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Authors: Anita Higman

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Winter in Full Bloom

BOOK: Winter in Full Bloom
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PRAISE FOR
Winter in Full Bloom

 

Winter in Full Bloom
will grab your attention right away and it won’t let go until you finish each satisfying word. Anita Higman has written a beautiful story with well-rounded characters that reminds us what it means to be family.

Kristin Billerbeck, author of
The Scent of Rain

 

At a poignant crossroads in her life, Lily Winter heads off to Australia to track down a family secret, armed only with a clue given by her mother, an eerily cold woman. In Melbourne, Lily finds who she was looking for, aided by a handsome stranger with a few skeletons in his own closet. But she ends up with more questions than answers and her faith is tested in ways she never expected. The results transform not only Lily but her entire family.

With a touch of humor, romance, and heartache, Anita Higman pens a beautifully written story of hope and healing drawn from the lives of wonderfully complex characters.
Winter in Full Bloom
will stay with you long after you read the last page.

Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of
Stoney Ridge Seasons

 

Anita’s Australian-inspired novel is as warm as a koala, creative as a platypus, and filled with more twists and turns than a billabong. G’read, love!

James Watkins, award-winning author of thirty books including
Writing with Banana Peels

 

Winter in Full Bloom
had me from the first paragraph.
Why is this woman who hates flying on a plane headed for Australia?
Then throw in trying to redeem her truly dysfunctional family, and Anita Higman’s heroine will capture your heart.

Neta Jackson, bestselling author of The Yada Yada Prayer Group series and its sequels.

 

© 2013 by
ANITA HIGMAN

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

 

The author is represented by MacGregor Literary, Inc.

 

Edited by Cheryl Molin
Interior design: Design Corps
Interior image: Botond Horvath / Shutterstock.com / 90744185
Cover design: John Hamilton Design, LLC
Cover image: Stephen Carroll / Getty Images
Author photo: Circle R Studios Photography

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Higman, Anita.
  Winter in full bloom / Anita Higman.
   pages cm
  ISBN 978-0-8024-0580-7
  1. Family secrets—Fiction. 2. Adoption—Fiction. 3. Family reunions—Fiction. I. Title.
  PS3558.I374W56 2013
  813’.54—dc23

 

2013015831

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

We hope you enjoy this book from River North by Moody Publishers. Our goal is to provide high-quality, thought provoking books and products that connect truth to your real needs and challenges. For more information on other books and products written and produced from a biblical perspective, go to
www.moodypublishers.com
or write to:

 

River North Fiction
Imprint of Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60610

 

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

Winter in Full Bloom
is lovingly dedicated to my son-in-law, Alex McMullen, whose Irish ways not only beguiled my daughter, but enchanted us all.
The Irish touches in this book,
including the bagpipes, come from his merry influence.
(You play them delightfully, Alex.)

 

Contents

 

PART ONE:
The Adventure

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

PART TWO:
The Homecoming

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

A Note to Readers

Anita Higman


If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

 

 

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

 

 

 

I sat on a 747
, trying to talk myself out of a panic attack.

The jet still sat on the tarmac, but already I could imagine—in electrifying detail—the fiery crash and then the watery pull into the briny depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Lord, have mercy.
What had I been thinking?

Fool that I was, I’d left the sanctuary of my own home, which was safe, and hygienically clean, I might add, to board this death trap. Too late now. I’d taken a leave of absence from work, stopped the mail, given all my indoor plants to my neighbor, and said a dozen goodbyes to my daughter, Julie. The trip was set in stone—the igneous kind that the geologists liked to talk about at work.

While I sat there sweating, my mind got out its magnifying glass to examine my inner motives. All in all, the journey had a grab bag full of miseries attached to it. For me, getting on the plane proved that my empty nest had driven me over the edge like the biblical herd of pigs. Since my Julie had left the house, was I trying to find a person to fill that void … that vacant place at the table … the perpetual silence of the house and the clocks, ticking away the rest of my tedious life? Probably. And yet finding my sister in Australia would be no less than wonderful, whether Julie was at home or not.

I looked out the small plane window at the heavens with my anxious puppy dog eyes and could almost hear the Almighty chuckling.
Yes, I know, God. I must keep You entertained.

But back to the fear at hand. I rechecked my seat belt and pulled it so snugly I felt my pulse throbbing in my legs. My stomach busied itself doing the fandango. What had I eaten in the airport? A double bean burrito with a side of green chilies. Not a good travel choice. Did I already have motion sickness? The plane hadn’t even taken off yet. If I were to exit the plane right now, would they give me a refund? Probably not. I’d already used the restroom, crumpled the magazines, and troubled the flight attendant for a ginger ale.
Lord, I need a friend. I need backup.

“You have to ask yourself: what am I most afraid of?” It was the voice of a child.

I turned toward the sound. “Excuse me?” Straight across the aisle sat a child no bigger than a thimble—a girl with moon-shaped eyes, a Pooh Bear T-shirt, and a wad of gum she was chomping as if it were a lump of tough meat.
Surely this child isn’t backup, Lord.
I think God enjoys showing off His sense of humor.

“You’re scared to fly. Right? I was too, but I got over it.” The girl blew a bubble and let the purple gum pop all over her face. She gathered up the gum and put it back in her mouth for another round.

“How can you tell that I’m afraid to fly?”

“All that sweat. Dead giveaway. And you look like you’ve just swallowed a Boogie Board.” She exploded into giggles.

I had no idea what a Boogie Board was. And in spite of the silliness the kid talked as if she were thirty, although she couldn’t be more than nine or ten. I had to know her secret—how she managed to rise above her fears. And something about her little turned-up nose and soft brown eyes reminded me of Julie when she was little. “And so how did you get over it … the fear of flying?”

The girl looked at me, her big eyes gobbling me up. She lost all the playfulness when she said, “I watched my grandma die of cancer. Her body stopped working, but she was still in there. It was a bad way to die. When I get old I don’t want to go to heaven that way. Maybe dying on a plane isn’t so bad. I mean, I know God doesn’t ask us, but we might as well give Him a list of our pref—choices.”

I wasn’t sure if her reasoning reassured me or alarmed me, but I leaned toward her and said, “I’m sorry about your grandmother.”

“Yeah, me too. She always played dolls and Mario Kart with me. Every kid needs a grandma like mine.”

“So true.” If only my Julie would have had a grandma like that. When the girl said no more I turned my attention back to the plane, which now taxied toward the runway. My body wanted to flee. Each time I took in air it didn’t seem to be enough, so I breathed in more.

Did I smell fuel? My head went so buzzy I’d only heard half of the flight attendant’s speech. What was that about oxygen masks and exit doors and life vests? Oh, my. I fanned my face.

I clutched at my heart, which was now beating itself to death. Would I pass out? Throw up? Go crazy? All the above? The cabin felt like a cauldron. Maybe the air conditioner was malfunctioning. Maybe deep within the belly of the plane other more important electrical devices were failing. Things that kept the plane aloft—things that kept us from plummeting to the earth in a fiery heap. I mashed my damp bangs away from my face.

“Just so ya know …” The little girl crossed her legs. “I also found out that you can’t die of a panic attack.”

Her tone came off so pragmatic I looked at her again just to make sure the words were coming out of her petite mouth. “How do you know I was having a panic attack?”

She cocked her little Freudian head at me. “Classic symptoms.”

Who was this kid? And where were her parents? I unbuckled my seat belt. “I don’t think I can do this.” I jumped up and bumped my head on the overhead storage.

“We’re about to take off,” the girl said with maddening calmness.

I collapsed back onto the seat and rubbed my throbbing head. The contents of my stomach threatened mutiny. “I’m going to be sick.”

BOOK: Winter in Full Bloom
11.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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