(Found) A Fantasy novel about a woman who is forced to leave her life as inn keeper to return to the life she escaped from among mages

Odometer

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This was an older book sitting on my parent's bookshelves. I read it in the late 90s but I'm guessing it was from the late 70s or early 80s. Not certain. The cover was at least faded if not missing entirely but the spine was red or maroon. Target audience was probably mid 20s? Not YA but not heavy enough that it couldn't be read to children. I read it to my younger sister while she was in elementary. She doesn't remember what it was called either. It was in English. It was set in a medieval society though no mention of royalty that I remember. I believe the main character was a female Catlike humanoid. They had a race name but I don't remember what it was. She had 2 children, I believe a boy and a girl with the girl being the older child, and she was a widow. There were plenty of humans in the book too but I don't remember any other races other than the cats and humans. I unfortunately don't remember any names.
My remembering of the plot is a little hit and miss but here it goes: Main Character (we'll call her Mom) runs an inn in a small town. Stranger shows up who I believe Mom knows but pretends not to. She at least recognizes them as being connected to her past. Inn (possibly whole village) is attacked and Mom opens a secret hiding spot near the hearth. Turns out Mom's a serious fighter. After attack, Mom takes children and follows stranger toward her old life. Along the way kids find out that Mom was raised in a community where people are grouped into 3s. A fighter, a mage, and a 3rd person (can't remember class, maybe healer?). There are 2 such societies, one entirely male the other female. The 2 societies distrust each other to the point of hate but a threat looms. Something about a gem that needs to be removed from it's location and/or returned to a location. Mom's group is paired with a group of men for the mission. It doesn't go well, I think someone dies, but Mom falls in love with one of the men and they decide to flee their old lives to be together. They settle down to run an inn and raise a family. Now the gem is a threat again and Mom must return to her old group as well as work with her husband's old group again to complete the mission. I also think the girl child exhibits a talent for magic along the way.
I posted this on Facebook yesterday so we've ruled out a few things. It's not Andre Norton, Robert Jordan, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffery, or Angie Sage.
 

Odometer

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That is it. Thank you so much! Also, yes that was me. I had a few friends reposting for me out there :)
 

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