Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Her Books Presents: Book Club Picks

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Welcome to Her Books…the place to sample great books written by women, for women.

With Book Club Picks, we’re giving you a delicious sample of eight Book Club Favorites sure to provide lively discussion at your next meeting. These are books from the authors you love, books that will touch your heart, lift your spirits, make you smile and sometimes send chills down your spine.

The books we’ve chosen are all winners—best-selling, award-winning stories, books that have proven themselves to be discussion-worthy. And…this is a big plus, ladies…every one of these books also offers a ready-made list of discussion questions you’ll find on the author’s website.

So get started…read through the samples to discover your next favorite author and book club selection.

Table of Contents

Finding Emma by Steena Holmes

Composing Myself by Elena Aitkin

Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

The Scandalous Ward by Karla Darcy

The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge by Christine Nolfi

The Promise of Provence by Patricia Sands

Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson

Depraved Heart by Kathleen Valentine

 

*****

Megan tapped her fingers against the steering wheel to the song on the radio. Something about a girl and a white horse. She didn’t really listen to the song, she just liked the beat.

She pulled her phone out of her purse and scrolled through the notifications. Seven new emails and one text message. She glanced up, noticed the car in front of her still hadn’t moved forward in the line for the drive-through. She should have just gone inside and ordered, but when she compared the line of people standing at the doors to the line of cars, waiting in her vehicle won, hands down.

She clicked on the text message from her husband—hurry home. A smile bloomed on Megan’s face. Her fingers danced across the phone’s keyboard as she texted him back. The man needed to have some patience. It had been too long since they played hooky. Just the thought sent a flutter of excitement through her stomach. It had been too long indeed.

Megan glanced in her side-view mirror. With two cars behind her, it was too late for her to change her mind and suggest they just make coffee at home. She could be here awhile.

She placed her phone on the passenger seat and thought back to when she dropped Alexis and Hannah off at school. A block away from the school grounds, Alexis had begged her to pull over. Up ahead were a group of kids she recognized and there was no way she was going to be caught with her mom. Megan waited as they sprinted down the sidewalk to catch up with the group. Only Hannah, her eldest, looked back to wave. True to her word, Megan didn’t drive away until she knew the girls were safe inside the school yard.

Her phone buzzed. Another text from Peter. As she reached down to grab the phone, the bobbing of yellow curls in her rearview mirror caught her eye. Her heart stopped.

Emma.

She grabbed the steering wheel hard and forced herself to take a deep breath. She tried to remember the steps her counselor gave her to do the next time she thought she saw her missing daughter.

Number one: take a deep breath. Right. Megan filled up her lungs and tried to exhale only to have it catch in her throat.

Those yellow curls bobbed again, beside an outstretched hand.

Number two: count to five. One. Megan let out the air trapped in her lungs. Two. She looked in the mirror again, desperate for another glimpse. Three. She drank in the sight of the little girl. Hair in pigtails with a pink ribbon attached the elastics. She wore a spring jacket, white with large colored flowers.

Turn your head. Please turn your head.

Megan held the steering wheel tight, the counting stopped as she waited for a view of the little girl’s face. With her head half turned, a tiny dimple showed as the girl beamed a huge smile up to the woman who held her hand.

Emma has a dimple.

The phone vibrated on the seat again. Megan ignored it. Her hand crept over to the door handle, her fingers grasped onto the latch, and she pulled it open. That was her daughter. She knew it. The yellow curly hair, the dimple in her cheek, she looked the same size and age. It had to be her.

She opened the door and swung her leg out, only to have her Jeep lurch forward. She jammed her foot on the brake, put the car in park, and hopped out.

The girl was gone. Despite the cars behind her, she ran across the parking lot and grabbed onto the store door as it swung shut.

Her daughter and a strange woman stood before her. Their backs were turned. She paused, listened to the gentle cadence of Emma’s voice, letting it wash over her before she stepped forward and yanked her daughter’s tiny hand out of the woman’s. The little girl turned.

Megan sank to her knees, her vision blurred by the tears that swelled up in her eyes.

“Emm. . .a.” Megan’s voice faltered as she looked into the eyes of the little girl before her. They were brown. Brown. Not blue. Not the sea blue that shone when Emma was happy or the pale blue that glimmered when they were filled with tears.

Not Emma’s eyes.

Megan stood and took a step back, she held her hands out in front of her.

“I’m so sorry. So sorry. . . I thought she. . . my daughter’s. . . missing for two years,” Megan’s voice faltered. She couldn’t look down at the little girl so she stared only at the woman who looked at her with a mixture of pity and anger.

“I’m so sorry,” Megan whispered again.

She took another step back and something stopped her. She turned only to have her way of escape blocked by an older man who reached out to steady her.   Megan brought up her arms, pushed his hands away, and rushed out of the coffee shop. Tears blocked her view and she almost stumbled off the curb.

A horn honked. She looked up and a woman in the van parked behind her scowled. Megan hurried to her Jeep, opened the door, and fumbled with her seatbelt. The honking continued while her phone buzzed. Megan placed her head in her hands as sobs tore through her body.

Not Emma. All she wanted to do was curl up in her bed and succumb to the pain of what had just happened.

The van behind her honked again, this time longer. Megan put the Jeep in drive and pulled ahead. She was boxed in on all sides in the drive-thru. No way to escape, no way to get away from the woman with her child, the child that looked so much like Emma yet wasn’t her.

 

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Genre –  Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG

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