BY: HEIDI SPROUSE
Wyatt Henry has always been his brother’s keeper. It’s been his job. That, and learning how to be a horse farmer and a man above measure like his father, Jackson Henry—the Henry Way. Emmett made his arrival when Wyatt was two years old, and his kid brother has lit up his world ever since. He’s been the light in the darkness—when his mother died when he was only six. When his father died in a tragic accident on the farm. So what does he do when that light could be snuffed out?
When Emmett jumps in to help a damsel in distress in a barroom fight, he suffers a severe head injury that leaves him blind. It nearly destroys him, taking Wyatt with him. Wyatt has to try and help his brother pick up the pieces. He won’t give up on him, no matter how depressed and angry Emmett is. While he is dealing with Emmett’s challenges, Wyatt will face a life-threatening illness of his own. Through it all, his wife Samantha will be at his side as they work together to take Jackson Henry’s advice and make mountains into molehills.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Making Mountains into Molehills by Heidi Sprouse, Wyatt Henry is dealing with his brother Emmett’s blindness due to a head injury, when Wyatt gets an unexpected and unwelcome surprise about his own health. Both strong willed and stubborn, neither brother wants to ask for, or accept, help, so they are their own worst enemy. Can they adjust to their new circumstances, or are they doomed to be unhappy for the rest of their lives?
As well written and intense as the other two books in the series, this one will catch your interest with the very first page and hold it all the way through.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Making Mountains into Molehills by Heidi Sprouse is the story of a family of strong willed, stubborn, and honorable men and women who overcome obstacles and problems with courage and love. Emmett Henry has been blinded in a bar fight where he was defending a young woman and the man abusing her hit Emmett over the head with a chair. Emmett’s brother Wyatt is determined to help him through this difficult time, but then Wyatt is stricken with a life-threatening illness, and now Emmett has to help him. The Henrys are a strong family, but are they strong enough for this?
Filled with wonderful characters and real-life situations and problems, Making Mountains into Molehills will both warm your heart and break it, while keeping you glued to the edge of your seat. A worthy addition to the series.
Em, behind you!” Wyatt Henry barked sharply, fear biting off his words, as the animal that had bashed Minnow Allen’s face into the table only moments before slammed a chair on top of his brother’s head.
Mindy was her given name, but she’d always been a little slip of a thing and the nickname stuck. She was much too small to catch Emmett, but reached out for him anyway as he dropped like a sack of rocks to the floor, her china blue eyes wide with terror. Wyatt saw red.
Surrounded by the fog of tobacco smoke and the clamor of voices as the barroom crowd screamed and shouted in alarm, Wyatt closed the gap in seconds. Too late, you’re too late! He went after the sorry excuse for a human being like a pile driver. Filled with a berserk fury, the blood thundered in his ears and his heart pounded in his chest as he slammed into the giant of a man and took him down. Hard. How dare anyone hurt his kid brother?
It didn’t matter if they were thirty-three and thirty-one respectively. It was a gut reaction to stand guard over Emmett, to protect him, to answer any threat. One more good whack of the guy’s head against the floor with a sickening thud, and the monster was out cold.
Gasping for air with the adrenalin pumping through his body, Wyatt turned with a jerk and knelt next to his brother. Minnow—the preacher’s daughter for God’s sake—was hunkered down beside Emmett. What the hell was the kid doing here in the first place?
She held Em’s bandanna to his head and blood was everywhere. On her hands. On the floor. Soaking Emmett’s hair and running down his face. He was unconscious. He looked dead. Please God. You’ve taken so much. Don’t take my baby brother. Please.
Wyatt’s chest became tight and it was hard to breathe what with the fist of fear squeezing around his heart. He knelt beside his baby brother, because that’s what he would always be, and held on to his arm as if that would pin down Emmett’s soul. The rage and the sorrow were crashing inside of Wyatt, threatening to tear him apart. Minnow was sobbing, the tears raining down while her nose continued to bleed and he had to clamp down on his resentment of her. She was underage, shouldn’t have been here. Of all the nights to be rebellious and get herself into trouble.
Wyatt squeezed his eyes shut but couldn’t erase that moment when the tattooed, bald man sitting with Minnow wrapped her blonde hair around his hand like a rope and slammed her face into the unforgiving oak. That was when everything went crazy, Emmett knocking over their table to get to them as fast as possible to avert disaster, to make the stranger pay. His brother gave the jerk a jab in the gut, attending to Mindy and giving her his bandanna. Before anyone could even breathe, the chair came down on Emmet’s head. Wyatt didn’t even have time to cross the room.
Wyatt shook his head. He would’ve done the same. It could be him in the floor right now in the middle of the chaos as the wail of a siren approached. Emmett had just been faster. He always had been a leap before you look kind of kid, the kind that ran before he walked. This time, Emmett ran too fast, straight into disaster.
His elbows were driving into his knees, and Wyatt welcomed the pain, any kind of distraction from the thoughts and images crashing in his head. He was still covered in blood—his brother’s blood—and didn’t even care as his fingers threaded through his hair. His eyes began to sting and tears splashed on his boots and the floor between his feet.
Pounding footsteps, running down the hallway, came his way, putting on speed. He looked up and almost lost it at the sight of his angel, his wife. Samantha wore an old flannel shirt, his dad’s—and that hurt too, a quick jab to the gut, bringing on an intense longing for his father. She was exactly what he needed, especially right now with her blonde hair pulled up on top of her head and poking out every which way, a smudge of flour on her face, holes in her jeans, and mismatched shoes. Nothing ever looked better.
Wyatt stood up and gathered her in, buried his face in her hair, smelled her shampoo, soap, deodorant, and a sweat born of fear. He inhaled deeply, filling his lungs, and began to tremble. At any instant, he would come apart at the seams and unravel in her arms.
Sammie reached up to press her hand to his cheek, stroke it, and stare into his eyes. Her gaze took in his clothes, the blood staining everything, his hands, and her blue eyes shimmered. “What happened?”
A second of hesitation and Wyatt dropped back into the chair, hand gripping the back of his neck. He had a monster of a headache and it had nothing to do with the beer and everything to do with his baby brother, in emergency surgery. Fast. Everything had happened too fast. Stop the world. I want to get off!
“We were at Joe’s Bar and Grill, just having a beer and some pretzels to unwind when all hell broke loose. Mindy Allen was there—yes, I know she’s too young—with some excuse for a man and he bashed her face into the table, used her hair like a rope to do it. Em was on him in an instant to break it up—and—and—that bastard—hit him in the head with a chair, damn it! I went crazy, tackled him. I was too late.” Wyatt leaned forward and his voice was a jagged whisper. “I can’t lose Em. Not him too, Sam. He’s the only family I have.”
He buried his head in her stomach as she stroked his hair and murmured words of comfort. Wyatt wanted nothing more than to scoop her up, walk out into the bitter snow of early January, and carry her home to bed. To lose himself in her arms. Her body. Sleep. To find out this was all a nightmare. But in his life, the nightmares were real. He closed his eyes, carried back to day the darkness snuffed out the light of his youth…
Daddy packed them up in the truck early in the morning. The sun had just woken up and peeked its face over the edge of the world. Wyatt opened his eyes in the truck, Emmett tucked up against him in a blanket, and their rooster was crowing. He squinted as the light stabbed at him. “Daddy? Where we going?”
His father stroked his head and kissed his cheek, the rough stubble of a faint beard scraping Wyatt’s skin. Daddy was shaking and pale as a ghost, his dark hair a mess. His eyes, usually warm as chocolate like they wore a smile, looked unspeakably sad. “Going to Grandmama’s and Grandpop’s, baby. She’s cooking a big breakfast, said she was missing you boys.”
Something wasn’t right, made Wyatt’s stomach hurt, but he was so sleepy and couldn’t keep his eyes open the rest of the ride. He didn’t know how long the two of them napped on Grandmama’s couch. Daddy was gone. The uneasy feeling stayed with him while he tried to clean his plate and saw the looks pass between his grandparents. They seemed scared and that terrified him. Uncle Wyatt and Uncle Emmett, their namesakes, took him and his brother out to the barn. The stomachache got worse. His uncles were quiet, not full of the mischief Mama would laugh at and warn them about. Mama always said, “Look out now! Here comes trouble,” anytime his uncles were out and about.
Night came and Daddy still hadn’t come to see them. When Wyatt stood at the window and saw him come inside from yet another errand, his father’s back was stooped, his head hanging low. Henrys held their head high.
That scared him most of all, watching that stranger walking to the door, dragging his feet. Daddy was usually full of it, couldn’t keep him down. Mama said he’d always give them a run for their money, whatever that meant. Maybe like a bank robber?
Wyatt had already made Emmett brush his teeth, wash his face, and put on his pajamas. Just like Mama would. Wyatt’s eyes started to burn. He missed Mama. No one had said anything about Mama, and they hadn’t seen her all day long. His stomach twisted really hard, and he held on to his middle, wondering if he was going to get sick, when there was a soft knock on the door and his father walked in.
“What’s wrong, Daddy?”
Emmett sat on the big double bed in the guest room they shared whenever they spent the night at Grandmama and Grandpop’s. Wyatt stood in the corner watching his father close the door and stand still, like a statue.
“Something’s wrong with Mama,” Wyatt whispered and the fear rose up inside of him, making him feel like he was going to smother.
He couldn’t move, didn’t want to come any closer, didn’t want Daddy to tell him anything, make it real. Not a dream.
His father got down on his knees. “Boys, come here.” Daddy’s voice broke, like he’d been crying. Daddy never cried and that was the scariest thing of all. Emmett jumped off the bed and ran to their father, throwing his arms around him. Daddy met Wyatt’s eyes. “Wy. Come here. Now.”
He came, even though all he wanted to do was run. Daddy sat cross-legged and pulled them in close, said the words that Wyatt wanted to un-hear, erase from his mind.
“Wy—Em—I’ve got to tell you something bad. Something hard. I know. It won’t make sense to you. It doesn’t make sense to me. Boys—Mama was sick, and we didn’t know it. The angels in heaven came to get her last night to make her better. I guess—” He choked down a sob, but the tears were coming on fast, raining down on their heads, mingling with theirs. “—I guess God needed her to stay to be another angel, to watch down on us from up there.”
Terror squeezed Wyatt’s heart, making it pound so hard it hurt. “But Daddy, we need her down here!” He screamed as loud as he could. “I need her now, Daddy! Go get her!” Emmett didn’t say anything, only started wailing.
Daddy held on so tight that Wyatt couldn’t breathe. “I can’t bring her back, Wy. I want to, but I can’t get to heaven. We can only go when God says so.”
“No, Daddy! No! No! No! Bring Mama back! You bring our mama back!”
Wyatt started to punch at the wall of his father’s chest, his arms, and kept on hitting him until he couldn’t lift his hands anymore. He wanted to howl at the top of his lungs, to run all the way home, to knock everyone down. Daddy didn’t say a word and looking at his face, filled with such a terrible pain, his coffee eyes crying, Wyatt collapsed in his arms. He sobbed his heart out. Daddy tucked him in tight against his chest, Emmett too.
After the longest time of crying together, Daddy rocking them in his arms, their father lay down on the bed and held them close. Wyatt couldn’t stop crying. They had to let him go to Mama, to wake her up, like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. No one else knew how to break the spell. Only Wyatt could do it, like the prince. She called him her prince sometimes. He could do it—but it didn’t work. When he kissed her in the coffin, she felt cold, like wax, and Mama, his beautiful mama, never woke up.
“Mr. Henry? Excuse me, Mr. Henry?”
Wyatt’s eyes snapped open as Sam started. She had dozed off in his lap as the sun crested the horizon. She slid over to the next seat so that Wyatt could meet the surgeon’s gaze head on. The doctor had just come from surgery, a very long surgery that had eaten up the night. He pulled up a chair and sat down. Met Wyatt’s eyes. Set his shoulders. Took a deep breath.
Something about the man reminded Wyatt of Jackson Henry, his father. A mountain of a man. Something about the kindness in the doctor’s espresso eyes, the threads of silver in brown hair, his firm jaw, and sturdy handshake. The surgeon held on longer than necessary, and Wyatt felt like he was giving him a shot of strength, hope. Anything. “Doc, is my brother going to be all right?”
The surgeon…Martin, David Martin, that was his name…looked down for an instant, making Wyatt’s heart plunge and his mouth go dry. Samantha took his hand and held on tight and that was a comfort. Whatever came at them, she would be there by his side to face it, and give him something to hold on to. But he feared what they had between them combined wouldn’t be enough. Lord, give me strength.
Dr. Martin set his shoulders and met Wyatt’s gaze. “I really don’t know yet. The damage was considerable. He had skull fractures, splinters of bone in his brain, bleeding, and swelling. I’ve done everything I can. Now we have to wait for the swelling to go down, to find out what kind of recovery he’ll have. He’s heavily drugged, in a medicated coma. The next twenty-four hours are crucial. Get him through that, and we can be hopeful. You can go sit with him now. He’s in critical care.”
A squeeze of Wyatt’s shoulder and the doctor stood. He helped the young couple to their feet and showed the way to the end of a long corridor. In the last room on the left, a stranger lay buried in covers, wires, and bandages. Wyatt bit back a sob. Emmett wouldn’t want to hear him crying.
He pulled up a chair and took his brother’s hand. “I’m here, Em. Sammie and I are here. You’re going to be all right. Do what you have to do and come back to us.”
He bowed his head and pressed it to his brother’s limp fingers. The sobs he’d been fighting since Emmett fell in the bar, since the blood started pouring out of his brother’s head like a fountain, since he saw him laid out in a hospital bed, got the best of him. Wyatt let them come. Sammie set another chair beside him and sat quietly, stroking his hair, rubbing his back. She wrapped an arm around his waist. His lifeline.
“Wyatt.” Samantha was standing beside him. She’d gone home to take care of the horses. She looked exhausted with dark smudges like bruises under her eyes, her gaze dull, her skin gone white. Wyatt didn’t want to know what he looked like. “Wyatt, it’s been twenty-four hours. Why don’t you come home, get some rest, change your clothes, and come back? Em’s made it through the first stretch. They’ll call if he’s in danger.”
She touched his arm and he pulled away, growling at her. “I’ll stay!” Wyatt glanced up, saw the hurt in her eyes and his voice dipped down low as he nearly caved in on himself. “I couldn’t sit with Mama at the end, but I caught Dad’s last breath, and I was there the day Emmet came into this world. Damn it! I will be here if he’s going out. Do you understand?”
Samantha pulled up a chair and stayed by his side.
The first twenty-four hours ran into two days, three, seven, all of them blurring together. Wyatt lost all sense of time as he sat by his baby brother’s bedside and talked to him—or at him—until his throat was raw and there were no more words to say. Sammie was by his side more often than not while he held his vigil. Occasionally, Wyatt would find himself dragged under by fatigue, Sam’s touch the only thing that helped him to come back up and hang on. At night, he tumbled on to the cot placed at the bedside by helpful staff members for cat naps, but he never fell into a deep sleep while he waited for Emmett to open his eyes, or cross over, whichever came first.
“The swelling’s gone down considerably. We’ve weaned Emmett off of the medication that has kept him in a coma. You may see a response in the coming hours or someday soon. It’s a guessing game.” Dr. Martin squeezed Wyatt’s shoulder, shaking him awake with his words, and checked the monitors attached to his patient. A quick notation on his brother’s chart and the surgeon was gone.
Wyatt leaned forward and pressed his hand to his eyes, letting a curse slip under his breath. He didn’t want maybes or somedays. Emmett Henry needed to wake up and get out of that hospital bed. NOW!
Unable to sit another instant, he shot up and began to pace. One glance at his reflection in the window and he came to a halt. Who was that stranger? Appalled, yet fascinated at the same time like a victim in a horror movie, Wyatt went into the small bathroom and stared at the mirror. What he saw made his jaw drop.
The five o’clock shadow didn’t do anything for him. Rugged on some, it just made him look like a wreck, as well as the bags under his eyes and the lines of worry in his face. His hair was unkempt and needed a trim. Wyatt reached up and gave a strand a tug. Was that a white hair?
He spun away and strode out into the room, glaring at the figure that appeared to be getting swallowed up by the bed. “Wake up, damn you! Wake up now!”
His shout rang across the room and echoed off the walls, yet there was no response from his brother. The only sounds—Emmett’s even breathing and the blipping of the machines that proved he was still alive—slowly driving his older brother out of his mind.
“To hell with this!” Wyatt’s boots clomped down the hallway of the hospital as he sought some kind of release from the torture of watching his brother sleep. This limbo was near impossible to live with, not knowing if Emmett would ever come back.
Wyatt navigated the maze of each floor of the hospital and found himself in the cafeteria, staring at food that turned his stomach. He sat by a window and gazed out sightlessly while he drank a cup of coffee that gave him the shakes. His return trip was no better. The pitying stares from the nurses’ station only stirred him up more until he was seething, ready to explode.
The instant he hit the door, Wyatt closed the gap to the bed with great strides and kicked the chair out of the way. “Emmett Henry, you wake up now, damn you! Jackson Henry didn’t raise a quitter!”
He grabbed his brother’s arm and shook him, hard enough to jar Em’s whole body. Defeated, Wyatt dropped onto the bed and held onto his brother’s limp fingers. There was the slightest flicker of movement, nearly stopping his heart.
Emmett squeezed his hand.
© 2018 by Heidi Sprouse