It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
Kathy Herman is a best-selling suspense novelist who has written fifteen novels since retiring from her family’s Christian bookstore business. Kathy and her husband, Paul, have three grown children and five grandchildren and live in Tyler, Texas. This is the third title in the Sophie Trace trilogy, which also includes The Real Enemy, and The Last Word.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
A warm breeze rattled the blinds, and he closed his eyes, inhaling the intoxicating fragrance of magnolia blossoms wafting from the south campus of Stanton College. It took every ounce of discipline he could muster not to close his books and give in to the lure of spring.
He heard rubber soles on the hardwood floor and lifted his gaze as his roommate came to a quick stop in front of the mirror over the worn living-room sofa.
Tal Davison wet his fingers and smoothed his hair. “I see you’re still studying. I guess that means you’re not coming.”
“To what? I thought you had a date.”
“Why do you make me tell you everything twice? You’re worse than my grandmother.”
Drew put down his pencil. “Sorry, I’ve been focused on other things. Tell me again. I’m listening.”
Tal came and stood in the doorway of Drew’s bedroom, his arms folded across his chest. “I’m going over to Henry’s for a junk-food buffet and beer. You’re invited.”
“Thanks. But I really need to study for my English lit final. It’s next week, and I’ve got chapters of catching up to do.”
“Suit yourself. I’m brain-dead. I couldn’t learn another thing if you paid me.” Tal started to go and then stopped. “Listen, thanks again for letting me move in here for the last few weeks. It’s nice sharing an apartment that doesn’t reek of marijuana. I hope I haven’t been as big a pain as your other roommate.” He shot Drew a half smile.
Drew leaned back and folded his arms. “Hey, not at all, man. I hope you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. It’s just that I have to keep up the grades. No four-oh, no scholarship. There’s no way I can afford to attend Stanton without it.” I don’t have a rich father footing the bill.
“Doesn’t it cramp your style to go to college in Sophie Trace? Your parents are pretty close by, aren’t they?”
“Thanks to the scholarship I can live off campus. That’s all the independence I need. It’s nice going home whenever I want. My parents really help me stay on track.” Drew studied Tal’s expression.
“I take it you wish your dad wasn’t so close?”
Tal got quiet for a moment and seemed to be somewhere else. “He’s much too busy to breathe down my neck. And he doesn’t care about my grades as long as I pass and he can tell his cronies that his namesake’s attending his alma mater and is going to work for him after graduation.”
“Is that so bad?”
“I just wish he cared more about me and less about his image. I’m not sure I can ever measure up to his expectations.”
“Come on, man. You’ve got it made in the shade. All you have to do is get through one more year, and he’ll hand you the job of a lifetime. I thought you were pumped about it.”
Tal flashed a crooked smile. “I’m trying to be. It’s my big chance to make Dad proud of me. It’s all he’s talked about for years. But there’s a lot of pressure, learning to run a big corporation. The closer I get, the more intimidated I feel.”
“He must think you can do it, Tal. There’s a lot at stake for him, too.” Even if he is handing it to you on a silver platter.
“Maybe I’ll buy a little time after I graduate—tell Dad I’m burned-out and need to backpack across Europe for a while before I jump into the corporate world.”
A grin tugged at Drew’s cheeks. “Then you’d need someone to babysit your Hummer. Can I apply for the job? Man, I wish I’d been there when your dad had it delivered to your birthday party.”
“It was an awesome way to turn twenty-one, all right. But I’d trade it in a heartbeat for a relationship with my dad like you have with yours.”
“I guess I take it for granted.”
“Well, don’t,” Tal said. “I can’t remember the last time I sat down and had a real conversation with mine. He’s either working himself to death or hiding out at the lake house with wife number four—the fashion model who’s got silicone for brains.”
“I didn’t realize she was his fourth wife.”
“And she’s pregnant with daughter number seven. Maybe he’s going for the record.”
“Yeah, but you’re still his only son. And you and your mother are close.”
“Not in proximity. She’s spending a lot of time in New York with her boyfriend. He deals in fine art, and she likes to go to the auctions with him. I doubt I’ll see her anytime soon.”
Drew shifted his weight. Why hadn’t Tal mentioned before that his mother was seeing someone?
“Actually, I’m happy for her,” Tal said. “And I don’t mind sharing her Nashville house with the maid, the cook, and the butler. I’ll lie around the pool and read sci-fi novels and give my brain a rest. I’m so burned-out I can’t stand to think about another year of studying.”
“You’ll be ready to hit it again in the fall. Just think how good you’ll feel when you get your degree.”
Tal smiled wryly. “Would you believe my dad’s executive bonus last year was ten million? I must be nuts not to be more excited about the job.”
No kidding. “So why aren’t you?”
“I don’t know … my dad’s ruthless. And the company takes precedence over everyone and everything. I want more out of life than that.”
“I hear you. But if it were me, I’d at least try it long enough to earn a couple million and then go do whatever I wanted.“
“I’ve thought of that.” Tal stood up straight, the result of his beer drinking and bingeing hanging over his belt. “But I have a feeling that once Dad has me under his thumb, I’ll never get out from under. What I really want to do is go to the police academy.”
“Have you told him how you feel?”
“I tried. But Dad doesn’t really care how I feel. It’s my duty as his only son to keep the family business going. If I turn my back on that, he’ll basically disown me. Not that we’re close now, but it’s hard to think of having no dad. Hey, enough serious talk. It’s party time. Sure you don’t want to come?”
“Yeah, I’ve got to hit the books. Who’s your designated driver?”
“Don’t need one. I’m walking.”
“You think that’s smart? Henry’s neighborhood isn’t exactly the safest part of town.”
“I’ll be fine. But I’ll tell you what”—Tal laughed and tossed his keys to Drew—“if I don’t make it back alive, the Hummer’s all yours.”
©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Right Call by Kathy Herman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.