Regaining the Ability to Trust

By Janis Lee Thereault, author of The Way You Love Me

The Way You Love MeThe Way You Love Me is in large part the story of a courageous woman—who also happens to be a pediatric surgeon—traveling the long arduous road back from a brutal sexual assault to a life filled with love and happiness. And, unlikely as it may seem at first, a tough ex-Navy SEAL is instrumental in her healing process, helping to restore her self-confidence, her ability to trust, and her sense of self-worth.

For a glimpse at this woman’s road to recovery, here is an excerpt from The Way You Love Me:

“I’m not afraid in the OR. But…other things scare me to death.”

“What things?”

Melanie hesitated, then took a deep breath.

“Just being alone with a man makes me break out in a cold sweat. I had a bad experience some time ago, and I’m having difficulty getting past it.”

Jake looked pointedly at himself, then at the glen all around them. “You’re alone with me.”

And he was most certainly all male. “Yes, but…”

“Why don’t you prove it to yourself? I’ll just lie back down here.” He suited action to words, resuming his former position. “And you can do whatever you like with me. You can show yourself that you’re not afraid.”

“I don’t know…”

“Why not try it?”

Why not, indeed.

“I’ll close my eyes, too.” He shut his eyes. “And whatever you decide to do, I’ll keep my hands to myself. Promise.”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely. Unless and until you wish it otherwise, I’ll keep my hands completely to myself.”

“And I can do anything I like?”

“Yes.”

“I can…touch you?”

“Yes.”

“Even…kiss you?”

“Oh yeah.” It sounded like a sigh.

Heaven help her. The man could tempt the angels. Never before had any man offered to remain completely passive, letting her do anything she desired. How did he know that was precisely what she needed to feel safe?

The situation was irresistible. He was irresistible. And she trusted him to do exactly what he’d promised.

Hadn’t she just been aching to touch him? No, not just to touch him. To run her hands all over him. And hadn’t she been dying to press her lips to his scar in a soothing caress?

What an opportunity! She’d be a complete fool to pass this up.

Melanie looked at Jake and scooted closer, then hesitated. She didn’t know where to begin. It was like having a hot fudge sundae. Should she lick the whipped cream first or go for the fudge sauce or ice cream?

Finally, peeking at his eyes to make sure he wasn’t watching her, she leaned forward and gently touched the back of his hand. Then, oh so slowly, she ran her hand up his sinewy forearm. The contact filled her with a tingly sensation.

His skin felt warm, its covering of dark hair tickling the tips of her fingers. Traveling up over his rock-hard biceps, her hand traced a vein along the inside of his arm toward his shoulder, then ended beneath the edge of his sleeve.

He trembled slightly.

Sliding her hand over his T-shirt-covered chest, she felt the powerful muscles she’d imagined moments before. Then skimming her fingertips up toward the side of his neck, she watched with fascination the rapid pulsations in his carotid artery.

She was the cause of his accelerated heartbeat. She knew it. The realization filled her with the wonder of her own power, the power to make this strong, dominant male tremble beneath her touch.

Throughout the book, Dr. Melanie Sweet gradually loses her fear and regains the control once taken from her. Instead of running in the other direction screaming in terror, she finally reaches her goal and is once again able to approach life with confidence, embracing love with both hands.

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