As an old woman's lifeless body lies on a cold stone floor, her soul stands before an angel who offers her a miraculous opportunity: the chance to do it all again. But that is easier said than done. In order to change the path her life has taken, she must put aside years of self-loathing and pain, so she can help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been. At 17 years old, Grace Bennett is a bitter young woman. Though blessed with a loving family, looks and brains to spare, she hides her light under a bushel, spending most of her time in the darkness of her mind with little more than sarcasm and self-pity to keep her company. But things are about to change for Grace. While delivering food for her family's bed and breakfast, she turns onto a desolate dirt road and drives straight into her destiny. It's on this isolated country lane that the damaged girl meets a strangely familiar old couple and two mysterious young men. Together the group fights the demons that surround Grace, and they teach her what it means to let her light shine. "Illuminating Gracie" is, at once, a metaphorical tale of the fight between good and evil and a spiritual saga of one girl's journey from darkness into the light. If you liked "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," you will love the story of Gracie.
Praise for Illuminating Gracie:
"A well-paced fantasy story of redemption and self-improvement." ~Kirkus Review (Sept. 1, 2013 Magazine)
"Just the right amount of love story to the action packed plot line left this book a perfectly balanced read." ~Maryann (Amazon “Top 1000” Reviewers)
"The story also contains little mysteries that keep you turning the pages, as gems of insight turn up along the way. It is a story of hope and redemption, and a beautiful request of each of us to let our light shine brightly." ~Kimberly Raadt Higgins (Amazon Review)
"On a personal level, I can relate to Grace in so many ways. As I read, a lot of memories and feelings from my teenage and young adult years have come flooding back, some a little painful, others fun and exciting, even hopeful. Yet it also has me contemplating where I am today as a middle-aged adult; am I who I thought I would be, who I want to be?" ~N.J. Collar (Amazon Review)
"The plot is masterfully drawn and keeps the reader guessing until the end. This book tells the story of the fight between good and evil in a young woman's life. It is brilliant in its use of humor and emotion to draw the reader into the characters." J. Pitts (Amazon and Goodreads)
As if able to read my thoughts, he leaned in even closer, afford- ing me full access to his aroma, and in a husky, almost whisper beseeched, “Please . . . tell me your name.”
I have no logical explanation for my body’s reaction to his hushed entreaty. My pulse flew matching my heart rate, while every pore and fiber of my skin went on high alert, going hot and cold virtually simultaneously. For once, I was grateful for the dark and the cover it provided my blushing face.
The worst part of the whole thing was that I had the distinct feeling Merc not only knew what embarrassing reactions his close proximity caused in my traitorous body, but he intended on eliciting just those responses. Whether it was my sapped energy from the drama of the night or my own sad lack of experience in the area of male/female relations, I had no resources available to me to mount a proper defense against him. In all honesty, I couldn’t imagine why I should. After all, I knew plenty of girls that would have been on this guy like “white on rice.” Why should I get bogged down with details and unanswered questions like: Who was he really? Why was he being so nice to me? Why hadn’t Mrs. B. and Willem mentioned him?
Why should I look a gift horse in the mouth? If this “uber- hot” boy wanted to be my “knight in shining armor,” why shouldn’t I let him be just that? I had never been anyone’s “damsel in distress,” and it certainly wasn’t because I had some feminist axe to grind. No, that wasn’t it at all. It was because no one had ever applied for the position. So now I was going to ignore the warning bells, silence my fears and pack away my paranoia. For once, I was going to be the one with the romantic story to tell at the lunch table on Monday, instead of the one listening on the far fringes and replying with the obligatory “oohs” and “ahs” to the stories told by all the braver, more beautiful, more fortunate girls.
Having solved my inner conflicts, I answered him with a breath- less and what I hoped was sexy voice, “Grace, my name is Grace.”
I wanted him to say something like my name was beautiful. That would play well with the lunchtime listeners. But, to my surprise, he seemed almost irritated.
“Ha . . . ha ha,” he barked a short laugh. “Yeah, that’s about right. Well, come on, Grace – let’s get you home.”
I was a little disconcerted by his reaction. Huh . . . weird. What should my name have been? Veronica . . . Candy . . . Jinx?
Never one to keep my mouth shut, I opened it, ready to ask him if he preferred stripper names, but before I could get a word out Merc’s whole body stiffened and he jerked his head sharply to the right. I strained to see what he saw or heard to create such a reaction in him. The only thing visible was the dim outline of the tremendous back portion of the mansion that was softly lit by land- scape lighting buried deep in the bushes.I looked at Merc, wanting an explanation for his behavior. “What’s the problem? Did you hear something . . . somebody?” I whispered. If he had heard something, then he had better ears than I. Of course, I was hyper-focused on the visual treat that was standing next to me. A hurricane could have blown through, and I might not have noticed.
Author Lisa C. Temple
On thirty-nine Senior scrolls, the Headmaster of author, Lisa C. Temple's, small, private school wrote "Good Luck and best wishes for a prosperous future!" On the fortieth and final scroll, which was Temple's, the Headmaster penned the words, "Lisa, I can't wait to see to what use you put your unusual talents!" Temple spent the next 30 years trying to assuage her former leader's curiosity - and her own. She sold BMWs in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, and hillbillies (as a booking agent) in Nashville, Tennessee. In an effort to escape the enforced servitude of the Junior League, she even attended and was graduated from law school and passed the Alabama State Bar exam in 2002. Through it all, she battled problems and illnesses, many of her own making. But, it wasn't until her father - her hero - was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), that Temple found her true calling - the "talent" that she finds joy in putting to use. "Illuminating Gracie," is loosely autobiographical and born from a desire to, if only, metaphorically right the wrongs of Temple's own past. It tells the story of a miserable old woman who is given the opportunity - by an angel - to go back in time and help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been. "Illuminating Gracie," is the first book in a four-book series. The second book, "Instigating Gracie," is due for release in December 2013. Temple laughs when saying she has a loving and complicated husband she deserves, and a wonderful son and two loving stepchildren that she does not. She also shares her life with her beloved pets: Pomeranian, Phebe; Bordernese, Flash; and Tabby cat, MInx.
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