Broken Embrace (Book #3)
Series: Embrace Series
Published on June 5, 2014 Genres: Adult Suspense, Romance, Romantic Suspense
SYNOPSIS:The Past…As childhood sweethearts, Brian and Melissa's plans were simple: finish school, get married, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, life didn’t go as planned. Melissa went away to college, and Brian married her best friend.The Present…Seventeen years have passed and Brian's stable family life has come crashing down around him. His wife’s a cheater, his teenage daughter is hiding things from him and Melissa is back in town to remind him of what he lost all those years ago.Melissa's returned home, ready to forgive and focus on her future, but that all changes the day she gets a desperate phone call from Brian’s daughter, Erin. Thrown back into Brian’s tumultuous life, Melissa struggles to move beyond the pain of his broken promise.The Future…While working together to save Erin from the evil web she’s caught in, Melissa and Brian fight to fix the past or face losing each other all over again.
Broken Embrace is the third book in the Embrace series by Dana Mason and can be read as a stand alone. I read it as a stand alone. And you know what, I loved it. (Now would I love it more if I read the others, probably.) The characters in this book series are ones that you want as friends. I want to move to Santa Rosa and I want to me friends with Melissa and Ali.
Broken Embrace wasn’t what I thought it was, so the plot and story twists and turns took me by surprise. This story discusses serious issues in society, issues that took me out of my comfort zone-in what some may consider a different reading genre, yet I devoured this book. In a day. And in a month that is probably my most busiest month of the year.
Brian is happily married with two kids who loves his job as a police detective. Melissa has returned home after over a decade away, dating a successful man and searching for her own happily ever after. What the reader finds out early on is that Brian and Melissa were more than high school sweethearts, they’re more like soul mates. Seventeen years ago when Melissa leaves for college, one bad night decision throws the two off course and they go their separate ways. When Brian’s life turns upside down, Melissa is the only one to help him sort out his demons, move on, and become the father he always wanted to be.
This book was an effortless read. It is engaging and charming at times, and also suspenseful and angsty at the same time. There were times I WANTED to put the book down, but I couldn’t. I felt Brian’s confusion and heartache. I wanted to encourage Melissa to follow her gut and give love a second chance… I wanted to slap teenage Erin upside the head and tell her to wake up and let others know what the hell is going on. I connected to these characters. I felt their trepidation and unease with giving it another shot… there’s so much at stake.
There’s a lot that I loved about this book. The friendships and banter the main characters have with the secondary characters (who books 1 & 2 are about), but the thing I really enjoyed most, were the few flashbacks that let the reader peek into Brian and Melissa’s captivating and pure love. It’s through the flashbacks that I fell in love with these two characters and became their biggest cheerleader.
This was such a great surprise for me. I’m thinking of one-clicking books 1 & 2 just to reunite with these characters. Fingers crossed there’s a down the line book on Matty and Erin. Because Matt is book boyfriend in the making material!
4 Embracing Stars!
Broken Embrace excerpt
Brian stood with one hand on his daughter’s shoulder and one on his son’s, looking out over Erin’s bowed head. He felt like he’d been thrown back in time, back to a day he would never forget.
Their blond heads perfectly matched as they tilted toward each other in an iron embrace. He remembered the day like it was yesterday, the picture clear as the bright blue sky above. He knew right then—with every breath—he loved Melissa. Who gets this stuff at eight years old? He would’ve laughed at the idea if he had the energy. Who the hell understands what love is at eight? It didn’t make sense, but he couldn’t deny it.
Watching Melissa and Ali cry over their father’s coffin twenty-six years ago was so like today. There they stood, holding each other again, Ali’s hand reached out to Johnny’s, but her arm around Melissa, their heads together, crying all over again. He remembered how hard it had been for them both. He wanted to cry, too, and he did, for Ali and for Melissa. It hurt him in his soul to see the pain and tears in her eyes.
He looked again at Julie’s shining coffin glinting in the bright sun and wanted to kick himself for thinking about Melissa on this day, the very day he had to put his wife in the ground. If Julie could hear his thoughts, she would hate him. Ironically enough, so would Melissa. Melissa would never respect him, not after what he’d done to her, especially if she knew what he was thinking about now.
How did we get here? How did so many things change since that day? Nothing had turned out the way he’d planned. Back then, and for years after, his future was sure. He never doubted where life would lead him. But how could he regret? How could he—as he stood there with his kids—regret his family? Regret his life to this point? Regret Julie? No, he didn’t, of course not, but regret Melissa? Yes, he regretted losing Melissa. He loved Erin and Cody with his whole heart. He’d loved Julie, too, but Melissa was different. He couldn’t explain it, just different than Julie. Melissa held a part of his soul. To this day, she still gripped it in her hands. That part of him had been missing the day he’d proposed to Julie, and every day since then.
Melissa will always have it, even after she marries that jerk-off from Berkeley. Even then, she’ll still own a part of him. His stomach lurched at the thought of her with him, that puny, little clone with no heart or passion. Melissa was full of piss and vinegar, how long would it take this jerk to squash that out of her.
Is this what it felt like to Melissa? Had she felt this sinking, overwhelming sickness when she’d found out about him and Julie? Had she been living with it for all these years? Had her love for him been equal to his for her? He couldn’t remember if he’d ever told her how much he loved her. Did she know? Did that make everything harder for her? Did Julie understand how much he loved her? It’s too late to fix that—she’s gone—Jules is gone. Julie is dead! Did she understand how important she was to him? Even after the hateful things he’d said, he still loved her, and now she was gone.