Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RELEASE DAY: E.A. West "Different"


Jezebel Smith is different. She can’t talk, she doesn’t look like anyone in her family, and no matter what she does it’s always the wrong thing. God accepts her for who she is, but He’s the only one who does. Then she finds an unconscious man in her favorite cave, and her life is turned up-side down. New people and new rules collide with the old, leaving Jezebel unsure of which set of rules apply to her life. When the strangers in town attempt to help her out of the nightmare she’s grown up in, it promises to change her life forever.



E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

For more information visit: http://eawest.mcphitty.com


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Chapter One

The distant drip of water echoed off the rocky walls as Jezebel Smith wandered through her cave. Pungent fumes from her kerosene lantern stung her nose, and she wished for a flashlight. But her family would miss a flashlight. They never noticed when she took the old lantern from the barn.

Turning her face away from the lantern, she caught a whiff of the familiar scent of the rocks around her. She loved the fresh, earthy smell of her cave. Through countless hours of careful practice, her hiking boots barely produced a whisper on the bumpy path leading to her special cavern. If she swung the lantern on its creaky handle, however, she could fill the cave with a creepy echo that reminded her of Halloween.

She passed through an opening in the wall and entered a large cavern with several ledges in one end. As she approached the lowest ledge, the glow from her lantern touched an unfamiliar lump on the floor below the rocky shelf and she froze. She knew every inch of this cavern — every rock, ledge, and bump in the floor. No one ever came here. Nothing ever changed unless she changed it. The cave was the only thing she could count on to always stay the same.

This time, however, there was something new. The cave had broken its own rules, adding a boulder where one didn’t belong. She crept toward it, fighting tears of hurt that the cave would trick her like everyone else, and the golden light of her lantern revealed it wasn’t a boulder after all — it was the still form of a man. Her pulse pounded in her ears, so loud it threatened to drown out her own thoughts. Where had he come from? Why wasn’t he moving? Her heart skipped a beat. Was he dead?

Fear and the need to know warred inside her, and the need to know won. She moved a little closer and studied the man carefully. When she saw his chest rise and fall she let out a relieved breath. Well, he wasn’t dead, but what was wrong with him? He was close to the higher ledges. Maybe he had fallen off one and gotten hurt. She scanned him for obvious injuries, the light swaying as she rocked from one foot to the other. His arms and legs were at the correct angle, and his neck looked okay, but he had a bleeding cut on the side of his forehead near his red hair.

She knew how to treat cuts, except she’d never bandaged a cut on another human. Only herself and hurt animals she found in the woods. But she couldn’t leave this man bleeding on the floor of her cave. Cuts hurt, and she hated seeing any living thing in pain.

Jezebel ran her mind over the meager contents of the small cavern through the opening in the far wall. She had enough supplies left from the injured raccoon she’d treated last week to take care of the wound on the man’s head. Was it okay to use the same kind of supplies on a human that she used on animals? She used the cloth strips to bandage bleeding cuts on animals, and the man had a bleeding cut. Since she didn’t have anything else, she decided it would be okay to use her animal bandaging supplies on the man. Ignoring the fact that she was making up new rules instead of following the old ones, she hurried to the small cavern that was her sanctuary from the world. Her older brother always said rules were for breaking, never mind that she’d never believed him. Jezebel didn’t agree with a lot of things people said, especially the things they said about her.

Everyone in her tiny rural Appalachian community said she was demon-possessed because she rocked all the time and didn’t talk, but they were wrong. During a revival her parents had forced her to attend three years earlier, she’d silently recited the prayer that the preacher said invited Jesus into a person’s heart and drove out all the evil inside. After saying the prayer in her mind, she’d felt peace for the first time in her twelve years of life and tried to tell her family what she’d done. But the words wouldn’t come, and she’d been taken outside and whipped for trying to stop the “good Christian folk” from hearing the preacher’s message. That was another thing people were wrong about, but she had learned her lesson. Never again did she try to explain she was one of the good Christian folk now. God loved her and wanted her when no one else did, and that was all that mattered.

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