Heart Storms

Heart Storms

by N. Christine Samuelson

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Overview

When three people's lives collide in a perfect storm of heartbreak and ruin, betrayal and love, will they be destroyed or transformed by their fate? They are drawn to coastal South Carolina to an oceanfront Victorian B & B inn, fleeing their former lives of heartbreak, betrayal, anger, racism and grief. Jade Armstrong from Santa Barbara is newly divorced and left with nothing by her treacherous, lying ex-husband. Gabriel Montoro of San Antonio is reeling from a cheating wife and loss of his young daughter who moves out of state. Rick Stirling owns the inn and has suffered a devastating personal loss. Jade vows revenge while believing she deserves a new life. Gabriel believes a good life is only for fairytales and something he'll never have. He vows to break hearts and spirits as his own have been broken. Rick's life is one of purely work with no room for anything else but sorrow. None of them want love or relationship, but as they move into and through the emotional storm of their lives, destiny brings them together in an extraordinary way in the quaint beach town of Golden Shores. Through work and friendship, their inner conflicts extend to each other while vying for the need for survival, healing, attraction and love. The plot twists keep the reader guessing if and how they resolve their issues, and if they move on separately or together. The story takes place in the Grand Strand region of coastal South Carolina providing a restorative, inspiring seaside setting. A charming oceanfront inn complete with mystical, enchanting elements lifts the characters' spirits and helps them on their journeys. Their passionate triangle must be broken for them to move on with their lives, but who ends up with whom, or do they, and when?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781543974294
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 07/22/2019
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

N. Christine Samuelson writes about the eternal bonds of love that transform lives and transcend time. Her novels reflect the challenges, fears and conflicts, tragedies and victories that manifest through a powerful connection of love. Her storylines are realistic but laced with a touch of mysticism, mystery and suspense. From living in 14 cities in 10 states, with years of formal and self-taught education through three different careers, she's acquired a wealth of personal, professional, and life experiences which inspire the diverse settings, characters, and authentic storylines of her novels written in a unique voice.Currently living in coastal South Carolina, the sea is a constant source of inspiration. She hopes readers of her books will be inspired to look at life and love through a different lens, expand their horizons, and enrich different aspects of their lives.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

JADE ARMSTRONG

Jade married the wrong man. But it took five years and one morning to find out. As she gathered her things to leave for her job managing a hotel in Los Angeles, her husband said, "We need to talk ... now."

"I'm going out the door. Can't it wait?"

"No." He sat on a stool at the kitchen island. "And you might want to tell your boss you'll be late. This might take a while." He looked down at his hands, wringing them together.

While Jade grabbed the phone to text her boss, her stomach sickened and her nerves tingled. Something awful was about to happen. Scenarios whirled through her mind — Did he lose his job, is he sick, did someone die, is he in trouble? Whatever it is, we'll deal with it, we'll survive and go on. She stood across the island from him.

Still not looking at her, he spewed out statements so fast she heard only certain words, only the most impossible, devastating words: "leaving for good ... have to ... the end ... sorry."

His sentences were drowned out by the shattering white noise of her denial and heartbreak. This wasn't happening. No, no, no, this wasn't her husband speaking even though it was his face and voice. This was no 'talk;' it was a bomb dropped in the middle of her life with the words no woman ever wants to hear.

Inside her head, Jade's reaction was, 'This is not my life, not the one I agreed to, not the one I planned on and saved for, the one I envisioned since I was a girl.' While outside of herself, her husband's words burst like firecrackers in her head, "... other women ... you and I hardly ever together ... drank too much ... drugs ... gambling ... I love someone else, didn't mean to, sorry ... addicted, need help."

In the same way a deep scratch on a CD causes the music to halt and skip until silenced by pressing the stop button, Jade's brain skipped at the deep cuts of his revelations. With shock magnifying at hearing each confession, Jade's desperate thoughts skipped to: If he cleans up, he'll come to his senses; SKIP: He'll revert to the man I married. Another SKIP: We'll have a second chance. SKIP again: "I'll help you," she pleaded, "we'll do this together." But there was no magic button to stop his words.

His uncaring expression froze into a grimace while he slung words like darts, her heart being the target. "No. Nothing will change how I feel. I don't need your help. I don't want it."

Through sobs she asked, "But why? I love you. We're partners."

He finally looked into her eyes. "Because I love her. She'll be my partner as soon as our divorce is final."

Jade's knees buckled and the room spun around. When they'd married, her mother, Maggie, had given her a fairytale wedding because she'd never seen her daughter so happy as with this man who lit up her world. Now Prince Charming was leaving, taking his light and love, making her world go black as she crumpled to the floor. She became conscious a minute later and found herself in his arms, her head still spinning. "Please tell me this isn't real; it's some kind of nightmare."

He leaned Jade against a kitchen cabinet and told her she wasn't dreaming. He sat on the floor beside her gazing straight ahead to avoid seeing the agony in her eyes.

Jade's breath turned shallow; her mind swam in a fog of disbelief. When he spoke, his voice showed no emotion. "I don't mean to be cruel, but this is real and you need to deal with it."

Stunned and grasping at anything to fix this, she placed her head on his shoulder and her hand on his arm hoping he'd feel her love and respond in kind. "Why are you doing this? Now? So fast? You don't have to do this." With no response, she said, "Please tell me why. You owe me the truth."

He wiped perspiration from his forehead through his hair, and muttered, "There's no easy way to say it. I have to do this. She's pregnant. I'm going to marry her."

Jade yanked her head and arm away as if he were a leper and shrieked, "A child? You bastard. Why would any woman want a cheating, drug-addicted man for a husband and father to her child?"

"I wasn't addicted when I met her. My affair with her differed from the others ..."

"Others?!" Jade screamed so loud he jerked his head back. Her voice was part sobbing, part gasping for air like being punched in the gut and stabbed at the same time. "You had other women?!"

With his head hung low, he uttered a barely audible, "Yes."

Jade's mind paralyzed like he'd slammed her head with a bat. Incapable of speech and struggling to accept this new reality, she asked herself, 'Why?' Her heart split in half as she wondered how and why her husband did this to her; how did she not see it coming? Her rational mind said, 'He was never home long enough. He hid his true self and actions.' Then her conscience argued, 'You didn't see it because you didn't want to. You wanted the fairytale; you lived it and trusted him.' Jade closed her eyes and clutched her head to hold it together. She delved deep into her memory where she'd tucked suspicions of him away but never let them out, never confronted him, and barely whispered, "Why?"

He shrugged. "I guess because I could. We rarely had time together and you know I can't be alone or bored or serious. I did what made me happy."

Jade was afraid to say or do anything because she wanted to kill him, to get him out of her face and off the planet except she wasn't capable of murder. Her dreams were the only things dying now as she realized she'd expected the fairytale — so much so it blocked the truth of him out. Jade vowed to never trust the too-good-to-be-true guy again, or the storybook life and the happy ending. There were no such things.

With Jade's silence, her husband assumed she waited for further explanation. "Her family owns one of the largest vineyards in Napa, it's how we met. I drank a lot, still do. I hid the drugs from her as I did you and gambled away a small fortune. So, when this wealthy woman wanted me, it solved the problems of my miserable life. She's paying for my rehab because she wants a clean and sober husband. The pregnancy was an accident, changing birth control methods, or so she said. In any case ..."

Jade stood and cut him off. "In any case, whether she tricked you or not, you're marrying her for her money, right?"

He stood, too, hands jammed into his pockets, head down. "Yeah, partly; but she's got the whole package I need to turn my life around — prestigious family, a career at her vineyard, social connections, great homes, cars, travel. A kid cements the deal." He stared at Jade. "It's what you wanted to hear, isn't it, the whole truth? Now you can officially hate me forever."

His words shredded her insides. Jade's spirit twisted and snapped, leaving her jagged and raw. Her usual compassionate, loving soul gave rise to a shadow that morning, a dark side had to express itself or eat her alive. "I hated you when you said you loved someone else. Now I detest you. And I'm taking everything since you'll be 'Mr. Rich Bastard' now. I'll need the house and car and bank accounts to start over. You'll have to deal with that."

He opened the liquor cabinet, grabbed the vodka, poured himself a full glass and drank half of it in three gulps. "About our assets. There's something you need to know."

Jade's body raged like fire inside anticipating his next words. She wrapped her arms around her waist and ran to the sink, about to be sick. "You didn't. No, please, don't say it."

"I have to, better you hear it now. There's nothing left. The drugs and gambling took all the savings. I mortgaged the house and now we can't sell it for enough to pay both mortgages. In fact, I stopped paying them months ago. I hid the bank notices from you using a P.O. Box. Everything was in my name and phone, so only I got the creditor calls. I paid utilities and cell phones so you wouldn't suspect anything." While gulping down the vodka his cheeks and nose flushed cherry red, and he shot Jade an accusatory look. "Maybe if your damn job wasn't more important than me, if we'd seen each other and enjoyed life, this wouldn't have happened."

Angry flames rose from her gut to her head so fast her body felt boiled and her head wanted to explode. "We agreed to this situation!" She recalled how their plans for the future resulted in the marriage working like a revolving door where they passed each other coming and going, their schedules allowing for only a couple days together each week. Her management job in the hospitality field meant working most nights and some weekends. He traveled five days a week as a wine sales executive up and down the coast. But by mutual agreement, they accepted that way of life because it was the price of admission to their grand future. They intended to devote most of their time to careers and making money. They'd planned to sell their house for a huge profit in a couple years, then buy a bed-and-breakfast inn. After becoming financially successful and stable, they'd start a family.

He said nothing, his eyes downcast.

He's coming up with a rebuttal. Jade's arms tingled with rage because he had always seemed happy. She'd been happy, too, but she'd believed his lies and excuses. The indications of something amiss had been there and grown slowly over time like a hidden cancer. She'd been in denial until now, until this stage four with death closing in.

While Jade had worked hard, sacrificed and kept their dream alive, he'd been conducting a life separate from hers. Her gut churned, violently releasing bile and anger into the sink. He moved beside her and rubbed her back. Still bent over, she yelled, "Get away from me!" and jabbed him hard in the ribs with her elbow. He groaned and rubbed his chest, looking at her as if she were a lunatic.

"You're damn right, I'm crazy. I've always loved you and been loyal. But I hate you now. I trusted you with everything — our house, our money, my money, and this is what I get? I worked hard and thought you did, too, for our future, not to indulge in every bodily compulsion to keep you entertained when we were apart. And you have the audacity to throw it back on me? To blame me? You got a real brass set and if you don't get out of my sight now, one good kick will take care of those, too."

He put his hands up, like a thief caught. "Okay, enough. I admit it, I'm a shit. I am."

"You're so much worse than a shit there are no words for what you are. Don't fucking say you're sorry again or I'll kick your alcoholic, drug-addicted, lying, cheating ass to a pulp!"

He flew to the door, grabbing his jacket on the way. As he opened it, he glanced back and said, "You can get a lawyer but there's nothing left to split. I have no money and I'll be out of work and in rehab for God-knows how long. Cut your losses and move on, Jade."

She followed him, crying and screaming while he ran to his car. "You'll pay for this! I'll get you back somehow. I don't deserve this, and you deserve to burn in hell!"

While opening his car door, he yelled, "I'm sure I do, and I'm probably there now." He hesitated, weighing whether he should say the words in his mind or not, but then added, "And I am sorry," slamming the door shut on 'sorry.'

Jade reached into her ornamental garden, grabbed two fistfuls of small rocks and threw them at his car as he backed up and sped off. "Your apology is as worthless as you are!" Even with slinging the rocks hard she didn't damage the vehicle, only herself with what she'd become — a crazed, violent person. But she needed that huge release for her emotions, of an anger so deep she felt hell burning in the pit of her gut. Inside the foyer, she closed the door behind her and collapsed against it, this time in agony with a flood of tears. The pain and sobbing went on and on until she thought she might die, forcing her to reach out and call the only person who might help — her mother.

After hearing what he'd done, Maggie, the loving, compassionate, free-spirited artist and believer in karma, told Jade, "You are not an insane, terrible person. If I had been there, I'd have helped you throw rocks." But her mother's next words Jade liked best, "Don't worry, he'll get his. He'll get what's coming to him, he will." Jade's silent response was, Oh, I can't wait for the day. But I might have to help fate along with my own brand of revenge.

CHAPTER 2

GABRIEL MONTORO

At twenty-eight, Gabriel figured his luck was changing, hopefully with his father's death the abuse would stop along with his vile behavior, and none of it would follow Gabe anymore. His life was peaceful for the first time with a good job and social life. On one of his usual night-off forays into the club scene with drinking, dancing and flirting, he met a woman. Not just any woman. He met Consuela — a hot, young Latina beauty who worked a room and the men in it like a more experienced woman, like a vixen.

At nineteen, Consuela moved the ample curves of her body to sway with the beat of her hips and long, dark hair cascading down her back. Her eyes were dark and exotic, drawing Gabriel in with lush sensuality. While running her finger along his cheek, she cooed, "Oh, I love this face. You are sooo handsome." She put her hand on his well-muscled stomach. "And this hard body. I love it, too." Her eyes fixed on his with a searing stare, luring him in. "But it's your eyes — they capture me. Their lovely blue reminds me of the sky, of heaven." She put her arm around his neck and her body against his. "Would you take me there? Would you take me to heaven with your body and those blue eyes?"

Sex with Consuela was almost heart-stopping and unlike anything Gabriel ever experienced. A fair number of women had crossed his path, but he never got too close or attached to any of them with always being guarded and on the move. Consuela was the first to give him pause. They couldn't get enough of each other, like starving wolves going in for the kill — all passion and lust with nothing gentle, loving or subtle about them.

When Consuela announced she was pregnant, Gabriel stood by her — to marry and raise the child. Gabriel didn't say he loved her because he didn't fathom love. The closest he'd come to it, he guessed, was the warm, connected feeling for his mother and siblings but never for a woman he dated. The way he understood Consuela best was in bed. They were mind-blowingly 'in lust' and Gabriel hoped sex led to love, whatever love was.

Gabriel's mother encouraged him. "You're ready to be a husband and father — marry Consuela and settle down. I believe in you, mi hijo." With her support, Gabe believed in himself. This marriage might be the start of a good life and relationship unlike the many abusive ones he witnessed growing up.

The baby girl was born before Consuela turned twenty. They named her Graciela because she was so beautiful and perfect, Gabe was sure she was made of pure grace. But the grace of God didn't extend to Gabriel for long. To make extra money for his new family, he worked a second job as a breakfast line cook in a diner, along with his part-time job as a sous chef at a restaurant for dinner service. This meant he was gone every day plus several nights a week. Consuela liked the extra money, but she resented being alone so much and unable to party with her friends. She saw her life with Gabriel as a novelty, as if 'playing house,' or trying out a different life for a while. But like a kid with a new toy, when the new life became the 'same old, same old,' she got bored with it and Gabe.

Gabriel had no clue about Consuela's frame of mind until the night he came home two hours early. He opened the front door to find his wife's clothes strewn around the living room, leading into the bedroom. His internal alarm bell turned to blood-red rage when he opened the bedroom door to see the naked ass of a man pounding away at his gorgeous wife, who moaned with pleasure and held the stranger the same way she'd held him. Gabriel lost it when he heard her say, "Oh, baby, don't stop. Take me to heaven. No one takes me there the way you do."

Blinded with rage, he walked to the bed, pulled the man by his ankles and slung him to the floor like the piece of garbage he was.

Consuela screamed, "Gabe, no! I didn't mean it. I'm sorry!"

She lay naked, her body moist and steamy from sex, and instantly Gabe realized everything good about her was all bad and all a lie. He threw clothes to her and wanted to kill them both. Overcome with fury, a fist formed in his hand to pound at the man. But just before throwing a punch that might have led to manslaughter and changed his life, baby Grace cried out. The sound of her innocent screams stopped Gabe. Gracie needed him; she was more important than anyone else and she saved him from making a terrible mistake.

Gabe shrieked at Consuela, "You meant it and you're not sorry! Get out of my house, you whore and take your skinny, white-man pimp with you. You're both trash." He threw them and their clothes out the door, shrieking, "I never want to see your face again. Burn in hell, you bitch." Consuela sobbed and pulled on her clothes, begging him to let her explain. He slammed the door in her face, then opened it again. "You really think there are words to explain and forgive what you did? You're not just a whore, you're a stupid whore." He kicked the door shut, yelling, "puta estúpido," and walked away from her, and from marriage forever.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Heart Storms"
by .
Copyright © 2019 N. Christine Samuelson.
Excerpted by permission of BookBaby.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Heart Storms 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
NNLight More than 1 year ago
Jade Armstrong’s life comes crashing down when her husband admits to drug and gambling addictions while also confessing to numerous affairs. He also leaves her for a younger woman of means who’s pregnant with his child. Jade never saw this storm coming but after coming to grips with it, she packs all her belongings and heads east to a lovely coastal town in South Carolina. She secures a job at a quaint inn struggling to make it. The owner, Rick, and her share an immediate connection. As they try to get the inn up and running, Rick hires a brilliant chef named Gabriel Montoro. Jade is attracted to both Rick and Gabriel but isn’t sure she can handle another heartbreak. But the heart knows what it wants and Jade is swept up in one storm after another. Can she steer her way to a happily ever after or will she be tossed overboard? Heart Storms is a beautifully written story about heartache, betrayal, love, loss and letting go of the past. Written from three POV’s, the reader is instantly plunged into the minds of the three main characters. Emotionally gripping, I found myself crying over the suffering Jade, Rick and Gabriel go through. The more angst, the more my fingers turned the pages. There are a few twists in the plot I didn’t see coming. The wedding scene tore my heart out. The ending seemed odd at first read, after all that happened, but after I mulled over it for a few days, it started to make sense. A thought-provoking book. If you’re looking for a poignant book blending mystical and romantic elements, pick up Heart Storms today. Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in the hopes I’d review it. My Rating: 4.5 stars