Follow a man's near-fatal journey to faith as he discovers luck has nothing to do with what happens in his life, and that a divine power far greater than him had predestined his every step.
Full of mystery, twists, and turns, this second book in the popular Adam Cross Christian Suspense Series will grip you from the very first page and keep you reading until the very end!
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." - Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
For the first time in his life he felt fear. True fear. The kind of fear that drains your body of every other emotion and then spits you out to rot. The kind that penetrates the deepest, darkest corners of your soul and has you suddenly question the purpose of life. A life he didn’t know was even worth fighting for. It would have been so easy to give up. He no longer felt pain. He no longer felt anything. This was it. This was how he was going to die. Death suddenly felt far more exciting than ever before. Almost welcoming.
As another fist slammed into his already pummeled jaw he snickered inwardly. He had found himself in many tricky situations over the forty-four years of his miserable life, but this one took the cake. This time he had somehow gotten himself caught in a snare he didn’t know how to escape from. And unlike all the other times he had come close to situations like these, he had always managed to talk himself out of it. Not this time though. This time his greed had finally caught up with him.
Perhaps his little sister was right all along. He was a good-for-nothing idiot who’d had this day coming. She’d certainly predicted it plenty of times. But she was too young to understand why he had chosen the life he had. It wasn’t as if he ever really had a choice in the matter anyway. He had his father to thank for that. Now there was no turning back. His luck had finally run out. Luck, as if that really existed. His life had never been one filled with good fortune or success. He took whatever scraps had come his way and did what any other cursed sod would have done; survived.
Another blow to his nose interrupted his wretched thoughts. It yielded him nearly unconscious on the ground. His body pushed down hard onto his already broken arm. That was the first bout of punishment they had served him. But he had felt that type of abuse many times before. An experience that had made it easier. A bolt of pain shot up his broken limb as if to emphasize the memories he had worked so hard to forget. He wasn’t numb after all.
In the distance he heard the command come to finish him off and suddenly he was faced with a decision. Should he give up or should he fight to live? But before he could answer his question the decision was made for him and he felt the sharp edge of a knife slam into his back. He counted four more thrusts before Lucky Lenny blacked out.
It was deep into the night when the shrill sound of a passing car’s horn brought him back to consciousness. The sound of several more cars rushed past him, their headlights blinding what little vision he had left. As his mind tried to piece things together, he realized he was still lying with his face in the dirt, his broken arm pinned beneath his mutilated body. He drew in a few shallow breaths. His ribs made a cracking sound in his ears. Again a feeling of self-satisfaction came over him. It seemed neither he nor his attackers had any say in whether or not he should live. Something or someone else had had the final say. They had certainly given it their best shot at killing him. Left him for dead somewhere in a ditch on the side of the road. But they had failed. He had survived… again. But somehow his survival was different this time. He could sense it. Instinctively he knew that Lady Luck had nothing to do with it either. Then who did? Who decided he should live?
He managed to lift his head enough to see he was only about twenty yards away from the road. A road he didn’t recognize. They had pulled a hood over his head before they threw him in the trunk of the car but if he had the chance, he’d wager on being at least an hour outside Atlanta. Another set of headlights pierced his retinas. Obscured by the shadows of a nearby tree and the pitch darkness of the night, he would likely not be noticed at all. If he could somehow crawl to the edge of the road, he would at least have a chance of being spotted by a passing vehicle. It was worth a shot. It was his only shot. The only one he had right now, considering his unfortunate predicament. He tried moving his right leg up to push his body through the dirt but couldn’t. It didn’t respond at all. They must have damaged the nerves in his back when they stabbed him. Instinctively he tried moving his left foot and felt the sweet sensation of pain from the sharp gravel under his bare toes. Relieved to have feeling in his left leg he pulled his knee in a forty-five-degree angle next to his weakened body. With his right arm broken and still pinned beneath his frame, he stretched out his left arm, digging his fingers into the gritty soil. He drew in another few short breaths before he pushed the side of his big toe down into the ground and tucked his fingernails firmly into the top layer of the hard soil. The push-pull action dragged his scrawny body across the damp earth—one inch at a time. Caught in the motion his broken arm was pulled along beneath his weight and he groaned with pain. When he finally caught his breath again, he turned his eyes in the direction of the road where another car just flew by. Again his left leg curled up into position followed by his outstretched arm. With his eyes pinned on the prize he drew in a shallow breath and pushed his body forward again. The familiar agony flooded his body once more. Except, this time he didn’t flinch. He had shut his mind off to receiving it and kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead. Just like he had done all those times he was the receiver of his father’s wrath. It instantly surprised him that he suddenly had an overwhelming will to survive. To live. Why, he didn’t quite know. But he wasn’t about to give up without a fight.
The short distance to the road would have taken less than a minute had he been able to walk it. Instead he had only gained a few inches at a time. There was no way of telling how many hours it had taken him to haul his near-lifeless body across the uneven dirt. But what he did know was that the time between passing vehicles had increased. As the cars became fewer, it was clear that his hope of being rescued was slowly slipping away with each passing second. Until the cars eventually stopped altogether.
The night grew eerily quiet. His body no longer felt the icy winter air that pushed through the thin fabric of his tee shirt. Somehow his body had adapted to the near-freezing temperature. Or perhaps he was already dead.
He forced his heavy eyelids open. Inches away from his nose his left hand stared back at him. Dark red patches of dried blood mixed with dirt lay in a thick crust around each finger. On two of his fingers his nails had chafed away to expose his flesh; evidence of how hard he had already fought to stay alive. Lucky Lenny refused to believe his luck had run out. He’d wait. For however long it took to be found. All he needed to do was stay awake. Stay alive.
While his body now lay halfway over the ridge where the dirt met the tarmac, sprawled like the crime scene sketches on his favorite detective show, he started to question the purpose of life. His life, to be more exact. Had he squandered valuable opportunities that had already come his way? Was spinning the wheel of fortune all his life amounted to? Who decided that for him anyway? His alcoholic father who’d beat him to a pulp just for the fun of it. Or his weak mother who’d finally had the nerve to defend herself. It’s not as if he had planned to be born into this empty world that had never once dealt him a decent hand. But there he was. Born to be someone’s punching bag. A tool that qualified his pathetic father to claim his drinking money through state grants. No, Lucky Lenny was everything but lucky. Every opportunity that had ever come his way he had meticulously planned. He had always created his own plans. Big plans. The last of which was meant to be the final payoff that would’ve set him up for the rest of his life. A chance to get away from his cursed existence. Yet, with all the odds stacked in his favor, his plan had failed. Or had it? Lenny paused to mull over his thoughts. Even if he did somehow survive this horrible twist of his fate, could he go back to a life that relied solely on luck? Did he want to?
And as he once again pondered the meaning of his shabby life, with his ear flush against the near-frosted tarmac, the faintest of vibrations drove into his eardrum. At first, he thought he was imagining it. But then it grew louder and louder. Until the wheels of a car screeched to a standstill right beside his head. Suddenly fear reared its ugly head. What if they had come back to make sure he was dead? What if they, in the interim, had discovered he knew more than he had let on?
But as quickly as panic tried to take over his broken body, something else, something far more powerful than fear, overwhelmed his senses. For the first time, he experienced hope. Not the superficial hope he felt each time he rolled the dice. True hope. The kind of hope that told him he had a chance to do things differently. A chance to do things right. A chance that had nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with survival.
The male voice next to his ear was calm and reassuring. Nothing more than a faint whisper. What Lenny imagined an angel would sound like. Not that he believed in heavenly beings of any kind. But he believed it when this voice told him he would live and that everything was going to be just fine.