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Lives Collide

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Lives Collide
You can plan your life, but sometimes life has a mind of its own…

Following Lisa’s near-death experience as a teenager, she is haunted by the emerald-green eyes of the stranger who saved her life. Her only connection to him is the leather jacket he left behind. Years later, she’s still reeling from the aftereffects of her injuries, convinced that no man will love her once he uncovers her secret. She lives a life of solitude and hides behind her days of monotony. And then James storms into her life.

After James helps a young girl in a car accident, he sets his life course—determined that nothing will stand in his way. Once he accomplishes his dreams, one unforeseen event changes his orderly existence into one of chaos. He spirals downward and can’t summon the strength to pull himself from the edge of despair. Until Lisa becomes a beautiful distraction.

Familiarity and a sense of peace draw them to one another. They soon discover they lived parallel lives that intertwined at the most crucial points. Can their revelations help them face their fears and move forward, or will history repeat itself?

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I look through the crowd and see James hasn’t moved from where we were standing. However, a tall, slender blonde chats with him. As I creep closer, I zone in on her hand, which is on his arm. She leans closer to him.

Why doesn’t she press his face into her cleavage? Is it my turn to interrupt, or does he want to talk to her? He jerks his arm away from her.

There’s my cue.

James notices me behind the blonde. He lifts his chin and flashes me a smirk. I can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy. He’s so damn cute. This is so much fun. Once I’m near the table, he scoops me into his side.

“There you are, beautiful.” He leans down close to my cheek. I turn my head toward his, and our lips brush and linger for a couple of seconds. We slowly put space between us, never losing eye contact. My breathing is heavy. My pulse blasts through my body. Our kiss was only for a mere few seconds, but it was the best kiss I have ever had.

♥♥♥♥

“Do you want a drink?” he asks with anger dripping from his words.

“James, do you really need to drink alcohol? Let’s talk about what happened a few minutes ago instead. I know this is your way of dealing with things. Maybe we can try something else to help you.”

“Am I one of your patients, Lisa?” His says my name with thick disgust.

He walks away and stands by the couch. “Where’s my chart so you can jot some notes down,” he asks loudly, dripping with sarcasm. “Do you even know who or what you are dealing with? You don’t have a clue what I’ve been through, what I’m still going through!”

He runs his hand through his hair repeatedly. I think he might rip it out. I’m worried and angered by his nasty attitude. But I can handle it. I need to handle it. I would rather he take his rage out on me than drown it in alcohol. Rage seeps out of his skin, creating a dark cloud around him.

I have the urge to get in his face. “You’re right, James! I don’t know what the hell is going on. I know you love or loved a woman named Jessica. You talk about her in the past tense. Tell me what happened so I can understand.”

He throws the glass of vodka against the red wall. I jump back as air whooshes out of my lungs. Vodka drips down the paint, like lava. Glass shards blanket the carpet.

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Ribbon Reviews submitted for this book:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)

 

I won a paperback copy of this book in a Facebook competition. Both the cover and the interior are of very high quality. The story follows the two protagonists’ lives from each one’s point of view, and is written in first person, present tense.

Lisa and James meet in traumatic circumstances twice during their adolescence, never to meet again for many years. In the meantime, their lives run parallel to each other without ever crossing, until they both go through another traumatic experience and suddenly meet in the most unexpected way.

Lisa believes she is broken and will never be loved by any man, James holds himself responsible for the terrible death of his wife and never wants to love another woman again. Once their lives collide, they must both face up to their pasts and decide if they want a future.

This is a well-written, heart-warming story that carries you along to its conclusion, leaving you feeling warm inside. A romance with a difference, its flawed characters are nonetheless people you find yourself liking, and you root for a happy ending for everyone. A beautiful debut novel, I look forward to reading more by this author.

Submitted by Helen Pryke

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At the age of fifteen, Lisa was in a devastating accident that ripped away her happy life and determined the path for her future. For the boy with the compelling green eyes who stopped to help Lisa and gave her his leather jacket to keep her warm, that day cemented his decision to use his sense of order and detail to become a doctor and help others. Years later, after both having been tossed and battered by life, the two meet again.

A single moment in time can change the course of a life. This book is full of those moments, portrayed through unexpected encounters, tender emotion and bittersweet outcomes. It will make you think about the what ifs, the whys, the lost opportunities and the hand of fate at work in your life. The hauntingly beautiful story of James and Lisa’s journey is one of serendipity, chance, and divine intervention. It is a story of the devastating lows of loss and grief, the incredible highs of true love and soul mates, the indomitable human spirit and the reluctant courage of change and growth. Told in first person present tense, it takes the reader by the hand and heart, pulling her into the story to become a part of the background.

This is my first work by this author, and I have no words, other than “Wow.” That’s not an excited wow, but a “my heart is full and uplifted but also weighted because I’m still processing this” wow. She took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions with high peaks, low valleys, twists, turns and bumps. She embedded the characters into my soul and captured my heart with their trials and triumphs. James and Lisa realize their connection and feelings for each other, but the book doesn’t end there, as so many books do. In a realistic portrayal of life, although they’re together they’re both still damaged and have obstacles to overcome, and the reader continues on that journey with them. And through their journey, we’re reminded that there will be sorrow and loss in life but how we respond and what we become as a result are what matters most. This compelling, captivating, emotional story is definitely worth the read and will remain in your heart long after the last page.

Submitted by Rachel Childers

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Excellent story with lots of gut-churning moments, and I mean in the sense, don’t make me cry! I almost did cry in a few parts, but managed to control the tears, because once I start crying it doesn’t stop for a while. lol. It was really easy to love Lisa and James, and in the beginning I was wondering how James would ever love someone else after he met Jessica (not gonna give away what I’m talking about *wink*). When he falls in love, he loves deeply, and my heart broke for him so many times, and Lisa, too. But don’t worry, there’s happy moments in the book, too! Great story, and I can’t wait to read Tina’s story. (She’s Lisa’s sister.)

Submitted by Amanda Siegrist

Endorsements
Author Kristina Beck has created a thoughtful and well-written book. Lives Collide questions what we describe as the “mysteries of life”. Do we each have a soul mate somewhere? How do we find them? Why do some people suffer heartbreaking tragedies?

This story is told in the first person, alternating between Lisa and James. Both grew up near the same small town in New Jersey, went to the same college, attended the same medical school, and had even encountered each other earlier in their lives, when they literally did collide. The book unravels their story, and reveals how the characters felt they were destined to be together.

This book is classified as Women’s Fiction and Romance. To me, it was women’s fiction. This is the author’s debut novel and it is a solid and intriguing story. There are many sexual scenes which are compelling.

This book was hard to review. Lives Collide is popular and has received many glowing reviews. But for me, it was quiet and uninteresting. The story of James and Lisa has a good hook, but then not much really happens, except lots of anguish. I would have enjoyed it more if there had been some other interesting subplots. Also, the narrative and dialogue are written in a careful and almost formal way, that prevented me from being fully drawn in to the story.

However, I really seem to be in the minority as most readers have loved the book. So, please give it a try. I would like to hear what you think! I do plan to read the next book in the series.

This was one of the best romance novels I've read in a while. The fabulous cover drew me in and the story matches in fabulousity (yeah, I made that word up because this story is that good!)

Kristina Beck is a master at weaving subplots that matter into a story to create a suspenseful page turner. It starts out with a compelling event that becomes the catalyst for everything little thing that happens in these characters' lives. The title is perfect because James and Lisa's connection begins with a collision, but they both end up with repeated collisions throughout the story, whether between the two of them, with other people, or sometimes with their own inner demons.

What I loved best about this story is that the author didn't write it in a way where James and Lisa magically meet and fall for one another. They take their time, and it's messy and angst-filled, and realistic ... all the way up to the end. Just when you think these two are going to figure it all out and have their happily ever after, the author throws in another plot twist.

There wasn't a lot of filler material in this story. Every piece seemed to be an essential part of the puzzle, and I adore puzzles! And, like a puzzle, it's all about the journey and the challenge of finally making it all come together, which this author accomplished in a beautiful and memorable way for her readers.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys real romance at its best. I will definitely be reading more by this author!
Lives Collide is about James Kramer and Lisa Schmitt. Fate brings them together over and over gain. First, when Lisa and her mother are in a car accident when Lisa is a teenager. This leads James to want to be a doctor and Lisa a psychiatrist. James helps Lisa and her mother until the ambulance arrives.

A few years later, James has a ski accident, fate has Lisa there and she waits with him until help arrives. Neither of them knowing the identity or connection of their angels. They end up at the same college and same town. Not crossing paths. When James goes through another tragedy, Lisa is there to help him. As the story unravels they figure out their connection, but can they heal from their circumstances to forget and be together as fate has tried so hard for them to do?

The book goes between James and Lisa's point of view. I enjoy this kind of writing. You get to see the story from different perspectives. You know how each of them feel in every situation.

The only problem I had was that some of the character sounded the same. Sometimes I would forget what character was speaking. Lisa was overly dramatic. It annoyed me that everyone just wanted James to get over his grief and it just isn't that easy.

I enjoyed the happy ending. Both of these characters had been through so much and deserved some happiness. The story flows well. The author took time to develop James and Lisa's relationship. It was believable and not rushed. I loved the intensity they had when they finally let go.

This is a great debut book. I hope to read more from this author and hope there is more coming from these characters. I would recommend this book to other readers.
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