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A New Life Ebook

A New Life Ebook

Charleston Hearts Book #1

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Abigail Sutton’s husband didn’t survive the war, leaving her pregnant, alone, and questioning God’s plan. To pick up the pieces of her broken life, she must now return to her childhood home in Charleston in this tender and unforgettable novel from New York Times bestselling author Melissa Storm.

When a rare snowstorm blankets the city on Christmas eve, a Chihuahua takes shelter in the church’s nativity display to give birth to her litter. Abigail’s father, the pastor of the local church, rescues the shivering pups and entrusts them to his daughter’s care.

Can the brave mother dog help Abigail embrace motherhood, rekindle her faith, and learn to smile again?

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"Heartwarming and inspirational. 
I absolutely loved this book and read it straight through because I couldn't put it down!  I shed a few tears, smiled a lot, and can't wait to meet these characters again. Most highly recommended."

- Amazon Customer

SNEAK PEEK

Abigail Sutton sat in the dark living room waiting for her father to return from his Christmas Eve sermon. Much to his chagrin, she’d refused to attend church with him that evening. She also wouldn’t go tomorrow morning, next Sunday, or any other day for the rest of her life as long as she could avoid it.

Avoiding church when your father was the pastor took quite some effort, but Abigail had committed herself to just that. The last time she’d stepped foot into the Eternal Grace sanctuary had been for her husband’s funeral, which had forever tainted the place as far as she was concerned.

It had destroyed her relationship with God, too.

She’d happily praised His name all her life, and for what? The first time she’d truly needed God, He’d failed to show up. What good is having an all-powerful Heavenly Father if he couldn’t even take the one second that was needed to shield her husband from the bomb blast that had claimed him far too soon?

Then there was the guilt.

Abigail herself had been the one to convince Owen to take a second tour of duty before they’d settle down to start their family. If she’d just asked him to stay home, they’d be together singing holiday hymns at church with her father and planning the start of their family side by side, hand in hand.

Instead, Abigail sat alone. She’d moved back in with her father about two months ago. Back to her childhood home in Charleston.

It was an odd thing returning to your hometown when you thought you’d already left it behind. It was almost as if her life with Owen hadn’t even happened, like the world wasn’t just burying his body but also his memory. But it couldn’t get rid of her husband that easily, for Abigail still had two very good reminders.

One was the glistening gold band on her finger. They said people wore rings on their second smallest finger because it had a vein linked straight to the heart. She’d always liked that.

Her other reminder of Owen was also near to her heart, as in literally growing just beneath it. Their child. The last piece of Owen anyone would ever have in this world.

She didn’t know how to feel about becoming a mother and a widow at almost the exact same time. She’d only found out about her pregnancy a few weeks before the solider with downcast eyes and a blank expression had delivered the folded flag to her doorstep. She’d called to tell Owen the news even though it was still early, and conventional wisdom said not to tell anyone until the first “dangerous” twelve weeks had passed.

But the news of their child was supposed to keep him safe, give him something that much more special to which he’d returned. Instead, she would always have to wonder if it had been the distraction that knocked him off his game and ultimately ended his life way out there in that horrible desert so far from home.

She hated picturing it, but she couldn’t stop either. Every time Abigail closed her eyes, she saw her Owen smiling and wiping away tears of joy at their wedding. But in an instant, his handsome face would be replaced by a bloodied, torn visage mangled by pain. It was this last haunting version of Owen that remained with her, and it didn’t even look like him.

But what about their baby? If it turned out to be a boy, would it look like Owen? The real Owen?

She didn’t know whether that would make things easier or not. Would having a little boy the spitting image of his father break her heart every time she looked at him—or would it soothe her?

Abigail wished she didn’t have to consider these things. She wished she could be a normal mother expecting her first child and expecting her husband home healthy, happy, and in time for dinner.

A part of her also wished that she had never met Owen at all. Each time Abigail thought this, though, a tremendous wave of guilt overtook her.

When would the tears stop coming? When would the guilt stop eating her from the inside out? When would she actually be happy about this baby?

Never couldn’t possibly be the answer, but it was the one she expected. She’d given God her everything, only for Him to take it all away at the first chance He got.

She glanced at the clock on her cell phone. Her father should have been home at least half an hour ago. She groaned and curled her legs up beneath her on the chair. It wasn’t that she needed his company, but she liked to have benchmarks by which she could measure the passage of time.

Her biggest comfort these days was simply that time pressed ever onward. After all, it was supposed to heal all wounds. And Abigail had few other options left when it came to finding some way—any way—to begin to feel normal again.

Another five minutes passed before she heard the sound of her father fiddling with the doorknob outside. “Abigail, can you help?” he called through the thick wooden door. “I have a surprise!”

Slowly, she lifted herself from the chair, bracing herself for whatever came next. She’d asked him not to make a big fuss of Christmas this year, but that didn’t mean he’d chosen to listen. Her sweet father was always coming up with grand schemes, and they all too often involved her. Even before Abigail had moved back home, he’d often call her out of the blue and stop by the base to invite her on an impromptu day trip.

Normally she loved his zeal for life, but lately it was just too much. She needed him to be calm, reserved, forgettable. Then maybe she could put these painful days of grieving behind her, too.

Somehow she doubted that would happen. She took a deep breath, then placed a shaking hand on the door knob and twisted it open. The surprise that greeted her on the doorstep was quite possibly the last thing she’d ever have expected…

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