by Lisa Eugene
All she needed was a job…The last thing twenty-four year old grad student Angie Roberts needs is to worry about her new boss’s father. After all, she’s never even seen him. He remains sequestered upstairs in a house that looks like it should be the main feature in an episode of Hoarders. She had no idea the house was such a dump when she took the job. But she’s concerned about the safety and health of the old man living under such horrid conditions.
What she got was a mystery…
Despite warnings not to venture upstairs, she wanders up to the second floor. What she sees is shocking. The man she finds is a gorgeous, sexy, middle-aged man-- and he's stepping out of the shower. But something is definitely not right. Why would this wealthy, handsome man live in a house in such disrepair while his nine-teen year old son resides in a lavish penthouse? Why does he hide away from society? Why does he come to her rescue and then run away?
What she discovered was heartbreaking…
Angie learns that forty-four year old Grayson Whitmore suffers from schizophrenia. Paranoid, he retreats into his own world.
What she ended up with was a treasure…
Angie is determined to get through to him. They form a friendship that blazes into an inconceivable love fired with erotic passion. Angie must now come to Grayson’s rescue because the wicked that has been perpetrated on him is unconscionable. First, though, she must gain the trust of a man whose mind does not allow for such a thing.
Early Sunday morning, I crawled out of bed in search of Grayson. I discovered him upstairs in the room with the books. They were piled all around him as he scratched at something on the floor with an old shovel. The room was saturated with an early morning chill, so thick I could feel it seeping through my skin. I hugged my torso, scrubbing my palms up and down my arms. I approached him hesitantly and asked what he was doing. My heart was in my throat because I never knew what to expect with Grayson. He stopped and leaned against the handle, his cloudy gaze finding my face. He was fully dressed. He must have gotten dressed again after we’d made love earlier.
“Digging,” he acknowledged casually. “Digging a trap.”
I swallowed hard, emotion stacking like bricks in my chest. I shook my head, my mind grasping for purchase, trying to understand. “A trap for what, Grayson?”
“Danger. I have to be prepared. I have to protect us.”
I reached out a hand, trying to keep it steady. “You’re safe, Grayson.”
His gaze shifted to my proffered hand, but he didn’t move. He didn’t believe me. Fear and skepticism drew a roadmap of worry on his face. His jaw squared and he tightened his lips into a brittle line. I watched his body uncurl as he grabbed the shovel and silently started scraping at the floor again. That’s when I saw it. There was a large, jagged crater in the dusty wood that must have been covered up by the scattered books. It was directly over the small cracks I’d seen in the ceiling downstairs, the network of spider veins I’d noticed soon after starting here. I wondered how long he’d been working at this trap. I could already see exposed beams and fluffy insulation. If he kept this up, eventually he’d put a hole right through the wood floor.
“Go back to bed, Angie.”
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying with you, Grayson,” I said sternly, plopping myself down on the floor next to him.
He stopped again and stared at me, his blue eyes almost cobalt in the gray dawn. His hair was a loose mane framing his face, giving him an unruly look. “You’ll be tired. You haven’t gotten much sleep.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, hurting, thinking of the reason I’d been up most of the night. We’d held each other, made exquisite love, bathed in a temporary utopia where I could pretend he was okay.
But Grayson wasn’t okay, and as I spent more time with him, I realized the extent of his fractured thoughts. My Grayson was funny and brilliant. My Grayson was tender and passionate. My Grayson could melt my heart with the tiniest smile. But this man, too, was my Grayson, a man who was sometimes out of touch with reality, who lived in the distorted world concocted by his brain. It was a world of doubt, fear, and distrust.Sensitive, emotional, sensual, tender and gripping are but a few words to describe this story. All is not as it seems. It takes a lot of courage to face your demons and if you find a friend to help you along the way , well, that can make a whole new world of difference.
Angie is a determined and independent woman. She is courageous as well as loyal. Her heart has the capacity to love and protect as well as give her the courage to fight like a lion for what she believes.
Sequestered in the house where he was born, Grayson has built walls around his heart as well as his body. Unable to deal with the death of his wife five years ago, his mild schizophrenia has spiraled out of control. The pills don't help when he thinks they are poisonous. People disturb him as well as crowds and their noise. This solitude provides some peace, but the loneliness is overbearing.
There is evil working in the background scheming to further bring down Grayson. This evil is not of the supernatural kind. This is a living, breathing fiend set on usurping all that Grayson once accomplished. This is not out of revenge, but as uncaring greed and lack of empathy.
What struck me while reading this book was the kindness and sensitivity Angie provides Grayson while dealing with his mental health. Great strides have been accomplished in providing support to schizophrenics so they can function in the world. What this story brought to my mind was how easily people can manipulate a patient with this illness. We owe these patients every opportunity to live a normal life, with compassion, acceptance and emotional support.
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About the Author
When she's not plotting her next dangerous, fast-paced, sexy adventure, you can find her juggling a full time job, playing soccer mom, or curled up reading a good romance.