Never Let You Go
a m o d e r n f a i r y t a l e
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: 6.12.15
Number of pages: 450
Regret, betrayal, kidnapping, loss, madness, abuse, passion, love.
In this modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel, thirteen-year-old foster children Griselda and Holden escape from their abductor after three years of brutal captivity, and try to cross the Shenandoah River on foot. Tragically, one of them makes it to safety, but the other is left behind.
Ten years later, Griselda’s boyfriend drags her to a fight club grudge match, and her world is turned upside down when she watches Holden step into the ring.
Though the connection between them is fierce, bitter regret, simmering rage, and a tangle of physical and emotional scars lie between them, just as dangerous as the white water of the Shenandoah.
Never Let You Go is a story of fear and hope, defeat and survival, and two people—once profoundly broken—who discover that love is the only thing that can make them whole again.
Excerpt from Never Let You Go
This girl. Everything about this girl made him want, made him long, made him yearn to change his life, start his life, finally live his life after a decade of going through the motions. He wanted to get a better job to take care of her. He wanted to stop fighting because she disapproved of it. He wanted enough money to have every tally mark lasered from his arm. He wanted some sort of guarantee that she’d never, ever leave him again. And he wanted all of it now. Yesterday. Ten years ago, and every day since.
Standing up slowly, he let his body settle into an upright position before taking his time crossing the hall to the bathroom and then heading out into the common room.
She stood at the stove with her back to him, her feet bare, her hair in a ponytail, the mouthwatering smell of fried chicken filling the entire cabin with goodness. Holden leaned against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest, a grin taking over his face as he watched her.
“It’s just the thought of you—the very thought of you, my love,” she sang, using a fork to transfer a golden leg to a paper towel–covered plate.
As she reached forward to turn off the stove, some of the leftover grease in the frying pan spat up at her and burned her wrist.
“Ow!” she yelped. “Damn it!”
With a sudden rush of adrenaline, Holden crossed the kitchen in two strides. He turned on the faucet and grabbed her arm to thrust her wrist under the cold stream. He held it there, wincing at the red blotch developing on her white skin. When he lifted his eyes to hers, she was staring at him with a surprised, curious expression.
“It’s just a little burn.”
He shrugged, still holding her arm, staring down at the burn.
“You were asleep,” she said.
“You were singing.”
“You remember that song?”
He slid his palm down her arm to cradle her wrist from below.
“The stove’s still on,” she said.
Without dropping her hand, he took a step closer to her, reached around her waist with his free hand, and flicked the burner off.
“I made fried chicken,” she said softly, her cheeks flushed.
“I can smell it.”
“You like fried chicken. I mean . . . you must have mentioned it to me a hundred times when we were—”
“It’s still my favorite.”
They were both silent for a few seconds, and Holden knew he should drop her hand and step away from her, but he couldn’t. She’d hurt herself doing something kind for him, and it just about shredded his heart.
Just another moment, he told himself. A few more seconds touching her and then I’ll move away.
“Sorry about the singing,” she whispered, unmoving, her breath kissing his throat.
He jerked his neck to face her, his thumb curling into her palm, his eyes searching hers for mercy.
“I loved it,” he murmured.
She stepped forward, closing the distance between them, her lips parting, her breasts grazing his chest through his T-shirt as she stared up at him.
“Holden, I . . .”
Every breath she took seemed to draw him closer to her, as if she was breathing him, not air. He leaned forward, into her, his free hand reaching for hers.
“Griselda . . .”
Her eyes, dark blue and churning, flicked to his lips, lingered there, then slid back up his face and seized his.
His self-control snapped.
After all, he was only human.
“She loved him in a way that was necessary, not luxurious. She loved him like the tide loves the sand – trapped together, one lost without the other, pushed and pulled, but never ripped apart. She loved him in a deep and singular way, almost as though God had crafted one heart in heaven, then spilt it between Holden’s body and hers, fating her to a never-ending longing to be with him, or a fractional life without him.”
“I love you, and when I say that, I mean that you’re my reason for breathing, for eating, for drinking, for sleeping, for living. I will never hurt you. I will never leave you. I will always protect you. There is no one more important to me that you, and as long as I live, there never w-will be.”
“It’s a strange thing to feel your heart break. Cartoons would have you believe it’s like breaking a cracker. It snaps in half, with red crumbs falling to the ground, leaving two jagged halves sitting side by side. All you’d have to do is shove them together and they’d look like one again.”
“She tasted like tea and honey, heat and home, and every part of her fit into every part of him, like a puzzle piece, like the missing half of his soul.”
“For all my life – all my life – you have been my beating heart, the woman of my dreams.”
“I fell in love with you when I was ten years old because you were pretty and you weren’t mean. And I would’ve died so many times in this life if it hadn’t been for you… my angel, my friend, my family, my hope, my joy, my love.”
I have had a girl crush on Katy Regnery since reading my first English Brother novel, quite some time ago. Her enchanting romances are sweet and adorable, so I was totally unprepared for the devastation she was to bring me with Never Let You Go. Make no mistake, Katy Regnery has major writing chops – and the proof being that I am, and was, a total wreck while enthralled with her latest tome. Throughout the reading of this masterful work, Ms. Regnery turned me inside out, and did so several times. I felt a thousand snakes squirming under my skin, yet I could not stop reading. I was anxious, uncomfortable, heartbroken, desperate, sobbing… yet I could not stop reading. I was essentially striped raw by her powerful and dynamic narrative, which alternated from sorrow to delight, all while being achingly emotional throughout. Yet even at the lowest of times, there were echoes and whispers of hope, and her magic words tapped every emotion to my very core. Ms. Regnery’s writing is crafty and insightful, and she skillfully captured the confusing and contradictory relationships that can occur between abusers and their victims, and the years of warped thinking and feelings of worthlessness that can result. The tale contained a teeter-totter of happiness and despair back and forth in the story, past and present, with dual POV, but when their reunions swung to the positive end – it was earth shatteringly marvelous for both. And the sensual scenes – oh my – they sizzled off the page, and often left me breathless and in need of a cool beverage. But what touched me most, was the sweetness and courage of a small boy driven to repeatedly protect and shield his beloved friend from the cruelty of a madman, despite their misfortune being her fault… and in later years, the tenderness, of the boy now a man, in how he continued to treat and adore her, despite the harshness of their intervening lives. This was not an easy read, but one that is well-written, finely crafted and expertly hewn. I have a feeling these characters are going to be occupying my head space for quite some time.
About the Author:
Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.
Now a hybrid author who publishes both independently and traditionally, Katy claims authorship of the six-book Heart of Montana series, the six-book English Brothers series, and a Kindle Worlds novella entitled Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Date. Katy’s short story “The Long Way Home” appears in the first Romance Writers of America anthology, Premiere, and she has published two stand-alone novels, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and the Amazon bestseller The Vixen and the Vet, which is book one in Katy’s a m o d e r n f a i r y t a l e collection. The Vixen and the Vet was nominated for a RITA® Award in 2015.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.
Upcoming (2015) Projects:
The Winslow Brothers (Books #1-4)
Ginger’s Heart, a modern fairytale
Connect with Katy:
Katy LOVES connecting with her readers and answers every e-mail, message, tweet, and post personally! Click below to connect with Katy!