In TornAway, readers are introduced to Drew Duncan, a man who an entire town believes got away with murder. At the beginning of his senior year of high school, he and his girlfriend Molly Winters got into a public fight at a dance. After having his face slapped, Drew stalked off while Molly remained. By the end of the night, Drew was found unconscious in a parking lot, nearly dead from an overdose, and Molly had disappeared. He was arrested and held for months for a trial that would never come, released only when there was a new chief of police of Ember Falls who put pressure on the new DA.
Drew and his sisters were victims of horrific abuse at the hands of their alcoholic father. It affected each of them in different ways. For Kelli, the sister whose murder brings Drew back to Ember Falls, she married a man who was even worse than their father and only escaped with her son weeks before her untimely death. Ashley has kept everyone at arm’s length, refusing to believe that anyone could ever truly love her.
For Drew, his entire self-worth was tied into his ability to protect his sisters. Once he was exiled from them, he channeled that protective instinct for others. After his time in the marines, Drew joined McAlister Security and was point man on dozens of cases where he put himself in harm’s way, always without hesitation. Yet the moment he arrives back in Ember Falls, he nearly goes into a panic attack. Something in that town terrifies him.
Drew’s top priority is his nephew Cole. A young boy who is trembles every time Drew comes near him, Drew must find a way to connect, and to earn Cole’s trust. Drew understands how difficult that is because he’s been in Cole’s shoes before. Yet he gets Cole.
To protect Cole, and his sister Ashley, Drew ends up working with Officer Ollie Miller, who as a kid Drew bullied. He never took kindly to Ollie hanging around his sister, but he’ll do anything to keep his family safe.
Torn Away in the first book in a three part series. There are hints of just how dark Drew’s past is, because as bad is it is, the reader will get to see in book 2 that it’s worse. But Drew’s story is one that I had to tell. A man so consumed by guilt for things he could never control. It’s a hallmark of adults who have gone through abuse as a child. Whatever goes wrong, it’s their fault. In the end, that’s Drew’s biggest challenge. To forgive himself.