Shannon here: Inspirational author, K Dawn Byrd shares an excerpt from her modern take on Hosea and Gomer. Comment on this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: Nov 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Dawn:
Dee signed the letter with a flourish and then read it aloud.
For the longest time, I blamed myself. There must be something terribly wrong with me, something so bad that even a mother couldn’t love me. After years of therapy, I’ve learned that it’s not me, it’s you, Maggie. You’re not capable of loving anyone. That’s a terrible thing to say about a mother, but it’s true.
Even here at Carpe Diem, I’ve continued therapy via technology. Today was a hard day because it’s my birthday. As was expected, I never heard from you. Like my therapist said, it’s not my fault you didn’t call. It’s a choice you made, Maggie, like so many other bad choices.
I used to dwell often on the things you allowed to happen to me. You had to have known that John was visiting my room almost nightly. You chose to ignore it even though he was your husband. And then, he sold me to his wealthy friends and you stood back and allowed it to happen. Whoever had the most money. That wasn’t the life I would have chosen if given a choice. Even now, I long for a life of normalcy. A husband, a couple of children, and a picket fence is just a dream.
There are times I hate you, but I realize you have demons of your own. Something has happened to you to cause you to be so selfish and full of anger. That’s why I try to overlook your hostility and lack of love toward me. You need a good therapist.
My therapist recommends that I write letters to you when I’m angry. It helps. This is letter 642. I’ve kept them all. You’ll probably never read them, but they’re not really for you. They’re for me.
Your daughter, Dee
Secrets destroy lives.
Dee Dillow stood frozen before Aunt Tilly’s monstrosity of a house, thinking about the secret she’d hid from everyone there, obsessing about how it could destroy her. Aunt Tillie had named the house after her motto, Carpe Diem. Seize the day. The journey of a thousand moments began there. It seemed like a lifetime ago, like someone else’s journey, but it had shaped her into the woman she was today.
She sighed. If only her mother had given Aunt Tillie custody, things would have been different. She might have led a normal life. Dee swallowed down the lump in her throat that arose whenever she thought of how her mother had used her to grow the business. On bad days, she battled the urge to hate her. On good days, she pitied her.
A golden ray of sunshine peeked through the clouds, spraying the porch in dapple hues and bouncing off newly washed windows. She smiled. Maybe it was a sign that brighter days were ahead. If Dee had believed in God, she might have thought it was some kind of communication from him. But, from what she’d heard, he would never accept someone tainted like her.
She slumped into a white Adirondack chair, feeling dejected and worn. The scent of fresh paint mingled with the ocean’s salty spray and calmed her fragile nerves. It was easy to forget that a world of immoral responsibilities existed back in Nevada while she resided tucked away on the secluded cove. No wonder Aunt Tillie had loved the place. If only she could stay here forever, forsake the old life, form a new identity and change who—actually no, what–she was.
Dee shook her head. Crazy thoughts. Dreams. That’s what they were. The past had trapped her and there was no changing that.
When a twig snapped behind her, she turned quickly as an involuntary shudder of fear washed through her. Lowering the hand she had unconsciously moved to her throat, she reminded herself that she was on the coast, not back in Vegas held at knifepoint. Recovering, Dee smiled in an attempt to hide her alarm. “Oh, it’s just you.”
“Just me? Thanks for the warm welcome.” There was a hint of teasing sarcasm in Gabe Knight’s deep voice and a twinkle in his green eyes.
“I didn’t mean I wasn’t happy to see you. You know what I meant.”
When his eyes lingered on her face and then shifted to her lips, Dee’s blood stirred. She shrugged the feelings off. The last thing she needed was to develop a crush on a preacher.
He shoved a screwdriver in the tool belt that hung low around his waist. “So, how are you today?”
“Fine. I was just reminiscing.”
He smiled the crooked smile she so loved and warmth washed over her more powerfully than the sun’s rays. She looked away first, surprised at herself for feeling so self-conscious. She loved men, had been in the intimate company of too many to count. What was it about him that left her undone?
“I take it you have a past at Carpe?”
“I spent one summer here.” Dee looked away, overcome by sudden emotion as the memories came flooding back. A scrawny teenage girl attempting to hide the bulge of pregnancy. The rush to the hospital. The delivery. The cry of the baby girl she gave up without ever holding her. She swallowed hard, stuffing the pain somewhere deep inside her that nothing and no one could touch.
Gabe’s cheeks flushed and he looked away as if embarrassed that he’d been caught studying her so intently. “When I was a teenager, I used to help Ted with the landscaping. I loved digging in the dirt. Still do.”
Desolation settled over her as she considered what she’d sacrificed in order to remain the highest paid call girl in all of Nevada. Gabe was everything she wanted in a man. The peace that radiated from him unnerved her, making her long for what he had, but afraid of it at the same time.
About Dawn: K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. She holds a masters degree in professional counseling from Liberty University that she believes gives her better insight into the minds, feelings and emotions of individuals, which helps her to better understand her characters and develop them more fully. She’s published in multiple genres and likes to say that she’s written something for everyone!
When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told.
When asked why she writes, she says, “For the simple joy of putting words on the page!”
About the book – Amazing Love: Gabe Knight, a pastor in a small coastal town, finds his life is turned upside down when Dee Dillow arrives and hires him to remodel an estate she’s inherited from her aunt. Dee dashes his plans for wedded bless when on a drunken binge, she divulges that she’s the highest paid call girl in Nevada and part-owner of the ritziest brothel in the state.
Gabe falls in love with her, but can’t believe he’s hearing the voice of God when a still, small voice tells him to marry her. After much questioning, they marry and he is deliriously happy. Until, Dee betrays him.
Gabe soon discovers just how hard it is to have the unconditional love God calls him to have for his wife, the kind of love God has for his children. When faced with losing her, Gabe realizes what true love is, how much it hurts, and just how much God loves and is willing to sacrifice for his children.
Amazing Love is a contemporary version of the Hosea and Gomer story from the Bible.
Come back Nov 15th for Janalyn Voigt!