“She is my heart and the other half of my life, and now, that life no longer exists." ~Drake Evans, Surviving Love
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?
I yank open the door and pull the half empty bottle of whiskey left in the cupboard. Unscrewing the cap, I tip the glass to my lips and allow a few more tears to fall down my face.
“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.
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Review by Tammy Tru Blue:
T here with my review of Surviving Love by M.S. Brannon. This is the second to last book of the Sulfur Heights Series. Going to take a moment and talk to the author here. Then give my review.
Fireball….. (Smirk on my face). Scarred Love. It being your first book you did amazing. Yet you only got my sympathy for Darcie and Reggie. Tragic Love. Wow!!!! The tears did not fall. The eyes did water I give you that. Yet they just couldn’t fall for Drake and Presley. Blind Love. Oh shit Jake! You killed me this one. I loved him in the previous 2 books. Yet here, here I couldn’t stand Jake in half of the book. Great ending thou. When he is done with the Delilah send him my way. Surviving Love. Your reopened memories that I closed. For it to take me 3hrs to just read 40pgs cause the memories could not go away. I cried. I DON’T CRY!!!! In all the books that I have read only 5 have made me do this. You are part of that group now. You put your heart into this book. And I felt your heart, your emotions while you were writing that. Because it was as if you were standing next to me feeling the same thing that I was going through. And that is something I would never want anybody to go through. You touched on everything in this book. I applaud you for that. Surviving Love has a place in my heart just for that. I thank you Fireball. You gave me a reason to remember again. To feel the love again even if I can’t feel the hug anymore.
IF YOU HAVE NOT READ TRAGIC LOVE DO NOT CONTINUE READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alright enough of this emotional stuff. My review 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟+++++ (yeah it’s like that)
Enter Drake. After losing his first true love we see him as a young man struggling with the loss and trying to be a father to Mia. With every new day that is upon him he is reliving some type of the nightmare over again. With the Evans family and Mrs. Fields acting as a mother to him that he always wanted he is able to do what he has to in order to raise his daughter. Even if he feels alone. Feeling that nobody can understand the pain that is inside of him. Holding all of his emotions Drake turns to drinking on the wkends to become numb. From the pain that happened to Presley. The pain from knowing what his brother has done. And also that he is never going to be able to love again. What is a young struggling (emotionally) father to do? He knows that if the war inside his head was to take a day off he would be dead. How does one survive with this battle going on inside of you?
Next we meet Zoe. She is always on the move. You don’t make friends or family. They wouldn’t stay around. They are only going to hurt you in the end. After confessing to her best friend (cousin mind you) what has happened to her, her mother throws her out of the house telling her that she is never going to be loved because she is nothing but a slut. Having nobody to turn to she takes to the road. Ending in one state to the next. At one point Zoe decides to stay until her boyfriend feels the need to hit her. Having had enough it is time to hit the road again. She enters Sulfur Heights only to run into her Aunt Connie (aka Mrs. Fields). Here she learns that not everyone in the family feels the same way. Should she stay and embrace the love that her Aunt is willing to give her? Can she accept the friendship that the Evans family? Or is she going to run again. Run from everything that could bring her happiness for once.
There were 2 statements made in this book that truly hit me. I don’t want to say where they are. Yet they are placed in the perfect moment.
1) “The only way to move forward in life is to accept your past. Work through it and walk forward.”
2) “No, there wasn’t. No one could have predicted any of it, any of it. We’re always wondering what we could have done differently. And truthfully the answer is nothing. Events like that have a purpose and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. The only control we have over stuff like that is how we choose to handle it.”
Y’all need to get this book. And PLEASE get the box of tissues before you sit down and read. You WILL need them plus a bottle of JD.
Review by Georgette:
MS Brannon has a unique writing style that truly captures your attention and emotions. She doesn’t write the typical love story, nor does she believe she needs to put an HEA on every story. I had the pleasure of working very closely with Melissa on this book and it paid off very well in the end.
I know people will see a very different side of Drake in this story. You may not love him the way you did in Tragic Love but you understand a lot more of him and all of the emotions he went through. Drake is redefined after suffering such tragic life events.
Zoe is such a great addition to the Sulfur Heights gang. She’s not like Darcy, Presley or even Delilah. She is a whole new person whose life was also lead through very difficult times. She doesn’t trust or love easy and doesn’t believe she will ever find what others believe in as love.
Drake’s dedication to Mia throughout this book just has you swooning with every chapter. He doesn’t want to be with anyone other than his precious little girl. He develops a very familiar relationship with Mrs. Fields as his mother figure and a grandmother for Mia. It’s a relationship that was truly meant to happen in my opinion.
The unknown relationship that Mrs. Fields has with a stranger that is on Drake’s mind is something that truly throws him for a loop.
This book is a must read! I have given it 5 stars and wish I could give it more!! I cannot wait for the final book in the series, Redeemed Love to come out!!