Release Date April 11th
Callum Ferguson has grown up in the shadow of the sins of his father. The worst moment of his life came not at the age of sixteen, when he threw his father out of the house, but later in life, when he realised he was just like him. With a predilection for alcohol and violence, he sees his destiny every time he looks in the mirror.
Sass Hathaway, hell-raiser and successful musician, thrived in the limelight – until one night she lost it all. Drowning in an ocean of uncertainty, nursing a crippling case of self-loathing, her brother offers her a chance to find herself again.
His idea of salvation is a dilapidated bar. His proposal; she help him and his wife renovate and run it. However, when she and Callum cross paths, they both discover that salvation comes in many forms.
You can’t escape your past, you can only come to terms with it so that you can move on – but accepting your past is only the beginning. Then you must decide whether you’re strong enough to follow your heart.
(This can be read as a stand-alone, but reading ‘Absolution’ is recommended in order to get the most out of this story).
Desperate for an excuse to escape, I picked up my plate and headed inside with it. I slammed it on the kitchen counter and tried to breathe evenly, all the while talking myself down. I was jealous. That’s what it was. What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t that be me? Where on earth was I going to find strength like that?
I didn’t even hear Callum follow me, but when I turned around, he was standing in the doorway, watching me.
I turned my back on him, picking up my plate and rinsing it in the sink.
Such bullshit, but what else was I going to say? Suddenly, the water turned hot and I dropped the plate with a muffled curse, burning my fingers.
“Shit,” he said, at my side in a flash. “Here, hold it here.”
He turned the cold water on and shoved my hand under the stream. The relief was instant, although it didn’t help my mood. He was too close to me, his body blocking me from behind, his hand still holding mine under the water. I could smell him, his personal scent a peculiar mix of engine oil and cologne. It drove me wild, and also ripped me open.
One minute, I wanted to cry. The next, I wanted him to kiss me. What the hell was wrong with me?
“Promise me something,” he said huskily, his face so near mine.
I didn’t want to promise him anything. My first instinct was to say that, but I fought it because I was curious.
“Promise me you won’t lie to me anymore, no matter what,” he said, his other hand slipping between my arm and my body and settling on my hip. I could feel it burning through my jeans, right through to the skin. I had visions of last night, of how gentle his hands were. They fascinated me. Despite their size, and rugged outward appearance, they were tender, careful. I was beginning to think his hands were a metaphor for his personality.
His breath fanned against my neck. I had no idea if he was doing it on purpose or not, but it made it nearly impossible to draw a steady breath.
“When I ask you if you’re okay,” he continued, his breath igniting the fire inside me, the one I’d thought was long since dead. “Don’t lie to me and say you’re fine when you’re not. I might be a lot of things, but I’m not an idiot. Let’s make a pact, right now. Just the truth from here on in. Okay?”
My heart thundered in my ears. Part of me wanted to fidget and pull away and get some space between us, because I’d almost convinced myself that’s what I needed. Space, room to breathe, to move, to think.
Another part of me wanted him to kiss me, just like he had last night, because that’s what made me forget everything else. That’s what made me feel like a real person, like a whole person.
I sucked in a shaky breath. My body was on fire, and it had separated from my brain. One wanted him to come closer, it didn’t care what he said. The other wanted to push him away, because what he was suggesting was a step too far.
“Okay?” he asked again, his hand squeezing my hip gently.
God help me, I nodded.
Amanda Dick is a night-owl, coffee addict, movie buff and music lover. She loves to do DIY (if it's not bolted down, she'll probably paint it, re-cover it or otherwise decorate it) and has tried almost every craft known to man/womankind. She has two sewing machines and an over-locker she can't remember how to thread. She crochets (but can't follow a pattern), knits (badly) and refrains from both as a public service.
She believes in love at first sight, in women's intuition and in following your heart. She is rather partial to dark chocolate and believes in the power of a good vanilla latte.
What lights her fire is writing stories about real people in trying situations. Her passion is finding characters who are forced to test their boundaries. She is insanely curious about how we, as human beings, react when pushed to the edge. Most of all, she enjoys writing about human behaviour - love, loss, joy, grief, friendship and the complexity of relationships in general.
After living in Scotland for five years, she has now settled back home in New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, "Absolution", was released on 29 October 2013 (with the second edition releasing on 6 January 2015). Her second novel, "Between Before and After", was released in May 2014. Her third novel, "Into the Void", is scheduled to release in July 2015.