A Glimmer of Hope: A Novella Prequel to Isle of Hope

BOOK: A Glimmer of Hope: A Novella Prequel to Isle of Hope
9.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

Acclaim for Isle of Hope

 

“In
Isle of Hope
Lessman tells a poignant tale of first loves reunited and families reconciled. Both emotionally captivating and spiritually challenging, this sweet southern love story deals with issues of forgiveness and restoration. Fans of Lessman will be absolutely delighted with this riveting tale!”
—Denise Hunter, bestselling author of
Falling Like Snowflakes

 

“In
Isle of Hope
, award-winning author Julie Lessman weaves a story of how past choices collide with future consequences. Lessman’s novel has it all: lush details, dynamic characters, and a storyline that keeps you turning the pages. The characters Lessman created in
Isle of Hope
confront their (in)ability to forgive – and as you fall in love with these characters, be prepared to question your beliefs about forgiveness.”
—Beth K. Vogt, author of
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
, and a 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2015 and 2014 Carol Award finalist

 

"Fans of Julie Lessman’s historical romances will love this modern day love story!
Isle of Hope
is a heartwarming and inspirational novel about forgiveness sought and restoration found. I’m enamored with the large and wonderful O’Bryen family and I thoroughly enjoyed the romances Julie skillfully crafted for both Jack O'Bryen and his mom Tess. A delight!”
—Becky Wade, award-winning author of
My Stubborn Heart
and The Porter Family series including
A Love Like Ours

 

 

Acclaim for Julie Lessman

 

“Truly masterful plot twists ...” —
Romantic Times Book Reviews

 

“Readers who like heartwarming novels, such as those written by Debbie Macomber, are sure to enjoy this book.”

Booklist Online

 

“Julie is one of the best there is today at writing intensely passionate romance novels. Her ability to thread romance and longing, deception and forgiveness, and lots of humor are unparalleled by anyone else in the Christian market today.”
—Rachel McRae of LifeWay Stores

 

“Julie Lessman's prose and character development is masterful.”

Church Libraries Magazine

 

Author Acclaim for Julie Lessman

(authors listed alphabetically)

 

“With memorable characters and an effervescent plot that's as buoyant as it is entertaining,
Dare to Love Again
is Julie Lessman at her zestful best.”
—Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of
A Lasting Impression
and
To Whisper Her Name 

 

“In a powerful and skillfully written novel, Lessman exposes raw human emotions, proving once again that it's through our greatest pain that God can lead us to our true heart, revealed and restored. Thoroughly enthralling!” —
Maggie Brendan, author of the Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series

 

“Julie Lessman brings all her passion for romance rooted in her passion for God to
A Heart Revealed
. Emma Malloy is her finest heroine yet. These characters, with their own personal struggles and the ignited flame of an impossible love, fill the pages of this powerful, passionate, fast-paced romance.”
—Mary Connealy, bestselling author of the Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, Trouble in Texas, and Wild at Heart series

 

“What an interesting mix of characters. Rather than a single boy-meets-girl romance, Julie Lessman's latest novel takes readers on an emotional roller coaster with several couples—some married, some yearning to be married—as they seek to embrace love, honor the Lord, and uncover a dark truth that's been hidden for a decade. Readers who long for passion in their love stories will find it in abundance here!”
—Liz Curtis Higgs, bestselling author of Thorn in My Heart

 

“Readers will not be able to part with these characters come 'The End.”
—Laura Frantz, award-winning author of
Love's Reckoning

 

“With an artist's brushstroke, Julie Lessman creates another masterpiece filled with family and love and passion.
Love at Any Cost
will not only soothe your soul, but it will make you laugh, stir your heart, and release a sigh of satisfaction when you turn the last page.”
—MaryLu Tyndall, bestselling author of
Veil of Pearls

 

Prologue

Isle of Hope, Georgia, Fall 2006

 

“Why doesn’t my daddy love me?”

Little Hannah Lambert’s tearful question still haunted seventeen-year-old Lacey Carmichael two hours later as she arrived home from her volunteer shift at Camp Hope. One of the newest charges at Miss Myra’s camp for orphans with illnesses, disabilities, and other challenges, the six-year-old had been abandoned first by her so-called father and then her mother who died of an overdose. The memory of Hannah’s broken heaves while Lacey had rocked her on the front porch of the plantation house pierced anew, stabbing deep into the tender, little-girl heart that beat within Lacey’s own breast. “Oh, sweetheart,” she’d whispered, the child’s sobs racking Lacey’s soul as well as her body, “I’m sure deep down your daddy loves you, sweet pea. I promise.”

That promise now echoed hollow in her brain as she eased her mom’s Lexus into their driveway and parked, her afternoon of volunteer work still brutally fresh in her mind. Turning the ignition off, she slumped back against the seat and closed her eyes, reliving the scene of a heartbroken little girl weeping in her arms, reminding Lacey that none of the children had parents at Miss Myra’s camp.

At least no parents that stayed.

“What’s an al-bu-truss, Miss Lacey?” Hannah had asked in a nasal tone, body quivering as Lacey wiped her tears and mucus away with a Kleenex.

The walls of Lacey’s throat had immediately closed in, her own painful memories paralyzing all response.

“You’re nothing but an albatross around my neck, battling me at every turn.”

“Because that’s what my dad said I was,” Hannah continued, her tiny fingers trembling as she rubbed more tears from her eyes. “Is that a bad thing?”

Lacey’s eyelids lumbered closed, as heavy as her heart. “No, sweetheart,” she’d whispered, unable to thwart the moisture that welled, “it just means your daddy was too sad and too sick to be the daddy he wanted to be for you, so he needed to go away.”

“The day you go away to college will be the happiest day of my life.”

Hannah peered up with a glimmer of hope in a face ravaged by rejection. “So you really think he still loves me, Miss Lacey?”

Against her will, Lacey’s chin quivered while she gently stroked the little girl’s hair, embarrassed that even at seventeen, her own father’s rejection could still unravel her so. “Oh, absolutely, sweetheart, I just think he doesn’t know how to show it.”

Tap-tap-tap.

Lacey startled at the sound of a knock on the Lexus’s driver’s side window, the smiling face of one of the neighborhood girls snapping her out of her malaise. She rolled down the window.

“Lacey, Lacey—can you be on our team,
please?
” Ten-year-old Savannah Moore hopped up and down like she was on a trampoline, a bat and wiffle ball clutched in her hands. “Kyle says his team is going to grind us into the dust, but not if
you
play, so can you—please, please?”

Lacey laughed, the sound helping to relax some of the tension at the back of her neck. She opened the car door and got out, offering Savannah her most sympathetic smile. “Wish I could, sweetie, but I’m on my way to an overnight at my cousin’s house right now before we go to a party.”

“But you just got home!” Savannah whined with a grimace of pain that could have earned the little stinker an Oscar, “so can’t you just play a few innings to help us crush the boys,
pleassssssse
?”

Shooting a glance across the street to the park-like lawn that meandered the shore of the Skidaway River, Lacey couldn’t help but grin at the hodge-podge collection of kids squaring off, the tomboy in her wishing she could join them for even a while. As a lover of sports and the top pitcher on her softball team, she always enjoyed impromptu competitions between the kids on the street,
especially
when her boyfriend Jack O’Bryen shored up the boys’ team. Lacey’s gaze flicked next door to the O’Bryen’s driveway, now void of Jack’s car since he was away at college, and a familiar emptiness settled within as she expelled a wispy sigh. “Sorry, kiddo, but I’m already late. I only came home because I forgot my overnight bag, sweetheart.”

“Oh, pooh!” Employing a truly pathetic pout, Savannah huffed out a sigh, trudging back to the game with a half-hearted wave. “Well, at least Jack’s not here, I guess, because then we’d
really
be in trouble.”

“No kidding … especially me,” Lacey whispered, knowing full well that if Jack were home, he wouldn’t be happy about her going out with her cousin Nicki tonight. At least not with what Nicki had in mind.

“Come on, Lace,” Nicki had begged, her mastery at pleading on par with Savannah’s, “Mom won’t let me go to this party unless you go along, so please say yes. Getting invited to Royce Barrister’s party is the best thing that’s happened to me since I moved back, so can’t you
please
help me have a little fun?”

A little fun? Maybe. But as a recent transplant from California, Nicki’s idea of a “little” fun usually spelled “big” trouble for Lacey. But then, how could Lacey say no? Forced to leave her friends back in California and her mom battling cancer, Nicki needed her right now, and Nicki was blood, after all, the sister she never had, so it’s not like Lacey had a choice.

Despite her best friend’s objection.

“Why do you have to spend all your time with her?” Jack’s sister Cat had argued, completely unsympathetic to how much Nicki needed Lacey right now.

“She’s my cousin, Cat,” Lacey had pleaded, “her mom is sick, and she has no friends but me.”

“Yeah, well, keep it up, Carmichael, and you won’t have any friends but her either.”

Lacey released a mournful sigh, the gulf between Cat and her widening more with every passing weekend. But what could Lacey do? Nicki and Cat despised each other, so there was no chance of hanging out together, especially since Cat was a junior and Nicki and Lacey were seniors. And Cat
did
have her twin sister Shannon and other friends after all, while Nicki had no one but her. Lacey bludgeoned an acorn with her shoe on the way to her front porch, sending it flying. Why did life have to be so complicated? People losing parents or having no parents at all, creating orphans that just wanted to be loved. Her glum mood returned as she slowly mounted the steps.

“I almost wish she’d never been born …”

Lacey’s body went numb, the sound of her father’s rant paralyzing her on the top step of the front porch.

“Don’t ever say that, Ben, please—she’s your own flesh and blood.” Her mother’s plea bled through the closed door as thoroughly as pain bled into Lacey’s chest. “And she’s a good girl …”

“She’s ‘good’ all right, at making our lives miserable with her smart mouth and sneaky ways. She probably wasn’t even at Camp Hope today, and there’s no telling what she and that punk boyfriend of hers do when nobody’s around.”

“Ben, please …”

Bile rose in Lacey’s throat as she stumbled back, pulse pounding so loudly, she never even heard her mother’s defense when she fled to the car. Her fingers shook while she jerked the driver’s door open and got in, fumbling the keys before grinding the ignition. Eyes blinded with tears, she thrust the car into gear and squealed out of the drive, hoping she’d laid lots of rubber on her father’s brand-new cement drive.

“I almost wish she’d never been born …”

She gunned her mother’s car down the street, wishing she’d never been born too.

At least, not to a monster like him.

She crushed her foot to the pedal, desperate to get as far away as she possibly could. Because it didn’t matter that she had two parents, alive and well, existing in the same house.

She was an orphan all the same.

BOOK: A Glimmer of Hope: A Novella Prequel to Isle of Hope
9.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Finding Home by Ali Spooner
A Slave to Magic by Lana Axe
City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore
Seth by Sandy Kline
Chase by Fernando, Chantal, Martens, Dawn
Hard to Hold by Karen Foley