Sweet Laurel Falls
Coming October 2012 from HQN
Maura McKnight-Parker used to be an unconventional free spirit until her world was completely devastated when her teenage daughter Layla died in the automobile accident that stunned Hope’s Crossing. Nine months later, she’s barely existing, struggling to keep her bookstore and coffeehouse afloat. She has closed herself away from her extended family, from all her old beading friends at String Fever, from everyone except her older daughter, Sage.
When Sage returns from her sophomore year of college for the holidays, Maura is flabbergasted when Sage informs her she has found her birth father, Maura’s first love and high school sweetheart, Jackson Lange. Jack shattered her heart twenty years ago when he left town without a word – and without leaving a forwarding address so she could tell him she was pregnant.
Years later, when he started making a name for himself as a world-renowned architect, she didn’t want to find him, hurt that he could turn his back on everything she thought they shared. Besides, she had moved on and later married and conceived her younger daughter Layla with her new husband. Their marriage ended in divorce, partly because Maura had never completely gotten over Jack’s desertion, so like her own father’s abandonment of her and her siblings and mother.
But now Jack knows he has a daughter and to Maura’s dismay, he wants to be a part of Sage’s life. He returns to Hope’s Crossing, the town he has always despised, even though it means facing his father Harry, from whom he has been estranged all these years after a bitter row the night before he left town.
Jack is surprised at the changes in Hope’s Crossing … and in his father. Harry had always seemed indestructible. Now he is reserved, isolated. Almost lonely. Jackson won’t let that sway him from his anger. His father chose greed over family, his own interests over what was best for his son or for Hope’s Crossing and Jack doesn’t see how he can forgive something so egregious.
As for Harry, he fights mingled joy and deep regret when his son finally returns. He yearns for peace between them but knows he can’t make up for his past mistakes. He is further stunned to learn he has a granddaughter who has been right under his nose for all these years – a granddaughter he is dismayed to learn he shares with Mary Ella McKnight (Sage’s maternal grandmother). Could this be their chance to end the animosity between them once and for all? And perhaps to heal the town in the process?