The Homecoming

By: Robyn Carr

In a small town, reputation is everything. In her latest novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr explores the burden placed on a young man returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn’t the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he’s finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?


One

When Seth Sileski was a kid, Thunder Point was his playground. Even as a freckle-faced, towheaded little kid he’d held this town in the palm of his hand. He could run the fastest, hit the hardest, throw the farthest and charm the most cantankerous teachers. His two older brothers, Nick and Norm Junior—affectionately known as Boomer—had also had great childhoods, but they never matched Seth’s notoriety. He went from beautiful kid to adored adolescent to most popular and accomplished teenager—great grades, superb athlete, handsome, a good and loyal friend. He’d had it all. And then, at the age of twenty, his life took a dramatic turn and all that great luck and good fortune seemed to blow away.

Or, if you listened to his father, Norm Sileski, Seth threw it away.

So now he was back in Thunder Point, a little scarred and damaged but whole. And definitely humbled. He’d traveled a long way since leaving town at the age of eighteen and if you’d told him five or ten years ago that he’d return home he’d have called you a lunatic. Yet here he was, and by choice. This time he was wearing a deputy’s uniform. He was thirty-four years old, and his battle to regain a sense of pride and accomplishment had been mighty and difficult. Seth was taking over the Sheriff’s Department Thunder Point substation from Mac McCain. He’d be the officer in charge while Mac moved to a lieutenant’s position at the headquarters in Coquille.

Seth had been back to town fairly often over the past sixteen years. He visited his mother and tried to check in with his father. Every time he drove into this small coastal town he was surprised by how little the place had changed. People changed, the economy changed, the world changed, and yet Thunder Point, Oregon, always seemed to remain the same. The linoleum in the diner had been old and cracked when he was a boy, all the same fast-food establishments were present, Waylan’s Bar was still the only real dive in town and it looked frozen in time. In fact, Waylan still propped the door open with a paint can, as if he intended to paint the place. It hadn’t happened yet.

It was the second week in September and school had resumed just a couple of weeks ago, so there was still a lot of optimism and excitement winding up the students. Those on bikes weren’t staying out of the middle of the road very well, but a little whoop-whoop from the police SUV moved ’em over quick, followed by yelps of laughter and shenanigans.

Seth caught sight of Iris McKinley, his next-door neighbor and childhood friend when he was growing up. She was still riding her bike to school, but now she wore a skirt and carried a briefcase in the basket. When the wind caught her skirt it revealed tight, black bike shorts underneath. The kids raced her. The school buses passed her, honked their horns and kids leaned out their windows to wave. Iris jingled the bell mounted on her handlebars and waved in response. She threw back her head and laughed as a bus driver laid on the horn for a long blast. She still had that wild, unrestrained laughter he remembered. Before she noticed him, he turned off the main street, heading back to the substation to park.

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