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A Long Way From Eden -- Jana Richards

A Long Way From Eden

Zane Martin's teenage daughter is pregnant. Meg Evan's son is the baby's father. Because Zane grew up not knowing who his father was, he'll be damned if he'll let his grandchild live with that shame. Meg was forced into an abusive marriage because of an unplanned pregnancy, so she knows that love is the only good reason to marry. Neither Meg nor Zane expects or welcomes the attraction that sparks between them. As they await the impending birth of their grandchild, old wounds open and long hidden family secrets come to light. The young couple builds a newer, stronger relationship, while Meg and Zane reach for a love passionate enough to overcome the past--if they're strong enough to trust it...and each other.

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reviews

This was one of the most heartfelt stories I have read in quite sometime. Ms. Richards knows how to keep a reader turning page after page. Her characters are strong, passionate, and each has their faults. The story itself is unique in that Ms. Richards shows us all sides of the situation and why the parents feel the way they do. The ending was a bit unexpected, but is a very happy one indeed. I will read this book again and urge you to get the book for yourself.

Liadan
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

This is skillfully written and strong on characterization. Motivations are emotionally-driven. Any parent with a deep love for children will identify with the feelings of each character. In the lives of Meg and Zane, adult children see the truth of complicated relationships within relationships—current and past. This book is recommended for young adults who can handle well-presented sexual situations that teach a lesson. There was strong sexual and situational tension, enough to keep me reading to learn the secrets Meg and Zane held close, as well as secrets kept from them. I rooted for them emotionally, romantically, and sexually.

Reviewer: Linda J. Alexander, The Romance Studio

Meg and Zane’s romance is realistic and touching and I loved that I was never quite sure what would happen next between them. . .
Jana Richards takes readers on an emotional journey with her novel LONG WAY FROM EDEN. . . an inspiring story for anyone facing hardships in life and gives you hope that everything really will turn out alright in the end.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne, Rated 5 Ribbons
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excerpt

"Hey Meg, there's a good looking guy in booth six asking to see you."

Meg stopped rolling out pie dough to stare at Jane. For a split second her old fears screamed at her to sprint out the back door of the restaurant and not look back. With an effort she forced herself to relax. She had nothing to fear. Not after all this time.

Would she ever feel completely safe?

"Why would some guy want to see me?" She struggled to make her voice sound casual.

"Maybe it's the universe's way of saying you need a man. When was the last time you had a date?"

Meg poured apple filling in her empty pie shells. "Tom and Joe are all the men I need."

“They don't count. Tom's your son and Joe's like your father." Jane's eyes shone with mischief. "I'm talking about an honest to goodness, getting naked between the sheets kind of man. Like the guy in booth six. He looks good in a suit, but I bet he'd look even better without it."

"Jane! For Heaven's sakes. The customers will hear you." Meg pulled her away from the swinging doors leading into the restaurant. Jane had been like a baby sister to her for nearly seventeen years. Though Meg loved her dearly, sometimes she was incorrigible. She shook her head as she stared into the younger woman's eager blue eyes.

Jane's blonde curls bounced as she grabbed Meg by the hand and gave a tug. "Aren't you even curious to see what the guy wants?"

Meg held firm. "Probably just wants to sell me insurance."

"Well, whatever he's selling, you should definitely buy." Jane grinned, and pulled on her arm once more. "Come at least have a look."

Meg sighed. "Okay, I'll look, but only because you're driving me crazy."

She peered over the swinging doors and found she had a clear view of the man in booth six. He didn't look familiar, so she relaxed. She studied his face, with its long straight nose and dark brows. Because he was scrutinizing the menu, she couldn't determine the color of his eyes. A lock of dark brown hair fell over his forehead and he pushed it away with an impatient gesture.

She couldn't deny Jane's assessment. Something about the shape of his mouth, his strong, determined chin, even the restless tapping of his fingers against the table appealed to her. In another life she might have sat down across from him, smiled into his eyes and simply let nature take its course.

But this wasn't another life, and she wasn't looking for a man in the here and now. The pang of regret she felt surprised her. She hadn't regretted the lack of a man in her life for a very long time.

Jane gave her a little nudge towards the doors. "Humor me and at least find out what he wants. I'll even finish the pies."

Meg glanced at the man just as he checked his watch. It was rude to keep him waiting, whoever he was. She took a fortifying breath, handed her apron to Jane and pushed through the doors.

She stopped a few feet from his booth. Had Jane mentioned his name? From this close, he appeared tougher than the regular run-of-the-mill businessman. A jagged scar ran across the back of his hand, while another began at his left temple and disappeared into his eyebrow.

She cleared her throat when he looked up, extending her hand to him. "I'm Meg Evans. You wanted to speak with me?"

He stood and took her hand in a brief shake, his mouth unsmiling and tense. "I'm Zane Martin." He looked around. "Is there somewhere we can speak in private?"

Warning bells clamored in her head. "Anything you have to say to me, you can say right here." There was no way she was going anywhere private with this guy. She slid into the seat across from his.

He sat again and laid his hands on the table, his palms flat against the smooth brown Formica. Frowning, he said, "Are you sure? What I have to say is very personal."

"Look, Mr. Martin, I don't know you. I have no idea what you could possibly want to say to me, but whatever it is, I'll hear it right here." She folded her arms across her chest.

He studied her for a minute, his look enigmatic. She returned his scrutiny, wondering how he'd received the scars. Despite their dangerous appearance, they didn't take away from the attractiveness of the man.

He fidgeted for a few seconds, and then suddenly blurted out, "Your son got my daughter pregnant."

Meg's jaw dropped. Whatever she had been expecting him to say, that hadn't been it. She blinked as the information seeped into her brain. She'd known Tom was dating a girl, though she'd never met her. But pregnant? No way. Tom would have said something.

"I--I don't believe you."

He gave a heavy sigh. "Trust me, I wouldn't kid about this."

She splayed her hands on the table in front of her, her thoughts jumbled. "Tom's a university student. He doesn't have time for this."

"I can assure you he had enough time to knock up my daughter."

Meg gasped. "How can you be so crass?"

He scowled. "How do you want me to be, lady? Any way you look at it, it's a bad situation."

She slumped against her seat. "Well, you're not helping the situation by talking like that."

He waved a hand to dismiss her comment. "That's neither here nor there. I'm here to talk about getting these two kids married as soon as possible."

She straightened at his words and shook her head. "Married? Not bloody likely."

His eyebrows rose. "Now who's being crass?" He leaned forward so that his gaze was level with hers. The scar on his face whitened, as his face turned an angry red. "Your son has to take responsibility for his actions."

Meg leaned as far away from him as the bench seat would allow. "I'll have to talk to Tom. If what you say is true, I'll make sure he shoulders his share of the responsibility." She aimed her finger at him. "But just you remember, your daughter has to be accountable for this situation as well."

Zane nodded. "Of course. That's why I'm insisting on a marriage right away."

Meg stood and placed her palms flat on the table as she leaned down closer to his face, feeling some measure of power by standing over him. "Make no mistake, Mr. Martin. Whether Tom is responsible for this pregnancy or not, there will not be a marriage between our children."

He stood as well and she had to straighten to look up into his tense face. "Look, Mrs. Evans, try to be reasonable."

"It's Ms. Evans, and I'm being very reasonable. Pregnancy is not a good enough reason for two people to get married." When she realized people in nearby booths had stopped talking to listen to their heated conversation, she clamped her mouth shut. Heat crept up from her chest to her face and the skin prickled on her scalp. She lowered her voice. "This conversation is over."

He grasped her arm when she tried to walk away. In that moment she had a clear sense of déjà vu, a memory of being grabbed in the same way. Her whole body tensed, preparing for the expected blow. When he pulled a business card from his breast pocket, she almost collapsed at his feet in relief.

Shaking her arm free, she snatched at the card with trembling fingers. He held on to the business card for a moment before releasing it. "Call me after you've talked to your son."

With a slight nod, he dropped some change on the table and walked away. Meg clutched the card between rigid fingers, her eyes focused on his straight back and broad shoulders. She almost laughed out loud as she recalled Jane's ludicrous suggestion about the man in booth six. She had no desire to see this man without his suit. In fact, she had no desire to ever see him again.