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Lost & Redeemed

Christian Romance Novel

Vana Winterhousen is an alcoholic who’s struggled with alcoholism since she was thirteen years old. 

She’s been maintaining until one day her actions put her 7-year-old daughter’s life at stake, and her husband Sam decides he’s had enough. 

Sam gives her an ultimatum that if she doesn’t go to rehab, he will divorce her. 

When Vana refuses, all hell breaks loose in their life and their marriage.

Read Samples

Rain and drunk driving didn’t mix. Vana Winterhousen knew that, but when she realized that she was too drunk to be driving it was too late. She had already made the 10-minute trip away from her home, in the rain, to pick up her daughter from dance practice. When she left her home, it was barely sprinkling. Now it was a downpour that was falling so hard she had her windshield wipers on full blast. And to make it worse she was seriously in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.
“I picked up the new routine so fast, Mommy. Ms. Daniels wants me to help some of the other girls next time.”
Her daughter Olivia was in the backseat talking her ear off, but it wasn’t helping at all. Her eyes always got heavy when she got drunk, which was part of the reason why she liked to drink at night. She had started earlier than usual, since it was just after 8 pm. She should not have been this exhausted. Usually her husband Sam picked their daughter up from dance so that she didn’t have to, but when he called and let her know he would be running late she stupidly agreed. Because she didn’t want to hear that tinge of disappointment that rode in his voice every time he discovered she’d been drinking.
If today wasn’t the day, maybe she wouldn’t even be in this state. If guilt hadn’t been riding her consciousness, maybe she could’ve stayed sober and taken a break from the whiskey for once.
She didn’t know if she had made the wrong decision by not calling and checking on her mother today, and all day she had been going back and forth about the right thing to do. It hurt that this wasn’t a no-brainer for her. Most people were close enough with their mothers that they didn’t have to second-guess a phone call. Especially on a day that she knew was as hard for her mother as it was for her. In Vana’s situation, it wasn’t that simple.
“Oh and guess what! We’re probably gonna be getting new uniforms. Ms. Daniels wants us to look extra fierce for Regionals,” Olivia continued ranting.
“That’s good,” Vana muttered blinking rapidly to stop herself from falling asleep. She would turn down the windows, since fresh air usually helped wake her, but since it was raining that wasn’t an option. Didn’t Sam realize that she’d been drinking by the sound of her voice? She guessed she was getting good at hiding her inebriation.
Exiting the freeway, she sat up taller glad to know that she was now only five minutes away from her house. She reminded herself that she would never do this again. In fact, she would start being honest with her husband whenever he asked her if she had been drinking. And from here on out, on the anniversary of her father’s death she would stop drinking away the pain. She would deal with it head on. Maybe go see a therapist like her husband had been suggesting she do all these years.
She didn’t even realize that her eyes had been closed until she heard the screeching of brakes in front of her.
Snapping them open, she jammed on her brakes to keep from hitting the car in front of her and without thinking she veered to the right. Her car crashed right into a tree before everything suddenly went dark.

Opening the fridge, Vana tried to think of what she had the stomach for, but when she noticed the unfinished bottle of Knob’s Creek on the counter, she felt shame at the thirst that suddenly developed. Instead of pouring it into a shot glass, she took it to the head and sat on the barstool. Last night’s events could’ve gone bad. Vana knew better than to get into a car drunk, especially with Olivia. She wouldn’t have been able to live with herself if something had happened to her child.
Putting her head into her arms, she closed her eyes and wondered if she would ever get better.
“You didn’t learn anything last night, did you?” Vana jumped at the sound of Sam’s voice.
“I didn’t even hear you come in.”
“It’s not even 8 o’clock in the morning,” he eyed the open bottle of whiskey and looked at her disgustedly. She didn’t respond. Instead she met his stare and ignored the guilt that had been circling in her stomach for two days now.
“Don’t be judgmental,” she finally responded. He didn’t say anything, he just continued to stare until she felt like she was some microscopic creature under research.
“Why are you staring at me!” she snarled.
“Because I want you to go to rehab.”
She frowned.
“Excuse me?”
His hands made a sweeping motion, “You’re out-of-control.”
“I don’t need rehab.” Vana rolled her eyes and then pushed her near empty bottle of whiskey away from her. Sam crossed his arms, his eyes still bearing down on her.
“It’s not that big of a problem,” she continued trying to explain.
“When will it become a problem for you? When you kill our daughter?” She scoffed and turned on the bar stool so that she was completely facing him.
“Stop being so dramatic…come on now. That was an accident last night, and it wasn’t even my fault! I’m not going to rehab just because I have a drink from time to time.”
“This isn’t a time to time thing, Vana. Some nights you get so sloppy drunk you don’t even make dinner for Olivia! I come home, and you’re somewhere passed out!” He reminded her for what felt like the millionth time.
“I know you’re not gonna sit here acting like you’re Mr. Perfect. The one who is never around. The one who always has to work late,” she used air quotes. “Last night it was your job to pick Olivia up,” she reminded him. Then she stood up and closed some of the distance between them.
“I’m working for us! For this!” he yelled.
“No, you’re working for yourself, Sam. You have something to prove and it’s not about taking care of us.”
“Well it’s more than what you do,” he retorted. She stood back on her heels and crossed her arms over her chest.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means what I said.”
“When did you grow some balls?”
“When I realized that my wife was an alcoholic deadbeat.”
Those words cut Vana hard.
“Screw you.”
Instead of responding, his grimace grew deeper and she could tell he was still judging her. Sam didn’t realize that he didn’t make anything better or easier for her. It wasn’t like he was there for her. He considered the sum of his responsibilities as a man, and the head of their home, his job. And that was a bigger issue in their marriage then her drinking in Vana’s opinion.
“I meant what I said. If you don’t go to rehab, I want a divorce. And I’m serious this time.”
Vana chuckled. This wasn’t the first time Sam had mentioned divorcing her, and she didn’t believe for one second that he would really do that. They stood toe to toe, sizing one another up. The tension in the room was thick and Vana dared him to leave her by the expression on her face.
“I’m not going to rehab. So, you can forget about that.” Sam watched his wife run away from the conversation about rehab again, grabbing her bottle of Knob’s Creek on the way out.