As Will and Rachel struggle, they both learn that the most important choices are the ones that break the rules. — Let Love Rule (Where You’ll Land Book 3) by @DrJSimonGunnTweet
Are any of your characters based off a real person?
by Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Meet Abe, a character who is only in a few scenes, but whose appearance in the story is important to the theme. Readers may not realize his significance until the plot twist is revealed.
Abe is loosely based on a boy I had worked with in therapy during my training as a psychology graduate student. I was young at the time and he taught me a lot about surviving in the inner city and what it means to make choices that break rules. In Let Love Rule, Abe imparts some of the same wisdoms to Alex (one of my protagonists) while she’s treating him in psychotherapy.
Alex meets Abe when she’s working as an extern-level therapist at a juvenile detention center, where he is an inmate. Abe is labeled as bad, felonious, anti-social, even psychopathic. Labels like anti-social and psychopath are often made based on external behaviors without a full understanding of context, inner experience and motivation.
Abe had been in a gang. He hadn’t always made the best choices. He did what he had to do to survive. But underneath these actions, he was good. The boy that I had worked with, like Abe does in the book, revealed his true character by breaking establishment rules, because he was guided by his own moral standard: to protect those you care about. I hope this doesn’t sound too cryptic. I don’t want to give too much away.
Some people come into our lives for a short time, but make a huge impact, because they change the way we see things or they touch us in a unique way. I wrote about my work with this boy in my co-authored nonfiction book, BARE: Psychotherapy Stripped. And now, I have created a fictional version of him. It’s clear that the relationship left a deep impression and the wisdoms he bestowed upon me were and are worth sharing.
I have debated giving Abe his own story, maybe a novella. We’ll see.
Let Love Rule
Where You’ll Land Book 3
by Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
From award-winning author Jacqueline Simon Gunn comes the long-awaited third book in her Where You’ll Land series, a story about trauma, healing, love and discovering who we are by the choices we make.
Will Easton had been running from old wounds for too long when a tragedy sends him to his hometown, offering him the opportunity to revisit his past and learn to trust again. Once back at graduate school, he vows to take more risks, especially with his heart. When he meets Rachel, he is immediately drawn to her. But there are two problems: She’s still married, and he feels an obligation to his on-again/off-again girlfriend who stood by him. No matter how much he wants to be loyal, he feels a strong pull toward this new woman.
Rachel Dale finally found the strength to cut the cord to her cheating husband. When she meets Will, she finds herself irresistibly attracted to him. But he appears to have a girlfriend, and she refuses to become the other woman in someone else’s story. Besides, learning to trust another man is going to be hard. Trusting herself and her judgment after her husband’s betrayals is even harder. Meanwhile, her soon-to-be-ex is not letting her go easily. He could destroy any chance she and Will might have… if he ever leaves his girlfriend.
As Will and Rachel struggle to make the right choices, they both learn that saying they’ll trust again doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. In this complex, psychological romance, the most important choices are the ones that break the rules.
I must’ve been a glutton for punishment. Jude had invited me to his girlfriend’s house for a barbecue. I was wiped out and my apartment was a goddamn disaster. Depression did that to me. Ever since I caught X-man in bed with Desirae, after he promised we’d work it out (blah, blah, blah, was all I heard now when I thought of those words I had held so precious), it had been tough to keep my mood from sinking. Especially since I had slept with him that very morning, thinking we were on the path to reconciliation. That’s right, X-man fucked me twice that day: once for real and once when he took her into our bed.
The worst part of the situation was that I had thought the affair was my fault, that my preoccupation with my band and my music left him feeling so lonely that he didn’t know any other way to fill the void. What a crock of shit. There was no excuse for what he did. Last year, when I first discovered their erotic text exchanges, he told me that he was going through something. He loved me but had been feeling restless. He said he met Desirae at the coffee shop, where she was a barista. He often went there to read or do work on the nights I had practice or shows. He said it meant nothing. That it was a mistake. After I found more texts a few months later, he admitted that he had a problem. The affair had nothing to with me. It was him.
As for me, I was pathetic. That’s what love could do to you: Take a woman who was strong in every other area of her life and shrink her into a pitiful girl, pining away for an unworthy boy. I loved that man. I’d made a commitment. I blamed myself, my independence, for his indiscretions. So, I became less independent in order to give him what I thought he wanted.
The affair was not my fault. When I caught them naked in our bed and told him I was through, his story changed. He came to my apartment that night and crushed what remained of me when he said, “I fell out of love, and I didn’t know how to tell you.” Those words, on the same day that I saw another woman naked and gliding across him, broke something deep inside of me. I was sure I’d never be the same. I had trusted him. I had even trusted him after he betrayed me. I was too open for my own good. I still gave that man my heart even after he destroyed it.
What on God’s green earth were you thinking? I wasn’t. That was my problem. Always acting with my heart instead of my head. I should not be asking Will to go for a drink. I enjoyed talking to him, but I also felt things that I shouldn’t. While we were chatting, I kept imagining his hands holding my face as he kissed my lips delicately at first, then more urgently. He had the perfect combination of ruggedness and softness with a passion that was thinly veiled just waiting for the right moment to burst out. Nothing quite like fantasizing you were on the receiving end of all that intensity.
Asking him to go for a cocktail came from the desire to be closer. That’s why I should absolutely stay the hell away from him. Will was a fantasy. I was a dreamer, an artist with an overblow imagination. Part genetic and part a result of being in a marriage that had been falling apart way before I even realized it.
The X-man was good at sex, unfortunately. He knew just how to make me melt in his hands. But he had no gentleness when not in the bedroom. I hadn’t realized it until a few years into the marriage. I liked the idea of Will, a man who seemed to carry both the hard edges and the soft centers. A man who would not only touch my body but reach my soul. And it was my soul that was begging for him.
Sweat dripped down his chest. I never thought I could envy a piece of fabric until I saw his T-shirt kissing his skin the way I wanted to. Next thing I knew, I was only in my thong. I did not mean to come on so strong or be the one to take the initiative — even though that was my MO. I was not into those rules about waiting for the guy to make the move. It was exhausting.
But I had promised myself I’d do this one differently, thinking that things never worked out because I showed all my cards too early. Also, I couldn’t ignore that I was still healing from my husband’s betrayal. It was hard to trust not only someone new, but my own judgment too.
I knew he liked me — or at least the old me would have thought so — but I didn’t know if I could trust that feeling. It had come so readily before. Each man would lose interest almost as quickly as they got it. So, when X-man wandered into the arms of another woman — probably one who played it coy and demure, one who was willing to play that role guys seemed to want — it broke something in my spirit.
Being near Will brought out some of the me that I was before I was damaged, so I stripped down and went with it. I also wanted to remove my thong, but I left that one piece for him to take off. The anticipation coursing through me gave me butterflies. Under the stars, wrapped around him, more of the self that had been murdered by my broken marriage, emerged. With that came my old familiar thought process: We’re interested in each other. Why wait if we both know we want it?
But he stopped me.
Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a Manhattan-based clinical psychologist and writer. She has authored two non-fiction books and co-authored two others. She has published many articles, both scholarly and mainstream, and currently works as a freelance writer. Gunn is now writing psychological fiction, love stories and thrillers. Always in search of truth and fascinated by human behavior, her fiction writing, like psychology, is a way for her to explore human nature — motivation, emotions, relationships.In addition to her clinical practice and writing, Gunn is an avid runner and reader, a serious cat lover and a coffee connoisseur. She is currently working on multiple writing projects.
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