There are so many times in life when circumstances strip away the familiar, and we’re faced with a choice. Trust or not. Give in to fear or grapple for courage. Stand upon what we’ve known to be true in the light or cower to doubt when darkness rushes in. And let’s be honest, the courageous choice doesn’t come easily. But maybe that’s the point. Whenever I read stories about courage, I’m reminded that bravery isn’t necessarily about vanquishing fear or performing valiant feats. I think real courage is found in everyday choices. When we’re up against all odds, with fear pressing in from all angles, and still we choose to walk by faith. That’s the kind of courage that inspires me. And it’s one of the main reasons I get so excited about inviting you to join Emma in this inspiring story about real love, costly choices, and the courage to fight for what you believe in.
Here’s an excerpt from Light Unshaken:
It was easier to stop pretending at the center. Something about the place girded me with a sense of courage I wasn’t convinced was my own. After not hearing back from Riley for two days, I needed all the help I could get.
His sun-warmed car door pressed into my back while a city bus zipped down the street. Someone hustled toward me through a charcoal cloud of exhaust. “Miss E, wait up.” Dee skidded to a stop in front of the bumper. “Can I ask you somethin’?” He wound the ends of his backpack straps around his fingers and stared at the pavement as though it would answer for me. “Why did you stop him the day in the hall? Mr. A. J., I mean.”
“You wanted me to let him hit you?”
“He was just doin’ what was right.”
Was that what he thought? Same as my initial response, A. J.’s reaction added another defining mark to the stigma that every kid in this neighborhood carried.
Someone opened a back door a little ways ahead of us and dumped a bucket onto the street. Water gushed down the city drain, the steady flow pulling my heart with it. “Just because you’re used to being treated a certain way doesn’t make it right. Labels don’t define you.” No matter his past, he deserved a second chance. We all did.
Years of skepticism tarnished his expression. There had to be a way to break through. “You punish yourself for that night enough as it is.” I squeezed his shoulder. “I forgive you, Dee. I think it’s about time you do the same.”
A slow blink lifted his eyes toward mine. “You really believe the stuff they teach us here, don’t you?”
Two teens from Tito’s gang strutted around the opposite building right as I reached for Dee’s hand. The one with tattoo sleeves hurled a groping stare up and down my body. “No wonder you bailed on us, Dee. Getting a little private tutoring on the side?” He clasped his companion’s hand and laughed. “C’mon, bro, you can’t be hoarding all the goods to yourself like that. Thought we was hermanos.”
They advanced. With my arm secured around Dee’s back, we hustled toward the center. I didn’t glance backward until we made it around the side of the building. The punks didn’t follow. Not so tough in broad daylight, are you?
Dee stopped just beyond the doorway. A look of shame weighed down his whole demeanor again. Just like with the other kids, it killed me to see the bars of his circumstances hold him prisoner. “You’re not like those guys.”
“How do you know?”
“Because you’re here.” Trey was right. It took guts for him to come to the center. I lowered my head to meet his eyes. “Your life has promise. You’ve just gotta be brave enough to believe it.” Same as I did. “Sometimes you need to recite it to yourself.” I circled my hand in the air. “Come on, let’s hear you say, ‘I am courageous.’”
His blank stare swept from me to the door and down the walkway on either side of us. With no one else around, he mumbled the words.
“How about with a little more conviction next time?” One day, he’d believe it.
Contemporary Inspirational Romance 233 pages Releases June 24, 2015
It’s real. It has to be. Twenty-two-year-old college student Emma Matthews gained too much ground last year for it all to be a dream. She has an engagement ring on her finger to prove it. Not to mention an internship she’s made for. After a summer of overcoming her fears, Emma can’t afford for the news she just received to shake her. Not when it might jeopardize her future with Riley. And not when the kids in downtown Portland are counting on her to keep the center’s doors open. With the added strain of a broken relationship and an unexpected friendship reminding her what’s at stake, what other choice does she have? But as mounting danger compromises her safety, friction intensifies until the risk of keeping her promise threatens all she’s fought to believe. Caught in a moment when every light in her life goes out, Emma must find the courage to lead her heart no matter what it costs her.