Book Spotlight: Bridge to Destiny by April Marie Libs

About the Book

Avery Lawson’s life, once so perfect, spins out of control, not once, but twice in twelve months.  Not only does she lose the only man she has ever loved, fate threatens to take her next greatest treasure, her four-year-old daughter, Hannah. 

Bridge to Destiny is a heartwarming story that chronicles the struggles a single mom has to endure with her tenacious, headstrong daughter who is fighting to regain all of her motor skills from a head injury. During her daughter’s recovery, Avery stumbles into an unforeseen relationship with her neurologist, Nathan Banst, first professionally, and then personally, but is it too soon after her husband's death?

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About the Author

Reading had always been a passion of April’s Marie Libs, but she always found herself changing the plot or interaction between characters in her mind.  Finally, she began putting her own stories to the test, and found that her readers loved her quick dialogue, unpredictable plots, and special connection she formed between her characters.

Specializing in woman’s fiction, April Marie’s novels are a mix of romance, with a twist of drama, that will keep the reader on the edge of her seat until the last page is turned. As a writer, she thrives on leading her reader down the traditional path, and then loves to throw an unexpected curve into the road, making her reader’s jaw drop open in surprise.

Bridge to Destiny is April Marie’s debut novel and is a story interlaced with truth about her life. When her daughter was three years old, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia and had a severe reactions to one of her chemotherapy drugs, causing her to suffer from stroke-like symptoms. Her daughter’s actual struggles are mirrored in this story, which makes the novel believable and heartwarming, a story impelled to make you feel for the characters in their circumstance.

You can reach out to April via: Website | Twitter

Read an excerpt

Hannah had stayed virtually comatose since the fall, stirring every once in a while, mumbling and moaning, but never regaining full consciousness. At around midnight, that changed, when Avery was bolted upright in her bed by her daughter’s loud moans and searing cries of pain. Avery staggered off her cot and once again began stroking her daughter’s hair, reassuring her, “I’m right here, sweetheart.”

“Head-huwts,” was the only thing Avery could understand from Hannah’s rumpled words. Avery kissed her daughter’s forehead, so thankful she was finally alert enough to speak, then immediately grabbed for the wires, fumbling around until she found the one connected to the pain pump. When she located the correct cable, she pressed the handheld button firmly, holding it down longer than necessary, making sure that the machine administered Hannah her pain medication.

“I pressed the button for your medicine, baby. You should feel better soon.”

Fifteen minutes slowly ticked by with Hannah still in continuous, horrible pain. Her moans had gotten louder and she started to kick her legs in agony as she grappled at the sheets, mumbling, “Head huwts, Mommy! Head huwts!” she wailed.

Flustered, Avery pushed the button on the pain pump a second time. After ten minutes, without any progress, she pushed it a third time. Hannah still did not seem to get any type of relief from the morphine at all. Avery glared at the machine, feeling a sudden overwhelming urge to rip it from its stand and hurl it against the wall.

“Head huwts. Fix it. Pwease, Mommy!” Hannah cried.

Avery’s anger quickly turned to tears of frustration and heart-wrenching grief over watching her daughter in pure torture. She pressed the call button and didn’t release it until a young, blond nurse, in bright yellow scrubs, stepped two feet inside the room.

“I think something is wrong with this pump. It’s not working. I pressed the button three times, but my daughter is still in tremendous pain.”

The nurse checked to make sure the pain pump was hooked up correctly and that it was administering the correct amount of pain medication prescribe by the doctor, before stating, “Everything is working fine, Mrs. Lawson.”

Avery tried to remain calm, and through gritted teeth, said, “It’s obviously not working fine. Look at the pain my daughter is in.”

The nurse’s eyes did not move from Avery as she crossed her arms over her chest, jetting her curved hip to the side as both eyebrows arched in agitation. “This pump is giving her the exact dosage for her weight, Mrs. Lawson. I am not authorized to give her any more.”

Avery pounded her fist on the bedrail in outrage. “Then find me someone who has authorization. Now!”

The young nurse turned on her heels and left the room.

Avery kept her thumb pressed on the button to the morphine pump for the next fifteen minutes while she waited for the nurse’s supervisor. An older woman, fully gray, stalked into the room, appearing none too pleased. “Can I help you?”

“My daughter obviously needs more pain medication.” Avery dropped her eyes toward Hannah who was still kicking, moaning, and clutching at the covers in painful torment.

The night nurse supervisor flipped through Hannah’s chart, then checked the monitor. “I will tell you the same thing the last nurse told you. I’m sorry, but she is getting the maximum amount of morphine according to her weight.”

Avery pleaded with her for help. “I know I’m not a doctor, but there has to be something you can give her. Look at her. She’s in so much pain. Please,” she begged.

The nurse rolled her eyes, seemingly annoyed at having to repeat herself for a second time. “I just told you, I can’t authorize more medication.”

“Well, Goddammit, I will find someone who can!” Avery ripped Dr. Banst’s business card out of her pocket, reached for her purse lying beside her cot, dipping her hand into the front zipper to remove her phone, and started to punch in Dr. Banst’s cell number.

The agitated nurse got one look at the business card and instantaneously changed her tune. “You don’t have to do that. I can just page the neurologist on call. It won’t take but a minute,” she remarked before scurrying out of the room with her tail tucked between her legs.

Within ten minutes, she returned with a syringe in hand and injected a clear substance directly into Hannah’s IV. It didn’t take but sixty seconds for Hannah’s kicking and moaning to quiet down to a low murmur, and within five minutes she was back asleep.

The night crept by with Avery sleeping on a hard, lumpy cot and being woken every half hour or so by Hannah’s cries, or by the night nurse taking her vitals. By six the next morning, Avery had finally fallen into somewhat of a deep sleep, only to be woken by three short raps on the glass door. Six men and women entered their ICU room with clipboards in hand, draped in white lab coats, led by Dr. Banst, wearing a hot-pink and neon-green striped bow tie. Avery shot off her cot, blurry-eyed and disoriented, wiping the drool from the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand.

Dr. Banst nodded at Avery then demanded to one of his students, “Larkin, tell me about this patient.”

For the next fifteen minutes, Banst barked questions and young, eager-to-please students answered quickly with strong voices to hide any skepticism they may have in their answers. When the lesson on Hannah was complete, the students filed, one by one, out the door, leaving only Avery, Hannah, and Dr. Banst.

“Last night was not what you expected?” Dr. Banst inquired.

Avery shook her head, her gaze falling to her daughter sleeping soundly snuggled comfortably underneath the white-woven hospital blanket.

Clicking open a pen, Dr. Banst wrote on Hannah’s chart as he spoke. “Actually, it wasn’t what I expected either.”

Avery glanced up at him in bafflement as he slipped the pen back into the chest pocket of his lab coat and looked into her eyes.

“Most patients do just fine with the milligrams of morphine I prescribed for Hannah. The fact that she was still in so much pain with that dosage tells me that there is much more pressure in the spinal column than expected. This extra pressure pushes on the brain due to the increase in her spinal fluid which caused her level of pain to be elevated.” Dr. Banst reached for his pen light as he stepped to the side of Hannah’s hospital bed to check her pupil dilation while he continued. “I’m going to start Hannah on a high dose round of steroids to relieve any swelling, and I may have to perform several spinal taps to lower the spinal fluid pressure.”

Avery spoke up for the first time. “A spinal tap? What is that?”

“It’s similar to an epidural. Did you have one of those when you gave birth to Hannah?” Avery nodded. “When the needle is inserted into the spinal column during a spinal tap, fluid is removed, instead of medicine going into the cavity like an epidural, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, we’ll get her on the steroid and see what happens. That alone may remedy the problem. I’m also going to change her pain meds and add some Ativan as well.”

Dr. Banst must have noticed the relief that washed over Avery’s face because his features softened as he said, “I heard you had quite an episode with our night nurse supervisor, Ruth, last night.”

Avery froze, not knowing how to respond to his statement. Thankfully, before Avery had a chance to reply, Dr. Banst added, “Good for you. I have learned the hard way, a mother’s intuition is usually correct.”

Avery released the breath she didn’t realize she was holding. “That nurse didn’t seem to want to help Hannah at all,” she defended her actions. “That is, until I whipped your business card out of my back pocket like a switchblade.” To make herself sound halfway sane, Avery added, “I really should apologize to that nurse for being so rude.”

“You had every right to have called me last night, and don’t ever apologize for being an advocate for your child, Mrs. Lawson,” Dr. Banst said, then turned to leave the room, chuckling under his breath as he gingerly shook his head from side-to-side.

As soon as the doctor was out of sight, Avery darted to the bathroom, ripping the curtain closed behind her to relieve her bladder she had been restraining since Dr. Banst and the medical students arrived. As Avery washed her hands in the miniscule bathroom sink, she glanced into the mirror anchored above and had to laugh at the reflection staring back at her, noting the streaks of mascara inked down her face, her wild Medusa-like hair, and the blood smeared all over the tongue on her Rolling Stones T-shirt.

Great, not only did I sound like a serial killer, I look like one too.