In the final book of the Take My Series, Emily and Dexter are finally on course to a happy future. Arriving back in the UK with Aunt Sarah in tow, everything seems to be slotting into place. For the first time in his life, Dexter has found his purpose. Surrounded by family, friends and the woman he adores, he has at long last made peace with his demons and is determined to fight for the life he now knows he deserves.
With best friend Rachel back by her side and a resolve to work things out with her parents once and for all, Emily’s life is also on the right track. Or so she thinks… When a tragic revelation threatens to destroy Emily’s world, it sends her spiraling down a path leading to more secrets, lies and heartache – leaving her questioning her whole life and everyone in it. To top it off, Emily almost lost one of the most important men in her life once before, is it about to happen again? “This is it, doll. Our future. I need you to hold on to it and never let go.”
“I don’t have time for this, Dad,” I muttered on a heavy sigh.
“Please, son. Don’t go, not yet. Let’s have another coffee, then if you still feel the same, we’ll go back to how things were. Apart.”
“No, I don’t mean right now. I mean I really haven’t got time to keep hating you. There are so many things wrong with what you’ve just told me, there are three thousand reasons why I should walk out of here and never look back, and I genuinely don’t know how you can ever make this right with Emmie. But… I won’t be here in twelve months time, Dad. I can’t spend those months fighting with you – reasoning with you… struggling to understand what you did.
“In order for me to have any hope of enjoying these next few months of life, I can’t afford to dwell on the past. I don’t understand the decisions you’ve made in your life, Dad, but I accept them, and… I forgive you.”
I noticed tears bubbling up in the corners of my dad’s eyes and I had to force myself to look away before mine started falling too. It took all my strength not to be mad at him. Why couldn’t he have done this years ago? Back when I really needed him.
“And they’re sure? The doctors?” he asked with a slight tremor in his voice. Why does everyone ask that? It seems like doctors are classed as superheroes until they tell you something bad.
“Positive. I had my first chemo session a couple of weeks ago. I have another in two days. That should slow it down… but only by a few months and nothing’s guaranteed.”
“Months?” he repeated – barely a whisper. I noticed my dad look down at his mug and I suspected it was to hide his suddenly damp eyelashes. “Christopher…” he breathed, refusing to look at me. “I don’t want to lose you too.”
What the hell was I supposed to say to that? ‘Oh okay then, Dad. I’ll stay alive just for you.’ I knew my anger was unjustified and so I swallowed it down with a sip of coffee.
“I don’t want it either,” I admitted.
“I’m so sorry, son. I’ve missed out on so much. I don’t deserve to be a father.”
“Whoa,” I said, straightening my back in my chair. “Don’t you start the feeling sorry for yourself bullshit. Whether you deserve to be or not, you are a father. So if your next line was going to be that you’d be better off leaving Emmie to get on with her life without you, don’t you dare. Don’t you fucking dare. You’ve let us both down, Dad. It might be too late to make it up to me but you better spend every single day of the rest of your life making it up to Emily.”
“I will. I swear I will.”
I planned to just sit around until I felt composed enough to face the world again, but with every blink visions of beautiful white lines and glasses of clear liquid numbness overwhelmed my mind. So, I did the only thing that ever manages to stop me from thinking – I changed into my sweats, headed outside and ran.
I didn’t have a destination in mind. In fact, I didn’t even recognize half the streets I flew through. I just ran. I ran until my thighs began to burn and my chest started to ache. I ran until all I could focus on was my rapid breathing and my numb toes. I ran until I couldn’t remember why I was even running.
Then my cell chimed in my pocket, dragging me back to reality.
“Hey, doll,” I answered breathlessly after seeing Emily’s name illuminate the screen.
“Where are you? Chris said you came home.”
“Where are you?” I returned quizzically.
“At home. Waiting for you.”
“I just came out for a run. I’ll make my way back now.”
“Are you okay?” she asked instead of saying goodbye. Of course, Emily is the only person that can read me like a fucking book.
“Not really,” I admitted. The truth – that’s the only way our future together would survive. “We’ll talk when I get home. Ten minutes max.”
“Ok. Don’t ever forget that I love you.” Hearing those words, my heart vibrated in my chest – reminding me why I was alive. I remember the very first time I said those words to her, and no matter how hard I pushed, she never forgot.
And neither will I.
“Ditto,” I replied, emotion clogging my throat and making coherent words impossible.
After tucking my cell back in my pocket, I doubled over and braced my hands on my knees while I dragged in a few much needed breaths. Then, straightening up, I stretched my neck from side to side and set off back to break my girls heart.
WARNING shares in Kleenex needed. And I’ve devoured at least two tubs of Ben and Jerrys whilst reading this amazing finale to the Take My Hand series.
What a climax it has been and the perfect ending to a series I have been divested in for a few good long months. Nicola has pulled it out of the bag in Never Let Go and all loose ends are tidied, put away and filed neatly leaving you with an full heart and empty eyes!
The romance between Emily and Dex has blossomed and is finally on the right track only to be blown apart by Chris’s announcement. Dex finally grows and develops into the man we all knew he could be and steps in to be the pillar that Emily needs. Life isn’t easy and although their story finally heads in the right direction you still feel every battle Dex has to stay clean and be the man Emily needs. It’s real and heart wrenching but it really endears him to me more for showing his vulnerabilities.
Rachel and Jared find their way in life and bring to the story the humour we have grown to love from the pair. Impending parenthood for the couple brings with it a whole bunch of Jared-isms that at times had me in utter stitches! I love Jared and Rachel!
This brings us to Chris, Emily’s brother and only close family member. Tragically he is ill and it is inevitable from the outset he won’t make it. This adds a huge dimension to the final installment of this series and brings with it some pretty huge secrets and revelations. You will have to read it to find out what Nicola throws at you but be aware there are a few twists to come!
And finally let’s not forget Aunt Sarah, bless her, Dex’s rock and the apple of his eye. She finally gets to see him grow up and also finds happiness herself. She has been such an important rock for him it really warmed me to think she was well looked after by Nicola too!
This was truly a great ending to a great series and even though Chris was never destined to make it, even his end was truly dignified. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and I’ve finished feeling totally satisfied too! I miss these guys….
Well done Nicola and a massive 5 out of 5 AWESOME stars!
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dogs!) She is the author of New Adult/Contemporary romance novels Inevitable, Saving Amy and the Take My Hand series. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…
The awesome Nicola Haken took some time out of her busy schedule of surfing Jake Bass and the rest of the CockyBoys to give us an exclusive interview! Meet Nicola Haken!
Congratulations! You’ve been published for a year now and have six amazing books under your belt – did you ever think you’d have come so far in such a short time?
I really truly didn’t! I remember squealing so loud someone in New York closed their windows the first time I made a sale that wasn’t my friend or family haha! I didn’t expect it to be so much fun either. I’ve met so many amazing people (like you!). But I also have to say, being an author has turned me into such a dirty hussy 😉
Just released, Never Let Go is the final installment in the Take My Hand series. Did you cry as much writing it as I did when I read it?
I actually did cry writing that one and it was the first time my own words have made me so emotional! When I’m writing I often close my eyes and ‘be’ the character, playing the story out like a movie in my head. Being Dexter, Emily and Chris, and ‘feeling’ what they were going through was extremely raw!
It really was the perfect end to the series and even though my heart broke I forgive you! Can I just ask though, why Curry flavoured pot noodle?
I have no idea. I don’t even like Pot Noodles!! I’m assuming it was because Rachel came across as a typical student. And students are too lazy to make anything else right? *hides from all the students of the world*
And of all the places in the world Dex and Emily could go skinny-dipping, why Blackpool?
Well skinning dipping on Brighton beach was on Emily’s New Life list that was devised by Rachel. They didn’t make it back to Brighton once Emily and Dexter moved in with Chris so Blackpool was the closest. But I feel the responsible thing to do here would be to warn people that I would NEVER advise getting naked in Blackpool sea. It’s filthy! *hides from all the Blackpool folk* Do you think I might be pissing a lot of people off with these answers? 😉
I also have a slight crush on Jared too! He and Rachel seem really well paired and without spoiling it for others, there are a couple of name choices relating to them that I found familiar! On that note, have any other books you’ve read influenced your work or for you to write?
I honestly don’t know which names you mean! (Rachel’s babies..?) Either I haven’t read the books you’re referring to or I’ve forgot… the latter seems more likely! I get a LOT of inspiration from other books. Not the storylines before I land myself in court haha! But the way characters interact with other gets my own mind spinning and then ideas and stories stem from there.
Did you cringe the first time you wrote a sex scene?
Oh God yes! And it took me sooooo long and about fifty rewrites! I literally squirmed in my seat writing it and the idea that anyone might read it absolutely mortified me! But like I said earlier, being an author has done terrible things to my mind. Each scene got easier and now I can reel of a completely filthy, make your eyes water, make you so hot you need a Tena Lady, scene in a matter of minutes 😉
I know that you have a new book in the pipeline that I cannot wait to read! What made you decide to change genres and write about Sawyer?
We talked about books that influenced me before and that’s the reason. I started writing New Adult mainly because I used to love reading it, and also because I wasn’t brave enough to go for anything too racy! But then I started reading m/m and I became instantly addicted. Reading about two men together just sent me crazy! It was so hot, sensual and unlike anything I’d ever read before. So I thought, hell I need to give that a whirl. Of course, now I am addicted to gay porn too. Oh, and I also cry myself to sleep at night because I want a cock of my very own and I’ll never have one L Thankfully, my husband has always known I’m a little (okay, a LOT) crazy so I’ve no worries there!
Ok so in for the kill, some quick fire questions for you to answer now!
… book you’ve written? Being Sawyer Knight
… book boyfriend from your own books? Sawyer Knight (do you see where this is going?) Very closely followed by Dexter!
…book boyfriend from another author? Questions like that should be illegal!! Okay, I’m not counting Christian Grey and Edward Cullen because no one can compete with them and it’s not fair, so apart from them…. Austin Grainger from Texas Pride by Kindle Alexander.
… genre to read? M/M
… author? Kindle Alexander
… position in bed? Lay down with CockyBoys playing on the laptop and my hand under the quilt 😉
… flavour of condom? I prefer au naturel 😉
… CockyBoy? JAKE BASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
… bodypart? My huge coc- oh wait. I don’t have one. Damn.
And finally a few questions I bet you’ve never been asked by a blogger?!
What size is your bed? Super king sized
Is it ok for men to wear pink? Yes! I love men in pink!
Do you like to use post-it notes? (I can think of a good use for one!) Like, to hide the willy’s on my CockyBoys calendar from the kids?? 🙂
What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Tomato sauce
Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? I totally would…. However I’m not sure it’s something people would actually want to see!
Ok let me rephrase that would you ever strip or pose naked in a magazine if Jake Bass was with you? I’d do a helluva lot more than just strip 😉
Do you sing in the shower? Always!
Do you take a vitamin daily? No. Not unless there are vitamins in chocolate.
Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Can’t everyone???!
You so tried that last one didn’t you?! Yes I so did! Only because I didn’t understand how anyone couldn’t haha!