(Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press)
Germany’s sparkling Rhineland is the perfect place for a fresh start . . .
Warming people’s hearts with true accounts of kindness is what columnist Anna Kelly does best. But no one knows the private misery she endures in her abusive marriage. Still, leaving is difficult—until a deeply personal bequest from a beloved elderly neighbor compels Anna to travel to Germany. There she begins an unexpected adventure of paying it forward that will take her far from her complicated life in Brooklyn.
Arriving in the historic and picturesque city of Mainz, on the breathtaking Rhine River, Anna settles in at a cozy guesthouse filled with colorful residents. But fulfilling her task will require the help of a translator and knowledgeable guide.
Josef Schmitt will gladly shuttle the American visitor around if it distracts him from his dark thoughts. Ever since a serious accident sidelined him at the local excursions company, he’s been unable to forget the pain he caused or forgive himself. Now, accompanying Anna on her mission takes them both to surprising places—and they just may find the courage to truly set themselves free. . .
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If Anna had known surviving would come down to this moment, shemight never have married Patrick. She stood on the sidewalk outside their Brooklyn brownstone, doing her best to act natural despite the rapidthump of her heart.
He opened the taxi’s back door, poked his head in. “LaGuardia Airport.”
The driver popped the trunk and hopped out his door just as Patricklifted his golf clubs. “Hold on, sir. Let me get those for you.” He sprintedto Patrick’s side and took the clubs while Patrick nodded his approval.
Maybe the driver hoped for a big tip after catching a glimpse ofPatrick’s thick Rolex watch or his well-tailored sports jacket. Her husbandhad impeccable style. Or maybe the driver caught a whiff of Patrick’sunwavering confidence and wanted to stay on his good side. A simple liftof his thick, dark brows always commanded authority.
Patrick turned and approached Anna. His handsome face glowed witha smile masking the real demon inside, his scrutiny intense as he searchedher the way a zoologist watches a caged animal for signs of distress.
She slipped her hands into the pockets of her lightweight tunic top,comfortable for this September day. But now goosebumps prickled up he arms as she contemplated what he might be thinking. The least suspiciousresponse was to return his smile, so she did.
When he got close, he drew her to him, securing her arms around hiswaist. His voice softened. “I’ll miss you, Anna-belle.”
The nicknames, the dazzling and disarming sweetness. His charmshad lured her when they’d first met and throughout their courtship. Butshe now knew he was a human Venus flytrap.
She swallowed back a vilemix of hatred and fear. “I’ll miss you, too.”
He tilted his head, watched her with his unnerving stare. “What areyour plans while I’m gone?”
She could practically see the gears in his mind churning. The wrongresponse would flip his sunny mood upside down. But she’d gottenbetter at this game and played it up with a flirtatious smile. “You meanbesides missing you?”