A Time to Heal - By Barbara Cameron

Thank you to my family and friends who are so supportive of my writing. I know it can't be easy to listen to me talking on and on about characters who feel like real people to me!

Barbara Scott, my wonderful editor, deserves a BIG thank you for her enthusiasm for the series and for her intuitive comments to improve it. Thank you so much, Barbara.

I can always count on Judy Rehm, friend and Bible scholar, for her support and for helping me to express a biblical truth better.

I so appreciate Linda Byler who takes time away from her own writing to read my manuscripts and help me make my stories authentic. Linda, I wish you the best of luck as your books enter the market. I know you will enjoy great success!

Each day when I sit down to write I think about the people who encouraged me when the dream God planted in me started to bloom . . . the high school English teacher who moved up to a higher grade each year as I did so that we had four wonderful years together. At the time I wondered what that was about, God. Now I know that it was for the day Mrs. White would read something I wrote and encourage me to write a short story for extra credit. Then there was Charlie LaPoint, the very cranky but gifted newspaper editor who alternately terrified me (I was just out of high school!) and pushed me to be a better writer, insisting to the managing editor that I should be promoted to intern reporter and when I messed up, stuck up for me. And finally, Vivian Stephens, the editor who bought my first novel and set me on this path.

As always, God, the master author of the book of my life, gets the biggest thanks. And the glory. Thank You!



They couldn't keep him caged up any more. He took a deep breath of the summer air, warm and fragrant with the scents of earth and the crops growing in the fields on each side of the road.

A man could get to feeling dead inside living in the place he'd been, trapped in a prison of despair and pain, shut away from the rest of the world. He'd gotten out and he would never go back.

He had enough scars to last a lifetime.

His surroundings were so different from the small rural town in Kansas where he'd grown up. But there was a similar feel to this landscape with the crops ripening in the fields and, most of all, the huge barns that cast shadows over neat farmhouses, as if asserting their importance. Work came first.

The old-time farm equipment looked weird. Modern-day efficiency ruled the fields back home. And the buggies—well, they were the biggest surprise. He knew the Amish drove buggies.He'd seen photos. But the reality made him feel as if he'd stepped back in time, not just stepped out of the prison he'd been in for so long.

Dusk began falling as his military boots marched toward their goal. He set his backpack down and pulled a wrinkled map from his pocket, studying it for the hundredth time.Excitement quickened his step even though he felt exhausted and hungry. She wouldn't be expecting him. Might not even appreciate the surprise. But he'd felt compelled to come here.It might mean trouble, but he'd never backed down from a problem before.

He heard the sound of horse hooves clip-clopping behind him, interrupting his thoughts.

"Need a ride there, sohn?"

He turned and looked up into the friendly face of an Amish man whose grizzled beard blew in the cooling late summer breeze.

"No, thanks," he said. "I don't have much farther to go."

He watched as the Amish man nodded and called to his horse, and the buggy moved on down the road.

Forced to rest a short while later, he ate the jerky strips and apple he'd bought at a convenience store earlier. A meager meal but he'd had worse—sometimes none at all. The ability to enjoy God's country outside made it a banquet.

He pitched the apple core into the nearby cornfield. It'd make a meal for some mouse or other tiny animal. He tucked the jerky package into his backpack and stood. Pain shot through his knee. He winced and then worked out the kinks before he tried walking.

Not far now. The farmhouse perched on a small hill ahead.He recognized it without even looking at the number on the mailbox. She'd described it so well.

He didn't know