With love, betrayal and grief disrupting her perfectly peaceful life, will she fight for the happiness she deserves?
After the violent death of her husband, Rebecca Holmes is content leading a quiet life spending time with her sisters and niece. When her younger sister Hannah asks her to plan her wedding, Rebecca discovers her friends and family all think her life is empty. Determined to prove them wrong, Rebecca takes up salsa lessons where she meets the charismatic salsa teacher, Gabriel Rodriguez.
Falling in love is the last thing Rebecca wanted to do, but she is inexplicably drawn to Gabriel. Opening her heart again is terrifying, especially after what happened with her late husband. With the help of the local vicar, Rebecca starts to believe that maybe she deserves a happy ending after all.
Just when she’s decided to give her heart to Gabriel, a betrayal brings back demons from the past. Heartbroken, Rebecca closes herself off again, but when disaster strikes her family, she is forced to confront her past actions. Can there be redemption for her and can she forgive those who betrayed her?
The Calm I Seek is a heartbreaking novel about forgiveness and redemption.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to write a story about the relationship between sisters who are very different from one another and the story evolved from that into a raw, emotional story about second chances, grief and redemption.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I have six sisters, so it was easy to draw on my experience to create the sisters. However, as I started writing my novel, the characters changed as they made themselves known, so there is no resemblance to my sisters anymore.
Being woken up early by strange sounds from the kitchen was not my idea of a good start to Christmas Day. I had expected to sleep late and have a leisurely Christmas breakfast with my younger sister, Hannah, and her boyfriend, who were staying with me, but instead got my older sister banging away in my kitchen when she had a perfectly good kitchen at home—where her husband and children were as well.
“What are you doing here?” I stared bleary-eyed at Laura, who had succeeded in covering every surface of my kitchen counter with stuff.
“Good morning, Rebecca. I thought I’d get a head start on lunch.” Laura washed a large turkey under the tap. “Hand me the chopping board, will you?”
I did as she asked and sat down at the table. Laura placed the turkey on the board.
“But why so early?” I yawned and gazed at the clock. “It’s barely past seven. Lunch isn’t till two. Surely you could get here a bit later?”
Laura rubbed salt and spices on it and pushed a strand of hair out of the way with her wrist. “Just let me do my thing.”
“I could help.” I already knew what the answer would be. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been so careless with my offer. Laura hated for anyone to interfere with her precious preparations.
Instead of replying, she lifted the dead bird off the chopping board and back into the roasting pan.
I averted my eyes. “Seriously though, why are you here so early? And why are you preparing the turkey here? You usually do that at home. Shouldn’t you be there with Robert and the kids?”
“Don’t tell me where I should be. Why don’t you go back to bed?”
“With all the racket you’re making? You woke me up. It’s too late now. I can’t go back to sleep.” Since I was up, might as well make coffee. I filled the kettle and took out the cafetiere, then scooped in a generous amount of coffee and inhaled the scent. It was cold in the house, as the heat hadn’t even kicked in. Seven o’clock was even too early for the house.
Luckily, Laura hadn’t gone into the living room. Dino, my trusty macaw who acted as my guard parrot, would have woken the whole house. And Hannah and Michael wouldn’t appreciate that any more than I did. Laura had insisted they stay at her place, but my house was bigger and more comfortable, so it only made sense they stayed here. I liked having extra people in the house over Christmas, and besides, Laura had her husband and kids to keep her company.
I poured the boiling water onto the coffee grounds and gave it a good stir.
Laura perked up at the scent of coffee too, so once it had brewed for long enough, I poured both of us a cup. She was now doing something with chestnut paste, but I wasn’t interested in learning her ways. I might be asked to prepare it next time. While I had nothing against cooking, preparing a turkey was another story. That big, lifeless bird, so cold and dead in my hands.
I shuddered. It reminded me too much of Richard, lying lifeless on the kitchen floor, the bloody knife at my feet. Three years had passed, but it seemed like his death would never stop haunting me. The cold hand of fear gripped me, twisting my stomach in knots whenever something reminded me of him.
I shook my head in an attempt to dispel my negative thoughts. It was Christmas and I was determined to make it a happy one.
“Okay, that’s finished.” Laura pulled out a chair and sat across from me at the table. “If you can put it in around nine, that should give it plenty of time before lunch. We’ll come by after church to finish the rest.”
“I can do the rest.” I was lazy, but not that lazy. “You guys don’t have to do everything.” Especially since Robert would offer to prepare most of the other food since Laura was only capable of cooking a turkey.
“That’s all right. We don’t mind.” She took a big gulp of coffee and sighed. “You’re already hosting the lunch.”
“That usually means preparing the food as well,” I pointed out. “Plus Hannah will want to help so we can do it all together.”
We sat for a while, drinking our coffee amicably.
“Are you coming to church this morning?” Laura avoided eye contact, which annoyed me.
I wasn’t going to bite her head off. Well, maybe not literally. At the same time, I didn’t like her asking. I had gone to midnight Mass the night before. How much time did one need to spend in church at Christmas? “I don’t think so.” I was in no mood for an argument and hoped this would placate her a little.
“Everyone is going, Rebecca. It won’t kill you to come.”
“I need to look after the turkey. The house could go up in flames if we leave the oven unattended.”
Laura scoffed. “That’s the best excuse you can come up with? You leave the oven on all the time when you go out. And Rose Cottage still stands whole.”
“I’ve been to midnight Mass. I’ve done my duty.”
“It’s not about duty.” Laura leaned over the table and took my hand. “You know it’s not. I hate seeing how far you’ve drifted from God. You need Him in your life. As it is, you have so little.”
I snatched my hand away. “I’m perfectly happy with my life the way it is. You don’t get to tell me what I need.”
“You aren’t happy.” She tried to grab my hand again, but I folded both of them in my lap. “I can see you’re not. Why don’t you allow some happiness in your life? It’s high time you start having fun again. Go out, be among people again. Life is for the living.”
I picked up our coffee mugs, took them to the sink, and rinsed them. “I have a life. I have my business, I have my parrot, and I enjoy my house. That’s more than most people have.”
Laura joined me at the sink. “You rarely go out, you refuse to go to church, and you don’t seem to interact with any other people besides us. And we’re your family.”
“What’s it to you?” I grabbed the hand towel and dried the coffee mugs perhaps a bit more aggressively than necessary, then clanked them into the cupboard.
“I only want what’s best for you. I want you to be happy.”
“I am happy,” I insisted. “And now I know why you came round here so early. So you could pester me. Well, it won’t work. Go home and be with your family. Your children are going to wake up and want to wish you a merry Christmas and you’re here at my house, lecturing me about my life. Go home.” I started clearing the countertop, putting the pots in the sink and loading the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher.
“You can’t keep moping around,” Laura said. “You need to let go of what happened and start living life again. You can’t bury yourself here forever.”
Let go of what happened? That was rich! After all that had happened, Laura still preferred to act as if it had been merely an inconvenience.
“You’ve no idea what you’re talking about. Just leave and spend Christmas morning with your own family.” I turned to look at her. “It’s my life and I can live it however I want.”
“Of course, but I’m worried about you. You turn your back on everything that’s good for you. Are we next? Will you turn your back on your family too?”
I pushed past her and hung up the towel. “I would never turn my back on my family.”
Laura opened her mouth but closed it again. With a shrug, she grabbed her purse from the table. “I tried. But I’m not giving up on you.” On her way to the back door, she stopped to kiss me on the cheek. “Merry Christmas, Rebecca.”
I didn’t return the kiss. “I’ll see you later.”
Laura let herself out, and I took down one of the recently cleaned coffee mugs and poured myself another cup. Then I sat back down at the table. Why did Laura always have to ruin a good moment? Why did she keep meddling in my life? I wasn’t a child anymore and didn’t need her advice. Why did she always have to be so bossy? I was an adult and she wasn’t my mother.
Which made it all the more galling that she was right.
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