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A Time for Singing by @CarolJamesAuth is a Beach Reads Event pick #beachread #inspirationalromance
Title: A Time for Singing
Author: Carol James
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Charlee Bennett is running from her past. Once deserted by her musician ex-fiancé, she’s vowed to avoid anything that reminds her of the pain of his betrayal.
Chance Jackson is starting over. Hoping to redeem the mistakes of his earlier life, he wants to become the music and worship pastor of the largest church in Crescent Bluff.
Charlee tries to convince herself she should not be attracted to Chance. But then she discovers an old letter hidden in the secret drawer of an antique desk. The pain expressed by its author resonates deep within her.
Can the words of long ago soften Charlee's heart and help her to discover that there is a time for singing?
So, who would it be tonight?
From her table in the back corner, Charlee Bennett surveyed the inn’s small dining room. The only empty chair sat across from her, a sure sign she’d soon have a dinner companion.
She smoothed the white linen napkin in her lap and sipped her water. Over the past few years, these monthly weekends at the Wayfarer Inn had become her favorites, times of pampering among the plodding.
A tall man who definitely wasn’t from Crescent Bluff stepped into the doorway and leaned on the old oak pulpit now serving as the hostess stand. Michael presented his best maître d’ smile and then consulted the reservations list. The new diner nodded. Michael gathered a menu and silverware and turned in her direction.
Perspiration prickled her face. Oh, no. Not this man. Anyone but him. Please…not a musician. She could spot them a mile away. After following Jake around for a year and then dating him for two more, she knew the look. PR. Painstakingly Relaxed.
Last month, she’d shared dinner with a trial judge from Amarillo, and the month before that, a retired humanitarian aid worker from Uganda. Not only had both men been fascinating, they’d also been safe. Both were old enough to be her grandfather. But as Michael led tonight’s guest toward her table, only one word resonated within her.
Taking a deep breath, she reached for her water glass and unsuccessfully attempted to swallow away the mass of nerves knotting her throat. She could do this.
Mr. PR turned his back and spoke to Michael. “When you said ‘Charlie,’ I just assumed… I didn’t realize Charlie was a woman.”
He probably thought she couldn’t hear him…that he was speaking more quietly than he was. All those years of playing loud music had made Jake half deaf, too.
“You sure no other tables will be available soon?” the stranger continued.
“There’s no guarantee, sir,” Michael answered. “Friday nights are always busy.”
Mr. PR shook his head. “I’ve got to be someplace in an hour. Can’t take the chance.”
Michael gestured toward the chair opposite her. “Ms. Bennett is always happy to share her table when we’re busy. I assure you that you’ll find her excellent dinner company. Please have a seat, sir. I’ll send Joe right over to take your order. Enjoy your meal.” Michael turned and walked away.
Before her, he stood tall and lanky with black hair, his face covered with a stylish amount of dark stubble. Empty piercings dotted his ears and maybe even his left eyebrow. But that one might have been a scar. She couldn’t tell. The candlelight softened his features, making it impossible to know for certain.
Frayed spots decorated his tight jeans, and a black leather jacket hid all but the central portion of a black t-shirt. His painstakingly meticulous hairstyle, which could only have been achieved by applying gallons of product while primping for half an hour in front of the mirror, failed to match his relaxed wardrobe. Even the ever-blowing Texas wind hadn’t ruffled his style. PR, for sure.
While she wouldn’t describe him as classically handsome, he was totally attractive. Obviously, she’d failed to learn any kind of lesson from Jake’s betrayal.
Despite her mind’s pleading for caution, she smiled and offered him her hand. She would do this. After all, he apparently didn’t want to be dining with her any more than she did with him. “Hello, I’m Charlee—with two e’s—Bennett.”
He grasped her hand and flashed a warm smile that grew until it almost covered his entire face. She couldn’t help but grin back.
“Nice to meet you, Charlee with two e’s. I’m Chance…with one e…Jackson. Thanks for offering to share your table with me.”
She returned his firm grip. “No problem.”
“Haven’t been here in a while, and I didn’t realize the place would be this busy.”
She should let go, but for some reason, her fingers refused to obey. “It’s always packed on Friday nights.”
“Great news for the owner.” Releasing her hand, he glanced back over his shoulder and rocked onto his toes and then back down.
“Please have a seat, Chance. With the kitchen as busy as it is tonight, you’d better get your food ordered if you’re going to make your appointment.”
A red flush crept up his neck and inched across his face. “I, uh, didn’t know you could, I mean, I didn’t intend…” He paused and took a deep breath. “Hey, I’m sorry. I’m sure I sounded petty and ungrateful, but I’m not. Thanks for your generosity.” A softer smile warmed his face.
He pulled off his jacket and hung it on the back of the antique oak chair. A tattoo covered his left forearm—colorful scroll-work embellishing Greek characters. Just one more confirmation of his occupation in case she had the slightest doubt—which she didn’t.
She pushed her words past the still-present lump in her throat. “Chance. I’ve never met anyone with that name.”
Ignoring her comment about his name, he slid into the chair across from her.
“So, Chance, what brings you to the Wayfarer tonight?”
“Business. Came to Crescent Bluff to help out a buddy of mine.”
“I see. And what do you do?” She held her breath, waiting to see if his reply would confirm what her intuition screamed was true.
Staring down toward the table, he fingered the folded napkin before him. “I’m self-employed. Sales.”
A few years ago, she would have taken his words as truth. But no longer. His response screamed dishonesty. Or at least, a lack of transparency. For some reason, he was deliberately being elusive.
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A Time for Singing is the story of two people hurt by love finding the strength to trust and love again.
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Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She loves creating Redemptive Romance. She lives in Lilburn, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell Terrier, Zoe.
Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she'd been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.
Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, was an Amazon number one best-seller. Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter to be the first to learn about new releases: www.carol-james.com
Just recently, Carol allowed Zoe to start an instagram page with two of her dog friends. Follow them at 3DogsandtheirAuthors to learn the behind the scenes info about being a writer.
Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.
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