Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Beautiful Love Story Plus Valuable Health Information! All Presented by Gail Pallotta...

Suzie shivered at Carson Snotte’s words, not the March air with its hint of lingering winter. “Under the circumstances, I don’t think we should see each other.” He threw their relationship to the wind whipping around the Bradford pear tree in her small, grassy yard. Everything spun out of control. Suzie struggled to stand upright on the cement drive in front of her brick condo. An image of her and Carson entering Blue Mountain, North Carolina’s largest charity event as the King and Queen begged her to hold on to her destiny. The grandeur of his black and white tuxedo, the promise of being seen as the ideal couple, hovered over them as she had floated next to him in her long purple gown.
“Don’t say that. I promise I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I’ll fix it.” 
Carson’s thin lips snarled, ruining his fine features, his blue eyes staring at Suzie like pieces of stone. “You’ve made a mess of our lives. Who introduced you to drugs? Are you seeing some hood on the side?” 
“No, I told you the doctor said I have a foreign substance in my system.” She didn’t add that the physician had said he couldn’t treat her because the labs couldn’t identify it. Carson was already upset.
He guffawed. “Right, can’t they figure out cocaine, or is it heroin?” Suzie’s heart broke in a million pieces. “I’ve never taken illegal drugs in my life. I don’t even take prescription medicine, and no, I haven’t seen anyone but you in three years.” Carson waved his long, thin hand then blew air from his mouth. “Seriously, our relationship has deteriorated beyond repair. I’m not sure if you’re actually hooked on something, or if you’re a hypochondriac. Let’s say hypochondriac, and we’ll both be lots happier.” The fair-haired, athletic guy with broad shoulders pivoted and walked away.
Suzie stood with tears rolling down her cheeks. Maybe he was right. There was nothing wrong with her. The ailment was all in her head. Why look even more foolish trying to find someone to cure a disease that didn’t exist? She plunked down on her front stoop and wiped her eyes. The azalea bush beside her blurred with her tears and morphed into an Impressionist painting.
See Dr. Granger. Was she losing it? See Dr. Granger. 
Who was Dr. Granger? She’d heard the name but couldn’t recall him. 
See Dr. Granger. You need to see Dr. Granger. The words persisted as though they resounded from a stuck CD player.

Barely Above Water

By Gail Pallotta

Well, I have to say that the first line I read drew a surprising question...why, oh, why, did the author give a character the last name of Snotte? But by the time I'd read the first chapters, I knew why... The man had simply verbally abused Suzie, without remorse...The man was indeed a snot! Now, when readers meet the next guy in Suzie's life, we are bound to love him after that! Right? Well, at least I did...and so did Suzie... But, she was still soooo afraid...

When Snotte walked out on Suzie, she didn't know that it was the best thing for her. But almost immediately she was given a message--I believe by the Holy Spirit--to go to a certain doctor, a Dr. Granger...

When she got  such a message from God, she knew to listen. Suzie immediately started making plans. She quit the job that she loved, agreed to take time to train her replacement, and then packed up to move to Destin, Florida, where Dr. Granger had his practice.

What was a hot chick like Suzie doing

looking for summer employment as a

coach in Destin, especially 
considering her qualifications? 
Lots of people dreamed of living at
the beach. 
He stared at her application. 
His instincts told him there were
some facts missing, but apparently
nothing that would affect her work.
Suzie does  not know what is wrong with her. She has gone to many doctors who have turned her away, indicating they couldn't treat what they could not diagnose...

Fortunately Dr. Granger did not depend upon having a diagnosis. He just declared that he could help! And readers will watch as he and his staff start working to heal Suzie, beginning with their prayers for her...

While this is going on, readers have a wonderful time since, fortunately, Suzie has been able to snag a temporary summer job as a swimming coach. Her new boss, Matt Combs, is a little curious about why she left her good job, but is so relieved to have found somebody who had the qualifications he needed for the job, that he hired her that first day!

Both Suzie and Matt had bad experiences with their last relationships but as Matt got to know her he thought about...something more. Matt had invited her to lunch to welcome her to the job and was surprised when all she ate was a sweet potato and broccoli...but he kept asking her out and many evenings after dinner, they would walk along the beach getting to know each other...

Matt also wound up spending a lot of time with Suzie as she started her job... She was coach for a new group, made up of children of employees from the company where they worked. The money was so tight that handling more than what they had budgeted was a problem. For instance, on the first day, all 40 of the children were brought for the swim team. They were all ages...some did not even know how to swim... When Matt realized how much extra work had been placed on Suzie than was in her job description, he had chosen to try to supplement her salary by taking her out for meals...From an emotional standpoint that really had not been a good idea, as each of them felt both the draw toward each other, as well as the fear of being hurt, especially Suzie who had not shared that she was ill.

The fun part of the book is the children and the swim team activities. Suzie was an excellent coach and easily worked with each age group while Matt had responsibility for the rest of the children until their age group was called... Children who had not known each other before the team was formed soon became a group working together to perform as best as they could...

Suzie does not find out what her disease is until later in the book. I had heard of it, of course...but I had never known what it can do to those individuals infected. Seeing what was happening to Suzie, especially with her not knowing what was wrong, was heartbreaking and readers cannot help but empathize and then start hoping and looking forward to whether Dr. Granger's help would make a difference.

I was greatly impressed with how Pallotta merged this illness into a story that was both enjoyable to read, as well as extremely informative about something that could happen to anybody...and often does! It certainly shows how faith and prayer is a primary part of turning your life over to God when you face unknown turmoil and fears. Also, the tension between Matt and Suzie is intriguing as both face the growing attraction while knowing there is something between them that could totally destroy their love.

And then God took a hand in Matt's life and he was nearly arrested! LOL He got off with a warning on the promise that he would start going to sunrise services on the beach. It's funny because he had agreed to take Suzie but had backed out...when he had finally been told Suzie was ill...

Matt had the law on him now... He asked Suzie for forgiveness
and to go with him that first morning...

“It’s more than that. I should have told you. My mother was diagnosed with liver cancer and died two weeks later.” Matt’s eyes grew teary. “I’ve had such a hard time dealing with it.” Suzie put her hand on top of Matt’s on the steering wheel. “That must have been so difficult for you.” “Yes, but I had no right to transfer it to your situation and let it ruin everything between us.” “No worries. No hard feelings. We’re friends.” “That’s a start.” 
The salty breeze bent the sea oats in front of them to the right. Matt grabbed two folding chairs from the trunk, the slam piercing the soft sound of the ocean lapping in the distance. He put his other arm around her waist and guided her down a lighted wooden pathway between high sand dunes. Within seconds, they reached the beach, where fifty people sat in folding chairs facing the sea. Reddish-orange colors with a yellow ball in the center danced on the horizon, casting pink and golden hues over white foam as the waves curled ashore. The minster, wearing a white suit, rose from the first row of chairs and stood in front of the podium as Matt and Suzie settled in their seats. With opened arms, the preacher motioned for those gathered to stand. “We’ll begin by singing ‘Morning Has Broken.’” As the sweet sound filled the air, the colors low in the sky rose slowly, breaking through the cloud cover, brightening the world as the soft washing of waves lulled it. 
The minister motioned for them to sit down. Then he turned to a place in the Bible marked by a burgundy ribbon. He read from Matthew nine, verses twenty-seven through twenty-nine. The Scripture told the story of two blind men who followed Jesus and asked him to have mercy on them. Jesus asked if they believed he was able to heal them. They answered “Yes,” and Jesus told them it would be done according to their faith. The preacher then flipped the pages to another place and read from Matthew seventeen, verse twenty, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 
Nothing impossible? Suzie mouthed the words. They should have filled her with assurance, but they didn’t. Margaret’s information about the bacteria that still lived in her body sounded much louder in her mind. 
The minister held up a small, clear jar. “You probably can’t see this from where you’re sitting, so I’ll pass it around. It’s a mustard seed. Take a few seconds to look in the container and observe how much faith you need to move a mountain.” The pastor held out the specimen. A man wearing white pants on the first row sprang up and accepted it. The guy peered at it with interest for a few moments then passed it to a woman sitting next to him. She handed it to Suzie, the sunlight bouncing off it. Suzie stared at the tiny seed. Surely, she could have that much faith. That’s all it would take for God to heal her. That must have been God’s intention when he sent her to Dr. Granger. Why wasn’t she well? 
She handed the mustard seed to Matt and turned her attention back to the minister. “Jesus told us, when we pray, we should ask that God’s will be done. If we think God isn’t answering a prayer, maybe it’s because He knows what we need, or don’t need, better than we do. Then, too, the Bible tells us to wait on the Lord. He will respond to our prayers in His time. That may be very different from ours.” Suzie absorbed the minister’s words. Unfortunately, she’d learned first-hand that evil existed. The world was imperfect, but the minister was giving Suzie a new perspective like the optometrist when he put the corrective lenses over her eyes. God was with her, making it possible for her to move, coach, write, walk on the beach, swim, and meet someone nicer than Carson. She had to admit, the Lord seemed to be taking a long time healing her, and she wanted to get well in her time. That was only human, wasn’t it? 
She glanced at Matt. He squirmed a little as though he was ready to go. Did something about the sermon disturb him? The minister picked up a hymnbook. “Turn to page three hundred three.” 
The congregation stood and sang “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The powerful song filled Suzie’s pores with strength for living. The reverend raised his arms. 
“Go forth into the world in peace. Be of good courage. Hold fast to that which is true. Render to no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted. Support the weak. Help the afflicted. Honor all. Serve the Lord with gladness, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

I hope this last part hasn't given too much of the story ending away, but, I got such enjoyment spending the time at the beach service with Matt and Suzie... I  wanted my blog readers to enjoy it too.

This is a lovely inspirational book that is well worth reading. I do hope you accept my high recommendation for it.


Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, was a best-seller on All Romance eBooks, finished fourth in the Preditors and Editors readers’ poll, and was a finalist for the 2013 Grace Awards. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Visit Gail’s new website at

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