Renewed by Grace
Book Four in the Grace Series
A Celebrity Crush in your Fifties?
Andrea Cabot’s life is going really well after the terrible accident in June that put her in rehab for months. Now it’s September, and she’s excited to get back to normal… well at least to find out what that is with her new daughter-in-law, who is also her partner in the catering business they run together.
Life is pretty perfect until she’s invited to Noah’s 8th birthday party. He was her buddy who encouraged her through a painful rehab. Andrea arrives with everyone expecting another child, not a fifty-year-old widow. To make matters worse, Noah’s grandfather, Mark Hasting is her favorite author!
Mark Lawson Hastings, a divorced, successful author, is now good friends with his ex-wife and family after being saved while recovering from alcoholism. Mark feels he doesn’t deserve love after the many mistakes he made before he was a Christian. The trouble is he can’t seem to write the new book series because he finds Andrea so distracting.
Both unsure of their feelings, can Andrea and Mark find their way to understanding
the truth of being Renewed by Grace?
Continue Below for A Sneak Preview of the first two Chapters in Renewed by Grace: Book Four in the Grace Series.
“Mom, please read another chapter. Pleassse?”
Andrea looked into her son’s green eyes and could see they were still red from crying earlier in the evening after James fussed at him to quit practicing the trumpet. He had yelled the noise was giving him a raging headache and then stormed out of the living room.
“It’s late, Joshua. You have school tomorrow.”
Joshua leaned forward, his eyes shining. “I know, but Skip’s in danger of being captured!”
Tousling his hair, Andrea smiled to see her serious little man acting like the five-year-old he really was. “Okay, but only one more chapter… no matter what happens. Deal?” She gave him her mother stare as she said, “You’ve got that big math test tomorrow.”
“Deal!” Joshua laid back down, snuggling under the sheets covered in spaceships and planets. “Besides, I’m really good at math and barely have to study.”
Rolling her eyes, Andrea said, “Don’t tell me that!”
Shifting on the side of the bed, she opened the latest Kip novel to the next chapter and began to read out loud. “Kip struggled to unlock the bulkhead door, muttering under his breath Neptune should be here. ‘What’s the point of having a genius talking dog if he isn’t around to help you…’”
As Andrea continued the next chapter in the Skip Saturn series, she wondered if the baby she was carrying would be good for both Joshua and James. Rubbing her still flat stomach, she thought, it’ll be nice for Joshua to have a constant friend since we move around so much with James’ job in the military. I was going to tell James at dinner tonight, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.
After Kip had escaped once again, Andrea tucked her little man in for the night.
“Goodnight, son. Sleep well and say your prayers.”
“Night, Mom. You’ll read again to me tomorrow night, too, won’t you?” His eyes were shining in expectation of further adventures tomorrow evening.
“Yes, my little astronaut.”
Turning off the light, she watched Joshua settle in and made sure the Superman night light was on, before making her way to her bedroom. Right before dinner, James had gotten a call that sent him rushing over to base headquarters for an emergency, and she didn’t expect to see him tonight. She put her robe at the foot of the bed in case Joshua called out for her and climbed under the covers.
Andrea reached into the drawer of her nightstand and grabbed a paperback novel she had shoved all the way to the back. She opened up to the last page she read and muttered, “I have to be up early too and can only read one chapter myself. After I drop Joshua off at school, I’ve got that committee meeting to plan the annual Marine Corp gala. If I’d known I’d be pregnant during the event, I wouldn’t have volunteered to head up the entire thing.”
Two hours later, the novel almost finished having read five chapters, Andrea closed the book and put it in the back of her nightstand drawer. Oh, Lord, it’s after eleven. I can’t believe I stayed up so late reading Mark Lawson’s latest sci-fi novel!?! Who would’ve thought how much I’d enjoy the adult series of Kip Saturn. No one would believe I’ve loved reading science fiction since I was a teenager, but something about the man’s writing makes me think I’m watching a movie, not just reading a book. Taking a sip of water, she paused placing it on the nightstand. I’ve read two novels in this series, but something’s different about this one. I’m struggling to put it down.
Not surprised James wasn’t back, Andrea turned off the lights and snuggled under the covers. Lord, please let this baby be good for our family. James and I discussed not having another child right now, because he’s going on tour in a few weeks…
Sighing, Andrea turned over to grab James’ pillow to smell his aftershave. Lord, I trust You have a plan for this unexpected blessing. Help me to follow the path You have for our family. Amen.
Feeling at peace, Andrea fell asleep with his aftershave filling her senses. When James got home right before dawn, he smiled to see his wife holding his pillow, and gently moved her closer to his side to wrap his arms around her. Falling asleep was always better with Andrea in his arms and with only a short time until he had to be back on base and then gone away on another tour, he wanted all the time with her he could get.
Journal Entry 28 – March 1990
I’m not the best at talking and I’m new to this praying thing, so I thought I’d write out my thoughts in this journal Maggie gave me for Christmas. Last week, she gave me a chance to have a Christmas with Kip under her and Rick’s supervision, because she said she had seen a real change since January after I was saved. I truly believe it was a miracle from You after everything I’ve done. I know it’s only because of You my ex-wife is giving me a second chance with my son. Thank You for this second chance!
I’ll try to always be honest in these journal entries and consistent, too. If I can write on my novels most every day, then well, I can write to You, as well.
My editor contacted me this afternoon and said my writing must have greatly improved because the publishing house is getting a lot of positive feedback to my novel that launched last week. David was astonished when I gave him the newest Kip novel months ahead of schedule. I don’t know what happened, but after I was saved in January, I had all this energy. I went to my room and wrote everything out. It’s never come so easily before, and I know it was because of You, too.
Please help me to be not just a better writer, but a Christian author who needs to be held to a higher standard. People reading my books should be led to You, not away from You. Help me to be the man of God You want me to be.
I want my son to be proud of his father, and I know it means I’ve got to keep walking the walk of faith. Please help me not to disappoint my family.
“Come on Andrea! Just four more and you’re done.”
Andrea lifted her eyes, sweat shimmering on her forehead. Trying not to glare at her physical therapist, she muttered, “I’m tired, Matt. This was a looonnnggg session.”
“Yes, but it’s your last one.” Matt looked at the petite older woman and marveled at her energy even with the few complaints she’d made during physical therapy.
“You can do it, Mrs. Andrea. I’ll do four more if you will.”
Andrea looked over at the young boy who spoke and smiled. Lord, thank You for sending this sweet boy to encourage me through this painful process. I couldn’t have made it through without him.
“Ok, Noah. Just for you, I’ll do four more!” Winking at the blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy, she struggled through her last few exercises, before collapsing in a chair. “I thought with this being my last session, you would’ve taken it easy on me!”
“I can’t help how well you’re doing, Andrea. You’ve been a great patient. You’ve done beautifully and could probably run a 5K.” Matt handed Andrea a towel, before giving Noah a high five. “Good job, Noah!”
Kristy, Noah’s physical therapist said to the boy, “You’re done for the day, Mr. Noah. I’ll see you next week.” Noah giggled at the young woman calling him mister and gave her a high five before grabbing his bookbag. Kristy called to the back of his head, “And don’t forget your exercises.”
Matt hugged Andrea, before he said, “Keep up with your exercises too, and remember to be mindful of your hip.” Making notes on her chart, he continued, “Your body will tell you when you need to slow down. Be sure to walk every day.”
“Thank you, Matt. You’ve been great.” Pushing her curly brown hair out of her face, she smiled throwing him the soggy towel. “I wouldn’t be back to normal so quickly without your help.”
“You did the work. I just showed you what to do.”
Noah waited by the door for Andrea to get her purse before following her outside to sit on the bench. It was still warm for October, and Noah liked being able to spend so much time outside. When we lived in Chicago, it was already freezing by now.
Andrea sat down next to Noah and sighed. “I’m going to miss seeing you two times a week, Noah. You’ve been such an encouragement to this old woman.”
Noah smiled while shaking his head, “You’re not old, plus you’re fun. I like all your stories.”
“You’re just easy to talk to and I do love talking about my boys.”
“I want to meet Josh and Jacob someday. They sound like fun. I’ve always wanted a pet frog, but Mom says no pets until I’m older.”
“I’d love for you to meet my sons. I think they’d like you, too.” Andrea hugged the little boy, before looking away. I haven’t seen Jacob in so long, I don’t know if I’d even recognize him.
Shaking her head about the sad thought, she changed the subject by asking, “Is your Grandpa picking you up today?”
Noah nodded, “Yeah, he’s been writing all morning, but will pick me up this afternoon since my parents are working.”
“It’s good he can do that.”
Looking out for cars, she was hoping to finally meet the Grandpa, Noah raved about day after day. All she really knew was he was trying to write a science fiction story based on Noah and the little boy was excited to have books written specifically about him. It was talking about science fiction that allowed us to bond. Noah was shocked to learn this old lady knew so much about sci-fi.
Glancing sideways at the smiling boy, she thought, I’m not sure what the publishing world looks like, but I hope the boy knows it will probably be small. I imagine it’s hard to get into the traditional publisher’s market. Glancing at Noah, she sighed, But, I’m sure he’ll be happy with whatever his grandfather does. I’ve never seen a boy adore his grandfather more than Noah does.
“Will you come to my birthday party?”
Andrea’s smile went from ear to ear. “Of course, honey! I wouldn’t miss it. When is it?”
Before Noah could reply, Andrea’s phone rang. She mouthed to Noah, just a sec and then said, “Hello, Bailey!” She paused before asking, “What did Josh do now?”
Noah watched her on the phone and prayed his grandfather would arrive soon. He had been trying to get them to meet since Mrs. Andrea started physical therapy with him in July. Now it was September, he was out of time. Today’s her last day! Come on, Grandpa. You can’t miss meeting her this time. It’s the last chance we have.
“Noah, that was Bailey. I’ve told you about her running the catering part of Taste & See with me. I need to run, we’re catering an event for the youth silent auction tomorrow and I’ve got to grab a few things my son forgot to buy. Apparently, he went to the grocery store to by flour and brought home baking soda instead. Bailey’s practically in tears. I need to get the shopping done quickly and get home before they kill each other.”
Noah laughed, but only thought, that sounds like my dad.
Standing up, Andrea hugged Noah. “You’ll be okay waiting for your Grandpa?”
The little boy nodded, unable to hide his frown, “Bye, Mrs. Andrea.”
Watching her walk away, Noah groaned. How will I get her to meet my Grandpa, now? As she drove away, he waved goodbye. Oh, no! He slapped his forehead as her car pulled out of the parking lot. I forgot to tell her my birthday!
Moments later, a dark jeep pulled in front of Noah and honked. The little boy hopped off the bench to wave at his grandpa. “Grandpa, you’re late!” He said with his hands on his skinny hips.
“I know, bud, but there was a bad accident on the highway and I was stuck.” Mark was surprised to see his grandson so upset. Noah’s usually very go with the flow, easy-going.
“I wanted you to meet my friend Andrea, but she left already.”
“Sorry, bud. Next time.” This upset over a girl, that’s new!
Noah hung his head, “This was her last day of therapy.”
“Ohh!” Understanding dawned on him that his grandson’s crush wasn’t going to be there anymore. Poor guy, no wonder he is sad. Mark wanted to cheer him up asked, “Well, don’t you see her at school?”
“GRANDPAAAA! I told you she DOESN’T go to my school.”
“Ohh!” Putting the jeep in the drive, Mark said, “Well, we’ll think of something. I mean would Kip Saturn let his friend go off to another planet without ever seeing her again.”
The little boy’s eyes shined bright. “No, he would have his faithful Neptune track her down.”
“I invited her to my birthday party, but I don’t have her address to mail her an invitation.” Tossing his backpack on the floor of the jeep, he said, “I didn’t get to tell her when it is or it’s about space.”
“Well, I’m sure we can track it down. We’ve got time, your birthday’s not until mid-December.” Turning onto the highway, Mark asked, “Milkshake before we go home and you do your homework?”
Fist pump into the air, Noah shouted, “YES!”
Mark turned toward their favorite ice cream place and wondered about the child named Andrea, who had his grandson so mesmerized. He’s never had a crush on a girl before, always saying they had cooties. I guess my little guy is growing up. Listening to Noah sing along to the praise and worship CD he had playing, Mark sighed, Oh to be young and in love.