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After losing her son in an elementary school shooting that devastates the tight-knit community of Stillwater Bay, Jennifer Crowne finds herself unable to settle back into her role of perfect stay-at-home mom and committee organizer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mayor Charlotte Stone, struggles to keep the town together, and Charlotte’s husband, the school principal, may not be the hero everyone thinks him to be.
As they try to heal from this irrevocable trauma, Jenn and Charlotte find themselves at a crossroads—within the town and within their friendship. For Jenn, broken and grieving, there is no going back, and she demands that the school be closed so that she can bury the past. Yet Charlotte is equally desperate to hold the town together, fighting the school closure and helping the shooter’s mother regain her place in the community. Jenn and Charlotte’s relationship is put to the ultimate test as each weighs her own interests against the bonds of their friendship.
JENNIFER After heading back home and changing into something a bit more presentable, Jenn made her way downtown, parking just outside Sweet Bakes, the local bake shop. The sky was still dark, the clouds slowly gathering together. She grabbed her umbrella, just in case the heavens decided to open like she thought they would. A good thunderstorm would do her soul well today. Gina’s was just down the street, but the downtown area of Stillwater was so small that you could walk the length of
could dunk their teachers, and other fun things for families to do. “What about the community center?” Charlie shook his head. “That’s where the midway is being set up.” The midway included the carnival rides, games, and entertainment. “Surely there is room?” While the parking lot wasn’t that large, she did remember that they’d rented only a few rides and booths, making sure to leave plenty of room for other things. “Why can’t we move some of the booths down to North Beach and set
believing that. Robert knew everything that happened in this town; that’s why he made such a great business partner for her. They worked well as a team. “No, Charlotte. I didn’t. Jenn just drove up; let me talk to her.” He hung up on her. Charlotte sat there in shock. How could Jenn do this to her? Didn’t she understand the harm closing their school would do to the town? To the teachers and to the parents? Was she so lost in her grief that she couldn’t see past her own anger and sorrow?
able to move. Her hand trembled as she reached for the multitude of cards, but her grasp was firm when she grabbed them. She looked around for a spot to place them, somewhere that was out of the way, and spotted a square box beneath an end table. She knelt down and opened the box and found some Lego pieces that belonged to Bobby. Her eyes filled with tears as she placed the envelopes on top of the toys. When she stood, Robert was behind her and he offered to help her up, but she ignored
with him. Charlotte just stood there, in shock. “One day, that man’s anger is going to go too far.” Charlotte blinked and tore her gaze from the door and noticed Pastor Scott beside her. “So that was you he was yelling at.” “I hope it was okay we came in here to talk? I figured it would be better to discuss his feelings in here rather than outside where everyone would have heard him.” Charlotte waved away his concern. “Of course. These doors are always open, you know that.