Cheryl Broussard made two vows: She'd never fall for an abusive man, and she'd never return to her Louisiana hometown. But she's learned all too well the lesson of never-say-never.
Now, back in Bijou Bayou after fleeing from an abusive boyfriend, Cheryl finds work as a Hospice nurse. While reading a dying patient's Korean War love letters, family secrets shatter Cheryl's beliefs about her family and herself and shed light on the reason she fled her hometown. When the Broussard family secrets are revealed, can Cheryl deal with the truth and accept the blessing of a second chance for relationships with her family, old friends, and with the God she never really knew?
I crossed the drawbridge, which carried me over Bijou Bayou and into the small community which I now called home again. The purple flowers of the full bloom hyacinths floating on the water danced with the cattails at the water’s edge. All the things that made Bijou Bayou unique brought rushing memories of both the good and the bad of my childhood. Guess I couldn’t embrace one and escape the other.
While I zipped into the parking lot of Marvin’s IGA, I made a mental list of the items I needed for dinner.
Leaning on the grocery cart for support, I scanned the aisles. The day’s events had sucked the last vestiges of my energy, more so than I’d realized. Seemed encroaching death had a way of doing that. I craved nothing more than to hurry home to a hot bath.
I picked up a bag of salad and examined the leaves for freshness.
“Cheryl? Is that you?”
That voice. The one that filled my heart during my younger years tickled my ears.
He stood amidst a backdrop of fresh pineapples and mandarins, wearing navy slacks with a light blue oxford shirt, his paisley tie loosened and the first button opened.
A little paunchier than I remembered with his dark hair, shorter and thinner, but the dark electrifying eyes remained. And now, they beamed on me and zapped a hole right through me. Just like before. Just like I remembered. Just like I’d once loved.
“Beau...hello.” I kept my hands firmly planted on the plastic bag and prayed he wouldn’t extend his. I couldn’t touch his skin. Not with my clammy hands. Not ever. Heaven only knew what would happen to me if we touched. “How are you?”
He hesitated as though measuring his words before he spoke. “I-I-I’m good.”
Beau, the man I decided at seventeen was the love of my life stood before me, and now thirteen years later, I couldn’t think of anything to say to him. He’d stayed in Bijou Bayou, married my friend, Annie Melancon, and last I’d heard, had a son.
“How’s your family?” I reverted to the typical Louisiana questions.
He fingered the plastic flap of the cart’s seat. “We’re managing. You know Mama passed away last year. She and Daddy are finally together. Got a son, Steven, he’s ten and growing up into a fine young man. And Annie...is still holding on.”
Holding on? What kind of response was that? I paused. I’m sure confusion painted my face.
“You haven’t heard?” He leaned onto the handle of the shopping cart.
“I don’t think so.”
“Annie was in a car accident two years ago. She’s in a long term care facility in
Lafayette.” He squeezed his lips together and blinked a few times. “In a coma.”
Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. Her tagline, Where the Bayous Meets the Mountains, grew from both loves. She is the author of, Deep Freeze Christmas, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and Southern Fried Christmas.
Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women's Fiction Writers Association.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This
native writes from the Northwest Colorado home
she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle.
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Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart