Comedy, jealousy and intrigue take center stage as a small town prepares for an ACLU lawsuit over a sign that reads FAITH, Hometown of Jesus Christ. A lightning-fast read, the turn of the last page will have you wishing your stay in Faith could have lasted just a few more days, or at least that you had picked up a Jesus-in-the-Box or a poster of the town’s super-hot mechanic Johnny Cain.
The town of Faith has found religion, and no one is happier than Father O’Brien, who was down to one parishioner. Now the confessional lines are blocks long, and the oatmeal cookie crosses are selling like hotcakes. At the 4th of July parade the mayor’s 12-year-old son survived the mock crucifixion with only a broken arm and mild head trauma. Everyone give it up for Faith, Hometown of Jesus Christ.
Someone’s plotting the town’s first murder and the mill has just been robbed of an ungodly sum. There’s a cross burning on a motel lawn and everyone is sleeping around. Yes, the town of Faith has got problems, but no one is more confused than Bobby Ray whose ex-girlfriend has just returned. Everyone, let us pray.
The trucker came down the rural road clocking a little over eighty-five and feeling damn well blessed. For the first thirty years the jobs they had come and the wives they had left. For the first thirty years he would have sworn to you that the devil had been chasing him all around. Those routes he took with a bottle of Jim Beam between his knees and a bag of cocaine under his seat. Those routes had a whore at every rest stop and a Bible in every motel. That though was eighteen month ago. That though was before the preacher’s daughter. Now he had a gig that was as steady as steady could be. Now he was hauling aluminum coffins for the good ol’ Woodlawn casket company.
Some two hours before he had broken through the night. The Sunday sunrise he took with a minister on the radio and a little while after that switched stations to confess all his sins to Johnny Cash. The small towns he passed they came and they went no longer than a three-minute song. Names you can forget but the abandoned American factories they stay with you well after those eighteen wheels have come to a stop.
The approaching hill it seemed a little out of place it looked more like the start of a rollercoaster ride. He downshifted into ninth and brought that rig to the top. From there he could see the aluminum spire of the church reflecting back the rays of God like a morning star. He was on the flat of the land again when he passed by the sign to the next town. It hadn’t been the first time someone had slammed on their brakes for a second reading and sure in the hell wouldn’t be the last.
He hopped out of the cab to walk the eight hundred feet back. His Black Cat hat he removed and ran a hand over his head to tame the few wisps of hair he had left. At that moment he wasn’t sure whether to kneel or whether to laugh. That sign he was staring at had two lines, one word above and a tagline below: “Faith, Hometown of Jesus Christ.” The town he decided to give
the benefit of the doubt and took to a knee. God he gave a few words of reverence and to Man he gave a smile for the audacity. Most runs are only remembered by the miles you leave behind but some runs you never forget.
Virginia Austin was born and raised in Chicago. When not writing, the author is an engineer for the nuclear plants in the Midwest. The author broke onto the scene in 1997 with the book, ‘Fated.’ After publication of ‘American Jesus’ by Cross Cultural Publications in 2001, Austin went on to write ‘Her Seventh Death,’ in which the screenplay was selected as a finalist in a Chicago independent film festival. She has also been published in Darker Times out of the U.K. Virginia Austin’s two latest books are ‘Faith – Hometown of Jesus Christ’ and ‘The Assassin and the Disciple.
In 1953 Sandy and Alex meet and fall in love in Adelaide, South Australia. She comes from a wealthy Catholic family and he is the son of a shopkeeper and an Anglican. Her mother has marriage plans for her and takes Alex to Italy to keep them apart. He goes to Oxford University where he achieves great success in cricket and rugby football. For the next seven years their love has to overcome many conflicts and is sorely tested by a tragic event and her Catholicism. In 1961 now working in San Francisco and believing Alex lost to him forever, Sandy falls in love and marries Kate but Alex, now finally free of her marriage, returns to him plunging his life into chaos. Will he be able to bring an end to this never ending game?
She woke me up in the morning at eight saying their group was departing at ten and I should leave before anyone saw me. The Italians knew she was married to Paolo but in true Italian style would never say anything about last night, but it was probably best not to be seen together in the morning. I was getting dressed when she picked up my jacket to hand it to me and she noticed there was something heavy in the pocket.
“She said. “Oh there’s something here in the pocket.”
I had totally forgotten about it but her hand went in and brought out Eva’s watch.
She looked at me strangely. “It’s a ladies watch. Why do you have a ladies watch in your pocket?”
I tried to look nonchalant. “Oh, it’s Eva’s. She gave it to me when Göran gave her a new watch as a birthday present. I’ll give it back to her in the office on Monday.”
“But why did she give it to you?”
I stammered a little. “Well… well, I was sitting next to her when she took it off.”
I saw the disbelief growing in her face and I had a flash back to the Darlene’s gold chain incident in Naples.
“Don’t lie to me Sandy. She gave it to you because you were going to take her home and sleep with her, weren’t you?”
I shook my head. “No, no.”
“You’re lying Sandy. You were going to have her last night until I came along. How inconvenient for you, but then you had me instead. Is she better than me Sandy? How long have you been sleeping with her?”
“Alex, I did not lie to you. I’ve never had sex with her.”
She was completely furious now. “Just a month ago you promised me you would wait for me and marry me when I am free. Is that a lie too?”
“Alex please calm down.”
In answer she hurled Eva’s watch at my face, hitting me on the forehead. I caught it as it bounced off me.
This was too much and I lost my temper. “Alex I did not lie to you but my God how long do you expect me to wait for you? How long will you remain married to Paolo and expect me to stay celibate while wait for you to pop up occasionally? You tell me you don’t sleep with him and I believe you, but when I told you I have never slept with Eva you don’t believe me. If you don’t trust me then maybe we should forget the whole thing. It’s a crazy situation anyway.”
I had gone too far and instantly regretted it.
She burst into a torrent of tears. I went to her but she pushed me away and said “just go”. I put on my jacket, slipped the watch into my pocket and walked out. I could feel blood trickling down my nose and put my handkerchief over the cut in my forehead.
I stayed in my hotel room and drowsed through all of Sunday. I went over the whole scenario, over and over again. I wished I could take it all back. I shouldn’t have reacted angrily to her charges. I would have slept with Eva so she was partially right but I had not lied when I said I had never slept with her. But poor Alex had all the stress of a loveless marriage and her secret. I knew she loved me and I could understand her being upset when she saw me dancing romantically with another woman. But where does that leave us now? By dinner time I had decided that I should wait for her to contact me again. She knew I had another year at Oxford. Despite everything I was still in love with her.
On Monday morning I went straight to Göran’s office. He looked up smiling at me as I walked in. Then he saw the small elastoplast on my forehead.
“Oh no Sandy, please don’t tell me she hit you.”
I pulled Eva’s watch out of my pocket and placed it on his desk.
“She found it in my pocket and threw it at me.”
He felt its weight. “My God Sandy, what a woman. Adrian had told me about her and she was exactly as he described her. Adrian and Pete call her the movie star. Did you know that? What a beauty and she’s violent too. What a combination. You are a lucky man.”
“Well I’m not so lucky now. I think she’s finished with me this time.”
Göran looked upset. “Oh no and it’s entirely my fault because I set you up with Eva.”
I told him it was not his fault and that our relationship was very complicated but I was sure she would come back. I wasn’t really sure but I didn’t want Göran feeling guilty about it.
Except for this one incident I had a wonderful summer in Stockholm. I’d met Mr. Axel Persson, Göran’s father, and he seemed interested in me. Perhaps that would lead to other opportunities. Had cricket opened another door?
About the Author
David Adamson Harper started his working life as a British naval officer serving out of the Hong Kong station, which became the backdrop for his first novel KWANGCHOW. After leaving the navy he joined the management program at Grace Line in New York and spent many years in Panama and San Francisco. He then joined United States Line as a senior executive and ran their South Asia Division from Bombay and later the Africa Division stationed in Durban, South Africa. He returned to San Francisco where he ended his career as a maritime consultant to major west coast ocean carriers. Wherever he went he was always involved in the game of rugby football and was a referee for many years. On retiring he moved to Mexico to become a full time writer. He and wife Susan live in a village on the north shore of beautiful LakeChapala at 5000 feet in the Sierra Madre Mountains. THE GAME THAT NEVER ENDS is his third novel and follows the critically successful HOW TEDDY TOOK PANAMA.
Since the horrific night a drunk driver slammed into their car during his driving lesson, young Teddy has had to live with the memory of seeing his beloved father, Stan, die. Now just sixteen, he carries both sorrow and survivor’s guilt.
Concerned for her grieving son, Mary decides to put as much distance as she can between Teddy and the nightmarish Phoenix intersection that claimed Stan’s life. She moves the family to Stan’s small Indiana hometown, a place of peace in which she hopes they can build new memories. There, Teddy finds inspiration in an old book his great-grandfather carried with him to America, a book Bulgarian fathers have always read to their sons.
Is Stan reaching out to his son from the grave?
Mary also makes an equally life-changing discovery in the small town—Rosetta, Stan’s high school sweetheart. The deeper Mary digs, the more she learns of the forbidden love Stan and Rosetta shared. During the Civil Rights Movement, they dared to reach out for love across racial lines.
Now as their three lives intertwine, Teddy, Mary, and Rosetta must make difficult choices. Will they choose happiness? Or will old pains cause them to live as victims of circumstances?
Beginning in 1912 on Ellis Island and told in three voices over four generations, I’ll Always Be with You is a profound celebration of the power of family.
Praise for I’ll Always Be with You:
“A two-tissue tale about life after loss.” Kirkus Review
“…a simple but engaging tale of life after loss. It never devolves into pointless melancholy, but simmers like a pot of family recipe chicken soup, goes down wonderfully, and warms from within.” Clarion Review
“…a gem of a story that has heart, soul and empathetic insights and is potent in its small moments. This beautifully crafted, touching book offers tender wisdom that will draw a wide audience and could be especially appealing to young adults grappling with insecurities and difficult times.” Blue Ink Review
About the Author
Violetta Armour is a first-generation American who cherishes her Bulgarian heritage. A former English teacher and independent bookstore owner in Arizona, she has written for Highlights for Children and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
She writes monthly book reviews for Ahwatukee Foothills News and Tempe Tribune in Arizona. Her debut novel received a Readers’ Views Choice Award for Fiction 2016.
I have written my book review and posted the next installment in HOW TO CATCH A HUMAN, and I am sitting here trying to think of something else to write about and nothing comes to mind. Then I look down at the dogs playing . Let me introduce you to them , there is Charlie(Charlotte) who is about six month old, and Cissy who is about a year or a little older. They are both rescue dogs. Charlie will steal Cissy’s ball so she will play with her. This will start a chase scene in which Cissy is chasing Charlie throughout the house until she recovers the ball. Cissy then runs back into the living room to her bed where Charlie has to make a sharp turn where she winds up sliding around and wipes out.
Also, when Charlie wants Cissy to play with her she will bite at her legs. This really annoys Cissy. Cissy will start to jump over Charlie to try to get away from Charlie. Then they will play a game of who gets the bed. They will lure each other out of the bed then jump into it, they will do this for 30 minute to an hour. Some days it is better to watch them than what is on T.V., because it seems that all that is on is reality shows instead of good quality shows. I am a fan of well written shows like CASTLE, NCIS, RIZZOLI & ISLES.
I guess it is a commercial break, the dogs are quiet. I better go see what they are into. Always remember to READ WHAT YOU LOVE, AND LOVE WHAT YOU READ.