I SEE YOU
by A.P. Hallmark
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: open door sex
In Book 1, I’ll Be Seeing You, Joy Johnson learns of Matthew’s secret plan that concerns her. She thought he was the love of her life, but her world is shattered when she discovers she has been betrayed, not only by the man she loves, but her life-long friends as well. Taking the time to heal and mend her broken heart, Joy slowly begins to forgive.
Unfortunately, the handsome doctor’s wicked and devious ex-fianceé, Emma Ford, has different plans. Emma, who was the catalyst of the destruction of Joy and Matthew’s relationship, simply refuses to go away. What she doesn’t know is that her scheming and conniving only solidify the two lovers’ bond.
Dr. Matthew Davis has the knowledge to make Joy see for the first time in fourteen years. Will she allow her Doctor to perform this miracle, or will Emma get to her first?
It’s been one hell of a week, and I still haven’t heard from Joy. If I haven’t heard from her in another week, I plan to call her. Today, my parents and I are going to look at the building next door to the hospital. The owners accepted my offer with the provision it passes inspection, and today we are meeting with the inspector.
While I’m in my home office, organizing my files and dictating notes from my recent surgery, my phone rings. My heart immediately thunders in my chest when I recognize Joy’s ringtone. In my haste to answer the phone, I knock the damn thing onto the floor, and then fumble with it like it’s a hot potato. I can’t help but roll my eyes at myself at the comical scene.
Her call is for the sole purpose of getting her things back that she left at my house.
Explaining that I have an obligation this afternoon, we agree to meet at five-thirty. I consider cancelling the meeting with the building inspector, but I know how important this is to my parents, so I’ll have to meet her later in the day.
I can barely contain myself and rush to the kitchen where I find my parents making lunch.
“Joy called.” They both snap around and look at me in anticipation. “I’m meeting her today at five-thirty, after we’re done with the building inspector.”
“Oh, thank the Lord,” Mom says, looking at the heavens. “I knew she would call.”
“Don’t get your hopes up,” I say with a hint of pessimism. “She only asked me to bring her things to her.”
“Well, it’s a start, son,” Dad adds affectionately, putting his arm around my shoulder. I nod in agreement and try to muster up a sincere smile. My gut is telling me not to get too excited.
“Jessie said that Laura and Brian emailed her and received only short replies,” I say, leaning against the counter to see what they’re making. “It will be a miracle if she forgives. I conspired behind her back — that’s pretty much a deal breaker even for the most secure couples.”
“She loves you, Matthew,” Mom says quietly. “She won’t give up on you. I’m certain of it. Come, let’s eat so we can meet the inspector.”
After a quick lunch, we head to the new office and tour the building, floor by dirty floor. I’m glad I came in low on my offer, because this is going to require a lot of work, and work means money. After spending several hours there, I keep glancing at my watch, getting antsy out of fear of being late to meet Joy.
“Go, Matthew. Your father and I can handle this. You don’t want to be late. We’ll let you know what the inspector says when you get home tonight.” It doesn’t take much persuading before I’m out the door and on my way to Joy’s apartment.
To say I have butterflies in my stomach is an understatement; I have anything with wings flying around in there. I’ve never been so nervous in my life.
Pulling up to the curb in front of her building, I park on the street where I can see the café. I can see her table in the window and inwardly smile at the memory of our first meeting there. Retrieving her belongings from the trunk of my car, I run up the stairs leading to the inside security door. After I press the buzzer, I hear her sweet voice.
“Yes?” she responds, her voice nearly quivering. Whether it’s from fear or anxiety, I haven’t a clue. I just know I don’t like it.
After letting her know it’s me, and she buzzes me in. The closer I get to her door, the more my nerves turn into a knotted mess in my stomach.
I quietly knock and the door opens under the light pressure. Entering, I see her standing there, behind the protection of a chair.
She looks tired, sad and beautiful.
Walking to the kitchen counter to place her bag of belongings there, I find the dress, necklace and earrings I gave her as a gift. My body nearly shuts down on me.
My heart shatters.
I can’t breathe.
She’s leaving me.
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A.P. Hallmark resides in Reno, Nevada, near her youngest daughter and four grandchildren. A paralegal in real life, she started her love of reading at the young age of fifteen, beginning with her first Harlequin Romance … and Fabio.
Her male characters are strong and possessive, her women are strong and feminine. With two powerful lead characters, her stories are filled with adventure, romance, and sometimes their will to be the last one standing gives her readers a fun ride.
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