Excerpt from The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

by Anna McPartlin

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin X
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 368 pages
    Aug 2016, 384 pages

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Chapter One

Outside, pop music played, a child squealed with delight and a bearded man holding a 'Walk with Jesus' placard danced a jig. The leather seat felt warm against Rabbit's skin. The car rolled forward, forming part of a slow and steady stream of traffic snaking through the city. It's a nice day, Rabbit thought, then slipped into a doze.

Molly, Rabbit's mother, looked from the road to her daughter, taking one hand off the steering-wheel to adjust the blanket covering the thin, frail body. Then she stroked the closely shaved head.

'It's going to be OK, Rabbit,' she whispered. 'Ma's going to fix it.' It was a bright April day and forty-year-old Mia 'Rabbit' Hayes, beloved daughter of Molly and Jack, sister of Grace and Davey, mother of twelve-year-old Juliet, best friend to Marjorie Shaw and the one true love of Johnny Faye's life, was on her way to a hospice to die.

When she'd reached their destination, Molly came to a slow stop. She turned off the engine, pulled up the handbrake, then sat for a moment or two, focusing on the door that led to the unwanted and unknown. Rabbit was still sleeping and Molly didn't want to wake her because as soon as she did their terrible short future would become the present. She thought about driving on but there was nowhere to go. She was stuck. 'Fuck,' she whispered, and gripped the steering-wheel. 'Fucking fuck sticks, screwing, shitting, frigging, fucker fuckness. Oh, fuck.' It was clear that Molly's heart was already smashed to pieces but the fragments were scattering with every 'fuck' that tripped off her tongue.

'You want to drive on?' Rabbit asked, but when her mother looked her way, her eyes were still closed.

'Nah, just wanted to curse for a while,' Molly said.

'Good job.'


'I particularly liked "fuck sticks" and "fucker fuckness".'

'They just came to me,' Molly answered.

'Keepers,' Rabbit said.

'You think so?' Molly pretended to ponder while placing her hand back on her daughter's head and stroking it again.

Rabbit opened her eyes slowly. 'You're obsessed with my head.'

'Soft,' Molly mumbled.

'Go on, then, give it another rub for luck.' Rabbit turned to the double doors. So this is it, she thought. Molly rubbed her daughter's head once more, then Rabbit removed her hand and held it. They stared at their interlocking fingers. Rabbit's hands looked older than her mother's. Her skin was flaky and paper thin, riddled with raised and broken veins, and her once beautiful long fingers were so thin they seemed almost gnarled. Her mother's were plump, soft and, with perfectly painted short nails, pampered.

'No time like the present,' Rabbit said.

'I'll get a wheelchair.'

'You will not.'

'No way.'


'No way.'

'Ma, I'm walking in.'

'Rabbit Hayes, you have a broken bleedin' leg. You are not walking in.'

'I have a stick and I have you and I am walking in.' Molly sighed heavily. 'Right, bloody right. If you fall down, I swear to God I'll—'

'Kill me?' Rabbit grinned.

'Not funny.'

'Kinda funny?'

'Fuck-all funny,' Molly said, and Rabbit laughed a little.

Her mother's curses upset many, but not her. She found them entertaining, familiar and comforting. Ma was kind, generous, fun, playful, wise, strong and formidable. She'd take a bullet to protect an innocent, and nobody, not the tallest, strongest or bravest, messed with Molly Hayes. She didn't suffer fools gladly and she didn't give a toss about pleasing people. You either liked Molly Hayes or you fucked off. Molly got out of the car, and when she'd pulled the walking-stick out of the back seat, she opened the passenger door and helped her daughter to her feet. Rabbit faced down the double doors before, between her stick and her mother, she walked slowly and steadily into the reception area. If I walk in, I could walk out. Just maybe . . . she thought.

Excerpted from The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin. Copyright © 2015 by Anna McPartlin. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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