Yesterday's Embers [NOOK Book]

Overview

On Thanksgiving Day, Douglas DeVore kissed his beloved wife good-bye, unaware that it would be the last time he'd see her -- or their precious daughter Rachel. Left with five kids to raise on his own, and already juggling two jobs to make ends meet, Doug wonders how he'll manage moment by moment, much less day after day, without Kaye's love and support.

When Mickey Valdez, a daycare teacher, hears of the tragedy, she offers to lend a helping ...
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Yesterday's Embers

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Overview

On Thanksgiving Day, Douglas DeVore kissed his beloved wife good-bye, unaware that it would be the last time he'd see her -- or their precious daughter Rachel. Left with five kids to raise on his own, and already juggling two jobs to make ends meet, Doug wonders how he'll manage moment by moment, much less day after day, without Kaye's love and support.

When Mickey Valdez, a daycare teacher, hears of the tragedy, she offers to lend a helping hand. After all, it isn't like she has a family of her own waiting for her at home. Her brothers are all happily married, but love seems to have passed her by.

Then a spark ignites...but will the flame be too hot to handle?
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Yesterday's Embers, with its realistic portrayals and emotionally engaging characters, is a book that will linger in the back of one's heart long after the final page is turned. Anyone who has loved and lost...and dared to love again...will celebrate Doug and Mickey's journey." — Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of My Heart Remembers

"With characters so real they feel like family, Yesterday's Embers will stir your heart with sorrow, compassion, and joy as you journey with the characters down a road too many have to travel. More than just a good read, Yesterday's Embers offers greater understanding and insight to the challenges of others. A must read!" — Diann Hunt, author of For Better or For Worse

"Yesterday's Embers took me through a roller coaster of emotions with the characters tugging at my heart throughout. I wanted so badly for things to turn out well for Doug, Mickey, and the children. I should have known that Deborah Raney wouldn't fail her readers — or her characters. Yesterday's Embers is another winner." — Robin Lee Hatcher, bestselling author of When Love Blooms and A Vote of Confidence

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439158517
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 3/24/2009
  • Series: A Clayburn Novel
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 701,660
  • File size: 300 KB

Meet the Author

Deborah Raney’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was awarded a Silver Angel from Excellence in Media and inspired the acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Since then her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Raney was also a finalist for the Christy Award. She and her husband, artist Ken Raney, make their home in their native Kansas.
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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

The parade of taillights smoldered crimson through the patchy fog hovering over Old Highway 40. Mickey Valdez tapped the brakes with the toe of her black dress pumps, trying to stay a respectable distance from the car in front of her.

The procession had left the church almost twenty minutes ago, but they were still barely two miles outside Clayburn's city limits. Th e line of cars snaked up the hill -- if you could call the road's rolling incline that -- and ahead of her, the red glow of brake lights dotted the highway, fl ickering off and on like so many fireflies. Cresting the rise, Mickey could barely make out the rows of pewter-colored gravestones poking through the mist beyond the wrought-iron gates of the Clayburn Cemetery.

She smoothed the skirt of her black crepe dress and tried to focus her thoughts on maneuvering the car, working not to let them stray to the funeral service she'd come from. But when the first hearse turned onto the cemetery's gravel drive in front of her, she lost it. Her sobs came like dry heaves, producing no tears, and for once she was glad to be in the car alone.

The line of cars came almost to a standstill as the second hearse crept through the gates.

The twin black Lincolns pulled to the side of the gravel lane, parking one behind the other near the plots where two fresh graves scarred the prairie. The drivers emerged from the hearses, walked in unison to the rear of their cars, and opened the curtained back doors. Mickey looked away. She couldn't view those two caskets again.

When it came her turn to drive over the culvert under the high arch of the iron gates, she wanted desperately to keep on driving. To head west and never turn back. But Pete Truesdell stood in her way, directing traffic into the fenced-in graveyard. Mickey almost didn't recognize Pete. He sported a rumpled navy double-breasted suit instead of his usual coveralls. How he could see through the tears welling in his eyes, Mickey didn't know.

Her heart broke for the old man. She wondered if he was related to the family somehow. Seemed like everybody in Clayburn was related to at least one other family in town. Everybody but the Valdezes.

Pete waved the car in front of her through the gates and halted her with his other hand.

Maybe if she stayed in the car until the procession left the cemetery. She didn't want to walk across the uneven sod. Didn't want to risk the DeVore kids seeing her...risk breaking down in front of them. What would she say? What could anybody say to make what had happened be all right?

She didn't know much about carbon monoxide poisoning, but she'd heard that Kaye and Rachel had simply drifted off to sleep, never knowing they would wake up in heaven. She wondered if Doug DeVore found any solace in that knowledge. Maybe it was a small comfort that his wife and daughter had left this earth together.

But on Thanksgiving Day? What was God thinking?

She'd never really gotten to know Kaye DeVore that well. They'd exchanged pleasantries whenever Kaye dropped the kids off at the daycare on her way to her job at the high school, but usually Doug was the one who delivered the children and picked them up at night when he got off work at Trevor Ashlock's print shop in town.

The DeVore kids were usually the last to get picked up, especially during harvest when Doug worked overtime to keep his farm going. But Mickey had never minded staying late. It wasn't like she had a family of her own waiting for her at home. And she loved those kids.

Especially Rachel. Sweet, angel-faced Rachel, whose eyes always seemed to hold a wisdom beyond her years. Mickey had practically mourned when Rachel started kindergarten and was only at the daycare for an hour or two after school. Now she forced herself to look at the tiny white coffin the pallbearers lifted from the second hearse. She could not make it real that the sunny six-year-old was gone.

Through the gates she watched Doug climb from a black town car. One at a time, he helped his children out behind him. Carrying the baby in one arm, he tried to stretch his free arm around the other four kids, as if he could shelter them from what had happened. How he could even stand up under the weight of such tragedy was more than Mickey could imagine. And yet, for one shameful, irrational moment, she envied his grief, and would have traded places with him if it meant she'd known a love worth grieving over, or been entrusted with a child of her own flesh and blood. She shook away the thoughts, disturbed by how long she'd let herself entertain them.

She dreaded facing Doug the next time he brought the kids to the daycare center. Maybe they wouldn't come back. She'd heard that Kaye's mother had cancelled her plans to winter in Florida like she usually did. Harriet Thomas would remain in Kansas and help Doug out, at least for a while. Wren Johannsen had been helping with the kids and house, too, when she could take time away from running Wren's Nest, the little bed-and-breakfast on Main Street. Wren was like a second grandma to the kids. Thank goodness for that. Six kids had to be --

Mickey shuddered and corrected herself. Only five now. That had to be a handful for anyone. The DeVores had gone on vacation in the middle of April last year, and with their kids out for a week, the workload was lighter, but the daycare center had been deathly quiet.

Deathly. Even though she was alone in the car, Mickey cringed at her choice of words.

She started at the tap on the hood of her car and looked up to see Pete motioning her through the gates. She put the car in gear and inched over the bumpy culvert. There was no turning back now. She followed the car in front of her and parked behind it next to the fence bordering the east side of the cemetery.

A tall white tombstone in the distance caught her eye, and a startling thought nudged her. The last time she'd been here for a funeral had also been the funeral of a mother and child. Trevor Ashlock's wife, Amy, and their little boy. It would be five years come summer.

As if conjured by her thoughts, Trevor's green pickup pulled in beside her. Mickey watched in her side mirror as he parked, then helped his young wife climb out of the passenger side. Meg walked with the gait of an obviously pregnant woman, and Trevor put a hand at the small of her back, guiding her over the uneven sod toward the funeral tent.

Mickey looked away. Seeing Trevor still brought a wave of sadness. Because of his profound loss, yes. But more selfishly, for her own loss. She'd fallen hard for him after Amy's death -- and had entertained hopes that he might feel the same about her. That she might be able to ease his grief. But he was too deep in grief to even notice her.

Then Meg Anders had moved to town and almost before Mickey knew what happened, Trevor was married. He and Meg seemed very much in love, and Mickey didn't begrudge either of them an ounce of that happiness. But it didn't mean she was immune to a pang of envy whenever she saw them together.

This day had to be doubly difficult for Trevor. It must be a comfort to Doug having Trevor here -- someone who'd walked in his shoes and still somehow managed to get up the next morning -- and the next and the next.

Again, she had to wonder what God was thinking. Where was He when these tragedies struck? How could He stand by and let these terrible things happen to good men...the best men she knew, next to her brothers? None of it made sense. And the only One she knew to turn to for answers had stood by and let it all happen. © 2009 by Deborah Raney

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Rush Love

    For one last time we get to return to Clayburn. This time we are introduced to Doug, a grieving widower with 5 children who recently lost his wife and daughter, and Mickey, a single schoolteacher who yearns for love. The story involves seeing how Doug struggles to get through every day life by himself and realizing that he needs someone else in his life. This someone ends of being Mickey, who takes care of his children at her daycare. Their relationship happens a break neck speed and the two find themselves engaged, married and bickering within months. I did like the chemistry between the two although I thought their relationship happened way too fast. They would have benefited from a longer dating relationship plus outside help from friends and family probably would have strengthened their relationship.

    While I did enjoy this book, there were several issues I had problems with. The main reason is pretty much Doug and his actions. I really felt bad for Mickey and what she had to go through after marrying Doug. I also felt understand Kayeleigh's frustration and anger over her dad getting remarried so soon. It was totally understandable why she acted the way she did. However, there were times when she went overboard and her father didn't do anything to reprimand her. Instead he made Mickey be the bad guy which showed how he didn't respect her. There were times when I just wanted to shake Doug and be like "What are you doing???" I felt like he was just wallowing in his grief and let emotions overtake him and he honestly didn't know what he was doing. By the time the ending came, I was so frustrated with him and I just couldn't believe that Mickey wanted to stay. I was also really shocked with the incident involving Kayeleigh. It was really out of the blue and I'm surprised more wasn't brought up about it. The issue of Mickey being a Catholic and Doug not being one was brought up heavily in the beginning of the book and then just dropped. We never find out if she or he ends up converting to the other's denomination. It would be such a big deal except for the fact it was a big issue in the beginning of the book.

    Overall though, I enjoyed this read and am sad that the series is over. I really feel like I have gotten to know the people of Clayburn and would have liked to drive into the town and visit one day. The writing is crisp and fresh and the storyline is relevant for those in the same situation as both Doug and Mickey. I will miss returning to Clayburn but I'll be looking forward to any of the author's future books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Leafheart

    Runs in freaking out

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  • Posted April 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an interesting family drama

    On Thanksgiving Day, Kaye DeVore and her five years old daughter Rachel died from monoxide poisoning. The grieving widower Doug understands the irony of their deaths as an EMT he has warned about the hidden dangers of monoxide poisoning. However, he has no time to mourn as he must raise five children with the oldest Kayeleigh being only twelve.--------------

    Mickey Valdez knows the DeVore kids and their late mom as she runs a day care center that include the family's youngest Harley. As Doug struggles to make enough money to support them, he relies heavily on Kayeleigh to take charge of her siblings while also is always late for picking up his kid from the daycare center. Mickey takes Harley home and Doug invites her to join his family with their take-out meal. Harley, Sarah, Sadie and Landon are thrilled to have Mickey eat with them, but Kayeleigh resents her. When the two adults meet at a wedding that Doug wanted to skip but Kayeleigh insisted on attending, the townsfolk sense a spark and begin matchmaking though Kaye is only gone less than three months and the tweener resents the intrusion.---------------

    This is an interesting family drama in which six people struggle with a sudden death of two loved ones when the patriarch begins courting another woman. The story line is character driven as the kids react differently to Mickey entering their lives and she and Doug have major doubts as each knows it is to soon for him and his children. Though somewhat similar in tone to REMEMBER TO FORGET, the poignant reactions of the children refresh this deep inspirational Clayburn, Kansas novel (see LEAVING NOVEMBER).-----------

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted April 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Return to Clayburn

    This book 3 in the Clayburn books by Deb Raney, but what that means is there is the same cast of characters and each book focuses on a different main character. So I was not left in the dark when I started reading this one even though I hadn't read the first two. To the contrary, Deb makes it very easy to step right into the world of Clayburn. In this book we meet Doug when tragedy strikes his family. As he is trying to recover and move on with life (or what is left of it) he finds himself falling for Mickey who is the day care provider for his youngest kids. Is what they have love or convenience. This is a beautiful story of grieving, living and loving.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Will yesterday's embers strike a spark today?

    Doug Devore loses his wife Kaye and daughter Rachel, tragically, on Thanksgiving Day. He doesn't know how he is going to raise his remaining five children - ranging in age from Harley at age 2 to Kayeleigh who was 12. He was already working two jobs and Kaye had worked part-time. Together they had just barely covered the bills.

    Mickey Valdez is the director at Doug's daycare. He becomes habitually late in picking up the kids and so she offers to bring them home one night. Doug invites her to stay for the take-out he had picked up for dinner. The kids seem thrilled to have her there and Doug is reminded what it is like to have a woman in the house.

    Mickey and Doug next meet outside of daycare at a wedding in town. Doug had only gone at the insistence of his daughter Kayeleigh, who wanted to wear the pink dress her mom had made for the Christmas program. A program that she never attended. He hadn't done any socializing since his wife had died 2 1/2 months earlier. He preferred living in his grief-stricken fog - only surfacing for his job and his kids.

    Well-meaning townsfolk pushed the two of them together for a dance. This led to them spending most of the evening together dancing and Doug taking Mickey home afterwards. This was all very upsetting to Kayeleigh. She did not want to see her dad laughing and dancing with anyone like he used to with her mom.

    After a few weeks Mickey and Doug are seeing each other regularly - but it has only been a few months since Kaye died. As they grow closer, Kayeleigh continues to pull farther away. Is the spark between Doug and Mickey really love? Or is it taking the place of something else?

    I enjoyed this story very much. It was very realistic with characters that were full of warmth and feeling. It pulled at my heartstrings when Doug lost his wife and daughter. I struggled with him as he tried to go on with his life and help his kids adjust to their new reality. I felt as anxious as Mickey when they began "courting". Wondering if it was too much of a good thing too soon. I wanted Mickey and Doug to come through everything as a couple - but you must read the book yourself to see what happens!

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable

    I enjoyed this comfortable contemporary romance story. I read it start to finish in one day. The plot moves along smoothly, with a few bumps and bends in the predictable road to reach a satisfying conclusion. This is the third in the trilogy, but it can be read and enjoyed without the first two.

    It was good to return to the small town of Clayburn. I was happy to see that the Latte-dah, the coffee shop, is thriving. Written in third person narrative, the reader easily follows the thought process of each character. The characters are people I'd like to meet. I'd love to keep in touch with Mickey and share her future. Perhaps she'll appear in a future book.

    Discussion questions are included.

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  • Posted March 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Kleenex Warning

    Don't forget to take the Kleenex box with you to your reading chair, you'll need them. The 3rd book about people from the town of Clayburn is well written, full of great character development and emotion. Doug loses his wife and 5 year old daughter to carbon monoxide, suddenly he's a widower with 5 children and one is a 12 year old girl. How do you get through the grief process and successfully navigate life as a single father with 2 jobs and 5 children. It's a romance so we all know that he finds love, but is it real love? What I liked about this story was that it didn't follow the main romance template where everything ends at the wedding and "they lived happily ever after" because we all know that doesn't happen. The story follows the characters for a year, through all their ups and downs, their growing togethers and their growing aparts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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