“Fancy a snow fight?”
The male voice by my bed startled me, and I turned back to find Colin standing right next to me, that cute grin of his spread across his face.
“I doubt they make skiing wheelchairs,” I mumbled, just as grumpy as usual. He chuckled, deliberately ignoring my tone.
“Don’t make up excuses: you don’t want to challenge me because you know I’m gonna thrash you, hands down. I was the best snow fighter in New York City.”
I raised an eyebrow, amused at the way he always tried to cheer me up whenever I wanted to drown in sorrow. When I’d first arrived here at the hospital his happy-go-lucky attitude had driven me crazy; I’d hated it and wished he’d just leave me alone. He’d never be able to understand how I felt and should stop pretending he cared.
After he told me what had happened to his parents, though, I realized we had more things in common than I’d thought. We’d felt the same overwhelming pain, and he was only trying to help me get over it using his own life experience.
“Do you annoy all of your patients, or have I just been picked as the lucky one?”
He grinned again and I noticed how attractive he was when he did that, especially when his dimples showed up; he looked younger and more carefree, and it felt as if he were my friend rather than my physio.
I hadn’t seen him for two days and I’d found myself wondering more than once where he was and if he was with another girl. We’d never really gotten too personal during our chats so I didn’t know if he was single or in a steady relationship. The thought made me feel a little uneasy and, since my parents had come to see me over the weekend, I hadn’t had much time to dwell too much on that thought—or on that weird feeling that made my heart flutter every time he was around. Now, as we engaged in further friendly banter, I realized I’d sort of missed him.
“Hmm…let’s say you’re my new challenge, so I won’t leave you alone until I’m finished with you. You’d better start getting used to it, kiddo.”
“That sounds scary,” I said, putting on a mock terrified expression. “I think I might ask to be assigned to another physio, just to be sure.”
He gave a mischievous laugh and I couldn’t help but smile. His giggle was becoming contagious.
“Whoa, is that a smile?” he asked, his eyes wide in disbelief. “The Ice Queen is starting to melt! Now I understand why it’s snowing: it’s all your fault!”
I laughed. “I can be happy and funny, you know? At least, I used to be, before my life changed so drastically.”
“You’re saying you were fun to be around? Hmm…I can’t picture you as the life of the party. No,” he said, shaking his head dramatically. “Definitely can’t.”
I smiled sheepishly. “Well, not the life of the party, but if you asked my brother he would tell you a few stories that…” I stopped mid-sentence when I realized this was never going to happen, and I felt the familiar lump in my throat come back as tears filled my eyes for the hundredth time since the accident. I was starting to get sick of those tears.
He noticed the sudden mood swing and sat on my bed, looking at me with the sweet expression he put on every time he wanted to comfort me.
“Maybe after I’m finished with you, you’ll be able to be the life of the party again.” He grinned, and I felt a twinge of hope flicker inside my heart. “I’d like to see that, you know. Maybe I’ll throw a party just to see you go wild.”
Title: Hugged By An Angel
Author: Roberta Capizzi
Release date: July 22, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance (with a little angelic theme)
Age Group: New Adult/Adult
Event organized by: AToMR Tours
How can you ever love again when tragedy has crushed your heart?
Kathleen used to love life. She had plans, dreams, and faith in life; but that was before the accident that took it all away from her in an instant. Now that her beloved brother is dead and she's confined to a wheelchair, her future is but a dark cloud hovering above her head. How can she ever find the will to move on and keep living without him? Even the cares of the happy-go-lucky American physiotherapist who's helping her with her rehab therapies are all in vain. Life seems to have lost its meaning, until one night she receives an unexpected celestial visit…
Colin has been working as a physiotherapist in Dublin for almost five years, but he’s never bonded so much with a patient like he is bonding with Kathleen; there's something about those sad blue eyes that makes him want to help her, to take away the pain that reminds him so much of his own. Having lost both his parents in a plane crash when he was only sixteen, Colin knows how it feels to have someone you love taken so abruptly away from you, and he makes it his mission to help Kathleen find her faith in life again. But something changes along the way…
Sometimes love can work miracles. If you believe.
I pulled the blanket on top of my head, pretending not to hear the voice that was calling me, and rolled on my other side.
No, please, not yet.
It was still too early to get up, I was sure there was still an hour to go before I’d be late for school, so why had he come to wake me up now?
“Leave me alone, Declan.” I moaned, half asleep.
“I’m here, Kathy.”
My eyelids fluttered open. Surrounded by a warm, white aura that lit the darkness of my hospital room my brother stood by the foot of my bed smiling at me, one of his sweet smiles I had loved so much when he was alive.
“I’m here Kathy, I won’t leave you alone; we’ll get through all this together, I promise.”
“Declan.” I whispered, afraid I would wake up and find it had only been a dream. “But you were…”
“Dead? Yes, I died in the crash,” he whispered, as if he had been able to read my thoughts. “But I moved on to another life, a better place. Our souls live on, Kathy.”
He kept smiling, and he got close to me until he was standing by the side of the bed. He looked peaceful and healthy.
Tears filled my eyes and soon they started running down my cheeks before I could stop them.
“Sweetheart, don’t cry for me; I’m doing great,” he said, smiling. I sniffled and wiped away the tears with the back of my hand.
“An angel?” he finished my sentence and I nodded. He looked at me, his blue deeper than ever. “I’m not only an angel, Kathy. I’m your angel. I’m here to help you. I’ve been sent to cure your soul and help you fulfill your destiny.”
Declan was right there beside me, he was smiling at me and he was there to help me. It was too much for me to bear, too much to take in. My heart wanted to believe but my head was telling me it was another of my silly dreams.
“You won’t leave me again, will you Deco?” I asked, feeling scared at the thought of him disappearing. I’d been dreaming of him almost every night ever since the accident, although most of the time they were nightmares in which he was either walking away from me and not hearing my screams, or falling off a cliff and I couldn’t save him. Every time I woke with a start, but right now I hoped he wouldn’t leave me again. I felt complete now he was here and looking at his face surrounded by an aura of white light filled my soul with hope.
He bent down and touched my hand; a sense of calm and peace pervaded my body and I closed my eyes as warmth spread through my skin.
“I’ll stay as long as you need me, Kathy,” he whispered, and for the first time since the accident I felt peaceful as I slowly fell asleep. I was sure the awful nightmares wouldn’t haunt me anymore, because I knew Declan wouldn’t let it happen.
About the Author:
An avid reader since her childhood years and being an only child, Roberta always enjoyed the company of her fictional friends from the children’s books she loved reading, while she dreamed of writing her own stories one day.
It was when she discovered novels by authors Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy in her teenage years that she realized it was time she put down in words the stories she had kept well hidden in her mind until then.
What started as a hobby, soon turned into a real passion and a way of life, until she could no longer keep the stories to herself, and decided to get over her fears and share them with the world.
Roberta lives in Italy, but her dream is to move out of her country and live either in a thatched cottage in the Irish countryside or in a country house with a swing on the back porch, somewhere in the United States, where she would love to spend her days writing novels as a full-time job, and maybe one day even get as far as writing a screenplay for a movie.
Author social media links:
I looked around me, bewildered. I didn’t recognize the place, but I wasn’t scared, nor did I feel lost. I felt an external force pulling me and I walked down a path feeling more confident step after step, as if I knew exactly where I was going. I closed my eyes and a warm light shone on my face. I inhaled the smell of pine and leaves.
I opened my eyes and was surrounded by tall trees, although they hadn’t been there a second ago. I took in the relaxing sight, enjoying the feeling of peace and freedom and knowing I would never want to leave this place. I looked up through the leaves and branches. I could see patches of blue sky; the sun was peeping in, shining bright on my face, and I felt at ease, at peace with myself.
It was only after walking a while I realized I wasn’t in the wheelchair anymore. I was walking! I looked down at my feet, stroked my legs and felt the touch of my hands, and a burst of happiness filled my body, making me feel as if I were soaring in the sky.
Out of the corner of my eye a bright light flashed. I looked toward it; it was white, warm and inviting. I started moving while all around me the trees faded and a hot, red and orange glow took their place.
Without warning the peaceful atmosphere disappeared. My legs become heavy and I started sweating, almost gasping for air. I thought I was going to melt. I slumped to the hard, grass-covered floor, hugging my knees and felt sad, lonely and scared. I wanted to cry.
Declan stood in front of me, engulfed in a bright, white aura. I smiled, feeling immediately better.
“Kathy, please get up and leave.”
I frowned. He held out his hand to help me up, but I didn’t take it.
“I’m tired, Declan. I need to rest for a while.” I raked my hands through my hair. It was wet with sweat. “I’m so tired.” I whispered, and I let out a long sigh.
“There’s no time, Kathy. You have to leave. Now,” he urged, his hand hanging midair for me to take. “Get up, Kathy. Please go away.”
I didn’t think my legs would support me if I tried to stand; they felt like lead and jelly all in one. I was sure I’d fall flat on my face but when I met Declan’s eyes, I knew he’d catch me; I knew he’d pull me up. So I finally took his hand, its touch feeling weird in my own, not like it used to when he was alive.
‘When we were alive’, as I was quite sure I was dead now—if I could touch him like that it could only mean I was dead, too. He pulled me up and encircled me in his arms, something I’d longed for. I wasn’t scared anymore and I didn’t care if I was dead; I was there with him at last, and it was all that really mattered.
“You have to go now, hon.” He released me from his hug but I gripped tighter, refusing to let go.
“I don’t want to leave you, Deco. I don’t want to go anywhere; I want to be with you, here, wherever that may be.”
His hands stroked my back, filling my body with warmth and something that felt like hope, as he whispered in my hair, “I’ll always be with you, Kathy; but you can’t stay now, the time’s not right.” He pushed me back and looked at me: his eyes were the color of the Irish sky in spring, and they gave me a sense of peace I hadn’t experienced in months. “You have to go, now. Come on.”
I shook my head, trying to hold on but it was like attempting to hug air: he was standing in front of me but I couldn’t touch him, I couldn’t hug him. He was slowly fading away, like the morning mist dissipating when the sun comes up. I tried to grab his hand, to keep him with me, but he smiled and shook his head. The last words I heard him say were, “I love you, my sweet, little Kathy. I’ll always be with you.”
My eyes fluttered open and I coughed, feeling two strong arms holding my shaking body.
“Kathy! Oh, thank God, Kathy; you’re back. You’re all right, you’re all right now,” a familiar voice said. “I thought I’d lost you.”
I saw Colin smiling at me, his brow knitted in what looked like worry and, were there tears in his eyes? He’d never called me Kathy before and it felt weird, good—familiar. Too familiar.
I shivered as the cold seeped through my pajamas from the pavement, although I had a blanket wrapped around my body and I could feel Colin’s body heat through it; when I looked up I realized we were outside on the street. What had happened? Why wasn’t I in bed? Where was Declan? He was with me only a moment ago. I was sure I hadn’t dreamt it this time.
“What…” I tried to speak, but I was wearing an oxygen mask. Colin removed it from my face and I noticed another man take it from him.
“A short circuit caused a fire to break out on our floor and we had to leave our rooms. I banged on your door, tried to get in, but you wouldn’t answer and the smoke was becoming so thick, I couldn’t breathe.” He paused, his voice close to cracking, and I wondered if he’d been crying. “When Al came by,” he continued, pointing at the firefighter standing by us, “he sent me away and said he’d take care of you. I waited here in the street, not knowing if you were okay, if he’d managed to save you, until he came out carrying you in his arms.”
I stared at him, taking in the expression on his face: his features were tense, his eyebrows furrowed.
“I’m fine,” I whispered, trying to reassure him, and coughed a couple of times. My throat was on fire, as if I’d smoked a pack of cigarettes all at once. He nodded, smiling sweetly.
“You are now, yes. And listen to this, Kathleen: something incredible happened in there.” He looked me straight in the eye and I realized he was still holding me, as if he were afraid something bad would happen if he let go. “When he opened the door you fell straight into Al’s arms. He said you were probably standing against the closet by the door and when he opened it you sagged against him. Do you get it? You were standing, Kathleen. You must’ve walked to the door!”
I stared at him, dumbfounded.
I had walked? I had walked!
The dream…it hadn’t been a dream. The red and orange glow I had seen was the fire, and the white light…it was probably where I would’ve gone if my brother hadn’t saved me, if he hadn’t pushed me away.
If he hadn’t helped me get out of my room.
· 5 eBooks (Kindle or epub) of Hugged By An Angel- International
· 2 sets of swags - International)
· $10 Amazon gift card (USD) – International
“Excuse me?” a voice behind me asked, and I turned to find a tanned, dark-haired man standing in front of me, a camera in his hand. “Please, can you make photo?” He gestured toward a woman beside him and I nodded.
He hugged the blonde woman and they smiled at the camera while I snapped a couple of times.
“Grazie,” he said when I gave the camera back to him. “Do you want I make photo of you?” he said, pointing at Kathleen.
The thought of having a picture of her was exciting. I’d been secretly trying to figure out all day how to inconspicuously snap a photo of her, and this was just perfect.
I turned toward Kathleen and took the camera from her hands. She stared at me quizzically and I told her what the man had said. She blushed, although she tried to hide it, and after I gave the camera to the tourist I helped her stand from the wheelchair, holding her by the waist and supporting all of her weight so her feet barely touched the ground. She tried to object, but I made her see that if we wanted to get the Statue of Liberty in the background this was the only way to do it.
I could feel her body tense but I loved holding her close and I knew it wasn’t something that would happen again soon. I tried to enjoy the moment, glad she couldn’t feel the effect her nearness had on me because that would’ve been slightly embarrassing, to say the least.
We smiled when the tourist said “Cheese!” and he took a couple of shots before handing the camera to Kathleen, saying “Ciao,” and going back to his girlfriend.
“You’re gonna have to give me a copy of that,” I said, crouching down beside her. “I want to make a poster and hang it in the gym back at the hospital for everyone to see!”
I grinned when she blushed and, before I could stop myself, I tucked a lock of hair that had flown in her face behind her ear. My fingers tingled when they touched the skin on her cheek and when she winced I jerked my hand away and tucked it back in my pocket.
We didn’t say a word for a few minutes and, while I looked out at Lady Liberty getting closer, I realized how impossible staying away from Kathleen was going to be.