Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma—the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia—New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?
How to Create Character Chemistry
I have no idea how to write or create character chemistry. Maybe other authors can plot it out. I can’t. For me, Caleb and Emma just…happened. It’s been like that for every couple I’ve ever written.
And honestly, I don’t know if you can make chemistry between people, even fictional ones. I don’t think you can will something to happen.
However, if I’m wrong, I will myself to win the lottery!!
Dan drives me to school in the morning. He has done this since he and Mom got married, and I used to like it although I did start to ride with Olivia when she got her license.
That stopped when Mom died. I wanted Dan to remember I was around. I wanted him to remember Mom.
Like, Mom worried about my grades. Not that they weren’t good enough, but that I was working too hard. Dan told her that in order to grow up I had to be allowed to make my own choices.
Oh yes, Dan and his choices.
We drive to school in silence. At seventeen, I’m old enough to get my license, but the waiting list to get into any of the driver’s ed classes within half an hour of the house stretches out for months. I’d planned to put my name on a list last year but never got around to it.
Last year, before everything happened, Dan promised that over the summer he’d teach me how to drive and then I could just go get my license.
I don’t want him teaching me to drive now. What if something happens? What if I get hurt? If my body stops working, my brain stops functioning? Would he have machines keep me alive in case his son might one day need something? A lung, a kidney, bone marrow?
But I do ride in the car with him to school. I do it because it means he will have to pick me up afterward. That he will have to see me, that he will take me to see Mom. He works at home, so he can do that.
Or at least, he used to work at home. I don’t know if he still does, or if all the database consulting he did stopped when Mom did. Lately, he hasn’t mentioned any two-hour phone calls to talk someone through using a new feature he’s built.
But then, I haven’t asked. I don’t want to talk to him.
He was going to stay home with the baby, and Mom was going to go back to work. That was their plan. She was an assistant manager at BT&T bank. They sent f lowers when she died. They didn’t send anything for the baby. Maybe they didn’t know what to do about it, but maybe they heard about what Dan’s doing and think he’s keeping a dead woman alive so he can get what he wants.
If they do, I love them for that. I mean, I know it’s a baby and it’s partly Mom, but I wish Dan had just once thought about what Mom would have wanted. It was so easy for him to choose to keep her here, dead, and it’s so hard for me to think about, much less see.
“I got a call from your AP History teacher about how you’re doing in class. Maybe we should talk about it,” Dan says as we stop, one car in the many that are waiting to snake into the high school. Mostly freshman and sophomores get out here. Juniors get rides with their friends who have licenses or, better yet, get their own and a car to go with it.
I could get a ride with Olivia, but I don’t.
“See you later,” I tell Dan and get out of the car. I won’t talk to him about school just like I won’t ride to school with Olivia anymore. If I did, then Dan would get to feel like things are normal and they’re not. They are so not. Not while Mom is still…
The tears hit me hard, hot pressure behind my eyes, in my throat, in my chest. It’s hard to breathe, to see, to think.
I look down at the ground and walk, blinking hard once they’ve started to spill down my face.
I cry without making a sound now. I have cried soundlessly, wordlessly, since I stood with Dan at the hospital and heard, “I’m sorry, but…”
Dan cried openmouthed then, sobbing, yelling his grief for everyone to see. I tried to hug him. I felt for him because I thought he loved her, because we were in the same place, because she was gone and he felt the gaping hole that had been born too, a Mom-shaped space in the universe.
He didn’t hug me back. He didn’t even seem to see me.
And then the doctor told him about the baby.
“Hey,” Olivia says, and I know it’s her because I would know her voice anywhere. We’ve been friends since first grade, and we’ve been through period trauma, boy crap, bad hair, her parents and their ways. And now Dan and his baby.
ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway Tour Schedule
Monday, January 14th – Harlequin Blog – Natashya (Editor) interviews Elizabeth Scott
Monday, January 27th – Swoony Boys Podcast – Author Interview
Wednesday, January 29th – Actin’ Up With Books – Guest Post
Friday, January 31st – Fiktshun – Author Interview
Monday, February 3rd – Book Briefs – Guest Post
Wednesday, February 5th – Oops! I Read a Book Again – Character Interview (Caleb)
Friday, February 7th – Readiculous Reads – Guest Post
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