Moose Ridge, Book 1 - Ending to Beginning
Inspirational Fiction / Women's Fiction
Date Published: 08-02-2021
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Faced with hardship and heartbreak, Jazmine finds solace and hope amidst the hallowed halls of Harvard. Raised in a world of privilege that swiftly crumbled beneath her feet, she emerged from the ashes as a foster child, forever marked by the scars of her past. But fate has a way of weaving unexpected blessings into the tapestry of our lives.
Embarking on a new chapter alongside Michael, a promising medical student, Jazmine is finally poised to seize the idyllic future she has fought so hard for. Leaving behind the familiar streets of Boston and New York, she ventures into uncharted territory - the vast, untamed landscapes of Wyoming - where Michael will complete his rigorous neurosurgical residency. It’s a profound turning point, the culmination of Jazmine’s unwavering dedication and boundless determination. For once, the universe aligns with her dreams, assuring her that this time will be different.
But just as life teeters on the precipice of fulfillment, an unforeseen letter shatters Jazmine’s newfound happiness, thrusting her into a whirlwind of uncertainty. The fates conspire to test her strength once more, as she grapples with overwhelming choices and unstoppable forces that threaten to unravel all of her dreams.
“MOOSE RIDGE: ENDING TO BEGINNING” is a poignant tale of resilience and the indomitable spirit of the human heart. It is a story that will transport you from the towering spires of Harvard to the rugged plains of Wyoming, and ultimately deep into the depths of emotion. Join Jazmine on a transformative journey, as she learns that the true measure of triumph lies not in the fairytale endings we crave, but in the unexpected beginnings that arise from the ashes of our shattered dreams.
While drying off, I catch my reflection again. At least my face is no longer smeared with makeup. I brush my auburn hair the best I can, which takes time since it’s well down my back. Michael bugged me about the time I wasted on my hair, but I prefer it long. After returning to the bedroom, I put on cut-offs and my favorite shirt. It was my father’s and all I have left of his. It’s old and several buttons are missing so it might reveal more than it should. Not that anyone is here to see. I could parade around nude.
Might have to, since my budget didn’t allow much for clothes. While packing, I’d thought this would change since Michael would have an income here. Now, though, what I have must last even longer.
My suitcase is open where I left it, with the boxes from Boston off to the side. They contain everything I own. Might as well sort out my meager belongings. It’s all on me, and will be from now on. What else do I have to fill my time? The tears start again.
Since there isn’t much, it doesn’t take long to unpack. It’s a good thing I have so few clothes since there isn’t much in the way of drawer space in the four-drawer scarred wooden dresser. In the kitchen, I find the basics, but knowing how to cook would help. Three frozen dinners are in the freezer, so I won’t starve right away. When I discover there’s coffee, I get my old coffee maker going and soon have a cup poured. I amble through to the living room, desperate not to let the drabness affect me.
With few choices, I flop on the musty couch and contemplate what is next. Michael’s letter on the floor in front of me doesn’t help. The tears are stinging my eyes again when I hear a knock. Before I can get up, there’s another. After setting my cup on the bare coffee table, I hurry to the front door and open it. A man stands outside the porch door. He waves, smiling. The icy air making itself known makes me conscious of my missing buttons. I grab my coat and open the porch door, finding to my amazement a cowboy, complete with hat, boots, and a heavy coat I think they call a duster. I didn’t know cowboys still exist.
I motion him into the enclosed porch and he steps in, removing his hat and releasing his mid-length light brown hair with its lighter blond highlights.
He’s standing much taller than my five-six, and even though he’s wearing a heavy coat, appears more than fit. “Afternoon. I’m Jason Withers. My grandmother sent brownies to welcome you to the neighborhood.” “Neighborhood? I have neighbors?”
He chuckles. “She’s the closest and lives over the hill. She wanted to welcome you, but she’s not real mobile and asked me to bring these by,” he says, holding out a covered plate.
“Oh! Well, thank you. I’m Jazmine. Jazmine Strake,” I tell him, taking the plate. “You say your grandmother lives nearby? Do you live with her?”
He smiles. “No! She’d think I was trying to take care of her.”
“Well, it was nice of you to bring this by. I’ll return the plate as soon as I can.” That is a farewell. I’m hoping he’ll leave.
“No hurry, take your time. I understand you’re here alone?”
I’m not sure if he’s trying to make conversation or what, but he seems nice. “Yes, the original plans didn’t work out.”
“I heard they offered your friend a better position.”
How small is this community? Does everyone know? “Would you like some coffee and brownies?” Why did I ask that?
“No, I shouldn’t come in, but thank you, I enjoyed meeting you. Let me give you this. It’s my number, in case you need anything.”
As I glance at the card, I’m startled by his title. “Doctor? You’re a doctor?” I pause, appalled at my tone. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like it sounded.”
“No problem. I’m not the type of doctor you’re thinking. I’m a DVM, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine. A large animal vet. You can still call me though, if you need something.”
“Well, thank you. I might take you up on it.”
“You should. Again, welcome.”
He turns to leave and I half expect a horse to be close by, but no. Instead, there’s a monstrosity of a truck out front.
I’ve never seen a pickup that big. Not that I’ve seen that many. His name on the door with the words “Veterinarian Services” along with his phone number makes me snicker. I guess everyone has his number. He backs out and gives a wave before making the turn onto the road.
About the Author
Born in Muncie, IN, Craig is as typical middle-America as they come. He was young when his parents divorced and his grandmother came to live with him, his mother, and two sisters. Seeing his grandmother’s faith in God on a regular basis led him to accept and know everything is okay, God’s in charge.
Craig served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and followed this as a DoD contractor where he had multiple tours overseas and around the U.S. While there were events in his life that tested his faith in God, nothing compared to when his first son was born with major medical issues. As a twenty-one-year-old father with a young devastated wife, his faith had never been tested more. After enduring several surgeries, some considered experimental, his son passed away at six months and two weeks. But even in his brief life, he had a tremendous impact on Craig and others.
Since then, God has blessed Craig with two more sons and has been a constant guidance in his life. Craig’s time in the military and as a contractor afterward included over 20 years overseas, where he was part of local mission churches. On their last return to the states, God led him and his wife to Oklahoma, where he teaches Bible studies and serves in a local church.
The memory of what God did to help him through his parent’s divorce, his son’s illness and death, and many other events in his life, has led him to want to share what impact God had and has with him.
Nowhere are we promised a life without tragedies, setbacks, problems, or devastating events we have no control over, but God’s word does promise, ‘It’s okay, God’s in charge.’
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