Four words continue to haunt me . . . You. Have. Breast. Cancer. I associate them with the upheaval of my life to this point. The last few months have been a test of my strength . . . mentally, emotionally, and physically. Cancer is a monster. It preys on your mind and it consumes you, consistently reminding you of how your life used to be. Life before cancer. I was a successful business woman, running my own design firm, and was happily married to my college sweetheart. My life seemed perfect. Until it suddenly came crashing down all around me.
So, here I am, in the midst of treatment, incinerating the remnants of my shattered marriage and attempting to piece the rest of my life back together. With three amazing friends pushing me forward, the ‘post-chemo’ finish line is coming into view.
And then . . . there’s him. The man I never anticipated. The one who breathes hope and meaning back into my life. A man who kisses my scars and shows me that I’m beautiful. I never expected him. Hell, I never expected cancer. I’m finally ready to write my future, a future I never planned on, but one that is better than I could’ve ever imagined.
Walking back into the kitchen, I stopped outside the entrance and overheard Bobbie Jo quietly talking to Jen, who was standing at the kitchen island. As hard as she tried, Bobbie Jo never mastered the art of talking quietly, and she was currently sharing her version of my day with Jen.
Clearing my throat, they both snapped their heads in my direction. “There she is,” Jen announced with a little smirk and twinkle in her blue eyes. “So?”
“What?” I asked, pretending to not know what they were talking about as I walked to the fridge.
Bobbie Jo interjected in her sassy voice. “You know damn well what she’s asking about. Did you call Dr. McHottie?”
I pulled out a bottle of sparkling water and a lime. Grabbing a knife from the butcher block, I sliced the lime and then squeezed a wedge into the bottle before taking a sip. I could feel the two of them closely watching my every move. “Fine. I’m meeting Dr. Forrester—I mean Blake—for coffee on Sunday morning. Are you happy now?”
The squeal they let out was deafening, and they both bounded toward me, wrapping me in a hug as they started jumping around in a circle.
“Ouch! Easy, I just had a fill done. Please stop smooshing me, it hurts.” They both stepped away, but the up-to-no-good smiles were still planted on their faces.
“I knew it! He’s so into you,” Jen stated matter-of-factly. “Bobbie Jo and I both had our suspicions. Oh my god, you’re dating a hot doctor, and not just any hot doctor . . . Dr. McHottie himself!”
“Calm down. I’m not dating him, and I’m already questioning why I agreed to meet him. Hell, I just signed my divorce papers this morning. Isn’t there supposed to be a mourning period? I don’t want to fall victim to a rebound relationship. What the hell did I do?” The panic was more than evident in my voice, “Look at me.” I insisted, waving my hands up and down my body showcasing my shiny bald head and hard chest that resembled a suit of armor. “I’m bald, I don’t have boobs, and my skin is dry and pasty. Let’s be honest, I look like the goddamn female version of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.”
“Like I told you earlier, he wouldn’t have asked you if he wasn’t interested!” Bobbie Jo exclaimed, her green eyes intensely focused on me. “Christ, Victoria, he’s seen you at your best and at your worst. He understands you and what you’re going through much better than Noah did.” She tossed her wavy chestnut brown locks over her shoulder and went to mix herself a cocktail.
Beneath It All (Book One) Trailer…
About the Author…
Happily married and the mother of two, Tori Madison is active in the world of philanthropy and finds joy in making a difference in lives of others. She is an avid reader, lover of life and a breast cancer survivor. Currently residing with her family in Minnesota, she can often be found at Caribou Coffee or at the dance studio with her kids. With a well-known weakness for dark chocolate with sea salt and cheesecake, she also has a fondness for chips and fresh salsa.
Writing a book was never on her radar. After a challenge from a friend to write 1,500 words the story came to life and a new opportunity to make a difference was born.
Her debut novel, Beneath It All, released on September 24, 2014. Beneath, You’re Beautiful is her second novel and the sequel to Beneath It All. It is a two book series.