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A minute passed, then two. Then the apartment lights went out.
Dirk's fingers trembled, and his heart ricocheted against the walls of his chest. He glanced at the revolver on the seat beside him and shuddered. What was wrong with him? He was a nice guy from a nice family. People like him didn't carry guns, didn't lose sleep at night hating a guy for stealing his girl.
Maybe I'm going crazy.
Or maybe it was the pills. They could do that to a person, couldn't they? Make you crazy in the head? No, that was paranoid. Dirk calmed himself down. The pills had nothing to do with the way he felt. They weren't even steroids-not exactly. And they were working. He'd packed on ten pounds in the past six weeks-ever since he doubled his regular dosage. Ten pounds of muscle.
Dirk gripped his forehead and tried to remember what his trainer had told him when he sold him the bottle. Get the formula right. Too little and the lifting would be worthless. Too much and ...
Rage, depression, irrational behavior.
Was that what this was, this constant buzzing in his head? Too many pills? Dirk tapped his fist against his forehead. It was impossible. The pills were completely natural; that's what every-one said. Half the guys at school were on them, and no one else was having any kind of reaction.
He stared at the gun again.
It's what anyone would do. He wasn't going to hurt Professor Jacobs, after all-just scare him. Then Dirk and Angela Manning could be together the way they should have been all along.
He had known from the beginning that Angela was the one, the only woman he could ever love. She'd felt it, too, at first, before she met the professor. Dirk shifted his gaze to Angela's apartment. What could she possibly see in that guy? He was at least ten years older than she was, with thinning hair and gray in his beard and the beginnings of a paunch.
Besides, Professor Jacobs was married.
Dirk had seen the man's wife up in the journalism department a time or two, a beautiful, dark-haired woman who laughed and smiled and seemed to be in love with her husband. The whole thing didn't make sense-an old man like the professor with two gorgeous women. Dirk bit the inside of his lip. That part would change soon if he had anything to do with it.
In the glow of a streetlight he glanced at his watch and saw it was after ten o'clock. If he wanted to pass history, he'd better get home and write the paper on Civil War generals. It was due tomorrow. Dirk worked the muscles in his jaw as he grabbed the gun and tucked it underneath his seat.
He'd have to scare Professor Jacobs another time.
Then, just as he started his engine, he got an idea-an idea so sound and strong it caused a surge of hope to rise in his heart. Maybe he wouldn't have to use the gun. Maybe there was another way to scare the professor into backing off his girl.
He chuckled out loud as he pulled away from the curb.
Ten minutes later he sat on the floor of his Indiana University dormitory room, staring at a single entry in the Bloomington white pages as his fingers began punching the numbers.
Not many blocks away, Professor Tim Jacobs lay awake in his girlfriend's off-campus apartment, wondering what was happening to him.
He was used to the guilt and insomnia. But the tears were something new.
Since he'd begun violating his wedding vows, there had been too many times when he was supposed to be at work reading student papers or at one conference or another but instead had been sharing a bed with Angela Manning, possibly the most promising student ever to grace Tim's advanced newswriting class. She was young and idealistic and achingly beautiful, and Tim knew their affair was more than a passing distraction.
Sometimes the realization caused the guilt to grow so loud that it almost took on a voice-a voice that kept Tim awake even when he was dead tired.
The voice was not audible, but many nights it woke him all the same. Tim would be nestled against Angela, intoxicated by the kind of sin he'd never even dreamed about, when from out of nowhere the voice would come.
Repent! Flee immorality. I stand at the door of your heart and knock! Flee ...
Tim would roll over, hoping to find his way back to sleep, to the imaginary place where his wife, Kari, would not be waiting at home alone, trusting him to be faithful. But the voice of guilt would come again and again-persistent, relentless, tirelessly calling him home regardless of his lack of response.
His lack of worth.
Tim shifted onto his side, trying not to waken Angela. He stared at her plain white apartment wall, and a memory came to mind-the day Angela Manning first visited him at his office and made her intentions clear.
They had talked for fifteen minutes, teasing and laughing and sharing sentiments of mutual admiration while Tim twisted his wedding ring, hiding it behind the fingers of his right hand.
When Angela left the room, a scent of musky jasmine remained. And enough heat to warm the building. Tim spent the minutes before his next class savoring the way she made him feel. But as he left his office that day his eyes settled on a plaque Kari had given him for their first anniversary. It bore the engraved image of an eagle in flight and words he remembered even now: The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth ... to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
In that moment everything about serving the Lord had felt binding and restrictive. Without too much thought he swept up the plaque, dropped it in the nearest file drawer, and strode out of his office.
It remained hidden in the drawer to this day.
Tim blinked as the memory faded. The plaque no longer applied to his life; it was best left out of sight. His strength didn't come from having a heart committed to God. Not anymore.
Since the hot August night when he and Angela first slept together, Tim's strength had come from being with her. And from his professional accomplishments, of course. Tim had devoted his career to excellence in print, first as a working journalist, then as a teacher of the craft, training a yearly crop of reporters who would carry on America's devotion to preserving a free press. In relatively little time, he had become a respected professor who also wrote a regular column for the Indianapolis Star. In the most influential circles of the discipline, Tim's name was gaining recognition.
That was a kind of strength that made a difference in life.
Another reason for his power was his absolute commitment to journalistic integrity both in the field and in the classroom. Back when he was reporting, he had never revealed a source. And even though he was a churchgoer-well, he used to be a church-goer-he had never let his religious faith stand in the way of his ability to practice objective journalism. Religious bias had no place either in the newsroom or in the educational process-not when a reporter could do his best work only with an open mind.
Kari had always struggled a bit with Tim's thoughts about faith and the press. But not Angela.
She treasured the fact that Tim was a "man of faith," as she put it. But she also admired him for his ability to put aside his personal beliefs when he wrote a column or lectured to a class. "We never knew exactly where you stood on issues," Angela had told him later, transfixing him with her electric blue eyes. "But we always knew you stood for good journalism. We knew you'd never cave, never give in. Do you know how rare that is these days?"
He was Angela's hero, no doubt. It was something he'd known from that first day when she had showed up at his desk after class the spring of her junior year and had asked him out.
"Professors can't date their students," he told her, stifling a smile.
She simply held his gaze, her directness both disconcerting and alluring. "Can they have lunch together?"
They had lunch. The office visit happened a week later.
After that, month after month after month, he fought the temptation. After all, it truly was policy that a professor couldn't date a student currently in his classes, though the university's Ethics and Harassment Department had long since agreed that there was nothing wrong with a mutually consenting relationship once the shared class had officially ended.
So Tim had held back, flirting with Angela, enjoying lunches and study times with her, but refusing to cross the line. When summer came and Angela returned to her hometown of Boston, Tim felt relieved, glad to be free from the guilt of their flirtation. He tried to put Angela behind him, to focus on his marriage. But Kari was gone nearly every day, too busy to spend time with him, often too tired to respond lovingly to him at the end of the day.
When Angela returned to school, Tim finally had to admit the truth to himself, even if he wasn't ready to admit it to his wife.
He was in love with Angela Manning. Deeply, completely in love. It was wrong, no doubt. But he couldn't deny his feelings or the way she left him unable to choose anything but time with her.
And it was since that realization that the voice of guilt had been nothing short of relentless.
Repent.... The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
The voice spouted Bible verses at him, passages he'd memorized as a boy but hadn't read in years.
I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.
Tim liked that one least of all. Life to the full. As if reading a Bible or going to church every time he earned a day off could possibly compare with the way Angela made him feel.
Life to the full?
The Bible was obviously mistaken on that point. In Angela's arms life had never been more full. So Tim had gradually let go of the beliefs that had once been the foundation of his life-a foundation that now seemed flawed and almost ridiculous.
He'd doubted some of the details for a long time, of course. A world made in six days? An ark with hundreds of animals, floating above a world of water? People cured of diseases by simply taking a bath or having their eyes covered with mud? Tim had long ago written off such events as either symbolic or simply irrelevant.
But recently he had started to ask even more fundamental questions. What if God didn't exist after all? What if the Bible had been made up by a group of religious leaders intent on dictating the moral fiber of a society gone bad? What if real life, real truth, lay in the finding of one's soul mate? Someone whose soul seemed like a missing piece to one's own?
Someone like Angela.
In the weeks since he and Angela had begun sleeping together, the questions had gradually become statements in his mind, until now he was ready to let go of the crutch of religious tradition entirely, ready to embrace the reality of new life with his new love.
What he wasn't ready to do was tell his wife, and therein lay the struggle. He knew that the only right thing was to confess the affair. But when Kari met him at the door each evening, he couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye and tell her the truth. That he wanted a divorce. That he was in love with another woman-a student, no less.
It did not take a psychiatrist to figure out the most likely source of the guilt that interrupted his days and kept him awake at night. And it wasn't hard for Tim to convince himself that the whispered flashes of Scripture were figments of his imagination, a consequence of confused brain signals or perhaps the manifestation of an overactive conscience.
So he chose not to dwell on the fact. The guilt would pass in time, once he acted on his decision to leave Kari, once the stress of a double life was behind him. The voices would eventually stop, though for the time being they made sleeping almost impossible.
And that's where things were different now. For weeks the guilt had awakened him with gently persistent preachy sentiments about truth and repentance.
But lately, that same guilt had been waking him with something else.
These thoughts, all of them, came in the time it took to realize it had happened again. In the midst of a perfectly good night's sleep next to a woman who had captured his heart and intoxicated his senses, Tim Jacobs, respected professor and ace columnist, was crying.
Weeping quietly as if someone had died.
Tim blinked to clear his vision, and suddenly he knew that someone had indeed ceased to exist. Himself.
Quietly, discreetly, he silenced the sobs and wiped his tears, but none of that erased the sadness in his soul, a sadness so deep and true he ached from the power of it. As if a veil had been lifted from his heart, he saw everything he'd once been-the idealistic boy, the energetic teenager, the God-centered college student, the hardworking journalist, the romantic groom. The loyal husband.
That man was dead.
His betrayal of Kari had fired a final, fatal bullet into what remained of the man he'd once been.
There in the darkness, with Angela curled up beside him, lost in sleep, the sadness within him grew. He cried for Kari, the sweet young woman to whom he'd promised a lifetime. He cried for the children they'd never have and for the growing old they'd never do together.
Tim swallowed back a lump in his throat and tried again to clear the tears from his eyes. Where were these feelings coming from? Why were they hitting him now? His love for Kari had cooled long before he met Angela. Still, Kari was his wife. As much as he longed to be with Angela, Kari deserved better.
Why have I let things get so bad? What's happened to me? What have I become?
The answers were ugly and came as quickly as the questions, forming a stranglehold on Tim's heart. As strong and capable as Tim thought himself to be, the depth of sorrow that surrounded him now was enough to destroy him. It was a moment that would normally be accompanied by the voice of guilt, assuring him that even now redemption was his for the asking.
But as Tim cried quietly into Angela's pillow, mourning for the first time the man he'd once been, the marriage he was about to lose, and the fact that he had no intention of changing his mind, he realized something that was more heartbreaking than the other losses combined.
The words on the plaque Kari had given him were right. Without God he wasn't as strong as he'd thought. Not at all. And that's why the tears flowed so easily these days.
Excerpted from Redemption by Gary Smalley Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2002 by The Smalley Publishing Group, LLC, and Karen Kingsbury
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Redemption brings you to Bloomington, Indiana just far enough in the country to believe that the characters are real people that you have met. From the first page the characters will become part of your family and friends, as the story unfolds your will celebrate their victories and grieve in their losses. I have never read Christian fiction before and was truly amazed at the authors ability to bring out each persons faith or lack there of with such vivid detail. Each character is so richly developed that you can understand why they make the choices they make and by the end of the story are at peace with what happens, however Redemption is the first of five books in this series with two more series to follow a total of 14 books before you can finally put the Baxter family to rest. But don't let the number of books scare you off you will be dying to read the next one as soon as you finish the first. If you have ever lost something you have treasured, been tempted with something you have always wanted, and faced the decision to do what feels right or hold your ground and follow your heart and beliefs no matter what, this is the book for you. Follow the journey with John and Elizabeth Baxter as their children struggle with love, life and choices. As they learn to accept that God is in control and that He knows the journey they must face and the trials they will encounter. And even when we have reached the end of our rope, our friends and family no longer support our choices God offers us one great gift. A gift that defines forgiveness, a gift above restoration, one reserved for His chosen people...Redemption
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2006
The book Redemption by Karen Kingsbury is a wonderful story, full of wonder excitement and endless emotion. This book really grabs your attention from the time you open the book to the time you close the book.It starts with Kari. A God-loving, family-bonding,28 year old, young Christian women is in a very difficult situation in this story. She wants to keep a long lasting marrige with her cheating, no good husband Tim. A mysterious stranger finding out what his 'girlfriend' is up to. Instead he sees an older man in her appartment doing grown-up things with her. The stranger decides to get him back and tell his wife what he did behind her back all this time. From this point on Kari's world goes spiraling down hill. This book is a beautiful book. I felt every emotion she was feeling. This book deals with real life situations. I can't wait to read the rest of this series!!
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Posted September 8, 2009
I found this book to be refreshing and easy to follow, which is something I highly value in books. Throughout this story you'll learn about the Baxter family and other's in close relationship to them, though the main focus is on Kari Baxter and the struggles she encounters with her husband Tim.
I personally like how prayer and scripture was added into this book. The characters I found believable and enjoyed getting to know bits and pieces of who they were. I defiantly will pick up the next few books in this serious to learn more about the Baxter's walk with Lord in life through joys, struggles, and heartache...all which most people go through in their own lives daily. It's nice to have a book to relate to that tackles the harder questions and topics not commonly mentioned in christian fictional stories.
I recommend this book if you are looking for a great christian series to keep you captivated for awhile. I give this book 4 stars.
I read Oceans Apart. Loved it. Thought it would be fun to get into a series by Karen Kingsbury. This book was so unrealistic. I mean, yes affairs happen all the time but come on. The entire Ryan Taylor thing was so corny. The book kept repeating itself. It's like split in two and when it all seems to happen again is when it changes. Not for the better either. It was way to long. & I don't believe love is a decision. I even got sick of reading that statement in the book!
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Posted March 8, 2009
I hadn't "had the time" to pick up a novel since my 13 year old was born. About six months ago, my girlfriend convinced me to read Redemption. Last week I finished the 14th book in the Baxter series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them (in fact I couldn't put them down) and I look forward to many more of her thought provoking books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2008
Posted September 6, 2007
I started reading this book and could not put it down. I read it in one day and started on the next book in the series. It is a thriller but on the other hand it has a inspirational message. I plan to read all the books in this series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 2006
This book is truly amazing! I felt like I really connected to Kari and actually felt all the emotions in this book. I say that if a book makes me laugh out loud or cry, then it is a good book, and this made me do both! Karen Kingsbury is an incredible author, and I cannot wait to read any of her other book, but if they are anything like this one, they will be amazing too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2005
This book is completely amazing! The way the Ms. Kingsbury described everything going on in Kari's life made me feel like I was there. Kari's faith, hope, and love taught me a lot about how to live life. Two thumbs up! Can't wait to finish the series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 2, 2005
A friend gave me this book to read and it has been life-changing for me! It brought forth tears and alot of emotion. It is reading that you can apply to your own life and your faith in God. It is a must-read for all who hope to restore faith in their God and in their marriage. It is a beautiful love story. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next in the series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 1, 2005
This book was very realistic. It showed how much a woman struggles with an unfaithful husband. It shows how to get through trials with God's love and forgiveness. I love it because it doesn't have all the trash in it that most romantic novels do. I highly recommend this book and the whole entire series. You will not be able to put them down!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 22, 2005
I read this book when I was going through a similar, although reverse, situation as Kari Baxter Jacobs, and the insight I gained from the book helped me heal and hold on to God. This is a great book, and a great series I can't wait for the next book in the Firstborn spin-off to come out!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 20, 2004
My mother shared this book with me and now we cannot stop reading Kingsbury books. She is the most extraordinary author I have had the pleasure of reading. This was my first book by Kingsbury but will be among many that grace my bookshelves. I am absolutely engrossed in Kingsbury novels. There is none better!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 19, 2004
I really liked this book. Kept me moving page to page, chapter to chapter. Could not wait to read the next book. Does not push a religion but does have the stuggles of dealing with a belief. Just like real life. Some believe and practice, some believe but don't practice, and some don't believe. The stuggles with relationships, family, and personal issues has kept me reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2004
Though I love all the books in this series, this one is definately my favorite. It shows how God is always with us, even as the 'Hound of Heaven' that at times we wish would stop hounding us. It also shows just how undying and eternal God's love is for His children no matter how far we stray. To sum it all up:I laughed, I cried, I praised the Lord.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2003
Posted September 20, 2003
This is a great book. I have also read the second one in this series called Remember and it is great too. I can't wait until the other three come out. I would recommend this book and others written by Karen Kingsbury.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2003
I am in the middle of reading all of Karen Kingsbury's books. She is, without a doubt, one of the most gifted writers today. She brings the Bible and it's promises to life, in a very realistic way. Keep up the great work, Karen!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2002
In my 35 years I have never sat down and read a book without MAKING myself finish it. I read this book in a week, couldn't put it down and stayed up all night to finish it. It was a great Christmas present!!! I can't wait until the next one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 13, 2003
I was excited to hear about a new series of books that was to explore some tough issues in a real and encouraging way...I was disappointed in the attempt. I thought that it was too "fluffy" and I lost track of how many times they said, "love is a decision"...a tacky plug for Smalley's work. It was predictable and just not real to life. Nothing different, and this market is screaming for different.
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