Beach Lane

By: Sherryl Woods


She was his past, his present and, now, thank God, his future. Forever no longer seemed as if it had an expiration date.

“Do you have any idea at all how much I love you?” Susie whispered.

“It can’t be any more than I love you,” he said, kissing her. All thoughts of dinner and being on the porch for the sunset fled. Everything that mattered was right here.





QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION



For years Susie O’Brien declared that she would never date a player like Mack Franklin. Instead, she settled for being his friend. In the book, though, Susie is ready to change the rules, but finds that it’s next to impossible. Have you ever established boundaries in a relationship, then regretted it? Were you able to change the dynamics from friendship to something more? How?

What are the risks if you do take a chance on getting involved with someone who’s been a friend? Have you ever taken that next step, then lost the friendship when things didn’t work out? Was it worth it? Or were you able to recapture the friendship? If so, how?

Susie’s diagnosis of ovarian cancer is devastating. Aside from medical treatment, what do you think is most important in her ability to fight the disease? Her relationship with Mack? Her inner strength? What role do you believe a positive attitude plays in healing? Have you had experience with this?

When Susie is first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her doctors recommend not waiting for surgery in order to harvest any viable eggs. They also encourage her not to take the more cautious approach of removing only the affected ovary. This guarantees that she and Mack will never have children of their own. Have you ever faced such a difficult decision? What did you do? If not, how do you think you would have proceeded? Would you have followed doctor’s orders or insisted on a more cautious surgery in the hopes of having children?

Susie and Mack go forward with the surgery the doctors feel will give her the best chance for survival. Do you think Mack’s concerns about being a father play any role is his encouraging her to do this? Or is he totally focused on Susie’s survival?

Along the same lines, Mack comes from a very troubled background. How do you think that affected the relationships he had before Susie? And what role do you think it plays in keeping them apart for so long? Or is that not-dating stance totally Susie’s thing?

When Mack hires Kristen Lewis to work for his newspaper, there are red flags everywhere. How did you feel about that decision? Should he have anticipated the problems, especially with everyone speaking out about them? Or should Susie have been more candid about her own doubts? Have you ever gone against the advice of family or friends and lived to regret it?

Susie and her cousin Jess have had a very competitive relationship throughout their lives, mostly because things came so easily to Susie, while Jess always had to struggle. Have you ever had a competitive relationship with a sibling or other family member or even a friend? How have you dealt with it?

Initially Susie and Jess’s tense relationship poses potential problems for their spouses, Mack and Will. Have the feelings of a spouse ever caused problems in an important relationship in your life? How have you worked it out?

When Susie’s first round of chemo doesn’t put her into remission, she’s completely thrown by the news. With her optimism and hope shaken, she offers to give Mack his freedom. He absolutely refuses. But not all men are like Mack. Have you known people whose marriages have been broken by an illness—one affecting either of the partners or a child? Are there steps that can be taken to keep a marriage strong through such difficult times? What role does faith play?

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