Title: Second Wind
Author: Darlene Deluca
Genre: Women’s Fiction
When a devastating tornado rips through the small town of Whitfield, Dana Gerard’s home is reduced to rubble and her well-ordered life to chaos. In the wake of the disaster, she finds herself in financial straits and confronted by challenges that test her limits.
With support from longtime friends, Dana begins the daunting task of rebuilding, but that’s not her only worry, and may be the least of her concerns. Change greets her from all directions – at work and within her own family. At a crossroads, Dana is forced to see her life with a new vision and to trust the one person she’s determined to push away.
Dana picked up the tray from the cooler and wandered back inside. She stopped short at the sight of Chase standing at the kitchen sink guzzling a glass of milk.
He ran a sleeve across his mouth. “Hey.”
She slid the tray inside the fridge then turned to face him. “So how’s your day going? Make any progress?”
“Nah. I ended up working at the school for a while.”
“You did? Well, that’s great, honey. I’m sure they appreciated it. Did you get anything to eat?”
“Yeah, someone brought in a bunch of sandwiches.” He ran a hand through his shaggy hair. “Man, a lot of people are camped out there. The gym is full of cots.”
With a heavy sigh, Dana leaned against the counter. “It’s so sad, but hopefully people will find other accommodations soon. I’m sure glad we aren’t there.” That thought collided with a fresh wave of guilt. They were lucky to have Claire’s place all to themselves. “Did you see anyone you knew?”
“Lots of people.” Solemn eyes met hers as Chase nodded. “It’s bad. Lots of old people and little kids. I think they’re trying to have day care.”
That was the second tragedy of the tornado. The older neighborhoods were the hardest hit, so the people who could least afford it were the ones most affected.
The cloud of uncertainty on Chase’s face cemented Dana’s decision. Maybe he’d witnessed enough devastation and despair for one day. She rested a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s take a little break from the tornado. Why don’t you grab your computer and let’s have a look at your résumé.”
When Chase’s fist connected with the counter, Dana jumped.
“I don’t have a résumé, Mom. I don’t have anything to put on a résumé.”
Gripping the edge of the table, Dana counted to ten. She knew the outburst wasn’t really directed at her. It was a symptom of the stress and doubt he was feeling. Instead of reacting to it, she attempted a smile and level voice. “That’s not true. You’re a high school graduate. You have a year and a half of college under your belt. You had good test scores. That’s all relevant.”
Dana pushed up her sleeves, and pulled out a chair. She didn’t understand his lack of self-confidence, but she was determined to get his feet on solid ground. “It’s all in the way you present it. Come on. We can crank this out now. It won’t take long.”
With a reluctance that was palpable, Chase set his computer on the table and opened the two-year-old document he’d created in high school.
Dana did a quick scan. It wasn’t bad. “Okay, here’s the deal, you have about one page to sell yourself. You’re not just going door to door looking to fill out applications. You’re looking for an entry-level professional job that has some career potential.”
“Mom, no one’s going to hire me without a degree.”
“That’s not true,” Dana countered. “You have to make them see your positive attributes.”
Dana started typing while Chase appeared to stare into space.
When she looked up again, her heart ached, and she touched her son’s arm. “You know what else,” she said softly. “You’re a nice person, Chase. You’re compassionate. Let’s think about places that need people to be kind. Like customer service. Or maybe working with the elderly. You’re great with Poppa. What about the manor, care and counseling? All of these would need a degree, but you could work and take a class here and there until you figure out if that’s what you want to do.”
One glance at her son’s face, and she knew he wasn’t buying into it. Wasn’t in the mood. It was probably pointless to push him.
“All right, look, spend some time thinking about it, and we can finish this up later. I doubt people are setting up appointments this week, anyway. Everyone’s dealing with the tornado. Want to go say hello to Poppa before dinner?”
Chase shook his head as he closed the laptop. “Nah, I’m gonna head over to Paxton.”
“Now? What about supper?”
“I’ll get something there.”
“But, honey, we have all this food people are bringing. I can’t eat it all myself.”
“I guess I could take some with me.”
Dana winced. Taking food that was intended for tornado victims to his friends somehow didn’t seem right. “I don’t know–”
“Better than wasting it, right?”
“Are you sure you want to drive all the way over there? That’s using a lot of gas, you know. Why don’t we have a quiet night here by ourselves?” Her father’s warning came back to her, but he didn’t understand how difficult it would be to separate Chase from his friends over there. And so far, she didn’t really have a good reason to.
“Mom,” Chase groaned. “I gotta get out of here for a while.”
“Fine, you can make a sandwich if you want, but we can’t send the food to your friends. I can always take it to the shelter. Why don’t you stop and see Poppa on your way out?” She took a deep breath and plunged ahead. Might as well get it all out there. “He’s worried about you.”
Chase’s eyes narrowed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
She studied him a moment, unsure how much to give away. “I was wondering the same thing. Want to tell me about your conversation the other day?”
“There’s nothing to tell, Mom.” His voice rose as his hands began flailing into the air. “He was just asking me a bunch of questions. I don’t need another person asking me what I want to do with my life, okay? I don’t know.”
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The emotion! It’s all about the ups and downs, joys and sorrows of families and friendships. Dana’s story will resonate with mothers everywhere. Be prepared—there’s a good chance you’ll laugh and also shed a tear.
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Runs May 4 – May 12, 2021.
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Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.
Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page. She enjoys reading, a little dark chocolate, a glass of fresh-brewed tropical tea and a warm, sunny day!
Darlene has been a reader and writer since childhood. With a degree in Journalism, she started her career as a newspaper reporter. She currently has eight published novels, which are available in paperback and ebook versions.
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