Release Date: September 16, 2019
Cover Design: Vanilla Lily
One stone creates a ripple with the power to change destiny.
One horrific mistake…
After a near-fatal accident, Sarah Adams was left hospitalized and faced months of grueling surgery and rehab—alone.
One chance encounter…
Charlie Burin walked in when the rest of the world walked out. He refused to let her quit, vowing to hold her up until she could stand on her own.
One unexpected twist…
When a new obstacle arises, can two people who have been through hell keep fighting for love when the odds are stacked against them?
Charlie had remained relatively quiet for the last two days. We both knew nothing would ever be the same, yet we weren’t talking about it. Neither of us admitted it out loud. Now, walking into Dr. Nesbit’s surgery center, the wound had festered until puss poured from it. It was infected, and it had the power to kill us. I kept trying to tell myself that this would all start to go away once we got through today, but it was a lie. Nothing would ever right this decision. The wrong could never be undone.
He had held my hand as we made through the parking lot. It was still dark out, and dew glistened on the flowers near the door. I’d managed to get the first appointment of the day, and while this wasn’t an abortion clinic, I was worried that everyone would know why we were here. My shame was amplified by the cover of night, and the drops of water on the grass only reminded me of things that were made anew…every day. If only I had faith the size of a mustard seed… I sighed and cast my gaze toward the ground, unable to take in any of the beauty God put before me. It was a painful reminder that I didn’t trust Him. That I believed he’d made a mistake, and that I, as a human, had the power to undo what He set forth. And since I was too weak to acknowledge His power, I refused to acknowledge His grace or His mercy.
Each step Charlie and I took forward was another in the path of selfishness. This was more than just guilt. There was conviction, and I was forcing it out. I’d been chosen as these children’s mother, and yet, here I stood, telling the Almighty He’d made a mistake.
My heart pounded beneath my sternum as we stepped up to the desk. I couldn’t hear anything Charlie said to the girl I’d never met. Megan wasn’t on this side of the facility, although I was grateful she wasn’t here to witness my weakness despite the fact that I barely knew the girl.
He took the clipboard and pen while still holding my hand. Then he took me to a seat in the waiting room to complete the liability and financial forms. Mindlessly, I’d signed my name to the first, and I nearly gagged at the last. I really should have dealt with the insurance issue before we’d come here, but I couldn’t bring myself to handle any more reality than I currently had on my plate.
My hands shook as did Charlie’s when I handed him the forms to sign after me. He could pretend all he wanted that he was strong, but the quiver in his signature said otherwise. The question became, were either of us strong enough to turn around and not do this. Could I face the possibility of losing it all to protect my children?
“Mrs. Burin?” A woman in scrubs stood at the open door to what I assumed was the surgical area.
Charlie stood and took the clipboard to the desk. He reappeared in front of me—where I still sat rooted in my chair—and held out his hand. I glanced at the lady who waited and then up at my husband whose eyes were the darked brown I’d ever seen them. They were laced with sorrow and remorse—and the deepest pain I’d ever seen in another person’s eyes.
I couldn’t do this.
I had to do this.
I took his hand and closed my eyes. And there in the waiting room, I prayed that God would give me the strength to pull off what I was about to do. I had to cleanse the wound that had grown between us, and it wasn’t going to be easy.
They weren’t born, but they were mine. And if I went through with this, I’d be no better than my own mother who’d left us for her own selfish reasons without ever looking back. But I’d be damned if I could live with that decision. I doubted I would make it through this pregnancy unscathed and maybe not even alive. But at the end of the day, regardless of what happened, I wanted my husband to be able to look our children in the eyes and tell them I had loved them enough to die for them. Because that’s what mothers do—they chose their children over themselves.
One of Five ARC’s for Beaten Path
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About the Author
Bestselling author, Stephie Walls is a lover of words–the more poetic the better. She lives on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina in her own veritable zoo with two dogs, three cats, and Magoo (in no preferential order). She would thrive on coffee, books, and Charlie Hunnam if it were possible, but since it’s not, add in some Chinese food or sushi and she’s one happy girl.
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