The Stronghold

The Stronghold

$3.99

SOMETIMES EVEN THE STRONG ONE NEEDS SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO
Aaron Fisher is the middle-born Fisher man, but through necessity, he’s embraced the role of family leader. He’s always been the stronghold, the standard bearer. Aaron conforms. He fulfills and most often exceeds expectations. He’s stoic and strong—the sheep that stayed on course with the Savior.
Seen as the one most likely to marry a known and well-suited woman from town, Aaron intends to continue the traditions of faith, farming and family left behind in the footsteps of those who preceded him. Until he meets Emma Briggs.
A gifted RN, Emma enters Aaron’s life when his father experiences health issues. She’s a newbie to Antioch’s medical facility who calms the family’s storm, but Emma harbors a secret, an undeserved shame she’s disclosed to no one in this tight-knit, rural town.
Emma is a mystery—the new and unknown quantity of Antioch. Aaron is part of its foundation and pulse. Can Emma’s past be reconciled to the present? Can she find acceptance in a new place—a new season—with the love of a lifetime?


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SOMETIMES EVEN THE STRONG ONE NEEDS SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO
Aaron Fisher is the middle-born Fisher man, but through necessity, he’s embraced the role of family leader. He’s always been the stronghold, the standard bearer. Aaron conforms. He fulfills and most often exceeds expectations. He’s stoic and strong—the sheep that stayed on course with the Savior.
Seen as the one most likely to marry a known and well-suited woman from town, Aaron intends to continue the traditions of faith, farming and family left behind in the footsteps of those who preceded him. Until he meets Emma Briggs.
A gifted RN, Emma enters Aaron’s life when his father experiences health issues. She’s a newbie to Antioch’s medical facility who calms the family’s storm, but Emma harbors a secret, an undeserved shame she’s disclosed to no one in this tight-knit, rural town.
Emma is a mystery—the new and unknown quantity of Antioch. Aaron is part of its foundation and pulse. Can Emma’s past be reconciled to the present? Can she find acceptance in a new place—a new season—with the love of a lifetime?

 


Excerpt


1



Aaron Fisher twisted the knob on the radio, cranking the volume on the oldies station. His lips curved as the Byrd’s version of Turn, Turn, Turn played. The poignant melody filled the air with nostalgia as the words of Ecclesiastes rang out through flawless harmonies…

A time to every purpose under heaven…

Aaron and his older brother, Phillip, had always joked that the classic song resonated across generations because the lyrics came straight from The Great Author, God Himself, through the biblical verses.

A flood of gratitude covered his spirit. Tides had turned between him and Phillip. Resentment, anger, bitterness had been torn away in recent months, exposing a newfound closeness and affection. Before his sibling’s return to their hometown of Antioch, Indiana, Aaron would never have dreamed of resuming strong bonds with Phillip. Aaron had stored too much pain after Phillip’s leaving to believe in new beginnings; that emotion had barreled straight to the surface of his soul, and their relationship, when Phillip came back and replanted roots in their hometown.

Antioch was rural, a farm community governed by a slow pace, deep faith, and the kind of small town atmosphere folks craved without even realizing it—until they spent time within its borders, falling into its slow pace and vibrations of peace. Phillip had learned that lesson the hard way, and Aaron had learned to forgive and move forward with his brother all over again.

Praise God.

Aaron smiled once more at the lyrics, then focused on the road.

Members of the Antioch High School marching band high-stepped across the practice field. Aaron rolled down the driver’s side window of his vehicle, ignoring the chill of air spiced by wood smoke transforming to the very essence of autumn. Preps for Friday night football were in full swing. Tonight, the Antioch Tigers would be taking on their arch rivals from Arcola. He tapped his fingertips in time to the school anthem then lifted his hand in greeting to Scott Pepperfield, who drove past in the opposite direction. He needed to stop by Pepperfield Farm Supply and pick up a gear case replacement kit for Ben. Now that harvest season neared its end, youngest sibling Ben would have time to work his mechanical magic on the family’s aged but still serviceable tractor.

First things first, though. Aaron checked the clock on the dash of his truck and accelerated slightly. He had about ten minutes to spare. Right now, he had to attend Dad’s appointment at Briar Medical Center. His parents wanted him to be another set of eyes and ears as Dr. Skogee diagnosed issues Dad had following a heart attack six months earlier. The cause seemed to be related to his medications, and had reached a point that required attention. Flicking on the turn signal, Aaron executed a left onto Second Street, passing through the outskirts of Antioch’s three-block town center.

The medical facility stood just ahead. Aaron shifted restlessly as he neared the end of his drive and Dad’s health issues claimed priority focus.


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