Read Give Me Strength Online

Authors: Kate McCarthy

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary

Give Me Strength

Copyright © Kate McCarthy 2013

Smashwords Edition 2013

***

Give Me
Strength

 

Copyright © Kate McCarthy 2013

Smashwords Edition 2013

 

ISBN-13:
978-0-9875261-3-7

ISBN-10:
0987526138

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this
publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or any other information storage and retrieval system, without the
written permission from the author, except for brief quotations in
a review.

 

This book is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other
people. If you would like to share this book with another person,
please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re
reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased
for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase
your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of
the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is
purely coincidental.

 

Please note that Kate McCarthy is an
Australian author and Australian English spelling and slang have
been used in this book.

 

Cover Art courtesy of Okay Creations
http://www.okaycreations.net/

 

Interior Design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional
Formats

***

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

About the Author

 

 

To Dan

My lighthouse…

***

 

 

A knock came at the
door of my apartment as I hopped about the bedroom trying to
squeeze into my jeans. I sucked in a breath, did up the button and
yelled, “Come in!”

Lucy, my new neighbour, was coming over, and we
were going to settle in for a night of Australian Idol and popcorn.
Despite her being twenty-four to my eighteen, it was turning into a
great friendship. Lucy pretended to like my singing, and I
pretended to watch her
Step Up
movies when she played them
until I almost lost the will to live.

I loved music. When I had a favourite song, I
would put it on repeat and play it a thousand times. When I was
young I dreamed of being a singer because music took me to another
place. Growing up in the music of the nineties, I was going to be
the next Destiny’s Child—a Beyoncé in the making—only white and
with less hair. Reality was a bitch though because I couldn’t sing.
I couldn’t even play an instrument. Lucky for me I was smart, but
even smarts sometimes let you down, and according to my mother,
Beth, my life was now fucked. F-u-c-k-e-d. She spelled it out, her
smirking lips taking relish in the word.

She was wrong. I didn’t care what she thought.
She didn’t care what I thought either, or cared period. Any idiot
could raise a child, and why my mother thought she could do a
stellar job of it baffled me.

The sucky reality was that I’d been dealt a
shitty hand in life, but the way I saw it I could choose to either
fold my cards or raise the stakes and play on. I chose the latter,
and because I didn’t do anything half measure, I played hard.

Parties, drinking, boys—those three things
became my new mantra. It was almost like a three step self-help
program. The touch of gentle hands on my body felt good, and I
didn’t care who it was as long as I felt wanted. The results were
somewhat successful because when the hard slap of my stepfather’s
hand or fist came, it felt more deserved.

My stepfather David was like Charlie Sheen.
Initially he appeared like a normal person, but the exterior was
hiding something completely whacked. He and my mum were a matched
set, except he held jobs like they were hot potatoes. One day he
came home throwing around cash that had my mum upgraded from her
customary chardonnay special to drinking high dollar vodka in fancy
glassware. It was obvious he was caught up in bad deeds, but I kept
my mouth shut because they were so busy spending it all they were
never home.

Then a year ago I met Ethan at a party. He came
up and wiped away a tear from my cheek that I hadn’t even noticed
was there. My glazed eyes met his, and seeing concern in their
depths, I forgot how to breathe. Ethan clearly didn’t belong at the
party. He looked clean and sober and far too sweet for the bitter
circles I ran with.

At seventeen he was a foot taller than my tiny
five foot frame, all lanky muscle and shiny, dark hair. He had
everything I didn’t: good friends, good grades, parents who loved
him, and a home.

I was offered a mere glimpse into his world, and
it was beautiful. It was like the kind of wonder you would feel if
you ventured inside your wardrobe and found yourself in Narnia. My
world was more like Middle-earth; angry fists and cruel taunts
reigned supreme. There was no love, no beauty, and maybe I had a
roof over my head, but it wasn’t a home.

Somehow Ethan and I came together, and I had a
crazy thought he would be the Patrick Swayze to my Jennifer Grey.
He laughed at me when I told him just that, but I didn’t care
because inside I felt something blooming so large I struggled to
contain it. Ethan breathed hope into my already jaded life and it
changed me into the type of girl he deserved. It was a relief to
drop the bad girl act. The drinking and partying stopped, I dressed
more appropriately, and grew my white-blonde hair into long
waves.

Just when I thought I might actually deserve a
bit of special, life proved me wrong when Ethan died three months
ago. My heart broke when his parents told me he went down in a
rugby tackle and never got up. I almost folded my hand then and
there, but fate decided to give me the chance to do something Beth
could never do―be a real mum. I was having Ethan’s baby, and there
was no way I’d bring something so precious into the fires of hell.
In the middle of the night, I packed a suitcase and descended on
Ethan’s parents’ house.

They became my new family, but I struggled under
the shower of love. I wanted to stand on my own two feet, prove I
was the person Ethan thought me to be. Having just finished high
school, they helped me find a contract reception position in the
city, loaned me money for a bond in a half-furnished townhouse in
Campsie―south of the city―and after two weeks I was finally
free.

That was when I met Lucy. She came over offering
biscuits she’d baked that very morning, but the results were
bitter, hard missiles. She confessed that she’d never baked a
biscuit in her life, and I could only agree it was obvious. Lucy
was nosy, crazy, and like a lioness. In the space of a week, she
knew more about me than any of my so-called friends ever did,
including my new dream of working in the music industry. Lucy
became my first true friend. Her dream was being a dancer, but
unlike me, she could actually dance. We even pushed the coffee
table aside so she could show me her moves. She cried with me over
Ethan, shopped with wild enthusiasm for baby outfits, and vowed
retribution over my upbringing.

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