Wednesday, July 1, 2020

First Chapter Reveal: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Hi all,

I'm so thrilled to share the first chapter of my upcoming novel: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND. It is an historical women's fiction novel about a woman growing up in the 1930s - 1950s and how her life turns tragic in one terrifying moment. At age ninety-five, she is let out of prison. Her granddaughter finds her and soon learns the details that led up to that fateful night.

THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND can be preordered on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available in paperback and audiobook upon release.





First Chapter

Chapter One

Diane




Diane Martin strode down the hallway of the Rosewood Senior Living Apartments, smiling and waving to the many residents she passed. The hallway walls were painted a soothing light gray with dark gray wainscoting on the bottom half. Lovely watercolor paintings depicting lake, river, and woodland scenes decorated the walls, and each door displayed a cheerful flower or autumn leaf wreath. But the calming interior did nothing to soothe Diane’s frayed nerves. It was Friday afternoon, and she’d just come from the high school where she taught history and social studies. She was tired, but she still had to take her mother shopping and out to dinner as she did every Friday. It wasn’t that she minded helping her mother; it was the fact that her mother could be difficult at times and Diane could never gauge when her mother’s mood might change. Diane was eager for the day to end.

Walking up to room 212, Diane steeled herself before knocking twice, then slowly opening the door. “Mom? It’s me,” she called.

“Come in. Come in,” an impatient voice called from inside the bedroom. “I’ll be ready in a minute.”

Diane stepped inside the space and quietly closed the door. Her mother, Joan Hartman, had a two-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen and a good-sized living and dining room combination. She’d moved into the senior apartment building a year ago after she’d fallen and broken her hip. Once it had healed, the seventy-year-old had finally decided she could no longer live alone in her house and had moved in here. It wasn’t exactly a care facility—many of the residents still drove and cooked their own meals. But Joan did have the choice of eating all her meals in the dining room, and there were security devices in each apartment so residents could call for help if needed.

“You’ll never believe what Lucy Sutton did at lunch today,” Joan said, coming out of her bedroom. She was dressed in a pair of slacks, a light sweater, and flats. Her gray hair was cut short and styled nicely. “She choked on a cut-up grape.”

Diane’s brows rose. “Is she okay?”

“She’ll live,” Joan said offhandedly. “But it was quite the spectacle when Arnold jumped up and tried to do the Heimlich maneuver on her. He grabbed her around the waist and squeezed, and they both almost fell over backward.” Joan laughed. “If the lunch attendant hadn’t intervened, they’d both be in the hospital.”

“Mom. That’s not funny,” Diane said, pushing her shoulder-length blond hair behind one ear. “They could have been seriously hurt.”

Joan swatted her hand through the air. “They’re fine. It was funny, watching them. We’re all old. It’s nice to have some excitement once in a while.”

Diane shook her head at her mother. Joan wasn’t very tall, and she was petite in size, but she could be a tough one when he wanted to be. She’d always been a tough cookie.

The phone on the end table started ringing and Diane headed over to answer it.

“Leave it alone,” her mother ordered. “Let’s go. I have a lot of shopping to do.”

Diane stopped, startled by her mother’s brusque tone. Diane was fifty-one years old and three inches taller than Joan, but her mother still insisted on talking to her as if she were a child.

The phone stopped ringing, so Diane ignored it. “You should bring a light jacket,” she told her mother. “The fall weather is nice right now, but once the sun goes down, it’ll be chilly.”

Joan nodded and walked slowly toward the closet by the door to get her jacket. She moved slower now since her hip had been replaced. She had other health issues as well, with arthritic knees and hands, and her eyesight wasn’t the best, even when wearing her glasses. Moving into the senior apartments had been a relief for Diane. Living in a place where Joan could get help if needed meant Diane didn’t have to worry about her mother falling and needing assistance. Winters could be harsh in their town of Minnetonka, MN, with the threat of snow and ice causing a bad fall. Having her mother live in Rosewood took a lot of stress off Diane.

The phone began ringing again. Diane watched as Joan turned and glared at it but didn’t move to answer it.

“This is silly,” Diane said, annoyed, heading for the phone. “I’ll just answer it.”

“Don’t!” her mother yelled.

Diane ignored her and picked up the handset. “Hello?”

“Hello? Mrs. Hartman?” a male voice asked, sounding rushed. “I’m from the Sun-Times. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions.”

Diane frowned and looked at her mother. Joan was waving her hands through the air and saying, “Hang up!”

“I’m sorry,” Diane said into the receiver. “What do you want?”

“I’d like to ask you a question. How do you feel about your mother being let out of jail today after sixty-five years?”

Diane’s mouth dropped open. She looked again at Joan, whose shoulders had sagged in defeat. Hanging up the phone, Diane approached her mother. “My grandmother is alive?”

Joan nodded. “Yes."

The phone began ringing again as Diane’s whole life felt like it was spinning out of control.

 




Want to read more?

THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND 

releases on September 8, 2020

Pre-order now!





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