Welcome to Henry’s Mills, NY
A proposal. A recommitment. A new beginning.
Valentine’s Day is more than roses and a box of chocolates. Celebrate the day with three couples who find their plans don’t go quite as anticipated.
The idea sounded great: a Valentine’s getaway at the Watermill Inn, a place Lauren Westomore and David Randall adore. But while David’s got a question he wants to ask Lauren, she’s got news of her own — and the evening doesn’t go the way either of them planned.
The plan was simple. Owen Barton would sweep his wife Miranda away for Valentine’s Day, treat her to a fabulous dinner and surprise her with his plans to step bad from the company and let their son begin to take older. But things aren’t as settled as he hoped when he learns long-running disagreements have turned into cracks that could break their marriage.
Sabrina Tyner is starting a new life for herself and the town of Henry’s Mills seems the perfect destination. But leaving her old life behind isn’t as easy as she had hoped, especially when ghosts from her past seem intent on disrupting a quiet dinner on her own. Diner owner Josh Nolan is surprised when she asks for his help, but is it just a favor — or the start of something more?
Welcome to the town of Henry’s Mills, where life moves at a different pace from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here, the residents enjoy festivals and traditions that are the heart-blood of the community and hold out a hand of welcome to those weary souls seeking a respite from the troubles they wish to escape. At least, that’s what the brochure says.
An excerpt from “Rebuilding”:
“I think you’re being rather unfair,” Miranda said.
“No, I’m being practical. Theo’s at an age where he needs to buckle down and get serious about what he’s doing. If he wants to do something beside what he’s doing now, then he should get started and stop wasting time — and that means speaking up, not just shuffling his feet.”
“Maybe he hasn’t said anything because he doesn’t know what he wants to do. His entire life has been aimed toward this fate. He hasn’t been given a chance to try his wings.”
Owen snorted. “So I should let him go ‘find himself’? Seriously?”
“That. Wasn’t. What. I. Said. What I’m saying is that since his future has always been decided for him, maybe he hasn’t been given a chance to figure out what else he might like to do. That he wants to do something else should be clear to you since you’ve just been complaining that his heart isn’t in what you give him.”
She leaned forward. “How many times have you complained about your father and how he had everything laid out for you, that nothing was left to chance. He’d decided you were going to follow in his footsteps and that was the end of it. He had every detail planned for you.”
He met her gaze. “Not every detail. I’m the one who chose you. That wasn’t part of his plan.”
It was the one time that he’d gone against his father’s wishes, decided he wanted Miranda more than anything else, more than his father’s approval. Over thirty-five years of marriage and he’d never regretted the choice, no matter what he’d had to go through to make her his.
“And I’ve never been allowed to forget that. Your father despises me, Owen, because I represent a failure for him. He knew exactly who he wanted you to marry and you chose me instead. He didn’t get his way, so he never passes up an opportunity to criticize me. Ever notice how often he mentions Mallory Frobisher?”
“Mallory’s not an issue,” he countered, really not wanting to revisit that quagmire. So Father likes her. You know Nathan Frobisher’s an old business crony of his.”
“Which is one of the reasons he shoved you toward her. Marrying her would have caused a merger between your families and your father thought it would let him get his hands on properties he wanted. Instead, you blew the deal when you went for the ‘cheap knockoff’.”
There was a sudden creeping cold in his veins. “What makes you say that?”
“Because your father told me.” She almost spit the words out, each syllable sharp and precise. “It was after he’d had his stroke. You’d taken your mother off to get something to eat and I stayed with him. Oh, we had plenty to talk about. Rather, he talked about what a disappointment I was and I tried not to let him see how much his words hurt. You know as well as I do that showing weakness around him is always a mistake.”
His father’s words themselves were not a surprise; he’d been told much the same thing many times over the years. Nor was Miranda wrong in saying the elder Barton was never shy about dropping caustic comments about her or her abilities as a wife and mother. The surprise wasn’t even that his father had seized a rare moment alone with his daughter-in-law to unload. He was surprised he was only hearing about this now, seventeen years after the fact. “I’m sorry.”
They were pitiful words, but the only ones he had to offer. And he knew they offered scant comfort.
Then she said, “That’s what I don’t like about what you’re doing with Theo. You’re acting just like your father would in this situation — insist he buckle down and get serious about doing what you want him to, never even considering the possibility that’s not what’s best for your son. That’s not the man I married.”
This time, she was the one who reached for her cocktail, downing much more than just a sip. “Moments like this, I don’t even know if I know who you are any more.”