BY: MARY JANE BRYAN
Chicago PD detective Colton Mitchell takes a nostalgic vacation back to his home town of Midland, Arkansas, expecting a simple vacation. But he’s totally unprepared for what he finds when he gets there. Reuniting with his high-school sweetheart, he discovers that he has a daughter—but she’s missing, another one of seven children who have disappeared from the sleepy, rural town over the past few years. Now Colton’s in a race against time to save the daughter he never even knew he had and to rid the town of the evil that’s been preying on their children…
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Errant by Mary Jane Bryan, Colton Mitchell is a Chicago cop who decides to take a trip down memory lane and head back to his old hometown for a visit. When Colton arrives, he runs into his old high school flame, whom he hasn’t seen in nearly twelve years. As they talk and catch up on their lives since high school, Colton discovers to his joy that he has a daughter—one his old girlfriend never told him about until now. But as Colton rejoices at the unexpected turn of events, he learns, to his horror, that his twelve-year-old daughter is the latest in a string of young children who have disappeared from this small town, never to be seen again. Determined to find and rescue the little girl he never knew he had, Colton uncovers much more than he would ever have thought possible.
The story is tense, fast-paced, and creative, with some wonderful characters. This one will have you continually on the edge of your seat.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Errant by Mary Jane Bryan is the story of a man who doesn’t know what he has until he loses it—literally. Colton Mitchell never really got over Marsha, the girl he loved in high school. When he graduated and went away to college, he expected her to be waiting for him at home. But she suddenly moved to California and never answered any of his letters. Now, twelve years later, Colton is a cop in Chicago. He returns to his hometown on vacation and Marsha is there, distraught because her twelve-year-old daughter has been missing since the day before. Colton is stunned to learn that Marsha has a daughter, and even more stunned when he does the math and realizes that Marsha must have been three months pregnant with his child when he left for college and she never even told him. But any joy he feels at learning that he has a daughter is dampened by the horror of discovering that the girl is missing, likely abducted by whoever—or whatever—has been periodically stealing children from this small Arkansas town since 1957.
Errant is well written, tense, heartwarming, and fast paced. It will hook you in from the very first paragraph and keep you reading all the way through.
This was going to be a hard delivery, she could tell.
The position of the baby was all wrong and, try as she had so far, it had not turned into the proper head-down angle. The mother was exhausted.
With every contraction, the mid-wife told the mother to push and push harder, but each time the woman had fallen back on the pillows, so exhausted she did not think she could push even one time more. She kept muttering something that sounded like “babies” to the mid-wife, but the mid-wife thought the mother was only delirious with her pain.
The midwife let her rest each time between contractions, hoping against hope that the baby would turn into the proper position with its head down into the delivery canal. She knew she was going to have to try to reach inside and turn the baby. She was grateful for small hands. These petite hands had delivered many babies around this community for many years now.
She was tired herself, not only tired because of age, but also tired of delivering all these babies. Why everyone thought only she could deliver one, she did not know. Oh, sure, she had started out years ago assisting the local country doctor, because these people had no way of getting to his office in the next town over, much less into the city to the hospital, to have their babies. But she had proved so skilled and invaluable that the women had stopped calling for the doctor and had only started calling for her to come.
They even thought that it was good luck to have her come, that if Granny delivered the baby, then it would have a fortunate life. Where that thought came from, she did not know, either, as well as why they only called for her.
But she came, every time she was called. Yes, she might groan inwardly whenever she heard that some young, even middle-aged woman was pregnant, but she knew she would always go when called.
If the truth were known, although she was growing weary, she started enjoying the reputation she was acquiring around the countryside. Not only had the women in this small town called for her for all her adult life, but the news had spread to other communities in this rural part of Arkansas.
Whenever she heard a horse or buggy coming down the lane, she started gathering up her materials. It was best if they came by buggy, for she had transportation to the home and back about a week later, if all went well. If not, she had her own mule that she saddled up and accompanied the man–for it was usually the husband who came for her–back to the wife or daughter that required her services.
And all always seemed to go well. That’s how her reputation grew and her fame for easy deliveries spread so rapidly. If the baby happened to be in the wrong position, as now, she always managed to move it rapidly and gently into the delivery position without too much damage to the mother.
She had never lost a baby or a mother. These women were of good country stock and bore their babies well. Good clean living and hard work made them strong and able to deliver well.
This woman’s husband was in the next room, pacing back and forth, back and forth. This was their first child, so it was understandable, but she still wished he would sit down and be quiet.
She reached up inside the mother with the next strong push and gently moved the baby around. But it didn’t feel right, somehow not the same shape as usual.
The baby came, head first as it should, and then with one big effort, its whole body came out, still connected to the mother by the cord.
Then it opened its mouth to let out a cry.
The midwife nearly dropped the baby.
The husband rushed in, uninvited, before she cleaned or prepared the baby. The mother had fainted from the exhaustive effort of delivery, but she was okay.
The husband took one look, gasped, and backed out of the room. The shock was too much for him.
Granny took the small, squirming bundle to the open, low window and placed it on the ground outside. She would dispose of it later.
She forgot about the husband as she and her assistant began cleaning the mother.
There was another?
© 2017 by Mary Jane Bryan