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Hello Hell
by Sheila M. Good

When circumstances force Claire Nelson to return to her hometown, after sixteen years of estrangement, She must leave the life she’s built for herself behind, face the painful secrets of the pasts, while confronting a truth she never expected to find.

Chapter One
Chance Encounter

Claire’s feet made soft lite taps on the pavement. A swirl of multicolored leaves fluttered across her path like confetti as she rounded the last curve. Grateful Blossom Street Bridge was in sight, she slowed to a walk, pushed stop on the iPhone strap...

Chapter Two
If It Ain't Broke

At five-fifteen Claire hit the send button, turned off her computer, and stretched, proud of herself. The light in her office brightened automatically as the sun slipped behind the tall buildings. Situated on the twelfth floor of the hospital, Claire’s office,...

Chapter Three
Luck of the Draw

Gabe couldn’t believe his luck. What were the odds of running into a woman named Claire Nelson on his first day? Of course, she might not be the right Claire. With little information to go on, proving it was gonna be a challenge. He pulled a ...

Chapter Four
Lying Was Always Easier

Sam’s words, You have an obligation, played over in Claire’s head like a broken record. She couldn’t believe he tried to pull that Sunday School shit on her. Sam knew better. Honor your Mother and Father - Claire grew up seeing th...

Chapter Five

What the fuck? Stephen slammed his fist against the steering wheel, put the car into gear and backed out of Claire’s drive, made a left at the end of the street, and headed in the direction of the lake. What the hell just happened? He felt blindsided. It was as if he&rsquo...

Chapter Six
Nothing But Blackness

It was ten-thirty by the time she arrived at the kennel and Sadie was neither happy or cooperative. Claire tugged on her leash, "Come on, girl. Don’t be difficult.”

The teenybopper covering the night shift greeted them from behind the counter. &ldq...

Chapter Seven
The Road Home

The Inn’s driver held up a sign with her name on it. He looked like one of the locals she remembered. Dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans, he could have been the father of any of her old friends. When he saw her head in his direction, he broke into a warm smi...

Chapter Eight
Main Street Bed & Breakfast

Shimmers of soft light danced across the dark walnut floors of the entrance way from one of the largest crystal chandeliers she’d ever seen in a foyer.

A woman rounded the corner, wiping her hands on the apron she wore over her calf-length skirt and clas...

Chapter Nine
Nothing Ventured

Gabe examined himself in the mirror and adjusted his tie. Better; still felt like a damn noose around his neck. The last time he’d worn a tie was in parochial school as a kid. It had taken himself the night to come up with enough facts for a cover sto...

Chapter Ten
Cold Reality

The bedside clock read just past six AM when Claire awoke from a fitful night's sleep. The aroma of fresh baked bread and coffee drifted up the stairway. She thought, briefly, about burying herself under the goose down covers for the next week, but then the cold rea...

Chapter Eleven
Old Acquaintances

Claire wished she could talk to Stephen. Sure, she understood his anger, especially after the surprise visit to her office where she made a promise, melted under his touch, and lead him to believe he had a chance of her saying yes. Blowing him and the weekend off af...

Chapter Twelve
Post-Op Conference

“Ms. Nelson?”

Claire stood up laying the tattered magazine aside as the doctor approached. 


“I’m Dr. Matthews. “Your mother’s surgery went well. There were no complications. She's stable a...

Chapter Thirteen
The First of Many

Claire paced the length of the hall trying to figure out what to do next. She needed to talk to Sam and her boss. Arrangements had to made for her mother, and even with Sam’s help, Claire didn't think anything would get done over the next twenty-four hours. Sh...

Chapter Fourteen
Information Airways

Stephen hung up the phone and sat staring out the window in his breakfast room. He’d finally heard from Claire, and boy had he ever! It wasn’t work that took her away, it was her mother. Why had she gone out of her way to hide the woman...

Chapter Fifteen
Junior High Again

As planned her mother had been transferred the following day to room 505 on the orthopedic floor. Claire spoke to the nurse in ICU earlier and received a full report. Her mother was awake, but still confused at times. 

 It was seven-thirty by the tim...

Chapter Sixteen
A Meeting With Sam

They had finally gotten a break; her mother had remained lucid for the last couple of days, and Dr. Norman scheduled his evaluation. Claire took the opportunity to call Sam and schedule a meeting. Luckily, his mid-day appointment canceled. Claire decided to wait on ...

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