Skip to main content

Excerpt -BLESSING BENTLEY (Christian Contemporary Romance)

Today, I’m posting an excerpt from Chautona Havig’s Christian Contemporary Romance, Blessing Bentley, book 1 in the Marriages of Conviction series.

Here’s the back cover description:

Bentley Girard's about to propose... to a guy she doesn't even love.

Not THAT way anyway.

After studying everything the Bible has to say about marriage, she's decided she wants in. Now. So who's going to take her up on that offer?

And just why did no one reminded her that those vows include that little word, "love?"

I interviewed Chautona in a two part interview—part 1 is here and part 2 is coming next week. I’ll also post a special knitting pattern for a drawstring purse that Chautona’s heroine April uses in her novella, Adoring April, in the Save the Date anthology!


(Note from Chautona: I cut from the middle of the chapter, but you’ll get up to speed mid-excerpt)

Bentley pulled her purse from the bottom drawer of her desk. “I’ll do that. Thank you.” Throat constricting, tears welling, Bentley slung her purse strap over her shoulder. “I’m really going to miss you, Martin. You’ve been great to work for.”

One last glance back as she stepped from the office showed Martin seated at his desk, a mingled expression of relief and concern etched into his aging features. He’s older than he used to be. That thought prompted a snicker. Brilliant one, genius.

Still, the full weight of Martin’s words weighed her down further with each step. At Market Street, Bentley paused and turned toward The Diner. Almost lunchtime—might as well eat. Another thought churned her stomach into a riot of swirling emotions. And maybe call Shelli Callan and withdraw my offer. No job. No house.

At that thought, the first tear fell. Gasping for air through a throat swollen with emotion, Bentley wrestled with the enormity of her situation—wrestled and lost. I have to find a job—fast. Without one, it’s Rockland… blech. Or home to Cheyenne. Unless Brunswick… would that be a better commute? Going home—not an option. Leaving Fairbury—as much of not an option as it could reasonably be.

With cops walking a beat, people walking as much as driving, and the “Mayberry” feel of everyone knowing each other, the old-fashioned element of Fairbury held one more tradition of days gone by. Daily newspapers with classifieds. As of yet, the Fairbury Gazette hadn’t gone digital. If you wanted a job in Fairbury before it made it to the Rockland papers, you went to the Gazette.

So, when Bentley saw the paper machines outside The Diner, she popped in her quarters and snatched one up. Slim odds or not, she’d comb the want ads. It could happen—maybe.

Earlene—no one knew her last name as far as Bentley had heard—waved her toward a row of booths and promised to “be right there.” Once seated, she skimmed the menu, knowing she’d get the “Paddy Melt.” That corned beef melt was a diner diner’s favorite for good reason. With that decision made, she opened the paper and began skimming the classifieds. Only one listing had the potential to make enough to pay her rapidly disappearing chance at a mortgage.

Earlene called to her from behind the counter. “Hey, Bentley! Want the pepper jack burger like usual?”

The regulars at The Diner tittered as she called back, “The Paddy Melt… as usual!”

“Gotcha. One Paddy Melt and a… sweet tea?”

“Lemonade.” Why she bothered, Bentley didn’t know. Once Earlene had said sweet tea, that’s what she’d get unless she requested a correction. And I won’t.

A glance through the Houses for Sale section showed “her” house conspicuously absent. Shelli must have pulled it already. That’s all it took to decide. She’d have to look into the lone job opportunity. Still, Bentley skimmed the rest of the classifieds—kids offering babysitting and pet sitting services, not to mention the yardwork, and several yard sales over the weekend.

I should look for a washer. The realization that she might not need it anymore trampled that thought. Next week, maybe.

Eventually, Bentley returned to the ad. She circled it, knowing she’d never apply. Gainful employment is always good, but cocktail… server? Is that what they call them? Whatever, that’s not my idea of a viable career choice.

“Bentley, why are you circling want ads? You’ve got a great job!”

She jumped at her server’s strident tones piercing her ears. “I had a great job, Earlene. Martin is closing the office and moving to New Mexico.”

Earlene set the corned beef sandwich in front of Bentley and pulled a straw from her apron. “Well, you’ll find something better than the Mighty Aphrodite! Eat up!”

“Um, Earlene?”

“Yeah, hon?”

Bentley smiled into the eager face of her absent-minded server. “Mind if I get that lemonade to go with my straw?”

Across the diner, Chief Varney of the Fairbury Police smiled at her before taking a bite of his hamburger. Bentley returned it with a wink at Earlene.

“Oh, hon, you know me. I’m just trying to keep you on your toes!”

Minutes later, the chief paid his check and moved toward the diner’s door with one eye on her. If she had to name it, Bentley would have called it uncertainty, but that didn’t make sense. The only thing she could do was offer her best attempt at a smile. “Having a good day, Chief?”

“Well, from the sounds of it, I’m having a much better day than you.”

“I’d let myself feel sorrier for me than I do if it wasn’t for knowing Martin will feel better once he moves.”

The chief nodded absently. “Now, I know it’s none of my business, but I overheard Gary Novak mentioning that he needed to hire someone to do his scheduling. Seems he’s so busy that he’s overbooking himself, and it makes him look bad to his customers.”

Tingles worked their way from her fingers to her toes. That might be just the thing! Bentley folded up the newspaper and shoved it aside. “I’ll go out there this afternoon! Thanks, Chief.”

“I’d hire you for the station, but we don’t have the funds for it, so the guys and Judith just do it all. I’ll keep it in mind for the next budget meeting, though. Maybe if I have someone lined up, they’ll find a way to give me the funds.”

Excitement overflowed. “When is that meeting?”

“October. Don’t suppose you’ve got six months’ worth of income stashed like the books say…”

“Nope. I’ve managed to come up with three months plus my down payment on the house I wanted to buy.” Temptation to ignore prudence and use it presented itself, but she shot it down before it could force her to surrender. “I mean, I could use it, but I’m trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.” She gave him a wink. “I was hoping to be your neighbor.”

Chief Varney gave her one last encouraging look before he opened the door. “Keep your chin up, Bentley. Something will turn up. It usually does.”

She watched as he walked down the street, spoke to Martinez on foot patrol, and then disappeared in the direction of the police station. “Well, let’s hope it turns up sooner rather than later,” she muttered to herself.

Earlene showed up with the check and Bentley scanned it. “Um, Earlene?”

“Something wrong?”

“I’d like to get that lemonade or have it removed from my check, if you don’t mind.”

A minute later, a tall glass of sweet tea appeared with a new ticket—drink removed.


Camy here: Chautona is one of the twelve authors participating with me in the Christian Contemporary Romance anthology, Save the Date, which releases September 15! Preorder now to get 12 novellas for only 99 cents!


Popular Posts

Michael’s Scarf knitting pattern

Michael’s Gray and Brown Scarf I had just written a scene in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 5: Prisoner where my character Michael gives the heroine a very significant scarf. When looking for a stitch pattern, I found the one used in “#31 Comfort either for a Lady or Gentleman” in The Lady's Assistant , volume 2 , published in 1842 by Mrs. Jane Gaugain, pages 125-126 (click on the link to view and/or download the free PDF of the digitally scanned book). When I did test swatches, it turned out to be a pretty eyelet pattern that looks like branches or vines winding upward. I tried the pattern as a parallelogram scarf and discovered that the pattern has a changeable orientation, looking vertical or diagonal depending on how you looked at it. So I decided to use this pattern, knitted as a parallelogram, as Michael’s scarf. I decided to use a smaller needle and add a slip stitch in the pattern to make the eyelets a bit more close and less lacy. When paired with a brown an

September and October Christian Fiction new releases

The Lone Rice Ball releases next month in a Christian Contemporary Romance multi-author box set, Once Upon a Starry Night: A Very Merry Christmas Romance Collection . It's included in this promo with other Christian Fiction new releases for September and October. You can preorder it for only $2.99, and the price will go up on the release date in October. If you prefer to read it on Kindle Unlimited, sign up for my newsletter so you can hear when it’s available to read in KU. Check out the Sept/Oct Christian Fiction new releases

CWO – Girly girls

Captain’s Log, Stardate 09.12.2006 Blog book giveaway: My Thursday book giveaway is A FAMILY FOREVER by Brenda Coulter . My Monday book giveaway is JADE by Marilynn Griffith . You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Thursday, I'll draw the winner for A FAMILY FOREVER and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Check out Christian Women Online (click on the button above) to see what other women are blogging about this quote. "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'" ~ C.S. Lewis ~ I am NOT a girly-girl. I prefer jeans and pants over skirts (a remnant of having my skirt lifted in middle school—traumatic, I tell you). I rarely wear makeup. I prefer sports bras over the lacy ones, or the underwire ones, or even the “boost your bust a cup size” wonder ones. I was also never a jock in school (think pudgy and slow). I was a brainiac, with

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Keriah's Narrow Crescent Scarf

In my series Lady Wynwood’s Spies, my character Keriah is more emotional than her friend Phoebe, and so when writing about her in Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 6: Martyr , naturally I described her scarf as having more lively colors than the greens and blues that Phoebe favors. I didn’t really have a particular yarn colorway in mind when I wrote the scene, but when looking through my stash to knit her scarf, I found the Carnival colorway in Knit Picks Chroma Twist Fingering, and it was absolutely perfect for her. Chroma Twist Fingering is discontinued, but you could knit this in Chroma Fingering or any other color-transitional yarn. In the Regency era, a tri-color 3-ply yarn like Chroma Twist Fingering would probably not have been sold in shops, but it also may not have been completely unheard of. It is made by simply dying the wool rather than the finished yarn, and then the dyed wool would be split into 3 parts and each part spun into a single ply, before all three plies

We Is Friends

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Blog book giveaway: To enter, go to the blog links below and post a comment there. My Monday book giveaway is Heart of the Amazon by Margaret Daley My Thursday book giveaway is She’s All That by Kristin Billerbeck . You can still enter both giveaways. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for the Heart of the Amazon and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Win an iPod Nano! Exclusively for my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers, I have a huge contest running until January 31st! Get more info on my contest page ! I got this hilarious picture from my good friend Pamela James . This made me crack up, maybe because I’m not terribly fuzzy and warm and this is as close as I’ll get. TMI: Bible in 90 Days: day 41. Okay, you can shoot me if you want, but I think Proverbs is a lot of repetition. It’s not bad repetition. I mean, it’s all valuable wisdom and all. And I’m sure the deliberate change in wording of the same concepts has some deep theolog

Grace Livingston Hill romances free on Google Books

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

Fall Into Sweet Clean Christian Romance Bookfunnel promo

Volumes 1, 2, and 3 in my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series are in this promo featuring Christian romance novels! Check out the promo and all the great Christian romance ebooks! You might find a new favorite author!

September newsletter and new novel title

Captain's Log, Stardate 09.02.2008 I just sent out my September newsletter , which is chock full of new news about my Sushi series and info about my huge website contest ! If you haven’t entered yet, what are you waiting for? In addition, I have a newsletter giveaway where I’m giving away two full sets of my Sushi series! You’ll need to read my September newsletter to find out how to enter. (I explained the differences between my website contests, my newsletter contests, and my blog contests here.) Another big piece of news is that I now have a title for my romantic suspense novel coming out next year from Steeple Hill: Deadly Intent Doesn’t it sound deliciously sinister?

Marketing Information Form, part two

Captain’s Log, Stardate 05.26.2006 Blog book giveaway: My Monday book giveaway is A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND by Kristin Billerbeck . My Thursday book giveaway is LIFE INTERRUPTED by Tricia Goyer . You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned. Continued from Marketing Information Form, part one : More stuff they want to know about my book: Other covers: What styles, fonts, colors? This is one area I didn’t really think about, but I listed the few covers that I thought conveyed the sort of atmosphere I wanted for my book: WHAT A GIRL WANTS by Kristin Billerbeck . The cartoon design is fresh, cute, clean. SASSY CINDERELLA AND THE VALIANT VIGILANTE by Sharon Dunn . This book, more than the other Ruby Taylor books, conveyed Ruby’s character—her vibrant red hair, bohemian dress, sassy post-modern attitude. THE TROUBLE WITH LACY B