Book Six in the Grace Series
Preston Dyson, III first arrived in Cartersville to win back his ex-fiancée but instead gave his heart to God. Now, as a Christian businessman, Preston is moving to Cartersville to open a new restaurant based on godly Christian principles. He just needs the perfect manager and chef.
Sharon Pruitt’s perfect life in Chicago fell apart after her husband dumped her for another woman. Broken and hurting, she moved to Cartersville to start over. Unable to find a job in a restaurant, she became a bank teller, but her heart still longs for the restaurant on the river.
When the chance to interview for the manager’s position for Preston’s new restaurant arrives, Sharon hesitates to apply because Preston’s sophisticated business ways remind her too much of her ex-husband. Preston knows of the dark-haired beauty but finds her too quiet and shy to be the outstanding manager he needs to make this business a success.
Will these two find a way to give each
other grace and find out God might
have more in store for each of them?
Coming December 7, 2021
Here's a Sneak Peek!
“Lady, are you going to move?”
“Can I get through?”
Sharon looked up to see several people trying to move past her to get off the elevator. “Oh, I’m sorry.” The woman with the expressive chestnut eyes smiled at the group of men stuck behind her waiting. “I’m so sorry.”
Stepping out of the elevator, she moved aside to let everyone pass her in their rush to get to work. She had been a bit distracted riding down eleven floors of her building. Last night’s fight with Ben must have messed with me more than I thought.
Once everyone cleared the elevator, she walked quickly through the lobby, her heavy boots squeaking on the marble floor. Pulling her coat tighter, she waved at the doorman of her building. “Hi, Jim. How are the girls?”
“Fine, Mrs. Sharon.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small card. “The missus wanted me to give you this. It’s a thank you for the blanket you knitted for our new baby. She’s crawling now, so my wife said to apologize it took so long to say thanks.”
“I understand, it’s hard with two little ones at home close in age. Tell your wife I said hello.”
“Will do.” He held the door for her. “Wrap up now, it’s cold even with a bit of sun. There are no clouds at the moment but I doubt that it will last.”
“I’ll enjoy it while I can, it’s supposed to start snowing later tonight and not stop for a week.”
“Bye, Mrs. Pruitt.”
Not stopping, Sharon waved as she pulled her coat tighter. The wind whipped around her, making the scarf around her neck fly up into her face. Pushing it down, she began her walk to the L train to begin her ride to work. She managed an elegant restaurant overlooking the river, and couldn’t imagine a better life. Chicago was her city, these people were her people, and her job was the best in the whole world.
Frowning, a look people would be shocked to see on Sharon’s natural happy face, she thought of the latest fight with her husband and wondered what was wrong with them. We’ve never fought like this before! Ben and I’ve always gotten along. Our schedules are so different, we have to make the time we have together count but lately the only times we see each other is to argue. I know he’s working on a difficult case at the law firm, but he’s never had trouble leaving problems at work before. Maybe because it’s a high-profile client with the firm? As a divorce lawyer, I know he sees a lot of heartbreaking marriages.
Seeing her stop coming up, Sharon put her husband out of her mind and focused on the day. She used to read on the train but became so engrossed in her book, and too many times missed her stop. Mentally running through the reservations for lunch and dinner, she spied the bag lady who sat on the corner, jingling her can for money, Sharon put in a dollar after a quick hello. Reminding herself to bring leftovers from dinner to her on the way back, she kept up a brisk pace. It’s awful cold today and will snow before evening.
Walking quickly with the crowd of people, she made her way to her favorite little bakery on the corner. Speeding around a woman listening on her headphones slowly walking by, Sharon stepped into the little warm shop out of the cold, January morning and waved at the waitress taking someone’s order.
Spying her special coffee to go sitting on the counter, Sharon called out thanks to Elena, the owner, already on her way back out the door. She had a standing order with the bakery for a tall coffee of a special blend no one else in Chicago carried. Elena graciously offered to have a large cup ready each morning for her on way to work, and Sharon paid her tab at the end of each month.
Growing up, she loved the special visits to the little bakery with her mother before her little sister was born. Even after all these years, she knew all of the regular customers and staff. On her days off, she stopped in for a meal with her coffee, but when she worked, she only had time for a quick run and grab.
Stepping back out into the cold, she rushed the last few blocks to her restaurant with a large grin on her face in contrast to everyone else with their heads down to avoid the cold wind blasting from the river. Saying hello to each staff member as she put away her purse, she knew even though she only worked at the restaurant, this place was still hers.
“I need to talk to you, Sharon.”
When the door from the kitchen swung open, Sharon looked up to see one of the more temperamental chefs frowning. Oh, no, not good! “Hi, Rob. Nice morning, isn’t it?”
“No, Sharon… It’s not!” Rob shouted. “THAT fish place got MY order wrong AGAIN! That’s the third time this month. I won’t have it.” He threw a towel on the floor, stomping his foot. “I’ve had it with this new owner. He makes dumb…”
“Now, Rob. Don’t say anything you’ll regret. You need this job. Your ex-wife told you if you missed another child support payment, she was going to take you to court, again.”
“I know, but…” His pudgy face turning scarlet.
“No, buts. I’ll take care of it. I always do, don’t I? It would make you miserable not to see your kids, you know.”
“Yes, you’re right.” Rob’s voice lowering a bit.
“Then, I’ll take care of it.” Picking up the towel to toss in the laundry, Sharon turned back to Rob. “It’s the new co-owner. Todd still owns the majority. The new guy’s just flexing his muscles. He’ll settle down soon. They always do.”
“Yeah, I know, but he’s messing with my fish order.” He muttered, walking back into the kitchen.
Grazie Dio! Good, he’s much calmer. As long as the vein in his forehead doesn’t pop up, he can be reasoned with.
Remembering the last time the fish order was wrong, Sharon shuddered and went to grab her notebook with the to-do list for today. After putting her name tag on her crisp, white shirt, Sharon prepared to tackle a new day. Maybe, I can make it home before Ben and make a special dinner for the two of us.
The day passed quickly with the usual problems for a busy five-star restaurant. Glad it was smooth sailing after she dealt with the fish situation, she talked to customers and made sure the staff worked up to the usual excellent standards, keeping the fight with Ben out of the forefront of her mind.
In between the lunch and the dinner rush, she looked up a special fish recipe of her own to make for dinner. Planning her route home to pick up ingredients for the special meal, she whistled on her walk back to her downtown apartment on Dearborn, even in the bitter cold.
She had enough time to drop off some leftovers with the bag lady, before running into the bakery to pay her tab along with purchasing a decadent dessert for tonight. Walking off the elevator to her eleventh-floor apartment, she was surprised Ben wasn’t home at this late hour. I thought we could do what we did when we were first married, I’d cook while he sat at the table to tell me about his day. We haven’t spent time together in ages.
Setting the bag of groceries down on the counter, she saw a note on the kitchen table and moved to read it. I hope he isn’t going to be late again. I know this is a big case, but he’s worked late every night for a month!
I’m done. I can’t do this any longer. I don’t love you anymore, and I’m not sure I ever have. I’ve moved out and will be sending you divorce papers by the end of this week. Make sure you send me your rings. They’ve been in my family for years and I want them back.
Sharon stood frozen in the kitchen. Unable to move, she looked at the food she planned to cook tonight before collapsing on the floor sobbing. She cried out, her voice breaking, “Oh, Dio! What do I do, now? What do I do?” Her sobs echoed through the empty apartment, a long time before she lifted herself up off the floor.