My latest novel, For All You Have Left, is due out Feb. 11, 2014—just in time for Valentine's Day! But in the meantime, I thought I'd let you take a sneak peek at the prologue!
To summarize, For All You Have Left takes place in small-town Missouri and centers around Logan Cross. When Logan was nine years old, her father landed a promotion and moved the family back to his old stomping grounds in Columbia, Mo. Logan traded in her old friends and a familiar setting for a new school filled with new faces, but she did get at least one good thing out of the trade--Andrew Amsel.
Andrew and Logan spend a childhood playing hide and seek and then four years at Truman High falling in love and dreaming about their future together. Then on graduation night, Andrew asks Logan to marry him. Logan doesn't even think twice before saying yes. Five days later, they elope.
But life has different plans for Logan. And now at twenty-two, she is in the midst of starting over when Jorgen Ryker moves in next door. A paramedic who grew up along the Missouri River bottoms, Jorgen seems normal, and he's definitely easy on the eyes, but Logan still has her reservations—and her secrets. Can she put her old life aside to start anew? And what big secret is she hiding that Jorgen might already know?
For All You Have Left is a story about first loves and true loves and hope and learning to love again. And it's a story near and dear to my heart, so without further ado, here is the first look at the prologue to For All You Have Left:
Only two things about that afternoon stick out to me—two things that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. One of those things is the smell the tires made after they had laid a jagged line of black rubber across the faded highway and into the ditch. There were tall wild flowers growing up every which way around me, but all I could think about was that bitter smell of burnt rubber. I remember a breath and then a moment where I think my mind was trying to catch up with my body. Then, there were muffled sounds and blurry images and panicked movements. But that smell was so distinct. Even now, just the thought of rubber pressed deep into a surface makes my stomach turn.
That’s one thing I remember about my last ride—about the day that changed my story forever. It’s the dark thing—the memory I wish I had lost, along with most of the others.
The other thing I remember, though, is my light—my little piece of hope when all hope seemed lost. I remember the way it felt in my hand. It was hard, and its edges were just sharp enough that I could almost feel pain again when I squeezed my fingers around it. I wanted that so badly—pain. I wanted to feel pain on my skin and in my bones, anywhere that wasn’t my heart. I was starting to feel numb, and it was almost more terrifying than the thought of a tomorrow—a new day where I would be living someone else’s life.
No one had told me at the time, but I already knew. I already knew my life was going to be different. I knew my life had changed. I remember squeezing my bloody fingers around the metal edges of that shiny figure, pressing the sharpest edge into my thumb—until I felt something. I knew I was leaving my life out there along that quiet highway, among the swaying wild flowers and that bitter smell of burnt rubber. And as the doors shut and the ambulance pulled away, my eyes fell heavy on the hope in my hand. And I remember thinking: If I could still feel, maybe I wouldn’t just wither away—maybe there was still hope for me.
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I write about rain on tin roofs, gravel roads, old trucks with holes in the floorboards and small-town summer nights. I grew up on a farm in a little Midwestern town. Now, I live in Kansas City, Mo., with my weatherman husband.
Laura Miller's first contemporary romance novel, Butterfly Weeds, hit the Amazon Best-Seller's List and Top 100 in October 2012. The sequel to Butterfly Weeds, My Butterfly, released in June 2013. For All You Have Left, By Way of Accident, When Cicadas Cry and A Bird on a Windowsill followed. Look for The Life We Almost Had, Laura's latest small-town romance, at book retailers now. And check out her children's book, Pay It Forward!