Angels Walking: A Novel

Angels Walking: A Novel

4.6 59
by Karen Kingsbury
     
 

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes the first in a brand-new series about second chances—a dramatic story about a washed up baseball player, the love he left behind, and the miracles that might save them both.

When former national baseball star Tyler Ames suffers a career-ending injury, all he can think about is

Overview

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes the first in a brand-new series about second chances—a dramatic story about a washed up baseball player, the love he left behind, and the miracles that might save them both.

When former national baseball star Tyler Ames suffers a career-ending injury, all he can think about is putting his life back together the way it was before. He has lost everyone he loves on his way to the big leagues. Then just when things seem to be turning around, Tyler hits rock bottom. Across the country, Tyler’s one true love Sami Dawson has moved on.

A series of small miracles leads Tyler to a maintenance job at a retirement home and a friendship with Virginia Hutcheson, an old woman with Alzheimer’s who strangely might have the answers he so desperately seeks.

A team of Angels Walking take on the mission to restore hope for Tyler, Sami, and Virginia. Can such small and seemingly insignificant actions of the unseen bring healing and redemption? And can the words of a stranger rekindle lost love? Every journey begins with a step.

It is time for the mission to begin…

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Kingbury’s fans and new readers alike will love her newest protagonists and relate to the struggles that hinder their finding fulfillment and joy."
CBA Retailers + Resources
"Kingsbury has produced a new riveting page-turner of relatable characters and situations and the best ways to hang on to our faith in a world that no longer sees its value."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451687484
Publisher:
Howard Books
Publication date:
02/17/2015
Series:
Angels Walking Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
32,599
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
HL530L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt

Angels Walking

  • SINCE HIS FOURTH BIRTHDAY, Tyler Ames had logged nearly twenty thousand hours training and practicing and preparing for the game of baseball. Two decades of wins and losses, warm-ups and strikeouts, game after game after game. But there was one thing Tyler had never accomplished.

    He’d never been perfect.

    Until now.

    Tyler adjusted his Blue Wahoos cap and dug the toe of his shoe into the soft dirt of the pitcher’s mound at the Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. Redemption was at hand. Bent at the waist, the ball an extension of his arm, Tyler stared down the next batter. Nearly five thousand fans screamed beneath the lights on this beautiful August evening.

    Here . . . now . . . Tyler actually felt perfect.

    As if tonight even the ghosts of his past were cheering for him.

    His heart slammed around in his chest as he reeled back and released a pitch. Ninety miles an hour, he thought. At least ninety.

    “Strike!” The umpire stood and pumped his right arm. “One ball, two strikes!”

    One more, Tyler caught the ball from the catcher. Just one. A breeze blew in from the bay, but Tyler couldn’t stop sweating. Breathe, Ames. Just breathe. They were the words he told himself every time the game got tense. He dragged his arm over his forehead, stood straight up on the mound, and took a deep breath.

    One more strike. Tyler squinted at the catcher’s signals. The dance was as old as the game: catcher signaling the pitch, pitcher waiting for the right signal, the pitch he wanted to throw. The signal came.

    No. Tyler shook his head. Not that one. The catcher changed signals. Again Tyler shook his head. The third signal made Tyler smile. At least on the inside.

    The change-up. Perfect pitch for this batter, this moment.

    Tyler glanced at the stands. Four scouts from the Cincinnati Reds were here. If things went well he could bypass triple A and join the Big Leagues. As early as next week. The Majors. His dream since winning the Little League World Series twelve years ago. Six years making minimum wage, trekking around down South on a bus would all be worth it after tonight. He could do it. He had never pitched like this.

    Not in all his life.

    Tyler wound up and released the pitch. It flew from his hands like a blazing fastball, but halfway to the plate it braked. The batter—a new third-round pick out of Texas—swung early. Way early.

    “Strike three!”

    Tyler jogged toward home and high-fived his catcher, William Trapnell. Six innings, eighteen straight batters. Fourteen strikeouts. Three ground-outs to first. One caught fly ball. Jep Black, the Blue Wahoos manager, met him at the dugout. “Got someone to hit for you, Tyler.” He patted his back. “Rest your arm.”

    Tyler nodded and took a spot at the end of the bench. This was his second season with the Blue Wahoos, and though the roster changed constantly, he generally liked his teammates. Several of them shouted congratulations.

    “You’re perfect tonight, Ames.” William swigged down a water bottle, breathless. “You own this.”

    Tyler gave him a thumbs-up. “Thanks. Keep it up.” He volleyed a couple more compliments, slid a jacket over his pitching arm, and leaned back. He could relax this inning with the designated hitter taking over.

    He closed his eyes and filled his lungs with the ocean air. Hadn’t he known this would happen? When he got moved up from the Dayton A team last spring he had expected great things.

    Tyler blinked and stared at home plate. The first Blue Wahoos batter was up. Tyler worked the muscles in his hand, making a fist and releasing it. His team was at the top of the lineup. Plenty of time. Tyler squinted at the distant lights, the sponsor signs on the outfield walls. Like a grainy YouTube clip, the seasons ran together in his mind. Star of the 2002 Little League World Series. In high school, California’s Mr. Baseball. Most recruited pitcher in the history of UCLA.

    How had it all gone so wrong?

    The fallout with his parents, his back injury, the public drunkenness charges, the girls. He had fallen out of grace with his fans and everyone he loved.

    Sami Dawson most of all. Her name made his heart hurt. Sami, girl . . . where are you? What happened to us? He closed his eyes again. He had loved her more than life. But that was a hundred years ago.

    Cheers interrupted his personal highlight reel. He opened his eyes and watched their centerfielder hit a triple. Blue Wahoos up, 3–0. He massaged his right arm. It was sore, but a whole lot better than usual. He had three more innings in him. Definitely.

    A picture filled his mind. He and Sami, both of them seventeen, sitting together on her grandparents’ roof. Aww, Sami. We thought we had forever back then. The stars had looked brighter that night, the silhouette of the trees like something from a dream. No one had believed in him more than Sami Dawson.

    What was I thinking? How could I let you go?

    Tyler gritted his teeth. Tonight was where it would all turn around. He would Google his own name tomorrow and see something different. Tyler Ames: Perfect. Story after story would say the same thing. He’d made it. Finally found his way. He would be perfect and everyone would know. Maybe even Sami.

    Buried would be all the headlines still there at the moment.

    Tyler Ames: The Kid Who Didn’t Live Up to His Potential.

    Minor League Purgatory: The Story of Tyler Ames.

    The Sad Life of Tyler Ames: Mr. Baseball, Mr. Joke.

    Tyler exhaled. The pain of his past was as close as the nearest computer. Any kid with a cell phone could read about the hero he’d been.

    And the failure he’d become.

    Every game, every inning of the past few years was like an act of penance now, a way to absolve himself for the sins of his past. And every single pitch had led to this.

    The chance to be perfect. No hits, no walks, no one on base. Perfect.

    For the first time.

    What would his parents say after tonight? His father’s face flashed in his mind. Funny. Whenever he thought of his dad, he thought of him angry. Correcting his pitching form, scrutinizing his weight training, questioning him.

    Another run scored and the Blue Wahoos were back in the outfield. Tyler felt warm and focused. More ready than ever. Jep Black’s words from earlier that day ran through his head: “Tonight’s your night, Ames. Go out there and prove me right.”

    Indeed.

    Jep had been talking to scouts from the Reds ever since the season started. Tonight, finally, the scouts were here. They actually wanted him. That’s what Jep said. The Reds’ director of player personnel knew his name and his numbers. Every wonderful statistic from this season. Tyler was just what they were looking for. They even knew about his past.

    And they still wanted him.

    Tyler set his jacket on the bench and jogged out to the mound. On the way he stopped and talked to his catcher. “More of the same.” He brushed his glove against William’s shoulder. “Talk to me, Trap. Keep me perfect.”

    “You got it.”

    He reached the mound and glanced up. When was the last time a guy in the AA minor leagues threw a perfect game? The Pensacola faithful were on their feet. Tyler Ames was about to make history. They could feel it. This was their night as much as it was his.

    The beautiful oceanfront stadium had opened two years ago, and already it topped the list of places to see, things to do on the Florida Panhandle. The fans had bought into the Blue Wahoos, the team more than any individual player.

    But tonight was different. Tonight the Blue Wahoo fans loved Tyler Ames. They knew his name. He could hear them.

    Bottom of the lineup for the team from South Carolina. Easy as the waves in the bay, he thought. If only his parents could have been here tonight. If Sami could see how he’d made good after all. He was going to be moved up to the big show. It was actually going to happen. Breathe, Ames . . . just breathe. He focused on William’s glove. The batter was a washed-up second baseman from the Bigs who had been sent down to the AA leagues after an injury. He couldn’t swing a bat the way he once had.

    Williams flashed him a signal. Tyler nodded. Yes, a fastball. That’s exactly what he wanted. He lifted his knee and wound up the way he had ten thousand times. In a burst of motion he fired the ball over the plate. The batter didn’t swing, didn’t even have time to blink.

    “Steee-rike!” The umpire was getting excited, too.

    Tyler kept a straight face, but all around him it was happening. His teammates were behind him. He could feel the focus of his infield, feel the gloves of the outfield ready to react. He threw a slider and the batter connected. At the crack of the bat, Tyler’s heart skipped a beat. He watched the trajectory overhead. Get it, he thought. Please get it. His teammate at centerfield responded. Fly out.

    One down. Still perfect.

    A grounder to first took care of the next batter. Tyler felt stronger now than he had at the beginning of the game. He settled himself on the mound and stared at the catcher. Change-up to start the batter. Tyler liked it. He wound up and caught the guy watching. Strike one. The second pitch was outside, same with the third.

    The fans at Bayfront Stadium fell to a hush. He couldn’t throw another ball or the batter would walk. Breathe, Ames. He could be perfect. It would happen. He stared at William. His catcher signaled for a fastball. Tyler shook his head. Not for this batter. The guy had hit four home runs this month.

    Next he called for a curveball. Atta boy, William. Perfect pitch. Tyler gave the slightest nod. This was it. A curveball would sail straight toward the plate and break hard to the inside. By then the batter would bite, and the swing would be a strike.

    Another notch closer to perfection.

    Tyler settled back on his heels, glove up, ball in his hand. The windup was everything it needed to be. He uncoiled himself and released the ball just as he planned, like he’d done all his life. But this time he heard something snap. Instantly fire ripped through his arm and down his torso, the sort of pain Tyler had never known before.

    “Steee-rike!” The umpire made the call.

    Tyler was already on the ground, writhing beneath the searing pain. The noise from the stadium dimmed and the only sounds were his racing heart and his own terrible groaning. People were running to him, but he couldn’t hear them, couldn’t make out their faces. He felt like demons were ripping his arm from his body. The world around him faded, every voice and face.

    The first uniformed medic reached him, a man Tyler had never seen before. He dropped to his knees and put his hand on Tyler’s good shoulder. The guy looked like a linebacker. “You’re going to be okay.”

    No! Tyler wanted to shout at him. But the pain was too great. I’ll never be okay again. The man was staring at him, his eyes bright with something Tyler didn’t recognize. Peace, maybe. Something otherworldly.

    “This isn’t the end, Tyler.” The medic’s hand felt warm. “It’s the beginning.”

    Tyler shook his head. Angry tears filled his eyes. Of course it’s the end. The name on the medic’s uniform caught his attention. A name he’d never heard before.

    Beck.

    Figures. Brand-new medic. What would he know? “My . . . shoulder!” The pain was killing him. Sweat dripped down his forehead and he could feel his body shaking, going into shock. Tyler lifted his eyes to the stadium lights. A strange darkness shrouded them and then gradually, everything else began to fade.

    Sami would never want him now. She would blame him for making the wrong choices all those years ago. I’m sorry, Sami. I still love you. If you only knew how much. Two more medics with a stretcher rushed toward him, and the rest of the team gathered at a distance, silent, shocked. Tyler had one final thought before he blacked out.

    He wasn’t perfect.

    And after tonight he never would be.

  • Meet the Author

    Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Don, and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their actress daughter, Kelsey, lives nearby and is married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky. The couple recently welcomed their first child, Hudson.

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    Angels Walking: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
    Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
    "Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." ~ Hebrews 13:2 There are simply some books that touch more than your heart, they embed themselves into your soul and change you for the better. Those are the books you want to run around and simply tell everyone you know to grab this book and read it. This was simply one I could not put down. I've been a huge fan of supernatural Christian fiction, the kind of books that deals with the unseen world, or the world in which angels and demons dwell, because I believe it's real. Karen Kingsbury, who remains one of my all-time favorite authors, has begun a new series, Angels Walking and the first book to make it's debut is the same title, Angels Walking. In it, we get a first hand glance at the workings of a group of angels assigned to work in the lives of some people struggling to make ends meet and to make sense of their lives. If they continue on their chosen path, God's glory in all of it, would end up lost and so would the humans to whom they have been assigned. They are simply known in the heavenly realm as the Angels Walking Team. There first mission is to work with Tyler Ames, who is making his way to the big league as a rising pitcher for the Florida minor league baseball team, the Blue Wahoos. On the most critical night of his career, his is about to pitch the most perfect game and in the stands are recruiters from the Reds. He knows if he can finish this game off, he will be set for life. But God has other plans in mind for Tyler, one that will take him all the way to the lowest points in his life to teach him a new beginning. It will be one that will undoubtedly bring him back to God and clearly see that God has His hand in it all. The Angels Walking team has also been assigned to Samantha Dawson, who was Tyler's first love from high school and the only girl that truly believed that Tyler could go all the way. Now six years later, Tyler has grown so much that time since he went away to make something of himself that he simply never looked back and in the process forget the girl back home that believed he could do anything and go anywhere he dreamed. Now Sami is struggling against her own desires and those of the man she is dating Arnie, who only dreams of a political future and how he can get to the top. Sami is the dream match for a man looking to one day become the next president and knows that with Sami by his side, he will be assured no skeletons will surface that might destroy him. But has Sami given up on her own dreams to settle for what her grandparents and Arnie have in mind instead for her future? Virginia Hutcheson is stuck living in the past, 1970 to be exact. Alzheimer's has stripped her beautiful mind and left a former shell of who she used to be. All she knows is that she needs to find her son Ben but it seems like no one will believe her. She spends her days and nights locked up, medicated to prevent her from leaving the retirement facility, and wishing for one more day with her son Ben. Her daughter Cheryl has been notified if her mother gets any worse, she will need to be transferred to another facility that is more suited to deal with the advance stages of Alzheimer and one that would be more than an hour away. If only she could find a way to reach her mother before it's too late? I received Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. The one thing I can tell you about most of Karen Kingsbury's books is that stay with you. They change you. They most certainly will make you cry and you will definitely want to read them again and again. I am slowly growing my collection and have proudly added Angels Walking to my collection. The only downfall is waiting for the next book in the series to be published. The writing style is superb, the characters believable and flawed, and the intervention of the angels is to remain unseen as to ensure God is given the glory and they are not worshiped instead. This is such a beautiful book that anyone who is looking for a book that will change the way they see the world and our circumstances in it, this is for you. A reader's discussion guide is included and I look forward to hearing about Karen's angel experience in her next book. I know I have clearly seen the hand of God at work in my own life and know without a doubt that there are Angels Walking among us. Hands down a 5 out of 5 stars!!!
    Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
    Sometimes we get so focused on ourselves and our success that we forget about those around us that were pivotal in helping us achieve our dreams. Tyler Ames was a pitching phenom at the ripe old age of twelve. His friend Marcus was every bit as good. They made a pact to never leave the other behind. But as often happens, the passage of time changed things. Different paths were chosen with different results. After a season ending and possibly career ending injury Tyler finds himself looking back and regretting choices that were made. He regrets the relationships he let go and the paths that he pursued. If he had a second chance there are definitely things he would do differently.  Tyler's not the only one with regrets. His parents Bill and Angie now wonder how they could have let such distance come between themselves and their son. Sami Dawson once thought that she and Tyler would be together forever. How had it all gone wrong? Beck and Ember are angels on a mission. Tyler and the others are in desperate need of a new beginning. God in His providential way has sent the angels to intervene and redirect the lives of His children. The seemingly impossible suddenly becomes possible. Through the very touching relationship with Alzheimer's patient Virginia Hutcheson, Tyler gets his new beginning. When I first picked this book up I was a bit leery of it being an angel story. Those stories can sometimes be a bit too "woo woo" for me. But I was pleasantly surprised with Angels Walking. Not only is the story plausible, it is uplifting and hopeful. We've all been in that place where we think all is lost, only to have the situation begin to turn around in ways we never expected. That is how this story plays out. If this first book is any indication of how the series will be . . . it's going to be good! I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
    itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
    Karen Kingsbury has done it again. Angels Walking was a unique story that captivated. I know I said previously that I had felt her stories were becoming formulaic, even becoming boring. But this one was unique and piqued my interest. Two angels, Beck and Ember, have been sent to Earth. The whole group of angels have a mission, and these two have been chosen to complete the first part of it: Tyler Ames. A former baseball star, who ruined his career and is trying to make his comeback. Until he cant. His first love, Sami, lives across the country, supposedly moved on.  My favorite part would have to be the angels. I actually wish there were more scenes from Beck and Ember's point of view. It was interesting to see the way they worked, the way they walked among the humans, watching, listening, and helping. I also like how this was not really romance based. I mean, yes, Tyler was focused on his first love, Sami. And Sami was focused on first her boyfriend, and then Tyler. But the story focused more on Tyler, and his growth as a person.  I also loved Virginia and her part of the story. She was so sweet, and just lent a wonderful side to the story and to Tyler's growth and discovery. Does this still have the everything-works-out perfectly in an almost unrealistic way? Yes. But it is a book about miracles. And this was a great, invested read. It definitely kept me interested the entire time. I already need the next one!
    amybooksy More than 1 year ago
    I have never read Karen Kingbury's fictional stories before. After reading Angels Walking, it is no wonder why she is so popular. If her other works are anything like this one, then I am a new fan. I will definitely be looking for more books by her. Angels Walking starts off with angels, Beck and Ember, being sent to help Tyler Ames and his old flame, Samantha Dawson. Tyler is in the big leagues of baseball as a pitcher. After an injury, his life spirals out of control. Which leads him to a new special friend. And what a special bond they have. Samantha is now successful in her career. She has an ambitious boyfriend and everything seems perfect for her until she comes across an article detailing Tyler's injury. Oh, how does this one injury change so many lives. I love this book. The characters are great, the storyline is great, and the moral of the story is great. I cannot wait for book 2 of the series to release. I highly recommend this book. Five stars. I received this book from Howard Books in exchange for my honest opinion, which was given.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Loved this book
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Absolutely loved this story... Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite author's and I cant wait to continue reading what's next on Angels walking series.
    Gulfview More than 1 year ago
    Another of Karen Kingsbury's wonderful books. I enjoyed this book, and know, I will read it again. I've learned a lesson from this book, and I hope you all read it- you won't want to put it down.
    susanwalkergirl More than 1 year ago
    Angels Walking, by Karen Kingsbury, is her newest book about Tyler Ames, a talented up and coming baseball player, whose life takes an unexpected turn. Just how would Alzheimer’s patient Virginia Hutchinson impact Tyler’s life for eternity? How would those changes ripple out and affect Tyler’s broken relationships with his parents and former girlfriend Sami Dawson? How in the world do angels figure into the story? Well…you’ll have to read it to find out. I’ve only read one other Karen Kingsbury book, but there was something about Angels Walking that drew me in. Perhaps it was Virginia the Alzheimer’s patient or maybe I was intrigued by the thought of angels, God’s messengers, at work in our lives. I knew I would find this book somewhat painful because my mother had Alzheimer’s but I wanted to read it and I’m so glad I did. Karen Kingsbury is a very gifted writer and has a beautiful turn of a phrase. She has a way of expressing feelings or a scene in a very vivid way that stays in the mind of the reader. What came through in this book were love, grace, forgiveness and redemption. I was reminded to never give up or stop praying and know that God is at work in our lives. Karen’s Christian faith is interwoven throughout this book in a beautiful way. There were a couple of times when Jesus Christ and salvation came up, but I found it fell short of a clear presentation of the gospel because sin wasn’t mentioned. Without knowledge of my sin, I don’t know of my need for a Savior. I recommend Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury and look forward to future books in this series. Your heart will be touched when you read this book and perhaps some healing will also take place in those broken places in your life. I would like to thank the publishers at Howard Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Angels Walking in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Very good book one of her best. I recommend it to everyone.
    Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
      I think there are more than a few readers who get excited when they see Karen Kingsbury start a new series.  This series is Angels Walking, and this book is the first part.  My review is going to be small, so bear with me. This story is everything it should be. It has a multi-layered plot where grace shines through and faith beats at its heart.  The characters are lovable and real, and you cheer for them as they decide to live each day expecting God to work miracles.  Karen's stories, for me, are all about John 10:10, where Jesus said He came to give us life and life abundant. The men and women of Karen's novels discover this time and again. They learn to see God in each moment- the emptiness and the fullness, the bitter and the sweet, the presence and the absence.  Thank you Howard Books for my review copy!
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    Anonymous 6 months ago
    Love this book! The words on every page unfolded beautifully and painted the most amazing picture of grace, mercy, and our Father's unconditional love. I feel as if I have been given a glimpse of Heaven. Well done once again Karen Kingsbury! Thank you!
    Anonymous 10 months ago
    I really enjoy reading Karen Kingsbury ' books, they are so uplifting and praise God. Once you start her book, it is hard not to read it straight to the end. I am on to reading another of her books.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Love all Karen Kingsbury books
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Only got romance in the last chapter and it was brief. Don't plan to read book 2
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    4
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is an incredible gift of hop and love. I didn't want it to end.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Godlovesme27 More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book, it opens your eyes and let's you see what so many of us are missing Grace. This book was a must read and Karen Kingsbury did a awesome job bring it all together and I loved Virginia and cried when she went home cause she taught Tyler so very much and then to have his friend and parents back in his life. Amazing can't wait for the next book. Thank you for opening up so many eye's to wanting forgiveness, my mom went home in October and I had to put the book down many times but am so very glad I finished it.Though all the tears I myself found my way back to family and was Blessed to have been able to spend 2 years with my mom before she went home and I give all the Praise and Honor to my Father. Thank you again and May God Bless you every day.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Karen Kingsbury does another great job. Dont miss this one!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Im an emo girl if thats what you want to call me. But i love romace books like Nicholas Sparks. I got this book for easter from my friends mom and just reading it has made me believe. It brought me closer to God.
    MLNC More than 1 year ago
    The absolute best new series on the market! Karen has done it again! She has written another life changing fiction story!! She is my absolute favorite author! An absolute must read!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago