In The Prodigal Bride, Josiah was Hiram's younger brother, and a bit of an anomaly. A 35 year old bachelor cop in a polygamist community where women chose their husbands. Having never been chosen, Josiah eventually had to make peace with the fact that he knew he never would be, and that he wasn't called to the polygamist lifestyle. Doing so meant leaving his career, his family, and everything he had ever known behind.
In Corbin's Bend, the somewhat naieve Josiah was in for more than one rude awakening, but in the end, I think he found himself a lot more at home in Corbin's Bend than he had ever been in Green Valley.
Here's a peek.
Excerpt: The Prodigal Bride
Hiram banged on the door to his brother Josiah’s small house. “Josiah!” He bellowed, “Open up! I just called the station, and they said you were off shift! I know you’re home! Open up!”
Hiram hesitated as he waited for Josiah to come to the door. He knew he needed to go home and check on Lucy, and deal with Phoebe’s text, and help with the younger kids, but he also knew he couldn’t go home in his current mood. He needed to blow off some steam first, and Josiah’s house was the perfect place to do that.
He raised his fist to bang on the door again, just as a very annoyed and sleepy looking Josiah flung it open.
Josiah was shirtless, and his hair was mussed from the pillow. He had a two day growth on his normally clean shaven face. Hiram winced. He knew Josiah was coming off a long shift, and he had hoped to catch him before he went to bed.
“Hiram,” Josiah barked. “I just got off a 24 hour shift. Can we do this later?”
“No,” Hiram said darkly, as he shoved past his brother into the small kitchen, and grabbed a beer from the fridge, chucking the top off angrily.
He watched as Josiah squinted at him, looking stunned. Hiram knew his brother well enough to know what Josiah was thinking. Hiram rarely drank, and was never one to help himself to something that wasn’t first offered to him.
“Oh, I know what this is about,” Josiah said nodding. “Look, Hiram, I’m sorry, I had no choice. I had to give her a ticket. She was speeding in a school zone!”
“Not what this is about,” Hiram growled. “I’ll deal with Phoebe later. And, I would never be mad at you for doing your job.”
Josiah sighed, and grabbed himself a beer. “So, then, what’s got you so upset, Bro? It’s not like you. Is everything okay with Lucy?”
“She’s back? From where? Where did she go? Was it for treatment?”
Hiram frowned. He apparently wasn’t making any sense. Seeing Sophia had gotten him all tied up in knots. “No, not Lucy,” he corrected. “She didn’t go anywhere. She’s at home in bed. Sophia.”
“Sophia?” Josiah choked out, staring at him, slack jawed. “Sophia Randall? In Green Valley? When did that happen? She hasn’t been back since…” he broke off, uncertain of how much to say.
“Since she swore to the bishop, and her parents, and the entire town that I was her intended husband, and then ran off minutes before the wedding, never to be seen or heard from again until today? You can say it, Jos, I remember all too well.” Hiram tipped his head back, and drained the bottle of beer in two big gulps.
“Well, Bishop, I need your help,” Josiah hesitated. He wanted to leave on good terms, but people rarely did. Not that they often left on bad terms, they just didn’t leave. They had a good life here, and it was comfortable. To them, the outside world was a bit scary. Josiah could relate. He loved it here, that’s what made this so hard. He knew he had to do it though- and better to get it over with quickly, like ripping off a band aid. He hoped that the more he said it, the easier it would get. He cleared his throat nervously, while Bishop Miller gazed at him expectantly. “I want to leave Green Valley.”
There. He said it. It was done. There was no going back now. He exhaled deeply, he hadn’t realized until now that he was holding his breath.
“I see,” Bishop Miller’s tone was thoughtful. There was no anger or recrimination to it. It wasn’t the man’s style. He regarded Josiah matter- of- factly. “Is it your intention to apostatize yourself from the church?”
“I…” Josiah frowned and trailed off, stunned. Apostasy had such a negative connotation in his mind, he flinched when he heard it, and considered the fact, that he would indeed be an apostate. He knew from the bishop’s kind smile, that the man had meant no harm, and that he would not be apostate in the form that one would usually think.
“It’s a rather strong word, I know. Shall we try this again? Is it your wish to leave because you do not wish to practice a plural marriage lifestyle?”
Josiah sighed in relief. “Yes, Bishop, it’s become apparent to me, --- I mean, it’s been apparent to me for some time, that it is not the path He wants me on. And, it’s no longer the path I wish to be on either. I would like to withdraw my membership from Green Valley Community Church, and announce my plans to leave Green Valley, with no bad feelings or ill will, towards the belief system, or anyone here,” he clarified. “It’s just—it’s not for me.”
“I understand.” The man’s sad smile told Josiah he did indeed understand, and he could see in Bishop’s eyes that he too had been privy to the mean spirited whispers and gossip that were becoming more and more rampant. “Do you know where you are going to go?” he inquired.
“No, I have no idea. Besides police academy in Everton, and work, I’ve barely been outside Green Valley. I really don’t know what’s out there. And, there is one other thing, I was hoping you might have some insight.”
“I don’t want a plural marriage, Bishop, but, I do envy the relationships I see modeled in the community. I want a traditional marriage, I want to be the head of my home, and I want to live a domestic discipline lifestyle with a woman who sees the same benefits of it that I see. But, in today’s modern world, does that exist, beyond Green Valley?”
The Bishop smiled so broadly at this, Josiah was taken aback, and more than a little confused.
“By George!” He exclaimed excitedly, “I think I know just the place! Let me make some calls, and see what I can find out! Can you meet me back here after lunch?”
Bishop Miller was already picking up the phone, and Josiah looked on, stunned that he had been so quickly dismissed. Whatever the man had up his sleeve, he was clearly excited about it. The bishop waved him out, and turned away from Josiah. Josiah took the hint and left, not really sure what to think about how the meeting had gone yet. Time would tell.