Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not even a little bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind.
Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’d been running hard in the wrong direction.
Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?
“But, Kevin, I don’t understand. What do you mean you went out with another girl? What girl?” Didi O’Brien’s swiped at eyes brimming with tears.
Kevin Cabot sipped his single malt. “Her name’s Mindy, and she relocated here from the Midwest a few months ago. She’s a Pilates instructor at my gym.” He squirmed in his chair and shrugged. “Look, she’s just a kid of twenty-four, and she doesn’t know anyone here in the area.”
Stomach churning, Didi shoved her dinner away, barely noticing when the sauce from her beef bourguignon splashed onto the white tablecloth. She swallowed, words refusing to come.
Kevin continued in a monotone. “It’s not like I planned it. I was just being a nice guy and showing a stranger around town. You know, being neighborly. Believe it or not, she’s a real nut for baseball, and last night the Nationals were playing the Cardinals….”
“You took her to a baseball game? Last night?” Didi managed to squeak out the words despite the block of granite in her throat.
“Oh, come on. Stop getting so defensive here. You don’t even like baseball. When I saw her last Friday….”
“You went out with her last week, too? On a Friday?” Didi’s voice started out shaky but managed to rise over the conversational hum of the other diners.
“Shhh. Pipe down. Don’t go getting all ‘female’ on me.” Kevin picked up his fork and speared a green bean almondine. “So what if we’ve been to a baseball game, the museum, and had coffee a few times? Last Friday, the Smithsonian had this cool special exhibit on the life of Roberto Clemente. You probably don’t know this, but he’s a Hall of Famer who won the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1966. He led the league in batting average.”
“Have you slept with her?” She had to ask, though she didn’t really want to know the answer.
Kevin didn’t deny it. Instead, he growled, “So what if I did? I told you it’s not serious. Plus, you had some ridiculous church thing going on last Friday, so you weren’t available.”
Her breath caught as she lowered her voice. “That’s hardly the point, Kevin. Did you tell her you’re engaged?”
“Why would I?”
“I’ll take that as a no. Do you love her?”
“Of course I don’t love her, and I’m getting tired of this tête-à-tête. I knew you were going to overreact. Mindy’s a cute kid from Dubuque who needed someone to show her around, and now you’re getting all weird on me, when I was only being considerate.”
Glancing down at his Rolex, Kevin huffed out a sigh. “Maybe we should talk about this after you decide to behave like an adult.” He flagged down the waiter and signaled he was ready for the check. “I decide to be honest, as a courtesy to you, and you put me through a Spanish Inquisition.”
With a hot flush pricking her cheeks, Didi slipped out of the booth, storming toward the exit. She refused to hear any more of his flimsy excuses.
Dodging the other patrons leaving the restaurant, Didi sprinted across the asphalt to her car. She fell into the driver’s seat, jammed her key into the ignition, and zoomed out of the parking lot. She had to get away from that man! On autopilot, she drove through town, barely remembering to stop at the stop signs. Leaving Chez Monte Carlo far, far behind, she headed to the safety of home.
She came to a fork in the road. In no mood to dally, she chose the shortcut home, veering left onto Deer Hollow Road.
She drove way too fast, but right now, she didn’t care. Sliding on shallow gravel down the first steep hill, she missed the deep ditch on the right side of the road by a narrow margin. Instead, she slammed into a mud-drenched pothole, skittered sideways, and careened toward an ancient oak.
Stamping hard on the brake, she yelped as the car jarred to a halt. Maybe she did care after all. “Please, Jesus, help me get home in one piece. And if Kevin’s still on the road, crash him into the biggest tree you can find!”
Thanks for joining us. I hope you have enjoyed this peek into Love, Lies and Fireflies. Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a free copy!