About the Book:
Tess Lee is a novelist. Her inspirational books explore people’s innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite her extraordinary success, she’s been unable to find personal happiness. Jack Miller is a federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. He’s dedicated everything to his job, leaving nothing for himself. The night Tess and Jack meet, their connection is palpable. She examines the scars on his body and says, “I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.” The two embark on an epic love story that asks the questions: What happens when people truly see each other? Can unconditional love change the way we see ourselves? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend who mysteriously calls her Butterfly; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby, Jack’s younger friend who never fails to lighten the mood. Shooting Stars is a novel about walking through our past traumas, moving from darkness to light, and the ways in which love – from lovers, friends, or the art we experience – heals us. Written as unfolding action, Shooting Stars is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy.
Patricia Leavy has published over 30 books, nonfiction and fiction, and her work has been translated into numerous languages. She is also series creator and editor for ten book series with Oxford University Press, Guilford Press, and Brill/Sense, including the award-winning Social Fictions series. She has received numerous awards for her books including an American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction and a Living Now Book Award for Adventure Fiction. She has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women’s empowerment network, named her an “Influencer.” In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” She has residences in Maine and Massachusetts where she lives with her husband, daughter (when she’s not away at college), and her dog. She loves books, films, cooking, and meeting readers on social media, especially Facebook.
Read an Excerpt:
They continued talking, completely engrossed with one another. Two hours later, Jack said, “I live nearby. Do you want to come over for a cup of coffee?”
Tess looked him straight in his warm, blue eyes. “I’d love to.”
Jack threw some money down on the bar to cover both tabs. The bartender said, “Ms. Lee, are you sure you’re all right? I can call you a cab.”
“You’re very kind, but I’m fine. Thank you.”
Jack opened the door and held it for Tess. “Do you know the bartender?”
“Just met him tonight,” she replied.
“Down this way,” Jack said, taking her hand as if it were completely natural. They approached a homeless man on the corner asking for money. Tess walked right up to him, pulled a twenty dollar bill from her pocket, and handed it to him. She held his hand as she passed the bill, looked in his eyes, and said, “Be well.”
As they walked away, Jack said, “That was really sweet, but you should be more careful.”
“I trust my instincts,” she replied.
When they arrived at Jack’s small apartment, he took her coat. She glanced around and noticed the walls were completely bare. “How long have you lived here?” she asked.
“About nine years,” he replied. “Can I get you some coffee or something else to drink?”
She shook her head and meandered over to his bedroom. He followed. He took the back of her head in his hand and started to kiss her, gently and with increasing passion. He pulled off his shirt and they continued kissing. He pulled back to look at her and she noticed the scars on his body: two on his right shoulder, another on his abdomen, and smaller marks along his upper arms. When he noticed her looking, he turned around to lower the light, revealing the gashes across his back. She brushed her fingers along the deep marks. “I’m sorry,” he said. “War wounds. A couple of gunshots. Some other stuff from when I was in the Gulf. I know it’s gruesome.”
“It’s wonderful,” she whispered.
“What?” he said.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just that I’ve never seen anyone whose outsides match my insides.”
He looked at her sympathetically.
“I was abused when I was little. My grandfather and my uncle. It started when I was eight. No one can see my wounds, but they’re there.”
He stood still, looking at her.
“I’m so sorry. I’ve never shared that with any man I’ve been with in my entire life, and I just met you. That has to be the least sexy thing ever. I’ll leave,” she stammered, trying to walk past him.
He took her hand and pulled her back toward him. He cupped her face in his hands, gently caressed her cheeks, and kissed her. They made love with their eyes locked on to each other. Afterward, he held her in his arms and said, “That was so special. Spend the day with me tomorrow.”
“Okay,” she replied, and they fell asleep, their limbs entangled.