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Never Say Goodbye and Crossroads [Secure eReader]
eBook by Irene Hannon

eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: "Never say goodbye": A tragic accident had destroyed Scott Mitchell's perfect world. His sin had cost him his child, his freedom--and the love and trust of his wife, Jess. After prison Scott was a changed man, but would his faith be enough to heal Jess's shattered heart and gain her forgiveness? "Crossroads": Summoned to the school principal's office, single mom Tess Lockwood was surprised to find a handsome man behind the desk. Cop turned educator Mitch Jackson wanted to help--and began to believe that Tess might be God's way of teaching him to love again.

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Steeple Hill, Published: 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2008

2 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

Three years.

Three long, lonely years.

Three years without freedom.

Three years without the woman he loved.

Three years of hell.

And now they were over.

Scott Mitchell turned and took one last look at the bleak gray walls of the high-security prison where he'd spent the past three years of his life.

Where he'd reached such depths of despair that he'd seriously considered suicide. Where he'd spent agonizing hours reliving the tragic accident that had taken the lives of two innocent people.

Where he'd lain awake night after night yearning for the tender touch and sheltering arms of the woman he loved…tormented by the knowledge that she never wanted to see him again.

Where he'd finally found something to cling to in a long-neglected interest in horticulture, a hobby that became a passion and offered a temporary escape from the drab walls to a world of color and beauty and new life.

Where he'd acknowledged his mistakes and straightened out his priorities.

And most important, where he'd slowly, one tentative step at a time, rebuilt his faith and reconnected with his God.

Scott drew a deep, cleansing breath as he stared at the hellish place that, ironically enough, had put him back on the road to heaven. But it had been a harsh, brutal journey. The abrupt transition from power lunches to prisoner, from a world where individual rights reigned supreme to a world where no rights existed had been harrowing. He'd been stripped of his dignity, reduced to a number, looked upon with contempt. He'd lost everything he ever cared about—and that didn't mean the designer suits or sports cars or country-club membership he'd once valued so highly. No, the loss was much more basic than that—the people he loved and his freedom. Dear God, how he'd missed those two things, which he'd always taken so much for granted!

But never again, he vowed. He was a different man now, with solid priorities and two very clear goals.

First, he intended to make his faith the guiding force in his life.

Second, he intended to win back the heart of the only woman he'd ever loved.

The first would be easy.

The second would take a miracle.

But Scott believed in miracles. He couldn't have survived these past three years without one.

Yet winning back Jess's love would take a miracle greater even than survival. He knew that. But with the Lord's guidance and grace, he believed it was possible. It had to be. Because on a spiritual level, he needed her forgiveness and love to complete his redemption. And on a very basic human level, he simply needed her.

And so he closed his eyes for a moment and prayed silently. Dear Lord, show me the way to prove that I've changed, that my remorse is real and that I'm worthy of her love. Please give me the courage to persevere and steady me when I stumble. Don't let me lose heart if success is elusive. Help me remember that You are with me always, even on my darkest days, and that with You by my side, anything is possible.

And then, with one last look at the forbidding walls, he stepped out of prison and into a new life.

* * *

Today was the day.

The man who had killed her daughter was free.

Jess Mitchell drew a long, unsteady breath and involuntarily tightened her grip on the coffee mug. Scott…her husband…the man she had once loved with all her heart…was free. And she hated him, with every fiber of her being. He'd destroyed their marriage and robbed her of the child of her heart, cutting short a life that had barely begun—as well as the life of a respected judge who'd died behind the wheel of the other car. That, too, had been a tragic loss, for he had been a man of principle and honor, a crusader for justice who had earned a reputation for integrity and courage.

As far as Jess was concerned, Scott deserved to rot in prison for the rest of his life.

Her hands suddenly began to shake and she carefully set the mug down, the taste of bitterness sharp on her tongue as she struggled to control a surge of anger—the same anger that had been her constant companion in the months following Elizabeth's death. Gradually a dull numbness had taken its place, insulating her from pain and allowing her to better cope with the world around her. But now the anger was back, and with it the raw pain.

Reaching out an unsteady hand toward the small glass-topped table in her breakfast nook, Jess shakily lowered herself into a chair. The February day was cold but bright, and a shaft of early-morning sun beamed through the skylight, illuminating the single daffodil in the bud vase in front of her. Gently she reached over and touched the delicate petals, so lovely but so fragile. There was something inspiring about daffodils, she thought with a bittersweet pang. The first harbingers of spring, they bloomed gloriously despite the risk of frost, announcing to those grown weary of the long, dark days of winter that the world would soon be warm and bright again. Perhaps that was why she had chosen this blossom for her table, she reflected. To give her courage to get through this difficult day.

Jess forced herself to take a deep, calming breath, thankful that at least she could once again find pleasure in the beauty of nature. She'd always loved flowers, and she was grateful that her work as public relations manager at the botanical garden gave her a ready supply. But today, even the exquisite beauty of this favorite flower couldn't dispel her gloom or the inexplicable sense of apprehension that filled her with a restless anxiety.

Copyright © 2002 by Irene Hannon Gottlieb.

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