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Authors: Amanda Dick


BOOK: Absolution
11.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





A novel by

Amanda Dick


Second Edition

Copyright © 2014 Amanda Dick


All rights reserved.


This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.


Cover Art and Design by Anita B Carroll at

Editing by Sarah Widdup at Irrefutable Proof

Formatting by Joseph Eastwood






For Bette Luksha-Gammell, Bobbie Pene, Abigail Andersson, Sandi Laubhan,

Sharon Goodman, Tracy Skerratt, Lillybeth Melmoth, Tara Horak, Diana Houkamau,

Jennie Coull, Sherralynne Dewhirst, Kate Gissell, Susan James, Amanda Edwards,

Emma Spicer, Stephanie Davis-Linkous, Joanne Tolhopf, Sarah Widdup,

Raewyn McCormack, Lisa Horton, Sarah Gullett, Patricia Lee, Vicki Waters, Verna Stock, Vanessa Macdonald, Susan Marie Schoch, Johanna Rae


and to


The Booknatics, A Literary Perusal, Summers Book Blog,

Amazeballs Book Addicts and Electively Paige


…for believing in me.





It takes a village to publish a book, and these are the residents of my village.

First and foremost, my husband Willie and my children, Georgia and Cameron. Without their understanding and patience, this book would never have been finished. Thank you for making dinner, walking the dog, doing the dishes, attempting to keep your rooms tidy, for responding to frantic requests for peace and quiet and for dragging me (kicking and screaming, at times) out of my studio and reminding me to eat. Love you always.

Going right back to the beginning of this journey – 2010, I believe? – thank you Lisa Horton, for your encouragement. You were the first person to read this story and I know without a doubt that I would never have had the courage to share this with the world if it hadn’t been for your passion for this story and these characters. Without your enthusiasm, this story would still be on a flash drive somewhere, probably buried in a box full of other flash drives.

The best beta-reader, friend and cheerleader a girl could have. Yes, I’m talking about you, Tara Horak! Thank you for your insight, encouragement, questions, musings, thoughtful comments, generosity and enthusiasm, and for your belief in me (no small thing). Love ya!

Sarah Widdup – editor, guru, Sensei – I didn’t find you, you found me. How lucky am I! Thanks for being you, and for making this journey that much more fun, just by having you along for the ride. Our late night conversations still make me giggle. I’m pretty sure not all editors are as cool as you, so I kinda feel like I won the lottery here – twice.

Thanks to Joseph Eastwood for formatting both ecopy and print version, and to Anita Carroll for a beautiful cover.

Huge gratitude goes out to everyone who helped me raise the money to re-release this second edition (their names are listed under the Dedications page at the front of this book). Without them, this book would still be waiting to make its appearance!

Thanks to my Pop, Claude Pettigrew. It was your love of books and reading that set me on this path. Love you and miss you always.

Lastly, a disclaimer: I am not an expert on spinal cord injuries in general or paraplegia in particular. I have no background in the medical field. In researching Ally’s injury and the possibilities for her mobility, I have learnt more than I could possibly have imagined about both subjects. This story is not meant as a textbook or manual, and I hope that any mistakes or omissions are interpreted purely as poetic licence or ignorance, rather than deliberate errors. To all of you who have shared your stories: you have my admiration and heartfelt thanks.



You cannot find peace by avoiding life.

- Virginia Woolf



“Eddie Vedder is a god,” Ally announced from the back seat. “No doubt about it.”

Jack nodded at her in the rear-view mirror.

“And not only is he a god, but he has to be
of the sexiest men on the planet,” she added.

Jack winked. “Good save, babe.”

“He’s the guy that chicks want, and dudes want to be like,” Callum said, turning around to face her from the seat in front. “But I don’t blame you – if I was a chick, I’d do him.”

“Ugh, now I need bleach to scrub that mental image from my brain.”

“You’re welcome.”

Ally leaned forward between the seats. “Okay – favourite song from the concert tonight.”

Jack sucked in air through his teeth, eyes on the road ahead. “

Crown of Thorns,
” Callum said. “I never got to see Mother Love Bone live so it’s the next best thing. Although
Why Go
was pretty freakin’ amazing.”

He broke into a frenzied air guitar session in the front seat, his expression rapturous.

Jack chuckled as Callum turned back to Ally. “Yours?”

” she said, without hesitation. “With
a close second. And I got it all on video. Can’t wait to get home and upload it!” She squealed, leaning back again. “I cannot believe it’s taken so long to see them live, but tonight was worth the wait.”


“He has the sexiest voice – ever,” she said.

“Hello?” Callum turned around in the seat again. “Do we have to spend the entire trip home hearing about how sexy he is? I’m sure that, given half a chance, he’d prefer to be known for his talent than his looks or his… general sexiness.”

“Jealous?” Ally ribbed.

“When I have all this at my fingertips?” he ran a hand through his short, dark hair. “Not a chance. And come on – he may be sexy, and he may be a rock god, but I’m sure it’s not fun and games all the time. I mean, he probably has those paparazzi bottom-feeders chasing him all over the world, splashing his visit to the pharmacy to buy haemorrhoid cream all over the front page – that’s gotta suck, for sure.”

Ally leaned forward to swat him hard around the head. “Don’t you dare drag him down to mortal level like that! Anyway, I’m sure he has people to do all that stuff for him.”

“True. I bet he has people to apply the cream for him too.”

Ally leaned forward to slap him again but he ducked out of the way.

“Quit it, you two. Don’t make me the grown-up here,” Jack grinned as he took his foot off the gas in anticipation of the approaching corner.

The road was still wet, even if the rain had stopped. The country road had been lined with trees for the past half mile, trapping the light from the headlights, bouncing it off the undergrowth and back out onto the road again. The effect was eerie and he was grateful when the trees gave way to the open countryside again.

“You need to put a leash on her – she’s outta control tonight!” Callum grinned.

Jack glanced at Ally in the rear-view mirror and she smiled back, winking wickedly. She was in a playful mood tonight, still on a high from the concert. He could relate. Adrenaline hummed through his veins and his ears still rang from the noise. It had been worth the long drive there and back but he suddenly wished they were home already. The ring tucked safely into the pocket of his jeans dug into him as a physical reminder of what lay ahead.

Distracting himself, he leaned over to turn the music up and Eddie Vedder’s sultry voice filled the car. Ally swayed to the music in the back seat, a satisfied smile on her face. He turned his attention back to the road as they rounded the corner.

Headlights cut through the dark, directly into their path, and his heart leapt into his throat. His gut knew instinctively what was about to happen mere seconds before the car hit them.

Callum yelled as Jack automatically wrenched the steering wheel away from the blinding light. It all happened so fast, he didn’t even have time to slam on the brakes.

The impact was mind-blowing, sending a shuddering jolt throughout his entire body that turned his limbs to jelly. Time stopped as they skidded across the road, the buzzing in his ears blocking everything else out. Then they were upside down. He squinted out through the windshield, his brain struggling to process what was happening. He felt like he was moving simultaneously in slow motion and fast-forward, and it crossed his mind that this might be how he died. A strange calmness washed over him. His fate was completely out of his hands.

The car suddenly bounced as it left the road, ripping through a fence, the trees ahead rapidly filling the windshield as he mentally braced himself for the impact. The crazy rollercoaster ride ended as abruptly as it had begun, jolting him again, throwing a spear of pain through his shoulder and neck that momentarily left him breathless.

And then there was silence. Buzzing, humming, vibrating silence.


BOOK: Absolution
11.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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