Title: Journey to Faith (Journey #3) Author: Tina Klinesmith Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance Publication Date: April 15, 2014 Cover Designer: Allison Brennen Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.
~ Synopsis ~
Michele and David have it all: successful careers, a loving marriage and the perfect daughter. Until the past raises its head, intent this time on wrecking damage to their daughter. When tragedy strikes, they find their faith in God and His plans tested. Can their family remain strong in the face of adversity or will they crumble in ruins? Will love fail them when they need it most or will it restore their faith in what the future holds?
~ Modified Excerpt (From Declan's POV) ~
Declan watched the swirling mass of bodies as they pushed and pressed their way through the crowded hall. School in Ireland was never this cacophony of sound, pressing at the walls of your brain, threatening you with madness. It had been far more relaxed, as if the learning happened by accident rather than forcibly crammed amidst the noise reverberating all around. He just wanted to return home, where he could be closer to Alaina, or at least the memory of her.
The slam of flesh against metal narrowed his eyes as he looked through the crowd to where the noise had come from. It was farther than he’d thought but the mocking laughter of several athletes caught his attention. He edged closer, ignoring the final warning bell signaling he would be late for class again.
Declan couldn’t see through the semicircle of male bodies but a shiver ran down his spine. He tried to tell himself to turn away. Whatever might be going on wasn’t his business and he didn’t want to cause any trouble his first week in yet another new school. Even as his mind warned him to turn away, his feet propelled him closer to the group.
He caught a glimpse of wavy dark hair and frightened golden eyes before the girl was pinned behind one of the guys.
“You should come home with me, Faith. We could have some fun. You’d enjoy it. I promise.”
Declan couldn’t hear her response but jumped backward with the rest of his friends when the guy stumbled backwards, grasping at his stomach and grunting. Declan looked up in time to see a petite girl, her eyes wide with fury yet tempered with fear. She almost looked surprised by the attack, yet he could also see pride. She wasn’t going to back down.
“Don’t take that from her, Raif!” yelled one of the guys on Declan’s left. He looked back at the girl, knowing this group of guys wasn’t about to rescue her.
Raif, lunged at her, grasping her wrists and pinning her to the locker with all of the weight behind his six-foot-plus frame. Declan knew he couldn’t let anything happen to this girl. Whoever she was, regardless of what she had done, no girl should be forced to deal with this sort of abuse.
He heard her back slam against the locker and winced as if feeling the pain himself. The group surrounding them closed in around the pair, like a pack of wolves moving in for a kill. Declan, standing in the back, jerked the nearest guy backwards and threw him to the ground before shoving past several others in an attempt to get closer to her.
“You can come willingly and we can both have fun, or we can do this the hard way. Either way, Faith, I’m going to have some fun with you,” Raif hissed, his mouth close to her ear before he sucked in a breath, his lips close to her neck.
Declan’s jaw clenched. He’d never seen a woman manhandled this way, never seen a girl attacked. Rage shot through him, lighting his blood on fire. He fisted his hands, every muscle in his broad chest flexing, preparing for battle as adrenaline rushed through his veins. He might not be as tall as this guy but he had sheer mass and anger working for him. He grasped the collar of Raif’s t-shirt, hearing the material give way as he jerked him backwards, throwing him into his crowd of friends.
Raif launched himself from the floor, rushing Declan as his friends cheered him on. The air shot from Declan’s lungs as Raif hit his waist, circling his arms around him but he was no match for Declan’s fists as he brought one around the side of Raif and connected with his ribcage, breaking his hold. Raif fell backward again in surprise, giving Declan the opening he needed and quickly jabbed at Raif’s face, his knuckles connecting solidly. Blood immediately poured from Raif’s nose and Declan wondered if he might have broken it.
Raif moved to his knees and pressed himself from the floor of the school hallways. His friends fled in every direction, like cockroaches in sunlight. Raif pressed the heel of his hand against his lip and stared at the blood on his hand before pointing at Declan.
“This isn’t over.” He could see Raif trying to maintain any dignity he could salvage. “We’ll finish this later,” he threatened.
“No, we won’t. You touch my girlfriend again and I won’t let you off this lightly.”
Declan wasn’t sure what possessed him to call her his girlfriend when he didn’t even know her name but he wasn’t about to second-guess his instincts. He could hear her moving behind him as Raif skulked down the hall, glaring back at him. Declan turned to face her and reached for her arm as she slung her backpack over her shoulder.
“Are you alright?” She flinched, backing up against the lockers in an effort to avoid his touch. “Look, I’m sorry I told them you were my girlfriend, but I was hoping it would give them a bit more of a reason to leave you alone.” He lowered his voice and held out a hand. “I’m Declan.”
The girl eyed him, curiously, and shifted her backpack, moving her weight from one foot to the other. “Well, Declan, you might want to go wash that hand off,” she pointed at the blood on the back of his hand.
He glanced at it and frowned, unsure if it was his blood or Raif’s. He scrubbed his knuckles on the side of his jeans and folded his arms, staring down at her. She was so small and petite, he was worried if he shook her hand, he might break hers. She didn’t seem unfriendly but her defiant stance almost dared him to try and make her smile. He wanted to see if her eyes turned even more yellow when she laughed. He gave her a grin, hoping she would return the smile.
“Well, isn’t that a fine thank you?”
He could see her fighting the smile tugging at the corners of her mouth before she cocked her head and bit down on the edge of her lower lip. Her gaze grazed over him, from the top of his now messy mop of black hair over his turquoise t-shirt to the blood now on his jeans, as if she was appraising him. She frowned and he wondered what he’d done wrong.
“Now, what could make a girls as pretty as you frown like that?”
He played up his Irish accent, knowing girls couldn’t resist it. He saw the blush creep over her cheeks as her eyes widened in surprise. She clamped her lips together, forming a thin line and squared her shoulders. Instead of smiling, he saw her eyes harden like chips of topaz.
“Thank you for helping me out but I have to go.” She turned to leave as he reached for her arm.
“Did I do something to make you mad?” The ear-splitting sound of the final bell shattered the near silence of the now empty hall. He glanced toward the direction Raif had fled. “I’ll walk you to your class.”
“No need. I’m not going,” she answered.
Declan looked down at the girl, whose name he still didn’t know and wondered what in the world could have caused such a beautiful girl to try to hide. He could see it in the way she averted her eyes from his, or how she stepped backward, moving away from him, keeping a two-foot distance between them. She was odd but something in his heart tugged at him to find out more about her. He hadn’t felt this way in a long time. Not since…
Declan realized he hadn’t felt this way since his heart was broken, the day Alaina died.
~ About the Author ~
Tina Klinesmith (1973-present) found she had a love for stories at the ripe age of 2 when her mother found her trying to read a romance novel. Even in childhood, she spent time crafting stories, plays and songs for family and friends. Raised in the lush Central Valley of California, Tina continues to reside there with her wonderful husband, three children and a menagerie of beasts who believe they are also children. Tina loves the outdoors and spending time camping, fishing and just hanging out with family and friends. She is an accomplished horsewoman and trainer as well as a fitness instructor and online coach. She loves to hear from her readers!
Connect with the