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Authors: Amy Hatvany

Safe With Me

BOOK: Safe With Me
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Praise for

Heart Like Mine

“The voices are so down-to-earth and familiar and the events so much like real life that readers will feel like they know the characters . . . An uplifting and heartwarming experience.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Explores myriad themes sure to appeal to fans of women’s fiction: love and loss, parenthood, grief, friendship, and complex family dynamics. Hatvany’s compassion for each female character is evident throughout, and readers will find their hearts, at times, breaking in three.”


“Beautiful and deeply moving . . . Amy Hatvany writes about the tangled web of family in a way that makes you laugh, cry, cheer, and ache. This book has so much heart.”

—Sarah Jio,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Blackberry Winter

“By turns gripping and revelatory,
Heart Like Mine
is a sympathetic exploration of blended family dynamics. Hatvany pulls no punches; her characters grapple with life’s big moments—marriage, parenthood, death—but she renders each of them with compassion and understanding. An honest, hopeful story that resonates in all the best ways.”

—Jillian Medoff, bestselling author of
I Couldn’t Love You More

“A heartfelt, moving story about the lasting effects of grief amidst family bonds and breakups, and the healing powers of love, honesty, and acceptance.”

—Seré Prince Halverson, author of
The Underside of Joy

“Hatvany brings sympathy and compassion to the page.”

—Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of
The Comfort of Lies

Praise for

Outside the Lines

“Will delight readers . . . vivid and written with a depth of feeling.”

Library Journal

“There are no storybook perfect endings here, but this compelling novel raises the possibility of a hopeful way forward.”

The Seattle Times

“A palpable love story, emotional search for and acceptance of a lost parent, and a bittersweet ending make for an enveloping, heartfelt read.”

Publishers Weekly

“Like a gorgeous dark jewel, Hatvany’s exquisitely rendered novel explores the tragedy of a mind gone awry, a tangled bond of father and daughter, and the way hope and love sustain us. It does what the best fiction does: it makes us see and experience the world differently.”

—Caroline Leavitt,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Pictures of You

“This extraordinary novel about a woman’s search for her lost father—and herself—touched me deeply. With her trademark insight and compassion for her characters, Amy Hatvany has written a beautiful and moving book. Were there Oscars for novels,
Outside the Lines
would sweep the categories.”

Melissa Senate, author of
The Love Goddess’ Cooking School

Outside the Lines
offers a fascinating look at the interior of a mental illness—the exuberance and self-loathing, creativity and destruction that then reverberate against the lives of family and loved ones. Hatvany’s storyline is compelling, weaving back and forth between father and daughter, patiently explaining as it asks all the important questions.”

—Juliette Fay, author of
Shelter Me

Outside the Lines
is a tender and lovely novel that explores the boundaries of love and how we break those boundaries in its name. It’s sad and funny, heartbreaking and heartwarming. You’ll want to read this book slowly. When you’re finished, you’ll want to read it again.”

—Rebecca Rasmussen, author of
The Bird Sisters

Praise for

Best Kept Secret

“I was transfixed by Cadence and her heart-wrenching dilemma. The writing is visceral, the problems are real, and there are no clear solutions. You won’t want to put it down.”

—Emily Giffin,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Something Borrowed

“I’m telling everyone about
Best Kept Secret
. It’s the realistic and ultimately hopeful story of Cadence, whose glass of wine at the end of the day becomes two . . . then . . . three . . . then a bottle. I love that Cadence feels so familiar, she could be my neighbor, my friend, or even my sister.”

—Jennifer Weiner, #1
New York Times
bestselling author

“One of the most compelling books I’ve read in years. This heartfelt, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel will start an important dialogue about the secrets we keep . . . and it could even save lives.”

—Sarah Pekkanen, author of
Skipping a Beat

“This gripping novel probes the darker sides of motherhood and family secrets, and proves that redemption is never out of our reach. A captivatingly honest book that you won’t soon forget.”

—Lisa Tucker, bestselling author of
Once Upon a Day

“Amy Hatvany’s powerful language, delicious imagery, and tender treatment of motherhood is a love letter to women everywhere, who try and sometimes fail, but who always get back up again. She is a gifted writer.”

—Rachael Brownell, author of
Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore

“Haunting, hopeful, and beautifully written,
Best Kept Secret
takes a brave and honest look at the slippery slope of addiction and the strength it takes to recover. I couldn’t put this book down, and I can’t stop thinking about it.”

—Allie Larkin, bestselling author of

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For Tina, my dearest friend and first reader.

I know all of my secrets are safe with you.

An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place, and despite the circumstances. The thread can be tightened or tangle, but will never be broken.

—Chinese proverb


The first thing Hannah hears is Emily’s soul-piercing scream. Next, the grinding screech of brakes and the sharp crunch as metals collide. The sounds twirl toward her in slow motion—still-frame, auditory blips. But then, in an instant, they stitch together into an image. Into a truth that steals her breath.

Oh, holy god.

She shoves back from her desk and races down the stairway, stumbling out the door and into the yard. With a wild-eyed gaze she sees it: the car she heard—a red convertible Mustang, top down, the engine still running. In front of it lies her daughter’s purple, glittering ten-speed. The handlebars are twisted and broken, the black tires torn right off the wheels. Someone screams and it takes a moment for Hannah to realize that it is her. The sound slices up through her throat like a spinning blade as she runs over to Emily, whose small body was flung from the crash. Her twelve-year-old daughter is splayed
upon the blacktop, arms and legs turned at strange angles from her torso. Blood trickles down her forehead from an injury on her scalp. Her mouth is open, her eyes closed.

She wasn’t wearing her helmet. Oh god oh god oh god.

“Call 911!” Hannah shrieks. “Somebody, please,
call them
!” She is vaguely aware that her neighbors have rushed from their houses, too.

“I didn’t
her!” a woman cries. She is standing next to the car, hands clutching the sides of her blond head. “She shot out from the driveway! I didn’t have time to stop!” The woman is hysterical . . . sobbing, but Hannah doesn’t care. She drops down next to Emily, scraping her knuckles raw as she lifts her daughter from the rough pavement, gathering her child to her chest the way she did when Emily was still a baby, their hearts pressed together in sweet, synchronized beats.

“Mama’s here,” Hannah says, her mouth against her daughter’s dark, damp hair. “Don’t you worry. Mama’s right here.” Emily is limp, unmoving.

A small gathering of people creates a protective circle around them both. It is a hot, sunny Saturday in late July. A day for barbecues and picnics, for Popsicles and campfires and s’mores.
This can’t be happening. It can’t be. She’s all I have. Nothing else matters. Just her.

Their next-door neighbor, Mr. Blake, sinks to his knees beside Hannah and slips an arm around her. “The ambulance is coming,” he says. “Maybe you shouldn’t move her.”

Hannah ignores him. “She’s going to be okay,” she murmurs. “She
to be.” She clutches Emily tighter.

After a few minutes that feel more like hours, like decades, a siren whines in the distance, growing louder as it draws close.
It isn’t fast enough. Mr. Blake places two of his gnarled fingers on Emily’s throat, and Hannah’s first instinct is to yank her away, to protect her daughter from any more possible harm, but then she realizes what he’s trying to do.

“She has a pulse,” he says. “It’s weak, but it’s there.”

Hannah nods, her lips pressed together so hard she can’t feel them. She can’t feel anything. The inside of her skull is a beehive someone just kicked. She can’t form a thought. There is only the buzzing . . . the one word in her head, one incantation, one prayer.

She closes her eyes and whispers the word

•  •  •

Hannah waits. She sits in the emergency room, gripping the edge of her chair, her arms stiff and straight, her body rocking forward and back in small, measured movements. The space bustles with a state of urgency: nurses in brightly patterned smocks and sensible white shoes jog down the hallways; an aide rushes past with an empty gurney. The air, thick with antiseptic and sweat, tickles the back of Hannah’s throat; she’s afraid she might vomit. Patients cry out, phones ring, doctors are paged stat to the OR—sound effects like fishhooks in her skin.

She throws a quick glance at the people in the seats around her—a man with deeply lined skin and a thatch of white hair sits alone, holding a straw hat in his lap, tearing at its brim with shaking fingers. One of his legs bounces in a staccato rhythm; his plaid shorts expose thickly veined, knobby knees. For some reason this feels obscene to Hannah, almost as bad as if he had flashed her. Across the room, a couple hold each
other’s hands. Tears run down the woman’s pale cheeks and she gives Hannah a look filled with palpable, aching empathy. Hannah bobs her head once, holding the woman’s gaze for a moment, but then drops her eyes to the cold, glossy floor. It’s too much for her, this kind of agony laid bare. Too raw and bloody. Too real.

The doctors are attempting to save Emily’s life. They hurried her into surgery just moments after the medics rushed her inside the hospital. In a hazy fog, she signed all the forms the nurses put in front of her, giving the doctors permission to do their work.

“Please,” Hannah said to the doctor hovering over Emily before they wheeled her away. “Help her.” Emily’s hair stood out like a swath of dark ink against the white sheet beneath her. Her skin was pasty except for the blackening blood on her face. She still hadn’t moved.

“We’ll do everything we can,” the doctor said, giving her arm a quick squeeze before whisking her only child through gray double doors.

Now, two hours later, a nurse approaches Hannah in the waiting room. “Can I get you anything?” she asks. “Do you need to call anyone?”

Hannah shakes her head. Not yet. She’ll phone her parents once she knows more about Emily’s condition. When she can tell them their granddaughter will be okay. Mr. Blake had offered to come with her as she climbed into the back of the ambulance, but she told him no.

Thirteen years ago, at thirty-one, Hannah signed up for motherhood knowing full well she’d be on her own. She wanted a child so much that she was no longer willing to wait
for the right man to come along, given the odds of finding someone who, unlike Devin, her fiancé for two years in her late twenties,
screw around behind her back.

BOOK: Safe With Me
5.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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