Excerpt from Forever Loved, Book 2 of the Forever Series
The bestselling story Forever Innocent (just 99 cents through Jan. 24) comes to its dramatic conclusion in Forever Loved, out Jan. 10 from author Deanna Roy.
In this scene, Gavin realizes that his ditching Corabelle has had grave consequences as she attempts to recover from pneumonia in the hospital.
I stepped out of the curtain space quickly and walked along the semicircle, praying Corabelle was in one of them. A teenage boy. A middle-aged woman. A man in traction.
Then I saw her. She slept, her dark hair tied up in a knot high on her head.
I almost dropped to my knees.
She had a tube going into her mouth, a blue one just like Finn’s. Her heartbeat registered on a monitor, as well as her oxygen levels. I tried to shake the vision of the NICU, but the noises were too similar, the wheeze of a ventilator and periodic beeps.
I stumbled toward her like a dying man. What had happened? My stomach felt lined with rocks. I sat on the bed and brushed back a wisp of hair from her forehead. She slept really hard, not shifting at all with my touch. They must have given her something to knock her out. Even the first two nights when she was sick, she would still shift around, sometimes making little sounds. Now she was so flat to the bed.
Like Finn had been after I’d signed the papers to disconnect him.
Remorse crashed over me like a wave. I had screwed everything up. Walked out on her. Gone to Mexico. And here she was, barely holding on.
“I’m so sorry, baby,” I whispered.
I shouldn’t be in her life at all. She’d been doing fine until I came along. Going to school, planning her future.
Now she was here.
The monitors continued their steady sounds.
I heard the nurse talking and panicked. I would not leave her now. The machines were to the left of the bed, so the nurse would probably approach there. I ducked to the opposite side and folded tight into a ball, tugging the curtain in front of me so that I sat between it and the concrete wall.
I couldn’t see anything, but the footsteps grew closer, paused, then faded away again. The maintenance cart began rolling, wheels clattering on the concrete floor.
When the room was quiet again, I peeked out. Corabelle had not moved. Her elbow was bent near the edge of the bed, and I shifted forward to lay my forehead against her cool skin.
I wished we could go back to that first night at the astronomy star party, when Corabelle stretched out beside me on the roof, and we realized the world had pushed us back together after four years. But I’d gotten angry, and taken off. If I could just do that night again, I wouldn’t have left then either. If we’d been better from the beginning, she wouldn’t have walked into that damn ocean.
I just kept leaving. I just kept walking away.
Until I figured all this out, I could not be the man who always stayed the course. I would continue to be the one who wasn’t there when things got tough.
I didn’t want to be that person.
On Writing Tear Jerkers
By Deanna Roy
Author of The Forever Series
For my first 27 years, I was considered something of a Pollyanna — one of those bubbly ultra-optimistic people who spout platitudes about silver linings.
The first chink in my happy-armor becomes evident in the pictures from Christmas 1997. My then-husband and I had been trying to get pregnant since April, and I had envisioned that holiday as very different with a baby’s imminent arrival. But I had not made any progress at all, only a pile of negative home tests collecting in the bin.
I don’t even fake a smile. I’m just sort of there, my hair all twisted up in a knot, standing by a tree I felt forced to decorate.
I didn’t know that in this picture, I am actually a few days pregnant, and that I had no idea — really, no clue — what sorrow really was.
In the next five years I would see three babies die in various stages of pregnancy. I would also give birth to two daughters, both under stressful conditions that were a far cry from the happy moon-belly experiences we are sold in maternity magazines.
I was a writer long before I was a mother, and it was a natural fit to chronicle my experiences. As I became more involved in the baby loss community, I heard many more stories, and so often I would think — I could not have survived that.
But survive we do, and I think when choosing a tear-jerker book, it’s that same catharsis at the end. If you have endured a lot in your life, you can think to yourself — I understand what this character went through. You feel camaraderie, a connection with a fellow traveler. If the book takes you someplace darker than you’ve ever been, you can feel as though you have been lucky, that life has smiled on you. Either way, you leave the book feeling a little differently about your own existence.
I knew that the first book in my series, Forever Innocent, was going to wreck people. It’s hard to imagine how it feels to disconnect the ventilator from a seven-day-old baby, but this book takes you right there.
With the second book, Forever Loved, I hope to step a little bit away from the tragedy and focus on the healing. Early readers say you cry just as much, but for a different reason. Watching two people take a bad situation and turn it around is a different form of emotional release.
I am so grateful to have had so many companions on my journey. If you are a baby loss mom, you can meet them at A Place for Our Angels. Book fans can chatter at the Facebook Page for the series or on Goodreads. If you want to read excerpts as I write my books, join the mailing list.
I know now all our lives will include some sorrow. I hope that yours finds joy in equal measure.
Book One -- Forever Innocent
On sale for 99 cents Jan. 12-24!
Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Book Two -- Forever Loved
Release Date, Jan. 10
On sale for $2.99 through January 31
Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Deanna Roy is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She founded PregnancyLoss.Info in 1998 and runs many online and in-person support groups. She is the author of several two-hankie reads, including Forever Innocent, Stella & Dane, and Baby Dust.