The following is a sneak peek at my book “Have Faith” which is available on Amazon.
After a bad breakup, Zoe Miller is DONE! She is happy to have her house and her life to herself and the ability to concentrate on herself, her family and friends and her career as the office manager of Grace Church.
Zoe’s family and friends have other plans for her, and much to her dismay, the universe sides with them.
A natural disaster causes Zoe’s best friend Alexis to move in and rewires Zoe’s way of thinking about living alone.
Then, Zoe discovers significant dangers within her family and her job and spends time with three eligible bachelors to sort the messes.
Chris is the foreman of Miller construction and Harold Miller’s right-hand man. He and Zoe have a fun, friendly relationship. Chris is a playboy and practically her brother as he is the son her dad never had. When Zoe discovers her dad’s company is in trouble and her dad is in danger, Chris jumps in to help. Zoe and Chris become closer than ever, but when they team up to set up Alexis and the company’s new employee James, Zoe and Chris see each other in a new light.
Jack is a wounded army veteran with a chip on his shoulder. He’s also a good friend of Zoe’s boss, Pastor Mark. When Zoe arranges a veteran’s networking event at the church, Pastor Mark invites Jack, who is obviously annoyed at Mark’s attempt to get him to join the veteran’s support group. As Jack takes out his annoyance on Zoe, she can’t wait to be rid of him. She soon finds out that’s not going to happen as Mark has hired him as the church’s new maintenance man. Jack begins to soften around Zoe as the two spend time together investigating a possible scandal within all five Grace churches in the city. Sparks fly but so do emotions as they both struggle with past hurt.
Zoe and her sister Melissa have never been close. While Zoe is their Dad’s daughter, Melissa is their mother’s daughter. The two warm up to each other as Zoe seeks Melissa’s help deciphering how much trouble their father’s company is in. To appease her new friendship with her sister, Zoe agrees to go on a date with the best friend of Melissa’s fiancé. Erik is handsome, successful, and seems nice enough but one night with him puts Zoe in danger.
As all of the dangers begin to intertwine, Zoe’s faith is shaken. She’s convinced she is being punished. Can Zoe keep everyone she loves safe? Can she figure out who her heart belongs to? And will he return her feelings? Can she believe in herself and her faith again? The answers lie in the story.
Have Faith Preview:
“Zooooooeeeeeeee” I heard a sing-song version of my name all drawn out. This must be a nightmare. Only in a nightmare would someone be singing my name in the middle of the night. Then it happened. It jumped on me. The attacking creature jumped on my back and was screaming, “WakeUpWakeUpWakeUp.”
I jumped out of bed, throwing the attacker off of me. I landed in a karate stance. I then realized that the attacker was my best friend, and I don’t know karate.
“Lexi, what are you doing?” I inquired. Alexis Briel has been my best friend for my entire life. She’s adorable with curly blond hair and bright blue eyes. She had dimples when she smiled, and her infectious personality could light up any room. That’s how she gets away with so much. She was outgoing and playful, often bringing me out of my shell on her coattails. In exchange, I grounded her by being quiet and reserved when the situation required a serious approach. I could see at the moment that she was playful while I was quite serious.
“Zo, you promised we were going to start pre-work walks this morning,” she whined.
“Was that today? I thought that was next year.”
Alexis looked down her nose at me, indicating she was now the serious one.
“Okay, okay, yes, I know,” I said, holding up my hands in defeat. “I just figured you’d have forgotten by now.
“Zoe, we agreed three days ago,” She reminded me.
“Precisely,” I argued.
“Come on, lady, out of your jammies and into some workout gear,” Alexis said before she smacked my backside, making me yelp.
I grabbed some leggings and a sports top, matching Alexis in style, and headed for the bathroom. Soon we had ventured out into the unknown.
Alexis and I walked at a decent pace, me following her lead. We quickly wound up in the neighborhood next to mine, the one my dad’s company was working on.
“Construction workers,” Alexis commented. Alexis was the only other single friend I had. She dated a lot, but she has never married. She likes to flirt. I followed Alexis to the construction workers and was too asleep to notice who the objects of her affections were.
“Hey guys,” she called out, walking by.
Chris turned around. “Well, well, well, Zoe, could you not wait for our date next week?”
Alexis’s jaw dropped. She smacked my arm. “You didn’t tell me about a date,” she scolded.
“Lex- it’s not a date,” I reassured. “It’s a joke,” I said, glaring at Chris.
Chris put a hand to his chest. “You wound me.” He said dramatically.
Alexis scrunched up her nose as she giggled. She knows she’s adorable when she does that.
“Chris, don’t make me actually hurt you,” I replied to his dramatics.
“Feisty, I like it,” he teased.
“It’s too early to roll my eyes this much,” I said as I turned to walk away.
“Chris is the one I need coffee for,” I explained to Alexis when we left.
“Well, that’s fine. I was more curious about who that was behind him,” She reported.
There was another man I didn’t recognize with Chris. Alexis certainly noticed him.
“I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you,” I promised.
“You’re the best,” She hugged me.
I got home to be greeted by a very vocal Chloe, who was not at all pleased her breakfast was late.
“I’m sorry, Chloe. That mean lady made mommy exercise this morning,” I told her.
She turned her back and lifted her tail as she ate. She was clearly not impressed with my excuses. I ran my hand over her soft fur before heading for the shower.
I walked into my office to see that all of the material for tomorrow’s veterans’ event was piled on my floor. I skipped around it, trying desperately not to drop my coffee as I climbed to my desk. I knew what my project was today.
After some of my daily duties, I knew it was time to start on the floor pile.
After all that, it was lunchtime. I ran out to the store and picked up the cookies for tomorrow, grabbing myself a sub as well. I turned from the counter and ran right into Chris.
“Are you stalking me, Zoe?” He teased.
“Yes, absolutely. Take me now,” I poked back. We both laughed.
He noticed my full cart. “Is there several bottles of wine and some chick flicks to go with all those sweets?” He asked me sarcastically.
“Ha Ha,” I responded, rolling my eyes. “They’re for an event tomorrow,” I explained.
“Well, let me help get all that in your car,” he offered. Chris really is a good guy.
“Thanks. I’d appreciate that.” Then I remembered Alexis. “Hey, who was that with you this morning? I don’t know him.”
“Asking me about my friends Zoe? I’m hurt. You’re for me. I can’t set you up.” He said, faking dramatic pains.
I playfully smacked his arm. “Not me, you neanderthal, Lexi was asking,” I explained.
“Oh, the cute blonde out walking with you this morning?” He asked, raising his eyebrows at me.
It was my turn to cover my heart in fake pains. “Chris, I’m hurt you are admiring my friend. I thought I was the one you looked at.”
He laughed and shook his head. “His name is James. He’s new. Seems like a good guy. I don’t know him very well yet.”
“Well, get to know him. We have a match to make.” I smiled at him.
“Really? You want to play matchmaker?” He asked.
“Yeah, why not?” I shrugged.
“You hate anything to do with dating,” Chris reminded me.
“I do not. I just hate anything to do with me dating. Other people, I’m totally on board,” I explained.
“Why?” He asked. “You’re a catch.”
“Well, the only one’s fishing is the ones that should be thrown back themselves,” I said.
Chris laughed. “Okay, so you want to fix up Alexis and James?”
“How about we double?” He asked.
“You and who?” I asked him. “It has to be someone Alexis can stand.”
Chris rolled his eyes. “How about her best friend?”
“Are you asking me out?” I raised my eyebrow at him.
“Well, no, just as friends to set them up. Make them more comfortable. We hang out until it’s going well, and then we can take off.”
“That’s kinda genius,” I agreed.
“I know. That’s what I am,” Chris replied, clearly full of himself.
“And the moment is over,” I teased. He laughed.
The day of the event:
I woke up early, antsy to get to work. I texted Alexis and told her we would resume walking on Monday.
I was first to arrive at the office just as I planned. I took the signs outside and set them up, then I finished the refreshment table and was available to direct traffic for the people staffing other tables. By the time Mark and Amy arrived, we were set up and ready to go.
I took my place at the registration table. “Wow, do I even need to be here?” Mark asked. “This looks fantastic.”
“That’s what you pay me for” I smiled at him. “And yes, you need to be here; I suck at speeches.”
Mark chuckled at me as Amy approached. “Amy, I love the pins,” I told her. She does a great job with trinkets and favors.
“Aww, thanks, Zoe,” she replied. “They fit here. The place looks great!” She praised.
Our first group arrived. “Good morning!” I greeted. If you would please sign in to track attendance, grab a favor and check out the fair. The pastor will start the group in an hour.” I told them. They did as asked and then meandered around the event.
Mark does a lot with the local veterans. He holds a monthly group, which he was doing today, but he wanted more participation, so we organized this fair. Today we had booths set up for all the local groups that assist them. Benefits, housing, support dogs, counseling, work opportunities, everything. This first group was all new faces, so already we have success!
I operated the table for 45 minutes until I was approached by Amy, who looked very tired of standing. “Zoe, do you want a break? I’d really like to sit,” she said.
“Oh, Amy, absolutely! I replied. “I haven’t even checked my email yet today. I could do some work for a while.” She looked very thankful to take my chair.
I headed to my office and fired up the computer. I have no idea how my inbox fills up overnight. Don’t people ever go home?
I was in the middle of a response when a man entered. “I’m here to see Mark?” He said.
I looked up. Well, he was certainly new. “the pastor is getting ready to start his address. The fair is happening right across the hall there, and the meeting will be in the church in 10 minutes.” I explained.
“I don’t know anything about a meeting. I was just supposed to come here to talk to Mark,” he responded, a definite edge to his voice. What’s his problem? I wondered.
“Are you a veteran?” I asked.
“How can you tell?” He asked.
“Well, because despite all the signs and red, white and blue everywhere for the veterans’ event, I figured maybe you were called here.” I was sarcastic, but he hadn’t given off the friendliest vibe.
The man then looked around. “Mark set me up, didn’t he?” He asked.
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I explained. “Today, we have our monthly veteran support group and event to connect to some new faces.”
He looked confused.
“Who told you to come by?” I asked him.
“He did.” The man answered.
It was like pulling teeth to see what was going on with this guy. I better catch Mark before he starts. “Sir, what is your name? I will go and find the pastor and tell him you’re here.”
“Jack,” he replied.
“Just, Jack?” I asked. I figured he would have given his last name.
“Just Jack,” he confirmed.
Alright then. I went into the back of the church and found Mark. “Mark, there’s a man in my office.” I started.
“It’s about time you met someone,” Mark answered. He thinks he’s funny.
“Oh my goodness no!” I reprimanded him. “A man named Jack says he is here to see you.”
“Jack is here?” Pastor Mark answered, clearly delighted with this news.
“Yessir,” I replied.
He all but ran by me headed for my office.
“Jack!” He exclaimed. “I’m so glad to see you.” He wrapped the man in a hug.
“Good to see you too, Mark. But why am I here?” Jack replied.
“Listen, I’m hosting a meeting. How about you join us, and then we will chat after. We can do lunch! Zoe will get something ordered in.” Mark said as though I wasn’t here.
“Sure, Zoe will take care of that.” I chimed in.
“Okay, sounds great,” Jack said.
“Come on,” Mark said, putting his arm around Jack’s shoulders and leading him toward the fair.
They stopped by the registration table, and Amy jumped up to wrap her arms around Jack. It was clear now he was a friend. He just hadn’t been very friendly to me.
I announced to the banquet hall for everyone to head to the church for the meeting before returning to my office. I called the Deli and put in a lunch order before starting on a big stack of paperwork.
I was interrupted long enough to accept lunch just as the fair was ending. I delivered it to the conference room before heading for clean up in the banquet hall. Amy asked if I would join them. It appeared Jack was shooting daggers, so I politely declined. I wonder what I did to him?
I thanked everyone who operated the other booths and made sure we had correct contact information for them before hauling in big barrels to sweep up the mess in the empty room. After putting the cleaned tables away and hauling the garbage out, I brought the registration information to my desk. I found a sandwich, macaroni salad, and a cup of fruit sitting there. I had ordered extra, unsure if anyone else would stay. I was thankful for it.
I was munching away and entering registration information into our database when Mark appeared. “I’m sorry you didn’t have lunch with us. There was plenty of food.” He said.
“Oh, I know there was; I ordered it.” I smiled at him. I knew I was being a smart Alec, but it was okay; he’s used to it. “I wasn’t sure who was going to be staying,” I explained.
“Jack Hudson is an old friend. We served together.” Mark explained. Before taking over the church, Mark was an army Chaplin.
“I see,” I explained. “Hopefully, it was nice to have the time to catch up.” I was now glad I hadn’t interrupted his catch up time with an old friend.
“Jack has been through a lot,” he continued. I was hoping he wouldn’t give me details. It wasn’t any of my business.
“He’s lucky to have such a good friend to guide him through to the light,” I offered.
“Well, hopefully, that can happen as he spends more time here. I hired him to do maintenance. He starts orientation with you on Monday.” Mark reported and walked away.