One Wrong Turn

One Wrong Turn

Deanna Lynn Sletten

Book Description:

Tragedy brought him home, but love made him stay.

When his estranged wife, Jess, has a terrible accident leaving her lying in a coma, Clay Connors returns to his family to care for his two daughters. He has been separated from his family for nearly two years and his eldest daughter, Maddie, is resentful over his being absent. Sadly, his youngest daughter, Jilly, barely remembers him. Clay’s reasons for staying away now seem self-serving in the light of their family’s tragedy. The past washes over Clay as the memories of what led up to their separation envelope him and his future hangs in the balance over whether or not his wife will wake up. Can they be a family again, or is he too late?

One Wrong Turn is a story of time lost and redemption as Clay and his daughters struggle to reconnect and learn to trust again in the wake of a tragedy.

What readers are saying about One Wrong Turn:

Reader's Favorite ~ "Poignant and heartfelt."
Book Review by Novel Deelights - "A truly beautifully written story."

Books and Bindings Book Review Blog ~ "A poignant, thought-provoking, and engaging story."

Bibliotica Book Review Blog  ~ "Vivid settings and vibrant characters."

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Read the First Chapter of One Wrong Turn

Chapter One



Jessica Connors gripped the steering wheel as she maneuvered the twists and turns on Highway 1 along the Northern California coastline. It had been a rainy March day, and although the downpour had ended and the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds, the road was still slick. As she drove, Jess tried to concentrate on the road ahead, but her mind kept running through the list of things she still had to do that evening.

She shouldn’t have tried rushing a drive into the city for groceries and paint, but their refrigerator was nearly empty, and she was eager to start painting the next bedroom. She had only two months left before the first guests arrived at their newly remodeled bed-and-breakfast, and there was still so much left to do. But her last-minute run up the coast had left her short on time to pick up the girls at school. Her seven-year-old, Jilly, would patiently wait for her in the hallway, probably playing a game of hangman or tic-tac-toe with Jerrod, the neighbor boy who carpooled with them. But Maddie, her twelve-year-old going on thirty, would be standing at the main door, arms crossed, with a sour frown on her face. Maddie didn’t like having to wait for her mother, especially since her best friend, Emma, had to wait too. She thought it was rude when her mother was late. Well, she was right, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped.

Increasing her speed, Jess took a turn a little too sharply, causing one of the grocery bags in the back of her small SUV to fall over. Damn! She hoped it wasn’t the bag with the eggs in it. She knew she should slow down, but she was stressing over all that needed to be done. The groceries had to be put away, and they had to eat a quick meal before Jess took Jilly to swimming practice, where Jess was supposed to supply a healthy snack for fourteen girls. Then it was home and homework, and then—if Jess was lucky—she could begin painting the blue room after the girls were tucked in bed. In the morning, the rush to beat the clock would begin all over again.


It was hard being a single mom trying to start a new business and a new life.


As Jess took another curve, a lovely view of the beach below spread out before her. She sighed. They lived above a beach just like this one, yet she hardly ever had a chance to walk down the wooden steps to sit by the water and enjoy the tranquility. And once the B&B opened, she’d have even less time. But it had been her choice to abandon Los Angeles two years ago and bring the girls up here for a fresh start and turn her grandparents’ home into a B&B. Though it had been necessary to begin all over again, the move hadn’t been an easy decision. And it still wasn’t easy. While she didn’t necessarily miss LA, she did miss some aspects of her old life. She missed him. Especially him.


A strand of blond hair fell over her eyes, and she blew it away, all the while watching the road. Just as she rounded a sharp curve, a dog dashed out from the field on the left and into her lane. Jess turned the wheel sharply to avoid hitting it, but the wet pavement sent her car into a spin. Panicking, she overcorrected. The back end fishtailed halfway through its spin, causing the car to lose its grip on the road. The SUV tipped over on its side. Then, as if in slow motion, Jess felt it give way and roll. Her head slammed into the door frame as the driver’s side hit the pavement, and the back door popped open, spilling the contents out onto the highway. The roof hit the pavement next with a sickening sound, like a pop can being crushed. Glass sprayed as the windshield shattered, and it rained over her. She reflexively squeezed her eyes shut against the flying glass. The car bounced back onto its tires, causing Jess to hit her head against the steering wheel. The momentum continued, and the car fell over onto the driver’s side again, sliding along the opposite lane. The sound of the metal scraping on the pavement sent chills down Jess’s spine. When the car finally came to a stop, it lay on the middle line, and Jess slowly opened her eyes. Through the shell of the windshield, she could see the road behind her. Blue and yellow paint had splashed in colorful trails along the road, and she thought how pretty it looked. A single shiny red apple caught her attention as it slowly rolled down the highway, and then all went black.