HAWKINS LANE, my fourth novel, has arrived—at least for those of you who read e-books—and will appear on Amazon any day now. Those of you who prefer your books in paper will have to wait for a couple of months, but here is a taste.
When we are young, many of us, like Erica Hawkins, believe we are springing free of home, leaving our past behind. Only later, in the midst of our most treasured relationship, do we realize we have carried it with us. Others, like Ned Hawkins, believe they are forever chained by their past, only freed by love of another. Their love of each other and the Cascades frees both.
The rhythm of their stroking carried them to a stream-carved gorge, and [Ned] led [Erica] along its edge … until he came to a tree-roofed lane. It was silent as a church. Together they stroked its length, then stood in the quiet, looking out across the untrammeled expanse of snow, then down the mountain at the glitter of sun off distant ponds. She laughed and gave a push that sent her out into the untouched blanket then turned down the slope.
“If we must.” She made no move to go. “Do you know what I think? I think you need to live up here—up above everything that has happened to you—where you can look out over the top of it.”
The new reality they forge in the clearing beyond that tunneled lane is deeply rewarding. As mountain rangers, they thrive in a world looking out over the town, and they are blessed with a daughter, Bonnie. It is years before the past bursts forth:
“Your father is out of prison.”
Ned Hawkins held the phone to his ear listening to his mother tell him the inevitable news he’d somehow managed to forget. The years fell away; he was again a murderer’s son. Across the room in a pool of lamplight, Erica sat helping Bonnie with her homework. The scene took on the aura of fantasy. From beyond the window came muted thuds as clumps of snow slid from the roof, and the creek ran loud as the mountains gave up their winter load.
This radical shift in their lives casts Ned back into his former withdrawn and fatalistic self, triggering a response arising from Erica’s earlier life. But that is Erica’s story, which I’ll hold until next time.