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Thief of Hearts by Vivien Harben

She stood looking into the welcoming water. This was her only hope, nothing else would work. Without this she had no escape. Wrestling with her heart and mind Melissa Stacy knew she had no option left. No matter what anyone might have told her there was nothing left. Nothing left of her life, her heart or even her soul. Perhaps that was why standing at the shore looking into the oily darkness of the lake, she could hear the voices calling to her. Calling her to final peace. The peace she will never know again in her life.

The finality of what she was about to do wasn’t what bothered her. It was the fact that she had let everything come to this point. Melissa was an orphan, or at least that is what she liked to believe. More likely she was abandoned at the orphanage when she was a baby. She never knew and never really cared. All she knew was that she had herself and that was the only person she could ever rely on. So she did. She worked hard for good grades in school, got a scholarship to university. Worked her way through university and earned her teaching degree. The day she opened her first bank account to deposit her first pay cheque as a teacher at West Hills elementary in Seattle, she met him.

Daniel Smith. Every woman’s dream man. Tall, handsome, young and rich. Melissa couldn’t believe when he called her into his manager’s office to discuss her accounts himself. Or when he asked her out to dinner that night. The Cinderella story began. For four months he courted her. She felt like a princess and when he proposed she was in heaven. She finally had a family. Someone who loved her and wanted to take care of her. Grow old with her and devote himself to her happiness just like she wanted to do for him.

The tears poured down her cheeks. How could she have been so naïve? Now she stood at the edge of the abyss. She had to move soon. Danny would find her and then the hell would start all over again, much worse than she had endured so far. She knew that about him. He would never accept her departure without severe consequences. It was now or never. Slowly, so slowly, with the only dignity she had left she walked into the frigid black depths. Now she would know peace. She could see the eyes of the lost souls around her, feel their arms holding her close. This was where she belonged.

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