On Mystic Lake: A Novel
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Annie Colwater’s husband has just confessed that he’s in love with a younger woman. Devastated, Annie retreats to the small town where she grew up. There she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower who is unable to cope with his silent, emotionally scarred young daughter. Together the three of them begin to heal. But just when Annie believes she’s been given a second chance at happiness, her world is turned upside down again and she is forced to make a choice that no woman in love should ever have to make.
rented us a movie.” She popped it in the VCR, then climbed up onto the bed beside Terri. Terri grabbed a handful of popcorn. “What’s the movie?” “Same Time, Next Year.” “That Alan Alda movie?” Terri gave Annie a sharp, knowing look. “I always thought that was a hell of an idea. An affair once a year, I mean. Ellen Burstyn’s husband is probably a real shithead—a workaholic with the moral integrity of an alley cat. He probably fucked around on Ellen and then came crawling back like the worm he
flannel. She turned to look up at him. There were tears in her eyes, blurring her vision, but she hadn’t noticed until now. She wanted to tell him how sorry she was; it had all gone wrong between them. She picked up a small pink stack of sheets, stroking the fabric. “It made me crazy” was all she could say. He sat down beside her. She waited for him to speak, but he just sat there, watching her. She understood. The past had taught him caution. He was like an animal that had adapted to its
her thin, unwashed body for the price of a fifth of gin. The policemen told Nick that there were no suspects, and he hadn’t been surprised. No one except Nick had cared about her when she was alive; no one was going to care that another scrawny, homeless drunk, turned old before her time by booze and betrayal, had been murdered. Nick buried the memory in the black, soggy ground of his disappointments. He wished he could forget it, but of course, the past was close now. It had been breathing down
thought, too. “Annie says that when it rains, it’s Mommy and the angels crying.” He brushed the tangle of hair from her face. “Annie knows an awful lot.” She turned away from him, trying to hide the tears that burned her eyes. “I’m startin’ to forget her, Daddy.” He slipped an arm around her and drew her close, gently stroking her moist cheek. “Mommy had the prettiest eyes in the world, and when she looked at you, it felt as if the rain had stopped and the sunlight was on your face. And she
lower lip, she went to Izzy’s room and found the little girl sitting on the end of her bed, her feet swinging just above the floor. She was wearing Annie’s white sweater, the cashmere cardigan with the pearl buttons. A pretty lacquered box lay open on her lap. “Hey, Izzy-bear,” Annie said softly, “can I come in?” Izzy looked up. She tried to smile, but already her brown eyes held a sheen of tears. “You wanna look through my collection again?” Annie went to the bed and sat down beside Izzy. She