Blood Ties: A Broken Heart
by Cassandra Hawke
* * * * *
Blurb for Blood Ties a Broken Heart:
When Ashford St. Clair takes the rap for his sister’s horse doping, he loses his true love, Rylee O’Shaunessy. Is it too late for love when he finally admits his mistake?
When Rylee returns to Adelaide to take over her godmother’s stables, seeing Ashford St. Clair brings back memories of past events—when he sacrificed a promising equestrian career and alienated Rylee in the process.
Ash is determined to win Rylee back and they reach an uneasy compromise when their passion for each other is reignited. But the deeds of the past still haunt the present, threatening their relationship. An old enemy returns to cause trouble for Rylee—Ash’s sister, Arden—the one who brought about Ash’s downfall in the first place. She makes it clear that there’s no room for Rylee in Ash’s life and she’ll do anything she can to make sure that the lovers remain apart.
Will Rylee come to terms with the mistakes she and Ash made in the past and learn to love and trust each other again?
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to past violence for one of the main characters.
The three of them had a delightful dinner. Lilli had been declared by Ash fit to go back to school the following week, much to Lilli’s disgust.
A hot north wind had been gusting all day and as it lulled, the heat intensified and black thunderheads loomed on the horizon as they settled down to a game of Monopoly.
Lilli moved her token and counted. “One, two, three, four, five. Yeah! I’m going to buy Mayfair then you can all pay me rent,” Lilli chortled.
The phone rang as Rylee settled the transaction with the child. She heard Ash’s raised voice and wondered what the call was about. When he returned, he looked grim. “They have trouble in Melbourne and want me to go and sort it out. I need to fly out tomorrow morning and it’ll probably take me a couple of days to fix. Sorry, my love, but dinner is off for tomorrow night.”
She smiled. “Never mind. It can’t be helped.”
“Yeah and there’s another problem. Dad’s away until next week.”
“That’s all right. Dad, I can stay with Rylee.”
The inevitable situation she had been dancing around for weeks slammed into her chest.
“What do you think, my love? It would be good practice for being her mum.”
Rylee was already pushing herself up out of the seat. She shook her head. “No, Ash. II…have the stables to look after.”
“Awww, I wouldn’t be any trouble. I promise,” Lilli cried. “Really I won’t.” “No, I can’t.”
“But why? You two get on great. It would be the perfect solution.”
She glared at Ash. “No, I can’t.”
He glared back at her. “Why?”
Tears welled in her eyes. She danced restlessly on the spot, desperate to escape.
“I can’t, Ash. You can’t trust me with your child, okay? I’m not to be trusted with kids. I killed my baby brother. I won’t risk Lilli.”
“What? For God’s sake what are you blathering about?” Ash spluttered, shaking his head.
Lilli ran up to him and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “But you always take good care of me.”
Rylee shook her head. “Someone else has always been there, to keep you safe. I’m sorry, but if you only knew, you wouldn’t trust me with you daughter. I can’t look after her and I can’t be her stepmother.”
“Stop. Talk to me,” Ash pleaded.
But Rylee was beyond discussion. Her heart was ripping in two. There, she had done it—told him.
“Don’t you love me?” Lilli cried.
Ash stepped toward her. She backed away. If he touched her, she would be lost.
“What the hell are you raving about?” Ash reached for her again.
Rylee turned and fled, out of the room, down the passage and to her car. She heard Lilli wail.
“Rylee, come back. Please don’t go,” Lilli shouted.
“Stop. For God’s sake, wait a moment,” Ash yelled.
She leaped down the steps and dove into her car. Out of the corner of her vision, she saw Ash and Lilli appear on the verandah. She revved the engine and accelerated out of the circular drive, showering gravel behind her.
The heat pressed in on Rylee as she drove recklessly toward home. All she could think of was getting away—to be alone with her failure, her shame and her loss. Not only had she lost the man she loved with all her heart, she had also lost another child—Lilli, the maddening little girl she had grown to love. But this way at least Lilli was safe from her carelessness and Rylee would never be subjected to the rage Ash had turned on his sister after the accident.
In my newest release, When Blood Ties a Broken Heart, my heroine Rylee has fallen in love with a man who already has a child. When Rylee learns that Ash has a child, salvaging their already problematic relationship becomes even more complicated. Haunted by a childhood tragedy, Rylee fears she is not fit for the role of stepmother even though she is good with kids.
Ash’s sister, Arden, fulfills the possessive aunt role with a twisted sense of right and wrong. Ash himself already has a warped idea of stepmothers, and for Rylee it seems as though the obstacles in the way of their relationship are just too high to hurdle.
I love being a mum. I love being a grandmother. I don’t mind the responsibility at all. I love to do activities with my kids. They used to go swimming, dancing and they loved going to the beach for long walks along the sand collecting shells. Even when my youngest and I took up horse riding, I never felt the burden of responsibility even when she was thrown off and suffered concussion. We both knew the risks. I used to take my son to the surf and watch him – somewhat nervously – surf, in what are known to be shark infested waters.
But as a grandmother it is all different. I adore those kids with all my heart. My grandchildren are the children of my oldest daughter. But every time I take them for a sleepover or on an outing, I feel so responsible not just for them, but responsible to her and their father.
It is always different with someone else’s kids. You are answerable to the parents. You are obliged to interact with them, discipline them and tell them information in line with Mum and Dad and you know if you don’t you will be exposed at some stage. Kids do not keep secrets. They should not be expected to keep secrets from their parents – except good ones like presents, of course.
I imagine becoming a stepmother is even harder. It is a role so fraught with challenges. I know two stepmothers and I admire both of them immensely and would aspire to manage the role as well myself. These women have taken on the responsibility for another woman’s children, forged a friendship with each child, built and maintained a new relationship with the father while allowing him to develop his with his children and hers.
This achievement has not been without struggles, competing loyalties and interference by others bringing angst and hurt over the years, but in the end they have formed a strong enriching blended family.
Enter Totally Bound’s March blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies! Click HERE
About Cassandra Hawke:
Cassandra was a closet writer for several years before she got brave enough to share her work with anyone until she joined Eyre Writers Inc, a creative writing group in the seaside town of Port Lincoln and really began to improve.
Her first book was a 100,000 words family saga novel, but after a workshop on 'How to write a Mills and Boon', she embarked on a new direction—writing the romance novel.
After being made redundant from the job she loved in 2011 she became a carer for her frail, vision-impaired mother and turned to fulfilling her dream of becoming a writer.
When Cassandra's not writing she enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially her mother, and her three wonderful adult children and two adorable grandchildren.
She also enjoys egg decorating and carving, reading of course, painting and cooking.