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from The Girl in the Woods by Cynthia A. Jensen

Copyright © 2017–2019 Cynthia A. Jensen

Chapter 1

“Hey, dad!” Cherie Weaver said with a laugh as she gave her father a hug. “Could you have moved further away?”

“Hi, kiddo. You’re looking well.” Alex closed the door to the cabin and stood next to his daughter. “This it?” He looked down at her one suitcase.

“Yes, I’ve learned not to bring everything I own with me when I travel, thanks to Mark.”

“How is Mark doing these days?”

“Well, he was finally made a partner of the firm,” she said. “And then there’s this,” she said holding up her left hand. On her finger was a large karat diamond ring.

“Your mother is going to flip.” Alex took her hand in his. “In a good way, of course.”

“Where is mom? I want to surprise her.”

“I think she’s in the loft, putting some more blankets on your bed.” Alex walked over to the stairs leading to the upper room and called for his wife. “Amy, someone to see you.”

Amy Weaver stood at the top of the staircase. “You’re here, finally!” She headed down and pushed past her husband and grabbed her daughter by the shoulders. She pulled Cherie close to her and kissed her cheek. “I’ve missed you, so much.” She held Cherie at arm’s length, then pulled her in for another hug. “How was the drive?”

“It was very scenic. And once I got on the right road, I started to enjoy it.”

“Yes, it can be a bit confusing at first.” Amy picked up Cherie’s suitcase and started for the stairs.

“Mom, I can get that.” Cherie took the suitcase up to the loft. “I’m going to change out of this dress.”

“There’s a dresser by the bed,” Amy called out. “And there are some hooks on the wall so you can hang up your jacket.”

“Okay.”

“She looks wonderful,” said Amy to her husband. “Iowa really seems to be a good place for her.”

Alex agreed with her and gave her a quick hug and kiss. “It’s remarkable how a change in scenery can do wonders for a person. Look at us. We’re more relaxed here than we’ve ever been in the city.”

“I do love it here,” said Amy.

“Mom?” Cherie called from above. “How does this toilet work?”

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