Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas Homecoming

Oh no, I'm running out of time and I've lost track of what stories I have left...think, think, think. Thank goodness Pelican Books makes it easy to get around!

Here's a peek at A Christmas Homecoming. This one sounds like a heartbreaker!


Seven Christmases have passed since Sonia Pettit last heard from her daughter Jody. Since Jody’s departure, Sonia’s world has been turned upside down. Her husband has died of a broken heart, and her son, bitter over his sister’s destructive actions, has become rebellious.

Her greatest desire is to have her family together at Christmas, but after what Jody has put them all through, can Sonia truly forgive her daughter?

Jody Pettit O’Dair ran away to experience a life of adventure and excitement, but since her departure, her world has been turned upside down. She’s been abandoned by the man she met and married, lost her job, and is unable to care for her two children. With nowhere else to turn, this prodigal daughter begins the long journey home and prays she will be welcomed after walking away so long ago.

Will Jody find forgiveness in the arms of her family as easily as she received it from God?


“Good morning, Ben. I’m making your favorite homemade chicken soup for lunch later.”

“Morning, Mom.” Ben scratched his disheveled head in a valiant attempt to jerk himself to wakefulness. “Got any coffee?”

Sonia pushed down her anger and forced a smile at her lanky twenty-two-year-old son. The second-born of her womb. The son with the tender heart gone awry. “Just made a fresh pot. I’ll pour you some.”

“Thanks.” He yawned. “I’m not awake enough to pour it myself.”

She took a large blue mug from the cupboard and held it in her left hand while she poured coffee into it with her right. She handed the mug of steaming brew to Ben. In a few months, he’d be graduating from college and moving right into a job with a local accounting firm.

His father would have been proud of at least one of their two children.

She squelched the painful memories. Christmas was coming, and she needed to put on a smile for Ben, if not for herself.

“So how’s my favorite son this morning?”

Ben sat down at the kitchen table and stretched out his long legs. “Come on, Mom. You know I’m your only son. So why call me your favorite?”

She sat down in the chair next to him. “Because you are. You don’t have to be my only son to be my favorite one.”

He grinned. “But what if you had another son, would I still be your favorite?”

“Of course, you would. It has nothing to do with numbers. No matter how many children I had, each one would be my favorite—you and Jody hold an equal place in my heart.”

His eyes narrowed. “You can say that after what she did to our family?”

Sonia shifted in her chair, her thumb outlining the handle on her coffee mug. “Yes.” Her breath caught on a snag of hesitation. “Yes, Ben.” She looked him in the eye. “I can still say that.”

He slammed his coffee mug on the table, splattering the hot liquid all over the green vinyl tablecloth. “She ups and leaves without telling anyone where she’s going. Just a stupid note that says, ‘I’ve gone. Don’t come looking for me. I need my space.’ Her space? Sounds more like her own selfish way to me.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “Seven years! How many private investigators and how much money have you spent on finding her?” He stood. “You should have listened to Dad. Let her go. Don’t try to find her. He never forgave her, you know.”

“What makes you think Dad didn’t forgive her?”

“How could he? Look at the hole she left in his heart—a hole that devoured him and sent him to an early grave.” He looked beyond her, peering out the window. “A hole that would swallow me up if I let it.” He shook his head. “But I won’t. My anger against her is all I have to keep me from falling in.”

“Withholding forgiveness is never the answer, Ben.”

He towered over her, fire in his eyes. “Who are you to talk? You haven’t forgiven her either. You just pretend you have.”

She lowered her voice, tamping down the anger threatening to spew forth. “Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling.”

Ben’s glare cut deep. “Spiritual platitudes. That’s all you’re handing me. I’ll never forgive her for what she’s done.”

The sword of truth pierced Sonia’s heart as she watched Ben storm out of the room. If she were honest with herself, he was right. She hadn’t truly forgiven Jody either. As much as she loved her daughter, Sonia wanted Jody to suffer as much as she herself had suffered. As much as Rick and Ben had suffered. She wanted Jody to pay for all the pain she’d caused. By walking out on her family, Jody had left a wake of anger, confusion, and shame that had rocked their world, leaving them bruised, shaken, and shattered. Worst of all, Rick had taken his daughter’s disappearance so hard that Sonia was sure it had caused his death. How could she ever forgive Jody for that?

She rose and turned her attention back to the soup pot. She lifted it from the back burner and replaced it on the front one, then turned the gas to low heat. Chicken soup made a good lunch on a cold day.But on this cold day, she no longer had an appetite.

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