He'd beaten me TO DEATH.
For years, I'd been taking it, accepting the beatings, silently believing the worthlessness he saw in me. I'd obeyed his rules, I'd catered to his whims.
I woke up in a hospital bed. Bruised, broken, in shock.
That was The Moment.
In that moment, I knew that I had to get out. I loved my husband. I missed him. But I needed more than he would ever offer. I deserved more than I'd been given, more than flying fists and fragile tempers.
I deserved to wear what I chose. I deserved to go where I wanted. I deserved goodnight kisses. I deserved gentle touches. I deserved to feel LOVED, and not POSSESSED.
I deserve to FIGHT for my FREEDOM.
“Have you ever had to smile carefully at the person who punched you repeatedly in the mouth, pretending to be happy to see them because if you weren’t happy, you’d be beaten?”
I’ve not been exposed to any kind of domestic violence in my life, and for that I’m completely grateful, but for many women, violent partners and husbands are a reality. As kids, they may have watched their father beat their mother into submission before turning around and taking their rage out on them. The physical bruises may fade away, but the emotional damaged is much, much deeper.
Like all of Brandi Kennedy’s books, she taken a somewhat taboo topic, and turned it into a story about a woman literally dying before she could find a way out of her abusive marriage. We meet Christine at her lowest point: she is about to be beaten so severely that she dies, and it is by her husband’s hand.
We follow this emotionally beaten woman through her journey from battered, bruised and laid up in the hospital, through to a woman gaining her confidence back. Relearning how to function in the real world again, she’s faced with challenges that may seem trivial to us—like learning how to balance a check book—but for her, it’s a huge step. Her husband had taken everything away from her: money, responsibility, the freedom to get a job, the freedom to have friends. She gave all of things up, but she refused to let him take her spirit.
“Peyton. You have to be aware that I can’t protect myself with a court order. Other than balling it up and throwing it at him, I don’t see a piece of paper being able to save my life if my husband is released from jail.”
And it is this spirit which shines through in the book. Christine has to start her life over again, and with the help of Peyton Porter (I love this name), a victims advocate from the Knoxville Police Department, she starts doing that. She moves into a safe house, learns those vital skills she forgot, and works on becoming a self-assured, self-confident woman who doesn’t cower at shadows anymore.
But it’s not just relearning to live that Christine needs to do. She needs to relearn how to love and trust men again, and that is facilitated by an old flame of hers that also happens to be her physical therapist and personal trainer. Aiden—her high school sweetheart—is back in her life, nurturing her, protecting her and helping her rebuild her life once more.
“He raised one hand to tangle in my hair, urging my head down so that my cheek pressed against his chest, sighing deeply as I tuned into his heartbeat. “It’s still yours,” he whispered. “It always was.””
Fighting for Freedom is the first part of a two part series, with Still Fighting for Freedom set for release in January 2014
About the author...
Brandi Kennedy is an American writer who is finally living her childhood career dream. As a child, books were her world, and through adulthood that love of words has never changed. A woman of varied interests, Brandi loves photography, music of all kinds, knitting, crochet and of course, mothering her two young daughters.
Currently, she finds her home in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, among the mountains and the members of her extended family, where she spends her days at the computer, bringing fresh and incredibly real characters to life.
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