HQN, Apr 2005, 5.99
In Johnson County, Mississippi, Sheriff Adams informs Mrs. Richard Kaiser that her spouse died in a car accident apparently several years ago when his vehicle went off the road into the Escatawpa River. The SUV with the body inside was only just discovered. Mrs. Kaiser is stunned, but does not tell the sheriff that she divorced Richard almost seven years ago when he vanished with their child Emily. Using her maiden name of Susan Chandler, she has hopes that Emily still lives as no other corpse was found in the vehicle.
Susan travels to Linton, Mississippi where she finds a room at Lorina Bedford's B&B. Lorina's great nephew Jeb is hostile towards the guest until her inquiries lead to her being run off the road. Jeb, a Delta Force soldier on medical leave from injuries sustained in Iraq, helps Susan investigate based on why her ex spouse would have left the interstate here; their logic being car trouble or medical help as they try to figure out who has suddenly had a toddler. As they follow the cold trail, they fall in love.
Susan, by being honest, is treated with scorn by law enforcement officials starting with her believing Richard would never harm Emily. The romance between Jeb and Susan is handled in conjunction with the investigation they conduct.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner