For All Eternity<br/>

Author: June Foster
Publisher: June Foster
Published: 2014-10-15
ISBN(s) 1502361531 978-1502361530
Editor: Gail Kittleson
Illustrator: Darko Bovan
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Inspirational, Romance, Contemporary Read Excerpt >

Chapter One



Joella Crawford pumped her Schwinn harder. Two minutes to get to class.At the curve, the paved trail veered left toward a lofty elm. The pink chiffon scarf around her neck caught the cool spring breeze and whisked into her eyes. With one hand, she batted the filmy fabric. She drew in a solid breath and released it. Whew. Almost there.

A man stepped out on the trail dead in her path.

"Oh. Oh. Oh—watch out!"

His eyes wide, he pivoted.

She squeezed the brakes and swerved to her left.

He dove to his right.



Her bike skidded one-eighty, in a wide arc.

The victim tumbled off the narrow lane. His backpack flew against a tree with a thump.

She slid to a stop. Dropped her bike like the handlebars burned.

He groaned, cradling his leg.

Joella bolted to him and dropped to her knees. "You okay?" Her pulse pounded a wild beat. Under the tear in his jeans, a gash oozed blood.

"Say something. Should I call 9-1-1?" Her gaze swept across the deserted campus lawn. A ribbon of air escaped her mouth.

He gaped at her, pale blue eyes squinting in pain. Blades of grass twined through his light-brown hair.

In dread, she leaned forward, examined the wound, and touched the edge of his raggedy jeans. Was he going to die?

"I'm okay… I think." He drew back with a groan and sucked in jagged gulps.

Joella yanked off her backpack with the earthquake kit tucked inside—standard California equipment. "Can I have a look at that cut?" She wasn't a nurse, but she couldn't sit back and allow the poor guy to lie on the grass and bleed to death.

Propped up on one elbow, he reached for his knee and peeled the torn fabric farther from the wound.

She slipped on latex gloves before she grabbed her unopened water bottle and flushed the bloody skin.

His face bleached white and eyelids drooped as he glimpsed at the gory cut.

Oh, no. He's passing out. Going into shock. Her heart constricted. She shoved the bottle into his hand. "Here, sip this."

The guy grimaced and lifted the water to his lips.

"I've got to put hydrogen peroxide on the wound to clean it." A length of her hair brushed his arm. She flung the strand behind her ear.

"I'll be brave." He bent his injured leg closer to his body and a grin curved his lips.

She tried to determine the shade of his eyes. Azure? Sea foam-blue?

He nodded toward the medication. "I'm ready to proceed with the torture."

She dabbed at the abrasion, using a compress from her case. Steadying her hand, she sprayed the liquid on.

"Owww." He screwed his face like a prisoner suffering persecution.

"Sorry, but hydrogen peroxide shouldn't hurt that bad." She pressed gauze against the gash, used surgical tape, and tied the bandage with her scarf. There. That would protect the dressing.

"Pink?" He stared with raised eyebrows at the makeshift bandage. "Is—is that necessary?"

Maybe he preferred a blue scarf? A giggle slipped her lips before she could retrieve it. "It'll keep the tape in place."

Get serious. My recklessness wounded the guy. Heat traveled to her cheeks as she stuck out her hand. "I'm Joella Crawford, and I'm afraid the police will revoke my bike license after today."

"JD Neilson." He extended his limp hand.

Why hadn't she seen this cute, witty guy around campus before?

Joella glanced over her shoulder where her bike lay. "I think when I came around the bend, the elm tree blocked my view." She swallowed hard and turned back to her injured victim. "Who knew my bike could be a weapon? I hope you can forgive me."

"I might." A mischievous glint flashed across his eyes.

Definitely sea foam-blue.

He sat up a little straighter. "I think my knee wrestled with that rock after your treacherous bike knocked me down." A sharp, angular stone was embedded in the grass near where he'd fallen. "If you'll help me back to my truck, I can drive home."

Her mouth went dry. So that's what caused the nasty cut. "Do you trust me to get you to your vehicle?"

"I know it's a great risk, but I'll chance it."

Despite the fact she'd nearly ended this gorgeous man's life, he was flirting with her. "Let me stow my bike." With a quick swirl of her combination lock, she chained her bicycle to the poplar tree next to the path. She slipped her backpack over her shoulders and glanced at her watch. No way she'd make class now. Even if Advanced Furniture Design was only a refresher, she hated to miss it. Still, escorting JD to his vehicle held more importance.

She leaned over him and stuck out her hand. "Let's see if you can stand."

Reaching out for her fingers, he hopped up on his right foot, his left dangling three inches above the ground. "Ouch."

If she had a cut that deep, she'd be crying. "I'm so sorry. I feel awful." She moved closer and wound his arm around her shoulder. "Lean on me." His heart beat a comfortable rhythm next to her skin.

Near the elm tree, JD's backpack lay on the grass, books and papers strewn over the ground. Not only had she run the guy down, she knocked his school supplies halfway across campus. "Hold on. I'm going to grab your bag."

He hopped on one foot then balanced with a hand on the tree.

Books, pens, papers—even a half-eaten sandwich were strewn everywhere. "I feel even worse now." She stuffed them into his backpack.

"No problem." He let go of the tree and grasped her shoulder. "I needed to clean out my backpack anyway. I've got an extra hand over here."

She passed him his backpack, then resumed her position as crutch to the funny, but probably attached guy. Who knew? He could be married or someone's boyfriend. Oh, well. She wasn't going to worry about it now. Her feet stumbled along as he held tighter and hobbled down the trail toward the parking lot.

"Hold up a second." He hoisted his backpack onto his shoulder. "Okay, I'm good."

They staggered along again. Was the heat on her neck from embarrassment or from the warmth of his muscular arm around her?

"Wait a second." A furrow creased his brow. "I've got to be too heavy for you."

At five feet nine inches, Joella considered herself strong and athletic. "No worse than hauling my bike down the steep sides of the Grand Canyon. Where's your truck?"

"Right here." He grinned and pointed to the white Dodge Ram in front of them. With a lurch, he grabbed the side of his vehicle as she released him.

What a tease. She waved her hand in the air. "Do I need to open the door for you, too?"

"I'm feeling faint again. I think you'd better help me in." He leaned back against his truck and threw his arm over his eyes.

Joella opened the driver's door and gave him a gentle push. She could keep up this silly banter all day. "There you go."

Instead of getting into his truck, he caught his hand on the roof and raised an eyebrow. "I've decided I'm not going to forgive you yet."

His penetrating eyes captured hers. "In fact, I'd better get your phone number in case I decide to sue." He pulled a pen out of his pocket. "Oh yeah, and so I can return this pink scarf." His mischievous smile remained on his lips.

"I work downtown if you want to drop it off at New Trend Interiors. I'm a decorator there." He was kidding about a lawsuit. Right?

"Hey, I'm not far from you. My office is a couple of blocks north in the Ormond Complex — Grant, Tucker and Associates Accounting Firm. I'm one of the associates." A chuckle escaped his lips. "Will you be in Monday morning?"

Did she want to leave the door open? Maybe. But she didn't want to sound too enthusiastic. Or even too optimistic about getting to know this guy. "Sure, or you can leave it with the receptionist."

His smile faded as he tossed his backpack on the passenger's side and edged into the driver's seat.

Joella's conscience jabbed her. It was her fault she'd knocked him down. "I'm sorry I ran over you, JD. If you come in Monday, on second thought, ask for me. I'd like to know how you're doing."

"I will. Besides, I'm still considering a law suit." His gaze swept across her after he shut the door and rolled down the window.

She threw her head back and laughed. "Maybe I can talk you out of it. Or bribe you with a cup of coffee and a Danish." She flicked her hair back from her face and let it fall to her shoulders. "Do you think you can drive?"

"Yeah. You left me one good leg. I have an advantage here … I use my right leg on the gas pedal." An infectious grin lit his face as he put the key in the ignition. "Oh, and next Saturday when I come to campus for my business seminar, I'm going to stay clear of you if you're on a bike."

"Good idea." She stepped backward, sending him off with a wave. Why did she feel this man she'd sent tumbling was about to make her world spin?


For All Eternity   by   June Foster   |   See Bio >
Book 1 of 3 in the Almond Tree Series Series.
When Love Triumphs Over a Lie

Joella Crawford never expects to meet the man of her dreams when she plows over handsome JD Neilson with her bicycle. She can't just leave the gorgeous guy lying on the ground with a bloody leg so she administers first aid. Now she's convinced God's answered her pleas for a Christian husband. The accountant prays, reads his Bible, and exhibits impeccable manners.  He's perfect. Or is he?


JD Neilson falls in love with classy interior designer, Joella Crawford, despite his father's directive to marry a woman in the one true church, Exalted Brethren. But the beautiful woman awakens hunger in his heart. No matter how hard he tries to gain status in the afterlife, he can't find the quiet peace he sees in Joella's life. Can he find the strength to forsake the teachings of his childhood to embrace The Truth? If he does, will Joella accept him or has he lost her forever?   

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