Monday, December 12, 2016

Coming Undone By Staci Stallings - Heartwarming Christian Romance



“Uh, Mr. Warren, I’m sorry to bother you so late, but this is St. Anthony’s Hospital. Your father has just been admitted. You are listed as his next of kin…” The rest of the words evaporated in a swirl of alarm and concern.
 “What? Is he okay?” He put his finger in his ear to block everything else out. “What happened?” 
“I’m not really authorized to discuss it, but the doctors think it would be a good idea for you to get here as quickly as possible.” Ben ran his hand through and over his thick, dark hair.
“Uh. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll be there as soon as possible.” Somehow he ended the phone call, but it too was lost in the spinning of the world around him. He closed his eyes and fought to breathe, hoping to make it stop. However, when he opened his eyes, it was still tilting and shifting around him. Decisions. He had to make some decisions. First, he needed to get to the hospital to see what was going on. Pushing away from the cabinet, he stumbled through the myriad of possibilities as he headed through the living room.
Three surprised and very concerned faces gazed up at him. “Something wrong?” Kelly asked. “Uh. Yeah. I guess. I don’t know. It’s my dad.” None of the words seemed to even correlate with reality. “I don’t know. Something happened.” At the little closet, he pulled out the first jacket his hand found, and he yanked it on. “You guys just lock up when you’re done.”
 “You want me to go with you?” Kelly asked, standing. His dark face was ash-washed with concern.
“No.” Ben tried to shake the looks on his friends’ faces from his consciousness. “No. Of course not. I’m… I’m sure it’s nothing.” 
Do they call you from the hospital at midnight if it’s nothing? He couldn’t answer that question, and he didn’t even want to try. “I’ll just…” The words were jamming together in his brain in no distinct pattern. “Um… Just let yourselves out when you’re finished. And be sure to lock up.” Remembering he would have to drive, he patted his pockets and then looked around. “Keys? Where are my keys?”
 “By the front door where they always are?” Kelly asked, clearly tipping toward legitimate concern for his friend.
 “Oh, yeah. Right.” Ben nodded, having no idea why.
 “Are you sure you don’t want me to go?” 
“Yeah. Yeah. I’m sure. I’ll let you know.” Taking the keys from the little hook, Ben wrenched the doorknob and for one second, considered reconsidering his friend’s offer. He didn’t want to face whatever this was alone. Then he took his ego by the collar and gave it a good shake. He was Ben Warren, and Ben Warren didn’t back down from any challenge. With that thought, he yanked the door open and headed to the hospital.
~~~


Coming Undone

By Staci Stallings

The title of this novel immediately interesting and was even more intriguing once I began to read... While the cover shows the male main character, Ben Warren, showing his distress at the notice that his father was in the hospital, it was soon apparent that the female character was also in as much stress as Ben...just of a different kind...and just because she had been professionally trained to handle being in stressful situations... But before the book ends, both of them...come undone quite often...

Tell yourself the truth. Do you believe God has a plan already created for you? I would say that I've gone back and forth on accepting this myself, but, I've wondered more and more if what I've been doing for the last ten years was indeed part of God's plan for me... Why am I asking? Because if you have also doubted, then this particular book might give you much to think about...

Kathryn Walker is a social worker where Ben Warren's father has just been admitted. She has a main role in the Hospice Center and is dealing with clients there on a daily basis. Her faith and prayer life is how she accomplishes those duties and all of the families find her guidance and attendance to their care of significant and lasting help.

Only one thing in her life is lacking...a personal relationship with a soul mate... Unfortunately, she has a main friend and mother who are constantly trying to set her up and/or discuss who her latest potential mates are... That alone would add a layer of stress that, in my opinion, should not have occurred, even from good intentions by those that loved her... But we do find her going over and over in prayer asking why she has not found her true love...the man who He was to choose for her...

Thankfully, Kathryn was strong in her faith, because meeting Ben was one of the hardest clients with whom she'd dealt... Ben had completely come undone when he was told that there was nothing the doctors could do for his father...

Ben's mother had divorced her husband with he was 12 and had also taken his young brother for whom he'd greatly cared for. Ben had not seen his brother since that time nor did he even know how to reach him.

Ben finally reached his mother, but she made it quite clear that her father's health was of no concern to her... Ben was totally alone... But there was one other thing about Ben that had helped put him in this position. Ben had been sliding along all his life, having a good time...no desire to wed; no desire for commitments. He had one good friend, but as he started to consider his father's death, he realized that he'd shown no interest when Kelly's wife had major loss and he had totally ignored it, even to the extent that he started bugging Kelly to come back to card night just a few days after the funeral. Now he realized that he could not even seek help from him in good conscience...

It was no wonder that Kathryn seemed like an angel sent to him, to help him through all that was happening.. For Ben was being forced to face surprises that he'd never suspected. His father had not been paying his bills and all accounts were in arrears. He had no idea how to deal with estate issues. And, worse, when he finally found his brother, he found that his father had known where he was all along, and had even attended his wedding...all without ever telling Ben.

Ben found himself lost, trying to understand what all of this could have been happening, without his knowing. Had he been so self-absorbed that he had not seen his father's deterioration? His father, who had always been Ben's hero?

Death in a family is always a traumatic experience, especially when it was not expected. Stallings has shown us, through the impending death of Ben's father, the potential assistance and care available through a Hospice Center. Of course, we only meet Kathryn as the main provider; however, there is enough information provided to allow readers to learn about and consider this alternative.

While Ben was certainly a wonderful character, I found myself more empathic with Kathryn, who, while working harder than ever before to maintain the needed professional separation from her clients, was pulled closer and closer to Ben as he continually sought and requested her help...

Kathryn felt herself becoming too emotionally tied to Ben...

Ben felt he could not handle anything without his angel of mercy... especially when it reached the point when medical machines were the only thing keeping his father alive...
Death is a part of all of our lives. How we deal with it is something that each of us must do ourselves. When my mother was living with me in her retired years, I found that I began to watch her breathing, as she laid sleeping, knowing that death was near, even if it was years from then... I was preparing myself for that time... Ben had been one of those children who grew up thinking his father was a superman and never once faced the fact that he was aging...

I admired Kathryn on behalf of all those who can find the faith and strength to work in hospice facilities... I appreciated reading the story of the setting behind the storyline for the characters...

For many reasons, it might be a must-read for you... If you find this story resonates strong feelings within you, don't pass up reading about how God's plan may happen when you least expect it... Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews

USA Today Best Selling Author, Staci Stallings is a stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. She has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. So, sit back, grab your Kindle & something to drink, and settle in for some of the BEST stories in all of Christian Romance...