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THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR
by Debbie Macomber

Genre: General Mainstream Fiction, Mainstream

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Last night I dreamed of Paul.

He’s never far from my thoughts—not a day passes when he isn’t with me—but he hasn’t been in my dreams until now. It’s ironic, I suppose, that he should leave me, because before I close my eyes I fantasize about what it would feel like to have his arms wrapped around me. As I drift off to sleep I pretend that my head is resting on his shoulder. Unfortunately, I will never have the chance to be with my husband again, at least not in this lifetime.

Until last night, if I did happen to dream of Paul, those dreams were long forgotten by the time I woke. This dream, however, stayed with me, lingering in my mind, filling me with equal parts sadness and joy.

When I first learned that Paul had been killed, the grief had been all-consuming, and I didn’t think I would be able to go on. Yet life continues to move forward, and so have I, dragging from one day into the next until I found I could breathe normally.

I’m in my new home now, the bed-and-breakfast I bought less than a month ago on the Kitsap Peninsula in a cozy town on the water called Cedar Cove. I decided to name it Rose Harbor Inn. “Rose” for Paul Rose, my husband of less than a year; the man I will always love and for whom I will grieve for whatever remains of my own life. “Harbor” for the place I have set my anchor as the storms of loss batter me.

How melodramatic that sounds, and yet there’s no other way to say it. Although I am alive, functioning normally, at times I feel half dead. How Paul would hate hearing me say that, but it’s true. I died with Paul last April on some mountainside in a country half a world away as he fought for our nation’s security.

Life as I knew it was over in the space of a single heartbeat. My future as I dreamed it would be was stolen from me.

All the advice given to those who grieve said I should wait a year before making any major decisions. My friends told me I would regret quitting my job, leaving my Seattle home, and moving to a strange town.

What they didn’t understand was that I found no comfort in familiarity, no joy in routine. Because I valued their opinion, I gave it six months. In that time nothing helped, nothing changed. More and more I felt the urge to get away, to start life anew, certain that then and only then would I find peace, and this horrendous ache inside me ease.

I started my search for a new life on the Internet, looking in a number of areas, all across the United States. The surprise was finding exactly what I wanted in my own backyard.

The town of Cedar Cove sits on the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle. It’s a navy town, situated directly across from the Bremerton shipyard. The minute I found a property listing for this charming bed-and-breakfast that was up for sale, my heart started to beat at an accelerated rate. 

Me own a bed-and-breakfast?