In my soon to be published series The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles, the heroine Liz and hero Ryland have a powerful yet tortured relationship with a long history. The first book, Rebirth, begins as Liz is coming back home after having been gone for several years. While she was away, both Liz and Ryland had some extreme experiences that changed them and their relationship forever. But, despite everything that happened and the physical distance between them, their connection remained.
The proof? It’s on the page in black and white.
During their separation, each of them wrote letters to the other. Letters they never sent. On these private pages, Liz and Ry poured out their hearts and bared their souls to each other, saying everything they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say out loud.
Now, you can read them for yourself. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be divulging the contents, giving you a little more insight into their hearts and minds. Maybe, someday, they’ll each have the courage to exchange these letters. Meanwhile, I invite you to step into their secret world and discover that sometimes love can be the most terrifying battle of all.
First up, Ryland.
You’ll probably never see this. I don’t normally like to write. It’s not like I keep a journal or anything, that’s your deal. At least, I think it is. I thought I knew everything about you. But I’m learning real fast that I don’t. Anyway, I just needed a way to get some of this crap out of my system. Some way to feel like I’m saying what I need to say, even though I have no idea if I’ll ever even see you again.
When I got the call from your parents this morning and they said you were gone, I panicked. I didn’t want to believe them when they said you’d taken your stuff. That’d mean you left me. Without telling me why. Without me getting to hold you and kiss you one more time. Without even saying goodbye. I tore up this county looking for you. That’s what I’ve been doing all day. Contacted all your friends, went to all our spots, your hideout, everywhere. I even hacked into your email, trying to find something to tell me where you were. But you left me nothing. Nothing except a note that wasn’t even meant for me. The note that didn’t tell us why. That told your parents to tell me you loved me and you were sorry.
Well, I think that’s a load of bull. You’re not sorry. And I’m wondering if you ever really did love me like I love you. How could you? You just left, Liz. I know you had a lot going on, a lot to deal with that you didn’t understand. But you could’ve come to me. You know you can talk to me about anything. I proved that when you told me about the things you saw. All I’ve ever done is support you and try to help you. I thought you knew you could lean on me, could count on me. If you’d have just come to me, trusted me, things could’ve been so different. You could’ve given me the chance to help you. But you didn’t. You have this habit of bottling everything up, hiding what you’re feeling, even from me. And now you’re running from it. I know that’s what’s happening. I know you. You think if you ignore it, if you run far enough, you can get away from it. That’s not how this works. This isn’t something you can run from. And I could’ve helped you deal with it. We could’ve worked this out together. But you didn’t even try.
I honestly don’t know what to do right now. And that’s something I don’t know how to deal with. We had a plan, we had dreams. And now, you’re just gone and I have no idea where you are or if you’re even okay. Are you safe? Not like the question matters, ‘cause I couldn’t protect you now even if you weren’t. I’ve got this ring sitting here in front of me on the table. I bought it right after you graduated last summer. I’ve been trying to figure out how to give it to you, how to ask you. You’re not the average woman, you don’t really like all that mushy crap, so I wanted to do something that was unique to us. Unique to you. I had a few ideas and now I can barely remember them. Probably because you just smashed my heart into pieces. I’m stinkin’ furious with you, but at the same time I’m terrified. You’re out there alone, demons bearing down on you and I can’t do anything about it. You know what? I can’t do this. I can’t even think about this right now. I’m heading to the gym. Maybe I’ll take Nate with me and see if he wants to go a few rounds. I need to pound on something. Maybe I can pound this pain away. I love you so much. How could you do this?