USA Today Bestselling Author
It was Aaron who convinced Percy to take a chance on Hathaway House. Yet, when he arrives, Aaron is back at school, and Percy’s alone after all. The place is everything Aaron said it was, but the trip getting here set his progress back, from slow to nonexistent.
Giada has worked at the center for several years and always went home happily to her brother at the end of the day. Only now her brother is engaged and planning to marry in six months. Change is happening, whether she likes it or not. And, in this case, it brings up a lot of turbulence in the family dynamic. Dani offers Giada a place of her own here at Hathaway’s staff quarters, but the path forward is not so easy. Thankfully Percy is there as both a comfort and a friend.
Now if only he could find the progress he’s looking for, and she could find the new beginning of her own …
Aaron recommended Percy for Hathaway House, unfortunately there was an infection to clear before he could be ready for the move. The trip to Hathaway House took a lot out of him more than he expected and to top it off Aaron had returned to school before he got there.
Meetings with Dani and Shane leave him wondering about the miracles that could be accomplished here. A text to Aaron just confirms what he’s already been told. Much to ponder.
Giada is the purchaser for Hathaway House, she’s helping out a bit by bring towels and blankets for the new patient. As they talk, she finds he hasn’t eaten and sets out to get him coffee and maybe food from Dennis. Now Giada has some things to think about since she lives with her brother and he’s getting married in six months. Dani has offered to save an apartment on site for her and she’s thinking about it but has time.
On Percy’s second day, Dani asks Giada to give him a tour of the property. This leads to an interesting conversation as they get to know one another. A lot of insight into Giada’s relationship with her brother. The end the tour at the Vet Clinic and Stan joins them to go to lunch.
This is a favorite scene.
“Oh, good, the line’s not too bad yet,” she stated, but then she looked out at the deck with so many of the tables full, “or maybe we’re just a little bit late.”
She pushed the wheelchair into the buffet line, knowing that, by Percy’s silence, he must be getting more and more uncomfortable around all the other people. She grabbed a tray, put it in his lap, and said, “You hang on to that one. I’ll hang on to this one.”
Stan grabbed one as well. He stepped before them and said, “We’ll go as a team.”
As soon as Dennis saw Stan, Dennis’s face lit up. Then he realized that Percy was here too, in his wheelchair. He leaned over and said, “Percy, my man. What can I get ya?”
“What have you got?” Percy asked. “I can’t even see everything yet.”
“We’ve got fried chicken, grits, biscuits and gravy,” he replied. “Plus we’ve got veggies and even some fried fish over here.” Dennis pointed farther down the buffet line. “So, what appeals?”
“All of it?” Percy asked hesitantly. “But I need dense nutrition.”
“Good,” Dennis noted. “So fish or chicken?”
“Chicken. I had it before, and it’s great.”
“Do you want a biscuit on the side?”
“And then we’ll fill the plate up with lots of veggies,” Dennis added, and that’s what he did.
Stan took one look at the size of the plate and said, “It’s a good thing that you guys get a good work out here because, my gosh, you’d be all heavyweights if you didn’t.” He looked back at Dennis and stated, “I’ll take half of what you just gave Percy.”
“Half!” Dennis replied in outrage. “That’s hardly worth shoveling onto a plate.” But he followed suit, handed it off, and then turned to look at Giada. “And you, missy, what would you like?”
“How about half of what you gave Stan?” she replied, with a big grin.
“Nope, nope, nope,” he argued. “You rarely eat here, so take advantage of this wonderful food. Do you want green veggies or a salad?”
“Salad,” she said instantly and watched as Dennis made a fresh salad right in front of her, then asked her if she wanted dark meat or white meat from the fried chicken. By the time her plate was full, she was just as amazed at the aroma. “It smells delicious,” she told Dennis, as she accepted her plate from him.
“It is. Let me come around and give you a hand.” He walked over, pushing Percy forward. “Up here we’ve got desserts and a big drink center,” he added, “so everything you could want, plus coffee and tea. What can I get you?”
Percy hesitated, then looked up at Dennis. “How about just water for now? Maybe a cup of tea and a dessert after I have plowed through this.”
“Good call,” Dennis noted.
Giada watched as Dennis maneuvered Percy right out onto the deck, where already a good thirty or forty other people were already seated. “Do you want sunshine or shade?”
“Sunshine, if it isn’t too-too bright,” Percy replied. At that, Dennis moved him to a large umbrella-covered table. “You pick whereabouts you want to sit at the table. You can get a little sun or a lot here.” And then he set down the tray Percy carried and said, “I’ll be back with water.”
She pulled up beside Percy and sat down next to him. “See? It’s quite the place.” He looked at her, and she saw Percy’s stunned amusement.
“No wonder Aaron doesn’t want to leave. This place is very special.”
“Yeah, they do like to take exceptional care of their patients and their staff,” she noted, with a grin. “And we do argue about budgets all the time.”
“No wonder,” he said. “I can’t imagine keeping it running at this level of quality is easy.”
“Not easy,” she agreed, “but important. Food is to feed and to help nurture and to heal. If you don’t have good quality food,” she says, “it won’t help you guys get back on your feet.”
The look on his face when he bit into the fried chicken moved her in a way she hadn’t expected, with such a sense of peaceful joy, as he sat here and just slowly worked his way through the chicken leg in his hand. She stopped eating to watch.
Finally Stan nudged her gently. “You should be eating your own food.”
She looked down at her chicken. She took a bite, and it was wonderful, no doubt about it. But to see somebody enjoy it in the same way that Percy had was just incredible. When he sat back and stared at the second piece of chicken still on his plate, he looked over at her and said, “I haven’t had anything this good in so very long,” he whispered.
“Enjoy it,” she replied gently. “It won’t disappear off your plate, but we don’t offer fried chicken every day. The menu changes on a regular basis.” He was such a sensual man that it really surprised her and made her feel odd, as if it were a private experience to watch as he thoroughly enjoyed his food. She was done in half the time, and it reminded her that she’d gotten into the habit of just eating because food was in front of her, yet not taking the time to slow down and to enjoy it.
Percy looked over at her plate. “You must have been hungry.”
“I was,” she admitted. “But you’re a good reminder that I need to slow down and to enjoy my food more.”
He nodded enthusiastically. “Good God, if you’ve eaten the swill that I’ve eaten for the last year, you would not be rushing through this. This is almost like a …” He didn’t even know what to say. “But it’s, … it’s almost like an intimate experience. And I know that sounds weird, but it’s just so nice to enjoy good food again.”
“I get it. You keep enjoying. I’ll go grab a coffee.” She got up, needing to put a little time and distance between him and her. She rushed over to get drinks. Stan waited until she got back, and then he excused himself. She put a cup of coffee down in front of Percy. “It might be a bit too early for you,” she noted, “but I was already there.” She sat down beside him. “Wow. You’re almost done.”
“Well, I sped it up a little bit,” he admitted. “I just seemed to be taking too long.”
“No,” she replied, “don’t ever feel that way. The good thing is that you’re taking the time to enjoy your food. Whereas I just rush through mine too often.”
“Nothing quite like having terrible food for a long time to make you appreciate it when you get something so much better.”
She laughed. “And I don’t spend enough time here to get to appreciate the food here very much. I go home and look after my brother.” Percy didn’t say anything, but she felt almost a sense of him withdrawing again. She smiled. “And you made some really good points about my brother. I’ll consider them.”
He looked at her in surprise. “You need to do you,” he replied, “not what I say.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t do it because of that,” she murmured. “But you did make some valid points that I should consider, and it is something that I will consider,” she murmured. “If nothing else, I have to also consider him.”
“Good point.” Percy pushed away his tray. “My God, I need to go sleep for an hour,” he murmured.
“You know something? That’s one of the advantages here. You can do that,” she said, with a gentle smile. “You get to go back, relax, and digest everything that you just put into your stomach.”
“Yeah, but, at one point in time,” he noted, “I’m supposed to start work. Aaron’s warned me that it won’t be easy to get where I want to go.”
“Maybe not,” she agreed. “But”— as she stood up and removed his tray, so that the mess wasn’t in front of him anymore—“ it will be worth it.”
Dale Mayer. Percy (Kindle Locations 746-807). Valley Publishing Ltd..
We see a lot of Shane in this book, Giada gets him involved when a severe muscle spasm has her concerned. I loved the interactions between Shane, Dennis and Giada with regard to her relationship with Percy.
Giada also faces some hard truths when it comes to her brother. She’s going to move out before he gets married and he’s not happy about it at all. His mindset is something she hadn’t considered before that announcement.
This book is truly a journey for both Percy and Giada, very emotional and at times stressful. There is growth that takes time and patience on both sides of this story. I truly love the way things move forward.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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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.