A journey of exploration...
A journey of healing…
A journey of love…
Two people are forced by circumstances into a therapy class to help them deal with their problems. They are strangers. Forced to be partners. Naturally opposites.
Kane is dealing with anger of betrayal at the deepest level, needing to find his way back to forgiveness. Tania is a previous rape victim hoping to deal with her fear of intimacy so she can have a loving relationship.
Tania's medium of expression - her camera.
Her subject – the human body – Kane's physical body.
Looking through the lens of a camera, she learns to find beauty and compassion...and the strength to find wholeness...with him.
Tania watched silently and a bit regretfully as Kane blew through his temper and back into calm. Her father used to do that: blow up, cool down, and then refuel for the next blow. Her mother had always loved to get him going. They'd fought like cats and dogs all the time, but it hadn't weakened their relationship. They'd argued, debated, and made up with the same passion. Because they blew up often, bad feelings and irritations didn't build up to the point where they caused damage. They shared what they felt all the time – good and bad. It hadn't been the easiest childhood, but she'd always known where she stood on any issue. Bottom line – they loved each other and her.
Even after their divorce, she'd never doubted it. They were still friends today.
Kane looked to be of similar ilk.
It made him a little easier to understand. Except, in this instance, she wished he'd blow a little harder, a little louder. And get them out of this.
"It's only a project," Jenna was saying in her smooth, what-could-you-possibly-be-worried-about tone of voice.
That terrified Tania. She'd been through too much therapy to believe that tone of voice. And from the looks of him, Kane hadn't been through enough. He appeared to be falling for Jenna's line of bullshit.
Tania wasn't so easily swayed. She leaned forward. "Jenna, you know our history. I'm not sure what Kane's issue is, but you know mine."
Jenna smiled warmly at her and waited for her to continue, expectancy on her face for a favorite student about to give the right answer. That should have been enough warning, but just in case Jenna really didn't get it… "Surely," Tania added, "I could work with Robin. I'd love that." She beamed with relief at the smile on Jenna's face. This would work. Tania had always managed to get things to work at university and at work. People were accommodating; no one wanted discord.
Then she saw the look in Jenna's eyes and recognized there was to be no easy exit from this one.
"Fine. How hard can this be?" Tania glared at Kane, who just raised an eyebrow at her. He flicked something off his thigh, but it was the mocking look that made her ask. "What?"
"Oh, nothing; just flicking away an irritating mosquito."
She shot him a narrow-eyed look before turning her back on him to glare at Jenna. "This is a really bad idea," she said in a dark tone.
But Jenna was laughing. "Maybe and maybe not. So let's go over what you are going to do."
That was when Tania understood she was getting a camera.
A smile broke free, relieved laughter rippling throughout the room. "Oh my God! You should have said something in the beginning." She laughed and laughed.
When she could stop the giggles, only the odd hiccupping laugh still escaping, she realized Jenna had a wry smile on her face. Kane wore a thundercloud.
"I'm glad this isn't quite as impossible as you'd first been afraid it was," Jenna said gently.
And that, of course, had been the crux of the issue. Settling down, Tania relaxed, realizing she'd let her fears completely override rational thought here.
She loved photography, and of course Jenna knew that. They'd discussed it several times. She wasn't sure why or how, or if the sensation was real or just another mirage she put up in her world to make something doable, but being behind a camera put distance between her and a situation. It gave her a buffer from the uncomfortable, the too-intense insights, and the world at large.
It gave her a sense of security and of safety.
Jenna was seriously bright to have done this. Relief let Tania sit down and let herself settle inside. She was safe. This wasn't going to be something super scary or super intimate. In fact, she had to wonder if it would do anything for her at all, but her mind immediately clutched at the straw offered and said she could deal with the other stuff later down the road, like in ten years’ time.
"Okay. I'm really going to love this project." Her mind wandered to the camera gear she'd brought with her, wondering what to use first. It all depended on what they had to photograph. Then another tidbit fell into place. "That's why you told me to be sure to bring my camera gear, isn't it?"
"Yes, it is." Jenna nodded, but she didn't look at Tania. Instead, she kept her gaze on Kane.
Realizing she'd been awash in her own satisfaction and joy at what she would be doing, she'd put no thought to Kane's role in all of this. It wasn’t as if she needed him to carry stuff. It was all lightweight, and she'd been packing her gear for a long time.
She frowned as she took in the hard gaze between Jenna and Kane, realizing she'd missed something.
"Uhm, what's going on?" She studied the tick on Kane's jaw and recognized that instead of a blow-up, he'd gone super quiet. In her dad's case, it meant he was seriously pissed. She winced. Kane was going to have a monster of a headache after this. Clenching his jaw, his neck was corded, and as her gaze slipped down his chest, she realized his fists were almost white at the knuckles.
"Jenna?" No one could miss the signals in the room right now. She cleared her throat and tried again. "Maybe you could tell me what Kane and I are going to photograph?"
Kane, his voice like silken steel, answered instead. "Go ahead, Jenna." His voice deepened dangerously. "Tell us."
Shit. Tania's gaze raced from the one so furious she couldn't believe he was holding back to Jenna, who sat calmly, returning his stare in apparent unconcern. But Jenna was no fool; everyone knew you didn't turn your back on a dangerous animal.
And right now Kane was one hell of a dangerous animal.
"Why don't you tell her, if you think you know," Jenna said smoothly.
"Kane?" Tania wanted this tension to break. Even tensile strength had a breaking point.
"It's not what you're going to photograph," he snapped." It's who."
Tania didn't understand, but at the approving curl on Jenna's lips, she figured Kane just got the favorite student award.
"Who am I supposed to photograph?" she asked, bewildered.
Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It's a Dog's Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her - and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.
To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her at http://www.dalemayer.com.
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Or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author.
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Books by Dale Mayer
Psychic Vision Series
Hide'n Go Seek
Garden of Sorrow
Eyes to the Soul - fall/winter 2014
By Death Series
Touched by Death - Part 1 - Free
Touched by Death - Part 2
Touched by Death - Full book
Haunted by Death
Chilled by Death - fall/winter 2014
Second Chances...at Love Series
Second Chances - Part 1
Second Chances - Part 2
Second Chances - Full book
It's a Dog's Life- romantic comedy
Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy
Broken Protocols #1
Broken Protocols #2
Broken Protocols #3
New adult/adul crossover Books
In Cassie's Corner
Gem Stone (a Gemma Stone mystery)
Family Blood Ties Series
Vampire in Denial
Vampire in Distress
Vampire in Design
Vampire in Deceit
Vampire in Defiance
Career Essentials: The Resume
Career Essentials: The Cover Letter
Career Essentials: The Interview
Career Essentials: 3 in 1