It’s a bittersweet day. Far and Away, the fifth book in the New Beginning Series is now available. Release days are always exciting but this one holds a tad bit of sadness as Far and Away is the last book in the series. I’ve enjoyed writing about these characters, and the town of Mourning, and am a little disheartened to have to say goodbye to the characters and the town. During the course of the series, the town of Mourning took on a greater role and in a way became its own character.
This last book features Priscilla Thorn and Edgar Fritz. Originally, the last book was going to feature a different heroine and an unknown at the time hero. But as it came time to write book five, I knew in my heart the story that needed told was Priscilla’s and Edgar’s. In a way, the series began with Priscilla Thorn and seemed fitting to end with her. I was thrilled that Gail, Editor-in-Chief, of Desert Breeze allowed me to change the story not just from the original heroine but also to feature an older couple. Older couples aren’t usually featured in romance, especially in romantic suspense, but this book had to be about Priscilla (62) and Edgar (70). I hope readers enjoy reading about a non-traditionally aged couple.
The hope of a future for the broken begins in Mourning.
Priscilla Thorn’s heart broke when her son killed his wife and now shatters when her son takes his own life. Priscilla’s grief-stricken soul finds little comfort knowing before he died, Samuel turned his life over to God. Priscilla believes for Samuel to receive forgiveness from the Heavenly Father, she must give it to Samuel’s earthly father…her abusive ex-husband.
Edgar Fritz is stunned when the woman he loves takes her dying ex-husband into her home. While Priscilla sees caring for her ex-husband as showing God’s love, Edgar believes Stephen will use the opportunity for revenge. Edgar risks losing Priscilla’s friendship by insisting the man hasn’t changed his ways and has come back to hurt her one last time.
Is Priscilla risking her life by insisting her ex-husband changed so the world — and God — will know her son had changed?
Behind the coffin, the plain wooden cross stood tall and proud. Reminding Priscilla Thorn of all lost and then found when the Savior sacrificed His life on Earth so all had a chance for eternity in Heaven. All. Priscilla held that word tightly in her heart. All. The Lord promised it for all.
Priscilla clutched the single red rose. A thorn bit into her skin. Her son was gone from the Earth. Tears blurred her vision. She blinked to clear them from her eyes. The door to the sanctuary opened and a gust of wind skittered through the church. Strands of gray hair had escaped from the bun and hung down her back, fluttering toward her face. She tipped her neck back, hoping the wind God sent dried the tears on her face.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” a sweet voice broke into her thoughts.
Priscilla startled. Emma Haywood’s compassionate eyes meet hers. Emma squeezed Priscilla’s hand then slipped into the pew behind her.
“You came.” She didn’t know what else to say.
“Of course we would.” Sheriff Haywood’s voice rumbled from the doorway.
Priscilla pivoted in the seat and stared. Friends, neighbors, and the ones she hoped to see but already forgiven if they couldn’t, walked through the door.
“Sorry for interrupting, Pastor,” Sheriff Haywood said. “A car slid into the valley and delayed a lot of people as it got towed out.”
Hannah Stratford slid into the pew beside Emma. “Connor sends his condolences and regrets. They need his search and rescue skills, along with his dogs, to find the driver of the vehicle.”
Angelina Stratford took the vacant seat beside Priscilla while her husband Todd joined Emma and Hannah. “We decided it was best for Renee and the baby to stay at Connor and Hannah’s. Alex decided he needed to go help in the search so Jonas went with him.”
“I appreciate everyone making the trek to Mourning. This isn’t easy for your family.” Priscilla clutched the Bible to her chest, hoping it helped settle the roiling of her stomach and pounding heart.
“It isn’t for you either.” Angelina rested a comforting hand on top of Priscilla’s. “You were there for us in our grief. You took the anger Alex and Renee lashed out at you.”
“They needed somewhere for it to go.” Priscilla rubbed her fingers over the worn leather. “If I could’ve stopped it…”
“I knew that.” Angelina took hold of her hand. “Regardless of the fact Samuel took Melody’s life, he’s still your child. Your heart broke once when Melody died, and now it breaks again. We couldn’t let you go through that alone.”
Priscilla nodded, fighting back grateful tears. They had come. Her friends hadn’t forgotten her or allowed her son’s actions to keep them away when she needed them most.
One of the heavy weights on her shoulders slipped off, the other remained and skipped into her head as a situation played itself out. A car skidded into the valley. She had notified Stephen of the funeral.
Was her ex-husband the missing driver? Stephen drank during times of stress and this qualified. People changed. She had. Samuel had.