"Running on Empty" is the debut novel by L.B. Simmons. It’s a story of love, loss, grief, friendships and new beginnings.
Alex married her high school sweetheart, Derek Meyers and they had three beautiful daughters, Nycole, Kyndall and Rylie. Alex’s life was perfect. She had the perfect husband, the perfect job and three gorgeous little girls. One day she received a phone called that turned her life completely upside down.
It has been three years since Alex’s husband Derek has passed away. Alex is living life in autopilot. She is struggling with the loss of Derek, and although she is going through life, she is “Running on Empty”. Alex has given up any thought of loving again. She feels as though it would be disrespectful to Derek and has built a wall around her heart. Alex’s main focus is raising her three little girls and focusing on her business with her best friend Harlow.
Alex’s three beautiful little girls are VERY observant to how Alex has been the past three years. Alex thinks that she has shielded her three little girls from the grief that she has felt from the death of her husband, but she has not pulled the wool over their eyes. I loved the relationship that Alex has with her daughters. While reading the book, I was laughing out loud with the bantering between them.
Alex has been blessed with her best friend, Harlow. Harlow is a true friend that every girl would be lucky to have. Harlow has been there to hold Alex’s hand when she lost her husband, to comfort her while she grieved, and to help her with her three daughters. Harlow speaks the truth whether it is something that Alex wants to hear or not. After three years, Harlow tells Alex that it is time to move on, that Derek would not want to see Alex suffer like she is. Derek would want Alex to live her life and be happy.
One day Alex is literally “Running on Empty” and attempts to make it to work with her gas tank flashing on empty, when she runs out of gas along the interstate. When she exits her car, a man pulls his motorcycle to the side of the highway and offers to help. The man appears to have a sculpted jaw, perfect nose, a beautiful mouth and perfect kissable mouth. Once she gets a better look at this gorgeous man, she realizes that it is Blake Morgan, her childhood best friend.
Growing up Blake and Alex were best friends, they were inseparable, until Derek Meyers comes to town. Alex left Blake behind and never looked back while she developed a relationship with Derek. After graduating from high school, Blake Morgan leaves town and heads to Colorado. It has been several years since he has seen or spoke to Alex. Blake has had one true love his entire life, yet the person he was in love with had no idea.
Blake’s presence in town, has turned Alex’s life upside down. After being apart for so many years, once they begin to spend time with each other, she begins to feel again. Alex learns to laugh again, to smile again, to be "Alex" again, not just MOMMY. “I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel relief. I feel scared. I feel vulnerable. I feel sure. I feel…… EVERYTHING.” Alex Meyers
Blake finally tells Alex how he feels and Alex is struggling with the thought of loving again. “I love you, Alex. I loved you when we were just kids… and I’ve continued to love you everyday since.” ~~ Blake Morgan
Throughout the book, I was drawn to Blake. I was routing for Blake. “All I could do was watch it happen and hate myself for never saying anything. I should have fought harder for you… ~ Blake Morgan
Blake was literally Alex’s “knight in shining armor”. Blake loved Alex and cherished her three little girls. The relationship that develops between Blake and the girls was very heart warming. I loved when they were going to spend the day at the park…. “Ok – Rylie, is there anything you want to bring with you?” She walks over to Blake and grabs his hand. “Just Blake!” I absolutely LOVED this scene.
I fell in love with Blake. He was genuine and wanted nothing more than to see Alex happy. No matter how many years they were apart, he always loved her. “I’ve always wanted this future. I was just waiting on you to catch up.” ~~Blake Morgan
Alex opens herself up to the possibilities of a life without Derek. Alex learns to love again, she realizes that just because she loves Blake, that does not diminish the love she had for Derek. I cried tears of joy while reading this book, as well as tears of sadness.
I loved how I fell in love with the secondary characters in this book. I felt like I knew them personally and immediately connected with them. "Running on Empty" has touched me in so many ways. This story will make you stop and think of life and what is important. Don’t take anything for granted because it can all change in a blink of an eye…