Cross My Heart by Abigail Strom was my introduction to her writing and I will be coming back for more.
Michael Stone was a dedicated surgeon who had dedicated his life to science. Even his thoughts and emotions were explained by scientific fact; if he cried, he had a scientific explanation. If he felt angry, he could tell you in detail what caused the impulse. Women referred to him as being cold but Michael Stone - though reserved - was anything but cold.
Jenna Landry was a woman who had grown up in the area, who left to pursue a music career. Things didn't go as planned and, between jobs, she moved in next door to house sit for her aunt during the summer.
Claire was Michael's14-year-old daughter - a daughter he could never connect with who lived with her maternal grandparents since her mother's death.
Taking a vacation for two weeks to spend time with his daughter when she arrived - hoping for a better visit than those of the past - he had misgivings when the drive from the airport took longer than ever, as he looked at his daughter who seemed to want to be anywhere but with him.
Everything changed when they pulled into his driveway, when Claire recognized Jenna as being a member of the band she idolized before its break-up.
In the few weeks since Jenna had moved in next door, Michael had been drawn to her but never acted on any of the impulses he felt.
Realizing that introducing himself to Jenna might be the key to improving the relationship between him and his daughter and, possibly, winning his daughter's favour, he decided to knock on her door -not expecting that the order and rigid control he exercised in life would disappear.
The attraction between Michael and Jenna was obvious soon after they began spending time together and, though there were a few scenes where the characters ended up in bed, it seemed integral to the story because of their past history with relationships and their resolve not to get hurt; it wasn't merely a man and woman acting upon their impulses.
When these two came together, the love they felt for each other was evident to the reader. Even so, though the characters knew something was happening, they didn't know exactly what it was. They had never felt such strong emotions toward another in the past since they were both terrified of being hurt.
I really admired the way the author brought Claire equally into the story instead of having her relegated to the background when the adults developed a burning attraction for each other. Claire was integral to the story and it was refreshing to see what appeared to be a rebellious teen show that, underneath the angst, was a teen seeking love, attention and understanding.
I met and got to know three souls who had been wounded in some way and, sometimes, their stories made me choke up inside. There were various elements to the story which needed a resolution and I was all too happy to go along for the journey. What an incredible journey it was!
You can purchase this title by Abigail Strom by visiting Cross My Heart's page on Amazon.