Rose Thorn tapped her heel impatiently on the aircraft’s carpeting. Was this plane ever going to land? She shifted in her seat against the confines of her seatbelt as fear slithered down her spine. She swiveled her head for the umpteenth time and let her eyes roam behind her midnight-dark shades as she surveyed the other passengers on board. She still didn’t notice a familiar face and no one seemed to recognize her either. Still, anxiety continued to hold her in its jagged jaws.

Rose tapped her heel some more and nibbled nervously on her bottom lip. She dipped into her handbag and retrieved a small mirror. The curly blond wig under her wide-brimmed Fedora was not her style. Even with the aircraft’s cool temperature her scalp was sweating underneath it, or maybe it was just her nerves, she thought. She pulled the hat halfway down her forehead, just above her professionally pruned eyebrows. She painted on midnight purple lipstick against her caramel-colored skin to add to her getaway disguise. The dark Addams Family–style lip color matched her strapless jumpsuit, but it wasn’t on her list of lipstick shades. She shrugged. Personal fashion was not a priority today. It wasn’t even an option. Today was runaway day, and she was dressed for the part.

In the window seat of the aircraft her daughter, Crystal, tugged at the floppy straw hat Rose had placed on her daughter’s head. Rose had helped her put on a change of clothes she had stashed in their small piece of luggage. On the way to the airport, in the backseat of the getaway car, Crystal had changed out of her school uniform and was now wearing a faded jeans pantsuit, white camisole and black strappy sandals.

She remembered the horrific story she had concocted and told Crystal’s teacher earlier that day just outside the classroom door while Crystal’s friends gazed up from their test papers at her with innocent, inquiring eyes. She had shown up at the school well over an hour before it let out. She had painted on the most distressing facial expression and told Crystal’s math teacher in a tear-jerking voice, “There has been an accident and my um…my husband…he’s hurt and… he’s asking for Crystal.”

The teacher’s eyes had widened under her thick spectacles and her fingers trembled as she raised her hand to cover her wide-open mouth. Rose’s eyes misted as she inwardly pleaded with God for forgiveness and begged Him to please understand she had no choice but to fabricate a lie. It was totally against her morals, and now she battled with her conscience as it fired hot, pointed missiles at her. Rose had never had a reason to take her daughter out of school before, so she wasn’t sure of the protocol. That was the only way she felt she could convince the teacher to let Crystal out of class. It was her last resort to finally break the albatross her husband, Donovan Thorn, had placed around her neck for too long now. Rose couldn’t afford to miss the flight, so she told the teacher, “Please let my daughter leave with me now. I’ll talk to her calmly about what happened to her father.”

At her desk, Crystal had stared at her mother with questioning eyes and then at her friends. Crystal laid her pencil on top of the exam papers on her desk. Her teacher took her hand and led her to the classroom door where she handed her over to her mother.

“I will keep him in my prayers. You may take your daughter.”

A wave of guilt washed over Rose as the children’s faces flashed into her troubled mind. The fib was wicked, she thought, but it was sufficient and plausible. It fit the bill perfectly. Crystal’s father always picked her up from school. Rose couldn’t have told the teacher the real reason why she had come to pick up their daughter that day instead of Crystal’s father. Which teacher in his or her right mind would allow any parent to take a child out of class in the middle of a final math exam just so that they could go catch a flight from Jamaica to New York or anyplace else? Who does that? The lie was necessary.

“Mommy, I have a secret,” Crystal said from the plane’s window seat.

Rose turned toward her daughter. “You do? Another one?”

“Yes, Mommy.”

Rose leaned across the seat and kissed her daughter’s cheek. “What’s the secret this time, honey?” she whispered.

“I think Daddy is going to come to New York and find us again this time, just like he did the last time,” Crystal whispered back. Her words and tone resonated childlike innocence and a faint hint of concern.

Rose studied her daughter and wished her face didn’t mirror Donovan’s — a round ivory-beige face topped with curly dark hair. She even had the tiny cleft in her chin. Rose faked a confident smile for her child’s sake. “No, baby, we’ll be fine. This time Daddy is okay with us living in New York. He won’t come after us again. You’ll see.” She kissed her daughter’s forehead under the floppy hat and prayed she was right.

After years of physical and mental exploitation and voyaging over intercontinental waters way too many times, Rose Thorn finally flees her native Jamaica for good to hide out in Brooklyn with her daughter. Rose believes she was dealt an evil hand in marriage because she was a high school dropout, teenage bride and mother. In her quest to realize her dream of pursuing a college degree, she is reunited with her soul mate, Calvin Jones. Rose is ready to divorce her husband, Donovan, but is she really ready to marry Calvin? Forced to return to Jamaica, Rose finds herself trapped in a devastating situation that could jeopardize a lifetime of happiness with Calvin. Rose quickly realizes that in order to make a comeback she must turn around and go back to the place where it all started, the place where she first believed, the place where trouble had come and uprooted her. Runaway Comeback sizzles with secrets, payback, and redemption. Set against a backdrop of rolling hills in Jamaica and the streets of Brooklyn, the storyline is thought-provoking and thoroughly enthralling with true-to-life characters and situations. In this quick-paced sequel of suspense and mistrust, Sandra Ottey paints a spellbinding story in her tell-it-like-it-is writing style.

Runaway Comeback

Paperback: 385 pages

Publisher: Sandra A. Ottey; First edition (August 2, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0985826002

ISBN-13: 978-0985826000