About The Storm Within …
They say ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice.’ But they’re wrong.
Claire Stapleton is living proof. First, she loses her beloved son to war. Then, her husband to another woman. As the life she’s known implodes, she struggles to pick up the pieces – to fit in. And in a small community like Whitfield, that’s harder than she ever dreamed.
Overnight, Claire falls from toast of the town to talk of the town. Long-time friends rally around, but confused and off-balance, Claire finds herself traveling a lonely, unfamiliar road without a map. And there are no detour signs to help her get back on the right track. Spiraling on a self-destructive path, Claire fights to find her way – and a reason to start over.
They say, ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’ Could they be right?
Hoping she looked more confident than she felt, Claire pulled open the heavy glass door to the First Trust Bank. A blast of arctic air hit her face. Walking into the bank was always like entering a cold storage freezer. For the first time in thirty years, she didn’t mind.
With Mary beside her, Claire strode to the receptionist’s desk. She explained what she needed, and waited while the girl stepped away. A moment later, the girl returned with George Sutton on her heels. Claire swallowed hard. She and Stan considered George and his wife part of their outer circle of friends. She started to extend a clammy palm to George, but to her relief, he leaned in and planted a quick kiss on her cheek instead.
“Hello, Claire. Come on back.”
She turned to Mary. “Want to come, or stay here?”
“Up to you.”
Claire jerked her head. “Come.”
George raised his eyebrows when Mary settled into a chair beside Claire, but didn’t comment. He cleared his throat.
“I heard the news, Claire. I sure am sorry.”
Claire crossed her ankles and folded her hands together in her lap. “Thank you.”
“What can I do for you this morning?”
She reached into her purse and drew out her savings book and checkbook. “I need to transfer money from these accounts into a new one.”
When his eyes narrowed, she rushed on. “Now, here are the balances. If you could just verify these amounts . . .”
Claire held her breath and watched as George turned to his computer. Please, please let the money still be there. In her heart she couldn’t imagine Stan being so hateful, but she’d never imagined him walking out on her, either.