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A Groom Worth Waiting For

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2019 год
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      A Groom Worth Waiting For
Crystal Stovall

EVERYTHING HAPPENED FOR A REASON….Was there anything worse than going dateless to three family weddings? Matt Wynn didn't think so–until he stumbled upon an armed convenience-store robbery. Thanks to fervent prayers and quick thinking, he saved his own life, and a stranger's. Now she would do anything to repay him….Amy Jenkins believed the Lord had a plan for her–but heaven only knew what it was. The last place this jilted bride wanted to go was a wedding…let alone three! She never suspected that before the summer was over, a fourth wedding might loom for her and Matt: their own….

Nervously Matt searched the back of the church one more time. Again, no sign of Amy.

Growing tired of smiling at those guests seated directly behind him, he had no choice but to turn his attention toward the front of the church. As he watched his uncle Chad place Susy’s hand in Dave’s, he swallowed hard. He wanted what they had. And in a selfish moment, he couldn’t help but cry out to God, When will it be my time?

It wasn’t that he didn’t wish Susy and Dave all the happiness in the world. He just wanted a little marital bliss to drift his way….

CRYSTAL STOVALL

dreamed of writing inspirational romances from the moment she discovered Grace Livingston Hill’s novels as a teenager. These books changed her life in a profound way, starting her on a quest to blend faith and romance in her personal life, as well as launching her writing career. She’s a graduate of Oral Roberts University and a recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award.

Crystal lives in Tulsa with her husband, Jim, who is president of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network. Though she’s lived in Oklahoma for nearly twenty years, she’s still an easterner at heart. Her frequent visits to her upstate New York hometown—especially a certain boulder on the edge of Cayuga Lake—provide her with the inspiration and perspective that she finds essential to her writing.

A Groom Worth Waiting For

Crystal Stovall

www.millsandboon.co.uk (http://www.millsandboon.co.uk)

…Be strong and courageous.

Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the

Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

—Joshua 1:9

To my sister, Amy—

May your life always be blessed

with an abundance of love and happiness

And to Lila Junk,

who continues to be an angel in my life

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Letter to Reader

Chapter One

This was not at all the way Amy Jenkins had imagined her new life. In her daydreams, she’d pictured a cozy apartment with a fireplace and a courtyard view, a satisfying job that challenged her yet left her fulfilled at the end of the day and a new church family that made her feel like she’d finally come home.

Instead, on this dreary May morning she was lost, tired and hungry. But those problems could all be easily remedied. At the next convenience store she passed, she’d buy a bag of peanuts and ask for directions. And if she spent her money wisely, she had more than enough saved to cover meals and a motel room until the end of the month.

But what couldn’t be fixed was the lost feeling in her soul. What should she do next? Where should she go? The questions spun in her head as she drove down the Kentucky highway.

Gripping the steering wheel as if it were a life preserver, Amy prayed the next gust of wind wouldn’t blow her into the deep ditch that separated the highway from miles of horse pasture. Between the hard rain and patchy fog, it took all of her concentration to keep the midsize car between the white road lines.

Only two weeks earlier, Amy had closed her eyes, twirled herself around as if she were playing pin the tail on the donkey and pointed to a city on the huge map of the United States she’d hung on the living room wall. For several minutes, she’d stood in front of the map, too scared to open her eyes. She’d promised herself she would move to whatever city her finger landed on. It didn’t matter if she pointed to Detroit, Wichita or Chicago, she was relocating. There was no other choice. Still, keeping her fingers crossed behind her back, she’d hoped at least for a warm, sunny climate, such as San Diego or Orlando advertised.

What mattered most, though, was that she put miles between herself and her Ohio hometown. And most important, miles between her and her ex-fiancé, Garry. She opened her eyes and smiled. Lexington, Kentucky. It sounded like the kind of city where a girl with a broken heart could make a fresh start.

However, within only a few hours, Amy’s carefully made plans had dissolved like sugar in water.

Leaning forward on the car seat, she wiped excess moisture from the windshield with her sleeve in an attempt to improve visibility. Then she almost passed a convenience store and strip shopping center before she spotted them. Hitting the brakes as hard as she dared, she slowed down enough to make the right turn safely. Because most of the parking lot was roped off for construction, Amy was forced to park in front of the dry cleaners, which was three businesses to the right. Turning off the ignition, Amy let out a huge sigh and then rested her forehead against the top of the steering wheel. Between the weather and her worries, she was stressed to the limit.

Oh, God, she prayed. What should I do now? Was I wrong to come to Lexington? Is this a sign You want me to go back to Ohio?

She didn’t wait for an answer, because there was no way she was going back to Ohio. At least, not for a very long time.

The rain eased, and Amy dashed for the front door. A loud buzzer sounded as she entered the store, and the middle-aged clerk behind the checkout counter instantly looked up and said hello. An easy-to-read name badge identified him as Hank.

Amy returned his friendliness with a smile and then shook her arms and shoulders as if she were part feline. Rubbing her upper arms with her palms, she attempted to warm herself. While the hooded sweatshirt and fleece pants were comfortable, they weren’t quite warm enough for the cold front that had moved through the city the night before. However, her warmer clothes were in storage, and since the chilly weather wasn’t expected to last more than a day or two, it hadn’t seemed worth the trouble to retrieve her coat.

Realizing she was the only customer in the store, Amy said, “It looks like the construction has hurt your business.”

“Not really,” Hank said. “You just missed the morning rush. We’ve been here for years. Our customers won’t let a little inconvenience scare them away.”

“That’s great,” Amy said. “Where do you stack today’s paper?”

“In the aisle to your right.” Hank watched as she selected a newspaper, turning away only to answer the telephone.

With the paper tucked under her arm, Amy headed for the back of the store, intending to grab a soda until she spotted a cappuccino machine. Even though she wasn’t crazy about convenience store coffee, the thought of drinking something hot cheered her. At the same time she set an empty to-go cup in the machine and pushed the proper sequence of buttons, the front door opened and the loud buzzer sounded again. As Hank had with her, he looked up from his paperwork and greeted the stranger.

“Hello,” he called, watching the man in the tailored suit just as he’d observed Amy.

Making his way down the aisle with hurried strides, the confident-eyed man asked, “How fresh is the coffee?”

“The pot just finished brewing and the bagels were delivered first thing this morning,” Hank assured him.

It wasn’t until the tall stranger turned the corner that Amy realized he was headed straight for her.

“I don’t know how you can drink that stuff,” he said, pointing to the coffee, milk and sugar mixture that streamed into her cup. Picking up a glass coffeepot, he poured himself a cup of regular coffee and selected a sesame seed bagel.

Amy shrugged, thinking that if the man really wanted to strike up a conversation, he could have opened with something a little more friendly. Removing the steaming coffee cup from the machine, she took a sip and smiled at the stranger as if this were the best cappuccino she’d ever tasted.
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