The stranger I know

BREAK FREE is the most personal story I’ve ever written. Most people think ENGRAVED is and that’s partly true. ENGRAVED had actual stories from my own life. But BREAK FREE was something so much deeper. It was my love song to God who pursued me even when I felt like I was too ugly; too damaged to chase. He had grace for me when I was certain I was unworthy of it. When Kyler found Jade in his barn and looked at her face full-on, not even acknowledging that half her face was burned and mangled, he stole my heart. Their story was achingly beautiful to write. I bawled through the scene that has been quoted by every reviewer of the book to date – when he scolds her for talking bad about her own appearance. Jade is certain in that moment that he’s just like all the others. She thinks, “I’m steel. I’m brick. I’m iron. I’m metal.” She’s putting back up her walls. But when she asks him what he’ll do if she says it again, he says, “I’ll tell you you’re beautiful again and again.” And that’s when she says the most famous lines in the book -“I was ice. I was glass. I was fragile. I was breaking. I was his.” Even typing this now I tear up. I can still remember the day I let down my walls with God, and with my own husband. The day when I finally believed I wasn’t ugly to them. That I wasn’t unworthy of them. I loved walking this journey with Jade. She’s a part of me. Kyler’s a part of me. I carry them in my heart always. There’s also a sweet scene where Kyler says a line that I actually took straight from my husband’s mouth. It was what he said to me the day he stole my heart for good.

I always have a hard time articulating how much this book means to me. And I’ll probably never be able to adequately explain it. But I’ve heard from many of my readers, and I know how much it means to them too. I love that this book resonates with so many. I also love that almost no one has guessed the plot twist. Ha!

I recently decided to change the title and cover for BREAK FREE. I’ve never thought the title did the story justice or that the cover really fit. So, while I was at it, I changed the cover and title for BREAK THROUGH as well.

These were designed by my beautiful and talented friend Megan O’Connell Squires!


Two strangers meet in an abandoned barn – Kyler, a reclusive writer, and Jade, a woman on the run.

Both are alone and in need, and they decide to help one another. But when Jade stumbles upon Kyler’s latest manuscript, she is shocked to find that it is her story. One she never told him. One he couldn’t know.

Not if he truly was a stranger.


At the age of eight, Aspen is kidnapped. Five years later she escapes, vowing never to trust another man. Now she’s an adult and she’s kept the promise she made to herself as a child, keeping men at a distance.

Carter Johnston is a well-known photographer. When he’s assigned to photograph Aspen for an article in a prominent magazine, the connection between them is undeniable.
As they grow closer, the walls Aspen has built around her heart for years begin to crumble. Until she finds a photograph in Carter’s house which links him to her abduction.




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