Forty-three-year-old Lexi Carlisle’s abusive marriage ended three years ago. Deeply scarred by the experience, and helplessly watching her beloved mother succumb to Alzheimers, Lexi is devastated. After selling her fancy home, she rents a cottage in Heart’s Haven, a special place unlike any other. Slowly learning to live again, she despairs of ever delivering the message of love that burns within her heart for her ever-worsening mother. But Mitch Gaynor, a handsome Christian author, reminds Lexi that with God all things are possible, planting within her battered and distrustful heart the seed of hope for a miracle. But can she open her fortressed heart to God? And is Mitch a part of His plans for her future?
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
The wooden sign overhead stretched clear across the double gates fronting Andrew Hart’s property. Huge. And quite an attention-grabber, with its none-too-perfectly hand-carved message. Rumor had it the two boldly scrawled words had been etched by an inebriated man who’d misspelled both of them and given the quaint little apartment complex a brand new name.
Lexi’s vehicle passed under the sign, and despite the tinge of bitterness that soured her stomach, she managed a half-grin.
Who would have thought, even as recently as a few months ago, that Alexa Martin Carlisle would move into the complex of rental cottages behind Hart’s big manor? Her little dwelling in the heart-shaped circle of eight identical ones was a far cry from the mini-mansion where she’d lived in another life. Yet giving up that pretentious showcase hadn’t given her a moment’s hesitation—the place held mostly awful memories anyway.
Her twenty-three year marriage had fallen apart at the ever-weakening seams three years ago. She kept the house as long as she could, but when her business partner at the salon pulled up stakes to move out of town, Lexi knew she couldn’t afford the mortgage on both places. A cottage had become available at Heart’s Haven the day her cavernous house sold. Decision made.
Nice to know something could still go right for her….
Go see Mama.
The thought sliced through her mind out of nowhere, just as she turned the wheel toward Angel Falls and touched her foot to the accelerator. She frowned, gave her head a slight shake, and ignored it. She visited Mama on Monday, not Friday.
Again, decision made. Lexi rarely wasted time on mental hashing and rehashing. She floored the gas pedal and sent her car flying into town.
Owner and operator of Angel Hair—the sweetest little beauty salon in East Texas, in Lexi’s biased opinion—she spent each Monday cleaning the shop. Every barber-type facility in the mid-sized town closed its doors on the first day of the work week, making it the ideal time to give the place a decent once-over. Lexi still tried to keep Sundays free of extensive labor, even though she hadn’t attended a church service in too long to remember. She recognized the contrasting behaviors but couldn’t seem to change the pattern. Old habits did, indeed, die hard.
On Friday afternoons, she always drove into Lufkin to visit her mother at Rosewood Senior Care. The facility was the only place within driving distance that boasted the excellent reputation and caring staff Lexi required for the most important person in her life. The thirty-minute drive wasn’t convenient, but it could have been worse. She might have had to drive all the way to Dallas.
She shuddered at the thought. Although she wasn’t a church goer, she did thank God for Rosewood! Having Mama half an hour away was difficult enough. Two hours would be unthinkable.
What gift would she take with her this week? She’d have to fit in some shopping time before Friday. On every visit, Lexi presented her mother with some small item…something meaningful, that she hoped would trigger a spark in Mama’s sadly short-circuited memory. She loved the hunt for the perfect gift, loved her recollections of fun shopping excursions the two of them had enjoyed in better times.
But Mother’s Day was coming up in a few weeks, and Lexi wished she could find a way to just skip to the week afterward—why on earth hadn’t scientists found a way to do that by now? Getting through this first year on her own would be hard. Beyond hard. As far back as she could remember, Mother’s Day had been a treasured time of togetherness—church first, then a special lunch, just her and Mama, usually at some fancy little tea room they’d scouted out earlier.
Go see her.
The words thundered through her mind with the force of a bellowing megaphone. Lexi’s foot slammed down on the brake, and she sucked in a sharp breath that hung in her frozen throat. She eased onto the shoulder and forced herself to breathe. A glance at her dash verified the radio’s continuing state of non-operation. It hadn’t worked in over a year.
She had heard something. But now she decided it hadn’t been an actual voice—not an audible one that required ears to hear. Yet the directive rang too clearly to be denied.
Without further hesitation, she checked for traffic, made a sharp U-turn, and headed for Lufkin. The salon would have to get by on last week’s efforts.