Peculiar treasures, p.1
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       Peculiar Treasures, p.1

           Robin Jones Gunn
Peculiar Treasures

  Also by Robin Jones Gunn

  The Christy Miller series

  Summer Promise

  A Whisper and a Wish

  Yours Forever

  Surprise Endings

  Island Dreamer

  A Heart Full of Hope

  True Friends

  Starry Night

  Seventeen Wishes

  A Time to Cherish

  Sweet Dreams

  A Promise Is Forever

  Christy and Todd: The College Years

  Until Tomorrow

  As You Wish

  I Promise

  The Sierra Jensen series

  Only You, Sierra

  In Your Dreams

  Don’t You Wish

  Close Your Eyes

  Without a Doubt

  With This Ring

  Open Your Heart

  Time Will Tell

  Now Picture This

  Hold on Tight

  Closer Than Ever

  Take My Hand





  Peculiar Treasures

  Copyright © 2008 by Robin’s Ink, LLC

  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Zondervan.

  Mobipocket Edition February 2009 ISBN: 978-0-310-56006-7

  Requests for information should be addressed to:

  Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

  * * *

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Gunn, Robin Jones

  Peculiar treasures / Robin Jones Gunn.

  p. cm. — (The Katie Weldon series ; bk. 1)

  ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27656-2

  1. Self-actualization (Psychology)—Fiction. 2. Female friendship—Fiction. I.


  PS3557.U4866P43 2008



  * * *

  Most Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved. Quotations taken from 1996 version.

  Other Scripture quotations are from:

  THE MESSAGE: Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

  The King James Version.

  The New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

  The Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

  The New American Standard Bible. Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other — except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

  Published in association with the Books & Such Literary Agency, 52 Mission Circle, Suite 122, PMB 170, Santa Rosa, California 95407-5370.

  * * *

  08 09 10 11 12 13 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  For my Rachel,

  with endless love and thanks

  for all your beautiful touches to this story.

  And for all the Peculiar Treasures

  who begged me to write more books

  about these characters.

  This story is for you.


  Title Page

  Copyright Page

































  Read the first chapter of On a Whim, Book 2 in the Katie Weldon Series. Coming in 2008!

  About the Publisher

  Share Your Thoughts


  Many, many thanks go to two openhearted Peculiar Treasures, Shannon Kubiak Primicerio and Danae Jacobsen Yankoski for dreaming with me about how we could tell a new story about Katie and the gang. You are women of extraordinary words. I owe much to your willingness to step inside this mysterious process and wait on the Lord with tender hearts. Thank you.

  After the dream of this story came affirmation from the people I hold closest in my heart: my husband, Ross; our son, Ross; our daughter, Rachel; and my agent, Janet Kobobel Grant. Sometimes I think the fictional characters are as real to the four of you as they are to me. I couldn’t do any of this without you guys. Thanks for your decades of unfaltering encouragement, love, and support.

  The superb staff at Zondervan turned this dream into a reality. I know I speak for many readers around the world when I say thank you for all your extra efforts. Creating this story has been twice as happy an experience because of the pleasure of your company every step of the way. Sue Brower, thanks for coming to California to tour the Biola University campus with Janet, Rachel, and me to get a feel for the story’s setting. I highly value your insights.

  Warm thanks to Ali, Meaghan, Saira, Taissa, and Rebecca for suggesting Psalm 121:8 as Katie’s verse for this book.

  Working with the whole team at Zondervan has been a delight. I’m so glad we have more projects ahead of us. You guys are wonderful. Many thanks to Jackie Aldridge, Marla Bliss, Scott Bolinder, Karwyn Bursma, Karen Campbell, Michelle Lenger, Beth Murphy, Joyce Ondersma, Joe Questel, Becky Shingledecker, Karen Statler, Nikki Taylor, and Ray Wadle.

  Much appreciation goes to my critiquers, starting with the first critique group I ever attended at the home of Ethel Herr; receiving insights years ago via email from Tricia Goyer, Cindy Martinusen Coloma, and Sandra Byrd; my ever-kind sister, Julie Johnson; my favorite troubadour, Paula Gamble; my soul-twin, Anne deGraaf; my assistant, Rachel Zurakowski: my prayer pals, Cindy Hannan and Carrie Dishner; and the PPC’s, Meg Wilson and Jaynie Roberts.

  And a final huge thank you to all the readers who have written to me over the years. I still get choked up every time one of you shares with me how God has used these stories to draw you closer to his heart. That’s all I’ve ever hoped for and pray for each time I sit down at the keyboard.


  Katie picked up the skirt of her bridesmaid dress and playfully elbowed her way through the gathering circle of female wedding guests. “Pardon me. Coming through. Woman on a mission, here! Make room.”

  Most of the guests knew Katie and responded with equally high-spirited comments. Katie planted herself front and center and took her softball outfielder’s stance as demurely as she could before flipping her swishy red hair behind her
ears and calling out, “Right here, Christy! I’m ready for ya’ now.”

  The other young women crowded closer and called their own directions to the bride.

  “No playing favorites, Christy!”

  “Over here. On your left. Throw it to me on your left!”

  “No! Throw it to me, Christy! Me! Here!”

  The bride kept her back to all of them as her ever-efficient aunt bustled into the moment. Aunt Marti adjusted Christy’s position so her profile was just right for the photographer’s lens.

  “Keep your shoulders back, Christy-darling,” Aunt Marti directed. “Turn your chin slightly to the right. No, not so far. Back . . . there. Just like that.”

  The camera flash captured the pose before the bride could breathe or blink. Another flash came, aimed this time at Katie and the other restless women. Katie was a little taller than many of the high school girls bunched beside her. So far the competition didn’t look too challenging.

  “Maid of honor, right here!” Katie called out. “Follow the sound of my voice, Christy!”

  From the sidelines, someone called out, “Throw it high!”

  Katie knew that voice. It belonged to Rick Doyle, her “almost” boyfriend. Rick had joined the rest of the groomsmen on the edge of the crowd of women. The other guys, all surfers at heart, had removed their ties long before the toasts were offered an hour ago. They were ready to more comfortably enjoy the warm southern California afternoon. Rick was the only one who had remained “camera ready,” as Aunt Marti called it. She indicated she was pleased with Rick but exasperated with the others, including the groom, Todd, who had peeled off his tux coat right after he and Christy had cut the cake.

  Tall, good-looking, brown-eyed Rick cupped his hand to his mouth and called out again, “Throw it high, Christy!”

  Why is he saying that? I’m right up front. Katie turned her head to see who Rick was looking at in the back row of the eager bouquet catchers. Before she could spot anyone in particular, something smushy and fragrant hit the left side of her head.

  All the women around her screamed.

  Katie’s quick reflexes prompted her to pull the flying object close to her side. A young woman bumped against Katie in her attempt to make her own crazy, off-balance lurch for the flowers.

  “Hey!” Katie felt herself topple and knew the bouquet was about to be snatched from her haphazard grasp.

  Just then, Sierra, a friend of Katie’s, swung her arm forward without making clear trajectory calculations and unwittingly launched the bundle into the air. The bouquet was back in play!

  From the sidelines the guys yelled. From inside the huddle of surprised women a chorus of squeals rose. All arms were up in the air.

  The runaway bouquet seemed to enjoy its moment of flight and tagged the fingers of one eager-reaching wedding guest, who batted at it like a badminton birdie. With a hop and a skip the white ball of mischief released a single white rose to the woman with the longest arm before Katie regained her balance, leaped forward, and seized the bouquet. Carpe bouquetum!

  The tall girl beside Katie blinked at the single rose in her hand. Katie raised her arm and let her cheer be heard across the meadow. “I caught it!”

  “I almost had it,” muttered Sierra.

  Christy, who had turned around to watch the momentary circus act, broke into a wide grin when she saw where the bouquet had landed.

  Katie echoed her best friend’s delighted expression, beaming back at her. The two of them had speculated about this moment for years. Many years. Both of them seemed to know that Christy would be the first to marry. Katie always maintained that Christy’s groom would be Todd, even during those seasons when Christy had her doubts. To boost her friend’s confidence during those dreamy-yet-doubting moments, Katie’s best cheer-up line for Christy had been, “Just promise you’ll throw the bouquet to me.”

  That line always caused the two of them to smile at each other the same way they were smiling at this moment.

  Mission accomplished.

  Spinning around once in a twirl of triumph, Katie caught Rick’s gaze. Whomever or whatever his “throw it high” comment referred to no longer mattered. Rick was watching her with his chocolate brown eyes, and she felt herself melting a little inside, just as she had ever since her first, puppy-dog crush on him in junior high.

  “Look over this way, please,” the photographer said.

  Katie tilted her head and gave him her widest smile.

  “One more. This time a bit more subdued.”

  Drawing the fragrant, gardenia-and-white-rose bouquet up to her nose, Katie dipped her chin and took a lingering breath of the pure white sweetness.

  So this is what getting married smells like.

  The photographer captured the shot, readjusted the camera’s angle, and took another. “Great. Thanks.”

  Katie glanced up, ready to twinkle one of her bright, green-eyed looks of alluring charm at Rick, but her smile fell. Rick was no longer watching her. He had turned his attention to the single guys, who were lining up to catch the garter. She ambled over to join the group, brushing her hair off her forehead.

  Being so dressed up and having her picture taken felt strange. Yet it was a nice sort of strange. An improvement over how she usually ran around. Katie’s clothing selections had long been in the realm of jeans and a T-shirt or sweatshirt. During the past year, however, she had done what she called a “Katie-version” of a makeover. It started with a haircut that gave her swishy, red mane a more sophisticated, yet easy, wash-and-go style. She added some fun skirts to her wardrobe and went in search of comfortable but feminine tops. This bridesmaid outfit was way beyond anything she would normally wear, but Katie liked how sophisticated she felt in it.

  A casually dressed guy with a trim goatee and distinctive, rectangular sunglasses leaned toward Katie as she stood to the side of the group of guys. Without turning to look at her, he said in a low voice, “Your halo is slipping.”

  She squinted into the late afternoon sun and blinked at him, not sure if his comment had been aimed at her. The guy kept his face forward. He didn’t repeat his comment or return her glance. Behind his left ear she noticed a thin, white scar in the shape of a backward “L.”

  Ignoring him, Katie turned her attention back to the group of guys that was now heckling Todd, the easygoing groom. Todd had positioned Christy’s garter between his two thumbs in a slingshot position and impishly aimed backwards. If he let go, the garter undoubtedly would land somewhere in the palm trees that bent over the wedding party like gentle giraffes sheltering their young.

  One of the guys called out, “Hey, wrong way, dude.”

  Doug, a groomsman and the only married guy in the group, stood beside Todd to direct him in the garter launch. Doug turned Todd back around to face the pack. “Just aim it this general direction. It’ll fly off crazy, so you don’t need to have your back to them the way Christy did.”

  Todd looked as if he was enjoying this as much as he had clearly enjoyed the wedding and the leisurely paced reception. For all the arguments that erupted among Todd, Christy, her parents, and her eager-to-be-involved Aunt Marti during the planning of the wedding, it had turned into Todd and Christy’s special day. The wedding and reception had only a few touches of Marti’s influence here and there — most of the day had been quintessential Todd and Christy. Katie couldn’t be happier for her friends.

  The guys stood back with nonchalant postures, indicating by their expressions they were too cool to go after the garter. But Katie knew this group well enough to realize that the competitive streak in them would spring into action the second Todd launched the ball of lace.

  True enough. Todd jutted his determined chin forward. On Doug’s command, he launched the lacy white elastic band into the cluster of too-cool guys.

  Mayhem broke out.

  Katie noticed that Rick was one of only a few guys who didn’t spring into action. The garter seemed to make a beeline for the guy with the goatee ne
xt to her. But before he could secure his grasp on the flimsy, fluttering piece of lace, another hand reached out and snatched the prize.

  Katie’s shoulders involuntarily slumped when she saw who caught the garter.

  David, the little twerp.

  Christy’s fifteen-year-old brother broke into a spontaneous victory dance. Sadly, the dance was too clever for his large feet to maneuver and too painful for Katie to watch. She lowered her head and made her way to the other side of the crowd where Rick had ended up. He was talking to Todd’s dad.

  “Great save on the bouquet catch, there, Katie.” Todd’s dad tipped his plastic punch cup her direction and added, “Way to go after what you want.”

  “Thanks.” Turning to Rick she said, “I didn’t notice your making any heroic efforts to catch the garter there, Doyle.”

  Rick gave her a grin and a shrug. “It wasn’t coming my direction.”

  That is such a Rick-Doyle-philosophy-of-life statement!

  In the past six months Katie had watched Rick roll through several challenging situations without lurching forward with the sort of aggression he had displayed during their high school years. He had mellowed. Maybe too much.

  She gave him a long look. This was her friend. Her “almost” boyfriend, according to their last “DTR” — Define the Relationship — conversation. They had been around each other nearly every day for the past seven months, and yet she felt she didn’t really know who he was or what he was thinking at any given moment.

  Of one thing she was sure. She was glad she had “come his direction” on the night Todd had proposed to Christy at the Dove’s Nest Café. Rick was the manager of the Dove’s Nest, and although they had known each other since junior high, their paths hadn’t crossed for several years.

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