An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. ~ Newton’s First Law of Motion
Brandon “Brand” Carmichael’s life was the stuff dreams were made of…too bad it was an illusion. As a guitarist for Inert Motion, Brandon traveled the world, performing with his brothers in all but blood. He never stopped moving all the while his mind played in a never‑ending loop. Now outside influences have changed the band’s course, leaving Brand’s life void of the balance he craved. Once again, his dream had become a recurring nightmare. Brand coped the only way he knew how; retreat into solitude.
Û The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object. ~ Newton’s Second Law of Motion
Magdalena “Layna” Delacroix had achieved the long sought goal of her Ph.D. in Psychology, but success came at a high cost: over one hundred thousand dollars in debt. After being presented with the opportunity to fulfill her desire to help someone in the aftermath of tragedy, along with earning enough money to clear her debt and start a psychology practice of her own, Layna had to balance the means against the outcome. Could she be the force to stop the downward spiral of someone who refused to seek help?
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. ~ Newton’s Third Law of Motion
Neither Brand nor Layna expected the reaction they had to one another. It was the opposite of everything they sought.
Could Layna live a lie while pushing Brand to live in the truth?
Would Brand forgive her for committing the one unforgivable sin he couldn’t overlook?
Or was he branded by destiny to be Reft…
I faced Brand’s parents. The guilt of knowing I’d failed my best friend resting heavily upon my shoulders. There was nowhere else to turn. Brand had steadily declined over the last tour. None of the other guys in the band could figure out what was going on with him either. The more we tried to include him, the more Brandon withdrew; the more he withdrew, the more erratic he became. It seemed the only time he functioned was when we were on stage.
Rubbing my hand over my head, I confessed, “We just don’t know what else to do. We thought it was drugs or booze, but we could never catch him doing it or find it hidden anywhere. Then we thought maybe he was going through groupies”—I grimaced at the thought of talking to my friend’s parents about their son’s sex life—“even though that had never been his thing before, but he wasn’t taking anybody back to his room and he wasn’t going out. He’s not eating or working out. He’s lost weight.” I sighed and looked down, focusing on the pattern in the rug. “With the tour ending and him going home by himself, we’re worried.” Looking up, I met their concerned gazes. “And in spite of feeling like I’m narcing on my friend, I’m here because he needs help and I don’t know where else to turn or what else to do.”
Peter and Sarah exchanged a knowing glance before turning their eyes back to me. As her husband squeezed her hand, Sarah asked, “When did you start to notice Brandon’s behavior changing?”
I shook my head and said, “That’s just it, it was like BAM—all of a sudden he just wasn’t the same. Then Danelle pointed out that he started acting like an ass to her when she and Ty started to get serious, and he’s gotten worse as the rest of us have settled down with girlfriends and wives and stuff.
“It doesn’t make any sense. He always got along with Danelle when she was our publicist, so I don’t get why he would suddenly be a jerk…” I trailed off as I thought back over the past couple of years.
Sarah’s worried gaze found her husband’s once again, and he swallowed and nodded his consent. It was time.
When I’m not reading or writing, I’m a wife, mother, and business owner. I’ve lived on both coast and few places in between, but as born and raised Southern girl, I’ll always believe there’s no place like home.
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