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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson (December 7, 2010)
Brandy Bruce holds a bachelor of arts degree from Liberty University. She's been a nonfiction developmental book editor for more than six years. Brandy lives in Colorado with her husband, Jeff, and her daughter, Ashtyn.
Visit the author's website.
Kasey Addison is a twenty-something marketing consultant whose life has just been savagely thrown into disaster status. Following a bad breakup and an unfulfilling career, Kasey feels lost in her own life. With the help of her best friend, and with a rekindled relationship with the Lover of her soul, she embarks on an adventure to rediscover life, faith, and love.
List Price: $19.95
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson (December 7, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
At least that’s what I told myself about fifty-two times from the moment he said the words “This just isn’t working for me” until my car was started and my shaking hands were holding the steering wheel. I wasn’t going to marry him. Not in a million lifetimes would I consider marrying him.
My shock turned into devastation, which soon turned into anger as I ransacked my apartment and tossed every piece of Riley Shepard memorabilia I could find into a large brown box.
Riley Shepard. Boyfriend of eight years and sixty-four days. Dirty dog deserving death.
Well, I should possibly have said, dirty dog deserving death who up until recently was in disguise. Nah, too much work. Dog summarized my feelings pretty well, and even that was being generous.
And so, here I found myself: Kasey Addison, a normally very nice, Christian, twenty-seven-year-old marketing consultant for Jinkson’s Advertising Firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, whose life had just been savagely thrown into disaster status. I tried not to think about the fact that if this breakup remained permanent, the last eight years of my life had been worthless.
How did I get here? Was it possible for me to be shocked by a cruel announcement telling me that I was no longer loved? Weren’t there warning signs? Answers: I don’t know. Yes. No.
The box of memorabilia sat by the door, a constant reminder of the end of my life. I refused to call Riley. If he wanted his things, he’d have to make the effort to come get them.
* * *
One week later, I caved and gave into the foolish desire to call him since he had made no attempt to contact me. I thought perhaps the sound of my voice would bring him back to reality. That was when I realized the unfortunate truth: Riley was fine. He didn’t miss me. He was happy. He spoke to me as though I were a dear, old friend who had been keeping some of his belongings for him. He even told me that my friendship was important to him. That was the moment I yelled unintelligibly (think Tasmanian devil) before hanging up the phone and sinking into depression.
For three weeks I avoided all calls from my parents and my friends from work and church. I managed to go to work every day and come home and that was it. I’d even started living off frozen pizza, Chinese take-out, and my faithful friends Ben and Jerry.
Everything changed when Amanda called. Amanda Scott. Best friend since freshman year of college. British chick who went to Penn State as an exchange student. My lifesaver.
The phone rang twelve times before I considered answering it. My voicemail would kick on after every four rings. Amanda would hang up and text me. She did this three times, and I knew it wouldn’t stop until she reached me.
I set aside my pint of Cherry Garcia and reached for the cordless (which was sitting next to me on the sofa).
Amanda’s exasperated sigh was so loud that I could practically feel her breath in my ear.
“Of course you’re there. Where else would you be? Getting on with your life? I know you too well to assume that. Which is why I’m calling.”
I noticed the scattered popcorn around the living room floor. Why couldn’t I at least lose weight as a result of my broken heart? I’d known girls who couldn’t eat after a breakup. Not me. I’d already cleaned out the first and second shelves of the pantry.
“Why are you calling again?”
Luckily, I knew Amanda to be the type of sarcastic friend who was not offended easily—not to mention controlling, sweet when she wanted to be, and a little demanding. She was the kind of girl who left London to be an exchange student only to annoy her parents. I was very aware of the fact that other people’s feelings were rarely her priority.
“I’m calling to pull you out of depression and push you back among the land of the living. I bought you a birthday present.”
I picked up a piece of popcorn from the floor and ate it, hoping it would poison me.
“My birthday was two months ago, and you already sent me that skirt that I’ll never wear.”
“You haven’t worn it? Forget I said that. You will wear it, Kasey. With your pale skin, the color will look great on you.”
Demanding. More than a little.
“Thanks for that reminder that I basically look like mozzarella string cheese,” I retorted.
Amanda chuckled. “String cheese doesn’t have wavy, strawberry-blond hair.”
“Frizzy, you mean,” I interrupted.
“I was being nice,” Amanda said bluntly. “Back to the present situation. I bought you a present. How much holiday time do you have?”
“Not much. I think Annie hates me.” Annie was my boss who thought she was prettier than she really was and treated me worse than her pet poodle.
“Who cares about Annie? How much time off do you have? Concentrate, Kasey! Have you been drinking?”
“No,” I answered, thinking that it didn’t sound like a bad idea. Amanda’s tone softened just a tad.
“Listen, I know you’ve been through a lot. I wish I were there so I could go directly to Riley’s apartment and tell him what I think of him—and maybe slash his tires. But honestly, Kas, it’s time to move forward, and I’m here to help you. I bought you a ticket to come visit me. We’re going to have a great time, and you are going to realize that you deserve better than Riley.”
My tears vanished. Suddenly I was quite coherent and pretty sure I had just heard Amanda tell me that she had bought me a plane ticket to London.
“Amanda, what have you done? How am I supposed to pay you back for this? I can’t take a vacation in the middle of October. The holidays will be here soon.”
“What does that matter? Holidays will only make you more depressed. What you need is some girl time with me.”
I promised to think it over and later came to the conclusion that it made sense to me. Riley and I usually spent the holidays together, jumping back and forth from his parents’ house to my parents’ house. Maybe a trip to England would help boost my re-entrance into single life. Maybe I would meet a gorgeous, Hugh Grant-type of guy.
I knew it was unlikely. My chances of attracting an amazing Brit were slim to none, especially since I was obviously repulsive to normal, sensible guys like Riley.
I wished I were twenty-two again. Why couldn’t Riley have broken up with me when I was twenty-two and still valuable to the opposite sex? Did he know nothing of the predicament of aging women? Amanda was absolutely right. I should travel. Increase knowledge and gain experience. I’d never been to England. My only European jaunt had been a family vacation to Italy with my parents when I was in sixth grade. Maybe some adventure was exactly what I needed. (Plus, there was always the hope that Riley might come to his senses and start to miss me.)
* * *
Somehow Amanda always managed to talk me into things, telling me later that I wouldn’t have gone along if I hadn’t really wanted to. Usually I believed her. But taking my precious week of vacation the month before Thanksgiving felt strange. Annie had given me that look. The one that meant, Are you ever going to be a normal person? But she’d signed the vacation form and I’d started packing my bags.
Amanda had bought an open ticket so I could leave when I wanted to. She must have been feeling kind. It was unlike her to leave decisions up to me. But I’d made my decision. I was going to England. I was taking this trip for myself, and I wasn’t going to mourn Riley the entire time. In two weeks, my new life was beginning.