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PART I

FRIDAY

 

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

Psalm 139:1-3

Chapter One

Jim

“Hey, Rach, it’s me. Where are you? You said you wanted to leave 15 minutes ago. I’m getting worried. Should I come pick you up? Call me.” Jim hit the red end call button on his cell phone and checked again for a text message from his wife. Nothing.

He looked over at the familiar hat box by the front door and Rachel’s black carry-all sitting next to it. Her props, her notes, her speaking gear. His stomach churned because he knew something was wrong. Rachel had never ever been late to one of her speaking gigs before, let alone flake out and not show up. This was not like her and he didn’t know what to do.

Come on, Rachel, come on! Call me! Jim paced the floor, staring at his phone and then staring out their front door. His focus was laser-like, as though by sheer will he could get her to call. He had rearranged his schedule so he could drive her to her speaking engagement but he didn’t mind that. He was happy to do it. He knew how hard it had been for her lately, since her panic attacks returned. 

Rach … where are you? he thought. She had said she was going to walk to the bank, make a deposit, and walk back home. An hour round trip, tops. He knew that walking helped to clear her head and shake off some nerves. Plus, it gave her some quiet time to pray. When she failed to return an hour after she left, he didn’t think too much about it. Maybe there was a line at the bank, or she decided to walk just a little further, get a little more fresh air. It was a gorgeous Southern California morning, who could blame her?

An hour and a half passed, and after two hours, he really began to worry. Every few minutes he thought about jumping in his car to track her down and drive the route he thought she would take to the bank. But he stopped himself, sure that the minute he left she would come home, anxious to get on the road to her event. Yet now he felt like he had no choice. What if her phone died? She was pretty good about keeping her battery charged, but maybe she forgot. What if she had a panic attack and had passed out somewhere on the side of the road? He wondered if that were even possible and the thought made him queasy. 

Jim grabbed a piece of paper off the dining room table — a sales letter from a local insurance agent. He flipped it over and wrote, Rachel — call me. I’m out looking for you. Call me!!!! J

He taped the note to the front door so there was no way she could miss it. He scooped the car keys and his phone off the shoe cabinet by the front door. For a second he thought about texting the kids to see if they had heard from her, but decided not to worry them just yet. He would drive around to look for her first. He started to lock the door to leave before realizing he wasn’t sure she had her house key. Not wanting to waste any more time to check, he decided to leave the door unlocked. He could feel his own panic attack coming on as he started the car and backed out of the driveway.

Rachel

It was pitch black and Rachel couldn’t see or feel a thing. She felt a heaviness she had only experienced in her nightmares, when she was aware that she was dreaming but unable to wake herself up. Her thoughts were jumbled and she strained to remember what happened. She vaguely remembered pills.

Did I do it? she thought. Do what? More confusion. What was I supposed to do? She tried to lift her arms, move her legs, but she couldn’t. She tried to unscramble the thoughts that were slowly moving through her brain, but she couldn’t do that either. Only one thought had clarity before she slipped back into unconsciousness … maybe I’m dead.

Jim

Jim’s hands were shaking as he jammed the paddle shifter of the minivan into park. He jumped out and ran to the front door, thankful that he hadn’t locked it. 

“Rachel? Rachel, are you home?” Jim yelled. The anxiousness in his chest seemed to amplify his voice, but he didn’t care how loud he was or if the neighbors heard. He ran from room to room searching for any sign of Rachel or any indication that she had been home. Nothing. He made his way back to the front door, looking up and down the street before going to the living room and dropping on the couch. His next thought was, Who do I call first? The police or the kids?

His attempt to figure out what happened to his wife left him empty-handed, frustrated, and terrified. He drove down the street she would have walked to go to the bank. The teller remembered seeing her and yes, she had made a deposit. Did he need to know how much? He wanted to scream, Are you crazy? My wife is missing, what do I care about the amount of the deposit? The bank guard chimed in that he had spent some time talking to her out front once she had finished inside the bank. He saw her go to the Starbucks next door.

Jim went into the Starbucks to see if any of the employees remembered seeing her, but none of them did. They knew Rachel; she stopped there often for her favorite decaf iced vanilla Americano. But the barista who was working that morning had already finished her shift. He drove slowly up the street, trying to imagine where Rachel may have walked. Drivers pulled up behind him, irritated at his pace, but he didn’t even notice. All he could think was, Rachel, where are you? News reports from a couple of months ago came to his mind. Two young women were snatched while jogging on the same busy road where Rachel liked to walk, pulled right off the sidewalk and into the bushes. They got away, he told himself reassuringly. They got away. But he also remembered that their attacker did, too. He tried not to think about it as he pulled into the parking lot of the Aliso Woods Regional Park. 

Jim stepped out of the car and walked around to see if there was any sign that Rachel had been there — maybe her sweatshirt or her wallet. He felt relieved when he didn’t find anything, but he knew it was a shallow relief. The trail went on for miles and the only way to check if she was somewhere on it was to go by foot or call the ranger. He didn't have time for either option now.

After forty-five minutes of scouring the neighborhood, he knew it was time to call it quits and find real help. His only hope was that she would be home when he got there. Lord, please, I’m begging you, let my wife be home. Let me see her beautiful face, look into the green eyes that I loved from the moment I met her.

 Jim remembered the first time he saw Rachel. It was orientation for incoming freshman at UC Irvine, and Rachel was in his orientation group. All the freshman in their group had at least one parent with them and some lucky kids had both parents there. He was one of the lucky ones.

But there was one student who was alone: Rachel. Something stirred inside him, maybe it was her beauty or her vulnerability, but whatever it was made him want to put his arms around her and never let go. Instead, he struck up a conversation and watched her begin to relax. By the time the orientation was over, they were laughing together and everyone else in the group had faded into the background. His parents took them out to lunch afterward, and his fascination with Rachel Donahue grew. By Christmas break they were inseparable. Jim sighed. Please, God, please let her be home, he prayed.

But God didn’t answer that prayer, and now Jim needed a level of faith he wasn’t sure he had. He looked at his phone and wondered if it was premature to call the kids. He wasn’t sure about their schedules — would they be in class now or working? With each one at a different college, it was hard to keep track. He decided he would wait until after he talked to the police before he let them know exactly what was happening. He groaned and rubbed his temple, what is going on? How do you call the police? Is this a 911 call or should I try to find the number for the local sheriff’s station? 

He felt his chest and throat constrict, and he could hardly breathe. As he dialed 911, he wondered how he would even be able to talk.

“911 operator. What’s the nature of your emergency?” 

“Um, it’s my wife. I’m not sure if I should have called 911 or …”

“Sir, what’s wrong with your wife? Is she there with you?”

“No, she’s … I don’t know where she is,” Jim choked back a sob.

“And how long has she been missing?”

“She was supposed to be back by eleven this morning, but she didn’t come home. She had a speaking engagement. She never misses her speaking engagements. Rachel is so responsible. She would never do that. I know something’s wrong. Please tell me I don’t have to wait 48 hours to file a missing person’s report — please! Help me! Something’s wrong!” His words rushed out as though the dam in his throat that was holding them back had burst open.

“Okay, okay. What’s your name, sir?” the operator’s voice was calm and soothing. Jim took a deep breath.

“Jim. Jim Barton.”

“Okay, Mr. Barton. I’m going to send a sheriff over there now to find out more details. We won’t wait forty-eight hours to start looking for your wife, that’s just television stuff. So you just hang tight, okay? What’s your address?”

“26270 Eva Street, Laguna Hills,” he said.

“Got it. An officer will be there shortly. You gonna be okay until then?”

“Yes, yes, okay,” he said out loud, but his mind was racing. What choice do I have?

Now what about the kids? He had never checked with them to see if Rachel had contacted either of them. Maybe he could send them a text without arousing too much suspicion.

Hey kids, hope your day is going well. Have you heard from Mom at all today? Love you. 

He stared at the words on his phone. Was there any way to word the message without alarming them? 

Hey kids, hope your day is going well. Just wondering if either of you have heard from Mom at all today. Love you.

Sure, Jim, that’s it, adding “just wondering” made all the difference. Again he sighed, it was the best he could do. He hit send and let his head fall back on the couch, but as soon as it hit the couch cushion he heard a knock on the door. 

Rachel

Rachel thought her eyes were open, but she couldn’t be sure. She was flat on her back, in a state of semi-consciousness. Her mind floated to her childhood and she struggled to distinguish the past from the present.

“Mom?” She mouthed the word but no sound came out. She tried again, “Mom?” Feelings of terror surfaced from a deep, dark part of her psyche, and she became a frightened eight year old again.

“I’m sorry. Whatever I did, please forgive me. I’m sorry. No, Mom, no! Please don’t put me in the closet! It’s so dark! I won’t do it again, I promise!”

“Rachel Donahue, do you want to go to purgatory? Do you want to end up in limbo? You will, Rachel, because you are a bad girl. Yes, yes you are! If you think this is dark, wait till you get to purgatory. Now stay in there until you have confessed all your sins and said your acts of contrition.”

She could feel the blackness close in all around her, squeezing her, sucking the air out of her lungs.

God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who is good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to confess my sins, do penance and amend my life. Amen. God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. The words so ingrained in the recesses of her mind repeated themselves without any effort on her part.

With all her might, Rachel tried to pull her mind out of the past to the … where? Where exactly was she? The fog began to recede and, again, she tried to move her limbs. This time they began to respond. She slowly moved her head from side to side, but the throbbing inside made her stop. Her mouth was dry, so parched, like, who was it? Yes, like the rich man in hell from the Bible … have pity on me, send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. Is that where I am? she thought. Am I in hell?

But the fogginess in her mind was clearing more, and as she looked toward heaven in the pitch black darkness, she heard her own voice croak out the word “no.” No. There is no purgatory. No limbo. And no, no matter what she had done, she knew with all certainty she would go to heaven when she died. As her awareness increased she realized that she felt as if she had been drugged and wondered what she had done.

Chapter Two

Officer Martinez

Officer Martinez made it a point to approach 26270 Eva Street from a side street so he wouldn’t have to pass the front of the residence. He pulled his cruiser over, parked two doors down and looked over at the recruit in the seat next to him. Officers in the area usually ran solo, but Martinez liked the company now and then, so when they asked if he would take a recruit for a ride along, he agreed.

“Let’s see what’s going on at the Barton’s,” he said. His car had been closest to the residence when the missing person call came in, and he was glad. He liked to consider this particular part of their small city to be his neighborhood, the people he felt most responsible to serve and protect. In fact, he didn’t think of law enforcement as just a job or even a career, he felt it was a calling from God.

“Do you always park down the street?” the recruit asked. 

“Yeah,” he said, “I like to check things out a little first without the residents knowing.” 

Martinez liked new recruits because it gave him the opportunity to share his passion for the job. He had seen enough officers who were just clocking in until they could retire and collect their pensions — but not Raul Martinez.

Officer Martinez knew that at thirty years old he was still considered a youngster by most of the other officers at the station. He might be young, but he liked being old school. He wanted to be different and get to know people in the community. In fact, he knew the names of many of the residents in his patrol area. He often checked in at the two schools that bordered his neighborhoods to see how things were going. He knew about the Norton’s sweet looking dog that often got out and terrorized the neighborhood kids, and the guy on Grissom with the perfectly landscaped yard, the one with an affinity for vodka on the rocks and disturbing the peace on football Sundays. He knew that things weren’t always what they seemed and he wondered, as he approached the Barton’s home, what was going on here.

The two-story home looked spacious, and the big palladian window over the double front doors gave the house an elegant look. The landscape didn’t quite match the beauty of the house itself, as though the landscaper might have gotten lazy or even quit. But the pop of color from the impatiens under the front window did give the house a welcoming feel. It was definitely one of the nicer, more upgraded homes in the neighborhood. That’s why Martinez was surprised to see the two cars in the driveway. They were clean and well-maintained but older models. He would have expected a BMW or Mercedes, or at least a newer car. The minivan and older Ford Expedition didn’t fit.

Martinez gently knocked on the door and a moment later a disheveled man who looked to be in his early forties answered the door.

“Mr. Barton?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m Jim Barton,” he said, standing in the doorway. “I’m grateful you guys got here so fast.”

“Mind if we come in?” 

“Of course, of course, come in.” He stepped aside and let the two men into the entry.

“This is a new recruit from the academy, came for a ride-along. I hope you don’t mind him being here while I gather some information?” Martinez patted the recruit’s shoulder. The recruit reached out to shake Jim’s hand, which Jim had extended absentmindedly. 

“Absolutely. No problem. So, Officer, I’ve never had to do anything like this before. What do you need from me so we can begin a search for my wife? What can I do?” 

“I’d like to start with a few questions, would that be alright?”

“Sure, definitely.” Martinez watched as Rachel’s husband rubbed his face in his hands. If this was an act, he was good. The man seemed genuinely distraught that he couldn’t find his wife. 

“Can you fill me in on the timeline leading up to the point you believe your wife might be missing?”

“Might be? What does that mean — might be? She’s missing!” Jim was agitated but that seemed understandable, especially if he really believed his missing wife met with foul play.

“Well, Mr. Barton, the fact of the matter is, many missing person claims turn out to be people who go missing on purpose. It’s often hard for family and friends to hear that, but it’s true. Happens more than you think. So I apologize, I didn’t mean to upset you, I’m just trying to be thorough and not overlook anything. Now, about the timeline…”

“Rachel, my wife, left the house around nine this morning to go for a walk. She said she was going to walk up to the bank and make a deposit. The bank is about a mile up the road, so I expected her back in about an hour. At the latest I expected her back by 11 a.m. because she has … well, had … a speaking engagement today.”

“Speaking engagement?” 

“Yes, she speaks at Christian women’s events in the Southern California area. She was scheduled to speak at a luncheon in Tustin at 1 p.m. today which is why she wanted to be home by eleven. She still needed to get dressed and get ready, and there is no way my wife would miss a speaking engagement unless something were seriously wrong.” 

“You said she was going to the bank? The Citibank on La Paz or the One West Bank on Alicia Parkway?”

“One West, the one next to the Starbucks on the corner of Paseo de Valencia. I went out looking for her and checked at the bank. They said she had been there and made a deposit and then went to Starbucks, from what the bank guard said.” 

“Did they say what time that was?”

“Oh, I didn’t even think to ask about time, I just figured it would have been sometime after she left but before eleven…”

Martinez could tell that Jim was mentally berating himself. 

“No problem, Mr. Barton. That’s why we’re here. I’ll be going back over her whereabouts before she …” he hesitated for a second, “… before she didn’t show up at home on time.” Martinez wasn’t sure she was missing because there was always the possibility she didn’t want to be found. “Maybe you can draw me a map showing me where you think she might have gone.” The recruit jumped up and handed a pen and sheet of paper from his pad to Jim.

“Have you and your wife been married long?” Martinez looked at the family portrait hanging over the fireplace. The Bartons were a good looking family of four. He recognized Jim in the photo and Martinez assumed the woman next to him was Rachel. The two kids looked to be around high school age at the time the photo was taken.

“About 20 years,” Jim said, also looking at the family portrait. “That’s Rachel, of course. I can get you a better photo to use. You are going to need a photo, right? To help find her?”

“That would be helpful. You’ve got great looking kids — do they go to the high school down the street?”

“Used to, they’re both in college now. Sophomores. Fraternal twins but they are going to different schools.” As if on cue, Jim’s phone vibrated. He looked down at his phone and said, “Speak of the … err … will you excuse me for a second? I just received texts from the kids and I need to send them a quick response.”

“Of course. Before you go, does Rachel have a laptop, calendar, tablet … anything where she might keep notes and appointments, stuff like that? Maybe we could take a look and see if we notice anything that might help. We can do that while you text your kids. Then we’ll need to get that photo of your wife, physical characteristics and whatnot.”

Officer Martinez and the recruit followed Jim down a narrow hallway to a bedroom that was converted to a home office. Based on the decorating, the officers knew immediately it was Rachel’s.

“Feel free to look around. I would feel better if we could get this done quickly because I’m sure Rachel didn’t have anything to do with her own disappearance …” Before Jim could finish, his phone began frantically vibrating again. 

“I need to get back to the kids,” he said, and walked back toward the living room.

Rachel’s office was neat and cheerful, the walls painted a soft sage green. A white desk and bookcase flanked one wall and in the corner was an overstuffed, floral upholstered chair. Next to the chair was a small round white table with a tall skinny reading lamp, a book, and a coffee mug resting on a coaster. In the other corner was a music stand with several sheets of paper. Martinez looked them over and realized they were notes to a speech on living life to the full. Right, Martinez thought, John 10:10. Stenciled on the wall over the chair were the words “faith hope love” and on the wall behind the music stand was some kind of vision board. 

So, Martinez thought, this Rachel seems to be the real deal: organized, involved in Christian ministry, mother, wife. He had hoped maybe she just needed to get away and would surface on her own, no harm done, but now thoughts of the evil in the world flashed into his mind, evil he knew too well, even in a nice community like Laguna Hills.

He noticed her laptop on the desk, but no calendar or any place where she might have made notes. He opened the laptop to see if there might be a clue about where she may have gone. Immediately a document on her home page caught his attention, it was titled “Letter to Jim.” He quickly read through it and motioned with his head for the recruit to take a look.

“Hmmm …” contemplated Martinez.

“What do you think?” the recruit whispered. 

“Reads like a goodbye letter, like she was dying or something,” Martinez whispered back. Or something like considering suicide, Martinez thought. He closed the laptop and silently prayed that wasn’t the case, but he realized it was a possibility. The sound of Jim at the door caught his attention.

“Here,” Jim said, “I found a recent picture of Rach. It’s the one she uses on her website and for her speaking promotional material.” 

“Um … I know this might be a delicate subject, but how have you and Mrs. Barton been getting along, okay? Any marital problems?” Martinez tried to soften the tone of his voice, he knew this could be a touchy subject. He watched Jim pull back the picture of his wife and, without thinking, hold it against his chest.

“Great, we get along great. What are you suggesting?” As mild mannered as Jim appeared, Martinez could sense indignation in his voice. 

“No money problems or stresses of any kind?” asked Martinez.

“Well, yes, we’ve been struggling with bills and such for a while. I was laid off last year and I haven’t been able to get into a comparable position. I decided to start selling real estate, so yeah, that part of our life has been a little challenging. But Rach and I are fine.”

“Are you sure Rachel is fine? Has she seemed depressed to you at all, struggling in any way?”

“Why are you asking that? What did you find? What were you reading when I came in the room?” Martinez could tell he had touched a nerve. The recruit moved awkwardly away from the conversation.

“Your wife had a letter addressed to you on her laptop. Have you read it?”

“A letter to me? I don’t know anything about it. A letter about what?” Jim started to move toward Rachel’s laptop.

“I’ll let you go ahead and read it, but is there a possibility your wife might have wanted to take her own life? Is she on any medication that might affect her state of mind?”

“Rachel has been suffering with panic attacks recently. She used to have them years ago, but they went away. We don’t know why they came back, but they did. She’s been pretty upset about it, but suicide? No way! Rachel would never do that — but what if she had a panic attack? What if she’s passed out somewhere? Oh … I didn’t even think to call the hospitals.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll take care of that. Do you know if she takes any medication?” Martinez asked again.

“Yes, but I don’t know exactly what. She finally went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed something to help with the anxiety and panic attacks.” Jim began to look around the room for pill bottles and when he didn’t find any, he bolted out of the room to another room and then to the bathroom.

“She must have them with her,” he said. Martinez could see him processing all this and realized how overwhelming it all must be. He felt bad for the man. 

“Okay," he said, “I’ll take that picture of Rachel now.” He held out his hand to take the picture of Rachel from Jim. “And let’s get a couple of quick physical characteristics. What’s her age? Does she have any unusual identifying features?” Martinez pulled out his pad, ready to take notes.

“She’s forty-two, about five feet, seven inches, average weight, shoulder length wavy brown hair, green eyes — sort of the same color as this room. Oh, and she has a tattoo on her wrist that says “Faith Hope Love” … it looks like a bracelet. Is that good? My kids are on their way home, and I really need to pull myself together before they arrive.” Martinez watched Jim’s gaze land on his wife’s laptop. Yeah, and read the letter, he thought. 

“Yes, this is great. Thank you, Mr. Barton. Hang in there. We’re going to do everything we can to find your wife. Here’s my card, it has my number on it if anything happens — you hear from Rachel, you think of something that might be helpful — you call me, right? Any time, just call. Is the cell number I have for you the best place to reach you?” Jim nodded.

“We’ll send this information out to law enforcement and the media, and we'll go back and retrace the route you think she took. I’ll talk to the folks again at the bank and Starbucks. We’ll keep you updated. You hang tight. Most of the time these things work out. I’ll be praying for your wife’s safe return.” Martinez knew there was a possibility he could be reprimanded for saying that, but he didn’t care. 

He followed Jim to the front door and as he was leaving, Jim asked, “Oh, Officer, what about the guy who grabbed those girls on Alicia Parkway? Did they ever catch him? Do you think he could be involved?” 

“We’ll be considering everything, I promise.” He realized he hadn’t answered Jim’s question directly, but he answered honestly. Sure, the creep that assaulted those girls could be a possibility. But, sadly, Martinez had another suspect in mind: Rachel Barton.

Chapter Three

Dan

Country music blared out of the radio of the BMW, but Dan Siever didn’t hear a word. He had no recollection of driving to the hospital, yet he found himself pulling the BMW into a parking spot marked Doctor’s Only. He felt as though every physical movement he made was on autopilot. If only he could put his emotions on autopilot. He turned the key off in the ignition and let out a deep sigh. His chin dropped to his chest, as if the weight of his head was too much. But he only let it rest there for a moment before he snapped it back up and said, “Let’s go. Let’s do this.” 

Dan reached for his messenger bag and cup of Starbucks, locked his car and headed to his home away from home: St. Luke’s Hospital. He hit the automatic door opener with his elbow and the side door entrance to the Emergency Room swung open. 

“Hey, Doc Siever, I wasn’t expecting to see you today. I thought you were making this a long weekend, you know, taking some extra time off.” Dan liked Jenny, she was good natured and an excellent nurse. But most of all, she was a transplant from Texas, just like him.

“Can’t keep me away, I guess,” he said. He walked over to the nurses station and sat his coffee down. “Really, though, Amanda’s in school today and the house feels so empty …” his words trailed off. He could sense Jenny’s awkwardness. Watching someone else’s grief did that to people. After fifteen years in the ER, he knew that uncomfortable feeling, but he wasn’t used to being on this side of the grief equation.

“Anyway, I thought I would come in, see if y’all needed some help,” he said.

“We can always use your help,” Jenny gave him a reassuring smile and a gentle pat on his hand. 

“Been busy this morning?” he asked.

“You know it. The joy of being so close to the largest retirement community in the good old U. S. of A!” she laughed. 

“So true,” he said with a half-hearted smile. It was one thing to see patients coming in who had lived long, full lives, but the ones who were taken in their prime … he quickly shut down the thought. He came here to stop thinking about Kate, to get his mind on something else, to try to feel normal. He said a quick “see ya later” to Jenny, took his stuff and headed to the staff locker room. 

Dan found his locker and stuffed his messenger bag inside. He turned around at the sound of someone else entering the room.

“Dan, whoa, look at you. What? Did you sleep in those scrubs?” Dan looked down at his scrubs.

“Ha, ha, very funny, Tom,” he wasn’t sure he was up to lighthearted banter, but wasn’t that part of trying to be normal? Still, he hoped Tom would let it go.

“Well, I would think you slept in them, but it looks like you haven’t slept in days. No offense, man, but you look like crap.”

“Again, thanks, Tom,” Dan knew his friend meant well, but he was the epitome of a doctor with no bedside manners. 

“Are you taking the Seraprin samples I gave you? You need to get some rest, seriously. Why are you even here?” 

“Uhhh … let’s see, this is a hospital, I’m pretty sure I’m a doctor…” Dan raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. “Makes sense to me why I’m here.”

“You know what I mean. I’ve been worried about you, Dan. You need to take some time off, deal with everything. Spend more time with Amanda. You’re going to burn yourself out.”

“Enough, Tom!” Dan’s words shot out of him like a bullet as he lurched toward Tom shoulders first. The sudden aggression surprised him and startled Tom.

“Okay, okay, no harm. I just care about you,” Tom stepped backward, keeping his eyes on Dan as he left the locker room.

“Hey, Tom, I’m sorry…” Dan called out.

“No worries. I’ll see you in the battlefield,” Tom said as he walked down the hall toward the emergency room. 

Dan sat down on the bench and put his head in his hands. Get yourself together, man, get it together. What’s wrong with you? He was finding it harder and harder to cope but he didn’t understand why. Hadn’t everyone told him it would get better? Time heals all wounds? So why did he feel like he was getting progressively worse? By sheer will he got up and prepared himself to help and heal those who needed him. It was something he couldn’t do for Kate, and that hurt almost as much as losing her. Almost. 


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Lynne Leite is a speaker and writer because she loves to tell stories. After giving up the fight with her naturally curly hair, she has become affectionately known as the CurlyGirl4God. She has had numerous personal stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Lynne likes to “write what she knows” and that is why many of her fictional characters are Jesus following, Bible believing, somewhat messed up people. Connect with her at www.LynneLeite.com

Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
At LynneLeite.com readers can sign up for a free ebook, Life Lessons, that contains 10 personal stories featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. These stories will definitely give you a peek into my life! You can also connect with me on Facebook at Facebook.com/LynneLeiteStoryteller.
Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
The cover inspiration came from the book title, which is from Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” The hourglass represents time passing and the urgency of Rachel's situation, and the book is the Bible.
Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
All The Days Ordained is my first novel. I'm currently writing my second novel, Leave Room For Wrath, the next book in the series. Each book is a Christian novel of suspense focusing on one character from the first novel. Book two is Officer Martinez's story of disgrace and struggle to regain honor.

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