Published by Headline Review
Available in ebook and paperback (18 October 2018)
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the paperback publication of Before I Let You Go. For my turn today, I have an extract to share
| About the Book |
Your sister or her baby. Who do you choose?
A moving page-turner with a heart-pounding dilemma. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes will love Kelly Rimmer.
As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leatherbound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…
As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?
When my landline rings at 2:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning, I know who’s at the other end of the line before I pick it up. Only one person in my life would call at that hour; the same person who wouldn’t hesitate to ask for something after two years of silence, the same person who wouldn’t give a single thought to the fact that I need to be at work by 8:00 a.m.
As I bring the handset to my ear, I brace myself for the one thing that contact with my little sister has brought me in recent years.
“Lexie,” Annie’s voice breaks on a sob, “you have to help me—I think I’m dying.”
I sit up and push my hair out of my face. My fiancé, Sam, had been asleep on the bed beside me, but he sits up, too. I glance at him and see sleepy confusion cross his face. As a physician, I periodically have late-night calls regarding patient emergencies, but never via the landline. I’ve moved houses twice since I last spoke to Annie, but I’ve always made sure the same number followed me, just in case she wanted or needed to reconnect.
Now, here she is—and just like I always feared, she’s calling me because she’s got an emergency on her hands.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“My head hurts so much and nothing helps the pain. I’m seeing double and my feet are swollen and…”
They are troubling symptoms, but as Annie speaks I recognize the slur that indicates she is high. Frustration floods me, and I sigh impatiently.
You’re thirty now, Annie. Are you ever going to grow up?
“Go to the hospital,” I say. I feel Sam stiffen on the bed beside me at the hard edge of my tone. He’s never heard me speak like that, and I turn toward him again, an apology in my gaze. It hurts me to be cold with Annie, it even hurts to recognize how only seconds into this phone call I’m already boiling up inside with impatience and frustration toward her. This is my baby sister. This is the same kid I shared a room with for our entire childhood, the same sweet nine-year-old who used to beg me to play “mommies and daddies” with her after our dad died.
But I’ve been dealing with her addiction for years, and even after a two-year break from the drama, the weariness returns as soon as she does. If this was a one-off, I’d probably panic and rush to her aid—but it’s not. I have lost count of Annie’s desperate 2:00 a.m. phone calls. I couldn’t even tally the times she has gotten herself into a hopeless situation and called me to find her a solution.
“Lexie, I can’t,” Annie chokes now. I wait, expecting some long-winded story about not having health insurance or having a warrant out for her arrest or something simpler like not even having a car, or having woken up from a binge to find herself lost.
When the silence stretches, I know I need to end the call. I try to push the phone call to its inevitable conclusion as I prompt her, “Well?”
“Lexie, I’m pregnant. I can’t go to the hospital. I just can’t.”
I’ve been a GP for several years—I thought my poker face was pretty good, but I’m not prepared for this. I gasp and feel Sam’s gentle arm snake around my waist. He rests his chin on my shoulder, then presses a soft kiss against my cheek.
My first instinct is to assume Annie is lying. It wouldn’t be the first time, although she generally lies only for some financial or pharmaceutical payoff. The last vestiges of sleep clear from my brain and I quickly consider the situation. There is something different about this scenario. Annie isn’t asking me for money.
She is asking for help.
“If you’re pregnant then those symptoms are even more troubling. You need to get to a hospital.”
Annie speaks again, her voice stronger and clearer. She is determined to make me understand, and there’s no way I can ignore her plea.
“If I go to the hospital, I’ll fail the drug test. I just can’t.”
I slide my legs over the edge of the bed, straighten my posture and take a deep breath. I’m immediately resigned to what this call is going to mean. Annie is back—this peaceful period of my life is over.
“Tell me where you are.”
| About the Author |
Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.