else. My lungs burn more and more. I ignore it as long as I can.
It’s only when they feel about to burst that I finally stop, my hands on my knees as I pull air into my lungs. It takes several long minutes of thinking about nothing but breathing before I come back to the present.
Back to reality.
The Chicago traffic hums in the distance, as people race to work, but I’m removed from it here. This park is secluded and quiet, tranquil and removed. It’s a nature reserve, and if you close your eyes, you truly feel like you’re alone in the middle of nowhere.
Until a twig behind me snaps.
Startled, I whirl around.
I scan the tree line and the moving limbs, and there’s not another human soul here. The wind blows and bites at my face, and there’s nothing out there but the sun rising in the distance.
I’m alone, as I always am on this trail at this hour.
No one is here, and Corinne’s paranoia has affected me.
I wasn’t alone, Jude! she’d told me, babbling until she lost consciousness in the ambulance. I wasn’t alone.
But everyone knows she was. The alarm hadn’t been tripped. No one had broken in. It’s understandable why she’s paranoid, after living through what she did so long ago, but the fact remains, she has grown paranoid.
She had been alone that night.
Just as I’m alone now.
Jesus, Jude, I mutter to myself, and I take long steps, jogging toward home, even now fighting the urge to glance over my shoulder. I’m being a dumbass. I take the porch steps two at a time.
My house is a mausoleum without my wife, enormous and quiet, and I hate it. I didn’t get married for this.
I’m resentful of my own thoughts as I shower and shave, the fog steaming up the bathroom mirrors. Corinne isn’t here to remind me to turn on the exhaust fan, so I don’t.
With her gone, I do everything as I always would. Something in my head tells me not to change anything, because to change things while she’s gone might set her back.
I don’t know if it’s true, but I’m not going to chance it.
I let the bathroom steam up.
None of this is Corinne’s fault. The very fleeting resentful thought that I had just means I’m a selfish bastard. I’m in a beautiful home in the suburbs, and my wife is in a psych ward. Even worse, I pray every day that she won’t remember everything that put her there.
Because I’m a prick.
I feel like even more of a prick when my phone dings a second later and the woman who sent the text is not my wife.
You doing ok? I miss you.
Guilt billows through me like storm clouds, through my gut into my chest. So much of this is her fault, this woman who isn’t my wife, and while I should stay far, far away from her, I can’t. For so many complicated reasons, I can’t.
I sigh as I head out the door to start my day.
About Courtney Evan Tate: Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume for New York Times bestselling author, Courtney Cole. Courtney Evan Tate is her darker side... the side that explores shadowy places. Courtney lives in Florida with her husband and kids. She has a passion for raising drug addiction awareness, the Marine Corp (her middle son is a Marine) and being introspective on the human condition. To learn more about her, you can visit  

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