My goodness you all have been quiet this week! Either my contest scared you off or you're at home deep in thought about who you will nominate to have their name, short bio, and a minor character modeled after them FOREVER in print. I only have 1 contest entry so far (thank you, Mom!) so you all leave me no choice . . .
No! I'm not standing on my head, but close. Here is the unedited version of the Prologue to The Heart's Journey Home:
Kate Sterling leaned against the door of her cobalt blue Explorer and sighed heavily. This morning had come quickly, too quickly. She had always loved the Fourth of July, but now Independence Day took on a whole new meaning. She folded her hands in front of her and brought them to her chin almost as if in prayer, though prayer was not something that came easily to her these days.
“She fell back to sleep,” Kate’s brother-in-law, Nathan, said coming around the front of the vehicle after he buckled Kate’s six-year-old daughter, Madeline, into her booster seat.
“That’s good. I have a feeling this is going to be a long trip for us.” It was only an eight-hour drive from her home in Nashville, Tennessee, to Harvest Bay, her Ohio hometown situated on the bank of Lake Erie, and Kate had made it a handful of times with Madeline as her only companion.
This time, though, they wouldn’t be coming back.
Nathan leaned against the Explorer shoulder to shoulder with Kate and crossed his arms in front of him. “I’m really going to miss Maddie.”
A thick lump of sorrow rose in Kate’s throat and she swallowed hard. “She’ll miss you, too. We both will.”
“Don’t start doubting yourself, Kate. You’re doing the right thing.”
Kate nodded. “I know. There’s nothing keeping me here now that Ryan’s gone and I really need to be closer to my family, especially with Grandpa Clayton’s declining health.”
“So then why the hesitation?”
Kate shrugged. “The idea of moving ‘back home’ seems so foreign to me. I’ve lived here for so long that Harvest Bay has evolved into a vacation destination of sorts, just a sleepy little town where we go to visit with family and friends. It’s not home anymore.”
“Does this feel like home?” Nathan gestured to the stately brick house that Kate and her husband, Ryan, had bought together shortly after he graduated from medical school at Vanderbilt and was offered a position in the office where Nathan was already a practicing physician.
The still-dark sky was Kate’s ally, concealing the moisture that pooled in her eyes and tickled her nose. “Not for three years.”
Nathan turned to face Kate and took her by the shoulders. “It’s time for you to move on and start over.” Nathan’s expression softened. “You know it’s what Ryan would want for you and Maddie both.”
“I still miss him so much,” Kate said, her voice barely more than a whisper.
Nathan pulled her into his arms. “Me, too,” he murmured into her hair. “Me, too.”
After a moment, Kate’s strength was renewed in Nathan’s embrace. She took a deep cleansing breath and stepped back. “Nathan, I can’t begin to thank you enough for everything you’ve done for Maddie and me since Ryan died. We never would have made it through the past three years without you.”
“I’ll always be there for you and Maddie, no matter how far you go, okay?”
“And don’t forget to remind Pipsqueak that I’m coming up next month for her birthday.”
“I’ll tell her.” Kate glanced at her watch, and then up into Nathan’s face. “Well, I guess I’d better hit the road. It’s not getting any earlier, and Mom and Dad will be expecting us later this afternoon.” Kate opened the door, slipped into the seat, and started the engine.
Nathan pushed the button to roll her window down and then shut the door. “Just keep telling yourself, ‘There’s no place like home.’”
Kate looked at her brother-in-law suddenly aware that once she left she wouldn’t see him again for several weeks and only a few times a year after that. She reached out and touched his face as it became blurry behind her fresh tears. “Right now I’m thinking of what Dorothy says to the Scarecrow.”
“I believe she said, ‘I think I’ll miss you most of all.’”
Hope you enjoyed your little teaser. I hope it left you wanting more, wanting to know what will happen with Kate and Nathan and who will come into their lives as they are both on a journey - life's journey. I'll post more here and there, but not too much! Don't want to spoil the surprise! :)
In the mean time, think about whose name you'd love to see in this book. Drop me a paragraph or two telling me all about that person and what he and/or she means to you. (Remember you can nominate a male and a female, but not two of one gender.) It'll only take a minute of your time, but what a special gift it would be if your loved one is chosen! And, hey, it just may get you out of standing on your head for them!