Words Spoken True: By: Ann H. Gabhart

Words Spoken True:  

By: Ann H. Gabhart

Book Blurb

One woman stands ready to defend her newspaper . . . even if it means losing out on love

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. With ink in her veins, she can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855.

When Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over a competing newspaper, the battle for readers gets fierce. After Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune‘s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl.

Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

My Thoughts on this Book!

Adriane Darcy is not just the run on the hill young lady that everyone would expect, especially in the historical Louisville 1850’s setting where this story takes place. Adriane would much rather be out looking for another top story for her father’s newspaper. And marriage is not in the picture at all, that is until her dad and Mr. Jimson decides that their children should marry. Adraine didn’t like Stanley Jimson, never would, never wanted to, and that was that.

Blake Garrett takes over another newpaper in town and his main goal is to put out more copies than Darcy’s daily paper and he would do anything he could to reach that goal. Things get interesting when he meets the Darcy daughter, Adriane because Blake is attracted to her, and he sure doesn’t want Stanley Jimson to have her.

Ann Gabhart writes another awesome story in “Word’s Spoken True.” With the unique, witty and loveable characters, along with a lot of mystery and susupense, add to that a little romance and you have a wonderful and enjoyable book to read. Adraine was just so feisty and full of herself it was sure no one would pull anything over on her, which makes the story much more interesting! There are many twists and turns to this story as well, capturing your interest until the very end.

I highly recommend this book for you to read and enjoy. You will not be disappointed!

“Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

This book was provided by Revell Publishing for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann H. Gabhart

is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and The Blessed. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in Kentucky

 

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A Darkly Hidden Truth: The Monastery Murders, Book 2 by Donna Fletcher Crow

A Darkly Hidden Truth: The Monastery Murders, Book 2

by Donna Fletcher Crow

 

About the Book:

Felicity Howard, a young American studying for the Anglican priesthood at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, has to learn more about church history if she and Father Antony are going to unravel their second mystery. Past and present mix as the words of Julian of Norwich and the arcane rights of the Knights of St. John of Malta lead to a present-day killer. And as the friendship grows between Antony and Felicity, will Felicity choose a life dedicated to God as a nun or one with Antony?

$14.99

978-0-85721-050-0

Paperback

384 pages

Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5

Publisher: Monarch Books,

 distributed by Kregel Publications

Publication: January 2012

 

My Thoughts on this Book!

I didn’t read the first book in this series but that was ok, the author gives enough background that this can be easily read as a stand alone. This one start with Felicity wanting to become a nun, but this was like an impulsive decision, so she was talked into checking out the convents to see what she really thought about it. Felicity is a fun, happy person, not being afraid of changes in her life, and she didn’t mind taking a dare either. Like in the beginning when she dressed as a boy to go check out the new murder so her fathers paper would have first dabs at it. Her character just makes the book fun and interesting to read. I kept reading because I really wanted to find out what would happen to her. Felicity’s journey though this book was so full of adventure you will not want to put it down!

This was my first book by the author. With her inventing creative, interesting and likeable  characters, and with the unique history of the churches, along with the mystery and suspence, she writes a wonderful historical story that will stay with you for a while. I don’t like giving too much away, but you will love the story of Felicity and her adventurous journey.

I received this book free from Kregel Publishing. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions here are my own.

About the Author:

Donna Fletcher Crow is author of more than thirty-five novels. She has twice won first place in the Historical Fiction category from the National Association of Press Women, and has also been a finalist for “Best Inspirational Novel” from the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of The Arts Centre Group, and Sisters in Crime.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

CFBA TOUR Into The Free…..by Julie Cantrell

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingInto the FreeDavid C. Cook (February 1, 2012)byJulie CantrellABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A speech-language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and currently teaches English as a second language to elementary students. She has been a freelance writer for ten years and has published two children’s books. Julie and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm.

Julie served as contributing editor to MOMSense magazine and wrote content for Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl. for nearly a decade. Additionally, she has contributed to more than a dozen books. Into Th Free is her first book.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.

For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Free, go HERE.

Longing….by Karen Kingsbury

 

Book Description: Longing, book three in the Bailey Flanigan Series, picks up where Learning ended. After a long and lonely silence from Cody Coleman, Bailey Flanigan becomes closer to her one-time Hollywood co-star, Brandon Paul. Nights on the town in New York City and long talks on the balcony of Brandon’s Malibu Beach home make Bailey dizzy with new feelings and cause her to wonder if her days with Cody are over forever.  Meanwhile, Cody’s work coaching a small-town football team has brought him and his players national attention. In the midst of the celebration and success, Cody finds himself much closer to a woman who seems to better understand him and his new life. Even so, never does much time go by without Bailey and Cody experiencing deep feelings of longing for each other, longing both for the past and for answers before they can move forward.  Will an unexpected loss be the turning point for Cody? Will Cody and Bailey find a way back together again for the first time in more than a year? And if they do, will their brief time together be enough to help them remember all they’ve been longing for?

Book & Bible Cover Size: Medium Page Count: 352
Paper Edge Description: Plain Size: 5.7 wide  x 8.8 high  x 1.1 deep  in.  | 145 wide  x 223 high  x  deep 27 mm Weight: 1 lb | 453 gms
Available: November 2011 World Publisher: Zondervan

My Thoughts on this Book!

Longing by Karen Kingsbury

This book ended with a lot of mixed feelings for me. Karen Kingsbury is an exceptionally good writer. I love her characters and the way she makes you feel as though you are part of the Baxter family. But as a book reviewer, I will have to say the same with this book as with the first two in the series. Bailey is just too perfect. I know there are many exceptionally great kids, but no one is so perfect they pretty much do nothing wrong, and life works out so perfectly with them. And in “Longing,” it is the same with Brandon Paul. He seems to have no struggles whatsoever after accepting the Lord, even though he works in sin-infested Hollywood as a hot, number one in the business movie star? And yes I know very well that it can be done, but just a little not so real there with seemingly almost no struggles at all. And especially with he and Bailey having the perfect life. Of course Brandon does have the money to make anything happen, anytime, anywhere, and just the way he wants it. I can’t help wondering what would happen if he wasn’t filthy rich? I don’t think we would see all of the swooning from him. It’s easy to have faith when life is almost perfect and if its not,  you have money to make it looks like it is.

That is why I love Cody. With his struggles in life, his faith is just real, he is learning how to trust God with everything that has to do with his life. This was a bitter/sweet faith-filled book for Cody in very way. He is so pecial in the way that he uses what the Flanigan’s did for him and tuns it around to help someone else out that is in the same situation he was in.

I am patiently awaiting for the fourth and final book of the Bailey Flanigan Series. I hope we won’t have to wait until the very end of the book to find out that one final answer, but guess we will just wait and see.

I do recommend this book and all of Karen Kingsbury books for you to read. I’ve read them all, and love the Baxter family. I’m anxious to see what Karen has in store for us after this.

This book was provided by Zondervan for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions here are mine only.

Purchase this book at Amazon

Revell Blog Tour…When Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

When the Smoke Clears

Book Blurb

As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when

she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation

continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother’s home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems

to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she’s involved with murder, arson—nd a handsome detective. But the conflicts

ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if

the secret she’s been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason,

When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the  Deadly Reunions series.


“Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

My Review of this Book!

When Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

Wow, my nose was in this book from the first to the last page! This is my first book my Lynette Eason so I didn’t know just what to expect. It didn’t take me long to find out! Trouble seemed to follow Alexia Allen everywhere she went, and I mean trouble. Dangerous, horrifying, death-threating trouble. Who could hate her so much they are determined to kidnap her, then do who knows what to her? And Hunter is right there with her, pulling as many strings as possible to find out who is behind all of this trama.

I fell in love with several of these characters right off the bat. Alexia is wanting to make amends with her mom, but has be careful of where she goes. Hunter is just adorable and I love the extreme ways he tries to protect Alexia, even from his brother. This well written story and extremely creative characters will draw you into this book and keep you engulfed until you read the last word. Yes! It is just that good! I Love, Love it!

If you like suspense/thrillers, this is a MUST read. Go grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself. One warning though, don’t do like me and read it most of the night. You might just hear some strange noises going on outside!

This book was provided by Revell Publishing for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Excerpt

Excerpt

“Get out, Alexia. Now!”

“Got to check the closet first, sir.”

“Get your tail outta there.

Immediately!”

She needed air. How had her

oxygen run out? She should have had

at least another five minutes. Reaching

up, she disconnected the hose from

her tank and shoved it up under her

heavy turnout. The coat would protect

her as much as possible from smoke

inhalation. And she wanted to minimize

the blast of hot air that would fill her

lungs. She caught a breath.

The dizziness receded.

The countdown was on. The decision:

leave or check the closet?

She scanned the imaging device over

the door.

Bingo. “I’ve got something.

Definitely a child.”

“Alexia! Get out!”

“She’s here, sir. Can’t leave without

her.”

Alexia went to the door and turned the

knob. A little girl. The child looked up at

her, eyes wide, stark terror stamped on her

tear-streaked features. Then she coughed

and her eyes rolled back. Alexia slung the

imager over her shoulder and leaned in to

pick up the little girl.

Alexia took another breath and coughed.

Dizziness returned full force and she

went to one knee. Vaguely, she felt the

sweat roll down her back. “I’m in trouble,”

she said into her radio, keeping her cool,

refusing to panic. Help was just a second

away. “Where’s RIT? No air.”

She pulled in a lungful of smoke this time.

Coughing, sputtering, she turned with the

child, frantic to get her out before the flames

caught up with the smoke.

And then the spots before her eyes

merged into one big black dot. Then nothing.

What others are saying about When Smoke Clears

Readers will be on the edge of their seat as a female firefighter tries to keep a long-held secret

in the face of threats on her life

Readers of Brandilyn Collins will appreciate Eason’s intense style and Dee Henderson fans will love

the romance

Book 1 in an explosive new series from a bestselling author

Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott And iPod Giveaway

Sweeter than Birdsong  by Rosslyn Elliott

About the book:

Music offers Kate sweet refuge from her troubles . . . but real freedom is sweeter.

In Westerville, Ohio, 1855, Kate Winter’s dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she’ll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance—and use it to mask her flight.

Ben Hanby, Otterbein College’s musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing—and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad.

A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage—and her voice—if she is to sing a new song for their future.

Read an excerpt here:

http://rosslynbooks2.blogspot.com/2011/11/chapters-one-and-two-preview.html

About Rosslyn:

Rosslyn Elliott is the award-winning author of Fairer than Morning, the first in the Saddler’s Legacy series. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in English from Emory University. Her study of American literature and history inspired her to pursue writing fiction. Elliott lives in Albuquerque, where she homeschools her daughter and works in children’s ministry.

For more about Rosslyn, visit her website:

http://rosslynelliott.com

Link to buy the book

http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=159554786X&title=A_Saddler’s_Legacy_Novel:_Sweeter_than_Birdsong

My Thoughts on this Book

After reading “Fairier than Morning” it was a must that I read “Sweeter than Birdsong.” I wanted to read further into the Miller and Hanby families. It is most intriguing that these two books are loosely based on the Hanby family who lived and worked in the Civil War era. The history in these books is incredible, and I really enjoyed learning the life styles of people at that time.

Because of her horrible family life, Kate Winters has all intentions of leaving her family when she graduates from Otterbein, but her mom is insistant that she marries a wealthy man. Plotting to find someway to leave, Kate joins the musical at the college as cover to flee her home and family.  Being so very shy, this was not going to be an easy task for Kate.

Otterbein’s musical genius Ben Hanby is so astonished at Kate’s singing he decides to cast her in the musical for the solo part, noting that he will need to work for her to overcome her shyness to sing.

Rosslyn Elliott has written another wonderful historical fiction that will take you soaring through the pre-civil war ear in a way you’ve never there before. With detailed descriptions of the way of life, amazingly created characters that will draw you to themselves and a strong faith and a love for abused slaves, you will be engulfed in this story until the very end. The main characters Ben and Katie were my favorite, with their love and determination to help with the freedom of slavery they would sacrifice themselves to free one by one.

I highly recommend this book for anyone! You will enjoy this wonderful, sweet, good, clean book showing a strong faith in the Lord that will make you want to follow His leading in your life.

This book was provided by the publisher through LitFuse Publishing Group. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Enter 2/9-2/28!

 

Sweeter Than Birdsong Rosslyn Elliott Giveaway

Straight to the Heart Series by Phil Moore…Kregel Publishers

Straight to the Heart Series by Phil Moore

About the Series: Straight to the Heart is a series of devotional commentaries for those who appreciate the insights and sound research found in commentaries but find scholarly writing dry and lacking in personal application. The Straight to the Heart series does not cover the whole text, but focuses on key sections that communicate the main themes of each book. Although the tone is light, the text is full of useful application and backed by substantial scholarship. Its clear, thought-provoking insights will feed both mind and soul.

MY Thoughts on this Book!

Straight to the Heart Series   Phil Moore…Book of Acts

This book starts out with 2 bite size chapters, one introducing the reader to the Straight to the heart series, and the second introducing ordinary people to an extraordinary God. Followed by 58 bite size chapters taken from the book of Acts. I first thought this was a commentary on the book of Acts, but it is more like a devotional, but it’s actually much more and much deeper than a devotional. It would make a wonderful Bible study for yourself, or any number of groups. There are footnotes and references at the bottom of each page to futher your study too!

A few short chapter topics you will find here are: Prayer which moves God; The Promise; Starting Points; Betty Zane; When the Past Becomes a Problem; Job Decription; and several of my favorites are Paul’s First and Second Missionary Journies and Paul’s Journey to Rome.

There are so many Bible Studies, and Devotionals out today that are good, but I would rate this one as top of the line. The chapters are written in a way for you to have a short study, or  to go futher and deeper into the Book of the Bible. I highly recommend Phil Moore’s book on Acts to see for yourself what it is like. You will not be disappointed. After reading this one, I want more  books in this series for myself.

This book was provided by Kregel Publishers for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions here are mine only.

Go HERE to see other books in this series.

For more information about the Straight to the Heart series,

please go to   www.philmoorebooks.com

$14.99 each

Genesis: 978-0-85721-001-1

Moses: 978-0-85721-056-2

Matthew: 978-1-85424-988-3

Acts: 978-1-85424-989-0

1&2 Corinthians: 978-0-85721-002-9

Romans: 978-0-85721-057-9

Revelation: 978-1-85424-990-6

Paperback…..Publisher: Monarch Books,……distributed by Kregel Publications

 

“Phil Moore has served us magnificently.” Terry Virgo

 

“Most commentaries are dull. These are alive. Most commentaries are for scholars. These are for you!” Michael Green

“Think of these books as the Bible’s message distilled for everyone.” Adrian Warnock

About the Author: Phil Moore leads a thriving church in Wimbledon, London. After graduating from Cambridge University, Phil spent time on the mission field and then in the business world. He has devoted many years to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and he brings them to life in the language of today in the Straight to the Heart series. http://www.philmoorebooks.com

 

FIRST WildCard Tour…..April W. Gardner featuring Warring Spirits

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
April W Gardner
and the book:
Warring Spirits
Vinspire Publishing, LLC (November 30, 2011)
***Special thanks to April Gardner for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

April W Gardner has been a military brat, missionary’s kid, and military spouse. After 21 years in various countries overseas, she happily resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, music, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.
Librarian, reviewer, and avid reader, April adores anything books. She writes a regular column for the joint blog, Reflections in Hindsight, and is the founder and senior editor of the literary website, Clash of the Titles. She is the author of the historical romance series, Creek Country Saga and the children’s adventure series, the Channel Islands Resistance.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle. But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 286 pages

Publisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLC (November 30, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 098341985X

ISBN-13: 978-0983419853

My Thoughts about this Book!

Set in Creek County in 1816, this is a wonderful historical fiction during the time slaves were owned and could be treated any way by their owners. I’ve grown to love reading stories during this era simply because of the truth that the were fought for and set free.

“Warring Spirits” is very well written with characters that will grab you and won’t let go. You will learn to love them as you own friends. Even though I didn’t read the first book in this series, I could understand what was going on. Sometimes the situations here are not so easy to read, but they are so realistic and heartbreaking that you just can’t put the book down. The author has a sure way of making the scenes seem real.

I highly recommend this book and encourage you to go out and grab both “Wounded Spirits” and “Warring Spirits  by April Gardner to read and enjoy.

 

 

 

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Warring Spirits
April Gardner
Vinspire Inspirations
A Division of Vinspire Publishing
Ladson, South Carolina

 

Warring Spirits
Copyright ©2011 April Gardner
Cover illustration copyright © 2011 Elaina Lee/For the Muse Designs
Printed and bound in the United States of America. All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval
system-except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a
review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Web without
permission in writing from the publisher. For information,
please contact Vinspire Publishing, LLC, P.O. Box 1165, Ladson, SC 29456-1165.
All characters in this work are purely fictional and have no existence
outside the imagination of the author and have no relation
whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not
even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the
author, and all incidents are pure invention.
ISBN: 978-0-9834198-5-3
PUBLISHED BY VINSPIRE INSPIRATIONS, A DIVISION OF
VINSPIRE PUBLISHING, LLC
Chapter 1
Phillip knew it was a dream. He told himself again, though it did little good. The children’s shrieks grew louder. The flaming pickets roared with new life, as though fueled by his denial of their existence.
His legs churned, but he couldn’t free his mind of the constant nightmare. At least this time, he reasoned, he wasn’t awake. Small blessings.
And then, he saw her.
Adela.
Arms dangling at her sides and skirt undulating in the waves of heat, she stood across the compound. Her lips were motionless, but her voice echoed through his mind. “Phillip.”
He rushed toward the vision, and she reached for him. “Phillip, love, you must wake up.”
With a cry, he bolted upright.
The silhouette of a woman hovered over him. He stared at her, unblinking, afraid to move and frighten her away.
Sweat poured down his chest—sweat as real as the shadow seemed.
“That’s better,” she whispered. “You’ll be alright.”
He disagreed, but if he spoke, he might shatter her. He’d done it before.
Her loose hair swayed as she moved so near, he should feel her heat.
Taking in the comfort of her presence, he held his breath until his lungs burned with need. Refusing to be contained any longer, air exploded from his mouth. The sound ripped through the cabin, and in one blink, Adela vanished.
A moan built in Phillip’s throat, and he buried his head in his trembling palms. When his fingers collided with the jagged flesh on his face, he recalled again why Adela was no more to him than a mocking shadow, a figment of his deluded, half-crazed mind.
She had turned him down.
Familiar nausea haunted his gut. With a growl, he threw his damp pillow across the room. The sound of splintering glass sent him scrambling for the musket by his bed. He had the unsteady barrel aimed toward the source before he realized he’d been the cause of the commotion.
He dropped the weapon and backed away from it as though it were a copperhead. Blood pounded in his throat. He swallowed hard, terrified of his own mind.
It had been nearly two years. One more night of this and he would prove the gossip correct. He would go mad.
There had to be a better way.
“Help me.” His voice shivered, and for once, he was thankful to be alone. “Sweet Jesus, show me a better way.”
***
Sitting as poised as possible in the bouncing buckboard, Milly rearranged her skirt then tugged her bonnet over her ears. Another rut in the road sent her stomach flying.
“You look fine, Miss Milly.” Isum transferred the reins to one hand then wiped a palm against his dingy, knee-length trousers. A sideways glance topped his crooked smile. “As fine as any white lady in stole clothes.”
Milly squirmed inside her stuffy petticoats. “Borrowed clothes, and don’t call me that. Milly will do.”
“No, miss. It won’t. Best make a habit of it now, before we’re needin’ it.”
“I hate admitting when you’re right.”
Isum chuckled, but Milly pressed her lips and snatched a peek over her shoulder.
“We’ll hear somebody comin’ before we see ‘em.” Isum’s voice remained steady, his demeanor casual, and his shoulders relaxed. His death-grip on the reigns told another story.
Three years ago, he had been as short and wiry as a plucked cotton bush. Now, his muscular, mahogany frame left little room to spare on the wagon seat. According to plantation gossip, the field girls took to nervous giggles whenever he came around. The master had perked up as well and taken to accepting bids.
There was only one thing Master Landcastle needed more than strong field workers. Cash.
The moment whispers in the big house revealed that Isum had been sold and would leave by dawn, Milly took action. There was no way she would let them take the only true friend she had, so ignoring the consequences, she loaded the buggy with vegetables. And one lady’s day gown.
As was their weekly custom, she and Isum set off toward town. Only this time, instead of stopping at the market, they went straight through.
Six miles of red, Georgia clay stretched behind them. Seventeen more before they ran into Spanish Florida. Sixty beyond that, Negro Fort, and safety.
It had been done many times before. It could be done again. But in broad daylight?
Escape stories ran through Milly’s twenty-four years of memory. Had there been a single one where a slave had taken to the road while the sun was at its highest? She shook her head.
But I have an advantageso long as I’m not recognized.
The July sun beat down on her with mocking strength. She pressed a palm across the back of her stinging neck.
Isum reached to the floorboard then passed her the borrowed parasol. “You’ll be burnin’ if you don’t.”
Since he first came to the plantation as a skinny tyke five years her younger, Isum had been her responsibility. She had cared for him as meticulously as she did her own flesh. About the time his gaze tilted downward in order to look her in the eye, they swapped roles, and his protectiveness had grown in proportion to his towering height.
She frowned, opened the frilly contraption, and settled it against her shoulder. Immediately, her neck cooled. It did nothing for the bile rising in her throat.
Gripping the side of the bench, she failed to tamp down the regret that swelled within her.
The timing was wrong. They would be caught, and he would be sold. She dare not consider her own fate.
They should turn back. It wasn’t too late.
She swiveled and squinted at the road behind them. What options did she have? Mr. Grayson’s features, twisting with his customary, terrifying rage, flashed before her mind’s eye. It’s too late. We can’t turn around.
They should be moving faster.
Isum pulled on the reins.
“Why are you slowing?” Milly sat forward, resisting the urge to yank the whip from its holder and spur the mare to a gallop.
He swiped the floppy hat from his head and mopped his brow with his sleeve. “We ain’t alone. Best we not seem in too much of a hurry.” He indicated with his hat then settled it back in place before taking up a deliberate, relaxed posture.
A horseman topped the next slope.
“Oh God, help us.”
“What you worried about, Miss Milly? You’s armed with the most beautiful smile this side of the Chattahoochee. Ain’t no gentleman gonna see past it to doubt your word.”
But what if he wasn’t a gentleman? Milly forced a wobbly smile then swept her hand under her bonnet, securing any strays.
Within minutes, Isum pulled the buggy to a halt as the gentleman came alongside them. The creaking brake nearly sent Milly scrambling for the trees lining the road. Instead, she angled the parasol to shield her face, presumably, from the sun.
“Good afternoon.” The man’s unfamiliar voice released her pent-up breath.
Easing back the shade, she peered through the lace edging. Long seconds passed before Isum shifted beside her and nudged her back.
Milly lowered the parasol and forced her gaze to the stranger’s eyes. She found them friendly and unsuspecting. “Good afternoon to you, sir.” Tucking her trembling hands into the folds of the closed parasol, she tried for that beautiful smile but feared she fell short of Isum’s expectations.
The man studied her, never once glancing at Isum.
A cold sweat broke out on her upper lip. Like venom, fear coursed through her, poisoning her confidence. Her gaze slipped to the dirt where it belonged.
“You’re a might far from civilization. It’s not exactly safe out here, even with a strapping young buck such as yours.”
Milly’s line of sight skittered to the man’s chest, then, weighted by years of training, fell back to the ground. “I plan to trade with Creek in the next village. I hear they’ll give anything for a little food.”
“So they will, poor devils.” The man laughed, making Milly’s skin crawl. He sidled his horse close to the buggy, and the smell of his cologne wafted down. “I appreciate a woman with a tender heart.”
“If you don’t mind, we best be moving along. I wouldn’t want to be caught out after dark.”
The man’s silence lured Milly’s hesitant gaze. A smile crept up his face. “There they are, those pretty brown eyes.” He tipped his hat, bowing slightly at the waist. “It would be my pleasure to escort you, miss.”
“No.” The discourteous refusal popped out of its own volition. “Thank you, but that’s not necessary. We’re accustomed to the road.”
Eyes darkening, the gentleman reined his horse around, pointing its nose toward the road behind them. “As you wish. Good day.”
Milly nodded but doubted he noticed. “Let’s move, Isum,” she whispered, anxious to leave the man’s dust behind.
A brisk mile later, Milly’s gloved hand still clutched the parasol in her lap. Tears burned her eyes at the thought of what might have happened. She blinked them away to find Isum grinning from ear to ear.
“We done it. We fooled that dandy.”
A strangled chuckle escaped her. “Yes. I supposed we did. He never suspected a thing.” Milly laughed, full and long. It unwound the knotted cord in her gut, and suddenly, the road opened before them and filled with possibilities.
Possibilities of a future. With Isum? He had offered as much, and she hadn’t exactly rejected him. Neither had she accepted. She found it difficult to move past the years of near-mothering to feel something more toward him. And yet, she couldn’t imagine another man on earth who would willingly wed her. And from all indications, he was more than willing.
Taking in a deep, cleansing breath, she turned and found his steady brown eyes on her. All joviality had fled. “Isum? What is it?”
“For half a minute, I thought I was gonna have to kill me a white man, the way he was lookin’ at you. Like you’s a Sunday pastry.”
It was always the same with men. Many women longed for beauty, but for Milly, it was the key to her shackles. Perhaps today would commence the end of her nightmares. Even if it did, it certainly wouldn’t erase what had already been done to her. She tucked her chin against the nagging shame.
Isum grunted and slapped the reins across the mare’s rump. “Ain’t nothin’ you can help.”
At the sound of thundering hooves, she felt the blood drain from her face. A glance behind them revealed four riders closing in fast.
She gripped Isum’s arm, words lodging in her throat.
Jaw clenched, he focused on the horse as he pulled them to a stop. Running was futile. With quivering resignation, she removed her gloves and folded them neatly, just as the mistress had taught her. She couldn’t bring herself to look at Isum, to see hope shattered across his face.
“It ain’t ova,” he mumbled, as Master Landcastle’s men surrounded them.
Milly coughed in the horses’ dust, and probed her mind for a reasonable excuse.
“I thought you were smarter than this, Milly.” Grayson, the overseer, laid one hand across his legs, loosely aiming a pistol in their direction. “A shame what’ll become of you now.” His false sympathy grated on her ears.
Two of the others dismounted and dragged Isum from his seat. He struggled against their attempt to shackle him and was rewarded with a swift kick to the gut.
Milly jumped from the buggy and scrambled to the side of Grayson’s horse. Her nails dug into the leather of his riding boot. “Please, it was my fault. I didn’t tell him I planned to run.”
He guffawed and kicked her hand away. “He doesn’t answer to you, girl. And he’ll pay for his own foolishness. Just as you will.” He jerked the pistol. “You’re riding with me.”
The thought of being pressed against the man for seven miles of rough roads sent Milly back a step. He lunged forward, grappling for the fabric at the front of her gown, but he missed and scratched her neck instead.
She barely registered the burn.
His nostrils flared. “Get over here.”
Milly shied away from his curses then risked a glance over her shoulder.
The other three struggled against a willful Isum. “Hold him down,” one bellowed.
“I’m tryin’!” Metal clinked and rattled as Isum kicked, sending the shackles skidding across the road.
One of the men swore and went after them.
Too late, Milly noticed Grayson’s hand as he swiped for her again. She swayed back and away, but he compensated, stretching farther away from his horse. Fisting her blouse, he yanked her toward himself.
With a cry, Milly locked her knees, sending her lower half sliding under the horse’s belly. She clung to Grayson’s arm, her weight tugging him down with her.
“Let me loose.” His breath puffed hot in her ear.
The horse skittered, its hooves striking the ground so close she felt the vibration through the dirt. It bolted away from them, sending Grayson tumbling from his perch.
Just in time, Milly flipped to the side, avoiding his descending bulk.
He landed beside her with a grunt, his pistol coming to rest inches from her hand.
“Merciful, Lord,” she whispered through dusty lips.
“Grab it!” Isum screamed. Two held him belly-down, while the third locked one cuff on his ankle. His eyes bore into her, begging her to take action.
Grayson’s gaze darted to the pistol the instant her fingers wrapped around the handle. Before he could pull himself to a sitting position, she had the barrel pointed at his head. “Make them stop.” Her voice trembled in time with her hands.
He snorted. “You wouldn’t kill me.”
No, she wouldn’t, but she could cripple him. In a way he’d never hurt another woman again. Without a word, she redirected her aim.
Steady. Keep it steady. She scooted back, further of his reach. “You heard me.”
Grayson glared at her, his jaw working circles.
From the corner of her eye, she noted the stillness that had settled on the opposite side of the road. Isum flailed once more and managed to dislodge himself from under his captors.
“Unshackle him,” Milly called, her eyes never leaving Grayson’s.
“I’ll find you, and you know it.” His voice was gritty with hate.
“Maybe. But not today.”
“Grayson, what do you want us to do?”
“Let him go.”
The manacles clinked to the ground.
Isum pushed up and trotted to her side, lip bleeding and jaw swollen, but looking better than such a struggle should afford. “I got this here.” He took the weapon from her. “Think you can get the buggy into them trees?”
She nodded. If required to get them out of there, she could sprout wings and fly.
The sun had barely moved by the time Isum had all four men bound, gagged, and lashed to the wagon, which Milly had taken as far into the undergrowth as she could.
While he secured the men’s bonds, Milly changed back into her comfortable, plain brown frock then scattered all the horses but two. Leading one to Isum, she smiled. On horseback, they could cut through the forest and make better time. At least until the ground grew too swampy.
He gave her a boost then adjusted the stirrups with a swiftness that spoke of a lifetime in the master’s stables. Giving her foot a pat, he winked. “Now who’s the mastah of himself?”
She fingered the bonnet’s ribbon tied beneath her chin and shook her head. “It’s a bit soon to be so confident. We have a long trail ahead of us.”
Mounted, Isum directed his horse alongside hers. With a quick yank, he loosened her bonnet’s ribbons. “You don’t need that no more. From here on, we’ll be exactly like the Almighty created us to be.”
One hand pressed to the top of her bonnet, Milly leaned out of his reach.
He clucked his tongue. “Your feet can run, but your heart, it gotta stop chasin’ after lies. It’s time you be who you’s meant to be.”
Who I’m meant to be? “And what exactly am I?”
“A child of the King. And my girl. Nothin’ else mattuh.”
Milly snorted, as he took her mare by the bridle. “We ain’t leavin’ ‘til you know it.”
“I know it.”
“Then take it off.”
She fingered the edge of her bonnet, while Grayson’s gaze gouged her back. She was more terrified to remove it than to turn the mare toward Florida. Heart running wild, she lifted the bonnet until a breeze tickled the hair on her forehead.
With a smile born of unending patience, Isum released her horse.
She set the cap in her lap and ran a hand over the braid worked in a circle around her head, its coarse, frizzy texture accusing her of her tainted heritage.
Her line of sight traveled to Grayson. From where he sat tied to the wagon wheel, the hatred emanating from his eyes scorched Milly’s weak resolve.
“I can’t.” With a jerk to the reins, she twisted the horse’s bit out of Isum’s reach. Gripping the saddle with her thighs, she settled the bonnet back in place. A swift kick of her heel set the mare on the backwoods trail to Spanish Florida.
Isum might be doomed every day to face their reality, but Milly had been blessed with the option to hide.
What slave in her right mind would choose otherwise?
***
For the third time in an hour, Major Phillip Bailey checked that his musket was properly primed and loaded. The Apalachicola River wound along on his right, and Creek warriors fanned out on the left. He was trapped. It had only been two years since many of these same warriors had surrendered to General Jackson at the conclusion of the Red Stick War.
The sight of them now, wild in their feathers, piercings, and tattoos, set the hairs on the back of his neck on end. For every one of the hundred and sixteen, blue-coated regulars on the march to Prospect Bluff, there were two—supposedly ally—Creek warriors who slogged across the boggy ground next to him.
The odds were far from comforting. Sweat pasted his silk neck-stock to his throat.
He scanned the surrounding pines for any sign of danger, whether from runaway slaves or friendly Creeks turned hostile. Downriver a ways and set back into the forest, the outline of a dwelling took shape. Like the many other slave-owned shacks they’d come across, the place appeared abandoned, but that didn’t mean the owners weren’t lurking in the shadows, waiting to ambush them.
Silent as ghosts, a group of warriors split off and swarmed the farmstead. Within minutes, they rejoined Phillip’s column empty-handed.
If what was said about the runaway’s leader proved true, Chief Garcon wouldn’t allow Phillip and his men to waltz into the area without a dandy of a fight. It was no secret the Americans intended to neutralize the fort on Prospect Bluff, the stronghold they called Negro Fort. Its name alone struck fear in the hearts of southern Georgians.
General Jackson had jumped at Spain’s approval of his crossing the Spanish-American border to defuse the tension and reclaim American property—the slaves. With its swamps, alligators, and prowling Seminoles, Las Floridas was wild country. Toss in three hundred armed and desperate runaways, and the place became hell on earth.
Phillip had been the first to volunteer to invade that hell. Alligators and runaways, he could handle. Creek warriors were a different matter altogether. Running into them on the southerly trail had been a surprise to both parties. It just so happened that, this time, Creek and American objectives ran parallel. Or so the Indians said…
Without warning, a regular stepped out from behind a tree blocking Phillip’s path. His rifle arm jerked. “In the name of all that’s holy, Corporal Higgins, get back in line.” Phillip spoke from between clenched teeth.
“Yes, sir. Just taking care of business, sir.”
Phillip noted a smirk on the nearest warrior. He scowled back.
The natives might see him and his men as a bunch of untrained idiots, but Phillip knew better. When not attacked on the sly and when properly prepared, there was no equal to Phillip’s army anywhere in the Americas. Hadn’t they proved it two years earlier by crippling the Creek Confederacy?
He passed Higgins’ scrawny frame as he busily fastened his broadfalls. “Didn’t mean to scare you, sir.” A poorly contained leer plucked at the man’s freckled cheeks.
Phillip opened his mouth to refute the charge and put the private in his place, but the gravelly voice of Sergeant Garrigus beat him to it. “Idiot. You can’t rattle the major. He’s got nerves of iron.”
“Is that right?”
“After what he’s seen? You bet.”
Garrigus’s praise sounded sincere enough, but Phillip knew the truth and prayed every day no one else would discover it. “Enough chatter back there. Keep your mouths shut and your eyes peeled.” He cast a sideways glance at longtime friend and surgeon, Captain Marcus Buck.
Marcus returned it with a faint smile that raised his flawless cheeks. Eyes, nose, mouth—each feature lined up perfectly. He might be a favorite with the ladies, if he took his nose out of medical books long enough to notice.
Involuntarily, Phillip’s jaw twitched, tugging the taut skin around his scar.
“Where’s Enoch?” Marcus’s gaze skimmed the area.
“Are you enjoying the quiet too?” Phillip subdued a grin and jerked his head toward the end of the loosely formed column. “I put him to work keeping Cook company.”
“Indians making him nervous?”
“Him and me both.” It wasn’t the only thing Phillip and his young slave had in common.
Moisture sucked into his boot as he stepped into another pocket of muck. Swamp water soaked his half-gaiters and spattered his dirty white breeches. He shook his foot, longing for a pair of clean, dry stockings. An arduous, two-day trek behind them, Camp Crawford might have been nothing more than tents and pickets, but right now, it seemed pretty near to heaven.
An Indian, head shaved on the sides, loped from the front of the line toward Phillip. His black hair, collected into a long tail, flipped through the air behind him. His face was a solemn, purposeful mask, and he clutched a tomahawk, as if ready for battle.
A drumbeat sounded from nearby. Or was that the blood pounding Phillip’s eardrum?
He strengthened his stance and gripped the musket barrel, ready at any instant to swing it into position. Sweat dripped into his eye, but he refused to blink and miss even one of this warrior’s breaths.
The Indians had caught him unawares before. Never again.
As the man neared, the path cleared before him. Ahead, a commotion scattered the column.
This was it. The moment Phillip had been anticipating. One swing of this warrior’s blade would be the signal for the rest to attack. By sundown, every last American scalp would dangle from a pole.
Unless Phillip did something to stop it.
The drum increased its tempo. In his mind, he was back at Fort Mims, the fires licking at his heels. The world narrowed to the warrior streaking toward him. Phillip had known better than to trust these savages, but Colonel Clinch hadn’t listened.
Phillip should give some sort of call to battle, but his brain went numb. Breath ragged, he raised his weapon to his shoulder and pointed the muzzle at the warrior’s chest. His stiff collar dug into the base of his head and his sweaty finger trembled against the cool trigger as he waited for the red man to raise his tomahawk.
Instead, ten paces away, he came to a halt, his brown eyes boring into Phillip. The warrior lowered his weapon and slipped it into a loop on his waistband. Arms limp, his lean body visibly relaxed as he stood before Phillip.
Except for the drum in his ear, silence surrounded them,
Why didn’t he attack? Indians never surrendered. Surely, it was a trick.
“Major?”
Phillip blinked, then allowed his gaze to flick to the side.
Marcus laid a hand on Phillip’s arm, and he flinched.
“Easy, now,” Marcus sounded as though he were calming a terrified child instead of addressing a superior officer. His voice rose barely above a whisper. “The men are watching. There’s no call for this. Not this time.”
A massive vulture soared above them, pulling Phillip’s focus back to the man before him. As much as Phillip searched, he found not a hint of malice in the warrior’s steady gaze.
He dropped the tip of his musket and sensed two dozen warriors lowering their bows in response.
As realization of his error took hold, heat crawled up Phillip’s neck, burning his scar. He focused on the black ostrich plume trembling in the air above Marcus’ bicorned hat as he turned to the warrior.
“It’s nothing personal, you see. Major Bailey fought at Mim’s place. Next time you’re careless enough to run up on him that way, I’ll let him have at you,” Marcus stated with a half-grin.
The Indian stared at Phillip, long and probing, until his eyes softened and mystified Phillip with their sudden depth.
“No, best stop me, Captain Buck. No sense creating more work for yourself.” Phillip’s attempt at humor fell flat. He cleared his throat and turned to the Indian. “You have a message for me?”
The warrior nodded. “A white man. We found there.” He gestured toward a sandbar in the middle of the river.
Phillip’s pulse slowed. He swallowed and willed his voice not to tremble. “One of ours?”
“A seaman. Wounded here.” He tapped his shoulder.
“One of Sailing Master Loomis’ men?” Marcus asked, his voice rising with disbelief.
Phillip resumed walking at a quick pace. “My thoughts exactly, although it was my understanding that no vessel from the naval convoy was to enter the river until we’d arrived.”
“They weren’t,” Marcus confirmed.
The warrior took up a limping step beside them. “There is more,” he said, halting Phillip in his tracks. “Two dead. This side of river.”
“Sailors, as well?” Phillip asked, hoping the dead were runaways.
“Perhaps. Their white bodies lie naked.”
Marcus hissed a curse, while Corporal Higgins’ face lit with anticipation. “We gonna see action?”
“Never mind that,” Phillip said. “Did you hear the Indian’s report?”
“Yes, sir. I heard.”
Phillip pointed two fingers downriver. “Take it to Colonel Clinch, on the double.” At the sound of Higgins’ scurrying footfalls, Phillip turned to Marcus. “Surgeon, you’re with me.”
A silent crowd gathered ahead—around the wounded sailor, Phillip surmised. “Clear out,” he called as he shouldered his way through the throng. “Give the man space to breathe.”
Marcus followed, bumping into Phillip’s back when he stopped short. His breath caught in his lungs. Scalped and brutally stabbed, two stripped men lay in a puddle of blood, their features frozen in twists of agony.
Soldiers shifted, allowing the doctor room to press his fingers to each neck. He stood, retrieved a kerchief from his pocket, and wiped his hands, staining the cloth red. “Give me someone I can help, for heaven’s sake.”
As Marcus stepped over the bodies, a tremble began deep inside Phillip. The quiver grew, moving into his stomach with a painful shudder. “We camp here. Private Davidson, inform Major Collins. Garrigus, set up a perimeter.” He tore his eyes from the grisly scene, stepped back, and then turned to Marcus. “Captain Buck, see to the wounded sailor, wherever he is. I’ll find you shortly. I’m going to look for tracks before we lose daylight.”
Night was falling fast and with it, his composure. The skirts of his coatee slapped the backs of his legs as he quick-stepped toward the shelter of the woods.
He pressed his lips tight and willed his stomach to cease its rebellion. Eyes riveted to a massive cypress twenty yards in, he forced certain images from his mind. Images of Fort Mims, of the dead and dying, of the corpses he had trampled in his fight for life.
Satisfied the cypress hid him, he rested his hands on his knees. His head swam, and the world tipped. Closing his eyes, he focused on keeping his breath even and his army rations where they belonged.
At last, he regained a measure of control—enough to be presentable to his men.
These memories should not hold such power over him. And yet, they did. With more ferocity each passing month.
Furious at himself, he ripped the bicorn from his head and hurled it into the shadows.
A soft cry followed, emanating from the darkness beyond.
Every muscle in Phillip’s body froze, as he strained to pierce the obscurity of dusk. He saw nothing, heard nothing—besides voices carrying from the riverbed. Had he imagined the sound? If he had, the fact wouldn’t astound him. Not anymore.
The cry had possessed a human quality. Would he go so far as to say feminine? His mind replayed the sound. Yes, he would. Had there been a female with the sailors? Phillip knew of no situation where that might be permitted.
Unwilling to believe he was hearing voices in his head, he set out in the direction his chapeau bra had landed. Musket going before him, he proceeded with carefully placed steps and peered into the ever-darkening forest beyond. This could be a trap, but it was worth the risk if it squelched the notion he was indeed mentally disordered.
Ears finely tuned, he crept toward his cap which lay before a scanty shrub.
The bush shook violently. Phillip jerked his musket up then back down as a woman sprang from concealment.
Her skirt snagged, abruptly halting her flight. As her hands battled to extricate the fabric, she lifted her bonneted head, exposing large, fearful eyes and a face which glowed pale in the waning daylight.
Unless the encroaching night was playing tricks on him, this woman was white. Not the midnight skin of a runaway or the smooth olive of a Spaniard, but white. Nearly as white as Phillip.
He settled the butt of his musket at his feet. “Ma’am? What are you doing out here?”
Her struggle grew more desperate until the sound of ripping preceded her tumble. Mostly hidden by palmettos, she scooted backward on the ground.
Still many yards distant, Phillip reached a hand to her, unable to imagine why she might be afraid of him. “I won’t hurt—”
A black man, large as a bear, darted from behind a thick pine to Phillip’s right. His sprint carried him across Phillip’s path and directly toward the woman.
“No! Get away.” Her words came out a garbled croak.
“Halt!” Phillip flipped the weapon back into position and aimed it at the slave’s chest.
Unfazed, he kept moving and would have intercepted the woman except for the stone she hurled. It thudded off his shoulder and stopped him dead in his tracks.
He swiveled to face Phillip, who had shortened the distance between them, his eye never leaving the musket’s sites. “One more step, and before the night’s out, I’ll bury you where you stand.”
The man’s shoulders rose and fell with each rapid breath, but his stony face showed no fear. “Then you bettah do it. Otherwise, it’ll be you what’s buried. See, I plan to make it to that fort, and losin’ my life to do it is no mattuh to me.”
Phillip’s brother, Dixon, had often said that a man who didn’t value his own life made the most dangerous of enemies. This one wouldn’t live long enough to become that. Phillip leveled his musket’s barrel at the big man’s heart.
In response, he took a single step forward.
“Don’t shoot!” The woman stumbled forward, placing herself between the runaway and the iron-tipped muzzle.
Reflexively, he skipped to the side to maintain his aim on the man. “Step away, ma’am. Don’t want you hurt.” What was she thinking?
She mirrored his movements, keeping herself between them. “No one needs to get hurt.”
“Move away from him, and let me handle this.”
She faced Phillip, her large brown eyes pleading. “Let him go. Please.”
“Woman, are you crazy?” The black man voiced Phillip’s own thoughts.
She was either insane or suffering from over-exposure.
Weapon still trained on the runaway, Phillip took a quick step forward and flailed at her, trying to grab her by the arm.
She skittered to the side, and he swiped nothing but air.
“Get out of the way,” he snapped. Not one of his men would have dared defy his command, yet this woman stood her ground.
She backed further away from him and dangerously close to the black man. “He didn’t run a hundred miles just to be shot down defenseless in the woods a day away from the only chance at freedom he’ll ever have.” Her voice shook, but her rigid back told Phillip she wouldn’t give in any time soon.
With his mind concocting a way to move the woman and save both their necks, Phillip was only half-listening. “What are you talking about?”
Although shadows fell across her face, Phillip didn’t miss the softening of her eyes or the quiver of her lips. Her passion for this slave’s freedom furrowed Phillip’s brow.
“If you were fighting for your life, wouldn’t you want a fair shot at it?” she asked.
Like a Red Stick’s arrow, her soft-spoken question pierced him, immobilizing his thoughts to anything beyond one image—his brother’s doom-stricken features and the blood-thirsty warriors that swarmed him.
“Yes,” he rasped.
Surprise widened her eyes and parted her lips—a lovely image to return to after his disturbing trip to the past.
For one instant, Phillip would have done anything she asked. He lowered his musket and stretched a hand toward her, but before he could even shift his stance, the slave lurched forward.
He encased the woman in his arms, lifting her and covering the lower half of her face with a massive hand. “Hush, now, or you’ll call ‘em all down on us.” Her startled cry preceded the man’s swift backward steps. He hurled a steely glare at Phillip. “You ain’t seen nothin’. Ain’t talked to nobody. You hear, soldier?” The ferocity in his voice chilled Phillip’s blood.
One quick twist of the man’s hand was all it would take to snap the woman’s neck. Berating himself, Phillip released the barrel of his weapon and let it drop to the ground with a soft thud then splayed his hands in front of him. “No need to hurt her. Let her go, and I’ll never breathe a word I saw you. You can go right—”
The slave flipped the woman’s legs into the air and caught them under his arm in the same instant that he took flight.
Three seconds into Phillip’s pursuit, common sense won out, and he came to a quick stop. If he were going into the wilds after an unpredictable giant, he had better have a squad backing him.
Within moments, the only evidence left of the woman’s presence was the dread constricting Phillip’s chest that no one would believe she’d even been there.

CFBA>>>Sixty Acres and a Bride….Regina Jennings

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingSixty Acres and a BrideBethany House (February 1, 2012)byRegina JenningsABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Regina:

See me laughing. That’s what I do when someone calls me an author. Yes, it’s always been my dream, but I still can’t keep from giggling over it.

Other things I am – a Christ-follower, a wife, a homeschooling mother of four, a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, and a voracious reader.

Getting reading time isn’t easy. Seems like my family does more than our share of traveling. My husband is an insurance adjuster (I know, save the hate mail) and travels with the catastrophe team often. That’s allowed us to see a lot of the United States. True many times it’s in the middle of a hurricane or blizzard, but after spending three weeks in a hotel room with six people, you’ll brave anything to get out and see the sights – no matter how damaged they might be.

We also serve on the Missions Team at an amazing church, so we break out the passports frequently. Highlights include singing at a leper colony in India, holding church inside a Mexican prison and showing the Jesus film to a tribe in Senegal who’d never heard the gospel.

But I don’t have to go far away for unusual. My family provides plenty of colorful material with their love for practical jokes, pithy observations and strong agricultural roots. Because of the family business, a significant chunk of my life has been spent at sale barns and auctions – often behind the scales where I weigh pigs. I like to think of myself as a “redneck bluestocking” but I brought an entire marketing team’s discussion to a screeching halt when I said those words, so you didn’t hear it from me.

When I have spare time I love to talk books and quirky characters (real and fictional).

ABOUT THE BOOK

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa can’t keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can’t help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sixty Acres and a Bride, go HERE.

FIRST Wild Card Tour …To Love and To Cherish….by: Kelly Irvin

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Kelly Irvin
and the book:
To Love and to Cherish (The Bliss Creek Amish)
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 25 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish. A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In author Kelly Irvin’s first installment in the Bliss Creek Amish series, readers will find a charming, romantic story of how God works even in the darkest moments.

It’s been four years since Carl left. Four years since he left the safety of the small Amish community for the Englisch world. And in four years, Emma’s heart has only begun to heal.

Now, with the unexpected death of her parents, Emma is plunged back into a world of despair and confusion. It’s a confusion only compounded by Carl’s return. She’s supposed to be in love with him…so why can’t she keep her mind off Thomas, the strong, quiet widower who always seems to be underfoot? Could the man she only knew as a friend be the one to help her to heal?

In a world that seems to be changing no matter how tightly she clings to the past, this one woman must see beyond her pain and open her heart to trust once again.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736943714

ISBN-13: 978-0736943710

 

My Thoughts about this Book!~

Since this is my first book by Kelly Irvin, well I didn’t know what to expect. Wheeee…..what a start to the book, with a tragic accident that takes the life of mudder and daed right from the start, leaving a family trying to figure out how to manage without their parents. And in the middle of all this, Emma has to deal with the re-appearance of her long lost love Carl. Carl’s appearance confuses Emma because she is suppose to still love Carl, but can’t stay away from her attraction to family friend and widower Thomas.

I highly recommend this wonderful Amish story of pain and loss, love and forgiveness. The will grow to love Emma, Carl, Luke, Thomas and all the rest of these pleasant and loveable characters in To Love and To Cherish.

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The ripe aroma of wet earth filling the air around her, Emma Shirack shifted the basket of tomatoes on her hip and picked up her pace on the dirt road. Her bare feet sank down as the mud oozed between her toes.
The sky was dark overhead as rain clouds gathered in the distance. She should’ve taken the buggy, but hitching the horse seemed a waste of time when it was such a short walk to the produce stand on the highway. “Come on, girls. We have to get these tomatoes to Catherine at the stand quickly or we’re going to get wet walking home.”
Giggles met her urging. She glanced back to see the twins squatting in the middle of the road. Lillie had a small rock in her hand, and the two of them peered at it as if they’d found a great treasure. “Girls! Now!”
She used her schoolteacher voice. At five her sisters hadn’t been to her school yet, but they recognized the authority in her tone. Lillie hopped to her feet, Mary right behind her. “See, it’s a pretty rock, schweschder.”
Jah, very pretty, but right now we have work to do.” A fat drop of rain plopped right between Emma’s eyes. “As soon as we give the tomatoes to Catherine we’ll go back to the house to start the chicken and dumplings for tonight.”
Mary dropped the rock and clapped her tiny hands. “Dumplings!”
Her braids bouncing in glee, Lillie did the same. “Dumplings!”
Two peas in a pod. Emma smiled and focused on the road ahead. The smile faded. It would be so easy to pretend the twins were hers. But that would be wrong. They were her little sisters. At twenty-three, she alone among her friends had no babies of her own. As Mudder liked to say, “In God’s time, not yours.” Emma clung to that thought.
One more curve and they would be at the highway.
“Schweschder, where do the clouds—”
The shrieking of rubber on asphalt drowned out Lillie’s question. Emma stopped dead in her tracks. The sound of ripping metal tore the air. A horse’s fearful whinnies screamed and echoed against the glowering sky.
Emma’s basket hit the ground. She’d spent enough time at the produce stand to know that sound. She lifted her long skirt, leaped across the spilled tomatoes, and ran. “Girls, go to the side of the road and sit down. Don’t move! I’ll send someone for you!” she shouted, not looking back. “Do as I say!”
The sound of their childish voices whipped in the wind around her. If she was right about that sound she couldn’t let them see what lay ahead. For a few minutes, they were better off on the side of the less-traveled farm road with each other for company.
Oh, God, let me be wrong. Let it be a near miss. Let it be an empty wagon. Let it be…anything but the worst. She stumbled on the rutted road and her heavy dress tangled around her legs. Sweat mingled with splashing raindrops. She fought to breathe in the heavy, humid air.
The road straightened. Emma blinked against a sudden gust of moist, hot wind. Where dirt road met asphalt, where their way met the Englisch way, a buggy sprawled on its side, its metal wheels twisted and broken, the orange triangle-shaped symbol for slow still dangling from the back. A mammoth wheat truck, the black tarp that covered its load flapping in the wind, dwarfed the spindly remains.
Emma jerked to a stop. No air filled her lungs, and black and purple dots danced on the periphery of her vision. She bent, hands on her knees, and gasped for oxygen. Nothing. Her lungs ached. Her heart pounded.
The horse reared and screamed, its nostrils flaring, eyes frozen wide open, frantic with fear. Her sister Catherine had two hands on the reins, trying to calm the flailing horse. “Easy, girl, easy!” Catherine’s words didn’t match the heart-wrenching anguish of her tone as she fumbled with the harness. “Down, girl. It’s over. Easy!”
Catherine. What was she doing here? Their horse. Their gray mare. Emma forced herself to think. Their horse. Her sister. Her gaze dropped to the figure on the dark, wet pavement. No. No. No.
Her neighbor Thomas Brennaman knelt next to a twisted figure that lay motionless. Her brother Luke crouched down next to him, bending over the still, white face. Mudder’s face. Thomas raised his head and his fingers touched Mudder’s throat. Emma swallowed the bile in her throat. She tore her gaze from the picture, her heart pounding.
A man in overalls and a John Deere hat held a cell phone to his ear. “Hurry. Tell them to hurry. They’re hurt bad,” he bellowed. “It’s them Amish people with their buggies. I think I…I think I killed them!”
Killed them. No. Suddenly adrenaline overcame the paralyzing dread. She dashed forward. “Mudder! Daed!”
With all the strength he could muster, Luke staggered to his feet. “Emma, help Catherine with the horse! Let it loose before it hurts someone.”
What was Luke doing here? Why wasn’t he at his shop? She shook off her questions and his command and dropped to her knees next to her mother’s still body.
But Thomas grabbed her arms and pulled her to her feet again. His broad frame served as a formidable barrier between Emma and her mother. “No, Emma. Do as Luke says.”
“I can help her!”
Thomas’s grip kept her from sinking to the ground again. Eyes the color of maple syrup held her tight in their gaze. Thomas, of all people, knew this kind of pain. “Your mudder is gone, Emma.”
Still, she struggled. “Daed!”
Luke’s strangled sob spoke for him. “No, Daed.” She ripped away from Thomas and dashed around the broken buggy. “Please!”
Luke held up two bloody hands, palms flat in the air. Emma slammed to a halt. Her brother’s raw agony radiated from his sweet, plain features. His lips trembled over his long beard. “No. Don’t look. Don’t! I tried, but nothing.” His voice cracked. “He was already gone. Help Catherine. Help her!”
Sirens, their shrill cry an alien sound in this Kansas farmland, cut the air. Emma backed away from Luke. The rough asphalt scraped her feet, but she welcomed pain—the only thing that could penetrate this kind of numbness. She shook her head. “No. No!”
Catherine’s cries forced her back into the moment. Here was something Emma could do, something to ease the horrible, enormous sense that she should be doing something. She ran to Catherine’s side and together they loosened the horse’s restraints and led her to the grassy shoulder of the road. The mare, sides lathered with sweat, snorted and pranced but didn’t bolt. “Easy, girl, easy.” Emma patted her long, graceful neck. “It’s all right.”
Words of comfort murmured where there was none.
Catherine threw herself into Emma’s arms. “It was horrible. I saw the whole thing from the produce stand. Mudder waved to me and smiled as they slowed down to make the turn. Then the truck came…”
Catherine’s voice faded. Her knees buckled.
Emma struggled to hold her up. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Her poor sister would have the images burned on her brain forever. Catherine didn’t need to see any more of this horrific scene. Emma grasped her sister’s trembling shoulders. “I need you to do something for me.”
Catherine’s face was white and wet with rain and tears. “I couldn’t help them. I can’t help anyone.”
“Yes, you can.” Emma hugged her and then gave a gentle shove. “Lillie and Mary are down the road. Go get them. Take them home.”
Catherine shook her head and sobbed. “I don’t want to tell them—”
“Don’t. Don’t tell them anything.”
Catherine wiped at her face with a sodden sleeve. “Are you sure you don’t want me to stay with you?”
“Go. Make sure they’re safe. Take them home. Luke and I will come when we can.”
“What about Annie and Mark? They’ll wonder why Mudder hasn’t come home from town yet.”
“Tell them there’s been an accident. Then wait for Luke and me.”
Catherine took off, her stride unsteady at first, then she picked up speed. Faster and faster, as if those horrifying images pursued her.
Emma wanted to run after her, surpass her, and keep on running forever.
“Miss? Miss!”
She forced herself to turn and face the wreckage.
“It was an accident.” The farmer, his craggy, sun-ravaged face wet—whether from rain or tears Emma couldn’t tell—moved closer. He crumpled the green John Deere cap in his huge hand, smoothed it, crumpled it again. “I’m sorry, so sorry. I was in a hurry to get to the mill in Bliss Creek before the rain came. I drove up over the bluff and they were right there. I guess they slowed down to make the turn. I tried to stop. I did, but the truck skidded into them.” He wiped his face with the backs of his stubby fingers. “It was an accident.”
Luke strode toward them, his long legs eating up the road. Her bear-sized brother usually walked the road the way he walked life—in a calm, deliberate manner. Now the world had tilted, taking everything familiar with it. “I know, Mr. Cramer. Don’t worry. We forgive you.”
The man’s mouth gaped wide, exposing crooked teeth. After a second, it closed. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you.”
Emma raised her head to the spattering of raindrops. Maybe they would wash away the anger in her heart. When Carl had left, she’d thought the worst thing that could ever happen to her was done. Over. Now this. Not an intentional abandoning, but an accidental one. In the end, the effect was the same.
Luke was right to forgive. But sometimes right was too hard.

PUYB Tour……Loree Lough…Honor Redeemed

 

Honor Redeemed

About Loree Lough

Loree LoughWith more than 3,000,000 copies of her books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough’s titles earn 4- and 5-star reviews and industry/reader’s choice awards. She has received nearly 10,000 letters from fans who write to say she’s “a gifted writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives.” Her 9/11 series, First Responders (From Ashes to Honor, Honor Redeemed, A Man of Honor) is no exception, and it’s raising awareness and funds for organizations that assist soldiers and first responders, and their families. (For more information about these worthy groups, visit http://www.loreelough.com)

About Honor Redeemed

Honor RedeemedDuring rush hour one cold November night, a jumbo jet crashes on a busy highway…most of it, anyway. Honor Mackenzie and Rowdy, her trusty Search and Rescue dog, join the SAR team to search for the tail section, reported by witnesses to have landed in the dark and rainy woods along Baltimore’s Patapsco River.

Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Matt Phillips, forced to leave his SAR work behind to ensure his motherless twins would always have a dad, leaves the boys with a neighbor and heads to the woods, intent on getting another breaking story. It takes weeks to figure out why she’d given him such an icy reception: Another headline-hungry reporter–whose less-than-accurate story–ended her career with the fire department. In his effort to prove that not every reporter sacrifices “truth” for “story,” Matt finds himself attracted to the beautiful sad-eyed redhead.

As weeks pass, they discover that SAR missions aren’t the only things they have in common. Haunting attachments to 9/11 and the loss of a spouse have kept them lonely and alone…until they find comfort with one another. Much as he and his boys have come to care for her, Matt isn’t convinced that Honor will ever fully commit to him or the twins…especially after she takes a job in New York without even discussing it with him.

During his annual ski weekend with the boys, the heartbroken Matt gets word that Honor has gone missing during a search for a lost girl. He leads the search team, desperate to find her before a blizzard moves in. But even if he does, will they find their way back to one another…

…or back to living life alone?

My Thoughts on this Book!

We follow the journey of the main characters in this book, Matt and Honor. Matt is a reporter and Honor trains search and rescue dogs and their handlers, and she is a SAR as well. Honor didn’t think much of reporters since her reputation was destroyed by a TV reporter after reporting some untrue things about her job as a firefighter. Even though she liked Matt, she was sceptical about him because he just happened to be a reporter, and she thinks they are all alike. Matt is not without hurt either, he is raising his twin boys due to the death of his wife. Will these two young people who are attracted to each other find love again, or will they cling to their hurtful lives they are living?

First of all, a couple of phrases I feel could have been left out were the ones taking the Lord’s name in vain, I was kind of suprised at this since this is a Christian fiction, but this is just my opinion.

I did enjoy the storyline of this book, with the SAR and the training of the dogs and owners. This was a fun and interesting topic to read about, and Honor did her job well. Honor and Matt were both unique and likeable, but I loved the witty, fun and humorous side of Matt. And with the book ending the way it did, I really hope there is a Book 3 in the series so we can find out more about Honor’s deep dark secret and how it will affect her.

A copy of this book was provided by Abingdon Press through Pump Up Your Book Tours. I was not expected or required to write a positive review of this book. The opinions in this review are mine alone.

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Book Trailer:

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FIRST Wild Card Tour…Martha Rogers…..Amelia’s Journey

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Martha Rogers
and the book:
Amelia’s Journey:

A prequel to the Winds Across the Prairie series

Realms (January 3, 2012)
***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers is the author of Becoming Lucy; Morning for Dove; Finding Becky; Caroline’s Choice; Not on the Menu, a part of a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo; and River Walk Christmas, a novella collection with Beth Goddard, Lynette Sowell, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. A former schoolteacher and English instructor, she has a master’s degree in education and lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For Ben Haynes it is love at first sight, but can a Boston socialite find true happiness with a cowboy from Kansas?

Once childhood friends, Ben Haynes is taken with Amelia Carlyle when he runs into her at her sister’s wedding. Although he will be returning to Kansas and life on his father’s ranch, Ben calls on Amelia several times, and they find they have more in common than they first realized. As he leaves for Kansas, they promise to write.

Back in Kansas, Ben begins to save money toward a home for Amelia even though he has not made his intentions known. He’s relying on God to make a way. Meanwhile, Amelia is presented to society and has several young men vying for her attention.

Although Ben has captured Amelia’s heart, her parents make every effort to discourage the relationship, even forbidding Amelia to correspond with him. Amelia tells Ben that she will wait for him as long as it takes, but will the love and loss they experience along the way bring them closer or drive them apart forever?

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms (January 3, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616385820

ISBN-13: 978-1616385828

My Thoughts on this Book!

I’ve read a few of Martha’s books and she is a new favorite author of mine. I enjoyed the story of Amelia as we followed her journey in trying to find a husband, especially one that suits her father. But the problem is, Amelia is attracted to Ben Haynes and seems that no other can up to par with Ben. Which didn’t go well with Amelia’s father at all, Ben was not the man for his daughter.

I did appreciate the attitude of Amelia and Ben though, but how difficult it must have been to respect her fathers wishes. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series as well.

 

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Saturday, August 19, 1876
Amelia Carlyle’s face ached from the smile pasted on

Uit for the last three-quarters of an hour. Would this

ceremony never end? She balanced first on one foot and then the other to relieve the pain caused by the white satin pumps Amanda had insisted Amelia must wear.

Amanda’s face glowed with the radiance of the love she had for Charles Scott Bishop, the man who became her husband today. If that love ever happened to Amelia, and she decided to marry, it’d be a small and simple wed ding without all this pomp and circumstance.

At last the minister pronounced them husband and wife, and Charles leaned forward to kiss his bride. Amelia’s thoughts went immediately to the buffet to be served at the reception. Mama and Papa had spared no expense for their oldest daughter’s wedding, and Amelia anticipated the spread of lobster, roast beef, croissants, and wedding cake.

Amanda and Charles made their way back up the aisle, and Amelia dreaded walking even that short distance in her shoes, but she put on another smile and made it to the front steps of the church where carriages waited to take them to the hotel for the reception.

Once they arrived, guests mingled and greeted the bride and groom, but Amelia found the closest table and sat down to slip off her shoes. Her white-stockinged toes wiggled in great relief to be free of their bindings. She turned her back to the room to hide her most unseemly behavior, but comfort won over decorum. She lifted her skirts to run her fingers along the arch of one foot, which relaxed in contentment. Of course if anyone asked her to dance later, she may not be able to squeeze her feet back into the slippers, but she had seen no one with whom she cared to dance anyway.

“Excuse me, Miss Carlyle?”

Amelia snatched the hem of her skirt and yanked it down to cover her legs and feet. She whirled around to find herself looking up into eyes so dark brown, they were almost black. The man towered over her with broad shoul- ders that blocked any view of the room behind him. A tingling started in her toes and progressed its way to her heart. Why had she not noticed this handsome young man before? “Yes, I’m Miss Carlyle, but I do believe you have the advantage.” His smile sent even more tremors through her bones. “I . . . I don’t recall having met you before.”

“Of course you don’t. You were twelve, and I was a skinny fourteen-year-old. Neither of us paid much attention to the other when we last met at my grandparents’ home for dinner after church one Sunday. My name’s Benjamin Haynes.”

Benjamin Haynes, of course, the son of her parents’ best friends of school days, but what was he doing in Boston? His family lived in Kansas. “Oh, yes, that was a few years ago. Have you moved back here?”

He grinned, and his eyes sparkled with amusement. “No, but my parents found your sister’s wedding to be the perfect opportunity for a return trip, and I must say now I’m glad I came along.”

Heat rose in her cheeks, and her tongue turned to mush. She simply stared back at him with what she hoped was not a stupid smile. What if he asked her to dance? Her feet crossed and rubbed against one another beneath her dress. She’d never get her feet back into those shoes.

“May I get you some refreshment?”

Amelia nodded. “A . . . a cup of punch would be nice.” As he turned to carry out the request, she groaned. Another thing she’d forgotten, no buffet table without her shoes. If she dared walk across the floor without them, her skirt would drag and give away her secret. As if in protest, her stomach grumbled and sent a wave of hunger pangs to her brain. All that food so near, yet it may as well be in another town for all the good it did her seated across the room.

Her gaze landed on Benjamin at the serving table. Although she vaguely remembered him from his last visit, he appeared much taller and was certainly more hand- some than he had been then. His dark brown hair even curled slightly at the neckline. Of course she hadn’t been truly interested in boys at that time. Being noticed by him created a bit of delight in her now.

Benjamin returned, not only with a cup of punch, but also with a plate filled with some of her favorites from the buffet array. “I thought you might not want to cross the floor to the serving table without your shoes, so I brought it to you. I hope you like what I selected.”

Heat again filled her face. He’d noticed her shoeless feet and had sought to save her further embarrassment by being so polite. For that her stomach thanked him. “Thank you, Mr. Haynes. This will do quite nicely, but what about you? When will you eat?”

“If you’ll allow me, I’ll get my plate and rejoin you.” “I’d like that very much, thank you.” Her heart beat

in double time as he returned to the buffet and made his own selections. His broad shoulders hinted at the muscles and strength that must be hidden beneath the sleeves of the black suit he wore. The evening took on a whole new interest, and Amelia tucked her feet well beneath her skirts to keep them hidden from view.

When he returned, he sat in the chair next to hers. Miracles of miracles, no one asked to join them, and they remained alone. Her father may have a few words about that later, but for the time being, Amelia planned to enjoy every minute she could have with Mr. Benjamin Haynes.

He spread a napkin across his lap. “Tell me, Miss Haynes, what have you been doing since the last time I saw you?”

It had only been a little more than five years ago, but it may as well have been a lifetime for all Amelia could remember. Her mind a blank, she could only stare at him.

He must think her to be a complete ninny. She cleared her throat. “In school, but of what interest could that possibly be to you? I would imagine your life has been much more eventful and interesting.”

Benjamin grinned at her and sipped his punch. He set the cup back on the table and cocked his head to one side. “My life has been herding cattle and getting them to market as well as bustin’ broncos to have horses to ride.”

“Now that sounds a lot more exciting than going to school, taking piano lessons, and learning to embroider.” She pictured him herding cattle or riding a bucking horse. An appealing image.

A young man approached the table, and Amelia cringed. The last person she wanted to see wore a deter- mined expression on his face. Rudolph, Charles’s brother, wanted to dance, but his surly attitude the night before at a family dinner had frightened Amelia in a way she couldn’t quite explain.

He stopped beside Amelia and Benjamin. “Miss Carlyle, may I have the honor of this dance with you?” His dark eyes held nothing but malice even though his words were polite.

She stuck a shoeless foot out from under her dress. “I’m sorry, Mr. Bishop, but I don’t have my shoes on and have decided not to dance this evening. I’m sure you under- stand I can’t be on the dance floor in my stocking feet.”

He glared at her for a moment, then, without a word, swiveled on his heel and strode across the room. Amelia shivered, thankful she had removed her shoes.

“I must say, that was rude.” Benjamin frowned after the man.

Amelia nodded then smiled at Benjamin. “He’s Charles’s brother, and I’m glad I didn’t have to dance with him.” She picked up a pastry. “Let’s enjoy ourselves and not think about rude men like Rudolph Bishop.” Indeed, she wanted to know everything she could learn about Benjamin Haynes.

Ben wanted to know more about this intriguing young woman he’d known in childhood. Until his father decided to pick up stakes and head west to start his own ranch, the Carlyle and Haynes families had spent many week- ends together as his father and Mr. Carlyle had been close friends and schoolmates.

How thankful he was now that he had not insisted that he be left behind to help the ranch hands with the herds. If he had, he would not be sitting across from the lovely young woman in a pink dress.

“Amelia, do you remember the week my family left for Kansas? Your parents gave a wonderful farewell party for us. Of course you were only five, but I hoped you might recall that night.” If she did remember, he might find him- self in trouble as he had delighted in pulling her golden brown curls more than once just to see her reaction, and she hadn’t disappointed. She had stomped her foot and hit him each time until his mother corralled him the third time and made him stay by her side.

Amelia chewed a piece of pastry and narrowed her eyes at him. She swallowed and pursed her lips. “Was that the time you kept pulling my curls?”

Heat rose in his face. “You do remember. I apologize for my awful behavior that evening, but you looked so cute with those long curls hanging down from that big yellow bow.”

Amelia laughed. “I forgive you, but it hurt that last time, and I wanted to cry. I wasn’t about to let you see me in tears, and I believe your mother took care of you. Mary Beth and I had fun after that.”

“Yes, Mama made sure I stayed by her side, and I didn’t have much fun the rest of the evening. I’m glad you did though. Then your family came to the railway station to see us off on our adventure westward.” That had been some scene with both their mothers crying and their fathers promising to keep in touch.

“Oh yes, I recall how afraid I was of that big engine with its smoke and loud whistle. When it started up and began rolling on the track, I hid behind Mama’s skirt, but I saw you wave at us from the window. I thought you were so brave to move away like that with your family.”

“It was quite the adventure.” And one he would never forget. He held no regret at all for leaving Boston all those years ago.

He glanced up to see his sister headed their way. He didn’t often get to see her so dressed up with her dark hair piled on her head. He grinned when she squealed and grabbed Amelia, her brown eyes dancing with pleasure. “I’ve been looking all over for you. I should have known Ben would have you all to himself.”

Amelia hugged the girl in return. “Mary Beth, I’m so glad to see you. I spotted you at the church when we went back up the aisle. Sit down and join us.”

Benjamin shook his head and glared at Mary Beth, but she paid him no mind and plopped down in the chair on the other side of Amelia. “I’d be delighted. What has my big brother been telling you? I could reveal a few of his secrets if you’d like to hear about some of his antics.”

“We were just talking about one on the night we had that party before you left.”

“Oh, yes, that was some fun watching him get into trouble.” Mary Beth grabbed Amelia’s hands. “How I wish you could have come out to visit us, and I wish we could have come back to Boston more often. Ben almost didn’t come with us, but Pa persuaded him. I’m really sorry we haven’t kept in closer touch.”

Amelia glanced at him and grinned in a way he could only call wicked. “To think we might have missed reminiscing about old times if you’d stayed back with the cows. What a shame that would have been, Mr. Haynes.”

Again heat rose in his cheeks, but he would not let her teasing get to him. “Since we’re such old friends, call me Ben; everybody else does.”

“All right, Ben it is.” Then she turned back to his sister. “Now, tell me what it’s like living on a ranch with all those cattle and horses.”

Ben groaned. Once Mary Beth started, he’d never get a word into the conversation. He may as well just enjoy his food and listen to their prattle. At least he could sit back and show interest in what Amelia had to say without being obvious with his attraction to her.

Her chestnut hair sat piled on top of her head in an elaborate arrangement that must have taken hours to accomplish. Two long curls like those of long ago hung down in the back from the curls amassed atop her head. His fingers itched to reach over and pull one of them as he had when she was five. Now seventeen, she had become a beautiful young lady with a sense of humor and a smile that could melt the heart of any man in her presence.

He blinked his eyes and shook his head as Amelia squealed with delight and clapped her hands. He stared at his sister. “What was that you said about staying in Boston?”

“Ma and Grandmama talked with me last night, and

Pa agreed. I can stay here for the social season this fall.” “Isn’t it wonderful, Ben? Mary Beth and I can do so

many things together and have fun, and I’m sure there will be lots of parties.”

Ben narrowed his eyes. “I’m sure there will be.” This was the first he’d heard of any desire from Mary Beth to come back here. She loved the ranch, or at least he’d thought so.

“What will Ma and Aunt Clara do without you?” She’d been such a big help to them that he couldn’t imagine life without her around.

“They’ll get along just fine. After all, there aren’t any more babies to care for. Gideon, Grace Ann, and Billy are old enough to care for themselves, so they don’t need me looking after them all the time.”

That was true. With his youngest brother now eight years old and in school, no more children stayed at home needing care. Ma and Aunt Clara would manage just fine. Still, he had a difficult time believing his pa would let his oldest daughter live so far away.

Amelia and Mary Beth sat with heads close together discussing all the things they wanted to do in the coming months when Mary Beth would be presented to society just as her mother and grandmother had been before her. Then a bright side occurred to him. With Mary Beth here, that could mean Ma taking more trips to see her. Pa wouldn’t want to leave the ranch, so that would leave Ben to accompany Ma on such trips.

More trips to Boston meant more opportunity to see Amelia Haynes. Of course, he’d have to gain permission from her parents, but that shouldn’t be a problem since their families were longtime friends. The future began to look brighter and brighter. This had been the best trip he’d taken in a long time, and he looked forward to many more like it—that is, if Amelia agreed to his calling on her.

CFBA Tour Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingBlue Moon BayBethany House (February 1, 2012)byLisa WingateABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather’s future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design–if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine’s week–with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather’s project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area’s history, hope, and heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blue Moon Bay, go HERE.

FIRST Wild Card Tour,……Peril (Fast Track Thriller #1)…by: Suzanne Hartmann

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Suzanne Hartmann
and the book:
Peril (Fast Track Thriller #1)
OakTara (November 18, 2011)

***Special thanks to Suzanne Hartmann for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom of three and lives in the St. Louis area. When not homeschooling or writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1 is her debut novel.

On the editorial side, Suzanne is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service. She has consolidated her popular Top 10 series of articles about the craft of writing into an easy-to-understand guide titled Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level, which leads the new writer through the process of writing and revising a novel.
Visit the author’s website.

Visit the author’s blog.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A top secret agent with enhanced strength must use her extraordinary abilites during several high-profile assingments when she escorts the first Muslim king to turn to the Christian faith to the White House and a NASCAR track. when unwanted publicity threatens to expose her, she herself becomes a terrorist target, with danger surroundingher on all sides.

“Plenty of action and unexpected twists.”

Foreword by Jimmy Makar, GM of Joe Gibbs Racing

Product Details:

List Price: $16.95

Paperback: 232 pages

Publisher: OakTara (November 18, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1602903069

ISBN-13: 978-1602903067

 

My Thoughts on this Book!

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The moment Lady Anne stepped out of the Mashkoori embassy, the Washington, DC heat hit her like a wall. The humidity wrapped itself around her like a blanket, heightening the tension writhing in her stomach like a dozen slithering serpents. Only minutes from now she would enter the White House, where Husam-Jabbar threatened an attempt on the life of King Ahmad, her companion for the day.

Placing a hand on the arm King Ahmad held out for her, she firmly pushed her misgivings aside. Premonition or not, she had a job to do.

While she settled herself near the king in the rear of the second of two stretch Hummers, two of his personal bodyguards took up positions by the driver’s compartment. She brushed a neatly manicured finger against a miniscule earbud as she tucked a stray strand of curly blond hair into her elegant updo. The wallet-shaped wireless device in her purse would pick up the chatter between the Secret Service agents at the White House. Knowing she would hear if they spotted any danger eased some of the tension that had been building all morning. But would the well-respected agency live up to its reputation and stop the planned assassination attempt against the king, or would she need to display her enhanced strength to protect her charge?

She glanced at the king. Did he know the terrorist group had announced their intentions on the Arab television network Al Jazeera earlier this morning?

“Are you ready, my lady?” Something about the glint in the older man’s sea-green eyes and the set of his jaw told her he was prepared for whatever might come today, whether he’d heard the latest news or not. Perhaps he’d become used to the constant threat. After all, every Muslim terrorist group in existence had pledged to kill the first Arabic king to convert to Christianity.

“Of course, Your Majesty. This isn’t the first time I’ve served as a bodyguard.”

The king opened a cabinet that hid a wet bar and refrigerator, pulled out a long-stemmed glass, and poured himself some water. He waved a hand toward the cabinet. “Please help yourself.”

Grateful for something to focus on, Lady Anne followed the king’s lead. A sip of the water’s coolness washed clarity into her thinking, as though it were a dose of fresh confidence. If this had been a normal assignment, her veins would have pulsed with restrained energy at a reason to unleash her enhanced strength.

But nothing about this mission was normal. And if she had to use her abilities today, it would be under the watchful eyes of the media. The power the media held to expose her secrets sent a shiver up her spine. But it was far too late to back down now.

A rap on the glass behind the driver’s compartment brought her thoughts back to her surroundings. The thin, beardless guard nodded to his bearded partner. In sync, they pulled out twin S&Ws and aimed them at King Ahmad.

Lady Anne’s hand shook, spilling water onto the floor. She tapped the king’s arm to warn him. Were the intelligence reports wrong about the attack? Perhaps Husam-Jabbar had intentionally mislead them.

The thin guard slid down the long leather seat lining the driver’s side and came to a stop directly across from King Ahmad. He straightened his back, raised his chin, and addressed the ling in Arabic. Although Lady Anne couldn’t understand the words, the gleam in his eyes radiated pride and determination, not hatred.

King Ahmad looked down his long nose at the guard. “You are rude, Kalil, to speak Arabic in front of my guest. Will you condemn her to death without even the benefit of knowing why?”

Kalil wrinkled his nose at Lady Anne as though she were a piece of distasteful garbage, then nodded. “I will grant the wish of a dying man.” He pulled his shoulders back and seemed to take on the role of a judge. “King Ahmad, you have defiled both yourself and Mashkoor by turning to the blasphemous practices of Christianity. According to Hadith 9:57, it is my duty to kill you.”

“Kalil, my trusted guardian.” King Ahmad spread his arms in front of him. “Since when have you taken the requirements of the Koran to heart?” Only a glance at the weapon in Kalil’s hand betrayed any hint of anxiety. “Why, only last week you told me you looked forward to this trip so you could restock your liquor supply.”

Kalil lowered his eyes, “It is to my shame that I have not lived according to the Koran—a Muslim in name only.”

Lady Anne leaned forward. Her muscles twitched, anxious to attack while the man’s guard was lowered. But the bearded guard remained alert by the far door, his Ruger still pointed toward the king. The time was not yet right. She ran a finger around the lip of her glass and sifted through possible scenarios.

Kalil lifted his eyes, now full of resolve. “When you turned your back on Islam, Your Majesty, I realized how much our Muslim heritage had shaped and formed the nation and people of Mashkoor. I called out to Allah and begged his forgiveness.”

“So you joined Husam-Jabbar and pledged to kill the leader of your beloved country?” asked King Ahmad. “How noble of you.”

Kalil lifted his chin a notch higher. “I did not need them. Plenty of people were willing to help me gain the supplies I needed. No, I do this because Allah promised to use me to restore Islam to the kingship.” He pounded his free hand on his chest. “He offered me, who ignored him all these years, a way not only to shift the balance of the scales to weigh in my favor but guaranteed my entrance into martyr’s paradise.” He bowed from the waist. “I must thank you for—”

Lady Anne’s brain screamed, Now! She flung her glass down the length of the vehicle toward the bearded guard.

The foot of the long stem slammed into the man’s forehead. He slumped back against the window. His gun clattered to the floor amid pieces of broken glass.

Kalil jerked his head up and shifted his aim toward Lady Anne.

With a wide sweep of her arm, she backhanded the gun, which fired as she hit his hand. The bullet went wide as the gun flew down the length of the limousine. The window it struck shattered but didn’t break.

King Ahmad leapt out of his seat and tackled Kalil. He threw his full weight against the guard’s chest, then pressed a forearm against his neck.

Lady Anne retrieved Kalil’s Ruger and pointed the weapon at its owner. When the king released the guard, she handed him the pistol and unbuckled the guard’s belt. Once she pulled it out, she rolled Kalil facedown on the seat and tied his hands together.

In the quiet, the electric whir from the front of the limousine sounded loud. She glanced toward Kalil’s partner, who had slid to his side. No threat there. But the glass between the compartments had lowered.

The driver called out in Arabic, and Kalil answered.

King Ahmad pulled up hard on Kalil’s hog-tied arms. “What do you mean by ‘Arm it now’?” The king’s pale eyes blazed. At Kalil’s laughter, the king yanked harder on the man’s arms.

“Your efforts are for nothing,” Kalil spoke through clenched teeth. “We will enter paradise—”

King Ahmad rolled the guard to his back. “What do you mean?”

“If my arms were free, I would show you what is under my shirt.” Kalil shrugged. “But since I cannot…”

Lady Anne ripped open the shirt and ignored the buttons flying in her face. Her attention riveted on the square of gray, clay-like substance strapped to his chest. Wires protruded from it and connected the bomb to a small rectangular case next to the explosive. A red light blinked steadily on the front of the case.

A grin spread across Kalil’s face. “You see, you have not won. Yasir wears one as well, and he has already armed both of them. When he drives through the White House gate, he will push the detonator, which will give him just enough time to pull in front of the dignitaries and take out not only you but also President Hedge.”

Lady Anne held back a gasp. This was a twist no one had anticipated, but she had no way to warn anyone. Now she carried not only the burden of King Ahmad’s safety, but also the president of the United States.

Options flitted through her head as she glanced out the windows. Traffic and pedestrians passed by the historic buildings on their way to work. Too much collateral damage if she took out the driver now and he managed to detonate the bombs.

She studied the Hummer in front of them. Was the rest of the king’s entourage in on the plot? Surely not. The king had supposedly discharged all close advisors who would not support his change in religion. That meant the first Hummer would have to unload its passengers, then move on before the bombs detonated. She prayed she was right.

A low whir sounded again. The driver had raised the window between them. She’d missed her chance to shoot him while it had been lowered.

As they approached Pennsylvania, Lady Anne pictured the area surrounding the White House. Wide-open space free of people, with few buildings nearby. A plan of action formed in her mind. “Once we are on White House grounds,” she whispered to King Ahmad, “wait until I give the word, then jump out of the car.”

The king opened his mouth as if to reject her instructions.

“Someone must warn the Secret Service that the welcoming party is in danger.”

His gaze remained on her for another long moment, then he nodded and handed her the pistol.

“Sit by the door and be ready,” she told him. As he rose, she glanced toward the front of the vehicle. The bearded guard still lay unconscious on the floor.

Suddenly King Ahmad slammed hard into her and landed in her lap. Her head smacked against the window, and she dropped the gun.

Kalil pulled back from where he’d head-butted the king. Before Lady Anne could extricate herself, Kalil rammed King Ahmad in the stomach again.

Lady Anne pushed the king to the side and rose to face Kalil as he prepared another assault. She brought up both hands, balled into fists. They connected with his chin, and bone crunched against bone.

Eyes wide, Kalil flew backwards against a window. His head smacked the rim with a dull thud. He let out a whimper before he landed on the seat, unconscious.

The Hummers pulled to a stop before two military guards standing in front of a line of four-foot-tall posts extending from a small gatehouse. After one of them spoke with the driver of the first vehicle, the posts sunk into the ground, and the stretch Hummer drove over them.

As their vehicle followed, the king reached for a door, but Lady Anne held him back. “There are too many people nearby. We must go through one more gate before we will enter wide-open spaces.”

Moments later, the first Hummer slowed as it approached a gate in the tall wrought-iron fence that surrounded the White House. The vehicle pulled through as the gate swung open.

Once their Hummer entered the fenced area, Lady Anne released the king. “Now, Your Majesty. You will be safe here.”

King Ahmad held his stomach where Kalil had hit him but scrambled to the door. Jerking the handle, he tumbled out as the Hummer passed through the gate.

CFBA Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingSong of My HeartBethany House (February 1, 2012)byKim Vogel SawyerABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can’t work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent–though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter’s unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she’s far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he’s come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

 

 

If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.

The Jerk Magnet Melody Carlson…A Revell Tour

The Jerk Magnet  Melody Carlson

Life at Kingston High

What if beauty is more than just skin deep?

When Chelsea Martin’s future stepmother helps her transform from

gawky and geeky into the hottest girl at her new school, Chelsea is

pretty sure it’s the best thing that ever happened to her. But her hot

new look has a downside. She’s attracting lots of guys who all have

one thing in common: they’re jerks. Oh, and stealing the attention of

all the guys in school doesn’t exactly make her BFF material for the

girls.

Finally a great guy catches her eye. But he’s the only one around who

doesn’t give her a second glance. Can Chelsea come up with a plan to

get his attention? Or will her new image ruin everything?

Price: $12.99

ISBN: 978-0-8007-1962-3

ISBN-10: 0-8007-1962-X

Dimensions: 5.5 x 8

Number of pages: 224

Publication Date: Jan. 12

Formats: Paperback

 

About the Author….Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author

of over two hundred books with sales of more

than five million. She is the author of several

Christmas books from Revell, including the

bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas

Dog, and Christmas at Harrington’s, which is

being considered for a TV movie. She is also

the author of many teen books, including Just

Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double

Take, The Jerk Magnet, and the Diary of a

Teenage Girl series. Melody was nominated

for a Romantic Times Career Achievement

Award in the inspirational market for her

books in 2010 and 2011. She and her husband

live in central Oregon. For more information

about Melody visit her website at

http://www.melodycarlson.com.

 

 

 

 

The Jerk Magnet  by Melody Carlson…Life at Kingston High

My Thoughts on this Book!

Melody Carlson writes some of the best books I’ve read for teenage girls. Her books deal with everyday modern day issues young girls face each day. If you have young ladies this age, then I highly recommend you purchase Melody’s books for them to read!

The Jerk Magnet deals with Chelsea Martin and her self image. Chelsea doesn’t think she is pretty at all, and since losing her mom, she has no one to really talk to about it. That is until her soon-to-be step mom comes along. Chelsea’s future step mom of course wants to be there for Chelsea since she has lost her real mom, so she does a super-duper special make over on Chelsea, changing her looks, making her a most beautiful young lady, thus changing her entire life.

This is a most interesting journey as we follow Chelsea and her new do/new self image, the move to California and the new friends she meets. After Chelsea gives her life to Jesus, she is confused about how some of the so called Christians are living their lives, and seems to have problems finding out just who she really is herself.

I highly recommend that you join Chelsea and her family and friends in this wonderful book dealing with self image that not only you will love, but will capture the interest of your young daughter/daughters as well. You will not be disappointed!

“Available January 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

This book was provided by Revell Publishing for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

A Revell Blog Tour…Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot.

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

 

Summer of Promise  A Novel

Series: Westward Winds 1 by Amanda Cabot

ISBN: 978-0-8007-3459-6

Price: $14.99

Format: Paperback

Publication date: Jan. 12 | Division: Revell

 

 

Book Blurb

Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte’s letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart’s true home?

My Thoughts on this Book!

Wow, I Love, Love this book! At first I wasn’t so sure, but the more I read, the more I was drawn into this story. Abigale Harding was fun and interesting character and showing up at Fort Laramie, Wyoming to spend the summer with her sister was just suppose to be for the summer. But would she be able to leave her sister, her students at the fort, the land that she had grown to love and especially Ethan? But she had promised herself to Woodrow back home, or had she?

Amanda Cabot weaves an intriguing and adventurous story with characters that will capture your heart in “Summer of Promise.” Expect a little bit of everything when you read this wonderful story. You will experience stage coach robberies, rattle snakes (yuck) and bravery, deception and lies, love and romance, heartbreaks and heartaches, along with everything else that goes on in a fort full of men, some things good, and some things not so good. One thing for sure, Abigale showing up at the fort stirred up a lot of things in Wyoming.

If you are a historical fiction person, this is a must read for you. For all others, you will love this book no matter what genre you like. Go out and grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself.

“Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

This book was provided by Revell Publishing for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

About the Author

Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, and Tomorrow’s Garden, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming

 

Welcome to the blog tour for Mornings with Jesus!

Welcome to the blog tour for Mornings with Jesus!
 
 

 

 

About the book:

“Be still and know that I am God.” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that—“be still” in Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence. For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life. With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day. Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year. Each day’s selection includes: • a Bible verse • an entry based on Jesus: His words, miracles, and parables; His wisdom, compassion, and comfort; His mystery, power, divinity, and humanity • a “faith step” that will inspire and challenge readers to apply the day’s message to their lives
 
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My Thoughts on this Devotional

I’ve been using this devotional “Mornings With Jesus” each day for a while and what can I say except I Love It!! It seems as though each day the devotion is just what I need for the day. There are 366 devotions in this wonderful book which covers a little bit of everything. And the devotions are written by some of our all time favorite authors like Judy Baer, Gwen Ford Faulkenberry, Tricia Goyer, Sharon Hinck, Keri Wyatt Kent, Erin K. Marshall and Camy Tang.

This is a book of devotions I highly recommend to everyone, and especially us ladies, since it is written by women authors. These women deal daily with some of the issues we all deal with from time to time, so they know just what we need. And isn’t it just amazing that God knows what we need when we need it! And even though we all are facing different things each day, the devotions still minister to us in a unique way. That is just the way God is.

I urge you to go out and grab a copy of this wonderful devotional just for you. And don’t worry about being a little behind. You can read them anytime and catch up, or just wait until next year and start over.

This book was provided by Guidepost through LitFuse Publicity Group for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 
 
 
Link to buy the book:  http://ow.ly/8BbyO   
 
 
 

Four Letter Words by Bill Giovannetti…PLUS GIVEAWAY

Four Letter Words  by  Bill Giovannetti…PLUS GIVEAWAY

 

 

About Four Letter Words:

Thou shalt tolerate every opinion… except the Christian’s. Today’s postmodern “prime directive” leaves many followers of Jesus tongue-tied. In the global village, isn’t it unreasonable, and even dangerous, to suggest that the Bible has a monopoly on truth?

 

The church needs a new breed of Christ-follower. We need Christ-followers who are alert to today’s touchy ideas, the truths that fire up more heat than light. We need Christ-followers who can make a clear case for the Bible’s worldview; who are ready to help our friends think through their beliefs; who can recognize inconsistencies and challenge them; and who can do all of this with humility, confidence, humor, and love. For more information visit http://fourletterwords.org.

 

Link to buy the bookhttp://ow.ly/8FbUq   

 

About Bill Giovannetti:

Dr. Bill Giovannetti is a professor at A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church of Redding. An experienced speaker and author, Bill informs the mind in ways that touch the heart. He enjoys life with his wife and two kids in northern California. For more information about Bill and his other books, visit  http://maxgrace.wordpress.com  and http://fourletterwords.org

 

 

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My Thoughts on this Book!

 

Four Letter Words by Bill Giovannetti

 

Sometimes a lot can be said in just one word, and it doesn’t have to be a big word. That’s what this book is all about. Words with just ‘four letters’ in them, words we use all of the time, but we don’t aways think about their meanings. The words in this book are: True; Know; Pain; Ouch; Evil; Word; Damn; Wait and Hope. When I read this book, I was amazed at how much information the author included on each of these words.

 

The word “Pain” is one we all deal with in one way or another, whether it be physical or emotional pain. And we all question God about our pain. He can stop it but He doesn’t. But why? Does it mean He’s stopped loving us? Certainly not! God’s love never flickers, even though He doesn’t always stop the pain we are going through. And this is just a very small touch of what this chapter on pain is about. It is wonderful, the book is wonderful.

 

This can be used in a small study group, Sunday school class, personal study, youth groups, retreats, or really just anyone interesting in learning more about Jesus. The author states that he wrote this book “to teach Christ’s followers to cuss boldly, to speak faith’s four letter words, without backing down, yet without coming across as a religious inquisitor either.

 

This is a book I very highly recommend to you or your church. Even though this book is detailed and chunked full of information on these four letter words, it is easy to read and understand. And as an added bonus, this book is written for the modern day Christian because you can use your smartphone to scan the codes at the end of each chapter for more resources for your studies.

Blog Tour Schedule: (please use this link in your post: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13453469
 

 

*******About the Giveaway*******

Bill is celebrating the new Kindle edition of Four Letter Words (for only $4.99)! He’ll be traveling coast to coast over the next few weeks on this virtual book tour and he’s celebrating by hosting a great giveaway!

 

Click here (http://fourletterwords.org/2012/01/contest-giveaway) to find out how you can win two gift certificates to Amazon (in the amount of $50 and $25) and free downloads of his yet-to-be-released title, Recession-Proof: Living a God-Blessed Life in a Messed Up World.

 

The whole scoop here: http://fourletterwords.org/2012/01/contest-giveaway/

CFBA Tour for Mary Connealy’s “In Too Deep”

CFBA Tour for Mary Connealy’s “Into the Deep”

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingIn Too DeepBethany House (February 1, 2012)byMary ConnealyABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie’s Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she’s one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they’d planned.

Ethan doesn’t expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he’s terrified of the pain he’s felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He’s determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch. Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another–and they’ve done a poor job of it. Now she’s planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way!

What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Too Deep, go HERE.

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My Thoughts on this book!

In To Deep  by Mary Connealy

I have been waiting for this book since I read Book One in the Kincaid Bride series. This book follows Ethan Kincaid and his marriage of convenience to Audra Gilliland. Ethan starts having feelings for his new bride and determines to protect her and the children. But this may be a problem because Audra isn’t too very happy with the say the men in her previous life has treated her, so she’s determined to take things into her own hands. This could make things very interesting in the Kincaid household.

 

Again Mary Connealy writes an intriguing story full of adventures with the characters we grew to love in the first book of this series. You just gotta love Ethan’s personality, he’s just one of those loveable guys everyone wants to be around. And they way he is so protective over his family is so very touching. We grow to love Audra as well, though she seems more reserved because of the difficulty she has been through.

 

You will love this wonderful historical fiction, so run and grab a copy for you to read and enjoy. And while you are at it, why not pick up a copy of  the first book in this series, “Out of Control.” You are sure to be in for an awesome read with these two book in your hands. And oh, don’t you just love Ethan on the cover of the book? He’s adorable!

 

This book was provided by CFBA for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

 

 

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