If you’re a reader, your email is full of book promotions, announcements, and recommendations. So why choose END OF THE RACE?

Because it will take you to a place that will evaporate the tensions in your life.

Annika gazed at the land that had encompassed her life—the open arms of Traverse Bay, the vast stretch of Lake Michigan beyond, the golden ring of sand along the water’s edge. Above the shoreline, the woods were splashed here and there with the colors soon to come in full. The vastness had always overwhelmed her, calmed her churning emotions, reduced her to a mere speck, brought peace. (p. 10)

Because Annika and Brian, born into families shaped by the times, are people like yourself. Like you, they didn’t choose their beginnings and must cope with the tensions that split their families, but they found a place to thrive, in each other and in swimming, and will carry you with them in the exultation of that:

“Let’s go!” Brian cried for days and weeks as winter melted into spring. Annika dove into pool after pool across Michigan, his voice echoing with the cries of other coaches, in the hollow air of meet after meet, joining the cheers from bleachers filled mostly with families. He and Annie had only Joe, as always, but they had each other. That was enough. Annie won heat after heat.

“Let’s go!” got him up before dawn in the morning to join her at the pool before class. They carried him through classes and back to the locker room and through his own workout until she arrived to swim once again until dinner.

Now the flags of the Junior Olympics hung above them … (p. 134)

Their victories have carried the pair past injury and disappointment, across family histories and conflicts, into adulthood, marriage and parenthood. And their journey will carry you with them because you know what it is to find that one activity or person that carries you through. But now things aren’t right:

Rhythm replaced thought, her body slipped into a time lost from memory. Emptied of all but the water. No one urging her on, no lane markers, no whistles, no yelling crowd. Only her body releasing the weight of grief. (p. 1)

In the midst of training for the China Olympics, Annika has miscarried their second child. Both her pregnancy and its loss at such a time has been a shock. Brian has taken off on a sailing trip, and she’s not sure why, but he’s returning, and they’ll put things right again. With six-year-old Sadie, she goes to Traverse City to meet the plane:

The plane turned and taxied toward the terminal. Sadie was jumping up and down in anticipation as the attendants rolled the steps into place. The door opened and passengers began to descend to the tarmac. Sadie rose to her toes, waiting to wave and shout when she spied him. The stewardess and pilots emerged. Annika stomach knotted as she stared at the empty staircase.

Sadie’s heels hit the ground. “Where is he?” (p. 9)

Is he lost at sea? Who are the “friends” he went with? Annika’s search for answers reveals more and more about hers and Brian’s relationship, Brian’s character, and the family conflicts that they’ve coped with. It also raises suspicions that Brian’s family knows more than they are letting on, but Brian himself is still missing. When a family explosion reveals the missing piece, Annika must cope with a life changing decision—and with a six-year-old who insists on the truth.

Meet Sadie:

They [Annika and Sadie] rode along the shore in silence.

“I think those men kidnapped him.” [Sadie]

“What?” Her [Annika’s] eyes shot to the mirror in astonishment, but her daughter sat with lips clamped shut, saying no more. “What on earth gave you that idea?” She pulled into their drive, switched off the engine then turned toward her daughter.

“Bad men do that.”

Annika stared, then it dawned on her. “Did you watch TV with Grandpa?”

Sadie sobered, wide-eyed at being found out. “Just some.”

“Uh-huh. I’ll bet.” She was more than familiar with the sort of TV her father watched. “Well, those are stories, Sadie. Not real life.” She got out, went around the car and released the car-seat buckles.

Sadie jumped down and marched toward the house, “In real life daddies come home.” (p. 179)

And if they don’t? I invite you to join Annika, Brian, Sadie, and their families in this story that tests the resilience of the human spirit.

END OF THE RACE is now available as an e-book and in print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobe. It will soon be available at local libraries and bookstores.

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