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Category Archives: Inspirational

Where Have I Been?

I’ve been MIA on my blog and if you looked around my house, you would think I’ve been MIA there, too!

INTO THE DEEP went to the editor this week!!!!

Hallelujah!!

Art request form is off to my cover artist! Can I get an ‘amen’?

I felt guilty not being here. But every time I thought, ‘I need to write a post for my blog’ I would feel guilty because I wasn’t working on ‘The Book’. And yes, Into The Deep is going down in the Annals of Anita as ‘The Book’. By the time I was in the full swing of edits, my hair fell out.

Really. That happened.

I have fine hair, but a lot of it, thank God, because one sweep of my hand through my mop and I’d end up with twenty of them between my fingers. (Yes, I counted!) On my pillow. Plugging the shower drain. Falling on my keyboard. Drifting onto my dinner plate! It was hug-me-at-church-then-brush-yourself-off falling out. I didn’t freak out (much). I was more annoyed and embarrassed that I was leaving a trail everywhere I went.

By the time I visited my dermatologist, I had a new business all figured out in my head. An on-line store named Here’s Your Hat. If I was going to have no hair, I would have some fun hats to wear. I kept tugging on my eyebrows, trying to decide if I’d have to have them tattooed on, but thankfully they stayed put.

Photo Credit: Diply.com

Photo Credit: Diply.com

After all was said at the dermatologist’s and done at the lab, it came down to this: Telogen Effluvium  This malady wasn’t because Jack and Lucinda were giving me fits as I edited Into The Deep. There was a shock to my system that shut down hair follicles and sent my hair into the rest stage. A few months later, all that hair began to shed. What was the shock to my system? A norovirus. One of those ‘cruise ship’ viruses. Though I was spending time (in my head) on a tropical island with Jack and Lu, I didn’t have the fun of cruising to get there. I never became bald, but my hair is thin. I usually have so much, though, it isn’t noticeable to any one but me. I’m waiting to see how much grows back in. On the upside – it doesn’t take long to dry, now.

I have a new empathy for anyone who has been through a rapid hair loss for whatever reason – be it illness or meds to treat an illness, such as cancer. You folks are my heroes and heroines. And though I won’t be opening a hat shop, here is a place with some pretty soft hats: http://www.softhats.com.

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My One Word – 2014

I’m ditching New Year’s resolutions again this year. My list was always ridiculously long and on New Year’s Day I couldn’t remember half of what seemed so important the night before. The only items I’d remember were those that appeared every year. Which only proved I didn’t keep my New Year’s resolutions! What’s the definition of insanity? Oh yeah, repeating the same thing time and time again hoping for a different outcome. I was driving myself insane! So I’ve hopped on the One Word train again this year (You can read about my 2012 word here and 2013 word here.) and I’ve invited some friends along for the ride. Yay!!

So what’s my word?

Release.  

 

My One Word - 2014 Release

My One Word – 2014
Release

This word could go in so many different directions it’s scary. (More on that in another post, or two or three.) For now I’m just praying that God will use this word this year to mold me more fully into the person He created me to be.

Do you pick one word to focus on for the year? If so, what is it.

In Need Of An Attitude Adjustment

For the past several weeks my prayers have been those of a whiny child. I want what I want, and I want it now. If I were God (and aren’t we all glad I’m not?), I’d turn a deaf ear on myself. Which is why it makes me crazy when He’s so quiet. I picture Him with His fingers in His heavenly ears singing the ‘la-la -a-I-can’t-hear-you’ song. Thankfully, He’s more gracious than that.

Seriously? I’m sick of me! I’ve been needy and wanting, always looking at what I don’t have instead of being thankful for what I do have. Always wishing God would work out His plan for me  on my schedule and not in His perfect time. Constantly asking, “Am I there yet?” “When?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

I dug out my gratitude journal. (Yes, it got buried… again. Boo, me.) For the next few days, one day at a time, I’m going to concentrate on praise, thanksgiving and intercession for others. Wonder how many minutes I’ll manage to do this before I stray into the Land of Me and have to get back on course? Apricot Sunset  Attitude Adjustment

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Psalm 146: 1-2

SeaMount Agency – A Home for the Heros

Posted on

1 OCEAN HOUSE

Information not yet on the SeaMount page of my website:

Sam Traven, owner/director of SeaMount Agency, will have his own story.

Originally, his story was to be the first book of the series. About 100 pages into Sam’s story, I came to the conclusion his backstory should unfold throughout several other books in the series before I give him his own happy-ever-after story. (story hint: I love ‘beauty and the beast’ stories.)

Before I realized how deep Sam’s scars went, I rocked along having way to much fun setting up housekeeping for him and his agency in an oceanfront home like those in a local beach community. Because of his physical needs, I gave him a gym and a pool for exercise, a spa area for therapeutic massage, and a greenhouse for his beloved orchids.

To run the place, Sam hired Agatha ‘Aggie’ Livingstone, heart-of-the-home and housekeeper, tough enough to handle a bunch of alpha males. She needed an industrial kitchen but for the sake of story, I couldn’t shut her up in there unable to interact with the guys, so I imagined something more open with an attached dining room. The picture in my head was a little hazy but I figured I’d make it work. I also needed a common area for the men to gather. A campfire kept coming to mind, so a crackling fireplace in a living room, (open and utiltarian) was what I pictured.

That was fun!

Then I set the story aside, telling Sam he’d have to wait for the woman of his dreams.

Amazing things happen when I let God – my creative Creator – lead the way.

Some of it scary stuff. Tough stuff till I got to the amazing part.

I jumped into Gray’s story, landing in the North Woods of Maine. Adventures one after the other until he got OUT OF THE WILDERNESS with Sophie and the girls. Then the fun stopped. The home, that big, beautiful building, I’d created for Sam and the men that worked for him was right there waiting for Gray and Sophie’s return. The foundations had been set in Sam’s unfinished story.

But for some reason, I was wandering in the desert.

Lots of writing drivel, revisiting the plot, praying and crying out to God filled those weeks. Stuff like ‘YOU gave me this story! HELP me!” And, “If you don’t want me to write, show me what I’m supposed to be doing!” And, “YOU promised to never leave me or forsake me! Helloooo. Feeling a little lonely here, God.” (I’m a firm believer in being honest with my heavenly Father. He created me and knows all there is to know about me. If I’m a little upset with how He’s handling things, He knows that, too. I figure I can be honest with Him and He won’t toss me out like last week’s furry leftovers.) My side of the conversation ended with, “Fine. I’m getting nowhere fast and you aren’t helping me. So be it. I’m done banging my head against the keyboard. I’m done. You hear me? No more whining, begging, wheeling and dealing. Stick a fork in me. I’m done! Let me know when it’s time to start up again.”

Facing the Ocean. Multi level decks

Facing the Ocean.
Multi level decks

Spring came and I visited the open house of a reconstructed-from-the-ground-up Victorian-style hotel in the very same  beach community I’d set up housekeeping for Sam. I never attend those things. Never. But this one intrigued me because it was so close to Sam’s story and maybe I’d get an idea or two if I started writing again. (Do you hear me, Lord?) It was also an opportunity to see a high-end resort that I’d never have the $$ to stay at. (Though a girl can dream…. Please. Buy my book.)

I walked through the front doors and stepped into the SeaMount Agency.

Hundreds (it seemed) of folks milling around, taking pictures and talking, and I stood there with my heart pounding and my ears buzzing because inside I was shouting, ‘OH MY GOD!’ Not in blasphemy, but with praise and awe and joy! I was all jittery inside. This hotel lobby was Sam’s ‘livingroom’. Windows on the side, chairs positioned just so in front of the fireplace. But not just any old fireplace. A beach stone fireplace. God out did my puny idea, and even gave me a glimpse of how He cares for the smallest details.

Several minutes of picture-taking later, when my feet were back on the ground, I reluctantly headed for the fancy dining room. I’d already had my ‘God moment’. Everything else would surely disappoint. Besides the whole kitchen/dining room had been a bit of a stickler in my vision. One step inside and once again my heart jolted into overdrive. There before me was my industrial kitchen – with a counter along one side. (Why didn’t I think of that!) Someplace I found out it was called an ‘exhibition kitchen’! I had no idea such a thing existed. But it was perfect for Aggie. And the dining room with windows overlooking the ocean and… and… I turned in circles wishing everyone would leave Sam’s house! And there, in the corner, another glimpse of God’s signature in the details.

Lap Pool

Lap Pool

I practically mowed folks down as I headed for the open staircase and the next floor down. “Please, God. Please, God.” What would I find. I passed more glimpses of Him revealing Himself to me and my heart was bursting as I hurried down the stairs to the lobby below. I believe, help me in my unbelief.

I found:
A beautiful fitness center. (For Sam to exercise in.)
A salon and spa area. (For Sam’s therapeutic massage. And, yes, I took pictures of the men’s locker room. Necessary research.)
An indoor lap pool. (I hadn’t thought of a lap pool for Sam. Duh.)

I was frenetic. Running hither and thither (I’ve always wanted to write that), taking pictures and envisioning the SeaMount men in the beach locker room, in the masculine board room with state-of-the-art technology. (Video conference!)

And everywhere, God’s loving hand revealed with those glimpses of ~ orchids.

In hallway nooks. In every room of the spa. As a centerpiece in the dining room. In the public bathrooms. In the private bathrooms of the hotel rooms. Orchids, Sam’s passion, every where I turned.

Orchid in the locker room

Orchid in the locker room

What an amazing God! How He love’s surprising His children. Yes, even the ones that act like spoiled two-year olds when frustrated and tired. (That would be me.) Why hadn’t I trusted more? How sweet it was to go home and write the rest of Gray’s story, OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, having seen the inside of the Ocean House. Like a cool rain beating down on that dry desert, the words flowed. I continue to work on the series, currently working on Jack Conroy’s story, INTO THE DEEP. When will I learn that God only wants good things for me, but in His time, not mine?

Are you still with me? This has been a looong post. Much longer than the experts recommend blog posts be. (No one has time to read long posts, they say.) But how could I shortchange this story and an awesome, magnificent God.

My favorite Bible verse –
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29: 11-13

He was there all along. Listening. Planning. Preparing the way.

Oh, and Sam’s greenhouse? There’s a place for that, too. Smack dab in the middle of the tournament level croquet lawn.

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April 5th – National Read A Road Map Day

Today, April 5th is National Read a Road Map Day!

With the advent of Google Maps, Mapquest and the GPS, learning to read a road map is no longer a necessity. But what if your batteries died or the electronics didn’t work. Would you know how to read a road map?

Road MapsMy first experience with maps was the globe of the world Mommy had in the living room. Nothing fancy, just a small table top Rand McNally globe that spun round and round. Sitting on the floor, my siblings and I would take turns closing our eyes and placing our finger on the spinning globe ending up on continents and in countries that we would otherwise have never heard about.

On trips with Old Roady, I ride shotgun with the map draped across my knees following our route with my finger. I enjoy watching for the next town or turn off. With the purchase of a GPS, my map reading skills are not longer needed, but the activity keeps me awake (I was born with an on/off switch on my bottom that is activated by the seat of a car.), so I still like to have a map to look at. The last trip we took, I used the Maps App on my iPad. When I realized I was spending more time staring at the little red dot moving along the highway than I was looking at the landscape, I put it away.

In my book ‘Out Of The Wilderness’, it was Sophie’s lack of map reading skills that led to her getting lost and in need of rescue. Studying with this tutorial would have saved her from the ordeal. But then, she would have never met Gray.

What you need to know to read a map:

  • How to use the grid – those numbers and letters bordering the map have a purpose.
  • Where to find the map key or legend and what data is contained there.
  • Why roads come in different colors.
  • What do the different colors and symbols and highway markers mean.

The final hurdle in handling a paper road map is learning how to refold it back to it’s original neat and tidy rectangle. For that, there is no tutorial.

Questions for you:
Do you think map reading skills are becoming a lost art?
Do you prefer paper or digital?

The Lord Remains Faithful

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

A week ago today, I came home from a writing retreat. I cried most of the way home. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to come home. It was more that I didn’t want to leave the wonder of that creative and sacred experience. I didn’t want to come down off  ‘the mountain top’, where I had found inspiration and renewal.

I’ve hugged the memories close and savored them, sharing with the few who would truly understand how dear the experience was for me. This isn’t my story. It’s God’s story. I’m just the flawed writer He chose to bless.

******

With a deadline looming, Old Roady was okay with me taking some of our timeshare points and getting away to write. With the winter weather, I’d hoped to be close to home, as in, just down Route 1 a few miles. But on such short notice, there was nothing available in Rhode Island. We found a studio with a partial kitchenette for six days in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Then Nemo – The Blizzard of 2013 – blew across the region on February 8th.

Blizzard of 2013

Blizzard of 2013

Four days later I received a phone call. The resort in Falmouth was unable to accommodate the reservations for folks checking in.

Wish I could say I was calm about this. I wasn’t. The lovely woman from the timeshare clearinghouse was kind enough to help me look for an alternative. But throughout all of RI, CT and MA, she found only one other place. It, too, was in Falmouth and for only three nights. She would call to see if they were taking ‘inbounds’.

At this point, I prayed – finally. And the prayer was pretty sketchy. Mostly disconnected thoughts flung heavenward. But God is good. No. God is AMAZING. Because even when I’m not at my best, He remains faithful and continues to work out HIS PLAN for me.

The lovely lady (I wish I could remember her name.) called me back. The other place in Falmouth was available. Would I like it? That’s when I told her what I needed – a quiet place away from daily duties and distractions so I could concentrate on writing.

She giggled and then said, “Oh. Wait. Something just popped up! Is Rhode Island okay?”

“Yes.” I held my breath, because there are no coincidences. Only God-incidences.

“Long Wharf in Newport. Sunday to Sunday. Would that be alright?”

I barely heard her over the pounding of my heart. “Yes. How many nights?”

“Sunday to Sunday.”

“The whole week?” One more day than I would have had in Falmouth.

“Yes. It’s a one bedroom condo with a full kitchen. And since it’s a swap, you get it for the same number of points as Falmouth. It’s usually twice as many.”

I think God loves surprises because every step of the way, the trip only got better.

On check-in, I found out the Inn was going through renovations. Only the fifth floor was open and I was the first to use the completely renovated condo.

Long Wharf Resort

Long Wharf Resort

Within hours of checking in, God painted the sky for me.

Sunset over Long Wharf

Sunset over Long Wharf

Newport fishing fleet and lobster boats

Newport fishing fleet and lobster boats

I emptied my schedule and let go of all that fights for my attention. I made room for God to come in and fill the empty space.  

I was needy and my heart was willing. 

How often am I unwilling? How often do I fill my time with everything but what God desires for me?

A Room With A View

A Room With A View

I was on Holy ground.  My writing, an offering.

God blessed me abundantly with time and words. 

The empty computer screen filled, line after line. How many times in the past have I been afraid the words wouldn’t come? Why can’t I trust like this every day? 

Evening Sun

Will I remember?
On the days that nothing comes easy, will I open up and be uncomfortably empty so He can fill me?

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them –
the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:5-6

2013 – My Word!

Snow treeDuring my prayer and Bible study time for the month of December, I seek out the word that will be my focus for the new year. Sometimes the same word jumps out at me over and over again as I go through my day. Other times, the repetition of one word leads me to another word before the whispered voice of the Holy Spirit confirms this is it. My word.

To have a special word to guide me through the year – a word handpicked for me by my Creator – sounds so lovely and spiritual, right? But what if the word that keeps cropping up isn’t one that I want?

That’s where I was just before Christmas. Not liking the word.

For several years now my words have been comfortable. Themes to lean on and rest in. Words like Hope and Trust.

This year, my quest started with the word ‘stewardship’ popping in and out of my world. I kept rejecting it, hoping it wasn’t the word and not wanting to consider where the Holy Spirit could be guiding me with that word.

I argued with the Holy Spirit. “Show me the word You really have for me. Stewardship is a word that requires work, you know. And stewardship of what? Money? My health? Spiritual gifts? Relationships? Don’t you know how busy I am? I’m working two part-time jobs outside the house (which equals more hours than one full time job) and I have my writing. And Old Roady and Son like to eat and wear clean clothes. Add in elderly parents and church duties and… and… . Hellooo! Stewardship? Really? I don’t have the TIME!”

Ouch! The conviction pierced my thick-headed hard-hearted shell. Stewardship of my time. Being intentional with my time. Because this is where my year will be defined. The use of my time, the same 24 hours God gives every one of us, will determine if I accomplish what God has set out for me to do in 2013.

The argument is over and prayer has begun in earnest. Because the only way the work – on my interior world as well as the exterior – will be done and fruitful is with constant communion with the Holy Spirit.

And in that amazing way that God works, old articles and past sermons and passing comments from others are hitting the mark and guiding me now that my heart and mind are open to the word I’ve been given – Time. I can’t hold it, or see it, or stop it, or recycle it. Even as I’m sitting here writing, it is passing, never to be reclaimed or relived.

Being a good steward of my Time – that is my challenge, my theme, and my word.

Christian Indie Novelists Blog Hop – Winners

Congratulations to Sylvia Stein – winner of the $100 Amazon gift card. Congratulations, Sylvia!

Christian Indie Blog Hop

Nadine Thangluai – you are the winner of my blog drawing for the Feather Notebook from Bonnie Paper Works, as well as a digital copy of my book, OUT OF THE WILDERNESS.

Many thanks to everyone who followed the Hop, enjoyed the story and left comments. Your enjoyment in our story means a great deal to me and my fellow authors.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

Christmas Story Hop

Grand Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Certificate!

Christian Indie Blog HopPlease join Christian Indie Novelists in the celebration of our Savior’s birth. We have a progressive Christmas story hop to share with you, as well as a post about favorite Christmas songs. Each author is having a drawing at their blog and there is an overall Grand Prize.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

1. Go to each blog in the order that is listed below.

2. Read the section of the story posted. Then follow the link to the next blog where the next section of the story is posted.

3. At each blog, click on the Rafflecopter link to be entered in the Grand Prize drawing ($100 Amazon Gift Card), and leave a comment on the blog to be entered in each author’s individual drawing. Your comments can be about the story. Or you can tell us your favorite Christmas song, movie or book. Be sure to tweet and like us on Facebook to be entered multiple times.

My drawing —

Feather notebook

Comment on this blog for a chance to win a digital copy of OUT OF THE WILDERNESS, my inspirational romantic adventure novel, as well as a small (3.5 x 5.5 inches) moleskin notebook with a hand-embroidered cover created by Bonnie Paper Works (Etsy).

 Be sure to click here for your chance at the $100 gift card!  And join the other blogs for more individual prizes!!

Follow blogs in the order listed below:

Gloria Harchar
Emerald Barnes
Bonnie Blythe
Anita K Greene (you are here!)
Marian Merritt
Rich Bullock
Dawn Turner

A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER : PART 4

Pre-dawn light glowed on the horizon. Meredith checked her watch and stepped away from the window. Time to go.

Hurrying out to her car, she climbed in before a case of nerves caused her to chicken out. She refused to spend another sleepless night wondering why Garth had come back. The scars on his face and his slight limp were evidence that the rumor of a medical discharge was true. But that had happened several months ago. Why show up here now?

The sun was cresting the horizon as she turned her car onto the farm’s driveway. The run-down house loomed ahead with no vehicle in sight. Had he left as quietly as he’d arrived? Last night, she and the children were so caught up in the fun of caroling for someone new in town that she hadn’t questioned the empty parking spot.

Parking her car, Meredith took a deep breath and got out. She climbed the steps and raised her hand to knock. Her knuckles never connected with the wood.

The door opened and a hand shot out, clamped around her forearm and yanked.

“Aahh. Hey!” She stumbled forward and fell to her knees. The door closed behind her with a thump. Her heart thudded against her ribs. In the gloom of the interior, the shadow of a man loomed above her. “Let go of me.” She surged to her feet. Free hand clenched in a fist, she swung at her assailant. A strong hand captured it and held on.

“Merrie, stop.”

Meredith froze. No one called her that name. No one except Garth. And it was his voice that said it now. She tugged against his hold. “You frightened me.” The low light deepened the grooves that slashed across his cheek. He was dressed like a one-man militia.

“You shouldn’t be here.” He glanced out the window then pulled her deeper into the room.

“I had to find out why you decided to come home.” She refused to be cowed by his glare. “For so long I’ve wanted to see you.” Her whispered admission hung in the air between them.

He let go as though scalded. “So now you’ve seen me. It isn’t the face you remember, is it?” He turned away and fiddled with a piece of gear attached to his vest.

The harsh words hit her like a sucker punch. “Is it your scars? Is that why you didn’t come home? You didn’t want me to see you?”

His head came up but he wasn’t looking at her. She glanced toward the window and caught a glimpse of a person in the field before she was shoved against the wall with Garth pressed close against her. “You do exactly what I tell you to do and we may get out of here alive.”

Meredith closed her eyes, desperate to sort out what was happening. She’d known him as a military man, but that knowledge had never prepared her for the hard-shelled warrior pinning her to the wall. Fear warred with the love that had never died for this man standing so close, but still miles away.

“Come on.” Grasping her shoulder, Garth shoved her toward the back of the house. “I want you out of the way.”

“Who is that man out there, Garth, and don’t tell me ‘nobody’.”

His face was set in a hard ruthless mask and, for one moment, Meredith wished she’d stayed home.

“Someone I’ve been expecting.” He pushed her toward the small pantry.

Meredith dragged her feet and grabbed the doorjamb. “You can’t just stuff me away.”

“I can and will. You’ll be safer in here.”

She clung to his arm. “I’m not letting go until you tell me what’s going on.”

His gaze traveled over her face. He lifted her hand and rested it against his cheek. “The man out there did this to me.”

She trembled. Beneath her palm the smooth scar tissue moved with each word he spoke.

“It’s time he paid for what he did.”

Tears pooled in her eyes making it hard to see clearly. “Revenge, Garth? Is that what this is?”

His lips pulled back in a snarl. “Justice. I may be scarred, but what he did left others dead.” He stroked his fingertips across the inside of her wrist.

He moved so quickly, she didn’t have time to react. One moment she stood before him, trying to understand this man she had loved for so long, and the next moment, she was inside a tiny room, the door closed and locked.

For Part 5 and the conclusion of A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER, visit:

Marian Merritt
Rich Bullock
Dawn Turner

Don’t forget to leave a comment below and click on this Rafflecopter link to enter the drawing for the $100 Amazon Gift Certificate!

If you are enjoying the hop, be sure to follow us on The Christian Indie Novelists Blog Hop Site!

The Scary Fun of Self-Publishing!

I feel like that gawky teenager all over again. On a family vacation, standing at the end of the high diving board and looking down. Scary fun! That excited feeling accompanied by a ping of fear. Hoping – praying – I don’t belly-flop.

That’s how I feel as I release the first book of my SeaMount Series, OUT OF THE WILDERNESS. 

I’m excited! I’m scared! I’m a little bit overwhelmed. I love the story. I love the characters. I hope you will, too!

Now available on Amazon. All other venues to follow soon.

Former Navy SEAL Grayson Kerr’s honor has become tarnished working as a soldier for hire. His newfound faith in God has him longing to restore his integrity. His new mission is to qualify for a job with the SeaMount Agency. He wants to be one of the good guys. In the midst of a wilderness survival trial, he discovers a woman and her children lost in the forest. Abandoning his own mission in order to help them could disqualify him for the job.

Sophie Moore has fought to hold heart and home together since her husband’s death. To lose custody of her daughters to his influential parents would be her undoing. Determined to make every moment together count, Sophie plans a weekend away. Almost at their destination, she takes a wrong turn and becomes lost in a labyrinth of logging roads. The scruffy, hard-edged soldier that finds them is their only chance at survival.

From the wilderness of Maine to the SeaMount Agency headquarters on the coast of Rhode Island, Gray works to expose the criminal plot behind Sophie’s custody battle. He jeopardizes getting the job he wants for having the love of the woman he needs. Being a good guy may cost him his one shot at redemption.

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