Amazon (available in audio)
Also available as A Christmas Prayer/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
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2014 Selah Award finalist
A Christmas Prayer has very likeable, sympathetic characters, and realistically shows how people with the very best of intentions can still end up on opposite sides of an issue. Even better, it shows how, with God’s calming spirit and guidance, they can keep their cool and find their way through to the best solution for everyone. I particularly appreciated that the story didn’t take a sort of “magic” route to a happy ending that might have seemed obvious, especially in a romance—but more realistically, with time, brought us the resolution we readers were wanting.
Available in both print and ebook exclusively on Amazon.com
A year after learning of a son’s existence, Country music legend, Ethan Jacobs returns to Jasper Falls, a place of bitter memories, to help the his twelve-year-old autistic child, given up for adoption at birth. Orphaned after the death of his adoptive parents, the boy is at risk of institutionalization due to probation violations and alleged inadequate guardianship of his current caregiver, an older, adoptive sister. In view of his son’s delicate emotional state, the court advises Ethan to keep his relationship to Gib secret for now.
As far as Jasper Falls knows, Ethan is in town to perform a Christmas benefit, although he longs to tell the world his current hit single, A Christmas Prayer, was inspired by a son he has yet to meet. Ethan’s intent was to rescue Gib. Instead, his presence seems to complicate the child’s life even more. Does God have a different plan for Gib no one has considered?
Alexis Jennings smelled smoke and rushed to the window. “Not another fire!”
Wishing it weren’t so would not change the outcome. Flames shot from the shed. Alexis sprang into action with the kind of
expediency a year of caring for Gib had taught her. She punched in 911, gave the address, and ran outside, the alarm blaring when she opened thedoor. Nice to know the fancy alarm system she’d installed at a hefty price was working. But how did Gib get outside without tripping it?
At least this time Gib had set the fire outside and not in the house. Alexis grabbed the lawnhose. Useless. Frozen solid. She waited in helplessness for the fire department while flames danced the length of the walls and on the roof.
She fumed. Where was Gib? Normally he returned to the scene of his trouble-making, laughing while others undid his messes.
Horror replaced anger.
Was he in there? What if he was hurt and couldn’t get out? Alexis edged closer to the shed. “Gib! Gib! Are
you in there?” Like flaming hands, the fire’s heat pushed her backward.
The siren wails meant the fire department was near. She hurried to the front as the truck pulled up. “I don’t know where Gib is!” Alexis screamed to the first firefighter she spotted.
While one group unraveled the hoses, another donned masks and axed their way in. Smoke billowed across the yard as flames engulfed the entire structure. Soon the fire was out, the shed a memory.
Donna Bilow took off her mask as she approached.“Doesn’t appear your brother was in there.”
Alexis sobbed with relief. “This is the first time Gib’s set a fire outside.”
“Can’t say for sure, but this one appears to be an accident.”
Please, Lord. Let it be so. “Gib’s modus operandi is to light a newspaper, set it on the oven, and watch it burn until the smoke detector goes off. Most of the time I can extinguish it before the sprinklers come on. I’m at my wits end, Donna. Idon’t know how to keep him and me safe anymore. When I scold him, he runs off and it takes me hours to find him. It’s as if he’s punishing me for
Donna’s face softened, the creases melting with empathy rather than the usual scowls of condemnation Alexis so often received. “My nephew is autistic. Thankfully, he doesn’t set fires. My sister hides all the matches as a safety precaution.”
“I don’t keep matches in the house either. Gibsteals them from The Quick Stop down the road,along with half a dozen candy bars.”
“Isn’t he forbidden to go there under the terms of his probation?”
“Gib does what Gib wants to do. He doesn’t consider the consequences.” Alexis tasted the acidity in her condemnation. Why hide her frustration? She’d made excuses for Gib long enough.
“We found a metal box in the shed full of candy bars, matches, and cash.”
“Stolen, no doubt.”
“The bills are covered with melted chocolate;otherwise the contents are intact. A miracle the matches didn’t ignite from the heat.”
Alexis shivered. If Gib had been in the shed …
What more could she do to reign Gib in? She’d read every book she could find on caring for autistic children. She’d tried every behavior modification technique the counselors suggested and those mentioned in her online support groups. Yet, his rebellion continued.