Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful
. Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back
Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging
out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from
taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at
her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns
inside her to make the criminals pay. Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and
her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue
sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug
dealers discuss Sean. Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come
face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from
investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate
inside, and open her heart to love. Mistville, North
The hopeless feeling in this room smothered me. The antiseptic smell mixed with death wafting in the doorway made my head spin. My knees nearly buckled, but Mom and Dad didn’t need an upset daughter to go with their half-dead son. “If it’s okay, I’m going home.”
The anxious looks in their eyes told me they couldn’t bear to have anything else go wrong.
Dad nodded. “Yes, go ahead.”
“Get some rest.” Mom gazed at me with concerned green eyes.
I hugged them and left.
Near the lobby a soft glow coming from an opened door shone on a wide strip of the gray floor. A Chapel. Something urged me to go inside. Maybe it was because I had nowhere else to turn. Maybe it was because Reverend Hopewell’s visit made me believe God would do something about Sean’s condition if I kept asking him to.
A cinder of hope sparked inside me as I walked in the tiny, narrow sanctuary with mahogany paneling and one pew. If only God would make Sean well and lead me to the drug dealers. Did God do that sort of thing? Maybe I didn’t know enough about God to be in here. He wouldn’t approve of all the hate I had for the drug dealers. Jesus preached a Gospel of love. My heart beat so fast.
How could I explain my deep despair to God? Did He care about Sean and me? Through the blur of my tears I peered at the stained glass cross embedded in dark paneling behind the altar, the soft lighting washing over it. I didn’t need to tell God how sad I was. He already knew. Of course, He cared. He sent His only son to die for Sean’s sins and mine.
But did I know the right thing to say to God, especially in my angry state? Reverend Hopewell’s prayers sounded so eloquent when he said them for the youth group. If I ever wanted a prayer to be good enough for God to answer, it was now. The words “Ask and it will be given to you--” popped in my head. I knew they came from the book of Matthew, so I looked it up on my iPhone--Chapter seven, verse seven. I stared at the words for several minutes then turned it off and bowed my head.
‘Dear Lord, Please have mercy on Sean and heal
him, if it is your will, and dear Lord, I hope it is. Mom,
Dad, and I need him. I’m sorry I haven’t been a better
sister, and I’m sorry about the hate I feel toward the drug
dealers. Maybe you can help me get over it...if I could just
find them. I love Sean so much. If he gets well, I’ll talk to
him about the gifts you gave him and tell him what a great
brother he is. Please let Dad see that Sean doesn’t need to
be a quarterback. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.’
I stood and took one last look at the cross. My heart beat steady now. There was peace, hope, and answers in this room.
Stopped Cold finished fourth in the 16th Annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. Readers’ comments included: “Very compelling with emotions and feelings that have been felt by everyone in their lives at one time or another...”
and, “One of the best books recently published dealing with self-esteem, drugs and the drive to be #1 at any cost...”
Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mother, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American
Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. A Grace Awards finalist,
she’s been a best-selling author on All Romance eBooks and in Amazon’s paid Kindle
store. Her credits include three published books, two short stories, and about
two hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are
in museums. Visit Gail’s web site at http://www.gailpallotta.com
To purchase Gail's book:
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Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart