A turn in the road, p.1
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       A Turn in the Road, p.1

           Debbie Macomber
 
A Turn in the Road


  Sometimes, where you think you’re going isn’t where you end up...

  In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth.

  They’re driving to Florida for Ruth’s 50th high-school reunion. A longtime widow, Ruth would like to reconnect with the love of her teenage life. She’s curious and maybe even hopeful.

  Bethanne needs time to reflect, to ponder a decision she has to make—whether or not to reconcile with her ex-husband, Grant, her children’s father.

  Meanwhile, Annie’s out to prove to her onetime boyfriend that she can live a brilliant life without him!

  So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions—but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter...

  From Seattle’s Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women’s lives.

  Praise for A Turn in the Road by #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

  “Perennial bestseller Macomber serves up another heartwarming entry in her popular Blossom Street series.... Themes of forgiving old hurts and finding new love will resonate with readers in search of a gently romantic tale.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “There is a reason that legions of Macomber fans ask for more Blossom Street books. They fully engage her readers as her characters discover happiness, purpose, and meaning in life.”

  —Booklist, starred review

  “Debbie Macomber is undoubtedly among America’s favorite authors [with] a masterful gift of creating tales that are both mesmerizing and inspiring.... Her Blossom Street characters seem as warm and caring as beloved friends.”

  —Wichita Falls Times Record News

  “Macomber moves her latest story from Blossom Street but keeps the same relatable characters in this road-trip tale... The book will still delight fans and inspire many to gas up the car and hit the highway.”

  —RT Book Reviews

  “Exquisitely written and sparkles with humor and an appreciation for life. Super reading!”

  —Long and Short Reviews

  “A story about betrayal and forgiveness in relationships. You’ll love the road trip and the surprises it brings. If you’re a Blossom Street fan, this latest installment is just for you! It’s a real winner!”

  —Fresh Fiction

  Dear friend,

  My husband, Wayne, and I love road trips. Because we have two homes, one in Washington State and the other in Florida, we drive back and forth twice a year. In case you’re interested, that’s 3,323 miles, door to door. Wayne plans the route, and we’ve visited nearly every state between Washington and Florida. Perhaps because of that, I’ve always wanted to write a book that involved a cross-country drive.

  Since I introduced the character Bethanne Hamlin in A Good Yarn, she’s been on my mind. When her husband left her, Bethanne was devastated and joined the knitting class as a kind of therapy. The friends she made in Lydia’s yarn store helped her deal with the abrupt change in her life.

  The idea for Bethanne’s party business came from my daughter, Jenny Adele, who held a wonderfully creative party for our eldest grandson when he turned eight. They were living on a one-family income, so money was tight. Using her imagination and playing on Cameron’s interest in the army, she mailed out draft notices as party invitations. Then my son-in-law designed an obstacle course on their property. Adding to the fun, my eldest son, Ted, a former army ranger, provided camouflage makeup and MREs. The boys had the time of their lives and the entire party cost little more than a cake mix and a few stamps.

  I was proud of Bethanne and the success of her business and I wanted to do more with this character. As it happens, she has an opportunity to travel across the country with her daughter and her former mother-in-law. Three generations of women each facing...a turn in the road. By the way, if you’re a committed film buff, you may notice that I’ve moved the release date of Breakfast at Tiffany’s forward by a few months. I took this liberty because—well, frankly, it worked for the story.

  As always, I’m eager to hear from my readers. You can reach me in two ways: Visit my website at www.debbiemacomber.com, or contact me at PO Box 1458. Port Orchard, WA 98366.

  Warmly,

  Debbie Macomber

  DEBBIE MACOMBER

  A Turn in the Road

  Also available from Debbie Macomber and MIRA Books

  Blossom Street

  The Shop on Blossom Street

  A Good Yarn

  Susannah’s Garden

  Back on Blossom Street

  Twenty Wishes

  Summer on Blossom Street

  Hannah’s List

  The Knitting Diaries “The Twenty-First Wish”

  A Turn in the Road

  Cedar Cove

  16 Lighthouse Road

  204 Rosewood Lane

  311 Pelican Court

  44 Cranberry Point

  50 Harbor Street

  6 Rainier Drive

  74 Seaside Avenue

  8 Sandpiper Way

  92 Pacific Boulevard

  1022 Evergreen Place

  Christmas in Cedar Cove (5-B Poppy Lane and A Cedar Cove Christmas)

  1105 Yakima Street

  1225 Christmas Tree Lane

  The Dakota Series

  Dakota Born

  Dakota Home

  Always Dakota

  Buffalo Valley

  The Manning Family

  The Manning Sisters (The Cowboy’s Lady and The Sheriff Takes a Wife)

  The Manning Brides (Marriage of Inconvenience and Stand-In Wife)

  The Manning Grooms (Bride on the Loose and Same Time, Next Year)

  Christmas Books

  A Gift to Last

  On a Snowy Night

  Home for the Holidays

  Glad Tidings

  Christmas Wishes

  Small Town Christmas

  When Christmas Comes (now retitled Trading Christmas)

  There’s Something About Christmas

  Christmas Letters

  The Perfect Christmas

  Choir of Angels (Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, Those Christmas Angels and Where Angels Go)

  Call Me Mrs. Miracle

  Heart of Texas

  VOLUME 1

  (Lonesome Cowboy and Texas Two-Step)

  VOLUME 2

  (Caroline’s Child and Dr. Texas)

  VOLUME 3

  (Nell’s Cowboy and Lone Star Baby)

  Promise, Texas

  Return to Promise

  Midnight Sons

  Alaska Skies (Brides for Brothers and The Marriage Risk)

  Alaska Nights (Daddy’s Little Helper and Because of the Baby)

  Alaska Home (Falling for Him, Ending in Marriage and Midnight Sons and Daughters)

  This Matter of Marriage

  Montana

  Thursdays at Eight

  Between Friends

  Changing Habits

  Married in Seattle (First Comes Marriage and Wanted: Perfect Partner)

  Right Next Door (Father’s Day and The Courtship of Carol Sommars)

  Wyoming Brides (Denim and Diamonds and The Wyoming Kid)

  Fairy Tale Weddings (Cindy and the Prince and Some Kind of Wonderful)

  The Man You’ll Marry (The First Man You Meet and The Man You’ll Marry)

  Orchard Valley Grooms (Valerie and Stephanie)

&nbs
p; Orchard Valley Brides (Norah and Lone Star Lovin’)

  The Sooner the Better

  An Engagement in Seattle (Groom Wanted and Bride Wanted)

  Out of the Rain (Marriage Wanted and Laughter in the Rain)

  Learning to Love (Sugar and Spice and Love by Degree)

  You...Again (Baby Blessed and Yesterday Once More)

  The Unexpected Husband (Jury of His Peers and Any Sunday)

  Three Brides, No Groom

  Love in Plain Sight (Love ’n’ Marriage and Almost an Angel)

  I Left My Heart (A Friend or Two and No Competition)

  Marriage Between Friends (White Lace and Promises and Friends—And Then Some)

  A Man’s Heart (The Way to a Man’s Heart and Hasty Wedding)

  North to Alaska (That Wintry Feeling and Borrowed Dreams)

  On a Clear Day (Starlight and Promise Me Forever)

  To Love and Protect (Shadow Chasing and For All My Tomorrows)

  Home in Seattle (The Playboy and the Widow and Fallen Angel)

  Together Again (The Trouble with Caasi and Reflections of Yesterday)

  The Reluctant Groom (All Things Considered and Almost Paradise)

  A Real Prince (The Bachelor Prince and Yesterday’s Hero)

  Private Paradise (in That Summer Place)

  Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Cookbook

  Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook

  With heartfelt appreciation to Nancy Berland, who has helped me navigate every turn in the road in my publishing career.

  Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Excerpt from Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts

  One

  “I think Dad wants to get back together.” Bethanne’s daughter, Annie, spoke with studied nonchalance. “He still loves you, Mom.”

  Bethanne’s spoon hovered over her bowl of soup as they sat at a window table in their favorite café. This wasn’t actually news and shouldn’t have come as any surprise. Didn’t come as any surprise. She’d seen the signs, as recently as this morning. These days Grant was inventing excuses to call her.

  Six years ago her world had imploded when her husband confessed that he’d fallen in love with another woman. With barely a backward glance, Grant had walked out—out of their home, their marriage, their lives. And now he wanted back in.

  “Don’t you have anything to say?” Annie asked, toying with her fork. She watched her mother intently.

  “Not really.” She swallowed the soup and lowered her spoon for another taste.

  Annie, it seemed, had forgotten. But not Bethanne.

  The morning Grant told her he wanted a divorce would stay in her mind forever. He couldn’t seem to get away from her fast enough. He’d retained a lawyer and advised her to do the same, then coldly informed her that all future communication would be through their lawyers. The less contact with her and their children, the better, he’d said. A clean break was best.

  Grant’s decision had struck Bethanne with the force and unpredictability of a hurricane. She’d stumbled blindly through the next few months, trying to hold her family together, clinging to the semblance of normality while her world disintegrated around her. “You really don’t have anything to say?” Annie prodded.

  “No,” Bethanne said shortly. She swallowed another spoonful of soup and reached for the herb scone. “What disturbs me is that your father would let you do his talking for him.”

  Annie had the grace to look chastened, but she pushed her food away as if she’d suddenly lost her appetite.

  At one time Bethanne had dreamed Grant would regret what he’d done, that he’d seek her forgiveness and come crawling back to her. She’d wanted him to suffer for the way he’d treated her, for the hurt he’d inflicted when he’d turned his back on their children.

  But in the years since the divorce, Bethanne had gradually found her footing and, in the process, discovered a self she didn’t know existed—a stronger, independent Bethanne, a woman forged in the fire of despair. Now her two children were on their own; her oldest, Andrew, was engaged to be married in a few weeks, following his graduation from law school. As for her daughter, Annie was a year from obtaining her MBA. She worked part-time with Bethanne on the creative end of the party business Bethanne had established in the wake of her divorce.

  During her twenty years of marriage, Bethanne had become known for her lavish and inventive parties. She’d taken pride in making Grant look good by hosting unforgettable events for clients and potential clients—an invitation to Grant’s home became a sought-after privilege in certain circles. Her birthday parties for Andrew and Annie were legendary. But never once had she dreamed that her party-giving skills would eventually be parlayed into such a success.

  She’d started the business, which she called simply Parties, as a way of making enough money to continue living in their family home, although she’d had to take out a substantial second mortgage to get Parties off the ground. Grant had paid the required support, but depending on that would’ve meant moving to a smaller house in a different neighborhood. If ever her children needed stability, she knew, it was in the period after the divorce. She’d since paid off both mortgages.

  To Bethanne’s astonishment, the business had taken off immediately. She’d started small, with themed birthday parties for children. The Alice in Wonderland Tea Party had been the most popular of the dozens of concepts she’d created. With busy schedules, parents were looking for an easy, economical way to make birthday parties special. Bethanne’s company had filled that need.

  Currently, there were five Parties stores in the Seattle area, including the original location, and she was considering a deal that offered national franchising opportunities. The key was to keep the ideas fresh and the prices reasonable. This past winter she’d added a “birthday party in a box”—more scaled-down, do-it-yourself versions of her trademarked theme parties.

  A year earlier Bethanne had hired Julia Hayden as her corporate operations manager. Julia was efficient, dedicated and gifted. She loved the job and had begun overseeing the company’s day-to-day activities, freeing Bethanne to focus on creative development. Annie worked with her, and the two of them had recently developed birthday party ideas for cats and dogs, which was now a popular trend, especially among childless, affluent professionals. They’d expanded into other types of parties, too—anniversary and retirement celebrations, Christmas and even Halloween events.

  Bethanne signaled for the check, and they went their separate ways with a quick hug and a wave. Annie was walking back to the office, while Bethanne headed for Blossom Street and A Good Yarn. Knitting had become one of her favourite activities. When sh
e needed to think, nothing helped more than sitting down with a knitting project. She felt a sense of happy anticipation as she parked in front of the yarn store, which was owned by her dear friend Lydia Goetz.

  With the wedding only six weeks away, she’d wanted to knit something for Courtney, her almost-daughter-in-law, to wear during the wedding.

  The wedding. It was why Grant had called her two weeks ago—their son’s marriage had given him a legitimate excuse—and he’d called twice since then, including this morning.

  Other than the occasional joint decisions they’d made regarding their children, they’d had little personal contact since the divorce. Then Grant had phoned her with a question about a wedding gift for Andrew and Courtney. He’d been friendly and relaxed. And this week, he’d asked her to dinner.

  Dinner. She and Grant. After six years?

  She’d heard from Annie that his marriage to Tiffany had ended in divorce the previous year—after a brief separation—and felt genuinely sorry for him. This was a second divorce for Tiffany, as well. In fact, Bethanne had briefly dated Paul, Tiffany’s first husband, shortly after the divorce, although date wasn’t exactly the right word. They’d been more of a two-person support group, helping each other grapple with their betrayal by the people they loved.

  Unfortunately, Andrew’s relationship with his father remained cool. Her son had met his father’s desertion with a bitter resolve that only seemed to harden as he grew older. Andrew was polite but kept an emotional distance from Grant.

  For Annie, sixteen at the time, the divorce had been nothing short of devastating. Always a “daddy’s girl,” she’d acted out her shock and pain as only a willful teenager can. Annie blamed Tiffany for stealing her father away and had done everything she could to sabotage the marriage. But Bethanne was also a target for her rage during those early months. Annie had railed at her for being too “boring” and “clueless” to keep her father happy. Bethanne had never responded to Annie’s accusations about her failures as a wife, afraid to reveal how close to home her words had hit. Eventually, Annie had adjusted to the new reality, although she still referred to Grant’s second wife in sarcastic tones as “the lovely Tiffany.”

  Bethanne thought about her conversation with him that morning. His excuse for calling this time was so flimsy Bethanne couldn’t even remember what it was. He’d kept her on the line, relating office gossip as if she was still intimately familiar with the goings-on at his workplace. After several minutes of chatter, he reminded her that she hadn’t given him a definite answer regarding his dinner invitation.

 
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