|About the Book|
A sort of redneck version of one of those charming, southern novels set in beautiful, pristine settings, this is the story of a single mom moving back to her small-minded hometown with her two kids after having the nerve to leave the son of oneMoreA sort of redneck version of one of those charming, southern novels set in beautiful, pristine settings, this is the story of a single mom moving back to her small-minded hometown with her two kids after having the nerve to leave the son of one of the towns most influential families. To please her parents, Kathryn Gregory had married the promising Charlie Blackwell, a well-educated and well-respected catch from home and had put aside her own goals and ambitions to play the role of loving wife and mother to their two children. After living several years in a lonely marriage in which Charlie worked and travelled most of the time and spent much of his time with other women (she suspected), Kathryn Blackwell moves home to Opal, SC with her two children Lois and Kyle where the three of them struggle to adapt to life in a small town (one that is holding a definite grudge against her) after living in the big city of Appleton, SC. Kathryn is reunited with her amazing, unique family members including two older sisters, amazing parents, an eccentric cousin Dwight, but also the snooty, unwelcoming citizens of her hometown. She faces her fears of being independent, providing for her little family, losing her children to their wealthy father, and risking her heart to love someone again. Encouraged by her sister Pat that she deserves to be happy, Kathryn allows herself to become vulnerable and experience love anew which at first has disastrous results but later on restores her faith in true love and even marriage. Even though one of Charlies women seems to show up whenever she starts what seems like a promising relationship, Kat is able to finally overcome her insecurities and establishes a very close relationship with Luke Dreyfuss, an old high school friend. Even though he has been badly hurt in two previous marriages and also has two children of his own, Luke and Kathryn develop a comfortable, trusting relationship in which she experiences an intimacy and genuineness never known to her before. Soon after the beginning of their relationship, Kathryn lands a job as the wardens administrative assistant at the new Opal Correctional Institution and enters the brand new world of corrections where she struggles with her tender heart and her physical safety in working with 1200 medium/maximum security inmates as their recourse to the warden. In her responsibility to represent the warden, she and her hirees find themselves in some comical situations even in the midst of prison. After Lois and Kyle leave to be with their dad on Thanksgiving and Luke is working the night shift, Kat finds herself lonely and alone and ends up at the local bar, the Loopy Lizard, where she spends time with her coworker Pamela and her friends dancing and drinking until Luke shows up furious at her for not answering any of his calls or texts. Concerned with her safety, he has left his job only to find her behaving like a single, unattached female - similar to his previous wives and the trust he had felt for Kat is broken. The relationship ended and Christmas on the way, Kathryn busies herself with parents, children, and inmates until Luke shows up at the Christmas Eve service at the Baptist Church and sincerely apologizes to her. The two of them are able to make amends even though their trust in each other has been seriously damaged. Luke gives her a promise ring for Christmas, and they hope the New Year will be their year. The New Year arrives, the pace slows, and life at Opal CI falls back into its normal routine. When an inmate requests her help, Kathryns tender heart puts her in a dangerous situation that makes everyone in Opal put away their differences, realize that they are ALL neighbors of each other, and come together as a community in support of Kathryn and her family.