Tracy’s supposedly perfect life as a pastor’s wife and mother of three is turned upside down when her husband leaves her for a man.
Clay Alexander’s charmed existence starts spinning out of control when his father threatens to shut down Maple Valley’s woolen mill – unless Clay conforms to his family’s expectations.
Is Tracy and Clay’s love meant to be, or will they forever be on opposite sides of the merry-go-round?
Her children. His parents. Her pride. His honor. The welfare of an entire town.
MERRY GO ROUND… Hang on for dear life.
Their mother went to the door and looked out. “Did Trevor have trouble finding a place to park?”
“He’s not here,” Tracy told her with feigned surprise. “I’m sorry. I thought I told you he wouldn’t be able to make it.”
“I’m sure you didn’t, dear.”
Her mind went blank. Panic clutched at her side. What was wrong with her tonight? She was a master at keeping a straight face when she was trapped in a half-truth and had to find the right words to cover her tracks. She’d been practicing since she was what – eight or nine? She knew hundreds of ways to bend words, to get out of a jam without actually lying. Sadly, the web of deceit she and Trevor had woven since he’d asked her for a divorce had stretched even her reserves.
“Um…” She had already nursed the counseling-a-hurting-parishioner angle to death, and given the excuse about Trevor having to visit a very ill member of the congregation too many times over the last few weeks for it to be plausible. Their church wasn’t big enough to warrant such never-ending pain and suffering among its members. Besides, the children were still within earshot. Whatever she said now would have to jive with what she had told them earlier.
“I’m sure I told you about the conference, Mom.” She kept her tone light. “He’s been gone all week. He did call the other night though, and he told me to give Ian a big birthday hug. Is he downstairs with his daddy?” Tracy was halfway across the spacious kitchen by the time she finished speaking and around the corner before her mother could formulate the words to disagree with her again.
“Conference? Something to do with the church?” She heard her dad ask.
“I have no idea,” she heard her mother say.
Tracy gripped the handrail at the top of the stairs and stood concealed from the sight of the others. She could hear Jake’s melodious voice, Mac’s deep, rumbling laughter, and Timothy’s high-pitched squeal of excitement mingling with the noisy clatter of the other children’s voices.
It wasn’t really lying, she tried to convince herself. Keeping your troubles to yourself was just what the Joneses did. Problems, personal flaws, shortcomings, and weaknesses of the flesh were squelched –
squashed if necessary – and made to disappear long before they ever became public knowledge. These people lived victorious Christian lives even if it killed them.
Unless you were taken with a serious disease, of course. No one asked to be sick. There was no shame in sharing your woes when one of you was ill. She certainly didn’t wish Trevor any harm, but him being
sick would have been easier to explain than what was really going on.
She herself was feeling ill just imagining what people would say if they knew their perfect pastor / son-in-law / husband of the year was gay.
By day, Sherrie Hansen owns and operates a Victorian bed and breakfast and tea house in Northern Iowa called the Blue Belle Inn. By night, she enjoys not only writing, but traveling, reading, needlework, quilting, and renovating and decorating old houses. She is the author of three additional books, Night and Day, Stormy Weather (Book One of the Maple Valley Trilogy) and Water Lily (Book Two of the Maple Valley Trilogy).
Click here to read first chapter of: Merry Go Round
Click here to buy: Merry Go Round