More about Awakening Mercy

Awakening Mercy


Award Nominations for Awakening Mercy!

2001 Christy Award Finalist for Excellence in Christian Fiction by Christian Booksellers Association (CBA)

2001 RITA Award Finalist by Romance Writers of America

2001 Gold Pen Finalist by the Black Writers Alliance

2001 Readers Choice Finalist by Affaire de Coeur Magazine

Reviewers on Awakening Mercy!

"Ms. Benson paints a fine picture of the trials of a couple who must rely on their faith to make a go of a relationship in this 4-1/2 star read. She is just as compelling a writer in Christian romance as she is in contemporary." -Affaire de Coeur

"A breakthrough Christian romance featuring African American characters and universal themes by [a] talented author. . .this is for all collections." -The Library Journal

"Ms. Benson, with AWAKENING MERCY, reinforces her place as one of the most talented writers of romance fiction in whichever genre she writes. This book, her first inspirational, confirms that she writes with emotion, only now her message is strengthened by her strong faith in God." -Romance in Color

". . .this tender love story [is]. . .a multicultural romance to enthrall any reader." -Romantic Times

"Angela Benson is a good storyteller. . .The author has not created plaster saints, but real men and women who grapple with real-life issues." -The Romance Reader

"This novel by Benson, a first-time Christian-market author, pricks the conscience and stirs the soul while entertaining. Recommend to romantic fiction readers and to high school students, as it illustrates that actions have consequences." -CBA Marketplace


Prologue Alabama, 1993

CeCe stood alone on the back porch of the house where she’d grown up. Though the early October evening was warm, she rubbed her hands up and down her arms to ward off the chill she felt. “It’s all going to work out,” she murmured to herself. “He’ll come around. He loves me, after all. I know he does.”


She turned around at the sound of the masculine voice she’d come to love. A voice whose very timbre caressed her skin like a kiss. But it had been a long time since she’d felt the loving caress of his voice. Their last two meetings had been anything but loving. The first, initiated by him, had been to tell her that he was still in love with his old girlfriend and planned to get back together with her. The second, initiated by her, had been to tell him that their past relationship was soon to bear fruit. “Eric?”

“It’s me,” he said, coming around the house and up the steps. She moved back and sat on the swing, hoping he would join her as he often had in the past. He chose, instead, to remain standing. “Have you thought about what we talked about last time?” he asked.

The strident tone of his voice made her skin crawl. Why was he so distant? Why didn’t he hold her? He used to hold her. Why didn’t he hold her now when she so needed to be held? She turned away from him and focused her attention on the bare muscadine bush. Her fondest childhood memories were of her and her father sneaking out on warm nights to pick the first berries of the season. Those had been such good, happy times. Not like tonight. She rubbed her hands down her arms again. I should have worn a sweater, she thought, instead of this sundress that had been one of Eric’s favorites. What had been the point? He no longer loved her and he could care less what she wore or how she looked.

“CeCe,” came the strident tone again.

“I can’t do it, Eric. I won’t do it.”

He grabbed her by her shoulders and turned her around to face him. The emptiness she saw in his light brown eyes confirmed that he had no feelings left for her. There was no trace of love in the dark eyes now condemning her. She wondered if there ever had been. “We have to be mature about this, CeCe.” His voice calmed. “Look, we have our whole lives ahead of us. What about your plans to go to law school?”

She pulled herself away from him. “You mean your plans to get married, don’t you?” She and Eric had spent many nights together talking about their future. He’d go to med school at Howard and she’d join him there for law school next year. When she graduated, they’d get married. But that was before.¼ She knew he and Yolanda were planning to get married at Christmas. Apparently they were so in love they couldn’t wait until they graduated.

“I’m doing the best I can here, CeCe.” He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his knee-length khaki shorts and rocked back on the heels of his loafers. “I don’t know what you want from me.”

I want you to love me the way you said you did, she thought, but she couldn’t bring herself to say the words aloud. She’d given up everything she believed in because of some girlish notion that she and Eric were soulmates, but she wouldn’t give up the last vestiges of her pride. “Does Yolanda know?”

He flinched and she was glad. Bullseye! “This doesn’t concern her.”

CeCe had known he wouldn’t tell Yolanda. She didn’t think Miss Perfect Yolanda would go for marrying a guy who had gotten some other girl pregnant. “Maybe Yolanda needs to make that decision.”

“This is between me and you, CeCe. Yolanda’s not a part of it.”

CeCe heard the fear in his voice and the sound made her feel more in control of her life than she’d felt since learning she was pregnant. She shook her head and dropped her hands to her side. She was no longer cold. She hadn’t wanted it to come to this, but what choice did she have? She was twenty-one years old, pregnant, a senior in college, and broke. What real choice did she have? “I’d say it’s between you, me, Yolanda and our baby.”

His eyes flashed anger and he moved closer to her. “Leave Yolanda out of this.”

CeCe wondered if he wanted to hurt her as much as she wanted to hurt him. She would have laughed if her tears weren’t so close to the surface. Didn’t he know there was no way he could hurt her more than he already had?

“Did you hear me, CeCe? I said to leave Yolanda out of this.”

CeCe looked at him, really looked at him. How she’d loved this man! The dreams she’d had of life with him still burned in her heart and she guessed the baby inside her guaranteed the embers would always flicker. But she had more than her feelings for him, or his lack of feelings for her, to consider. She had to think about her unborn child. Placing her hands across in stomach in a protective gesture, she told Eric exactly how things were going to be. “I’m going to have this baby, Eric, whether you want me to or not. And if my telling Yolanda is the only way to make you accept your responsibilities, then so be it. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect my, our child.”

Awakening Mercy



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