by Freya Barker
Pain punished her.
The bottle numbed her.
Guilt kept her trapped.
In the dark alley of a pub, the words “Please don’t” take hold of her heart and break the silence she seeks. Thinking herself beyond redemption, she tentatively grabs on to the slim thread of hope that unfolds inside of her.
Holding her secrets close, she can’t resist the comforting draw coming from The Skipper. The unconditional friendships it offers, the protective roof it provides, and the spark that its owner ignites in her—melting the frost off her heart, and slowly stripping away her resistance.
His life flows from one crisis to the next. Under the pressure of competition crowding him out of his family’s pub and the need to protect his children from the ruins of a bad marriage, he barely breathes. That is until a mane of strawberry-blonde hair and a set of big, pale blue eyes, shake him up.
He never expected the shadow of a woman he finds on the floor of his washroom to bring him the air―the balance and the light he’s been missing.
**Due to some content of a sexually explicit nature, this book is recommended for a mature audience only.**
“Years of frozen emotions are starting to thaw and the process is almost painful. How long has it been since someone cared? How long since I cared?”
“I am rewarded with the same bright smile. It hits me right in the chest as well, but runs through me like a soft breeze, blowing the dust that has settled on my heart.”
“My emotions seem to be coming alive under the influence of good people and warm food. My heart is defrosting and it hurts like my fingers do when warming up after being outside too long in the cold.”
“I’ve been ground down by my loss; Only a collection of particles that threaten to be blown apart and scattered by a strong wind. I’ve only just begun to gather myself from dust. Another blow would surely decimate me.”
“You are a beautiful man, Gunnar Lucas. And you don’t look half-bad either.”
“I don’t care how long it takes, but I will remind you every time you struggle, what an amazing person you are, how much you are needed, and how deeply you are loved.”
“I used to think I was dropped off by aliens when I was little and a bit over-imaginative. I can see why now. They are like something from a different planet, aren’t they?”… “Uranus, more than likely.”
“Damn boy is virtually giddy; don’t think I can’t remember him like this since he fed his dog kibble soaked in rum, wanted to see what he’d look like drunk. He got his wish and a spanking from his dad that had his ten-year-old butt blue for a week.”
From Dust consists of emotive, heart squeezing, insightful, and thoughtful writing. It was a deeply moving and thought provoking story, yet I did not find it maudlin or uncomfortably angsty, despite the tragic unpinnings of the premise. Freya Barker has mad skills and realistically flawed yet intelligent and lovable characters are one of her special gifts. I am deeply enamored with her style and could happily read her work every single day.
The main character of Sydney seems more than cursed. She has been decimated by a tragic loss and bad luck seems to continually plague her. She became one of the unseen homeless and lived by her wits in a solitary manner for several years, yet she still managed to retain her intelligence, dignity, and insightful observations. When discovered dumpster diving for her dinner outside a wharf bar, she was enticed inside for a warm meal instead. Ragged, malnourished, and taciturn, she quietly assists and vastly improves the lives of her rescuers as she began to heal.
The story never lagged or failed to keep me interested or invested, and despite the tragic history of the character that was revealed one layer at a time, Ms. Barker’s wry humor and uncanny insights retained the hope and light to the story while plucking at my heartstrings. I enjoyed this unique cast of characters and the big burly men with kind hearts most of all.
Author of the popular Cedar Tree series, as well as the critically acclaimed standalone “From Dust,” Freya Barker is driven to make her stories about ‘real’ people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and some hot, sizzling sex in their lives.
Recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” Freya has hit the ground running. She loves nothing more than to meet and mingle with her readers, whether it be online or in person at one of the signings she attends.
With her kids grown and out in the world, Freya has poured her creative energy into spinning story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!