Hearts Renewed


  • Author: Mary Manners
Isabella Carpenter spends her days soothing souls as a radio host on the local Christian station. Her witty charm and bright outlook on life hide the fact that in her heart, she still struggles with tragic events of her past. Sam Holman’s sister was kidnapped and murdered. The single,...


Isabella Carpenter spends her days soothing souls as a radio host on the local Christian station. Her witty charm and bright outlook on life hide the fact that in her heart, she still struggles with tragic events of her past.
Sam Holman’s sister was kidnapped and murdered. The single, unspeakable event ripped his family apart as the murderer was set free on a technicality. Consumed by anger, Sam is determined to use his position as a state prosecutor to avenge the murder.
When Sam and Izzy cross paths, their lives are forever changed. Izzy's determined to show Sam there’s life after loss, happiness following tragedy, and her five-year-old son, Tucker, is only part of the story.




Sam Holman tossed his suit jacket onto the passenger seat of his SUV and slipped into the driver’s side with a heavy sigh. He tugged the silk tie that threatened to choke the last reasonable thoughts from his head, loosening the fabric and yanking it from his collar. The sudden, welcomed relief allowed his first substantial breath since six-fifteen that morning. He balled the swatch in his fist and lobbed it across the front seat. The cloth slithered like a snake to the floor.

Isn’t that just the way my day has gone?

Sam grimaced as he slipped a key into the ignition and cranked the SUV’s engine. The rhythmic purr of pistons brought his thoughts into focus. Court days proved to be brutal—especially long days like today, filled with nit-picky sidebars that ended, more often than not, in a standoff.

Cap off today’s legal efforts with a caustic tongue-lashing from Judge Jenkins behind the closed mahogany door of the grizzle-haired magistrate’s chambers, and life proved to be the knockout round of a heavyweight boxing match.

Yes, Sam had endured a blistering call-to-the-carpet on the merits of preserving precious court time by arriving to the hall prepared. He—by vast accounts the most tenacious and dedicated modern-day public servant—had been served up a heaping platter of defeat and embarrassment due to a ridiculous technicality that had no business taking up so much as a drop of ink in the books. It paid no matter that the information resulted in a last-minute, expertly-revealed-by-the-defense, bomb-dropping move.

But that stab of embarrassment paled in comparison to what Sam’s young client and her unsuspecting family must have endured as they somberly drank in the judge’s eleventh-hour dismissal of charges against the man whose actions had forever changed the course of their lives.

On an outrageous technicality.

Sam’s groan of frustration filled the cab as he thumped his fist along the steering wheel; technicality…technicality…technicality. The word ought to be outlawed for all eternity. It was an ugly, unfortunate blend of syllables that usually meant an otherwise guilty perpetrator was released from any legal consequences without so much as a smudge of guilt on his or her filthy hands.

Sam mentally sifted through reams of his pre-court research once again, wondering if there was even the slightest nuance of a clue that he’d missed along the way. His intern—a master’s student from the University of Tennessee—was new to procedure and as green as they came, but also anxious to learn all there was to know. Her inexperience in dealing with the likes of the Public Defender’s Office was really no excuse for this fractured case. The blame fell squarely upon Sam’s shoulders; he should have had his radar set to delve through the smallest details, should have been convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’d dotted each I and crossed every last T. He’d solemnly sworn to uphold justice, and he’d always been so careful to catch even the minutest points while unraveling information and building a rock-solid case. He rarely lost, and could count those defeats on a single hand. But for some reason, this litigation had slipped like gelatin through his fingers.

Thoughts of Molly swam through his head. Seven years…was it really coming up on seven years since he’d seen his sister…spoken with her…watched her close her eyes to make a wish, and then blow out her twenty-first birthday candles following a raucous rendition of Happy Birthday? Had it really been seven years since he’d wept over her lifeless body, sounds of her laughter forever lost?

Sam shook his head and refocused to the indigestible legal action that had just imploded right in his face. Because the Miranda warning was not properly read and the arresting officer was deemed to use excessive force in issuing a field sobriety test and subsequent arrest, the case was ultimately—following weeks of painstaking research and preparation—thrown out of court. Now an innocent victim—a fawn-eyed teenage girl touted as the star varsity lacrosse player at a local high school—faced a career-ending injury from a fractured spine as she convalesced at a rehab facility while the forty-something driver who, as an added bonus, happened to have deep political roots in Knoxville as well as the greater Southeast, walked away from his transgression, protected from further prosecution, to go about his business for another day.

Where was the justice?

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