Bonnie Dee
New LifeContemporary
Bonnie Dee
November 16, 2013
ISBN-13: 9781482020526
ISBN-10: 1482020521

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New Life, Book 1

Since the car accident that caused traumatic brain injury, Jason has fought to regain his memories and the ability to organize thoughts and control emotions. His promising future shattered, he works as a night janitor in an office building and clings to routine to make it through his days.

New lawyer Anna breaks down one evening after fumbling her first court case. Self-doubt brings her to tears in a deserted stairwell where Jason finds her and offers comforting words. From this unexpected meeting an unlikely romance begins.

A casual coffee date soon leads to a deeper connection and eventually a steamy affair. But are Jason and Anna’s growing feelings for each other strong enough to overcome the social chasm that divides them and the very real issues of Jason’s disability?

What people are saying

Barnes & Noble Review, Author Juliana Stone said:
…the realism in which their romance is told, sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down! A smart, real and different kind of love story!

Silken Sheets & Seduction Blog, Sofia Grey, 5 silken sheets
The strength of the characters, the raw emotions on every page, the heartfelt longing for them to be together and to beat all the obstacles that kept rising before them. There was hot sex too, and that was a delicious garnish on an amazing story.

All About Romance, Rike Horstmann, Desert Isle Keeper
Sometimes an author takes a risk, and has me hooked. This happened with Bonnie Dee’s new romance NEW LIFE, which features a hero with a mental disability. When I discovered that the first pages of the book were actually told from said hero’s point-of-view, my surprise doubled. Would it work? It did: The book proved as unique as it was delightful.

Maryse’s Book Blog
Another passionate love story between your regular, average (but pretty) woman and a troubled man. So 4 stars it is! At first I struggled, trying to decide if I liked it as much as her other two that I read, and I’ve come up with “almost”.

I Love Romantic Fiction, reviewer Onnica
I give this a 4/5 – I have huge respect for the author and in some parts of the book, my heart broke for Jason. Read it!

Goodread, reviewer Natalija
I ended up loving this book and unable to put it down. I highly recommend reading this one and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Goodreads, reviewer Kay
I was deeply moved by both Jason and Anna and appreciated their inner dialogues. Their relationship is totally believable and I was rooting for them from the first pages.

Goodreads, reviewer Georgik Elena
I loved the story, the chemistry, the way the characters confronted their issues, loved it all.

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Read an Excerpt

The first thing you need to know about me is I’m not retarded. Or mentally handicapped I guess is the polite term these days. But whatever you call it, I’m not that. I have a mental disability, but I wasn’t born this way. It took extra stupidity for me to get this way—driving drunk, shooting through the windshield, landing on my noggin, and scrambling my brains permanently. I don’t babble and I don’t drool, except sometimes on my pillow when I’m sleeping, but everybody does that.

New Life

Anyway, that’s not the story I want to tell. Who really needs to hear about comas and thousands of hours of rehab? My story begins the night I was cleaning black shoe marks off the floor, which could be any night since my life became all about industrial cleaners and swabbing toilets. This particular night, I was buffing the corridor floor of the office building where I clean. I remember the Naked Farmers blasting through my headphones, when I saw a woman sitting in the stairwell, head down, shoulders hunched and shaking.

My first thought was to pass by, concentrate on polishing the floor, and leave her in peace to cry. Everybody deserves privacy. But after I’d polished a few more feet, wall to wall, I turned off the machine.

I don’t like interrupting my routine. If I stray from my list of tasks, I tend to get confused. Memory lapses and trouble with organization—a couple of party favors I took home from a college kegger one night. But people are supposed to be kind to each another, right? So I paused the Naked Farmers in the middle of the line about “pray to Jesus but keep a shotgun handy when the Four Horsemen come to call” and pulled out my earbuds. I could hear the woman’s sobs echoing in the stairwell.

When I got close and she lifted her head, I recognized her face. At first I thought it was from a long time ago, like back in high school, or maybe during my time in the hospital. I suck at placing people since my memory’s shaky and time kind of shifts on me sometimes. Then I remembered I’d seen her here in the law offices on the second floor as she was leaving work and I was arriving. She’d passed me in the hall and smiled like people do at janitors, polite but barely making eye contact. I remember thinking she was really pretty. Now tear tracks were blazing mascara trails down her cheeks.
“You okay?” I asked.

“Yes, fine. Thank you.” She rubbed her eyes, grabbed the banister, and rose.

I could almost see her moment of weakness being covered like someone protecting broken windows with plywood. She picked up her purse and briefcase and started to walk past me.

Fine. I needed to get back to work anyway. But as she passed, her perfume tickled my nose, and I suddenly wanted her to stick around a little longer. Cleaning an empty office building is boring and lonely. Nothing but hours of me, the floor buffer, and the tunes on my MP3 player.

“Try counting sheep,” I blurted.

She stopped and turned, blonde-streaked brown hair flipping over one shoulder. “Pardon me?”

“It helps…when you’re having a hard day.”

I knew she thought I was simpleminded by the way her eyes went all soft and pitying. “I think that’s for falling asleep.”

“It works for other things too. It’s a technique. Like a—what do you call it—mantra. Helps you calm down…when you’re anxious and…focuses your thoughts.”

I could parrot therapist-speak, and I definitely wanted this chick to know I wasn’t dumb.

Her eyes went wide, and she smiled. “Is that so? Maybe I could use a mantra. Tell me more.”

I felt suddenly nervous. The way my life was at the time, I could go days hardly talking to anybody, and I’d sort of lost the knack.

“When people are emotional, their minds are all over the place. Counting something helps slow your heart rate and breathing. It’s like meditation.”

At least, that’s what I meant to say. The way it came out was less concise, with a lot of pauses while I searched for the right word. She waited patiently for me to finish formulating my thoughts, which was cool. A lot of people want to finish my thoughts for me, and nothing’s more apt to make me clam up.

“Counting sheep, eh? Well, hell, I can get rid of my Xanax prescription and save a bundle.” She smiled.

I tried to think of something else to say so she wouldn’t walk away. “Another good technique is to draw the thing that’s upsetting you. Your boss, maybe,” I guessed. “And work through your shit that way.”

She shifted her purse strap to the other shoulder and set down the briefcase like maybe she was going to stay awhile. “You taking psych classes? It sounds like you’re gearing up for a career as a therapist.”

New Life

“No. I had to drop out of college.” I tapped my head. “Brain injury.”

She nodded. “I’m Anna, by the way.”

“Jason.” I wondered if I should offer my hand to shake. But Anna hadn’t held out hers, so I didn’t either.

“Do you like your job here?”

I glanced at the abandoned buffer, then back at her. “Cleaning is my life.”

Her laughter rang down the empty corridor. “Point taken.”

“I wasn’t being”—I searched my scrambled brain before coming up with the right word—“ironic. Unfortunately.”

“You’re funny,” she said.

“Funny looking or funny hah-hah?”

Anna’s gaze swept over me from head to toe, leaving me heated. “Not at all funny looking.”

It was a pretty kind compliment. I can see in the mirror every day that the scar on my face is still red. Supposedly it’ll fade over time, but I’ll never be my former handsome self. I could feel Anna wanting to ask about the scar, but she didn’t. People are too polite. Except for little kids, who’ll say anything that crosses their minds. I appreciate that honesty.

“So, is it your boss who made you cry?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I did it to myself. Thought I was prepared for court, but I wasn’t, and I made a fool of myself.”

“You a paralegal?” I asked, because she looked too young to do anything else in a law office.

“I’m a lawyer.” She gave a little snort. “I worked hard to be able to say that, so why do I have the feeling I drove down a road a long way in the wrong direction?”

“You don’t like it.”

“I didn’t today. My first day in court and I crashed and burned.”

“Public speaking is hard for most people.”

“It’s not just about today. The longer I’ve been here, the more I wonder why. I never stopped to think about what career I wanted, just kept moving to the next level, because in my family there wasn’t any choice but law school.”

“You come from liars…lawyers?” I corrected, and it wasn’t an intentional joke. Sometimes the wrong word just comes out.

New Life

“My dad and mom both, plus some other family members. But I chose it. I earned it, and now I’m stuck with it.”

I clicked my tongue. “When you could be doing really important work like this.” I jerked a thumb at the buffer.

She smiled again, a dimple flashing in her left cheek. “Smart-ass. I know I’ve got nothing to complain about, but a girl’s got a right to cry when she thinks she’s all alone. Don’t judge.”

“Not judging, just trying to make you feel better about your job. Do you?”
Her brown eyes crinkled at the corners, stirring things in me that hadn’t been stirred in quite a while, and I don’t mean my cock, although she was doing a fair job of waking it too.

“Thanks for listening.” She stooped to pick up her briefcase and purse, and my giddy joy deflated. Our conversation was over. “And thanks for the sheep-counting tip. I’ll try that next time I’m upset.”

I pressed my palms together, guru-style. “Find your center and remain there.”

She returned my bow. “Yes, sensai.”

Man, I liked this woman who got my sense of humor.

“See you around,” she added before heading down the hall.

I watched her out of sight, then pictured her leaving the building, going to her car, putting her key in the ignition, starting up, and driving away. I would’ve gone on to imagine her arriving home at some apartment building and going inside but shook myself out of the fantasy. Reviewing the order of things was how I made it through my days. Therapists call it “sequencing,” and it saved me from getting scattered and accomplishing nothing.

But imagining Anna’s timeline was not going to help me complete my own tasks for the night. Time to return to reality.

I tucked in the earbuds and turned on the Naked Farmers, then switched on the buffer. One sweep, two, side to side until the corridor was a glossy sheet. Tomorrow, new shoe marks and scuffs would ruin the surface, but for tonight it was flawless. Perfect.

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  • Other Books in the New Life

  • New Year
    Sequel to New Life

  • New Life Box Set
    Box Set

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