It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. This sophomore phenomenon has all the girls on campus knocking on his door. But Sadie isn't interested in his advances.
Lincoln’s overblown ego doesn't take well to being shunned, and he resolves to make Sadie his own. He pursues her relentlessly, until finally Kyle finds himself shut out of Sadie's life, with their shared future crumbling around him.
After two years, Sadie’s relationship with Lincoln ends, and she is left having to put the pieces of her life back together. She desires nothing more than to recapture her relationship with Kyle. He has stayed true to the dreams they had planned together, living the vision even without Sadie by his side.
When she moves back to her hometown, she labors to rekindle their love. But things have changed, and Kyle has moved on. Sadie quickly discovers how hard it is to rebuild burned bridges.
Follow Sadie’s story as she fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure?
This inspirational romance by E. C. Jackson is book two of the Hope series and is a standalone book.
E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years, she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years led naturally to her current endeavor, writing inspirational romance novels. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.
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~A Living Hope Chapter One Excerpt ~
Restless, twenty-one-year-old Sadie Cummings wiped down the counter space in her small kitchen nook. It was eleven o’clock. Five minutes had passed since the last time she’d checked. Sighing, she fretted about her boyfriend’s visit that morning.
“Why does he agree to come over, then not show up?”
In no time, morning had slipped into early afternoon. The breakfast she’d hoped would receive raves from Lincoln congealed on the stovetop. So much for using her cooking skills to entice him. With several swift movements, she scraped the masterpiece into the garbage disposal, fighting to control the uneasiness she couldn’t dismiss.
She was an expert at fooling herself and others, but today her mind refused to be pacified. One could only pretend for so long before the bottom dropped out completely. Truth had a bad habit of intruding into fairy tales. Especially when the make-believe stories were about real-life events.
The ringing cell phone grabbed Sadie’s attention. That her mother was on the other end was a forgone conclusion. Except for an occasional chat with her younger sister and older brother, the cell phone never rang. These days only her mother contacted Sadie on a regular basis. She peeked at the caller ID.
A moment before the call transferred to voicemail, Sadie snatched up the cell phone, held it against her chest, then gave a cheery greeting. Minutes later, she sauntered through the studio apartment thinking up reasonable excuses to end the call early. Jeanette Cummings expected a good deal more than her middle child was able to give.
Still stumped about finding an excuse to satisfy her mother, Sadie walked around in circles.
“Mother, I’m not trying to hurry you off the phone. I recognize your concern for the Franklins. Our families have been friends for years. It’s just . . . look . . . it’s . . . mother, I don’t have time to talk now.”
Sadie picked up twine from the counter and wove it between her fingers. Pulling it too tight, she winced, then unwound it from around her fingers and wrapped it around her thumb.
“I made plans for the day.”
Lincoln could arrive any moment. Somehow, she had to quickly end this conversation without hurting the only person who regularly called. Friendships were difficult to maintain these days. And her brother and sister only gave duty calls, then ended the conversation in a snap.
Jeanette sighed loudly. “I would offer to call back at a better time, but there isn’t one, is there, Sadie?”
“Mom . . .”
Sadie slowly shook her head. Guilt surfaced each time she talked to her mother. Raised in an orphanage, her mother wasn’t a clingy parent. She believed loneliness caused people to accept unhealthy conditions that a person who felt treasured might avoid.
“Of course, you’re removed from the lives of the families in Shiatown,” said Jeanette.
Blowing breath through her lips, Sadie laid her head on the cabinet with more force than intended. Wincing in pain, she rubbed the sore spot. The lull in the conversation helped gather her thoughts as her fingers massaged the painful area on her forehead. She parted her lips, then she shut them in hopes that her mother would continue speaking.
After a long pause, Jeanette spoke with a harsher tone than any she’d ever used with her daughter. “Listen to me. The Franklin family supported us through your father’s illness and death. We are burying Pastor Franklin this afternoon. His wife deserves a phone call from you.”
She paused before continuing. “Don’t forget, Sarah treated you like a daughter. You and Pastor Franklin shared the same birthday. September twelfth is four days away. My friend is burying her husband four days before his fifty-eighth birthday. And . . . what about Kyle? He lost his father and inherited a ton of responsibility on top of it. Honey, be the friend that I know you are. Time is slipping away. The funeral starts in two hours.”
Sadie stretched her neck from side to side, hanging her head in despair. Lately, her mother had begun to accept her decisions without fussing. However, today she seemed determined for Sadie to send well wishes to a man she’d rather forget. Feeling faint, she squeezed her eyelids together, but all she could see was Kyle’s sad gaze begging, pleading with her to choose him over the man Sadie picked.
Instantly, anger rose as Sadie justified that choice. She couldn’t back down now. There was too much lost ground and no way to regain her footing. The future she’d hoped for was gone. Somehow the leftovers had to be salvaged into a win or, at least, a tolerable solution.
Eyes darting around the room, she braced against the wall. “Friend? Kyle and I didn’t break up as friends. He acted like a judgmental pig; his last remarks were cruel.”
Sadie fumed. With one look Kyle had made her feel like trash. Less than the muck beneath his shoes. Disposable at best, and at worse . . .
“Don’t excuse him, Mom. Kyle humiliated me in front of Lincoln.” She glanced at her shoes.
And the truth is, I didn’t deserve any better.
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