This has been revised and doesn't yet match the scene later in the story.

PROLOGUE

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned… I'm a big sinner."

Jacob frowned at the deep brown barrier with the small dark screen, not recognizing the voice on the other side. Not only did he not like the way this confessor had stressed the word "big", but he believed his worst fear was about to come true: This person was about to confess a crime that he would not be able to report to authorities because of his vow of secrecy. Under no circumstances is a Catholic Priest to unveil a crime learned in the privacy of the confessional. To do so would result in excommunication from the church.

Leaning over his lap, he folded his hands in front of him, remembering the day he'd said his vows. The day he knew there was no going back, despite the little doubts circling in the back of his mind. The vows had dripped slowly from his lips while his brain screamed the question, "What are you doing? Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, I'm sure," he'd silently replied. It was the only way to heal, he was sure of that. The only way to live again was to put aside selfish desires and bask in the glow of God's love while serving his creator. Surely this would make up for what he'd done, and how he'd acted.

Certainly serving God would help him to recover, but it wouldn't bring Tara back.

Jacob swallowed. "What have you done?"

"I like this woman… this redhead… I want to do things…"

Jacob's stomach flipped.

"I want to do things against her will. I have some nice pictures, too."

Once in a while, the old, short-tempered, argumentative Jacob Davies came out to play, and he could feel him striving for the controls at that moment. He struggled for the right words while red heat filled his cheeks. Taking a breath, he said, "You need to tare the pictures up and stop thinking about her."

"Don't you want to know who she is so you can protect her?"

Was this guy serious?

"She's a pretty redhead with bright green eyes."

Grace McBride immediately popped into his mind, and then the struggle inside of him intensified. Threatening a woman, especially Grace, was good way to bring out his demon-side. Maybe it wasn't a demon-side in this case. Maybe it was his chivalrous side. Whichever side it was, it wanted to punch this guy's lights out.

He spoke sternly, emphasizing each word. "I suggest you confess this to God, throw away the pictures, and leave this woman alone."

"I am confessing, aren't I?"

Jacob cocked an eyebrow, as though the snake could see him. Little did anyone know that he did not truly believe in the confessional, except for therapeutic purposes. Only God has the power to forgive sins. It was not necessary to go to a man in order to receive forgiveness. God would not pour forgiveness through Jacob's hands.

"Yes. But do you mean it?"