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About the author:
Ashley Suzanne has been writing as long as she can remember. As a youngster, she was always creating stories and talking to her imaginary friends. Thankfully, her parents also carried this love of fiction, and helped her grow into the writer she is today.
Ashley is a bestselling author and spends equal amounts of time writing and reading. Being the true book whore she is, Ashley would rather dive into a good book before going out of her house. Giving up her career in Real Estate, Ashley has officially moved to hermit status.
When Ashley isn't coming up with her next story, you'll most likely find her on the couch with a kindle in her hand (probably watching some crappy reality show while , annoying her husband by telling him all about her new book boyfriend or spending quality time with her two gremlins … Sorry, I mean adorable children.
You can find Ashley on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or her blog.
What inspired you to write your book?
Well, this book … I started writing it after the death of my husband's best friend. I was hoping to find a way to help him heal and to give Danny a life he lost and would live forever in the pages of a book. It ended up being me finding my passion and a way to support my family and be available for my special needs son. This book changed my entire life.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The picture frames that once lined the table in the hallway are now scattered across the floor, in shambles, like the pieces of my heart. Anger and sadness flow through my veins as I look at the broken glass, shattered like my soul. I’m sitting on the cool hardwood floor with my back to the couch and hands tangled in my hair. Tears stream from my eyes and my chest heaves up and down as I try to catch my breath. All I can do is think back to the best day of my life and try to figure out how it completely fell apart.
“You’re it for me, Pea,” Danny said. “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. We’re going to be so disgustingly happy, our friends are going to hate us,” he joked.
“Don’t I know it! I already see the girls making faces when we’re together. This is going to push them over the edge,” I teased. “Do you think we should make a group announcement? Head out on Saturday night, like usual, then BAM, look at my ring, we’re getting married.” I was going to get my fairy tale happily ever after and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone and show off my ring, a classic princess cut ¾ carat diamond on a white gold band.
“We can do it however you want, Pea, as long as you promise me forever and always.” How could I not swoon when he said stuff like that?
“I’m yours as long as you’ll have me,” I said as I crashed into him, pulling him in for the most passionate kiss of my life. Even though I instigated the kiss, it wasn’t long until Danny took control, claiming my mouth for his own, just like he did my heart.
In that moment I thought to myself, ‘I’m hopelessly in love with this man. Please dear God, don’t break my heart.’
I can’t remember his voice. I have been calling Danny’s phone just to hear his greeting and his sultry timbre and now I can’t. Why can’t I remember? The way he would say my name would send me into a frenzy. I’ll never hear those words come from his lips ever again. If I would have known how short our time would be, I would have burned every event to memory. Now I only get bits and pieces. As much as I want everything all at once, I’ll take what I can get just to see him in my mind.
We finally reached the night of our college graduation. I was in my apartment with a few girlfriends, Kylee, Marisol and Lena, getting ready to hit the after party. Knowing Danny would be here soon, I decided to wear something that would tease him in just the right way. My Danny is a boob man, so I put on my black lace corset top that was meant more for lingerie, but God I looked amazing in it. I paired the top with a pair of dark washed jeans and my favorite black peek toe pumps. I was ready to celebrate the end of four years of study groups, aggravating professors, finals, midterms, and lack of sleep with my friends and my man. This was the beginning of the rest of my life …
Danny shows up a little after nine on his bike. “Hey Pea, you ready to go?” he calls from the hallway leading to my apartment.
“Yeah, I heard you pull up. I guess since we’re on the bike, I’m not bringing a purse.”
“You know the rules, Pea. No purses or heels on the bike. Change your shoes, please. You can put your heels in my backpack, if you want,” Danny says annoyed.
I headed back into my room, exchanging my pumps for a pair of black leather knee high boots that fit perfectly over my jeans. Looking at myself in the mirror, I was surprised. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. This looks so much hotter. “Damn, Mira,” I said to myself.
I grabbed a thin black hair tie from my dresser and used my fingers to brush back my long brown hair and place it in a low ponytail. I was glad I decided to curl my hair tonight because the wind would have really mess up my hair and knotted it if I would have straightened it.
Giving myself one more glance in the floor length mirror on the back of my bedroom door, I walked out of my room and shut the door behind me, “I’m coming.” I slipped on my leather riding jacket and left the apartment, walking downstairs.
Danny was waiting for me on the front stoop of my apartment building. I don’t know if it was just an emotional day or what, but Danny looked somewhat more mature. He was wearing light faded jeans and an all black button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, exposing the tattoo on his right forearm.
Last summer Danny and Skylar got matching tattoos. Danny’s right forearm displays the word ‘Smash’ in Old English lettering. Skylar’s is in the same spot and says ‘Axe’ in the same lettering. Skylar’s uncle used to call them Smash and Axe while they were growing up. Boys will be boys. I think it’s silly, but these boys are two peas in a pod. I’m surprised I’m not dating both of them.
Kylee had just finished putting her helmet on and climbed onto the back of Skylar’s bike when I reach where Danny’s bike was parked. Danny was riding his beloved GSX-R. Again, the boys have matching bikes. I swear these two did everything together. The only difference in Danny and Skylar’s bikes is the color of the seats. Where Sky’s was purple, Danny’s is a dark midnight blue. Everything else was all black. I think the boys call it “murdered out” but I have no clue what that means. It’s just looks like flat black paint to me.
I pulled on my black helmet with pink pinstripes and jumped on the back of Danny’s bike. This was my favorite part. I could just lay on his back, rest my head on his shoulder and go along for the ride. No talking, no music, nothing but us and the road. Some girls get off on buying shoes. Me? I get off on the sound of a bike. There is just something about the rumble of a bike that makes me want to flip around the front and madly kiss the man I’m so in love with.
Maybe it isn’t all bikes. Maybe it’s just Danny’s. I know the sound. Even though it’s identical to Skylar’s and many other bikes around this town, something about the sound of this bike screams Danny and nobody else.
We left the parking lot and headed towards the highway. My legs were squeezing the life out of Danny’s and I was almost lying down on top of him. We were going so fast, as if we were flying. This was where I got my thrills in life and I was so happy I got to do it with my future husband.
My future husband. Oh hell. In a few months, I will to be Mrs. Daniel Thomas. Mira Rae Thomas. That sounded like music to my ears.
I was totally in my zone on this ride. I didn’t even notice when a car came swerving into our lane. Danny’s bike started to sway beneath my legs. I gripped his waist even tighter and tried to remember everything he ever told me. There was an art to being a passenger on a bike.
“Don’t fight against me. Don’t lean into turns with me. Keep your body centered. Hold on tight. If we go down, try to stay on your back with your head raised. Try not to tumble.”
Ok. Alright. Trying to keep my body centered, gripping tight and not fighting against Danny, the bike continues to sway beneath me. Before I knew it, we were heading right towards the guard rail in the middle of the highway.
Panic set it. “Danny … Danny … What do I do?” I screamed and I know he can’t hear me over the traffic and the roar of the bike.
We hit the wall. The sound was so loud; I felt it in my bones. The sound of metal slamming against concrete is a sound I will never forget. Nails on a chalkboard don’t even compare.
I flew off the bike. The pain of hitting the cement of the highway at over sixty miles per hour was excruciating. I felt my bones in my leg snap as I tried to keep on my back without tumbling.
“Aaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!” I screamed out in pain. Every inch I slid down the highway was terrifying until I hit my final resting place. I had no idea what is going on around me.
My body finally won out against me as my head slammed hard against the cement and pain shot through my entire body.
I assumed I blacked out. When I finally came to, I was in the back of an ambulance with medics looking over my body and starting an IV, their faces looking grim.
“Danny?” I asked, my voice coming out weak and barely there.
The blond medic just looked at me with blank eyes. He slightly shook his head.
“No,” I cried, “no, please no.”
Out of all the memories we had built during our time together, this is the one I can’t shake. I can vividly recall each and every detail of our last moments together. Why can’t I remember the things that helped mold me into the woman I wanted to become with Danny by my side? Why am I only able to remember the day that turned me into the woman I am now?
Love stories are for suckers. Life doesn’t happen like it did in The Notebook. Or should I say death doesn’t happen that way? You don’t meet the person you’re supposed to be with until your time is up and then slowly fade away together. Real life is a bitch and it hurts. The real story isn’t pretty or romantic it just breaks you to the point where you don’t want to go on anymore. You pray that this isn’t the way your story ends.
My Danny didn’t survive. They said he had too much trauma and died on the scene. My body screamed in pain as I tried to get off the gurney to go to where ever Danny was. The other medic, who I didn’t remember too well, grabbed my shoulders softly and pulled me back to stay on the gurney. The blond medic inserted a syringe of medication into my IV and within seconds, I felt my body relax and go lifeless.
In that moment, my world came to a screeching halt and that is it for me.
Skylar came to visit me in the hospital for the two days I was admitted while I was being treated for my road rash and broken leg. Surprisingly, I didn’t have it too bad. Because my injuries were minimal, I was released on the second day, with crutches and a wheelchair that Skylar had “borrowed” from the hospital. I had a pretty bad bump on my head, some scrapes and bruises and a broken leg, but I was alive. Which was more than I could say for Danny…
It’s perfect weather for a funeral. Ugly and raining with no sign of bright skies in sight. At the service, his mom asked me to sit with her. She told me that I was practically family anyway, being engaged to Danny and all. It did feel a little weird not sitting with my friends and parents, but it was nice to be able to sit with Mrs. Thomas, who looks so much like Danny it’s scary.
Immediately following the burial, we all head over to Danny’s mother’s house. People are coming and going. Friends, relatives, faculty from the school and members of the community.
I don’t remember eating much today, or any day since Danny died, for that matter. I hear my stomach growling. I know it needs some sort of sustenance if I plan on taking the pain medication the doctor prescribed, but the thought of consuming anything makes me ill.
“Mira, honey, you have to at least eat something. Trust me, I know how hard this is, but you have to take care of yourself,” Danny’s mom pleads with me.
“Mrs. Thomas, I promise I will eat something later. I just can’t right now,” I respond back emotionless, not even making eye contact with the woman.
Everything seems to pass by in such a blur. I don’t even realize that I am being wheeled out the door with Kylee on my side and Skylar pushing the wheelchair.
“Where are we going?” I ask them.
“We’re taking you home, Mi. You have had enough for one day. You need a shower and some sleep,” Skylar says.
“And something to eat,” Kylee chimes in.
When we get back to the apartment I share with Kylee, Skylar pulls right up to the door so I don’t have to walk through the parking lot. While he parks the car, Kylee helps me inside. I immediately see the long thin table by the front door lined with pictures of my past. Some of the happiest days of my life captured in film. I will be forever haunted by these images in my memory, let alone having to look at them every day.
“This isn’t fair. Why did you leave me?” I yell as I swipe my arm across the table, sending the pictures crashing to the floor and the glass from the frames flying off in different directions.
The floor is cold under my bare legs and I can feel my heart harden with each breath I take.
“Mira, honey, come on and let’s get you up and into bed,” Kylee says. I see the pity in her eyes.
“I’m so sorry Ky. I don’t know what that was about. Today was just an emotional day,” I say apologetically.
“Mi, we all miss him,” Skylar says as he walks in, surveying the mess I have just created.
“I’ll clean up this mess, hun. Just go,” Kylee says.
I try to get up from the ground but it’s not as easy as it might look. This cast makes every movement awkward and I know that I’m probably exposing more than I should, especially with Skylar in the room.
“Come on Sweets let me help you to bed,” Skylar says, as he picks me up off the ground and carries me to my room, saving me from the embarrassment of trying to do it on my own.
“Ky, can you just put the pictures up somewhere safe? I don’t want to lose them, but I need some time before they are shoved in my face.”
Kylee grabs a shoebox that hasn’t been taken out in the trash and starts putting my memories away. “I’ll just put them all in here, until we can buy new frames,” she tells me as lean into Skylar’s chest.
As soon as my head hits the pillows, the stress of the last few days overcomes me and I immediately close my eyes. Skylar’s voice is the last thing I hear before drifting off to sleep, hopefully to see Danny in my dreams.