The Homecoming: Book 6 of Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr (Excerpt, Review, Giveaway, Tour)

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In a small town, reputation is everything. In her latest novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr explores the burden placed on a young man returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live  

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn’t the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he’s finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

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THE HOMECOMING BY ROBYN CARR 
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.

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Chapter One EXCERPT

            When Seth Sileski was a kid, Thunder Point had been his playground. From the time he’d been a freckle-faced, toe-headed little kid he’d held this town in the palm of his hand. He could run the fastest, hit the hardest, throw the farthest and charm the most cantankerous teachers. His two older brothers, Nick and Norm Junior, affectionately known as Boomer, had also had great childhoods in this little town, but almost nothing compared to Seth’s notoriety. He went from beautiful kid to adored adolescent to most popular and accomplished teenager – great grades, superb athlete, handsome and a good and loyal friend. And then, at the age of twenty, his life took a dramatic turn and all that great luck and good fortune seemed to blow away.

Or, if you listened to his father, Norm Sileski, he threw it away.

So now he was back in Thunder Point, a little scarred and damaged but whole. And definitely humbled. He’d traveled a long way since leaving at the age of eighteen and if you’d told him five or ten years ago that he’d come home he’d have called you a lunatic. Yet here he was, and by choice. This time he was wearing a deputy’s uniform. Thirty-four years old, his battle to regain a sense of pride and accomplishment had been mighty and difficult. Seth was taking over the Sheriff’s Department Thunder Point substation from Mac McCain. He’d be the officer in charge while Mac moved to a lieutenant’s position at the headquarters in Coquille.

Seth had been back to town fairly often over the last fifteen years. He visited his mother and at least tried to check in with his father. Every time he drove into this small coastal town he was surprised by how little the place had changed. People changed, the economy changed, the world changed and yet Thunder Point seemed to remain the same. The linoleum in the diner had been old and cracked when he was a boy, all the same fast food establishments were present, Wayland’s Bar was still the only real dive in town and it looked no better. In fact, Wayland still held the door open with a paint can, as if he intended to paint the place. It hadn’t happened yet.

It was the second week in September and school had resumed just a couple of weeks ago, so there was still a lot of optimism and excitement winding up the kids. Those on bikes weren’t staying out of the middle of the road very well, but little whoop-whoop from the police SUV moved ‘em over quick, followed by yelps of laughter and shenanigans.

He caught sight of Iris, his next door neighbor and childhood friend when he was growing up. She was still riding her bike to school, but now she wore a skirt with a briefcase in the basket. When the wind took her skirt it revealed tight, black bike shorts underneath. The kids raced her. The school buses passed her, tooted their horns and kids leaned out their windows to wave. She jingled the bell mounted on her handlebars and waved in response. She threw back her head and laughed as a bus driver laid on her horn for a long blast. She still had that wild, unrestrained laughter he remembered. Before she noticed him, he slowed down and turned off the main street, heading back to the substation to park.

The Sheriff’s Department substation was fairly new. The department had always had a strong presence here as there was no local law enforcement, but the substation office was only about ten years old. The clinic next door was new so he made that one of his first stops. He walked into the clinic to face a beautiful woman standing in the reception area. She could be mistaken for Catherine Zeta Jones with her dark straight hair and black eyes.

“Hi,” he said, smiling, putting out his hand. “I’m Seth Sileski and I’ll be your new neighbor. Mac starts working in Coquille in about a week.”

“Well, it’s a pleasure,” she said. “Peyton Lacoumette. And this is Devon Lawson, our office manager. Scott?” she yelled. “Do you have a minute?”

The doctor came to the front of the clinic wearing the native dress – blue jeans and denim shirt. “So, you’re the new guy,” he said with a smile.

Seth laughed and stuck out his hand. “I’m not exactly new. I grew up here. Norm Sileski is my dad.”

“No kidding. Which one are you? He said he had three sons and none of them lived in town.”

“I’m the youngest. I’ve only been back to visit since leaving for college.”

“Then welcome back,” Scott said. “We’ll be glad to have you. And we’re darn proud of Mac – moving up in the world.”

“Those are going to be hard shoes to fill.”

“Did you know Mac before now?” Peyton asked.

“Sure, from the department. I think I’ve known him eight years or so, though we worked in different parts of the county. He has a very good reputation. Before it’s down to me – are there any needs you have or issues you’re concerned about? Anything you want me to know?” He grinned. “As your neighbor and your cop?”

Scott chuckled. “Trash pick-up is Wednesday in the alley behind the stores. I’ll have to think about anything else.”

“Trash,” Seth said. “Good to know. Let me ask you this – how do you get along with the youth in town? Any problems I should be aware of?”

Scott shook his head. “I had to stitch up some wild ones in at the ER in North Bend – a fight at an unsupervised party. I haven’t dealt with any injuries caused by bad behavior around Thunder Point in the past year. Mac had some bullying issues before I opened up the clinic but I’m not sure of the details. I’ve just had the usual stuff and the kids around here are better than most.”

“Strict parents, for the most part,” Seth said.   “And a nosy town in general.”

“Do you have teenagers, Deputy?” Peyton asked.

He shook his head. “I’m not married and don’t have kids, ma’am. Asking about the teenagers is just something I do when trying to get a profile on a new town. The town isn’t new to me but the people are – the faces have changed after fifteen years. Right now I’m in orientation with Mac as my supervisor and part of the process is to introduce myself to the businesses. The stores haven’t changed much but the owners, managers and employees have.” He looked over his shoulder at the diner. “We used to go there after school and I hear Stu is still the owner and cook but now Gina is the head waitress. Gina’s mom was the waitress in charge when I was a kid.”

“And now Carrie has the deli next door and some of the best sandwiches and take-out dinners you’ll find around here,” Peyton said. “I haven’t cooked in a long time.”

“I’ll stop in and say hello to both of them.”

“What about Cliffhanger’s?” Peyton asked. “Was Cliff the owner when you were growing up?”

Seth shook his head. “His dad built that place about twenty-five years ago. I’m not sure when Cliff took over. Sometime after I left. Cliff’s family owns a lot of property around the marina. My dad used to say that place would never work here – too fancy for this town.”

“It’s full almost every night,” Scott said. “It’s where people around here go when they want a tablecloth.”

“I’ve been in there once or twice,” Seth said. “Good food, nice atmosphere. Listen, it’s nice meeting all of you.” He pulled out a business card. “I’m going to continue my rounds, but here’s the office number and my personal cell. Feel free.”

Peyton laughed and took the card. “It really kills me the way everyone gives out their cell numbers! Everyone knows Scott’s and Mac’s and now yours. I’m used to the city where you never do that.”

The doctor put his arm around the PA’s shoulders, gave a squeeze and said, “I have her cell number and with the right incentive, I can be talked into giving it to you. Until then, just call me if you need me. And I’ll call you.”

“Hey, if this is my town, I want to be called if there’s a problem. There are three ways to reach me – the office, the cell or 911 in emergencies. If you call 911 you’ll never get voicemail and whatever deputy is on duty will respond immediately. Don’t hesitate.” He smiled and gave them a little salute. “See you later.”

Seth made his way to the diner to say hello to Gina. They’d known each other growing up, but they hadn’t been in the same class or part of the same crowd. It was safe to say that he knew Carrie better; Carrie and his mother, Gwen, had been friends for years. He even went into Waylan’s. Damn if it didn’t look like the same crowd of old boys who had been in there the last time he stopped by at least ten years ago. Continue reading

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