There must be another way.
Pastor Micah Daniels has grown weary with his well-doing, even worse he’s losing faith in what God has for his life. The only solution Micah can see is to step down from his position as pastor of Revival Tabernacle. Maybe some time away from the parish can restore his ailing heart.
Lord, please help me. I can’t keep living like this.
Delilah Rivers utters this plea as she stares at a handful of pills. Despondent at the shambles her life has become, Delilah tries one final tactic before ending her life, she goes to church.
What God hath joined together...
Micah is the last man she expects to treat her with care and respect. His compassion and understanding move her as nothing else can. God wouldn’t send a humble, devout man to cherish someone like her. Her past is sordid, her flaws many, but will she be able accept a better way to love and be the blessing Micah needs her to be?
“Excuse me? Were you just singing?”
She met a pair of warm brown eyes and froze. Her heart sank and pounded all at the same time. It was him. He was so much more handsome up close. She moistened her dry lips by pressing them together and tried to think of an answer, but being this near to a man whom she’d fantasized, lusted after, especially a man of God, was just too much. Even his scent, a subtle blend of spice and man, tempted her.
No! Don’t think like that. She peered at the floor, only to be reminded she was wearing jeans and a tank top in his church.
As if sensing her discomfort, he said, “What you have on is fine. All are welcome here.”
She snapped her attention to his face and read sincerity in his eyes. “I didn’t mean to mess up the rehearsal!” she blurted. “I just got caught up.”
He smiled. “So that was you singing?”
She nodded. His easy manner untangled the knot of unease in the pit of her stomach. If she still believed in fairytales, she could fall for a guy like him. She ruthlessly squashed the sentiment. Good men like Micah Daniels didn’t want loose women like her. “I-uh, yes. I should be going.” She moved toward the front door.
The questioned stopped her. She swung back to face him. “I don’t belong here.”
“Why do you think that?”
Why did she think that? Had he taken a good look at her? Her eyes narrowed, searching his face for any type of deception. All she found was open curiosity, as if he genuinely wanted to know why she didn’t feel she belonged in the building. She drifted her gaze over his athletic form. He was tall, taller than she’d expected. Today he wore a black and green short-sleeved polo. The cotton stretched over his broad chest and was tucked into the waistband of his well-worn jeans. The denim molded to his powerful thighs and... She jerked her focus back to his face. She couldn’t allow her thoughts to follow the same path her eyes traveled. His face seemed like a safe alternative, with its firm lips and square jaw, but what drew her attention the most were his eyes. She could get lost in the caramel depths, so expressive and caring. Why had she never bothered to see him up close?
“Do you always avoid a direct question?”
A nervous laugh slipped out. She’d been staring at him, just staring like some love-struck teenager. What was wrong with her? “Are you always like this?”
He shrugged. “My congregation tells me I am. Has someone said something to you to make you feel like you don’t belong?”
She caught the slight edge in his voice and couldn’t stop a grateful smile from creasing her lips. He was ready to do battle on her behalf. All she had to do was say the word.
“No, everyone has been really kind to me,” she said and realized she meant it.
“Have you enjoyed the services you’ve attended?”
“I have. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve been coming. When I do, I feel like my life makes sense. I feel at peace.” She wanted to stop talking, but the words tumbled out. There was something about him that made her want to talk. “And things haven’t made sense in a very long time.”
He guided her to a nearby chair. She glanced around. They were still in full-view of anyone who cared to look. It eased some of her anxiety about being with him. He wasn’t trying to get her alone. She settled into the chair, and he sat in the one across from her.
“I’m glad you were able to find a small measure of solace at this church. I hope you keep coming.”
“I would like that,” she murmured. “I would really like that.”
He extended his hand. “Micah Daniels,” he said with a self-deprecating smile. “I will claim being pastor of this humble temple.”
She chuckled. “Delilah Rivers.” Her small hand was engulfed in his. When a sudden jolt of electricity flashed up her arm, she swallowed. She sat there, holding his hand, not wanting to break the contact.
She was unprepared for the spark of excitement or the ripple of awareness dancing along her palm and up her arm as her hand settled in his. She forgot where they were and savored the strength of his grip. A cymbal crash from the sanctuary, shattering the connection.
Micah coughed and was slow releasing her hand. “Sorry, I—your skin is very soft.”
Heat tinged her cheeks at the compliment. With him no longer holding her hand, Delilah had no choice but to place it in her lap.
He widened his eyes as realization struck. “Oh, I didn’t mean...well, I did...but...”
She chuckled at his obvious faux pas. He shifted in his chair, a sheepish grin on his lips. If she didn’t know any better, she almost believed he was flirting with her. She brushed a curl behind her ear.
“Are pastors supposed to flirt?” she teased. “I didn’t think they were.”
He had the grace to blush. “Was I? I truly apologize.” He stood.
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