Lori Strickland has always been known as her father’s “wild child” with no desire to change until she meets ex-bull-rider-turned-preacher Rafe Judson. Her attempts to change her wanton ways come to naught until she realizes redemption only comes with true repentance.
Lori headed toward Recluse, Wyoming after another round of rodeos where the cash and prizes vaulted her to the next level of achievement. She hadn’t thought of Rafe in months. Hadn’t allowed herself to think of him, and wouldn’t indulge in useless fantasies now.
She’d made peace with the fact she was nothing more than a bad seed and there was no way around it. Oh she tried to be good. She stayed out of the bars for weeks on end, attended the prayer services before or after each rodeo when available, even visited with a group of supposedly devout believers who traveled a state-wide circuit within the national itinerary, but nothing seemed to help or make an impact on her life. Nor had she found the support she’d hoped for, only judgment and criticism. Answers to her questions only incited debates until she was scorned for her doubt and unbelief or shunned completely. Maverick was right when he said there was no in between and since she couldn’t succeed at being good, Lori figured she’d be bad.
Just as she had all of her life.
More than once she thought about calling Stanley or Amber or even Lexie for counsel, but was too ashamed to admit the total mess her life was in. She even considered quitting. Just give up and go home. But she was too close to making pro status, too close to the culmination of the dream that began in her heart nearly four years ago.
A dream she once thought came as a directive from God.
Now, she knew better.
God didn’t give success to losers; the devil lured them into it then left them to their own devices no matter how hard they tried to be good. Besides, even at her best, there was no way she’d ever be good enough for a preacher.
Goodness gracious: there are enough teases in there to keep me up all night, thinking. ‘There’s no in between’. I disagree. It’s all the smart Alecs convinced they’re on the right side of the fence, all that smugness and condemning that puts me off that lot in the first place. It’s faith, right? Not knowledge. You don’t know a thing. Lori’s full of doubt, but man oh man, she’s got guts. Doubt and fear: don’t mix them up. Then: no way round being a bad seed? If she really believed that, why bother trying to be(come) good? Why try out-cunning your nature? I mean; if humans were not open, even susceptible, to change, then why the hell travel all around the globe meddling with other people’s cultures and mindsets with the promise to convert ‘bad’ seed to good?
God won’t give success to losers? Hang on: what was that about the first being last and vice versa? Is there a verse or two ripped out of the Bible I was given for my Communion?
Me, I like my women ‘wild’. The only men who don’t are those who’re not up to scratch. Dinner party once. This loud-mouthed, pompous git to my right condescended to say: ‘my wife’s not the romantic type’. She shot straight back: ‘not with you, darling, but you’ll be astonished just how romantic I can be with a real man between my thighs’. Not a peep from him for the rest of the evening. And I gave her leg a squeeze under the tablecloth whilst the clattering of cutlery covered up the scene for a second or two. Don’t think they’re together any more.
Don’t know why women turn to the church. Don’t know what they can get out of it. Can’t imagine anything worse than being a vicar’s wife. More goodness than can ever be healthy for you. Having said that, I knew one who would beat his wife. Didn’t stop him from trying to correct us sinners from his pulpit. Strick (as in Strickland, as in Lori Strickland, our heroine) means noose in German. Just in passing.
I trust Pamela Thibodeaux to not let churchiness get the better of her heroine. I trust her to get closer to the truth. I can’t know, but I believe! (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!)
Lori’s Redemption, by Pamela Thibodeaux. Available at: