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A Perfect Love

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A Perfect Love

Heavenly Daze Book Four

LORI COPELAND
ANGELA HUNT

© 2000 by Lori Copeland and Angela E. Hunt

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any other means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other— except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Published in association with Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected].

Scripture quotations in this book are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, organizations, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Copeland, Lori.

A perfect love / Lori Copeland and Angela Hunt.
p. cm. — (Heavenly Daze series)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8499-4343-0 (trade paper)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59554-552-7 (mass market)
I. Hunt, Angela Elwell, 1957– II. Title.
PS3553.06336 P47 2002
813'.54—dc21 2002023466

Printed in the United States of America

08 09 10 11 12 QW 5 4 3 2 1

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
Lowly we kneel in prayer before thy throne,
That theirs may be the love which knows no ending,
Whom thou forevermore dost join in one.

O perfect Life, be thou their full assurance,
Of tender charity and steadfast faith,
Of patient hope and quiet, brave endurance,
With childlike trust that fears nor pain nor death.

Grant them the joy which brightens earthly sorrow;
Grant them the peace which calms all earthly strife,
And to life's day the glorious unknown morrow
That dawns upon eternal love and life.

—DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY,
1883

Contents

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Epilogue

About the Authors

Prologue

W
inter, the locals tell each other, is the measure of a man, and January is the month by which we measure all others. By the turn of the year, the summercaters have long been gone, the leaf people have vanished, and the island's few Christmas visitors have returned to their business on the mainland. By January, winter has settled onto the coastal towns too: The tourist shops have closed, the streetcars have ceased their trolling, and the bed-and-breakfast owners have drained their pipes, boarded their windows, and flown to Florida. The Heavenly Daze folks, however, don't leave. It's as if the idea never occurred to them.

By January the lobstermen, like our own Russell Higgs, have stacked their traps and piled their buoys. Like brightly colored bowling pins, the buoys lie scattered over the brown lawns, waiting for play to commence. On some days Russell will gather a few traps and venture onto the sea, for fishing is a year-round operation here, but January, his wife, Barbara, reminds him, is just as apt for repairin' as it is for lobsterin'.

Heavenly Daze, the locals say, is some different in winter. After observing more than two hundred of the coldest seasons on this little island, I can attest to their observation. In winter the island is quiet, more subdued. The light fades from the day by 4 PM, and gone is the sparkle that gilded the summer ocean. Sea smoke covers the water now, shifting over the surface like lace over a worn gray blanket.

Welcome back to our little island off the coast of Maine. If you've never had the blessing of visiting Heavenly Daze, you should know that many years ago, a child of God known as Jacques de Cuvier begged the Lord to safeguard the inhabitants of this blessed place. In answer to that loving prayer, the Lord dispatched me and six others of the angelic host. Our mission is quite simple: We protect and serve those who live in the seven original buildings on the island of Heavenly Daze.

I am Gavriel, captain of this small company, and I guard the church. Occasionally I don human flesh and visit my angelic brothers—Micah, Abner, Caleb, Yakov, Zuriel, and Elezar—but most of the time I observe quietly and relay messages from the Throne of the Most High. The human inhabitants of our island, you see, don't realize that the curtain separating the earthly and spiritual realms is more like gossamer than iron, and everything that happens on Heavenly Daze is dear to the heart of the Lord God. He, of course, is dearly concerned with everything happening everywhere, but after spending more than two hundred earth years on this same stretch of soil, I must admit that I take a particular interest in this island and its people.

I know the glory of God fills the universe, and entire nations of people sing his praises. But to me nothing sounds as sweet as the crackling winter voices of the people in our little town.

Come join us for a jubilant January on the island of Heavenly Daze.

—Gavriel

Chapter One

F
eels more like mud season than winter out there. My skin's not even stickin' to the windowpane.” Cleta Lansdown, coproprietor of the Baskahegan Bed and Breakfast, pulled her palm away from the dark window to scoop up a pair of eggs-over-medium from a layer of hot bacon grease, then slid them onto a paper towel–covered plate. Her family—husband, Floyd; daughter, Barbara; and son-in-law, Russell—sat behind her in varying degrees of alertness.

Four AM, and every last one of them except Russell should be in bed. But Barbara got up because her husband, a lobsterman, liked to be on the water at sunrise, and he insisted that she keep him company before going out. So Cleta got up because when Barbara was half-asleep she couldn't boil water, let alone cook, and Floyd got up because he couldn't resist the aroma of bacon in a frying pan.

Barbara yawned and reached for a piece of toast. A snarled cowlick poked through a layer of plastic green rollers on her head. Cleta eyed her daughter worriedly. The girl looked tensed up this morning. She'd always had a delicate constitution—never been like other girls her age. But Barbara wasn't a child any longer; she'd be twenty-three next month. Twenty-three. Where had the years gone? Why, it seemed like only yesterday that Cleta had carried a tiny, pink-faced bundle up the front steps of the Bed and Breakfast with Floyd holding tightly to her arm. It had taken thirty-six hours to bring their child into the world, and it seemed as if only thirty-six minutes had passed until she was grown . . .

With one eye cracked open, Barbara slathered butter on her toast. She looked at Russell, her husband of three years. “Pass the jam.”

Russell grunted, his unshaven features dark as a drunken sea merchant on his first night home. “Better lay off the sweets, hon. You'll lose your girly figure—”

“Just pass me the jam, Russell.” Barbara threw him one of her “or-else” looks. Or was that the dry-up-or-I'll-smack-the-snot-out-of-you glare? Cleta shook her head. She'd lost track. Barbara was full of moods lately.

Setting the plate of eggs in front of Floyd, Cleta cautioned him to eat only one. “They're full of cholesterol,” she warned.

Through his thick glasses, Floyd eyed the forbidden fare before his gaze shifted back to her. “Then why are you cooking them for me?”

“Just hush up and eat.”

Obediently Floyd picked up his fork and pulled one egg onto his plate, then cut into the runny yolk. “Don't know why we can't have some of those fancy dishes you make for the summer complaints. Caramel-apple French toast, egg casserole, orange muffins.” He stared at the piece of burnt toast he was holding. “Some of that nice granola with dried fruit and nuts would be good about now—”

“You're a nut.” Cleta sat down at the table and reached for the cream pitcher. She glanced at her daughter. “What's wrong, Doodles? Aren't you feeling well this morning?”

“Mother.” Barbara glared at Cleta, blueberry jam rim- ming her tremulous upper lip. She slammed her hand on the table, splashing coffee from Floyd's cup onto the green Formica. “Don't call me Doodles. How many times do I have to remind you that I'm a grown woman?”

“Well, don't get your Fruit of the Looms in a bunch!” Floyd growled, reaching for a napkin to mop up the spill. Cleta dashed cream in her cup and stirred, trying to keep quiet. She'd called Barbara “Doodles” from the day she was born. So had everybody else on the island, until Barbara announced she was an adult and had outgrown the silly name.

Pffff.

Adult?

Twenty-three was still wet behind the ears.

But she'd zip her lip, because Floyd hated it when she and Barbara quarreled during a meal—and that happened more than Cleta cared to think about. Barbara was cranky as all get-out lately.

Stirring her coffee, Cleta frowned and glanced at her son-in-law. Had he and Barbara been quarreling again? She'd overheard them yelling at each other a few times, but usually the trouble blew over within an hour. Cleta tried not to interfere in her daughter's marriage, and she'd warned Floyd to stay out of the kids' problems. But it wasn't easy. Once or twice she'd forgotten her place and jumped right into the middle of a fray, but that was Barbara's fault. The girl wouldn't stand up for herself, and although Russell was a good boy, he wasn't perfect—in fact, he was downright inconsiderate of Barbara at times. He could be thickheaded, and had a tendency to put work before the Lord, usually preferring a seat on the water to one in the church on Sunday morning. He was as independent as a hog on ice. A true lobsterman.

Need she say more?

He had no reason to complain. Lobstering had never been better, so he had nothing to fly off the handle about. Old-timers swore they couldn't remember a year with a higher yield—last year Maine lobstermen trapped a record 56.7 million pounds—almost twenty million pounds more than the one hundred–year average. Russell bragged that on a typical day he had kept only one in every eight to ten of the orange and green mottled tail-snapping beauties in his trap. Though limited to eight hundred traps, Russell made a handsome living, but Cleta didn't know what the kids did with their money. Russell often talked about getting one of those new Ford double-cab diesels, but since automobiles weren't allowed on the island, Russell admitted he wouldn't have much use for such a vehicle. He'd have to leave it at the ferry landing in Ogunquit, and too much funny stuff went on over there in the summer . . . he'd likely venture across one day and find his truck vandalized or something.

Other than Russell's traps, his clothes, and his boat— the
Barbara Jean,
a three-year-old, thirty-foot double-wedge hull with a single inboard diesel—he owned nothing. The fiberglass boat, purchased last year from a Portland lobster-man's widow, had nice, low hours with a small forward cabin and windshield, open-decked cockpit aft, and up-to-date equipment, including radar, VHF radio, and a depth sounder. The rig sure beat the little dory his great grandpa Higgs worked out of in the late eighteenth century.

BOOK: A Perfect Love
3.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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