Release Blitz for Eye Contact by Stacey Grice
Dr. Andie Fine lives, eats, and breathes her job as a trauma surgeon.
Another day, another surgery, another life saved. That is, until the night a
certain car accident victim lands on her operating room table. The strange
connection she feels with this particular patient impacts her in every way.
specific pair of eyes for over twenty-years. The only piece of a girl he could
remember from an experience he could never forget. Countless sketches and
thousands of hours trying to capture her likeness have haunted him. Waking up
from a coma in a hospital room is not how he thought he’d finally find her.
With one look, he knew.
but Vaughn is determined to win her over. He elicits something in her that
she’s never realized she was missing. No matter how hard she tries to fight it,
he won’t stop until she’s his.
here, I thought as
the beads of sweat across my forehead started to become full enough to drip
down my face. My mind raced as I walked home from school. Two miles or so in
the hottest time of day was a small price to pay.
Leake calls to tell her I was missing from his fifth period class. Screw him.
He can call her if he wants. Whatever punishment she’ll dole out can’t possibly
be as bad as dealing with Stephan and his punk friends.
been itching to pound my face in for days.
courtyard was off limits?
pushed in the hallway earlier, knocking my books out of my hands and scattering
my folders and papers all over the halls for everyone to step on, I knew who
had done it before even looking up. When the reflection of light gleaming off
of the pocket knife peeking out caught my eye, I knew I was done for.
they’d pick on me. I was the new kid and only in sixth grade. I hadn’t even
been there for three weeks yet and already I’d found trouble.
I’d finally gotten out of hell. I had known my previous foster parents were
creepy. They never did anything but smack me, curse, yell, occasionally spit at
me—the usual bullshit—but when I was taken away a few weeks ago and placed in
Ms. Hattie’s care, I didn’t argue. I ended up overhearing that the husband had
been caught “inappropriately touching” one of the girls or some such crap. What
a slime ball. She was only like six years old.
seemed kind, and my new foster brother, though a little older than me, had been
pretty cool so far. I should’ve told him about Stephan, but I didn’t want him
to think I was a wuss. I should’ve just let the idiot cheat off my paper.
the previous week, I’d noticed him trying to look over at my quiz paper for
answers and quickly covered my sheet, shielding it from his view. After later
learning that it was his second year in eighth grade after not passing the year
before, I regretted trying him like that. He was bigger than me with a nasty
face that always looked like he was gritting his teeth. Now he’d found a new weakling
to pick on. A few days later, I got pushed and cussed at for talking to a cute
cheerleader named Molly in my gym class. I learned I wasn’t allowed to talk to
her when all three of them cornered me in the boy’s bathroom and threw my
backpack into the urinal after one of them pissed in it.
Maybe I need to knock his ass out and prove I’m not one to get messed with,
prove I can hold my own.
don’t rock the boat. I have a lot to figure out in this new school and this new
house before making waves.
last one, I thought as I looked around, admiring
the Leave-It-To-Beaver style, a stark contrast with just the month before when
I had to walk home from the bus stop in the ghetto while making sure I didn’t
give the wrong look to the dealers on the corner as I passed them. In Ms. Hattie’s neighborhood, everyone
had a nice yard and a garage for two cars.
even saw them, never heard a thing. One second I was looking forward and
thanking my lucky stars for the pretty neighborhood then WHACK. It felt like a two-by-four had just been swung across my
back. I fell to the ground, squirming and gasping to try to catch my breath,
and a shadowed figure came into my vision, the glare from the sun up above
making it impossible to see who it was. Then he spoke.
know who you think you are, maggot, but you messed with the wrong guy.”
pulled me up off the ground by my shirt and spit in my face before the first
punch struck my jaw. Almost immediately, I couldn’t see anything. Fists rained
down onto my face, jaw, and nose, plowing into my stomach until I couldn’t
stand up anymore. Then the kicks came, the voices of the two friends who
followed him around like puppies taunting and egging him on in the background.
I faintly heard laughing, felt more spit hit my cheek, and thought it was over,
but then he topped it off with more pain by reaching down to grab my head with
both of his hands and slamming it back down into the concrete.
went black for a moment—I really didn’t know how long—and then I heard her. A
girl was talking to me with a calm singsong voice, muddled and far away, but I
could feel her touch like she was right there next to me.
anything. I saw them hitting you and they slammed your head down pretty hard,” she said with a breathy voice. I tried
to get control of my breathing but couldn’t inhale without coughing, which made
my head feel like it was going to explode.
911. They’re coming to help you. Do you live here? Close to here? What’s your
barely keep my eyes open anymore. Everything was fading in and out and the room
was swirling, but I wasn’t in a room—I was outside. I couldn’t focus on
me. Please try to open your eyes,” she pleaded.
and saw the prettiest girl I had ever seen hunched over me. Her wispy blonde
hair was blowing around her face and her eyes were light…maybe some shade of
blue, bluish with little specs of… I closed my eyes just for a second; the
light was too bright.
keep your eyes open. You can’t pass out.”
hardest to keep them open, not wanting to disappoint her. She looked like a
kid, maybe even younger than me. The harder I tried, the heavier my lids got,
and things were fading to black again.
contact with me. Just keep looking right here,” she urged, bringing her face closer
to mine. The sun was completely behind her head and I could see her better. She
was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. “Keep eye contact.” She lightly
touched the side of my head, her fingers slightly in my hair to keep me still.
“Keep looking. Keep eye contact. They’re almost here. I can hear the sirens.”
smelled like chocolate chip cookies and her skin was like a porcelain doll. She
had to be an angel, which meant I was dying. Those jerks had beaten me to
death—actual death. I’m going to be in so
contact. That’s good. Just keep looking right at me.” Ms. Hattie was going to
kill me if they hadn’t already. The sirens were loud and growing louder the
closer they got. I tried to focus on her face. I watched her lips moving. “Keep eye contact. Keep eye contact.”
She kept saying it over and over, almost like she was trying to remind herself
as much as me. Her eyes were mesmerizing, even with as much pain as I was in. I
was staring up at her, maintaining eye contact just as she instructed, then
suddenly she was gone.
hands on me and heard male voices, grown-up voices, and then I heard her again.
I couldn’t see her anymore but I could hear her.
boys…hit him with a baseball bat…punched his face…kicked him over and over…ran
away…bleeding…passed out…tried to keep him awake…I don’t know his name…”
tell her. I wanted to know her name too, but the words wouldn’t come out. The
men put a mask on my face, covering my mouth and nose, and rolled my body onto
my right side, the sharp pain in my ribs igniting a fire in my chest. They
rolled me back over onto some sort of board, and then they lifted me up and
carried me away…away from her, away from my angel.
on an emotional roller coaster. Known for her dynamic characters, you’ll get a
tale that’s raw and unapologetic. There will most always be angst mixed with
sweet, humor balanced with grit, and a whole lot of REAL. She likes to take
each reader on a journey of courtship with challenges, triumph, inspiration,
and a few laughs as well.
time as a Labor and Delivery nurse. When she’s not nursing and/or crafting
stories, she can be found spending time with friends and family, people
watching, enjoying great food, and reading or relaxing at her happy place—the
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