by Claudia Burgoa
All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to choose me. My mother didn’t. My father didn’t. The beautiful boy next door, who grew up to marry me, didn’t. Neither did the next man with whom I thought my heart was safe.
Back in the Bay area, three thousand miles from New York City, I can start fresh. Become one with the sea again, rise or fall on the tide of my own choices. But on the first day of my bright new life, the darkest shadows of my past follow me through my office door. The two men whose names are definitely not on my five-year plan.
If I let it consume me—my need for one man, my love for the other—the darkness will swallow me whole. I can’t let that happen. Not again. This time, the waves of emotion crashing against my heart won’t drown me. This time, I get to choose my happy ending.
My parents used to say that I was the link between my brothers. I was the one who kept the peace— or started the biggest fights.
“But I guess life is about taking risks as we search for that special place,” he says, sounding like a fortune cookie from Ying Palace where we ordered takeout almost every Wednesday. They never make sense but taste yummy, and their quotes sound so beautiful.
Depression is something that’s all over me, even when I don’t want it. I’ve tried to break away from it several times, but it’s my permanent companion.
We could call HGTV and have a show. Something like, Abandoned Houses Dusty Edition.
His eyes are pleading me to say something, but I am catching his words. They are like fluttering butterflies that one can see only once in a lifetime.
After my journey, love still has the same meaning it’s had for as long as I can remember. It’s a verb, a noun, an adjective, and an adverb with many meanings but it’s hard to explain in only a few words
Belonging wasn’t a clear verb for me until I met you…
Decisions, decisions… what a conundrum. After a lifetime of battling feelings of inadequacy and being “never enough,” as she had essentially been abandoned or passed over by everyone who had ever mattered to her, Hazel suddenly found herself having to choose between two adoring men who were vying for her heart. One was her ex-husband who had been her childhood best friend and first love, and the other was her business partner and the man she has been secretly in love with for the last two years. She felt deeply for both who were successful, smart, sexy, and attentive. Hazel was a wreck, drowning in indecision, and miserable over the dilemma, but damn, I should have such problems!
Written from the multiple POV of the three main characters, the emotive storylines were original, entertaining, and well-crafted while the writing was richly poignant and insightful, engaging, delectably sensual, and held my rapt attention throughout. Ms. Burgoa’s characters are always uniquely compelling, considerably flawed or damaged, and tend to ceaselessly pluck at my curiosity as the cunning and wily wordsmith slowly reveals their motivations and histories. I was as conflicted as Hazel was and couldn’t decide whom she should select and waffled several times as I gained more perspective on each one. To my vast delight, the conclusion was even better than expected and infinitely satisfying.
Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.