"I hate you. I hate you with all of Sylvia's heart." Helen has waited for months for the heart that will save her life. After reaching out to the grieving mother of her donor heart, Helen realises that a second chance comes at a price. The price, she soon realises, is much steeper than she'd ever have chosen to pay. There's more than one way to break a heart. There's more than one way to destroy a life...
Donna is a longtime book lover and sometime book reviewer and has devoured books from an early age. She writes short (or long) stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany, A World Apart). She was also co-contributor to David's book, Man vs Cat, a humorous look at life with six rambunctious rescue cats. Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 30-something years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'. You can find Donna on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, or visit her and her husband's shared blog: B-Lines and Felines.
"You are carrying your beeper with you?" Dr Meadon checked. "Yep. I bet you a hundred that it'll finally buzz at my funeral," she said drily. Dr Meadon sighed and laid his pen down. "You're still seeing Deborah?" Deborah was the transplant therapy coach. So far as she could tell, her role seemed to consist of stating the obvious and - a little too hopefully in Helen's opinion - offering the Kleenex box. "For my sins." "And how about support at home?" Home. She thought about her response. Well, doc, I haven't had sex with my husband for a year and if he isn't having an affair he probably should be. My daughter probably can't wait for me to die. Peachy. She snorted. "Who the hell says peachy?" Dr Meadon looked confused and she shook her head, waved a hand as if to shoo the comment away. "It's good. We're good." "Well, you keep that beeper handy, Helen. You never know when it'll happen." When, she noticed. Not if. Was she the only realist these days?
* * *
"Josie was a little upset," Tom said after dinner. She dropped spoons in the dishwasher and shrugged. "She'll get over it." "This isn't her fault, Helen. And she's hurting." His voice dropped. "We're all hurting." "Yeah, well, this isn't a Hallmark movie." He nodded, slowly, thoughtfully, and then hurled his wine glass at the wall. "Josie," she heard him holler. "Let's go to the movies." She couldn't stop herself raising her own glass in a silent toast as he backed the car out of the drive a couple of minutes later, trying to pretend she didn't care about the disgust in his eyes.
* * *
Helen had been diagnosed with heart failure five months previously and placed on the transplant list. Her deterioration had been faster than anyone had anticipated. She was sure she was supposed to be the devoted wife and mother until the end, strengthen the family so they could survive their grief, make sure the final months - weeks? - were full of special memories in case she didn't get a new heart. But this wasn't a Hallmark movie. She was grieving now and she was surely entitled to that, if nothing else. She began mopping up red wine, shooing away Billy, their yappy Dachshund. "You'll end up bleeding or drunk, Billy, and there's only so much a woman can take." She threw away the damp kitchen roll and picked up her wine glass, knowing she shouldn't be drinking at all. At this stage it was hard to take rules seriously. Shouldn't she enjoy the time she had left, just in case? Just in case. That seemed to be her mantra these days. Sighing she set the glass back down. If the beeper went... If the beeper went. Her whole life rested on whether or not the beeper went.