Of course, by definition, it's not really the love that does the hurting, but rather one's reaction to it. As the timeless lyrics of the Nazareth song suggest though, love can leave one with more of a mess to sort through than he arrived with. In my latest release, Rite of Passage, novelist John Ashley Price deals with such adversity.
In love, he did what many of us do or have done and trusted blindly, and he ended up in the aftermath of love gone wrong. Broke, penniless, and with nothing but his name, John now suffers from anxiety so strong anytime he gets near anyone "interested," he doesn't know how to cope with the adverse reactions. Just to be around a man who shows interest sends John's body into instant fight or flight mode--a panic attack.
Many of the following physical reactions are known to be felt when one experiences a panic attack:
slow heart beat
fear of losing control or dying
sweating, chills, hot flashes
numbness in limbs
And John get to experience them all. I put the poor man through the wringer in Rite of Passage. But he'll learn that not all love hurts before the book is through. Take a chance. Go along with him on his journey.
Rite or Passage by Bryl R. Tyne
|Cover Artist:||Dan Skinner/Cerberus Inc.|
Forty-one-year-old John Ashley Price was a Western writing superstar until his accountant stole his heart—and everything else he owned. Now, unable to write and suffering from debilitating panic attacks, all he wants is to start over someplace where dropping off the radar is the norm. Someplace he won’t meet anyone. A place where writing should come easy. Hence his relocation to Divide, Colorado.
Of course, John didn’t count on Pat Smith—or Pat’s determination and raw sex appeal. Pat has his sights set on winning John’s heart as well as his trust, and he’s making serious headway… until John learns the truth. Just how does Pat know so much about him?
BELLY full, I carried in enough wood to start a good fire, ran myself an extra-large glass of water, added a few ice cubes, and headed back upstairs to write.
Well, Sheriff Chad Hardy, where were we? I got comfortable, noticing the late afternoon sun out the room's single window.
You like sunsets, Chad Hardy?
He didn't, and he cemented the fact by whipping his horse around, effectively placing his back to a horizon of reds and golds.
Not even in the end? I had to ask, I mean, most cowboys rode off into the sunset at the end of my books.
No? Not even in the end. He didn't believe in sunsets.
I couldn't blame him…
…And closed my laptop, stood, stretched, wondering how in the hell Carol had gotten this desk up here. No doubt, my “neighborly neighbor” had a part to play in it. I lifted the front left corner and carried it forward and to my right until I could sit peacefully with the setting sun at my back. Less than a minute later, I was typing away.
Words turned into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and so forth until I had two pages of what I considered “good words.” I leaned back in my chair, feeling rather smug. Fingers laced across my chest, I caught movement in the mirror opposite the room's solitary window and felt the frown that I was sure creased my forehead as I honed in on the streak of movement in the reflection….
I was on my feet, before I could think to move, and looking out my window.
Tracking the only movement I could see through the trees, I watched the wood split—the axe stick—he lifted the entire getup, block of wood and all, and swung it over his shoulder, then back to the stump. Three even pieces toppled to the ground in different directions.
Shirtless, the man kept a rhythm. Judging from the force and repetition of his swings, if I was closer, I was certain I would've noticed the sheen of sweat coating his skin. Through a hundred-plus yards of thinly populated trees, I spied, mesmerized.
Corded muscles drawn taut. The swing. The snap. The release. The quiver….
Okay, okay. I could see his ripped form in my mind's eye only, but I was no less content to lean on that sill and watch my neighbor from a distance. His intention was clear—at least, to me—grab the new guy's attention and keep it. I mean, who in his right mind chopped wood wearing only jeans and a cowboy hat in fifty-degree weather?
I broke my concentration to glance over my shoulder at my laptop, but in the next heartbeat, I was back at that window with my mind fathoms beneath any gutter.
“Well, Sheriff Hardy, looks like you've met your match.”
Sweat beaded at my temples, accumulated across the back of my neck. I adjusted the shrinking fly of my jeans, ran my tongue over dry lips; but sandpaper never moistened anything. With only one thought in mind, I leaned harder on the sill—definitely been awhile since any man’s held my interest.
Sadly, the last one I could recall by name was Mark. The excitement left my lungs in a single, solitary sigh; I even gained a bit of slack in the crotch of my jeans at the thought.
The more I dwelled, the tighter my chest got, and I turned away from the window. Wasn't bad, per se, that I thought of the man, but he'd affected my actions… and my reactions. Bastard had no right.
I pulled myself together, reminded myself the fewer complications the better. “Looks like you win, after all, Chad Hardy.” Time to concentrate on the one man in my life who hadn't given me a shovel full of shit.
I retook my chair, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and waited. Within seconds, I was once again typing away. Seemed all my character needed was some competition to spur him into action.
Like most of my attempts to write lately, though, this one proved a lost cause, also. I hadn't gotten a full page down when my mind drifted back to the scene outside my window. By the shadows cast on the far wall, the sun had all but disappeared, and the wood chopping had ceased a good while ago. I closed my laptop and hung my head, debating—Jim Beam or Jack Daniel’s—which one was the quickest route out of misery?
Bryl R. Tyne is a wrangler by nature and a writer by choice, published with Noble Romance Publishing, Ravenous Romance, Dreamspinner Press, STARbooks Press, Untreed Reads Publishing, Changeling Press, and Amber Quill Press. Check out Bryl's bi-monthly column: My Way Find out more about the author at: bryltyne.com