Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate is the second of the stories I'm showcasing in 'Love Least Expected' - an anthology from award-winning authors:
Today we have one of the talented authors from this anthology, Michaela Miles.
Love Least Expected is a collaboration with stories from various genres, including contemporary/erotic/paranormal romance, crime drama, science fiction/fantasy.
Love Least Expected anthology story - 'Keep Calm and EatChocolate'
Eleanor Carrara is angry. At the world, at the people who had her committed to the institution, and at the people holding her captive in it. When the sexy, but calm and stoic Chris becomes a fellow resident of the facility, things begin to change. He taunts her, challenges her, and even makes her cry. But her anger dissolves as she realises he’s the one person who may be able to break through the armour built around her heart.
Christopher Tailor feels nothing. Haunted by the memories of his awful past, he is institutionalised, and utterly alone in the world. Meeting Elle changes everything. She’s conceited, rude, and completely unaware that in some ways she’s just as broken as he is. But something about her gets under his skin. He takes a chance and shares his secret with her.
Falling in love was the last thing Chris and Elle expected. But for them to consider having a future together, they first have to let go of their past and trust the system imprisoning them both.
I found the setting of this story very intriguing. I can’t ever remember reading any story set in a mental institution – maybe One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest – but Michaela Miles has imbued this sweet and moving story with a refreshing peek into the private world of a place most of us don’t understand.
Eleanor Carrara is far from being two sandwiches short of a picnic. Instead, I saw her as a victim of greed, bullying, and cruelty. Most would crumble under such circumstances, but Elle is made of stern stuff. She endures life by allowing her anger to simmer as she plots revenge on those who incarcerated her.
When she meets Chris, himself a victim of society’s darker side, she learns to forget about herself and think of others.
This is a heart-warming story of survival, of hope, and of the power of love. Many readers will resonate with the characters who, against all odds, find comfort and happiness in a most unlikely place.
A beautifully written, sometimes poignant, often entertaining story that left me wanting to read more from Michaela Miles. Worth five stars, for sure.
It used to be my favourite motto, and the slogan of our family empire—an empire I was next in line to control until certain family members staged a coup. Now they’re sitting pretty in my house and my company. They spend my money and live it up, while I holiday in this amazing white palace where the lights never go out, and padded rooms is an exaggeration.
I know everyone in here says this, but I’m not crazy.
My family, if you could call them that, spent a long time trying to make it look like I am. It worked, or I wouldn’t have questioned myself and sought counselling, and they wouldn’t have put me in this place. I read the regulations once a few months ago: involuntary commitment order under section something of the blah-blah act of some year that’s not as archaic as I imagined.
How can it be legal to institutional someone for refusing medical treatment for a mental illness they don’t bloody well have?
At least the place reflect the current century. State of the art facilities, comfortable rooms, decent food, and the ability to purchase luxuries if you have the means. Actual money isn’t allowed, of course. If you follow the logic that I’m crazy, then a credit card is a lethal weapon. Everything must been done by fingerprint: access to rooms, our private locker, meds, the lot.
My day consists of set meal times, menus, exercise, recreation, activity times, therapy sessions, and medications. Not much of a change to my real life actually. Gym session, breakfast with my PA to review my calendar, meetings, correspondence, more meetings, often a function for dinner with a nice piece of man-candy on my arm, a run or a swim, sleep. Repeat.
Now, though, I don’t have a choice to blow off a meeting or grab a takeaway on my way home from a late night event.
The only upside to the place I now call home is the gardens. Not only do they obscure the fences, giving an illusion of freedom, but they are quiet and usually unoccupied. Most of the other residents have unnatural phobias involving open spaces, insects, or plants. In Henry’s case it’s the colour green. So I often have an hour or more to myself to focus on taking my real life back.
I’ve considered everything. I could jump the fence, drug the night staff, cause a riot, start a fire, even hire a helicopter to fly in and pick me up. Anything except participate in the program. I won’t admit to being crazy, and prove the bastards who put me here right.
That’s never going to happen.
Instead, I watch and listen. The staff assumes the residents either can’t understand or don’t care, so they talk freely. I know who has money problems, husbands with a bit on the side, naggy ex-wives, and the ones I could bribe to get out— if I had access to my damn money.
Arseholes. I still can’t believe the people I trusted had me snatched up in the middle of night and committed to this psychiatric facility, especially when they've seen what a vindictive bitch I can be. I bet they think I’m a problem solved. I also bet they haven’t planned on my use of the phone here to retain a new lawyer.
It’s the only task I’ve spent my time on; the only one I’ve thought about.
Until the day Christopher Tailor arrived.
Michaela Miles writes. By day she is a mild-mannered copywriter and web designer, but by night she is consumed by the characters in her head and writes to set them free.
In her spare time, she is primary carer and chief wrangler for a husband and three children, the big boss at her web design company and photography studio, and is completing a Bachelor of English Literature.
Michaela is very active on social media and has an eclectic posting style—humorous writing memes, hump day hunks, quotes, inspirations, interviews, book reviews, and anything that takes her fancy!
Follow her everywhere to keep up to date on publications, interviews, book reviews, social media tips, and more. So come and join the fun and enjoy the ride!
Release date for the anthology is February 3rd but it's available now for pre-order! Just click here!