Friday, August 31, 2012

Today is the final installment of our serial story, A Month Of Expectation. You can find the beginning here.

by Niki Turner

The storybook framework of Emma's carefully constructed future crumbled like a tired Vegas casino in the hands of a demolition crew. She turned away, sickened by the image of her beloved sister and fiance in a romantic--and obviously familiar--embrace.

Her mother's foreboding words rumbled through Emma's soul like thunder. You need to expect that things may not go quite as you planned.

Emma grasped the banister with one hand and began to make her way down the fifteen flights of stairs. Why hadn't one of them said something to her? Had they played her for a fool all along?

The hollow, empty ring of her footsteps on the concrete stairs echoed in her heart and chased her home to a tormenting refrain: What you sow, you shall also reap. If anyone deserved to reap the bitter flavor of betrayal it was Emma, and she knew it.
* * *
She closed her eyes when her head touched the pillow only to have them snap open and stare into the darkness. Reason and logic warred with conscience and conviction. Reason said, “stay the course.” What did it matter that Thad and Jenny had once been involved with each other? No one ever had to know she'd seen Jenny and Thad together. She and Thad could get married just as she'd spent all these months carefully planning. Thad was right for her, and she was right for him. Their families approved of the marriage. Every detail was in place, from the seed pearls on her gown to the virginal white satin peignoir set wrapped in tissue and packed in her bridal luggage set.

Emma took a deep breath and released it. Then, for the umpteenth time, she waited for the inner peace that should follow the right decision. But peace wouldn't come. She balled her fists into the eiderdown comforter in frustration.

Emma had dreamed of her storybook wedding for years, just waiting to paint the groom's face into her mental picture. The innumerable preparations she'd made were more real to her than the marriage that would follow the vows. In her mind's eye, everything she'd planned was perfect.

But Emma couldn't ignore the pesky irritation coming from her conscience and the soft nudging she'd come to recognize as the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In her brief experience with God, she knew His plans outweighed anything she could arrange for herself, but was she willing to let go of the dreamy vision she'd created for her wedding day -- and for her life?
* * *
The alarm bleeped just as the first beams of sunlight pierced the window. Emma turned her face into the light. Had she slept at all?

Lord, grant me the strength I need to do what's right in Your sight,” she murmured. “I've tried to create my own plan, instead of trusting Your plans for me, Lord. Forgive me, and help me to trust that You alone know what is best for me.” Even as she whispered the final words, a gentle warmth poured through her soul like melted chocolate, providing sweetness and light for the difficult day ahead.

She threw on jeans and a T-shirt instead of the white velour “bride-to-be” jogging suit she'd laid out, snatched up her car keys, and headed out the door.

Although the day was warm, she kept the top on the convertible up. The part of town she'd be visiting wasn't the kind of place you left your doors unlocked or your car parked by the curb. But today she didn't have much choice.

She shoehorned the car into a space in front of a rambling brick warehouse. The kind people remodel into multi-million dollar lofts--except this one was in its original state of disrepair. With her lips set in a determined line, Emma stepped around a pile of dog excrement and marched to the door. She pushed the buzzer and planted her feet, lest she lose her nerve. The toe of her sneaker rapped the concrete with nervous impatience. What if he wasn't here?

Just when she was ready to whirl and run, the heavy steel door jerked open. The melted chocolate feeling she'd experienced earlier rushed back with the force of a flash flood so intense it weakened her knees. Remy.

Remington J. Harris, III.

Dark hair curled past his tanned face and fell in waves past his shoulders, creating a stark contrast to the wrinkled white T-shirt that clung to his lean form. Bare feet stuck out below the ragged hems of worn blue jeans. His eyes, gray like a dove's wing, widened. He opened his mouth, but Emma held a finger to his lips. If he said anything at all, she'd lose her nerve.

Do you love me?”

He blinked, but held her gaze as he grasped her fingers and pressed a gentle kiss on the sensitive inside of her wrist.

Emma snatched her hand away and shoved it in her back pocket.

“Answer the question.”

I thought I just did,” he replied.

His voice resonated all the way to the marrow of her bones and shot an involuntary shudder down her spine.

Isn't today your wedding day?”

Do you still love me, Remy? Would you still marry me?”

He grinned. A sensuous, sultry smile better suited to a rogue in a royal court than to a minister of the gospel. “Are you proposing, my darling Emma? I was under the impression you had a groom already lined up.”

The bitterness was only evident in his eyes for a flash. He scrubbed a hand against his unshaven cheek and she wondered at the rough, red places on his knuckles.

I can't marry Thad.” There, she'd said it. He cocked his head toward her.

And why not? If I remember your father's words correctly, Thad is the 'ideal' choice for your future plans.”

That's the problem, Remy, it was always about my plans, not God's plans.”

An expression of sheer delight washed over his face. Emma thought he might start to glow.

You've met the Lord, then?”

Yes, Remy. And I have to follow Him, trust that the desires He has put in my heart are what's right for me.”

And Thad...”

Is not the man God ordained for me to marry.”

Comprehension registered in his eyes. “But what about the ministry I'm called to? Feeding the homeless, rescuing the lost, it's messy, dirty work, Emma. No high-class parties, no fancy houses on the hill.”

Emma shook her head. “It doesn't matter. I can do anything, Remy, as long as it's what God has asked me to do. But if I try to do something else, I'll eventually self-destruct.”

So you're willing to do the unexpected? Willing to risk the disapproval of your friends and family?”

Emma cringed. He'd known all along the things that had kept her from giving him what he'd wanted most--her love.Yes.” She dropped her gaze to his bare toes. What if he'd changed his mind? She sensed his movement and opened her eyes to find him down on one knee.

Emma, will you marry me?”

She flung her arms around his neck, knocking him backward. They rolled together onto the grubby linoleum and poured years of unspent passion into a kiss that should have left burn marks. Remy pulled them to a sitting position.

I love you, Emma.”

I love you, too, Remington. Always have, always will.”

Have you told Thad?”

No. But I think he'll be relieved. And I know, actually, just the way to tell him,” Emma smiled softly. “May I borrow your phone? I need to call my sister.”

Do you think Emma is on the rebound?
If you were Remy would you be willing to take her back?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Today is the 4th installment in our A Month Of Expectation Serial Story. If you missed the beginning, you can find it here.

by Anita Mae Draper

Tiny pins pressed into Emma's heart, numbing her better than any acupuncturist could. Jenny’s hesitance at becoming her maid of honor, Thad’s reluctance of driving her to the airport, it all fell into place. Emma had known he was suffering from a broken heart when she met him, but he’d never breathed a name and over the years, she’d forgotten, safe in a cocoon of his attention and growing love. And he did love her. She was sure of it. With the grace born of a long line of Southern gentility Emma forced a smile on her face. “Well, I’m glad that’s out in the open. Did you check any baggage, sis?”

During the tense drive to the Gothic Cathedral for the wedding rehearsal, Emma kept up a steady flow of conversation. She ignored Thad’s stiffness and Jenny’s reticence and chattered on about everything from Jenny’s job in China to her peaches and cream bouquet.

The rehearsal went off with perfect precision, just as Emma had expected. Jenny and Thad kept a respectful distance apart and Emma believed no one saw anything amiss.

Laughing, teasing, slaps on the back, Thad seemed to relax during the rehearsal supper. They toasted their future happiness with non-alcoholic wine. Emma blushed at the required innuendoes of married life, hung on to Thad and smiled up at his face. But when silverware clinked against the glasses, Thad fended them off saying it was only allowed during the wedding meal itself. She laughed in response, and elbowed his ribs to the delight of their guests.

Yet something was missing. Not once did Thad look her in the eye. And other than ask if everything was ready, Jenny flitted from one relative to another.

Of course everything was ready. Right down to the twenty-four little mints in each peach-colored tulle bag tied with a cream gossamer ribbon which would greet the guests as they sat down to dinner.

At nine o’clock, Thad’s groomsmen began to push him toward the door.

“Wait!” She rushed after them.

The best man turned. “He’s ours tonight, Emma. You can have what’s left of him tomorrow.”

Thad raised his arm and waved as they whisked him away amid a raucous chorus.

She was happy he had friends. Really, she was. Her lower lip trembled and she bit down hard to keep it still.

“Come on, Emma, party time.” Jenny nudged her forward.

She accompanied her bridesmaids to her bachelorette party and put on a performance worthy of an Oscar. Because no matter what had happened in the past, tomorrow was going to be the best day of her life. Nothing would mar her perfect wedding. Not even the groom himself.

* * *

Thad paced the length of the hotel room they would share on their wedding night. He stopped before the bureau mirror and stood at attention. “I do.” Why did his voice sound so girly today of all days? He cleared his throat and tried again.

The black splotch beneath his eye looked painful and felt worse. He covered it with his hand, turned to the side. His profile didn’t look too bad when he looked at it that way. Hopefully, Emma would be too excited about the big day to care about a little ol’ black eye.

Someone rapped on his door. “Thad, can I come in?”

“Jenny.” He opened the door. She winced when she saw his face but hurried past him. He shot a quick glance down the empty hall before closing the door and turning to her. “What are you doing here?”

“What did you tell Emma about us?”

He shoved his hands in the front pockets of his trousers. “I didn’t tell her anything. She knew I’d been in a relationship and it ended badly.”

“And you didn’t say it was me.”

“She never asked.”

“Now she’s going to wonder what we’re hiding.”

He jerked back as if she’d struck him. “We’re not hiding anything.” His gut wrenched as he remembered his furtive look down the hall.

“You have to tell her.” They said together.

“There’s nothing to tell,” he added. “Look, just leave it alone, all right? We both know it was over years ago when you decided to stay in that third world orphanage instead of coming back as my wife. I can't blame you for chosing God's work over me. And we have nothing to be guilty about. I didn’t even know her then. If we act like everything is fine, it will be.” He moved to the door, dropped his hand to the knob.

“I don’t know,” she said at his elbow. “You really should say something.”

“I will if she asks.” He opened the door.

She crossed the threshold and turned back. “I’m very happy for both of you.” Her sincerity didn't hide the shimmer in her eyes.

She’d once been his everything. With a groan, he pulled her into his arms for one last hug to last a lifetime.

* * *

Emma reached the fifteenth floor stairwell. Thank goodness her cardio training was paying off. She shouldn’t be sneaking in to see Thad just hours before their wedding but she needed to see him. To reassure herself everything was perfect after yesterday’s surprise.

She peered through the small window, her hand on the metal handle. About ten feet away, a door opened and Jenny stepped into the hallway, then turned back. Emma stared, open-mouthed, as Thad leaned out and embraced her.

What would you do in this situation? Run? Stride in and confront them? Sit on the floor and cry?

Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to A Month of Expectation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Here's Part 3 of our A Month of Expectation serial story. If you missed the beginning, you can find the beginning here.

by D'Ann Mateer
Emma gripped Thad’s arm as she watched the monitor change Jenny’s flight status from On Time to Arrived.
“She’s here!” Emma brushed her lips against Thad’s, her heels bouncing up and down. “Three years. I can’t believe she stayed gone so long!” Her gaze fixed on the revolving door leading from the gates to the baggage claim area. “I hope she gets over her jet lag before tomorrow night. Otherwise, she might fall asleep during the ceremony.” Emma giggled at the thought.

Thad cleared his throat and stepped away from her grasp, thrusting his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. Emma frowned. Was he nervous about the wedding? She’d heard that happened to other men, she just never imagined it of Thad. Maybe meeting her sister scared him. After all, Jenny was a bit of a legend in their family. After graduating at the top of her law school class, she’d forsaken the six-figure job offers and taken off for China, to serve as the director of an orphanage there.

The thought of Jenny's work stirred old memories to life, the stench of Emma's shortcomings churning her stomach. Then the memory of her mother’s ominous prediction, worked its way into the mix. Emma crossed her arms over her middle, pushing down the lid on her past just as she spied Jenny’s head above the crowd, her long hair falling in natural ringlets around her oval face.

“Jenny!” Emma raised her hand and waved, in spite of the glass wall between them.

Jenny’s eyes lit up as she secured her bag on her shoulder and ran toward the revolving door. Then she stopped. Her mouth fell open and her eyes grew wide. Emma stepped forward as her breath came fast. She ran her tongue over her dry lips. What had spooked her unshakable sister?

“Jenny?” Emma mouthed through the glass. Jenny blinked several times before she shook her head as if awakening from a dream. Then her lips lifted in a smile and she charged into empty space that soon spit her out in front of Emma. Jenny’s bag slipped to the ground as she wrapped her arms around Emma’s small frame.

Emma pulled away and put her hands on her sister’s cheeks. “Thad?” She felt his hand on the small of her back. “This is my Jenny. And Jenny, this is Thad, the love of my life.”

Jenny studied her feet as Thad stumbled over his words. Emma turned. Thad never stumbled over his words. “Thad?” Emma reached for his hand, her engagement ring winking at her as it caught the light.

He looked over Emma's head, his eyes narrowing. “Jenny and I have met.”

Emma heard Jenny gasp. Without warning, Emma’s knees buckled. She heard her name called as from far away. One pair of soft hands and one pair of strong ones kept her from hitting the floor as blackness engulfed her.

* * *

Thad held Emma, but his eyes held Jenny. “I kept waiting for you to tell her.”

Jenny fanned her sister’s face. “Let’s not discuss that now. Emma? Emma?”

Emma’s eyes fluttered open as Thad settled her in a chair. “What happened?” she asked. She looked into his eyes, so trusting, so sure of him.

He lowered himself into the seat beside her and pushed her hair from her eyes. “You fainted, Emma.”

“Fainted?” Her eyes roamed the room, until they found Jenny. Then they stopped. She captured her bottom lip in her teeth, the cherry red of her lipstick marring the whiteness of her teeth. “You’ve met.” Her statement sent a shot of fear through Thad's belly and into his heart.

Help me, Lord. Help her. His involuntary prayer stopped him cold. Where had it come from? He hadn’t prayed since—

He raked a hand through his hair and sucked in a deep breath. If only he could make Emma understand.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today is the second installment of A Month of Expectation Serial Story. If you missed Day 1, you can find it here.

by Debra E. Marvin


Thad wiped his palms across the double seam of his jeans. Crisp and indigo yes, but even at that Mother would not like him wearing them to the country club. A little act of rebellion. Who was he kidding? Father would look him up and down and say nothing, but the coldness would grow in his gray eyes--if Father made it home from his meeting in Atlanta. Sometimes he didn’t. Sometimes meetings went late into the evening.

Two perfect families discussing the last details of the upcoming wedding. Emma, her parents. The only one missing was her older sister. That made things just about perfect.


The noise that was her impatient voice grated his nerves more than usual. Frustration did that.

“Mother, I’ll be right there.” No, he couldn’t do it. He would not anger her tonight and after all, the club did have their rules. The dark jeans, no matter how he wore them, would never pass for dress pants. Some things were like that. Pretending did not change facts.

Thad swapped out the linen shirt and jeans for a white shirt and khaki suit. When he pulled the jacket off the hanger, two plane tickets fell off his dresser onto the shiny oak floorboards. Two tickets to paradise. Jamaica. Another of Emma’s dreams.

Emma wanted the ticket to read Mrs. Thaddeus Maxwell III, but with security now, it had to match her passport. She’d travel instead as Emma J Devereux of the Athens, Georgia Devereux. Sweet, beautiful, innocent Emma. She deserved the best he could give her. The house would have been impossible on his income. Thanks to Mr. Devereux, and the bank draft for $500,000, it was theirs. The old man had casually pushed it across the table, then put his hand up immediately to let him know he’d brook no argument.

Thad gave a half-hearted attempt.

“You’re a fine young man to refuse it Thaddeus. Just as you should. But this is my gift to you, for Emma. I won’t accept it back.”

Thad had been sick over it. Literally. After a polite exit, he’d made his way to the men’s room behind the clubhouse bar and lost his lunch of she-crab soup.


“Mother, I changed into a suit. And we won’t be late.”

“No, but I wanted to be early.”

Three weeks to go and already he felt trapped. He loved Emma. Heaven knows he loved her. But there was hell to be paid. It would come.

He picked up the two tickets and placed them on his dresser—on top of his bible. The irony made him laugh. Would he ever open that book again? Could he walk into church, that massive, cold, hear-a-pin-drop sanctuary and vow before God to love, honor, and cherish Emma? Look into her eyes while her sister stood alongside, knowing full well what he was hiding?

Come back tomorrow for part 3 of A Month of Expectation
So, Is Thad caught up in a situation of his own making or an innocent? I mean, look at that face...
When should secrets remain secrets? Is keeping a secret the same as telling a lie?

How do you feel about a man who would accept a financial gift like this from his future father-in-law?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome to the first installment of our serial story written by five of our own Inkies. Be sure to stop by each day this week until the exciting conclusion on Friday.

by Dina Sleiman

March is the Month of Expectation.

The things we do not know --
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now --
We try to show becoming firmness --
But pompous Joy
Betrays us, as his first Betrothal
Betrays a Boy.
- Emily Dickinson

Three more weeks. Her life would begin in three weeks. Emma peered through the creamy veil of Chantily lace into her reflection. Coppery red hair shimmered prettily beneath the elegant floral pattern. Her simple strapless silk gown with its blossoming skirt would serve as the perfect backdrop for her peaches and cream bouquet with its yards of swirling ribbons.

Just perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Everything about this wedding would be perfect from the Gothic Cathedral constructed in the early eighteen hundreds to the antique candelabras to the gold-rimmed china. Even the date, March 21st, precisely three weeks away, was the perfect choice. Forget June with its soaring temperatures and muggy air. The first day of spring and new life was the ideal day for a Southern wedding. The wind might blow like a lion outside her window, the tall brown grass thrashing in the gale, but by her wedding day it would no doubt settle into the warm gentle breath of a lamb.

And of course, most important of all, nothing could be more perfect than her groom. Thaddeus William Blackwell III. What a distinguished name. Thank goodness she had put all of her childish foolishness far behind her. Their new Victorian home in the suburbs might not have a picket fence yet, but a trellis of red roses climbed up the side, and she would remedy the fence issue soon enough. Emma looked forward to tending his home and raising his children. Their children. Perfect stair-step Godly children. She would not let her double major in art and literature go to waste. Instead she would homeschool her offspring and pour all her wisdom and knowledge into their sweet little heads. Her life would begin in three weeks. However would she wait so long?

She clasped her hands to complete the picture and smiled demurely at herself. Swishing her skirt back and forth, Emma watched the silk ripple like waves in the ocean. The thought of waves pulled her mind toward the Jamaican honeymoon to follow the ceremony. She watched her cheeks turn pink through the lace of her veil. No wonder the term “blushing bride.” Thad had been so patient with her, respecting her values at every turn. Just wait until he discovered the wildcat simmering within. He had quite a treat in store. Though Emma kept herself pure for her wedding night with the patience of a saint, she had every intention of treating her man right and keeping him well satisfied.

The blush spread to her chest as she imagined him carrying her over the threshold into the local luxury hotel room for their first night together. Her bridesmaids would have snuck in ahead to light candles and strew more peachy petals across the bed. Thad would gently lay her on the mattress and stroke her cheek. His breath would quicken and grow raspy, although she'd never allowed things to go that far before. Finally man and wife, this time, he would lose all control. For the first time, she would respond. His mouth would devour hers, probing, searching. Passions raging. She would melt into a pool of desire. His hand would run up her thigh and past her blue satin garter…

She cut off the fantasy. No point in awakening love before it pleased. Besides, the blush clashed with her hair. When she marched down the aisle, she must be extra cautious to keep her thoughts on the straight and narrow. Emma giggled. She had awaited this moment with great expectation for years. She could handle one more month. Yes, March would be a month of expectation. A month of expectation and wonder.

* * *

Evangeline rested her cheek against the doorframe as she watched her daughter caught within a magical moment. She had no desire to dash Emma’s fantasies. How well she remembered her own wedding and dreams. But she had to say something. As she watched the rapture on her child’s porcelain face, she realized she could put it off no longer.

She tiptoed across the room and placed her hands over her daughters shoulders. Despite her attempt to smile, the mirror revealed tension in her eyes. Evangeline lifted the veil from her daughter’s head. She fluffed out the layers and laid it upon the dresser. Taking Emma’s hand into her own, she led her to the bed, and they both sat.

“What is it, Mom? Is something wrong?”

“You know me too well.” Evangeline took a deep breath and gazed down at their joint hands. “Darling, you’ve been on my heart these last few days.” What a silly thing to say. Of course she’d been on her heart. Emma was her daughter about to be a bride. “What I mean to say is, I’ve felt a burden for you. A heavy burden. And I’ve spent hours on my knees praying for you.”

* * *

Emma gulped and attempted to shrug off the cold shiver that ran down her spine. Mother might be known for her odd prophetic tendencies, but she was an incessant worrier too, even if she denied it. “Thank you, Mom. I always appreciate your prayers. But I’m sure it’s nothing. Just pre-wedding jitters. Everyone gets them.”

Mother shook her head, then raised her chin to pierce Emma with her blue stare. “No darling, I’m afraid it’s more this time. No matter how much I pray, the feeling won’t leave. You need to be prepared. Of course we’ll hope for the best, but you need to expect that things may not go quite as you planned. I’m not sure what it will be, but it’s coming. I have no doubt.”

Emma smiled with resolution. “Everything will be fine. Don’t worry. More than fine. Perfect,” but as she said the words, she couldn’t keep her lip from quivering.

So based upon the poem, Mom is our person of "prognostication." Anyone care to guess what might go wrong? Anyone spot any foreshadowing of a possible problem? If you were writing this story, what would you choose as the primary conflict?

Remember to come back tomorrow for part 2 of "The Month of Expectation."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I for Idolatry

by C.J. Chase

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 KJV)
On Thursday here at Inkwell, Niki wrote about our human propensity to take offence. She shared ways to recognize our triggers and manage our reactions. As it turns out, I’d been pondering pride, being offended, and our relationship with God for the past few weeks, so I decided to use her post as a jumping off point for this devotional.

One of the difficulties with the English language is that the same word can mean several different things. Webster’s gives us several nuances to the word pride. While “reasonable or justifiable self-respect” is a good thing, “inordinate self-esteem” or “conceit” damages our relationship with God and others.

Let’s start at the very beginning of the Bible, right after God finished creation and everything was good. Eve was picking a few fresh peaches for dinner (hey, that’s what I’d have been eating if I was in the Garden of Eden) when along came Satan whispering words of temptation: “You can be like gods.”

Thinking to become like God—now that’s conceit! The pride in Eve’s heart, this desire to be a god, led her to disobey God’s direct command.

God gave Moses a mere ten commandments on Mount Sinai. Just ten basic rules for living. Did you ever notice what the first one is? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Coincidence that the first sin involved wanting to be a god and the first commandment is to recognize the supremacy of the one and only God? I think not. My recent “ah ha!” moment came this summer when I realized that pride—or as Paul says, thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to—is a form of idolatry.

Nicolas Poussin's The Adoration of the Golden Calf
Idolatry? I’d always thought that involved golden calves or temples to Athena or even the accumulation of money. Hey, there’s something to be said for becoming my own “god”—it’s the easiest form of idolatry out there. No images to carve or buildings to construct or long hours to work. All I have to do is reserve to myself the worship that belongs to God.

So what does this have to do with taking offense? Pride is at the root of our inclination to take offence. He dis’d (disrespected) me. She hurt my feelings. He made me look foolish in front of others. Me. Me. Me. We want to think highly of ourselves, and we want everyone else to think so too. Hey, if there's one thing better than being my own god, it's getting others to worship me too.
Being offended brings us so many perceived "benefits" that's it's no wonder we are often loathe to give it up. Just think of all the other sins we can rationalize when we feel we've been wronged--manipulation, humiliation, vindication... Justifying our behavior goes right along with the whole god-complex gig.

Unfortunately, this resentment destroys lives and souls. Consider the Pharisees, the perpetually offended religious leaders of Jesus' day. They allowed their resentments—their pride—to warp their relationship with the God they claimed to serve.

This week, let us instead look to the example of Jesus:

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God 
as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself 
by assuming the form of a slave, 
taking on the likeness of men. 
And when He had come as a man
in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. Her next book, The Reluctant Earl, will be available in February of 2013. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at

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