One moment of sin leads to a path of pain ...and unexpected love.
Stephanie’s life hits a speed bump in the wake of her boyfriend’s sin. Splitting up with him, she faces a future of difficult choices shaded in shame. She wants to do what is right but the new man in her life leaves her fantasizing about a future that is now beyond her grasp.
Roberto finds his heart and professional world turned upside down by the beautiful bombshell. He struggles with his own inner demons and past so he’s not about to cast stones. When he is accused of immoral behavior, and temptation haunts him from every side, can he stand true to the calling God has given him?
Joining forces to face the future though comes at a high cost for them both as their individual pasts rise up to destroy them and their relationship. Integrity comes with a high price tag. With a deep faith in God and the help of friends at Orchard Hill Church, can they find happiness and love they long for?
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“Suck it up, Steph. You can do this,” she whispered to herself. A lame pep talk as she rubbed her shaking hands on her skirt. She’d always enjoyed her job, but today? Today, she prayed she’d be able to keep from running to the bathroom to throw up. She swallowed hard and pasted on a smile as she stepped forward to greet the staff of Every Child a Home by name as they entered DeLuca’s Cucina for their fundraising luncheon. She knew many of them from church and from having hosted this event in previous years.
“Miss Simson, how good to see you again.” Max Bixby, the President and CEO of the non-profit adoption agency approached her. By his side was a handsome man in his early thirties with straight dark hair parted slightly off center and falling down on his forehead. His sapphire blue eyes twinkled, probably made even bluer by the cobalt shirt he wore with his snappy charcoal suit. “I have a new associate I would like you to meet. This is Mr. Roberto Rodriguez from Harrington and Associates. He is serving as legal counsel.” He paused and looked around. “I see another benefactor coming.” Mr. Bixby walked away, leaving them alone.
Stephanie reached out her hand. The attorney took it and raised it to his mouth while maintaining eye contact. “A pleasure, Stephanie.” His voice had a rich, deep tone. She repressed the shiver of delight that coursed through her body as his lips touched her fingers. She forced herself to slow her breathing as she gave him a smile. He released her hand, and she froze—speechless. His eyebrow quirked before he spoke again, preventing any awkwardness to arise between them. “You appear familiar…do you attend Orchard Hill Church?”
Stephanie nodded. “Yes—for years, but I regret I’ve not noticed you there.” Oh, she wished she had. Given her present life circumstances, it was probably better she hadn’t. Nothing good could come of getting acquainted with any eligible bachelor at this point, no matter how handsome he might be.
“Not surprising, considering the size of the congregation. I moved into the Milwaukee area about two months ago.”
“Welcome. You chose a wonderful organization to collaborate with if you were seeking a ministry opportunity. Every Child a Home has been doing great work in this area for years and has a wonderful reputation.”
Mr. Rodriguez glanced over to where Mr. Bixby visited with some couples who had just arrived. “I’ve heard good things about them. How did you know I joined them for the purpose of ministry?”
“As legal counsel, I assumed your position was volunteer. I suspect most lawyers would not find working adoption cases to be highly profitable. Forgive me if I’m wrong.”
“Correct. But I’ll tell you a secret.” He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, causing a delightful shiver to course through her. “My wonderful Christian parents adopted me, and I want to help others because of the gift I was given by my birth-mother.”
His breath tickled her skin and she detected a scent of wintergreen. “What a great reason to serve, Mr. Rodriguez.”“Call me Roberto, or Robbie, please.” He stepped back, giving her space.
“Okay. Roberto. Lunch will begin soon, and I need to get everyone seated. I hope we can talk again. I would love to learn more about the work you do.” She took a step towards a group of people mingling nearby.
“Are you available for lunch on Sunday? After church?” He spoke only loud enough for her to hear.
She stopped mid-pivot, placed a hand on her chest, and tilted her head to the side. “Are you asking me out? We just met.”