Fifteen years ago golden girl Tasha Simmons had run from Emmett's Mill, leaving behind everyone she loved. Including Josh Halvorsen, her high school sweetheart, whom she'd hoped to marry. She'd never told him the secret that shamed her into leaving. And when Tasha learned that Josh had married and moved on, she'd known the man of her dreams was lost to her forever.
Yet now that Tasha's had to return to Emmett's Mill, she can't avoid Josh--handsome as ever, a single father who hadn't forgotten their love. Or forgiven her for leaving.
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January 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Return to Emmett's Mill by Kimberly Van Meter
The drizzle falling from the gray skies blended with the steady drone of Father McDonald's voice until Tasha Simmons lost the ability to tell them apart.
The dull gleam of her mother's casket mirrored the gloom of the skies. Tears welled and receded until Tasha's eyes and throat ached.
Flanked by her sisters, Nora and Natalie, and Natalie's husband, Evan, she blocked out the pain that came with the knowledge her father was only one sister over, and she locked her knees to keep from sinking to the ground.
Suddenly, the short holiday visits over the years weren't enough. Not nearly enough to get her through something like this. She'd give anything to have one more day with her mother. Just one day.
Fingers tightening around the black plastic umbrella handle, Tasha blocked out faces she'd known her entire life until they were as anonymous as the raindrops pelting the small group. It seemed a lifetime ago that she'd ever been the girl they remembered.
The priest ended his reading from the scripture meant to offer some measure of solace to the ones left behind, and everyone murmured "Amen." He gestured to her father who, with Natalie's help, approached the casket with slow, stiff steps, a rose clutched in his hand. Tasha averted her eyes, not wanting to watch as her father disintegrated into harsh, shuddering sobs. Staring at the wet ground, the rain creating muddy rivulets down the side of the hill her mother would be buried in, she suddenly hated her sisters'decision not to cremate. Tasha didn't want her mother lowered into the cold ground, surrounded by worms, ants and other disgusting insect life. The grief she was holding back rose in her throat and she struggled to get a grip.
Her mother wasn't supposed to die so young. She wanted to scream it to the heavens until her voice was hoarse or until it disappeared entirely