Okay, here is the last sneak peak into my new novel. Hopefully this will make you hungry for more! Please remember to leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Saved By Grace – Chapter One, Scene Three
Adam stood at the edge of the lawn and stared at his childhood home. It was a far cry from the house he had left. No trash littered the front porch or yard. The shrubbery beneath the windows was neatly trimmed. The house no longer sported peeling paint, but instead boasted a clean, white exterior with navy blue shutters. Even the creaky porch steps had been repaired.
With a slow gate, Adam crossed the greening grass. He knew the benevolent members of the church had done most of the work to the house. His mother had written him often enough, describing all the changes that were taking place to their humble abode. Doreen Pearson had been accepted into the congregation with loving arms. Would her wayward son be welcomed as warmly? Adam had his doubts. A hard knot formed in the pit of his stomach as he climbed the porch steps. He stared at the screen door for the space of several heartbeats before rapping on the metal frame.
There was no time to formulate how he might respond to his mother’s reaction as the door opened within moments and she stood before him.
“Adam?” Disbelief hung on Doreen Pearson’s voice. “Is that really you?” She brought folded hands up to her chest and pressed her palms against her heart.
“Yeah, Mom, it’s really me.”
“I can’t believe it!” Her hands trembled as she reached out to unlock the screen and push it open for Adam to enter. She threw herself against him as he crossed the threshold. Adam wrapped his arms around her. It felt foreign after being separated by a glass partition for ten years. “My baby’s home. He’s really home. Oh, thank You Lord!”
She rocked him back and forth and held tight, nearly squeezing Adam’s breath from him. Adam rested his cheek on her gray-streaked hair and allowed himself to revel in the experience of human touch. Love poured forth until it was nearly a palpable presence in the room. Finally, Doreen stepped back and looked into his face. She swiped tears from her cheeks.
“Why didn’t you let me know you were coming? How did you get here?” The questions came fast as Doreen’s eyes clouded with confusion. “I knew your parole was coming up but why wouldn’t you tell me so I could come and pick you up?”
“I dunno.” Adam shrugged and moved across the room. He stood before the sofa, looking down at the worn plaid and tried to bring order to the chaos of his thoughts. He could feel his mother’s presence behind him.
“But how did you get here?”
“They gave me a bus ticket as far as Grayling. Then I walked for a while, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do now. Then a car picked me up.” He turned slowly and read the disapproval in his mother’s eyes. “I wasn’t hitchhiking, Mom. I was just walking. And they stopped and asked where I was going.” Adam purposefully avoided telling his mother the ‘they’ were two college girls. He was a registered sex offender now and could get in hot water if his parole officer found out. “When I said Atlanta, they offered me a ride, so I took it. No harm done to anyone, and it saved a lot of wear on my new tennis shoes.” He tried to smile and nearly succeeded.
“I would have come to get you.”
Adam turned from the hurt in his mother’s gaze. It seemed that was all he had ever done for his entire life, hurt his mother. Would it ever end? He moved to stare out the front window, not seeing the burning flames of sunset beyond the lace curtain.
“I wasn’t sure I was coming back,” he finally admitted in a low voice.
“Not come back? But where else would you go?”
“Well, obviously that’s why I’m here. There is no other place to go. I haven’t a single thing to my name, and no way to get anything. I’m a marked man. A convicted felon with a college degree earned in prison. Who’s going to hire me? Jobs are scarce enough in this town for honest, upstanding citizens. My chances are pretty much zilch.”
“Oh Adam, that’s not true. You’ve paid your debt to society. I’m sure the Lord will open a door somewhere.”
Adam turned away from the window and sat down in his mother’s wooden rocker. He didn’t sit back and rock. Instead he sat pole straight, gripping his knees. His dark eyes pinned his mother.
“You think they’ll hire me at the grocery? Maybe I could stock shelves.”
The answer stared back at him from his mother’s faded brown eyes.
“The store isn’t really hiring right now,” Doreen hedged. “But I’m sure something will come up. And you have a home here with me for as long as you need it.”
“I’m twenty-eight years old, Mom. I should be supporting myself, and helping you when you need it. Not the other way around.”
Adam ran his hands through his hair. Doreen came to stand beside him, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“One step at a time son, one step at a time. Don’t expect too much, too soon.”
“You know what I was thinking as I walked?” Leaning forward, Adam braced his elbows on his knees and stared at the carpet between his gleaming white tennis shoes. “I understand why so many men end up right back in the slammer. What’s that old saying? Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t? At least in jail I knew where my next meal was coming from. I knew what to expect from the guards. There was no uncertainty. What good is earning my freedom when I know no one in this town will ever let me be free? Maybe I was better off in prison.”
“Adam, don’t say that!” Doreen dropped to her knees before him. “Look at me.” She forced his chin up. Adam saw a strength in his mother’s face that had not been there ten years before. “You were not better off in prison. And I certainly was not better off with you there. I’m so thankful you’re free and home again. Sure, there will be some adjustments, for both of us, but we are going to get through this, one day at a time. And every day we are going to place our hope and trust in Jesus to supply all that we need. You found the Lord in jail, are you planning to abandon Him now that you’re out?”
“No.” Adam gave a shake of his head.
“Good. I know what they say about jailhouse religion, but you’ve got a strong support system here. You don’t have just me, but also Tyler and Emma and Pastor Bennett. All of us will help keep you on the straight and narrow. Okay?”
“Yeah, sure.” Adam agreed.
“Now come on.” Doreen used Adam’s knees to push herself to her feet. “Let’s go in the kitchen and see what I can whip up for your dinner. It won’t be fancy but it will be home cooked and not prison grub. Tomorrow I’ll make you a real welcome home meal.”
Adam followed his mother to the kitchen. His mind wasn’t on food. It was on the straight and narrow road his mother thought she could keep him on. In Adam’s mind, the straight and narrow led straight to nowhere.