Emma Cooper is determined to fulfill her mother's dying wish to scatter her ashes with Aiden Sheffield in Linx, Texas. Just one problem. Why Texas and who the hell is Aiden Sheffield? The only clue is a faded piece of her mother's stationary. Emma imagines Aiden is a former love of her mother's, but when she meets the beautiful, damaged stranger, she realizes her assumptions couldn't be more wrong. He's hot and young. And Emma is as confused as ever.
Aiden Sheffield would rather go to hell than Linx. Who does Emma think she is disrupting his carefully built life? The last thing the Marine needs is to slice open the sealed wounds of his painful past. Yet, as he gets to know the lovely Emma, a woman who manages to smile even though she's lost everything, he changes his mind. He will not let her go to hell alone.
But neither is prepared for the devastating evil waiting for them at the end of the road. It might just destroy them.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
MK Schiller was born a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. She has a full time life and two busy teenagers, but in the dark of night, she sits by the warm glow of my computer monitor, and attempts to conjure up passionate heartwarming stories with plenty of humor.
She hopes you enjoy her stories and always find The Happily Ever After in every endeavor.
Read an Excerpt
I look at Dad's watch out of habit. It's huge and clunky on me. I've made my own hole in the worn leather so it will stay on my wrist. Like me, it runs slow these days. It's a JCPenney special with nothing special about it, but it makes me feel closer to him.
Tilting my face, I gaze at the house that had been my home. A flashy sticker covers the For Sale sign in the yard announcing the home is SOLD in obnoxious red capital letters. I want to kick the sign, punch it, or better yet, rip it from the earth and stomp on it until I'm standing on nothing but splinters.
But the time for action is gone.
I chose to leave early this morning to avoid neighbors and friends. They will offer up their homes to me again. They will try to give me money or suggest other options. I didn't inherit my father's wit or wisdom, but I have his stubborn pride.
I do a final check of the truck — my dad's truck, which now belongs to me. I tug on the straps securing the tarp that covers all my possessions. I am literally carrying my world. Taking a cleansing breath, I climb into the driver's side. Mom's already in the passenger seat. I reach over and secure the seat belt around her.
"Get comfortable. We have a long trip," I tell her, tugging on her seat belt once more. "It's twenty-six hundred miles to the middle of Nowhere, Texas." I flash mom a cheerful smile I don't feel.
"Emma," she says, her voice full of compassion with the slightest hint of admonishment — a feat only mothers can achieve.
"Sorry, I mean Linx, Texas. What kind of name is that for a town, anyway?"
But she doesn't respond this time. She is very selective in her conversation these days.
Scrolling through the navigation app on my phone, I contemplate the strange journey for the hundredth time. "It'll take us about a week to get there and back."
Sorrow floods me with the realization that I won't come back here. I'll go to a new, permanent home in Los Angeles instead. I'll move in with my boyfriend, Kenneth. Mom won't be with me anymore. That's the reason I've procrastinated until the final hour. I'm not ready to let her go.
As we make our way through the streets of Dunsmuir, California, she speaks again. "Sweetheart, is there something you're forgetting?"
"Mom, you can't be serious."
I turn up the volume to tune her out. I made the playlist for this trip specifically. They are all songs from generations past. Sam Cooke sings about "What a Wonderful World" it is.
"Sam Cooke," she says. "Your dad introduced me to his music. He'd sing this song to me all the time, and make me dance with him. I never danced before I met him."
Yeah, Mom, I was there, remember? As a child, I would roll my eyes and fake a gag at their random acts of affection. Now, I wish I had just one of those moments back. Thanks, Sam. As if I'm not fucked up enough.
But even Sam's smooth jazzy voice doesn't distract Mom.
"You found his address, didn't you? When you went through my memory box?"
I'd avoided the small wooden box until the very end of my packing. It contained Mom's favorite photos, my first tooth, and the little love notes dad wrote over the years. All the usual stuff that has no value to anyone else but is invaluable just the same. I never imagined finding Aiden Sheffield's address on a folded scrap of flowery stationary.
When Mom first mentioned her crazy request, I thought she was delusional. After all, I'd never heard his name before. For that matter, I'd never heard of Linx. In fact, the only thing "Texas" in our home was the bread she served with her cheesy spaghetti bake. Oh, and the Hold 'em games we played during Friday night poker.
"What? I'm just supposed to show up at his house? Hi, I'm Emma Cooper. You don't know me, but apparently, you had a fling with my mom. She wants me to tell you she's sorry. We're going on this road trip to this tiny Texas town that I've never heard of. And guess what, Mr. Sheffield? Bonus, she wants you to come with. Yeah, 'cause that's not crazy."
"Oh, baby, this isn't a normal road trip, is it? I'm sorry to put this on your shoulders, but I won't be able to rest in peace until it's done."
I concentrate on Sam singing to us. Here I am, at this crossroads that's not of my own choosing. We weave our way through the quiet streets of Dunsmuir, passing the sign that announces we have the "World's Best Water," a big point of pride. I will miss this town. We pass the firehouse with its large elm tree in front. I slow down, staring at the plaque affixed to the trunk, the one that details my father's heroic action about a year back. He gave up his own life while saving two children trapped on the top floor of an apartment building.
"Do you miss Dad?"
"With everything I have."
"Then why are you still here?"
"Because you need me."
"I don't need you! And I sure as hell don't need this." I get control of myself. I have never raised my voice to my mother, and I should not start now.
With shaky hands, I place the truck in park to catch my breath. Way to go, Emma. You barely made it five miles before the first breakdown. Thank God, the streets are empty and no one's around to take advantages of the free admission to the freak show. I manage to get myself under control without hyperventilating.
"Are you okay, honey?" she asks.
"I haven't been okay in a long time."
I sigh, releasing all the justifications I've made since finding that stupid scrap of flowery paper last night. Instead of turning south on I-5 like I should, I head north toward Butte Falls, Oregon.
"It's way out of the way," I say, not hiding my irritation. "In the opposite direction, actually."
"Just a detour, honey."
My whole life feels like a fucking detour.
Sam's sings now about "How a Change is Gonna Come."
No kidding, Sam.
Three hours and two gas station lattes later, the truck wheezes down a long gravel road, kicking up dust, protesting this journey. The road is part and parcel of the same address. The wooden sign welcomes me to the Healing Paws Sanctuary.
I make my first discovery about the mysterious Aiden Sheffield — he is a dog lover.
Smaller signs direct me right for adoptions and left for tours. I forge straight ahead toward the looming white farmhouse, which I assume is his residence. The sun is still high, casting a halo-like light around the house.
I park and do a quick inspection in the rearview mirror. After a few lame attempts at primping, I stop running my fingers through my rebellious reddish brown hair. I check my phone for messages. Natalie sent a couple of weird memes meant to cheer me up. Kenneth has texted to check in. I send him back a detailed response about my detour to visit Aiden Sheffield. Natalie, Kenneth and I have known each other since childhood, but things are different now. I've changed. They are carefree, enjoying the dizzying lights of L.A., acting like normal twenty-somethings. I carry tragedy like a disease, and they don't want to get infected. In some ways, I get it. In other ways, it pisses me off. Soon, though, I'll be with them, and I'll hide my pain behind a masked grin. Things will be normal. God, please let them be normal.
Just need to get through this first.
"I'm going to leave you in the car. It would be strange if I took you inside," I say to Mom. Not that any of this isn't strange to begin with. I am having a conversation with a dead woman, after all.
I don't think it's weird I talk to my mother's ashes. I've been having conversations with the urn for the past six months. It's my way of coping with the grief. The really creepy part is when the urn answers back.
I square my shoulders as I approach the door, feigning bravery. I groan at the sight of my faded UCLA T-shirt, black yoga pants, and purple Chuck Taylors. Good garments for a long road trip, but hardly an appropriate outfit for this.
Whatever this is.
Forget it. I couldn't care less what Aiden Sheffield thinks of me. A dog bark signals my arrival before I can even knock. I gasp and take a step back. The sign on the door says: One rule for all who enter — Must Love Dogs.
I guess that applies to me. I knock before I lose my nerve.
The dog's barks cease as soon as the deep male voice, spiced with a slight Spanish accent, commands calm. The door opens. He's as attractive as I imagined — tall, with naturally tan skin, brown eyes, and Mediterranean looks. Silver strands thread through his dark hair in that way that makes older men appear dashing.
It's easy to see why Mom fell for him. But he's not as handsome or as good of a man as my father. I can guarantee that.
"May I help you, young lady?" His smile is friendly.
"Mr. Sheffield, my name is Emma."
He pauses, his expression hovering between confusion and amusement. To my surprise, he starts laughing. "I'm flattered to be confused for Aiden, but I'm about twenty years long and a few pounds of muscle short for that mistake. Name's Mac McDonnell."
I bite my lip, turning ten shades of embarrassed at my assumption.
"Sorry ... Mr. McDonnell, is it?"
He stretches out his hand. I grip it limply. "Call me Mac, please. Otherwise, I might start feeling those twenty years. I run this place. Please come in."
The inside of the house feels more modern, with bright colors, Spanish tiles, and a large stone fireplace. A whole wall is covered with portraits of every size and breed of dog. Underneath each picture, there are tiny handwritten notes with their names and adoption date. A large dog with shaggy gray fur sits on the ground underneath the photos. His calm dark eyes quietly assess me.
"Hello, gorgeous boy," I say to the dog.
"Meet Otis," Mac says. "He's very friendly." Mac gestures him over. "You can pet him."
I've never owned dogs, but I am a huge animal lover and can't resist Otis's big sweet eyes calling to me. "I would love to."
I bend, keeping a few feet between us. The dog shifts from his sitting position and ambles toward me. He sniffs me once before ducking his head beneath my hand. My smile is genuine for the first time in forever. The joy falters a bit when I notice Otis is missing a tail. Poor boy.
"I wasn't aware Aiden had an appointment today," Mac says.
"I don't have an appointment."
"You're not here to adopt?"
"Afraid not." The dog licks my face. I wish Mac's assumption was true.
"Too bad. It's easy to see you'd be a great best friend."
"I'm here on a personal matter."
"How do you know Aiden?" Suspicion colors his gaze. I'm not sure how to respond. What I have to say doesn't make any sense to begin with, and I'm not about to say it twice.
I stand. As soon as I do, the dog sits next to me. "He's an old family friend."
Mac arches a brow, his expression turning suspicious. "Can't be that old. You're very young."
"You know what they say, Mac. Age is just a number."
Thankfully, he doesn't press on. He chuckles instead. "That is true. Aiden's on a run, but you're welcome to wait for him here, or I can give you a tour if you'd like."
I consider my choices. "I don't want to take up your time."
"You can't take something I'm willing to give. C'mon, I'll show you around the old place. People love our tours." He starts walking toward the back door before I can think of a reason to protest. He turns to me before opening it. "Any allergies?" "No."
"Good. Try to keep calm. Dogs can sense emotion, and it affects their behavior."
I nod, although I have no idea how to keep calm right now.
The area behind the home is huge, partitioned by large cages and various fences. There are kennels and bins of dog toys, but it's all very well-kept. It feels like a tiny city with small homes dotted across the landscape.
"We have many volunteers, but our permanent staff stays on site," Mac explains.
We walk for a long time with Otis between us.
I ask a few questions along the way, as we pass different groups of dogs and trainers. Mac opens the door of one of the kennels. All my nervous energy fades as I'm attacked by a pack of rambunctious puppies. After they sniff me, Mac tells me I can pet them. They almost knock me over with their demanding kisses and energetic affection. Mac introduces me to so many that I forget their names, but they are all tender and sweet. Someone should bottle this feeling. Playing with puppies has to be the best cure for sorrow. As we move on, Mac explains that there are some dogs I can't meet because they are still considered aggressive. I realize even with the tour, we've barely covered the expanse of the property.
I've been here for over an hour by the time we reach a large grassy area. It's enclosed with a long, chain-link fence that stretches for miles. A tall hill slopes against the high afternoon sun.
"This is our dog run. Ah, there's Aiden," he says, pointing toward the hill.
A man appears in the distance, running like a feral animal, followed by eight of the largest dogs I've ever seen. He's tall, a few inches past six feet, at least, with inky black hair. Even from this distance, I can see his skin is sun-kissed. He wears black running shorts, which show off his well-defined legs. The dark blue, ribbed crew-neck shirt doesn't conceal the tightly coiled muscles underneath, either. He turns to face the dogs, running backward. Even though he is far away, the deep baritone of his rich, slightly raspy voice echoes over to me:
My head bounces to the rhythm of his silly military cadence.
He stops close by but still hasn't seen me. He focuses all his energy on the dogs. His muscles aren't obnoxiously huge, but they define his sleek body as if an artist chiseled them in perfect proportions. Taking a hose, he fills a trough with water. As the dogs drink, he reaches into a small blue cooler and brings out his own water bottle. He sips it greedily before dousing his head. My throat runs dry, then pangs of guilt hit me. What am I doing? I have a boyfriend. Shaking my head, I open my mouth. But still, no words come.
The largest dog in the mix, a beautiful pit bull with shiny black fur, strolls over to him. The dog begs the man for attention, standing on its back legs. The man slaps his chest three times and the dog rises, placing its front paws there. He gently strokes the animal's head and says a few quiet words I can't hear. I swear the dog nods back. It almost looks as if they are conversing.
This is perhaps the most beautiful creature I've ever seen.
And the dog is gorgeous, too.
Mac clears his throat. Shit, I hope he didn't see me leering.
"Do you mind waiting here, Emma? A reporter from the Gazette comes at this time every week to do a feature on one of our dogs. I have to get the lady of the hour ready to pose for her close-up."
"Not at all. Thank you for the tour."
After Mac leaves, I continue to stare, happy for the privacy to check out Aiden Sheffield.
Wait ... what?
Mac had said he was twenty years older, but it didn't register then. This can't be Aiden. He is definitely older than me, but not by much. Mom was no cradle robber, and moreover, she was no cheater. I swallow down the bile rising in my throat and cram the thought into a dark corner of my head. She would never cheat on my dad. Never.
The whole way here, I practiced what I would say to this mysterious man who meant so much to Mom, but those rehearsed words no longer make sense. Seeing Aiden Sheffield hasn't done a damn thing to solve the mystery. I'm more confused than ever.
He turns in my direction. I freeze, still as an opossum, as he strides toward me. I am that tall girl who stood in the back during school pictures and programs, but he looms over me, his shadow making the sunny day a few degrees colder. We stare for an awkward moment. His damp hair, although cut short, is thick, forking over his forehead. Stubble covers the strong angle of his jaw. He's not perfect, though. His nose is slightly crooked, and a deep, jagged scar covers his right cheek. The contrast of those hurts against the rest of his face makes him look rougher, maybe even dangerous. His eyes draw most of my attention, though. Thick eyelashes — the kind any girl would kill for — hover above shimmering green orbs that don't just catch the light ... they steal it.
"May I help you?" he asks, his smile tight like it's forced.
Struggling to find my voice, I finally respond. "Aiden Sheffield?"
"Guilty. Are you here to adopt?"
Excerpted from "The Scars Between Us"
Copyright © 2017 MK Schiller.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Scars Between Us by M.K. Schiller is a stand alone novel. This book gutted the hell out of me. I literally just finished the book and now I'm sitting here and I have no words. What I can say is, This IS a 5 Star read !! Meet Emma Cooper and Aiden Sheffield. Both are sent on a journey that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Emma lost both her parents and mourns them deeply. Now she is about to fulfill her mothers last wish. This last wish includes a trip to Aiden and convince him to accompany her. Aiden has deep issues and scars, visible and invisible. Everytime I thought I had it all sorted out, bam, came another twist or unexpected turn that left me breathless. Favorite Quote: " She is the girl who lost everything. I am the boy who never had anything. " The Scars Between Us is the heart wrenchingly story of two lost souls, broken people. This book is raw and gritty and Wow, just Wow. I highly recommend this book and wish I could give more than 5 stars. I love this book, Thank you MK Schiller !
Well written, few grammatical and spellings errors. An emotional love story with a plot twist.
A wonderfully written, emotional story with a few twists and a HEA!
This book was very good. It had a great twist, and an even better ending.
Hold onto your heartstrings and grab some tissues. This story will grab you from the very first scene. Reading and learning both Emma and Aiden's stories, all they went through, the twists and turns, their individual healing, their protectiveness of one another was pure beauty. This story will leave a lasting impression. It is my first story by Ms. Scholler and not my last. I loved every minute of this book and could not put it down. I had to read it whenever I had a few minutes here and there, stayed up very late to try to finish it, and woke up again to finish it. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
I liked Emma but she was a little too much for me. She was just overly sweet and kind of naïve. I had an idea of some of the things that happened to her. She was the type of person who was shocked that bad things happen to people. I liked Aiden. He had a very rough past (which was revealed slowly throughout the story). I can understand his love for dogs and why he was so closed off. I did like them together though. I thought they were good together and despite the things I didn’t like about her she was a perfect match to Aiden. One thing I did not like about Aiden was that he wanted Emma but he didn’t want her. He was too confused. Then when the story was getting into kind of a lull for me some things happened that had me like WHAT??? Then something happened near the end that had me like what??? The first reveal in my opinion brought something more to the book. It gave some backstory on the history between Emma’s mom and Aiden. I think this was needed. I really liked the flow of that reveal. The other thing closer to the end was just too much for me. I didn’t care for that part of the story. I can see what the author was trying to do but it was just outlandish in my opinion. I can see how certain things may have been swept under the rug years ago but this thing was never going to fly. Overall I think this was a good read. Even thought I had a few issues, I think other readers would like this story.
Rating 4.5/5 From the moody cover to the tumultuous suspense, this book packs so much into this enthralling read. Endeavouring to fulfil the promise she made to her dying Mum, Emma Cooper is heading for Linx, Texas stopping en route to ask Aiden Sheffield to go with her. Only problem to start with is that she has no idea who Aiden is or what his connection is to her mother . . . but that’s a minor problem when you consider what happens as she uncovers secrets from the past and opens herself and Aiden up to the evil that awaits them. This is a real page turner, with great characters with many facets and secrets. It is a story about grief, changes, danger, heartbreak and forgiveness as well as moving on in life. It is a complex story where only revisiting the past and discovering what really happened can help everyone involved come to terms with events and look forward to the future - if only they can survive the present! It is a story which involves some difficult subjects, including physical and emotional abuse, the abuse of power and trust and demonstrates how others don’t always know what is happening behind closed doors. It is also a story of an unexpected romance between two scarred individuals, with so many twists and turns! If you enjoy contemporary romantic suspense and can cope with the emotive abusive aspects that the author skilfully brings vividly to life you’ll probably love reading this - I did! I requested and was given a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
M.K. Schillers latest release is about forgiveness, the kind that changes everything and shapes you into someone new. It's heartbreaking, but hopeful, a book that will put a smile on your face right after you wipe the tears away. Told from the perspective of main characters Emma and Aiden, The Scars Between Us is a complex story that features a well-developed story line and engaging dialogue. It does focuses heavily on some serious subject matter, including emotional and physical abuse, and some readers might find that Schiller's descriptive writing could be a trigger. I found myself aching alongside the characters as their past hurts weighed heavily on them, as they pushed through a sad trip that took them into a life one never wanted to revisit and one never could have imagined. "His smile is sad. 'You've been carrying it for a long time, Emma. Let someone else carry it for a while.'" The Scars Between Us was such a fantastic read, it was character driven, and Emma and Aiden have some significant development as the novel progresses. I really enjoyed that the events of the book didn't carry the story, but rather how the character reacted to those events did. Oftentimes a book has just too much going on, but each time a bit of Aiden's past was revealed Schiller focused on how he overcame it, how he used it moving forward, and how Emma had to process it to truly understand how the events affected her life without her even knowing it. Emma's attitude about her mom's true past felt so accurate, though I have never been in a similar situation the writing gave me a sense of what it might have been like. Aiden, on the other hand, is so kind and giving, despite his prior struggles. His wisdom about life is based on a life no child should ever have, yet he makes it through and fights each day to be better. Emma and Aiden's connection is unusual, he's so much more than just the guy her mom asked her to take along when she scattered her ashes. The twists this novel takes, the ugly truths it reveals, only make the book that much more beautiful. As the two face the past they find comfort in each other and they find that trusting another with their story can open the door to love. "What I want is him. He knows it. I hate him for it." The events that unfold in the novel are hard to read, they're ugly and raw, things we don't want to imagine, and M.K. Schiller makes these overwhelming scenes come to life. I loved being in the moment, even though it broke my heart to read it. I did find, however, that some of the overly descriptive writing was also a negative. Some of the adult nature of the book was a detriment to the overall story. While the characters are adult, the story feels more coming-of-age than adult, contemporary romance and the smut scenes did feel like a bit too much. Overall though, it is a read that won't leave me anytime soon, I felt like it lived it too. "It's time to forget the broken roads of the past, and look toward the bright horizon line. I should know better. i learned a long time ago, you can't outrun darkness." The Scars Between Us is my first M.K. Schiller novel, but it won't be my last. It was well-developed and held my interest from start to finish. Contemporary romance fans will love this thought-provoking release about love, loss, and life.
when emma meets aiden in the scars between us everything changes. her plans. her feelings. her expectations. because she was imagining she'd meet some old, spurned lover. but instead, this guy is in his twenties. and he's not happy to see her. but she promised her mother she'd ask him to release her mother's ashes at the river in linx, texas. and you can't go back on someone's dying wish. emma isn't what aiden expects at all. they are connected in ways that emma has no idea about, and aiden hesitates to tell her because he figures it would do her no good to know the truth. he's survived a childhood filled with trauma and torture and then joined the marines and saw things that reaffirmed his sense that the world is filled with dark, unpleasant things. but now they are on this road trip that will take him back to the place where all the pain in his life began and he knows that he has to find a way to protect emma from it. he'll do anything for her. he'll die for her. incredible that meeting her would bring light back into his world. but she's an optimist at heart, even when she's lost everything in her world, she still expects things to get better. there's no way he'd ever shatter those illusions. and what's amazing in this romance is that it doesn't matter. secrets like the one's aiden is trying to keep never stay buried. eventually he has to tell her everything and turn her world upside down. but even in those moments, these two never let go of each other. the connection between them only gets stronger as the walls come down. because they may have not spent much time together, but they still know who the other person is down to their bones. their need for each other, to love and protect and save each other will keep them going. i loved it. i loved their relationship. i loved how there wasn't a big blow up or grand gesture required to prove their love. what they go through is bigger than that. it's horrifying and devastating and deeply traumatizing. but it's about how they survive. it's about how they find a way to love each other. it's about healing and moving on from the past. it's emotional and oh-so-beautiful to find something to hope for after so much pain. **the scars between us will publish on july 17, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.
Obsessive... this is how I am not with MK. Her books are so amazing! This is the second of her's that I've read and I can never get enough. I would be so happy if her books were 1000 pages! Emma and Aiden are such unique people and they make the best characters. From the characters to the scenery every thing about this book was perfect! Emma - Oh Emma... she was so great! She gave us so many surprises throughout this entire novel. She is so strong willed and protective, it was so great to see in a leading female. She never once cowered or hide her emotions. And Aiden, he was so surprising. He seemed to be this super hard-ass guy but he ended up being so wonderful! Both of them had so many demons to work through and they did it all together. There's only so much I can say without making this review give too much away, but the things these two went through together was so trying! They are so good together, it's enduring! I cannot wait to read more of MK's books! I devour these books, with their emotions and twists and turns, it's all so amazing!
My first read by this author and it was by no means an easy one. The book starts with Emma trying to fulfill her mother's last wishes, her ashes to be sprinkled in the lake in Linx, TX. After her mother dies she also finds the name and address of someone her mother told her she needed to go see and ask for forgiveness in her pain medicated induced haze. After her mothers death Emma loses it all. House, no job, packs up the pick up and begrudgly sets off to find the mystery man Aiden, who she entertains her mother having an affair with. That's not what she finds when she gets to Oregon, she's greeted by Mac, an older man who runs to dog rescue and at first Emma is confused, mistaking him for Aiden. When Aiden does appear, Em just about drops her teeth, he's been out for a run with his dogs, who are his "pack" not unlike his SEAL team. He's rude, belligerent and downright nasty to Em. A SEAL and an MMA fighter, who fights for something to do... and runs the dog rescue. Em rolls with the punches here and Aiden can dish them out. And when he finds out who she is..... puts a whole new spin on things. She explains to him that she's going to TX and his response is he's rather go to Hell, but she asks him to go with, was what her mother wanted. There's no way he's going back. Until he gets a phone call from his one and only friend still there and he can't in good conscience send Emma there alone. Knowing what awaits her. This book had so many twists and turns. I did like the way Emma handled Aiden and seemed to draw him out of his permanent state of anger and resentment. Yet there's always an undercurrent there and Aiden isn't exactly forthcoming with her either. I skimmed through the sex. It wasn't necessary to the story and a bit overdone and the dialogue made me choke a little...sounded like, never mind. When the proverbial hits the fan when they get to Texas, he does tell her a little about his childhood. Still omitting a great deal and the abuse was appalling as was the violence. Especially with no warning. For people with triggers, they need to be aware that this book does contain serious child abuse as well as violence which also extends to Emma. I'm not sure it needs large warnings, I just think a note to the reader that there is the explicit history and present day as well. I gave it a 4 because I liked the beginning and the character development to an extent. This one is a tough review for me. I'm on the fence and it's a place I don't like to be as a reviewer. **arc from NetGalley and Entangled in exchange for a fair review**
What a great premier this was. I mean, it’s always a jump into the unknown when we read one author for the first time because to many thoughts crosses our minds. MK Schiller is a new author to me and the way this books was written hooked me up sofast that I know that I’ll follow her career. She has an intense, simple and full of meaning writing that will make you feel overwhelmed with everything. The Scars Between Us tells the stories of Emma and Aiden. Emma is a sweet girl that had lost everything. Her home, her money and more importantly her Mother. She had lost her goal and after her mom passing she finds herself on the look for the mysterious Aiden. It was her mom’s last wish that she and him could spread her ashes. But here’s the thing, she doesn’t know him or ever heard about him and her first thought is that this guy is her moms former lover or something… It will be an adventure that’s for sure. Aiden is an Ex Marine and an MMA fighter. He has an hunted soul mainly because his life wasn’t easy. He’s a reserved man with a golden heart. He works rescuing dogs and what a job… When the beautiful Emma enters his life he knew it would be bad, it would bring his pain back and the things he wanted to forget. And I’m not saying another word. What will happen between this two? Love? Friendship? Hate? Who knows… This book is so special that you will feel like you’re wrapped up with their life’s and problems. It’s overwhelming their struggles and I was scared, sad but sometimes hope would appear to try to smooth my mind and soul. I laughed and cried so much that I thought I was going to be insane for a sec. The interaction between the characters is beautiful, sad, intense and the way the story progressed left me anxious and nervous. But this is not a bad thing, please don’t think that I didn’t liked the book because I did, but the emotions that this book made me feel were overwhelming. I loved every second if it, despite wanting to get into the book and hit someone… Thank you MK for this brilliant story and I can’t wait to read another book from you. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
New to MK Schiller, I wasn't sure what to expect, what I got was another author in my life to fangirl over. What a truly inspirational read. The story follows Emma Cooper shortly after her world has been turned upside down following the death of her mother and the loss of her family home. Fulfilling her mother's dying wish to scatter her ashes on a river in Texas with a complete stranger, she goes on the road trip of all road trips. A road trip that will change her life forever. Aiden Sheffield didn't have a good upbringing in any sense of the word, but with a stint in the marines and his current job working with dogs, he's found his lot in life. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when Emma walks into it bringing his tumultuous past right back with her. A story of tragedy, love, loss and determination. Beautifully written in dual POV, we follow their tormented journey to the place that started it all. With some gruelling scenes, some super sexy scenes and some emotional scenes this book had me gripped rom the very first chapter, and oh, what an explosive end. I sure hope there aren't too many towns like Linx, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, evil does exist, and it lives in Linx. A sexy, heartwarming, highly emotional read. I loved it. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
M.K. Schiller - a new-to-me author - delivers an almost perfect New Adult romance with The Scars Between Us. Emma Cooper's mother has passed away and left her a rather cryptic set of instructions: find a Mr. Aiden Sheffield, and convince him to come to the small town of Linx, Texas, to scatter her ashes. Intriguing, no? Well, I thought so, and it only gets more intriguing as you read and begin to wonder just what exactly is the connection between Aiden and Emma's mother... I really enjoyed this book. If it weren't for that pesky needing to sleep thing, I'd have read it in one sitting. It immediately draws you in with the question of who the heck is Aiden, and once you actually meet Aiden and see the instant chemistry between him and Emma, you just won't want to stop reading until you find out everything there is to know. Physically, Aiden sounded absolutely divine, and the swoon factor in this book is pretty darn high. Also, the fact that he rescues dogs was an instant hit with me - love dogs. I wasn't really fussed about the cage fighter aspect, but since this book only covers a few days, that wasn't really a part of the story anyway. Character-wise, at first glance Aiden appears to have the stereotypical brooding hot guy with a back-story thing going on, but as I read on, I found it was all done really well and didn't seem at all contrived. Once you actually know Aiden's story, you'll definitely accept he has every right to brood and be a little Negative Nancy now and then. His problems are not superficial, and I thought this part of the story was tragic but fascinating. As for Emma, she was fun. It might seem as though her characterisation wasn't as detailed or as interesting as Aiden's, simply because she's generally just a nice girl who's lived a happy, normal life. We, as readers, live through her rose-tinted outlook and experience each new revelation in this book as yet another blow to the happy bubble she's previously existed in. The romance I thought was pretty perfect. Although the attraction for both was instant, they don't hop to it so soon you're not emotionally prepared for it (hate it when authors do that). No, I was definitely invested in them both by the time the first kiss happened. I did lots of grinning and even laughed aloud a few times at the dialogue. So cute. I'm now going to explain what I meant when I said it was almost perfect, and because this is quite subjective, I thought I'd leave it until the end. So, having read quite a few NAs at this point, I've come to expect them to be intensely emotional reads, and for there to be at least a section of the book, usually towards the end, that completely emotionally destroys me. That has me lying like a quivering pile of heartbroken goop on the floor, unable to process all the feelings. I'm sure if you're interested in reading this book, you've probably already read a few of them yourself. Those awsome, stomach-dropping "Oh my God" moments that just kill you. In fact, since the cover art keeps reminding me of Travis Maddox, we could easily use Beautiful Disaster as a perfect example of a New Adult book that gut punches you repeatedly until you're crying out for mercy. Now, you see, I like that. Love it, in fact. And in this genre, I kinda expect it now, too. That's not to say this book didn't produce feels, it did. But just not to the heart-shredding degree I crave when I'm in the mood for this genre. Schiller instead opted to keep it more tense and actio
***5 ‘In Between Moments’ Stars*** My whole reason, not WHOLE, but the main reason I took a closer look at The Scars Between Us was the cover, I loved/love the look and tone of it and then I read the description. That was the hook. I needed to find out what the deal with Linx, Texas was and the little mystery of how Emma’s mom knows Aiden and from the first page I was hooked. I did the “I’m just gonna peek at it” Peek...yeah. I ended up reading about 5 or 6 chapters. This book had it all for me: Characters I cared about, moments that brought out all kinds of feels and a nice little mystery that kept me turning the pages until the very end. I adored Emma. This woman has been dealt so many emotional gut punches in a short span of time that it’s a miracle she hasn’t just curled up in a corner and shut the world out. This isn’t to say that she has a handle on everything, because she isn’t, but she hasn’t allowed her grief to consume her. I loved her strength, determination, sass and compassion. Aiden. It was hard not to love and then adore Aiden. He’s curt, something of an a&%hole and definitely gives off a ‘don’t come near me’ vibe, but much of it has to do with his past, which was quite heartbreaking. But under all of that is a man with a gentle, genuine and compassionate heart and soul with a slightly quirky sense of humor and takes protecting those he calls his own very seriously. I really enjoyed watching their relationship evolve from strangers to sort of friends to lovers. There were the ups and downs, but for the most part the angst was low and the way everything played out felt natural. As much as I loved Aiden, and believe me there is a lot to love about the gruff man, Emma took center stage for me because she was full of surprises and really brought out the man that Aiden was always meant to be without realizing it. The smexy was hot, but it was watching as they got to know each other and became more intertwined on an emotional level that really did it for me. This is my first book by M.K. Schiller and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The writing was engaging, the book flowed well and at a good pace and the dual 1st person POV was excellent. The twists and turns throughout the book were done very well, some I saw coming, while others were total surprises, so it was a good mix. There are things in this book that will be triggers for some, but they are handled well and are necessary to the storyline and character development. The secondary characters were all well written. I loved Mac and I’m keeping my toes crossed that Carson may get his own book in the future. But regardless, I’ll be keeping an eye on Ms. Schiller and what books she’ll be putting out in the future. ~ Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley & voluntarily reviewed ~
Emma and Aiden both have a lot of scars, his older and hers more fresh with the recent deaths of both of her parents. They end up on a road trip together to fulfill her mother's last wish, neither sure of what the reason is. I enjoyed seeing them learn more about each other and become more attached to one another. After they reach their destination, I had a big problem with some of the events that take place. It felt too extreme to me, like the ultimate ending of the book could have been reached without some of those scenes. After finishing the book, I feel like I know Aiden a lot better as a character, and less about Emma. The book had romantic moments, but I didn't get a sweet feeling like I usually do from a lot of love stories. This review is of an ARC provided by Entangled Publishing.
**4-4.5 stars** When I started this book, I knew it wasn’t going to be a light read judging by the synopsis, but it went even deeper than I thought it would. M.K. Schiller writes about hard, heartbreaking subjects in this one, but it’s also a story of hope, forgiveness and trying to heal emotional wounds; seeing that there can be goodness and love, even with all the ugliness that one can go through. I really felt for both of Emma and Aiden. Their journey to fulfilling Emma’s mother’s dying wishes was not going to be an easy road, but along the way they found strength in each other. Emma was such a strong character and she could see the goodness in Aiden and that the wrongs of the past didn't make him like his father. Aiden may have tried to put the walls up to protect Emma at all costs from her being exposed to the ugly truths of his childhood, but she would do anything to break through those walls. One of things I also loved about this book were the dogs. Aiden rescues dogs that have been abused and gives them a loving, safe environment and the hope of adopting them out to their forever homes. I’m a big dog lover and this really touched my heart. They were also really good for Aiden in his adult life. He was wonderful with them and it showed a lot about his character. Add in some “OMG” moments I didn’t see coming, this book had me totally invested in it. This is my first read of M.K. Schiller’s and I will continue to read her books in the future. This wasn’t an easy read by any means, but I am glad I read it. Warning: This story does deal with the subject of abuse. **I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review**
M.K. writes THE BEST heroes!!! She also writes some of THE BEST books I've ever read. I'm a HUGE fan, and I don't even read the synopsis of her books before I start reading; I know that if she wrote it, it's going to be absolutely freaking AMAZING. This book was absolutely freaking AMAZING. In addition to writing the best heroes, M.K. has a talent for writing love. The feels-like-you-got-hit-in-the-chest-your-heart-hurts, I'll-never-forget-this-part-of-this-book-EVER kind of love. Each one of M.K.'s books has parts like that, and I can recite each and every one from her books that I have read. And some I've read months, maybe years ago! The love Aiden and Emma had for each other was nothing short of unconditionally beautiful. I can't even put into words how much I loved each of them, but especially Aiden. You want a tortured hero who knows exactly what unconditional love is? Who fights and sacrifices for the woman he loves? Aiden. You will LOVE Aiden. And holy plot twists! This story was CRAZY! I was absolutely NOT expecting so many "But wait! There's more!" moments, and I NEVER saw them coming, but WOW this book is fantastic. You'll be SHOCKED at how this plays out! I LOVED this book and I just know you'll love it too! (I received a copy of this book in consideration of an honest review)
Fantastic!! A book that once you start reading it you will not want to put it down. (There may have been snarling when hubby interrupted me!) I adored Aiden! Who doesn't love a gruff MMA fighting former marine? His transformation throughout the story is a thing of beauty and as you learn about the events of his life your heart can't help but beat a little faster. Then there's Emma. Oh how I love Emma. She's a little broken, a lot lost, but determined to push through and really start living again. With these amazing characters and a fantastic story this is a book for everyone's must read list. I highly recommend it.
The Scars Between Us, MK Schiller Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: New Adult, Romance The only book I'd read by this author was Where the lotus flowers grow, and I loved that so was eager to read this. But for me it was..well, a good story but not one I could connect with. There's lots of questions around who is who, how they connect, what happened in the past, but very few answers. I found the story really hard to get into, although on the surface it has all the elements that attract me. Somehow I just couln't understand of feel for Emma or Aiden. I liked them but that's about it, and all the hints and mysteries about their pasts I found irritating, annoying instead of tantalising, and some of the dialogue was cheesy, kind of forced feeling. The drama at the end when all the secrets come out is good, but even then there were parts I found myself rolling my eyes at - thinking "really? The whole town???" Its like the author had a good idea but had to milk it to the fullest, and to me that makes it feel just false and overdone. Sometimes Less if More ;-) Still, that's just my view, and I can see others love this story, that's its really resonated, impacted them. That's the way it goes, everyone want's different things so while this was a fail for me you may love it. Stars: Two, a god, well written novel but it just didn't engage me. You may feel otherwise. ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers