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|Joe Gardner never expected to see Elizabeth again, not after the part she'd played in ruining his life. Refusing to believe she now shares his faith, Joe tosses aside her efforts to apologize. But when they are forced to work together in the midst of the Christmas season, Joe has to face the truth about Elizabeth, and himself.|
In Stock: 100
Author: ( Robin Bayne )
Joseph Gardner stared at the paper in his hand. He struggled not to crumple it or rip it to shreds. Talk about adding insult to injuryâ€”not only had the judge ripped apart his life by granting the divorce, heâ€™d given her the house as well. And now, since heâ€™d also been ordered to pay all of Annaâ€™s court costs, he held an invoice for thousands of dollars. Heâ€™d prayed so hard for Anna to change, knowing all along he shouldnâ€™t be yoked to a non-believer. God was on his side, or so heâ€™d thought. Instead heâ€™d lost everything. But it wasnâ€™t all Annaâ€™s fault, she had someone on her side too. The infamous divorce attorney. Home wrecker.
He tossed his mail to the counter and reached for his Bible, randomly opening it to Jeremiah. Midway down the page a verse jumped out at him: â€śFor I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.â€ť
A future and hope? Joe sighed. Maybe one day heâ€™d understand.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matt 13:45, 46
One year later
Joseph Gardner stared out at the clear night sky, wondering how the lawn had grown so frosty it down-right sparkled. It was still early after all, he thought, leaning against the wood railing of the Gazebo CafĂ©â€™s front porch, hoping it held. His family gathered inside, laughing and planning the upcoming holiday season.
He, however, felt like grinding his boots against the brick walkway in a quick getaway. If the holidays never arrived this year, that would be fine with him.
The front door squeaked behind him, his cousin Daniel had come out to check on him, no doubt.
Joe sighed, and rolled his shoulder muscles to ease the tension. â€śIâ€™m about ready to take off.â€ť
Silence. A truck passed on the road in front of the cafĂ©, and Joe inhaled diesel exhaust. Even in a small town, trucks held a presence. Behind it, a white car turned into the drive and headed for them.
â€śLatecomer?â€ť Joe asked, pushing his hat off his forehead.
â€śGuess so.â€ť Daniel moved out onto the porch. â€śLooks like Lizaâ€™s Camry.â€ť
The car stopped and a blonde woman got out, carrying a purse and what looked like a basket.
â€śHey, it is Liza,â€ť Daniel said, waving the woman over. He turned to Joe. â€śThis is someone you should really meet. Single, an attorney. Good lookingâ€”and a Christian.â€ť
The blonde reached the porch and stepped up, her heeled boots clicking on the wooden planks. Joe watched, appreciating her slim figure and long hair. There was something familiar about her. As she neared he inhaled a whiff of some sweet perfume, again, something heâ€™d smelled before.
Daniel kissed her cheek and relieved her of the basket. â€śGlad you came!â€ť He gestured toward Joe. â€śThis is my cousin Joe.â€ť
Their gazes locked. His heart thudded. Joe saw the silver flecks in her blue eyes glint when she recognized him. Probably ice crystals.
Her smiled faded. Shoulders rigid, she took a step back. â€śYouâ€™re Danielâ€™s cousin?â€ť
After a few beats Joe nodded. â€śElizabeth,â€ť he said, wondering why heâ€™d never heard her called by a nickname before. From the corner of his eye he saw Daniel staring at him, his arms folded across his chest.
Joe could hear the frost forming in the yard as they stood there.
â€śWell,â€ť Daniel said, â€śwhy donâ€™t you both come in for dessert?â€ť
A few more seconds clicked by in the evening air.
â€śI was just leaving.â€ť Joe kept his gazed locked on her.
â€śSure, Iâ€™d love to,â€ť Elizabeth said, stepping forward and flashing an almost defiant glance at Joe.
She hadnâ€™t forgotten what went down, and that was OK because he hadnâ€™t either. He felt a tug in his gut and almost wished heâ€™d talked to her back then, cleared the air. OK, heâ€™d change his mind and stay a while. Just to make Daniel happy. Yeah, that was it.
â€śThen again whatâ€™s the rush?â€ť Joe forced a grin he didnâ€™t feel.
Daniel held the door, and they both moved into the light spilling from the CafĂ©. Watching Elizabethâ€™s hair shine under the lobby chandelier, he wondered what she was thinking about him. When she disappeared into the crowd, he noticed Daniel studying him. Great, now he had to worry about Daniel too, which was interrupting his ability to think of something appropriate to say to Elizabeth. Of course, she might just avoid him for the rest of the evening, but that was OK. He deserved it.
What a great story! The tension between Joe and Liza is so thick that it's a wonder they even get beyond "Hello". But still, the pain can't
extinguish the attraction between them, or the respect that develops as they get to know each other.rnrnI love the way Joe hides behind his anger
until it's so thin he can't use it as a shield anymore. And boy oh boy does Ms. Bayne know how to throw a wrench in the works! Just when it looks like
they're over the past and ready to move forward...nope, I won't give it away. But you really ought to check it out!rnrnGreat story!
firstname.lastname@example.org (Thursday, 15 December 2011)
Another eye-catching cover from White Rose Publishingâ€¦but whatâ€™s inside is just as wonderful. Ms. Bayne doesnâ€™t shy away from the difficult
questions. Joe Gardiner placed his faith in God to save his marriage. When it didnâ€™t happen heâ€™s angry, especially with his wifeâ€™s barracuda
lawyer, Elizabeth, who managed to get his wife everything in the settlement. When Elizabeth shows up again, this time with his family, heâ€™s forced
to deal with her and his past. This is a situation thatâ€™s all too common today. With great dialogue, and honest emotions and responses, Ms. Bayne
gives us all hope and shows the way to healing. A great, positive addition to your Christmas reading!