RUSH (City Lights_ New York City Book 3)By: Emma Scott
A huge thanks to my heroic advanced readers who suffered through an unedited draft to give me their honest opinions: Dawn DeShazo Goehring, Allison Dudley Beard, Nicky Crawford, Erin Thomasson Cannon, Jennifer Sharp, Sarah Faye Mullins, Julie Gustafson, Angela Marie, and Jettie Woodruff. Special thanks to Kathleen Ripley for her proofreading services (though any lingering mistakes are mine); Jeninne Hell for her advice and expertise regarding some of the musical details in the book; to my husband for his endless support and encouragement; and to the National Federation of the Blind, and the American Council for the Blind, for their invaluable resources and services.
Extra special thanks to the book bloggers and to my fans who have supported me in so many ways, I couldn’t possibly express my gratitude if I tried. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me, for spreading the word about my little books, and for keeping me afloat when I sometimes felt like I was sinking. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, events, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. For the sake of the story, I’ve taken liberties, specifically regarding a certain ballroom in a certain famous landmark, but in every other instance I’ve striven to paint New York City as realistically as I remember it, though it takes a talent greater than mine to capture that city in all its unique glory.
For Erin Thomasson Cannon, without whose support, friendship, and advice during my numerous hours of need, this book quite literally wouldn’t have made it out of the hard drive. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Wolfgang Mozart, violin concerto No. 5
“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” Green Day
“(New York City) lays its hand upon a man's bowels; he grows drunk with ecstasy; he grows young and full of glory, he feels that he can never die.”— Walt Whitman
ACT I: Adagio
I race down the Grand Couloir, Courchevel, France. The icy wind slaps my cheeks as I slalom between jagged rocks, kicking up sprays of snow, faster and faster, down and down, until I’m nearly vertical. My heart pounds, my breath in my mask bellows likes a charging boar. Adrenaline pumps in my veins instead of blood.
The slope angles up. A cliff. I don’t turn, I hunch down to go faster, and then there’s nothing beneath my skis and I’m flying…
…I’m flying, gliding, the nylon flaps above me and I grip the bar with white-knuckles. The air is warm, and the sky is gold and blue—twilight has fallen over Kahului. My glider dips and soars, and I feel the wind’s changes. I move with it, flying higher and higher, until the islands are puddles of sand bearded in green.
I swoop low, curve up, nearly flip. I let loose a cry of triumph, and ride the edge of the current, higher still, until I can almost touch the sun, like Icarus, only I don’t burn. Not me. I soar.
And when I’m high enough, I drop the glider down into a nosedive, my harness straining until it breaks apart, the nylon tearing away, until it’s just me playing chicken with the ocean, and I will not blink first. I streak down, hands ready to cut the water like a knife. I’m diving…
…I’m diving off La Quebrada, Acapulco, one hundred and thirty-six feet high with five seconds of safe depth before the waves recede again. My nerves are electric fear—that perfect sizzle that is nearly orgasmic, nearly unbearable. I plummet and crow my triumph, arrogantly, for I am invincible.
The water rushes to meet me and I cut it perfectly, an arrow in the cool green-blue, down, down, where gold motes dance in the viridian infusion. I don’t stop, I don’t even slow. I can’t. Down deeper, and I begin to choke on my victory. My lungs constrict, my eardrums explode, and still I go down. The water is now dark green, now just dark, now black. I can’t breathe. I can’t see. My head strikes the jagged teeth of the sea and all I know is pain…
A scream tears out of my throat, one last scream, I think, before I drown in the black abyss. But no, I can scream, so I can breathe. I’m not submerged. I’m not lost in the deep. I’m in a bed, in New York City, my body covered in sweat, my hands clutching the sheets.