How to Heal
by Susan Hawke
Date Released: April 14, 2019
About How to Heal
Take one former bully, unable to forgive himself for the sins of his past…
Clark Danvers is a wild twenty-one year old who’s trying to prove he’s an adult. With a two-year degree in hand, he manages the family car dealership and seemingly parties by night. Given the amount of times he’s been pulled over for speeding by Deputy Rick Matthews, public opinion seems to be right. But what people don’t see are the scars he carries both inside and out. Scars from a past he can’t run away from and will never be able to atone for, no matter how many times he beats himself over it.
Add one no-nonsense cop who longs to be a Daddy for the right boy…
Jericho “Rick” Matthews never expects the bratty kid who gets on his last nerve to pull at his heartstrings. When he finds Clark battered and fighting for his life in a motel room, Rick’s Daddy mode is instantly engaged. Before he can think of anything else, he must first comfort this hurting boy.
To equal a pair of men who might just be what the other needs.
The two men who thought they couldn’t stand each other are drawn together after a date gone wrong. While Rick tenderly cares for Clark, he decides what this brat needs is a Daddy… someone to help him break free from the past and embrace the promise of many happy tomorrows.
This is the fifth book in the Lovestrong series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Intended only for 18+ readers, this is an mm romance full of all the sweet feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book.
Note: Possible trigger warning for mentions of self-harm and a scene involving a man who’s consented to having himself tied up. What he didn’t agree to was being left that way for an entire weekend. This highly emotional scene is the catalyst to evoke “Daddy’s” protective mode in a tale filled with themes of hurt and comfort and the struggle of overcoming a difficult past.
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An Excerpt from How to HealJared helped me get Clark rolled over. I knelt and held Clark's filthy body against my chest while Jared carefully cut the ropes around his wrists. “Do you know the kid, Rick? This seems like it might be personal for you.”
Without thinking about it, I pushed to my feet and took a seat at the head of the bed—right on top of what looked like a puddle of dried puke—and let Clark's body loll against my shoulder. I held him carefully upright as I brushed the hair back from his face. “Hazards of life in a small town. You get to know everybody. Let's just say that this guy here has had more than one run-in with me over the years. But no matter how much he's irritated me, I never would've wanted to see him like this.”
I wanted to sob at the sight of the welts and bruises where the ropes had held his hands together. I wanted to lean him forward and get a better look at the infected areas on his back. Had somebody whipped him? Obviously, someone had done a number on him. The person I held was a mere husk of the healthy young man I'd seen Friday night with Marcus.
I looked up as Jared came around the corner from the bathroom. When did he step out of the room? Dammit, I needed to keep my head on straight. Focus, Matthews. Do the job. “Hey, that camera on the dresser might be the key to this one. With any luck, it recorded whatever went down in here. Don’t touch it though, we’ll need take a shit-ton of photos of the scene first.” I shook my head as he walked forward with something white in his hand. “Sorry, what am I thinking? You’ve obviously been well trained. You’ve done everything right so far.”
Maybe I finally had a link that would tie that jerk Marcus to Shaw's case. Not that any of that was important in this moment. No, right now the only thing that mattered was getting Clark the help he needed. Fuck. I needed to keep my head straight. I glanced back at Jared when he began to speak.
“No worries. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that even a rookie like me knows you’re probably contaminating the scene by sitting on that bed. But fuck it. I think he needs you more than we need a clean scene. I also don't think it's going to hurt anything if we wipe the crust from his eyes so he can try to open them. Here, you wanna do the honors?” He passed me the warm, damp washcloth he’d been holding. Ah, so that’s what he’d been doing in the bathroom.
“Thanks, that’s good thinking. He’s our number one priority at the moment.” I thanked Jared for his consideration, but focused on the task at hand. Clark made anguished whimpers in his throat as I carefully cleaned the dried crusties from his eyelashes. After I pulled the washcloth away, he blinked a couple times then gazed blankly at me as if it was too much work to focus.
I carefully dabbed at the dried blood on his lips with a clean area of the cloth. “Don't worry, kid. We've got you. Can you talk to me, Clark? I need to know who did this to you. We need to find him; can you give me a name?” Holding this weak, damaged boy in my arms was bringing all my protective instincts to the surface. I just wanted to make all his hurts go away.
If he were my boy…
I quickly tried to push that train of thought away. Clark Danvers was the last person I would choose to Daddy. He was rude, defiant, and sassy on his best day. Clark was not exactly the most submissive type, either. I set the washcloth aside after a moment and simply held him. I needed him to know that he wasn't alone and that somebody cared.
Shit. Maybe he did need me.
When he started to whimper, I made a shushing noise as I brushed his hair back. His lips parted as the faintest sound came out. “Waaaa.”
Jared immediately turned back toward the bathroom. “Shit, he's asking for water. Aren't we a couple of dumb-asses? He hasn't had a thing to drink in days and we’re busy cleaning his face.”
About Susan Hawke
As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it. This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I'd care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I've found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that's what I try to bring to every tale I tell.
I'm a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown "kids of my heart". I'm more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.
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