Hearts on the Page #5 ~ It’s Not Over

This week, it’s Ryland’s turn again.

A quick recap:

Liz hates the fact that she can see the angels and demons in our realm no one else can. When the demons stopped simply observing and started attacking, Liz took off in the middle of the night. She didn’t say goodbye, and only left a note saying she was sorry.

Determined to protect Ryland and everyone else she loves, she’s run far and fast, trying to put as much distance between them as she can. Ryland won’t accept what she’s done until he hears it from her, so he’s set out to find her. Liz knows him well and has moved again, assuming he’s on her trail.

 

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Lizzy,

You’re good. I’ll give you that.

It’s been two months now since you left and I’m no closer to having you back in my arms. No closer to having answers. I’ve come so close to you so many times, but every time you blow town before I can get a hold on you, barely leaving a trace that you’ve been there. Either you know somehow or you’re guessing that I’m on your trail, or you’re just trying to stay ahead of anyone who might be looking for you. Knowing you, I’m gonna say it’s a little of both.

Well, I guess it’s a good thing I can work from anywhere, because I have a feeling this could go on for a while longer than it already has. Least I won’t be hurting for money. But that’s actually not at the top of the list of my worries about now.

These places I’m finding out you’re staying, working. Liz, what are you thinking? It’s like you’re deliberately putting yourself in danger, tempting fate. You say you wish you didn’t see the things you do, then you put yourself right in the middle of some of the worst situations you could possibly be in! I mean, do you have a death wish? Are you trying to throw me into some kind of breakdown? Or are you making a point that you can do whatever you want? I don’t get it. This isn’t like you. And it’s killing me. I know you’re hurting and I know you’re scared, but, baby, this isn’t the way. It’s about as far from the right way as you can get.

Just know that I’m not giving up. You can try as hard as you want to scare me away, try to make me think you’re a hopeless cause. It’s not going to work. I will never give up on you. I can’t. I love you too much to not at least try to talk some sense into you. I have to try to help you get back on the right path. Try to get you back home. Even though I’m starting to wonder if you ever intend on coming back. Still, that doesn’t matter. I will find you. I have to hear what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, from your mouth. I won’t rest until I do.

We’re not over, baby. Not by a long shot. I’m going to prove how much I love you. Prove that you can trust me. That we can get through anything together, because I know in my heart that we can.

Always,

Ryland

 

 

 

 

Hearts on the Page #3 ~ Oath

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Oath

Lizzy,

Okay, I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past couple weeks and I’ve come to a few conclusions. First off, I think I’ll keep up with this writing thing. It actually did help to get this crap out of my system a little bit. Who knows? Maybe someday you’ll actually read it. I can only hope.

 

Anyway, I’ve realized something pretty important that I should’ve known right away, I was just too ticked off to see it. The last time I wrote you, I said I doubted your love. I knew as soon as I wrote it that it wasn’t true. I know you love me. I’ve felt it, I’ve seen it. Realizing that and knowing you like I do, I’m pretty sure I know at least part of the reason you left. You think you’re protecting me from something. Saving me. Well here’s the thing, baby girl: I don’t need protecting. If you think you’ve got problems I can’t handle, or you think dealing with whatever’s got you running may end up with me getting hurt in some way, you’re wrong. I’m a big boy and I can take a lot more than you apparently think I can. Not to mention, you should know that I would stand by you through anything. I want to be the one that protects you, the one you rely on. The one you trust. You don’t have to do this alone, whatever this is. And I’m not going to let you fight it all by yourself.

 

I know you’d probably blow a gasket over me telling you I won’t let you do something. But you know I don’t order you around or try to control you. Like that’d even be possible anyway. You’re probably the most stubborn person I’ve ever met. In this case, you’ll just have to get over it. Let me tell you why.

 

This relationship is a partnership. Or it was. Obviously, we’re having a bit of an issue with that about now. Since you’re not here to be in on the discussion, I’m making a command decision. I’m done wallowing and worrying and wondering. I refuse to just sit here and do nothing. That’s not me. Never has been and never will be. I see what I want, or something I need to accomplish, then I make a plan and go after it. That’s who I am. So why should this situation be any different? You are the most important person in the world to me. I want you. I need you.

 

I’m coming after you.

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You know me, Lizzy. You should’ve known I wouldn’t just let you leave and not do anything about it. Not gonna happen. I deserve answers. You owe me at least that much courtesy. Just like I owe you the proof of my loyalty and love; the proof that I won’t give up on us without a fight. You’re too important. We’re too important, and we’ve been through too much to throw it away so easily. You’re mine and I’m yours. I love you more than my own life. I can’t stand the thought of you being out there alone, knowing what’s following you and what you could be facing. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t at least try to protect you, try to bring you home where you’re safe? Not much of one.

 

So get ready, baby girl. Whatever it takes, I will find you.

Ryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearts on the Page #2 ~ My Heart is Broken

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Hearts on the Page

A few days ago I released the first post in the Hearts on the Page series; letters between the hero and heroine of The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles. Letters they never sent. On these pages, Liz and Ryland pour their hearts out to each other without restraint. Their secret missives are raw, honest, and painful, but also sprinkled with joy and, at least on Ryland’s part, a whole lot of hope.

 

This week, it’s time to take a look at Liz’s first letter. Can she justify leaving Ryland without a word? Will her plan to outrun her pain work, or just pull her farther into the misery pit? Read on to find out.

My Heart is Broken

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Ryland,

I’m sitting here at some hole-in-the-wall joint in a town I don’t even know the name of, writing a letter I know I’m never gonna send. How’s that for pointless? Maybe it’ll make me feel better though. Doubtful. Life royally sucks about now. Yeah, maybe it’s partly my fault, but not all. I for sure didn’t give myself this freaking curse! But I am going to get rid of it. No matter what I have to do.

It’s like seven in the evening, and by now you know I’m gone. You probably flipped out and gathered a posse or something to look for me. I know you, and you wouldn’t believe it until you had to. Until there was solid proof. Which I’m sure you have by now. I know you like plans and order and this threw a big wrench into that. I really am sorry for that. I hate knowing something I’ve done has hurt you. That’s the last thing I ever wanted. But if I’d stayed, you’d end up being hurt worse, torn apart, and I won’t be the one to do that. I love you too much to stay when I know all I’m gonna bring you is chaos and pain.

You should’ve never made plans with me, for us, in the first place. I’m so screwed up, Ry. This curse is messing with my head, and it’s messing everything up. I know you were all cool when I told you my secret, but you don’t know what it all really means. What it would mean for us. I can never have a normal life. We won’t be able to just live and get married and have babies and live like everyone else. I’ll always have to watch my back and yours too because you won’t even be able to see what’s coming. And I have a feeling something real bad is coming. Need proof? Three weeks ago, one of those nasty freak demons that follows me all the time actually attacked. First time any of them ever did more than stare and snarl. I got some good shots in after I got my crap together and figured out what was happening. And it was weird, it was like I was stronger and faster than I should be. I kept thinking there was no way I should be able to take on a big demon like that and live. Still, it was rough. I know I told you I fell when I was out hiking and I hated lying to you, I never had before, but I had no choice. I know how you are. If you found out, you’d never leave my side, and you’d just end up getting hurt because there’s nothing you can do about any of this. I can’t let that happen. I can’t let you tie yourself to a freak that’ll end up being the reason you end up in a world of pain or even dead.

I love you so freaking much, but I had to do this. It’s my turn to protect you, to watch out for you. I had to put you, my parents, my friends, all ya’lls safety before what I want or what I thought I could have. What I want doesn’t even matter. You have to get over it and move on. It kills me to say this, but find somebody else, Ry. Somebody who can give you what you want, what you need, and not put you in the middle of some stinking war with Hell. I know you’ll find her. You’re the finest man to ever set foot on the dang planet. I should know. But I can’t be around that. I don’t want to see it. I can’t be around you. Period. The only way to keep you safe is for me to stay away. I can’t keep pretending everything will somehow be okay when I know it won’t be.

Don’t think it’s not gonna be hard on me. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. If feels like somebody ripped my heart out through my throat and stomped on it. I never knew anything could hurt this freakin’ bad. What we had was─it was crazy. We were like wildfire, but it worked. Everything was always so intense, but it was perfect. It was just us. Not having that insane, burn you up but at the same time able to cool you down, like we’re one person connection is gonna kill me. It was like we knew what each other were thinking and feeling. Now it just feels empty in my head, my chest, and the farther away from you I get, the worse it gets. I need to stop writing, I’m not even making sense anymore and it’s stupid to even do this because you’ll never see it. But it kinda does make me feel better.

You’ll probably never forgive me. I can live with that as long as you’re okay. As long as you’re safe and have a chance at happiness. I gotta go. I need to put more miles between us so I don’t say to Hell with it and turn around. It was so tempting to ask you to go with me. But, I knew you wouldn’t, and it woulda defeated the point of me leaving in the first place. Ok, I’m leaving now. Maybe I’ll write more, who knows. I love you, Ryland.

In my heart I’ll always be yours,

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearts on the Page #1 ~ Broken

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            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.

 Broken

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Lizzy,

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?

Ry