Tricia Hunter was an extraordinary beauty...before a horrible bus accident left her irreparably scarred. In an effort to accept the things she cannot change, she heads to her uncle's cabin for some time alone.
Forest ranger Jesse Reynolds recognizes Tricia the minute he sees her, but nothing flickers in her eyes. That's fine by him. The same accident that stole her good looks killed his fiance, and he simply can't bring himself to feel sorry for Tricia like everyone else in her life seems to do.
Thrown together in the autumn woods, they are faced with the past, an uncertain future, and a struggle to find out why God allows terrible things to happen.
There wasn’t a mirror to be seen in the place, and Tricia smiled wryly. That was probably what she needed most, time without having to look herself in the face.
Tricia raised her hand to touch the scars running along her jaw line, her fingers moving over the puckered skin with absent-minded familiarity. As much as she hated these scars, she was becoming more accustomed to them. She hadn’t made peace, exactly, but the shock was gone now, and in its place was a sort of confusion. Who was she now that she looked… like this?
She opened the door to a bedroom, and her gaze moved over the double bed that nearly filled the space, leaving room for only one tiny bedside table. Seeing no other door that might lead to a bathroom, she closed her eyes and cringed. So that actually was an outhouse she’d seen. She’d hoped that there was some other explanation for the little shack, but unfortunately, it made perfect sense. A kitchen sink was going to have to do for bathing, and the air inside was already feeling quite chilly in the autumn morning. This stay was going to be more rustic than she’d imagined.
“Maybe I should have gone to a resort instead,” she muttered, but she didn’t really mean it. She’d come here for a reason. She had a lot of things to think through, and spas and shopping didn’t leave her enough silence and solitude to hear herself think, let alone listen for God’s voice.
Outside, a truck’s engine revved, and she glanced out the window to see a black pickup pull into the drive. It rumbled for a moment before the engine shut off and the driver’s side door opened. A tall, broad-shouldered man hopped out. Whoever he was, the outdoors suited him. The sunlight that filtered through the red and golden leaves touched his auburn hair and caressed the rugged lines of his face. He dropped a hat on his head and swung the truck door shut with a bang. When their gazes met, he touched the brim of his hat in a polite salute. Tricia pulled away from the curtain, her cheeks warming when she realized she’d been staring.
His footsteps echoed on the stairs leading to the door and she opened it before he had the chance to knock, flashing him a smile.
“Good—” he started, but then his face blanched and he quickly cleared his throat. He looked down, then brought his gaze back up with a recovered smile.
Nice save. “Hi.” She tried to ignore that familiar sinking feeling when her scars evoked this reaction.
“Good morning, ma’am.” He said, this time without a hitch. “I’m the park ranger. I wanted to come by and make sure everything was OK.”
“I think so.” She gave him a reassuring smile for his efforts.
“Good.” Whatever his first reaction, his discomfort seemed to seep away. His dark eyes moved over her face. When she raised her eyebrows, daring him to ask her about those ugly scars, he met her gaze easily.
“I’m Tricia Hunter.”
“Tricia Hunter…” There was something in the way he repeated her name. “I’m Jesse Reynolds. Nice seeing you.” He held out his hand. His rough, calloused fingers folded gently around hers, and he paused, expectant.
Tricia cleared her throat and released his hand.
“It’s been a dry summer, but we’ve gotten two or three heavy rainfalls, so using the fireplace shouldn’t be an issue.” He nodded in the direction of the hearth. “You’ll need it tonight. It’s been dipping well below freezing.”
She nodded and his gaze moved over her face again, lingering on the scars that crept down her jaw line.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” he said after a moment. “What happened?”
Tricia was used to the question. With scars like hers, people’s curiosity held no bounds. She was past being offended, though. She gave him a shrug. “A highway accident.”
I loved this story, so much heartache, then so much joy! Beautiful! And the title is just perfect! What a wonderful message for all of us when we wonder why God lets things happen.