Reminiscent of the beloved novels by Mary Kubica and Jodi Picoult comes a chilling portrayal of a son’s addiction and its harrowing effects on both him and his mother from New York Times bestselling author Courtney Cole. SAVING BECK is now available! Check out the excerpt below, and pick up your copy of SAVING BECK today!
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There comes a time when offering your life for your child’s doesn’t work, when you realize that it’ll never be enough.
The cold needle in his warm vein was a welcome comfort to my son at first. But then it became the monster that kept us apart.
Heroin lied, and my son believed. It took him to a world where the last year didn’t happen, to a place where his father was still alive. What Beck didn’t understand was that it couldn’t bring his father back from the dead. It couldn’t take away his pain, not permanently.
You think it can’t happen to you, that your kids, your family, will never be in this situation. I thought that too. But you’re wrong.
Step into our world, and see for yourself. Watch my golden boy become a slave to this raging epidemic. Watch me try and save him.
Drug addiction comes with a price. Trust me, you’re not equipped to pay it.
Don’t miss this heart wrenching, evocative, yet hopeful novel—it will leave you forever changed.
“Isn’t that Taps?” I asked finally, and my eyes were wet. I didn’t look up from Angel’s lap. “My mom used to sing it to me when I couldn’t sleep. It was the only lullaby she knew,” Angels said, defensively. “I’m not attacking your mother,” I told her. “I know.” “Why did your mother send you away?” I asked, because Angel’s song was so sad, and her voice was so broken. “She must’ve loved you.” She shrugged and held me tight, her fingers afraid to let go of me. “She said I was better off going back to foster care. That should she couldn’t afford to live on her own, and her boyfriend hated me. She said she wanted me to have a shot at life, and she couldn’t give to that to me.” “I’m sorry.” I patted her back with my free hand. It was a mindless motion and it didn’t help, but I tried.“How long were you in foster care?” “A while,” she answered. “The state thought I was better taken care of there. I lost my virginity to a foster father. I don’t have a sweet story like yours and Elin’s.” Her voice was bitter now and she was so hurt and she was so used. I wanted to pick her up and shield her from the world. I told her that. She laughed, a hard sound. “Too late, King,” she said. “It’s never too late,” I argued. She was thoughtful now. “So why did you leave your home?” she asked. “If it’s never too late. Maybe you should go back?” “It’s complicated,” I answered. “I can’t go back.” “But why? Your mom is a good mom, right?” I paused. “Yeah. She is. But she’s got her own shit going on. There’s a lot to deal with, you know. When someone dies.” “Yeah, I bet,” she answered. “But she probably misses you.” I shrugged. “It’s hard to say.” The silence swallowed us up, and we wallowed in it, stretching our legs and swimming in it. “I was thinking that when this is done,” and she gestured toward my crown royal bag that held our stash, “that we should give it up.” That hit me in the face and I stared at her. “Give it up?” The idea was ludicrous, because without H, I’d feel everything. I wouldn’t be able to escape and there was nothing I wanted less than to do that. But Angel was nodding and she was serious. “I think we should,” she said finally. “Look what it did to my mother. She gave up her own kid. You left a good life behind. For what? For this?” she swept her arm around gesturing to the rickety walls of the warehouse. “We’ve got to make good on ourselves, King.” I eyed her. “What’s your real name?” I asked, trying to change the subject. She scowled. “Don’t do that. This is serious.” “So is your name,” I answered. “My name is Angel now,” she answered. “And I want us to get clean. We’ll have to do it together so we can help each other. We’ll get each other through it, King.” I stared at her hard, and she was so solemn, so determined. “You can’t be serious,” I said and I was shaky just thinking about it. “I am,” she nodded. “You don’t know it because you haven’t seen it, but when I’m sober, I can do anything, King. We could get a little house, and be roommates. Winston can have his own little bed. You can go to college and I’ll get a GED, and we’ll have a life, King. A real life.” I thought on that for a second. A real life. I studied the track marks in my arm, and I knew what I’d have to give up. “I don’t know if I can,” I said truthfully. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough.” “Of course you are,” Angel said firmly. “You just don’t know that right now. But I do, King.” “My name isn’t really King,” I told her. She smiled and in this moment, she was pretty, even with her jagged extra-short hair. “I know,” she answered. “I’m not stupid. But you’re my King, and I like it that way.” “Do you want to know my real name?” I gave her the choice, but she squeezed my hand. “No. That was then, and this is now. You’re King and I’m Angel.” She fell asleep, so I was left awake alone. I held her tight because she was all I had, and her breathing was soft and quick. It was still chilly enough in here to see her breaths in the air, but I kept her warm with my body. She’s Angel and I’m King. I thought about that. Then I thought about a time when I was still Beck. I was another person, with the world on a string and all the promises it had to offer sat on my lap. Potential was a shiny thing and I’d been full of it then, so much so that I couldn’t see past the bright promises. But with those promises came curses. If I hadn’t gone to Notre Dame that day, if we hadn’t stayed so long, then it wouldn’t have been so late when we drove home. Elin wouldn’t have called to check on me, and I wouldn’t have answered. My dad wouldn’t be dead. My life would still be shiny and bright. I would still be at home and my mom would be making me banana pancakes on Saturdays. I was sure she’s still making them now for Dev and Annabelle. Thoughts of them hurt my heart and I missed them. I hadn’t allowed that for weeks and weeks, but it was true. I missed them. Looking down at Angel’s face, I wondered what they’d think of her. But I already knew. They’d take one look and know she’s an addict too, and I’d be just another disappointment. One of many. No matter how much I missed my life, that was then. This was now. Angel stirred and moaned a little and I soothed her quietly, my hand on her shoulder. “Shhh,” I said into her ear. “It’s going to be all right.” “King, promise me we’ll quit,” she said, half asleep. “Promise me.” I didn’t want to. I wanted to. I didn’t want to. “Okay,” I finally said. “Okay.” She smiled and her lips were curved and pink in the night. She was happy now, I realized with a start. “Sing to me,” she said. “Make me feel safe.” I sang her mother’s lullaby and she closed her eyes to sleep.
About Courtney Cole:
Courtney Cole grew up in rural Kansas and now lives with her husband and kids in Florida, where she writes beneath palm trees and is still in love with the idea of magic and happily-ever-after. She is the author of Saving Beck.