Charisse Wellman’s husband has been gone a year, and she’s about to lose the only home her son, V.J., has ever known. She’s quit law school but the money just isn’t there. Her only option is to work as a law clerk for her ex-friend, Gideon Tabor. The only problem: Gideon is the judge who let her husband’s killer go free, and Gideon doesn’t know the connection.
Gideon Tabor can’t believe that the woman interviewing for the job is the girl he loved in high school. Charisse is hesitant about accepting his job offer, and when she does, Gideon makes every attempt to apologize for his relationship-ending blunder in high school. Charisse accepts his apology, but she keeps him at a distance. When Gideon learns that Charisse’s anger actually stems from his release of the man who ran down her husband, he tries to explain, but Charisse doesn’t want Gideon’s excuses or the love he has to offer. She wants her husband’s killer to pay.
Charisse stepped forward, peering around the corner. An unexpected sight drew her into the room like a chance glimpse at a beautiful painting.
Gideon and V.J. were sprawled on the floor with a large sketch board and the cars and trucks used in courtroom testimony to depict accident scenes. Together, they’d created a city of streets and buildings, and on the roads they rolled the miniature vehicles. V.J. laughed and rolled in hysterics as Gideon’s car hit the drawing of a tree and flipped over, complete with Gideon’s dramatic sound effects.
Charisse had to turn away. Her heart raced. With eyes closed, she took a steadying breath. V.J. didn’t see his father die. Gideon’s antics wouldn’t hurt her son.
Not the way they cut into her soul.
She concentrated on V.J.’s continued laughter and then Gideon’s chuckle, but still, she could not face them.
“There’s your mommy,” Gideon said.
Another deep breath and Charisse turned.
V.J.’s laughter stopped and only a trace of his carefree happiness remained. “Mommy, do we have to go now?”
“In a few minutes.”
“Judge Tabor?” He turned his attention to his new playmate.
Gideon stretched. “Yeah, Veej.”
Charisse shook her head. He’d started calling V.J. by that name on Saturday. A fallback from his football days when the players gave each other nicknames, she guessed
“We have show-and-tell day at school. We can bring a person, a place, or a thing. Will you come tomorrow as my person?” V.J. picked up the cars.
Gid packed them away and lifted the sketchpad, tearing off the drawing. “Mind if I keep it here for your next visit?” He snatched tape from the roller on this desk and stuck the drawing on his wall with his diplomas and certificates.
She wished with all her heart he hadn’t pasted it there where she would see it each day.
“I can come back?” V.J. spun toward Charisse.
She wrenched her gaze from the drawing and shrugged.
“Whenever you want, but next time no missing school, okay?” Gid moved to the personal calendar he kept and flipped a few pages. “So what time tomorrow?”
“We have show-and-tell at ten thirty and then go to lunch. Show-and-tell people can stay and have lunch if they wanna. Do you wanna?”
Gideon hesitated, studying the page in front of him. He flipped it over and back. Charisse held her breath. He had a special hearing. She’d scheduled it for him. V.J. was in for another dose of disappointment.
Gideon looked up. “I’m all yours, Veej.”
V.J. ran to her and threw his arms around her hips. “Mommy, he can do show-and-tell.”
“Thank you,” Charisse mouthed her gratitude.
Gideon nodded and picked up his phone. “Marlene, I need you to reschedule the eleven o’clock hearing on tomorrow’s calendar. Just tell them something very important has come up and give them my apology. Thanks.”
Fay Lamb’s emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase, as is Charisse the first releases in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series. Future Write Integrity Press releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Libby, Hope and Delilah, Books 2, 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity. Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren. Fay’s website is www.faylamb.com.
I love Fay Lamb's books. She has mastered the art of inspirational romance, and CHARISSE is no exception. ~ Anne Baxter Campbell, Christian author, multi-published of children's books
This was an enjoyable read--a well-written and compelling story which held my attention until the end. There's a strong Christian message inherent in the character development which seemed realistic and not just tacked on so it could be labeled "Christian" fiction. This novel would appeal to teens as well as adults. I purchased this book at a writers' conference after attending an excellent characterization workshop taught by the author. ~ Rose Chandler Johnson, Christian writer
Lamb's usual mix of humor and love, suspense and spiritual growth play well together in her latest release, Book One in the Ties that Bind Series. Her characters come alive on the pages, making this book difficult to set down. But I'm used to that, having read two other novels authored by Fay. Betty Thomason Owens, Christian writer
FAY, WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS NOVEL?
I wrote this novel as an answer to a call with five other authors—my critique partners. Each author took a character from a fictional Bible study and wrote a story about that character. Then we combined it, and we sent them off to a publisher, who liked the story, but didn’t like the fact that none of us were published. So, when we got that rejection letter, we decided to take our stories back and each of us do what we wanted with our characters. I kept Charisse a novella for a number of years, but then I decided that she had more of a story to tell. This novel is the result.
TELL US SOMETHING TOPICAL, INTERESTING, FUNNY, OR SOMETHING WE WOULD NOT EXPECT ABOUT THE WRITING OR RESEARCH FOR THIS NOVEL.
Charisse (and all the gals in The Ties that Bind series) are close to my heart. They live in my little area of the world, Central Florida. Each girl struggles with issues that I’ve had over the years: showing grace, lack of self-esteem, lack of home, and pride. And one of the gals is me, except she’s kinder, stronger, and more courageous than I have ever been.