Just about every author that I know, including my self, becomes jittery right before the release of a new book. As authors, we hope the world will receive our work the way that we had intended. If it’s to make one laugh, we hope you laugh out loud, to think or feel, we hope you walk away and wonder all day why a particular character did a specific thing or made such a decision? If it’s intended to touch your heart and make you cry, well, I promise any tears you shed were likely matched by tears we shed as we wrote the words on the page. I hope you like my latest novel; it’s about loss, betrayal, discovery, love, and hope.
Here’ s an excerpt; it will go on pre-sale within the next few days and will launch May 1st. Enjoy!
A Past Revealed
Out of Grasp
A Father’s Heart
~ Hannah Gunner ~
“That’s it, then!” Hannah whispered in a raspy voice. “She’s really gone?”
Lindsey stared down at her lap, avoiding eye contact, not knowing what to say to her best friend, who was still in shock and so much pain. Tears had welled up in Hannah’s eyes, and though she’d been fighting to hold them back, they threatened to flow uncontrollably down her cheeks. Hannah couldn’t allow that, not yet, knowing that once the tears fell she’d lose it completely. The air had chilled, and she stood shivering, but Hannah didn’t seem to notice. The oversized black sweatshirt she’d picked that day drowned out her petite frame. She looked like a little kid instead of a teen. Every now and then her arm reached up and swiped away escaped tears from her face, as if denying they were ever there.
Lindsey had been Hannah’s best friend since they’d been paired together junior year for a chemistry project. It was a good match. They had more in common than the pair realized. Gossip, boys, music, both lacked fashion skills, which didn’t seem to bother either of them at all, neither wore much makeup, and they both loved to write, especially poetry, and constantly carried a journal or had one close by. They practically lived in Vans, jeans, sweatshirts, Nike shorts and, of course, T-shirts. This day, this terrible day, was the hardest day they’d ever experienced together as friends. Lindsey opened the door of her gently used gold Toyota Corolla, affectionately named Silver. A joke, agreed upon by the two girls, which made them laugh every time they referred to her—except for today.
“Silver awaits. Climb in; it’s freezing. I’m taking you home.”
Ridden with guilt, Hannah felt conflicted. On the one hand, she didn’t want to be with anyone, including her best friend or her boyfriend, and on the other hand, she didn’t want to be alone. Reluctantly, she climbed into the car. As soon as the door shut, face buried in her hands, she sobbed without taking a breath. Within minutes a full-fledged panic attack set in, and she couldn’t breathe. Lindsey pulled the car over to the edge of the road and opened the windows. The fresh cold air blew across the back of Hannah’s neck, but it didn’t seem to help. Gently rubbing her friend’s back, Lindsey whispered words to help calm her down.
“Breathe. Calm down and breathe, in and out, slowly, but just breathe.”
“I can’t, can’t breathe.”
“Just calm down and take a deep breath.”
Hannah’s heart was racing and it felt like her chest was about to cave in. Lindsey continued to talk her down. Finally, Hannah’s breathing returned to normal. Struggling to hold back tears of her own, Lindsey dabbed her friend’s tear-stained face with her sleeve. Sitting in silence for a few moments, the two huddled together inside the car. No words of comfort were offered, none needed—they’d already been said, and Hannah knew that Lindsey was grieving as well.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes. And I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize.”
Lost in thought as she drove, a slight smile crossed Lindsey’s face.
“What is it?” Hannah asked. “Could do with a smile myself.”
Lindsey proceeded with caution. “It was a memory.” Glancing at Hannah, she continued. “Of the first time I met Gloria. Do you remember?”
Thankfully, Hannah smiled.
“How could I forget? My mom told us, even that day, we were bound to be double trouble.” Hannah laughed, the first time she’d laughed in a while. “She also said we were going to be thick as thieves.”
“Cause we are!” Lindsey grinned. “I’m so glad she moved you back here.”
Hannah remembered the day her mom had asked her to move back to their hometown of San Francisco. After relocating more than a few times over the years, it made absolutely no difference to Hannah where they went next, which thrilled Gloria.
“You have no idea how much this means to me! We’ll be with your Aunt Kathy again, and I can’t wait for you to have a relationship with her, and we’ll all be a family again,” said Gloria.
Gloria had smiled and hugged Hannah longer than usual that day because she was so happy.
“Nothing wrong with just you!” Hannah had grinned.
“Thanks! But you know what I mean, right?”
“No,” Hannah had smirked. “But I don’t care; that’s fine by me if we go back to San Francisco.”
Rolling to a stop at a red light, the cool breeze blew through the open windows. Hannah caught wind of a terrible smell, her shirt. As the air shifted, the stench of the hospital, which was sticking to her like glue, made her gag. Hospital smells, so specific—sick people, bedpans, disinfectant, hospital food, body odors—all together a terrible combination. Hannah had been barely able to walk into the hospital lately without feeling violently ill herself, and now the stench was all over her.
Struggling with what had just transpired and the realization that half of her life had been a lie, Hannah sat in the passenger seat, shaking in absolute shock. There’d been a lot of lies floating around, apparently for the past, say, most of her life! In those few moments, she tried to process three things: what in the hell was she supposed to do now, what exactly was her mom thinking, and last, but not least, could she find the Captain? She pulled a tattered yellow piece of paper out of her sweatshirt pocket and stared at it.
“What is that?” Lindsey asked softly.
“Something I need, but not sure I want.”
Hands trembling, she moved the worn-out paper, a faded handwritten letter, quickly to one side, so a massive teardrop didn’t splatter it and ruin the letters that were hard enough to read already. The words that were faded and worn weren’t the problem; the problem was that as she read them to herself, Hannah didn’t recognize who had written them. The sound of the voice that reverberated back to her as she read the words from the letter in her hand seemed foreign to her; this man from the letter was a stranger. His voice didn’t match the sound of the gruff but comforting, familiar voice of the Captain’s in her head that had held her together for years—the man who had taken the time to read to her night after night and turned her bed sheets into sails so they could reenact her favorite story. And the man who had created make-believe ships and sailed them to Treasure Island, taught her that treasure could be found anywhere, even in the real world, but that she was his most important treasure. That man, the Captain, who lived in her head—he was dead!
Author Website Amanda M. Thrasher
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher.
Text Copyright © 2019 Amanda M. Thrasher
All rights reserved. Published 2019 by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data and on file with the Publisher.