Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring's Eternal Song - Katie Mettner
Will Vince’s deep spiritual connection to Spring, and her fighting spirit, be enough to bring her back from the brink of death?

Spring Lewis knows death. As a nurse in the ICU, she has experienced more than her share of it at only twenty-seven. She's also acutely aware not everyone who dies stays in the afterlife. She convinces herself she's still single because no man can deal with what her job requires of her, but her heart knows the truth. She’s scared of losing another person she loves.

Vince Roundtree has devoted his life to one thing, music. As the tuba professor at the University of Hedgeford, he spends his day shaping the lives of young people and his nights questioning every aspect of his personal life. He struggles to find his identity as an over thirty-five-year-old male in a dating world meant for twenty-five-year-olds, and it hasn’t been easy. 
One early spring evening, in a darkened Hedgeford park, Spring and Vince's paths intersect, jarring them both out of their boring lives and offering them a future together, if they can put aside past hurts. As their budding romance grows, Spring stumbles across the truth about a secret someone in Hedgeford, Wisconsin has been harboring. He’s good at silencing people, and he will do it again to keep from being exposed. A mother’s anguish, and eight determined souls, will convince Spring to reveal a cover-up too hot to handle. It will be up to Vince to save her from certain death, but only if he can find her before time runs out.
I trudged along the shiny floor, my street shoes squeaking with each step. It made an eerie sound in the hall, and was the only sound, until I paused to dig out a piece of gum from my bag. There was a soft whimper followed by the painful sobs of a child. I snapped my head up, doing a complete three-sixty while I searched for the child attached to the sound, but no one else was in the hallway.
I started jogging and as I approached the elevators, the tearful wails of a child reached my ears. The halls, only lit by emergency lights at this time of night, were scary enough for an adult, but for a child, they must be terrifying. I skittered around the corner of the hallway to the elevator bank and discovered a young girl. She sat on the floor, her arms hugging her legs as she rocked. “I want my mommy! I want my mommy!” she wailed, her voice louder each time she cried out. She was dressed all in pink, including a headband, which held back her long blonde hair.
I knelt beside her. “Hi, I’m Spring. I’ll help you find your mommy. Did you get lost on the elevator?”
She lifted her face to mine and I fell onto my butt, scrambling backward like a crab. The right side of the girl’s face no longer appeared human. The flesh, muscles, and eyeball were gone, leaving only the skull bone. Half the lower jaw was ripped off and the open, gaping holes in the upper jaw showed me the number of adult teeth left to descend into her mouth, if she had stayed part of this world. I touched her back, knowing my hand would encounter nothing but air. I wanted her to feel my comfort, even though I was part of a world she couldn’t live in any longer.
“What’s your name?” I asked the girl.
“Mallory. I’m seben,” she said, her words somewhat garbled from the lack of a lower jaw. “My fae hurs,” she cried.
I nodded. “I’m sure it does, honey.” As I spoke, I wracked my brain for any news story about a little girl in the last few weeks. “Mallory, Mallory,” I said as the girl focused on me with one eye. A ball of lead settled in my gut when I remembered. “Is your name Mallory Bryant?”
She nodded, her tongue falling to the side and out the open part of her face. “I seben,” she said again. “I ommy is cwyen.”
My sources, and the news, said Mallory Bryant was riding her new bike last week when a pit bull escaped a fence and attacked her. If she lifted her head, she would be missing her windpipe and most of her chest. I worked last Monday, but Mallory never made it to the ICU. Several of my friends were in the ER though, and all of them were still dealing with the aftermath of the event. I had to use the employee exit because the media had commandeered the front of the hospital and it was a circus that night. As I sat with her, the truth hit me in the gut; she would forever wander these halls if I didn’t help her tonight.
“Mallory, I know how to make your face stop hurting,” I said calmly, and she whined a bit without answering.
“But can you ine my bomy?” she asked.
As soon as I realized she had already passed, I could no longer hear her clearly. It happens quite often with trauma victims who try to communicate with me. The individual shows me themselves in life, but once I’ve figured out I’m the only one who can see them, they show me who they are in death, and communication gets decidedly more difficult. It was always those spirits which left me drained, and questioning if I managed to figure out what they needed or wanted. It’s ironic how we take communication for granted in life without knowing how much we might need it in death.
“I can help you find someone,” I said rather vaguely. “When you’re looking around do you see anyone you know?” I asked, but she didn’t respond. Maybe whoever waited on the other side was someone she had never met. I tried a different tactic. “Do you see a pretty light anywhere, Mallory?”
Her one eyeball made movements no one in life could ever make, as if she were searching for answers. “I see a ink li! I ov ink!” she said.
I closed my eyes and concentrated on what she said. There was a pink light. I opened my eyes again as she stood up, and I noticed her head never left her chest. The structures which had been there in life had been ripped away by the dog’s strong jaws, leaving only the spine to keep her upright. She attempted to stand and walk toward where I presumed the light was shining, but she kept stumbling and falling to her knees.
“How long has the light been there, Mallory?” I asked, encouraging her to follow me by backing up on my knees. I didn’t notice the pain of the hard floor digging into my joints as I crawled, because all my concentration had to be on getting her to the other side of the light.
“Owl da ti,” she lisped, dragging her body forward with great pains.
I held my hand out. “All the time, good, good. Mallory, here’s what I want you to do. If you do this one thing for me, you’ll find your way home.”
She focused on me with her one eye and I noticed the first flicker of hope in it since I encountered her. “Close your eye and think about how much you want to touch the light and see what’s behind it. Once you’re thinking about how cool the light is, you’ll see all the people who love you. They want you to touch the light too, okay?” I asked her, wishing I could hold her hand or do something to comfort her. “I’m going to close my eyes and I’ll help you get to the light. Ready?”
She didn’t answer, but she still sat in front of me. It was then I realized I couldn’t hear her anymore because she had no voice box. She had manifested the sounds to get me to help her. A shiver skittered through me and I attempted to rub her back, but my hand passed through her again. “Close your eye, Mallory,” I ordered in my nurse’s voice.
Her eye fluttered closed, then I followed, and sat in the silence of the hall while I waited. I didn’t pray as much as I pictured a seven-year-old girl, with pigtails and a pink headband in her hair, running toward a pink light. I pictured her crossing the line of the pink orb and then the orb closing around her, collapsing into itself, and the spark flicking off toward space in a brilliant display of light.
I forced myself to take a breath and then opened my eyes, grateful to see my midnight visitor had finally crossed over and left me on the floor, alone. I stretched my legs out and leaned against the cool concrete wall, exhaustion covering me in a cloak of sadness for the souls lost today. There were too many, but the saddest was a little girl who had a mommy somewhere crying for the daughter she lost.
I don’t know how long I sat there, but eventually I sensed pressure from an unseen hand on my shoulder. When it disappeared, I was able to stand again. I brushed off my hands and pants before I punched the up button on the elevator. Exhausted, sore, and emotionally drained, my work for the day was done.
Spring has a unique gift of seeing the dead and helping them cross over. When Vince strolls into her life one night her life is thrown for a loop. Vince is sweet, loving and human. What I mean is he's human and not the perfect male specimen you read about in most stories. I love when the characters have different flaws other than being the cocky egotistical male. Spring is strong and she doesn't realize how much. Her strength helps her throughout the story, with Vince and helping the dead crossover. She has a giant heart and her character is quite enjoyable as she navigates her new and old lives as they coincide. 
The mystery, wow, just wow. I was enthralled and guessing left and right "who done it". Not only did Spring and Vince's romance have me enthralled in the story, but the mystery thrown in is fascinating and you won't want to put your ereader down. If you enjoy a romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal I highly recommend digging in and devouring Spring's Eternal Song!

Katie Mettner writes from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She's the author of more than thirty romance novels, all featuring a disabled hero or heroine. Most of her series are set in the Midwest and are a mix of new adult and romantic suspense.
Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married the following April. Together they share their lives with their three children and one very special leopard gecko named Gibbs. Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

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