Monday, February 3, 2014

Worth The Wait by Laura Jackson

Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn't get it. She always does the right thing - doesn't God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.


Chapter One

Ellie counted the minutes until she could wrap her arms around Dylan's neck. Seventy-one days apart was seventy days too many. She checked her phone to see if he had replied to her text to pick her up before school, but there was nothing new. The last few weeks, he hadn’t called at all, only sending a text here and there. And he hadn’t greeted her at the airport last night when she arrived home from the summer in Nantucket Bay visiting her aunt. One glimpse into his deep hazel eyes, and I’ll know if everything is the same between us.
After straightening her hair again with the flat iron, she sighed and stretched. She'd spent the last hour and a half taming her naturally curly blonde hair into the smooth, sleek style that Dylan preferred. The first time she had straightened her hair, Dylan had commented that she was hot, so she didn’t mind the time it took to look nice for him even though her curls made her stand out in a sea of girls with straight-as-a-board hair. If only she could wear something besides the school uniform. Lip gloss finished her morning make-up routine. How big would the smile on Dylan’s face be when he picked her up in twelve minutes? If he picked her up. But he had done so every day since he got his license, so why should today be any different?
            “Eleanor Rebecca Lansing, hurry up! You need to eat breakfast, and I want to get a picture of you on your first day of senior year.” Her mother’s heels echoed on the hardwood floor downstairs.
Grabbing her bag, Ellie hurried down the stairs. Her mom was posed like a paparazzo ready to pounce. Her sweet but smothering mom captured every life event with photos, and she had the scrapbooks to prove it.
“Is my hair okay? Dylan hasn’t seen me in months, and I want to look good.”
“Perfect as always. Say cheese.” Ellie smiled for the camera. “I can’t believe you’re growing up so fast. It was just yesterday….”
Ellie gave her mom a hug as she started a jog down memory lane.
She checked her phone again. No message. She paced the living room. Come on, Dylan! What’s going on?
            “Nick, get down here too!” Her mom stood at the bottom of the stairs, shaking her head. “I’ll bet your brother is still asleep.”
Mom kept yelling until Nick finally clomped downstairs, goofy as ever. His rumpled pants and half-in, half-out shirt weren’t going to meet Mom’s J. Crew standards. Ellie braced herself for a battle of wills. “Come here and let me fix your hair at least.”
            “Knock it off, Mom. I don’t know why school starts on a Thursday. Can’t we just go Monday?” Nick rolled his eyes but tucked in his shirt.
            How could Nick be such a slob? He certainly wasn’t like her, though she had to give him credit for being his own man. Poor clueless guy. He would start to care about his appearance as soon as a girl came into the picture. The arguing over Nick’s hair and the school board’s decision for the start of school continued until Nick shut the bathroom door. No wonder he sent me all those texts this summer, begging me to come home before Mom drove him crazy.
            A car door slammed. That had to be Dylan. Ellie took a deep breath, smoothed her hair, and ran to greet him in the driveway. His wide grin swept away her worries. His eyes, the color of Nantucket Bay on a clear day, drew her closer. “I’ve missed you so much, Dylan.”
            “Ellie.” Dylan wrapped her in his arms and leaned back against his car door. She inhaled the familiar spice of his cologne. He bent down and brought his lips to hers. As the kiss deepened, he inched her shirt up and caressed the skin of her back. His fingertips were hot as his lips nibbled toward her ear.
            “Careful, my mom will see.” Ellie’s cheeks grew hot and she pulled away, tugging her shirt back into place. Intertwining her fingers with his, she pulled him towards the house. I guess he did miss me as much as I missed him.
            “Your mom has been planning our wedding since we were born, so I’m sure she wouldn’t care. Relax a little, Ellie.” He snuck in one more kiss before opening the front door for her.
“Hey, Mrs. L!” Dylan walked into her mom's embrace.
            “It’s so good to see you. Your mom talked nonstop about how busy you were this summer. Your hair looks even blonder from the sun.” Mom smiled as she picked up her camera from the hall table. “Summer must have been good to you.”
            “It would have been better if Ellie had been here, but it was good.” Dylan stepped back to Ellie and twirled a strand of her hair.
            Nick stalked out of the downstairs bathroom a little more presentable than before but wearing a scowl. “How come you didn’t come by to shoot some hoops this summer like you promised, Dylan? I texted you like ten times.”
            “Man, I’m sorry, but football training was hectic, and working as a lifeguard wore me out. I’ll make it up to you, dude.” Dylan reached for a fist bump, but Nick crossed his arms.
            “Whatever, dude. We’ve played basketball every week forever, but this summer you were too busy?”
            “Nicholas, there’s no reason to be rude to Dylan. When you get to high school, you’ll see how rigorous football training can be. After all, he’s working to earn a scholarship to a major university.” Her mother patted Dylan on the back and Ellie smiled.
I’m so lucky to be one of the few girls whose mom loves her daughter’s choice in boyfriends.
            “Maybe you’d rather have him as a son than me.” Nicholas glared.
“Well, at least he’s presentable.” Mom motioned everyone to the fireplace.
            Ellie stepped in front of Nick. “Appearance isn’t everything, Mom. I hear eighth grade girls like the casual look on boys these days.”
            Nick raised his eyebrows at his sister as if to say thanks.
            Giving Ellie a kiss on the head, Dylan draped his arm around her shoulder as Mom took their last “first day of school” photo. He murmured in her ear, “It was a weird summer without you. Just not the same.”
            “Two months was way too long. I’ve missed you so much. Why’d you stop calling?”
            “I’m here now.” He ran his fingers down her hair and rested his hand on her waist. “The faster we finish, the faster we can be alone.”
“Come on, kids. Let’s see if we can do this shoot in ten takes or less. Less talking, more smiling.”
Ellie forced a smile and turned back to her mom. What had changed?
            When her mom was finally satisfied with their pictures, they moved to the front porch for a quick breakfast. “You didn’t call much the last month I was gone. I didn’t know what to think. Then Nick says you didn’t hang out with him like you promised. That’s not like you.” Dylan had often raved about how lucky Ellie was to have a little brother instead of a sister. Ellie offered to trade siblings, but neither set of parents went for the idea.
            “Just busy training for football. I have to have my best season if I want a scholarship.”
            Ellie took a sip of orange juice. “I thought maybe you were still mad about what happened before I left.”
            Dylan leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Let it go. We fought. We made up. Move on.”
            Except it hadn’t been a simple argument. He had pushed her further than she wanted to go, and she’d had enough of his pushing. Why’d he refuse to talk about it?
            The orange juice curdled in her stomach. Ellie put her fork down and stared down the street where the elementary kids from the neighborhood public school were waiting for the bus. Dylan ate in silence.
            When they brought their plates in a few minutes later, he wrapped his arms around her at the sink. “Don’t be mad. It was just strange without you. I missed you, and I love you.” He turned her around and kissed her cheek.

             Tucking her head in his embrace as they walked to his car, Ellie breathed him in and relaxed. She was back, he was still crazy about her, and her senior year would be just as she always dreamed. 

About The Author

Laura Jackson loves books---reading and writing them. A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master's degree and becoming a school librarian. Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.

Purchase Worth The Wait at:

Laura Jackson is giving away a copy of Worth The Wait. 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.



Alyssa Faith said...

Been wanting to read this book. :)

Linda Kish said...

The story sounds great. I'd love to win/read it.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

sm said...

Sounds like an appropriate book for today, when some may rush into relationships out of desperation.
sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie Backus said...

I would love to be a winner. Good books make me so happy!

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Hello Laura. Sounds like you've been busy. I'm afraid I'd be too busy checking out the books fr my work to get done. I love books. Your story sounds very good and I would love to win it. I got married real young and missed out on Senior year. Thank to Barn Door Book Loft for hosting you today, and thank you for giving us a chance to win your book.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Boos Mum said...

Sounds like some really hard life lessons. Thanks for the giveaway.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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