on March 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Drama, New Adult, Romance
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This book is not suitable for young readers. It is intended for mature adults only (18+). It contains strong language, adult/sexual situations and some violence.
Dear Tabitha is BOOK TWO in the Forever Family Series. Dear Emily should be read FIRST as this is NOT a standalone book.
You know me. You know who I am. What I am.
Damaged. Confused. Alone.
You feel sorry for me. You pity me.
You know what I’ve done. What I’ve given up. Who I’ve given up.
You try to understand what I’ve been through and how I can go on with my life. But you can’t possibly understand.
I’ve lost too much. Sacrificed too much. Given up everything so that I can find myself.
Well, I’m done.
I’m done walking away from everything that matters.
It’s time for me to heal.
It’s MY TURN to earn…
“Dear Tabitha” is the second book in the “Forever Family” series. This is book 2 of 2 and concludes the story that began in "Dear Emily". It is NOT a standalone story and is meant to be read after Dear Emily.
"Dear Emily" is the first book and can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords.
Other books in this series will be companion/standalone and will explore the lives of various characters introduced throughout these books.
I’m a glutton for punishment. I knew this would happen. I waited and waited and waited to read Dear Tabitha because I knew that it would gut me. I knew there would be no way that Trudy Stiles could elicit all those emotions from me in Dear Emily and NOT do it again in Dear Tabitha. I mean come on this is Tabitha’s story after all. We already knew it wasn’t pretty. But could I stay away? Of course not! Why you ask? The answer is easy….
I had to know Alex’s story. Where would Tabitha end up? Would she get her happily ever after? What about Alex? Would they end up together or remain apart? Could anyone survive the aftermath of what Tabitha had done? Did she deserve to be happy? Did Alex? What was Alex’s background? Could two obviously broken people help each other love and heal from their pasts? I had so many questions that only the author could answers. So that left me with no choice. I HAD to read Dear Tabitha.
So now I’m finished with Dear Tabitha. I’ve had time to reflect. My shirt is dry from all my crying. Slowly my heart has begun to beat again. The author…..how do I put into words what this story did to me? Trudy Stiles, is, well, she’s amazing. She managed to rip open my chest and remove my heart. She held it in her hands and squeezed it. She poked it. She stabbed it. Then just when I thought it couldn’t take any more, she threw it on the floor and stomped all over it. It was only after I finished the story, that she very delicately picked it back up, wiped off so very gently, stuck some band-aids on it and carefully put it back inside my chest.
I suddenly don’t remember what she did to me. To us, I don’t want to remember because I just want to be with her. But her feelings are clear. I’m torn up and broken all over again.
Alex comes back home to Philly. Once home, he can’t keep himself from seeking out Tabitha. Only she doesn’t quite welcome him with open arms. Nope not Tabitha…that would be too easy and we all know by now that Tabitha doesn’t do easy, EVER! She’s shocked to see Alex. She’s worked really hard to get to where she’s at mentally and physically. She’s really pulled her life together in the almost 3 years that Alex has been gone. I was really happy to see this Tabitha. The strong Tabitha. This girl turned woman was independent, resolved, reformed, and not willing to go back to that dark place she once lived.
He takes a deep breath and I watch his chest rise and fall. I want to squeeze next to him and place my head over his heart. I want to know that it still beats for me, like mine has for him all of these years.
Of course she still has feelings for Alex. You can’t just tell your heart to stop loving someone. But does she deserve to love Alex? Especially after what she did to him? Doesn’t he deserve someone better? See? Maybe some people are too broken to be together. Maybe love doesn’t matter after all. Tabitha knows that once she makes her confession to Alex he’s going to leave her. But what more could she possibly expect? Her confession is HUGE. You don’t just shrug it off and say no problem. You can’t just pick up the pieces and move on.
My heart races when I think about that scene. Alex and his struggle to understand what we all already knew from Dear Emily. I don’t know about you but I secretly hoped that Emily was Seth’s. That way maybe Alex’s heart could be protected. But we still don’t know who the father is and so we have to witness what happens when Tabitha finally confesses every thing to Alex.
“Goodbye, Tabs,” I say maybe for the last time. She gasps but I don’t turn around. I. Just. Leave.
I didn’t blame him. I was actually really impressed with his response to Tabitha’s confession. I cannot begin to imagine how I would feel in his shoes. Anger, hurt, frustration, sadness, even guilt, a lot of shock….it’s just too much….the pain he must have felt. Grappling with the loss of something he never had. For a child that might not even be his.
“I didn’t even get to say goodbye.” This realization hits me the hardest and more tears slide down my cheeks.
“Should I trust that she made the right decision for all of us?”…….”Did she think I’d try to fight for my daughter? If she is my daughter.”
All I could think while reading this story was that there was no way…no way these two could ever pull it together enough to move on. To forgive each other and build a life together. There was just way to much baggage and that baggage was too big for anyone to overcome. Alex was his own kind of broken. We learn about his childhood and how he became the broody rocker we met in Dear Emily. His story is no less horrific than Emily’s. His demons are real and just. Because they could very well be hereditary. His foundation however, was a little more stable than Tabitha’s. I think that’s why the scene with Emily’s adoptive parents, Kyle and Carly, was so gut wrenching. I really succumbed to my emotions at that point. I think that may have been when I connected with Alex the most.
It’s at this point where Ms. Stiles decided she wasn’t done with me. She actually cranks it up a notch and it’s only then that I realize she’s going to do the unthinkable. But even that wasn’t enough for the author. You want to know what really did me in? What left me in a puddle of my own tears while my husband slept peacefully next to me?
I was left sobbing my friends. My throat actually hurt from trying not to make any noise. I was so out of control that my husband woke up, without a word he put his arm around me and snuggled. Only then did I realize, Tabitha finally got what she wanted.
Redemption. Family. Love.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*