Absolution
Author:Amanda Dick

Absolution by Amanda Dick

 

 

 

 

DEDICATIONS

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

 

 

“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 one 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. “Oceans.”

 

“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?”

 

“Black,” she said, without hesitation. “With Release 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.”

 

“Definitely.”

 

“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.”