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Tragic Love – By M.S. Brannon
This is the second book in the Sulfur Heights Series. You really should read the first book, Scarred Love, before starting this one. It deals with the same characters and you need to understand their history so that you can fully appreciate this book.
This book focusses on Presley and Drake. They have had a connection since the day they laid eyes on each other. Their love and devotion is deep for such a young couple. Presley has been through a lot in her young life. Her parents were killed in an accident when she lived in Memphis and she was sent to live with her only relative, her uncle Robert. Robert was an evil, sadistic, abusive man who took pleasure in torturing Presley while she was living with him. Even though Robert is dead and she is living with the Evans family, Presley still has trouble fighting off the horrific memories that live in her head. She feels that Drake is her lifeline. She often uses their intimate encounters as a way of keeping her demons at bay. Presley suffered from depression as a child and had found other ways to cope back then…she starved herself. She had even been institutionalized as a teenager in order to get the help that she needed. This was a part of her life that she kept hidden from Drake.
Please don’t continue reading this review if you haven’t read the book….I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
Presley is excited when her best friend from Memphis is coming to stay with her for the summer. Delilah has always been there for Presley. She has been a protector and a confidante to Presley. When Presley starts getting sick and has a hard time shaking her illness, Delilah suggests that she might be pregnant. Presley panics at the mere thought of being pregnant. She can’t imagine herself as a mother and doesn’t think that she is capable of taking care of and loving a child. When she finds out that she is pregnant, she keeps the news from Drake and considers her options. She knows that Drake would want to keep the baby and be a good father, since he didn’t exactly have an ideal childhood. She doesn’t want to be a mother and she makes an appointment at the local clinic for an abortion.
When Drake finds out about the baby, Presley is already at the clinic. He is out of his mind with anger and wants to stop her from making this decision. When he arrives at the clinic, Presley is already outside….Drake assumes the worse. He is devastated! He has no idea that Presley did not go through with the abortion.
When Drake discovers the truth, that she is still pregnant, he is still angry and resentful that she kept all of this from him. It takes a couple of months for him to get over his anger and focus on the fact that he is deeply in love with this woman and their unborn child. He works two jobs in order to get ahead so that they can have enough money for an apartment of their own. Presley just dwells on the fact that she doesn’t want the child that she’s carrying and that her life will be over. She wants to have Drake all to herself and not have to share him with a baby that he will obviously adore.
Trouble really starts to happen when their baby, Mia, is born and they move into their own apartment. Needless to say, the apartment complex isn’t in the best neighborhood (it is Sulfur Heights, after all). Presley feels no attachment to Mia and leaves her to be cared for by Delilah and her neighbor. Presley still has trouble escaping the memories of her abuse at the hand of her uncle and wants to feel numb from her pain. In the past, she used sex with Drake to numb her pain, but that doesn’t work for her anymore…now she turns to heroin.
She has now become everything that Drake despises…a junkie, just like his mother! Presley realizes that she needs help, but she likes the way the drugs ease her pain. She agrees to go into rehab back in Memphis, but she ends up having a near-fatal overdose the night before she is due to leave.
Through all of the trials and tribulations that rehab present, Presley comes out of it a much stronger person. She wants to be the kind of mother that Mia deserves. She wants to have the relationship that Drake deserves. Things seem to be looking up for Presley and her family. Drake moved back into the Evans house while she was in Memphis and now they are surrounded by the family that loves them. She is feeling really good about herself until she runs into her old drug dealer/friend at her old apartment complex. He scares her…he is strung out…he hurts her…he wants her. Things spiral from here.
The end of the book came as a bit of a surprise to me. I was sad by it, I didn’t want to see it happen like that, but I think that it worked for the story. I love the Evans family. They are tough, rough around the edges, but they love and stick by one another. I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the third book, Blind Love. The author writes a very good story that keeps you engaged and wanting more. I would never want to live in a place like Sulfur Heights, but I am anxious to go back for a visit!