Title: Not Broken: The Happily Ever After
Author: Meka James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 11/23/2017
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…
Calida Jokobi doesn’t see it that way. Surviving an abusive relationship with a sadistic, manipulative man changed her. She has spent the last two years carefully constructing her new persona with two goals in mind: to keep the remaining pieces of her heart safe and her deepest secrets buried. One man puts it all at risk.
Malcolm has been a part of Calida’s life for as long as she can remember. A friend. Her first teenage crush. Now he’s asking for something she swore she’d never give again: her heart.
Calida must decide if she should risk the fragile façade she’s created and give Malcolm the chance he’s asking for.
They say love can heal all wounds…
Malcolm Frankel wants to prove to Calida it’s true. She survived a hell most people couldn’t fathom. He’s been by her side fulfilling whatever role she needs him to play. All except the one he wants most. It took nearly losing her to make Malcolm realize he couldn’t keep denying his feelings.
He knows no one goes through an ordeal like that and comes out unscathed, but the closer they get, the more he learns just how deep Calida’s wounds go.
She’s the only woman he’s ever loved, and Malcolm is ready to put his own heart at risk for a chance at mending hers.
Copyright © Meka James
I stood on Malcolm’s porch waiting on him to come to the door. Last night had turned into a disaster. When Malcolm had made the comment about wanting to get the night over, I thought it was about not wanting to be around me, but I quickly realized Macy was the issue.
I saw his distorted figure through the decorative, lead glass door. The lock clicked. A flurry of butterflies let loose in my stomach. I always seemed to be nervous around him these days. I missed the easy-going nature we used to have. That change rested on my shoulders.
“Hey,” he said.
He was shirtless. I don’t know why that surprised me, I’d seen him shirtless many times, but I was still unprepared for the sight of his bare chest. God, he was fit. In better shape than I remembered. His abs, while not a full-on six-pack, were still very defined. His waist tapered, and he had that V thing going on that led down to…
“Eyes up here.”
My face got warm as I looked up to his smiling face. He stepped aside so I could enter.
“You have a key,” he stated as he closed the door.
“I know…I just feel weird using it.” The day of closing he’d given me the extra key and garage door opener. Both sat in a drawer at home.
“Where’s Lil’ Man?” he asked, walking past me toward the family room. He plopped down on that couch before picking up the remote to turn the volume down on the Sunday football game he was watching.
“Um, Dorian took him to my parents before she headed to Charlotte. I…I knew we needed to talk…about a lot of stuff.”
“Why’s she headed to Charlotte?”
“Her divorce is being finalized this week, and she has a few things left to tie up with her house and such.”
He nodded, but made no direct comment. He picked up the remote, and turned off the TV. “You can sit or do you feel weird about doing that, too?” His head snapped down and he leaned forward to put the remote back on the table then looked over at me. “Sorry. Just you standing there…ignore what I said. You want a beer?”
He got up, and walked into the kitchen without waiting on a reply. I dropped my purse on the floor before taking a seat. I heard the pop of two bottles being opened, but kept my eyes trained on the now black screen of the large TV hanging over the fireplace. A bottle appeared in my line of vision. I took it, thanking him quietly. Malcolm resumed his position on the other end of the sofa. I took a long drink, trying to decide how to start this conversation. I rubbed my neck; the tension in the air closed in around me. My fingers brushed over the chain of the necklace I wore, moving down until I held the infinity symbol between my thumb and forefinger. I gave it a squeeze and took a breath.
“You could have finished watching your game.”
“It’s fine. My team was losing anyway.”
I took another drink. Why was this so hard? It was Malcolm. I knew him. We were friends. He was a good guy.
“I’ll make this easy for you. We can just pretend the last month didn’t happen.”
I turned to look at him. He took a drink from his bottle, and I tried to figure out if the indifferent look on his face was real or an act. My knee bounced, and my hands twisted around the beer bottle.
I swallowed. My mouth now dry, I brought the bottle to my lips, and guzzled the rest of the contents. This was what I’d wanted, what I’d been aiming for, so why did hearing him say that not give me the relief I’d expected?
“Is that what you want?”
Malcolm sat forward, rolling his bottle back and forth between his hands before finishing it off. “Calida, you said I ambushed you into a relationship you don’t want. Then, in so many words, you accused me of being like that son of a bitch because I wanted us to live together. Not to mention the comment about me not keeping my hands to myself, and your general discomfort when we’re together, alone or otherwise.”
He shot up from the couch. His sudden movement caught me by surprise. The indifferent look he’d had was an act; one that melted away as he threw my words from that day back at me. I let all of this happen. If I’d just stood my ground, and told him no that day we wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have tainted everything that had been between us.
“You’re having fucking panic attacks, Calida! What I want is irrelevant.”
“I just need some time.” My voice sounded small. I hated disappointing him, hurting him.
“Time for what? To better fortify that wall around your heart? To figure out a way to deal with a relationship you clearly don’t want? What good does that do either of us? I told you, unlike him, I won’t force you to stay in a relationship you don’t want, regardless of what you seem to think.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, and let out slow controlled breaths. Malcolm’s words sliced through me; the accusations and anger seared into my soul. “I’m sorry.” It was the only thing I could say. I knew I’d make a mess of things, and I wasn’t wrong.
I’m a Southern gal. A born and raised Georgia Peach as it were. Most people find it somewhat amazing that I’m actually from Georgia. Not sure why, a lot of people live in the state they were born. I’m happily married to a man that is probably my polar opposite, but we work. We work well enough to have four kids. One girl, whom I affectionately call The Girl and 3 boys. The Boy a.k.a Man Child these days (they got their names before the younger two came along), Curly Top, a.k.a Thing 1, and Munchkin a.k.a Thing 2. No they are not twins, but close in age.
We are a family of animal lovers. We have three dogs. Pixie, a Weimaraner, Loki, a Weim/Pit mix, and Thor a German Shepherd. All from rescues because that’s how we roll. We also have a pet turtle named Leo, and The Hubs and kids have a snake (I take no ownership of that).
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