Loving Tenderness

Loving Tenderness

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by Gail Gaymer Martin

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After her car broke down, single mother Hannah Currey was relieved when a caring stranger helped her find refuge. But hotel manager Andrew Somerville was more than just a Good Samaritan. His kindness and gentle attention helped her believe in love again. With a painful secret haunting her, would Hannah be able to return the love this one-in-a-million man so

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After her car broke down, single mother Hannah Currey was relieved when a caring stranger helped her find refuge. But hotel manager Andrew Somerville was more than just a Good Samaritan. His kindness and gentle attention helped her believe in love again. With a painful secret haunting her, would Hannah be able to return the love this one-in-a-million man so deserved?

Andrew wanted to rebuild his life, and falling in love with Hannah was the last thing on his agenda. And despite Hannah's cautious demeanor, Andrew found it difficult to contain the tenderness that welled up inside him whenever she was near. Was loving this special woman another mistake...or the miracle that he'd been praying for?

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Steeple Hill Books
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Love Inspired Series
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Loving Tenderness

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Steeple Hill

Copyright © 2005 Gail Gaymer Martin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373873336

Andrew Somerville's headlights caught something moving along the shoulder ahead of him, and he leaned forward to make out the silhouette. A driver in distress, he figured as he slowed.

Hypnotized by the swishswish of his windshield wipers, he peered through the early April downpour. A yawn escaped him, and he lifted his hand to cover his mouth, then drew back his shoulders, hoping to relieve the tension he'd felt ever since returning months earlier to Loving. Loving, a town he'd once called home. Despite the town's acceptance, he now felt like an outsider.

A frown tightened his forehead as he rolled past, observing the silhouette of a woman gripping the hand of a small child. Their coats were sodden in the midnight deluge. Without hesitation, he pulled onto the shoulder ahead of them. His curiosity grew as he observed them through the rearview mirror.

After he'd stopped, the woman seemed to hesitate and drew the child to her. She didn't step closer but waited for him to make a move.

Andrew opened his car door and stuck his head into the driving torrent. "Can I help you?"

A clap of thunder covered his voice, and the woman tilted her ear toward him, letting him know she hadn't heard.

He ignored the downpour and stepped onto the shoulder. "Do you need help? Can I give you a lift?" His vision blurred as raindrops streamed past his eyes.

She looked down at the child clinging to her pant leg as if weighing her options. "Do I know you?"

"No. I live in Loving. Andrew Somerville."

She moved closer, her eyes probing his as she tried to place him. "I know your name."

Andrew beckoned her. "Then climb in. I'll give you a ride into town."

She headed for his sedan, looking as weighed down as the soggy clothes she wore.

Drenched now, Andrew slipped back into the driver's seat and leaned over to push open the passenger door. The child began to climb in, his eyes glazed with exhaustion and confusion, but when the woman realized the car had bucket seats, she opened the back door and motioned the child inside, then slid in beside him.

In the dim overhead light, Andrew winced, seeing a nasty bruise marring her cheek and a bloodied cut on her lip. Automobile accident? He felt his scowl deepen as he tried to recall an abandoned car on the road behind him, but he'd seen nothing.

"Thanks," she said, pulling the door closed. "I'm sorry. We're getting your seats wet."

His seats seemed the least of her problems. "Don't worry about it," he said, then listened to the click of the seat belts before he shifted into gear and rolled out onto the highway.

"Where's your car?" he asked, glancing over his shoulder.

She didn't respond.

A silent chill filled the air, and he studied her through the rearview mirror, curious as to what had stopped her from answering. She was an attractive woman despite the bruises and her wet hair plastered against her scalp.

"It's a personal problem," she said, finally, her eyes narrowing when she saw his frown in the mirror.

The comment made him more inquisitive, but he stopped that line of questioning. "Where are you headed?"

"I'm tired, Mom," the boy whimpered.

"Be patient, JJ. We'll be somewhere soon."

In the mirror, Andrew saw the child snuggle closer to her side. The boy looked about school age, maybe younger, and Andrew noticed for the first time that he was dressed in pajamas beneath his jacket. His bewilderment turned to concern, and she still hadn't answered his question.

"Where are you headed?" he asked once more.

"I — I'm not sure." He heard a tremor in her voice, and his mind sailed back to days when he didn't know where he would spend the night, either. "Are you in some kind of trouble?"

She responded with silence, then a lengthy sigh. "It's difficult to talk now."

Through the mirror, he saw her head tilt toward the child. The boy seemed to be nearly asleep, and that comment as well as her bruised face gave him an answer.

"Husband problems. I'm sorry."

She glanced toward JJ. "He's not my husband. He's my ex."

Ex. Divorced. Her comment stopped Andrew cold, and he felt his mouth tighten at her brusque statement.

"I see," he said. "Then how about the shelter?"

"Yes, that will do," she said, her voice heavy with resignation.

"They'll treat you well there. Some of us from the church do volunteer work for them. It's been a wonderful experience for me," Andrew said, shifting the subject to something more positive.

She fell silent for a moment, and when she spoke, her voice seemed to come from miles away. "You don't need to hear my problems."

"We've all had them," he said, assuming she'd heard about his. He gave her another glance in the mirror.

"You're related to Philip Somerville. Everyone's heard of him."

"He's my older brother."

"I'm Hannah Currey."

Andrew realized his name meant nothing to her. Or if it did, her voice hadn't registered it.

She drew the boy closer. "This is my son, JJ." "Hi, JJ," Andrew said, hoping to break through the child's fear. "It's kind of late for a young man to be out in his pajamas. I'm glad I can give you a lift." He tried to make his tone upbeat, but he didn't feel lighthearted. The memories took him back to his troubled years and his fall from grace. Regret shot through him, realizing what pride and arrogance had done to his life.

"I could go to a motel," Hannah said, "but I left without money, and I don't know when I can..." Her voice faded as if she realized she'd said too much. "I'd be happy to give you a loan," he said, surprised as the words left his mouth.

"No. Thanks. I have a job. I can sort things out tomorrow."

Tomorrow. The uplifting Broadway song from the musical Annie raced through his mind as he looked at the storm beating against his windshield. He hoped the sun would come out tomorrow for her, and for himself for that matter. "Where do you work?"

"Loving Hair Salon. I'm a shampooer."


Excerpted from Loving Tenderness by Gail Gaymer Martin Copyright © 2005 by Gail Gaymer Martin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
..........On a dark and stormy night reformed town- prodigal Andrew Somerville picks up a brutalized woman and confused child along the roadside. He leaves Hannah Currey and little JJ at a shelter for abused women, but can't dismiss them from his thoughts. He recognizes a kindred spirit in her and a chance to redeem his shady past. ..........For the sake of her son, Hannah grudgingly allows Andrew into her life. She is determined to regain control of her life, and his desire to help her get on her feet again interferes with her plans. When her ex-husband continues stalking her, she finds herself longing for Andrew by her side. But one life-altering secret lingers from that terrible night, a secret she refuses to share with anyone--even the man who's rapidly becoming more than a friend. ..........In LOVING TENDERNESS Gail Martin paints a vivid and credible portrait of a vulnerable, determined woman climbing out of the pit of domestic violence. The author effectively utilizes her background in counseling to put a personal face on dry statistics. I completely believed in Hannah's characterization in the beginning. While cringing at her realistic mistakes, I understood and sympathized and rooted for her to overcome them. .........Andrew felt less distinct, mainly because his primary conflict in the beginning about settling down and raising a family faded inexplicably. Sundry conflicts kept the happily-ever-after sufficiently in doubt to sustain interest. But by the end, I felt as confused as Hannah about why the couple couldn't get together. I thought a more focused conflict could have strengthened the emotional impact at the end. ..........Also, I felt the resolution relied too strongly on Hannah's emotional motivation as a mother and not enough on supporting external motivations. I disagreed too often with her repeated and deliberate rejection of good sense for me to maintain my suspension of disbelief and respect for her as a character. Certainly real people take stubborn, ill-advised actions, and some readers may be able to identify with Hannah's climatic decisions. However, structured as the culmination of the character's growth to demonstrate her taking control of her life, it felt frustrating to me. ..........With a fluid writing style, Martin takes readers behind the scenes of all-too-familiar headlines and plunges them into an authentic world of domestic abuse, survival, and ultimate healing. Well-structured scenes pull readers in a steady forward direction, and kept me reading late into the night. The final installment of the Loving series waves a misty but fond farewell to beloved characters from earlier books, but easily stands alone as an inspirational romance with significant elements of suspense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
LOVING TENDERNESS By Gail Gaymer Martin When Andrew Somerville rescues the drenched woman and her son on a rain swept highway, he has no idea what he¿s facing. Danger, involvement, love? Surely not. He¿ll just take them to a shelter and his responsibility will have ended. Why can¿t he forget about Hannah¿s bruises and the haunted look in her eyes? Why does he worry about little JJ? Is it because of the ghosts in his own past? Is it because he¿s trying to make up for the pain he¿s caused his own family? Or is it that he hopes for a future with them¿the mother and child? Then, when even more problems arise, and Andrew¿s own reputation is on the line, he will have to choose whether to stand by Hannah or protect himself. And when JJ¿s life is in danger¿well, I¿d better not say more or I¿ll give it all away. You won¿t be able to put it down, that¿s for sure!