Authors: Elizabeth White
Books by Elizabeth White
Off the Record
The Texas Gatekeepers
Under Cover of Darkness
Sounds of Silence
On Wings of Deliverance
Copyright Â© 2008 by Elizabeth White
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ePub Edition June 2009 ISBN: 0-310-86150-0
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Controlling interest / Elizabeth White.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â p. cm.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ISBN 978-0-310-27305-9
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I. Title.
Â Â Â Â Â Â PS3623.H574C66 2008
Â Â Â Â Â Â 813'.6 â dc22
Scripture taken from the
Holy Bible, Today's New International Version
. Copyright Â© 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means â electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other â except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
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This book is dedicated in loving memory of my friend,
Tammy Jayne Litton, who loved to read.
And for Nicole: Welcome to the family.
or what started out as a fairly straightforward detective caper, this story turned out to require quite a bit of research. For the details involving Yasmine's Pakistani-Muslim family, I'm indebted to an Internet blog maintained by a charming Pakistani-American gentleman who willingly answered my questions about language, names, and religious customs, but who wishes to remain anonymous. Any lingering mistakes, I take full responsibility for.
As usual, I owe a debt of gratitude to Scott, Ryan, and Tammy âwho brainstormed story ideas and read drafts of the manuscript along the way â and to my agent, Beth Jusino, who is a constant source of encouragement. Huge thanks to editors Leslie Peterson and Becky Shingledecker for making suggestions, correcting errors, and smoothing prose. Couldn't do it without y'all.
Elizabeth White is my sister from the South, as well as my sister in Christ. I was introduced to her years ago when we shared space in an anthology called
. It was one of her first published books, and I knew I was going to be seeing a lot more of her. Since that time, I've gotten to know Beth as a kindred spirit. When we go to writers' retreats and conferences, she's always one of the few people who speaks my language â southern! She's also an excellent writer. I love her humor and wish I could come up with her descriptive verbs and funny phrases. As for her Christianity, she's the real deal. And her writing proves it.
I was recently working on a first draft of a new book â the part of writing I hate the most â when I took a break to read
I was reminded of some of my earlier novels that had a strong romantic relationship as part of their plots. I could tell in the first few pages that it was just what I needed. Natalie, the heroine, made me giggle, and I was instantly caught up in the intrigue of the missing young Pakistani woman, Yasmine. The romance in this book is such a treasure. Natalie and Matt's bumbling relationship as they partner together to solve this missing person case is . . . well, fun. Before I knew it, I was caught up in the story and had forgotten my own book!
But the faith message gives this book the depth I love. Elizabeth White doesn't write about perfect Christians who have it all together. She writes about flawed Christians who are works-in-progress, navigating their way through their faith and learning what it means to be more like Christ. If you've been a Christian for a long time, you'll find it refreshing to see Christ through eyes that are brand new to Christianity, as some of her characters are. If you're new to it yourself, you'll be able to relate strongly to the fits and starts of living in faith.
So curl up and relax, and enjoy Elizabeth White's southern style! I think you'll come away with a new favorite writer.
grew up in a Mississippi suburb of Memphis. I've always loved the river, the bridge, Beale Street, Graceland, and all the other funky southern things that went into the writing of this story. My very first published novella was set in Memphis, and I've always wanted to go back there. So here's Matt's love story, which begins next to an Elvis-themed clock shop (a product of my imagination) on Beale Street, just around the corner from the Peabody Hotel â where the ducks still parade every afternoon at five on the dot.
The riverboat as I've described it is not any particular one, but is instead an amalgam of several cruises that I've experienced over the years. You can go to just about any Mississippi River port and catch a sleepy, relaxing dinner cruise. Most of the restaurants and hotels Matt and Natalie patronize on their adventure are made-up; however, the Memphis Rendezvous is legendary for its ribs, Silky O'Sullivan's on Beale boasts a beer-drinking goat, and Chamoun's Rest Haven Restaurant is a landmark outside Clarksdale, Mississippi.
The Beale Street Waterfront Mission was inspired by the Beautiful Feet Ministries of Fort Worth, Texas, founded and run by my friends Mike and Sarah Myers. A mission that serves the physical and spiritual needs of the residents of low-income east side neighborhoods, including homeless individuals and families, the “Feet” is a functioning church with Sunday and weekday ministries. In addition to church services and Bible studies, Beautiful Feet offers a clothing and food ministry, mission trips, and outreach projects to local shelters, prisons, and halfway houses. For more information, contact Mike Myers at (817) 536-0505.
As always, I pray that Christian readers will take this story as a challenge to hands-on faith and to finding the source of truth in the Bible. I pray that readers who aren't sure of their relationship with Jesus will meet him face-to-face. He loves you!
Comments about the story are welcome via my website, www.elizabethwhite.net.
atalie Tubberville had one thing on her mind as she whipped her ice-blue Miata up the ramp to the Memphis International Airport terminal. Well, three things. A Big Mac, supersize fries, and a chocolate shake. Chasing down details for one of Dad's oil-rich clients since five a.m., she hadn't stopped to breathe, much less satisfy her howling stomach.
Screeching into a parking space, she shoved the gearshift into park and hopped out of the car. She glanced at her wrist. Tweetie Bird pointed to ten minutes of five. Ouch. She had to book it. Yasmine Patel, having come all the way from Pakistan, deserved a warm welcome, and Natalie hated to make her wait. It wasn't Yasmine's fault her dad had put a twist on Eddie Tubberville's arm â thereby hijacking a good chunk of Natalie's vacation.
She had no idea what a Pakistani girl would look like. Did they wear the hookahs you always saw in the movies? Wait,
didn't sound right. Come to think of it, that was a pipe. The caterpillar in
Alice in Wonderland
smoked a hookah.
, then. No,
. Something like that. She should have asked Daddy for a picture. Yasmine would be dark-haired, no doubt, and small. Maybe with one of those red paint splotches between her eyes. If more than one Middle Eastern young woman had arrived on this flight, Natalie was going to be in big trouble.
She hauled it across the lobby toward baggage claim. These platform clogs made it hard to run, but she couldn't stand to leave them in the closet this morning. When you got new shoes, you were supposed to wear them. It was a rule somewhere. Besides, at five-foot-four she needed the extra inches.
She should have made a sign. Wait. Good idea. She dug in her purse â a little red-beaded wrist bag, barely big enough to carry a credit card â until she found a folded-up Orpheum program from
and a Crimson Tide lip pencil. By the time she reached baggage claim, she had the program covered in crooked red letters: YASMINE P. Smiling, holding the program above her head, she took up a station facing the hallway where deplaning passengers entered the baggage claim area. Tourists and home folks began to stream by like minnows in a creek.
She caught the eye of a businessman in a tired-looking suit. “Excuse me. Were you on Flight 57 from Amsterdam?”
“Huh?” The man glanced at her over his shoulder. “Yeah. First one off the plane.”
Considering the Patel fortune, Yasmine had probably flown first class, too, and shouldn't be far behind. Natalie could spring for a late lunch at Mickey-D's. Or maybe Ruby Tuesday. Daddy wouldn't mind paying.