Title: Protected by His Grace
Author: Grace Augustine
Genre: Christian Romance Suspense
Rev. James Turner takes his job seriously. As pastor of Lindenport Christian Church, he makes sure his congregation are spiritually fed and that their needs are met, especially during the holidays.
Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas Eve services are a mainstay to the Christian faith. At Lindenport Christian Church, it’s no different. The Thanksgiving community dinner and decorating committees have the church decked out for the holidays.
Pastor James’ faith is challenged when a beautiful female parishioner confides in him about her past, putting both and their loved ones in danger.
The magical beauty and wonder of Christmas Eve is a perfect backdrop for remembering God’s continued protection through adversity.
James nodded and took a nibble from one of the sweets he’d chosen.
“So, how can I help, Miss… I’m sorry, but I don’t know all the names of my congregation. There are many new people, but I assure you, once I do know your name, I won’t forget,” James chuckled.
“I’m sorry, Pastor Turner. I’m Jaden McAdam. I’ve been here a couple times. I’m enjoying your series on giving.”
“Thank you, but we didn’t come in my office to talk about giving, I don’t think. What has you upset?”
Jaden thought for a moment before speaking. It wasn’t easy for her to bare her soul to anyone, especially a semi-stranger. Sure, he was a pastor and more trustworthy than most, but it was still difficult. She didn’t know where to begin.
She’d moved to Acorn Hills with the hopes of starting a new life. She’d done that. Jaden was the most sought after real estate salesperson in the tri-county area. She had a beautiful condo filled with top of the line appliances and furniture. Her financial status was stable, she owed nothing but her monthly expenses. Yet, with all of this, her past cast an eerie shadow over her days and made for some sleepless nights.
James saw how difficult this was for Jaden, so he began asking questions, hoping to draw out information that would allow him to somehow help ease her burden.
“Please, tell me about yourself, Miss McAdam,” James prompted.
Jaden shrugged and sipped her coffee.
“Really, there isn’t much to tell. I moved to Acorn Hills several years ago after accepting a position with a real estate company. I took over the Lindenport office two months ago. Now, I find myself with the tag of top realtor of the area, making me one busy girl. And, please, call me Jaden.”
“Real estate must be as challenging as it is joyful. Congratulations for the title of top realtor, Jaden. It takes some years to achieve that status. You must be a real go-getter.”
Go-getter, yup, that’s me.
“Well, when you’re single and have no family, you tend to throw yourself into work.”
“How well I know that,” the pastor sighed, drained his cup, and poured another.
“Do you have relatives in the area? Is that why you moved?”
Jaden really didn’t want to play twenty questions, but she needed to talk with someone. No one knew her past or the reasons she wound up in Lindenport, not even her best friend, Adriana Zubarov.
She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and set her empty coffee mug on the tray.
“No, Pastor, I don’t have relatives in the area,” she stated, nervously picking at the purse clasp again.
“Jaden, I assure you, if you don’t want to talk, I understand. We’ll just make this a new acquaintance meeting and leave it at that. My door is always open, please know that. I’d love to have you be part of my congregation, so if you have membership questions, let me know.”
“I don’t mean to be difficult. I don’t trust too many, Pastor Turner. I know you’re a man of God and I know what we talk about won’t go farther than the walls of your office. It’s just…”
Tears fell down Jaden’s soft pink cheeks. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed.
James knelt beside her chair, placing a hand on her shoulder. He was puzzled as to what would bring this woman to such grief. He was afraid of driving her away with more questions, but if he didn’t ask, he wasn’t going to know. He grabbed a handful of tissues from the box on his desk and placed them in her hands.
“Jaden, whatever this burden you are carrying, you know you will feel better once you share it with someone. I’m here and I want to help.”
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Award-winning novelist and editor, Grace Augustine, was born and raised in Montana. She currently resides in Iowa with her older son and a very feisty 3 yr. old cat named Bou. Grace is an avid promoter of all the arts and an advocate for Multiple Sclerosis. She loves hearing from her readers and may be contacted through her website at www.graceaugustine.weebly.com or find her on twitter @mallidalli.
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