Friday, December 29, 2017

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde ~ Excerpt

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a hauntingly emotional novel of how one man’s life changes forever when he rediscovers his ability to feel the pain of others.

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.

Chapter One
Clouds and Shadows
The phone jangled Aiden out of sleep. His heart raced, and he knocked over a plastic drinking glass and the alarm clock while reaching to grab the receiver.
His panic didn’t last. The voice on the other end of the line soothed him on contact. It felt like a drink of cold water, its relief spreading down through his gut on a hot and dusty day.
It was only one word. But it repaired everything.
It was feminine and smooth, that word. It felt like everything in the world Aiden had found to love. Or maybe that’s genuinely what it was. He could feel his heart expand, or at least the sensation of it filling. Swelling. It ached. It was painful in a very real way, but Aiden wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
“Oh,” he mumbled, still mostly asleep. “Gwen. Hey.”
“I’m sorry. I know it’s late. I know I woke you up. I knew I would, but . . .”
Aiden sat up on the edge of the bed. He was wearing only boxer shorts, and the air in the room felt blissfully cool against his bare chest and back.
“But what? Are you okay?”
In the silence that followed, he watched shadows cast by the branches of scrub oak trees sway on his bedroom wall. He looked through his window to see the dark shapes of his sleeping brood mares in the nearest pasture.
“I guess so,” she said. “I guess I just needed some reassurance.”
“About what?”
“What about it?”
“You’re not worried about it?”
“No. Not at all. Why would I be? I’m looking forward to it.”
“Just . . . you know.” There was a lot that could be read into her voice. Aiden knew that. He listened as hard as he could to every word she didn’t say. “You meeting the kids and all.”
“You’re worried they won’t like me?”
“More that you won’t like them. It’s hard. You know. When you have kids and you meet somebody new.”
“I’m going to love them. I like kids. I told you.”
“I know,” she said. But she didn’t sound as though that settled much. “I should have had you meet them sooner. I was a little surprised you didn’t press the issue.”
For a moment nobody said anything more.
“What can I say to reassure you?” he asked.
“Nothing, I guess. Tomorrow just has to get here. I’m sorry I woke you up for no real reason.”
“No, it’s okay.”
“Go back to sleep.”
“I will.”
He didn’t, though. He thought he would but he didn’t. Something about her tone. About the subtext of her words. She was worried. Not just mildly insecure. Genuinely worried.
Maybe she was worried about nothing. But Aiden couldn’t shake the thought that maybe she knew something he didn’t. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of this book! Very emotional.
    From the excerpt, though, not sure if I would enjoy the way it's written. I don't like when every sentence in a conversation is recorded.