Ocean of Fear
by J. Carol Nemeth
Overcoming past fears and trusting the Lord come what may.
This is the 3rd book in a 5 book series but the take away for this book is two-fold: God’s grace is bigger than our fears and His mercy sent His Son to forgive our sins.
Carol, what age group of readers might enjoy this?
Age 20 and older. Generally, women read my books but I do have a small following of middle-aged men who read this series.
Tell us a little about the characters.
Ruth Campbell is a National Park Service biologist who works at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. She loves her research on the seashore wildlife and meeting the park visitors. When a new park employee arrives at the park, the ghost of Ruth’s past is resurrected and old wounds are reopened. Ruth faces panic attacks that mere memories from the past set off, and although it’s a struggle, her faith in Christ sees her through.
New Park Policeman, Gage Hampton, arrives at the Seashore ready to begin his new job. Instantly attracted to the beautiful biologist, he doesn’t understand when she avoids him at every turn. When he finds out she’s a Christian, his own past comes back to slap him in the face and remind him he’s not worthy and never will be. Gage was taught by a caring high school teacher how to come to Christ but he rejected Him long ago. This is a path that so many of us have seen in our own lives or the life of our loved ones and friends. We’ve prayed for so many people to come to know Christ.
Both of these characters struggle with past hurts and rejections. Most of us can relate to them, if not in exact situations, in similar ones.
“Ruth?” Maggie retraced her steps to the speakeasy. “Ruth? Where are you? Ruthie?”
Turning the corner from the hallway into the speakeasy she found her cousin standing by the door out to the pier, gazing out into the night.
“Ruth? What are you doing?”
“I’m waiting on you but I’m not waiting much longer. I’m ready to get out of here.”
Maggie hurried across the room, relief filling her, and hooked her arm through her cousin’s. “Alright. Let’s go. I owe you one, cuz. Thanks for coming with me. You stepped out of your comfort zone, and I appreciate it. More than you know.”
“You’re welcome, but just get me home before the police come and haul us off to jail for trespassing. I enjoy my day job and somehow I don’t think they’ll let me keep it if they find out about this.”
“No, I suppose not.”
Maggie locked the door behind them and they started to move back around the building, but Maggie caught Ruth’s arm. She pointed toward the end of the pier.
“Do you think that’s where they used to bring in the booze?” she whispered. “It looks like the remnants of a ladder and an old block and tackle setup. I imagine that’s what they would’ve used back in the late 1920’s.”
Ruth shrugged, glancing in that direction, then around the corner of the building toward the front. “I don’t know. Probably, seeing as how they were sneaking it into the speakeasy. Didn’t Mary say they brought it inland through here as well? It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine them bringing it up here then across the road to Pamlico Sound where they would transport it across the water inland for distribution. That’s what they did during Prohibition after all.”
“Yeah. Big Tony Amato must’ve been making a mint from rum-running,” Maggie said with a gleeful whisper.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were enjoying this just a little too much.” Ruth grabbed Maggie’s hoodie sleeve. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”
Sticking to the shadows, they hurried along the side of the building back to the chain link gate that blocked the entrance to the walkway along the side of the building. After quickly exiting, Maggie relocked the padlock, but before they could turn and walk away, a set of headlights fixed on them.
Ruth’s heart sank clear to her stomach as she turned to face the headlights fixed square on her and Maggie. In its place she felt a lump similar to a rock take shape. The car in front of her was a patrol car. Her worst nightmare had materialized. The police had arrived, and now her career was over. All she could do was shake her head and wonder why she’d let Maggie talk her into doing this.
“Ruth? Maggie? What in the world are you doing here?” A familiar voice spoke from beyond the headlights as a car door slammed shut. Then the darkened shape of Gage Hampton walked toward them from the driver’s side of the patrol car.
Ruth wasn’t sure if things had just gotten better or worse. She didn’t know how to react to this turn of events, but she was thankful it wasn’t the local police.
“Gage!” Maggie exclaimed. “Thank goodness!”
Gage stopped in front of the two women, a flabbergasted expression on his face. “What’s going on? Please tell me you didn’t do what I think I just saw you doing?”
Ruth refused to open her mouth and decided it was only fair to let Maggie deal with it.
Nonplused, Maggie shoved her hoodie from her head and smiled at Gage. “Well, that depends on what you think you saw.”
Gage propped his hands on his hips. “What I think I saw? I saw you either unlocking or locking the gate to that chain link fence that is posted with a No Trespassing sign on it. Is that what you think I saw?”
Maggie’s grin was sheepish. “I can neither confirm nor deny.”
Gage tossed his hands in the air and rolled his eyes. “You’ve got to be kidding me. What in the world would possess you two to go in there, especially when it’s posted?”
He turned his eyes on Ruth, but she kept her gaze lowered. “Ruth, talk to me. Do you know how much trouble you two could be in?”
“Yes.” Ruth swallowed hard keeping her gaze on the ground. If she didn’t look at him maybe he’d return his attention back to Maggie. Let her answer his questions. It was her idea after all.
Gage paced the old restaurant parking lot a couple of times then returned to stand in front of the women.
“I can’t interrogate you two here on the roadside.” He swiped off his uniform hat and ran his hand through his hair then settled it back on his head. “I don’t want one of the local cops to stop and ask what’s going on. Ruth, can we go to your place? It gets you two back home and you can explain what the heck you were doing.”
“Or you could just walk away, Gage.” Maggie shrugged.
He took a step closer and looked her in the eye. “That’s not happening.”
About the Author
A native North Carolinian, J. Carol Nemeth has always loved reading and enjoyed making up stories since junior high school, most based in the places she has lived or traveled to.
She worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid and served in the US Army where she was stationed in Italy, traveling to over thirteen countries while there. She met the love of her life, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while stationed in Italy.
After they married, they lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England. They now live in West Virginia, where, in their spare time, Carol and Mark enjoy RVing, sightseeing and are active in their church.
They have a son, Matt, who is Army Special Forces and a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves in the Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Their four-footed kid, Holly, a black lab, is pretty special too: She loves traveling in the RV, and when they pack up to go, Holly is waiting inside for them to head out.
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Other books in the series