Title: My Heart Weeps
Author: Pamela S Thibodeaux
Genre: Edgy Inspirational Women’s Fiction
After thirty years married to the man of her dreams, Melena Rhyker is devastated by her husband's death. Relief comes in the form of an artist's retreat at the Crossed Penn ranch in Utopia, TX. She rediscovers a forgotten dream as her artistic talent flourishes into that of a gallery-worthy artist. Will she have the courage to follow the path she was destined to travel?
Garrett Saunders has been on the run most of his life. Abused and abandoned as a child, he escapes the clutches of a past filled with pain and shame, and hides from his calling as a Native American healer. His years as a CIA agent aid in overcoming his childhood and honing his talent and skill as a fine art photographer.
Follow their journey as two people who come from totally different backgrounds, but share gifts of gigantic proportions, find meaning and purpose in the Texas Hill Country.
The next few days passed in a hectic whirl as the ranch staff prepared for the upcoming show. In town, the Utopia Arts & Crafts Guild geared up for the Annual Fall Fair. The day-long event served as a platform to exhibit the artists featured at the Cross Penn later that same evening.
The phone never stopped ringing. Artists fretted as they chose and discarded which pieces they would showcase at the Fair and what would stay at the ranch. A steady parade of trucks loaded with food, equipment and artwork traveled into and out of the ranch gate. Everyone, even the guests, who were mostly artists’ family members, pitched in to help. Melena hadn’t heard whether her parents, children and grandchildren would be there for the show. She watched, waiting with hopeful anticipation, every time the door opened, then sighed in defeat when a family not her own walked through.
Each artist to be showcased at the ranch took turns working the booth in Utopia. The town square overflowed with vendors offering handmade crafts, homemade jellies and pies, metal and wood yard art. Flint knappers offered one of a kind knives and sharpening stones. Sculptors displayed pottery and ceramics. Designers set up purses, jewelry, quilts and crocheted items, hand crafted wind chimes and toys.
Melena couldn’t get enough of the sights and sounds going on around her and snapped a steady stream of photographs. Her mind whirled with ideas on how to transfer all she experienced onto canvas or glass. And for a while, she forgot the disappointment that her family hadn’t shown up yet. If they even do.
When her shift in town was up, Melena returned to the ranch to find Pat gone. She asked Anne if she knew where her friend had disappeared to.
“Said she had errands to run. She didn’t know how long she’d be out, but she’ll definitely be back before the show.”
Melena shrugged, thanked Anne and mounted the stairs to her room. Once there, the nerves and fears she’d held at bay over the last few weeks rose to choke her. Oh, God, what am I doing? I’m a housewife, mother and accountant. Not a gallery artist.
Determined to overcome the onslaught of emotions battering away at her, Melena pulled out her sketch pad and set to work. Before long, the excitement she’d experienced earlier poured out onto pages and pages of colorful depictions. A knock on the door interrupted. “Who is it?”
Melena scrambled from the bed and ran a brush through her hair, then opened the door.
Tension coiled the entire length of him.
“Are you okay?”
“I came to ask you the same thing.”
Melena smiled. “I’m good. Almost gave in to the insanity a while ago but sketched it away.”
“Okay, good. I’m about to head into town to clean up before the show. Guess I’ll see you in a while.”
Melena acknowledged his comment with a small nod. Concern curled through her when he hesitated and raked a hand through his hair. “Garrett, what’s wrong?”
A low growl sounded in his throat. “I don’t know why I let her talk me into this. It’s going to be a disaster. I can feel it.”
Melena stepped forward, laid her hand against the muscle in his cheek that jerked and spasmed as he ground his teeth, and felt him relax under her touch.
Frozen in the moment, they broke apart when someone stumbled up the stairs and gasped. “Mom?”
Melena turned as her daughter twirled on her heel and started back down the stairs. She bolted after her. “Kathryn!”
Her daughter swung through the kitchen doors then turned on Melena in an angry whirl. “How could you? We wanted to surprise you—well, I guess we did.”
Pat, Jon Jr. and Anne rushed into the kitchen.
“What’s going on?” Jon asked.
Kathryn flew into her brother’s arms, sobbing. “I s─s─saw her w—with a man.”
“It’s not what you think.”
“He was in your bedroom!”
Melena took a deep breath and fought for calm as Anne and Pat slipped from the room. “He was not. We were in the hallway outside my bedroom.” She turned an imploring gaze on Jon. “He’s a friend and fellow artist, having a bad case of nerves. He just came to see how I was holding up.”
Kathryn snorted in disbelief. Jon gave her a slight shake. “Stop it. Mom has the right to friends, even another love in her life.”
“But it’s barely been a year since daddy died! She couldn’t bear to be home with us for the anniversary of his death. Right. Probably because of him.”
Melena drew herself to her full five-foot, four-inch height. “How dare you, young lady. I loved your father! Love him still. You have no right to come here and stand in judgment over my decisions. When you’ve got your whole life figured out and perfected, then and only then can you tell me how to live mine.”
She spun on her heel and marched out of the kitchen and ran straight into Garrett.
He put his hands on her arms to halt her mad dash up the stairs. “I’m sorry. I should have come down with you, tried to explain.”
Melena shook her head. “No, I’m sorry for my daughter’s rudeness and immaturity. I’m going upstairs to get ready. I’ll see you in a while.”
Garrett let her go and hesitated, unsure whether he should go into the kitchen and talk with her children as they continued to argue. Her son’s firm stance on his mother’s behalf convinced him the boy had things under control, so he left the two to their discussion. For now.
He walked out of the lodge, got into his truck and headed to his cabin in town.
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My Heart Weeps offers a true-to-life journey through grief which can be so debilitating and yet, leaves the reader filled with hope, faith and optimism for their own future.
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Runs May 4 – May 12, 2021.
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Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!
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