New Release Giveaway!
Healer by R.L. Merrill
Winner #1 to receive: Signed proof, gift card and swag
Winner #2 to receive: e-book
Winner #3 to receive: e-book
**Giveaway Eligible in US Only**
March 29 thru April 4, 2020
We finished our meal somehow amidst the laughter. I suggested we see if we could catch any sunset surfing going on.
He heartily agreed and we drove to the lighthouse. There was a small surfing museum inside and a walking path along the cliff. A few lone souls were communing with the ocean. Damien watched them with appreciation as they raced against the crushing waves, dipping and swerving, dancing over them until they subsided. Then the youngsters and oldsters alike, clad in black wetsuits, would descend once more into the blue. Several more were in various stages of undress by Jeeps and pickups on the side of the road.
I enjoyed the feel of the ocean spray on my face and closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them, I glanced at Damien, who appeared lost in thought. The glow of the setting sun did remarkable things to his skin. I hadn’t yet noticed the golden-brown tone with just a hint of freckles across the bridge of his nose. His face was smooth except for gentle lines around his eyes and a crease where that damn dimple hid. I wondered if he’d lived his years harder than I had.
“Damien,” I said, interrupting his thoughts.
“Hmmm,” he breathed and continued to watch the sea.
“What happened to you after you were brought to the house in the country in Mexico? Did you return to England?” I had so many questions.
“I did, for a time. Then I became a student at Havenhart Academy. I had a similar visit from the headmaster that Skye described to you, and I went with him. The academy had only been open for a couple of years at that point. I left for some time to pursue my higher education, but eventually was drawn back there.” A shadow crossed his face.
A voice inside me said he was leaving out a very painful part of that story. I reached out my hand and touched his sleeve. He flinched. I started to draw my hand back, but he grabbed it and held it gently.
He looked down at my hand and said quietly, “I guess I’ll have to be more careful. Your gift is strong, Delaney. I’m shocked that you didn’t know.”
I blinked hard and drew my hand away. What was he saying? What had just happened?
“Please don’t be concerned for me. It’s just that I don’t speak of my past often, and here I have opened up to you so very much this day. But then, I’m sure this has happened to you before. Am I correct in my assumption?”
“What are you talking about? Sure, I’m a counselor. I’ve been trained to be receptive to people’s feelings. It’s my job to help them deal with difficult emotions, that’s all.”
“Is that really what you think? Tell me that you don’t feel something more when you’re with someone who’s in pain. Tell me that you haven’t had big strong men cry on your shoulders who swore that they’d never cried in front of anyone before.”
He stepped closer to me and placed a hand on my shoulder, leaning down to make eye contact. The air was still around us. I held onto the railing to steady myself under his gaze. My skin grew warm and my breath caught in my chest.
His eyelids grew heavy for a moment, and he seemed to sway before he looked away.
“You do have a gift, whether you want to believe it was just part of your training or not. Not all counselors can get through the talk to the root pain and help draw it out so the client can move past it. Your gift allows you to do that, and so much more that you haven’t even begun to explore. That is why we want you to join us at the academy. We need you.”
I stepped back from him to give us both some space. What is happening?
He continued. “I have been instructed to hire you, been given complete discretion. I’ve been told to offer you whatever it takes to have you come and join our faculty.”
He paused to let his words to sink in. They wanted me. They thought I was something special. That was something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
“I don’t know what you expect of me, but I’m not a miracle worker. I don’t want to let you down if you have some expectations of me that I can’t fulfill. What you’ve told me so far has me intrigued…a bit nervous, but interested. But it scares me to think you believe I have some ‘gift’ when I’m just a normal person. That’s all I’ve ever been. What if I can’t do what you want from me?”
He took another step toward me and touched my shoulder again, his hand gently running down my arm as if he were trying to warm me. My bare skin flushed, and I studied him again, trying to read him. I picked up conflicting feeling from him. Appreciation, desire, and a determination to do what was best for the academy and its students. I wished I knew which was stronger, which would win over the other. I’d known this man for less than seventy-two hours, but he was starting to really affect me.
“I’m sure if we dug a little further you’d see that you’ve never been just an ordinary person. But I’ve dug enough…and we have time for that later. Whatever it takes, Delaney. What can I say to convince you to join us?” He was sincere. That much I could tell.
“I’m not sure. But the sun is sinking and when it gets darker, driving the hill will be a more formidable task.”
He took my cue and dropped his hand reluctantly as we walked back to the car. I was still shaken from what he’d said to me, curious to know more about that dark shadow that passed across his face while we were talking. My arm was still warm from his touch.
About the Author:
Author of indie series Haunted and Teacher, and winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese.
“With a strong plot, an expertly crafted cast of supporting characters, and deep empathy, Merrill’s novel will keep readers hooked.” –Publishers Weekly review of Typhoon Toby.
R.L. Merrill brings you stories of Hope, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll featuring quirky and relatable characters. Whether she’s writing about contemporary issues that affect us all or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, she loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after. Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real life and happily ever after. She writes LGBTQ romances for Dreamspinner Press, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe and works on various other projects that tickle her fancy or benefit a worthy cause. You can find her lurking on social media where she loves connecting with readers, educating America’s youth, raising two brilliant teenagers, trying desperately to get that back piece finished in the tattoo chair, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance.