A Pocketful of Hope [Book 3 Harmony Village Series]
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by Anna Dynowski
Description: Beneath the outwardly quiet and gracious manner of Janek Koznaski lies a dark and painful past: abandonment at birth and abuse by the clergy. Two days out into the secular world, with insecurities plaguing her, ex-nun Kerry Heaton is flying solo without a compass. Interest ignites when the highway map for their lives lead their pathways to cross, but road blocks are hastily erected. Janek and Kerry need A Pocketful of Hope to gently merge their individual paths into one lane of love. That, and a little helpful nudge from Harmony Village's indomitable matchmaker, Cupid Cat, to find love by Valentine's Day.
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, 2010 ebook
eBookwise Release Date: September 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [413 KB]
Reading time: 259-362 min.
Four Months Earlier
He felt it.
He hadn't felt it in years, but now, he felt it.
As he sat on the sofa, staring at the television screen, the hard-won world of semi-peace Janek Koznaski fought for years to rebuild, imploded in one horrifying instant and he felt the same, slow I-can't-do-anything-to-save-myself feeling explode like a detonated bomb all over him, shrouding him in the heavy, dirty dust of tortured remembrance.
It began as it had always begun, that feeling.
It began with the terrifying tingling scrape across his scalp and scratch down his spine. His hands shook and his legs trembled and his head spun. His breathing accelerated until his chest pulled taut and crushing his lungs, it snapped off his breath. His stomach went on a wild roller coaster ride, lurching to incredible heights, plunging to inconceivable depths. The acrid-tasting bile would soon follow. He tried to swallow, but his throat felt like it harbored some alien life-form, twisting and expanding and trying to choke him.
And the fear. Oh God, the fear. It kept growing and growing and growing, restraining him with bands of iron so he couldn't run. He couldn't run to safety. He couldn't run away from...
With his eyes glued on the somber face splashed across the TV, Janek felt the familiar terror fill every fiber of his being, gush from every pore of his skin, to rush over him in a suffocating wave of pain and betrayal and humiliation. He screwed his eyes shut, blocking out the vision of the gray-haired man clad in his Roman collar, but the memories, the hideous, heinous memories, hunted him down, bulldozed over him.
He was eight years old again.
No one could help him then.
No one could help him over the next five years.
No one could help him now.
He forced himself to draw in air. He ordered himself to relax. He reminded himself the old prune-faced, beetle-eyed, smooth-tongued viper could no longer hurt him.
Slowly, his breathing returned to quasi-normal. Slowly, his stomach settled. Slowly, he back-stepped from the edge of his dark and painful past.
Slowly, he lifted his eyelids.
"Bishop Peter Romero, the principal at Father Ambrose Catholic Elementary School, has been arrested and charged by Toronto Police with distributing and selling child pornography after the Canada Border Services Agency called them in to investigate the "images of concern" found on his laptop computer when he was pulled aside for a random check at the Lester B. Pearson Airport," the journalist from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation intoned in a grave voice.
The television screen split into two, with the reporter on the left side, and the right showing a solemn Romero, dressed in civilian clothes, accompanied by a high profile lawyer, pushing their way through a crush of journalists and spectators, and ignoring their questions and taunts.
"A further search of Bishop Romero's home has unearthed pornographic videos, catalogues containing pictures of teen boys in varying stages of undress, and six, six albums filled with explicit photographs of boys who, police said, appeared to be from eight to thirteen years of age." The journalist shook her head as if she struggled with the sordid details of her report. The right side of the screen now showed the police investigators entering the house and exiting it, carrying boxes, presumably filled with the alleged videos, catalogues, and albums.
"Romero, who had been held in enormous esteem in the diocese for his work as a cleric and principal, has resigned his post with the school and with his diocese. A spokesperson for the diocese was not available for comment."
Janek aimed the remote at the TV, blackening the image of the perpetrator and silencing the voice of the reporter. He lowered his head, lowered his eyelids, raised his shield as the familiar prison of darkness skidded toward him.
Janek Koznaski wanted the images engraved in his mind to stop. He wanted the moans etched in his ears to stop. He wanted the feeling of filth branded in his soul to stop.
But most of all, Janek Koznaski wanted his life back.
He was one of the boys, years ago, the then Father Romero victimized.