Here is Chapter 1 of my new novel. If it whets your appetite, you can pre-order it at Amazon. Those who pre-order The Upside of Down by November 18, 2010 can be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate from Amazon. Details for the contest are here.
“How are you doing this evening, Sister Drake?” the bishop asked, drawing her focus to him.
“A little frazzled, but okay.” A nervous laugh fell out of her mouth while her heart thudded.
“I’ve spoken with your husband. I’d like to extend a call to you.”
“Me?” No wonder Spence was smiling. She looked back at Bishop Franken. “But I’ve only been teaching my Primary class for a few months.”
“I know,” the bishop said, his eyes piercing. “But we, as a bishopric, have prayed, and the Lord would like you to serve as Relief Society president.”
She stared at the bishop’s dark brown eyes. “Come again?” Relief Society president? He must be insane.
“I’d like to extend a call to you to serve as the Relief Society president.” He leaned forward, looking deeply into her eyes.
“Are you sure?” she whispered.
Natalie sat back against the chair, her hands damp. She let out a sigh and looked over at Spence. Her eyes pleaded with him to object, but his face radiated delight.
“I’ve never served in the Relief Society.” She paused while both men stared at her.
“I don’t know what happens in there. I—I can’t even remember the last time I attended. I’ve only served in Young Women and Primary since I got married.” Surely this would convince the bishop that he had the wrong woman.
The bishop didn’t retract the call. In a soft but firm voice he asked, “Sister Drake, would you accept this calling from the Lord?”
Natalie drew in a long deep breath. Relying on her desire to do the right thing, she said quietly, “If that’s where the Lord would like me to serve, then . . . yes.” Her eyes stung with emotion. “I will accept the calling.” She could hardly believe the words as they escaped her mouth.
Spence’s eyes glistened as he reached over and squeezed her hand.
“Thank you,” the bishop said.
She gave a faint smile, feeling like her face might crumble. “You’re absolutely sure?” Natalie asked, knowing the answer but still in a state of disbelief.
“Yes. We all had a strong witness that you should serve in this call¬ing.” He studied her for a moment. “The sisters in the ward need you.”
Her eyes widened. “They need me?” Natalie repeated the words in her mind, clutching onto Spence’s hand.
“Yes,” the bishop said.
She raised her eyebrows, her throat suddenly thick. “I’ll take your word for it.”
Her mind spun in a thousand different directions, trying to absorb the implications of her new calling. “Your husband has agreed to sup¬port you. It will be busy and intense at times, but the Lord will bless you as you dedicate yourself to Him.”
Spence nodded. Natalie reluctantly let go of Spence’s hand when the bishop extended his hand to shake hers. He shook hands with Spence and then turned back to Natalie.
“We’ll set up some training for you. You’ll need to pray about the sisters in the ward and submit names for your presidency. We’d like to sustain you a week from
Natalie stood and numbly followed Spence out the door and into the late-winter evening, cold air licking at her cheeks. Sitting in the car, she stared ahead of her, lost in her thoughts. Her head pounded with so much pressure it felt like it might explode.
That's the end of Chapter 1. How did you like it? If you decide to pre-order it, be sure to enter the contest here.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it!