Sunday, August 7, 2011

Glass Angels by Karen Wiesner

GLASS ANGELS, Book 4 of the Family Heirloom Series
Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Published by Whiskey Creek Press


Nuggets of faith can be passed down as family heirlooms from parent to child, sibling to sibling, spouse to spouse.

Book Four Family Heirloom: Forgiving

A young Christian woman struggles with seeking pardon from those she's hurt when she can't seem to get past her own inability to forgive those who have wronged her.

Three years ago, Samantha Samuels had suffered under the violent hands of Ryder Feldmann, a juvenile delinquent her pastor father had been counseling. Now she's completed her psychiatry training and plans to help other victims of violent crimes at the rape counseling clinic in her hometown of Peaceful, Wisconsin. Unexpectedly, she finds herself sharing an office building and Sunday services at her new church with the older brother, a divorce counselor, of her attacker...the very man she'd been in love with before her rape.

In the time since Kyle Feldmann's brother was jailed for his crime against Samantha, he's lived with the torment of all he's lost because of his sibling. Before the tragedy that stole Samantha from him and destroyed his dreams, Kyle had begged her to risk her father's disappointment and elope with him. Seeing Samantha again after so many years, being near her, only puts him right back where he was before the rape. Kyle wants to heal Samantha, love her, and fulfill the dreams he grieved the loss of—by marrying her. But how can they be together forever when she's still so broken?

All her life, Samantha had wanted her father's approval, but his selfish part in putting her in a dangerous situation has led her to a painful place of desperately needing to forgive him and her attacker...and being unable to in all the time since the traumatic event that ripped her life in two. As she gives her heart to Kyle once more, her already fractured relationship with the Lord is tested. In the crossfire of faith, she wonders if glass angels shatter beyond recognition when they take a leap of faith, or if they can heal and become stronger than ever before.



“I know you were just glad to see Ryder Feldmann convicted at the trial, sweetie, so you weren’t concerned about how long he’d be in the institution.”

Samantha Samuels stared at her sister-in-law, a lawyer, who’d insisted she wanted to drive her to the airport today when she left for her two-week vacation. She and Justine were fairly close. Nevertheless, she’d been a little surprised by the offer. Not once had she considered that Justine wanted to drive her so she’d have time to drop this bomb on her.

Stunned, Samantha opened her mouth. Her sister-in-law wasn’t wrong—she’d heard nothing at the end of the trial but that—thank the Lord!—her attacker would be locked away. “I assumed he’d be in prison for a long, long time.”

Justine nodded, her expression pained. She reached across to the passenger’s seat and squeezed her hand. “I know, Sam. You didn’t want to hear anything else about it whenever I tried to talk to you about this in the last several years. I can explain everything to you whenever you’re ready, but the bottom line is that Ryder’s term of confinement is almost up. He’ll be released on September 30th, followed by a year of extended supervision...”

* * * *

“Miss Samuels,” the clerk called when Samantha entered the hotel with the rest of her tour group. Tired after the long day of exploring Southwest Ireland’s treasures, including a museum and a castle—along with fighting off the aggressive advances of a certain member of her tour group—she was eager to go to her room and shower. She’d been wondering if she’d have time to snatch a few hours’ sleep before dinner.

She wended her way through the others to get to the front counter.

“You received a phone call while you were out, Miss Samuels.” The man handed her a memo.

Samantha looked at the note without surprise to see her sister-in-law’s name and phone number written on it. Justine had called the night she arrived in Ireland, but Samantha hadn’t been able to get herself to take the phone call then. She hadn’t been ready to face the fact that the man who’d raped her would be released from prison after a mere three years paying for his unconscionable crime against her.

“I do hope everything is all right, miss.”

Distracted, Samantha glanced at the clerk and nodded. While dodging the crowd, she rushed up to her room as fast as she could. Had Justine called to apologize again for seeing no other choice but to tell her the truth—even if it meant ruining a perfectly lovely trip? Samantha had thought of little else except the single sentence that had deadlocked her in the days since: “He’ll be released on September 30th, followed by a year of extended supervision...”

She couldn’t fathom that Ryder had served only three years. Three years! In three years, I haven’t even begun to heal from what he did to me. And he’s done being punished, other than a year of” extended supervision”—whatever that meant.

Samantha took a deep breath to quell the sensation of suffocation rising inside her. The tightness of her chest resembled an evil force growing in proportion to her dread. Now it was gathering all the air in her lungs and transforming it into an ominous, black cloud.

After drawing another breath and letting it out slowly, she murmured to herself, “I’ll be home in two days. I can call Justine then and ask her all the details I wish I didn’t have to know. Right now I’m four thousand miles away and it must be nine or ten at night in Wisconsin anyway.”

Why had Justine called a second time? And why in the world did she feel she had to tell me this before I left for Ireland? As if I had any chance of enjoying the trip anyway. I’m too much of a homebody not to have started wishing my flight would return me to my home the day I arrived. Why, Justine, why? As a lawyer—though only part-time since the birth of her son a few years ago—Justine was too logical to drop a ticking bomb in someone’s lap without good reason. She certainly had to realize her announcement would upset Samantha for longer than a few hours.

Shaking slightly, Samantha tossed the messenger bag she’d brought with her for the tour today on her bed and grabbed the phone. Unfortunately, she realized that she didn’t have the slightest clue how to make an international call. When she phoned down to the desk to explain her trouble, the clerk calmed her with the words, “Allow me to place the call for you. I’ll forward it to your room shortly.”

Samantha thanked him, gave him the information, then sat on the edge of the bed, her hands clasped tightly together in her lap. An odd thought entered her head. What if Justine’s phone call had nothing to do with the announcement she’d made in the car? What if someone was ill? Perhaps her son, daughter or husband—Samantha’s older brother—Joshua.

Daddy? Samantha’s cheeks filled with shame and regret.

Luckily, the phone rang within a few moments, disrupting the usual direction of her thoughts. “Justine?” she said as soon as she picked it up.

“It’s me, Sam,” Justine answered, her flinty voice filled with reassurance. “Don’t panic. This isn’t a medical emergency or anything like that. You had to know I couldn’t leave things the way we did at the airport. I didn’t want that conversation to go like that, sweetie.”

“Why did you have to tell me now?”

Justine sighed. “Oh, Sam, I thought long and hard about whether to bother you about this before you left for your vacation. I talked to Joshua, Tamara, Kim and Peter, and they all advised me to tell you right away.”

Tamara and Peter, Samantha’s oldest siblings, and Peter’s wife Kimberly were the three people Samantha trusted most in the world. Even still, she couldn’t understand why any of them would encourage Justine to go ahead with this.

“Did I completely wreck your vacation?” Justine asked softly. “We all knew when you got back, you’d be going to work at the clinic, putting in long hours...and you wouldn’t want to hear the truth then any more than you did at the trial and the years since. We couldn’t see any other way to do this. And you insisted your friend Jordan was picking you up from the airport when you got back from Ireland. You weren’t willing to negotiate.”

I’ve been in hiding. I don’t know how else to cope. After all this time, I still don’t. Samantha shook her head. Eyes closed, she asked in a tone that begged her sister-in-law to enlighten her, “How can they possibly release him, Justine? He raped me. Ruined my life in ways that no can begin to understand...” Samantha inhaled shakily.

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Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

a challenging yet hopeful plot, Karen. it would definitely be an exceptional read and wonderful win! thank you for this opp and your generosity ")

Karen Wiesner said...

That's a perfect description of GLASS ANGELS, Faith! Thank you. : )

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