Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. Tim wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.
Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.
Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can Tim make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?
Tim gritted his teeth and pushed through the double doors at the front of the church for a quick breath of cool, rain-filled evening air. The fresh Pacific breeze on his face did nothing to calm his anger. He stomped down the stairs staring at the ground. Each foot clunked on the sidewalk toward the church parking lot. Then he tumbled forward, his body bumping against another. He flailed and reached out to stop both of them from plummeting backward.
“Oh,” the feminine voice murmured against his ears even as her purse clamored to the ground spilling its contents onto the concrete. Another bag bounced against her side but remained secure on her shoulder.
He steadied them both and pulled away.
The teenage girl infuriated him almost as much as Johnny Thompson had. “Sorry, but why can’t you kids show up on time?” Young people lacked responsibility these days, one thing his father had drummed into his head.
The startled teen stared up at him.
“I’m Pastor Tim. You’re a bit late for the girls’ fundraiser meeting.”
The young girl peered at him with her crystal blue eyes as she bent down to collect her belongings. “I’m sorry, I had to–”
“Teens. Always have an excuse,” he mumbled.
Johnny tested his patience — his outbursts in class, his pranks. He’d never trust the kid again after tonight.
The girl stuffed a brush, a makeup case, a lipstick, and a pen into her bag before he had a chance to help. She stood and hiked the strap over her shoulder.
One remaining item she’d missed lay next to an azalea bush near the parking lot pavement. Conviction hit him with more force than the light September rain falling on them. He bent to pick it up and handed the small black Bible to her.
Without looking at him, she stuffed it in her pocket.
He didn’t have to take his problems out on another kid. She had nothing to do with Johnny lying to him when he said he needed the key to Tim’s office to borrow his concordance. He should’ve known it was a scheme.
Since Johnny had taken a long time coming back to the classroom, he figured he’d better check on him, but the door was locked. He had to find the spare key in the main office. Johnny and his girlfriend were leaning against the wall kissing. The nerve of the kid. He’d speak to the boy and his wayward girlfriend about making out on church property later.
His frustration ebbing, Tim’s breathing returned to normal.
The late arrival was probably upset with him, for which he didn’t blame her. The teen’s long blond hair, held back in a clip, flowed down her back. She must be new to the senior high group. He hadn’t seen her at the meetings before. “So what high school do you attend?”
“I don’t –”
“Well, you’re welcome anyway.” She’s home schooled — or maybe a dropout. “I’m sorry I bumped into you. Probably didn’t make you feel very welcome. Let me show you where the girls are waiting. With the help of a volunteer, Ms. Ratner, they’re organizing a fundraiser for our annual camp held during spring break.”
He started up the sidewalk but paused to allow her to catch up. The rain covered the sidewalk. With one final breath, the volcano inside him subsided.
The girl paced next to him and lifted her eyes, this time amusement flitting across her lips.
Was she going to be one of those rebellious teens who didn’t respect authority?
“So you’re the youth pastor here. I haven’t attended Bellewood Fellowship for long.” She blinked a drop of rain out of her eye.
“Well, newcomers are always welcome. I recommend you arrive on time. We’re rushed during our meetings.” They climbed the steps he’d just tramped down.
“Good advice, Pastor Tim, but now might be a good time to introduce myself.” She gave him a sneer, then a smile. “I’ve been out of my teens for over six years, but I’m flattered you think I look that young. I’m a hairstylist at Larry’s Hair Design near downtown Bellewood.” She stuck out her hand. “Roxanne Ratner.”
Book Title: As We Forgive
Desert Breeze Publishing Inc
June Foster’s website: http://www.junefoster.blogspot.com