A young woman tries to escape the consequences of her actions in this excerpt from An Accidental Life.


Shana Mason watched the early morning skyline as the train neared her home city, groaning inwardly.  What had possessed her to come back here?  Over the past year she’d grown accustomed to a certain ambience in her life.  She was already missing the little gingerbread Victorian houses that had come to represent San Francisco to her.  Even though her own apartment in Westlake wasn’t technically in San Francisco, it was just a short bus ride from the campus, directly across Lake Merced.  She was already missing it desperately!

She thought about her roommates, who had reluctantly agreed to sublet to another student for the summer so that the apartment would still be there when she returned in the fall.  By then she should have been able to bring some sanity back into her out-of-control life.

During the train ride she’d been mentally rehearsing her spiel to her mom.  She already could anticipate the questions.  Oh, they would be diplomatically phrased, but underneath the carefully constructed probing, her mother’s mind would be zeroing in on her body language, every facial expression, and not missing a thing.  That’s why she had to be thoroughly prepared!

Even as she readied herself for what she laughingly called her mother’s inquisition, her mind flitted back to the last time she’d seen Nathan McCullough.  Her stomach turned to a mass of quivering jelly every time she pictured him.  That sandy brown bushy hair, worn down to his collar; that ruddy face, with that nose like Sean Connery’s; and the way he dressed, all in tweeds and corduroys, with those elbow patches on his sleeves.  At thirty-one to her twenty-one, he was too old, totally uncool, and she was desperately in love.  And he loved her.  There were only two problems.  His wife.  And the fact that he was Shana’s professor and guidance counselor.

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