EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Clarity - The Complete Series
by Loretta Lost
Clarity - The Complete Series contains all three books in the series and is ON SALE for only $0.99 (save $5.00) for a limited time. Coming February 2015: Clarity 4: After the Storm (pre-order now and save).
This bundle contains all three books in the Clarity series:
Clarity 1 (FREE)
Her world has always been dark, but he might be able to change everything …
Fiercely independent Helen Winters was born completely blind, but she vowed never to let her disability keep her down. She did not expect a traumatic event to devastate her life and force her to drop out of college. Disillusioned by the cruelty of people, Helen retreated from society to live by herself as a reclusive writer in the woods – where no one could ever hurt her again.
When a brilliant young doctor shows up on her doorstep, promising her that his new research can give her the ability to see for the first time, Helen stubbornly refuses. She has learned not to trust anyone, and to rely only on herself. But Dr. Liam Larson will not take no for an answer. He makes it his personal mission to rescue Helen from her loneliness, and bring joy into her world once more – the joy she has denied herself for so long.
When Helen’s demons come racing back into her life, threatening to rip her apart and destroy the strength she has carefully rebuilt, Liam is the only one who might be able to save her. Can he reach the broken girl in time, helping her to heal and see the world in a different light? Or will Helen’s grief send her spiraling out of control, lost to him forever?
When violent memories come racing back, he is her only hope …
Helen Winters was living a lonely existence when the charming Dr. Liam Larson coaxed her out of solitude with the promise of healing her sightless eyes. She was hopeful at the prospect of gaining vision for the first time and being reunited with her family. She was also growing somewhat fond of the persuasive young doctor. For the first time in years, she was being magnetically drawn to a new friend …
Then everything came crashing down.
Plunged into a hellish nightmare, Helen is forced to face the same evils she ran away to escape so long ago. She is unprepared to have her hopes crushed and her peace destroyed. She finds herself living in constant terror and drowning in fear–and Liam’s voice is the only thing that can keep her afloat. His comforting touch becomes the only light in her pitch-black darkness. Helen has always been a tough girl who relied only on herself. But this time, she can’t survive alone. Due to the horrors of her past, Helen has promised herself not to trust anyone. When her life becomes unbearable, how can she trust Liam enough to let him save her?
After many years of darkness, Winter never thought that she’d be happy or safe again. Her whole world changed when she met Liam Larson, a charming young doctor determined to be her knight in shining armor. When a brutal night unleashes vicious reminders of her past, Winter must struggle to hold on to the little bit of happiness she has found.
When everything begins to fall apart, Liam’s strength and kindness might not be enough to save her. Battling with the betrayal of her family, terrifying nightmares, and frequent reminders of her enemy that make daily life difficult, Winter’s first instinct is to run away. She is tired of being the victim and living in a cruel, crowded city where she doesn’t feel like she belongs.
But Liam promises her that if she only trusts him, he can change everything. And that’s exactly what he attempts to do, starting with an operation to heal her eyes, and then her heart …
“It’s dangerous to be out here like this,” he tells me, crouching down to my level. “Jesus, Helen. Your lips are turning blue. We should go back inside.”
“I’m not going back into that house,” I say adamantly. “I’d rather die here.”
“But Helen ...”
“No. I told you I had a bad feeling. I never should have come back here.”
Liam takes my hands into his and begins to rub them between his own to generate some heat through friction. “You’re shivering way too much. Let me go inside and get some warmer clothes and some blankets ...”
“No, I’m fine.” I pull my hands away from him and wrap them around myself.
I hear him standing up and moving briskly toward the exit of the shed. “I should grab some hot cocoa at the very least, and maybe a portable heater ...”
“No - no. Liam. Please don’t leave. Just stay with me?” I can’t believe how pathetic I sound. I can’t believe that sentence even left my lips. My embarrassment is quickly assuaged when I feel the floorboards creak as he moves back over to my corner, and lowers himself to sit next to me. I am relieved to have him near me, but I am swiftly seized with a fear that he will get too close. I remember Grayson’s hands on my body, and the gun against my chest. I remember the disgusting, degrading kiss. I flinch away from Liam, pressing myself against the wall of the wooden cabin. I feel a sudden suffocating claustrophobia. I am not usually one to dislike small spaces - in fact, I usually prefer them - but being confined in close quarters with other people is entirely unnerving.
I am grateful when Liam maintains his distance. He does not try to embrace me or move any closer; not even under the pretense of keeping me warm. He seems to be able to sense my anxiety. When he sits beside me for over a full minute without trying to touch me or even asking why I’m upset, I begin to relax. I stop holding my breath, and I feel the erratic pounding of my heart slowly ease. I reach down and lift his coat, arranging it so that it covers his legs as well.
“Can I at least keep trying to warm your hands?” he asks me. “I’m worried.”
“Yes,” I tell him softly, “but I think my toes are the real problem. They feel like they’re going to fall off.”
I feel Liam slide his coat over my ankles to study my feet. “Helen... okay. This is going to sound awful, but you need to listen to me.” He speaks in a brisk and commanding tone that I haven’t heard him use before. “Put your feet in my lap.”
“In your lap?” I say awkwardly.
“Yes. Unless you want to risk losing your toes.”
“You’re probably exaggerating,” I accuse him, but the cold is so agonizing that I am beginning to grow desperate for any warmth. I try to flex my toes, and wince, because even that tiny bit of motion hurts like a bitch.
“I’m not really exaggerating. It’s damn cold out here. But I won’t let you get severe frostbite,” he tells me firmly, “because I’ll drag you kicking and screaming back into that house before any permanent damage is done. However, if you don’t follow my instructions right away, you’ll probably develop blisters and swelling so painful that you can’t walk for days.”
I make a face, for this sounds almost as unpleasant as my feet already feel.
“Trust me,” he says. “I’m a doctor.”
“You know that every time you say that I get even more suspicious, right?” I ask him lightly.
“Feet. Lap. Now.” He demands this while vigorously rubbing my fingers.
Biting my lip, I angle my body perpendicular to his and place my feet in his lap. I carefully rest my toes against what should be the warmest part of his upper thigh, while still being as respectful and polite as possible and not plunging my toes directly into his genitals. Unfortunately, I am so numb that I can’t feel any of his body heat and it offers no immediate relief to my stinging pain.
Liam arranges his coat more closely around my legs as he continues to rub my fingers.
“Thanks,” I tell him softly.
“You don’t need to thank me,” he responds, and there is a bit of anger in his voice. “I’m just trying to keep you all in one piece. Jesus. It’s like you’re determined to sabotage yourself! If being blind isn’t bad enough, you have no appreciation for your fingers and toes. Your body parts aren’t just expendable, you know!”
“No,” I tell him. “That’s not what I meant. Thanks for not asking what happened in the house.”
“Oh,” he says in surprise. “Well ... you’re welcome. I figure that if you want to tell me, you will.”
I am quiet for a moment, except for the noise of my teeth chattering and my short, rapid breathing. “Can I sit a little closer to you?” I ask quietly.
“Sure,” he says, but he moves toward me instead, pinning me into the corner of the shed. He slips his arm around me, trying to cradle me in a cocoon of comfort and warmth.
I lean forward and press my shoulder against his body, trying to burrow into the warmth of his armpit. My ears and nose have been stinging with pain, and I press my face against his chest to steal the heat of his torso, through his tuxedo jacket. My feet are still positioned in his lap. I am shivering quite uncontrollably now, and running out into the snow no longer seems like it was the perfect rebellious and dramatic idea. It feels like it was immature and self-destructive. I wouldn’t have cared if Liam hadn’t followed me; if it was just me alone, shivering and getting frostbite and possibly dying, I might be comfortable with that. But forcing him to take care of me? Making him deal with my stress and my crisis? That’s selfish of me, and it’s not right. I feel so childish and needy, and I hate myself for being like this.
“I’m sorry,” I mumble against his chest. “I didn’t mean to involve you ...”
“I involved myself,” he responds. “Are you feeling a bit warmer? Does it hurt anywhere?”
“Just my ears and face,” I say quietly. My nipples are also hurting a great deal, but I am far too embarrassed to mention that. The cold is starting to make me sleepy.
I feel one of Liam’s hands leave mine, and a warm palm is pressed against my exposed ear. He gently rubs my ear between his fingers, and I wince at the pain. I feel his fingers under my chin, lifting it so that he can examine my face. He presses his thumb against my nose, massaging it gently, followed by my cheeks. He leans down and breathes hot air into my face, and it tickles my eyelashes. He skirts his thumb over my frozen lips, while breathing more hot air onto my skin.
“Um,” he says awkwardly, suddenly pulling away. “Sorry about that.”
“About what?” I ask in confusion.
“You know ...” He clears his throat. “The situation in my lap.”
“Oh!” I say in surprise. I’m not sure why, but I try to wiggle my toes around to figure out what he’s talking about. I am almost disappointed when all I feel is the burning pain of my toes. “Unfortunately, I’m too numb to feel anything and I hadn’t noticed.”
“Dammit. Then I shouldn’t have mentioned it,” he grumbles. “How humiliating. Can you please stop poking your feet around now? That’s not helping.”
“Is something happening in your lap?” I ask innocently. For some reason, this is somewhat amusing to me. The gentle beginnings of a smile cause the corners of my lips to crinkle, and this hurts my face as though my skin is made of ice which has begun to crack and shatter.
“Helen,” he says with warning. “Stop teasing me. You refused to go inside or let me go in the house and bring something warm back - so I’m improvising. This is the best I can do.”
“Thanks,” I tell him sincerely. I lean forward and press my face against his chest again, but this time it’s not entirely for warmth. “Why was there a situation in your lap?” I ask him.
“Oh. I was just thinking of ways to help you get warm ... and for an instant, the thought of kissing you might have crossed my mind.”
Luckily, my face being hidden against his chest conceals my surprise. “Thanks for not doing that. I don’t think I could handle it right now.”
“You don’t have to keep thanking me for being a decent human being, Helen. Besides, logically, my armpit is warmer, so you should probably stick your face there - it was just a fleeting thought I couldn’t control.”
Praise for Book 1
"Reading Clarity was like seeing something extraordinary happening, like the first time a bird flies. It was so touching and beautiful and charming, and is absolutely recommended to everyone, young or old." ~ A Thousand Lives Lived
"The interaction between Liam and Helen had those incredibly tender undertones, full of restrained longing and attraction ... Liam says at some point that 'Book are medicine for the soul. They heal the eternal parts of a person.' This is such a book and it's a book I wouldn't want to miss." ~ The Book Enthusiast
"Loretta Lost, I beseech you, I beg of you, to give me the second book of this series right now ... You've written a masterpiece about a woman going through emotional turmoil while standing up for herself and her values in life. I need to see Helen's happy ending." ~ Symphony of Words
"Clarity by Loretta Lost was a fun, action packed, story that was steeped in emotion. From frustrating, infuriating, to laugh out loud, to tender. Loretta Lost has a gift for writing human emotions that reach in your heart and bring its characters to life." ~ Mousehead & Tales
About the Author
Loretta Lost writes for the same reason that you read: to experience all the love and excitement that can often be lacking from real life. She finds it therapeutic to explore her issues through the eyes of a different person. She hopes to have a family someday, but until then, her characters will do nicely.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Clarity - The Complete Series by Loretta Lost. The prize will be sent out after 24 February.