About the Book
Blessings, Georgia #3
by Sharon Sala
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
There is always hope
After eight years in the Marines, Jacob Lorde returns to Blessings, Georgia, with no plans other than to hole up in his empty house and heal what’s left of his soul. But with a charming next door neighbor and a town full of friendly people, keeping to himself is easier said than done.
As long as you can come home
Laurel Payne understands far too well what Jake is going through, after witnessing her late husband experience similar problems. She’s in no hurry to jump into another relationship with a complicated guy, but their attraction is undeniable—and perhaps exactly what both of them need.
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The first thing she did was take down her hair. It was thick and a slightly curly auburn that hung well below her shoulders, and sometimes having it up all day gave her a headache. As soon as it was down, the release of tension in her body was palpable. She quickly changed her clothes and got to work.
By the time the school bus stopped to let Bonnie off, Laurel was taking the last batch of cookies from the oven. She had the third load of clothes in the washing machine, a load in the dryer, and vegetable soup simmered on the back burner.
The sound of Bonnie’s footsteps coming up the steps of their trailer was Laurel’s signal for an emotional shift. Whatever was bothering her did not belong on her little girl’s radar. She turned toward the door with a smile. Seconds later, Bonnie came inside in a rush, talking nonstop.
“Mama, I got a happy face on my new words, and Lewis threw up on my shoe at lunch. Mrs. Hamilton washed it off but it still smells funny. I think it got on my sock, too. Milly was mean to me at recess but I told her she was acting like a baby. Then she cried, which proved I was right. Can I have a cookie? How long till supper?”
Laurel grinned. “Come here and give me a kiss. I missed you today.”
Bonnie threw her arms around her mother’s neck and kissed Laurel’s cheek as she reached for a cookie.
Laurel grinned when she saw the second cookie in Laurel’s other hand and stopped her long enough to get the stinky tennis shoes and socks off Laurel’s feet.
“Change out of your school clothes before you go feed Lavonne, and put on socks with your old shoes. It’s chilly out today.”
“I will,” Bonnie said. “Can Lavonne have a cookie, too?”
“No. Chickens don’t need to eat sugar. Just her regular feed, okay?”
“Okay, Mama,” Bonnie said, and ran barefoot to her room, her little feet making splat, splat sounds as she went.
In minutes she was out the back door and running toward the little chicken coop. Her daddy had built it for Lavonne, and she thought of him every time she went to feed her pet, but it was getting harder to remember what he looked like. That scared her a little, but she was afraid to talk to Mama about it. She heard Mama crying sometimes at night. It was hard being Mama’s big girl when she still felt little and scared.
When she unlocked the gate to the fence around the coop and Lavonne came running, it made the sad thoughts go away.
Lavonne was her buddy and had the prettiest black feathers ever. Mama said she was from a family of chickens called Australorps, but Bonnie disagreed. Lavonne was from the family of Paynes.
The chicken’s constant clucks sounded a lot like Bonnie’s chatter as Bonnie scooped up feed and put it in the feeder inside the coop. When she left the chicken yard to get fresh water, Lavonne was right beside her, clucking and occasionally pausing to peck the ground.
“What was that?” Bonnie asked. “Did you get a bug? Good job!” Then she suddenly squatted and pointed her finger in the grass. “Oooh, look, Lavonne, there’s another one!”
Lavonne was on it in seconds, then wandered off a few feet while Bonnie carried fresh water back to the coop and filled the watering station. As soon as she was through with all that, she pulled a fresh hunk off the bale of straw and loosened it. She was getting ready to put it in Lavonne’s nest when she saw the egg.
She squealed and dropped the straw then came out of the chicken coop on the run, screaming, “Mommy, Mommy.”
When Laurel heard Bonnie’s scream her heart stopped. She dropped the armload of wet clothes back into the washer and went out the back door on the run.
“What’s wrong?” she cried, as Bonnie ran into her arms.
Bonnie held out the egg in two hands as if it were pure gold.
“Look, Mama, look! Lavonne laid an egg. Does that mean she’s all grown up now?”
Laurel was so weak with relief it took a moment to answer.
“Well, my goodness, I guess it does. Way to go, Lavonne,” Laurel said.
“We’re both growing up, aren’t we, Mama? Here, you take the egg. I’m going to play with Lavonne some more.”
Laurel sighed as she watched Bonnie running back to the coop. Yes. Her little girl was growing up. She turned around to go back to the house, carrying the proof of Lavonne’s launch into hen-hood, and the farther she went, the angrier she became at Adam.
By the time she reached the back steps, she was crying.
“Oh, Adam, just look at what you’re missing. Why did you have to go and blow your damn head off? We need you. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this.”