Hey... I’m Angie Hemmings, the author of Help Me Move On. Today I wanted to give you guys an excerpt from the book. When we first meet Ally Dunn she’s at the funeral for her fiancè, struggling with the regrets that haunt her and mistakes she can’t unmake. Moving on from her first and only love is something Ally never thought would happen and yet the moment she starts to move on with her life she realizes that everything she thought she knew was wrong. Attacked in her own home, her grandmother hospitalized, and Isaiah unable or unwilling to give her any answers Ally finds herself at a crossroads. The problem with unanswered questions is sometimes you don’t need someone to give you the answers...sometimes the answers are there all along you just have to open our eyes in order to see them.
Ally went upstairs, her mind filled with questions that Isaiah wasn't willing to answer. She needed to get away from him at that point. She walked up the wide wooden stairs, into her bedroom, her hands working to unbraid her hair as she walked over to the bed. She sat down, her hands sliding across the smooth comforter.
So many questions but no answers.
She lay back, her eyes following the large wooden beams above her head. The stone fireplace covered the entire wall in front of her bed, large stones in various shades of grey. Sitting beside the fireplace next to the checkerboard was something new...a dozen lavender roses.
Ally shot up, her hand going immediately to her chest, but the chain wasn't there. She got out of the bed, looking to the night stand for the chain.
I took my chain off, I sat the chain down on the nightstand. Last night, I did this last night.
But it wasn't there. The chain, the dog-tags.
They were gone.
Ally dropped to her knees, laying her body flat to the floor as she looked under the bed. Using her hand to stretch, she swiped her hand across the wood floor.
She looked under the nightstand, pulling it away from the wall. The dog-tags missing. She shook her head, her arms crossing when she walked over to where the roses sat beside the fireplace. A dozen, lavender roses with a sweet scent that filled the room.
Yet still, no card.
She was in a home that had two separate gates to go through before you could even get to the house.
Yet someone had managed to get into her bedroom?
Her mind was going a mile a minute. There was something she was missing but she couldn't figure out what it was. Then she thought of it...the panic room. Eric designed the room for her, the roses always came on a specific date, and the panic room required her fingerprint as the key...
Ally walked over to the wall, her hand skirting along the edges until finding the right stone. Pulling at the stone she opened the door, typing in the code and placing her finger on the screen. The door opened long enough for her to walk through. Using her hand she slid it along the wall, flipping the switch to light the room. She heard the door closing behind her, but she was to focused on the panic room and what she was missing. She started with the wall next to the door, her eyes scanning the flat, grey wall covered by a large painting hung in the middle. She stood back, admiring the painting, the water was a blue that had always reminded her of Eric's eyes, a scattering of pink water lilies floated along the water. That painting had been one of her favorites when she was in college.
And then she remembered.
Like a lightbulb going off, she remembered the time Eric had taken her to the museum in Raleigh. She had gone on and on about the water lilies and how she wanted a print but they couldn't find one when they were there. And now, here in the panic room he had built for her sat a print of the painting she had wanted so long ago.
She turned away from the painting, looking through the rest of the room, sliding her hands along the sides of the couch, going to the shelves and pulling out packages of dehydrated food. The dog-tags were gone, taken by the person who brought her the flowers.
What am I missing...
She walked around the room, the last twenty-four hours coming back to her. The attack, the desperation she saw in the mens eyes. They wanted to know where someone was, but she didn't know who that person was. Eric was gone, she watched his casket go into the earth and she watched the men cover that same casket with dirt. Ally looked through the entire room, ending up in front of painting again.
Why she did it, she wasn't quite sure but she decided to move the painting. Sliding her hands along the sides she lifted it from the hook on the wall, placing it on the floor by the still closed door and turning back to the wall.
Oh my God...
Her hand covered her mouth, standing there she found herself looking at eight different television screens. Each screen now showing different parts of the house, only not just the cabin but her house...her house in Pilot.
Her living room.
Someone could stay in this room and watch her. She knew Isaiah owned his own security business. He was the reason she had such a state of the art security system, Isaiah was always experimenting with different ways to increase security.
But had Isaiah installed cameras in her bedroom? To be able and watch her, watch her when she was changing, when she thought she was alone...was disgusting.
A knock woke her from her gaze, completely engrossed in the fact that she had absolutely no privacy. She could easily see Isaiah standing at the wall to the panic room, knocking on the door to get her attention. That screen kept going to each room of the house.
Ally swallowed back the bile that had crept into the back of her throat, turning to open the door. Isaiah stood there, his usual calm self, only now his features seemed harsher. More calculating.
"Lunch is ready," he looked over to the screens and back to her, "but I guess you're not hungry anymore."
"No," Ally shook her head, walking back to where she had stood and pointing towards the screens. Isaiah saw the screens, looking around the room as though she weren't alone. "Isaiah tell me you didn't do this."
He watched the screens, watching as each screen skipped to another area of each home. He looked back to the painting leaning against the wall before looking to Ally. "What made you decide to take the painting off?"
"Because Eric bought that painting for me."
Isaiah said nothing, his hand lifting to rest underneath his chin. "How do you know this Ally?"
"It's the only thing I ever asked him to buy for me that he couldn't buy." Ally walked over, sitting down on the purple sofa and resting her arm against the back, her head laying on her arm. "He wanted to but they were out of prints. I never mentioned the painting again and no one else knew about it Isaiah...including you." She looked at him, their eyes locked on each other. She could feel her heartbeat taking off, completely uncontrolled as she found the strength to speak. "Have you been buying me the roses," she asked, her eyes meeting his.
He didn't speak, his finger under his chin as he shook his head.
"Did you take the dog-tags," she asked. "Isaiah I never take them off, until last night...and I know...I know where I put them."
Again, he only shook his head.
"How accessible is this room Isaiah," she asked, her eyes going back to the screen that showed her bedroom in Pilot.
Isaiah started shaking his head, pacing back and forth in the room. He walked over to where she sat, her feet tucked underneath her. "The two of us and Eric, but Ally, Eric's dead he can't sit around and watch you."
She looked down at her hands, now intertwined on her lap. "Isaiah he's alive and he's watching me." She looked back over to the screens, Isaiah finally realizing her bedroom was one of the rooms with cameras.
"Unless you put the cameras in my bedroom," Ally asked. "Because from where I'm sitting, I could easily watch someone getting dressed in my bedroom."
It was just....wrong.
"Ally," Isaiah was completely dumbfounded.
"Tell me you didn't put cameras in my bedroom," Ally began, "please Isaiah. I need to at least know you wouldn't do something like that."
"No," Isaiah walked over sitting by her side. "I have cameras on the main floor, but not in your bedrooms."
Ally reached over, her hand laying lightly against his hand that now sat in a fist by his side. "Tell me everything."
Isaiah shook his head, running his hand through his hair and sitting back in the couch. "Ally I can't."
"The hell you can't." Ally jumped to her feet, walking over and pointing to the screens. "Look. Isaiah seriously, LOOK." She pointed to the screens. "If you didn't put the cameras in my room, then someone did and they obviously had to have access to this room to watch me."
"Ally," his voice was so calm.
But he didn't understand the anger that was boiling in her at that moment.
"Ally please calm down."
"Don't tell me to calm down when you aren't the one who's had a camera in your damn bedroom!" She walked over to the shelving unit and staring at the rows upon rows of dehydrated food.
"Ally no one's been here," Isaiah continued. "If they were I would know."
"Eric was just as trained as you were with security," Ally said with a huff. "I get it, once a Delta always a Delta. But this..." She pointed towards the screens again. "I want the cameras out of my bedroom Isaiah."
"When we get back I'll find them and remove them." He walked over to where she stood by the shelves along that back wall. "Ally I'm sorry this is happening to you."
She took a deep breath, her eyes closing as she tried to find some peace. For once to not have to worry about something or someone. She let out her breath, looking up to Isaiah. "I'm not sorry it's happening. I'm sorry that you won't tell me what he did. I loved him and I think he's alive...whether you believe that or not. So me not knowing is only putting me and everyone I love in more danger."
Everyone she loved...
Her hand went to her mouth, her eyes closing and her heart breaking. "If he's alive then he knows about Colton." She looked over to Isaiah tears welling in her eyes. "I finally moved on and now..."
She shook her head, her hand flying up when Isaiah walked over to her. "He's watched me moving on with my life." Ally ran her hands through her hair, tugging at the ends as she realized what was happening. "He sent me the roses on days that only I would know were significant..." Ally walked back to where the painting now sat against the wall, her eyes scanning the canvas.
"You deserve to be happy," Isaiah said, his hands going to rest on her shoulders. "We don't know he's alive."
"Yes...we do," she said, her tears falling and her fingers running along the bottom corner of the painting.
The painting she had wanted he made sure Isaiah bought for her.
"What are you talking about Ally?"
"When did you bring the painting to this room Isaiah," she asked, her tears were worse and her fingers running along the message he had left for her. Four simple words written in Eric's handwriting on the back of that painting.
I'll never leave you...
She looked up to Isaiah, the blood draining from face as he looked at the words on that painting.
"Before we left for Uganda," he whispered.
She stopped, "He's been trying to tell me all along I just didn't want to believe it and now..." She started shaking her head, "No matter what I do I'm going to hurt someone that I love."
I loved that part, I mean how many of us know about a panic rooms or security that involves cameras in your bedroom? Seriously, Ally is a small town girl from Pilot Mountain. Her day to day activities involve going to work and then home with a little Krav Maga in between so the real question I keep asking myself at this point is what really happened when her fiancè Eric died?
What do you think?
Help Me Move On
The Southern Ties Series
Number of pages: 248
Word Count: 81079
Ally Dunn is a small town girl with big dreams planning a wedding that would never happen. Ally’s life revolved around being Eric’s wife…until she watched his best friend Isaiah step off that plane, his arm in a sling and Eric's casket behind him. Her grief consumed her, their last conversation not one filled with love but an argument over her favorite flower. He knew her favorite flower, he was just busy…fighting for his country. Isaiah made a promise to Eric, he would keep Ally safe even if that meant saving her from herself. Isaiah takes Ally away when her grief becomes too much but their return brings about something she never expected.
When Ally meets Colton Walker she knows her life will never be the same. She never planned to move on from Eric, the mere idea of moving on would send her into a panic. How do you move on from the man you loved, the man who shared your dreams, who made your heart feel whole? But Colton doesn’t push her, he doesn’t pressure her, he gives her everything she ever needed and he does it effortlessly.
Falling in love with Colton was like taking her next breath; she didn’t have to think about because it came naturally…only a cloud hangs over Ally. Isaiah trains her in Krav Maga, Eric trained her in gunfire. Colton sees all of this, asking the one question she can’t answer, why? Why would a woman who lives in such a small town need to know such aggressive self-defense? Isaiah vows to keep her safe, going so far as to track her every move…but why?
Surviving Eric’s death almost killed Ally, the hole in her heart never truly healed until Colton. Falling in love with Colton was easy, fighting for her life when everything she thought she knew was wrong…that was a completely different story.
Available at Amazon
About the Author:
Angie Hemmings is a self-proclaimed romance addict. Her love for romance began at an early age but after years of reading romance novels she found herself wanting more which led to her first novel. She's originally from Mount Airy, a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and she loves the art behind creating a new story. Getting lost in the romance, the struggle between her characters is what makes Angie Hemmings continue her work and writing is what she loves.