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Title: So Near the Horizon

Author: Jessica Koch

Synopsis:

From the moment she crosses paths with Danny, Jessica is fascinated. The dashing, confident twenty-year-old has everything she dreams of—looks, success, independence, money—and his kind, infinitely cheerful nature is spellbinding.

Yet Jessica sees something else lingering underneath Danny’s perfect facade. Bit by bit, she manages to pick it apart, unveiling harrowing truths about a deeply traumatic childhood that has left more than just emotional scars. Now, far away from his home and family, he is fighting to build a normal life for himself—even though he may be destined for a future as dark as his past.

Despite all adversity and against all reason, a deep and intimate love develops between Danny and Jessica. But soon they find themselves confronting the harsh realities of a superficial world, battling against prejudice and exclusion at every turn… and, worst of all, racing against time…

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Excerpt:

“Danny… Why do you belong there too?” I tried to meet his eyes, but he shut them, avoiding my gaze. His fingernails dug into the skin on his bare arms, and he
pursed his lips grimly.

Slowly, I scooted toward him. “Talk to me, Danny, please,” I said, trying to pry
one of his arms loose. But the more I tugged, the more rigidly he kept them
crossed against his body as he shrank away from me as far as he could inside the
cramped car. For a moment, I was afraid he would simply get out and walk away.
Too close, a voice whispered inside me. You’re much too close to him!

I let go of his arm so I could slide back into my seat, and he relaxed almost
instantly. He took several deep, slow breaths before opening his eyes and blinking
at me through his long lashes.

“You know why,” he whispered. “And someday I’ll tell you myself. I promise.
Be patient with me.”

I swallowed. “Okay.”

He took my hand again and drew it in to give me a kiss on the finger. “Thank
you.”

“So, Tina will be working through her own trauma there, too?”

“Yeah.”

Now I was the one bracing myself for a difficult conversation. This was a good
opportunity to bring up something that had been bothering me for a long time.
“She told me…she gets in bed with you when she can’t sleep.”

“That’s true.” He shifted uncertainly. “She does.”

“Which means she’ll probably do that at the rehab clinic, too, right? Where
she’ll be facing all of that again? She’ll sneak into your room at night to sleep with
you?”

Danny began chewing on his thumbnail. “Maybe, yeah. Is that a problem?”

“It is for me.” I twirled a lock of hair around my finger awkwardly.
Just tell him already!

“I don’t like it because I want you all to myself.” There. Now it was out, and
there was no taking it back.

Danny’s expression remained earnest. “She just wants to feel protected, to be
close to someone else. It’s not about intimacy, it’s about safety.”

“Don’t you think it’s weird that a girl traumatized by rape would climb into bed
with some other guy to feel safe?”

Danny snorted and looked at the ceiling. “Not at all. I mean, it’s not just some
guy she’s crawling into bed with. It’s me.” He shook his head, looking thoughtful.

“Seriously, Ducky, you must have noticed by now. I’m not like that. All the
flirting, the phone number hunting, that’s just for show. It’s a facade. It’s not me.”
Still gazing at me, he added dryly, “You could tie Christina to my stomach naked
and nothing would happen between us.”

I didn’t have the slightest doubt that he was telling the truth. “Yeah,” I said. “I
know that.”

He turned his body toward me and laid his hand on my cheek. Even in the
darkness of the car, I could see the gleaming blue of his eyes. “I love you,
Jessica,” he whispered. “I’ve never loved anyone else the way I love you.”
All I could do was stare at him.

Danny laughed softly and held out a key ring with a single key. “In case you get
bored or you feel like practicing your driving, you can come by and water the
plants or feed the cat.”

They didn’t have a cat to feed, and I’d never seen a plant there, either, but I
understood the gesture: his home was open to me at any time now. I could come
and go as I liked.

 

About the Author:

Jessica Koch was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany and began writing short stories when she was still in high school – but never submitted her work to publishers. Shortly after finishing school, she met Danny, a German-American dual citizen. Her experiences with him eventually formed the basis for So Near the Horizon, though it was nearly thirteen years before she felt ready to bring the manuscript to the public.
The author describes a life lived somewhere between hope and fear, between optimism and despair. She reflects on events from her own past with raw honesty, confronting more than one difficult subject along the way.

Jessica Koch lives near the city of Stuttgart with her husband, their son, and two dogs. The second and third books in the trilogy, So Near the Abyss and So Near the Ocean, are already best-sellers in Germany as well.

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