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A Time to Dance (Timeless Love Series #1)

A Time to Dance (Timeless Love Series #1)

4.4 100
by Karen Kingsbury

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Now a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel event, A Time to Dance is a powerful story of the resilience of love.

John and Abby Reynolds are the perfect couple—envied by their friends, cherished by their children, admired by their peers. But John and Abby know they're just pretending to be happy. In fact, they're waiting for the


Now a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel event, A Time to Dance is a powerful story of the resilience of love.

John and Abby Reynolds are the perfect couple—envied by their friends, cherished by their children, admired by their peers. But John and Abby know they're just pretending to be happy. In fact, they're waiting for the right time to tell the kids they're going to divorce. But at the family meeting where they plan to tell their children, Nicole shares a surprise of her own: she's getting married. How can they spoil her joy with their announcement?

They can pretend a little longer—until after the wedding. But questions begin to haunt them as the date draws nearer. What happened to the love and commitment that held them together for so long? Is it still there somewhere under all the pain and misunderstanding? And is it still possible, alone in the moonlight on an old wooden pier, to once more find . . . a time to dance?

The first novel in Karen Kingsbury's celebrated series about the power of commitment and the amazing faithfulness of God.

Editorial Reviews

After 21 years together, John and Abby have decided to split. Recognizing their apparently irreconcilable differences, they call their three children together to tell them of the impending divorce. But before they can deliver the painful message, their daughter preempts them: She is getting married that summer. To protect her happiness, the couple secretly agree to shelve their plans until after the wedding. What begins as a brief postponement becomes a resuscitation of love, in this charming spiritual novel.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
Timeless Love Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

A Time to Dance

By Karen Kingsbury

Thorndike Press

Copyright © 2006 Karen Kingsbury
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780786285488

Chapter One

Without question, it was the moment Abby Reynolds had waited for all her life.

    Beneath the Friday-night lights in the biggest college stadium in the state of Illinois, Abby's husband was on the brink of winning his second high-school football championship. Moreover he was about to do so largely on the talents of their older son, the team's senior quarterback.

    Abby pulled her blue-and-gray Marion Eagles jacket tighter to her body and wished she'd brought a thicker scarf. It was early December, after all, and though snow hadn't fallen for more than a week, the air was biting cold. "Football weather," John always said. Cold and dry, straight from heaven. She stared beyond the lights to the starry sky. Even God is rooting for you tonight, John.

    Her gaze fell across the field, and she picked out her husband on the sidelines, headset angled just so, body bent over, hands on his knees as he waited for the play to unfold. She could remember a million afternoons when his eyes had sparkled with laughter, but here, now, they were hard and focused. His face was the picture of concentration, lined with the intensity of the moment as he barked commands in a dozen directions. Evenfrom her place high up in the packed stands, Abby could feel the energy that emanated from John in the final minutes of this, his most prized football game.

    No doubt about it, coaching was his gift.

    And this was his finest hour.

    If only everything else hadn't gotten so—

    "Come on, Eagles. You can do it!" Abby's daughter, Nicole, clapped her hands and gritted her teeth, holding tighter to her boyfriend, Matt's, hand, every ounce of her energy focused on her younger brother.

    Tears nipped at Abby's eyes, and she blinked them back. If only I could freeze time, here and now ... She turned and squeezed her father's knee. "I can feel it, Dad. They're gonna win."

    Her father, an old man who barely resembled the dad she'd grown up with, raised a shaky fist partway into the freezing night. "You can do it, Kade!" His hand dropped weakly back into his lap.

    Abby patted her father's limp arm and then cupped her hands around her mouth. "Make it count, Kade. Come on!" Her fingers tightened into fists, and she tapped them in a fast, steady beat against her knees. Please, Lord, let him have this.

    After tonight there were bound to be few moments of light for any of them.

    "I kinda hate to see it end." Her father grinned at her through wet eyes. "All those years of football together. The boy's amazing. Plays just like his father."

    Abby focused her gaze on her son and the corners of her mouth lifted. "He always has."

    "Mom, isn't it weird?" Nicole leaned her head on Abby's shoulder.

    "What, honey?" Abby took her daughter's free hand and resisted the urge to close her eyes. It felt so good, sitting here in the thrill of the moment, surrounded by family ...

    "This is Kade's last high-school game." Nicole's voice was thick, filled with tender indignation, as though she'd only now realized a loss she hadn't prepared for. "Just like that, it's over. Next year he'll be at Iowa, and it won't be the same."

    A stinging sensation made its way across Abby's eyes again, and she struggled to swallow. If only you knew, sweetheart ... "It never is."

    Nicole stared down at the field. "I mean, this is it. After tonight he'll never play for Dad again." She glanced at the scoreboard. "All those practices and games, and in a few minutes it'll be over. Just a box full of memories and old newspaper articles."

    The lump grew thicker. Not now, Nicole. Let me enjoy the moment. Tears clouded Abby's vision. Come on, get a grip. Life is full of endings. She squeezed her daughter's hand and uttered a short laugh. "We're supposed to be cheering, remember? They haven't won yet."

    Nicole stuck her chin out and shouted as loud as she could. "Go, Eagles, come on! You can do it!"

    Abby's eyes moved toward the field where Kade was at the center of the huddle, relaying his father's plays to the team. Third down and eight, twenty-five yards to go for a touchdown. There was just over a minute to play, and Marion was up by three. This touchdown—and Abby could feel in her gut that there would be a touchdown—would seal the win.

    "Let's go, Eagles!" Abby clapped her mittened hands together and stared intently at the field as the play unfolded. Come on, Kade. Nice and easy. Like a hundred times before ...

    Her strapping son took the snap and, with practiced grace, found his place in the pocket, searching downfield until he saw his target. Then, in the fluid motion that comes from being the talented son of a storied football coach, he fired the ball, threading it through two menacing defenders to land, almost like magic, in the hands of a Marion receiver.

    The home crowd was on its feet.

    Over the din of ten thousand screaming fans, the announcer explained the situation: the Eagles had a first and goal on the three-yard line with less than a minute to play.

    The opposing team called a time-out, and Abby breathed in slowly. If she could savor this moment, bottle it up or capture it forever, she would. Hadn't they dreamed of this time and place since Kade was born, first joking about it and then realizing with each passing year the chance of it actually happening? Dozens of yesterdays fought for her attention. The first time she saw John in a football uniform ... the way his eyes loved her as they spoke their wedding vows and toasted to forever ... Nicole playing in the backyard ... the gleam in four-year-old Kade's eyes when he got his first football ... the thrill of Sean's birth seven years later ... years of meeting on the pier at the end of the day ... the music that they—

    A whistle blew, and the players took their positions.

    Abby swallowed hard. Her family had spent a lifetime getting here—two decades of memories, many of them centered around a white-lined, hundred-yard field of mud and grass.

    The crowd remained on its feet, but despite the deafening noise there was a quiet place in Abby's heart where she could hear her children's long-ago laughter, see the way John and the kids tickled and tackled on the Marion High field every day when practice was over. For years John had known instinctively how to involve their children in his role as coach, how to put the game behind him at day's end. The image and voices changed, and the stadium noise was only a distant roar.

    "Dance with me, Abby ... dance with me."

    There they were, on the pier. Dancing the dance of life, swaying to the sound of crickets and creaking boards long after the kids were asleep on nights when summer seemed like it might last forever.

    A gust of wind sent a chill down her arms, and she blinked back the fading visions of yesterday. No matter how he'd betrayed her, no matter what happened next, there would never be a better father for her children than John Reynolds.

    Another memory rang in her mind. She and John on the lake, adrift in an old fishing boat a year after Kade was born. "One day, Abby, one day Kade'll play for me, and we'll go to state. All the way, honey. We'll have everything we ever dreamed of and nothing will stop us. Nothing ..."

    Now—in what seemed like the blink of an eye—they were here.

    Kade took the snap and raised the ball.

    Come on, Kade. It's yours, honey. "Go, Eagles!" she screamed.

    The ball flew from Kade's hands like a, bullet, spiraling through the winter night much the way Kade himself had flown through their lives, a blur of motion. Come on, catch it ... Abby watched as Kade's best friend, T. J., the team's tight end, jumped for the ball. Fitting, she thought. Like the perfect ending to a perfect movie. And she realized that everything about Kade and John and their football days—even this final play—had somehow been destined from the beginning.

    It all seemed to be happening in slow motion ...

    T. J. wrapped his fingers around the ball, pulled it to his chest, and landed squarely in the end zone.

    "Touchdown!" Abby's heart soared and she leapt up and down, her fists high in the air. "I can't believe it! We did it! We won!" She pulled her father and Nicole into a hug and high-fived ten-year-old Sean three seats down the row. "State champs! Can you believe it?"

    On the field the players kicked the extra point and then lined up for the kickoff. Fifteen seconds more and the Marion Eagles would be state champs. The Reynoldses' father-and-son team would forever be part of Illinois prep football lore.

    John, you did it ... you and Kade.

    In honor of everything they'd ever been—of the beacon of light that had been their love, their family—Abby felt nothing but pure, unhindered joy for her husband.

    Two tears spilled from the corners of her eyes and burned their way down her freezing cheeks.

    Not now, Abby. Not when it's supposed to be a celebration. The crowd was shouting in unison: "Five ... four ... three ... two...."

    As the stands emptied onto the field, a swirling blue-and-gray mass of celebration, Abby's father hooted like he hadn't since he'd been relegated to a nursing home. Sean bounced along behind Nicole and Matt as they rushed down the stairs to join the others.

    Abby sat frozen in place, soaking in the moment. She searched the crowd until she found John, watched as he ripped off his headset and ran like a madman to meet Kade. Their hug put Abby over the edge, and the tears came in quiet streams. John pulled their son into a solid embrace that shut out everyone else: teammates, coaches, members of the press. Everyone but each other. Kade gripped his helmet in one hand and his father's neck with the other.

    Then it happened.

    While Abby was still savoring the moment, Charlene Denton came up behind John and threw her arms around his shoulders. A rock took up residence in Abby's stomach and began to grow. Not now ... here in front of everyone we know. John and Charlene were easily fifty yards from Abby, but it made no difference. She could see the way the scene played out as clearly as if she were standing beside them. Her husband pulled away from Kade and turned to hug Charlene briefly. There was something about the way John brought his head close to hers and kept his hand on her shoulder that conveyed his feelings for Charlene. Feelings he had long had for her. Charlene Denton, fellow teacher at Marion High, John's greatest stumbling block.

    Abby blinked, and suddenly everything good and memorable and nostalgic about the night felt cheap and artificial, like something from a bad movie. Even the tenderest thoughts couldn't stand against the reality in front of her.

    Abby's father saw them, too, and he cleared his throat. "I'll be fine here by myself, honey. You go be with John."

    She shook her head, but her gaze never left her husband and Charlene. "No, I'll wait."

    Her eyes were dry now, and anger pulsed through her, glazing her heart with hard, empty bitterness. Get away from him, lady. This is our moment, not yours. Abby stared at Charlene, hating her. John's voice echoed in her heart once more, but this time his words had nothing to do with dancing.

    And everything to do with divorce.

    This was the weekend they'd agreed to tell the kids. The weekend they would shatter their family's mistaken belief that Abby and John were perhaps the most happily married people in all the world. Abby sighed. No matter how it felt to see John with Charlene, the reality was he could talk to the teacher or any other woman for that matter. In a few months, John would be single, after all. As would Abby. She hugged herself tightly, trying to will away the nausea that swirled around inside her. Why does it still hurt, Lord?

    No magic answers came to mind, and Abby wasn't sure if she wanted to disappear or bolt down onto the field and join them so that Charlene would feel too uncomfortable to stay.

    I thought I was past this, God. We've already agreed to move on. What's happening to me? Abby tapped her foot against the concrete stadium floor and shifted positions, hating the way the other woman seemed unfettered, lovely and young and without the burdens of two decades of marriage. What was this feeling assaulting her? Jealousy?

    No, it felt more like regret. Abby's pulse quickened. It couldn't be, could it? What was there to regret? Hadn't they both realized the place they were in, the place they were headed?

    Or was this how it would always feel to see John with another woman?

    Her vision clouded over, and again she heard John's voice from long ago. "Dance with me, Abby ... dance with me."

    The silent words faded from her mind and she blinked back fresh tears. One thing was certain: if this was how being divorced was going to feel, she'd better get used to it.

    No matter how much she hated it.


Excerpted from A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2006 by 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

New York Times best-selling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist with over 20 million books in print. Her Life-Changing Fiction™ has produced multiple best sellers including UnlockedLeavingTake OneBetween SundaysEven NowOne Tuesday MorningBeyond Tuesday Morning, and Ever After, which was named the 2007 Christian Book of the Year. An award-winning author and newly published songwriter, Karen has several movies optioned for production, and her novel Like Dandelion Dust was made into a major motion picture and is now available on DVD. Karen is also a nationally known speaker with several women’s groups including Women of Faith. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Don, and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their daughter Kelsey is married to Christian artist Kyle Kupecky.

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A Time to Dance 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of 33 reviews,9 are plot spoilers and tell everything about the book. Why do you plot spoiling posters feel the need to reveal every detail of the book? The overview tells us all we need to know. We do not need vain, egotistical posters like you that dissect every sentence. Heck, one poster even said she took notes! That is obsessive and just plain weird. Just tell if you liked it or not and stop writing dissertations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the most inspirational book Ive ever read in my life. Its definitely a great book for married couples who fall into daily lives and forget to stay close. While I was reading this book I felt as if she was following me around for the last two years of my life and writing about it. It was motivational and inspirational. I just can't say enough A MUST read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm only 15 years old, and my grandmother gave me this book and suggested l read it. It was alright, but much too old for me. 18+ years old. I might even go as far to say "book for married women". It's very clean of course (duh it's Karen Kingsbury!), but the whole storyline and purpose for the book is definately NOT for teenagers. Just a warning! God bless y'all!.....side note; if you are a teen girl looking for a great Christian fiction, check Janette Oke books! I've read all of her books! Some are better than others. Love Comes Softly series, Seasons of the Heart series, A Gown of Spainish Lace, and Roses For Mama are my personal favorites! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the 3rd Karen Kingsbury book I have read, this one was just okay. Plot was predictable and a bit drawn out, will likely read the 2nd book in this series. Previously read "Unlocked", that one was a 5 star book that I could not put down.
1941Reader More than 1 year ago
Karen Kingsbury never dissappoints. Great story with a contemporary Christian message.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Editing problems. OK storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first Karen Kingsbury book I ever read. Given to me from my husband. A must read for all married couples!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful, thought- provocating, and well written story. It touched the very depth of my heart and soul. So very glad the Reynoldes family could solve their problems with God's help. I loved the story. LA-TXN
MLNC More than 1 year ago
Karen Kingsbury gives an amazing example of what marriage and love should be, and how quick it can get away from us if we do not protect and honor it. Using a fictional story, she shows just how important a marriage can unravel if you look at it as what can the other person is or isn't doing for me instead of what can I do, how can I serve the other. Karen is an amazing author who hooks you from the first page and I promise you will not be able to put it down! It is so encouraging to be able to read an incredibly well written story, and be able to apply it to the Christian life as well. Karen truly does write life changing fiction!
12geotek More than 1 year ago
This is the second book by KK I have read and am absolutely sold on her work. Looking forward to the next adventure with her leading the way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 3 chapters in, and between the boring, drawn out story line and the bad spelling and punctuation, I don't think I can take much more. Don't these companies employ editor's for that kind of thing. I guess the editors were enjoying a day off when this novel swung through their offices. Enough is enough. My 8 yr. old grandson could have done better on all points.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing story. I recommend it to anyone thats married or plans to be married some day.
healthyway More than 1 year ago
Nice read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ur sico
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look up the trouble with tuck
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
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