This is not your typical love story. It’s not so black and white. Lines are crossed. Walls are smashed. Good becomes bad. Bad becomes very, very good.
Shayda Hijazi—the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. For thirty-three years she has played by the rules, swallowing secrets, burying dreams, and doing whatever it takes to anchor her family. Shayda Hijazi is about to come face to face with the one thing that can rip it all apart, the one thing her heart has always been denied: love.
Troy Heathgate—untamed, exhilarating, dangerous—a man who does exactly as he pleases. Life bends to his will. Until he comes across the one thing he would give it all up for, but can never have.
Born on the same day in opposite corners of the world, their lives collide. And nothing is ever the same again. Now Shayda is flying free and Troy has found the one thing that centers his soul, but even as they beat the odds, a cancer diagnosis puts Shayda in a painful dilemma. On the one hand is the man who makes her feel gloriously alive and on the other, her children, and a husband ravaged by the past.
Spanning three decades, 53 Letters for My Lover is a fiercely sensual, emotional ride to the heart of an epic, forbidden love that defies it all—an intimate exploration of love, loyalty, passion, betrayal, and the human yearning for hope, happiness and redemption.
AUTHOR WARNING: This book is a blend of women’s fiction and romance. It involves infidelity and an attempted rape. If you are not comfortable with these subjects, this may not be the best book for you.
The first time they meet:
Dusty sneakers, grey sweatpants…and then—the most startling pair of blue eyes. They reminded me of the cut outs I had saved in my wish book, of the places I wanted to visit. Blue like the water that surrounds the islands in the South Pacific. I felt like I had been picked off the pavement and plopped smack dab in the middle of it. I floated there for a while, suspended in its endless horizons as it held me for long, still seconds.
“Here you go.” I knelt beside her. That’s when I first saw her face.
At the time, I was completely clueless about just how significant that moment was, how it would derail both our lives, because at the time I was just an ordinary guy looking at an ordinary girl on a quiet, shaded street. That’s how a lot of things start, don’t they? Our most profound experiences, our greatest adventures. When we’re just looking. Because if we knew that we were really at the beginning of miracles and plagues, and slayings and resurrections, we might retreat. But not knowing, I kept looking. And so did she.
Except she didn’t just look at me, she looked into me. As if she saw a place there that she’d always wanted to go, and it stunned her that it actually existed.
The moment when everything changed:
For a moment, I fought against the disarming tenderness of a stranger, the shame of being caught in a moment of weakness. Then his arms circled my waist, pulling me away from the door, from whatever heartache he had witnessed in my reflection. The fight drained out of me. I turned into the shelter of his embrace, and he, not knowing, not asking, took me in.
Something changed in that instant. For me. For him. Like when the sun and moon align and day turns to night. They finally see each other’s faces and hang, transfixed, even as their eclipse throws everything else into darkness. For those fleeting moments, everything made sense—the pattern behind the random trajectory of life, the infinite order beneath chaos.
For a while, she just stood there, like a deer that knows it’s been caught in the hunter’s cross hairs. Then she bolted.
I seized her before she could escape, pinning her against the glass, my hand over hers, so I could anchor her, keep her from getting swept away.
Hey. It’s okay.
She made a small, choking sound when I pulled her away from the sliding door. My arms went around her and her cheek found my chest. And just like that, something fell into place.
All of my wild, crazy exuberance fit perfectly in the quiet crevices of her dreams. It was as if all my life, I had been running towards this moment, this diamond sharp clarity of being and belonging, this strange, intriguing girl with her rose breath and her broken wings.
The point of no return:
“Three days.” I drop my chin to his chest. “I haven’t thought beyond that.”
“Three days, huh?”
I squeal as he puts one hand under my knees and picks me up.
“We better get going then. You, my dear, have a lot to make up for.” He grins and carries me out of his office.
I had three days to get her to face the truth—that she loved me, that she wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t left a gaping hole in her heart, that the only reason she wouldn’t admit it was because she was scared, because it would destroy everything safe and familiar and predictable in her world.
I didn’t care anymore. She would go through hell, but I’d be there to catch her. All I had to do was crush her defenses, lead a seventy-two hour assault on her senses and walk away with her heart in my hand. She would have no choice but to follow.
Troy Heathgate has it all – brains, brawn and the kind of smile that just begs a ribbon. Everything but the woman he loves. But now he’s back and determined to possess her. There’s just one catch – she’s married to another man.
This short teaser story (9,500 words, 38 pages) is a re-telling of select scenes from ‘ 53 Letters For My Lover’. It is narrated from the male point of view – raw and uncut.
Leylah Attar writes stories about love—shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she’s not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.