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Unexpected Dismounts: A Novel (The Reluctant Prophet Series)
by Nancy Rue

Published: 2011-10-01
Paperback : 464 pages
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Allison Chamberlain thought she was doing everything God required of her--but as her journey continues in the second book of The Reluctant Prophet series, she might have to let go of everything she loves to follow the call.

Allison is already taking care of five former prostitutes, trying ...

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Introduction

Allison Chamberlain thought she was doing everything God required of her--but as her journey continues in the second book of The Reluctant Prophet series, she might have to let go of everything she loves to follow the call.

Allison is already taking care of five former prostitutes, trying to adopt an orphan, and helping a woman who's been raped. Along the way, she experiences unexpected dismounts, as every Harley owner who risks the ride eventually does. A relative challenges the adoption. An influential businessman blocks her ministry. A beloved friend is seriously injured. A piece of her past adds even more turmoil. As she picks herself up again and again, Allison realizes that some are guilty of terrible wrongs--but everyone must be responsible for righting them.

 

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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
You’d think I would know what my next move was supposed to be.
Seriously. I found Jesus seven years ago. Two months ago I’d
finally discovered what to do with him. But now, as I squinted
through eyelids that were supposed to be closed in contemplation
and peeked at the five women kneeling around the trunk-turned-coffee-
table, I had no idea what Jesus was doing with me. For somebody
who’s supposed to be a prophet, that would be an important thing
to know.
Hank opened her eyes and reached for the soup bowl we were
using for the ashes. She always seemed sure of her next move, which
made me wonder why she wasn’t the one God picked out for the
whole prophecy thing. If God had asked me, I’d have said Henrietta
D’Angelo was infinitely more qualified than Allison Chamberlain.
But then, I hadn’t been consulted.
“My Sisters,” Hank said.
The other four heads came up. Hank spread her fingers just
above the fine black dust, and Mercedes eyed it suspiciously, pursing
the voluptuous lips that let no mess go unscolded-at. She had
scrubbed the trunk top within an inch of its gone-shabby life before
we started the service, and I’d have bet money she had a sponge at the
ready in her lap right now so she could wipe off any escaping specks.
Mercedes could not be convinced that “Cleanliness be right next to
godly-ness” wasn’t a verse in the Bible.
“It was the custom among the early Christians,” Hank said, “to use this season of Lent to prepare new believers for holy baptism.”
She swept the group with a warm gaze. “That would be you.”
Jasmine’s big liquid eyes, of course, spilled over. Mercedes
handed her a Kleenex.
“And it’s a time for anyone who’s turned away from God to
change direction and—”
“I ain’t no Catholic.”
We all looked at Zelda. Her face was pinched, though, granted,
some of that was due to the way she had punished her drug-broken
hair into a pitiful ponytail. But her eyes slit down even farther as she
pointed her chin at Hank like an accusing finger.
“Lent isn’t just for Catholics,” Hank said, with vintage patience.
That particular Jobesque quality was the reason I wasn’t answering
the questions.
Zelda sniffed. “My granddaddy was a Mefodis’ preacher and he
never did no Lent.”
Sherry leaned into a shaft of noon light shooting across the tiny
living room. “Maybe he should have.”
“I ain’t the only one need to ‘change my direction,’” Zelda
snapped back at her.
Hank folded her compact hands, my cue to take over. I did
know the answer to this one.
“Exactly,” I said. “You notice that I’m kneeling right here beside
you with my own pile of stuff.”
“We don’t got to say it out loud do we?” Zelda chopped her arms
into a fold across her chest. “I ain’t doin’ that.”
Mercedes mumbled something—I thought it was “Well, you got
to do it sometime …”—but I shook my head at Zelda. “This can be between you and God. It’s about feeling the separation and wanting
to close it up.”
Jasmine let a small sob escape. Zelda pulled her glasses down her
nose and peered at her. “I don’t got to cry, do I?”
“What you got to do is hush up so we can concentrate,” Mercedes
said.
I put my hand on Mercedes’s arm and nodded Hank on. A smile
played at Hank’s lips. She probably hadn’t run into this kind of discussion
at Ash Wednesday services when she was an army chaplain.
There wasn’t a lot of saluting and accepting without question around
here.
“Ladies,” Hank said, “this is an invitation to continue looking at
yourself and going to God with the things that are getting between
you and him.”
Jasmine sniffled. Zelda snorted. I squeezed the lifeblood out of
Mercedes’s arm.
“We’ll all have the opportunity to pray and fast and think about
God’s Word,” Hank went on. “And if we want to deny ourselves
something to bring this time into deeper focus, we’ll support each
other in that.”
“I don’t got to deny myself nothin’.” Zelda’s voice was like a tight
rubber band. “Y’all have done enough denyin’ for me.”
Jasmine burst completely into tears. “Miss Angel, can’t you stop
her?” she said to me. “She ruinin’ everything.”
Mercedes gave her signature mmm-mm, followed by, “Somebody
got to, and I know you don’t want me doin’ it.”
Yeah, see, this was where it was blatantly obvious to me that
I was not cut out to be the prophetic spiritual leader of this little band. I did okay when I actually got the Nudge from God on how to
proceed in these kinds of situations. But recently God hadn’t been so
much with the Nudges or the shoves or, for that matter, the slightest
hints.
I surveyed the full gamut of expressions in front of me: Jasmine’s
puffy-eyed pleading, Zelda’s adolescent resentment in a thirty-yearold
face, Sherry’s pale but powerful I’m-about-to-smack-somebody,
and Mercedes’s dark, smoldering I’m-about-to-smack-everybody. I’d
have taken an out-and-out punch in the face from God right now.
Since I wasn’t getting that, I had to go with what I already had in
the bag.
“All right, here’s the deal,” I said. “Every one of us is in a different
place, so every one of us is going to approach this differently.”
“Or not at all,” Zelda said.
“Or not at all.”
Sherry raised an almost-transparent white hand. “But if somebody
doesn’t even try, does she still get to stay? I mean, I could have
this all messed up in my head, but isn’t Sacrament House about
wanting to get healed from all your junk?”
Zelda’s face nearly came to a point. “You sayin’ I ain’t already
workin’ my steps?”
“Okay, look,” I said. “We’re here to go from wherever we are …
to where God wants to take us. There are ways to open up to God
doing God’s thing in us, and that’s what this is about. So, what do
you say we just listen to Hank and take it from there?”
Mercedes devoured Zelda with her eyes. “In other words—”
“I don’t think we need any other words on that at the moment,”
I said. “Hank, let’s go for it.”
... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. This is obviously a book with a Christian message, but what if you aren’t a churchgoer? Can the book still speak to you?
2. Unexpected Dismounts deals with a number of challenging issues, yet as a work of fiction it should first and foremost be a good read with a gripping story. Does it meet those requirements?
3. If you were going to cast the book for a film version, who would play the major roles?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Note from the author:

Unexpected Dismounts is the second part of Allison’s ongoing journey to enable the Sacrament Sisters to continue their recovery, to adopt a 12-year-old street kid, and to untangle her relationship with the mysterious Chief, all of whom have stolen her heart. But the motorcycle was the seed of the trilogy for me. Everything else flowed from the idea of a nudge from God telling Allison to go buy a Harley. The take away? Be willing to catch the vision that’s given to you. And then stand by for unexpected dismounts.

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