Desperate to escape her past, Hayley Blankenship flies from Toronto to the Saskatoon home of Pastor Dave and Lydia Harris, the only people who may be able to help her. If she doesn’t find a reason to hope, she may give in to the temptation to end it all. If only someone could love her, in spite of what she’s done.
Trevor Hiebert aces the interview for his dream job in Toronto, but he’s torn. His beloved parents need him, and while he doesn’t want to let them down, he craves the affirmation he hopes to find in the big city. But on the flight home to Saskatoon, he meets an intriguing, gorgeous redhead with dark secrets of her own.
Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love?
A gust of wind shook the narrow, sloped jet bridge as Hayley Blankenship dragged her carry-on toward the jumbo jet. Fear lodged in her throat, and her footsteps faltered.
People surged past. “Excuse me.”
She swallowed hard and lifted her trembling chin. Not now. She would not give in to fear today. “You are strong,” she whispered. The floor trembled, and Hayley stumbled as the moveable passageway adjusted itself. She clutched the handle of her bag, inhaled sharply, and trudged on. Almost there. She stalled at the entrance to the airplane. Her nerves vibrated. The narrow opening seemed to close around her. The air felt too thick to breathe. Her shoulders curled forward, and her head lowered. This was a mistake. She wasn’t ready, not yet. She turned, but a long line of passengers stood behind her. Could she push past all those staring faces? Her knees threatened to buckle.
The flight attendant reached out and touched Hayley’s arm, startling her. “Is there a problem, miss?”
Hayley shook her head and stiffened her resolve. She’d made the decision to go to Saskatoon. This might be her last chance. She inhaled through her nose and forced her shoulders back, her head up.
The flight attendant said something as she entered the plane, but it didn’t register.
Hayley needed to concentrate. She glanced at the boarding pass in her hand. Seat 20A. The rear of the plane, out of sight of most of the other passengers. A window seat, so she could watch her past disappear. She walked by people already seated, avoiding their eyes, until she came to her assigned spot. Hayley shrugged out of her coat and stuffed it in the overhead compartment. She slid into her allotted place, stored her carry-on under the seat in front of her, and leaned against the window.
Various workers on the ground hurried to load luggage, refuel the plane, and do whatever else was needed to prepare for another flight.
As Hayley watched their purposeful strides, a twinge of envy twisted her lips. Self-pity and self-loathing reared their ugly heads. She closed her eyes in a futile attempt to block the terrible images racing through her mind. Give up. You’re not going to make it. You may as well take the pills—all of them. She shook her head as though that would dislodge the negative thoughts. She sensed someone settle into the aisle seat but didn’t bother looking. She didn’t want to talk to anyone. Casual conversation was pointless. If only she could curl into a ball and block out the world, at least for a while.
Trevor Hiebert ran down the empty passageway to the plane’s doorway. As he ran, he muttered a rant against Toronto traffic and cabbies who seemed more interested in conversing on their radios than getting him to Pearson International on time. He couldn’t afford to miss this flight.
If only he’d pre-booked a seat. Now he was stuck with a center spot, and he knew from experience how uncomfortable it would be. Maybe the plane would be nearly empty so he could have a row to himself. He ducked around the smiling flight attendant and groaned. So much for that wish. He dragged his wheeled carry-on down the aisle as he scanned the numbers above the rows. Finally, he spotted it: 20B. He glanced at his row mates, a young woman leaning against the cabin wall with her eyes closed and an older woman who looked like a sweet grandmotherly type in the aisle seat.
“Excuse me, ma’am. I’m in 20B.”
The old woman looked beside her at the narrow seat and back up at him. Her attention settled on his broad shoulders, and her mouth compressed into a flat line. “Good luck.”
Trevor shifted his weight and pulled his leather bag closer. “Would you mind trading spots with me? Then I won’t have to climb over you.” And he’d have a little more breathing room.
“I certainly would mind. I want this seat.” She jutted her chin and glared at him. “You young punks are used to getting your way, but you won’t bully me.”
The attendant moved to the front of the cabin, ready to begin her safety speech.
His temper surged, but Trevor clamped a lid on it. The woman wasn’t worth the regret he’d feel later. He shrugged out of his well-worn leather jacket, lifted it and his bag into the overhead compartment, and tried to maneuver over the woman’s legs in the cramped space to his assigned spot. Her leg jolted against the back of his knee, and he lost his balance. He caught himself against the window so he wouldn’t land in the young woman’s lap.
The girl’s eyes snapped open as he turned to apologize. She gave a sharp intake of breath and tried to ease away, but Trevor’s power to move deserted him. Her mesmerizing green eyes widened as shock turned to fear.
“What are you doing?” Her shrill voice broke the spell.
“So sorry,” he mumbled. He pushed off from the window and plunked into his chair. “I tripped.” He looked sideways at the old woman, who smirked as she smoothed her pant legs.
It was going to be a long flight.
He glanced back at the young woman and wondered at his desire to see her face again. But she had turned away and sat huddled against the wall. Her sharp-angled shoulder blades and the back of her spiky auburn hair made an effective barrier. Kind of looked like a hedgehog. Trevor snorted. He was stuck between a prickly old grouch and a hedgehog. For three and a half hours.
Hayley pressed against the wall of the aircraft as chills raced through her limbs. Her legs trembled and her heart raced. She’d made it onto the plane. Would she fall apart now? That man had nearly landed on top of her. It happened so fast, she hadn’t had time to react. There was no room to move, anyway. But he’d caught himself and apologized. She wasn’t hurt, just scared. Her breathing evened out. She’d survived worse. She silently repeated her psychiatrist’s prescribed refrain. I am OK. I am strong. The past is gone. The future is God’s. Over and over, until her body began to relax. Just like in Dr. Freemont’s office.
She’d heard the brief exchange between her seatmates. The man’s voice would have excited her in the past. She would have smiled at him and flirted with him. But that was the old Hayley. She was dead.
When she’d looked up and stared into his rugged face, all her senses had sharpened. He smelled like pine forest mixed with motor oil, a strangely tantalizing combination. His tanned skin indicated time spent outdoors. And his dark-lashed gray eyes, like a stormy Lake Ontario, invited her to sink into them. For one brief moment, she had the strangest sensation she could see her future in those eyes. And that terrified her.
Question 1: If a person regrets her past, can moving be the fresh start she needs?
Answer 1: Only if she deals with her issue, too.
Question 2: Is there anything too horrible for God to forgive?
Answer 2: No. Jesus' sacrifice paid for all sins.
Question 3: How much do adult children owe their parents?
Answer 3: Honor dictates the answer to this.
Question 4: Is forgiveness a "one time, done" affair?
Answer 4: Not usually. Forgiveness needs to be offered each time the issue arises.
Question 5: Why does God allow terrible things to happen?
Answer 5: Because our world is sinful, but He can use even the most dreadful situation.
Question 6: Is there such a thing as guardian angels?
Answer 6: According to the Bible, yes.
Question 7: What does "You've got this, and God's got you" mean to you?
Answer 7: Individual answers
Question 8: Do miracles still happen?
Answer 8: Yes, of course!
Question 9: Should a new Christian fall in love with an unbeliever? Why or why not?
Answer 9 Individual answers
Question 10: How can you know you're forgiven?
Answer 10: Believe in God's word. He promises to forgive when we repent.