Friday, March 28, 2014

Author: Elle Harper
Release date: January 15th 2014
Publisher: Wonder Women Publishing Limited
Series: N/A
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour organized by:  Itching For Books Tours
Purchase: Amazon
Add to your library: Goodreads

Grace Elliot is falling apart. Overwhelming tragedy has turned her world into a dark and lonely place. Facing the pain and the ghosts is impossible. Hiding her secret behind a mask of confidence and living a lie is the only thing she knows how to do. She’s alive…but not living.

Counsellor Ben Hardy is certain he can help Grace heal. Maybe it’s a way to rid himself of the demons haunting him from that one horrific night when his life shattered.

When they meet, everything changes, and their pasts offer them a remedy to save each other…until Ben's traumatic history threatens to destroy the trust they’ve built.

Will the truth tear them apart? Or will it force them to understand the healing power of forgiveness and love.
(via Goodreads)


I’m serving two young mums with coffee when he returns. I know it’s him before I even look over, because there seems to be a big presence filling the empty space. When I finish up, I look over at him, and his dark eyes are on me. He looks thoughtful. Probably thinking what a weirdo I am.

‘Hi.’ He smiles. It’s warm and friendly. Not a trace of disgust, which puzzles me.

I fake a smile and nod to the supplies he’s holding. ‘You didn't have to do that. You should probably be resting anyway, after your accident.’

‘It’s no problem.’ He shrugs. ‘It won’t take me long to fix.’

I don’t realize I haven’t spoken, and I’m still staring until he carries on talking.

‘Shall I go in and make a start, then?’

‘Huh? Oh…yes. Thanks.’

‘OK, then.’ And he heads into the kitchen.

After a few minutes, I pace up and down behind the counter, rubbing my sweaty palms down my apron. I need to apologize for what he saw, and I mentally rehearse what to say. I mean, what do you say to someone when they've seen you looking like a freak?

I head towards the kitchen. Stop. Go back to the counter and resume pacing. Luckily, the two mums are engrossed in a lively conversation about baby puke and nappies and don’t notice my strange behaviour, and no one else is in the shop.

Eventually, I muster up the courage to walk to the doorway. He’s bent under the sink. His T-shirt stretches taut over the muscles on his back, and I wonder why I’m even noticing that. It should make me scared to be in this confined space with him, as it did before, but I’m not. It should make me want to run out the door and never come back, but strangely, it doesn't.

‘Look…’ I start, and bite my lip.

His head turns, but he doesn't get up. ‘Oh, hey. I didn't know you were there.’

‘I’m sorry,’ I blurt out before I can change my mind. ‘About what happened earlier, I’m sorry.’

He drops his spanner to the floor and sits on the tiles. He doesn't say anything for a second. Just regards me with kindness in his eyes.

I bite my lip again.

‘You have nothing to be sorry about,’ he says. ‘You had a panic attack, that’s all.’ It’s as if his look lasts an eternity, but it’s probably only a few seconds before I tear my gaze away from his.

‘You know, deep breathing really helps when you have one. Just try to concentrate on slow, deep breaths, or maybe start counting slowly in time with the breath. I know it’s hard to do at first, but it works.’

I lean my head on the doorway. ‘Yeah. It’s not always easy to remember that when you’re in the middle of one.’

‘It also helps to focus on one particular thing to ground yourself.’

‘Ground myself?’

He stands up and leans against the worktop. ‘Yeah. Try and find an object or something to concentrate on while you’re having a panic attack that lets you know you’re safe.’

Like your eyes?

I blush as the thought pops into my brain. I haven’t been able to get those eyes out of my head. I want him to stop looking at me, but at the same time, I don’t want him to stop. ‘OK, I’ll try that.’

‘Have you tried meditating before?’

‘No.’ I look at him then, even though I’m trying so hard not to.

‘Well, that’s good for panic attacks, too.’

‘So what do I need to do exactly?’ I can’t believe I’m talking with him about this. I haven’t spoken to anyone before, but I want to know what he knows. I want to know how to get better.

‘I can show you if you like.’

‘No!’ It comes out louder than I intend. ‘No,’ I say again, softly this time. ‘Can you just explain it to me?’

He smiles. ‘Sure. Just find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Then just breathe in and out deeply. Close your eyes and just focus on the breath. You can repeat a word or a mantra if you feel too fidgety, or do the counting like I said.’

‘What sort of a word?’

‘Anything that makes you feel calm.’ His gaze drifts up to the ceiling as he thinks. ‘Like, “breathe” or “relax” or “I am fine”.’

‘OK. How long should I do it for?’

His gaze is back on me now. ‘I’d start off with around three minutes a day if you can manage it, then try and increase it. People who meditate daily are a lot more relaxed and able to handle the stresses of life easier. And, of course, if you’re in the middle of an attack, try and ground yourself with something and do the same breathing.’


‘No problem.’ He pulls a piece of paper out of his front pocket and reaches for a pen on the worktop. ‘If you have another attack and you want to talk, just phone me, OK?’ He scribbles down his number and hands over the piece of paper.

I look at the piece of paper, and before I know what I’m doing, I take it and stuff it in the pocket of my trousers. ‘Thanks.’

‘Honestly, please call if I can help. Maybe I can talk you through it. Any time, it doesn't matter.’ As he smiles and his eyes light up, crinkling around the edges, my whole body floods with warmth, and the tension in my shoulders releases its grip. Some kind of strange connection that I can’t explain is passing between us, and I find myself smiling back.

This time it’s definitely not fake.

About the Author

Sibel HodgeElle Harper is the pen name of Bestselling author Sibel Hodge. She is the Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author of Fourteen Days Later and Be Careful What You Wish For. She has 8 cats and 1 husband. In her spare time, she's Wonder Woman! When she's not out saving the world from dastardly demons she writes an eclectic mix of romantic comedies, mysteries, thrillers, children's books, and non fiction.


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