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Authors: Tracey Bateman

The Widow of Saunders Creek

BOOK: The Widow of Saunders Creek
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Praise for
The Widow of Saunders Creek

“Tracey Bateman has the extraordinary gift of plummeting into the human soul and finding the deep and complex facets for which we most need redemption and hope. She weaves emotion and truth and all the things we fear and grieve into a story that touches and challenges the heart, while reminding us there is an unseen world as close as our own breath.
The Widow of Saunders Creek
is one of her finest.”

, author of

“Bateman does a superb job of bringing her characters vividly to life and giving the reader a taste of what it would be like to live in the Ozarks, where superstition and the supernatural are alive and well.”

, author of
Kiss of Night

“Tracey Bateman has a winner on her hands. I started the book intending to read just a little then put it down. I couldn’t. I had to read and read all the way to the end. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. This is a wonderful story about moving past grief and realizing it’s possible to fall in love again. This book has a fabulous love story. It has a chilling confrontation between good and evil and shows us how calling on the power of Jesus’s name can stop evil in its tracks. I can’t wait for the next book by Tracey.”

, author of
When the Smoke Clears

Praise for Tracey Bateman

“Deep, cutting, an intoxicating blend of human and supernatural, of characters scarred by the past, drained by life. This is the book I’ve waited for.”

, author of
with Ted Dekker and
Demon: A Memoir

“… raises thought-provoking questions concerning who and what one lives for. These themes are worked in nicely and eventually set up a beautiful and hopeful conclusion.”

The Christian Manifesto

“Bateman has written a page turner with a compelling vampire character that will set evangelical Christian readers talking.”

Publishers Weekly

“I loved the way Tracey Bateman incorporated the struggle against alcoholism into the theme [of
]. Great writing and a compelling read!”

, author of
Lonestar Secrets
and the Rock Harbor series

12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

Scripture quotations or paraphrases are taken from the following versions: New American Standard Bible®. © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. (
). King James Version. Good News Translation—Second Edition. Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

Copyright © 2012 by Tracey Bateman

Cover design by Kelly Howard

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York.

and its deer colophon are registered trademarks of Random House Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Bateman, Tracey Victoria.
   The widow of Saunders Creek : a novel / Tracey Bateman.—First edition.
      pages cm
   eISBN: 978-0-307-73045-9
1. War widows—Fiction. 2. Bereavement—Fiction. I. Title.
   PS3602.A854W53 2012



To Pastor Rick Morrow
Your compassion for those who are trapped
in Satan’s grip inspires me


An easy spring wind blew through my open Jeep, lifting my hair and ruffling the cloth seat covers as I turned off the interstate and traveled east toward Saunders Creek. It was the last leg of my nine-hour drive from Dallas to the tiny, unassuming Ozarks town that bore my husband’s family name.

Towering oaks, full maples, and evergreens hugged the narrow, winding road in a way that even a few months ago might have felt intrusive. But today the trees seemed to embrace me, welcoming me.

Déjà vu came over me, as though the scene before me came out of my own childhood memories instead of recollections of stories my husband told about growing up here.

I wanted him beside me, flashing his
Top Gun
Maverick grin.

Jarrod had died the way he lived—reckless, but heroic. Saving at least fifty lives in a little Iraqi settlement on the east bank of the Tigris River. Leaving me to pine after him, sick with love for a man who would never hold me again. I couldn’t breathe.
God, just take me too
. But every day my eyes opened, air filled my lungs, and I forced myself to go on.

Six months ago, I buried him according to his wishes, in the Saunders family graveyard. After the funeral, my mother demanded that I return home to Dallas to grieve—as though I could just put the last
seven years behind me and move on. Forget the consuming, crazy, once-in-a-lifetime love who had rescued me from her in the first place. Every night since then I had dreamed of my husband’s childhood home. A force compelled me to come here, and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Jarrod was gone, but as I drove my Jeep up the path that led to the two-story farmhouse, I finally understood why I had been so drawn to this place.

I had come here to find the man I loved.

The memory of my husband’s funeral returned with an uncomfortable clarity as I navigated the winding road to Saunders Creek.

I barely made it through the service with all my pieces intact. My skin crawled from the unfamiliar embraces. Everyone wanted to hold me. Fat, clammy arms threatened to suffocate me. Muscular arms would have gladly relinquished their strength for my weakness, because that’s the way Jarrod’s vast, extended family was. Motherly arms, fatherly arms, arms of women who could only imagine how they would feel if it had been their husbands and were thanking God it was mine instead. So many people clawing at me I wanted to tuck in my elbows, jerk my arms upward, and watch everyone scatter. Instead, I soldiered on—a good army widow.

BOOK: The Widow of Saunders Creek
9.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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