Running on Empty, an excerpt

Music always plays a big role in my novels. It inspires scenes, lines, and even entire story lines sometimes. One day while I was driving, “Against All Odds” came on the radio and I got the chills. This was Grace and Gabe’s song. I knew I had to incorporate this song into my book. This excerpt is that scene. I’ve also included the YouTube link to the song for your listening pleasure. 🙂 Enjoy!

from Running on Empty

Back at the Redbird Inn, later that afternoon, Gabe slid the piano cover open and ran his fingers along the smooth, worn, black-and-white keys. He had learned how to play music here with Grams looking on and listening. He played a few notes to get a feel for the instrument again. As he played, his mind drifted back to high school when he and Grace would sit here practicing whatever song they were working on at the time.

Automatically, his fingers started playing the old Phil Collins song “Against All Odds.”

He sang softly as his fingers traveled over the keyboard. He had convinced her to sing the song as a duet for the prom, hoping she would see how badly he was crushing on her. But she never had. She had left for New Orleans soon after that to attend the University of New Orleans on a music scholarship. He and Bennett moved to Austin, where there were more opportunities for musicians trying to make it big.

He sang quietly, still playing the old song, hoping Grace would take a look at him now.

“You’re still hung up on Grace, aren’t you?” Glinda asked from the doorway.

Gabe stopped singing, but not playing, his fingers still as restless as his mind.

“I am.”

She smiled and came to sit beside him on the stool. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. I saw her on the beach this morning while I was fishing.”

“And?”

Gabe thought of the dark circles under Grace’s eyes. “I don’t know, Grandma. Something seems different.”

“Like what?”

“It’s a look in her eyes. I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it.”

“Grace is a tough girl. She’ll make it through whatever it is. She does have that soft side though.”

He laughed. “Grace? Soft?”

“She is, Gabe. Look at her with Ryder, or Joey, or that crazy dog of hers. She doesn’t love easily, but she loves with all her heart when she does.”

He nodded and, suddenly feeling uncomfortable, was quiet.

“Gabriel?” Glinda asked, patting him on the knee. “Since you’re here, how about you help me out with some repairs around the place? A little hammering and nailing might be what you need to keep that mind of yours occupied. We can give Noah a little break.”

He smiled and mentally shook off the past. “Of course, Grams. Just let me know what you need.” He slid the piano cover shut and followed Glinda into the kitchen.

 

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