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Because We Believed - A Christian Romance (Book 4 in the Transformed by Love Series)

Because We Believed - A Christian Romance (Book 4 in the Transformed by Love Series)

Heartwarming Christian Romance

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 330+ 5 star reviews

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Determined and gritty, Marta Rodriguez has seen the worst of life. Shunted from foster home to foster home as a youngster, she fell prey to an older man whom she thought might offer her love.
She was wrong.
But now, in the small, friendly town of Salford, she’s finally found peace.
Until her daughter, Angel, is teased at school because she doesn’t know who her father is.
Paul Petersen has worn a brave face since losing his parents in a plane crash when he was thirteen. Now, at age 26, he’s a committed Christian and is trusting God to bring the right girl into his life. When he meets Marta, he’s intrigued by her and wonders if she’s ‘the one’.
But Marta isn’t looking for a partner. She’s looking for her family.
Can she have both? Can she believe that God loves her enough to bless her with a love she never thought possible? And can Paul trust God when Marta’s obsession to find her family puts her life in danger?
Because We Believed is Book Four in Transformed by Love, a heartwarming, inspirational Christian Romance Series.

A single mom forging a new life. A handsome chaplain who steals her heart…

Marta Rodriguez, with a tough past of foster homes and betrayal, finds solace in Salford until her daughter faces bullying over her unknown father. Paul Petersen, orphaned at thirteen and now a devout Christian, wonders if Marta could be his destined partner. While Marta seeks her family rather than love, their paths intersect, raising questions about faith, love, and the possibility of a new family. Marta's quest for her roots and Paul's trust in God are tested as her search brings unforeseen dangers, challenging them to believe in the power of healing and love.

Chapter One - Look Inside

Paul Peterson, the new chaplain at Salford Christian School, glanced at the clock for the third time in less than a minute as he waited for Marta Rodriguez to arrive for their appointment. These types of conversations were never easy, and he especially wasn’t looking forward to this one.
It wasn’t so much that Angel, the woman’s six-year-old daughter, was being bullied. More that the incessant questioning by the other children was clearly distressing the little girl, and her mother needed to know. But it was a sensitive subject and he didn’t quite know how to broach it. How do you ask a child’s mother why the child doesn’t know who her father is?
No, Paul thought, rubbing a hand across his forehead. This wasn’t going to be the high point of his day. But it was important, and he prided himself on never putting off things that were important.
There was a painful story behind Angel’s plight, he knew that much. Salford was a small town and almost everyone knew each other, particularly within the church. He’d heard of Marta Rodriguez already. He knew that she was young, having had Angel when she was barely out of her teens, and that she was well respected within the community for the tireless work she did at the local women’s refuge. Angel was clearly a well brought up little girl, too. This wasn’t a case of neglect. If Marta Rodriguez wasn’t telling Angel about her father there was a good reason, which meant this conversation wasn’t going to be easy.
Paul tried to think about how it must be for a little girl to not know her father and felt a stab of grief. His own parents had been wonderful but had been killed in a plane crash when he was just thirteen and his little sister, eleven. His parents had been missionaries in Papua New Guinea, which meant that his childhood had been filled with travel and new experiences.
Returning to live in Australia with his aunt and uncle after his parents’ death had been another experience, but he’d done his best to get on with his life, look after his little sister and make his parents proud. He often wondered if it hadn’t been his early experiences of grief that had pulled him towards chaplaincy, guiding others through their own trials and tribulations relating to the harsher side of life.
A soft knock sounded on the door, pulling him out of his memories. “Come in,” he called.
The door creaked open and a young woman with long dark hair entered warily. She looked so much like her daughter that there was no mistaking that this was Marta.
Paul stood to greet her, reaching over his desk to take her hand. It was cool to touch with a surprisingly firm grip for so slight a woman. “Miss Rodriguez, it’s good to meet you. Thanks for coming in.” He waved for her to take a seat as he sat back down behind his desk.
She perched on the edge of the chair, looking as if she might spring up to leave at any minute while fixing him with intense blue eyes. He noticed the silver cross around her neck.
“Is something wrong with Angel?” she asked bluntly.
Paul took a deep breath and sent up a silent prayer for wisdom. “No, not at all. Angel’s a delightful child and doing very well in her lessons.”
Marta straightened and pride flared in her eyes.
“However,” he continued in a soft voice, “she’s been having a few difficulties with some of the other children. They’ve been asking questions about her father.” He waited, praying she wouldn’t react adversely to his statement.
She flinched and her eyes seemed to cloud. When she spoke, her voice was clipped. “What questions?”
Paul cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He smiled kindly, but she didn’t return the smile. Instead, she gazed coolly at him. There was a quiet intensity about her that was both intriguing and unsettling.
“It started with curiosity. What does your dad do? That kind of thing. But then it became apparent that Angel had no information about her father, and of course the children asked about that. Her teacher and I have told the other children not to tease her about it, but at their age they do question everything, as I’m sure you know.”
Marta didn’t respond. She wasn’t making this easy.
“The thing is,” he said, leaning forward and doing his best to sound sympathetic. He was sympathetic, but Marta’s quiet and almost steely demeanour was unnerving. “Recently Angel has taken to...making things up. Telling the other kids fantastic stories, like her father is a superhero or astronaut. We’re worried this will lead to her being teased more. So I thought it might be good for us to have a chat about how we can make it easier for her. I know it must be a really difficult subject.”
Marta let out a long, soft sigh and stared down at her empty hands. She was quiet for a long moment, and then she gave a nod to herself as if deciding something. She turned those big blue eyes back to him. “I’m sure you’ve guessed that she’s never met her father. It’s not that I’ve had some wild past and don’t know who he is. I don’t want her to know who he is. She’s better off without him in her life.”
Paul nodded. He’d thought as much. “I’m not here to judge you, Miss Rodriguez. We just want the best for Angel, and I’m sure you have very good reasons for keeping her away from him, but perhaps she’s starting to get to an age where she needs to know why that is.” He held his breath, wondering how that had gone down.
Marta shifted in her chair and Paul guessed he’d struck a nerve. He’d be very surprised if Angel hadn’t already been asking questions at home.
“It’s not an easy thing to talk to her about,” she finally said in a monotone voice. “Her father...he was my first boyfriend, if you could call him that. I was naive and he took advantage of that. He was violent.” She stopped speaking abruptly and he saw her swallow.
Compassion flooded through him for this woman and her daughter and also anger at the man in question. How any so-called man could treat a woman with violence made no sense to him whatsoever. “I think you’re incredibly brave,” he said honestly, “and I completely understand why you’ve kept her away from him. It sounds like the best—and safest—thing to do. But I wonder if it isn’t time to have a little chat with her? Explain a little about your reasoning for not saying anything to her until now?”
Marta shook her head sharply. “How do you explain that to a six-year-old?” There was a note of bitterness in her voice.
Paul sighed and tapped his fingers on the desk before replying. He had no children of his own, and he wondered how he would explain it if he were in her shoes. It was one thing to make the recommendation, another altogether to act on it. He shrugged and raked a hand across his dark hair. “I honestly don’t know. This must be incredibly difficult for you both, but I do believe she needs to know as much as is appropriate for her age. As I said, the children have questioned her to the point that she’s started making things up, which means she’s starting to feel ashamed.” He spoke as gently as he could. “Keeping her in the dark as she gets older could have repercussions for her emotionally.” And for you too, he thought but didn’t say.
For a second he could have sworn he saw tears in her eyes, but then she blinked and they were gone, so he wasn’t sure if it had only been a trick of the light. Even so, his heart went out to her.
“You’re right,” she said dully. “I always knew I’d have to say something to her one day, but I suppose I wanted to put it off as long as possible. But I know you’re right, because I never knew my father either.”
Her simple admission, said without emotion, made Paul feel suddenly protective of her. She’d clearly been through a great deal and at such a young age. “The school—and I—are here if you or Angel need any support, with this or anything else,” he told her. “And her class teacher will talk to the children again and get any more teasing nipped in the bud.”
“But otherwise, she’s doing well?” She leaned forward, her eyes a little brighter.
“Yes. The teachers say she’s an absolute delight.”
Marta smiled for the first time and Paul was amazed at how her features suddenly lit up.
“Thank you,” she said, standing to leave. “I’ll talk to her after school today.”
Paul walked her to the door and shook her hand again. As she turned to leave, he called her back. “Miss Rodriguez? I just wanted to say that I’ve heard about all the work you do at the shelter. It’s impressive. Angel has a great mother.”
Marta’s cheeks coloured. “Thank you. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did,” she said quietly, and then turned and rushed off, leaving Paul to stare after her.
As he closed the door and leaned against it, he exhaled a long breath and uttered a quiet prayer. Lord God, please watch over Marta and her daughter. Shelter them under Your wings and keep them safe. Let them know that even if their earthly fathers have let them down, that You, their Heavenly Father, will never forsake them.
Then he sat at his desk and tried to concentrate on the rest of the day’s tasks, but he couldn’t help thinking about Marta and the sadness behind her eyes, and the way those eyes had shone for just a moment when she’d smiled. It was as though the sun had come out in his small office.

Main Tropes

  • Christian Romance
  • Opposites Attract
  • Inspiring
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What Readers Say....

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "I absolutely loved this series. The stories were heartwarming and I loved the Bible verses shared and the context which they applied in the characters’ lives. I love the wholesomeness of the stories and that they make me laugh, cry, rejoice and feel Gods closeness and love in my life." Jody

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "Wonderful! Juliette Duncan writes such beautiful stories with characters whose faith is the center of their lives. Despite the struggles they deal with, God is always with them. Juliette quotes scripture as she explains her characters’ issues and how they deal with them and life itself. These books are easy to read and habit forming!!" Gloria

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "Leaves you wanting more. This series left me wanting to just sit and continue reading. I love that there isn’t anything written that my 9 year old granddaughter (who often looks over my shoulder) could read without me being concerned with the content. I wish there was more of them to read.." Fran W