Excerpt From “As We Forgive” by June Foster

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?

EXCERPT:

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
June Foster
2012
Desert Breeze Publishing Inc
Ebook
Available here:http://www.amazon.com/Bellewood-Book-Two-Forgive-ebook/dp/B0094HQDI8/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347657414&sr=1-4&keywords=june+foster

June Foster’s website: http://www.junefoster.blogspot.com

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Excerpt From “Love Notes” by Sherrie Hansen Decker

Hope Anderson’s heart is finally starting to thaw. Even Tommy Love’s is melting around the edges. They both want Rainbow Lake Lodge. Only one of them can have it. For Hope, recreating the past – reopening the lodge and seeing it bubbling with families, children, and laughter again — means new life. It’s the only way she can honor her late husband’s legacy. For Tommy Lubinski of Tommy Love and the Love Notes fame, Rainbow Lake means coming home – peace, quiet, seclusion – and a second chance at stardom. Once he’s bulldozed the lodge and built his dream house overlooking the lake, everything will be perfect. Hope is sinking fast, but she’ll be fine if she can just keep her head above water until spring. Tommy’s troubles run a little deeper, but there’s no need to worry for now… Rainbow Lake is frozen solid. Or is it?

Excerpt:

Tommy lifted his suitcase chest high, handed it to her, and eyed a handful of scraggly, roadside weeds that looked sturdier than they were because of the half-inch of ice coating them. Grabbing a handful, he tried to hoist himself up out of the ditch. And slid backwards. Three times.

“It’s wicked stuff,” she said, trying to hide a laugh. “Here. I can help if I set these down.” She laid his suitcase on the snow-covered ground and perched his precious guitar on top of it.

So she was gorgeous and thoughtful. That didn’t mean she could run Rainbow Lake Lodge all by herself.

She took off her mittens and dug the heels of her boots into the gravel at the shoulder. “Let me give you a hand.”

“I’m fine,” he said. And he was, once she’d helped him out. The woman had a strong grip – he’d give her that.

“What brings you to Rainbow Lake?” Hope asked as they headed into the woods, toward the lodge he was going to bulldoze.

“Um… I had a gig at the Indian Casino at Fortune Bay the night before last,” he said, not wanting to say too much. “I have a small plane that I use when I’m in Minnesota. I was on my way to the airport.”

She looked over her shoulder at the Porsche as if realizing that his car was pointed in exactly the opposite direction that it would have been had he been telling the truth.

“I must have taken a wrong turn,” Tommy said, stopping to shift his weight as he skated along on the icy road. His guitar was lighter than his suitcase and he felt totally unbalanced. “I couldn’t see a thing with that sleet coming down.”

“I was just thinking that you’re mighty fortunate that you weren’t in the air when this weather started up. Or it could have been your plane that crashed instead of your car. In a lake instead of a ditch.”

He looked her in the eye for the first time and nodded.

“I learned a long time ago that God has ways of getting us where he wants us to be,” she said. “Usually at the precise moment he needs us to be there.”

He assimilated her words and chose not to respond. What he wanted to say was, if you really believe this, how do you make sense of the fact that a drunk driver just happened to come around a blind curve on the wrong side of the centerline at the exact moment your husband was coming upon the same curve from the opposite direction? He wanted to ask it, but how could he, when he wasn’t supposed to know her, or that her husband was dead?

“I grew up in Embarrass, you know,” he said, not knowing whether he should just keep his mouth shut or try to distract her from asking him point blank what he was doing in her ditch, and why he was snooping around her property.

“I think David did mention it now that I think about it. I didn’t grow up around here, so I’m a bit clueless when it comes to who went to school with whom and that sort of thing.”

“Then I guess I could ask you the same question,” he said, feeling safe, for the moment anyway. “About what brought you to Rainbow Lake.”

“I’m renovating a lodge and a cluster of cabins that’s been in my late husband’s family for almost half a century”, she said, not mincing any words. “I hope to be ready to reopen on Memorial Day weekend, but there have been a few glitches and things aren’t moving along quite as quickly as I’d hoped.”

“They never do,” Tommy said, trying to convince himself that he wasn’t the jerk he felt like. She needed to sell this place — it was what was best for her. Everyone knew it except for her. Besides, it wasn’t as though he had just randomly decided he had to have her land. Billy had made it clear that Hope was going to lose the property regardless of the fact that Tommy was in the picture. Somebody was going to buy the place. Why shouldn’t it be him?

He’d nearly convinced himself he was right when they turned a corner and he saw the lodge poking through the trees off in the distance, looking as big and grand as the Emerald City at the end of the yellow brick road.

Maybe it was the snow, or the fact that he was chilled to the bone. Maybe it was the way Hope kept referring to the lodge with such love in her voice — whatever, he was mesmerized at first sight. Until that moment, he’d only seen the roof and the top few feet of the exterior that had been visible from the lake. The plane had revealed even less because of the dense ground cover and tall trees. He’d really had no concept of what the place was like. So when the rough hewn timbers and river rocks and old green mortar started to appear through the thick veil of lacy snowflakes falling from the sky, he felt like he was on the inside of some kind of pretty little snow globe, walking toward the fairy-tale-like building in the center.

Get a grip, he told himself. Stay cool. Be objective.

“This is it,” she said. “‘Home Sweet Home.’”

Don’t let her get to you. It wasn’t as though he was going to be evicting her and her six children. She was young. She had options – or would have, when Billy convinced her she needed to relinquish the land and Tommy paid her more than it was worth.

Who was he kidding? Not only was he inside the snow globe, some maniacal kid was shaking it as hard as he could. He was so shook up he could barely swallow.

***

Sherrie Hansen Decker lives in a 116-year-old Victorian house in northern Iowa who, just like her, got a second chance when she rescued it from the bulldozers grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Love Notes is Sherrie’s fifth book to be published by Second Wind Publishing, and her debut Christian Inspirational novel. She attended Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL and University of Maryland, European Division, in Augsburg, Germany. Her husband, Rev. Mark Decker, is a pastor and Sherrie’s real life hero. She enjoys playing the piano with their worship team, needlepointing, renovating and decorating historic houses, traveling, and going on adventures with her nieces and nephews.

Love Notes was released on June 4 and is available at amazon.com, smashwords.com and http://www.secondwindpublishing.com.

Click here for an interview with: Sherrie Hansen Decker, Author of “Love Notes”