Authors: Karen Kingsbury
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Christian
A DESPERATE SEARCH
Driven by his wife’s dying wish-to find their firstborn son-John Baxter sets about the search. His prayer? That Elizabeth’s wish would be fulfilled before the upcoming Baxter family reunion. One strange turn follows another, but John confides in a new friend and continues to look for his son. When the answers finally come, they shake John to his core. Will he agree to walk away and keep the secret of a lifetime, or will he decide it’s time to let the truth come to light-no matter the cost?
A TRAGIC LOSS
Dayne Matthews is questioning his adoptive parents’ faith when he receives crushing news. He was ready to take on the responsibility of having a family, but now the future is drastically altered and Dayne is desperate for answers.
Wisdom and comfort come from visits with a long-lost friend and then from Katy Hart, the girl Dayne can’t seem to forget. But will Dayne find the strength he needs to face a future laced with loss, and will that strength lead him to the greatest love of all?
A TERRIBLE STORM
As the Baxters come together, the reunion is overshadowed by a miracle in their midst. But just as quickly, tragedy comes to Bloomington. Ashley is eight months pregnant and in the early stages of labor when a tornado rips through the community, leaving one family missing and destroying homes throughout the area.
What will Dayne Matthews do when he hears about the storm? Will he finally find peace in a God he has been running from all his life?
What readers are saying about KAREN KINGSBURY
“If you had an official fan club I’d love to be the president! … I am so hooked on your books. My goal is to collect them all and share them with my friends, family, neighbors and coworkers!”
“I can’t find the words to describe the emotions I went through j reading the entire Redemption series. God bless you, Karen, for letting Him use your pen and hand and of course your heart to put v words of such magnitude on paper to bless us all so much!”
“You are the best writer ever. I get so excited when I walk into a ‘ Christian bookstore and see one of your new books sitting there.”
If “Thank you for your beautifully written books. They make me ? laugh, they make me cry, and they fill my heart with a love that can |only be God once again touching my heart and my soul.”
“Okay, where’s the next one? I know it’s sitting, in a warehouse Isomewhere and you are making us wait! (Just kidding!) Karen, “here isn’t a person I know who doesn’t read your books and hold fou and your family in their prayers!”-Rachel A story of God’s divine leading and the truth that God rewards those who seek Him with all their heart.
i “Life-changing books! I haven’t been much of a reader until now! I have fallen in love with all of the Baxters. Thank you for letting me grieve my mother’s death in a whole new light. … I have recommended the series to everyone I come across.”-Peggy
“I have fallen away from the almighty God many times. But always reading one of your books reminds me as to why I desperately need Him in my life. Thank you!”-Nichole
“I loved the Redemption series and have shared it with various women in my church. Everyone has the same answer: ‘I loved it!’ We ALL laughed and cried.
Your writing is an inspiration to all!”
“Let Me Hold You Longer is breathtaking! My friend read this story to me-the first night we both left our new babies overnight. And by the end, the two of us were bawling. She bought me my own copy for Mother’s Day, and I read it to everyone … and each person cries as I read the words. I now buy it for every baby shower I go to. I think every parent should own or read this book. I read it as often as I can.”-Shannon
“My husband is equally hooked on your books. It is a family affair for us now!
Can’t wait for the next one.”-Angie
“The words God gives you in your stories have such power to reach my emotions.
No other author has been able to do that!”
“Every time our school buys your next new book, everybody goes crazy trying to read it first!”> -Roxanne
“Recently I made an effort to find GOOD Christian writers, and I’ve hit the jackpot with Karen Kingsbury!”-Linda
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Carol Stream, Illinois
iii Visit Tyndale’s exciting Web site at www.tyndale.com Visit Karen Kingsbury’s Web site and learn more about her Life-Changing Fiction at www.KarenKingsbury.com
TYNDALE and Tyndale’s quill logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright Š2006 by Karen Kingsbury. All rights reserved.
Logo illustration copyright Š2003 by David Henderson. All rights reserved.
Cover photographs of young man and woman copyright Šby Brian MacDonald. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of man copyright Šby Sabine Fritsch/Getty Images. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of bench copyright Šby Corbis. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of flowers on a hill copyright Šby Photos.com. All rights reserved.
Designed by Jennifer Lund
Edited by Lorie Popp
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International VersionŽ.
N1VŽ. Copyrigl 1973, 1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kingsbury, Karen.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8423-8745-3 (pbk. : alk. paper)ť, ISBN-10: 0-8423-8745-5 (pbk.: alk. paper) I. Title.
PS3561.I4873F68 2006 813’.54-dc222006014552
Printed in the United States of America
09 08 07 06 8 7 6 5 4
iv To Donald, my prince charming
In this season of life, with you working as full-time teacher here at home for our boys, I am maybe more proud of you than ever. I am amazed at the way you blend love and laughter, tenderness and tough standards to bring out the best in our boys. Don’t for a minute think that your role in all this is somehow smaller. You have the greatest responsibility of all.
Not only with our children but in praying for me as I write and speak and go about this crazy, fun job God has given me. I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for loving me, for being my best friend, and for finding “date moments” amidst even the most maniacal or mundane times.
My favorite times are with you by my side. I love you always, forever.
To Kelsey, my precious daughter
You are sixteen, pushing seventeen, and sometimes I find myself barely able to exhale. The ride is so fast at this point that I can only try not to blink, so I won’t miss a minute of it. Like the most beautiful springtime flower, I see you growing and unfolding, becoming interested in current events and formulating godly viewpoints that are yours alone. The same is true in dance, where you are simply breathtaking onstage. I believe in you, honey.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and the path will be easy to follow.
Don’t ever stop dancing. I love you.
To Tyler, my beautiful song
Can it be that you are thirteen and, yes, taller than me? Just yesterday people would call and confuse you with Kelsey. Now they confuse you with your dad-in more ways than one. You are on the bridge, dear son, making the transition between Neverland and Tomorrowland and becoming a strong, godly young man in the process. Keep giving Jesus your very best, and always remember that you’re in a battle. In today’s world, Ty, you need His armor every day, every minute. Don’t forget… when you’re up there onstage, no matter how bright the lights, I’ll be watching from the front row, cheering you on. I love you.
To Sean, my wonder boy
Your sweet nature continues to be a bright light in our home. It seems ťlifetime ago that we first brought you-our precious son-home from Haiti.
It’s been my great joy to watch you grow and develop this past year, learning more about reading and writing and, of course, animals. You’re a walking encyclopedia of animal facts, and that, too, brings a smile to my face. Your hugs are something I look forward to, Sean. Keep close to Jesus. I love you.
v To Josh, my tender tough guy
You continue to excel at everything you do, but my favorite time is late at night when I poke my head into your room and see that-once againyour nose is buried in your Bible. You really get it, Josh. That by being strong in Christ, first and foremost, you’ll be strong at everything else.
Keep winning for Him, dear son. You make me so proud. I love you.
To EJ, my chosen one
You amaze me, Emmanuel Jean! You have become a different little boy while attending your daddy’s home school. In every possible area you have improved. 1 see you standing straighter and taller, articulating more, making eye contact, and feeling confident and proud. 1 know that Jesus is leading the way and that you are excited to learn the plans He has for you.
But for you, this year will always stand out as a turning point.
Congratulations, honey! I love you.
To Austin, my miracle child
Can my little boy be eight years old? I love that you still wake up every now and then and scurry down the hall to our room so you can sleep in the middle.
But most of all I love your tender heart. Just last week you looked at me and said, “Mommy, you’re so pretty,” Talk about making my day! Then you were at a basketball game with us, and you sat on Daddy’s knee and hooked your arms around his neck and said, “You’re my best friend, Daddy. Thanks for loving me.” Wow … it’s so wonderful to see a reflection of my own heart in you, my littlest son. I thank God for your health, precious boy.. I love you.
And to God Almighty, the Author of life,
who has-for now-blessed me with these.
This book couldn’t have come together without the help of many people. First, a special thanks to my friends at Tyndale, who have believed in this series and worked with me to get this book to my readers sooner than any of us dreamed possible. Thank you!
Thanks to my amazing agent, Rick Christian, president of Alive Communications. I am amazed more as every day passes at your sincere integrity, your brilliant talent, and your commitment to the Lord and to getting my Life-Changing Fiction out to all the world. You are a strong man of God, Rick. You care for my career as if you were personally responsible for the souls God touches through these books. Thank you for looking out for my personal time-the hours I have with my husband and kids most of all. I couldn’t do this without you.
As always, this book wouldn’t be possible without the help of my husband and kids, who will eat tuna sandwiches and quesadillas and bring me plates of baked chicken and vegetables when I need the brainpower to write past midnight. Thanks for understanding the sometimes crazy life I lead and for always being my greatest support.
Thanks to my mother and assistant, Anne Kingsbury, for her great sensitivity and love for my readers. You are a reflection of my own heart, Mom, or maybe I’m a reflection of yours. Either way we are a great team, and I appreciate you more than you know. I’m grateful also for my dad, Ted Kingsbury, who is and always has been my greatest encourager. I remember when I was a little girl, Dad, and you would say, “One day, honey, everyone will read your books and know what a wonderful writer you are.” Thank you for believing in me long before anyone else ever did. Thanks also to my sisters Tricia and Susan, who help out with my business when the workload is too large to see around. I appreciate you!
Thanks to Katie Johnson, who runs a large part of my business life-everything from my Quickbooks to my calendar. God
vii brought you to me, Katie, and I’ll be grateful as long as I’m writing for Him. Don’t ever leave, okay? Thanks to Olga Kalachik, whose hard work allows me to operate a significant part of my business from my home. The personal touches you both bring to my ministry are precious to me, priceless to me. Thank you with all my heart.
And thanks to my friends and family who continue to surround me with love and prayer and support. I could list you by name, but you know who you are. Thank you for believing in me and for seeing who I really am. A true friend stands by through the changing seasons of life and cheers you on not for your successes but for staying true to what matters most. You are the ones who know me that way, and I’m grateful for every one of you.
Of course, the greatest thanks goes to God Almighty, the most wonderful Author of all-the Author of life. The gift is Yours. I pray I might have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to use it for You all the days of my life.