~ About the Book ~
Presley Waterman is a rescuer: of animals, of businesses, of people. Like the stray cat she’s allergic to, but continues to care for. Like her small-town newspaper, a business that’s been dying a slow death for the better part of a decade. And like Micah. Her best friend and the man she has loved since they were kids, back when no one else cared.
As for him…
Micah Leven loves Presley. She’s the girl who’s always been there to help, the one who knows all the ugly things about him and makes him believe he can be a better man, the one who will never leave because she’s promised over and over.
But he also loves Mara.
Mara is his ideal. She’s the dream he conjured up as a boy and never wavered from. She’s beautiful, ambitious, driven, a fellow newscaster at his Atlanta station, and the perfect asset for the life he’s always wanted. Together, they could conquer the world and their respective careers. Even better, with Mara he could prove that he did—in fact—finally amount to something. Maybe then his father would be proud.
There are just a few things Presley and Micah have both forgotten. One, just because you rescue someone doesn’t mean they’ll love you for it. Two, some dreams disappear when reality wakes you up. Three, the only way to silence lies is to face the truth head-on.
This is the story of the man torn between two existences, the woman who finally took the choice away from him, and what happens when you stop listening to lies once and for all. Even if the biggest liar is you.
Genre: General Fiction/Romance
Release date: 20 September 2018
~ Excerpt ~
This is my dream, working here in Atlanta on the biggest news station in the area—heck, in the country. We’re part of the Big Ten in television news markets. But lately I’m off my game. Maybe it’s the flu that I only recovered from last week. Maybe it’s that while sick I slept five days straight and haven’t slept since. That’s it. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe that’s why my mind kept wandering.
Or maybe it was the phone call.
More specifically, the lack thereof. It’s been a long time since Presley cut me off early, and I didn’t like it. No one cuts me off early anymore, but she refuses to get that message. All because I made one crack about her job. But come on, she bought an old, small-town newspaper. What kind of crap investment was that? I waited all night for her to call me back, but she never did. That’s the thing about Presley—she’s my rock. My grip. Now, my foundation feels all shaky and I’m wobbling down an uneven sidewalk. I check my phone and will it to ring.
I can’t lose her over something as silly as this. I just cussed on television and could possibly lose my job. If my best friend walks away from me, I won’t have anything left.
My leg won’t stop bouncing. I press my heel to the floor to settle it.
The lighter almost screams at me to grab it. It wouldn’t matter anyway.
We’re five seconds to show time and no amount of internal begging is going to make my phone ring. With a low growl, I shove it under my thigh and wait for the red light to signal me. It lights up like a laser beam to the eye. I look directly into the camera without blinking and force a practiced, relaxed smile.
“Welcome back, Atlanta. A house fire on Poplar Street had firefighters battling for nearly two hours this morning. Three people were killed, including a four-year-old child. The boy was found hiding in a bedroom closet under a pile of blankets…”
My voice catches on the last words, and I clear my throat. This time it’s no one’s fault but my own. Sometimes I hate the news. Both reporting it and the simple fact that crap like this exists. Who started the fire? Why didn’t someone tell the kid that hiding is the worst thing to do? Where were his parents? Maybe his parents were the problem. Not every kid has good ones. It takes only a heartbeat for my mind to spiral, but then I remember. I’m on air. I can’t afford to lose it now.
Boy. Hiding. Fire.
~ Review ~
Wow. What a powerful story. It’s raw, intense, bold, and gutsy—because, to be quite honest, for most of this book Micah Leven is a selfish jerk. But he’s also one of the most brilliantly-written characters I’ve come across, written in such a way that you can see he has the potential to be so much more; he just doesn’t know it yet. And that’s largely because of the lies he believes as a result of his mother’s abandonment and his father’s abuse.
Presley’s story is no prettier than Micah’s, but instead of being a selfish jerk, she’s become more of a doormat. Or perhaps a dog on a leash. She’s learned to settle for scraps. And one of the most painful things about this story was that you could see the kernel of a precious friendship between Presley and Micah, buried beneath the layers of toxicity. But those layers . . . yeah. Toxic.
And Mara . . . I think it’s probably best I leave you to discover her for yourself. Yowser!
I cannot overemphasise how brilliant this story is. The psychological insight is so subtly woven into the story, and yet it bleeds from every page—and sometimes that might as well be literally, for all the pain it uncovers. It’s that insight that makes the characterisation so strong and the story so compelling. But it’s the example ultimately set by these characters—the consequences of believing those insidious lies, and the process of recognising and rejecting those lies—that gives this story its power. And its pain. But . . .
I am worth it. YOU are worth it. And this story is most definitely worth it.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Author Amy Matayo is an excellent speaker, mathematician, seamstress, chef…and liar. She’s decent at writing books but not much else. Then again, the book thing makes her marginally cool and a whole lot intimidating.
Not really. Not even her kids are afraid of her.
She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But she’s proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.
She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.