Thursday, May 30, 2013

Courage To Change by Elizabeth Maddrey

Should you be willing to change for love?

When Phil Reid became a Christian and stopped drinking, his hard-partying wife Brandi divorced him. Reeling and betrayed, he becomes convinced Christians should never remarry, and resolves to guard his heart.

Allison Vasak has everything in her life under control, except for one thing. Her heart is irresistibly drawn to fellow attorney and coworker, Phil. Though she knows his history and believes that women should not initiate relationships, she longs to make her feelings known.

As Phil and Allison work closely together to help a pregnant teen, both must reevaluate their convictions. But when Brandi discovers Phil's new relationship, she decides that though she doesn't want him, no one else can have him either. Can Phil and Allison's love weather the chaos Brandi brings into their lives? 


Chapter One

     “Come open the door. It’s cold out here and I’m freezing my you-know-what off.”
     “Brandi.” Phil sighed into the phone and sank onto the foot of his bed. “What are you doing here?”
     “I figured it had been a while since we partied, so I brought a six pack over to share with my husband.”
     Her voice lost the playful tone and took on a hard, bitter edge. “It’s not my fault you decided to get sober. Find Jesus. All that crap. What a drag.”
     The pounding on his front door echoed up the two flights of stairs.
     “I came by to give you another chance to see what you’re missing. Let me in.”
     “I’m sorry, but no.” Phil rubbed his temples as a migraine began to build. “Go home…please.” He should just hang up. Of course, the last time he’d done that she’d made such a scene the neighbors had called the police. At least after that his mother had finally understood why he hadn’t wanted Brandi to have his new address. If he didn’t love this historic little town on the river that was still an easy commute to his job in downtown D.C., he might consider moving again and just not tell anyone. He realized Brandi had been wailing into the phone and he’d missed it. “Back up. What?”
     “I said I’ve got nowhere else to go, Phil. Let me in.”
     The rational side of his mind argued against the tug of guilt. Steeling himself against the inevitable tirade, he took a deep breath. “You don’t have a place here, either. Now, you need to leave before the neighbors get concerned.”
     He flinched and held the phone away from his head at the string of threats and epithets she unleashed. When she was finally quiet he put the phone back to his ear. “I’m hanging up now. Good night, Brandi.”    He clicked the phone off as she started in again. The phone rang almost immediately. Phil cradled his head in his hands and ignored it. When his answering machine picked up she started ranting right where she’d left off. He groaned and went to the bathroom for some aspirin.
     He’d never expected things to turn out this way. He’d been filled with such joy when he understood and accepted what Christ offered; he’d assumed Brandi would share in his excitement. Boy, had that been a miscalculation.
     Phil shook two aspirin into his hand. He wouldn’t trade his relationship with God for anything. If only he’d been more willing to hear God calling him before he made the mistake of marrying Brandi in the first place. Of course, he wasn’t listening to anything about God at that point. What was it everyone always said about hindsight? The phone was ringing again and more vicious banging echoed up from the front door. He crawled into bed fully clothed and buried his head under a pillow.
     Phil woke when the sun streamed through the wall of glass that made up the back side of his bedroom. The last vestiges of his headache hovered, leaving his brain foggy and his eyes sore. Grimacing, he threw an arm over his eyes. After several minutes he pushed himself out of bed, grumbling. He squinted resentfully at the cheerful sunlight as he stumbled to the bathroom. “Fine. I’m up.”
     Grabbing the bottle of aspirin, he angled toward the elevator. Lazy. Take the stairs and quit whining. With a mental shake, Phil propelled himself down two flights of stairs to the kitchen. He peeked out the sidelight window by the front door, relieved when he didn’t see Brandi curled up on the porch. Maybe she has enough sense to go somewhere else in the cold.
     He eyed the thick layer of frost on the small plot of grass that served as his front yard and noted the absence of footprints. Hopefully she’d left soon after she’d quit calling back. Phil poured coffee and gulped the first mug to chase another dose of aspirin, barely tasting it as it burned down his throat. He poured himself a refill and glared at the furiously blinking light on his answering machine. With a sigh, he sat at the little table he’d centered in the bay window at the front of the house and reached for the phone. Punching in the familiar number, he sipped his coffee and watched his neighbors leaving for work.
     The phone picked up after the first ring. “Grant Sommersby.”
     “Hi Grant, it’s Phillip Reid.”
     “Morning, Phil. I don’t imagine you’re calling this early to reschedule the golf match you owe me?”
     “Sadly, no. She came over last night. Filled up my entire answering machine tape spewing venom and hammering on the door.” He groaned and rubbed at his throbbing temples. “I haven’t heard from the neighbors yet, but I won’t be surprised when I do.”
     The sound of shuffling papers crackled across the line. “Okay. We’ve got the police report your neighbors filed last time. You still have the messages?”
     “Yeah.” Phil scrubbed his hand over his face. “She’s the only reason I keep that old tape machine instead of switching to voice mail.”
     “Well, if there are threats on the tape and we can get a neighbor’s statement we can probably get a temporary restraining order.”
     “I don’t know…”
     “Phil, she’s harassing you. Don’t you think it would be a wakeup call for her?”
     “I guess. It just seems weird for a guy to be the one requesting a TRO. You know?”
     Grant gave a sardonic laugh. “I know what you’re saying, but you’d be surprised how many men are the victims in relationships. Not saying you’re a victim, not in the traditional sense, clearly. But Brandi needs help. And more than that, as your attorney and as your friend, I just want to see you free of her.”
     Was this really the right thing to do? “Yeah, all right. I’ll be in a little after ten at this point. Can you just leave anything I need to sign with Sam at the front desk? I’ll run them across the street to you when I get in.”
     “Sure thing. Did you choose me as your attorney just for office proximity?”
     Phil laughed. “It didn’t hurt.”
     With a chuckle, Grant said goodbye.
     Phil popped the tape out of the answering machine and set it on top of his laptop bag. Filling a third cup of coffee, he headed upstairs to get ready for the day.
     Phil didn’t make it to his desk until almost eleven. He’d taken the answering machine and signed papers to Grant. Now it was just a waiting game. He still wasn’t convinced this was the right thing to do, but he needed Brandi to move on. He’d spent four of the past five years praying they could reconcile and remarry. But she had no intention of changing her lifestyle, and regardless of the shame he felt from being divorced, it was past time to let her go. Unfortunately, now she didn’t seem to want to leave. He pushed those thoughts aside. There were still a few minutes before his new clients arrived and it was time to focus on their problems rather than his own.

About The Author

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. Her debut novel, Wisdom to Know, Book 1 of the Grant Us Grace Series, was released in January, 2013. Courage to Change (April, 2013) is the second in that series and continues the story of characters from the first book. She is also the co-author of A is for Airstrip: A Missionary’s Jungle Adventure, a children’s book based on the work of a Wycliffe missionary.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website or on Facebook:

Purchase Courage To Change at:

Barnes & Noble

Elizabeth Maddrey is giving away a copy of Courage To ChangeTo be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your e-mail address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


apple blossom said...

This sounds like a wonderful read thanks for sharing and the chance to win

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

cjajsmommy said...

I'm interested in reading this one. Please enter my name to win a copy. djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

Joy Hannabass said...

I would love the chance to read this one, then donate it to our church library!

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I look forward to reading it.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this story :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

Courage to Change sounds full of drama. Please add me!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Joy Hannabass said...

Would love to win this interesting book!
Thanks for the interesting post!

Jo said...

I would love to read "Courage to Change"


Boos Mum said...

I already have the first book in this series, would love to win this one too. Thanks.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Please enter my name in the drawing. The book sounds like a good one. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Teela said...

Really would love to read this book, Courage to Change. Thanks, teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Rose Milligan said...

Thanks for having the giveaway.


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