About the book: Two lives, forced together by past events and present choices, find themselves navigating through the murky waters of blame and desire.
Years have passed since Olivia Nelson’s brother’s fatal accident. The day Jacob died, she swore to impose penance upon Landon Gray, the one responsible for his death. Armed with a plan of retribution, Olivia transforms herself into Brooke Johnson, an up-and-coming photographer. She arrives in Argentina’s Patagonia, prepared to make the hospitality magnate pay for the life he destroyed.
Landon Gray has suffered greatly from his guilt, longing only to be forgiven for his harrowing mistake. After the accident, Landon fled Portland, Oregon to his family’s holdings in South America. Upon Brooke Johnson’s arrival at Landon’s resort, he is immediately drawn to the talented photographer.
When Olivia sees Landon again, she is pricked by shadows of doubt. Determined to see her meticulous planning come to fruition, she stays the course, until tragedy strikes once more.
A Portrait of Grief
There were no words to speak as Olivia and her father sat in a black Lincoln Town Car, headed toward the church. There had been very few words spoken between them since the night of the accident.
Josh Nelson had arrived at the hospital as quickly as his car and traffic would allow. Somehow in the haze of her anguish, Olivia had managed to give the police officers her father’s office number. Despite her desperate protests, they had carted her off to the nearest hospital.
The last thing she remembered seeing while in the back of the ambulance was Landon Gray being cuffed. He had made eye contact with her on his way to the police car. The tortured look on his handsome face had been unexpected. The surprise she felt had been quickly replaced by the dark seething rage already staking its claim upon her heart.
Later at the hospital, when she saw her father rushing in behind the curtain that was used to quarter her off from the rest of the patients in the emergency room, her grief-stricken face momentarily filled with relief at the sight of him.
“Daddy!” she nearly shouted as she threw herself into his arms.
Expecting to see Jacob with his daughter, Josh Nelson asked with fear in his voice, “Honey, are you all right? Where is Jacob?” He had only been told there was an accident. Thinking his son might be in surgery, his heart collapsed when he saw the look on his daughter’s face. “No, no, where is he, Olivia? Where is Jacob?” he cried.
The nurses must have heard his raised voice and quickly entered the partitioned area.
Josh looked at the nurses, demanding, “Where is my son? I want to see Jacob, now.”
In the background, he could hear the hysterical cries of his daughter, testifying to what his mind was desperately trying to deny.
“Mr. Nelson, we will take you to your son as soon as he arrives. There was an accident. I’m sorry to tell you, he did not survive.”
The same agony with which Olivia had cried out on the causeway escaped from Josh Nelson’s tortured soul.
“Jacob, Jacob!” the broken father cried over and over.
Josh Nelson saw his son for the last time the day of his funeral. The closing of the casket lid was like a solid oak door shutting firmly over the father’s life.
Managing to suppress the urge to rail at the injustice and the pain, he looked over at his daughter, who sat staring forward, tears streaming down her face. I have to pull myself together for Olivia, he had thought wildly. He may have lost his son, but he still had his baby girl and she needed him. More than ever before, she would depend on his strength and courage to get them through this dark time. Later, as they stood by the gravesite, Josh Nelson’s resolve would be put to the test.
The minister looked up toward the heavens. “Lord, we commend into your loving hands the precious spirit of Jacob Nelson. Keep him safely within your grasp until the time comes when we will see him once again.”
The moment the first flower was laid to rest on top of the casket, something snapped inside Olivia. Flinging herself on top of her brother’s casket she wailed, “Jacob, why did you leave me? Why? How am I supposed to live without you?” Not caring about anyone around her, she grabbed hold of the casket, pressing her cheek against the hard glossy cherry wood. “Jacob, please come back. Please come back. I can’t do this without you. Please!” she begged over and over. The sister’s gut-wrenching sobs ripped apart the heart of every soul in attendance.
Josh reached down for his daughter, intending to pull her away from the casket but instead laid his arms around her, lying with her across the hard wood of the coffin, combining his cries with hers.
Too tragic and personal to watch, the crowd, who had gathered to pay their last respects, quietly turned to leave father and daughter alone in their grief.