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Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Carol McClain who will be talking about the topic of opioid addiction and how her mentorship of people afflicted with the problem helped lead her to the writing of her book, Borrowed Lives.  In addition to the post, Carol has provided a book excerpt from Borrowed Lives. Welcome, Carol!

Thanks, Catherine.

My county in Tennessee at one time boasted being the third worst county in the nation for opioid addiction. For several years I mentored reformed addicts and worked on a board to help them. You couldn’t understand the bondage of sin and drugs until you worked with these women. Only a minority remained sober. Even after years of sobriety and dedication to the Lord, I’ve watched people sink back into addiction. It is heartbreaking.

The stories I heard shocked me: parents simply leaving their children to fend for themselves, fathers teaching sons how to deal and how to make meth, cops losing their job and status because of addiction, the permanent loss of children through the social service system. Many of these people started using at a startling age—many not even in their teens.

I wanted to tell their tales. I wanted to show the effects of human cruelty, but ultimately, the triumph of human love.

We teach our children how to sin by our own poor behavior. By example we prove the cause/effect of Exodus 34:7. “… yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

But don’t despair over my tidbit of research. God never abandons us. Dedicated believers live lives that heal themselves and others. In the end, our faith is one of hope and redemption.

And my novel Borrowed Lives contains a healthy dose of goats and humor and romance next to its pathos.

Borrowed Lives

by Carol McClain

God Only Lends Us Those We Love for a Season

Distraught from recent tragedy, Meredith Jaynes takes pity on a young girl who steals from her. Meredith discovers “Bean” lives in a hovel mothering her two younger sisters. The three appear to have been abandoned. With no other homes available, Social Services will separate the siblings. To keep them together, Meredith agrees to foster them on a temporary basis.

Balancing life as a soap maker raising goats in rural Tennessee proved difficult enough before the siblings came into her care. Without Bean’s help, she’d never be able to nurture these children warped by drugs and neglect—let alone manage her goats that possess the talents of Houdini. Harder still is keeping her eccentric family at bay.

Social worker Parker Snow struggles to overcome the breakup with his fiancée. Burdened by his inability to find stable homes for so many children who need love, he believes placing the abandoned girls with Meredith Jaynes is the right decision. Though his world doesn’t promise tomorrow, he hopes Meredith’s does.

But she knows she’s too broken.

Chapter 1

Something crashed downstairs.

Meredith Jaynes bolted up in bed. John? Rosemary?

She shook sleep from her head and listened for another sound.

Nothing.

Just a dream.

Then porcelain shattered.

Not a dream.

She tossed off her covers. Out of habit, not onto John’s side. While her heart hammered, she slid open the bedside table to grab her Walther .22. Meredith strained to hear. She prayed for silence. She slipped in the cartridge then ratcheted a shell into the chamber and released the safety.

Once more something clattered like a tipping chair or a marionette tap dancing on the hardwood floor.

She tiptoed into the hallway.

Below her, the distinct bleating of goats wafted up the stairwell.

Goats? Inside?

She reengaged the safety on her .22 as she scurried down the stairwell.

In the kitchen, Oreo, her black and white Nubian who looked like her cookie namesake, eyeballed her with cocked head and slit pupils. With a bleat from her perch on the table, she dug into the loaf of bread Meredith had brought home from the farmers’ market.

Meredith leaned against the doorjamb and breathed again. The metal of the gun she held chilled her through John’s shirt—one she hadn’t washed, so his scent would surround her. She shook terror out of the way and slipped the gun onto the countertop where the weapon clacked against the toaster.

“Oreo, off my table!” She strode to the nanny and grabbed her collar.

Oreo skidded across the golden oak surface gouging the wood with her keratin hooves.

Meredith clenched her teeth and groaned. “Oreo, Daddy finished this tabletop only ten months ago.” Before Rosie …

She shook the thought away and let out a breath. Another sanding and polyurethane would mend the scratches.

But her heart? Nothing would fix the gouges and scars.

Want to know what happens? Borrowed Lives is scheduled for release soon. You can find out more by signing up for McClain’s newsletter and checking Carol’s blog for information on the book’s release date.

About the Author:

Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real people facing real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, a budding potter and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and soon will own two doelings who must be bottle fed.

You can connect with her at carolmcclain.com. You can also find her at Facebook and Instagram/twitter: @carol_mcclain