Judge Olivia Lockhart’s plate is full. Her hometown of Cedar Cove is the kind of community that’s always relied on each other for support, but lately it seems everybody needs somebody to lean on, especially Olivia’s best friend, Grace Sherman, whose husband disappeared six months prior. Thirty-five years together, then—just gone. Moving forward without closure is hardly ideal, but for librarian Grace, it may be time to start a new chapter.
For Olivia, helping her good friend start over is just the beginning. There are enough marriages, separations, and babies being born in Cedar Cover to keep anyone on their toes. And when Olivia’s ex-husband makes it clear he wants her back, it throws a serious wrench at her on-again, off-again relationship with newspaper editor Jack Griffin. Sometimes the right path isn’t always clear, but finding the courage to follow your heart will lead you right where you belong.
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About the Author
Hometown:Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:Yakima, Washington
Education:Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
Read an Excerpt
204 Rosewood Lane
By Debbie Macomber
MIRA BooksCopyright © 2002 Debbie Macomber
All right reserved.
Grace Sherman stared down at the legal form that would start the divorce proceedings. She sat in the attorney's office with Maryellen, her oldest daughter, who'd come with her to offer support. Grace reminded herself that this should be straightforward, that her decision was made. She was ready to end her marriage, ready to piece together her shattered life. To begin again... But her hand shook as she picked up the pen.
The inescapable fact was that she didn't want this-but Dan hadn't left her with any other option.
Five months ago, in April, her husband of almost thirty-six years had disappeared. Vanished without a trace. One day everything was perfectly normal, and the next he was gone. Apparently by choice and without a word of explanation. Even now, Grace had difficulty believing that the man she'd lived with, the man she'd loved, and with whom she'd had two daughters, could do anything as cruel as this.
If Dan had fallen out of love with her, she could accept that. She would've found enough pride, enough generosity, to release him without bitterness. If he was that miserable in their marriage, she would've gladly set him free to find happiness with someone else. What she couldn't forgive was the misery he'd heaped on their family's shoulders, what he'd done to their daughters. EspeciallyKelly.
Dan had disappeared shortly after Kelly and Paul had announced that after years of trying, they were finally, excitedly, pregnant. Dan had been thrilled, and Grace too. This baby was going to be their first grandchild. They'd waited so long.
Kelly had always been close to her father and his disappearance at this critical time in her life had devastated her. She'd pleaded with Grace to postpone the divorce proceedings, convinced that her father would return before Tyler was born. When Dan did return, he'd have a logical reason and would explain everything to their satisfaction.
He hadn't come back, though, and there'd been no further information. Nothing but doubts, questions, and a churning, deepening anger that intensified in the endless weeks that followed.
When Grace couldn't stand not knowing any longer, she'd hired Roy McAfee, a private detective and former policeman she trusted. Roy had done an extensive search, certain that Dan had left a paper trail, and he'd been right. What Roy had uncovered was a complete shock to Grace. A year earlier, Dan had purchased a travel trailer, paying cash for it. Grace had no idea where he'd gotten that kind of money, nor did she know anything about the trailer. He'd never mentioned it, nor had she seen it. To this day she had no idea where he'd kept it all those months. Or where it was now.
Given the mounting evidence, she had her suspicions. Grace believed that Dan had used the travel trailer to sneak away with another woman. There'd been one sighting of him and it had come late in May.
It almost felt as if her husband had orchestrated this brief reappearance, as if he was taunting her, challenging her to find him. That day had been a low point for Grace.
A co-worker of Dan's had spotted him at the marina and hurried to the library to fetch her. But by the time Grace reached the marina, Dan was gone. A woman had pulled up to the curb and Dan had climbed into the vehicle and driven away, never to be seen or heard from again.
In retrospect, she'd come to believe that Dan was providing her with the answers she so desperately needed. She could think of no other reason he would mysteriously arrive at the busiest place in town, where he was most likely to be seen-and recognized. The library where she worked was less than two blocks away. Clearly, her husband lacked the courage to tell her there was someone else. Instead he'd chosen another, crueler way to inform her; he'd humiliated her in front of the entire community. Grace knew without being told that everyone in Cedar Cove pitied her.
That sighting had settled the matter in Grace's mind. Whatever love she still felt for Dan died that afternoon. Until then, she hadn't wanted to believe there was someone else. Even when the VISA bill showed up with a hefty charge from a local jeweler, Grace had refused to accept that her husband was involved with another woman. Dan just wasn't the kind of man who would be unfaithful to her. She'd trusted him. Not anymore.
"Are you okay, Mom?" Maryellen asked, touching her arm.
Grace's hand tightened around the pen. "Fine," she snapped, instantly regretting her tone. She hadn't meant to sound so sharp.
Her daughter looked away. Grace focused on the divorce papers, hesitated a moment longer and then with haste signed her name.
"I'll see that this is filed immediately," Mark Spellman said.
Grace relaxed, leaning back in her chair. This was all there was to it? You could end a thirty-five-year marriage simply by signing your name? "That's it?"
"Yes. Since you haven't heard from Daniel in five months, I don't foresee any legal complications. The divorce should be final in a few weeks."
Almost four decades tossed out the window like so much garbage. The good years, the bad years, the lean ones, the years they'd scrimped and saved. Like all couples, they'd had their share of problems, but despite everything they'd held their marriage together. Until now, until this-
"Mom?" Maryellen whispered. Grace nodded abruptly, surprised at the emotion that choked her. She'd shed all the tears she intended to. In the months since Dan's disappearance, Grace had deeply grieved the loss of her marriage and the man she thought she knew. The truth of it was, she no longer had a choice; divorce had become inevitable. It was essential that she protect her financial interests. According to the attorney, she couldn't afford the luxury of doing nothing.
Her legal situation was one thing, and she'd dealt with that, but the emotional impact had left her badly shaken. Despite her resolve, the grief hadn't diminished. And the humiliation of what Dan had done was with her constantly. Everyone in town was aware of her circumstances and the fact that her husband had walked out on her.
Slowly, Grace set the pen aside. "I'll wait to hear from you, then," she said to her attorney, rising out of the chair. Maryellen stood with her.
The attorney, a young man closer to Maryellen's age than her own, escorted them to the office door. He began to say something, then merely looked down and murmured a brief goodbye.
Outside his small home office, the sky had turned a depressing leaden gray. Grace felt a burden of sadness settle over her; she'd known this appointment wasn't going to be easy, but she hadn't expected it to exact such a toll on her self-confidence.
Excerpted from 204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber Copyright © 2002 by Debbie Macomber
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.