For Drake Evans, life was once happy. He was living the kind of existence that any man would envy. By his side was the woman he loved and a daughter he cherished. Life was truly perfect, until the day demons from the past came crashing into their perfect world, destroying everything he had been so sure would last forever.
Today, Drake’s life is shrouded in misery. Every day he faces the unyielding pain of losing the love of his life at the hands of a drug dealing murderer. On top of it all, he has to live with the anguishing betrayal caused by the devastating role his brother played in Presley’s death. Gone are the days of carefree happiness and impending futures. They've all been replaced with the shallow emptiness hollowing out his heart and the undeniable rage pumping through his veins. Drake is only moving through the motions of life, raising his daughter and earning a living, in the only way he can tolerate—alone.
Since the day she was banished from her family, Zoe Ledoux lives her life as a free spirit. For the past four years, Zoe’s been moving through life day by day, place by place. She never stays in one area long enough to establish relationships. She refuses to get close to anyone, protecting herself from the fear of once again being left behind. Then a turn of fate sends her to Sulfur Heights where she lands a job working as a bartender.
In a chance meeting, an instant connection forms, bringing together the wounded souls of Drake and Zoe. It is together that they begin to cope; to mend the brokenness of their pasts and feel what it is like to truly live again. However, will their newly formed friendship be enough to pull Drake and Zoe from their dark pasts? Can Drake overcome the fear of losing someone he loves and eradicate his anger just enough to let someone in? Will he learn that Surviving Love with Zoe is what he ultimately needs in order to be happy?
“Here’s to the rest of a useless life,” I toast to no one and chug down the whiskey. It instantly burns and calms my insides. The raging ocean of emotions I can’t seem to shake is finally subduing, and it’s welcome. Jack Daniels is always welcome to ease my agony. Always.
I rip my tucked-in shirt from the waistband of my pants and move down the back stairs. The last time I wore this fucking shirt was when I saw Presley in rehab. I will never wear this piece of shit again. Still grasping the bottle, I rip open my shirt, popping buttons as my chest is exposed to the cold, damp air.
I walk to the driveway and see the spot where I last held Presley alive. My boots scuff the pavement when I walk toward the dreaded spot. I hold the bottle to my lips again and chug. Then again and again. It’s burning my gut and suffocating my throat, but I keep gulping it down. My legs give out, collapsing to the concrete. The pain stings when my knees connect with the ground. I relish in it. It’s more welcome than the pain in my heart.
“This is the only way I can get you out of my mind,” I whisper out loud to no one, or maybe to her, but I don’t fucking know. “I need you out of my mind. I need peace for just a day. I love you, Presley, but I just need peace.” I expel a deep breath and choke back another drink. “Don’t hate me, baby, but please…give me some peace.”
I lay down on the cold concrete just as the rain begins to pick up again. I don’t care. I want to be in this spot. I want to be with her. And I want to be numb. I choke back a few more drinks until the bottle is empty then close my eyes, envisioning only her honey-brown irises and the world I will no longer possess. ~ Drake Evans, Surviving Love
M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, M.S. Brannon spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.