1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
My name is Jennifer Robbins. My twin sister Cassandra and I were raised in a small rural Washington State community, where our mother taught art and our father managed a store. Then Mom’s art was “discovered” and we moved to Seattle where we opened what quickly became a lucrative art gallery.
I hated city life from the beginning and even more after we lost our parents in a tragic accident at seventeen and became wards of the gallery’s curator. In my later teen years, I became a believer and finally found some of the peace I’d lost when we left home. After college, I didn’t want any part in the gallery that my sister and I had inherited, but our trustee wouldn’t sell it and my sister couldn’t afford to buy me out.
I can’t wait until my 25th birthday when we finally gain control of our estate. I have already found someone willing to buy the gallery and need only convince my sister to agree to sell. Then I’ll be able to return to a quiet life in our hometown far from newshounds and money-seeking suitors. That’s why I agreed to come on the cruise with my sister. I figured that if I had her away from the glitz of the gallery and the influence of our “uncle” Reggie for a while that she’d listen to reason.
2. Tell us about Sam Steele. What was your first impression?
Oh, wow, he captured my interest from the moment he caught my hand to stop me from grabbing the note stabbed to my car seat. He didn’t even know me and not only did he gently try to stop the bleeding, he held on much longer than necessary to still my trembling and then he shooed away all the gawkers as if he knew how uncomfortable the attention made me. Of course, the more time we spent together, I had a hard time not being wary of his interest. Too many men have wooed me for ulterior motives.
3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Although I have to admit that I’ve wavered, I’d like to think that sticking to my convictions is my greatest strength. My worst weakness is probably in caring too much what other people think of me.
4. What’s your greatest fear?
I guess I’d have to say having my family’s name smeared. It’s why I loathe the newshounds and the limelight. The rumors that circulated after my parents’ accident were not an experience I ever want to repeat.
5. What do you think about your spiritual life?
It was pretty skewed, because I was way too focused on my own interests. I’d been praying God would help me sell the gallery and realize my dreams, never once considering that my dreams might not be what He wanted for me.
6. You’ve got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” God has delivered me time and again, several times through Sam’s courage and determination. Sam’s selfless actions are a vivid reminder to me of how much both God and Sam love me.
7. What do you admire about the hero?
He is so selfless, dedicated to protecting others, bringing criminals to justice and making the world a safer place. I admire that he’s willing to admit his faults and face the fallout of his choices. I also love how close knit his family is, and that he comes to truly appreciate their importance in his life.
8. Why could you never see yourself ending up with the hero?
He lives in Boston, a city thousands of miles away from my sister—my only family. The last place I want to live is another city, and I don’t want to move far from my sister. In fact, knowing he’d be heading back to Boston probably made it easier for me to just enjoy spending time with him rather than worrying about his intentions or ulterior motives, because I didn’t figure we had a future beyond a cruise ship fling.
9. What do you hope people will learn from your experience?
To embrace life where they are and find contentment in God and inside. I spent too many years yearning to return to the quiet, anonymous life we used to live before moving to Seattle. I believed that once I was finally free of the gallery and could return, then I’d find a man who would love me for me, not for my wealth or influence, and I’d finally be happy again. But happiness and contentment can’t be dependent on others and circumstances. It needs to come from within, from God. Only once I understood that, could I truly love others as I ought.