Read The Living Room Online

Authors: Robert Whitlow

Tags: #Suspense, #Fiction, #Christian, #General, #Legal, #ebook

The Living Room

BOOK: The Living Room
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Acclaim for Robert Whitlow

“Gripping and powerful,
The Living Room
deftly weaves a stirring account of mystery and faith through one woman’s struggle with family, work, and dreams, both literal and figurative. Crisp writing, engaging characters, and a deeply spiritual message, this is Robert Whitlow in top form.”

— Billy Coffey, author of
When Mockingbirds Sing

“With deft sleight of hand, wonderful characterization, and carefully layered plots, Robert Whitlow has crafted a gripping story about the mysteries of God’s power to shelter the people he loves.”

— Erin Healy, author of
Afloat
, regarding
The Living Room

“As someone who is deeply involved in the pro-life fight, I found
The Choice
to be a very relevant overview of what we fight for in this movement. It shows the struggles of abortion and the courageous act of adoption in a way that I haven’t read before in any other book. I had a hard time putting this book down.”

— Abby Brannam-Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Director and author of
Unplanned

“Whitlow captures the struggle of many women trapped in the battle over abortion in a truly sympathetic and affecting way.”


Booklist
review of
The Choice

“This inspirational story about a mother’s sacrifice has special appeal for pro-life advocates and fans of the legal novel.”


CBA Retailers + Resources
review of
The Choice

“Christy Award–winning Whitlow is a lawyer who knows his profession, as his newest legal thriller shows.”


Publishers Weekly
review of
Water’s Edge

“A great mystery that will keep you interested until the end.”


Romantic Times
review of
Water’s Edge

“Fans of Whitlow’s series will enjoy the mix of suspense and romance as Tami has to choose between her love interests.”


Library Journal
review of
Greater Love

the living room

also by robert whitlow

The Choice

Water’s Edge

The Tides of Truth Series

Deeper Water

Higher Hope

Greater Love

Mountain Top

Jimmy

The Alexia Lindale Series

Life Everlasting

Life Support

The Sacrifice

The Trial

The List

© 2013 by Robert Whitlow

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

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

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 are from The Holy Bible, New International Version
®
NIV
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide; and the King James Version of the Bible.

Publisher’s note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Whitlow, Robert, 1954–

The living room / Robert Whitlow.

pages cm

ISBN 978-1-4016-8562-1 (trade paper)

I. Title.

PS3573.H49837L58 2013

813'.54—dc23

2013008762

Printed
in
the
United
States
of
America

13 14 15 16 17 18 RRD 6 5 4 3 2 1

To creative people. You are made in the image of your Creator. May your dreams become reality.

When you send your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

—P
SALM
104:30

contents

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Twenty-Two

Twenty-Three

Twenty-Four

Twenty-Five

Twenty-Six

Twenty-Seven

Twenty-Eight

Twenty-Nine

Thirty

Thirty-One

Thirty-Two

Thirty-Three

Thirty-Four

Thirty-Five

Thirty-Six

Thirty-Seven

Thirty-Eight

Thirty-Nine

Reading Group Guide

Acknowledgments

About The Author

one

A
my couldn’t resist visiting the final scene of the novel one last time. Repositioning her long legs on the leather ottoman, she pushed her straight brown hair behind her ears and adjusted her brown-framed glasses. She shifted her laptop so the sunlight streaming through the window didn’t wash out the words on the screen:

For a few anxious moments I couldn’t find Rick among the crowd of passengers making their way across the tarmac.

Then I saw him.

He was walking slowly, his right leg dragging slightly behind him, his left arm immobilized in a sling and strapped close to his body. As always, his khaki uniform was neatly ironed and creased. He was staring intently toward the terminal building. I knew he was looking for me.

Tears, a mixture of joy that he was alive and sorrow at the pain he’d endured, streamed down my cheeks. I bowed my head in thankfulness and leaned my forehead against the window glass for a second. I glanced up as he reached the terminal and quickly dried my eyes. Rick’s first sight of my face should be filled with nothing but welcoming love. He held the door open with his good arm to let an elderly woman pass through ahead
of him, then followed her into the baggage claim area. I cried out in a loud voice that couldn’t hide the anguished longing of my heart.

“Rick!”

He turned his head. And in that instant everyone and everything else in the airport vanished. Rick was home. The sleepless nights and lonely days were over. The fretful hours sitting at the computer waiting for an e-mail had ended. Ten thousand prayers that he would come home to me were answered.

We met at the end of the baggage carousel. A red light flashed as the carousel noisily started to turn, but nothing existed in my world except Rick. He held out his right arm and wrapped it around me as I buried my face in his shoulder. Now my tears could flow without spoiling the moment. I raised my head, and our lips met.

“It’s you,” I said softly when our lips parted.

“I came home, just as I promised,” he said.

“Yes.”

“Thank you for waiting, Kelli.”


Wait
,” I repeated, shaking my head. “That’s a word I don’t want to think about or hear for a long time.”

Rick smiled.

“Our new word is ‘now,’” he said.

I gently touched his left arm.

“How is it?”

“Not much use to me yet,” he said with a shrug. “The doctors say the shrapnel severed a nerve. Other nerves will try to take up the slack, but it will take a long time to see how much strength and mobility I get back.”

“I’m sorry. I wish it could have been me.”

“No!” Rick’s face grew serious. “I went over there to keep something like this from happening to you. Knowing I was protecting you kept me strong.”

There was more strength in Rick’s little finger than most men had in their entire being.

“Do you know what I thought about when I was lying on the ground waiting for the helicopter to rescue me?” he continued.

He reached into the front pocket of his uniform and took out a worn sheet of paper. It had been opened and closed so many times that there were tiny rips at the crease lines. Instantly, I knew what it was. He handed it to me, and I cradled the sheet as gently as I would an ancient parchment. Penned in my best handwriting were the words of the verse I’d given him the night before he left. One corner of the paper was stained dark brown. I stared at the corner.

“Is this—” I stopped.

“Yes, but that’s not what I want you to see. Read the words. I want to hear them in your voice.”

I took a deep breath. “‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27.’”

“My arm may be weak,” Rick said, touching his left shoulder, “but his arms stayed strong.”

“I needed them too,” I said softly.

We kissed again. I tucked my hands beneath Rick’s right elbow.

“And now his arms are going to keep us together,” I said. “Forever.”

The voice of Ian, Amy’s ten-year-old son, shattered the moment.

“Mom!”

Amy lowered the screen of the laptop.

“I’m in the writing room!” she called out.

Ian’s feet pounded up the steep, ladder-like steps. Amy’s husband, Jeff, had converted a corner of the attic into a private place for Amy to read, work, and pray.

“We’re out of milk,” Ian panted when his freckled face came into view. “And there is only one cookie left in the jar. Me and Bobby are hungry.”

“Bobby and I are hungry,” Amy corrected him.

“Bobby and I are hungry,” he responded dutifully, “but that doesn’t make there be any more cookies in the jar.”

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