Climbing the Walls
(Hart & Cole #1)
By Sacha T. Y. Fortune
Publication Date: July 28th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
***Real emotion. Real life. Real love. This is NOT a glossy love story. But if you’re looking for a romance read that will rattle you… characters that will change you… and love that will last in your mind long after you’re finished… THIS IS THE ONE FOR YOU.***
Kris fell, head over heels over hormones, for the damaged b*tch who became his power-woman sex-goddess wife.
All Nicole wants is to be a better mother, and a wife more worthy of the husband she loves with every fibre of her body, but she is constantly yanked away by her job and her overbearing boss Darren Hart.
But Darren has marital problems of his own – and, when he confides in her, Nicole realises just how easily a happy marriage can crumble.
…Can she keep her own from doing the same?
Told from both points of view, “Climbing The Walls” explores the fibres that hold a marriage together – love, trust, forgiveness… and of course, the earth-shattering sex that will not be denied.
“I see it in his eyes. I see it in yours.” He finishes the rest of the wine with a long swallow.
“I know your marriage… your bond with him… was never built on that. On fake concepts, perfect images. On mushy shit. On unrealistic things.”
I think of a few Saturdays back, when Kris was hung over and we had to get the kids from Bryan’s house, and we had quickie sex on the living room floor – simply because we could since the kids weren’t home – after the brief foreplay that started in the shower where I scrubbed every inch of him with my tongue and a loofah sponge till he no longer smelled like vodka and vomit.
I think of Kris telling me last week that the handkerchief and dirty clothes were turning him on.
I think of my tear-stained face, I think of me sitting in my own pee in the bathroom three years ago, and Kris’ eyes bright and piercing and painful and sweet: “Shut up and kiss me.”
No, our marriage is not built on unrealistic things.
“And that’s how I know,” Darren finishes.
“Hm?” I look back at him.
“That it’s got staying power.”
“I don’t understand.”
He releases a slow exhalation of air. “I was twenty-two when I started the magazine. Somewhere around there I met Luisa. Twenty-four when we got married. I was gaining momentum professionally… I wooed her. Never been in love before, not really. I went all out. Everything had to be perfect. She was too good for me – too good for what I was. So I had to become something… someone good enough for her.”
“Darren—” Instinct overpowers me as I reach out to touch his clasped hands, and he pulls them away.
He shakes his head. “I was afraid to touch her. I told you before… that I started… at nineteen. And she… Luisa, she was the second girl I’d ever – been… with… intimately…”
My mind tries to wrap itself around the image of having sex with only two men, my entire life. There must’ve been twenty, maybe thirty, somewhere in those numbers. You forget after awhile. I’m sure Kris never crossed ten. Not just because he told me, but because there aren’t that many girls that would experience such good sex without marrying the boy.
“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing… she was this beautiful, worldly, amazing girl and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, Nic. I just – took all the advice from buddies, from my mom, from anyone, anything. I tried it all, everything, all at once. I had to get this girl, I wanted her so bad it hurt… I wanted to marry her, I wanted her to have my kids, I wanted her to love me. I had the money, the career, and I could spoil her to death until she gave in and loved me back. I loved her and I wanted her, and that was it for me. That was – that was it. And now – twelve years later, I look back on it, and I wonder if – if that wasn’t it, if that shouldn’t have been it, if I loved her too much, if she didn’t love me enough. I think about the cliché shit I did… I mean everything, all the romantic notions, the flowers, the chocolates, the vacations, the cruises, the cars, the fancy restaurants, even my bedside manner – rose petals on the bed, grapes, sweet music, perfume… everything I read in a book, everything a friend told me, I tried. I just tried it all… I had to have her, y’know? And I could afford to try, I was making big bucks doing what I loved, following my dream career, and I was young and I was stupid and… and I loved her.”
“Darren.” My murmur is quiet this time.
“And then you ask me why I can’t – why I won’t – confront her, why I’m afraid to give her up, why I’m so scared of letting go. And I think about it, I really think about it, because you’re the only person I can turn to with this, you’re my best friend and I know you’ll try to help me whatever way you can… and you, egging me on to do something… makes me listen to you, makes me wonder why, makes me look inside myself till I find the answer. And – and I don’t like the answer, Nic. I don’t. I know it, and I hate it with every fibre in me.” He swallows, hard. “I wasn’t me back then. I was this person, this person I don’t even recognise anymore. She married that person – God alone knows why – and then she couldn’t handle the reality when she got to know the real me. Sometimes, sometimes I don’t blame her – I don’t blame her for – for what caused Kady. At the end of it all, I just – wasn’t what she wanted, what she needed, what she expected, what she deserved. And of course I wasn’t. It’s a marriage built on shit.”
“But…” I think, composing my answer carefully. “You can’t… blame yourself.”
Milky eyes meet mine across the blood-red table. “Watch me.”
“Oh, sweetie.” I want to cry, but I can’t. I’ve been wanting to cry every time he talks about Luisa, but more so now – when I know there’s something I can tell him that might change things in his life, that might make him more or less miserable – I don’t know which. I want to cry, my eyes are filling up as I look at him – this beautiful man, this beautiful man that so many women would die to have, this beautiful man that so many women love to love and love to hate, this beautiful man – broken.
“So tell me what to do, Nicole.” His eyes lock on mine.
“What do you mean?” I stare, baffled.
“Tell me what to do. You’re the only person I know who’s – who’s been through shit… but somewhere deep inside you have it figured out, you know what’s real, and what’s not. You’ve told me, several times, to open Pandora’s box, to trust my instincts in spite of the lack of tangible proof. I trust you. I know that you know what you’re talking about when you talk about love. I know that it’s not easy for you, but I know that you’ve never given up yet, and you probably won’t because – that’s what it’s all about. So when do I throw in the towel, Nic? When do I give up? When do I accept it? When do I grow up, when do I stop being that almost-virginal twenty-two-year-old boy, drunk on love? When? Tell me… and… I’ll do it.”
Sacha T. Y. Fortuné hails from the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, and she considers herself a “citizen of the world” [Read her “30 Day Truth Challenge” here – go to Day 16].
Her passion for writing began in her early childhood, when she channeled her active imagination into writing short stories, poems and full-length novels for her friends.
The winner of several writing awards during her childhood, she became the President of the Writers’ Guild at Lancaster University in Lancaster, UK, where she contributed some poems and short stories to Lancaster University’s Writers’ Guild Anthologies during 2005-2007.
With her BA in Media & Cultural Studies under her belt, she went on to complete her MA in International Journalism at the University of Westminster in London, UK.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.