Heart Not Taken by Naomi Dawn Musch

A contemporary story of love, inspiration and redemption by Naomi Dawn Musch.

High school English teacher Sean Heart has almost let his faith slip away. Haunted by a lapse in judgment from his past as well as his mentor’s betrayal, doubt has set in. Then he meets Jordyn Delaney. A beautiful, talented landscaper, Jordyn has been hired to improve the Heart family property. But Jordyn is having a crisis of her own. Devastated by news of her parents’ separation, she must overcome that obstacle to faith in order to help Sean Heart regain his. At least with him in her life, there’s someone she can depend on and trust. Or can she?

When the situation Sean most dreads threatens to sabotage their budding relationship, he and Jordyn discover that a renovation of the heart and spirit might be the most complicated job of all.


She looked up the drive, though there was no way to see all the way up the crooked, wooded lane. She slowed the car to a crawl. No one was out on the lonely stretch of highway. The sun had dropped below the tree line and the road lay in shadows. She stepped on the brake and put the car into reverse. Backing up, she passed the drive again, changed gears, and turned her wheel to enter. Pressing the gas pedal slightly, she crept a few yards up the driveway.

What are you doing, Jordyn? She should stop now and leave while she still could. What would she give as her reason for coming by, anyway? That she just wanted to see if the stuff was still there for Monday’s job? Yeah, right. He’d think she was pushing things, showing up after one meaningless dinner. Yep.

But just a little farther . . . just for a peek.

Jordyn inched the car along. Darkness was heavier under the thick pines. He wouldn’t see her, and she could always back up and make a getaway.

Coming to the final tight bend in the lane, she saw the lights. There were floodlights –or were they headlights? — and sparks drifting up into the dusky sky. Loud music sifted through the woods and through her slightly opened car window. Her memory clicked: He’s having a party with kids from his class!

She quickly threw the gear into reverse and looked over her shoulder. “Oh, no!” Jordyn groaned as another car with headlights on bright bounced up the driveway behind her, trapping her. There was nothing she could do but proceed on ahead. A horn blared and Jordyn cringed. She glanced into the rearview mirror and gave a little wave, a grimace on her face. “I’m going . . . I’m going.”

She pulled up behind a host of other cars at the head of Sean’s driveway. Beaters, a souped-up truck, a couple of nicer cars probably belonging to parents stuffed the small parking area. In the growing shadows, silhouettes of teenagers roamed in and out of the house, and conversation and laughter floated up into the night sky from beyond the cabin, near the river. A firecracker burst, making Jordyn jump, but not as badly as when two laughing teens pounded on her car window as they passed by.  “Hi!” they hollered. Jordyn would have escaped even then, but they’d sufficiently blocked her in for keeps.

With nothing to do but face the music, she ventured out of the car and followed, stuffing her arms into her sweater against the coolness of the evening air. Behind the cabin, probably twenty or twenty-five teenagers mingled, but even in the twilight she recognized Sean’s form among them. She heard his deeper voice, and realized that they were laughing at something he was saying. As she drew closer, a few of the younger people made room for her, looking at her curiously.

A tall, good looking kid about seventeen said, “Hey, Sean.” Except for darker eyes, and longer hair, the resemblance was similar enough that even in the growing dark, Jordyn guessed it was probably one of Sean’s brothers. He smiled at her and looked over at Sean with a knowing sort grin that made her want to turn around and run away. Then Sean looked up, and the light of the bon fire made his eyes look like warm, blue flame.

# # #


Naomi Dawn Musch enjoys writing in several genres of fiction. Her next novel, The Green Veil will release on January 1st as book one of the historical romance series: Empire in Pine. She is also an editor for Port Yonder Press, and a staff writer for the monthly Christian newspaper Living Stones News. She enjoys writing in various venues for the encouragement of homeschoolers and mentoring young writers through tutorials at A Novel Writing Site. She and husband Jeff are celebrating 30 years of shared romance, and they continue to enjoy epic adventures with their five young adults around their home in the Wisconsin northwoods. She invites readers to visit her at her site: http://www.naomimusch.com

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