Come on in and cozy up!! I want you to meet Tyler Brock and Amy Maxwell in this exclusive excerpt from Hearts Key!! (and hopefully it'll tempt you to purchase this wonderful White Rose Publishing romance right here!!!!)
With that, off we go to the cool, azure waters of Lake St. Clair......and a leisurely boat ride....
Pastor Ken had tuned the radio to WMUZ, the Christian station in Detroit. A Britt Nicole song, Hanging On, drifted through the air. “Here's what I know about post-highschool Amy Maxwell—” his voice was a slow and gentle leading. Amy knew at once this conversation was headed places. Big places. “—I know you ended up marrying Mark Samuels.”
She had no excuse to hide her eyes. Tyler’s position next to her blocked the blinding orb of the
sun. Still, she reached for her sunglasses, and cleared her throat again as she did so. Tyler took hold of her wrist to still the motion before she could follow through. In emphasis, he slipped his thumb against her skittering pulse point in a light, but deliberate stroke.
“Don’t put up a guard, Amy. Relax.” The stroke continued, lulling. Assuring somehow. “Just talk to me.”
She watched him, Tyler Brock, shadowed and framed against a pure blue sky. She refused to go tense and bitter with memory; she refused her past that kind of subtle victory. And so, she confessed to the worst of it. “I divorced him, too. Best to get that out in the open, I suppose.”
“My folks told me as much. I’m so sorry, Amy. I don’t care how many years have passed, I know who you are, and I know for certain that kind of decision did not come easily to you. What happened, honey?”
The earnest question, the naturally delivered endearment, coasted into her blood stream and stirred up an emotional flood. Instantly she was carried away, her heart delivered to a place where she could reveal herself, and not fear for the consequences.
Patient and steady, he waited, watching her. She lay prone, oddly relaxed in contradiction to the increased tempo of her blood. She needed to see how close Pyper might be, and determine if she was within hearing distance. Amy lifted just far enough to see that her daughter was happily occupied by the companionship of the Brocks, who were presently being charmed out of a sandwich and some grapes.
Assured, Amy laid back down, tilting her gaze toward Tyler. “He…” Amy took in a breath. Like
ripping off a sticky bandage, she came clean all at once, in a quiet, defeated voice. “He abused me, Tyler. Physically and mentally. And he took out a lot of his anger on Pyper, too. He’d startle her with unexpected, unwarranted spankings, he’d scream at her to be quiet whenever she cried, and he’d yell at the both of us for no good reason. Everything he did just seemed to scare
her all the more. He couldn’t hold a job, so his frustration grew by the day—and so did his use of
alcohol as a way of escaping it all. When he started hitting me, I left.” She shook her head. “And when I say I left, I mean there’s absolutely nothing left of my old life. He saw to that quickly and efficiently.”
She was so carried away by the admission, so wrapped up in the pain of a past she fought to move past every day of her life, she didn’t realize until then that Tyler regarded her with steel‐like eyes and a clenched jaw. Automatically Amy reached up, wanting to apologize for upsetting him. She stroked his chin and shook her head, whispering, “Hey…hey…I’m
Tyler flinched. “Stop.” He closed his eyes, taking deep breaths. “You mean to say he physically hurt you? Physically harmed you and Pyper?” All Amy could summon was silence, and a nod. “Gimme a sec.”
Tyler seemed to lose his battle with control. He growled out a sound and sat up abruptly. A startling beam of sunlight crossed against Amy’s face. She shaded her eyes. Tense seconds swirled past, so she reached for her sunglasses and slid them on. Moving into a sitting position, she slowly drew up her legs then encircled them with her arms. She rested her chin on her knees, watching him. Waiting, protectively sinking in upon herself.
“I can’t even find it within myself to pray for him right now,” Tyler whispered tightly, looking out across the water. In the face of his desolate, troubled admission, Amy ignored a round of laughter that came from their cruise mates, the song switched from Britt Nicole to a Point of Grace classic.
“No. Not right now. But you will. It took me a while, too.” When tense silence lengthened, she began to worry. “Tyler, talk to me. Please? What are you thinking?”
“That Mark Samuels doesn’t deserve one precious second of the time God gave him with you, and that wonderful little girl.”
Typical Tyler Brock. He was never, ever afraid to speak his heart. That was the beauty of him. Just like the words and melodies of his music, he laid it all out there and withheld nothing. Oh, how she admired that bravery of spirit.
Once, she had been the same way, but she had never been smart when it came to matters of the heart. Instead, she had opted to keep Tyler playfully enamored, a friend but nothing more while she chased after the bigger, better deal. Well, woe unto her. “I paid the price for being star‐struck by the popular guy, the guy everyone admired. In theory, he was Mr. Right. In
practice he turned into Mr. Devastation.” She pursed her lips, and looked at her daughter. “And you’ve seen how hard it is on Pyper when it comes to adult men. It leaves me sick at myself sometimes.”
Tyler leaned in and captured her chin gently in his hand. He looked intently into her eyes. “Don’t ever, ever take responsibility for a man abusing you and your daughter, Amy. You’ve pulled sunshine out of the rain. Do you understand that?”