Book Five in the Grace Series
If Time Doesn’t Heal Wounds, Will God?
Laura Flowers swore off men after an abusive marriage which finally ended when her husband was killed in action while in the Army. Her only goal now is to raise her son, Brian, to be a loving, Christian man and not turn into a rebellious kid under her in-laws’ influence. A battle she was losing.
Jacob Cabot, Andrea’s youngest son in the Marines has left the military. Given an honorable discharge because of physical injuries and even more mental scars. Lost and unsure who he is now he’s not an active Marine, Jacob must find a new place in this civilian world. Under his mother’s influence, Jacob joins the mentoring program at a local elementary school. Everyone is surprised when he is paired with Brian Flowers.
Can these three hurting people learn about God’s Healing Grace
and find their way back home?
Continue Below for a Sneak Preview of the First Chapter in Healing Grace: Book Five in the Grace Series!
April 2014, Undisclosed location in the Middle East
I’ve decided to retire after this mission.”
Jacob looked over at Tyler and snorted. “Yeah, right. You know we’re lifers. In basic training, we both said they’d bury us in our uniforms.”
“I’m not kidding, Jacob. This is my last mission. I’ve filled out the paperwork and everything. It’s set in stone.”
Adjusting the scope on his rifle, Jacob turned slightly toward Tyler to see if he was joking or not. Seeing the clear brown eyes staring at him without blinking, Jacob felt a stone drop in his stomach. “Why? We’ve always talked about being soldiers until we’re old and gray, and while you’re old, you’re not gray.”
Glancing at his watch, Jacob thought, I hope this truck shows up soon. We’ve been here since one in the morning and I’m ready to grab some shut-eye
“I’m barely two years older than you. Besides, you’re one to talk; I’ve seen you hiding those gray hairs with shorter and shorter haircuts.”
“I want to meet someone, start a family before I’m too old to play with my kids.”
“Where’s this coming from?”
Tyler shifted slightly; his movements barely noticeable since the two men were waiting for their target to arrive. Sweat trickled down Tyler’s nose, but he was trained to ignore everything and keep movements to a minimum when they were out on a dangerous mission where the slightest move could get you and your brothers killed.
Holding the binoculars, he scanned the area with a sigh. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but when Tank died a few months ago, well…”
“That was an accident. It wasn’t even in combat.”
“I know that’s what really got me thinking. Our time on earth is only a short moment in the grand scheme of things and I really want what time I have left on this earth to count for something. Raise another generation, continue the family line kind of thing.”
Seeing movement, Jacob paused to reply but saw it was only a small animal in the distance looking for food. “This is awful deep thinking for a jarhead.”
“Just because you have the intellect of a spoon…” Tyler checked their rear, before continuing, “I’m thinking I want to own a restaurant or coffee shop, maybe a Chick-fil-A or something.”
“I’ve seen you cook.”
“I’ll hire people.”
Jacob turned ever so slightly to stare at Tyler, his eyes wide. “You’re really serious.”
“Umm… yeah, dummy. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
“And you thought on a mission where we’re to take out a big-shot bad guy was a good time to tell me?”
Sighing, Tyler said quietly, “I’ve been trying to tell you for weeks, but I haven’t gotten up the nerve. I know this wasn’t our plan.”
“What was that?”
Jacob looked over the ridge they were hiding on and saw a dust cloud rising in the distance. “I think this is them.” Finally, we’ve been sitting on this spot for days waiting for our target
The two men settled into their positions and years of training took over. Jacob always felt the few minutes before he pulled the trigger were the longest moments of his life. Being trained as a sniper had made his dad so proud, but lately, Jacob was becoming haunted by the eyes of the men he’d killed. Maybe Tyler has the right idea. I know what I’m doing is important, but I never expected it would get to be this hard. I might not be as tough as my dad thought and after nine years, I may need to think about getting out.
Noise from the truck became almost deafening as Jacob saw more than one in a long line of vehicles. Our intel didn’t say there would be more than one truck
While Tyler looked through the binoculars for their target, Jacob peered through his scope for the leader of the rebels they were sent to stop.
When they spotted him riding in the front truck, Jacob took a deep breath as Tyler counted out, “One, Two, Three.”
On the count of three, Jacob took a shot that normally would have made someone’s career. He knew he’d hit his mark when the first truck veered off the road. Not waiting to see what was going on, he and Tyler grabbed what little gear they brought and made their exit.
“Move,” Tyler barked. He didn’t even wait but broke out into a dead run. “We’re going to have company soon.”
Jacob didn’t reply, already running down the steep incline of the ridge they had staked out. All thoughts ceased as he concentrated on his breathing. He heard Tyler right behind him. Not hearing any signs of pursuit, Jacob smiled. We’re going to make it
Jacob barely finished his thought, before flying through the air, dust, and dirt in a thick blanket. Grenade. No wondering they weren’t pursuing us
. He thought seconds before he passed out.
What seemed like hours later, Jacob grabbed his head, unable to stop the ringing in his ears. What a headache! Where am I?
Jacob jerked up and saw the world spin. Worried he was going to toss the protein bar he had earlier, he moved slowly looking for Tyler. The ringing in his head made it hard to concentrate but over to his left, he saw the crumpled form of Tyler Clark. Crawling over to his friend, Jacob ignored the sharp stabbing pain in his hip. He checked for a pulse and nearly sobbed with relief when he found one.
“Come on Ty. Wake up and insult me.”
Turning Tyler over, Jacob started checking his injuries and was worried to see he had a deep head wound. Ripping his own uniform, Jacob worked to stop the bleeding.
“Ouch, Jacob. That hurts. Stop it.”
“You’re bleeding, you big idiot.”
“Yeah, well, you’re making it worse.”
“You must have a terrible head injury if that’s all you can come up with.”
“Give me a moment. I did just get hit with a grenade.”
“Big baby, so did I.”
“Yeah, well, I was closer.” Coughing blood, Tyler wiped his mouth but made no other movement.
Jacob groaned, but held it in, because it made his head throb. “Big baby.” This is bad, Lord
. We need help
He looked around for the radio and discovered it was shattered into a million pieces along with most of their other equipment. Really, Lord? Command won’t be looking for us for at least another 48 hours.
“Jacob, I can’t walk.”
“I know, I’m going to carry you.” Tossing the useless radio aside, he grabbed the tattered bag to see if there was anything useful for their long trek back to base. We’ve got to get going. We won’t be alone for long
Coughing more blood, Tyler growled, “No, you need to get out of here.”
“No man left behind.”
“I’m a dead man.”
“Bite your tongue.”
“I think I did when I landed.”
“See, a sense of humor, you’re going to be okay.”
Tyler cut his eyes at Jacob but said nothing. He could see his friend was in no better shape than he was with blood pouring down his own head and shrapnel in his leg, neither paying attention to the multiple cuts and bruises covering them both.
“Go, Jacob. I think I’ve got a punctured lung among other things.”
“You’re no doctor…”
“Jacob, I outrank you, and I’m telling you to get out of here. That’s an order.”
“Shut up. You’re injured so I’m declaring you unfit for command and I’m taking over.”
“Now, now. What would your mother say?”
Not waiting for Tyler to reply, Jacob hoisted him onto his back in a fireman’s carry and prayed this wouldn’t instantly kill him with a potential punctured lung. “We’ve got to get moving Tyler, so hush and concentrate on not dying.”
“Haha. You’re a regular comedian.”
Jacob didn’t reply but focused on moving as quickly as possible without throwing up. His head swam and the burning in his hip was almost unbearable, but he knew of the two, he was in better shape.
Walking quickly, he made good time and kept telling Tyler it was going to be okay. It looked like the insurgents just tossed a few grenades and then made a run for it, which suited Jacob just fine. They won’t be far behind. They’ll get reinforcements and will soon be crawling all over the place, but I know I hit our target, so it will take them a bit to regroup
Jacob walked for hours until he got back to the small cave they were using as home base while hiding out in the desert. Normally they could run back in less than thirty minutes, but carrying Tyler over his shoulder and the searing pain in his hip slowed them way down. He decided to grab their small water stash and take a break. Tyler should have some water if he could stand it
Carefully laying his friend down, Jacob worried when Tyler didn’t open his eyes. The trip had been rough for his friend. Moans proceed by gasps of air had been the only sign he was still hanging on.
“Come on, Ty.” Pulling out some water, Jacob held the canteen to his lips. “Drink just a sip and then we’ll get going.”
Tyler’s eyes fluttered open, “Jacob. You need to leave me.”
“Not going to happen.”
Coughing blood, Tyler sighed, “I always knew… that’s why I wanted out…”
“What are you mumbling about…” Jacob was worried Tyler was fighting a fever and was delirious by his sudden rambling.
Tyler looked up at Jacob, his eyes red, but clear, as he strangled out, “I always knew you were meant for something special. The way you escaped death, over and over, I knew God had to have a special plan for your life.”
“What are you mumbling about? You’re crazy!”
Jacob shook his head at his friend. It’s the fever. He’s never been religious before. We both grew up in church, but we’ve always joked how religion isn’t good for soldiers.
“I want you to know, I’ve made my peace with God and I’m going to be okay. But, you need to do the same.”
“It’s okay, Jacob. You’re my best friend and always will be. Just promise me you’ll figure out what God has planned for you.”
“TY, I can’t…”
“Promise!” Tyler grabbed Jacob’s hand, squeezing hard. “Promise me. A Marine’s promise.”
“I promise,” Jacob could feel tears falling down his suntanned cheeks. “But I’m getting you back to base. Just hold on. Then we’ll get out together.”
Tyler whispered, “Don’t forget your promise.”
Jacob picked up his friend, determined to get him back to camp and to a doctor. He kept saying over and over, “Hold on, Tyler. That’s an order. Hold on.”
After what seemed like days, Jacob saw the base less than three klicks away. “Thank God.” He called to Tyler over his shoulder, “We’re here, Ty. You’re going to be okay.”
Unable to move another step, Jacob shot Tyler’s pistol and then collapsed on the ground. The perimeter guard lookouts will find us and get help. Just hold on a bit longer, Ty.
Jacob blacked out, but not before he glimpsed boots running his way. After that, he was constantly in and out of consciousness, hearing only bits and pieces of conversation.
“… he’s bleeding out… let’s get him to the infirmary… that hip is bad… he’ll need surgery… I don’t know if we can save the leg or not… clear the way… stat…”
As he was taken into surgery and put under, Jacob heard one of the doctors say to a nurse prepping him, “… Clark’s dead, we can’t do anything for him… it’s a miracle Cabot made it back… it was over twenty miles on that bad hip… I don’t know if we can save the leg…”
Then the anesthesia kicked in and Jacob drifted off to sleep.
Want to read more?
Check out more of Jacob Cabot & Laura Flower’s Story in Healing Grace.