When Your Ready
By: J.L. Berg
When Clare Murray suffers the tragic loss of her husband Ethan, leaving her alone to raise their infant daughter, she feels the grief overwhelming her, seeping into her very soul. Weeks later, she stumbles upon an envelope with the words “When You’re Ready” written in Ethan’s familiar messy handwriting, but can’t bring herself to breach the seal. Ready for what? He was her entire world, and Clare has accepted a life without him, without love. Until, years later, fate brings her to an emergency room, and face to face with stormy eyed doctor intent on changing her mind.
Logan Matthews is the son of a billionaire who has spent his entire life trying to make his absent father proud. Years of living up to man who more ghost than father, and a public failed marriage has left Logan cold and emotionless until he walks into an exam room to discover a woman who stops his heart, makes his body burn with desire and leaves his entire world altered.
But how far are Clare and Logan willing to go for love? When their love is tested, is Clare ready to put her whole heart on the line again? Can Logan learn the true meaning of love, even if it means sacrificing his own happiness? When a second chance at love is given, Clare and Logan learn you never know you are truly ready until you’re ready to risk it all.
“He came over to your house?” Leah whispers, from the mat next to me, as I arch my body, progressing through the movements of our Wednesday morning yoga class. In the last year, I’d enrolled Maddie in preschool a few mornings each week, and if Leah’s schedule allows, we always tried to make this class. It was nice having a bit of “me time” with my best friend, even if she was currently trying to get us kicked out with her chattering.
“Yes, we ran into him at the home improvement store down the street, and he just offered to do the entire project for me. The store had me so turned around, I honestly couldn’t refuse.” I whisper back, quietly moving into plank, feeling my muscles flex and lengthen. I try centering myself, concentrating on my movements, when Leah interrupts me again. I really need to find a new yoga partner.
“More like he had you so turned on, you couldn’t refuse!” she exclaims, a bit too loud, earning a pointed glare from the older woman next to us. Great, now I’ll never be able to come back here again. We push back into the cricket pose, and then settle into plank again.
“Leah! Shut up!” I hiss, continuing to speak in a hushed whisper, hoping the grumpy old lady next to me doesn’t overhear.
“It wasn’t like that. He was very nice, and a complete gentleman. I assisted and he did, well, whatever you do when you put that type of thing together, and then he left. That’s it.”
I left out certain parts, like me playfully throwing jelly beans at his head, or how choked up I became seeing him bounce down the stairs with Maddie in his arms.
She glares at me with disbelief, but allows us to continue our class in peace. I think even she was a little scared of the grumpy lady with the evil-eyed stare. We finish up, and head over to a coffee shop about two blocks down.
“You know, this probably cancels out everything we just did in class.” I say, pointing to the double mocha’s and chocolate muffins we’d ordered. I take a seat next to Leah at the outdoor table we’ve selected. It’s a beautiful spring morning, with the perfect amount of sun and warmth. Leaning back in the rod iron chair, I let the heat soak into my pores, easing my tired muscles.
“Well at least our minds are clear, our bellies might as well be full.” she says, shoveling a piece of muffin into her mouth and washing it down with a her coffee. I don’t think Leah’s mind has ever been clear. There’s are too many dirty thoughts going on in there.
“So, that was it? You totally missed your chance Clare! It’s not like you’re going to keep running into Dr. HotAss every day. Do you want me to steal his phone number from work?” she asks, with an exasperated sigh, clearly not done talking about Dr. Matthews.
“What? No! I mean, I have it. He gave it to me already.”
She’s giving me that look. The look that says I broke the “girl code”, and I’m in so much trouble.
“Clare Elizabeth Murray. He gave you his number? When? Sunday?” I nod, unable to hide the grin that’s currently spreading across my face.
“And you didn’t tell me until now?” I nod, again, still grinning like an idiot.
“What the hell? I hate you.” She pouts.
“Oh stop, you do not. I didn’t tell you because it’s nothing. He gave it to me because he invited Maddie and me to see Swan Lake on Saturday. He obviously needed a way to contact me. It’s not a big deal.” I say, looking away from her penetrating gaze, and taking a sip of my coffee.
I fail to mention how we’ve been texting and calling each other all ever since. She’d probably make a big deal out of that. I’m honestly trying not to over-analyze but every time I see his name flash across my phone, my stomach flutters. Our conversations had started out innocent, figuring out what time he was going to pick us up on Saturday, and where we should eat. But then, we’d somehow start talking about something entirely different, and when we’d start to wrap up, he’d say “I’ll call you later” and he would.
“Um, excuse me. That’s a big fucking deal. He asked you out!” Leah says. “What? No he didn’t Did you hear what I said? He basically asked Maddie out. I’m only there for supervision. He’s just being nice.”
God, how I hoped he was not being nice. Did he ask us because he wanted to spend more time with me, or was he really just doing it for Maddie? I had convinced myself of the latter, but I was hoping for the former.
“Men that hot don’t do nice Clare. He’s taking the two of you, but he wants to see you first and foremost. I can guarantee it. I mean, which one of you will be wearing a thong?
“What? Oh god, you do need work. Come on, we’re going shopping.”
I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocado to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity, but I love watching the seasons change. My husband and I have been here for ten years, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows.
I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We were married young, barely out of high school, when everyone told us we were crazy and stupid. We’ll be celebrating 12 years of marriage this year, and I love him more every single day. We’re living proof that true love knows no age limit.
We’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters who continue to amaze and inspire me, and are probably making me go a bit insane. I’m obsessed with yoga and pilates and am a complete chocoholic. I apologize in advance for the amount of sweets in my book.
I’m absolutely obsessed with romance novels (duh) and probably could have built a vacation home with the amount of money I’ve invested in them over the years. Romance novels take you to another place, making your heart race, emotions swell, passion run free. After so many years of meeting hundreds of fictional characters and discovering their worlds, I found myself creating my own.
My debut novel, When You’re Ready, a novel about about finding love after loss, will be released August 1st!