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Tapestry of Trust
Surrendered Heart. Interwoven Grace
Isabelle had always envisioned Charlie Hamilton as the hero depicted in the romantic tapestry hanging in the Hamilton home. Then Charlie abandoned her to make decisions no one should make alone. Now, six years later, Charlie's back, and despite Isabelle's best efforts, she can't ignore the longing his presence reignites. Charlie wants a second chance, but can Isabelle trust the man he's become? Can she surrender her threadbare heart long enough for God to weave Isabelle's own happily-ever-after tapestry?
In Stock: 100
Author: ( Mary Annslee Urban )
Isabelle Craftonâ€™s breath stilled at the sight of the man standing on the other side of the doorway. No. It couldnâ€™t be.
Charlie Hamilton. His name clattered in her head as his gaze held hers. The traitor sheâ€™d spent the last six years trying to forget.
Unable to move, unable to wrench her gaze away, she bit her lip to keep from gaping. No longer the gangly soccer star whoâ€™d scored the winning goals in high school, broad shoulders now filled his tailored suit, his face square and chiseled, and those eyesâ€¦ Would she ever forget those eyes? Dark and warm. Once as soothing as sipping hot chocolate on a blistery winterâ€™s day.
â€śIsabelle, I canâ€™t believe itâ€™s you.â€ť
She blinked and looked away, her heart pounding. Get a grip. After all, his visit presented one redeeming quality. He was holding her cat.
She lifted the feline from Charlieâ€™s arms. â€śThere you are Humphrey, you had me so worried. Bad kitty!â€ť She scolded him the way sheâ€™d love to scold Charlie, but held back. Her roommate Kate, was in the apartment and well within earshot. â€śCharlie, thank you.â€ť She forced her voice to remain calm.
â€śYou look great.â€ť He smiled, brushing cat hair from his jacket.
Likewise. She scrunched Humphrey closer. â€śYou found my cat. Iâ€™ve been so worried. Iâ€™m not sure if you remember Humphrey, but heâ€™s deaf.â€ť
Charlie nodded. â€śHe was hanging out in the drainage ditch near the parking lot. The woman in the office told me who lost a cat. She offered to return him, but I had to see if it was really you. And here you are.â€ť He opened his arms and stepped closer.
Unexpected emotion clogged Isabelleâ€™s throat. Swallowing hard, she grabbed the knob and pushed the front door halfway shut, blocking his entrance into the apartment. How dare he act like nothing had happened between them? â€śI must say, youâ€™re the last person I expected to see.â€ť The last person she wanted to see.
For a moment, their eyes clashed. The corners of his lips curved up. â€śYes, a nice surprise. Itâ€™s been a long time, Isabelle. Too long.â€ť His gaze drifted from her face to the furry bundle in her arms. â€śI should have recognized Humphrey.â€ť
Too long? A lifetime wouldnâ€™t be long enough. And why would he recognize her cat? He hadnâ€™t been around since Humphrey was a kitten.
Isabelle eased the door within a couple inches of closing. â€śSee you around, Charlie.â€ť Except for a discreet glance through lowered lashes, she kept her gaze averted, cuddling the cat closer to her face.
â€śIsabelle, wait.â€ť Charlie pushed against the door. â€śTell me how youâ€™ve been. What are you doing here in Austin?â€ť
Isabelle froze and peered at him through the space heâ€™d created. She wanted to tell him sheâ€™d graduated from college and was doing fine without him. Raking her fingers through Humphreyâ€™s knotted fur, she tried to transform bitter thoughts into a civil response. A beat passed, then another. â€śNot much to tell. Just working,â€ť she blurted finally after what seemed like eons.
â€śShe teaches second grade at McGee Elementary,â€ť Kate bellowed from behind her. â€śWe came here last year after graduating from East Texas.â€ť
Thanks, Kate. Isabelle sucked in air to hold back a sigh.
A dimple flashed in Charlieâ€™s cheek. â€śIsabelle, congratulations.â€ť
Her heart gave a little leap despite her efforts to control it.
â€śThe man is trying to make conversation.â€ť Kate breezed up beside her and squeezed her arm.
â€śIâ€™m sorry. I just donâ€™t have time to chat rightâ€¦â€ť Isabelleâ€™s words faded in defeat, as Kate swung the door wide open.
â€śIt would be nice to catch up, Isabelle.â€ť Charlie shifted even closer. He sunk his hands into his trouser pockets.
She caught a scent of his cologne, tickling her nose. Something, clean and fresh likeâ€¦Stop it. Isabelle blinked. What was she doing? She tightened her arms around Humphrey and backed away, doubling the distance between them.
How could she ever forget?
Eighteenâ€¦and pregnant. She ground her teeth. Life before Jesus. Shaking her head, she pushed out a weary breath. â€śWho knows when Humphrey ate last? I better feed him.â€ť
As if on cue, Humphrey let loose a scraggly meow.
â€śIsabelle, so good to see you.â€ť
Charlieâ€™s gaze narrowed, and she was struck by the unexpected intensity. Perhaps he had regrets. Wellâ€¦so did she.
â€śLetâ€™s talk soon.â€ť
She started to answer, to tell him to forget about her, but why bother. Her response would only fuel more conversation. â€śAgain, thanks for finding Humphrey.â€ť
â€śNo problem. I look forward to catching up with you soon.â€ť
She ignored the comment and stalked out the entry and into the kitchen. Maybe, Charlie would pick up on her hint and take a hike himself.
Isabelle set Humphrey on the floor, stretched on tiptoes, and yanked open the cabinet over the stove. She grabbed the plastic container of cat food and poured fish-shaped morsels into a bowl. With whiskers twitching, the cat licked his forepaws and stared up at her. She crouched and set the bowl in front of him. â€śIâ€™m glad youâ€™re safe.â€ť She pulled a twig from his fur.
Even at this distance, Isabelle could hear the conversation in the entry. She glanced at her watch and sighed when Kate burst into a hearty laugh. Didnâ€™t Charlie have somewhere to be?
â€śI canâ€™t believe youâ€™re in graduate school with Mark.â€ť Kateâ€™s voice lifted.
Isabelle rolled her eyes. Perfect.
â€śYeah, heâ€™s in my study group this semester. Nice guy.â€ť
â€śI think so, too.â€ť Kate giggled. â€śThis is such a busy semester for him, with our wedding and all. I canâ€™t wait until heâ€™s finished.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m right there with you. School canâ€™t end soon enough for me either.â€ť A pleasant chuckle trailed Charlieâ€™s words.
â€śSo, you graduate in May, also?â€ť
Grad school. Lucky Charlie. No hiccups in his life. No change of course. Unlike hers, whose life made a U-turn when she got pregnant and spun further out of control when sheâ€™d lost the baby. Their baby. Isabelle shook her head. Why Charlie? Why couldnâ€™t you haveâ€” She flinched. History, she reminded herself. One she wanted to forget.
The kitchen started to feel stuffy. She pushed to her feet and slid open the window above the sink. Fresh air blew against her face. Who cares when Charlie graduates anyway? Their life together ended years ago. She pinched dead leaves off the potted ivy meandering across the windowsill.
A moment passed, then another. She inched toward the doorway. She cocked her head and gnawed on an already too short fingernail, reassuring herself Charlie no longer meant anything to her.
â€śIâ€™ve been working at my girâ€•, uh, friendâ€™s fatherâ€™s marketing company in San Marcos. After graduation, Iâ€™ll be a director there.â€ť
Isabelle slapped her hands over her ears. She braced herself against the counter before her wobbly knees gave out. Of course, he had a girlfriend. After six years, people moved on.
Well, most people.
Even as the thought crossed her mind, she shook her head. The last thing she wanted was Charlie to be privy to how boring her life had become. Not that her boredom had anything to do with missing him. Straightening, she lifted her chin. Sheâ€™d just been busy, thatâ€™s all.
Still, why, out of the hundreds of people in their apartment complex, did he have to be the one to find her cat? She picked up the cat food container and shoved it back into the cabinet. Humphrey crunched his meal on the floor next to her. Snagging a deep breath, she grabbed a dishcloth and ran circles across the already spotless counter. Then she jerked open the refrigerator door and yanked old take-out containers from the shelves. If she had to be stuck in the kitchen, she might as well get something done.
Charlieâ€™s tone rose above the trilling grind of the garbage disposal. â€śTell Isabelle good-bye for me. Iâ€™ll catch up with her soon. Ohâ€¦and make sure she lets Sadie in the office know to take the sign down now that Humphreyâ€™s home safe.â€ť
That did it. Isabelle thumped her hands on the counter and opened her mouth to shout a retort, but no words cameâ€”only tears. Charlie hadnâ€™t changed. Still trying to take care of things. Why wouldnâ€™t she tell Sadie? Who did he think put the sign up in the first place? She clenched her left fist, nails digging into her palm. Six years ago sheâ€™d asked for his advice, and he had nothing of value for her. In fact, he had nothing to say about the matter at all.
Squaring her shoulders, she wiped hot tears and resisted the rush of illogical nostalgia parading through her. No, she wouldnâ€™t look back. Instead, she slammed her eyes shut and prayedâ€”for Godâ€™s grace.
Mary is a freelance writer for several newspapers in her area. She has published articles in magazines and other online publications. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Fearless Fiction Writers Critique Group and has served as Co-President for Carolina Christian Writers.
Mary is a Registered Nurse and works part-time in a local Emergency Room. A North Carolina resident, she and her husband have five children, mostly grown. Over the years Mary has served on the board of Christian Womenâ€™s Club, been a Coordinator for Stonecroft Bible Ministries and has traveled on numerous foreign mission trips, both medical and evangelism related.
Great book, well written. Loved the relationship between Charlie and Isabelle, and the fact that there was a lot of interaction and dialogue between
the two. Did not contain a lot of long passages of self introspection on behalf of the two main characters, or long descriptions of scenery, etc. I
don't like that in a book and find it boring. This book was definitely not boring and moved fast. This is the only book I can find by this author at
this time, but will be on the lookout for future books. A book I will definitely read again someday. Hope you enjoy it.
croney37 (Wednesday, 20 June 2012)
Beautiful and captivating story. Every chapter leaves you looking forward to the next. I loved how the characters were developed and how the power of
daily prayer prevailed throughout this story. In even found myself saying little prayers throughout my day, just like Isabelle. This is the first book
I have read from this author and I can't wait for the next. A book to have and a story to cherish!
Roosgal (Tuesday, 19 June 2012)
This is a well written love story that would highly recommend. Young lovers kept apart by those who believed they know best are reunited but not
until dealing with the pain from the past and correcting misunderstandings. I loved the strong believable characters and cheered for them to find
their way back to one another. Great ending to a story I fully enjoyed.
dassym (Tuesday, 19 June 2012)
Isabelle and Charlie....separated by six years of bitterness and pain between them.rnUrban's story weaves a beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and
above all, Trust. This story kept me continuing on to the next page, then the next. A few twists of the storyline's thread had me pleasantly
surprised, especially when the one person asking for forgiveness was the one person I never thought would ask.rnWords will never showcase the beauty
and soulful story of redemptive love and forgiveness.rnTapestry of Love is a story to which I will always return. Forever will it remind me that love