“We Own This Place.”–An Excerpt from World of the Innocent

From World of the Innocent, a Contemporary Love Story


We finished our food, and I thought Marcas was going to take me back home, but he didn’t. “The stars are out, Jhoi. We have to go look at them.” And he took me out to a grassy hill overlooking a big field and a view of the lake further out, where the nighttime lights of a neighboring city were visible across the water. Marcas went to rest flat on his back in the grass, and he advised me to do the same, but I wasn’t used to being on the ground without a blanket or anything, so I sat there with my knees up.

“Lie back, Jhoi. This is nature.”

“Yes, nature is lovely. But that doesn’t mean I want it all over my clothes or in my hair.”

“Your clothes? That’s my jacket you’re wearing.”

“I know. But, still.”

Marcas laughed, linking his fingers behind the hat on his head, and he went on to tell me about the stars and the distant planet we were looking at. I wasn’t sure if he was serious about everything he was saying or if he was merely making some of it up, but it all sounded knowledgeable enough, and it was a pleasure listening to him.

“You’re such a wiggly,” Marcas sighed in the middle of his discourse about the stars. “You worry too much.”

“Do I?” I asked, not moving my eyes from the sky, knowing he was right.

“You’re most Jhoiful when you’re being yourself, you know. Not being afraid. Letting people watch you, listen to your words.”

“My words.” I shook my head. “Yes, I have words, all right. I often wish I had so much more, though.” I turned to look at Marcas then. “Words are words.”

“Yes. They are.” Marcas sat up pretty quickly. “And words are power. Words change minds. Words can dominate. They bolster faith. Inability isn’t always the only reason why we fail to do things. A lot of times, we don’t do what we should because we don’t believe we can anymore.” Marcas reached up to lift his hat a ways, scratching at his head. “Not everyone we watch has to be someone we think must have already ‘arrived’ in every way possible. Sometimes we just need to see someone who still has the faith to tell us that we can get there. We just need someone who believes.”

I stared at Marcas as he stood to his feet, brushing blades of grass from his clothes. “I think our dinner has settled,” he said. “Let’s go for a run.”

“Go for a run?” I looked out at the field. “Now?”

“Of course now. Look around! What time would be better? Come on, Ladybug. This is our world,” Marcas answered, beginning to make his way down the hill. “We own this place.”

Watching Marcas take off through the grass, I thought to remain sitting there and to call after him. Ours? The Bible says the earth is the Lord’s. But I couldn’t ignore the sudden rush of restless vigor that shot through my legs, and before I knew it, I was up and giggling, chasing Marcas down the hill.

It was possible that any one in our audience of stars or distant city lights may have been wondering what these two, laughing adults were doing, running and playing in a field at night.

I’d never seen Marcas run before.


A tale of love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence–based on a true story.
World of the Innocent

World of the Innocent Release Day!

Love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence—based on a true story…

“Beautifully written… It’s a novel for anyone who loves.” ~Christian Bookaholic

It’s Release Day!
The Kindle Edition of my contemporary love story, World of the Innocent, is now available at Amazon.
You can pick up a copy for a special new release price, or read it free with Kindle Unlimited.

World of the Innocent at Amazon

The paperback edition is also available at my eStore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

World of the Innocent: A Love Story

World of the Innocent
A Novella
(Contemporary Love Story)

“Beautifully written. It spoke to my soul… It’s a novel for anyone who loves.” ~Christian Bookaholic
“Keels perfectly captures what it looks like to find true love. A love with substance…” ~Lights in a Dark World
“Keels has written a lovely, blossoming romantic story… Packed with emotions, this was a heartfelt read.” ~Brice’s Mice Christian Book Reviews
(Find more reviews on the Interviews, Reviews, and Responses page.)


“Are you ready to love this young man?”

Jhoi: she’s poetic. She’s guarded. And she couldn’t imagine having much to do with a guy like Marcas. Sure, Marcas is a brilliant fellow artist, admired by plenty of fans. But he’s so remarkably…strange.

Still, Marcas touches Jhoi’s soul. And through the counsel of a shrewd old neighbor, Jhoi will discover a link between intimate friendship and becoming a steward of an era.

A tale of love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence—based on a true story.


Find World of the Innocent in print at the following eStore, at Amazon, and at Barnes and Noble.
Also available in the Kindle Store at Amazon for purchase, or free with Kindle Unlimited.

A Long Way Home by Becky Doughty


Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

A Long Way HomeA Long Way Home by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

It wasn’t typical “preacher’s kid” rebellion that once led Savannah Clark to run away from home to join a traveling dance troupe, Marek and the Gypsies. But in A Long Way Home by author Becky Doughty, a serious accident brings Savannah to a crossroads: she can either endure the danger of staying, or face the danger of returning to her family–and to her first love, Jordan Ransome.

My journey with this series started with All the Way to Heaven, a rich and alluring trip to Tuscany, then went on to A Light in the Dark, a book I could barely finish for weeping so hard, and finally here to Savannah’s difficult dilemma.

This novel deals with some heavy issues, from manipulation and domestic violence to rape, without glossing over them to paint an unrealistically sanitized picture but also without plunging the reader hopelessly deep into darkness. Savannah’s story gave me pause in several places, exploring the difference between performing through life and being real, and also showing what it’s like to be so accustomed to abuse that the idea of safety scares you.

I understood Savannah and Jordan’s romance, though I couldn’t get into it fully, partly because, in the midst of her trouble, Savannah hasn’t much time to shine or reflect who she is, or may be, in her own right. And it could just be a hitch in my understanding, but a pivotal resolution in the story didn’t resolve the matter for me as much as it gave me more questions.

Still, I think it’s a worthy continuation of the Fallout series. And, no, you don’t have to read the preceding novels to appreciate this one, but, my goodness, you won’t be sorry if you read them anyway.

Note for my blog readers: this novel is a clean read but does contain some innuendo and content for mature minds.


Here’s my review of All the Way to Heaven.

All the Way to Heaven  A Light in the Dark