USA Today Bestselling Author
Welcome to Hathaway House.
Rehab Center. Safe Haven.
Second chance at life and love.
Lance Mayfair sought out Hathaway House at the recommendation of a friend, who told him it was an answer to prayer. Lance knows more about prayers than answers, but, if he can see progress in one particular area of his life and health, it will be worth the effort and the pain. He’ll do anything he can to play music again. It’s all he has left now that his days as a Navy SEAL are over and, with them, any chance of a happy, productive life.
However, the shoulder injury that ended his career pretty much guarantees he’ll never play his beloved instruments ever again.
Unless Hathaway House and Jessica can work a miracle.
Jessica has worked with many patients at Hathaway House, but she connects with Lance in a way she didn’t with any of the others. She can see the need inside him—his desire to create again, to heal through music. And his goal becomes her goal: to see him play music in his soul again.
Only his music isn’t all he wants or needs, and making him happy goes a long way to making her happy, but it’s not enough. Both want and need so much more.
When Ian sends Lance pictures of his recovery, Lance was sure they had been photoshopped. He couldn’t believe the difference between the man he knew here and the one in the photos. Even Jaden was encouraging hm to go to Hathaway House, both man swore it would make all the difference in the world.
The journey definitely took a toll on him, as has been the case with every one we’ve met in these books so far. It seems to me that Lance is perhaps a little more aware of the things that could hold him back.
His set back comes in the form of anemia and an infection, not a mental one as we’ve seen before. Jessica his nurse has been very watchful of him. She’s drawn to him on a level she doesn’t quite understand. In one of their conversations he mentioned music was a hobby, one he made money from before he went into the service. He also mentioned the guitar as one of the instruments he played.
On one of her trips into town Jessica spots an old guitar, it wasn’t expensive and she has it tuned and leaves it for him while he’s sleeping.
This is a favorite scene.
“Well, that’s hard to believe,” he said. In his wheelchair, he stopped at the coffee station and tried to put some on his tray, but it was already pretty full.
“Not to worry,” Dennis said. “I’ll come behind you and bring you a fresh cup.”
“Only if you’ve got time,” he said, looking back at him.
“I’ll make time,” he said. “It’s coffee after all, and we all need it in the morning.”
Lance smiled and said, “Well, I sure do. I’m definitely a coffee drinker,” he said.
And he slowly pushed his wheelchair outside in the sun. If nothing else he needed the sunshine and some vitamin D. Jessica was right about that. In the morning he wouldn’t burn. He knew it would still take a few days for the antibiotics to kick in fully, but he had to admit to feeling a little bit better. When Dennis arrived with a cup of coffee and a glass of juice, Lance smiled and thanked him.
But Dennis just laughed. “Be prepared for company,” he said, as he turned to leave, seeing Jessica coming with her own plate of food.
“One of the benefits of living and working here,” Lance said, motioning at the food, “is that you get to have the same food that we do.”
“And that’s a huge benefit,” she said. “This is actually fresh orange juice,” she said, picking it up and taking a sip. She studied Lance over the rim of the glass, and he smiled back at her.
“Yes, I feel much better,” he said. “I think I just overdid it yesterday.”
Her gaze still watchful, she nodded. “And who knows if that iron is starting to kick in or not.”
“I doubt if it’s that fast,” he said, “but I did make sure I had lots of dark greens and beef for dinner last night.”
“Good,” she said. “We’ll get you there eventually.”
“I just hadn’t really expected the eventually to start off so dismally,” he said.
“Everybody is different,” she said. “Everybody has to heal on their own.”
“I know,” he said with a smile. “I’m just so grateful everybody came in and out last night, keeping me awake,” he said, rolling his eyes. “But you guys were checking up on me, so I can’t really complain. Speaking of which,” he said, lifting his fork and pointing it at her, “I presume it’s you I have to thank for the guitar.”
Her face beamed into a beautiful smile.
He stared at her, fascinated, because she was one of those people who showed every expression on her face. Whereas he didn’t seem to show any, she was like this open book. “Yes, indeed,” she said. “I remembered what you said, and I was at a secondhand store, so it didn’t cost very much,” she said. “Honestly, getting it tuned cost more than buying the guitar itself.”
“Well, I did run my fingers across the strings,” he confessed. “And it was nice to hear that it was tuned and in good order.”
“Good,” she said. “I never really know if people are doing what they said they’ll do,” she said. “And it’s certainly not my field.”
“Not a problem,” he said, chuckling. “When I go back after breakfast, maybe I’ll try it out.” He flexed his fingers. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to play.”
“It’s worth a try. Do you have sessions today?”
“No, not for a couple days,” he said. “Shane has put me on minor stuff, no heavy-duty workouts until I’m back on my feet again.”
“That’s probably best,” she said. “Much better to take it slow and steady instead of going too far, too fast, only to end up going backward.”
“Exactly,” he said. Just then somebody called her, so she excused herself, and he could see that she would not likely be back.
So, finishing his coffee, he rolled his way back over and filled it up again, tucked it into a little cupholder on the wheelchair, which he thought was one of the best little add-ons to a wheelchair that he’d seen. He slowly made his way back to his room. Once there, he put the coffee cup down, so it was out of the way, then picked up the guitar, trying to adjust his position. He shifted awkwardly up onto the bed, then shifted again so the bed was in a better sitting position, where he could sit with his legs stretched out.
Gently at first, he strummed the guitar. Soon soft gentle musical notes filled the room. He leaned back, closing his eyes, and let the pleasure of hearing the music float through him again, soaking it into his bones. It was such a healing sound for him, and he wondered why he’d never thought to have some musical instrument with him. Mostly because music had been out of the realm of possibility, so he’d just stopped letting it be part of his world. He gently let his fingers play, going from a love song to a country song and back to a ballad. By the time he opened his eyes, several people were in the doorway. He looked at them in surprise, his fingers coming down over the strings to silence them.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I never gave it a thought, but I shouldn’t be playing inside, should I?”
Dani stepped through the crowd to say, “Maybe not at certain times,” she said, “but, during the day like this, something like that is absolutely beautiful,” she said. “You are very talented.”
He smiled at her. “Thank you,” he said. “And I promise I’ll try not to fill the halls with music all day long.”
“You’re definitely welcome to play inside during the day,” she said. “But, when you want to take it outside, just let us know,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll have quite an audience who will enjoy the music with you.”
He loved that. He loved the freedom to be a part of this. And he really loved the acceptance from those around him.
Dale Mayer. Lance (Kindle Locations 980-986). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Music brings Jessica and Lance closer, but not all the current residents are happy about it. Dani reaches a compromise and sets a schedule for him to play. Shane notices that work would need to be done to enable Lance to continue playing the various instruments he obviously loves and takes on that challenge.
We get to see Stan and Robin from the Vet clinic and the puppies that need to be bottle fed as well as the horses and of course Max the cat that seems to think he owns the place.
There was quite the surprise in this book, for both Hathaway House as a whole and Jessica. One that really shows how very different each and every journey is.
This is another beautiful story of recovery, romance and new beginnings. I truly can’t wait to read the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.