Her whispered prayers break her…
At night, as she’s drifting off to sleep, I press my ear to the door and listen to her heart wrenching pleas to bring her father back. Her words are agony to my healing heart, but I cherish the sound of them, for that’s the only time I ever hear my beautiful daughter speak. Since her father died two years ago, she’s grown quiet and withdrawn. Catalina’s Valley is to be our new beginning, a place where my family and I can heal, but what we find there is so much more.
Scars mar his body. Pain has left him in pieces…
Three years ago, I lost the two things I cherished most in the world. They were ripped from my arms in the most painful and cruel way. Since then, I’ve kept to myself, preferring to stay away from the pitying looks and the murmured rumors. Everything changed when she and her children barged into my life. It was an accident, not meant to happen, but I wonder if maybe it was.
A tortured soul meets a damaged heart…
A lonely man, a widowed woman, a carefree boy, and a broken girl… Can the four come together and help heal each other? Or will fear of the unknown and guilt of the past keep them apart.
4.5 heartachingly emotional stars!
Well, this little book came up out of nowhere and completely stole my heart! I was captivated from start to finish and I felt every moment of this heartbreaking, heartwarming, sweet, chemistry-filled love story. It’s a beautifully slow-burning romance between two very broken people who have so much to overcome in order to be together. Add in two adorable kids, and I was a complete goner.
“When you touched me…” He stops, and I look up at him. “I felt it when you touched me.”
Gwen and her two young children moved to a small town in Colorado following the death of her husband. He died two years previously, and while she is doing her best to move on, her 8-year-old daughter, Kelsey, hasn’t spoken a word since her father died – except for the secret prayers that she whispers late at night to bring her Daddy back. So, Gwen moves across the country thinking that a fresh start might help her, Kelsey and 6-year-old Daniel to start truly living again.
It’s shortly after she moves that she meets Alexander. Broody, sullen, and completely antisocial, Alexander’s life was destroyed in one tragic moment four years previously, leaving him not only emotionally shattered and consumed with grief and guilt, but also with a permanent physical reminder – hideous burn scars that cover almost half of his body. But despite all of that, Gwen finds herself immediately drawn to him, seeing the beauty beyond the bad attitude and the brutal scars, and curious about his story and what happened to him to physically and emotionally damage him so badly.
It’s the weather (or fate) that eventually brings them together, when Gwen and her children are stuck in their car in the middle of a snowstorm, and it’s Alexander that comes to their rescue. With all roads blocked, he has little choice but to bring them into his home for the days it will take for the storm to blow over and for help to arrive. And that one gesture – opening his home and his solitary life to Gwen and her kids – will change all of their lives in ways that neither of them ever expected.
“What is it about you that makes me want to be close to you?” he marvels in a low voice. His thumb rubs gently against my neck. “Why do I want to touch you so badly when I haven’t wanted to touch anyone in years?”
I’m not ready to let him go yet. The feelings he’s conjured in me…I’m not ready to release them. I want to hold on to them and him and never let go. I want more from this man than I’ve wanted in a long time.
OMG, I loved this love story! It’s not easy, and there is a LOT of baggage that both of them, particularly Alexander, have to work through, but their chemistry is undeniable, and their feelings grow no matter the emotional barriers standing in their way. I love how open Gwen is with Alexander, and though he struggles to move forward, his acceptance of his emotions are gorgeous – which makes his inability to move on even more heartbreaking.
“There’s so much I want from you, Gwen. So damn much, and it scares the shit out of me because I know this feeling isn’t fleeting. It’s real and so damn strong. I don’t know why you came into my life, but now that you’re here, I’m not sure I can ever willingly let you go.”
There is some back and forth, as they wrestle with their emotions, but when the full extent of Alexander’s backstory is revealed, it all becomes clear. My heart ached for him – it literally ached – and I had tears streaming down my face as in his own heartbreaking words tell his story and I could feel his pain and torment.
I’m so fucked-up right now, I have no idea what I’m doing. I want to grab on to her and never let her go. I want to cherish her kids and love them like they should be loved. I want to care for Gwen like she deserves. I want to be the man they need, but I’m so damn scared of failing. I’m so afraid my past won’t allow me to be the person they should have.
And understanding all that he is going through, and all that he needs to overcome, provides much-needed context to his confusion, his guilt, and his reluctance to embrace everything that he is feeling. And that mix of knowing what his heart wants, but feeling unable to claim it, creates a sense of angst that adds to the emotional intensity to the story without overwhelming it.
I need her to leave like I need air to breathe … My hands itch to grab her. My arms ache to hold her. My lips tingle with the need to caress hers with them. My body vibrates with need to feel her against me. And my damn heart hurts because it wants to belong to her. It already does belong to her, she just doesn’t know it.
I loved these characters. I genuinely cared for both of them, and I loved watching their journeys as they both fight to overcome the past and move forward together. Gwen’s strength and unwavering support of Alexander in all that he is going through is just amazing, and I thought she was a fantastic heroine! And, of course Alexander stole my heart – sweet hearted, tender, and incredibly passionate behind that gruff, broody exterior. Kelsey and Daniel are both adorable, and I loved their contributions to the story. They absolutely shine in every scene they are in, and their own journeys add a lot to the book. The relationships that grow between them and Alexander are so incredibly profound and just melted my heart – Kelsey’s in particular, with both of them having demons to battle, and the impact that they have on each other is nothing less than life-changing. I adored watching them together – the sweet moments, the heartfelt, and the downright teary. My heart ached for all of them, and I loved watching all four of them find something special together.
I really loved this book. It captured me from the first moment, it made me feel everything, and it ends in a great place with an epilogue that finishes the story of beautifully – though I would have loved to see just a little bit more. This is my first book by this author, and I will definitely be looking to read more of her work.
I loved it – 4.5 stars.
An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
JUST LIKE LAST NIGHT, I walk silently down the hallway until I make out the murmured whispers from a girl begging God to bring her father back. I gently lay my hand on the door and listen as she slowly melts my heart until it’s a puddle at my feet. My chest aches with the need to walk in there and take away her pain. I’ve never heard such tortured words before. The pain that comes from them is overwhelming and unbearable. Even my own immense pain from losing the ones I loved can’t compare to this. This girl’s pain is so much more.
My head falls forward, and I pull in a deep breath to steady my heartbeat. It’s been quiet for several moments, and I know she’s finished. I let my hand fall from the door, and I walk down the hallway back to the living room. I drop to the cushion and let my head fall in my hands.
They’re leaving tomorrow. The sun is coming out and the temperatures are supposed to be in the lower fifties, much higher than it’s been in days. The snow won’t melt in one day, but it’ll be enough to let the road crew get to the fallen tree and her truck. My call earlier tonight to Travis confirmed they’ll be working on the roads tomorrow.
I’m not ready. It’s unreasonable and irrational, but I don’t want them to leave yet. I’m not ready to give up Daniel’s buoyant behavior or Kelsey’s quiet and depressed mannerisms. I’m not ready to give up Gwen’s giving and resilient personality. I want to keep them here. With me. They’ve brought so much light into my life since they’ve been here, and I want to keep it for a while longer. Which means they need to leave as soon as possible, before my dark world rubs off on them. I want to be selfish and harbor that light, but I won’t.
What hurts the most was the dejected look on Daniel’s face when Gwen informed him and Kelsey they’ll be leaving tomorrow. What surprised me was the morose look on Kelsey’s. That girl and her sad eyes have me wrapped around her little finger. And the boy…. Everyone should have a Daniel in their lives. Gwen tried cheering the two up with promised visits to all their friends once the roads were clear enough for it, but I could tell it didn’t work. I could also tell it wasn’t working for Gwen herself. She tried to hide it, I’m not sure if it was just from the kids or from me too, but I know she doesn’t want to leave either. The four of us, in a matter of days, have become close, formed a bond of a sort. And that right there is another reason they need to leave. I can’t let that continue. It’s not something I deserve. It’s something they need to form with a man who’s worthy. A man who will be there for them always. A whole man, not one who’s only half of himself.
I give my hair one good pull, letting the pain push away the unwanted feelings, before releasing it with a muted growl. I’m pissed at myself for wanting something I shouldn’t. This family is too good for me. I couldn’t even protect my own when they needed me. How could this family be any different? I refuse to take that chance.
I lie back against the cushion and force thoughts of Gwen and her two kids away, and instead let my own demons take over. Closing my eyes, I let the screams of pain and fear flood my mind, reminding me why Gwen, Kelsey, and Daniel are better off without me in their lives.
‘Just One More Page’ is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the release of Whispered Prayers of a Girl, and the grand prize is a Kindle Fire HD!
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About the Author
Alex Grayson is the bestselling author of heart pounding, emotionally gripping contemporary romance including the Jaded Series, the Consumed Series, and two standalone novels. Her passion for books was reignited by a gift from her sister-in-law. After spending several years as a devoted reader and blogger, Alex decided to write and independently publish her first novel in 2014 (an endeavor that took a little longer than expected). The rest, as they say, is history.
Originally a southern girl, Alex now lives in Ohio with her husband, two children, two cats and dog. She loves the color blue, homemade lasagna, casually browsing real estate, and interacting with her readers. Visit her website, www.alexgraysonbooks.com, or find her on social media!