Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the Threshold by Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia

Back Cover Blurb:

Suzanne—a mother with a long-held secret. Tony—a police officer with something to prove. Beth—a daughter with a storybook future. When all they love is lost, what's worth living for?

Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband’s love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change.

Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne’s façade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God’s grace in their lives?

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter One

Please let there be a heartbeat. This time. Beth Harris stopped. One more step and the automatic hospital doors would sense her presence, open wide for her to enter. One more step, and she’d be swallowed up. It would be better not to find out. She could continue holding onto hope. But if the news were bad … “Keith, maybe we should reschedule. I’m sure the doctor wouldn’t mind if we waited a few more weeks.”

Her husband pressed his hand into the small of her back, urging her forward. “Beth, you shouldn’t worry. Everything’s fine.”

She sidestepped out of his reach and onto a sunny patch of lawn. “How do you know that? It wasn’t okay last time.”

He settled his shoulders. “Think of how sick you’ve been. That’s a great sign.”

At the mere mention of sickness, Beth’s stomach threatened to rebel.

“God has His hand upon us, sweetie. I feel it in my gut. This baby will be a blessing.”

A couple of scrub-wearing women threaded between Beth and Keith, making their way into the hospital.

His words were meant to comfort, but he wasn’t the one waiting to feel the first flutter, the one physically connected to the little life. He wasn’t the one who feared stillness, feared being unable to carry a child. She didn’t break eye contact with her husband. “And His hand wasn’t on us six months ago?”

“No, that’s not …” Keith blinked. “You know it was, but—”

“But what? What did I do wrong? Why didn’t He give us what we wanted?” That was the real question—the one she’d been too afraid to ask until the threat of a repeat of the experience forced it out of her.

Keith closed the gap she’d put between them. “Don’t be scared, Beth. This isn’t like you.” He tipped her head against his chest and kissed her hair. “Where’s my optimistic wife? Where’s the woman who won’t let anything steal her joy?”

Beth drew back, but wove her fingers through his. “You’re right.” She forced the edges of her mouth into the semblance of a smile. “I’m probably making a fool of myself. The appointment will go fine and then you can make fun of me.”

“That’s better. You were starting to sound like your mother.”

“Keith!” Beth followed her husband through the doors. A trickle of sweat from standing in the summer sunshine made its way between her bony shoulder blades. Despite the circumstances, she’d lost several pounds. “And what’s wrong with my mom?”

“Suzanne’s a glass-is-half-empty kind of person.” Keith looped an arm around her shoulder and steered her toward the lobby desk.

Beth gave the receptionist her name and settled into the waiting room chair next to Keith. She glanced at the women’s bathroom. “And I’m a bladder-is-full kind of person.” If only she could pee …

“Beth Harris?” A pink-shirted escort waited by the check-in desk.

They rose and trailed behind the guide through a maze of hallways. Beth slowed as the lady indicated a room.

Nudging her forward, Keith whispered, “Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you.”

A young technician waited inside the darkened room. “Come on in. I’m Courtney.” She shook their hands and patted an examination table. “Lie back and I’ll get you a pillow.”

Beth stared at the table. The last time …

Keith grasped her hand, helped Beth up, and stood to the side.

The crackling of the paper beneath her, the hum of the machine, the blank screen …

Stay in the moment.

She brought herself back to the room, focused on the atmosphere. The scratch of the paper towels as Courtney tucked them into Beth’s waistband and slid her shirt up. The warmth of the gel applied to her belly. The lingering scent of clean as Courtney stepped over to the sonogram machine. The supportive twinkle in Keith’s eye. Nothing to be afraid of. Beth relaxed, her long hair tickling her arms as she laid them flat.

“Are you ready to see your baby?” Courtney flashed a grin at Beth. The ultrasound technician had no idea what she was asking. Could a woman ever be ready to—

“Yes.” Beth swallowed against the catch in her throat. “I’d love to see this baby.”

Please let there be a heartbeat. A shape formed on the screen: a tiny head perched atop fan-shaped ribs. She squinted, trying to make out more than the outline.

Keith leaned across the examination table. “That’s the baby?”

Courtney moved the wand over the gel. “Yes, there it is.” She clicked a button on the machine and a black and white image printed out. “And here’s the first picture of your child.”

Keith took the paper. “I think it has your nose, Beth.”

“Better than yours.” She smiled up at him. The technician angled the instrument, varying the pressure while keeping contact with the same spot. “How far along are you?”

“Ten weeks.”

A long minute passed. Tiny lines of concentration spread across the technician’s forehead, her gaze fixed on the image of the baby. “Did your doctor schedule the ultrasound today?”

An alarm tripped in Beth’s mind. Please, God, please. I can’t handle this again. She reached for Keith’s hand. “No, just a routine appointment. Why? What’s the matter?”

The technician tilted her head and short dark curls bounced around black-rimmed glasses. “I haven’t been doing this very long, so sometimes it takes me awhile to get a good angle.” Restraint dampened the young woman’s easygoing tone.

Keith’s voice sounded gruff. “Something wrong?”

Silence was the only answer.

Beth stared at the monitor, at the pale circle floating in the grayness of her womb. Cool hospital air whispered over her heated skin. The walls of the room closed in. “What’s wrong?” She choked out the words. “What’s the matter with our baby?”

“Mrs. Harris, I’m sorry. Our instructors drilled it into us, class after class. We’re not allowed to talk about what we see. That’s your doctor’s job and we’re only lowly techs. That said, this is your baby. If I see the heartbeat, I’ll tell you. And, if I don’t …” Courtney glanced at Keith, then Beth.

There had to be some mistake. Courtney was inexperienced—by her own admission. She must be misreading the machine. They could all see the baby on the screen. The picture rotated as Courtney tried angle after angle. Time passed in stark silence.

Courtney put the wand down and slipped from the room.

Beth continued to stare at the empty screen. Please let her be wrong.

Courtney returned with an older man, gray hair flirting with his temples. He moved toward the table. “I’m John. Mind if I have a look?”

Beth nodded. “Please do.”

The wand, in John’s capable hands, would wield magic and the screen would show the difference. John found the same spot and transmitted the image to the monitor.

Keith stroked Beth’s hand, drawing her attention his way. Eyes large, he looked like he wanted her to ask more questions, to have the man explain what was happening. No way was she missing the first white pulse of heartbeat. She turned back to the screen, willing the baby’s heart to pump, pump, pump. Then sighs of relief would drown out the ominous quiet. Keith breathed heavily. She hardly breathed at all.

“Courtney,” John said. “Call their doctor and have him fit these folks in as soon as he can.”

Her eyes drifted shut, hope killed by reality. Why wouldn’t anyone give voice to the obvious? Someone wiped the gel off and pulled her shirt into place.

Keith lifted her head in his sturdy hands and kissed her cheek. She kept her eyes closed as he helped her sit up and slide off the table. Was it really gone? Again? Another baby they’d spent the last two years planning for? She would never be able to walk into the freshly painted nursery, pass the unassembled crib, or touch the soft onesies accumulating in the dresser drawer.

“Beth, honey.” Keith drew her into a hug, brushed her hair to the side, and placed another kiss on the nape of her neck. ‘Honey, I—”

Beth snapped her eyes open, grabbed the ultrasound printout, and crumpled it. “I don’t want to talk about it. Not yet.” She dropped the picture into the trash on the way out.

To buy the book, go here:

Coolest spot to print your own copy in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee is the Espresso Book Machine. Truly hot off the press:

Or email Christina [at] ashberrylane [dot] net and we can tell you how to get an autographed copy sent anywhere in the US.

Author Bio:  Mother/daughter writing team Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia bring a voice of authenticity to this novel as they have experienced some of the same issues faced by these characters. They like to say they were separated at birth but share one brain, which allows them to write in a seamless stream. Both live in NW Oregon, love spending time together, and were on a winning Family Feud team.

Sherrie is the Women's Ministry Director at her church, and loves being the grandma of eight and great-grandma of one. Christina is also the author of The Familiar Stranger, a Christy finalist and Carol Award winner, and runs a thriving editing business

Connect with Sherry and Christina:

Christina and Sherry are giving away a copy of On the Threshold. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post).

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel ;)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Teela young said...

I would love to win & review this book! Teelayoung AR hotmail dot com

cjajsmommy said...

My heart is already breaking for Beth and I want to know how Sherrie and Christina flesh out this storyline. djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

sm said...

I have not read any of the author's books and this one sounds good-ON THE THRESHOLD. Would love to read it! sharon, CA

sm said...

oops! forgot my email address. sharon, ca

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting to me. I would like to win it. Thanks for the chance. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

sm said...

I like the idea of differing beliefs of a mom/daughter and how they would solve problems. sharon, ca

ann said...

I think I will enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

Teela said...

oops...address is teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Veronica Sternberg said...

This sounds very interesting! Thanks for the giveaway! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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