Second Chances/Love One Another (Love Inspired Classics)
Second Chances/Love One Another (Love Inspired Classics)
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  • ISBN-13: 9780373652754
  • ISBN: 0373652755
  • Publication Date:
  • Publisher: Steeple Hill



An orange glow danced across the night sky. Flames curled around the three-storey frame structure, licking the thick layers of old paint and bubbling them to ashes, then consuming the dry wood beneath. Firelight radiating through the window of eighteen-year-old Belinda Carnes's bedroom turned the pale pink interior walls a sickly yellow. Shocked awake, she bolted out of bed, ran to the window and stared at the fire next door. In the street below, her father was shouting, pleading, "Somebody do something. Dear God, do something!" The sound of his anguish tore at her heart, making her temporarily forget the terrible quarrel they'd had only hours before. "Daddy!" Grabbing her robe, Belinda made a dash for the stairs. Their house was full of smoke, making it difficult to see or breathe. Maybe it was on fire, too! She rocketed into the street, auburn hair flying, her robe clutched around her slim body, her feet bare. "Daddy! Where are you?" The first fire truck was already shooting water on the flames as others arrived. "Get back!" someone shouted. Belinda ignored the order. She had to find her father. He was all she had left. A team of volunteer firefighters ran by, dragging a bulging hose. Several of the men were part of her father's congregation. Gasping to catch her breath, Belinda looked at the church that had been her second home since before her mother had died. She didn't have to know much about firefighting to know the historic building, her father's pride and joy, was beyond saving. Blossoming spray from the hoses drifted over the appalled onlookers like icy mist over a river. Wending her way through the crowd, Belinda overheard more than one angry person place the blame for the terrible inferno on Paul Randall, the misfit teenage son of a convicted arsonist. They were wrong. They had to be. She was sure Paul had left town right after her father had ordered him out of their house and out of her life for good. The bitterness of that altercation echoed in her throbbing head. "Leave my daughter alone," her father had shouted just hours ago. Paul had stood his ground, feet planted firmly apart on the front walkway, fists clenched in defiance. "We're in love. We're going to get married, with or without your blessing. There's nothing you can do about it." "We'll see about that." "I'm leaving town tonight and Belinda's coming with me," Paul had said flatly. "No, she isn't." Her father had held out his hand to her, his commanding voice as forceful as if he were warning his congregation about the wages of sin. "Belinda is going to go away to college in the fall, just like she promised her mother. By the time she gets her degree she'll be wise enough to make the kind of choices that will affect her whole life. Right now, she's far too young." Caught between her vow to her late mother and the angry young man who insisted they marry immediately and run away together no matter what the consequences, Belinda had felt trapped. Weeping, she'd stepped to her father's side. No words were necessary. Her actions had spoken for her. "Fine. I'll go," Paul had yelled, cursing to accentuate his mood. "But I'll show you. You'll be sorry. You'llbothbe sorry. You just watch." Even now, Belinda imagined she could still hear the echo of Paul's vehement threats. When he'd lost his temper and threatened her father she'd glimpsed a side of him she'd never seen before. A part of his character that had truly frightened her. And now the church was on fire. Thank goodness Paul was long gone! If he were still in town, he'd be the first oneshesuspected, too. Belinda was so distraught she could hardly breathe, hardly think. Blinking back tears, she worked her way through the twisted maze of hoses lying in the street. Behind her, the upper windows of the old church began to shatter from the intense heat and the pressure of the water being hurled against them. As sValerie Hansen is the author of 'Second Chances/Love One Another (Love Inspired Classics)', published 2007 under ISBN 9780373652754 and ISBN 0373652755.

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