REDEEM ME by Eliza Freed (February 3, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99; Lost Souls Book #2)
Charlotte O’Brien desperately needs redemption. Torn apart by her parents’ tragic deaths, Charlotte has no one to turn to after she alienates herself from everyone and everything. Fate sends her a lifeline when she runs into a childhood friend. Now all she sees is Noble Sinclair-tall, gorgeous, with a body made for sinning. But Charlotte knows better than anyone how quickly the things you hold dear can be taken away-and though loving Noble feels like it could be her salvation, Charlotte knows it could also destroy her.
Noble Sinclair has always loved Charlotte. Now seeing how far she has fallen, Noble vows to be the man who can make her happy and bring her out of the darkness that has haunted her for far too long. But to save Charlotte, he must make her learn to forgive everyone who has forsaken her . . . starting with herself.
FORGIVE ME by Eliza Freed (November 4, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99; Lost Souls Book #1)
“The thing he loves most in the world will kill him. It’s only a matter of time . . . ”
College student Charlotte O’Brien is lost and she can’t find her way home. Devastated by her parents’ tragic deaths, she aches for any kind of connection . . . and finds it in a man who is all wrong for her. Jason Leer is a rough-hewn steer wrestler from Oklahoma-and the hottest thing Charlotte has ever laid eyes on. Yet he has his own dark secrets . . .
Burying herself in Jason, Charlotte soon discovers that life doesn’t have to be so painful. When they’re together their passion eclipses everything-and Charlotte can finally begin to see a way out of the darkness of her past. Fighting for a future with Jason won’t be easy, but for the first time since her parents’ deaths, this lost soul might have finally found a place that feels like home.
SAVE ME by Eliza Freed (March 3, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99; Lost Souls Book #3)
Be careful with perfection. It’s brilliant at hiding its flaws.
Once Charlotte O’Brien accepted she’d never be with the one person who filled her with more passion-and anger-than she’d ever felt before, her choice became clear: she would close the door on a life with Jason Leer and embrace her future with Noble Sinclair.
Luckily for Charlotte, Noble has proven time and again that he cherishes her in a way which heals her every gaping wound. But first love never dies. Apparently it moves home to torture Charlotte with daily reminders of what could have been. And while Charlotte may have quit Jason, Jason will never quit her. Suddenly, it’s becoming harder and harder for Charlotte to remember why Noble was the right choice . . .
About the author:
Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks and her neighbors began to talk; her mother told her to find a job.
She settled into Corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It’s during this time she became an avid observer of the characters we meet and the heartaches we endure. Her years of study have taught her laughter is the key to survival, even when it’s completely inappropriate.
She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. An avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she’d rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she has always been a sucker for a love story…the more screwed up the better.
Social Media Links:
The house phone rings. It must be 8:00 a.m. Every morning his calls begin at eight. As usual, I don’t pick up, but the machine does.
“Annie.” My middle name on his lips cuts through me and I begin to cry again. “Please pick up the phone.” His voice is low, tormented. “I love you.” I run to the bathroom and make it to the toilet just in time to throw up, a little bit getting into my hair. I can still hear his voice, but I can’t make out the words. My back aches as I try to stand and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My reflection is horrifying—bloodshot eyes, mangy hair, and dry, cracked lips. I look like I have a serious drug problem. I shrug at the fresh idea and go to my parents’ room to search their medicine cabinet for any kind of painkiller. As I enter the hall, I hear, “Not knowing where you are is killing me. I need you. I need to talk to you. I need you here, Annie. Or there. Anywhere, please pick up.”
“Fuck you, Jason Leer!” I yell at an outdated answering machine.
No pills here. How difficult would it be to establish a drug connection? Apparently lots of people are hooked on drugs. I can probably get an addiction up and running in a few days. If I’m not going to kill myself, I’m going to need something to cope. This house is like walking around in an old photo, except my parents have been missing from the picture for the past two years.
I turn each bottle in my hand and read their names and birthdates on the prescriptions. Kathryn O’Brien…Jack O’Brien. Where are the Percocet, Mom? Didn’t you guys ever have any pain? I’ve always blamed the delivery truck driver for their deaths, but everything’s different now. I completely understand the desire to be out of my mind on something. Now I assume the driver discovered that his reason for living had sex with someone else, and he only knew about it because there was a baby on the way. For the first time in two years, I feel some empathy for him.
I head back to my bedroom and stare at the bed Jason spent every night in last summer. It’s still at least six inches lower on the top left corner from the time we broke the frame…yet another source of agony. I walk over to the headboard and untie the scarf he gave me last Christmas. It’s never been worn except that first night when he tied my wrists to the bedpost with it. A dull ache in my pelvic bone subsides and I put the scarf in the pile on the floor with my semiformal dress, my Oklahoma sweatshirt, and some pictures of Jason and me.
I walk to the garage and get a screwdriver. The headboard detaches more easily than I thought it would. I put it next to my mattress with the other things that need to be destroyed.
“I hate you, Jason Leer.”
This is my new daily affirmation. I should be looking in the mirror when I say it, but after that first glimpse, I can’t stand the sight of me.
I fall back on my bed and switch on my laptop; the homepage announces it’ll be sunny today with a big, happy sun. Yippee! It’s August 21, officially seven days since I heard the outstanding news—Jason had sex with Stephanie Harding and now she’s having his baby—and I’m still not recovering as well as my brother would like.
I shut the laptop and toss it across my bed. This is not a life. I slide off the side of the bed and wander back to the mirror in the bathroom, this time wanting to masochistically bask in the effects of loving Jason Leer.
“What? I look awesome,” I say sarcastically as I wince at my reflection. This is what safety looks like.
I am gross. My emerald-green eyes have been replaced by blood-drenched circles surrounded by black shadows. My hair, once long and lustrous, is a matted web atop my head. I think there’s a hair tie in there, but I’m no longer sure. There’s barely a trace of its former bright, blond color. Angry, selfish, and gross. No wonder he cheated on me with Stephanie. Oh yeah, and depressed. Angry, selfish, gross, and depressed. Wretched in general.
My pep talk is interrupted by a knock at the door. In keeping with my new system of communication, I ignore it completely. Whoever the hell it is can continue to lead their life without interrupting my progress through the stages of grief. I yawn and my lip cracks and starts to bleed.
I return to my computer and google “signs of dehydration.” This is fun. Much better than moving all my things to Oklahoma to be with the man I love.
Want to set on fire.
I have one more week off from work for the move. A move from a city I love and an office I love. Six months it took. Six months of working insane hours with impeccable results to sell my boss on the idea of me telecommuting from Oklahoma. Now I’ll have the pleasure of explaining why I’m still in New Jersey. First I’ll have to figure it out myself because when I can complete a thought, it’s usually, What the hell am I doing in my hometown? Our hometown. Mine, Jason’s, and that whore Stephanie, who’s carrying his baby. I think I’ll just quit my job and focus full-time on sleeping.
The knocking stops and I head back to bed, exhausted by Day Seven of my new life.
“I’m still waiting for an answer, Charlotte. I don’t understand. Do I not appeal to you?” Not with all this talking.
After a long sigh, I lean back and look Noble in the eye. “With Trey, or people like Trey, I’m instituting a ‘swim at your own risk’ approach. If someone finds my wretched self attractive”—I put both hands to my chest, forgetting it’s bare in the middle—“and they’ve been made aware of the dangers, it’s their responsibility to make their own decisions.” I pause and Noble’s even more annoyed than he was before I started the ocean reference. “You, though, my beautiful friend, are far too precious to swim without a lifeguard. I would never be reckless with you.”
Noble pulls me close and kisses me. I freeze for a brief moment and give in to the warmth spreading through me. I cross my wrists behind Noble’s neck and lean into him, enjoying his lips for the second time. It’s becoming less and less possible to deny him, especially if he’s going to look this good. Over the band, I hear tires squeal and I expect the crash sound effect to play, befitting the situation. Noble’s lips graze my neck and my ear. His breath steals my doubts and he whispers, “I’m a big boy, you know.” Oh, I know. “You can let your guard down.”
I return my head to Noble’s wonderful shoulder. This is crazy. I’m not starting a relationship with Noble Sinclair!
“I want to be your friend.”
“You are my friend.” The snowflakes come down in a mass flurry from the start, a thousand with the first one.
“No, I want to be your incredibly dear friend. I want to date someone I don’t like half as much as you.”
Noble pulls back so he can see my face and I try to remain as serious as possible.
“I am thankful to have you in my life. Never more so than the past few months. I need you in a hundred different ways, but I can’t keep sneaking kisses from you. It’s a waste of time for both of us.”
Snowflakes continue to fall on us and Noble continues to study me, probably trying to figure out why he’s out here in the first place. Then, just as surprisingly as before, he kisses me. And again, I kiss him back. He’s not throwing it out there or testing the waters. Noble claims me with his lips, denying every rationale I’ve clung to. I should be his forever.
I really do hate myself.
“You’re not listening,” I say, returning my face to its home right between his neck and shoulder.
“Perceptive,” he says, nodding.
“Sorry to interrupt you guys,” Julia says, sounding like someone just died. “Jason was just here.”
Today we’re sitting down with one of Salem County’s finest, Noble Sinclair. He’s the 6’2”, blue eyed, golden boy who went from Class Flirt his senior year to a dual major in Agriculture and Finance at Rutgers University. He’s also a main character, along with Charlotte O’Brien and Jason Leer, in Eliza Freed’s Lost Souls series.
Noble’s such an interesting name. What does it mean and why were you given it?
I’m pretty sure Noble means tortured by classmates, and my parents gave it to me to make my life difficult.
Forgive me for saying, but you look far from tortured.
It’s actually a family name that means noble. I’m the last stop—none of my children will be named Noble. Charlotte is the only person that still uses it. She’s disagreeable and stubborn, very stubborn. Even my parents call me Nick.
You come from a long line of farmers, and have taken over your family’s farm, what do you like most about the job? How does it define you?
I am the seventh generation of Sinclair farmers and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I considered other professions at Rutgers, but realized I want to spend the rest of my life outdoors. There are few other careers that would allow me to manage my own business, work outside, diversify my days, and climb into bed every night with a feeling of accomplishment.
I believe in our ability to nurture and grow.
What’s your strongest childhood memory?
When the plowing was done, just before the planting, my father would let us run through the fields. The soil was lined with hard grooves from the tire treads and we’d crush them with our bare feet. My sisters and I, and Jason Leer, would spend evenings running and playing, knowing once they were planted the fields were off limits. There are evenings when the warm breeze hits me and I can remember racing out there like it was yesterday.
It’s still my favorite stage of farming. That moment before everything begins again.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
I have no idea.
Beer and eggs, probably. Check the date on anything you find in there. I’m quite a catch, huh?
How would you like to die?
I didn’t realize this was an inspirational interview. I haven’t thought much about it, but I want it to be peaceful. If I’m lucky I’ll have a great dinner, make love to a beautiful woman, and then pass on in my sleep.
Speaking of beautiful women, what quality are you most attracted to in Charlotte?
The list would be shorter if you asked what doesn’t turn me on about Charlotte. Let’s see. She’s beautiful of course, her smile and those long legs. There’s the spot on her neck right below her ear that always melts her and I can’t stay away. The softness of the underside of her breast…the feel of her legs tangled in mine under the sheets.
Her strength could move an army. It’s a quiet, unyielding power. Charlotte could take you out without ever raising her voice. She is the strongest person I’ve ever met.
But what I absolutely can’t live without, is the sound of her laughter.