LOVE NEVER FAILS by Jenny Carlisle
SERIES: Crossroads #3
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Scrivenings Press
RELEASE DATE: January 30, 2024
Instead of relaxing during the summer after her first year of college, Kayla Caldwell is attending a memorial service after a plane crash changed her from only child to orphan. Will she ever feel safe, grounded again?
Cody Billings knows what it’s like to wake up in a totally foreign world. When his last bull ride left him partially paralyzed, nothing about his teenage life could be the same. Following months of physical therapy and modifications, the loss when he resigned himself to never walking again is still fresh in his mind.
With only the rodeo in common, Kayla and Cody had known each other only as neighbors until now. Grief and loss have matured them more quickly than their friends, but they face the same doubts as they reach the crossroads on the way to their unknown future. Kayla’s responsibilities as the young owner of a ranch are multiplying faster than the cattle. Cody is determined to prove to himself and his parents that he can be independent.
Can the two support and encourage each other even as their dreams are being modified daily?
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“What are you two drinking?” Zanna’s friend Ellen walked up with a tray full of glasses, a pitcher of tea and one of lemonade.
“Lemonade for me.” Kayla stood to help steady the tray as Ellen poured. “Ellen Withers, this is my friend Cody from Crossroads.”
“Pleased to meet you, ma’am. And Lemonade sounds great.” Cody held his hand out. Ellen placed a cold glass in it.
“You’re very welcome.” Ellen nodded at Cody, and then whispered in Kayla’s ear. “I sent your Zanna to her room. She is awfully tired. You might go check on her in a minute.”
Kayla nodded. She hoped that staying here for a few days wouldn’t be a strain on Zanna. She had enough to do keeping this place running.
Before they’d finished eating, her grandpa and Cody were locked in conversation. She collected Cody’s plate and carried it inside with hers as the two men traveled down the paved pathways leading to each of Coach’s current projects.
The dim light of the living area caused her to blink. Now that the memorial services were over, a new set of problems loomed.
Would she be expected to take on the running of a ranch along with checking on her grandparents? What would happen when it was time to go back to Fayetteville for school? Maybe, instead of traveling to Fort Smith and other rodeos in the next few weeks, she should stick closer to home. It was all too much to think about. She blinked back tears. If only she could ask Mom and Dad what to do.
Kayla pushed the bedroom door open. “How you doing, Zanna?” Zanna sat on the side of the chenille-covered bed, slipping off her shoes.
“Oh, I’m okay. Come sit with me, sweetie.” Zanna patted the bedspread next to her. “I guess Ms. Ellen sent you to check on me.”
“She’s a good friend.” Kayla linked elbows with her grandma.
“Yes ma’am. We’re fortunate to have her.” Zanna turned to face her. “And it looks like you’re making a new friend too. Young Mr. Billings, isn’t it?”
“I’ve known him I guess my whole life. He and his brothers live behind Uncle Smiley, on the other side of the hill, but he was a grade behind me in school, so we didn’t spend much time together.” Kayla’s cheeks warmed. She hadn’t stopped to think about how things seemed to be changing between her and Cody.
Apparently, other people were noticing.
“You need to go back and make him feel welcome. You and Ms. Ellen both know it only takes me a few minutes of being still to recharge my batteries.” Zanna moved over on the bed, stretching her stockinged feet out while she reclined on the pile of throw pillows.
“I think Coach is showing him around his gardens.” Kayla tucked a light blanket over her grandma. “I’ll see you soon.” She leaned over to kiss Zanna’s forehead.
From the front porch, she saw Coach and Cody buzzing around the paved pathways in the side yard. Helping Coach plan his garden had inspired her to make things easier for folks who needed help walking.
“Did you tell me your new fella was a rancher?” Coach asked as they stopped in front of her.
“Uh …” Cody hesitated.
“Cody’s a friend from the ranch behind ours.” Kayla blushed. Just like Coach to jump to conclusions.
“And certainly not the rancher Kayla’s dad was,” Cody said.
“That’s more animals than I want to put up with,” Coach said. “I’ll stick with my vegetables any day.”
“Thanks for showing me around, Mr. Pruitt.” Cody reached to shake Coach’s hand. “I guess it’s time for me to head back to Big River County.”
“It was a pleasure, son. Come back and see us again.” Coach patted Cody’s shoulder.
“I’ll walk you to your truck.” Kayla followed as Cody headed to the other side of the driveway. It would take him a while to reach his home, but she wasn’t excited about saying goodbye.
“Thanks for inviting me over.” Cody stopped behind his truck. “I’m sure your family wants to spend more time with you tonight.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Kayla stood with her hands folded in front of her. “Sorry about Coach’s comment.”
“Hey. I’ve been called worse than ‘new fella.’” Cody reached up to grab the loader in the bed of his truck. “I’ll see you at the rodeo in Fort Smith, this weekend.”
Jenny Carlisle retired from a career in state government to pursue her dream of writing fiction.
She was a long-time columnist with Ouachita Life magazine, and has self-published two inspirational non-fiction books, Turn, Turn, Turn and To Everything a Season. Her first works of fiction, Hope Takes the Reins and Faith Moves Mountains have been published by Scrivenings Press. Her latest project is included in a novella collection called A Gift for All Time, along with co-authors Tonya Ashley and Ellen Withers. The third full-length novel, Love Never Fails will be released in January 2024.
She is a past president of American Christian Fiction Writers-Arkansas Chapter, and Saline County Preservation. Because of her fascination with old buildings and old towns, there is undoubtedly a book about the past in her future.
She and her husband, James live in Benton, Arkansas, where they worship with the Church of Christ. Three married children have blessed them with eight busy grands. She loves spending time with her supportive tribe of readers and writers, in person and on social media. God is good! Connect with Jenny on her website or Facebook.
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Jenny Carlisle is offering a print copy of winner’s choice of one book in the Crossroads series to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
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