Then There Was You by Melanie Dawn
Chris King never saw it coming…
In some ways, closing the book on my first love was the worst day of life. I was gutted, and yet I was completely at peace with my decision. I walked away knowing that I did what was best for her, unsure if I could ever recover. Little did I know that one concert would change the entire course of my life. There I stood, signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans when a familiar face in the crowd catapulted my mind back in time—Salem Honeycutt, once a balm to my pain and a calm in my storm. Yet again, her smiling face gave me hope. Only one question remained: did she still see me as a wayward teenage boy who was completely off limits, or could she see the man I’d become…focused and driven, yearning for another chance at love?
For Salem Honeycutt, postpartum bliss seemed like a lie…
No one told me that I’d hate my baby when I brought her home from the hospital. No one told me that I’d want to put a pillow over my husband’s head and smother him in his sleep. No one told me that I’d want to slap every person who gave me the ever-so-cliché advice to ‘cherish every moment.’ No one told me that I’d despise my life the minute I became a mother, but I did. Then I met Chris King, the kid who made me want to pull myself up from the dark recesses of my mind and face each day. This kid, whose passion for life and talent for music, touched my soul deeper than I could ever touch his. Chris gave me a reason to live. I was once affectionately known as Mrs. H., Chris’s juvenile detention counselor. This is our story.
I was so excited to crack open this second installment in the So Much it Hurts series because I wanted more Chris King. I waited to read the first in the series until I could follow it with the second because I’d heard so much love for Chris King from fellow readers. If you’ve read So Much it Hurts, then you know Chris is our beloved rock star. In this sequel we get the details of his time in juvie. This was a painful time for him in which he came to the understanding that people do care and have hopes for him, as well as his ability to reach for his dreams. Along his journey in juvie, he meets and befriends Salem. Salem is Chris’ counselor while in juvie although she’s only 7 years older than him. We experience with Salem and Chris their personal struggles, anger, and depression, although it strikes them in different ways. Salem and Chris had me mourning along with them during their good-bye from juvie as I hate goodbyes like everyone else. The triumph and finding one’s happiness is the life message I got from this read. What gives you hope, breathes life into you, encourages you not to give up? That’s what Salem and Chris are both searching for and their journey to finding those things was trying at times but lesson-learning at the same time. Give this a try and deepen you crush with Chris King!! Rating: 4 stars
I have to say I was a little apprehensive going into this only because after being emotionally wrecked by So Much It Hurts, I was desperate for Chris and Kaitlyn to get their happy ever after and all thoughts of morality went right out the window. So what if Kaitlyn was married?? In my heart of hearts I wanted so badly for these two soul mates to be together…….forever!! That being said, Melanie Dawn…..you are a rock star of the literary world girl!! Your writing moved me, like Chris, to let Kaitlyn go and fall in love with Salem. Bravo!!
And Chris King…….oh how I love that man. So selfless, so giving, yet so self sabotaging that I want nothing more than for this man to love, be loved, and get his happy ever after.
~ Chris ~ “I’m afraid of me….of screwing up….terrified of finding one glimmer of happiness in my life and doing something stupid to mess it all up. Just like I’ve always done.”
I love how Melanie Dawn took us through Chris’ past journey, how he first met Salem, the connection they shared then, and how that connection evolved and intensified on a whole new level 14 years later.
~ Chris ~ “I made a connection with you that I never expected. You always listened to me. You never judged me. You always had the right thing to say. You were always there when I needed you. There will never be anyone who could fill your shoes.”
His words, his story, his journey will melt your soul. An absolute must read!! Fall in love with Chris King in the pages of Then There Was You!!
~ 5 ~ “You’re everything I’ve been wishing for” ~ Stars!!
Melanie Dawn is a thinker, a dreamer, and a hopeless romantic. When her head isn’t in the clouds, she spends her time as a jack of all trades to her family. Melanie resides in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, her three children, and her cat. She enjoys lazy summer afternoons cruising around the lake on the pontoon boat with her family.
Melanie graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and earned her MA in School Counseling from Appalachian State University. She spent the first six years after graduate school as a middle school counselor. Those were years she deems as some of the best years of her life. That is, until she had children of her own. The last seven years have been spent as a stay-at-home mom. She has learned some tough life lessons, like what the inner absorbent pellets of a diaper look like scattered in the washing machine. She has also learned the strength of the willpower of a two year old lacking a nap. Through it all, Melanie has learned how to roll with the punches and appreciate the time she has been able to spend at home with her children.
Now that her last child has started Kindergarten, Melanie is ready to add a new chapter in her life. That chapter begins with her debut novel—So Much It Hurts.
Popping the top off his own bottle, he leaned toward me, his voice gravelly, “I mean, come on. I’m not gonna dance around it. You’re beautiful.”
I nearly choked on my beer, but quickly recovered, masking my freaking-the-hell-out face with a subtle smile.
He continued, nervously glancing at the beer in his hand. I wondered if he was praying to the gods of liquid courage like I was. “Salem, you’ve…you’ve always been sexy as hell,” he stammered. “You had to know how hot all the guys at Fairbanks thought you were, and you probably just chalked it up to some silly teenage fantasies.” His eyes shot up to meet my gaze. “But I hope you know that you meant way more to me than that.”
I nodded. I understood where he was coming from because he’d always meant more to me than ‘just some client.’ He was my saving grace. “You were more to me too,” I said softly.
Continuing to stir up my already mixed emotions, he added, “You were my lifeline back then.”
He stood up, walking over to the massive windows. Leaning both hands against the glass, he stared out at the city for several seconds. “And yet, here we are again…crossing paths.”
Without thinking, I spoke what had been on my mind all night, “Does it make you question fate?”
He whirled around to face me. A brooding expression was plastered on his face, and he seemed just as perplexed as I was. With each ragged breath, his sculpted pecs rose and fell, defining themselves in his fitted, thermal shirt. Finally speaking up, he said, “Yeah…yeah, it does.”
Suddenly the air between us changed. I soaked in the way he looked at me with a softness in his eyes. The expression on his face was different than the canned smile he normally used to pose for the cameras of his adoring fans. This smile was warm, inviting, comforting—a smile meant just for me.
What does all this mean? Part of me felt so ridiculously wrong, but then again, another part of me felt so utterly, hopelessly…right.