Blurred: A Connections Novella

Blurred: A Connections Novella

by Kim Karr

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698171022
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/05/2014
Series: Kim Karr's Connections Series
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 166
Sales rank: 197,210
File size: 753 KB

About the Author

Kim Karr is the New York Times bestselling author of the Connections series as well as several standalone novels. She lives in Florida with her husband and children. Karr majored in English while at college, and considered a career in teaching.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The world spins faster as I stumble forward to enter the front door of what used to be my house with Dahlia. After attempting to hang my keys on the old key shaped holder, they fall to the ground when I miss. I leave them there. Once I’ve made it to the bathroom, I grip the countertop tightly because the wallpaper seems to be tilting and the flowers on it are fading in and out. I lean over the sink to wait for the sick feeling in my gut to pass. When I look up, my vision fuzzes suddenly, blurring her features, but I know it’s her because she’s wearing her pearls. I have to touch her, feel her, so I press my hands to the glass in an attempt to grab her and pull her to me. My pulse thunders in my ears as I splay my fingers against the cool surface and try not to blink, not to lose sight of her. But I can’t help it and when my eyes slam open again, I notice her hair isn’t blonde anymore, it’s red. And this time the pearls are gone, replaced by twinkling emeralds. I shut my eyes tight, willing the room to steady and the delusions to go away.

“Ben? Are you okay?” a concerned voice asks.

I pull in a deep breath and open my eyes, cautious, fearful, but this time all I see is the dirty-blonde–haired reflection of my sister and myself. I nod and force all of the air out of my lungs.

“We have to go. You’re not even dressed. Do you want me to pick out your clothes?”

I shake my head once and try not to move again for fear the slightest movement will send the room rotating. I can feel her stare, but let the weight of it pummel me before I shift my eyes to hers in the mirror. “No, I can do it. Sorry, just give me a minute to jump in the shower and I’ll be ready.”

I catch sight of the pain in her eyes. She hastily turns to leave, then pauses but doesn’t twist around as she says, “Okay. The limo is here, but I’ll wait for you in the kitchen.”

I want to say something else but I can’t. I’m not sure what I’d say anyway. Maybe that I’m sorry. Maybe that everything is my fault. But my mother is gone and nothing I say is going to change that fact. I stand here knowing I have to pull myself together for my mother’s funeral. Without looking in the mirror again, I breathe slowly and finally, breath by breath, the spinning fades just as the hallucinations did.

***

The large red double doors that lead us into St. Mary’s Church feel heavier than they ever have. I must have opened them a couple of hundred times in my life and never thought about the color. It’s the color of apples, the color of blood, but when doors are painted red they are supposed to symbolize a place of safety, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Now as I pass them I have to wonder . . . does that apply to everyone? Even those of us whose souls are ravaged?

The sanctuary is filled with people, which is no surprise because my mother was friendly with almost everybody in Laguna. Everyone loved and adored her and she felt the same about them. That fact makes me proud. I take the lead and grab my sister’s hand, guiding her down the aisle. As we walk to the reserved pew in the front, I notice the array of flowers that line the altar and wonder if Serena sent some from us. I wish I had thought of it.

I haven’t been to church in so long that when I kneel and make the sign of the cross before entering the row, it feels foreign, strange even, but natural at the same time. This ritual was instilled in me during my early teen years. After all, I went to Wednesday night Catechism classes until I was fifteen. My mother wanted me to be a good Catholic boy and tried to secure this by making sure that the sacraments of initiation were bestowed upon me. I received the rights of baptism, made my first Holy Communion, and was confirmed like all good Catholic boys. So I guess that means that God has given me the graces necessary to live a truly holy life. I try not to laugh out loud at the thought because the life I have been leading does anything but follow the straight and narrow path.

Organ music fills the church and Serena starts to cry. When she dabs her eyes with a crumpled tissue, I reach into my pocket and hand her a white hankie that used to be our mother’s. “Use this.”

She stares at it for the longest time. Catching sight of the monogram only brings more tears to her eyes. My father’s initials, LBC—Lucas Benjamin Covington—are scripted across the corner in navy blue block letters.

“Where did you get this?” she asks quietly.

“I found it on the floor in the family room a few days ago.” I don’t tell her it was the day I was supposed to pick her up and go to the funeral home with her to make the arrangements. But since I was late, she had left without me. I don’t need to point out to her what a mess I am. She can see it.

I just can’t seem to get my shit together no matter how hard I try.

“I thought I’d lost it,” she says squeezing it tightly in her clenched fingers.

Suddenly someone leans forward and places a hand on Serena’s shoulder. When I see the large pearl ring emblazoned with diamonds, I know immediately it’s Dahl. I turn and glance at her. She’s dressed in black, like all of us, and she’s wearing her pearls. Next I survey the row, the people sitting with her, him, his brother, and then I notice his sister, S’belle. My eyes dart to her. I want to say I’m surprised she’s here but I’m not. She’s not wearing black, but rather a dark green dress with many gold chains around her neck and I think, rebel. I always got that vibe from her. When Aerie, Dahlia’s best friend since college, makes her way across the pew, I’m forced to shift my eyes away. She nods at me with a sympathetic look, which is more than I would have expected from her. We always had a love/hate relationship. Thinking back, I’m not sure why since we both only ever wanted what was best for Dahl. Then it hits me. Aerie somehow knew all along that I wasn’t what was best for Dahl.

Caleb, my best friend since I was seven, and really the only friend I have left, is the last person to enter the church and he takes a seat beside me, squeezing my shoulder as he does.

“You doing okay, man?” he asks.

I look over at him and nod. I’m thankful there’s one person in my life that never judges me. He might get pissed at me, we might toss each other around, but he’s like a brother to me and I know he’ll always have my back. He has ever since the second grade—we were in Miss Novak’s class and I was staring out the window, just wanting to be out there, not stuck inside. She had asked me a question that I didn’t hear. He jabbed my foot and muttered the answer. I nodded my head and answered her. After that we were buddies.

I force myself to focus my attention on what’s happening at the front of the church.

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” When I hear those words I automatically turn to look for Dahl. The memories of those words and sitting beside her to comfort her when she lost her parents and her uncle send another wave of sadness through my body.

There’s a softness in her eyes I wasn’t expecting as she catches my gaze for a minute. Despite the physical and emotional distance between us, and the hatred I know she feels toward me, I find comfort in her being here. But it’s a double-edged sword and I quickly turn back around. She was always a part of my family, but that family has been forever shattered—my mother is gone, Trent is in rehab, and Dahl, well, she’s no longer mine.

“Friends, as we gather here . . .” The words are muffled as I bow my head and close my eyes trying not to think about my mother lying cold and lifeless in the front of the church. She had passed without receiving the sacrament of last rites. But the good Catholic boy that I was brought up to be, I couldn’t let her go like that. I stepped out of the hospital room after she passed to go find the clergy but saw Dahl out in the rain. I went to check on her, but she didn’t need me and so from there I continued my journey toward the chapel to ask that my mother be anointed so as to ensure her passage into Heaven. Not that she would ever have ended up anywhere else. No, that was for me to worry about, not my beautiful mother.

Soft organ music plays and I open my eyes to stand. When it stops, we all sit. The priest begins reciting the Final Commendation and Farewell and I move through the rest of the funeral in the only way I can . . . mechanically and distanced. The organ starts to play again and this time when we all stand, I hold my sister’s hand. When I do, I notice her ex-husband sitting next to her and my skin prickles. Jason Holt, Caleb’s brother and my sister’s ex-husband, is a dirt bag. No matter what he does, he always will be. Once my sister divorced him, his visits with Trent were minimal. His goal was always to see my sister through their kid. I don’t care how far he climbs the ladder at work—to me he’s a piece of shit.

I tug my sister’s hand and start to lead her out of the pew. I step in front of her and Jason moves aside, allowing us to pass. He’s a tall, well-built guy used to demanding respect wherever he goes, so I’m surprised he lets me take the lead. I walk slowly to the front as we make our way to say our final goodbyes. Serena goes first and I stand back, twisting my head, unable to watch. But my turn comes way too fast. Cautiously, I approach the white casket. I can see my mother’s body and wish so much she were alive. My hands clench and unclench at my sides and I take a deep breath as I bow my head. My knees buckle beneath me and I don’t know how I’m going to make it without her. I can’t even find the right words to tell her how sorry I am that we didn’t get to spend the last years of her life together. I swallow, holding back the tears that I’ve forced away for days.

Voices murmur from behind me. “Ben,” my sister whispers quietly in my ear.

Ignoring her, I drop down even further to kiss my mother’s cheek. When I lift my head, I catch sight of her wedding ring shining so brightly and clutch her hand. Fuck, why? Why you, Mom? My sister takes my hand, and this time she’s the one who tugs me away and back into the pew.

“Mom and Dad are together now,” she says in a broken voice.

“I know,” I say, and then my tears come in mindless streams that I can’t control. And she’s right. My only solace in any of this is that our parents are finally back together and I know they’ll take care of each other.

“Come on, buddy,” Caleb says, pressing his hand on my shoulder again. I glance up front one last time and turn back with a feeling of complete emptiness. This time I let Caleb lead the way, guiding my sister and me out of the church. I don’t turn to look for Dahl because I know this time she doesn’t need me; she has someone to take care of her and I am strangely at peace with that.

Time seems to speed by and the funeral is over before I even realize we’ve moved from the church to the cemetery. I loosen my tie and look around. Branches of a Redwood block the brightness of the sun. I tilt my head to try to catch any shape of a cloud, but all I see is broken fragments of the sky. Swiveling my gaze, I notice the limo is parked just a few feet away. Caleb and Jason are inside waiting for us with the door open. I glance around and suddenly notice everyone else has left. I vaguely recall handshakes and soft-spoken words of condolence. I watch my sister as we both stay frozen in place, two orphans mourning the death of our mother. Then my eyes dart to the ground where our mother’s casket has just been lowered into her grave. And I feel it: grief.

I’m also filled with guilt, regret, and sorrow. I’m left wondering if her death was my fault. Did my return to California put too much stress on her and cause the stroke? When we took Trent to the rehabilitation center, should Serena and I have insisted that she stay home? Should I have taken my mother to the emergency room the minute she said she didn’t feel well? So many questions and not a single fucking answer.

“Are you okay?” Serena asks for the second time.

I cup her cheeks. “Stop worrying about me. Okay?”

Her eyes flutter shut and she leans against me. I want to be there for my sister, be the strong one, and see her through everything. But in reality she’s the one seeing me through it. She is seven years older than me, but we’ve always been close, except for the last three years when everyone thought I was dead. But we stepped right back into our easy relationship when I returned—until she thought I’d overstepped my bounds. She was upset at me for not telling her when I found Trent strung out. No matter how many times I try to tell her Trent made his own choices, she still blames herself that he’s ended up in rehab. Blame is a strange thing; it consumes you, haunts you, takes over your life. Hell, she should blame me. I was the one who was the strong male influence in his life until I up and disappeared from their lives. But in the end, my nephew is getting the help he needs and that is really all that matters.

I should have taken care of everything for today. Instead she organized all of the funeral arrangements while dealing with her son’s situation. I wanted to help but I couldn’t see past the blur of the last two weeks.

“Hey, Ben, did you hear me?”

I lift my eyes from the ground to hers. “What did you say?”

“Come on, we have to leave. Everyone’s waiting for us at the restaurant.”

“Go ahead of me. I just want to say a few more things to. . . .” I don’t finish because flashes of light blind me. I look over to the tree line at the edge of the cemetery and fuck me if some asshole isn’t snapping my picture. “Stay here,” I warn my sister and then storm over to the perpetrator. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me right now,” I yell as I grab his camera and throw it against one of the trees. But he isn’t smart enough to shut the fuck up.

He points a shaky finger at me. “Aren’t you the guy who was supposedly shot a few years ago in a car jacking?”

I level a glare at him. I don’t need this shit right now.

“You are. I know you are,” he shouts. Then he removes his phone from his pocket and tries to snap another picture.

I don’t know what comes over me but a switch goes off inside my brain and a rage is unleashed that I can’t control. After the first swing he falls to the ground but I don’t stop. I just keep punching him until my sister pulls me by the collar of my jacket.

“Ben, stop it!” she screams.

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Blurred: A Connections Novella 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
Before I start this review, I have to be perfectly honest and say I am not a fan of Ben's character. He seemed like a good guy at the beginning of Connected, but as more was revealed about the man he really was in Torn, I liked him less and less. It is going to be very difficult for his character to be redeemed in my eyes. I hoped this novella would do it, and while it did, in the end, start him down the path of redemption, I was definitely a little underwhelmed overall. I didn't feel like there was a whole lot of new story in Blurred. We got some journal entries and more information from Ben's time after his "death," but that really felt like about all. It wasn't anything I couldn't have really inferred on my own from the events of Torn. It definitely wasn't a happy book. The majority of the focus is on Ben dealing with all the things that are wrong in his life since his return. It did make me a little sympathetic for him at times. The man has been through a lot and I have to feel a little bad for him, even if I think he handled everything very poorly. Even after getting a peek inside his head, I can't excuse his actions. As I write my review, it sounds like I disliked this book. I didn't. Don't get me wrong. It was good, just not great, for me. Had it been about a character I liked, it might have been a different story. But, all in all, it's an interesting introduction to Ben and Bell's in Frayed. Hopefully this means we'll jump right into the story at the beginning of that book. I don't need another look at Ben's past. It's unflattering and doesn't help me like him any. If anything, it proves to do the exact opposite. Blurred was a very quick read and it did fill in some of the blanks in Ben's story. Fans of the series will undoubtedly want to read it. I'm really done with Ben's past, however. I'd much rather focus on his future and, hopefully, his redemption. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Lauren2LC More than 1 year ago
This review is going to be short and sweet just like this novella. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to ever like Ben since he did not win me over in the first couple of books but in this novella we get to see a bit more behind the elusive Ben and why he made the decisions he did. Ben did start to grow on me throughout this novella as well as the idea if Ben with Bell. I really think Kim Karr is fabulous with out she has set up this series and all the characters. With this novella we get to see into Ben more and find more pieces of the puzzles of the entwined lives of all the key players in this series.
sugarpine721 More than 1 year ago
"If there is a moment in time that comes to alter the course of your life forever—mine would be the day Caleb Holt told me I had to disappear. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’m alone and left to pick up pieces to a life I don’t have. Rock bottom. It’s a phrase I never thought I’d use to describe myself, but it’s the only one that fits." This novella gives Ben's POV with more facts about what was going on...it is basically a set up for the next book in the series Frayed. While I like Ben a bit more after reading this, I am hoping the next book makes me feel even better about him.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars-- BLURRED is the latest novella in Kim Karr’s contemporary, new adult Connections series. This is Ben Covington’s story-more of a build up to the present-with flashbacks and memories. Blurred also runs parallel to some of the timeline in Mended (Connections #3). Told from first person POV (Ben) BLURRED follows Ben in the days, weeks, months and years from the time he met Dahlia, through his time spent in New York, and to the present where he will (once again) meet the woman with whom he had a one night affair back in college. Kim Karr takes the reader on a journey where one man will hit rock bottom-falling fast and hard-following his return to California where the life he once loved has all but been destroyed. As a journalist Ben was caught up in a story that affected every part of his life and to keep the people he loved safe from harm, Ben did the unthinkable. Upon his return he was unprepared for the fallout and the changes that accompanied his return. From New York to California to Australia and back, we are pulled into the mayhem and destruction that has become part of Ben’s every day life. And like a fine line that has been ‘blurred’ Ben actions, whether intentional or not, have not gone unnoticed. As for Ben hitting rock bottom, the vehicle used to ‘show’ his drop left me with feelings of unease. What happened appeared to be out of character-an act I felt was used to test the tepid waters of erotic literature and not something I felt belonged in this particular story or series. BLURRED is the introduction to Ben Covington’s story. From a respected and award winning to journalist to finding himself in a position to ask for help, Ben is a man whose difficult and sometimes poorly made choices have hurt those that he loves. From his mother and sister, best friend and fiancé, Ben’s actions have affected every life that he has touched or entered. Kim Karr is an amazing author whose Connections series is growing like the branches of a tree. Everyone we meet will be ‘connected’ in some way-some good, some bad-but all will find a place and a happily ever after in the stories and novellas of the Connections series.
Daydream-Books More than 1 year ago
Blurred is another shorter story in between the longer books within the Connection Series. This is book five. I wasn't sure I was going to like this one, not because of Kim's writing skill but simply I never really warmed to Ben as a character in Connected and felt even less for him in Torn but.....Blurred has redeemed him slightly and make me more intrigued to discover what will befall Ben and Bell as we head towards Frayed. Kim did a great job of showing a better side of Ben. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading this I can't say I love Ben, but I do understand him a lot better. He had too hit rock bottom and he indeed did. With a big oomph!!!! But he realized FINALLY he had to get past his feeling for Dahl. It was a tough one knowing he lost her too River. But their love was much stronger then the one she had with Ben. I think he realizes he's meant to be with S'Bell. I hope they have their HEA!!!!
TracyG-1 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Blurred is a novella about Ben Covington and when he hit rock bottom.  His relationship is over with Dahlia, his mother’s dead, and he has nothing.  I really don’t like Ben.  I didn’t agree with any decisions he made, both in the past and at present.  Even after finishing Blurred, I still don’t like him.  Enough about my dislike of Ben.  This book left me feeling very depressed. It pulled at my heart and made me want to cry.  Not for the situations Ben found himself in but for the way he acted toward the people he supposedly loved.  I liked that Bell wasn’t ready to put up with any of his s&*t.  I’d personally steer clear of him.  I also didn’t like all the drinking he did.  I suppose he did start to redeem himself at the end.  I’m not sure if I’ll read his book or not.  This book was well-written and easy-to-read.  If you like the Connections series, you'll love this story. 3.5-Bombs Reviewed by Tracy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book but was dosappointed it was mostly a rehash of the other books with little new info. Hopefully the next book will continue the story
BJsBookBlog More than 1 year ago
The novella starts around the time Ben's mom died. Remember? We read about that in the previous books. Now at her funeral he sees his ex-girlfriend Dahlia again - she's there with her new guy River. Ben always thought he would spend the rest of his life with Dahlia. But then he had to 'die' to save her from being killed too. Now that he's back and Dahlia's in love with another guy, Ben doesn't really know what to do. Getting drunk and have sex with random girls is not really how he wants to spend his days. That's why he leaves California and goes to Australia for a while. To fall back in love with surfing. He gave up his surfing career for Dahlia back when they were still in high school. And the water is where he's always been the happiest. In Australia he kind of finds the old Ben again - not the cocky idiot Ben, but the surfing, halfway happy guy - who finally finds his love for words and writing again. Back in LA for the upcoming trial against the mexican drug people (the research for an article about that got him into the whole mess in the first place!) he needs to find a job and he needs to get his life back on track. Without Dahlia. Then there's Bell - or S'Belle - as he was calling her back in college. They had a little intense one-night-thing after flirting for weeks - back when he was still with Dahlia. He felt horribly guilty about that back then - but he just couldn't resist this amazingly beautiful redhead. But Bell is not the same flirty girl she was in college. Plus - she's also the sister of the guy his ex Dahlia is in love with now: River Wilde. Very complicated - BUT - when he meets her again on a reporter-job - he remembers why he never really forgot her... But with their past, her family connections to his past life, the trial and everything, starting something with her might not be the best way to start a new life. Plus she doesn't seem to want anything to do with him. WHAT WiLL HAPPEN TO BEN??? WiLL THERE BE A CLiFFHANGER??? NOPE . . . I'm not telling you ¿ I don't want to spoil too much . . . Well - ok - we all know that Ben's story will be continued in the next book FRAYED - coming in september - so there might not yet be a HEA! __________________________________________________ I REALLY LOVED THiS NOVELLA! I know that many people will not be really excited to read Ben's story - they all blame him for Dahlia's & Belle's unhappiness... But Kim really made it work. I started crying during the first pages!!! Everything is so sad and moving and poor Ben - he knows he made some wrong choices and did the wrong things here and there - but even though it cost him the love of his life - he would still do the same thing again if he had to. At least now Dahlia is alive and happy. Only Ben's not happy - NOT YET!! I really hope he'll get his HEA with Bell in the next book! He really deserves it - even though many people don't think so! It's kind of like the Nan-thing in Abbi Glines Rosemary Beach Series. The most hated character gets their own book and their own HEA ¿ I like that! BLURRED covers many months - basically all the time from the beginning of the Connections Series. We see and hear about many of our beloved characters - like Dahlia of course and Aerie and her digging into Damon Wolfe's business ... We hear lots of scenes from Ben's POV and what it was like for him. And yes - we still don't love him for cheating on Dahlia - but pfff - he probably always felt he wasn't the right guy for her - that River was Dahlia's perfect match - even without knowing him back then ¿ So everything should be perfect now - well not yet, of course - but as soon as he'll get his HEA with Bell in the next book - which will probably not all that easy - but we'll get there ¿ IT REALLY WAS THE PERFECT MOVING & SEXY & INFORMATIVE 'PREQUEL' NOVELLA TO BEN & BELL'S STORY! and now PLEASE HURRY - I need to read the next book ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago