Saturday, August 3, 2013

Winter's Past by Mary E. Hanks

When Winter is scheduled to speak in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a city she’s avoided for ten years, she must face two things. Her past. And the fact she hasn’t forgiven Ty Williams, her ex-husband.

But when Ty shows up at the meetings, Winter is shocked by the change in him. Radically different from the self-absorbed guy she remembers, he stands before her crying—crying!—and humbly asks her forgiveness. This man who broke her heart is now gut-wrenchingly sincere in his apology, prays for her like a long-lost friend, tenderly reaches into the forgotten places of her heart, and he has a request. One unbelievable request that could change everything...

Can Winter open her heart to a 2nd chance at romance? Or should she remain single, fulfilling the call of God on her life?

From a reader: “What can I say except, WOW! It made for a very enjoyable weekend read. It made me laugh & cry…inspiring.”

Book Excerpt:

Forgive—Without Second Thoughts
Winter Cowan read the sermon title, felt the words plunk somewhere in her gut. Of all the topics to speak on, why had she chosen forgiveness? Sweat trickled between her shoulder blades. Discomfort needled her. Or was that guilt?
Had she forgiven Ty?
Not that again.
Of course, she’d forgiven him. The past was done. Finished. Besides, it would be wrong of her to hold something against someone. She knew that. So what was the problem?
For the last twenty minutes, Winter had been mulling over verses. She’d escaped to the motel lobby to find a quiet spot—away from her ministry traveling companions—to think and pray—because something about her sermon notes didn’t seem quite right.
Or maybe it was her. Not her notes.
Oh, boy.
Could she even preach a sermon on forgiveness—with a pure heart—when a day rarely passed that she didn’t remember what Ty had done to her? To their marriage? Even though she really did honestly try to forget?
She’d gone on with her life. Free of wanting retribution.
Or so she’d thought.
Lord, You know me better than anyone. Haven’t I forgiven Ty? Because if I haven’t, I do right now. Words she’d said a hundred times quickly crossed her mind. I forgive Ty Williams for ruining our marriage. For hurting me beyond belief.
She waited for a comforting peace to soothe her conscience. Instead, one word pulsed through her heart, through every sensor in her brain.
But surely I—
Her excuses were cut off as Neil Quinn, her ministry adviser, rushed across the lobby toward her, his face ashen.
She immediately stood. “What’s wrong?”
He massaged his forehead as if he had a horrific headache. “The receptionist from First Community Church in Seattle called. The pastor’s wife went into cardiac arrest last night, and—she died.”
“Oh, no.”
“Due to the circumstances, the church board canceled our crusade next week.”
A surge of compassion rushed through Winter. What pain the senior pastor must be going through. How awful to lose a wife, a best friend, after living with her for several decades of marriage. And then there was Neil. He’d take this kind of news hard too. Six years ago, he’d lost his own wife to cancer. Added to that, Neil carried the weight of the ministry’s planning and finances. A week without services meant extra living expenses for the team of five.
“Things will work out. They always do.” She patted Neil’s arm, hoping to ease his concern. But, what would they do for a full week without services?
Neil’s wounded expression lassoed her attention back to the news he’d just delivered.
“Pastor Leslie will be terribly lonely without Katie,” she said. “The whole congregation will.”
“I know.” Neil stared at the floor, out the window, anywhere but at Winter’s face. “I can relate. Ever since I got the call, Molly’s passing has plagued my thoughts.” He swiped moisture from beneath his eyes as if batting away a bit of dust, cleared his throat, collecting himself. Like Winter didn’t know exactly what was going on. She’d seen this look on his face dozens of times. The man was like a brother to her, and she knew he still pined for his wife.
All business again, Neil took a deep breath. “I was trying to figure out what the team should do for the week, until I remembered my old college roommate, David Michaels.” His eyes brightened. “He’s pastoring in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, now, you see. So I gave him a call, explained our situation, and he’s quite interested in hosting Passion’s Prayer at his church next week—even on such short notice.”
Neil’s words hit her like a tennis racket across the face. Wait. Her eyes bolted to his. “You didn’t say—Coeur d’Alene. Did you?” A gulp of cotton-like nothingness choked her.
“Yes, I did. It’s about five hundred miles west of Billings, right off I-90.”
She knew exactly where Coeur d’Alene was.
Lord, why this? Why now?
“I’ll send David an e-mail attachment of our flier first thing in the morning,” Neil continued. “Then everything will be settled.” Despite the tragic news and the unexpected turn of events, Winter’s co-leader for Passion’s Prayer was handling the team’s next event with his usual diligence.
Winter didn’t know what to say, what to think. A decade had passed since she’d left Coeur d’Alene. And one thing was for certain—she had no desire to revisit that city. Not now. Not ever. The chance of running into Ty was too great.
“I’ll pull the car around front,” Neil said, and then pushed open the glass door of the lobby. “We’re expected at the church in fifteen minutes.” His shoulders looked more relaxed as he walked away.
She, on the other hand, felt ill. Throwing up seemed very likely.
Her heart raced, and she wanted to shout out nothing was settled. Instead, she sank into the hardback chair with a groan as thoughts and pictures of the past careened down on her.

Coeur d’Alene? Winter shook her head. I can’t preach there.

About The Author

Mary E Hanks writes 2nd chance stories about the journey back to love. A romantic at heart, she believes we all need a 2nd chance sometime. As a young adult, Mary experienced life as a pastor’s wife, giving her a good background for ministry-themed stories. She also worked in Christian education for nearly two decades. Today, her passion is Youth Theater! She’s been a playwright for 19 full-stage performances and directed 24. She and Jason have been married for 37 years, raised four children, and live in the country near Blanchard, Idaho.

Purchase Winter's Past at:

E-book (all e-formats available)

Mary E. Hanks is giving away a copy of Winter's Past. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email 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.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mary. I enjoyed reading this about second chances. I do believe in 2nd chances. It sounds like a really good book and I would love to win it. Thanks Karen for having Mary here.
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Jo said...

I wouild love to read this book. It really sounds very interesting.


Anonymous said...

This book sounds so interesting! Please sign me up for the giveaway.
Brittany McEuen

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. This sounds so good.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

smiller said...

Yes, our pasts do haunt us sometimes. We need to move forward and act on what we've learned from our pasts and from God each day. I love giveaways! sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jo said...

This book sounds very interesting and I would love to read it.


KayM said...

The trailer made a good case for reading the book. Nice music! I love second chances. Winter's Past sounds like a good story. Thank you for offering a copy.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Martha Sturm said...

I think God gives us chance after chance in life, so why shouldn't we get second chances in romance?


Patty said...

I love stories about second chances!


Jo said...

Sounds good! Second chances are so important.

azladijo (at) aol (dot)com

cjajsmommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cjajsmommy said...

I've known a couple who divorced, each came to the Lord independent of the other, and then they remarried. I love second chances! djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

Boos Mum said...

This books sounds like one I would really enjoy. Please enter me. Thanks.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Mary E Hanks said...

Thank you for all of your lovely comments. I appreciate your encouragement! May your week be amazingly blessed...

Jo said...

I would love to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity.


Cindi A said...

Please enter me in the contest to win a copy of this book. Thanks!!


bonton said...

I toured Ketchikan, Alaska several years ago - such a beautiful state!

Love your storylines & would love to win a copy of your book!


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