on June 23, 2015
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Liam Davis is a man without a past. That’s what he wants everyone to believe, anyway. Hell-bent on erasing any memories of his previous life, he knows that starting over is all he can do. Hiding who he is, where he’s from, why he’s running, and especially who he’s left behind, Liam has run away from everything he’s ever known. His plan works perfectly until one day when Parker Ryan threatens to expose his carefully concealed world.
Parker Ryan is a man without a future. Sure, he’s a partner in one of New York’s most prestigious law firms, but he’ll never be more than a failure in the eyes of his boss, his father. Rather than break away from his father’s standards, he finds himself mindlessly pursuing them, in turn sacrificing anything that would actually make him happy.
When Liam’s and Parker’s lives collide, the ugly truth about who they really are, and who they hope to become reveals itself when they least expect it. As both of their lives become wrecked beyond all belief, they’ll learn how to rely on each other in their journey to become Repaired.
Repaired is the powerful moving story of Liam Davis, a man without a past and Parker Ryan, a man who on the surface has everything.
The opening scene of this books grabbed my heart…. and had it breaking…..nope I am not going to say anything else.
I loved the scene when Liam and Parker first meet; how their lives from two different worlds intersect was so well done. It was clear from the on-set that there was a connection. Witnessing the two of them dance around the attraction was so enjoyable and I love the way Parker tried to keep Liam in his life. And Liam’s reaction to that twist felt so true to his character.
This book is a slow burn… and although that is not always my book of choice, it worked so well here. It fit the characters and had me rooting for these two men from such different worlds to give into the deep attraction that is so clear to the reader.
For me, this book also did an amazing job highlighting that family is not about blood but about those who are their for you in your darkest hour.
Speaking of the darkest hour… I don’t want to say much about the “what” of this story, except to say when you guess what happened to Liam, it is masterfully woven into a deeper story and a fabulous plot twist that puts Liam and Parker face to face with Liam’s past in a way that pulled at my heart and put a lump in my throat.
I was so pleased to learn that Gabe and Zan are getting a book!!! These are secondary characters who both played a role in the story!
A little more than a year later
“Mom. I’ve tried everything. She won’t stop.” Practically whining into the phone, I could barely hear my own voice over Mia’s, Annie’s and Paulie’s daughter, screaming and crying.
“Have you fed her? Changed her?” My mom’s suggestions did nothing but grate on my nerves. Over the last year, we’d been working on patching things up. It was strange in a lot of ways to have my mother back in my life – well, back is a relative term since she’d never really been there in the first place. After I left my father’s firm, he had no one to pick on without reserve. Naturally, he turned his negative attentions toward Mom. It turns out she had a backbone, after all. The fact that he wouldn’t stop putting me down, insulting mine and Liam’s relationship and upcoming marriage helped give her the reserve she needed to finally leave him.
Taking a deep breath, I held on to the progress we’d made and let go of my frustrations over her inability to help me with a screaming one-year old. “I’ve tried everything. I’m out of ideas,” I grumbled into the phone.
“Sweetie?” she asked, hinting at something. “Have you tried holding her, soothing her?”
Figuring Liam would be home any minute, I was waiting on that one. He was so much better at stuff like that – getting on the floor and playing with her, swinging her in his strong arms and singing her a song. “Okay, Mom. Let me go. I’ll see you at the rehearsal dinner later, right?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, sweetie.” There was so emotion, so many apologies in her words. It hadn’t been easy letting her into my world, but it had most certainly been worth it.
As soon as I ended the call, Mia screamed louder. Part of me wondered if there was something really wrong with her, but I knew it had more to do with me than her. Liam and I have watched her a few times for Annie and Paulie, but I’d never watched her on my own. Annie was out at the salon, getting her hair and nails done for the wedding. And Paulie and Liam were out running a few last minute errands for the ceremony tomorrow evening.
“Hey,” I cooed, approaching Mia as she sat in her little bouncy noise maker thingy, her face a bright shade of red. “What’s wrong?” As soon as I was close enough to her, she reached up at me with her chubby arms. Using her equally chubby legs, she nearly pushed herself out of the seat. Well, if that wasn’t a clear indication of what she wanted, then nothing else would be.
“Okay, okay. You win.” Lifting her up, I held her in front of me. Bunching up her face in what was clearly a look of dissatisfaction, her lip began to quiver, letting me know a wail of epic proportions was on its way.
Having never been around babies – or hell, even children for that matter – taking care of Mia wasn’t something that came easily to me. It’s not like I had a stone-cold heart or anything, but babies required a special touch, and it was one I was convinced I didn’t have.
Moving her to my hip, I held her against my body, and she relaxed almost instantly. Her breathing was still stuttered and shaky from having cried too long. Exhaustion washed over her and she rested her head on my shoulder, letting out a huge yawn.
Cautiously, I walked over to the sofa and sank down onto it. Mia nuzzled closer to me, curling against me. Her tiny fingers splayed on my chest, chipping away at the unease I usually felt when it was just me and her.
Gently stroking my hand down her back, I found myself searching for something to say. Not that she was waiting on the edge of her seat for my next words or anything like that. “Shh, shh. It’s okay,” I soothed and she squirmed, but her breathing calmed. “You got yourself all worked up over nothing.” When she turned her head to the side, resting it flat against my chest, it was instinctual to press my lips against her head, letting her blonde curls tickle my nose.
My hand moved in a calm, smooth, rhythm over her back, gently lulling her to sleep. “See I’m not so bad.” Those words were spoken mainly to convince myself as she seemed well on her way to a much-needed nap. That’s when the self-doubt creeped back.
What if I’m an awful parent? What if I fuck it all up like my parents did?
“What if I’m not good enough at any of this and he leaves?” Those words hurt so much it was impossible to keep them in. They spoke of my biggest fears. Even though Liam and I decided we both wanted kids, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d screw it all up somehow.
“You are and I won’t,” Liam’s voice startled me, but not so much as to wake up Mia. He settled on the couch next to me. His hand fell to my leg, offering a firm squeeze. “You’re the one I want to be with, so stop questioning shit like that.”
“You’re one thing,” I quipped. “But a baby. Our baby. I just don’t know.”
Arching a brow, Liam twisted his face. “You said it yourself. It’ll be our baby so that makes all the difference. And it’s not like we’re having a kid tomorrow. We said in the future, sometime. Not right now. We haven’t even gotten married yet.” Liam’s face softened, his lips pulling into a crooked smile. “Besides, you’re doing great. And she doesn’t even like you.”
He chuckled. And though I should have been offended, he wasn’t lying. It was no secret that I was Mia’s least favorite person. “Yeah, well…” Words failed me and I couldn’t even come up with a good comeback. Instead all I was reminded of was how badly I’d screwed up asking him to marry me.
“But what about –”
“Stop,” he insisted. “You didn’t fuck it up. I still said yes, didn’t I?”
“How did you –”
“Because you still won’t let it go. Even after all these months.”
“Well, seriously, who picks a fight with the man he’s going to ask to marry him on the night he plans on proposing?”
“Parker,” he commanded, his voice taking on more than a touch of his new-found confidence. “I backed your car up into the mailbox. Getting chewed out was probably the least evil of the options running through your head at the time.”
“Yeah, well tossing the ring box onto your lap wasn’t all that romantic.” Covering my embarrassment over how I acted with a laugh, I turned to face him, careful not to wake Mia in the process.
“Nope. Not at all.” He laughed again, and I couldn’t help but join. With tenderness, his hand cupped the back of my neck, his fingers dancing through the hair at my nape. “But it worked, didn’t it. And tomorrow…”
Caught up in his emotions, Liam didn’t finish his sentence. So I finished it for him. “And tomorrow we’ll get married. And no matter what’s thrown our way, we’ll do like we always do. We’ll talk through our problems and our joys. We’ll use each other for strength and hold each other up.”
His eyes crinkled in the corners as he smiled at me. Moving my hand to his cheek, I grazed my thumb along his bottom lip and exhaled a deep sigh of contentment as he pressed his lips against it.
Liam stood from the couch, and gathered Mia’s things and so he could load them into the car. Paulie was off to pick up Annie and Liam said we’d just bring Mia to the rehearsal dinner with us.
As the three of us walked out of the house an hour later, I caught a glimpse of what the future offered us. And as if they never existed in the first place, my reservations about having kids, and creating a family together vanished into thin air.
* * * * *
“Come in,” I called out to the light tapping on the door.
“Oh, Liam,” Mom gasped, covering her mouth with her shaking hand. “You look…perfect.” With open arms, she walked over to me and hugged me as tight as she could. When she pulled back, she straightened my tie. Her hands stopped shaking, and she rested them on my chest. “I’m so happy for you,” she said, her eyes shining with tears about to spill down her cheeks.
Popping a quick kiss to her cheek, I said, “I’m happy, too.” And I was. Years ago, if someone would have told me I’d be living this life, I would have laughed in their face. I finally had it all: a loving family, a fantastic job, a warm home.
And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel as if I was waiting for the ground to fall out beneath me. It all felt right. Stable.
Looking down at her watch, Mom said, “I think it’s just about time to get started.” She smiled lovingly at me once again before excusing herself, saying, “I’ll give you a few minutes on your own.”
A bubble of nervous excitement settled in my chest. Even though Parker and I decided on having a small, intimate ceremony with only our closest friends and family at a local restaurant, it was still nerve-wracking to know the ceremony was about to start. We selected this location because it had a separate room in which we could hold the actual wedding. Afterward, we’d all move into the restaurant portion of the venue for dinner and drinks with our family.
As I walked out of one of the two back rooms the staff had set aside for Parker and me to get ready in, a feeling of serenity descended over me. The photographer met me in the small space separating the two rooms. “You can stand right here,” she directed as she spun me back to face the door I exited seconds ago.
Then she knocked on Parker’s door, the sign that I was in place and he could leave his room. “Ok, sir,” she spoke to Parker. “This way,” she guided him. I knew he was walking out of the room backward so he wouldn’t see me first. It was the plan we’d decided on. Since no one was walking either of us down the aisle, we’d decided to walk ourselves out to our families.
We were perfectly fine with getting ready at our own house and driving here together, but when we’d gone over the timeline with the photographer, she wouldn’t hear any of it. So, instead, we’d see each other for the first time before we were married like this.
With our eyes closed and our hearts open.
“On the count of three, you can both turn around,” she directed. Catching her out of the corner of my eye, I saw her get into position to capture the moment Parker and I would see each other.
Parker and I turned around at the same time, our smiles mirrored on each other’s faces.
“You look…” Words literally failed me. Dressed in a classic black tuxedo, very similar to my own, Parker looked nothing short of beautiful.
“So do you,” he choked out before wrapping his strong arms around me in a tight embrace.
We were so lost in each other in those moments, we didn’t even notice the photographer snapping away, capturing those shots we’d forever cherish.
From behind the curtain separating the back area where we were from the area where the ceremony was to take place, we heard the music begin – our cue to walk out together.
“Ready?” I asked, lacing my fingers through his.
“More so than I ever thought I would be,” he whispered, pressing his lips against my cheek.
With our hands twined together, we walked down the aisle. There were no ‘sides’ to the ceremony, seeing as we had so few guests. Instead, everyone stood in a semi-circle near the make-shift altar. Annie handed Mia to Paulie so she could wipe away her happy tears. Our parents – my father with my mom and Parker’s mom on each arm – stood at the front of the circle.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Liam and Parker who are constant reminders of how beautiful love is. Love knows no boundary, no gender. And these two men, who promise before you to share their lives together, are the definition of what it means to love wholly and openly.” Her words, so powerful and meaningful, forced a world of emotion to rise in my chest. “I was asked to keep this short and sweet,” she said, shooting me a wry look. “So if you two would please face one another and join your hands, we can share the vows you’ve written.”
Turning her attention to Parker, she indicated he would go first. Without looking at a piece of paper, Parker recited his vows from memory. “There was a time in my life when I was perfectly happy to simply go through the motions. I was complacent with the idea that I’d live the life I was told to live, and for some God forsaken reason, that was okay with me. When you came into my life, I’d never felt so alive, so filled with purpose. And now, the thought of doing anything, of living any life in which you aren’t the most important part, it’s simply unthinkable. I love you now more than ever and I vow to love you forever. I promise to build a future with you that’s completely unrecognizable to the one I thought I’d be destined to live.”
Moving his hand along my jaw, Parker stroked this thumb along my lip – his silent way of telling me just how much he loved me, how much he’d be there for me. I leaned into it and reveled in the warmth and comfort his touch provided.
Pulling a folded up piece of paper out of my inside pocket, I cleared my throat of the emotion rising there. “Parker,” I choked a little just getting his name out. “There was no me before you. There was a life I could no longer bear. Then there was my existence. It wasn’t a terrible one, but it was bland and boring, lifeless and meaningless. I wasn’t hoping for anything – for a future, for happiness, for love. But when you came barreling into my life, it was as if my eyes were open for the first time. Suddenly, everything had meaning and purpose. I was finally someone and it’s all because of you. So today, I promise to give you every ounce of who I am and who I’ll become because you’ve taught me that we both deserve no less. I love you, and I vow to love you longer than forever.”
“The rings, please,” the Justice of the Peace spoke to Paulie who’d been holding them for us.
At the same time I slid his ring onto his finger, Parker slid mine on and we both said, “With this ring, I thee wed.”
“I now pronounce you partners for life,” she announced with more than a touch of pride in her voice. “You may now seal your vows with a kiss.”
And while everyone surrounding us clapped and cheered, oohed and ahhed, Parker and I stared into each other’s eyes. Our lips came together slowly, not out of hesitation, but out of a need to let the moment carry on for as long as it could.
Because for both of us, before we loved each other, our lives were something we wished away. We hoped for tomorrow to blur past us in streaks of grey. And now that we had each other, we wanted today to last forever.
With our pasts behind us, no longer large and looming over our happiness, Parker and I welcomed the thought of a long and colorful future. Yes, we knew there’d be bumps along the way, but in our hearts we knew that no challenge was so overwhelming that it would break us apart.
No matter the damage, we’d always find a way to fix each other, pick ourselves back up and become whole once again.