Title: The Place I Belong
Author: Grea Warner
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
West Virginia, New York, Tennessee…Lara and Finn Murphy have lived in all of these places. And thanks to Finn’s career as a country music singer, they have had the opportunity to explore many more. But what they have discovered along the many roads traveled, is that the only real place that matters is where each other is—that is the place they belong.
The pair will need to hold onto that truth as they face their greatest challenges yet. On top of dealing with Pop’s terminal illness, Lara and Finn’s young daughter is caught up in an emergency situation. The traumatic event not only scratches at old wounds but brings an unwanted public spotlight on the family.
Amongst the emotional upheaval, can they find sanctuary and comfort in each other? Will they learn to reconcile what has happened in the past to find peace in the present? Can they finally and completely let each other in?
And, will their road of life, full of detours and U-turns, finally have a happily ever after?
The final book in the Country Roads series, THE PLACE I BELONG, will take you on an emotional, heartfelt journey.
After all the immediate concerns were taken care of and the important people were notified, it was late. Finn was checking on his hopefully-asleep mom, as Will, Nola, and I sat in a reflective state in the Murphy parlor. He came down the steps, did a quick glance at us, and proceeded straight into the kitchen, where I heard the tell-tale signs of bourbon being poured onto a few cubes. A weary and tired Nola looked over at me and I at her. Before either of us could speak, though, we heard the back door open and close. Finn had escaped to the small, enclosed, private backyard.
“I got him,” I spoke softly, while standing up.
Already finishing his drink by the time I took the few steps outside, he had his back turned, poured another, and downed it just as quickly. I put my palm up to the back of his gray sweater and started a soothing circular motion. It had been the same thing I had done for him when Wyatt passed away years before.
“Maybe you should slow down.” I observed his hand once again on the bottle’s neck.
He flinched my hand away and turned toward me. “I don’t need a police officer.”
“I…. Remember, don’t drink because you’re scared or mad or—” I started reciting the wise words he had previously spoken to me.
“And I don’t need to be psychoanalyzed.”
“I’m not.” I tried to be calm because I knew how much he was hurting. “Finn, I thought I was just being your wife… your girl who loves you.”
“I don’t need—"
“You’re gonna push me away, now?” I practically cried out.
He had done it in the past when Wyatt had died. But that was many years and tears before. We had grown so much stronger and secure as a couple…as one heart. Regardless, I got no response from him.
I couldn’t take that. I knew his pain, and I knew where the words, and even the silence that followed, were coming from. But I couldn’t take it. Because, as strong as I had to be for my husband, I was hurting, too. And his rejection, on top of my sadness, would break me…or us.
So, I said, very simply and solidly, while resisting adding ‘not to sound like a cop,’ “Do me at least this much and please don’t drive.”
It was my past of picking up my dad at the local jail or wondering why his car was parked on the grass instead of the driveway that made me say that. It was my past of my father being killed because of a drunken accident that made me fear that Finn, in his current state, would make the same mistake, too. But the fact was, Finn had never even gotten close to drinking and driving. Besides a controllable bourbon or beer here or there, he didn’t even normally drink that much.
I turned and walked back into the kitchen. I didn’t want Finn to see me upset. And I couldn’t go immediately back into the parlor because I didn’t want Nola or Will to see me upset, either. Instead, I just leaned against the counter and breathed in as many strong inhales and exhales as it took before I could face my in-laws.
When I eventually did make my way back into the parlor, I simply said, “I have his keys. If you could, just make sure….” My voice dipped.
Due to his own personal experience and demons with drowning in alcohol, Will took the lead. “He won’t go anywhere.”
I hugged both of them and went upstairs to the room Finn and I were sharing. As I dressed into my pajamas, my thoughts were entirely on my husband. I knew by the position of our back room, he was practically standing two stories beneath me. I could almost feel him. I ached for him but knew I couldn’t help. I wondered if he was thinking of me just a little bit, too.
It was only a matter of minutes, maybe not even, after I had gotten in the bed and turned off the light that Finn entered the room. I didn’t see him because my back was turned, but I knew it was him. It was years of knowing his step, his scent, his breath, his presence.
It was a second or two before he climbed into the bed next to me. I felt his arms wrap my body from behind, and I welcomed it. I wasn’t mad. I understood his pain. I was more relieved that not only had he found his way back to me…to us, but he had done it rather quickly. And by the feel of his bare chest against my back, I knew he had taken off his sweater and was there to stay.
“You are my girl.” He was obviously referring to the words I had spoken in that backyard. “And I love you, too, so much. I’m sorry.”
If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
I am a huge country music fan. So, my dream spring break would be to gather a group of friends and go to a concert at a tropical resort – backstage passes and meet & greets with the band included. Alas, since that is most likely not going to happen, I made it the premise of my latest book coming out this fall.
What’s your favorite thing about Spring and why?
My favorite thing about spring is the extended amount of sunlight in the day. It gives our hiking group more time to go out and explore nature. Although, my spring allergies have something to say about the season, too. Achoo!
Spring Break Bookapalooza Giveaway:
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Runs April 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on May 1.
There really wasn’t any other path. Grea Warner knew from a young age that she wanted to write. She was born to write. First it was in diaries with little metal keys and in written tales that she slipped to friends in study hall. School newspapers, a college television drama, and internships in the soap opera world were next. After producing and writing a local show, she decided to delve into the world of the novelist. When her fingers aren’t tapping out her latest book filled with angst and romance, Grea can be found hiking the trails or jamming to her favorite country artists on the radio.
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