"Heartshaped Shards" explores the damage first an abusive childhood and then a terrifying marriage wreaks on the female psyche. Kate has always been the scapegoat for emotions gone wild and in one horrifying night, she finds out just how far her husband's anger can go.
Broken, bloody and left for dead, Kate is just a shattered shell of her former self. Through patient and loving friends, she discovers that maybe she deserves a second chance. But will she ever be able to trust a man again?
Through several close relationships with men she meets during a vacation in the UK, Kate comes to realize that not all men are like her husband and maybe, just maybe, she can take another ride on the Marry-Go-Round.
"Kate! Telephone!" Tricia called from the kitchen. After months of daily therapy sessions with Kate and evenings spent sharing dinner, stories and songs, Heather had insisted Tricia move in permanently, a situation all three women were thrilled with.
"Who is it?" Kate mouthed to Tricia, who just shrugged her shoulders and mouthed "private number."
Kate frowned at the telephone before putting it to her ear. "Hello?"
Her blood seemed to turn to ice when she heard the voice from her nightmares.
Kate was sure her heart would stop beating and her lungs refuse to work. She must have looked as bad as she was feeling, because Tricia hurried to push a chair beneath her before her knees gave way.
"What do you want, Tony?" Kate forced the words from her mouth and was proud of sounding so calm. She used his name so Tricia would know who it was, in case her patient's pale face, cold sweat and shallow breathing weren't enough of a clue.
The voice on the other end of the line was sickly smooth. Always the charmer when he wanted something. Unless he was using his fists to get it.
"Miss me? I've missed you. You ran off on me without a word and I was wondering how you were doing."
"I…I ran off on you?" Kate sputtered. She fought for some control over the hysteria she could hear in her voice, but it was a hard fight that she was losing.
"That's funny, I was told you dumped me half naked and mostly dead in a parking lot! Oh and let's not forget your disappearance a few days later when the police wanted you for questioning."
Tony chuckled. "Oh, yes, I almost forgot what a drama queen you can be." His voice was so condescending, Kate fought hard not to scream every obscenity she had ever heard at him.
After nearly dying from the injuries wrought by his hands, the subsequent surgeries, the months of excruciating pain and tortuous therapies, along with the scars she would bear forever both inside and out, the bastard had the nerve to laugh! And just when I was beginning to work on forgiving him.
Kate's hand was squeezing the phone so hard she thought the plastic was going to shatter.
"What the hell do you want?" She gritted out.
"Watch your language," he warned with a growl. Then, seemingly remembering his purpose, his voice returned to its former velvety smoothness. Sickening.
"There is no need to get snippy, darling. I just want you to know I’m still around so don't plan on forgetting about me." His voice dropped an ominous octave.
"We have unfinished business."
Sure that the rest of the blood had left her head and settled in her feet, Kate glanced at Tricia, who had been standing nearby at the ready. She wasn't sure what her face betrayed, but suddenly Tricia was on her knees in front of her and hugging Kate's legs. She whispered, "You don't have to own this," reminding Kate of her new mantra.
Kate nodded at Tricia gratefully and closed her eyes, taking a fortifying deep breath.
"I have no business with you, Tony. We're divorced and you're a wanted man, but certainly not by me."
His voice was nearly high-pitched, all attempts at being suave now forgotten.
"You bitch! First you leave me without a word like I was nothing, nothing! I had no idea what happened to you--you just disappeared and after all I had done for you all those years! And then you had the nerve to divorce me?!"
He took a deep breath as Kate listened silently. She wanted to rail at him, feeling for the first time the ability to do so. Instead she kept silent, remembering Tricia's admonition that it did no good to argue with someone who was convinced only they knew the truth.
His voice dropped once again, the threat in the tone and words unmistakable as he enunciated each word slowly.
"You are going to regret ever leaving me."
I already regret ever meeting you.
HEARTSHAPED SHARDS by Ria MacAlister is approximately 108,000 words and is specifically formatted for Kindle, with an active table of contents.