The Broken Door

A novel about abuse, brokenness, friendship, and redemption.

Based on a true story.

About the Book

Tommy Kennedy owned a highly successful Real Estate firm in Atlanta. And he had all the trappings of success to show for it. But, he had a secret. A secret so dark that even those closest to him didn’t know. A secret so deeply embedded in his soul that even he wasn’t always aware of it.

Tommy was good at hiding behind the façade of his expensive toys and hard-charging business tactics. It was not until he encountered Mac, a kindly old gentleman, that Tommy could admit he was a broken man. We are all broken in some way. Our hearts can hide many stains: guilty secrets, shameful acts, embarrassing desires, impure motivations. These blemishes may be buried so deeply that we are able to suppress them for a while. But they lurk within us, gnaw at us, waiting for the right moment to appear and wreak havoc. 

The Broken Door is a story of abuse and redemption. It is about brokenness. On the back porch of a run-down home on a ridge in the North Georgia mountains, Mac helped Tommy confront his brokenness. He helped Tommy be honest with himself and with God about what was in his heart. Only then could he begin to believe in the hope He gives us in the assurance of His love that starts us on the path to peace and healing.

Joe Head shot 6.2020

About the Author

Joe leads the financial discipleship ministry It's Not Your Money. After 30 years of investment and banking experience, he continues to write and blog about the most important money matters at www.itsnotyourmoney.org

What People Are Saying

I found this book to be a gem of a book. Its a story of a well hidden secret which only destroys from the inside out. Anyone who has gone to Cursillo will see and understand the healing power of the Holy Spirit. Well written, well worth anyones time to read this book. 

Granny S.

The Broken Door is based on a true story, unfortunately all too familiar, of abuse and betrayal by a most trusted one. But more importantly, it is about Truth. It is about the undeniable unfathomable amazing depth of love our God has for each and every one of us; a love undeserved, a love often realized through the actions of others when a lifeline is deliberately thrown our way in love, healing love. It is about forgiving those who have hurt us most, in the most unimaginable ways. It is about moving up out of the depths of our pain and hatred of ourselves and onward into living the life our living Lord God created us to live. Through the power of His healing love, we live and our brokenness is no longer our crutch, but our power, through the Holy Spirit! We are The Broken Door. God is our key to complete repair!

Sue F.

Our brokenness is our most meaningful connection with each other--and with Christ, our Healer and Redeemer. Galloway shares this message in a very real, believable, human story. Catholics will understand the religious references (I.e., to Mass, altar servers, etc.), but anyone endeavoring to rise above past or present painful circumstances and find peace can respond to the message of Christ's unconditional love.

Will H.

If you love The Shack or any books by Og Mandino, you will be delighted with this new book by Joseph B. Galloway, The Broken Door. I read it in one sitting because I did not want to put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the intrigue that developed with the main character and the transformation he experienced. I think this book would make a great movie! The story is for people struggling with the desire for success attained from high achievement and trying to figure out what is truly important. An important message for

Valeri M.

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A Preview of The Broken Door

Chapter 1

Friday, October 26: Late afternoon

He was driving too fast to begin with. Speedometer pushing past 70 on a narrow, curving two-lane country road in the mountains of North Georgia. Top down. Crisp fall afternoon. Lambskin gloves gripping the steering wheel. Toschi Onda driving shoes on the pedals. Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" blaring from the stereo. Invincible fool acting crazy.

Downshifting to navigate a hairpin turn, he miscalculated the physics and strayed too wide. An oncoming truck laden with freshly picked apples swerved to avoid a head-on collision, blaring its horn. He frantically double-clutched into second gear and slammed the brakes as the Basalt Black Porsche 911 Carrera edged off the asphalt. He avoided the truck, but overcompensation spun the car into a pirouette, spewing gravel, coughing smoke, and belching stinky rubber from the screeching tires. The Porsche made three complete turns before it slid back across the road and came to a stop alongside a split-rail fence.

Tommy's heart pounded louder than the bass of the car's stereo. He stared down the lane, unfocused, collecting his wits. The vise-grip he had on the steering wheel squeezed the sweat in the gloves onto the wheel, making them stick a little when he released it. He turned off the engine. Everything went suddenly quiet. He eased his six-foot-two frame out of the car to inspect for damage. No scratches. No dents. No harm. No foul.

Georgia Highway 60 through Dahlonega forks at Camp Wahsega Road before it arcs around on top of the first mountain ridge in the Cohutta National Forest. A canopy of leaves in their full glory of fall color intermingled with the evergreen of pine and hemlock filtering the sunlight. The spent ones let go of their branches and floated on the light breeze. Some landed inside the Porsche.

Tommy peeled off his gloves and tossed them onto the driver's seat. He mopped the sweat off his brow with his forearm and looked around at the scene. He walked up the fence line a ways. A wall of mountain on his left, a sliver of pasture to his right. The fence ended another five hundred feet ahead of him, where a gate opened to a rutted dirt path that crossed the field and began a new ascent up another mountainside. The breeze stirred a whirlpool of brittle leaves around Tommy. His gaze followed the path up a series of switchbacks, winding its way through a stand of trees toward the next ridge. He formed a visor with his hands as the late-afternoon sun beamed an angry glare off the metal roof of what looked to be an old, rickety homestead at the top. Where am I? he wondered.

An eighteen-wheeler carrying over five hundred empty chicken cages thundered past as Tommy walked back to the Porsche. He grabbed his smart phone off the console. A few jabs at its face told him there was no cell service this far into the woods. Tommy reached into the glove compartment for a map. He found his location. So...I wonder.

Climbing back into the Porsche, he replaced his gloves and started the engine. The tip of his nose and the lobes of his ears tingled a bit in the late-October nip, but he kept the top down. He plugged his phone into the jack and pulled up a John Mayer song list. The sun sat on top of the mountain, perched next to the house on the distant ridge that seemed vaguely familiar to him. He steered the car back out onto the road and wound his way south.

John Thomas Kennedy, III, enjoyed these jaunts into the mountains. Hard driving on mountain roads was a release for him, especially on tough days. For some reason, this Friday before Halloween was one of those days. Nothing unusual really, but a week's worth of demands from running Kennedy Properties had built up in him like sludge accumulates in the trap of a kitchen-sink drain. This drive was particularly gratifying, intriguing even. I wonder if I can buy that old place, he thought as he drove back roads toward Cumming. Of course I can buy it. I'm Tommy Kennedy.

Stopped at a red light in front of a Dairy Queen, he saw a disheveled man in a tattered plaid chamois shirt standing on the corner. Instinctively, Tommy pressed a button, and the convertible top eased up and over into place. Another button closed the windows. The spectator was not an old man. He wore dreads. A backpack was at his side. He held a sign—not asking for money, nor offering work in exchange for food. The sign simply read, "Don't be a Stranger." What the hell's that about? Tommy thought.

The Porsche turned onto the Atlanta Highway and found GA 400 down to Roswell. It was only 6:30 p.m. Tommy decided to go back to the office. He pulled into the parking lot at Kennedy Square, an office complex of three two-story buildings on Dogwood Road. Founded by his grandfather John Thomas Kennedy, Sr., Kennedy Properties occupied the second floor of the last building. Tommy had no problem finding a space in front of his office.

The buildings formed an L, and a variety of professional businesses rented space at Kennedy Square. Islands of landscaping, mainly azaleas and Bradford Pear trees, dotted the parking lot. In the spring, the trees were an explosion of cotton-white tufts, which offered a nice contrast to the fuchsia of the azaleas. Today, their leaves were a deep crimson.

"Of course. Everyone gone," Tommy scowled as he strode from the reception area to the workroom of cubicles, flipping off light switches. "When are they gonna show some respect?" Across the room, the lights were still on in the offices of his leadership team. "Hey..." Tommy started to say when he stuck his head in Bull's office. "Hmph." Even Bull—Jeff Simpson, Tommy's best friend going back to St. Laurence High School—was absent.

Tommy headed down the hallway toward his office, shedding his jacket and sweater. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ellen Krawshen, his CFO, working at her computer. "What's the damn thermostat set on?" he asked, not waiting for a reply. "I want to know what the electric bill is, prorated by each salary."

"Hey. I didn't think you'd be back today," Ellen said. "You left in such a huff." She moved her mouse a bit to the right and clicked.

"All the lights are on, and it's probably 85 degrees in here."

"It got cold this afternoon. The staff asked if we could put the heat on." "This is only October. If this keeps up, I'll have to dock some pay," Tommy threatened, walking past the admin workroom, where the files were kept, along with the copier and fax machine. He reached in to flip the light switch off. He could hear the hum of an exhaust fan in the restroom across from the kitchen. He cracked open the door, "Anyone in here?" Hearing no reply, Tommy turned off that light, checked the other restroom, and finally made it to his office at the back.

The reception area of Kennedy Properties was welcoming. This was Rosemary Bozeman's domain. She'd worked at Kennedy Properties her entire career, since before Tommy was born. She was aunt and mother to everyone in the office. She wasn't expected to still be at her station after hours.

Her desk of solid maple with walnut veneers tastefully greeted clients and prospects. It was finished in a caramel stain with gold tipping and sat solidly on its rug on top of the marble-tiled floor. A comfortable sofa flanked by two wingback chairs looked across the room at a wall of bookshelves supporting books on the history of Atlanta and the South, as well as various knick-knacks and memorabilia. The workroom adjacent to the reception area was known as "the bull pit." It was outfitted with fit-together desks on carpet-square floors, and three rows of cubicles that had side panels of Office Depot gray-blue fabric.

Tommy's office was well-appointed. An oversized antique oak desk with leather inserts on its surface commanded the middle of the room. A luxurious oriental rug covered the wide-plank hardwood floor. The side walls had wainscoting created from old plantation doors, and the back wall was all glass and looked out over a wild area zoned for green space.

At thirty-eight, Tommy was still the specimen of the college athlete he had been. All of his clothes were custom-made to accommodate his muscular neck and shoulders, which tapered down in a V-shape to his waist. Sandy brown hair with a few errant strands of gray swagged in a slight wave around his ears and down toward his collar. Ellen spied Tommy primping in the mirror as she hovered near his office door, "Kellie called while you were out."

"What'd she want?" Tommy jumped. He tried to play it cool by deftly transitioning into a saunter over to the bar area of his office. A small refrigerator was built into the cabinet, which was stocked with liquors and wines. A variety of glasses sat in a corner hutch that reached up to the ceiling. "And anyway, why are you still here? Who's watching Alex?"

"My mom picked him up from the after-school program," Ellen explained. "I'm meeting someone downtown around seven."

"A date? You have a date?"

"Why shouldn't..." Ellen cleared her throat. "I wouldn't call it a date, necessarily. More like a meet-and-greet." She tucked her thin brown hair behind her right ear.

Tommy poured a scotch and turned to look at Ellen, who stood with arms crossed, looking beneath her glasses at her feet. Her V-neck sweater fit tightly enough to reveal a small muffin-top above the waistline of her slacks. "What'd Kellie want?"

"She wanted to know if you were going to JT's game tonight. She said something about it being the district championship."

"Why didn't she just call me?" Tommy peered at Ellen over the rim of his highball glass.

"She said she tried to call you, but got no answer. She figured you were up in the mountains and had no cell service. So she called me. It was good to catch up with her."

"Hmph," was all Tommy could muster. That his ex-wife and CFO were friendly was a sore spot.

"Anyway, you sure did storm out of here this afternoon. What happened?" Ellen asked.

"I'll tell you Monday, after I've had time to look into a couple of things." Tommy

moved to sit behind the desk. A cloud of Clive Christian cologne trailed in his wake. "You get the month-end reports ready?"

"Month-end? Are you looking for those already?"

"Well, it is month-end." Tommy rebooted his computer.

"Oh," Ellen said. The 31st was next Wednesday. She normally needed two days to pull those reports together.

"You can get them to me on Monday," Tommy said. "Shouldn't you be leaving for your date?"

"You really should go to JT's game."

"I know."

"It is his senior year."

"I know."

"District Championship."

"You sound like Kellie. I know. Maybe I will." Tommy took another sip and turned to his computer to check his stock quotes. "Damn!"

A bit later he saw Ellen's office light go out, and then heard the shlock of the front door closing. He glanced up at the wall directly across from his desk. An oversized Bond Street wall clock was the centerpiece of decorative hangings, including a montage of family pictures. He saw JT in a Little League uniform, JT in his eighth grade graduation cap and gown. The aged hands of the clock pointed at gold-leaf Roman numerals that declared the time as 6:50. I've got time before the game, he decided. St. Laurence High School was only a few miles from the office.

The eerie quiet was interrupted only by the clock's pendulum. He grabbed the remote to turn on the 42-inch flat-screen TV on the wall above the bar. A stack of messages on the spire at the corner of his desk caught his attention and he pulled them off. At the top was a note in Rosemary's handwriting, "JT's district championship game tonight at 7:30."

Let me just check, Tommy thought as he clicked on Google Earth. He ignored the flashing red light on his phone as he searched the area where he had driven that afternoon. "That's it. I wonder how much land goes with that old house?" He checked a website that gives detail on homes, but he didn't know the address. So, back to Google Earth to get coordinates for the location on Camp Wahsega Road. "Ha!"

He opened a new email and typed a note to Bull:

Check out this property for me—plat, mortgages, etc. Get back to me Monday.

Fox Business News was on low, but Tommy couldn't really hear it, so engrossed was he in the vision of acquiring the Camp Wahsega property. He pulled a nail file out of the lap drawer and swiveled around to look out the windows on the back wall. Dark outside; he saw only his reflection.

Tommy snapped back to the desk and opened a new email:

Ellen -
Call Bob over at MWSL Investments and tell him to come over Monday morning to review my accounts. And get a current balance on my bank accounts. Have those along with the month-end reports first thing.

While he was at it, he perused the inbox and answered a few emails. He noticed one from Brother Sean O'Flaherty. Brother Sean hates using email. I wonder what he wants, he thought as he opened it.

Hey, Tommy—Brother Sean here,

Just a quick reminder of our St. Laurence Knights playing for the District Championship tonight. I'm sure you know JT earned All District honors. He'll be recognized before the game. Hope to see you there.

Goosebumps formed on Tommy's arms and neck. He looked at his watch—7:20 p.m. The Bond Street clock corroborated. He clicked the Favorites button on the internet home page. Can't hurt to take a quick look. In a few clicks, he found what he was looking for. Tingles ran down his back and up his thighs. His hand moved to his groin. He got up to pour another drink. Back at his desk, he clicked through a few more pages. Bare skin flashing across the screen was more intoxicating than the scotch. He checked his watch again—7:45. Damn. Shit. I'm too late now. He perused a couple more scenes.

A loud grumble in his stomach got his attention. He gave into it and turned everything off. Think I'll head out for a steak.

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