On the Road with SCP – The Best of What’s Left- Mike Coyle

The Best of What’s Left by Mike Coyle

 

Tag Line:
Would an able bodied man choose a paraplegic woman . . . if
he can look beyond the wheelchair and see the soul of the person in it?
Blurb:
When paraplegic
Mandy Sorensen, who is an engineer for the Air Force, meets Lew Pecci she
doesn’t expect love or adventure. His warning of a serious flaw on an
experimental fighter plane sends them on an adventure to stop the first test
flight and save the life of the pilot. They fail and the pilot is seriously
injured. Mandy helps the pilot’s wife understand his predicament and reactions
to the injury. As they work together they fall in love. Lew’s friends and
family don’t understand his attraction to Mandy. His mother would prefer a South Philadelphia girl who is Italian and Catholic.
Lew’s old girlfriend, Jessica Marrozi, fills the criteria and is more
attractive. Mandy wonders if her limitations would prevent her from being the
right choice for Lew. Will his tenderness and affection for Mandy let her
choose The Best of What’s Left in her
life?
Excerpt 1
       Mandy shook her head and looked at Victoria. “That’s when I
thought he was an idiot. So many people just ignore me. But, after we talked
awhile, I got the feeling he has a deep concern for the pilot. I like that.”
       Victoria
waited momentarily before making up her mind. She seemed skeptical.
       “This time I’ll take a hunch. You’re a
reasonable person. If you suspect something, I can ask for a test. I’m
surprised he ignored you. I’d think you would be more attractive than a
teenager.”
       “Most men ignore me. They just don’t see
women in wheelchairs as real people. If they have to talk to us, they’re
polite, but they never see potential dates. I’m used to it, but it bugged me.”
       “You thought he was a jerk, and you still
believed him.”
       “It annoyed me that he couldn’t see that
I was a twenty-seven-year-old woman. I wasn’t expecting a boyfriend. Life is
lonely when nobody wants to date me because they think I’m helpless.”
       “You would like to have a boyfriend,
wouldn’t you?”
       “I would, but I’ve adjusted to the idea I
won’t.”
       “Could this guy be a prospect?”
       “I doubt it. He ignored me until he was
told who I was. I expect Lew went back home to Philadelphia. He might call, but I won’t be
seeing him again.”
       “Making a life for yourself is important.
I tried marriage twice. Men don’t like women who are bigger than they are. My
two husbands were both taller and stronger than me. They thought I should be a
retiring little pipsqueak. I don’t want to be dominated. I want someone who
will be an equal. I haven’t found it.”’
       “An equal sounds good, but I don’t know
that I’ll ever find that either.”
       “Don’t underestimate yourself, Amanda.
You’re an attractive young woman.”
       “Not to most men. They look over the
girls, and if they see nice bodies, then they see date material. They can’t
evaluate my butt because I’m in the chair, and I don’t have what you would call
an ample bosom.”
       “You have a decent figure.”
       “I’m not ugly, but I’m not any
spectacular beauty. My bra size sounds like it belongs in the Air Force museum,
a B-34. There is nothing about me that makes them look past the wheelchair.”
       “You have a pretty face. It’s
symmetrical. Symmetry is supposed to be the essence of beauty, isn’t it?”
       “Men aren’t into geometry. They don’t see
me as a suitable partner.”
       “How did your game go over the weekend?”
       Victoria
often changed the subject to relax her employees. Mandy knew the tactic worked
with her.
       “The kids won.”
       “You never take credit for a win.”
       “The coach can lose a game, but the kids
have to win it.”
       Mandy went back to her desk. In about two
hours, Victoria
was back with the letter. She had a few changes to Mandy’s letter.
       “I think you shouldn’t say why you want
this done. Without proof, you shouldn’t accuse Quaker City
of anything.”
       “You’re
right. A subtle approach is better.”
       Later in the afternoon, she got a call
from Lew.
       “How did you do?”
       “I put in a request to test the system.
It will be awhile before I get an answer.”
       “What are you doing for dinner tonight?”
       “I was planning to fix something at home.
Are you still in town?”
       “I’m staying at a motel. I’m going
through the want ads. I need a job. Do you want to go somewhere to eat?”
       “Okay. Something light. Is there a
restaurant near your motel?”
Mandy
thought it might be fun. Lew had probably asked her because he was in town by
himself and a little lonely.
       “I thought I’d pick you up at your
place.”
       “It’ll be easier if I drive. That way I
won’t have to transfer the chair.”
Although
he seemed nice, Mandy preferred not letting him know where she lived. She
wished she had used a better excuse than transferring the chair.
       “If it will make it easier, you can pick
me up here. It’s off Interstate 675, near a college.  I’m across the street from their arena.”
Excerpt 2
       “Rose, you’re home at last,” Tony Pecci
said to his wife. Lew and his sister, Ann, walked into the house behind their
parents.
       “Take me up to the bedroom. I want to
sleep in my own bed.”
       Tony lifted Rose off her feet. She put
her arms around his neck and he had his left arm around her back and the right
one under her knees as he ascended the stairs.
Ann
and Lew went to the kitchen.
       “Dad looked like a newlywed carrying his
bride over the threshold,” Lew said.
       “He is carrying his bride.”
       Lew laughed a little and said, “He is.”
       They sat across from each other at the
kitchen table.
       “Mom told me you’re dating a handicapped
girl.”
       “I am, but I wish people would stop
looking at the wheelchair and see the person. Mandy is a delight. She’s kind
and sensitive. You should have seen how hard she worked to try to save the
pilot I was telling you about.”
       “Kind and sensitive describes you too,
little brother. Be careful, Lew. Your compassion could get you into trouble. If
you fall in love with her, make sure she fulfills your needs too. I remember
Father Lebonte telling me that marriage is a sixty-forty relationship. You have
to think you’re giving more than you’re getting if you are going to have it
work out close to even. But if you think you’re giving all the time, you’ll get
resentful. You have to be getting something for yourself.”
       “I remember when he first came to Saint
Catherine’s. Mom was so upset that we had a Frenchman instead of an Italian.”
       “Stop avoiding the issue, Lew. I’m sure Mandy
is a nice girl. You have always chosen the good girls over the sexy ones. I can
see you being so concerned over this lovely girl with the handicap that you
marry her without paying attention to all the consequences.”
       “Mandy takes good care of herself. She
has her own condominium. She has a good job at the airbase. Mandy often tells
me the same things you’re telling me. She cares more about my happiness than
she cares about her own.”
       “I believe she’s a good person, Lew. Like
I said, you choose the nice girls. Listen to what she says. Think about how her
handicap will affect your everyday life. Will her limitations get to you over
time? Be sure you want her enough to deal with all that.”
She
looked up and said, “Hi, Dad.”
       “Keep talking,” Tony said. “You’re doing
a better job than I do of putting my thoughts into words.”
       “Are you going to gang up on me? I should
bring her back here so you can get to know her. We love each other.”
       “We aren’t against Mandy,” Tony said.
“She seems like a good young woman. I liked her. It’s like Ann said. You need
to get something out of this relationship. Just think it through. If Mandy is
the girl for you, we will welcome her into the family. We want the best for
you.”
       “Exactly,” Ann said. “I’d like to see my
brother married to a woman who will be good to him. I want to meet her.”
       “She isn’t helpless. Mandy has done her
own carpentry work to make a used table fit her. Dad can tell you what I told
him about her swimming skills. She doesn’t need a caretaker.”
Buy Links:
Secret Cravings Publishing
All Romance ebooks
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Bookstrand
Smashwords
Author Bio
Mike Coyle is retired from a career
with the US Department of Defense. He lives in southwest Ohio with his wife. They have been married
for 43 years and have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and one granddaughter.
He is an enthusiastic reader. He
likes contemporary and classic fiction, history and science non-fiction. He is
an avid skier and enjoys hiking, playing chess, and writing. The Best of What’s Left is his first
novel.
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