How do you repair a broken life?
Home is a dark place of anguish and pain for seventeen-year-old Bree Jacobs, forced to endure emotional and physical torment daily at the hands of a violently unstable mother. Bree’s only escape is high school, particularly her history class taught by young, handsome, kind and caring Axel Taylor. Mr. Taylor becomes Bree’s dearest friend, a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on, and soon their shared affection grows into something greater. But by reaching out to protect her—to mend her breaks and soothe her wounds—Axel has crossed a dangerous line, resulting in two shattered lives instead of just one.
Six years later, they will meet again: Bree, still battling the demons that continue to possess her, and Axel, reduced to taking work as a substitute teacher wherever he can find it. Once again he will feel compelled to rescue her. But this time it will be different, because now the yearnings of a loving heart won’t be silenced by suspicious minds. And now there’s more than one life that desperately needs saving.
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Isaac, the kid in the back, sat for a moment, staring at me with narrowed eyes. “If my dad was beating me, and I couldn’t handle it myself, then yeah, I’d want someone to try to help. It’s called humanity.” His eyes held mine as if he could read me. As if the bruise on my face gave me away and he saw everything. “You’re saying you’d sit by and watch a friend get abused just because she asked you to? What if your friend dies while you do nothing? You’d just say, ‘oh well, nothing I could’ve done. She didn’t want help’?”
Luckily, at that moment, the bell rang. Everyone started to stand, yet no one said a word. I, however, couldn’t find the strength to leave my seat. “No homework tonight. See you back tomorrow morning,” Mr. Taylor said quietly from his podium.
The atmosphere in the room had become very heavy, and it seemed to affect everyone, including me. I blinked at the floor a few times before standing, becoming weak on my feet. I couldn’t shake the worry that I had just led my entire class to believe I was an abused child. I’d allowed my anger to get the best of me, and without thinking about how it would appear, how it would sound coming from the girl with the black eye, I decided to question people’s morals regarding child abuse. We were in high school, I’m sure rumors would spread before fourth period. By the end of the day, people would be talking about how my dad tied me up in the basement or how I had to eat dog food for dinner. Like I said, no one knew my life but me. But that would never stop people from talking.
Mr. Taylor blocked my exit from my row, but I didn’t care. I had bigger fish to fry. I had bigger things to worry about than what he had to say. “Please, Mr. Taylor, I can’t do this right now.” I couldn’t even look at him, my eyes trained on the open door on the other side of the room as I fought back the sting of tears born in embarrassment and anger.
“Come here after school, please. I’d like to talk to you about what happened.”
I shook my head and finally met his stare. “I can’t. I take the bus home, and I can’t be late. If you want to give me detention, just do it and get it over with.”
“No. I would like to talk to you. Come see me during lunch today since you can’t stay after school.”
“Lunch? When am I supposed to eat?”
“Bring it with you. You can eat in here while we talk.” He waited until I nodded before moving out of the way enough for me to get by. “Oh…and, Bree? That detention slip will be written if you don’t show up.”
Well, it seemed as though I had a lunch date with Axel Taylor.
Leddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child. She grew up the only girl in a house full of boys. At the age of fourteen, she decided to use that imagination and wrote her first book, and never stopped.
She often calls writing her therapy, using it as a way to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters.
The decision to publish her first book was made as a way of showing her children to go after whatever it is they want to. Love what you do and do it well. Most importantly Leddy wanted to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.
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