Dear Readers,

Thank you all for sticking by me through this project. You're the ones who kept me inspired, kept me up until 2 a.m., typing furiously while listening to the most powerful movie soundtracks in my collection. I wrote this story for myself, because it was in my heart, but I also wrote it for all of you. Thank you for the reviews and the friendship. You're the best bunch of readers a gal could ever hope for.

I just wanted to let you know a few things. I know you will probably all be furious with me when I post the chapter in which Loren dies. I've never before actually killed one of my main characters; usually there's some mistake, and the couple is reunited. Somehow, as I was writing, Loren's death just happened.

I've said it before and it still stands true; when I'm writing, my characters become like friends to me. I love them as if they are real. So you can imagine how tough – no, tough is not the word . . . agonizing – it was for me to murder Loren Kincaid. After I wrote that scene and the chapter that followed, I literally cried myself to sleep. I wanted to stick with my decision, but I felt like I had ripped away part of Ava's heart. I remembered his every smile, the way he looked at Ava, every gesture and every moment he anguished because he couldn't be with her. I shocked myself, and I felt like a dear friend had been killed on that street in France. When I turned on my computer to write the final chapters, my hands were actually trembling.

I just want you to understand that I did not kill Loren Kincaid just out of spite, or dramatic effect, or even to shock you. He died because love stories do not always have "Happily Ever After" endings. It happened, and I realize that it won't be popular. However, I hope Ava and Loren's reunion at the end will soften the blow a bit.

I'm sorry if you shed some tears along the way. But perhaps if you cried, it meant that just a small part of you loved Loren Kincaid just as much as Ava Lamont did. I hope so, because I know he stole a small piece of my heart. Ava took just a little, too, as did Jack O'Leary and Sydney St. Claire, when I wrote their story.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that this has been a profound experience for me as a writer. Every page was a new adventure, every day a new chance to create. Thank you all again for your patience, your perseverance, and your understanding. If I'm ever lucky enough to one day be published, I'll never forget how you all stood by me.

Much Love,

Aspen O'Brien