Copyright © 2013/2014 Elena Matthews
By Elena Matthews
The birth of your firstborn child is supposed to be the best day of your life, a joyous occasion. Well that’s what twenty-eight year old Ava Jacobson thought. That is until her life takes a drastic turn for the worse and her daughter is born three months earlier than planned, weighing only two pounds, two ounces.
A distraught Ava is thrown into the deep end of motherhood and instead of being able to hold her baby like other moms, she has to sit back and watch her daughter fight for her life in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, while her fiancé, Sebastian Gilbert is in the midst of a messy war in Afghanistan. Ava is left to pick up the pieces with the help of her only friend, Caleb Summers.
When her vulnerable state hits an all time low, she finds solace in an unexpected pair of intense green eyes. Eyesthat belong to her daughter's doctor, Ashton Bailey, and she falls, like she has never fallen before. However, for the sake of Sebastian she desperately tries to fight against her newfound feelings for Ashton, but eventually the pull between the two is so strong that it is impossible for her to stay away.
Then when Ava is convinced things can't possibly get any worse, a cloud of blackness closes in on her as the secret demons of her past come back to haunt her, with news that will irreversibly shake her entire world forever.
As Ava’s roller coaster ride she calls life begins to circle the drain, she quickly learns that even through the darkness of evil, there is always that one person who will look after you and have the ability to pull you away from the brink of no return, when nobody else can.
Warning: Recommended for ages 18+ due to heavy subject matters of rape and suicide. Also includes violence, explicit language and sexual situations.
by Elena Matthews
Release: April 5, 2014
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
Twenty-eight year old Ava Jacobson though she was heading for calm waters, happily pregnant with her first child, while her fiancee Sebastian was serving out his time in Afghanistan. But when her baby announces herself three months early and leaves Ava struggling alone, recovering from a c-section with a little daughter fighting for her life and her man thousands of miles away. If not for her best friend Caleb and little Lilly's physician Dr. Bailey, she would'nt have been able to hold it together.
Neonatal Care Physicial Ashton Bailey is immediately taken with Ava and her tiny daughter, but knowing she is spoken for, he tries to keep a respectful distance. It becomes difficult however, when she is in need of support and he is eager to provide it, even if it is just as a friend. But when the bottom seems to fall out for Ava and she needs strong protective arms, he can't resist his baser instincts and alows his desires to come through.
For weeks Ava was battling her attraction to Ashton, his beautiful eyes a constant source of strength and encouragement to her. But when an unexpected return to a place she had wanted to leave behind brought back the dark memories that haunted her, she finally opened herself up to him completely. The result not only a complicated romantic entanglement, but also a resurfacing of old demons from which she no longer was able to hide.
Just as Ava thinks she has finally lost everything that mattered, the one person who has held her head above the water has come through for her again....
Good GRIEF!! What an emotional roller-coaster!! Excellent!
From a highly dramatic and emotional, but rather paced start, I was not quite sure where the story would take me. Pleasantly surprised when I started sensing a dark undertone that promised perhaps a type of psychological thriller aspect to this romance, I was not disappointed. The build up was very gradual, very subdued with a lot of overlying romantic turmoil that clouded the darker edges. But once the proverbial cat was out of the bag, and the dark twist was out in the open, suspense was high and the certainty that no deed goes unpunished, had me sitting at the edge of my seat.
Ava, at times I felt she was a bit of an emotional wreck, especially at first. That is until I got to know her better. Understood her better. And realized she was so much stronger than I had given her credit for. Even still, I can't agree with all of her decisions, but I haven't been in her shoes so it isn't my place to judge. I can't deny the incredible suffering and struggle, however, nor the blessing in the form of Caleb and Ashton in her life.
And good grief, where can I find me an Ashton? I have to admit, early on in the book I was wondering if he had some nefarious intent, but the man was nothing but perfection. Ok, he was kind of hitting on a woman who was already engaged, but he tried very hard not to overstep boundaries and filled a void left by the man who should have been there, but wasn't. His intentions were good but when instincts take over, what are you going to do?
Some difficult moral questions are tackled in this story, ones that are rather painful and difficult since the outcome has such a devastating impact on some. What do you do when you are faced with a choice between the right thing to do, and the right thing for YOU.....when they are not one and the same?
I have to caution readers about some of the subject matter in this book dealing with sexual abuse and suicide. As mentioned before, there are some dark elements at play that are slowly revealed and come back at full force toward the end. Please be aware that these topics are a part of the plot and may be cause for upset.
✨The intense, conflicted beauty and strength of ultimate survival!✨
I feel as though I am drowning in the deepest of waters, without a life jacket, with no way of survival. I abruptly pull my hand out of his and bury my face deep into my hands. I angrily bite against my hand as I mumble, “I don’t how much more I can cope with.”
My eyes water at his sympathy and that only makes me feel worse. I cry hysterically, wishing for just one moment that I wasn’t the poor girl with the preemie baby daughter. That I wasn’t the poor girl whose fiancé, was in Afghanistan, that I wasn’t the poor girl who was being tormented by her demons and fears. I want to be a girl, a normal girl without a worry in the world.
Of course, the perfect life doesn’t exist for me. It never has.
Suddenly I feel a dip beside me on the sofa, and when a pair of strong arms wrap around my shaking body, I accept them and bury my face into the incredible warmth of Ashton’s chest. I cry hysterically into the spot where his heart sits. After a few deep breaths, the steady beat of his heart begins to create a calming effect, and I don’t ever want to let go.
Ashton rocks me back and forth as I grip hold of his white coat, pain ricocheting through my body, causing me to wail through my ugly cries. I feel a comforting tingle move down my spine as he lightly strokes his hand through my long hair. Somehow I must have lost myponytail holder from its messy bun during my hysteria. He doesn’t utter a word as I lose control of my emotions. He just lets me break down into his arms. I know how inappropriate this would look to an outsider, how bad this would seem to Sebastian, but right now Ashton’s arms are all I have, and whether it is right or wrong, I like how he is making me feel. I finally realize how much I have missed him, how much I missed the friendship that we developed during the confined environment of this hospital. He made my day that little bit brighter. I could do with a pick me up, especially after the past week. I hate to admit it, but I love the way his arms feel around me, it feels natural. It feels perfect.
The room is silent when my tears eventually dry up. The only thing I can hear is the drumming of his heartbeat and the soft sound of light breathing coming from Ashton. I know, now that I have stopped crying that I should let go of him, but for some reason I don’t. I just keep locked into his embrace, and for the first time in a long time I finally feel content, and I don’t have the weight of my demons hovering over me. I finally feel safe.
Independent author Elena Matthews was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, where she lives with her other half, but even after eight wonderful years, she is still waiting for that epic proposal. Elena enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family, especially her four-year-old niece, Caitlin, who is the apple of her eye(She’s a little monkey too!). Elena is positive Caitlin is the love child of Jekyll and Hyde. Thankfully, the joys of being an auntie, means she can hand Caitlin back over to her mum and dad when she’s all tired out!
Elena spent three years of her life at Salford University studying media production, to decide at the end of her degree she no longer wanted to pursue a career in the media. Instead, it took her another two and half years to realise her calling. Writing. Now she lives and breathes her writing. She even had to tell her colleagues at work whenever she is found daydreaming at her desk, it’s because she is conversing with her characters.