Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her husband and four children. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.
Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works for the sporting teams of a local university. Her (box) office job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory.
While seriously addicted to coffee, and somewhat challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties and socialize, and also enjoys traveling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.
Melanie delights in writing a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative story lines to her even more inspired tales, for all to enjoy.
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Expected Publication Date October 14th 2014
The sound of the ocean, the crash of the waves as they kick up against the sand and rocks—these are the only sounds Megan Greene wants to hear. She wants to leave the rest of the world behind, and find some peace. The offer of a private house on the beach, set in a small town in Maine, is perfect. Time to think—to be by herself. It’s all she wants. It’s the escape she needs. Until she stumbles across the painting that seems to echo her own chaotic mindset. Until she meets the unfriendly artist behind the stormy painting and discovers his secrets.All Zachary Adams wants is to be left alone. His canvases, and the unending scope of the ocean and sand, are his life. They direct him—fill his hours. Bring him focus. Until she enters his life. She dredges up memories of the past—the haunting images he has hidden for years; the fears he has never shared. A story he keeps buried below the surface.Can she make him see what he is missing? Can he trust her enough to believe?Together they embark on a journey where their pasts collide and threaten to tear them apart. Will their fragile bond hold or wash away with the ebbing tide?
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
It's truly beautiful for me when I come across a well done adaptation of a classic. The entire time I was reading Melanie Moreland's Beneath the Scars, the theme song of Beauty and the Beast was playing in my head! Well, after the first few chapters at least, when I realized what this was about. But it's not just the plot that resonated with me; it was that I knew a story almost like this personally. A golden child with half his face mutilated beyond repair is turned into a monster and paints to exorcise the demons in his soul - but my version didn't have the beautiful girl to save him, or a happy ending. Anyway.
Like Beauty, Megan wanders off into a strange place but it's not her father that puts her there. It's her boss. And he's not loving older figure but a selfish, using, liar. The beach house isn't her prison but her escape in the search for peace. Then she encounters her neighbor in the mansion beside her cottage and his pain disturbs her no end.
Zachary has virtually imprisoned himself in his retreat with only his dog Elliot for company. He's convinced himself that he's content with hardly any human company and the cathartic release of painting. He doesn't need to deal with anything, doesn't need to think. Then Megan coaxes him out of his shell and shows him that he's more than his disfigurement; that he's deserving and capable of love.
Both of them have known pain, and while Megan is more forthcoming of what caused hers, Zachary is afraid to confide in her, not just because he's afraid she'll leave but also because he's wary of being used yet again.
Megan's fears catch up to her and Zachary is caught up in the tidal wave. Can he believe what his gut is telling him? Or will he lose to his own fears?
This beautifully haunting story, while dark in some parts, is perfectly balanced with romance and hope. Zachary may be prickly at best, but there is that vulnerability that makes you want to protect him from the outside world. While Megan is delicate, she has that inner strength that binds them together in healing. Not the perfect couple on the outside but total soulmates in every way.
I know this is more a fairytale than a reality because most stories like this don't end this way. It's just that hope and goodness which colors the entire narrative makes you want more, believe that dreams can come true.
There's more Beneath the Scars than Melanie Moreland has written about, in between the lines, of that perfect tale of wanting the best for your other half and seeing it happen. That's why this novel is now marked one of my favorites.
As I descended the few stairs to the beach, I was surprised to see the large golden retriever as well as the mysterious Zachary. I stood for a minute, observing him in private. He was standing, barefoot in the surf, staring out over the water as his dog frolicked close by. Zachary was a tall, dark silhouette against the sand and stormy, strange-colored sky of the late afternoon. Wearing dark jeans and the same overcoat that showed off his broad shoulders, a beanie once again pulled low on his head, he stood with his hands in his pockets, motionless, as the water swept across his bare feet. The rolled-up edges of his pants were dark with the ocean spray clinging to the material. I shivered just watching him. The water had to be freezing.
Seeing her new friend, Dixie let out a happy, little yelp, which had the retriever bounding over to her, once again licking her head and huffing as he greeted her. The two of them took off, heading right toward Zachary. He leaned down, greeting Dixie, allowing her a sniff, then patted her head and straightened up. He didn’t turn around or acknowledge my presence. With a roll of my eyes, I walked forward, stopping when I was close enough to be heard, but not have my feet in the frigid water. I waited, but he said nothing, ignoring me completely.
“That’s Dixie—my dog.”
His chin dipped with a brief nod. “Elliott.”
I couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice. “You or the dog?”
His lips quirked at the edges. “My dog.”
“I’m staying at the Harpers’ house.”
“I’m not Karen—I’m a friend of hers.”
His sarcasm was thick. “I realize. I have met her—more than once. There is a slight resemblance, perhaps, but I can see you aren’t her. Your hair rather gives that away.”
“I’m sure it was a thrill for her,” I murmured, surprised to hear the trace of a British accent in his voice. I chose to ignore the remark about my hair.
“They’re letting me stay here for a while.”
I shook my head. Was he for real?
“I’m Megan. Megan Greene.”
I searched my brain for something to say. “Looks like a storm’s coming in.”
I frowned at him—definitely rude. His voice, however, despite its unwelcoming tone, was low and rich sounding, his subtle accent curling around the words when he spoke. I wanted to hear more than a few monosyllables from him, and to hear him say my name.
“Aren’t your feet cold, Zachary?”
He glanced down and shrugged, still facing the water, not even acknowledging the fact I knew his name. “Not really. I’m used to the cold.”
I decided to try a different subject—maybe one that would open him up a little. “I saw your work at the gallery in town; you’re very gifted.”
Again, he nodded.
“Your Tempest painting is”—I searched for the right word—“exceptional.”
“It’s not for sale.”
Disappointed at his words, I studied his partially hidden profile. Again his jaw was covered in stubble, and all I could really see was his nose and the downturned set of his full mouth. Some wayward hair sticking out from his beanie was blowing in the wind; its color not easy to make out. I was sure it was dark, but I couldn’t see enough to determine if I was correct. I wanted to step forward, force him to look at me, but there was something about his tense stance that screamed “back off.” He was obviously uncomfortable with me being this close, so I remained where I was, even though I felt some bizarre sort of need to get closer. I had to struggle not to move beside him, slip my hand into his, and offer him some sort of comfort; to loosen the tense set of those broad shoulders. I shook my head at the strange urge.
“Would you perhaps reconsider?”
“No. Jonathon already inquired on your behalf. I have it on loan to the gallery as a personal favor. It’s not for sale—at any price.”
I smiled, attempting to tease him. “Everything has its price, Zachary.”
I wasn’t prepared for the venom in his voice when he spoke.
“I’m fucking aware that’s the way most of the world works. I don’t conduct my life that way.”
Then he turned and walked away, his long strides eating up the distance, his unbuttoned coat billowing out behind him. He whistled for Elliott, who dropped the stick from his mouth and chased after his master.
Both Dixie and I stood staring at the retreating figures. Not once did Zachary pause or look back, while Elliott raced ahead of him. I waited until he had climbed the stairs and disappeared from sight, never taking my eyes off him.
I blinked and looked over the water.
Now I could say I had met my neighbor.
That went well.
My Cast of Characters for Beneath the Scars…
Zachary Adams – Henry Cavill
His eyes are so expressive and he has that sense of ruggedness about him that reminds me of Zachary. There is something strong about his demeanor and when he smiles it is like the sun coming out. He was the perfect choice.
That pretty next door look, with a beautiful smile. Add a few freckles and brown contacts, she is exactly as I pictured Megan.
Good looking and he knows it. He knows how to use it. I think he’d portray a great Jared with enough smarminess to give you the shivers.
Karen Harper … Anne Hathaway
Anne portrays that confident beauty Zach described. Sure of herself, outspoken and loyal. All traits I think she possesses.
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