Book no. 1 in the ‘In Love with Love’ series …
In this funny, romantic – and sometimes – thought-provoking novel, Touched by The Light, Mya finds it hard to believe that she has just died. She clearly remembers being in a lot of pain and a sense of panic going on around her, then nothing but a bright, comforting light and the pain quickly being replaced by a state of calm and tranquility. But what now? Mya wants to talk to people, find out how her friends and family are, but there’s no one around to help – until she suddenly finds herself chatting to Laurel.
A fun, uplifting story about love, life and everything in between! Laurel has what she sees as the dubious gift of being able to communicate with spirits, and when Mya bowls in, desperate for some answers, Laurel’s life is turned upside down. Her relationship with boyfriend Dan is already in a fragile state, she’s unsure about her chosen career, and now there’s a bewildered, feisty young spirit getting in the way. As Mya flits around Laurel and Dan’s lives, unable to control how and when she appears, unexpected psychic connections are made and the course of true love takes a detour no one could have predicted…
Chapter 1: Suddenly, I see the light
Dying was, quite frankly, incredibly easy. One minute I was there and the next minute I’m here, wherever here is. If someone had asked me what my thoughts were about how life ends, I can’t say this is necessarily how I would have pictured it. I probably would have imagined more drama. The truth is, I had never given it any considered thought. I’ve come to think that’s probably a good thing, because it might be easier not to have any pre-conceptions. One thing I can say for sure is that the possibility of dying at a young age had never crossed my mind.
Up to that point, I’d only been confronted by the deaths of two people who were really involved with my life. Andy and I worked together; he had recently graduated and had big ambitions. I was a marketing executive and he joined as a trainee. I mentored him throughout his induction and intensive on-the-job training programme. We spent a large part of that time laughing as we worked alongside each other. He was such a fun-loving guy it made it that little bit easier getting up each morning and battling my way through the morning rush hour. We weren’t attracted to each other in a romantic way; we just clicked as friends do when they’re in accord. He was out one night with the guys having a few drinks. They caught the train home and started larking about as young guys often do. Tragically, he leant against a door that wasn’t shut properly. The train was moving slowly, but the consequences were fatal. My life at work wasn’t quite the same afterwards. There was a void and no one else seemed to fill it.
A few months later my Great Aunt Elsbeth died. I felt I had lost one of the few people who really understood me. I rarely had to explain myself to her; she instinctively knew what I was feeling. She said she could read my face and that it told her everything she needed to know, far better than words. “People don’t always tell you the truth when you ask them how they are feeling” she used to say. I think of her often, as I do Andy and I miss their company.
Both were very real tragedies to me and I struggled to come to terms with the grief of losing them. Andy had a quality about him that I connected with the very first time we met and Elsbeth was such a genuine and caring person. Both were people who made me feel very happy whenever I spent time with them. It was like losing a little piece of me. My reaction to their deaths was not to contemplate my own future demise, but to feel bitterly cheated by theirs.
Anyway, back to the present—and this will probably sound so predictable, I saw a bright light. No, I’m not joking. It entered my vision before I was technically dead. I can clearly remember someone asking me questions about my breathing, although it was hard to answer them as my lungs were on fire. I remember it vividly, because it felt strangely comforting. At the point at which it appeared, I really wasn’t feeling too good. Given the circumstances that was understandable, I was about to depart this earthly life. Of course, if I had realised that, I would have been very frightened. I think I’d developed pneumonia and I began slipping in and out of consciousness. It was difficult to understand what was happening, I felt very confused. The panic around me focused on my temperature and I was painfully aware that the things they were doing to cool me down weren’t pleasant. It also wasn’t making me feel any better. I remember odd words floating in and out, and faces I didn’t recognise peering down at me. When the moment arrived, I simply followed the path into the light as naturally as if I was simply taking my next step. Suddenly I was pain-free.
The feeling was euphoric.
Chapter 2: Rewind three months
Hitting twenty-five was a real turning point for me. Waking up that morning, I distinctly remember looking into the mirror and thinking “now comes the grown-up part of my life”. In some ways, I was more than ready and looking forward to a more thoughtful, considered and responsible me.
My friends and family were going to be impressed with the new Mya Coles. However, the reflection that stared back at me in the mirror that morning was clearly a person who had partied too hard, and for too long, the night before. I remember leaning in closer to the mirror to inspect the bags under my eyes and thinking suitcases would be a more appropriate description. I squinted as a flash of glinting sunlight made me recoil sharply and remember muttering, “Never, ever, again.” I like to think that there was a new, mature sincerity in the tone of my voice that day.
Life was looking pretty good. I think my boyfriend Sam was on the brink of suggesting we move in together. We’d had the usual jokey conversations about it and laughed at friends who had gradually stopped partying and started inviting us around to dinner. Grown-up stuff. We’d progressed to the hesitant, serious stage. Neither of us felt comfortable being the first to admit it was time. I knew it was on Sam’s mind too, it was a case of picking the right moment. Sam does everything in a considered way.
To my utter amazement—being the self-sufficient, Amazonian woman I was extremely proud to have become—I found that it was becoming more and more important to me that Sam made the first move. I know! I should be ashamed of myself, equality of the sexes, feminism, and all that. It might as well have been the Neolithic period. I wanted—no, needed—Sam to grab me lovingly by the hair, in a very possessive way and drag me off into his cave. Not literally of course, symbolically. Let’s say his apartment wasn’t co-ordinated and mine had the additional advantage of being much bigger. And perfect, of course.
We were there, teetering on the edge and it felt hugely exciting. It was a bit like waiting for Christmas when you’re five years old.
Work was also going extremely well. After a succession of bosses who ranged from useless, to annoyingly sanctimonious, I finally found myself working with someone who understood my enthusiasm. A man who was forging ahead, dragging me happily in his wake. We made a good team and although Chay, as he liked to be called—well Charles sounds so old—was only twenty-nine, his marketing talent was revitalising Masonbury’s Town and Country Homes.
Property development was a difficult market to be in after the credit crunch and Masonbury’s, along with many other developers, were struggling. Before Chay started, my boss Martin wasn’t interested in any of the fresh ideas I put before him. I was convinced that we needed to develop a more aggressive and pro-active approach. The traditional format wasn’t bringing in the business. It was obvious that we had to make more of what the company could offer to have any chance of surviving. It was a tough new world and there was no doubt about that. There were still discerning purchasers out there with money to spend, it was a case of ensuring the service met their expectations. Companies had to re-think their strategies and no one could afford to waste time moaning about the situation or hesitating over that next step. Day one with Chay and everything changed. Management didn’t know what had hit them! He reviewed my ideas and, with a few fairly minor tweaks, he pressed the go button. People began to regard me in a new light. My ideas were out there for all to see and getting results.
I think I was justified in feeling that I had finally graduated from life’s little apprenticeship and the payback was about to begin. So why? Why me, why now?