Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sam's Story: Book Three (Skylar Trilogy) by Amy D. Crusan-Kramer Excerpt



In this captivating saga, Samantha Skylar experiences undying passion and endures one horrific act of brutality that sweeps her into the arms of the second most powerful man in the country. Samantha’s journey takes her from the poverty and close-minded attitudes of a tiny, coal-mining town in West Virginia, to the estate of one of Atlanta’s oldest and wealthiest families. This epic trilogy follows Samantha from the age of 14 to 40.

Book Three opens with Sam struggling to adjust to a new life in a new city. She is grieving the loss of her friends, while tentatively exploring a new relationship with the Vice President of the United States. Not quite a year into this new life, Sam finds herself back in Atlanta, once again trying to heal. Complications arise as she works to repair relationships with the people she loves most.

After her successful reentry into her life in Atlanta, Sam discovers a love stronger than any romantic love she'd ever experienced: the love of a mother for her child. But after one more devastating loss, she ponders the wisdom of ever letting herself love or be loved again.


Washington, DC
Friday, February 12, 1993

You seem like you’re a million miles away this evening, Sam.” Nancy’s familiar comforting voice penetrated my thoughts.
I’d been staring blindly out the window of her tiny office at the women’s shelter. “God, it looks like it’s going to snow again,” I groaned. She was quiet; she was amazing at being quiet, and never seemed to feel uncomfortable. I’d always felt as though I should fill the silences. Nancy was the only person I was comfortable with in silence … well, not the only person, but I didn’t want to think about that other person. I looked over at her desk; it faced the wall to make more room in the tiny office. I sought out the pictures that always calmed me during my therapy sessions. There were two: one of her and her four children. They all looked so happy, and why wouldn’t they be with a mom like her? The other picture was of Nancy and her cocker spaniel, Baxter. He was brown and white with freckles across his nose. “How’s Baxter?”
She smiled at me. “He’s fine. He’s getting old and a little hard of hearing, but he’s fine.” I nodded. “How are you?”
I looked at her and felt my eyes well with tears. “Sad … and terrified all the time.” She nodded. “It’s been over three months,” I spat in exasperation.
She nodded again. “You’re grieving … it’s a process.”
Grieving? Oh, for Bastian?” There was that ‘other person.’
Well, yes, for Bastian. But you lost more than Bastian. Joe took things from you…” I shook my head. I didn’t want to talk about Joe. “Why are you shaking your head, Sam?”
I can’t talk about that,” I whispered. My hand went to my chest that felt as though it were constricting. I couldn’t breathe.
Take some deep breaths. You’re fine.” I did as she instructed. “How’s work?” I could have kissed her for changing the subject.
I relaxed and smiled. “I like it. There’s security everywhere…”
She laughed quietly. “Yes, it is the White House.” I smiled and nodded.
I’m busy from the moment I arrive until I leave, sometimes I work a twelve or fourteen-hour day. I like it … it keeps me from thinking.” I idly picked at some cat hair on my pants. “I usually go in on the weekends. But…” I sighed miserably. “Daniel’s going out of town this weekend for his mother-in-law’s birthday, so I have the entire weekend to myself. No Daniel, no Chris…” My voice trailed off and I went back to looking out the window.
Well, back to grieving … it happens in stages. Everyone does it their own way and in their own time. You lost a part of yourself, emotionally and physically, when Joe raped you.”
I hate that word.”
Mm-hmm, it’s an ugly word for an ugly act. But that’s what he did to you. How long was he there that night, Sam?”
I shook my head. “I-I don’t know … ten, eleven hours?”
Okay, let’s say it was ten hours. It was ten hours, Sam. Don’t let those ten hours and that horrible person dictate the rest of your life.”
I don’t know how not to,” I answered honestly.
I know. That’s why you’re here … so we can come up with ways for you to move on from it.” We were quiet again. I looked down at my hands in my lap, twisting Phil’s ring around on my left ring finger.
Don’t you usually wear that on your thumb?” I looked down and smiled as I touched the plain gold band. “It’s the ring Phil gave you, right?”
Mm-hmm. I finally took it in and got it resized. It feels good to have it back where it belongs.”
Why does it ‘belong’ there, Sam?” I looked up at her, confused. Where else would I wear it? “Well, what I mean is … you have an engagement ring from Bastian, too, right?” I nodded, not liking the direction this conversation was taking. She shrugged and asked, “Well, why wouldn’t you wear that one? Why doesn’t that one ‘belong’ on your ring finger? What was wrong with wearing Phil’s ring on your thumb like you had been doing?”
I sighed. “Well … there’s a security officer at work. He’s very nice … he always makes an effort to chat a little in the morning when I check in.”
Nancy smiled at me and nodded. “You can never have too many friends, Sam.”
I s’pose. Last Friday I worked pretty late. He walked me out to my car … and then…” I could feel my heart pounding, just like it did last Friday. I stood up and walked over to the window, staring out as the first few flakes began falling. “Then he asked me to go out to dinner with him … maybe a movie.”
What did you say?”
I turned and looked at her incredulously. “No, of course!” We were both quiet. I turned slowly and walked back to my chair. I sat and picked at a hangnail on my thumb until it bled. “Well, I didn’t exactly say no. I, uh, well… I pretended that I hadn’t heard him. I thanked him for getting me safely to my car, got in and drove home. The next day, I took the ring in and got it resized. He’s off on Mondays. I picked the ring up Monday night and when I signed in on Tuesday, I made a point of moving my left hand around a lot so he would see it.” I was suddenly horribly embarrassed. I looked up at Nancy and relaxed. She never looked or acted shocked by anything I told her … I loved that about her. “Hmm, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but telling the story now … it seems kind of silly.”
She smiled at me. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just be honest with him? Wouldn’t you like to be able to thank him for the invitation, but tell him that you’re just not interested in dating right now?” I looked down and nodded. “That’s what I meant earlier, Sam. That Joe has taken a part of you emotionally. He took that independent woman who didn’t need a ruse to avoid people. Our job is to get her back.”

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