Thursday, 6 November 2014

Forgive Me - Eliza Freed

The thing he loves most in the world will kill him. It's only a matter of time . . . "
College student Charlotte O'Brien is lost and she can't find her way home. Devastated by her parents' tragic deaths, she aches for any kind of connection…and finds it in a man who is all wrong for her. Jason Leer is a rough-hewn steer wrestler from Oklahoma-and the hottest thing Charlotte has ever laid eyes on. Yet he has his own dark secrets…
Burying herself in Jason, Charlotte soon discovers that life doesn't have to be so painful. When they're together their passion eclipses everything-and Charlotte can finally begin to see a way out of the darkness of her past. Fighting for a future with Jason won't be easy, but for the first time since her parents' deaths, this lost soul might have finally found a place that feels like home.
FORGIVE ME by Eliza Freed (November 4, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99/£1.99) 

A little excerpt from the book:

And so it goes. The days are blurs of Sean, Jenn, and Margo helping me with the administration of my life. There’s a will, a house, cars, belongings. Too much to comprehend. And my nights are Jason Leer.
He comes when the others leave; always here within minutes of loneliness setting in. He saves me from my thoughts and my memories. Two days ago I showed him the key under the turtle rock and now he no longer knocks. Knocking would imply asking permission to come in and he’s already here.
Something’s different about tonight, though. Sean and Michelle brought dinner over and drove Dad’s tractor back to their house. They left an hour ago, later than expected, and he’s still not here. I haven’t slept without him since the funeral and now that he’s absent, the depth to which I need him scares me.
I look in the mirror as I brush my teeth and my face is distraught. I refuse to let myself consider why. Too afraid it has more to do with Jason’s absence than with my parents. That’s impossible, though. Did he say he had something to do tonight? Did he say anything? Do we ever say anything? I thought I understood. Until tonight. Now that he’s not here the last week no longer makes sense.
I button the last button on my favorite nightshirt and climb into bed. It’s enormous and cold without him. The silent darkness allows the memories to seep in. The moonlight invades my room and everything is gray and sad. Why?
Why did you die?
Why aren’t you here?
Where the hell is Jason Leer?
Tears fill my eyes, and I roll onto my stomach and bury my face in my pillow. I can’t be without them. They have to come back. I hear the truck tires on the gravel of my driveway and hurry out of bed. His truck door moans as he closes it and I go to the back door to meet him. I open it just as he’s fitting the key into the lock.
His smile fades as the look on my face registers. He steps to me and wipes the tears from my face, which makes me cry a little more.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” he whispers, so as to not disturb the quiet that’s descended on the house. He smells of cigarettes and dirt. Actual dirt. And I’m so thankful he’s here.
“I was worried.”
“Worried I wasn’t coming?” Jason moves closer to me and I lose my breath as he pins me up against the wall. I nod my head slowly, my eyes never leaving his.
“I came as soon as the rodeo ended.”
“The rodeo.”
“Did you forget the rodeo?”
“No. I know the rodeo is on Saturday.” Jason’s face turns to confusion. “I didn’t know today is Saturday,” I say, and my complete disconnection from the living makes me start to cry again. If my parents were alive, I would know what fucking day it is.
Jason pulls me close to him and kisses the side of my head as he runs his fingers through my hair.
“I need a shower,” he says, but I can’t be concerned with what he needs.
“I need you.”
I lay my soul bare; Jason’s, to do with what he wants because I can’t seem to care about it anymore. He forces me back to the wall and presses his body against mine until I can feel him. Until I can feel something.

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About the author:

Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks and her neighbors began to talk; her mother told her to find a job.

She settled into Corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It's during this time she became an avid observer of the characters we meet and the heartaches we endure. Her years of study have taught her laughter is the key to survival, even when it's completely inappropriate.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. An avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she'd rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she has always been a sucker for a love story...the more screwed up the better.

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Aamzy’s Book Wonders Q&A w/ Eliza Freed

1.      Which came first: the story, the characters, or the setting?

This should be a lot easier to answer, but the story came as a part of the setting. I moved back to my rural hometown a decade after leaving it and as I was driving the country roads I thought to myself, “What if someone moved home humiliated? What if this wasn’t a happy homecoming? What if they were broken? This is where Book 2, Redeem Me, began. Forgive Me was actually written second, as a prequel.

2.      How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way they sound or the meaning? 

I completely obsess over names. Each one’s meaning is researched.  I have the hardest time naming unlikeable characters because I feel bad for real life people with those names. The names in the Lost Souls Series have changed several times throughout the process, even up to the final editing round.

Charlotte was Kathryn, then Ariana, and finally Charlotte. I dressed as a spider for Halloween and my friend kept yelling, “Charlotte” across the room at me, and I thought it’s perfect.

3.      What song(s) would be on the soundtrack to FORGIVE ME?

Rihanna’s Stay, featuring Mikky Ekko. I must have listened to this song three thousand times on repeat while writing a lot of the book. Definitely during every heart-wrenching fight between Charlotte and Jason.

4.      What topics did you want to explore when you started writing the Lost Souls series?

Betrayal, Forgiveness, and Faith

5.      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I would love to say read, travel, and swim, but the reality is I barely have time to write. Like so many other women, I’m part of an active family and when I’m not writing I’m happy just to be a passenger as they travel through life.

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