Catherine Ryan Hyde Hardest Part of Love

ISBN 13: 9780552774260

Hardest Part of Love

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9780552774260: Hardest Part of Love

There's a split second between having it all, and losing everything. Hayden briefly has it all: a wife and daughter he adores and a baby on the way. But when his son dies at birth, a deep anger emerges, robbing Hayden of everything. Years on, Hayden is living in self-imposed exile. He's just lost his beloved dog and is now losing Laurel, the only woman he's loved since...But just as Hayden's rage rises again, a young figure from the past emerges, forcing him to re-visit his long-buried childhood...

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About the Author:

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the best-selling and award-winning author of 20 published and forthcoming books, including the acclaimed WHEN YOU WERE OLDER, DON'T LET ME GO, SECOND HAND HEART, WHEN I FOUND YOU. New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Forthcoming frontlist titles are WALK ME HOME and WHERE WE BELONG. Her bestselling novel PAY IT FORWARD inspired the movie of the same name. The Richard and Judy Book Club, the UK's equivalent of the Oprah book club, launched LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE and subsequent novels onto the bestseller list in the UK. Learn much more about the author, maybe even more than you wanted to know, at catherineryanhyde.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

1996
THE HEADLIGHT ZONE

Hayden Reese picked his way on foot in the dark, straight uphill into national forest territory, his Jenny dangling heavy on his right shoulder. Still supple she felt, and almost warm. His only little bit of comfort.

In his left hand, the shovel.

Here and there he'd take hold with his right, grasp the smooth, red, strangely burnished trunk or limb of a manzanita for balance, for pull, gently pressing the fistful of shovel handle to her smooth flank to keep her from tumbling. The sun would be coming all too soon.

He'd kept this trail clear by his own maintenance and concern, hiking by day with a sheathed trail saw hanging on one side of his belt, a strong hinged clipper for smaller branches on the other. He knew this trail the way he'd known his Jenny, could navigate it in the dark, knowing by memory when to grasp, when to duck his head.

What few things Hayden knew, he knew. The rest was a mystery, pure and simple.

As he grasped and ducked he cursed himself, and his burning chest, and promised himself he'd quit smoking again, this time for real, and touched his shirt pocket, wondering if he'd remembered to bring the pack along. It both comforted and disgusted him to feel it there. He'd lean on them now, because he needed to; then, in a day or a week, he'd reclaim his stolen wind.

He reached the saddle of the ridge, the clearing he'd created and maintained, and gently spread her on her side on the cool ground and sat for a moment before going to work. Sat by her side and fired up what he hoped would be one of the last, and set the shovel across his knees, hating the finality of the whole deal. And touched one hand to her cooling side, wishing the sun was up so he could enjoy her smooth blue coat with his eyes and not just his hand. He drew hard on the cigarette tucked deep between his first fingers, watching the red tip glow, hating the way the hot smoke soothed him going down.

Maybe his eyes had adjusted to the dark, or maybe that odd moment of predawn had found them, because Hayden noticed he could nearly make out the silhouettes of buckbrush, the gnarled shapes and nature-sanded smoothness of the manzanita branches. He felt his thinking change about Jenny. He did not wish to see her, not now. Not like this. And the dawn would bring the heat of the day, the enemy, tormentor of men with shovels. No. It wasn't dawn. Couldn't be. Still long too early for that. But it would be, sometime. He had better get started.

For one brief moment he allowed himself to think about Laurel, let himself feel the need, a touch or a word from her to fill the ache of this moment. Hayden told no one, not even Laurel, when he ached, but he often ached for his ache to be seen, to be known by her. To be cooled and settled.

He put the urge away again but it left an echo, the blank, unfilled shock of a craving deferred.

He set about to dig in the hard ground.

Hayden stared down at his hands, at black dirt still packed underneath the nails, ground deep into the calluses of his palms. He didn't mind dirt, not as such. He minded the lack of sleep, the sandy eyes and dicey stomach from staying up the night, challenging the dry soil inch by inch. He minded that Laurel would come soon to start the cinnamon rolls in the half dark, in the barely-morning light, and what if she reached for him or allowed him to reach for her? What, then, would he do with all this dirt?

More even than this, he minded his Jenny in the ground, lost to him. Minded it so much he could not permit his mind to complete that revolution, to spin its gears around to the new, real, entirely changed day. He needed instead to stay mired a few more moments in that foggy no-man's-land, like the moment between sleep and waking when a vivid dream slides away, one unlikely image at a time.

He sat in the dawn in the cab of his old pickup and waited for her to unlock the diner's back door, thinking, Where will I wash my hands, in case I get to touch her? It was a good moment to cry, or would have been, anyway. Only for one thing, though. Hayden didn't cry. Never had, as long as he could remember. Didn't figure at this late date he ever would.

Even Hayden's mother, whom he hadn't seen since he was nineteen, had told him the story time and time again, along with anyone else who would listen. Maybe when you were in diapers, she would say. But after that, nothing. Not even if you hurt yourself bad. Which was usually. Not even when you broke both your legs that time. And it's a funny thing, she would add, because you were always the most deep-down oddly emotional boy anybody'd ever met. Just no tears.

He sat looking out across the long valley, smoking a cigarette, sighting along the endless line of electrical towers. They always looked like headless lattice giants to him. Long legs slightly spread, short arms extended, strands of wires dangling from their fingers and dipping slightly between towers, traveling off into infinity. Every year some fool kids tried to climb them. A combination of rural boredom and some strange rite of new manhood Hayden wished he didn't understand. This year some poor kid paid the price, which was going to happen sooner or later. Rumor had it his watch was still up there somewhere, half melted and fused forever to that unremorseful steel. Even the crystal melted. Hayden didn't know which tower, and he damn sure wasn't going up to look, but it was possible. He knew such a thing could happen.

He looked in his rearview mirror to see the sun just cresting the mountain ridge, the highway clear in that still air, and an animal worrying over something right on the centerline. An odd sight. And it felt good to be distracted, to wonder over somebody else's problem for a change.

A cat, he decided. Moving a kitten across the highway. Hurry, Hayden thought. It's a mean highway. It's a headlight zone. One of those flat two-lane stretches in the middle of nowhere on which motorists are instructed to run their headlights by day. Only way anybody can think to cut the fatalities. Nobody wants to just do nothing, but how much can you do? People die on highways. It's what happens.

Hayden stepped out of his old pickup and watched the lights of a big rig bear down from the east. Move, cat, he thought, but it wasn't a cat with a kitten, it was a possum. Mother and baby. Which was too bad. A cat he could pick up and move. But possums. Vicious little bastards when threatened. Razor-sharp little teeth.

The rig roared down, and Hayden watched, a bit detached. Somewhat confused. They would move. Of course they would move. Momma possum held her tiny one, eyes barely open, in her teeth, but it squirmed free. Hayden moved closer. Not squirmed, he saw. Convulsed. Something wrong with the baby. Maybe it had been hit already. It seemed to stiffen into little seizures that made it impossible to handle.

Momma possum seemed to know the truck was coming. Death, motherhood -- Hayden knew it must be hard to decide. When the headlights fell full across her she abandoned her young and ran. It was late, nearly too late, really, but Hayden stepped into the road and picked it up. It weighed a few ounces at most; it was soft. He jumped back, not even thinking it might bite him. Thinking more about his near miss with the semi. The deep, shocking blare of the truck's air horn pressed into his ears; the wind of the passing monster flapped his big shirt about. The driver flipped Hayden the finger out the window as he blew by.

Hayden only smiled.

The baby possum did not try to bite him. It stiffened into another convulsion in his palm, tiny eyes closed, feeling soft and looking ratlike but innocent. He put it in his shirt pocket, where it seized against his chest. He wanted to return it to the mother but couldn't see where she had gone.

He wondered if it

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Descrizione libro Transworld Publishers Ltd. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, The Hardest Part of Love, Catherine Ryan Hyde, There's a split second between having it all, and losing everything. Hayden briefly has it all: a wife and daughter he adores and a baby on the way. But when his son dies at birth, a deep anger emerges, robbing Hayden of everything. Years on, Hayden is living in self-imposed exile. He's just lost his beloved dog and is now losing Laurel, the only woman he's loved since.But just as Hayden's rage rises again, a young figure from the past emerges, forcing him to re-visit his long-buried childhood. Codice libro della libreria B9780552774260

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