, inspiring and romantic selections from a favorite author.
Bell Bridge Books is proud to present Vicki Hinze's never-before-published short story, Before the White Rose
and, as a bonus, lengthy excerpts from three Hinze novels: the mystically romantic Seascape Trilogy: Beyond a Mystic Shore
, Upon a Mystic Tide
, and Beside a Dreamswept Sea
All three novels are being re-issued by Bell Bridge Books in multi-format e-book editions and new trade paperback editions, beginning with Beyond a Mystic Shore
in September 2011.
Vicki Hinze is the award-winning author of 24 novels, 4 nonfiction books and hundreds of articles, published in as many as sixty-three countries. She is recognized by Who's Who in the World as an author and as an educator.
Nearly four years ago, I got this idea. It was a strange idea
for a strange story—or so I thought. I tried to push it out of mind, but it
kept coming back and nagging me. So I wrote it. But I never published it.
About three years ago, I began writing faith-affirming
romantic thrillers, and I thought then that this story would be one more that
I’d keep tucked away the rest of my life. Yet the story stayed on my mind, and
so I pulled it out and read it.
It is still a strange little story. But there is also a
message in it, and I suspect that this message is the reason the story keeps
nagging me. And so I’m releasing it into the world, praying as I do that it
will offer some hope to one feeling hopeless, some strength to one feeling weak
or vulnerable, and some reassurance to one feeling doubt and uncertainty.
We’ve all heard the old saying about be careful what you wish
for. We’ve also heard the one about when you think things can’t get worse, they
do. What we don’t often hear—and probably should hear a little more—is that
when things are really bad, if we just hold on, they will get better.
We know that of course. Sometimes we hear, sometimes we don’t.
And that is the nagging message in Dies
Irae. Listen . . . and come along with me for yet another adventure. This
one, in my strange but beloved little story . . .
turn on a dime.
You drift along, complaining about things
you won't recall in a week much less in a lifetime, then fate kicks up a storm
and, when the dust settles, life as you knew it no longer exists and you're
left baffled, struggling to figure out where you went wrong and where you are
I learned that little lesson the hard
way—and, God, but I resent it.
In my whole life, nothing has ever come
easy. I did everything I was supposed to do, when and the way I was supposed to
do it. Me, Elisa Baker, salt of the earth and pillar of the community, married
for over two decades to John, the most successful attorney in Picayune,
Mississippi. Okay, so I only had one child, but it wasn't for a lack of trying
to get that second one to make the idealfamily. I sat on all the right charity boards, did my time entertaining, worked
like a dog for PTA, attended every ball game in four counties, and I even did a
stint on the city council. I shot for a Norman Rockwell kind of life, and I had
it. I had it! And then came the
storm, and when it was over, my life—all of it—was just… gone.
Brooding over it didn't help; I tried.
Actually, I tried everything, but nothing worked. As they say, done is done and
all that's left is the accepting it. Now that's done, too, and only one thing
is important: Justin.
Justin.I glanced across the kitchen to the wall calendar at the bright red circle I'd
drawn around September 12th. Justin's
birthday. Today. Finally, I'd see him again. A tender hitch tightened in my
Rubbing it, I walked over to the wooden
table and wadded up the note from the mailman asking me to please empty the
mailbox. It had been stuffed. Handled that, but since I'd already taken out the
trash, I crammed the note into my pocket and mentally went down my checklist.
I'd paid the bills, picked up my favorite navy suit from the cleaners, had Pat
color my hair—I would not see Justin
with gray roots—and I'd picked up my Xanax refill at the drug store.
drugs. I hadn't wanted them, or wanted to hear another single word about
grief or therapy or clinical depression, but Dr. Bly had insisted I take them
since the Prozac he'd prescribed hadn't worked. In fairness, it might have if
I'd taken it, but Elisa Baker on Prozac? I don't think so. I do carry Dr. Bly's
bottle of Xanax in my purse, and when he asks if I'm taking the pills, I can
honestly say yes. I do take them wherever I go.
That's a fair compromise. Well, it has been.
Today, it'd become downright ironic.
Turning from the kitchen, I did a final
walk through of the house to make sure everything was in order. In the last two
days, I'd dusted and cleaned every surface. The bed was made, the dishwasher
emptied, the closets and dresser drawers all organized. In the guest bath, I
smoothed a tag from sight on a towel hanging on the ring, knowing it would be
for the last time…
Memories crowded me, pushing at the walls
of my mind, of my heart. I shunned them, ducked into my hobby room and looked
at my desk to the neat row of papers on the left, to the photo of Justin on the
right. My nose tingled, the backs of my eyes burned. Don't do this, Elisa. You can't fall apart now. Justin…
I rushed back to the kitchen then snagged
my purse and umbrella. On my way out, I clicked off the kitchen light then
slammed the door shut.
For fifteen years, I'd lived in this
house. Most were good years. But the last two . . .
I couldn't shake the dust from my shoes