A holiday they will never forget.
The neighborhood knew what Cody Allen Luther endured on a daily basis for five long years. Everyone except Brandy Mason turned their heads. After all, it was a parent’s right to discipline their child. On Christmas Eve, 1969, Cody finally can’t take the brutal abuse any longer, but not for himself—his mother turns her unreasonable anger on his younger stepsiblings and he makes a life changing decision, killing her instead of allowing her to keep hurting his family.
Only one person has ever understood the why Cody reacted as he did that Christmas Eve of 1969. Brandy Mason will do anything to protect Cody, even stand up against classmates willing to petition the governor to have Cody tried as an adult for murder once he is released from juvenile detention.
Ten year old Cody Luther walked alongside his dad. They had a very important job to do today, finding the perfect Christmas tree. Cody didn’t really understand what was going on, just that his daddy had been real sick lately. It had something to do with his service in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.
“It’s going to be tough on you, son.” Dad stopped near a Douglas fir and examined the branches. “I know this isn’t what you want, but the courts said you had to do this if I… I…” He wiped away a tear from beneath an eye. “If I’m not alive anymore.”
Separated by the winds of war
Jenna and Nicholas are a poster image of the perfect military couple. With one child and twins on the way, their lives take a twisted turn when Iraq invades Kuwait. With her at home, ready to deliver their newest babies and him deployed to the a battle in the Middle East, their lives change drastically. Their solid relationship is tested in many ways.
Worry eats at Jenna and Nicholas but neither will admit to the other that they’re scared. Can they survive the short lived war to free Kuwait from Iraqi control? Will their deep, abiding love for each other withstand this war and the drastic changes in their lives?
The fear returns with my first missed menstrual cycle, a little over three months ago. Yet again, I am pregnant. Half a dozen times, the child growing within me never made it fully through the second month. That information is not in my medical records, because I never told anyone about it, not even Nicholas, my beloved husband. The reason behind those horrific decisions is our first child, a girl we were going to call April Melina, was lost at almost seven months. The hardest part of that miscarriage is that she stopped moving nearly five weeks before the doctor we were assigned in Nevada was certain she was growing well and I was worrying about nothing.
I can’t do this again. I really can’t go through this again.
Adrift, they create a miracle for teens.
Jen and Nik thought they were competing for the marketing manager position. Each was hoping the other would get the job they were so qualified for. In a matter of minutes, they learned their fate was far worse. Their company released them from their employment, along with a lot of other employees.
Cast adrift, they rally the other former employees and work together to create a company dedicated to teens without a good chance in life.
Everything is different, changed, causing me more pain that I’ve ever felt in my life. Questions are thrown at me daily: Do I support the madness sweeping through the nation? Am I willing to acknowledge that I am not a good person, because of my ancestry, my privilege? Nothing I respond with is good enough for the questioner. They accuse me of using my ethnicity, or what they call a lack of ethnicity, to get ahead in my job.
“Hey, Jen.” Trey Johnson prances up to me. “Boss wants to talk to you before you leave today.” Tilting his chin to one side, he gives me a sidelong look. “Are you going to mess up my chances for that prime new job? You’d best decide it’s too much for you, because I’ll get it any way I can.”
From deep within me, panic rises. I’ve been working to get this promotion for years. All the nights sitting in classrooms, to finish my master’s degree; the weekends I spent hunched over a computer, studying what I needed to know, all of that may have been in vain.