Friday, May 31, 2019

Dreams That Never Were by Greg Messel - Book Blitz

DREAMS THAT NEVER WERE by Greg Messel, Political Thriller/Romance, 296 pp.


Author: Greg Messel

Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing

Pages: 296

Genre: Historical Fiction

On June 5, 1968 Senator Robert F. Kennedy, then a candidate for
President, is mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan in the
Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Among the innocent bystanders who were
also shot that night is a young idealistic reporter from San Francisco,
Alex Hurley.

The tragic incident changes his life as he’s swept up in the
turbulent events of 1968.  Alex is conflicted about the Vietnam War
after spending several months there as a reporter. The war costs him his
first marriage and threatens to tear his family apart. However, he
meets a woman who’s love restores his hope and together they forge a new
life set against the backdrop of the war, the civil rights struggle and
political upheaval in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alex Hurley’s story is part political thriller and partly a romance
in “Dreams That Never Were,” the latest historical fiction novel by
award winning author Greg Messel.

The title comes from a famous quote of Robert F. Kennedy’s “Some men
see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were
and say, ‘Why not?’”

I heard unfamiliar voices talking.
“He’s starting to open his eyes,” someone said.
“That’s a great sign,” commented another.
I detected a pain in my side, just below my rib
cage. I tried to open my eyes, but they seemed to be glued shut. The voices
resumed—talking about me as if I wasn’t there. Finally, I blinked my eyes,
trying to focus, and soon realized  I was in a hospital bed. Standing by
me, with concerned looks etched on their faces, was an odd collection of people
from my life. 
Through my bleary eyes, I saw my ex-wife Brenda;
John Greer, my photographer pal from San Francisco; and Darlene Harvey, the
reporter from the Los Angeles Times, I’d been admiring from afar since I
had arrived in Southern California. 
Brenda moved forward and tenderly gripped my hand
in a way that she had not done for a long time. 
“How are you, Alex?” she asked softly. 
I gave a weak shake of my head. “I dunno. What
“Don’t you remember, mate?” John jumped in. 
“Remember what?” I mumbled blankly, as my weak
voice tailed off into nothing.
“He’s still coming out of the drugs. Give him a
minute,” Brenda pleaded. “They’ve been keeping him kind of doped up since the
surgery. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk to him.”
“Surgery?” I asked. 
Brenda shushed me and gently ran her long, slender
fingers through my hair. “Take it easy. Don't try to talk right now. Take your
time. Then we’ll help you understand what happened.”
I groggily attempted to get my bearings. “We were
at the hotel. Everyone was celebrating Bobby’s victory. I was following him out
of the ballroom, and there was like a riot. I was suddenly on the floor and
couldn’t get up. It was strange. All of these people kept stepping on me—on my
arm and on my legs.” 
I glanced at my
right hand which was heavily bandaged. “I got knocked down. I’m sorry.
Everything is a little hazy. I’m having trouble getting my brain to work.”
The three people hovering over me could not have
been more different—two beautiful women and John, with his long black hair
pulled back in a ponytail and a scruffy beard covering his face. The trio
exchanged concerned glances, whispered, and nodded at one another. I started to
shift in my bed and was met with a jolts of pain in my side and my leg. 
Brenda attempted to lighten the mood. “I was afraid
you’d wake up in your hospital bed, see your ex-wife standing over you, and
think you’d died and gone to hell.”
I gave her a weak smile, while the others chuckled
to break the tension. 
Brenda was trying to make sure my re-entry was a
slow descent, but that strategy was quickly dashed when John started blurting
out all the details of the last 14 hours. “Take it easy, Alexander. You’ve had
surgery. You were shot, man. They removed the bullet. The doc says you’re going
to be fine. Some people from
San Francisco are on their
way down here, including our boss. Everyone’s been worried about you after they
saw the news.”
“The news? I was shot?”
Brenda glared at John. “Way to go slow, John.
Senator Kennedy was shot. You and some other people were also wounded by the
“No, no, no!” I yelled. “Bobby was shot? No, not
this time! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Assassin? Is Senator Kennedy going
to be all right?” 
John moved closer. “Bobby’s just down the hall.
He’s still alive, but he’s not doing very well.”
“Not doing very well?” I snapped with rapidly
accelerating alarm.
John blundered ahead. “This place is like a
fortress. It was hard to get in here especially onto this floor. Cops are
“Maybe we should go,” Darlene said shooting a glance
at John. “We’ll come back later, Alex. We just had to see you. We were so
“No, no, don’t leave right now,” I pleaded. I
repeated what I had been told to try to take in the enormity of the news.
“Senator Kennedy was shot. How could… how did it happen?”
Brenda nodded to John and Darlene. “I’ll stay with
him. I know you must be very busy.”
Darlene leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. She
was dabbing tears from her eyes. “It’s been a long night. We’re all living in a
nightmare. I’m so sorry, Alexander. It’s good to see you awake.”
Darlene grabbed John by the elbow and pushed him
towards the door. John flashed a peace sign. “Peace, my brother. I’ll see you a
little later. Take it easy and get better. I’ve got to call
San Francisco. Everyone’s anxious
to hear about you.”
After they departed, I tried to shift to get a
better look at Brenda. She looked great. Her long black hair cascaded onto her
shoulders. It was longer than I had ever seen her wear it. She wore a lime
green mini dress with white trim and white boots. 
“Where am I, and what time is it?” I quizzed
Brenda. “Actually… what day is it?”
“It’s Wednesday,” she checked her wrist watch.
“It’s about a
quarter to
“At night? What happened to Tuesday?!”
“You had surgery earlier today, and I just got to
town. I came straight to the hospital. I flew down as soon as I heard about the
assassination attempt. Your name was on the television as one of those wounded
with Bobby. I caught the next plane to LA to see you.”
“Uh… wow… that’s… I mean, I’m overwhelmed. That’s a
lot of money. Is that all right with Tom?”
“I was very upset, and Tom immediately offered to
fly me down here to see you.”
“That’s very nice… of you… and your husband.”
“Alex, I don’t think you’ve grasped what’s going on
outside this room. It’s a national crisis. I wish you could look out the window
at the street below. There are barriers up, and hundreds, if not thousands, of
people are lining the street in the front of this hospital. News about the
shooting is on TV constantly.”
“Where’s Senator Kennedy now?” I groggily asked.
“Here. Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite have been
on CBS saying something has happened to the fabric of our nation. There are
signs everywhere that say ‘Pray for Bobby.’ The raw footage of the shooting has
been shown over and over again on NBC. You’re right. After the shots were
fired, it was like a riot. When I turned on my television, not only did I see
Bobby bleeding on the floor in the pantry, but I saw you on the ground with a
pool of blood under you. You were wearing a blue blazer, lying on the floor on
your side against the wall.”


Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives on the
Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, with his wife, Jean DeFond. Dreams That Never Were is his 11th
novel and is a historical fiction account of a young reporter caught up
in the events surrounding the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy
in 1968. Greg has also written a series of mystery novels set in San
Francisco in the 1950s. He has lived in Oregon, Washington, California,
Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a
reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper. Greg won a
Wyoming Press Association Award as a colunist and has contributed
articles to various magazines.



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