This blog tour is presented by Book Plug Promotions.
Broken Embrace by Dana Mason
Embrace Series #3
Release Date: June 5, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 5 Bookworms
As childhood sweethearts, Brian and Melissa's plans were simple: finish school, get married, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, life didn’t go as planned. Melissa went away to college, and Brian married her best friend.
Seventeen years have passed and Brian's stable family life has come crashing down around him. His wife’s a cheater, his teenage daughter is hiding things from him and Melissa is back in town to remind him of what he lost all those years ago.
Melissa's returned home, ready to forgive and focus on her future, but that all changes the day she gets a desperate phone call from Brian’s daughter, Erin. Thrown back into Brian’s tumultuous life, Melissa struggles to move beyond the pain of his broken promise.
While working together to save Erin from the evil web she’s caught in, Melissa and Brian fight to fix the past or face losing each other all over again.
Oh my goodness! Broken Embrace is every bit as suspenseful as its two predecessors. And the suspense is gut-wrenching and very relevant. But I think it's the romance that gives Broken Embrace a completely different feel. Maybe because I couldn't help but feel Melissa and Brain really deserved their second chance. Maybe because I felt Brian's young family deserved some happiness as well. Whatever it was, I was racing through to see what would happen.
Melissa Parker has loved Brian Hammel her whole life. It was supposed to be the two of them forever. So she was understandably devastated when Brian married their best friend, Julie, with no explanation. It's taken a long, long time for Melissa to recover but she finally was able to move on - to open her heart tom someone else. And to reconnect with Julie and her kids - but not quite with Brian. When certain events bring to light Julie's betrayals, Melissa knows she has to be there to support Brian and his children.
Brian Hammel, whom I'd met in the two previous installments, is a man dedicated to his job as a cop, and dedicated to his family. So Julie's betrayal comes as quite a shock to him. At first, he wants to wallow in his own pain. But with Melissa's help, he realizes he needs to be present for his children. As Brian works towards rebuilding his family, he realizes he has a rare second chance to put everything right with Melissa as well.
Witnessing the turmoil and the joy as these two find their way back to one another was heartbreaking and soul-mending. These two souls, whom fate chose to keep apart for so long, had quite the journey back. And although I wouldn't wish on anyone the events that brought them back together, I was elated that fate gave them a second chance.
Brian's kids, Erin and Cody, were big parts in the story - especially Erin. Ms. Mason did an excellent job of developing them. I appreciated that because the relationship between their dad and Melissa affected them and I was glad they were considered. Watching Erin's struggles with the secrets she was hiding broke my heart. It's difficult enough being a teenager, but to add on keeping her mother's secret as well as her own was really challenging. Erin was very brave though and did what she felt she had to in order to protect others from suffering.
I think this may be my favorite in the series so far. I can't put my finger on the why - maybe the character growth? - but Broken Embrace resonated differently in me. The story pulled me in and held me in its grip til the end. And I'm quite curious to see who the next installment will focus on.
Brian stood with one hand on his daughter’s shoulder and one on his son’s, looking out over Erin’s bowed head. He felt like he’d been thrown back in time, back to a day he would never forget.
Their blond heads perfectly matched as they tilted toward each other in an iron embrace. He remembered the day like it was yesterday, the picture clear as the bright blue sky above. He knew right then—with every breath—he loved Melissa. Who gets this stuff at eight years old? He would’ve laughed at the idea if he had the energy. Who the hell understands what love is at eight? It didn’t make sense, but he couldn’t deny it.
Watching Melissa and Ali cry over their father’s coffin twenty-six years ago was so like today. There they stood, holding each other again, Ali’s hand reached out to Johnny’s, but her arm around Melissa, their heads together, crying all over again. He remembered how hard it had been for them both. He wanted to cry, too, and he did, for Ali and for Melissa. It hurt him in his soul to see the pain and tears in her eyes.
He looked again at Julie’s shining coffin glinting in the bright sun and wanted to kick himself for thinking about Melissa on this day, the very day he had to put his wife in the ground. If Julie could hear his thoughts, she would hate him. Ironically enough, so would Melissa. Melissa would never respect him, not after what he’d done to her, especially if she knew what he was thinking about now.
How did we get here? How did so many things change since that day? Nothing had turned out the way he’d planned. Back then, and for years after, his future was sure. He never doubted where life would lead him. But how could he regret? How could he—as he stood there with his kids—regret his family? Regret his life to this point? Regret Julie? No, he didn’t, of course not, but regret Melissa? Yes, he regretted losing Melissa. He loved Erin and Cody with his whole heart. He’d loved Julie, too, but Melissa was different. He couldn’t explain it, just different than Julie. Melissa held a part of his soul. To this day, she still gripped it in her hands. That part of him had been missing the day he’d proposed to Julie, and every day since then.
Melissa will always have it, even after she marries that jerk-off from Berkeley. Even then, she’ll still own a part of him. His stomach lurched at the thought of her with him, that puny, little clone with no heart or passion. Melissa was full of piss and vinegar, how long would it take this jerk to squash that out of her.
Is this what it felt like to Melissa? Had she felt this sinking, overwhelming sickness when she’d found out about him and Julie? Had she been living with it for all these years? Had her love for him been equal to his for her? He couldn’t remember if he’d ever told her how much he loved her. Did she know? Did that make everything harder for her? Did Julie understand how much he loved her? It’s too late to fix that—she’s gone—Jules is gone. Julie is dead! Did she understand how important she was to him? Even after the hateful things he’d said, he still loved her, and now she was gone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Dana Mason is happily settled in a small valley amongst the California grapevines with her husband and three children. Author of the romantic suspense, Embrace Series, she's written about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don't hold on to what's important. Second chances don't come easy...but sometimes love is worth the risk.