The Circle is Small
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An ex-cop returning to face his horrendous past, the woman who won’t forgive him, and the family who’ll never let him forget that he killed their son.
First Nations Constable Jordan Chartrand’s guilt can’t handle the accusing stares from the family left to mourn their son after that horrible night…so he flees from his Ojibway community and the woman he loves. Two years later, his mother’s cancer diagnosis forces him to return to help her.
Devoted schoolteacher Ellie Quill wants nothing to do with Jordan after he bolted to the city and left her behind. Her life goals are set. As for her secret, she’ll keep that to herself, even if Jordan’s begging to know the truth about her child.
When the two are compelled to work on a community project to address the rampant drug problem, their forced proximity slowly melts Ellie’s icy walls. But no matter how much her heart desires to give Jordan the second chance he’s begging for, she refuses to because providing a life for her son in the tradition of the Ojibway culture is her top priority now, not moving to the city where Jordan continues to hide.
Read an Excerpt
Ellie kept dunking the tea bag into the mug.
“I’m sorry. When I met him there, I thought you’d told him to get Ray-Ray, otherwise I woulda stopped him.”
“It’s okay,” Ellie muttered, still staring at her tea instead of at her sister. “You didn’t know.”
“What made you finally tell him?”
Ellie drew in a breath. “I realized if we were going to start with a clean slate, I couldn’t keep hiding it. And he’s right. I shoulda told him from the get-go. I shouldn’t have hidden it from him.”
“Easy,” Iris warned. “Remember something. You have rights, too. He’d upped and left after you told him how you felt, after you begged him to stay. He chose the city over you. He chose everything over you. You had every right to be angry.”
“It still doesn’t justify what I did. Raymond has rights, too, and he had a right to know who his dad is.” Ellie glanced up.
“Look, I can’t see him getting on the plane and skipping town with Ray-Ray. He probably took him to his mother’s. And he’ll be here until she’s done her treatment. He won’t leave.”
“I know he won’t, but he has every right to hate me. If I was in his shoes, I’d be angry, too.” Ellie shoved aside the mug. She’d ruined everything. Keeping that secret and then lying about it was the most foolish thing she’d ever done. What had gotten into her? That wasn’t how she behaved. Selfish. That was how she’d acted.
Iris reached over the table and grabbed Ellie’s hand. “Don’t be hating yourself or blaming yourself. Women have rights, too. And you have rights. You still have rights. If he wants to be pissy about this, let him. But he can’t take Raymond from you. Not after you raised him. Jordan didn’t even stick around long enough to find out you were pregnant.”
“How was he supposed to know I was pregnant without me telling him?” Ellie whispered. “He’s not a jaasakiid.”
“He didn’t need to involve the shaking tent. Did he ever stop and ask?” Iris blinked. “It’s common sense. You two were having sex, for crying out loud. And if he holds this against you—”
“He has every right to.” Ellie ran her nails along the table. “I did it so he wouldn’t take Raymond to Winnipeg. So I wouldn’t have to live in Winnipeg. So I could raise our child here. But…”
What did it matter? The fact was, her heart had shattered into a million pieces for the second time. She could try fooling herself again, as she’d done for the last two years by saying she didn’t care, but she did.
She loved Jordan Chartrand, and she wanted to raise their son together. There went the biggest dream she’d ever dreamt, because she’d screwed up everything now.
About the Author: An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
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