Addison Mitchell has been through tough times in her young life. She’s recovered from a drug addiction, and begun a future helping others with similar problems. Unexpectedly, she meets Cole Chase.
He’s handsome, thoughtful, and falls head over heels for her immediately.
There’s just one problem…
Carrying the same last name as someone who brought the Mitchell family so much pain leaves Cole unwelcome. Addison’s parents and siblings will stop at nothing until they break up the couple.
Can Cole and Addison prove he’s nothing like his uncle, Tucker Chase, or will the past keep them from having a future?
Mitchell- Healy Series Book 6
These meetings had become my lifeline. I was once lost – headed in a direction I hated to admit out loud, but it was that disappointment which kept me strong minded, focused, and convinced I’d never go back to that same person again.
Being an addict was permanent. I might not be using, but the title would remain. What I’d done to myself and my reputation couldn’t be fixed. Labels were what I’d come to accept. They were important – to me and the success of the program. It was up to me to show others they too could overcome their demons. They could live if they just allowed themselves to do so.
It had taken me a long time to get to this point; to be able to understand how far I’d come, and what I’d risked to need to change. I had to hit rock bottom to see how close to death I’d gotten. No one could save me, not my family, and most definitely not my friends. I had to save myself, just like every single person staring back at me at this meeting.
“My name is Addison, and I’m a drug addict. I’ve lied to the people I love. I’ve stolen from those who trusted me. I’ve lost respect for myself along the way. Everyone in this room is here for a reason. You’re not alone, not anymore. I promise you that it gets easier. It’s a long road to recovery, but you can do it. No matter how far gone you think you are, there is always a road to redemption. You have to want it more than anything you’ve ever wanted in your life. You have to be done denying what you are. You have to accept what you’ll never be able to change. It’s about forgiveness. I look out at each one of you tonight and recognize so many. I feel humbled to know we’ve taken this path together. We’re a team, a force to be reckoned with.”
A few people made agreeing comments. One even said ‘amen’ before I continued. “I want to thank you all for coming out tonight. If you didn’t speak because you felt you weren’t ready, we’ll be here again on Tuesday at the same time. If you feel like you can’t wait that long, I have cards with my contact information. You’re welcome to call me any time, day or night. I’m always available. Let’s bow our heads and pray before we say good night.”
I led my group in our routine prayer, thanking God for more time on this beautiful earth, asking him to give us strength and patience to make it through another day. When I was finished people began standing up. Some stuck around to mingle, while others rushed outside for a nicotine fix. I always tried my best to personally visit the newbies. It was my duty, my promise, to make sure they knew they were welcome, and that this was the first step toward the rest of their lives.
I knew the statistics. Half of these people would relapse at least once before they either got clean or destroyed their lives, sometimes in an overdose that would lead to death. Reality was sad. I’d been where these people were. Not a day went by where I didn’t think about what could have happened to me if I’d continued on the path I’d taken.
At twenty three I’d already been through more than most middle-aged adults. My body was no longer that of a young woman. I looked older than I was, and no matter how hard I tried to take care of myself, I knew it was the price I had to pay for my sins.
While my brother and sister had found love, and looked forward to their futures, I was taking it one day at a time, because it was my only way to survive, especially at first. The happier the people around me seemed to be, the worse I suffered. Inside I was alone. I felt like an outcast.
Love had brought me back.
They were all there for me, cheering me on, showing me I was worth the battle.
My mother – the strongest woman I knew, had refused to give up. She was my rock among them all. She was like an angel, guiding me to repentance. Without her I didn’t know where I’d be. Day after day she gave me what I needed. A shoulder to cry on. A hug in the middle of the night. A late night swing on the front porch. A shared cup of hot tea. No matter what the cause, she was there.
Most of the people in this room weren’t lucky like me. They didn’t have the kind of support team I’d been born into. My family were well-known for many reasons, but what I valued the most was their faith. Together we were strong, and I vowed to never take them for granted. Above all I’d live to make them proud. I’d be respectful. I’d appreciate them.
Later that night, after I’d gotten home from the meeting, I walked inside to find my parents on the couch watching television. I dropped my keys in the basket and sat down next to my dad, much like I did as a small child. Without saying a word, he leaned over and kissed the top of my head while pulling me closer. This was my happy place. It was what kept me focused on staying clean – on being true.
“How did it go tonight? Did you have many new people?” My mother asked.
“Three. One got up and spoke. She couldn’t have been older than eighteen. I saw a parent picking her up afterwards. Hopefully she’ll come back.”
“I’ll pray for her tonight, honey.”
“Yeah, I will too.”
“Are you hungry? I can make you a snack,” she offered.
“No. I’m fine.” My mother knew I could help myself, but loved taking care of us kids. She was born to do it. She and my dad were like the couple you read about in epic romance novels. I’d never seen two people so in love. They did everything together, including raising us kids. The values they taught us were obvious to others. I was proud to be a Mitchell, and I hoped that someday I’d be able to have a family of my own and teach the same morals they’d taught us to live by. “I’m content being here with you two.”
Dad squeezed my shoulder. “That’s my girl.”
At first he’d struggled to understand where he’d gone wrong with me. I think he blamed my addiction on himself, like he’d somehow had a hand at why I’d made bad choices.
My addiction had nothing to do with my family, or their money. I’d made the choice to hang with the wrong crowd. I’d gotten involved with things I knew were wrong. They were my decisions alone.
My dad and I had a strained relationship for a while. It broke my heart, but not nearly as much as his. I once heard him crying to my mother in their bedroom. He kept repeating how he failed me. I’d replayed hearing him so many times I’d lost count. Upsetting him, breaking him down, it was the lowest of lows for me.
I knew I’d never do another drug again. It wasn’t just a promise to myself. It was a silent vow to him. The moment I shared that with my dad, things changed for us. He no longer carried the burden on his shoulders. Ever since that night our relationship had seem to be repaired. He kept an eye on me because he loved me, not because he expected me to disappoint him. There was a huge difference, one I’d never been good at separating.
As I sat there with my parents appreciating the quality time between us, I knew there was one thing missing in my life; one thing I’d probably have to wait a long time to have.
A boyfriend – someone to share my life with.
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Jennifer Foor is an award winning Contemporary Romance Author. She's best known for the Mitchell Family Series, which includes ten books.
She is married with two children and spends most of her time behind a keyboard, writing stories that come from her heart.