Not by Chance

Not by Chance

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by Kathy Herman

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In Search of Significance

Thirty-year-old Brandon Jones arrives at his parents’ doorstep burned out, jobless, and now fiancée-less. Ellen and Guy can provide a place for him to stay only until he figures out what to do with his life. When he takes a temporary job at a summer camp for disadvantaged kids, Brandon begins a turbulent relationship

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In Search of Significance

Thirty-year-old Brandon Jones arrives at his parents’ doorstep burned out, jobless, and now fiancée-less. Ellen and Guy can provide a place for him to stay only until he figures out what to do with his life. When he takes a temporary job at a summer camp for disadvantaged kids, Brandon begins a turbulent relationship with a biracial adolescent named Caedmon. Somewhere in the midst of the chaos—caused by Caedmon’s disappearance just before a hurricane is predicted to hit Seaport, and by a group of racists who will not stop at arson or murder—Brandon begins to see that the pieces of his life are not by chance. If he has discovered his life’s purpose, can he live it?

“Life is pointless. And if there’s a God, He’s asleep on the job.”

Brandon Jones didn’t know what he expected from the homeless man he met on the way out of town. Certainly not the angry words that haunted him.

But then, nothing happened the way he expected. Not his promising career, not his engagement to the “perfect” woman. All his certainty that God had plans for him, that he was meant to do something important—something significant—had amounted to a big fat zero. And now, here he was, thirty years old, no job, no fiancée. Living with his parents.

Maybe the homeless guy was right.

Then again…maybe not. Maybe Brandon has returned to Seaport for a reason. To face down a brewing disaster, steeped in hate crimes and danger. To survive against all odds. To learn, once and for all, that “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Story Behind the Book

“I am continually blessed by how many readers express their appreciation for the God-given talent that enables me to write novels, but I’m more amazed that so many of them feel as though they haven’t been gifted with anything. My goal in writing Not By Chance was to show that God’s purpose for every life is in place before we are born. Based on Proverbs 19:21 , ‘Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the L ord’s purpose that prevails,’ I sought to create unforgettable characters who challenge each reader’s understanding of their purpose in life. Ultimately, I want to point them to the Creator with the Master plan.” —Kathy Herman

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Product Details

The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
A Seaport Suspense Novel Series, #14
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

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a novel

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2006 Kathy Herman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-490-X

Chapter One

Leave it to Beau to turn this into a competition!" Brandon Jones jumped up from the couch and stood leaning on the bookshelves in Kelsey Hartman's apartment, his hands in his pockets, his irritation turning to perspiration under his cashmere sweater.

Kelsey sank into the back of the leather couch. "He's just jealous. But it's not as though Beau Richards is the only one who wants to head up the South Atlantic Region. It's an enviable position."

"The job was offered to me, Kel. It's not as though I tried to ace him out."

"He'll get over it. Besides, you're the right choice for the job. You relate to people much better than he does." Kelsey got up and slid into Brandon's arms. "I'm so proud of you. I can hardly wait to tell Mother and Daddy that I'm marrying a regional vice president."

Regional vice president. Brandon imagined himself in a coat and tie, sitting around the boardroom table, sipping ice water and discussing the latest trends in women's fashions. "There's a lot to consider. The corporate office is a more structured environment than I'm used to."

"Just think what this could mean to our future. Once we're married, we could live nicely on your salary and bank mine. We'd have a healthy down payment for a housein no time. And I could stay home when we start having kids. It's an absolute blessing." Kelsey pushed back and looked up at him, her eyes probing. "What's wrong? You don't seem excited."

"It's a great opportunity, no question ... but it'll mean putting in more hours. And a lot of Saturdays. That doesn't leave much time for recreation."

"For heaven's sake, it won't kill us to cut out some backpacking and rock climbing. And we can always work out at the gym to stay in shape. We're talking about securing your future-our future. I can't believe you're worried about all that."

"Well, it's the outdoor stuff that keeps me sane."

"Gee, thanks a lot." Kelsey wiggled out of his arms and flung open the balcony doors, then went outside and stood with her back to him, her arms folded.

"Honey, come back here. You know what I mean."

"Do I?"

Brandon walked up behind her and put his arms around her, his chin resting on her shoulder. "You're the love of my life. Without you, nothing else would matter to me."

"But it should. Why can't you be excited for yourself because you've been offered a well-deserved promotion?"

"I am. On one level."

"But ...?"

"It'd be a huge adjustment spending my workday cooped up in an office, breathing recirculated air and connecting with nature from tinted windows overlooking downtown Raleigh."

"It's one of the best views in the city. And even if you have to work Saturdays, we'd have evenings together without the pressure of your having to leave town again."

"I know. But it's not like being on the road's been a hardship."

"I hate not seeing you five days in a row."

"We managed to fall in love, didn't we? From my perspective, the time we've spent together's been great."

"It has, but I would dread you being gone that much after we're married. This promotion would mean no more traveling. And you aren't that crazy about merchandising the stores anyway."

Brandon pulled her a little closer. "No, but it's allowed me freedom to set my own schedule. And there're things I look forward to on the road."

"Like what?"

"Well, like taking secondary highways through small communities and eating at hometown cafés ... stopping at historical markers and scenic overlooks ... driving toward the sunrise when the sky's orangey pink. Sometimes I have to pull over and watch. There've been times on the road when I've actually felt closer to God than when I'm in church."

"Which is just as well since you've missed the past three Sundays." Kelsey turned around in his arms and held his gaze for longer than he was comfortable. "You wouldn't even consider this promotion if we weren't engaged, would you?"

"We are engaged, so it's a moot point."

"Not really. What affects you affects me. You're Mr. Enthusiastic at work, and everyone thinks you're a company man. Are you?"

Brandon kissed the top of her head. "What kind of question is that? I've invested seven years at Mavis and Stein."

"Why do you have a totally different attitude about your work when we're alone?"

"What do you mean?"

"You're completely dispassionate about it-almost indifferent."

Brandon arched his eyebrows. "You've never once heard me complain about the company. It's just that dealing in women's apparel isn't my idea of something significant."

"Being a regional VP would certainly be significant. And the salary and benefits would be amazing. You'd be great at it."

"Tell that to Beau the blowhard."

"The real reason he's upset is because you can take it or leave it when he wants it so badly."

"Everyone wants something badly. I can't help it if he's had his eye on this promotion. But if I turn it down, we all know I'll never go any higher with the company."

"But is that the only reason you'd consider it? What is it you want badly?"

"To make you happy," he heard himself say.

"Well, this promotion would certainly do that. But only if you're enthused about it."

Brandon looked over her shoulder at the Raleigh skyline. "I will be, Kel. I just have to adjust my thinking. It was never really a goal of mine to be cooped up in an office all day."

"That's the second time you've used the words cooped up. If you didn't expect to work in an office, why did you get a business degree?"

"I don't know. Dad said it would open doors, and I just wanted to get through college. I started working in the catalog department because I needed a job, but I never actually chose this career. I just sort of eased into it. I kept telling myself it would grow on me, but it really hasn't."

"Why didn't you tell me this before? How are we supposed to set a wedding date before we know how much money we'll-"

"Shhh." Brandon gently put his finger to her lips. "Don't worry. I'm going to accept the promotion. I just need to adjust my thinking."

"Can you do that?"

He pulled her closer and avoided those questioning hazel eyes. "Sure. I can do anything for us." A giant snowflake fell on his sleeve, and then another and another. He looked up into the January sky, which seconds later became a swirling mass of white. "Come on. We'd better go in."

Kelsey linked her arm in his, her head against his shoulder, and went back in the apartment. "Just think, before this time next year, we could be married and living in our own home."


Excerpted from NOT BY CHANCE by KATHY HERMAN Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Herman. 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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Not by Chance 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brandon Jones, 30 years old, comes home to his parent's house and finds significance where he least expects it. Racial issues and a hurricane threatening Florida all make for a great story. I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like your suspense on the lighter side, then this book is for you. When Brandon Jones passes up a regional vice president's promotion, he finds himself at his parents' home in Seaport Florida, unemployed, unengaged, and looking for purpose in his life. He finds a sympathetic ear in his mom, a woman struggling with her second career choice. His dad is anything but sympathetic. He thinks Brandon is a fool for jettisoning his future to search for a career with significance. He also finds a sympathetic ear in Weezie Taylor, the assistant manager at Cody's Crab Shack. But there are those in the small town who don't think Weezie, who is black, and Brandon, who is white, should be friends. Racial tensions escalate along with the summer heat as acts of violence rachet up in intensity. An approaching hurricane threatens to halt the investigation before it finds the guilty persons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Leonia, Aidan Spaulding seeks the assassin Sparrow who poisoned Prince Reginald, heir to the throne of Silvershire. Aidan knows he owes Sparrow for killing his Lazlo Group partner Mitchell Lama in Rome two years ago so bringing her in for justice will prove difficult as he wants to personally kill her.-------------- The Lazlo Group insists that restaurateur Elizabeth 'Lizzy Bee' Moore is Sparrow. Though cook, chief and bottle washer and desperately in need of a bartender, she reluctantly hires Aidan. He realizes from her first blush that she is a lousy poker player and that her life is the restaurant. Aidan cannot believe Lizzie Bee is the assassin he seeks. Yet the evidence leads to Lizzy Bee. Her garden contains the right plants to make a poison and she uses a knife like no one he has ever seen before. He wonders how the person he is half way in love with could be a cold blooded assassin even as he thinks perhaps that is her way to charm the victim.--------------- Caridad Pinero is a sure shot when it comes to keeping a reader fully engaged for several hours of pleasure (see TEMPTATION CALLS and DARKNESS CALLS) and her latest tale MORE THAN A MISSION does so too as the audience will fully enjoy this one sitting thriller. The story line reads like a cat and mouse caper with the audience wondering just who the feline is and who the rodent is as Lizzy Bee and Aidan constantly skirmish. Fans need to know if she is the assassin as Ms. Pinero keeps the audience and the hero guessing. This reviewer has not read the four previous Capturing the Crown tales by different authors (impossible as that seems), but that does not take away from a terrific romantic suspense.---------------- Harriet Klausner