Title: So Much It Hurts
Author: Melanie Dawn
Hosted by: I Love Indie Books
Life is full of uncertainty, so what happens when a what-if from your past collides with your present?
Kaitlyn Thomas, a weary wife and mother, is taking a much needed getaway with her friends. All she wants to do is relax and rejuvenate on her weekend escape to the beach. Having a drink at the bar with the girls sounds like the perfect way to unwind. That is, until Kaitlyn hears a familiar voice from the stage that shakes her to her core. She grapples with her memory until Chris King, the lead singer of the band, walks up to her and eliminates the questions in her mind.
Chris King…the misunderstood bad boy who once saved her in ways that no one else could.
Kaitlyn’s friends beg to know the story behind this mystery man. Forced to revisit a painful past from which she has spent years trying to heal, Kaitlyn's recollection of Chris awakens intense feelings that she has kept buried deep inside her heart. Has time changed him, or is he still the same person Kaitlyn fell in love with so many years ago?
Marriage vows are sacred, but temptation is a powerful thing.
Seeing Chris again has caused a war between her head and her heart. In the end, which one will win the battle? Facing a difficult decision, Kaitlyn just wants to be sure of one thing when she walks away from this weekend—no regrets.
I’d never been to a party before. Lame, I know. I lived a sheltered life compared to Chris. He talked me into sneaking out one night while we were up late messaging each other. So, there I was, completely out of my element, walking into my very first party with Chris King by my side. The party was on the other side of town, near Chris’s old school. I just hoped I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew. Small town gossip travels fast, and if my parents found out what I’d done, they’d probably blow a gasket.
I guess the first indication of a boisterous party is when someone is puking their guts out in the bushes near the front porch. I’d never been drunk before either. I couldn’t imagine getting that trashed. I don’t see the pleasure in getting so wasted you have to have someone hold you up while you barf your brains out. “Come on,” Chris said, leading me away from the scene. “I wanna introduce you to my friends.”
Chris held my hand and led me through the sea of unfamiliar faces. Beanies, bandanas, unusual piercings, and intricate tattoos seemed to be the accessories of choice at this party. I didn’t belong here. That much was evident on the scowling faces of the other girls as I passed by them.
“What’s she doing here?” I heard one chick say as I brushed by her.
“I don’t know. I think she may be lost,” her friend replied.
“I don’t know. I think she may be lost,” her friend replied.
I could still hear their giggles as we waded our way through the bouncing red Solo cups. Loud thumping music reverberated in our chests as we maneuvered around the maze of philandering drunks who felt it was completely acceptable to make out right there in front of everyone. The stale stench of beer and liquor invaded my nostrils.
“Ohhh yeahhh!!!” I heard several voices cry as if someone had just won the lottery.
Chris turned to look at me. “Sounds like Shane hit another crazy shot of beer pong. That dude has a gift when it comes to pong.”
Chris continued to lead me toward the back of the house. “I got some friends out on the deck I want you to meet.”
I felt completely out of my comfort zone. Too many unfamiliar faces doing too many unfamiliar things. I’d never been drunk or high, and I’d never taken my shirt off in public like several girls were doing on the sofa and on the stairs. I shuddered at the thought of losing that much self-respect.
Chris slid open the sliding glass door. I was immediately smacked in the face with the strong stench of marijuana.
“Chris! Oh my god, you’re back. Dude. Where have you been, man? It’s been too long.” One guy in a gray hoodie held his hand out to Chris.
Chris grabbed it and gave a manly one armed hug while bringing their hands between him at chest level. “Hey, man! I’ve been around…just chillin’ at East for now.”
“Good ole East…home of the douchebag, country club pricks.”
“Ha! You got that right! By the way, Justin, this is my girl, Kaitlyn.
“Damn, son, is your dick made of gold or somethin’? Because you’re one fugly dude, and your girl is smokin’!” Justin grinned and shook my hand, bringing it to his lips for a kiss.
Chris playfully punched his shoulder. “Back off, dude. She’s mine! Anyway, damn, man…How you been? It’s been a minute.”
Justin passed me a blunt. “Shit, Chris, if I knew you were coming I’d have told Ryan to bring the good stuff. Did you see that Slikk is here tonight?” Justin pointed to the deejay behind the turntables. Large, black headphones wrapped around his neck as he bobbed his head to the beat of the music.
“It’s alright. Yeah, I know Slikk can throw one hell of a party, so I just wanted to show up and surprise you guys.”
I tried to steady the blunt in my shaky hand, unsure if Justin wanted me to take a puff, just hold it for him, or what. Like I said, I’d never really been around drugs. I only knew what a blunt was because Caleb and Trevor got stoned one night after a football game. I stared at the blunt as if it were a spider crawling on my hand.
Justin laughed. “Go ahead. It won’t bite you. It might make you feel a little mellow, but it’s not gonna hurt you.”
I just shook my head and handed the blunt back to him. “Thanks anyway.”
Chris snaked his arm around my waist. Smiling at Justin he said with a wink, “That’s my girl.”
Justin laughed. Nodding his head toward Chris, he looked at me and said, “You better watch out. He’ll corrupt you.”
“Nah, bro, not me.” Chris leaned in and gently kissed the side of my head. I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt the world spinning around me. That tiny gesture made by Chris caused heart palpitations in my chest. I suddenly felt the desperate need to be alone with him.
“Come on, babe. Let’s go back inside.” Turning to the group huddled around the hazy shroud of burning chronic that lingered above their heads, “See y’all later.”
“Yeah, man. Later,” Justin called, exhaling a puff of smoke from his lips.
We stepped back inside to the drunk fest that was taking place in the living room. I could hear a table full of guys clinking their way through a game of quarters, followed by shouts of “Hell yeah!” and “Dude, did you see that?” and “Drink up!”
Chris turned to me and said, “Wait right here. I’m gonna go grab us a couple beers. I’ll be right back.”
Wide-eyed with worry, I nodded my head. He was going to leave me here? By myself? Among all these strangers? I stuck out like a sore thumb here.
Chris noticed my anxiety. “It’ll be fine. I promise. I’ll be right back.” Gently, he grasped my hands and pulled me toward him, whispering into my ear, “I won’t let anything happen to you.” He lightly kissed me on the cheek before releasing me in search of some alcohol.
I stood in the narrow hallway, watching the orgy fest take place around me.
“Ha,” I heard a seething female voice behind me.
I turned around to see two sharp, jade green eyes with thick black eyeliner piercing mine. Her slick, tight black ponytail sat high on her. The choker around her neck reminded me of a dog collar with spikes. “So you’re Chris King’s new little whore,” she snarled. I could see the metal rod in her tongue flicking against the roof of her mouth as she spoke.
“What did you just call me?” I might be way out of my element here, but I’d be damned if I was going to let some bitch in a dog collar call me a whore.
The bitch turned to the weasely looking dude standing beside her and said, “Tim, it looks like Chris’s whore needs hearing aids.”
Tim was short and skinny with greasy brown hair, but the tattoos and the blue bandana around his forehead told me he was tough enough to hang with the crowd that had gathered here. “Yeah, I think the prima donna doesn’t belong here. Why don’t you teach her a lesson about who we are?”
The bitch handed the weasel her cup, and pushed her sleeves up. Deep, patterned scars lined her arms. I actually kind of started to feel sorry for her. Balling my fists by my side while praying not to have to throw any punches, I prepared myself for the worst.
“Tesla!” Chris pushed past me and stepped between us. “Leave her alone.”
“Why did you bring her here, Chris? She doesn’t belong here. She’s not one of us.” Tesla sneered.
“She’s not your concern. Now leave her alone.”
Tesla stared at me, narrowing her eyes. She almost looked like she was silently casting a spell on me. “Enjoy your whore,” she snarled and whirled around, stomping away.
Tim glared at Chris. “Big mistake, man…bringing her here…big mistake.”
Chris scowled. “Shut up, dickwad. I’ll do whatever the hell I please.”
Tim craned his neck and cocked his head to the side as if he were trying to get a look at what was behind me. “Judging by that tight ass of hers, I’d be pleased to do her, too. How much do you charge, sweetheart?” He asked, patronizing me while his beady little eyes raked over me.
That last question flipped a switch in Chris. Suddenly, he grabbed Tim by the throat, slamming him against the wall. “You stupid fuck! If I didn’t just get out of juvie I’d kick your ass. Dumbass, if you even look at my girl again I’ll beat your face in until it is unrecognizable…do you understand?”
Tim’s bird eyes were nearly popping out of his head. “Yeah, man. I got it…I got it. Geez, it was a joke.”
“Good,” Chris loosened his grip and Tim slid to the ground into a wasted heap on the floor. Scowling down at him, Chris demanded, “From now on, you treat my lady with respect.”
Chris handed me the beer, and we walked away. “Sorry about that…Tesla is an old friend…ex-girlfriend. She’s never really gotten over me. And Tim has always been a prick.”
“I can see that,” I said, glancing in their direction. “I think Tesla may have cast a spell on me.”
“Nah. All that garb is just an act. She’s actually a pretty normal human being. She’s had it rough the last few years and kinda went off the deep end. We don’t really talk anymore. She’s changed so much. Anyway, I want to introduce to you Dax. Come on!” He pulled me toward the kitchen where the beer pong was set up on the kitchen table.
Dax sat in the corner of the room. He looked totally out of it, but he sat high on a bar stool overlooking the game of pong as if he were a ruler watching over his city.
“Chris,” Dax’s tone indicated that he was flying high as a kite, “my man, what’s up?”
“Dax.” Chris side-arm hugged his buddy. “I’m good, bro. How are you?”
“I’m fucked up, man.”
“I can see that. Well, I guess there’s no need to introduce you to my girl because you won’t remember it in the morning, but for what it’s worth, this is Kaitlyn.”
“Hello, pretty lady.” Dax’s aloof grin made me smile.
“Nice to meet you.”
“Chris!” A few guys from the pong table called him over. “Come on, bro, take a shot for old times’ sake.”
Chris walked over to the table and one guy handed him a ball. He quickly became engrossed in the game.
Dax turned to me and asked, “So, what’s a straight-up girl like you doing with a dude like Chris?”
“What do you mean?” I inquired.
“I mean look at you…with your suede deck shoes and your brand name, rich girl clothes…You don’t exactly fit in here.”
I looked around. He was right. I didn’t fit in here at all. “I don’t really fit in where I come from either,” I told him.
“Oh, I see…Daddy’s little girl ready to leave the nest? Ready to soar to new heights? Well, just be careful, pretty lady. You’re likely to get eaten alive in this crowd.” Dax glanced at Chris as if he were indicating him. Apparently, Chris had a history I had yet to learn.
Chris stalked over to us. “Don’t try to steal my lady now, Dax,” he grinned as he wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
I curled into him. Chris kissed me gently on the forehead and then rested his chin on top of my head. Closing my eyes, I breathed in his familiar musky scent. I felt safe with Chris, and at that particular moment in my life, feeling safe was the most coveted thing.
“Let’s crank it down a notch,” Slikk called from behind the turntables and crossfaded the music into one of my all-time favorite R&B songs...Nobody by Keith Sweat.
“Come on, beautiful. Dance with me.” Chris pulled me into the living room where couples were gathered and practically having sex right there in the middle of the room. In fact, I was pretty sure the couple that was huddled on the sofa under the window really were having sex. Embarrassed, I glanced away and tried to focus on Chris.
Chris curled his arms around me, pulling me tight against him. Together, we rocked and swayed to the beat while Chris quietly sang to me in my ear. His deep, sexy baritone tickled my eardrums, pretty much turning me into putty in his hands. We were in the middle of the crowd, but for a few minutes I felt like we were the only two people in the room. I pulled my head away from his chest where I had felt his heart pounding deep inside and craned my neck to look him in the eye. Running my hands over his sculpted pecs and across his rippled abs, I couldn’t help the feeling that was welling up inside of me. For a brief moment, I understood how all of those couples seemingly forgot the world around them and let their hormones do the communicating. He stared down at me with those dark, sultry eyes—a sexy-as-hell look that exuded hunger; an aching desire turned my insides into mush.
“I’m so glad you’re here with me, Kaitlyn,” he whispered.
“Me too,” I whispered back, running my hands up his chest and into his hair, tangling my fingers into his brown, messy locks. A gentle tug from me was all it took. His lips crashed into mine, taking my breath away. Hot, lustful need took over our bodies as we continued to grind ourselves against each other to the beat of the music. Our lips moved to their own rhythm, nibbling and nipping while our tongues performed their own dance, snaking and swirling around each other. Kissing Chris with that hint of beer flavor was intoxicating in its own right. I melted into his body, allowing him to explore my shoulders, back, and face with his hands. He ran his strong, capable hands over my body, making my stomach quake. Every nerve ending was ignited with energy, and the strangest sensation overcame me. A feeling of pure euphoria—the kind of euphoria that felt so good it hurt. How is that even possible?
I wasn’t sure, but I knew in that moment, Chris King rocked my world.
About the author...
Melanie Dawn is a thinker, a dreamer, and a hopeless romantic. When her head isn't in the clouds, she spends her time as a jack of all trades to her family. Melanie resides in the hills of North Carolina with her husband, her three children, and her cat. She enjoys lazy summer afternoons cruising around the lake on the pontoon boat with her family.
Melanie graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and earned her MA in School Counseling from Appalachian State University. She spent the first six years after graduate school as a middle school counselor. Those were years she deems as some of the best years of her life. That is, until she had children of her own. The last seven years have been spent as a stay-at-home mom. She has learned some tough life lessons, like what the inner absorbent pellets of a diaper look like scattered in the washing machine. She has also learned the strength of the willpower of a two year old lacking a nap. Through it all, Melanie has learned how to roll with the punches and appreciate the time she has been able to spend at home with her children.
Now that her last child has started Kindergarten, Melanie is ready to add a new chapter in her life. That chapter begins with her debut novel—So Much It Hurts.
ReviewWow!! This will be the first book I gave a 5 star rating to in which I hated the ending. It did not end the way I wanted AT ALL but there is no denying that it was beautifully written and one I will not forget any time soon.
Kaitlyn has hit a rough patch in her marriage. One, I think, that those of us who have been married for a while have hit as well. She and her husband just are not connecting like they use to. She feels that they are just two people sharing the same space. Being a stay at home mom to their 5 year old son has her feeling isolated and unappreciated. So when the chance comes up for her to go on a vacation with her friends she is all for it.
While on vacation she runs into a man from her past. Well, he is a man now, but he was a teenager when she first met him. The author then goes into their back story and it was a deep one at that.
I am sure this story will not sit well with everybody and although I didn't agree with all that happened, I am glad that I read it. Amazing first novel from this author and a must read!! I give So Much it Hurts 5 Stars!!