Defiance of the Heart by Monica James ~ Sarah A’s Review

For never was there a story of more woe than that of Holland Brooks and her Romeo…

For as long as I can remember, London Sinclair was the boy who was forbidden. It didn’t matter that he made my heart skip a beat. Our surnames fated us to be sworn enemies. But when the truth was finally revealed, my life changed forever.

Lies have shaped our past, leaving London and me to pick up the pieces. But through the chaos, one thing is certain—I love London, and he loves me, and we won’t allow anyone to tear us apart again.

However, life has a funny way of proving us wrong.

As we attempt to make amends for the past ten years, we soon discover that the ghosts of our past will do anything to drive us apart. We are once again surrounded by deceit and betrayal, testing us in ways we never imagined.

When I’m faced with a proposition to end this heartache once and for all, I blindly agree. That decision changes everything, and I soon learn that those who act in haste create their own destruction.

Does love really triumph all? Or will London and I succumb to what was always written in the stars?

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

After reading a few books that I just didn’t connect with I was afraid I was broken.  In fact, I’d loved Absinthe of the Heart so much I was reluctant to start Defiance for fear that I would have a hard time getting into it, too.  I should have known better, Defiance of the Heart was everything I hoped it would be and pulled me right out of the rut I’d dug myself into.

Defiance of the Heart was just as much of an emotional roller coaster as Absinthe was but in an entirely different way.  The insanity of dealing with all the outside influences that had affected Holland and London’s relationship in the past and were still attempting to sabotage their love and happiness was more than any two people should have to overcome.  I loved that, even when they were dealing with all the awful things being thrown at them, I never felt like their love faltered.  It was bigger than anything that could be used against them, and it was beautiful to see.

The plot of Defiance of the Heart was absolutely compelling.  I was so engrossed with London and Holland’s journey to normalcy and happiness I could barely put the book down to deal with real life.  I was so enraptured with their fight against everyone who should have loved and supported them that I almost felt like I was right there in the trenches with them, choosing the love they’d denied for years over the pressures of their parent’s pasts.

I’ve read over a hundred books since I had read Absinthe of the Heart and was a little worried that I’d have time recalling all the intricacies of the story, but Ms. James did a fabulous job of subtly reminding me of all the important things I needed to remember.  It was a lovely courtesy, and I doubt anyone who was reading the books back to back would even realize that little trail of breadcrumbs of the past was even included.

Defiance of the Heart is the second book in Monica James’ Sins of the Heart series.  These books are not standalones but a duet chronicling one couple’s love story and the lengths they have to go to to find their happily ever after.  Defiance of the Heart is written in first-person perspective, narrated by Holland.

Absinthe Of The Heart by Monica James is the first book in the Sins of the Heart series. 

Two households, unlike in dignity, in the City of Angels is where we lay our scene…

London Sinclair was the boy my mother warned me about for as long as I can remember. His name alone has brought my family nothing but shame and suffering, so it’s no surprise we’ve been sworn enemies since the first moment we met.

With his bedroom eyes and cocky smile, he has all the girls under his spell. I have one more year of school left, and then I’m home free because I’m guarding a secret, one I’m ashamed to keep.

The boy who is completely off-limits is the one who drives me, Holland Brooks, wild. I want London, and I think…he wants me, too.

Some may compare it to a Shakespearian tragedy, as our surnames have fated our future, but when a single night changes my life forever, I can’t leave the City of Angels fast enough.

Ten years later, I have atoned for my sins and return to Los Angeles a changed woman. I’ve come home to get married. But the moment London walks back into my life, one thing is clear. Ten years can’t undo that night—that single, sinful night when I gave into temptation—because I want to do it again.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.

When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Defiance of the Heart by Monica James ~ COVER REVEAL

For never was there a story of more woe than that of Holland Brooks and her Romeo…

For as long as I can remember, London Sinclair was the boy who was forbidden. It didn’t matter that he made my heart skip a beat. Our surnames fated us to be sworn enemies. But when the truth was finally revealed, my life changed forever.

Lies have shaped our past, leaving London and me to pick up the pieces. But through the chaos, one thing is certain—I love London, and he loves me, and we won’t allow anyone to tear us apart again.

However, life has a funny way of proving us wrong.

As we attempt to make amends for the past ten years, we soon discover that the ghosts of our past will do anything to drive us apart. We are once again surrounded by deceit and betrayal, testing us in ways we never imagined.

When I’m faced with a proposition to end this heartache once and for all, I blindly agree. That decision changes everything, and I soon learn that those who act in haste create their own destruction.

Does love really triumph all? Or will London and I succumb to what was always written in the stars?

***  PREORDER NOW ~ RELEASES OCTOBER 17  ***
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Absinthe Of The Heart by Monica James is the first book in the Sins of the Heart series. 

Two households, unlike in dignity, in the City of Angels is where we lay our scene…

London Sinclair was the boy my mother warned me about for as long as I can remember. His name alone has brought my family nothing but shame and suffering, so it’s no surprise we’ve been sworn enemies since the first moment we met.

With his bedroom eyes and cocky smile, he has all the girls under his spell. I have one more year of school left, and then I’m home free because I’m guarding a secret, one I’m ashamed to keep.

The boy who is completely off-limits is the one who drives me, Holland Brooks, wild. I want London, and I think…he wants me, too.

Some may compare it to a Shakespearian tragedy, as our surnames have fated our future, but when a single night changes my life forever, I can’t leave the City of Angels fast enough.

Ten years later, I have atoned for my sins and return to Los Angeles a changed woman. I’ve come home to get married. But the moment London walks back into my life, one thing is clear. Ten years can’t undo that night—that single, sinful night when I gave into temptation—because I want to do it again.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.

When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

NEW RELEASE!! Absinthe of the Heart by Monica James ~ Sarah A’s Review

Absinthe Of The Heart by Monica James is the first book in the Sins of the Heart series. 

Two households, unlike in dignity, in the City of Angels is where we lay our scene…

London Sinclair was the boy my mother warned me about for as long as I can remember. His name alone has brought my family nothing but shame and suffering, so it’s no surprise we’ve been sworn enemies since the first moment we met.

With his bedroom eyes and cocky smile, he has all the girls under his spell. I have one more year of school left, and then I’m home free because I’m guarding a secret, one I’m ashamed to keep.

The boy who is completely off-limits is the one who drives me, Holland Brooks, wild. I want London, and I think…he wants me, too.

Some may compare it to a Shakespearian tragedy, as our surnames have fated our future, but when a single night changes my life forever, I can’t leave the City of Angels fast enough.

Ten years later, I have atoned for my sins and return to Los Angeles a changed woman. I’ve come home to get married. But the moment London walks back into my life, one thing is clear. Ten years can’t undo that night—that single, sinful night when I gave into temptation—because I want to do it again.

Amazon US

Absinthe of the Heart gutted me. I am completely blown away by how amazing this book was. I shouldn’t have expected any less after reading Monica James’ Memories from Yesterday series. The novel packed an emotional punch from the beginning and just kept pummeling my heart for the entirety of the story. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive until the next book is released because I NEED more of Holland and London.

You kind of get a twofer with this story. I loved getting that little glimpse into the beginning of Holland and London’s parents’ stories. It did such a fantastic job of setting up the emotional rollercoaster we were sent on through the rest of the book. And a rollercoaster it was; the highs were euphoric and the lows devastating. It didn’t matter how much I expected that next freefall, it always knocked the wind out of me and left me reeling.

London and Holland and Lincoln and Belle were so intertwined, from the very start, it was hard to see clearly exactly what their dynamics were going to be and how it was all going to unravel. I loved the Romeo and Juliet theme, and this twist on it was splendid. From the way they became star-crossed lovers to the miscommunication that drove them apart to the interesting circumstances that brought them back together, Monica James delivered on the ages-old theme of sworn enemies being fated to fall in love.

The chemistry between London and Holland – especially when they were still sure they hated one another – was explosive. Their interactions were fiery and impassioned. When they finally gave into the pull they felt and allowed themselves to admit there was more between them than unadulterated hatred it was visceral. I could feel each touch, each breath as readily as I could feel my own pulse. I found myself breathless with my heart pounding time and again while reading this novel, and if that isn’t the sign of sublime storytelling, I don’t know what is.

Absinthe of the Heart is the first book in Monica James’ Sins of Yesterday series. From everything I can tell these books are not going to be standalones and must be read in order. Absinthe of the Heart is written in first person perspective, narrated by Holland.

Monica James is quickly solidifying her place on my list of must-read authors. Her work is intense, emotional, and highly addictive. Her prose is beautiful and compelling. Beyond all that she creates wonderfully flawed, sympathetic characters, whom you have no option but to love and root for.

Before I get a chance to scold him, he presses his chest to mine and slowly reaches behind me. We’re caught in a deadlock. I’m barely breathing while he licks his bowed upper lip, unaffected. I shuffle backward, uncaring that I’ll probably fall off the edge because that alternative is far better than burying my nose into the length of his neck. He smells so good. I just want to take a bite.

But up goes my guard as I refuse to succumb to this insanity a second longer. “This is a new low, even for you. Manhandling a defenseless, injured woman.”

He has the gall to laugh. “You? Defenseless? That is one word I would never associate with you, Princess.” When that momentous nickname slips past his lips, we both freeze, him gingerly meeting my eyes.

A thousand emotions are reflected deep within those shadowy depths, transporting us both back to being seventeen. And just like that, my walls crumble. He clears his throat while I avert my eyes, focusing on a lone beer bottle cap on the floor.

There are bottles clinking and some sort of rustling happening behind me, but I don’t dare turn around to see what the commotion is. When he finally pulls away, I take a breath, but it’s in vain because he drops to his knees before me.

I have no idea what he’s doing until he lifts my injured ankle and presses a dishcloth filled with ice to the swollen flesh. The relief is instant, so I don’t fight it. I watch as he tends to me, on his knees, as it’s a sight I never thought I’d see. I envisioned London on his knees, begging for forgiveness more times than I care to admit, but this is different.

Something is selfless, almost repentant about his actions, and I can’t take pleasure in seeing him this way.

“Here.” He breaks the silence when he offers me his cell from his back pocket. My brain short-circuits. Not only is he tending to my wounds, but he’s now giving me a lifeline to get the hell out of here. But now that it’s within reach, I don’t want it as desperately as I thought I did.

Regardless, I accept the offering. The screen lights up with a picture of an adorable black Labrador. I don’t know why, but it throws me.

This is a part of London’s life, and I begin to wonder what else he holds close to his heart.

Over the past ten years, I exorcised London from every crevice of my mind and body, never allowing myself to slip back into the past. But being here now, I can’t help but be curious, especially because he looks different…he looks happy.

Absinthe of The Heart by Monica James will be released on May 14!

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Absinthe of the Heart by Monica James ~ COVER REVEAL

Absinthe Of The Heart by Monica James is the first book in the Sins of the Heart series. 

Two households, unlike in dignity, in the City of Angels is where we lay our scene…

London Sinclair was the boy my mother warned me about for as long as I can remember. His name alone has brought my family nothing but shame and suffering, so it’s no surprise we’ve been sworn enemies since the first moment we met.

With his bedroom eyes and cocky smile, he has all the girls under his spell. I have one more year of school left, and then I’m home free because I’m guarding a secret, one I’m ashamed to keep.

The boy who is completely off-limits is the one who drives me, Holland Brooks, wild. I want London, and I think…he wants me, too.

Some may compare it to a Shakespearian tragedy, as our surnames have fated our future, but when a single night changes my life forever, I can’t leave the City of Angels fast enough.

Ten years later, I have atoned for my sins and return to Los Angeles a changed woman. I’ve come home to get married. But the moment London walks back into my life, one thing is clear. Ten years can’t undo that night—that single, sinful night when I gave into temptation—because I want to do it again.

*** PREORDER ~ RELEASES MAY 14, 2018  ***
Amazon US

Before I get a chance to scold him, he presses his chest to mine and slowly reaches behind me. We’re caught in a deadlock. I’m barely breathing while he licks his bowed upper lip, unaffected. I shuffle backward, uncaring that I’ll probably fall off the edge because that alternative is far better than burying my nose into the length of his neck. He smells so good. I just want to take a bite.

But up goes my guard as I refuse to succumb to this insanity a second longer. “This is a new low, even for you. Manhandling a defenseless, injured woman.”

He has the gall to laugh. “You? Defenseless? That is one word I would never associate with you, Princess.” When that momentous nickname slips past his lips, we both freeze, him gingerly meeting my eyes.

A thousand emotions are reflected deep within those shadowy depths, transporting us both back to being seventeen. And just like that, my walls crumble. He clears his throat while I avert my eyes, focusing on a lone beer bottle cap on the floor.

There are bottles clinking and some sort of rustling happening behind me, but I don’t dare turn around to see what the commotion is. When he finally pulls away, I take a breath, but it’s in vain because he drops to his knees before me.

I have no idea what he’s doing until he lifts my injured ankle and presses a dishcloth filled with ice to the swollen flesh. The relief is instant, so I don’t fight it. I watch as he tends to me, on his knees, as it’s a sight I never thought I’d see. I envisioned London on his knees, begging for forgiveness more times than I care to admit, but this is different.

Something is selfless, almost repentant about his actions, and I can’t take pleasure in seeing him this way.

“Here.” He breaks the silence when he offers me his cell from his back pocket. My brain short-circuits. Not only is he tending to my wounds, but he’s now giving me a lifeline to get the hell out of here. But now that it’s within reach, I don’t want it as desperately as I thought I did.

Regardless, I accept the offering. The screen lights up with a picture of an adorable black Labrador. I don’t know why, but it throws me.

This is a part of London’s life, and I begin to wonder what else he holds close to his heart.

Over the past ten years, I exorcised London from every crevice of my mind and body, never allowing myself to slip back into the past. But being here now, I can’t help but be curious, especially because he looks different…he looks happy.

Absinthe of The Heart by Monica James will be released on May 14!

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

NEW RELEASE!! Forgetting You, Remembering Me by Monica James ~ Sarah A’s Review

The stunning conclusion to this epic love story that began with Forgetting You, Forgetting Me from International Bestselling author, Monica James.

The truth sets you free…but what happens when everything you believe in changes in the blink of an eye?

All I ever wanted was for my fiancé, Samuel Stone, to remember me. And now that he does…all I want is for him to forget. Through tragedy, I found myself and who I was destined to become. But more importantly, I found who I was destined to be with.

With a single word, Saxon Stone changed my life forever. He taught me how to live again. But now that Samuel remembers and all secrets have been revealed, I’m left to wonder which life I’m meant to lead.

Divided by my head and my heart, I’m torn between duty and desire. Samuel is my past while Saxon is my forever. The choice should be easy.

But love never is…

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Though it only took me a little over a day and a half to read his book and its predecessor, I feel like I spent a year dealing with everything they went through. It was intense and all-consuming. More than that, it was an excellent conclusion to Lucy, Sam, and Saxon’s saga.

Forgetting You, Remembering Me is the second book in Monica James’ Memories From Yesterday series. These books must both be read and done so in order. This book literally picks up right in the middle of the scene that ended Forgetting You, Forgetting Me; it just drops you right into the middle of all the drama and heartbreak. Forgetting You, Remembering Me is written in first-person perspective, from Lucy’s point of view.

I always appreciate it when a book can draw a physical reaction out of me, and this book did just that. I could feel my pulse accelerate and my chest tighten throughout this book. Lucy, Sam, and Saxon had been through so much all ready, and life just kept piling so much more on them. It was a hard book to read, even as I knew I couldn’t put it down for one second because I HAD to find out if life was going to ever be fair to them. I had not anticipated how much more Monica James could put her characters through before they finally got their happy ending.

These characters – even Sam, to a point – dug their way into my heart and played my heartstrings like aficionados. From overwhelming joy to the most horrific depths of despair, this book ran my emotions through the gamut. I could feel Lucy’s confusion, Sam’s desire, and Saxon’s pure love coming off each page. The interplay of the brothers’ differences and similarities and how they affected Lucy’s feelings toward them was very well done.

The ending of this book could have gone a million different ways. It was in flux until almost the final page. While I did absolutely love how it ended, I almost wish it had ended differently. I’m a bit of an outlier when it comes to needing a specific type of happily ever after for my books, though, so I have no doubt I am mostly alone in my desires.

This duet is the marks the first time I’ve read anything from Monica James; I’m impressed. Her writing was consuming and passionate. I have no doubt she is zealous about her art. These types of emotionally taxing books are just the kind of thing I need to make me a committed reader, and I feel fully invested in Ms. James’ work after finishing Forgetting Me, Remembering You. I can only hope we get to see more of the characters from this world because I feel there is so much more story to tell beyond the end.

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

 **SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY**
10 paperbacks, 1 winner!
To celebrate the release of my new book, FORGETTING YOU, REMEMBERING ME, I’m giving away 10 signed paperbacks! These amazing authors are coming to the party! Look at this Rockstar Line-up!!
Signed Paperbacks from:
  • Colleen Hoover, Title TBA
  • Anna Todd, Title TBA
  • Vi Keeland- Sex, Not Love
  • Mia Sheridan- Winner’s choice (Except the Indie of Archer’s Choice)
  • Christina Lauren- Roomies
  • Lexi Ryan- The Wrong Kind of Love
  • S.C. Stephens- Furious Rush & Dangerous Rush
  • Sylvain Reynard – Gabriel’s Inferno
  • Monica James- Forgetting You, Remembering Me
To Enter:
LIKE/FOLLOW: Facebook: www.facebook.com/authormonicajames
Instagram: @authormonicajames
Twitter: www.twitter.com/monicajames81
The giveaway will run from February 15th – March 5th

Giveaway open internationally.

Forgetting You, Remembering Me by Monica James ~ Cover and Excerpt Reveal

The stunning conclusion to this epic love story that began with Forgetting You, Forgetting Me from International Bestselling author, Monica James.

The truth sets you free…but what happens when everything you believe in changes in the blink of an eye?

All I ever wanted was for my fiancé, Samuel Stone, to remember me. And now that he does…all I want is for him to forget. Through tragedy, I found myself and who I was destined to become. But more importantly, I found who I was destined to be with.

With a single word, Saxon Stone changed my life forever. He taught me how to live again. But now that Samuel remembers and all secrets have been revealed, I’m left to wonder which life I’m meant to lead.

Divided by my head and my heart, I’m torn between duty and desire. Samuel is my past while Saxon is my forever. The choice should be easy.

But love never is…

Forgetting You, Remembering Me release FEBRUARY 28
Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

“I’m going to take off the blindfold,” he whispers into my ear. I pause in my tracks, eagerly awaiting the view.

No surprise as Saxon draws out the reveal, torturing me further. I bounce from foot to foot. His husky chuckle tickles me from the inside out. “I thought you didn’t like surprises.”

“I don’t, but maybe you’ll change my mind.”

“Maybe,” he covertly replies before removing the soft fabric over my eyes.

It takes me a moment to adjust to the dim lighting, but after blinking a few times, what I see takes my breath away. “Saxon…oh my god. It’s beautiful.” And it really is.

“You like it?”

“Like it? I love it.” My feet act of their own accord as I float down the steps and spread my arms out wide. My fingertips brush over hundreds of sunflowers arranged in endless tall glass vases as I walk my yard. “When did you do this?”

“Today. You looked like you could do with some color in your day.”

I pause in the middle of my backyard, needing a moment to take it all in. A red and white picnic blanket lays just a few feet away, and to the left is a wicker basket. Bouquets of sunflowers are dotted as far as the eye can see, adding bursts of vibrancy and instantly lightening my mood.

When I turn over my shoulder, the fairy lights fashioned as stars dangle from the porch railings and rafters. They add to this most picturesque scene. However, when I focus on Saxon leaning against a wooden pillar with a lopsided smirk tugging at his full lips, I know he is the picture of perfection.

“I can’t believe you did this. Is this why you’ve been scarce all day? I was starting to think I smelled.”

He laughs, pushing off the post. “You smell amazing. Hungry?” My growling stomach answers for me.

I watch as Saxon saunters down the stairs, takes my hand, and leads us to the blanket. The gentle hue of the lights wraps us in our own private romantic bubble. I fold my legs beneath me as I sit, running my fingers along the sunflower petals next to me. I can’t help but reminisce about the first time I saw these flowers with Saxon—I was on the back of his bike as he saved me from yet another bad day.

Saxon kneels, reaching into the basket. It’s not until now that I realize how hungry I am. Glued to the computer all day, I’ve forgotten to eat or move. This is so thoughtful. So Saxon. “I hope you didn’t go to too much trouble. Well, clearly you did—” I sweep my hand toward the beauty in front of me “—but I hope you weren’t slaving over a hot stove all day.”

He gives me a playful grin, and I discover why when he exposes what’s inside the basket. “Oh my god.” I laugh. “Just when I thought I couldn’t love you any more, you go and do this.” And by this, I mean when he produces an enormous paper bag filled with only the best Mexican in all of Montana. However, the crème de la crème is when he adds a bottle of Dr. Pepper to the mix. “You know the way to my heart.”

“Or stomach,” he quips, passing me the bottle. “Here is your seven-layer burrito, extra onions.” He hands over my mountain of goodness with a grin.

“What did I do to deserve this?” And I’m not only talking about the food.

“Just being you,” he replies, kissing the end of my nose. My heart swells. He spreads his long legs out in front of him, sipping a beer. “How’s work?”

I sigh, unwrapping my burrito. “Not great. I know there will always be conflict in the world, but it just seems that lately no one is getting along.”

Saxon moves his lips from side to side, appearing to be in thought. “I’m glad we are, though.”

Afraid of choking, I chew slowly, needing a minute to process what he just said. “Me too.” Something is bugging him. It’s written all over his face. “About this morning—”

He cuts me off. “It’s okay, Lucy. I just…need to get over this irrational jealousy when it comes to you. I know you love me, but it’s just difficult sometimes.”

“I completely understand.” I reach for his hand, intertwining our fingers. “I’m glad you know that I love you. Because I do. We’re all trying our best to deal with this pretty messed-up situation. Personally, I think we’re doing great.”

He nods, my words appearing to appease him. But something is still stirring behind his eyes. Just when I’m about to ask what’s going on, his phone rings—again. He digs into his pocket, the ‘something’ amplifying tenfold.

“I won’t be a minute.” He stands quickly and walks briskly away, out of earshot.

Sighing, my appetite gets shot to hell, and I place my barely touched burrito back into the paper bag. I watch for any signs of what the secret conversation Saxon is having entails. But he turns his back as if sensing my inquisitive stare.

I hate this unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. The light at the end of the tunnel with Sam is shining dimly, but it’s suddenly overshadowed with whatever Saxon is hiding. He turns over his shoulder, meeting my eyes, before heading toward the house, which just makes me feel worse.

Unable to sit still, I stand, feeling constraints tug at my heart. Needing to escape, I take flight to the stables. Memories of when I felt similar to how I do now cloud my mind, and I do the only thing that has cleared my head since I learned to ride.

Potter, my horse, neighs when he sees me, sensing my desperation. Without thought, I put on his bridle, then I mount him, bareback, and squeeze my calves around his muscular barrel. I cluck my tongue twice, sending him into a gallop. He knows what I need. We both relish in the need to be free.

Clutching the reins, I lean forward and take a deep breath when he tears out of the stables, nothing but the open vastness greeting us. I work on autopilot as I lead him toward the mountains. We have been here before, and the memories linger on my tongue just as if they were crafted yesterday.

The wind whips through my hair, instantly easing some of the tension within. The terrain is bumpy, but we’ve both learned from experience to navigate this ground with caution. “Easy, boy,” I coo, tugging lightly to slow him down. He does.

I examine my surroundings, the untouched openness giving me the peace I need. We settle to a trot, and although I’ve lived here for years, I still am in awe of how picturesque everything is. But the prettiest thing of all is when my gaze alights on where Saxon and I shared our first kiss. This spot has been imprinted on my mind.

Fingering my lips, I recall the tenderness and uncertainty of his touch. I was so naïve to think that kiss wouldn’t change my life as I knew it. It not only changed my life, but it changed me too. Saxon has shaken up my world, but I would happily dance in the chaos because when I’m with him, I’ve never felt more alive.

Dismounting Potter, I tie him to a tree where he happily munches on the grass. So different from when we were here last. My bare feet sink into the terrain, and I savor the feel of being in touch with mother nature in the purest form.

Wrapping my arms around my middle, I close my eyes and return to the past. I can remember his words as if spoken only yesterday.

“Let’s pretend tomorrow doesn’t exist. Whatever happens now, it’ll just be memories from yesterday.” I could feel the tremble rumble throughout his entire body.

A quiver bubbles to the surface, and I hum. Saxon’s love for me has never wavered. I was just too blind to see. But my eyes, figuratively speaking, are opened now, and I’ll be damned if anything stands in the way of our happily ever after.

“What are you doing out here?” His voice is silk, encasing me in a velvety sphere.

“You kissed me here. Right in this spot. Do you remember?”

“Of course, I do,” he whispers, the nostalgia tethering us together.

With eyes still closed, I tip my face toward the heavens and take a deep breath. “We were fated from that moment forward.”

“We were fated a long time before then.” And he’s right. The first moment we met, touched, my world changed forever. “Is everything all right? You just took off.”

Sighing, I decide no more second-guessing. “Who were you talking to?”

“Just…”

“And don’t tell me just work.”

Silence.

“You’re not telling me something, and I can’t help but feel you’re not telling me this because your secret will change everything.”

I’m hoping he will brush away my insecurities and tell me I’m overreacting, but when he does neither, a sense of dread settles low within my stomach. Unable to stand this a second longer, I open my eyes and turn to face him. The cloud of guilt hangs over his head as he peers down at his scuffed motorcycle boots.

“Just tell me what it is. This is your free pass. Whatever it is, I will deal with it. But please, don’t lie to me or hide the truth because we’ve had enough deceit to last us a lifetime.”

He mulls over my proposition, which has me wondering what exactly he’s done. A cold sweat suddenly coats my skin, and I swallow. “Oh god, Saxon, what’s going on?”

“Nothing, Lucy, nothing. I promise.” I’m in his arms a moment later as he hugs me with all his might. “Everything is all right. Everything will be fine.” I didn’t realize things weren’t already fine.

Breaking our embrace, I shake my head, adamant to find out the truth. “I don’t believe you.” Nothing but regret rolls off him as his shoulders drop. I can’t stand this. I don’t know why, but my gut tells me this involves Cleo. I knew she was trouble from the first moment we met, but I never thought she’d have the power to drive a wedge between us. “Does this have anything to do with… Cleo?” His jaw clenches.

I’m waiting for him to put my mind at ease, but he doesn’t. He simply stands mute, hands dug deep into his pockets. I feel sick. “Saxon, answer me. What…what did you do?”

He hisses, taking a step back. “I didn’t do anything.”

“Then tell me what the hell is going on.”

“Why would you automatically assume Cleo is involved?”

“Because whoever you’re speaking to, you clearly don’t want me to know who it is. So unless you have another girl on the side…”

Another girl?” he spits, angered. “I don’t have any girls but you, Lucy.”

“Then tell me what’s going on!”

An exasperated breath leaves him as he begins to pace. This place once filled with happy memories is now tainted with secrets and doubt. I give him the time he clearly needs because he’ll just clam up if I continue to push.

“Yes, I need to tell you something, but…” He comes to a stop, running both hands through his snarled hair. “But I know when I do, you’ll…” The sentence remains unfinished because the ringing of Saxon’s cell cements my fate for good.

FORGETTING YOU, FORGETTING ME (Memories from Yesterday – Book #1)
Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.

When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. Her inspiration comes from every day life.

She is a bestselling author in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK.

Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads