There is a link at the end of the post if you wish to pre-order a copy in advance of the May 5 release date.
In this peek, Clay Mathers has just observed Music Therapist Pippa Sanders work with his mother after a stroke left her in a wheelchair. It's a first look at the soft heart he hides with a hard candy coating. I hope you enjoy.
A huge crooked grin lit Mom’s face as she kept time, tapping it harder each time the boom, boom, pow refrain sounded from the player. Clay stood up to watch, slapping his hand against his thigh in time with the music as Steve and Pippa focused their attention on his mom’s movements. Mom sang along without stuttering.
“Holy shit!” he exclaimed.
Pippa laughed over her shoulder at him. “You say that a lot, you know. We need to work on your vocabulary.”
“Maybe, but, Jesus, look at her—” He stopped abruptly. His mom, who’d suffered from an unnatural stillness for the last six weeks, moved not just her fingers, but her toes as well. Her right foot, while not exactly tapping, jerked on the footrest.
His throat closed up and he blinked against the stinging sensation behind his eyes. Until this moment, he’d wondered whether he’d ever get his vibrant mother back. He’d felt helpless as her frustration surged with each passing day. She’d have two great days with physical therapy but then she’d backslide, each payback day adding to the bitterness evident in her eyes when he visited.
He’d sat with her every day after Steve had worked with her, leaving her exhausted, with disappointed tears rolling down her cheeks. Clay knew the tears made her mad, because she hated to cry, especially in front of people. He’d witnessed her stoic strength after first his dad, and then her second husband, died. When she’d hidden behind closed doors to release grief and anguish in ragged sobs after his stepfather died, his heart broke. His mom had never let him see her in anything other than a happy state of mind. It was just her way.
The song ended and Pippa jumped up and turned off the player as the next selection began, plunging the room into silence for a moment.