MJ Greenway is the author of the contemporary romance Dating Maggie and has just released a new romantic suspense novella entitled Sarah Starting Over.
Following, is the previously unreleased prologue that didn’t make its way into the published version of the book. However, MJ still feels it sets the stage for the story. Here’s the premise of the book: Sarah’s husband dies mysteriously. Raising her young son alone, she meets a hot, black PI with a prosthetic leg. He helps her find answers and hope for a second chance at love.
Original Prologue from Sarah Starting Over
It was the tail end of spring. I was holding a cup of chamomile tea and staring out at the back yard noticing the tulip bulbs opened to full capacity. I was enjoying a moment of calm and quiet as Milo napped in the next room.
He waddled out when he heard the phone ring. I picked up the home phone in the kitchen.
“Hi, Mrs. Reed?”
“This is she.”
“This is Edward, the dean at Chandler University.”
My stomach lurched into free-fall mode.
“Hi, are you looking for Brandon? He’s finishing a class I think.”
“Would you mind telling me your address? I have something to tell you but it would be better in person.”
“No. Please don’t make me wait. Is something wrong? What is it?”
“I don’t know how to tell you this. Brandon was found unconscious in his office. He was discovered by a student who called 9-1-1. An ambulance came right out but they were unable to revive him. I’m so sorry.”
Phone dropped. Tea cup shattered. Hot liquid oozed into my socks. Knees fell to the floor. Head dropped into my hands. My primal wail shook the walls of the house with its intensity.
Milo’s fingers poked me on the arm. He picked up the phone and handed it to me.
“Mama, are you okay?”
I grabbed his whole body and held him close. I moved us away from the tea cup shards. His shirt sleeve was soon saturated by my tears.
What the hell was I supposed to say to him? I grabbed the remote, punched some buttons ‘till Curious George came on.
“Watch TV. Mama needs to rest a minute.”
I slogged to our bedroom. The light outside had turned from bright to sepia toned.
For thirty seconds, I held my breath. I hoped it would reverse time so that I would not have to live through this. Finally air gushed through my mouth. I held a pillow against my face and screamed.
Milo came in to check on me. I sat in the rocker where I’d nursed him. He climbed onto my lap and I kissed the top of his fuzzy head. We rocked for a minute. Neither of us said anything. I felt the thud of his little heart doing double time.
“Mama, why are you crying?”
“Love-bug, something very sad happened today. That’s why I was crying.”
I didn’t want to say it. I wanted to say Daddy had gone on a long trip or was taking a nap that would last forever or he’d gone to a better place. Could I wait and tell him in a few weeks when I’d got myself together? Until then we’d pretend he’d gone on a fishing trip or something. That sounded good. But it was wrong. Milo was almost four years old. He was too young to really understand but too old to believe a lie. I took in a deep breath and exhaled for as long as I could to delay saying anything.
I threw my arms around him so tight he could probably barely breathe.
“Daddy died. He’s in heaven…with God now.”
I wasn’t even sure I believed that. We were never religious. We had talked about a vague belief in something but didn’t go to church. Spinning what happened to my baby seemed imperative somehow.
“When will we see him again?”
“When we go to heaven one day.”
“When will that be?”
“I don’t know, sweetie. But I’m sure Daddy’s spirit will always watch over us.”
“What’s a spirit?”
“It’s like the part of a person that’s not their body but like their soul. You know what. Let’s talk about this again later, okay?”
“I miss Daddy.”
Two days later black-clad onlookers bored holes in me with their sympathetic eyes. At a podium in a church, with shaking hands and a crinkled piece of paper I tried to recite a poem. Mourners waited for stanzas but no words came. The buzz of a broken florescent was the only sound in the room. And then everything faded to a quiet black.
I came to, head pressed against the cold wood floor. The fan on the peaked ceiling of the church looked like an impressionist painting, still out of focus. Someone must have helped me up.
The fragrance of flowers, tuna noodle casserole and Milo’s tear-stained face are the only other memories of that day. It’s just as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MJ Greenway is the author of Dating Maggie and Sarah Starting Over. Her great passions have always included reading and writing. When not engaged in one of those past times, she enjoys baking, walks and time spent with friends and family. She writes in a room of her own under the clouds of the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes her husband and son pop in to check on her. Learn more by connecting with MJ via social media: