A Home For The Holidays
That's what Marla Gossett sought when she moved to Dry Creek, Montana. She wanted a safe haven to raise her kids, far from the troubles of the past. Then an unusual theft cast suspicion on her family...and brought Deputy Sheriff Les Wilkerson into the struggling widow's life.
In Marla's young son, Les saw a lonely child in need of a guiding hand. In the plucky single mother, he saw a woman he could love. But a crisis threatened to destroy Marla's fragile trust. Unless the deputy could convince her that her family had a special place in the community...and in this bachelor's heart.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 31, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Shepherds Abiding in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad
Marla Gossett sat in her bare apartment on the one wooden chair she had left to her name. The apartment building faced a busy street in south central Los Angeles, with the constant hum of cars going by. Marla didn't even hear the noise any longer. She'd sold her sofa yesterday and the kids' beds the day before that. She wished she could at least take the beds with them, but they wouldn't fit in the car when they moved. Besides, they all had sleeping bags.
Right now she was in the middle of selling her lamp to the African-American woman who had moved in down the hall a week ago.
Marla had given up on selling the chair she was sitting on. No one was willing to buy it with "XIX" carved into the arm. Not that she blamed them. She felt uneasy just sitting on the thing herself. She had put a notice in the hallway a week ago and several people had asked about the chair until they saw the numbers.
"You'll have a new life away from here," her African-American neighbor--Susan was her name-- said softly. Susan was looking at these numbers on the chair. "Your son?"
Marla nodded. She wasn't proud that her eleven-year-old son, Sammy, had carved the sign of the 19th Street gang into her furniture. She told herself it was only natural for young boys to be impressed with the tough guys that ruled their neighborhood. The 19th Street gang was the largest Hispanic gang in Los Angeles. She knew her son was just an onlooker at this point. Other people didn't know that, though, and they were scared to buy the chair even if it was solid oak and had been the finest piece of furniture she owned.
The chair had been a wedding gift, and there was a matching wooden cross that came to hang behind it.
Susan looked up from the chair. "Well, I guess they have gangs everywhere. Where are you going, anyway?"
"A place called Dry Creek, Montana. My husband had an uncle who left us a house there before he died."
"Did your husband get a chance to show it to you?"
Marla shook her head. She had already shared her vital statistics, so the woman knew her husband had died from lung cancer last year.
"Well, at least he left you with something," Susan said in a tone that implied she didn't expect much from men. "Of course, it would have been better if he'd gotten you some life insurance."
"We always thought there was plenty of time." The woman nodded, and Marla wondered how it was that death had become so commonplace. Some days she wanted to scream at the injustice of it, but more often it just weighed her down with its ordinariness.
She had been a widow for over a year, and it still felt like yesterday. She'd married Jorge when she was nineteen, and it hadn't taken long for the blaze of romance between them to settle into a steady flame of affection. At least, she had assumed the flame was steady. That was the way it had been on her side.
The cancer came hard and swiftly. It wasn't until Jorge was gone that she had had time to think about her marriage. Near the end, when he could barely speak, Jorge confessed he'd been unfaithful several times and pleaded with her to forgive him. He said he didn't want to die with those sins on his conscience.
After his diagnosis, Jorge had started praying often and had asked her to move their wooden cross into the bedroom. It seemed to comfort him, and Marla was glad for that. She believed her husband did repent his sins. So what could she do? There was no time to work through her feelings. She forgave him because she had to, and then he lost consciousness, dying later that same night.
When he was gone, all Marla could think about was their marriage. She kept wondering if something was lacking in her, and if that was why Jorge had not loved her enough to be faithful or to even talk to her about his problems. Maybe she didn't inspire love the way other women did.
Even when he'd proposed, Jorge had not made any grand gestures of love toward her. Marla had not thought anything was wrong with that, though; she thought it was just the way he was. Marriage wasn't all about roses and valentines. She'd accepted that. But had she missed some clue? Or were there many little clues she had ignored? Was a woman supposed to keep a tally of things that would tell her if her husband still loved her? How could she not even have known he was unfaithful?