The Patience Trilogy
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction Publisher: Steady On Books Date of Publication: March 29, 2016
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Courage in Patience begins Ashley’s story. . .
Courage to endure.
Courage to survive.
Courage to overcome.
Tenacious 14-year-old Ashley Asher claws her way back to normalcy after enduring six years of an unimaginable Hell. Uprooted from her negligent and selfish mother, Ashley finds solace in the safety of her father’s home. Building a relationship with her stepmother, she’s finally able to open up and confront the past that haunts her. With the help of her stepmom, therapist, and a group of troubled adolescents, Ashley battles her demons, struggling to find the normal teenage life she’s always wanted. Can Ashley find the strength and courage to overcome the horrors of her past while fighting for the future she so deserves?
Hope in Patience continues the story. . .
Hope to heal.
Hope to grow.
Hope to evolve.
Still shattered from the horrific events of her childhood years, 15-year-old Ashley Asher is barely holding it together. Battling her vicious and vile mother who still sees her as the villain and not the victim, Ashley’s stuck in a cycle of self-injury and self-hatred as a result–despite the many people who trying to pull her out of it. Adolescence is hard, but throw in a new school, a new family, and a father she hardly knows, Ashley’s need for self-destruction and pain intensifies. Her new therapist, Dr. Matt, may be unconventional with bizarre antics, but he’ll do whatever it takes to pull Ashley out of the doldrums. Ashley just wants a crack at normalcy. But can her counselor and the friends and family who love her teach her that “crazy is the new normal” and that nobody has it easy?
Truth in Patience concludes the story. . .
Truth in the past.
Truth in reality.
Truth for tomorrow.
Finally adjusting to life in small town Texas, Ashley Asher sees a glimmer of what happiness really is. Even her new relationship with the attentive Joshua Brandt shows promise of a first romance. But Ashley’s fear of intimacy after years of unspeakable abuse may cause friction and distance in their relationship. Determined to prove to her that she’s healing, Dr. Matt, her beloved therapist, shows her that “life is messy.” And he doesn’t know how messy it is about to get. When her mother decides that Ashley belongs back in their hometown with her, Ashley is forced into another family feud that she isn’t prepared for. Refusing to leave behind the new life she created in Texas, Ashley and her mother go head-to-head. But can Ashley finally find the courage and strength to battle her demons when her mother might be the biggest demon of all?
When I first came to Patience, I wasn’t that nervous about starting at a new school, seeing as how Bev’s a teacher there. By the time fall came, I already had friends from summer school, and having spent so much time there already, I knew the layout of the school. What I wasn’t prepared for was being repeatedly asked, “How’d you break your arm?”
If I told people the truth, it would lead to even more questions. I felt awkward enough already, without having everybody and their brother knowing about what had happened to me. So instead I deflected them; I just answered their questions with more questions.
“How’d you break your arm?”
“Where’s the bathroom?”
“How’d you break your arm?”
“I’m so lost. Where’s the cafeteria?”
“How’d you break your arm?”
“Do you know where Coach Griffin’s room is?” It generally did the trick.
In spite of the questions, I was still glad to be back in the routine of school again. I nearly went crazy the week after my arm was broken. That happened on August 10, and school didn’t start until the 28th. I had to lie still with my arm elevated for the first week; that wasn’t a good thing because I kept thinking about my mom and it hurts so much to do that. And I wanted to start running with Bev again—she got me started on distance running this past July, and it really helps me relax and cope with all this shit—but I had to wait until X rays showed that my bones were fusing and healing.
After that was confirmed, I got the go-ahead from the doctor to start running again, arm in a cast and all. It was cool because I’d signed up for cross-country and practice started before school reopened. I was slow at first and my arm ached, but that didn’t really matter because I’m a slow runner anyway and I was pretty much covered in pain, both inside and out. To me, the world seemed so full of darkness that I was always surprised when the sun came up every day.
There was one thing I looked forward to every day, though: seeing Joshua Brandt. He’s sixteen, a junior, and he went to the state finals in cross-country last year. He’s about four inches taller than me and has a killer set of dimples. He’s lean, but his legs are very muscular. The thing I like most about him is that he seems like a really nice person. I don’t think he knows I exist, though, and that may be a good thing because I don’t know what I’d do if he ever asked me out.
I can imagine going out with a guy, and I like hearing other girls talk about what it’s like to have guys pay attention to them. But actually being out with a boy and taking a chance on being touched? Jeez, it just wigs me out. My heart starts racing, and I end up with my shoulders slammed against my earlobes, with every muscle in my body wanting to go on lockdown. The words Leave me alone! Leave me alone! go scrolling through my mind at warp speed.
I wanted to hurry up and heal from what had happened to me—all of it. I wanted my arm to mend overnight so I could get the cast off and be able to forget it all: everything that happened that night when Charlie broke my arm—and what he did to me in the six years before that. I longed to be able to scratch the dry, itchy skin inside the cast in the same way that I ached for a new start, one where all my pain about my mom and my scaredy-cat nature would just disappear.
It’s so bad that sometimes I wish the reason she isn’t there for me is because she’s dead, instead of the way it really is. Sometimes I wish that I had been with guys my own age before what happened with Charlie. Then at least it would mean that I’d been able to choose to be with somebody in a physical way, instead of being forced. If I could, I’d just cut off those parts of myself—but I wouldn’t even know where to start with the blade.
I finally got my wish to get rid of the cast when the second week in October rolled around. David and I were just walking out the door to leave for my doctor’s appointment to remove it when the phone rang.
“This is David. Who? And who are you with?” David turned his back to me, then glanced back over his shoulder to see whether I was listening. “Ashley, could you excuse me just a sec?”
I walked out of the kitchen but stopped just beyond it in the hallway and listened.
“No, I am not interested in a meeting between the Bakers and Ashley. . . . Counseling? Yes, she sees a counselor, a psychologist. Why? No, she does not need to see your— No, I will not ask her to do that. She’s fifteen years old, Mr. Sanger. She’s still a child, although I know that didn’t matter to your client. You’re filing a motion to do what? Are you kidding me? Look, you need to speak to Alejandro Guzman, the Anderson County prosecutor. No, there’s no way we’ll consider asking him to drop the charges. All right, then, you do whatever you think you have to do, but— Right. I guess we’ll see you in court.”
I stepped into my bedroom doorway, then came out of it as if I hadn’t been eavesdropping. “Who was that, David?”
David sat down heavily on one of the bar stools, and a horrible screech filled the room. He jumped up, and Loki, our habitually angry cat, shot out from beneath him, a gray streak of indignation.
“Damn cat,” David sighed, shaking his head. “He comes out of hiding once in a blue moon, spits and hisses at me, then disappears again.” David was looking at me, but he seemed to be staring right through me.
“David? Who was that on the phone?”
He didn’t answer at first, but then he opened his arms to me. I moved closer to him, but I didn’t enter his embrace. He reached out, put his hands on my shoulders, and pulled me closer. I crossed my arms over my breasts and looked at my feet. It’s just a habit now; I picked it up to deflect Charlie.
After a few moments, he explained, “That was Charlie’s lawyer, Ash. Charlie’s insisting on havin’ a trial. He’s not going to plead out like we’d hoped. They’re tryin’ to get us to drop the charges.”
I felt my body tighten up, my spine curving in. I stepped back from David. “So . . . I’m going to have to see him again?” My voice went higher than normal.
“Yeah, I guess so.” He sighed and then asked, “Do you—you don’t want to drop the charges against him, do you, Ashley?”
“If I do, does that mean I don’t have to see him again?” I asked, surprised at how much I sounded like a little kid. I felt like I was about four years old.
“Well, yeah, I guess. But . . . is that the right thing to do?”
“I don’t know, David. All I can think of right now is how much I don’t want to see him again. I’m . . . scared. I’m scared of him.” My throat was getting tight, and I held my breath.
“I know, sweetie, but—”
Whoosh . . . the noise whispered in my head. I hadn’t heard that in a few weeks. I couldn’t meet David’s eyes, and it felt like my chin was Super Glued to my chest.
“Ash, look at me. Will you try to look at me, please?” I shook my head, and a tear ran down my cheek. David gently pulled me a little closer to him, then leaned down to try to get me to look at him. “Are you in there, Ashley?” He gave me a hopeful smile.
I forced myself to meet his gaze and tried to smile back, but I couldn’t. Feeling my body relax a little, I allowed him to pull me closer in a hug and laid my head on his shoulder.
Barely above a whisper, David said, “Ashley, honey, I know you’re afraid, but he won’t be able to touch you any more, he—”
“It’s not just that, David,” I breathed into his shoulder, then inhaled his scent, a mixture of Right Guard deodorant and fabric softener. I exhaled a shuddery breath and wiped my cheeks and nose against his shirt, then laid my head on his shoulder again. He gathered up my legs and held me in his lap, rocking me back and forth like a little kid. It felt so good. It was like being covered in warmth and love. And it wasn’t sick, like when Charlie made me sit in his lap and held me tight so he could touch me wherever he wanted.
“What is it, baby?” he said into my hair. It took me a little while to be able to put it into words. “It hurt so much last time I saw my mom, David. She—she’s really mad at me for . . . telling—”
David abruptly stopped rocking me, and his voice was angry when he spoke. “I need you to hear me when I tell you this, so please listen. Are you listening? Are you?” He held my arms and shook me a little. I took in a breath but didn’t let it out. “Look at me!” he said.
I forced myself to look, and his eyes were like black coals.
“Ashley Nicole Asher, you are the best thing that ever happened to your mother. And if she can’t see that, fuck her. You matter, honey. You matter to all of us who love you, and don’t you ever forget that. If your mom is so selfish and fucked up that she can’t see that you’re the best thing in her life, then that’s her loss. Her loss. Are you listening? Do you hear what I’m sayin’ to you?”
“Let me go, David. Please,” I said, trying to get my arms loose and sliding my legs out of his lap, my old “run like hell” instinct kicking in.
He abruptly let go. “Ashley, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you—”
“Let’s—let’s just go, okay? We’re going to be late,” I said, going out the front door. “I’ll be in the truck.”
In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is a secondary English-Language Arts teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. Beth is a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School. She is the author of the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014) and The Patience Trilogy: Courage, Hope, and Truth (Steady On Books, 2016). Beth is a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.” Beth is a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope. Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
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2 GRAND PRIZE WINNERS:
Each win autographed copies of all three books in The Patience Trilogy Plus a $50 Amazon Gift Card
5 WINNERS: Each win autographed copies of Courage in Patience Winner names drawn 4/19, 4/24, 4/27, 4/30, 5/3 (US ONLY)
April 19 – May 3, 2016
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TRUTH IN PATIENCE
April 19 – May 3 , 2016
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4/20 Books and Broomsticks — Author Interview #1
4/21 Missus Gonzo — Courage Excerpt
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4/26 StoreyBook Reviews — Author Interview #2
4/27 My Book Fix Blog — Review
4/28 Forgotten Winds — Hope Excerpt
4/29 Byers Editing Reviews & Blog — Author Interview #3
4/30 Because This is My Life Y’all — Guest Post
5/1 Hall Ways Blog– Truth Excerpt
5/2 Country Girl Bookaholic — Review
5/3 Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Review
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