I am thrilled to announce that Five Days Grace will go on sale a week from today, on Sept. 22! Will post buy links as soon as they’re available. I hope you love Grace & Aidan as much as I do. For now, I offer you the Prologue.
Grace McRae’s life was perfect.
Everyone said so, from the moment almost twenty-nine years ago when she landed, in a basket with a big, red bow, on the doorstep of a beautifully restored Victorian home on Christmas Eve.
That was the most popular version of her life’s story, considered a holiday miracle if ever there was one.
It wasn’t exactly true, but everyone loved happy stories. More importantly, people needed them. Grace knew that. So unless someone specifically asked, she didn’t tell the whole truth of how she came to be Grace McRae.
Which was that she and her older brother and sister were abandoned in a cheap motel for days after their birth father nearly beat their birth mother to death.
A social worker delivered them to that doorstep in Baxter, Ohio, in the middle of December. Grace arrived with no basket and no red bow, but a sense of rightness and Christmas miracles all the same.
As far back as Grace remembered, she had always been the beloved and adored daughter of Sam and Rachel McRae, and the luckiest moment of her life had been landing on that doorstep. The people inside were the salt of the earth, hard-working kind, and heart-broken over their inability to have children, including a baby girl lost before she was even a day old. It was an awful thing that had happened to two very nice people, the kind of thing no one understood, that left people railing at God over the injustice of it all.
So Grace’s arrival had been considered one of those rare times when the universe realized the error of its ways, then came back to right a major wrong. Sam and Rachel had lost one baby girl, but they’d been given another one, Grace. A little angel, people had often said of her.
She’d had blonde curls and a naturally sunny disposition, and had been dressed up as an angel more times than she could count. At one point, when she was very little, she thought she really was an angel. She’d stand in front of a mirror and stare at her bare back, waiting for her wings to grow.
The image of her as the perfect, golden child persisted into her young adult life, and her story helped people believe life did indeed make sense. Bad things didn’t happen to good people. Faith and kindness were rewarded, and good prospered over evil. She’d been lost, but she’d also been found, and Grace came to believe her life would continue that way forever.
People who’d lived in Baxter at the time of her arrival and knew the real story made a point of being extra nice and kind, offering up many prayers and good wishes for her. For a long time, she had thought that was one of the reasons life was so good for her, a because a bunch of nice people had sent extra angels to watch over her.
Sometimes she’d thought all the good things in her life simply arrived at the beginning, but at times, too, she’d truly believed life would always be ridiculously easy for her. easy. She’d felt guilty about it. It wasn’t fair that other people suffered so much. Of course, she’d done her best to deserve her life, to be the perfect child, doing everything right, working hard, being helpful, being kind. And it hadn’t been easy, never causing any trouble or sleepless nights, never making people mad or disappointing them, but she’d tried, and most of the time, she thought, she’d succeeded.
Sometimes, she’d thought her life had gone so smoothly because of her family, the foundation upon which she stood. They were so good, so strong, so caring. A person could get through anything with a family like hers.
And if she were totally honest with herself, at times she’d thought her life had been good simply because she was careful and smart and made good decisions, so naturally her life just worked.
God, what a fool she’d been to think anyone got a perfect life.
PS — Okay, now I think you might be really worried about poor Grace. Please don’t be. She’ll be fine. Promise. She’s on her way to Aidan, just doesn’t know it yet.