Love’s Journey

Book 2 in the Love's Illusions Series

Book Cover: Love's Journey
Part of the Love's Illusions Series series:

When life intervenes, can Jackie really give love a second chance?

Nothing in Jackie Moretti’s young life has gone as planned. The fairy tale existence she believed in had fallen apart. Her husband’s hidden impulses and lies caused their marriage to crumble. And even her new relationship with sexy bad boy, Michael Nowak seems to have expired. Or has it?

Michael’s California drug operation is bringing in the coin, but without Jackie, his life feels empty. When a tragic event brings him back to Chicago, he has a choice to make: keep letting life throw him in the same direction or take things into his own hands.

As Jackie and Michael reunite, old wounds and new complications could make their heartbreak even more devastating than the first time around. Unless a new friend and an old lover can set them on the path of a new life together…

Love’s Journey is the second installment in a series of women’s fiction historical novels with a touch of romance. If you like deep love stories set in the 1970s with complex characters, then you’ll love Jolene Cazzola’s continuing saga.

Buy Love’s Journey to test the limits of love today!

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Michael and I had been talking for hours. The more we talked, the more my anger dissipated, but it wasn't gone. I tried to explain my feelings as rationally as possible — none of it was easy to say, or hear, but he listened. He knew trusting him again would be difficult, one of the hardest things I'd ever done, but he was determined to prove to me that I could. He said he understood how scared I was of being hurt again, that it frightened him too, but he was positive about how he felt. He loved me, wanted me in his life, no matter what. He asked if I still loved him — I said “I think so,” but I was afraid love alone wouldn't be enough, things weren't that simple anymore. I tried to explain how complicated and twisted my mind had become, about the voice in my head that kept warning me to stay away, to run. How it was that voice I heard in the dining room this morning causing me to sprint away, how I didn't know if I had the strength to tame that voice.

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Keeping it in check took everything I had, and some extremely caring and attentive friends, so I didn't crawl into bed and not get back out — how I was trying to accept the word “depression” as being part of me without being owned by it.

I told him about my overwhelming desire, how I wanted him to make love to me like he used to, how much I wanted his body against mine, but how letting things happen, letting myself feel that strongly again was more than I thought I could survive if... if life ever pulled us in different directions again. I told him I still wanted to believe in romance, in love, the way it was in fairy tales, happily ever after, but with everything that happened over the past three years, not only with him, but with Stephen too, how could I believe anymore? I told him that the remains of my heart, the part that still had hope, had died that day in his driveway, and I wasn't sure it would ever be revived. He held me, he kissed me, we mourned together, he said he still wanted to be “my knight in shining armor”; then we fell asleep from sheer emotional exhaustion.

 

We woke to a knock at the door. I answered it still dressed only in my bathrobe. I wasn't sure what time it was, maybe mid-afternoon or later by now. Shuffling my way to the door, I found myself hoping it was Frank or Ria. I wanted to put off having Alan meet Michal until I’d had a chance to talk to him, actually both of them.

"Darling, you look a fright. Have you been sleeping all day? Don't tell me Ted finally gave you a good work out last night," Alan exclaimed. "See, I told you, if you'd just stop faking it, Teddy boy could make the magic happen, good man."

"Alan! Stop! Why would you say something like that — that's horrible."

"I know, I know, I'm sorry... you like him, but he doesn't matter at the moment. Go get yourself cleaned up, we're all going out to dinner tonight. Frank and I have absolutely marvelous news — we're going to celebrate. And for the love of God would you please burn that robe, it's cheap and plebeian and does nothing for your figure."

"No, stop being such a clothing snob. I like my robe and..."

"It's hideous. I'll buy you a decent one."

"It's comfortable. I don't want a new robe."

"We'll discuss it later, now go — go get ready and put on something nice, maybe that sexy little black dress I like on you so much," he said taking me by the shoulders, turning me around and pointing me toward the bedroom to get changed.

I turned back again. "Alan, I'm sorry, I can't go out with you guys tonight. I... I have some news of my own, someone I want you to meet."

"What? Who? Of course you're going, my love."

"No, I'm not. I want you to meet Michael," I said almost holding my breath waiting for his reaction. He skipped a beat or two before answering.

"Michael? THE Michael?"

"Yes, THE Michael," I replied. Alan started to open his mouth to say something else, but I stopped him. "It's okay, I'll tell you about it later, but right now, I just want you two to meet." The door to the bedroom had been open, so I knew Michael had heard every word. "Michael, would you come out please? I want to introduce you to a very special friend of mine."

Michael walked out from around the corner. He had put his shirt on and run his hand through his hair several times, but he was still barefoot. I wished I'd mentioned my relationship with Alan — I truly wanted the two of them to get along together. As he stepped passed me his hand touched the small of my back and a look flashed across his face, one that told me “it'll be fine, I'll behave.” I exhaled as they shook hands and I did the mandatory introduction, "Michael, this is Moon. Moon, this is Michael."

Both of them nodded saying "nice to meet you," in equally perfunctory tones, each sizing the other up.

Looking at me, Michael questioned, "Moon? I thought I heard you call him Alan when he came in?"

"Oh, yeah, I did, but I'm the only one who calls him that. Everyone else calls him Moon."

Raising his eyebrows and smiling he turned to Alan. "I understand that, Jackie has a way of changing people's names. She's the only one who calls me Michael. Please, call me Mike."

By this point, Alan had recovered his usual cool. Extending his hand again, also slapping him on the shoulder in an uncharacteristic move for him he said, "Mike it is then.” What the fuck was this about?

Michael stepped back beside me, putting his hand on my back again, making it clear that no matter what my relationship was with Alan, he was “the man” now — I belonged to him. I was familiar with all his ownership moves from our time at The Canteen: hand at the small of my back, like now; hand on my shoulder; arm around my neck, planting a kiss lasting a tad too long on my lips; brushing my hair to one side while moving behind me and kissing the side of my neck. The move he made seemed to be in direct proportion to the competitive threat he felt. Evidently he didn't perceive Alan as much competition since this was his lowest level tactic.

Okay, this was awkward. "So what's the news Alan," I asked breaking the silence. "Are you guys going to buy that boat?"

"Good guess, but no," he replied. "The one we went to see needed more work than Frank wanted to tackle. I know, why don't both of you join us tonight for dinner?"

Michael and I glanced at each other both discovering our innate channel of communication was alive and well. "Maybe some other time Alan, we need some time to ourselves. We still have a lot of catching up to do."

"Besides, the only clothes I have here today is what I'm wearing. I'm sure these jeans won't go with Jackie's 'sexy black dress'. You'll have to show it to me sometime babe," Michael said, his hand moved up to my shoulder.

I caught the tone in the words and I had no doubt Alan caught it too. This little meeting needed to end soon. I needed to talk to both of them one at a time.

"So I tell you what, how about a compromise? Why don't Michael and I skip dinner, but come downstairs for a quick drink with you guys when you get back? How's that sound?" I said breaking into the conversation.

"Always trying to please everyone. In this case an endearing quality, but overall, not a position of strength," Alan quipped. "I'll check with Frank and Ria, but let's tentatively say eleven o’clock?"

I turned to Michael, "What da' ya' think?"

"Sure, sounds good, I haven't seen either of them for a while."

"Then it's settled. I'll give you a call later darling to confirm the time," Alan said stepping forward to give me a hug and kiss on each cheek, extraditing me from Michael's possession in the process. "Very nice to meet you, Mike," he said extending his hand again.

"You too. Tell Frank I'm looking forward to seeing him again."

COLLAPSE
Reviews:on Book Viral:

Alluring, but above all entertaining. Love’s Journey is the second release in the Love’s Illusion series by Jolene Cazzola Some novels keep you guessing, some make you care deeply about the characters, once in a while a book comes along that delivers on both counts. With intriguing sub currents Cazzola creates characters’ who have lives of their own, who don't exist simply at the convenience of the plot and always feel wholly congruent with her seventies Chicago setting which she captures in subtly nuanced dialogue and acerbic observation. At the centre of her narrative is the repartee between Jackie and Michael. Suffice to say they have obstacles to overcome. Most romance novels begin as a given; we know from the first chapter who will be together when the last page is turned, but Cazzola keeps us guessing. Taking the form and feel of a romantic thriller she makes us care about her protagonists and because we can’t help liking them their relationship transcends all of the plots twist and turns to take on an importance of its own.

A multi layered and intelligent novel which will quickly draw you in, Love's Journey proves a welcome addition to the Love's Illusion series. Raising the bar for future releases in Jolene Cazzola's continuing saga, it is highly recommended.

Dianne Bylo on Tome Tender Book Blog wrote:

Life has gone on for Jackie, she has set some goals and followed through, but the cost may have been too high as she returns to Chicago and a life filled with Michael and lasting love. What she discovers when she arrives after a long drive from back East, becomes a living nightmare when she opens their new apartment door to a note that would rock her to her knees.

Michael’s trip to the West Coast was profitable, if illegal, but their plan was to get back together and move forward. Without a hint during their many phone calls, planning their future, Michael has dealt Jackie the ultimate betrayal, worse than her ex-husband and everyone she cared about knew but her. Like a rudderless boat caught in an ocean squall, Jackie must once again, pick up the shattered remains of her life, alone, not trusting in anyone or anything that would involve her heart. Just when her transformation is almost complete, Michael returns to take her to the brink of insanity or the heights of heaven, but does he deserve another chance? Has Jackie finally learned to stand on her own and make her own decisions based on what is best for her?

Jolene Cazzola’s Love’s Journey tale is one of drugs, bad decisions, deceit and heartbreak, leading to the rebuilding of her main character, who still seems to make bad choices. Jackie has matured, but still needs her crutches. Michael, well, a drug dealer is human, I know, but his deceit is for me would be beyond unforgivable. The fact that Ms. Cazzola could evoke such passionate opinions from me proves she knows how to draw her readers in with dark and edgy hooks and great writing.

Tracy Slowiak on Readers' Favorite wrote:

In a great follow up book by author Jolene Cazzola, Love's Journey: Book 2 in the Love's Illusions series, readers are treated by an absolutely fabulous story that will suck them in from the very first page. Follow the story of Jackie Moretti, a woman whose life is falling apart. Wrecked by a marriage to a husband whose lies and secret demons caused major destruction, and seemingly done with her relationship with a hot bad boy, Michael Nowak, Jackie isn't sure where to go. Michael still has feelings for Jackie; even though his California drug operation is pulling in money hand over fist, he can't forget about her. When the two come back together, things are both steamy and complicated. Will Jackie and Michael be able to work out their differences and finally, truly, come together? You'll need to read the book to find out!

I loved Love's Journey. Loved. It. How's that for a review? Well, it's definitely how I felt about this great book. Author Jolene Cazzola has done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will connect with, relate to and care about, and will also continue to think about long after the last page is turned. If that isn't a hallmark of a great author, I'm not sure what is. Any reader who loves a great work of women's fiction, with a significant amount of romance thrown in, should absolutely read this book. I highly recommend Love's Journey and am very much looking forward to reading more from the very talented author, Jolene Cazzola, as soon as I possibly can!


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