They believe love conquers all.
One of pro-hockey’s golden couples, Andrew and Caryn Chadwick live in the limelight reserved for elite professional athletes. On their second anniversary, Andrew receives an unexpected contract offer to join the Tampa Suns. As they look forward to a new adventure, neither foresees an event that challenges their love and threatens their marriage.
Until it doesn’t.
A sudden and senseless accident threatens Andrew’s life and inexplicably drives a wedge between the couple. Shattered by the incident, paralyzed by fear that it could happen again, Caryn finds herself at odds with her husband and unable to provide the support he needs—at the time he is most vulnerable. As their perfect world crumbles, each makes choices that take Andrew and Caryn further apart. Distrust, fears, and secrets construct walls.
This Piece of My Soul follows the joint and separate paths the couple navigate as each hopes to rediscover the love that can conquer all.
When they entered the house less than an hour later, Caryn gazed at its unchanged condition. How can it look the same as it had when she and Andrew left for the game against the Bruins? Although it had been less than a week, she felt as if years had passed in the interim. She showed Tom the guest room, then mechanically set the take-out food, plates, and silverware on the table in the sunroom. She moved as if she were in a dream and desperately willed herself to wake up. She needed to be with Andrew; see him, even if he were sedated. She trusted the doctor to call her, but it would take valuable time to reach the hospital.
My phone! Caryn grabbed her purse and felt inside it for her phone. She turned it over and shook the contents on the counter. Where had she left it? She tried to remember the last time she’d used it, then shook her head in frustration.
“Hey, what’s up?” Tom entered the kitchen just as Caryn sifted through the contents again, angrily shoving everything to the side. “My phone. I left it somewhere. How can Dr. Forster…?”
Tom held his hand out to her, the iPhone in his palm. “I’ve had it. It’s all charged.”
Caryn shook her head as she glanced at the call list, all of the unfamiliar numbers. “How did they…?” She stopped abruptly. “He has my number?”
“Both our numbers. He’ll call or text.” Tom nodded toward the table. “Sit. I’ll get the drinks. You relax.”
“Easier said than done.” She pulled back a chair and wearily sat, resting her forehead against her hand. Tom set a glass of water beside her, then reached for the containers of Chinese food and opened each before taking the seat opposite her. Caryn looked at the array of food, then at Tom with a smile. “There’s enough for ten people.”
“You take what you want. I’m hungry enough for whatever’s left.”
Caryn was too exhausted to protest when Tom held his hand out with the pills Forster had prescribed. “And my doctor’s orders include a hot bath, then sleeping around the clock.”
Caryn smiled slightly. “Thanks for everything, Tom. You do the same. I don’t know how I’d make it through this without you.” She leaned in to kiss his cheek.
Tom handed her the phone. “I blocked all calls except from the hospital and your parents.”
Not likely I’ll hear anything further from them. “Tom, did you notice if my mom or dad sent a text?”
“Not to my knowledge. You want me to check your texts?”
“If you don’t mind? Not sure I can read anything right now.” She held the phone out for him, and then watched as he scrolled through her text messages. “There’s one from your dad, encouraging you to reconsider your decision not to transfer Andrew.”
Caryn smiled wearily. “No surprise there. Andrew is where he needs to be, isn’t he, Tom?”
“In my opinion. As we discussed earlier, Dr. Forster is a recognized expert in brain trauma. I don’t think moving Andrew would change anything. It could be risky, given his condition.”
“I’ll deal with all that tomorrow. Right now, that medicine is numbing my brain.” She held her hand out for her phone. “I’ll turn the volume way up and choose a totally obnoxious ring tone; then, I won’t sleep through any call from the hospital.”
It was Tom’s turn to smile. “That’ll work. You go on. I’ll take care of cleaning things up in the kitchen.”
Caryn’s breath caught in her throat as she closed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Andrew’s presence was everywhere she looked. The clothes he’d been wearing before he changed to go to the arena, the rumpled comforter where he had napped before the game, his running shoes visible in the partially opened closet. Walking across the room, she reached for the shirt and pressed it against her cheek, inhaling deeply the lingering smell of his aftershave. She dropped her clothes into the laundry basket, and then pulled on Andrew’s shirt. She lay in the spot where he’d been napping, hugging his pillow to her chest and placing her iPhone nearby. Prayers mingled with images of the past days, and the deep sleep that had eluded her quickly claimed her.
By the time she was an eight-year-old tomboy growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Robyn M. Ryan definitely knew what she wanted to do when she grew up—play major league baseball or write. She wrote throughout elementary and high school, first composing novels featuring favorite TV and music personalities, and then venturing into sports writing.
Attending UGA’s journalism school launched her career in public relations, which included an internship with the Atlanta Flames NHL hockey team. With the encouragement of a writers group on twitter—WritersThatChat—This Piece of My Heart, a hockey romance, and the first book in Robyn’s series Clearing the Ice was published May 2016. The second book in the series, This Piece of My Soul, introduces the Tampa Suns professional hockey team.
Besides writing, Robyn’s passions include following the New York Rangers, NASCAR, and the Atlanta Braves; splitting time between homes in Atlanta and Palm Coast, and visiting Paris as often as possible. Two brilliant Westies rule both homes.
As do many writers, Robyn chooses to write using a pseudonym—hers is a combination of her sons’ names, a contribution from her youngest nephew.
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