In Sharon Cullar's dazzling new novel, two unlikely lovers give in to explosive desire. But guilt and long-buried secrets could destroy their future before it begins...
It's been five years since Lacey Burnham saw Sean Logan, and in that time her son Calvin's best friend has turned from a surly youth into a handsome, self-assured young man. Crushed with grief over Cal's sudden death, Lacey offers Sean a place to stay while he's in town--an innocent proposal that quickly becomes anything but. Lacey is stunned and confused by the yearning he ignites with a single kiss...
Beautiful, warmhearted Lacey Burnham was a haven of comfort in Sean's troubled youth. Now, against every shred of logic she possesses, Lacey is falling hard for Sean and for a heady carnal bliss she's never experienced before. But the ghosts of the past are waiting. And sooner or later, every shadow must face the light of day...
"Chilling and deliciously erotic by turns, an absorbing rollercoaster ride of a book." --Angela Knight on Again
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April 30, 2007
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Excerpt from The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars
Through her haze, Lacey barely heard the minister's prayer. Instead, she scanned the bowed heads, still surprised at the number of friends Calvin had made in his twenty-one years. That small consolation did little to ease the ache tearing her apart. All of the platitudes, the well-wishes, even her faith rang hollow at her loss.
She couldn't find it inside herself to pray. She was angry-- at God, at life, hell, even at Calvin, who had tempted fate one too many times and now lay enclosed in the ebony coffin half lowered in the crypt. She didn't think she would be able to survive hearing the motorized whirring as the coffin travelled the last distance, or the sound of the dirt thrown on the burnished wood. That was her baby in there. It shouldn't be over, not this soon. Not this way.
Tears blinded her as a tremor shook her body. She fought hard against a total meltdown; Calvin never liked it when she made a scene.
"Ah, c'mon, Ma, you're not gonna start with the tears again," she could hear him saying in her mind. "No, baby," Lacey whispered to him. "I'm not going to make a scene."
She felt her mother's hand tighten around her own, although the older woman's head was still bowed. Her sister Estelle sat on her other side, tears trailing down her cheeks. She lifted a wadded tissue to wipe them away, but they were quickly replaced with a newer downpour. Calvin's godmother as well as his aunt, Estelle had unofficially adopted Calvin as her own, long ago conceding her own childlessness. Now two mothers sat, feeling barren.
Lacey heard the muffled "Amens," saw heads go up. Distraught faces mirrored one another in various colors and tones, some etched with the wear of age, others still in the smoothness of youth. She saw Ellen, her neighbor, standing across from Calvin's grave, her eyes and nose reddened by grief as well as the unseasonably cold temperature. The climate seemed to be taking issue with Calvin's death, the thermometer having dropped into the forties well into late spring. The cold spell had started almost simultaneously with the first word of Calvin's car crash and still had not broken.
Through her fog, Lacey realized everyone was waiting for her to complete the ceremony. The red rose in her hand was starting to wilt along the edges, but its beauty still held. She stood slowly, walked the long minute to her son's coffin. Refusing to look into the chasm that would forever close her away from her son, she tossed in the flower. The action was duplicated by her mother, her sister, then a line of people forming behind them.
Her first steps were steady as she turned her back on the grave, seeking escape to her car. Her mother and Estelle on either side, she almost made it. Almost. Then, out of nowhere, a sudden deluge hit her. A torrent welled up from within, rushing so fast she had no time to put up barriers to stem the onslaught. The anguish ran through her brain, her heart, threatened to suffocate her lungs.
"Oh, Godddd," she moaned loudly as her knees buckled. She had almost made it. Almost. Calvin would be so disappointed.
Her mother, almost sixty-five and partially arthritic, was hardly capable of holding up a grown woman whose body had given out. Estelle tried to grasp her, but Lacey's strength had silently seeped away during the ceremony, and she collapsed to the ground like a rag doll, sitting on a patch of grass that edged the pathway to the parking lot. She could see the people gathered around her, could hear their voices calling
"Lacey! Lacey!" Her mother's voice barely penetrated her fog. Lacey didn't care now. Didn't care what the others thought of a grown woman sitting on the ground, bawling like a baby. Didn't care that she was making a grand, embarrassing production of her son's funeral, something she had sworn to herself and Calvin's spirit she wouldn't do.