About Worth the Wait (released February 2014):
Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn't get it. She always does the right thing - doesn't God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.
Excerpt from Worth the Wait:
For an hour, Ellie an her friends laughed and ate more pizza than a girl should consume the night before trying to fit into a costume for homecoming. When the group started dancing, seeing who could be the silliest, Ellie bowed out. She let herself out the back door to sit near the pool. The late September night was still warm, so Ellie let her feet dangle in the water. The cool water reminded her of the barefoot walks she had taken on the beaches of Nantucket. She lay back on the concrete. If only she could see the stars.
"The sky reminds you just how big God is, doesn't it?" Josh was standing nearby but the shadows hid his expression. "I don't want to interrupt your thoughts, Lansing. Can I join you?" He started rolling up his pant legs.
"Well, I guess you already are." She gave a thin smile.
Josh took off his polo shirt. His gray undershirt stretched across his muscles much more than the last time he had been shirtless near her. Her cheeks burned and she averted her eyes.
He folded up his shirt and threw it beside her head. "Put that under your head. The ground's hard."
"I didn't know you cared." As she brought the shirt under her head, his cologne wafted on the breeze. Josh dropped his feet into the water and lay back next to her--close enough to touch.
"You'd be surprised how much I do, Lansing." His voice was quiet. Had she heard him right?
Ellie frowned. "Why do you call me Lansing? I don't know if I've ever asked you that." It would be better to stick to safe topics.
"10th grade. I heard you complaining to Cara that the Spanish teacher made us sit in alphabetical order, so you had Garrett Jacobs in front of you and me behind you. We didn't give you much peace."
"I remember. Y'all made up Spanish words, telling me that was the answer. Then when I would say what you told me, the teacher would think I was trying to be disrespectful." Ellie rolled on her side and pointed her finger at him. "That's the only time I've ever had a teacher call home on me. EVER."
"Be a rebel, Lansing. Every once in a while, it's fun." Josh swatted her hand away. "Anyways, you said you wished your last name wasn't Lansing, so I decided I would remind you every time I talked to you. I'm surprised it took you this long to figure it out. I thought you were labeled gifted."
"If you're going to invade my peaceful moment out here, at least shut up and let me enjoy it." Ellie flopped back and kicked her feet in the water, creating ripples that were a bit like the ocean waves that rushed in and out with the tide.
The lights of downtown Houston colored the sky. They lay in silence until Ellie blurted, "About what you said tonight..."
Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.
Gallant ScoreJoshua Cole Martin is one of those young men that always does the right thing. In the excerpt when he takes his shirt off so Ellie can cradle her head with it is just one tiny example of Josh's gallantry. There are just SO many more, but this is a book I have to be uber-careful about dropping too big a spoiler. So I'll just say for those who already know Josh and this book, one of my favorite moments where Josh's gallantry shined was the "let me have it" in the car when he gets Ellie to just scream and then scream some more. And of course the "save" he makes the night Ellie uncharacteristically makes one bad decision after another. I think that was the moment I fell in love with him and knew I had to have him for FHF. The only reason he's missing an orange head is because he hasn't lived long enough to collect a complete set but I have no doubt he will and hope I get to read about it!
Wounded ScoreIt's tough to be in love with someone who is completely clueless. There were so many times I just wanted to shake Ellie until her teeth rattled and be like "Open your eyes, girl!" So Josh clearly coped with this better than I did. But it wasn't without cost to him, which the reader could see even if Ellie refused to.
Softie ScoreSo Josh is a big softie. There are moments when I could enjoy him just being a "kid" and then on the flip side be astounded at his depth of character and maturity in that seventeen year old body. The little things, like the note cards in Ellie's locker (TOTAL SWOON) and while that was probably a spoiler if you couldn't figure out after the first one showed up that Josh was writing them, you need to go back to reading picture books, LOL. His tenderness with Ellie in her times of emotional need, and when he was painting with the children? Yep. Total softie (that can no doubt pack a punch when necessary.)
Stupid StrikesI really contemplated giving Josh a strike here for the whole debacle with the school play that hangs over his and Ellie's friendship, but I just couldn't do it. When this is finally explained (and because I felt so deeply for him about it) it actually only made me love him more.
Swoon ScoreThat probably should be a full five and for any hero girl under the age of eighteen I'm pretty sure it will be, hehe. It's not a secret here at FHF that I, Nancy Kimball, absolutely love a wrecked, wounded and ultimately redeemed hero. I have yet to write a manuscript that doesn't have at least one. But I also really like to enjoy the other side of great heroes, like Josh Martin, who just started out doing life right and continue to do so no matter what gets thrown at them. Steadfast. Certain of themselves, their faith in God, and being the kind of person that makes the world, and Waltham Academy, a better place.
Laura Jackson loves books---reading and writing them. A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master's degree and becoming a school librarian. Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.
Visit her at http://authorlaurajackson.blogspot.com/
The FHF Exclusive Directly from the Author***In the course of our email exchanges, I was able to specifically request this moment in the story from Josh's point of view. Perks of the job!!! And now I get to share it with you, hero-girls. =)
Josh walked out of the craft store, clutching one of his paintings he had framed for his mom’s Christmas gift. He popped the jeep’s trunk and glanced back at the busy store. Should I get Ellie a frame too?
He couldn’t wait to see her face when she opened his gift. He’d boxed up all his drawings of her—starting when she was his twin sister’s annoying friend and ending with a picture he’d drawn when he realized how he felt about her.
Climbing into his jeep, Josh eyed the line at the coffee-shop drive-thru next door. I could grab her a latte and check in, give her the gift early.
At the next parking lot, he slammed his brakes and threw the jeep in park. Are you kidding me? He took off his sunglasses. Surely he wasn’t seeing this.
There was Ellie, her blonde hair blowing in the wind, her arms hanging by her side as Dylan leaned in for a kiss.
Push him away, Lansing. He willed her to resist.
She rested her hands on Dylan’s chest and met his lips.
How could she kiss him? How many times was she going to… The car behind him honked.
Slamming his hand on the steering wheel, he peeled out. His squealing tires did nothing to erase what he saw.
The giveawaysSame drill as always! One copy of Worth the Wait, print or e-book (winner’s choice), goes to a randomly drawn commenter. Make sure you tell us if you want in the book drawing and leave an email address in a spam fighting format like: runaway_Romeo (at) schoolplaygonebad dot com
If you have already enjoyed Worth the Wait, a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card can be yours if you leave the name of a character from the book in your comment. Again, once the character name has been used, you have to find another.
Drawings will be March 31st.
And I really want to explore this among the hero-girls. Were you more likely to follow after the bad boy or the boy next door in your teen years? Did that change as you grew up? I want to know. =)