Laura Kaye | LOVE IN THE LIGHT, a Special Emotional Release
January 18, 2016
I’m thrilled to be back at Fresh Fiction today celebrating my newest release—and
this is a special one to me. A follow-up story that I never thought I’d write.
In fact, the follow-up to my very first published book. Where HEARTS IN DARKNESS was
about two strangers finding acceptance and belonging while trapped in a
pitch-black elevator, LOVE
IN THE LIGHT is about that couple learning to trust the love that they found.
For the past five years, the most frequently asked question I’ve received is
whether I’d ever write a follow-up to HEARTS IN DARKNESS. And for
a lot of that time, the answer was no. When I finished that book, that was all
there was of Caden and Makenna’s story. I knew things that happened to them
after the book ended, but there was no story. When the story idea finally came
to me, it was exciting, but also scary. Because by then, HEARTS IN DARKNESS had had
a lot of readers and it had a super unique premise (two strangers trapped in a
pitch-black elevator) that would be hard to follow. But once I knew what the
story was, it wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew I had to write it. I just hoped it
would be good enough to do justice to the first.
The result was LOVE IN THE
LIGHT, which is quite possibly the most emotional and heart-wrenching story
I’ve written. My Hard Ink series book HARD TO HOLD ON TO would be
a close second, maybe because both of the book address a particularly
In LOVE IN THE LIGHT,
hero Caden Grayson is a paramedic who, as a fourteen year old, was badly injured
and scarred in a car accident that killed his mother and brother and left his
father an empty shell who shut Caden out. Caden’s relationship with heroine
Makenna James forces him to open up emotionally in a way he’s never really done
before, and that brings all kinds of things to the surface that Caden thought he
had under control.
One of my biggest worries while writing LOVE IN THE LIGHT was that
readers would get frustrated with Caden’s issues. He suffers from anxiety,
claustrophobia, panic attacks, and depression. Some of that was clear in the
first book—after all, he’s the one claustrophobic in that elevator, not the
heroine—but seeing his issues within the framework of the sexy fantasy of the
elevator is different from living with them in a long-term relationship. But I
couldn’t make Caden just get over himself. That wouldn’t have been true to what
he was going through. And I couldn’t make Makenna’s love somehow able to
magically cure him. Caden had to do the hard work, and it was really emotional
and challenging to write.
Between the time that had passed since the first book, reader expectations, my
own expectations, and the challenges of writing about their relationship and
Caden’s issues, releasing LOVE IN THE LIGHT was
admittedly intimidating to do. But sometimes I think we have to do the things
that scare us—that’s how we grow, keep ourselves challenged, and do creative
things we might not otherwise have done.
Here’s an excerpt from LOVE
IN THE LIGHT that offers a window into the hero’s journey:
The ninety-minute ride flew by, probably because Caden wasn’t looking forward to
confronting what he had to confront.
The investigation file listed a mile marker, which was the first piece of
information he had to narrow his search, and there were also pictures of the
accident itself. He’d seen them—and the whole file—before. When he was sixteen,
he’d found the file and read it cover to cover, needing every gory detail like a
junkie needed a fix. Caden had thought knowing would help, but it had just
provided fodder for his subconscious to twist into nightmares and guilt and fear.
So he didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the photographs now—except to take
note of the fact that the ditch and field where the car had landed were
immediately after a long line of trees, which was part of what had kept anyone
that night from seeing the over-turned car for so many hours.
First, Caden saw the mile marker, and then he found the tree line. He pulled the
Jeep onto the side of the road. Sitting in the driver’s seat, Caden surveyed the
scene, but beyond his knowledge of the photographs, not a thing there looked
familiar. And why would it? The accident had occurred late at night and, by the
time daylight broke, Caden had been out of his mind.
Taking a deep breath, Caden got out of the Jeep and walked around to the grass.
The irrigation ditch was still there, creating a deep slope downward just a few
feet off the edge of the road. He climbed into it. Stood there. Crouched down
and placed his hand against the frozen earth where two people he’d loved had died.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, Mom and Sean. I’m sorry I lost
you. I love you. And I’m trying so damn hard to make you proud.
Closing his eyes, he let his head hang on his shoulders.
A tractor trailer roared past, and the sound of it was familiar enough to send
cold chills down Caden’s back. But Caden wasn’t trapped in that car. He
wasn’t. Not anymore.
He rose to his feet and looked around for one last minute. There weren’t any
ghosts there. There weren’t any answers there. The past wasn’t there.
The realization brought both relief and frustration. Relief that he’d come to
this place and found it to be…just a place. Just an ordinary roadside sitting
under the winter gray sky. Frustration because going there hadn’t brought him
any closer to figuring out how to close the door on the past.
What else could give him any sense of closure?
Back in the Jeep, he flipped through the investigation file. A name caught his
attention. David Talbot. The paramedic who’d been the first person Caden was
aware of on the scene of the accident. What Caden most remembered about the man
was the kindness of his voice, the reassurances he kept offering, the way he
explained everything that was happening even though Caden hadn’t really been
capable of following it. The man’s words had helped ground Caden after a long
night of not knowing what was real, and Caden had always been convinced that
David Talbot was the only thing that had kept him from going insane. And staying
Holy shit, why hadn’t Caden thought of Talbot before? Would the guy even be
around? Maybe it was a long shot after fourteen years, but Caden’s gut said
there was something to this idea. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
A quick search on his smart phone revealed that Talbot’s firehouse in Pittsville
was only a few minutes away. Caden made his way there not knowing what to
expect, or whether he should expect anything at all.
One commenter will win a signed copy of LOVE IN THE LIGHT with
swag, open to international. To enter, just comment with your answer to one of
Did you have a favorite line from the excerpt?
Do you have a favorite book you think does a great job of dealing
with the topic of PTSD?
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty
books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up,
Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore
involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long
fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland
with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view
of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Makenna James and Caden Grayson have been inseparable since the day they were
trapped in a pitch-black elevator and found acceptance and love in the arms of a
stranger. Makenna hopes that night put them on the path to forever—which can’t
happen until she introduces her tattooed, pierced, and scarred boyfriend to her
father and three over-protective brothers.
Must fight for love in the light…
Haunted by a childhood tragedy and the loss of his family, Caden never thought
he’d find the love he shares with Makenna. But the deeper he falls, the more he
fears the devastation sure to come if he ever lost her, too. When meeting her
family doesn’t go smoothly, Caden questions whether Makenna deserves someone
better, stronger, and just more…normal. Maybe they’re too different—and
he’s far too damaged—after all
I really liked the excerpt, and seeing inside his mind. I thought it was touching, how he went and remembered those he loved and lost. I have PTSD and admit that I get frustrated when reading books, and a hero or heroine's struggles aren't accurate or they don't struggle at all. I've read stories where a woman was sexually assaulted and never deals with it. It is rare to read a story like Laura's. I can't wait to read more! (Jennifer Talbert 11:43am January 18, 2016)
I loved this book!one of favorite books with ptsd was the vixen and the vet by katy regnery! (Elena k 11:57am January 18, 2016)
I love a book that really pulls you in and touches you... feeling the character's pain, disappointment, joy, etc... I want to see the journey they take to finding peace within themselves and happiness. The excerpt definitely has me wanting to know more! "Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, Mom and Sean. I’m sorry I lost you. I love you. And I’m trying so damn hard to make you proud." stands out for me... (Colleen Conklin 11:59am January 18, 2016)
This line: Frustration because going there hadn’t brought him any closer to figuring out how to close the door on the past. A YA book that I liked that dealt with PTSD: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. Thanks! (Kristy Petree 12:01pm January 18, 2016)
I really enjoyed the hard ink series ... It brings to light various different issues that our soldiers/veterans face ... Physical and emotional/mental ...I love how she dealt with these issues in a creative way that doesn't bring shame but hope I can't wait to read Love in the Light :) I don't have a favorite line ...I loved it all! (Lisa Miller 12:15pm January 18, 2016)
I loved book 1 and look forward to reading this one too. O loved the whole excerpt and don't have a favorite line. One of my favorite books that deals with PTSD is actually a series by Kallypso Masters. Her rescue me series is not for everyone but because I had some of the same issues as some of her characters I found it very relatable and beautiful. email@example.com (Tammy Ramey 12:33pm January 18, 2016)
Hearts in Darkness was a very engaging novella and I had hoped that the author would decide to continue the story because I desperately wanted the characters to get their HEA (even though they sort of got one in HiD) and of course as a reader I wanted to experience that HEA first hand. I cannot wait to experience Caden and Makenna again.
I am a sucker for stories where one of the characters may feel like an underdog or go through an emotionally trying time just to pick themselves back up (perhaps with the help of a friend or love interest) and come out on top. Some of my favorite books are ones that have dealt with a topic such as PTSD and I think the emotions portrayed through the characters make the characters more human instead of a work of fiction. I can't narrow it down to one favorite book that has dealt with any form of PTSD but my top three are Real by Katy Evans, Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan, and Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. Though the story is very different in each book, the main character in each of these stories has experienced a traumatic event and has had to do their best to find a way to cope until they find a connection to another character. I love that connection. I live for it in a story. And it is that connection and that strength to pull through that makes all these stories even more beautiful. (Christina Savala 9:16pm January 18, 2016)
The man’s words had helped ground Caden after a long night of not knowing what was real, and Caden had always been convinced that David Talbot was the only thing that had kept him from going insane. And staying there. This is my favorite quote from the excerpt because it encapsulates the primary experience of the possibility of finding a way back to the light. I've read several authors who graphically deal with PTSD ,but the name that springs to mind is Kristen Ashley's CHAOS series due to some of the characters having to deal with it and the support offered by the other characters. (Kathleen Bylsma 11:50pm January 18, 2016)
My favorite line: The man’s words had helped ground Caden after a long night of not knowing what was real, and Caden had always been convinced that David Talbot was the only thing that had kept him from going insane.
It is a powerful sentence. (G. Bisbjerg 12:29pm January 19, 2016)
The realization brought both relief and frustration. Relief that he’d come to this place and found it to be…just a place. Just an ordinary roadside sitting under the winter gray sky. Frustration because going there hadn’t brought him any closer to figuring out how to close the door on the past. (Raelene Barns 3:18am January 19, 2016)
The excerpt was well written and gave us insight into what was going on in this mans life.My favorite line He rose to his feet and looked around for one last minute. There weren’t any ghosts there. There weren’t any answers there. The past wasn’t there. (Gloria Vigil 9:22am January 19, 2016)
I have never read a book with a character experiencing PTSD, however I have seen it in movies and on TV. It is a terrible thing to see, but as long as there is a happy ending then I would love to read it! (Lily Shah 7:09pm January 19, 2016)
Another author who deals with PTSD is M.L. Buchman and does it very well, in both his Night Stalkers and Hot Shot series...I must read Darkness, I've come to understand, before I read Light. (Kathleen Bylsma 9:45pm January 19, 2016)
I love the line "what else could give him any sense of closure? " I hae been in some sticky situations before and I understand that line and I keep thinking that line a lot (Natasha Persaud 11:38am January 20, 2016)
One of the lines that I really liked from the excerpt is "Relief that he’d come to this place and found it to be…just a place." I can only imagine what it would feel like to be in his shoes and just letting all those old feelings just go. I don't really remember reading a book where PTSD was a major component of the story. (Jami Birnbaum 11:48am January 20, 2016)
A book that I believe does and amazing job of dealing with PTSD is "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson. Its also one of my favorites XD (Hylla Jackson 9:23pm January 21, 2016)
My favorite line: "And I'm trying so damn hard to make you proud." To me, it feels like he is trying to build a better life in spite of the tragedy. I like the feeling of hope for better things to come. (Anna Speed 12:45pm January 22, 2016)
Love ya books and have read some great things about this one cant wait to read it .. and to me I love the books that help deal with this and make ppl aware of ptsd -- and cant go wrong with hot military guys ! (Rachael Kennedy 9:41pm January 22, 2016)
I can't remember a book but I believe my dad had some form of it. He was a pow in WWII only we didn't know about it until after his death. Apparently he saw a person right next too him shot. His war stories always had things happening to someone else. And we knew never to try and wake him up by grabbing him. (Nancy Luebke 10:18pm January 22, 2016)
You asked for our favorite line, but for me it's several lines. A tractor trailer roared past, and the sound of it was familiar enough to send cold chills down Caden’s back. But Caden wasn’t trapped in that car. He wasn’t. Not anymore.
He rose to his feet and looked around for one last minute. There weren’t any ghosts there. There weren’t any answers there. The past wasn’t there.
The realization brought both relief and frustration. Relief that he’d come to this place and found it to be…just a place. Just an ordinary roadside sitting under the winter gray sky. Frustration because going there hadn’t brought him any closer to figuring out how to close the door on the past. I think that's how it truly is. You have to realize that the place is just a place, etc. I'm sure it helps to see that. The rest has to come out of you. I haven't read it yet, but it does sound like an amazing book! (Teresa Williams 3:21am January 23, 2016)
One of my favorite books (or series) that deals with PTSD is Jen McLaughlin's "Out of Line" series. It was heart- wrenching, yet also hopeful.
My husband has PTSD, so I enjoy reading fiction books that deal with the topic authentically. (Terrill Rosado 6:07pm January 26, 2016)