Excerpt: The Way Back to You by Sharon Sala
Today the lovely Sharon Sala brings us an excerpt for her book The Way Back to You. This is the ninth book in the Blessings, Georgia series.
The Way Back to You - Blessings, Georgia Book 9
What do you do when your whole life is turned upside down?
Sully Raines sets out to find his birth mother, and ends up in Blessings, Georgia. A new surprise awaits him here, but of the best kind—his childhood sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen since she moved away when they were teens, is living in Blessings now. He's not sure she's as happy to see him as he is to see her, but it's been a lot of years, and a lot of water under the bridge...
Sully's heartfelt search for answers about his past might just turn out to be the key to his future...
Sully was still smiling as he drove back to the bed-and-breakfast to change into clean clothes. He couldn’t believe the woman he’d pulled out of that wreck was Missy. She held a special place in his heart, and he couldn’t wait to talk to her again.
But when he walked back into the B and B, his condition caused something of a stir.
“What on earth happened to you? Are you all right?” Rachel asked.
“I witnessed a pretty bad wreck on Main Street and wound up pulling the woman who got hit out of her burning car. I’m okay. Just got cut by some burning debris as I was carrying her away.”
Rachel gasped. “Oh my lord. I heard what sounded like a big explosion about an hour or so ago. Was that it?”
“Who was the woman?”
“Melissa Dean. The weird part of all this is that I know her. We were kids together in Missouri, before she moved away.”
Rachel smiled. She loved stories like this. “What a coincidence!” she said. “But is Melissa okay?”
Sully nodded. “She’s going to be. She got hit pretty hard, and I’m not sure about the extent of her injuries, but nothing appeared to be life-threatening.”
“Oh no! Bless her heart!” Rachel said. “I’ll have to make sure to take her some food tomorrow. Likely she’ll be all sore and laid up for a while. Did you hear who it was who hit her?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Then I’m guessing you didn’t make it to Granny’s, did you? You must be starved.”
“Actually, Granny’s is where I took her until the burning debris was no longer an issue. I’m going to get clean clothes and go back.”
“If you don’t feel up to it, I’d be more than happy to make some lunch for you here. I have plenty of roast beef to make you a sandwich, and peach cobbler for dessert. Bud’s on his way home. We’d love to have you eat with us. That way you could rest up and go to Granny’s for supper later.”
Sully hesitated. The offer was tempting. “My back is pretty sore. If you’re sure it’s okay, I will take you up on the offer.”
“Perfect,” Rachel said. “You go clean up. Bud and I always eat in the kitchen, and you’re the only guest here at the moment. It will work out perfectly. When you come down, just go through those double doors at the end of the dining room.”
“Yes, ma’am, and thank you again.”
“Please, call me Rachel,” she said.
Sully nodded, then took the stairs up two at a time and let himself into his room. Once again, he was back in the shower, washing away the blood and the choking scent of smoke. The small wound on his back had also been closed with glue after they’d removed a small piece of metal and cleaned it up. He showered in lukewarm water, patted his back dry, and put on more clean clothes. At this rate, he was going to be looking for a place to get laundry done.
As he came downstairs, he heard dishes rattling, then voices, and followed the sounds into the kitchen.
“Come in, come in!” Rachel said. “Sully, this is my husband, Bud. Bud, this is Sully, the man I was telling you about.”
Bud came forward smiling and quickly shook Sully’s hand.
“Good to meet you,” Bud said. “Sounds like you’ve had quite an introduction to Blessings. It’s not normally this exciting. Have a seat at the table. Lunch is almost ready. Hope you’re hungry. These open-faced roast beef sandwiches are the bomb, and so is the gravy that goes on them. Rachel is taking french fries out of the deep fryer right now. Would you rather have coffee or sweet tea?”
“Sweet tea, please,” Sully said.
The food appeared moments later, and as soon as they sat down, Bud reached for the ketchup for his fries. When he did, Rachel rolled her eyes.
“Peasant,” she said.
“Snob,” Bud fired back.
Then they laughed at each other as Bud began shaking ketchup all over his fries.
“Rachel thinks gravy should go on the fries that come with these sandwiches,” Bud said.
“Bud puts ketchup on everything, which is a slight blow to my ego, considering I’m supposed to be this great cook,” Rachel countered, and then winked at her husband.
Sully laughed. “Pass the ketchup, please,” and proceeded to do the same thing that Bud had, which sent Bud and Rachel into peals of laughter.
“I guess that settles it,” Rachel said. “When in Rome…and all that. Will someone pass me the ketchup, too? Oh…and save room for dessert. It’s peach cobbler à la mode.”
Sully took his first bite and then rolled his eyes in delight.
“This is amazing. The meat is so tender. What kind of bread do you use for this?” he asked.
“Different kinds,” Rachel said. “This is toasted and buttered sourdough bread.”
“I’m going to remember this,” Sully said. “We all had to take turns cooking at the fire station when I was still on the job. Those guys would love this food. Rachel, you are an amazing chef.”
Rachel beamed, pausing a moment to watch two men wolfing down her food like they’d been starving. The satisfaction of knowing people loved her cooking was a huge part of the reason she enjoyed owning the B and B.
Once lunch was over, Sully went upstairs to rest and fell asleep, dreaming about the wreck.
The dream was on a loop in his head—his own kind of eternal hell. In the dream, he knew it was Missy in the car and he had not been able to save her. He was hearing her screams over and over in his head when he woke.
He groaned as he got up, and walked to the windows. The day wasn’t as sunny as it had been earlier, and he wondered if the weather was supposed to change.
His shoulder was aching, and he remembered the mini-fridge was stocked. He opened the cabinet to see what was in it, and then grabbed a Mountain Dew and opened it. He took one drink, then got a couple of over-the-counter pain pills out of his travel bag and washed them down with another swallow.
Sully hadn’t counted on his search for his birth mother being dangerous, but the throb in his shoulder reminded him of how close he and Melissa had come to dying. He wondered how she was right now—whether she was still in the hospital or if she’d gone home.
Then out of the blue, he wondered if she had someone to go home to and was surprised at himself for even going there. He’d come looking for the woman who’d given birth to him, not to renew a teenage crush, even if she had grown into a beautiful woman.
He did smile, though, remembering her defiance of rules. Seeing her walk into his room determined to say thank you, even if she had to get out of bed to do it. Staring down the doctor who chided her for being out of bed was evidence of a woman bent on doing the right thing, and the plus was finding out they knew each other.
He was curious about her and her life. Maybe she’d call and take him up on that cup of coffee. It was something to look forward to—a relaxing break from the tension of his search. He’d meant to go to the local courthouse this afternoon and search the property deeds and marriage licenses. And there was the local paper he intended to research as well, which likely meant a trip to the library. But he’d only arrived today. Thanks to the unexpected drama, he was too sore to do anything but hang out, and there was always tomorrow.
MORE IN THE SERIES
The lucky print book winner is: Nancy Shaw
Sharon Sala is a long time member of Romance Writers of America writing as Sharon Sala and Dinah McCall. She writes romantic suspense, Young Adult, and Women's Fiction. First published in 1991, she's a seven-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time winner of the Career Achievement award from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence as well as the Bookseller Best Award. Her books are New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly mass market best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.