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A family’s brush with the past will threaten the fabric of their lives.
Grace Freeman is eight months pregnant, and with her navy husband away on a mission, she craves the security of her childhood home in Canada.
When she finds a letter written by her long-lost mother, it creates a tear in the foundation of those she loves.
Can Grace find a way to bring her family peace, or will a message from the past destroy their future?
Ray woke with a start. He sat up and glanced around, the switch to gravel from the smooth pavement telling him they were close. Twilight had swept over the land while he’d slept, bathing the dense mountain forest around them in an ethereal pink-red glow. The spruce and pine stretched their noses skyward, breathing air scented by wildflowers, glacier fed streams, and the mildew smell unique to rotting wood and moist earth.
He’d been to many beautiful countries in his lifetime, but nothing had ever compared to the Canadian Rockies. He remembered the first time he and Beth had traveled this road, young and in love. They had just enough money to put a down payment on the acreage, the house came later—in stages as the kids were born. Money was tight, but it hadn’t mattered. They had a roof, the land supplemented their diet. And then he’d ruined it by taking the correspondent’s job.
They hit a deep pothole and he grunted, feeling the punch to his arthritic joints.
Thomas glanced over his shoulder, hands wrestling the steering wheel. “Sorry, Dad. We’re getting the road resurfaced, just waiting for the frost heaves to come out first.”
Ben looked back, too, a reckless grin on his still-round face. “I told him to leave it, more fun this way.”
Leo leaned forward so he could tap his brother’s head. “You’re such an idiot,” he said, the affection obvious in his tone.
“Hey,” Ben grouched good-naturedly, rubbing the supposed injury. “Watch the hair.”
“What hair?” Grace added her two bits, her smile bright enough to light up the dim cab.
Ben shot her a wounded look. “Ouch. That hurts, sis. You know I’m sensitive about my curls.”
It was true. He could have had shares in a popular hair product, the amount he used to flatten those dreaded curls.
“You kids quit your squabbling,” Ray muttered, anxious for his first glimpse of the house. He’d only been away a few months, but it seemed longer. In some indefinable way, he thought if he just waited long enough, maybe Beth would hear he’d changed and come back. Silly, but his heart lived in hope nonetheless.
He placed his hand over the letter hidden away in his chest pocket, and met Gracie’s worried gaze. Did she realize how much she looked like her mother with the same expressive, warm hazel eyes and silky chestnut hair? It hit him in the solar plexus every time she smiled.
“You’ll have to talk your brother into giving up his room while you’re here,” he said. The boys had moved out and then back home more times than he could count. He had a feeling they did it because they didn’t want to leave him alone. They didn’t understand he’d been alone for the past twenty years.
“You can have my room if you clean it,” Benjamin was quick to answer. “I’ll bunk with Leo.”
“Like hell,” Leo said. “You’re a pig.”
Ben shrugged. “Takes one to know one, bro.”
“Aren’t you glad you came back?” Thomas said, eyeing them in the rearview mirror.
Yeah, he was. His kids made life worth living.
“Any word on Dan?” Leo asked.
Grace sighed, her fingers spread protectively over the babe. “No. I keep hoping he’ll get here before Ebenezer is born, but it’ll be close. This little guy is anxious to get out and investigate the world.” Her smile about broke his heart. “Like his granddaddy.”
“Honey…” But what could he say? Their family had fractured and he was at fault. Sometimes he wished that damn bomb had finished the job.
“Dad, don’t.” Grace grabbed his closed fist and hung on. “I didn’t mean anything by that. Junior is lucky. He’s going to have amazing role models to look up to.”
Just then Thomas hit another rut that threw the vehicle from side to side on the narrow road. When they finally straightened out again, everyone heaved a sigh of relief. Those trees had looked plenty big in the windshield.
“Everyone okay back there?” Thomas asked.
“Sure,” Grace nodded. “But just so you know, none of you are teaching this kid how to drive when he gets older.”
There was a startled silence and then Benjamin asked, “How about snowboarding?”
Ray leaned back and let the kids squabble, contentment giving the melancholy a gentle nudge to the back of his thoughts.