Brooke has only loved one man, her late husband. Owen’s rebuilding after a painful divorce. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?
In the charming town of Smithville, Texas, Brooke Holloway is raising two young children on her own, supporting them by running the family hardware store. The last thing on her mind is falling in love. But she’s intrigued when a stranger moves to town and buys the old Hadley mansion. She’s always heard that house holds a secret—maybe even a treasure—and she can’t wait to see inside. When she meets the new owner and they spend time together, she can’t deny the attraction. Could God be giving her another chance at happiness? Or is she betraying her late husband’s love by even thinking that way?
Throw an eccentric uncle into the mix, along with the town's teenage troublemaker, and even a finicky cat--and one thing becomes obvious: God is bringing them all together for a reason.
Early Friday morning Brooke drew an X on the calendar in the kitchen, scribbled “15” in the corner, and glanced outside at the rain. Then she took her coffee to the living room to watch the weather coverage. Hurricane Bill was moving into Houston as a category-two hurricane, much of the city was already without power, and extensive flooding was reported. The local forecast was for heavy rain and high winds. At best.
Brooke had already called Juliet and Big Daddy and told them not to go in to work today.
She’d asked Juliet if she wanted to come ride out the storm with her, Meghan, and Spencer. But Juliet had a new love interest she was going to spend the day with. Big Daddy had taken it upon himself to board up the store windows yesterday after she left. Now he was heading out to check on with his widowed sister in La Grange. He planned to stay with her until the storm passed.
Brooke slipped off her flip-flops and pulled her legs up under her on the couch. Maybe the worst of the hurricane would miss them. Her mother had already called this morning wanting to know if Brooke and the kids were okay. Brooke had assured her mother they were fine and quickly made up an excuse to get off the phone. Despite everything, she was glad her mother wasn’t alone right now.
“Mommy, is the electricity going to go off?” Meghan had just come downstairs. Brooke reached for the remote and turned off the television.
“I don’t know, but just think how fun it will be to get out our candles and sit around and play games.”
Meghan’s eyes started to tear. “I don’t want the electricity to go off.”
“Quit being such a baby.” Spencer threw himself on the couch, grabbed the remote, and turned the TV back on.
Brooke held out her hand. “Give me the remote or watch something else. We’ll check on the storm from time to time, but we don’t need to keep the Weather Channel on the entire time.”
Spencer huffed, but started flipping channels. Her son had such an attitude lately, and Brooke wondered how much of it had to do with Owen. She walked to the window and peered out. Even though it was raining, there wasn’t even a breeze. The trees were still, as if waiting for something.
As she walked nervously around the house, she pulled out her cell phone, tempted to call Owen. And say what? That she was a huge baby and would he please come over and stay with her and her children while the storm came through?
Why not? They were friends. That should be acceptable. She slid into her bedroom upstairs and called him.
“Ready for the storm?” she asked when he answered.
“Well, I figure this house has been around a hundred years. It must have weathered a few of these. Just hoping the patch- work on the roof holds.” He paused, and Brooke thought she heard another voice in the background, but she couldn’t tell if his guest was male or female. “What about you? Ready? I saw this morning that it’s a category two now. We’ll probably have some high winds and thunderstorms out of it.”
“At least. But, yeah, I guess we’re ready.” She sat down on her bed, then lay back, pulling the phone mouthpiece away as she sighed. He had company, so she wasn’t going to ask him to come stay with her and the kids. “Hope it doesn’t get too bad.”
“I think we’ll be okay.” He paused, and Brooke heard the voice again. She strained to hear if it was a female. “Hey, can I call you back in a little while?” he said. “Would that be okay?”
“Oh, sure.” She sat up, wishing she hadn’t called. “No big deal. I—I was just—just checking to make sure you were ready.” She squeezed her eyes closed, thinking she sounded silly.
“Okay, I’ll call you back.”
Six hours later Brooke, Meghan, and Spencer were upstairs in her bedroom in the dark, huddled together under the covers as lightning flashed, rain pounded, and wind howled.
And no word from Owen.
About Beth Wiseman:
Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. All of her books have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She is a recipient of the prestigious Carol Award, two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me Wit h All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with Harpercollins Christian Publishing into the year 2015.
To find out more about Beth and her books, go to bethwiseman.com. Beth also hangs out at ‘Fans of Beth’ Wiseman on Facebook.
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