Crossing Lines is the third book in the Behind Closed Doors series. The first book in the series, Tainted Love left so many unanswered questions about what happened to McKenzie children, questions that really didn’t answered in book two, Blurred Lines, because I had to introduce you to the Anderson and Valentina Family, with whom this series really began. Crossing Lines ties the two families together.
2. When did you take up writing?
I’ve been writing my entire life. I wrote my first series at 12 and my first novella at 14.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
I really focus on settings and places anymore. I focus on the characters, their mannerisms, and actions. The setting is built around those.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
Haha! That’s like asking a mother if has a favourite child. I love Ashleigh and Sean, this whole series began with them, I wrote their story (book 6) first and then the series was built from their. I wanted to know how Sean’s sister Julia would go from am abusive relationship to trusting another man enough to remarry. In doing so I found Darryl, whose major conflict was deceiving Julia and yet falling for someone who’d been through what his sister went through knowing that he wasnt strong enough to support Julia. Not in the way she needed to be. And in finding Darryl, I met Faith, who will always have a special place in my heart.
Seven years ago, psychiatrist Darryl Hawthorne ran out of time to save his sister, Faith McKenzie, from death at the hands of her ex-husband. Now, he’s running out of time to protect her children from the secrets still tearing them apart. With the family spiraling out of control, the last thing Darryl needs is multi award-winning actress, Ashleigh Jordan, begging for help. As a specialist in domestic abuse, Darryl knows pretending to be Ashleigh’s lover in order to counsel her best friend, Julia, is a line he should not cross. But it’s one he must bypass if he’s to save Julia from her abusive husband.
Despite the walls he’s constructed around his heart, Julia reaches deeper into Darryl’s soul than anyone ever has. She views his life, his family, and his past with a clarity he’s never had before. In Julia, Darryl sees the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel and delving into Julia’s relationship with her husband resonates deep with Darryl’s conscience. So deep, the lines between doctor and patient blur to something more akin to friend and lover. Too deep, in fact, for Darryl to ignore it when Julia becomes the key to saving his family and changing the very core of who he is.
Falling for a patient is not acceptable, falling for another man’s wife is just as wrong, but when faced with both, will Darryl do the right thing by Julia and her marriage? Or will he prove to Julia that in order to live, and love, and to be loved the way she deserves to be loved, that sometimes, you have to cross the line?
“What's wrong with Caleb?” I ask.
“He's already tried,” Ashleigh sighs. “Julia knows who he is. He and I, we've been trying to get her to open up to him for years. She doesn't trust him. She knows what he's trying to do.”
“Krystal, this isn't going to work. Caleb's much better at this than me. He's been working with abused women since he was sixteen. How do you propose I counsel her, if she's already knocked you both on your asses?”
“We’d have to do something you probably won't like.” She says it quietly, like she already knows what I’m going to say. I’m suddenly struck by the memory of her confession in my office on Friday. She thinks she knows me better than I know myself. And because she thinks that, she’s always a step ahead. “We’d have to take advantage of how well she knows me.” I frown. She’s right. I’m not going to like this. “Men don't sleep over at my house, Darryl. I'd certainly never invite one into my personal haven, my home, and then leave him there while I went away for a few days to work—which is just what I’ll be doing with you if you agree. I have a promo tour next week.”
“What?” I choke on the air trapped in my throat. She is not serious. “Are you suggesting I pose as your lover?”
“She knows you and I have been seeing each other for years,” she whispers. “I’ve never confirmed or denied it, because I don’t want people to know I need a psychiatrist.”
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
She slides me a look that says it has nothing to do with what other people think. “D, I'm just asking you to embellish a little on what we do during those meetings.”
“No, you're asking me to lie and keep secrets for you, while I deceive your friend because you will conveniently be on the road.”
“I'll do my—”
“No,” I tell her firmly. “I’m not doing this. And you've harmed our friendship by asking me to do it. And far worse than that is what this says about your friendship with Julia, because you’ve thought about deceiving her this way. If she really is in trouble, it’s likely she already finds it difficult to trust people, even without her closest friend betraying her. She can’t afford to lose you now, and you certainly can’t afford to risk her shrinking further into isolation by choice.”
Well, at least she has enough shame to look at the floor.
“I know.” She lifts her eyes to mine, and I can barely believe what I see there. Desperation. “But I’ve already done irreparable damage to our friendship by keeping records, asking questions, and not dropping this subject when she’s repeatedly asked. I have all the evidence to support her defense, but she wants me to destroy it. And I want to, Darryl, really I do. I want my best friend back. I need her back. But I … I can’t do it, knowing what it will mean for her. I know I'm asking a lot from you …”
I’m surprised how difficult I’m finding it to say no—not to Krystal per se, but to the help her friend needs. “I said no!”
She makes moves to object again and I’m about to tell her to go to hell, when I hear footsteps behind me. “Someone ask for coffee?” Caleb stops dead just inside the doorway. “Ah.” His gaze flickers between us several times before he settles on Krystal. “You don't waste any time, do you?”
“I don't have time to waste,” she replies.
“Wait.” I look from Caleb to Krystal and then back again. “You knew about this?” Shamefully, he looks away and my eyes roll. A sigh of pure exasperation escapes my lips. I don't believe he would be so stupid. “Without everything else that's going on, especially with Lisa, you know the law. You know what will happen if anyone finds out about this. Why would you put her up to this?”
“The law?” he repeats. “What laws are you breaking? She's just a friend.”
A silence falls between us as I look at Krystal, and I’m not surprised when she doesn't volunteer the truth. Caleb might be inside her circle of trust, a friend even, but she keeps him at arms’ length just like everyone else.
“I'm sorry, Darryl,” she whispers, placing her untouched drink in my hand. “I didn't know where else to turn.” She steps back, gives Caleb a silent nod, and walks across the hallway into the den. She returns moments later with Macaulay in her arms and then leaves, without another word.
I turn to the window and the street below, watching her lift the sweatshirt hood over her head and place the dark glasses back on her face before she crosses the road. I’m not going to risk everything I have by agreeing to help her. Not like that. “There has to be another way,” I mutter to myself, even though Caleb is still in the room.
“When you think of it, let me know. I've tried everything to get Julia to talk.” He sighs. My mind draws a blank and I turn to him. He shrugs, “You can't save everyone, right? Otherwise, we'd have saved Mom.”
The shot hits me square in my chest, flooding my entire body with a regret so strong it’s difficult to form words for a few seconds. “That was low, Caleb.”
“Did it work?”
I take one last look at Krystal as she turns at the end of the block and out of sight, then turn back toward him. I can’t change what happened to Faith. Her death and John’s are both scars that somehow I’ll have to learn to live with. But Faith said something over and over again, something I’ve tried to live by since she died, but never truly believed her words until now: “For every life you can’t save, there are hundreds more you can.”
I know I can’t let Julia become that one life I don’t save. Not without trying.
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