Authors: Karen Kingsbury
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Domestic fiction, #Fathers and Sons, #Christian, #Religious, #Christian Fiction, #Birthfathers, #Air Pilot's Spouses, #Air pilots, #Illegitimate Children, #Mothers - Death
A forgotten secret.
A shocking discovery.
A sacrifice of love that will bring Connor Evans to his knees.
Airline Captain Conner Evans has nearly forgotten that stormy weekend in Hawaii eight years ago when he broke the greatest promise of all. Now Conner has the perfect life with his wife, Michele, and their two daughters, and the secret of that long-ago time is his alone.
But an ocean away, a flight attendant is raising her young son by herself when the plane she’s working on crashes into the Pacific.
Her will is very clear about one thing—before the child can be given over to the state, his father must be contacted.
The news rocks Captain Evans’ life, and in the process he is presented with a choice: Refuse the child and never hear from him again, or take him for two weeks and decide whether to claim the boy as his own.
Now, the family is on the brink of destruction. Can Michele and their daughters ever forgive Conner for what went wrong all those years ago? Or will the presence of one lonely child destroy everything?
Other Life-Changing Fiction™ by Karen Kingsbury
September 11 Series
Red Gloves Series
One Tuesday Morning
Beyond Tuesday Morning
Forever Faithful Series
Waiting for Morning
Where Yesterday Lives
Moment of Weakness
When Joy Came to Stay
Halfway to Forever
On Every Side
Women of Faith Fiction Series
A Time to Dance
Cody Gunner Series
A Time to Embrace
A Thousand Tomorrows
Just Beyond the Clouds
Let Me Hold You Longer
Let’s Go on a Mommy Date
A Treasury of Christmas Miracles
A Treasury of Miracles for Women
A Treasury of Miracles for Teens
A Treasury of Miracles for Friends
A Treasury of Adoption Miracles
Stay Close Little Girl
Be Safe Little Boy
Adobe® Acrobat® eBook Reader® format
Copyright © 2004 by Karen Kingsbury
This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product.
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Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
ISBN : 0 - 3 1 0 - 2 9 5 1 0 - 6 -
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the
Holy Bible: New International Version
®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 God-dard St., Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Interior design by Michelle Espinoza
Dedicated to Donald, who continues to be my prince, my safe harbor, my best friend. You give me wings enough to fly, but keep me grounded in everything that matters. I smile when I think of our long walks and nighttime talks, the way you make me laugh after a hard day or your way of putting a layer of sensibility over any situation. You are an amazing man, Donald, gifted in so many areas, yet content to serve. I am blessed beyond words to be your wife, gifted with the joy of your presence in my life. Fifteen years have flown by in a heartbeat, and I can only pray God blesses us with so many more. I love you forever and always.
To Kelsey, my love and laughter, my silly-heart and only daughter. Can it be that you are fourteen? That you are standing on the brink of high school and cheerleading and driving and dating? You are gorgeous, sweetheart, inside and out. I cherish our together times, whether washing our faces at the same mirror or figuring out a math problem late at night. The glow in your eyes is the same one that belonged to that pixie-faced four-year-old. The only difference is this: now we don’t have forever stretched out before us. Being with you is knowing intrinsically the speed of time, and my helplessness at slowing it even for a day. And so I celebrate you, Kelsey, and all we’ve shared, all we have yet to share as you dance closer to the front door. I love you and thank God for you, sweetheart.
To Tyler, my dreamer. How wonderful that God has blessed you with passion and purpose, a plan so big you can’t help but breathe it and borrow from it and become it every day of your life. Our time in New York City was something I’ll remember forever. And I’m convinced you will always know where your talent came from—
whether you’re singing on Broadway or playing out a scene in LA, shine for Jesus, Tyler. Shine for Jesus. And no matter what happens, if you squint through the lights, you’ll see me and your dad cheering for you from the first row. I love you, Tyler. I couldn’t be more proud.
To Sean, my humble leader. Watching you among your peers, I am struck by the reality of how quickly you’ve worked your way into my heart. You’ve only been in our family for three years, and yet every child in class looks up to you. Of course, God had you in our hearts long before you came to live with us, and His plans for you continue to play out. Whether you’re flying across a basketball court or reading devotions in the morning, your enthusiasm for life and your love for Jesus make you shine like a bright flame.
Keep them, Sean. And know that I love you deeply.
To Josh, my gentle warrior. I’m convinced if I looked up
in the dictionary, there would be your smiling face. You have more determination than a dozen kids combined, and the belief that no matter what task is set before you, you’ll not only complete it but redefine it. I’m amazed at your talents, whether in soccer, basketball, mathematics, or artwork. Don’t ever forget our family verse, sweetheart. To whom much has been given, much will be expected. I can’t wait to see how God uses you in the years to come.
Keep Him first, Josh . . . the way you did when you joyfully went to your room and pulled out half your piggy bank savings so people in Southeast Asia would have Bibles. I love you and I’m so proud of you, honey.
To EJ, my overcomer. Before this year, you struggled some. Yet I always knew you were the first chosen one, EJ, the child God first led us to adopt. And because of that, we knew He had a plan for bringing you into our family, a plan for seeing that through to completion. Now you are blossoming, becoming the most beautiful flower in the garden. Your eyes glow with the light of Christ, 6
and you sit a little taller each day as the compliments pour in. “EJ, what great seat work,” “EJ, what great manners,” “EJ, what great sports skills.” I need only look at you to feel the sting of tears—
and the glory of God’s goodness all around. I thank Him for your willingness to see the process through, and I love you, honey. Isn’t God the greatest?
To Austin, my miracle boy (or Brett Favre, as you’re calling yourself these days). Can it be that you are in kindergarten already?
What other six-year-old would ask for shoulder pads for his birthday? Not so you can play on a team, but so you can spend hours in the yard decked in your Packers jersey—by yourself or with your brothers—so dedicated to the thrill of sports that no team or game schedule is needed. I watch you growing and becoming, and I think back to that day six years ago, the morning when we placed you into the arms of a surgeon and prayed God would give you back to us. Your heart surgery was a miracle, but the greater miracle is the life you’ve lived since then. Strong, determined, refusing to settle for anything but the best. And yet . . . with all that testosterone you got from Daddy, you have a heart full of my tenderness. I can’t slow the ride, Austie, but I can enjoy every minute. I love you and thank God that He allowed you to live.
And to God Almighty, the author of life, the greatest author of all, Who has—for now—blessed me with these.
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As always, when I write a novel many people play a crucial role in making it come together. First and foremost I must thank God for giving me the gift of story. When I write, I feel as though I’m reading, merely taking notes on the picture God puts in my head.
I simply show up at my computer and download my heart. Not a minute goes by when I don’t realize that this ability is completely from God.
Also, thanks to my family, especially my husband, who makes amazing sacrifices so that I can give God’s best to the ministry of writing. At the same time, he’s first to remind me when life slips out of balance. In that light, thanks to my mom, Anne Kingsbury, who is simply the best assistant I could ever have. You are loyal and loving and you see my heart for ministry like no one ever has. My father, Ted Kingsbury, and my sisters, Susan and Tricia, have also been a wonderful support, helping me with research projects and special assignments. Thank you for everything.
Thanks, also, to my wonderful editor, Karen Ball, who always takes my work to a higher level; and to the folks at Zondervan who team up to make a book like this one everything it is today. You are a hardworking group, and I’m privileged to be working with you.
A number of friends have also taken on other roles—prayer support, kid support, public relations, and general enthusiasm about my work with life-changing fiction. And so thanks goes to Ann Hudson, Sylvia Wallgren, Melinda and John Chapman, Bobbi and Erika Terret, Robin Jones Gunn, Rick and Robin Dillon, Cindy Weil, Randy and Vicki Graves, Richard Camp and his family, Kathy Santschi, Joan Westfall, Betty Russell, Phyllis Cummins, the 9
Shampines (Kerry, D.J., and Brad), the teaching staff at our wonderful elementary school, the students at Don’s high school, the college kids who think of our house as theirs (Thayne, Justin, Aaron, Jenna, Michele, Darren, Kara, Marc, Mark, and lots of others), and my dear friends at Christian Youth Theater. When life gets hard, I count on you and cherish the fact that you keep me cheering, even on deadline.
Of course thanks go to my agent, Rick Christian, at Alive Communications. I’m honored to work with someone so gifted.
In addition, my heartfelt thanks to pilots Eric Schoneberger and Scott Wakefield for lending their expertise to this book. It rings with authenticity because of you.
Also, a special thanks to the winner of my Ebay auction that raised money for the Christian orphanage in Haiti where we adopted our three boys. You won the right to have me name a character after your son, Max. I hope you enjoy the way that turned out.
Finally, thanks to the Evans family for making the winning bid in a recent Biola University auction. The Evans family won the Forever in Fiction item, and as such were also able to have a character in this book named after them. This arrangement led to the naming of Loren Herman Evans, our pilot’s father. Many of this character’s traits were fictionalized for the purpose of the story.
However, a few similarities exist between the fictional Loren Evans and the real man, a man dedicated to the Lord and to his family, a man who loves hand-cranked homemade ice cream and a mean game of croquet, and who pretends to be retired when he’s not playing golf and traveling. You are well loved, Mr. Evans. May God bless your family’s gift to Biola, and may you enjoy having your name forever in fiction.
Of Butterflies and Second Chances
I tell of hearts and souls and dances . . .
Butterflies and second chances;
Desperate ones and dreamers bound,
Seeking life from barren ground,
Who suffer on in earthly fate