The Story by Steven James

The Story by Steven James


Recapture the mystery of God’s story

With stunning imagery, powerful poetry, and real-life drama, Story is an inspiring journey from the creation of the world to eternity and everything in between. Consummate storyteller Steven James threads together familiar scenes from Scripture that will awaken your faith and inspire you to live in the reality of Christ’s sacrifice. As he untangles the intricacies of the whole story of the Bible, you will rediscover the majesty and the mystery you’ve been missing.


In his new book “Story” Steven James takes the reader through the entire Bible from Eden to eternity in a way you’ve never read it before. The author takes Bible stories most of us have heard from childhood, and adds his emotional drama to them through his poetic writing with the most awesome detail. I could feel the stories come to life as I read them. You just have to read them for yourself to understand, I just can’t do justice writing it all down.


Steven James has a unique way with words in telling a story and this is very evident in this book. With this, along with telling “The Story” in an interesting and incredible way, you will want to keep turning the pages to see what James has next for the reader.


This would be a wonderful resource or devotional book for you to keep around for a long time. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy for your own enjoyment.


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


I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55




FIRST Wildcard Tour presents “House of Mercy” By: Erin Healy

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:
Erin Healy
and the book:
House of Mercy
Thomas Nelson (August 7, 2012)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, Traci DePree, L. B. Graham, Rene Gutteridge, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Robin Lee Hatcher, Denise Hildreth, Denise Hunter, Randy Ingermanson, Jane Kirkpatrick, Bryan Litfin, Frank Peretti, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer, Robert Whitlow, and many others.

She began working with Ted Dekker in 2002 and edited twelve of his heart-pounding stories before their collaboration on Kiss, the first novel to seat her on “the other side of the desk.”

Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. She lives with her family in Colorado.

Visit the author’s website.


Beth has a gift of healing-which is why she wants to become a vet and help her family run their fifth-generation cattle ranch. Her father’s dream of helping men in trouble and giving them a second chance is her dream too. But it only takes one foolish decision for Beth to destroy it all.

Beth scrambles to redeem her mistake, pleading with God for help, even as a mystery complicates her life. But the repercussions grow more unbearable-a lawsuit, a death, a divided family, and the looming loss of everything she cares about. Beth’s only hope is to find the grandfather she never knew and beg for his help. Confused, grieving, but determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the mountains, guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf who may or may not be real.

Set in the stunningly rugged terrain of Southern Colorado, House of Mercy follows Beth through the valley of the shadow of death into the unfathomable miracles of God’s goodness and mercy.



This was different than my usual genre read, but I thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing and mysterious book. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of life on the ranch so wonderfully described by the author. I really like Beth, and was sadened at times for the situation she was in. As you get into the story, you will see that Beth’s family has their issues too, issues that need tending to. But we will see that Erin Healy clearly uses Beth’s difficult situation to show God’s mercy and grace, and how God can take the very difficult times in our lives, even caused by our bad choices, and make something good from them.

If you enjoy a good, clean mysterious thriller, with a bit of supernatural added, then I strongly encourage you to go grab a copy of “House of Mercy” to read and enjoy. This is my second book by Erin, and they both are such awesome books I will sure be back for more Erin Healy reading.

This book was provided by FIRST Wild Card Tours and B&B Media. I was not requried or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.



Genre: Christian Fiction | Suspense

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 284 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Language: English

ISBN-10: 140168551X

ISBN-13: 9781401685515



Chapter 1
It wasn’t every day that an old saddle could improve a
horse’s life.
That was what Beth Borzoi was thinking as she stood in the
dusty tack room that smelled like her favorite pair of leather boots. In the
back corner where the splintering-wood walls met, she tugged the faded leather
saddle off the bottommost rung of the heavy-duty rack, where it had sat, unused
and forgotten, for years.
Her little brother, Danny, would have said she was stealing
the saddle. He might have called her a kleptomaniac. That was too strong a
word, but Danny was fifteen and liked to throw bold words around, cocky-like,
show-off rodeo ropes aimed at snagging people. She loved that about him. It was
a cute phase. Even so, she had formed a mental argument against the characterization
of her- self as a thief, in case she needed to use it, because Danny was too
young to understand the true meaning of even stronger words like sacrifice or
situational ethics.
After all, she was working in secret, in the hidden folds of
a summer night, so that both she and the saddle could leave the Blazing B
unnoticed. In the wrong light, it might look like a theft.
The truth was, it was not her saddle to give away. It was
Jacob’s saddle, though in the fifteen years Jacob had lived at the ranch, she had
never seen him use it. The bigger truth was that this saddle abandoned to
tarnish and sawdust could be put to better use. The fenders were plated with
silver, pure metal that could be melted down and converted into money to save a
horse from suffering. Decorative silver bordered the round skirt and framed the
rear housing. The precious metal had been hammered to conform to the gentle
rise of the cantle in the back and the swell in the front. The lovely round
conchos were studded with turquoise. Hand-tooled impressions of wild mountain f
lowers covered the leather everywhere that silver didn’t.
In its day, it must have been a fine show saddle. And if
Jacob valued that at all, he wouldn’t have stored it like this.
Under the naked-bulb beams of the tack room, Beth’s body
cast a shadow over the pretty piece as she hefted it. She blew the dirt and
dander off the horn, swiped off the cracked seat with the flat of her hand,
then turned away her head and sneezed. Colorado’s dry climate had not been kind
to the leather.
She wasn’t stealing. She was saving an animal’s life.
The latch on the barn door released Beth to the midnight air
with a click like a stolen kiss. The saddle weighed about thirty-five pounds,
which was easy to manage when snatching it off a rack and tossing it onto a
horse’s back. But it would feel much heavier by the time she reached her
destination. She’d parked her truck a ways off where the rumbling old clunker
wouldn’t raise questions or family members sleeping in the nearby ranch house.
She’d left her dog at the foot of Danny’s bed with clear orders to stay. She
hoped the animal would mind.
Energized, she crossed the horses’ yard. A few of them
nickered greetings at her, including Hastings, who nuzzled her empty pockets
for treats. The horses never slept in the barn’s stalls unless they were sick.
Even in winter they stayed in the pasture, preferring the outdoor lean-to
The Blazing B, a 6,500-acre working cattle ranch, lay to the
northwest of Colorado’s San Luis Valley. The region was called a valley because
this portion of the state was a Rocky Mountain ham- mock that swung between the
San Juans to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east. But at more than
seven thousand feet, it was no low-lying flatland. It was, in fact, the highest
alpine valley in the world. And it was the only place in the world that Beth
ever wanted to live. Having graduated from the local community college with
honors and saved enough additional money for her continuing education, she
planned to leave in the fall to begin her first year of veterinary school. She
would be gone as long as it took to earn her license, but her long-term plan
was to return as a more valuable person. Her skills would save the family
thousands of dollars every year, freeing up funds for their most important
task—providing a home and a hard day’s work to discarded men who needed the
peace the Blazing B had to offer.
On this late May night, a light breeze stirred the alfalfa
growing in the pasturelands while the cattle grazed miles away. The herds
always spent their summers on public lands in the mountains while their winter
feed grew in the valley. They were watched over by a pool rider, a hired man
who was a bit like a cow’s version of a shepherd. He stayed with them through
the summer and would bring them home in the fall.
With the winter calving and spring branding a distant
memory, the streams and irrigation wells amply supplied by good mountain
runoff, and the healthy alfalfa fields thickening with a June cutting in mind,
the mood at the Blazing B was peaceful.
When Beth was a quarter mile beyond the barn, a bobbing
light drew her attention to the west side of the pasture, where ancient cottonwood
trees formed a barrier against seasonal winds and snows. She paused, her eyes
searching the darkness beyond this path that she could walk blindfolded. The
light rippled over cottonwood trunks, casting shadows that were
indistinguishable from the real thing.
A man was muttering in a low voice, jabbing his light around
as if it were a stick. She couldn’t make out his words. Then the yellow beam
stilled low to the ground, and she heard a metallic thrust, the scraping ring
of a shovel’s blade being jammed into the dirt.
Beth worried. It had to be Wally, but what was he doing out
at this hour, and at this place? The bunkhouse was two miles away, and the men
had curfews, not to mention strict rules about their access to horses and
She left the path and approached the trees without a
misstep. The moonlight was enough to guide her over the uneven terrain.
The cutting of the shovel ceased. “Who wants to know?” “It’s
“Beth who?”
“Beth Borzoi. Abel’s daughter. I’m the one who rides
Hastings.” “Well, sure! Right, right. Beth. I’m sorry you have to keep telling
me. You’re awfully nice about it.”
The light that Wally had set on the ground rose and pointed
itself at her, as if to confirm her claims, then dropped to the saddle resting
against her thighs. Wally had been at the ranch for three years, since a stroke
left his body unaffected but struck his brain with a short-term memory
disorder. It was called anterograde amnesia, a forgetfulness of experiences but
not skills. He could work hard but couldn’t hold a job because he was always
forgetting where and when he was supposed to show up. Here at the ranch he
didn’t have to worry about those details. He had psychologists and strategies
to guide him through his days, a community of brothers who reminded him of
everything he really needed to know. Well, most things. He had been on more
than one occasion the butt of hurtful pranks orchestrated by the men who shared
the bunkhouse with him. It was both a curse and a blessing that he was able to
forget such incidents so easily.
Beth was the only Beth at the Blazing B, and the only female
resident besides her mother, but these facts regularly eluded Wally. He never
forgot her father, though, and he knew the names of all the horses, so this was
how Beth had learned to keep putting herself back into the context of his life.
“You’re working hard,” she said. “You know it’s after
eleven.” “Looking for my lockbox. I saw him take it. I followed him here just
an hour ago, but now it’s gone.”
Sometimes it was money that had gone missing. Sometimes it
was a glove or a photograph, or a piece of cake from her mother’s dinner table
that was already in his belly. All the schedules and organizational systems in
the world were not enough to help Wally with this bizarre side effect of his
disorder: whenever a piece of his mind went missing, he would search for it by
digging. Dr. Roy Davis, Wally’s psychiatrist, had curtailed much of Wally’s
compulsive need to overturn the earth by having him perform many of the Blazing
B’s endless irrigation tasks. Even so, the ten square miles of ranch were
riddled with the chinks of Wally’s efforts to find what he had lost.
“That must be really frustrating,” she said. “I hate it when
I lose my stuff.”
“I didn’t lose it. A gray wolf ran off with it. I had it
safe in a secret spot, and he dug it up and carried off the box in his teeth.
Hauled it all the way up here and reburied it. Now tell me, what’s a wolf gonna
do with my legal tender? Buy himself a turkey leg down at the supermarket?”
Wally must have kept a little cash in his box. She could
under- stand his frustration. But this claim stirred up disquiet at the back of
her mind. Dr. Roy would need to know if Wally was seeing things. First off,
gray wolves were hardly ever spotted in Colorado. They’d been run out of the
state before World War II by poachers and hos- tile ranchers, and their return
in recent years was little more than a rumor. Wally might have seen a coyote.
But for another thing, no wild animal dug up a man’s buried treasure and
relocated it. Except maybe a raccoon.
A raccoon trying to run off with a heavy lockbox might actually
be entertaining.
“Tell you what, Wally. If he’s buried it here we’ll have a
better chance of finding it in the morning. When the sun comes up, I’ll help
you. But they’ll be missing you at the bunkhouse about now. Let me take you
back so no one gets upset when they see you’re gone.” Jacob or Dr. Roy would do
bunk checks at midnight.
“Upset? No one can be as upset as I am right now.” He thrust
the shovel into the soft dirt at his feet. “I saw the dog do it. I tracked him
all the way here, like he thought I wouldn’t see him under this full moon. Fool
dog—but who’d believe me? It’s like a freaky fairy tale, isn’t it? Well, I’d
have put that box in a local vault if I didn’t have to keep so many stinkin’
Web addresses and passwords and account numbers and security questions at my
fingertips.” He withdrew a small notebook from his hip pocket and waved the
pages around. It was one of the things he used to keep track of details. “Maybe
I’ll have to rethink that.”
Beth’s hands had become sweaty and a little cramped under
the saddle’s weight. She used her right knee to balance the saddle and fix her
grip. The soft leather suddenly felt like heavy gold bricks out of someone
else’s bank vault.
“Well, let’s go,” she said. “I’ve got my truck right on down
the lane.”
“What do you have there?” Wally returned the notebook to his
pocket, hefted the shovel, and picked his way out of the under- brush, finding
his way by flashlight.
“An old saddle. It’s been in the tack room for years.” She
expected Wally to forget the saddle just as quickly as he would for- get this
night’s adventure and her promise to help him dig in the morning.
He lifted one of the fenders and stroked the silver with his
thumb. “Pretty thing. Probably worth something. Not as much as that box is
worth to me, though.”
“We’ll find it,” Beth said.
“You bet we will.” Wally fell into step beside her. “Thanks
for the ride back, Beth. You’re a good girl. You got your daddy in you.”
With Jacob’s old saddle resting on a blanket in the bed of
her rusty white pickup, Beth followed an access road from the horse pasture by
her own home down into the heart of the Blazing B.
The property’s second ranch house was located more strategically
to the cattle operation, and so it was known to all as the Hub. The Hub was a
practical bachelor pad. Outside, the branding pens and calving sheds and
squeeze chutes and cattle trucks filled up a dusty clearing around the house.
Inside, the carpets and old leather furniture, even when clean, smelled like
men who believed that a hard day’s work followed by a dead sleep—in any
location—was far more gratifying than a hot shower. The house was steeped in
the scent stains of sweat and hay, horses and manure, tanned leather and
barbecue smoke. The men who slept here lived like the bachelors they were. If
their daily labors weren’t enough to impress a woman, the cowboys couldn’t be
bothered with her.
Dr. Roy Davis, known affectionately by all as Dr. Roy, was a
lifelong friend of Beth’s father. Years ago, after the death of Roy’s wife,
Abel and Roy merged their professional passions of ranching and psychiatry and
expanded the Blazing B’s purpose. It became an outreach to functional but
wounded men like Wally who needed a home and a job. Dr. Roy brought his teenage
son, Jacob, along. Now thirty-one, Jacob had never found reason to leave,
except for the years he’d spent away at college earning multiple degrees in agriculture
and animal management. Jacob had been the Blazing B’s general operations
manager for more than five years.
Jacob and his father shared the Hub with Pastor Eric, who
was a divorced minister, and Emory, a therapist who was once a gang leader.
These men were the Borzois’ four full-time employees.
The other men who lived at the Blazing B were called “associates.”
They occupied the bunkhouse, some for a few weeks and some for years. At
present there were six, including Wally.
When Beth stopped her truck in front of the Hub’s porch,
Wally slipped off the seat of her cab, closed the rusty door, and went directly
around back to the bunkhouse. She pulled away and had reached the end of the
drive when a rut jarred the truck and rattled the shovel he’d left in the truck
In spite of her hurry to take Jacob’s saddle to the people
who needed it, she put the truck in park, jumped out, and jogged the tool up to
the house. The porch light lit the squeaky wood steps, and she took them two at
a time. Jacob would see the tool in the morning when he came out to start up
his own truck and head out to what- ever project was on the schedule. She’d
phone him to make sure.
She was tipping the handle into the corner where the porch
rail met the siding when the Hub’s front door opened and Jacob leaned out.
“Past your bedtime, isn’t it?”he said,
but he was smiling at
her. Over the years they had settled into a comfortable
big-brother- little-sister relationship, though Beth had never fully outgrown
her adolescent crush on him.
“Found Wally digging up by the barn,” she said.
Surprise pulled his dark brows together. “Now? Where is he?”
“Back in bed, I guess. He said he followed a wolf up to our place. You might
want Dr. Roy to look into that. Your dad should know if Wally’s . . . seeing
Jacob nodded as he stepped out the door and leaned against
the house. He crossed his arms. “Coyote maybe?”
“Try suggesting that to him. And when was the last time we
had a coyote down here? It’s been ages—not since Danny gave up his chicken
“I’ll mention that to Dad. It’s probably nothing. What had
you out at the barn at this hour? Horses okay?”
“Fine.” Beth’s eyes swiveled down to her truck, to Jacob’s
saddle, both well beyond reach of the porch light. She tried to recall all her
justifications for taking the saddle, but in that moment all she could think
was that she should get his permission to do it. She’d known this man more than
half her life. He was kind. He was wise. He’d say yes. He’d want her to take
But she said, “I’m headed out to the Kandinskys’ place.
They’ve got a horse who injured his eye, and it’s pretty bad. They let it go
too long, you know, hoping it would correct itself, maybe wouldn’t need a big
vet bill.”
“The Kandinskys have their own vet on the premises. Who
called you out?”
“It’s not one of their horses, actually. It’s Phil’s.
Remember him?” “Your friend from high school?”
“He’s been working there a year or so. They let him keep the
horse on the property. One of the perks.”
“But he can’t use their vet?”
Beth looked at her feet. “Phil’s family can’t afford their
vet. You know how that goes. We couldn’t afford him. His family doesn’t even
have pets, you know. They run a grocery store. The horse is his little sister’s
project. A 4H thing.”
“Well, tell Phil I said he called the right gal for the
“I don’t know, Jacob. It sounds really bad. These eye
things— the horse might need surgery.”
She found it unusually difficult to look at him, though she
was sure he was studying her with a suspicious stare by now. But she couldn’t
look at the truck either. Her eyes couldn’t find an object to rest on.
“All you can do is all you can do, Beth. That’ll be as true
after you’re licensed as it is now.”
“But I want to do miracles,” she said.
He chuckled at that, though she hadn’t been joking. “Don’t
we all.” He uncrossed his arms and put his hand on the doorknob, preparing to
go back inside. “I heard some big-shot Thoroughbred breeder is boarding some of
his studs there,” Jacob said. “Some friend of theirs passing through.”
“I heard that too.”
“Maybe that’ll be Phil’s miracle this time—an unexpected
guest, someone with the right know-how or the right resources who will come to
his horse’s rescue.”
“Angels unaware,” Beth said. “Something like that. Night,
Beth didn’t want him to go just yet. “Night.”
She lingered at the door while it closed, hoping he might
intuit what she didn’t have the courage to say.
When he didn’t, she committed to her original plan. She
descended the steps in a quiet rush, wanting to whisk the saddle away before he
could object to what he didn’t know. She wanted to be the one who did the good
works, who made the incredible rescue. She couldn’t help herself. It was her
father’s blood running through her heart.
On the driveway, her smooth-soled boots skimmed the dirt,
whispering back to her truck.
“It’s not your right to do it,” Jacob said. Beth gasped and
whirled at the sound of his voice, unexpected and loud and straight into her
ear, as if he’d been standing on her shoulder. “It’s not your gift to give.”
But the ranch house door was shut tight under the cone of
the porch light, and the bright window revealed nothing inside but heavy
furniture and cluttered tabletops. At the back of the house, a different door
closed heavily. Jacob was headed out to the bunk- house to check on Wally
Beth let her captured breath leave her lungs. She looked
around for an explanation, because she didn’t want to accept that the words
might have been uttered by a guilty conscience.
At the base of the porch steps, crouching in such darkness
that its black center sank into its surroundings, was the form of an unusually
large dog. Erect ears, broad head, slender body. A wolf. She had passed that
spot so closely seconds ago that she could have reached out and stroked its
She took one step backward. Of course, her mind was dreaming
this up because Wally had suggested a wolf to her. If he hadn’t, she might have
said the silhouette had the outline of a snowman. An inverted snowman guarding
the house from her lies. In May.
Beth stared at it for several seconds, oddly unable to
recall the landscape where she’d spent her entire life. She was distressed not
to be able to say from this distance and angle whether that was a shrub planted
there, or a fence post, or an old piece of equipment that hadn’t made it back
into the supply shed. When the shape of its edges seemed to shift and shudder without
actually moving at all, she decided that her eyes were being tricked by the
Convincing herself of this was almost as easy as justifying
her saddle theft.
She turned away from the house and hurried onward, looking back
only once.

CFBA Presents Mary Ellis and her book Living In Harmony

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingLiving in HarmonyHarvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)byMary EllisABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Ellis is the author of many books, including A Widow’s Hope,

Sarah’s Christmas Miracle, and A Marriage for Meghan. She and her

husband live in central Ohio, where they try to live a simpler style of life.

She was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for A Widow’s Hope in

2010, and the 3inner of the Award of Merit in the Holt Medallion Awards

for A Widow’s Hope in 2010.

Living in Harmony is the first book in bestselling author Mary Ellis’s New Beginnings series. It’s about fresh starts and love…and how faith in God and His perfect plan for our lives provides us with the peace and joy we desire.

Amy King–young, engaged, and Amish–faces difficult challenges in her life when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fiancé, John Detweiler, persuades her and her sister Nora to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help the women in their time of need.

John’s brother Thomas and sister-in-law Sally readily open their home to the three newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment and counseling.

During this time Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. She wishes to reconnect with her, but this puts a strain on her relationship with John.

Can John and Amy find a way to live in happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to one another?

I love Mary Ellis’ books! Since I haven’t finished this one, I will post my review asap after I finish reading this. But rest assured, its awesome, just like all of Mary’s books! So don’t forget to grab your copy to read!




Watch the book trailer for Living in Harmony:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Living in Harmony, go HERE.

Litfuse presents The Haven by Susan Woods Fisher plus HUGE giveaway and FB Party

By: Susan Woods Fisher


Link to buy the book:

About the Book: 

When Sadie Lapp steps off the bus in Stoney Ridge after being in Ohio for
the winter, she is faced with a decision–one that goes against her very
essence. Yet it’s the only way she can think of to protect a loved one.

Schoolteacher Gideon Smucker has been crazy about Sadie since boyhood. But his
response to her surprising decision undermines his own reputation–and
his relationship with Sadie.

College student Will Stoltz is
spending the spring at the Lapp farm as a guard for a pair of nesting
Peregrine Falcons–courtesy of the Lancaster County Game Warden. Will
needs to get his life back on track, but his growing friendship with
Sadie threatens his plans.

The lives of these three individuals
intertwine, and then unravel as unexpected twists create ripples through
the town of Stoney Ridge . . . and through Sadie’s heart.

Once again, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher intrigues and delights
with a story that explores the bonds of friendship, family, and true
love. Readers will enjoy every surprise in Sadie’s story as they search
for the truth hidden within these pages.



Sadie Lapp returns to her hometown after visiting her sister and brother in law. To her surprise a lot happened while she was gone, including newcomer Will who is staying in their cabin on the farm. But Sadie has a surprise herself, and boyfriend Gid isn’t to excited about her surprise, but he is willing to marry her to keep people from talking. This sends Sadie into rages and fumes because of all people, Sid should trust her, but he doesn’t. He forgives her instead?

Again, Susan Woods Fisher gives her readers a most captivating and intersting read in this second book of the Stoney RIdge Seasons Series. With wonderful characters that will capture your heart, The Lapp family situations and difficulties keep readers turning the pages until the very last word. This family’s faith in God and love for one another is heartwarming and carries then through some very tough situations, but they always kept their faith in the Lord and they never lost their love for each other.

I highly recommend this wonderful book for your enjoyable read. Grab a copy today, you will not be disappointed!



Read an excerpt!

Meet Suzanne: 

Woods Fisher’s interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D.
Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the
Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world.
In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme:
You don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate many of their
principles–simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving
others more readily– into your life.

When Suzanne isn’t writing
or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is
raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

To Suzanne’s way of
thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is
tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.
Suzanne can be found on-line at:


Win a Kindle Fire or Nook Color from Suzanne Woods Fisher. RSVP “The Haven” Video Chat 8/30.

Enter Today – 8/13-8/30!

Suzanne Woods Fisher The Haven Kindle Fire Nook Color Giveaway


Celebrate the newest book in the Stoney Ridge Seasons series with Suzanne by entering her 4 eReader Giveaway and Facebook Party and RSVPing for the Live Video Chat on 8/30! 

See what folks are saying about The Haven!

Four grand prize winners will receive:

  • A Brand new Kindle Fire or Nook Color 
  • $25 or Barnes& Gift certificate 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 29th. Winner will be announced at Suzanne’s Live Author Chat Party on 8/30. Suzanne will be hosting an author chat (party will start on Facebook AND then be Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and several Burt’s Bees® Nourishing Radiance Kits!!

So grab your copy of The Haven and join Suzanne on the evening of the August 30th for a fun chat (both on Facebook and via Live Video), trivia contest and lots of giveaways. 

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don’t miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

Litfuse presents Sibella Giorello and her new book “The Stars Shine Bright”..Plus Kindle Fire Giveaway. Hurry Ends Today

The Stars Shine Bright

By: Sibella Giorello

The Stars Shine Bright (A Raleigh Harmon Novel)

More about the book:
After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.
Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who’s fixing the races. But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger—and more sinister—is ruining Emerald Meadows.
She’s never felt more alone.
Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day. And she can’t turn to her family for support. They’re off-limits while she’s undercover, and her mother isn’t speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown. Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh’s fiancé wants them to begin their life together—now—precisely when she’s been ordered not to be herself.
With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who’s behind the track’s trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiancé will make things better—or worse.
Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she’s faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.
Wow, this is my first book of this author, and I really want to read the first four books in this series! Sibella Giorello is a truly gifted and talented writer, and I love, love this book, “The Stars Shine Bright.”
I thoroughly enjoyed FBI Agent Raleigh Harmon and her exciting adventures as she poses as the daughter of a rich race horse owner. Her stable owner aunt and FBI agent Jack Stephanson ends up keeping her on her toes. I really grew to love Raleigh, I like her spunk, her courage and witty attitude. And she has a heart of gold that will draw anyone in. And the rest of the cast of characters were all so real like, it was like something happening in my own neighborhood!
I am only sorry that it took me this long to read a Sibella Giorello book, but I will sure be on the lookout for what she has in the future.
I highly recommend this book, as well as the first four books in this series, A Raleigh Harmon Novel. Go out a grab a copy of these five books, and you will be in readers heaven for a while.!
I want to thank the publisher, Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publity Group for providing a copy of this book 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.
Link to buy the book:
Meet Sibella Giorello:
Sibella Giorello grew up in the mountains of Alaska admiring the beauty and nature that surrounded her. She majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts hoping to learn more about the landscape she loved back home. From there Sibella followed a winding path, much like the motorcycle ride she took across the country, which led to her true love, journalism.
She found herself in Seattle writing for rock-n-roll magazine and earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington before heading south to the land of great stories.
In Virginia, Sibella became a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was there she also met her husband and would hear Jesus whispering her name at a tent revival.
Sibella started writing about Raleigh Harmon as a way to keep her love of story-telling alive while staying at home with her young sons. As a journalist and author, her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. The Stones Cry Out, the first Raleigh Harmon novel, won a Christy award for debut novel in 2008. Sibella now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons.
Visit Sibella Giorello online at, Facebook or Twitter.

Win a Kindle Fire from @SibellaGiorello in “The Stars Shine Bright” Giveaway!

Enter Today – 8/4-8/25!

Sibella Giorello The Stars Shine Bright Kindle Fire Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:

• A brand new Kindle Fire
• The entire 5-book Raleigh Harmon series.

Hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/25/12. The winner will be announced on 8/27/12 on Sibella’s blog!

Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney


By Lorena McCourtney


About the book!

All she wanted was a paycheck. What she got was a murder.

Cate Kinkaid’s life is . . . well, frankly it’s floundering. Her social life, her career, her haircut–they’re all a mess. Unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, even though she has no experience and no instincts. After all, she is just dabbling in the world of private investigating until she can find a “real” job.

All she has to do for her first assignment is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address. Simple, right? But when she reaches the dark Victorian house, she runs into an hungry horde of gray-haired mystery readers and a dead body. This routine PI job is turning out to be anything but simple. Is Cate in over her head?



“Dying to Read” is a comfortable cozy mystery staring Cate, who is trying to find her way and place in life, and ended up in some difficult and threatening situations in her new PI job working with her uncle. When I read the words, “All she wanted was a paycheck. What she got was a murder,” I figured this would be an interesting book to read, and it was. It’s really not what you would call a suspense, thriller type book, it’s more on the cozy light-hearted side. And it was fun working along Cate trying to figure out who the murderer was, and I didn’t guess it, which was a surprise for!


Though “Dying to Read” started off a little slow for me, after a while I really got into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lorena McCourtney writes a story for the mystery lovers out there with her whodoneit read. If this is the type book you like, then I encourage you to run out and pick up a copy. And if you just like a good clean enjoyable read, then you will enjoy this too.


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


I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55




“With each new mystery series Lorena McCourtney skillfully creates a unique sleuth–and Cate Kinkaid is no exception in Dying to Read. I loved all the witty prose and the laugh-out-loud moments I’ve come to expect when reading McCourtney’s mysteries. Seasoned with romance and a fascinating collection of peculiar characters, this clever tale will keep you guessing about more than murder. Never a dull moment, Dying to Read is a winner!”–Elizabeth Goddard, author of Carol Award-winning The Camera Never Lies

“Lorena McCourtney has fashioned a fun and engaging mystery that begs to be solved. And just when I thought I had figured it out, I realized she had added another layer. Mystery lovers, kick off your shoes, curl up somewhere comfortable, and prepare to be entertained! Dying to Read will keep you fully engrossed and guessing.”–Kathy Herman, author of The Baxter series, Seaport Suspense series, and Secrets of Roux River Bayou series

“I adore Lorena McCourtney books. She’s one of my favorite authors. Dying to Read adds a delightful new tale to her stack of engrossing and entertaining mysteries seasoned with her signature wry humor. The fun and intriguing plot is populated by interesting characters with fascinating quirks, foibles, and challenges. McCourtney keeps the pages turning with fresh developments in a case that lures rookie PI Cate Kinkaid ever deeper into skin-tingling danger. I can hardly wait for the next book in this exciting new series!”–Jill Elizabeth Nelson, award-winning author of Reluctant Burglar

“The beginning of a new mystery series featuring naive but loveable Cate Kinkaid and a hero definitely worthy of the title ‘Knight in Shining Armor,’ Dying to Read keeps one guessing until the very end.”–Ruth Axtell, author of The Moonlight Masquerade and Hometown Cinderella

“Cate Kinkaid is trying to get her life together. Until that happens, she takes on a part-time job as an assistant private investigator for her uncle and instantly finds herself caught up in a messy murder mystery. Crisp, witty writing spins this amateur sleuth tale into a late-night page-turner.”–Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series

“Lorena McCourtney’s lively cozy mysteries hit all the right notes for me and her newest, Dying to Read, doesn’t miss a chord. A quirky, likable heroine, a handsome guy and oh, a murder. Don’t miss Cate Kinkaid’s first case as a PI. It’s a killer.”–Lyn Cote, author of La Belle Christiane

“In Dying to Read, Lorena McCourtney has again given us likable characters and aggravating characters, as well as eccentric and devious characters. This smorgasbord of intriguing people is served up with delicious romance and a tantalizing mystery. I’m dying to read it again, savoring all the spices of a seasoned author.”–Donita K. Paul, bestselling author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles and the Chiril Chronicles

Dying to Read lends an exciting definition to ‘cozy mystery.’ When Cate Kinkaid sets out to find a missing housekeeper, she plunges headlong into the murder of the hostess of a book club. Or is it murder? Dying to Read will keep you turning the pages to learn whodunit.”–Eric Wiggin, author of Skinny Dipping at Megunticook Lake and Blood Moon Rising



Lorena McCourtney is the award-winning author of dozens of novels, including Invisible (which won the Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America), In Plain Sight, On the Run, and Stranded. She resides in Oregon.

FIRST Wildcare Tours Presents High Desert Haven….by Lynnette Bonner

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:
Lynnette Bonner
and the book:
High Desert Haven
Lynnette Bonner via CreateSpace (DATE)
***Special thanks to Lynnette Bonner for sending me a review copy.***

The daughter of missionaries, Lynnette was born and raised in Malawi, Africa. After graduating high school from Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya, she attended Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington where she met her husband, Marty. They married in 1992 and moved to Pierce, Idaho a few years later.

Marty and Lynnette have four children, and currently live in Washington where Marty pastors a church and Lynnette works as an administrative assistant.
Visit the author’s website.


Is Jason Jordan really who he says he is?
Everything in Nicki’s life depends on the answer.

Oregon Territory, 1887

When her husband dies in a mysterious riding accident, Nicki Trent is left with a toddler and a rundown ranch. Determined to bring her ranch back from the brink of death, Nicki hires handsome Jason Jordan to help. But when William, her neighbor, starts pressing for her hand in marriage, the bank calls in a loan she didn’t even know about, bullets start flying, and a burlap dummy with a knife in its chest shows up on her doorstep, Nicki wonders if this ranch is worth all the trouble.

To make matters worse, terrible things keep happening to her neighbors. When her friend’s homestead is burned to the ground and William lays the blame at Jason’s feet, Nicki wonders how well she knows her new hand – and her own heart.

A desperate need. Malicious adversaries. Enticing love.
Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.77

Paperback: 334 pages

Publisher: Lynnette Bonner via CreateSpace

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1477586482

ISBN-13: 9781477586488


This is my first book from this author and wow, I love it! High Desert Haven takes readers back to the 1800’s Oregon Territory, a historical setting I love reading books about. Imagine being bought by a strange man, and volunteering to go because you want your family to be debt free. This is just what Nicki did, not knowing if she would ever see her precious parents and family again. Life was not so bad, until her husband died from an accident and left her alone with someone trying everything possible to take her land from her. What Nicki didn’t realize was that God had a young man all set to come and rescue her. But then so much happens, and can Jason really find out what is going on and protect Nicki from someone who wants her dead?

This book captured me in the first few pages, and I couldn’t put my Kindle down until I finished it. Took me less than one day to read this wonderful book! Lynnette Bonner creates a cast of characters that are interesting and intriguing, some that you grow to love, and some that are really difficult to even like. A lot goes on between the pages of this book, there are so many twists and turns to keep your eyes glued to the book to see what is happening next. And I really appreciate the way Lynnette stresses putting God first in our lives, and letting Him have control. This is what it’s all about, and I am always encouraged to read fiction stories like this. Don’t get me wrong, these characters had more than their share of heartaches and difficult situations, but when they kept their eyes on the Lord, they had peace that the Lord would see them through.

I highly recommend this book for you to read and enjoy. And if you are a historical fiction buff like me, this is a must read! You will be very glad you read it! I didn’t read the first book in the series, but it was ok as a stand alone. I do encourage you to read the entire series by Lynnette Bonner, The Shepherd’s Heart.

On and I forgot to mention, the detailed and vivid descriptions of the setting, first California, then the Oregon Territory was amazing. I could feel the dusty dry sand, the beautiful scenery and the feel of historical living during that time. This book is not only a great read, but a great history lesson!

I want to thank the author, Lynnette Bonner and FIRST Wildcard Tours for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not required or expected to write a positive review.


Desert Haven
Copyright © 2012 by Lynnette Bonner. All rights
Cover design by Lynnette Bonner, images ©,
File: # 9303865 Cute Bride.,
File: Bringing in the Herd, Jeanne Provost #2658808.,
File: Old Map of the US Pacific Northwest #5998922.
created with Photoshop Swirls by Obsidian Dawn,
Author photo © Emily Hinderman, EMH Photography
Scripture taken from the New King James
Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All
rights reserved.
Desert Haven
a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments,
organizations, or locales are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity
and are used fictitiously. All other characters, incidents, and dialogue are
drawn from the author’s imagination.
in the U.S.A.
DUANE AND SYLVIA STEWARTA truer example of walking in God’s
Grace and Mercy would be hard to find.

MELISSA AND KEVINI love you all and am so glad I can call
you family twice—once through our own blood, and once through Christ’s.



again, I owe much thanks to my English-teacher mother. I can honestly say I
wouldn’t be here, writing this sentence, if it wasn’t for her encouragement
along my writing journey.

Lesley, my crit-partner-extraordinaire,
thanks for all your input. I’m so thankful God brought you into my life. I
truly appreciate you (even when I’m grumbling through a rewrite).


The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of
righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort

You prepare a table before me in the
presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow
me All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.


July 1883
s Dominique Noel Vasquez
methodically scrubbed clothes in the tub of soapy water, she listened to the
quiet, strained tones of her parents who sat against the shady side of the
afternoon sun shone on the hard-packed, earth yard of the small adobe hut. Heat
waves, radiating from every sun-baked surface, turned the landscape into a
shimmering sepia blur. Dead brown land lay in every direction; the only hint of
green life was the small scraggly plot of corn that would hopefully feed the
family for the year to come. Even the wheat struggling to grow added to the
dull brown vista. A solitary chicken, scratching for a meager meal, sent small
puffs of dust filtering across the yard and a lonely cow, the children’s only
source of milk, rested her head on top of her split-rail fence and let out a
low bellow.
this heat everyone should have been down for a siesta, but on this day only the smallest children of the household
were resting. Tension rode the heat waves.
plunged harder and glared at the clothes. The creditors had come again this
morning. Last year Papa had been forced to borrow money for seed, and now for
the second season in a row the rains had failed them. There were no crops; they
were down to their last chicken; the one cow’s milk was needed by the children;
and the creditors were howling for their money like a pack of hungry wolves hot
on the scent of lame prey.
tossed an angry glance at the sky. “Lord, where are You when we need You?”
Sweat trickled down her temple and she rubbed it roughly across one shoulder as
she shook out a little skirt with more vigor than necessary and tossed it
across the line. Gentle conviction washed over her. She was throwing a bigger
temper tantrum than two-year-old Coreena did when Papa told her “No.”
anger eased. “Forgive me, Lord. You alone know and care about our plight. But
if there were anything I could do to help Mama and Papa, You know I would do
it.” She paused in her prayer, thinking, then continued, “What is there to do,
Lord? Show me what I can do to help.”
called across the yard, interrupting her prayer. “Nicki, you work too hard.
Sit! Rest! We will finish the washing when it is cooler.”
done, Mama. Then I will rest.”
girl!” Mama turned to Papa but the rest of her words were drowned in a dry, hot
smiled. Mama often castigated her for working too hard, but with twelve children,
nine of whom were still at home to feed and clothe, Mama needed and appreciated
all the help she could get.
reigned for a time. The only sounds filling the afternoon air were the soft
swish, plunge, and gurgle of Nicki’s washing and the giggling of her two
younger sisters splashing each other with cool water by the well. Nicki gave
the last small shirt a snap and deftly flipped it onto the line where the
laundry was drying. Dumping the soapy water in front of the door, which helped
keep the dust down, Nicki hung the wooden bucket on its nail and moved to
carefully empty the contents of the rinse bucket on the one small rosebush at
the corner of the hut.
please!” Juanita Vasquez called from the shadow of the house to Rosa and Juna,
who were getting a little wild and loud with their splashing game. “I have just
gotten Manuel to sleep. Quiet!”
sent the girls into another gale of giggles. Their mother’s voice had been
twice as loud as theirs. But when Papa tipped his sombrero back and glared at
his two wayward offspring, the giggles ceased immediately.
shook her head fondly at her sisters’ wayward ways and sank to the ground next
to Mama, suppressing a groan of satisfaction as she leaned back against the
cool adobe wall. She was tired. All morning she had helped Papa haul water from
the well to carefully water their acre of wheat and corn. A large enough plot
to hopefully get them through another year. Later they would repeat the
process, because watering with buckets did not soak the ground like a good rain
would, and the crops needed plenty of water if they were to produce well.
closed her eyes, trying to ignore Mama and Papa’s furtive conversation.
chicken, Carlos?”
the chicken will not bring in enough to get us through one day, much less pay
the money we owe.”
You are right, of course, and it has stopped laying, so we don’t even have the
eggs from it anymore.” Mama sighed. “Ahhh, maybe we should have chicken
tonight, sí?”
sighed at Mama’s little joke. “We could sell the cow.”
she is the only milk for the children. I would like to keep her if we could.”
tears pressed the back of Nicki’s eyes, and she leaned back against the wall.
What were they to do? Papa would be taken to jail if he didn’t come up with the
money by next week, and then they would all die for sure. The creditors would
take their meager crops to recoup as much of their money as they could. They
wouldn’t care that they’d be leaving a woman and her nine children to starve to
death. Where was Juan when they needed him? Were he here, he’d think of some
way to make the money they so desperately needed.
slight breeze rustled the dried grasses, and Nicki pulled her skirt up around
her knees, not caring that Mama would chastise her for such an unladylike
action. The small breath of fresh air was worth it. Reaching up, she brushed at
the long wisps of black hair that had escaped her braid and rubbed the
perspiration from her upper lip. She wanted a drink of water but felt almost
too tired to get up and get it. Eventually the thought of the cold water won
out. She shifted forward. Mama and Papa could surely use a drink as well.
“Child, you don’t sit still for even a minute! What are you heading to do now?”
drink, Mama,” Nicki said lovingly. “Would you like one as well?” She pushed
herself up from the wall.
voice turned tender. “What would I do without you, child?”
chuckled. She was hardly the child her mother kept insisting she was. At seventeen
she more than carried her weight, but Mama didn’t like to see her children grow
up. Nicki remembered Mama calling Roberto “my little man” on the day of his
wedding! Those had been happier times, Nicki thought as she walked to the well.
The rains had been good in those years, and debt had not hung over the little
adobe hut and its occupants.
Nicki cranked the lever that would pull the bucket up from the depths of the
well, she scanned the horizon and stiffened. “Papa.” Her tone held a soft
warning. Someone was coming on the trail.
rose and stood by her side. Nicki pulled the bucket toward her, filling the
dipper with cool water. If the creditors had come to take her papa away, he
would go having just drunk his fill from the chilled water of his own well. She
handed the dipper to her father. He drank, never taking his eyes off the rider
heading their way, then handed the dipper back. Nicki filled it and moved
toward her mother, who still sat in the shade, tears filling her eyes.
said not until next week.” Mama’s words stabbed a knife of pain through Nicki’s
heart. Whatever happened, Nicki knew Mama would die a slow death once Papa was
taken. Not from starvation, but because the love of her life would be gone.
determination filled Nicki as she marched with the empty dipper back toward the
well. Tossing back a gulp of water, she wiped the droplets from her chin and
pivoted to glare at the man coming into the yard.
froze. He was not the man who worked for the bank.
The man tipped back his dusty, black hat and smiled down at Carlos. The smile
didn’t quite reach his eyes. His gaze flicked past Papa and came to rest on
Nicki. Considerable interest flamed in their depths. He nodded to her, the
smile now reaching his eyes, and touched the brim of his hat in a one-fingered
salute. “Ma’am.” He ignored Papa and spoke directly to her. “I was thinking how
nice a cool drink of water would be. I’d sure be appreciating it if I could
light a spell.”
stepped between Nicki and the newcomer, effectively blocking his view. “Draw
fresh water, Dominique.” He stretched his hand toward the man, indicating he
could dismount. “Welcome.”
Nicki could hear an edge in his voice. This man could mean trouble.
He nodded and swung from his saddle. The man was tall, had graying hair, steely
blue eyes, and a wad of chewing tobacco stuffed in his cheek. He stretched his
hand toward Carlos as Nicki pulled up a fresh bucket. “Name’s John Trent.”
took his hand. “Carlos Vasquez.”
Trent studied her over the dipper as he drank his fill. Nicki averted her eyes
but held the bucket for his next dipperful. She had received more than her
share of such looks and knew what he was thinking. For although this man would
say nothing to her in front of her father, the men down at the cantina showed
no such qualms whenever Mama found it necessary to send her there. The thought
of their suggestive remarks burned a blush across her cheeks. John Trent lifted
the dipper again and raised his eyebrows in amusement.
made small talk about the long hot spell as Nicki pulled buckets of water from
the well for the man’s horse, but Nicki didn’t miss the looks John Trent kept
throwing her way.
he mounted up to ride out, Mama, still seated in the shade, gave an audible
sigh. Nicki couldn’t deny she felt plenty relieved as well.
as he arrived at the crest of the trail, the man paused, and Nicki stiffened.
John Trent rubbed a hand across his face and said something to himself, then
swung his horse once again toward their adobe. His eyes raked her more boldly
this time as he pulled to a stop in their sun-baked yard.
his arms casually on the horn of his saddle, he spat a stream of tobacco into
the dust, turned toward Papa, and brazenly asked, “How much for the girl?”
and Mama gasped in unison.
bucket in Nicki’s hands crashed to the ground, splashing water over her feet.
Quickly she bent and picked it up. She spun on her heel and marched toward the
well to return the bucket to its hook. The
spoke with authority. “The señorita is
not for sale.”
Trent’s eyes scanned the small house and the scraggly field beyond, then
traveled pointedly to seven of Nicki’s brothers and sisters who had gathered in
a little clump to watch the goings-on. Then he stared into Papa’s face before
spitting another stream of brown sludge. “I think everything’s for sale as long
as the price is right.”
daughter is not for sale, Señor. I have to ask you to leave us now.”
him, Trent reached into the pocket of his vest and pulled out a coin. He tossed
it to the ground near Papa’s feet.
A twenty dollar gold piece! Nicki had
not seen Mama move, but the audible click of a cocking shotgun cracked into the
afternoon stillness. All eyes turned toward the door of the house to see her
there, the gun aimed squarely at John Trent’s chest.
eyes dropped to the money on the ground. That little piece of gold could save
Papa’s life. It would get him out of debt and even give them enough to start
over somewhere. Remembering her earlier prayer, she started to step forward.
Papa beat her to it. Picking up the offensive gold, he threw it toward John
Trent as if it were too hot to touch. “She is not for sale!”
deftly caught the coin, pulled two more pieces just like it from his pocket,
and tossed all three on the ground. “I want that girl. Now I am trying to go
about this in a civilized manner, but if I have to, I will take her by force.”
He sat up straight and casually rested a hand on his thigh near his gun.
felt dizzy from the sheer shock of this proposition. Her eyes flashed from
Mama, bravely holding an unloaded gun on the man insulting her daughter, to
Papa, stooping to pick up the offensive coins, to the hand of John Trent
inching toward his holster. She surprised even herself by what happened next.
wait!” She stepped forward. Sixty
“I will go with him.” Her hands trembled as she smoothed the
material of her skirt.
NO!” Mama screamed.
por favor! The money! You will be
free from all this trouble! I will be all right. God, He will go with me, sí?”
don’t do this.” Papa’s words were thick with restrained emotion. “We will work
something out with the bank. You take too much on yourself for one so young.”
Nicki wrapped her arms around his neck. “You are the one who taught me to be
strong, ? Take care of Mama and
make Rosa help her now.” Nicki pulled back, gazing deeply into his dark eyes,
so much like her own, and rested a hand on his stubbly cheek. “She would have
died without you, Papa.”
spun toward her mother, throwing herself into her arms, before the threatening
tears could overflow. “Mama, te amo!” The
choked words were all she could squeeze past her constricting throat. Would she
ever see her beloved mama again?
hugged her brothers and sisters in turn, giving them each a piece of advice on
how to be helpful to Mama and Papa, drying their tears with her skirt and
promising she would see them again someday. Going into the house, she ran her
fingers across the baby-soft cheek of little Manuel, the only member of the
household still sleeping through all the commotion.
then, head held high, she walked out into the searing sun and allowed herself
to be pulled up onto the horse behind John Trent’s saddle.
Mama ran toward her, carrying the family Bible. She pressed it into Nicki’s
hands, making the sign of the cross and blessing her daughter one more time, as
she had done every day since her birth.
didn’t let her family see her cry, but as she rode away from the only home she
had ever known, part of her felt like it died. She allowed herself the small
luxury of quiet tears.
rode north for several days. Nicki was thankful that John Trent seemed to be a
kind man. A justice of the peace married them in his dusty office in a small,
one-street town that Nicki didn’t even know the name of. By evening, they were
moving north again.
had been traveling for more than two weeks, making mostly dry camps at night,
when Nicki heard her husband utter an oath of awe. It was mid-afternoon and
Nicki, her forehead pressed into John’s back, was almost asleep when she heard
his exclamation. Lifting her head, she blinked into the sunlight, almost unable
to believe the sight before her.
lush valley stretched before them. A small creek meandered through its center,
merging with the Deschutes River at one end. The Deschutes was normally
inaccessible due to its steep canyon walls, but here the descent to the river
was simply a long, smooth slope. Here and there a cluster of evergreen trees
could be seen, but the verdant meadow was what had drawn John’s eye.
was like a vivid oasis dropped in the middle of the high-desert sagebrush they
had been traveling through for the last week. The swaying grass was belly high
to a good-sized horse.
that moment, Nicki knew she was looking at her new home. The valley was a
rancher’s paradise, and John had talked of nothing else since their journey
began. He wanted to become a rancher. A rich rancher. And this was where he
would make his start.
made camp early, and Nicki sighed in satisfaction as she waded into the creek
for her first bath in a week. She rolled her head from side to side, rubbing
her neck, working out the kinks of knotted muscle.
waded in as well, and she stiffened as he slid his arms around her waist from
behind, pressing a kiss to her neck.
sensing her tension, he sighed. “I’m gonna make you a good husband. You’ll see,
Dominique. We’re gonna have one fine spread across this valley. One day you’ll
wake up and realize what a good life we’ve had, and you’ll no longer regret the
day you first met me.”
bit her lower lip, hoping he was right. She didn’t think she’d be able to live
with this dreadful despair all her life. She closed her eyes, missing Mama and
the family. Willing herself not to cry, she stepped out of his arms and turned
to give him a tentative smile, but her heart did not lighten.
found the soddy later that evening. There was also a run-down barn, a partially
erected bunkhouse, and a corral all clustered on the lee side of a knoll just
tall enough for the soddy. But the spread had long since been abandoned. The
windowless house was dark, and when they lit John’s lantern, Nicki saw the
spiders scurrying to escape the light. She shivered and went in search of some
brush to use as a broom. Soon the room was cobweb-free, and they made a bed on
the floor for the night.
was still dark the next morning when she heard John saddling the horse. She
roused herself and set about making coffee. He only took the time for one cup
before he rode out with a terse, “I’ll be back soon as I can.”
was gone for two weeks. When he came back, he informed her they would be


Oregon, in the Willamette Valley
January 1887
he tepid January sun
struggled to warm the day, but this winter had been one of the Northwest’s
worst in a number of years. The temperatures barely reached the teens.
the knock on the door, Brooke Jordan rose from scrubbing the kitchen floor and
dried her hands on a towel. Pressing a hand to her aching lower back and
resting one hand protectively on her rounded belly, she moved to see who it
do you suppose would be knocking on our door at this time of day?” she asked
the unborn child.
had become her practice to talk to the baby during the day to ease the
loneliness of Sky’s absence. Since they had moved back to Sky’s childhood home
from the Idaho territory where they had met, Sky had gone to work as a deputy
sheriff for his father and was gone most of the day. She missed him terribly
but couldn’t bring herself to tell him, knowing how much he loved his new job,
even though it kept him away from home for hours at a time.
the door wide, Brooke gasped. “Jason!” She pulled the blond man, almost the
spitting image of her husband, into her cumbersome embrace. “Come in! Sky and I
were just talking about you last night, wondering where you might have gotten
smiled as his eyes dropped to her midsection. “I see I’ve missed some news of
my own while I’ve been gone.”
grin broadened. “This isn’t the only news you’ve missed. Just let me send the
neighbor boy to call Sky, and I’ll be right in. Make yourself at home.”
waved him inside and headed for the house next door.
entered the little house, noting the bucket on the kitchen floor and the line
delineating the clean side from the dirty. Hanging his black Stetson on the
back of a chair, he bent down and took over where Brooke had left off.
Jason,” Brooke said as she came back into the house, “get up off that floor and
sit down!”
grinned at her. “Not on your life. You just plant yourself in that chair right
there,” he pointed toward the dining table, “and start filling me in on all the
news I’ve missed.”
sank into the indicated chair. “First I want to know all about what you’ve been
doing. My, you’ve lost a lot of weight.”
hated the heat he felt wash his face. “Most of my weight was due to the fact I
drank too much. Now that I’ve given that up, I can’t seem to keep the pounds
smiled tenderly. “We are so proud of you, Jason.”
nodded but did not look up. His life had changed because of his relationship
with the Lord, not because he was so great a person. There was no reason for
Brooke to be proud of him, but knowing she hadn’t really meant the words
exactly as they sounded, he kept this thought to himself.
tell me what you’ve been up to,” she prodded.
not much. I’ve punched a few cows here and there, but I thought it was time I
came home to see how all the family was doing. I’ve really missed Marquis,” he
said of his sister. “I would have stopped by there first, but your house was on
the way, so I wanted to stop and say hello.”
we’re all doing fine. As you can see—”
front door opened. “Jason!” Sky strode in. “Where’ve you been? Brooke and I
were talking about you last night.”
and Brooke exchanged amused glances.
Jason extended his wet, soapy hand, but Sky pulled him into a manly embrace.
Then the cousins stepped back and eyed one another.
are things?” Sky asked.
Jason grinned. It was good to be home.
mean with your relationship with the Lord,” said Sky.
grinned at Brooke again. “He sure knows how to get to the point, doesn’t he?”
smiled in response, but her eyes held the same question.
swallowed and fiddled with the scrub brush. “I’m doing good, Sky. I’ve had my
struggles, especially giving up the bottle, but I haven’t given in so far. God
has given me the strength I needed every time.”
God! We haven’t given up praying for you even for a minute.”
The one word could never express his deep gratitude. He tapped the scrub brush
against his palm. “Brooke told me I’ve missed a bunch of news.”
sat next to his wife and took her hand. “Have you ever.”
bent to continue scrubbing the floor, curiosity filling him. “Well?” he asked,
see. First, you can see Brooke is expecting. We’ll have an addition to the
family sometime around the end of this spring.”
sooner than later,” Brooke said, reaching one hand to her lower back.
continued, “Then there is Sharyah. She’s finished her schooling and plans to
find a teaching position for this fall.”
rocked back on the balls of his feet, letting the scrub brush hang between his
knees. “Sharyah. Wow, I seem to only remember her as the little pig-tailed
beauty who drove all the boys at the church picnics crazy ’cause she only had
eyes for Cade Bennett.”
smirked. “Well, she still drives all the boys crazy, but I don’t know about her
having eyes for Cade Bennett anymore. He’s been seeing a lot of Jenny
honey!” Brooke voiced exasperation. Turning back to Jason, she rolled her eyes.
“Men are so blind! Of course she’s still in love with Cade, but he doesn’t have
a brain in his head where Sharyah is concerned. If he had a thimbleful of
wisdom, he would have snapped her up a long time ago!” She emphasized her point
with a snap of her fingers.
chuckled. “As you can see, Brooke and my family don’t get along very well.”
a mock frown, Jason agreed, “Yes, I can see that.”
went on. “Rocky is still a deputy in town. He, Dad, and I keep the town running
criminal-free.” A twinkle leapt into his eyes. “And I guess that’s about all
that’s new.”
Brooke spun, wide-eyed and incredulous, in Sky’s direction, Jason surmised that
Sky had been teasing her and the largest piece of news would be forthcoming. He
swiped his cheek against his shoulder and returned his concentration to the
last section of the kitchen floor. Someday,
Lord, if You’re willing, I’d like to have someone to love that way
giving Sky a friendly punch, Brooke said to Jason, “Your cousin is deliberately
withholding information from you, but maybe we shouldn’t ruin her surprise.
You’d better go visit Marquis right away, though. She’d be terribly
disappointed if you heard the news from anyone else.”
she all right?” Jason asked, tension crawling through his chest. “She’s fine,”
Sky assured.
shoulders relaxed, but a niggling worry still clung to the back of his mind.
“Maybe I’ll mosey on over that way.” He stood and picked up the scrub water.
“Can I empty this for you somewhere, Brooke?”
to one side out the back door is fine.” Brooke waved him through the kitchen.
he made his way back to the front of the house, Jason grabbed his hat, trying
not to let his worry over his sister’s news show on his face. He’d always been
a little overprotective of her, since a childhood illness had robbed her of her
sight. He had been gone for several years when he headed to the Idaho territory
to exact revenge on a man that he blamed for their mother’s death. But he’d
known that, since Marquis was living with his grandmother, she was in good
hands. Since his return to the Lord, finding work had forced him away from his
family, but he had faithfully sent Marquis money every month. Now he wondered
what news Marquis could have that she wouldn’t have told him in her last
head on over to Gram’s, then. It’s good to see you both…and congratulations.”
embraced him once more. “Thank you for stopping by. On Sunday everyone is
getting together at our place for lunch, so come on by and join us.”
do that.” Jason settled his Stetson and headed down the street to Gram’s house,
which sat on the edge of the snow-bound little town.
The Prineville bank was
stuffy and hot. The teller had obviously forgotten to turn down the damper on
the wood stove. The heat had felt nice to William Harpster for a few minutes
after coming in from the single-digit temperature outside. Now, sitting across
from the banker, Tom Roland, he frowned.
his desk, Tom mopped his sweaty brow and tossed an occasional irritated glance
at the teller.
paid no attention to the teller. His eyes were fixed solely on the short,
paunchy, balding Roland seated across from him. “I told you it would take some
been over two years!” The words were forceful but voiced low so as not to reach
the ears of the clerk. “The Association is going to be running us off if we don’t come up on the good
side of this deal. We guaranteed them we’d have the small-timers gone by next
month. You said you could get the job done!”
eyes narrowed. “Do you think I don’t know that? You’re the one who said he was
the perfect man for our plan! It’s not my fault he’s welching on his end.” His
voice became a little too loud and drew a look from the curious teller.
at that moment a patron entered the building, taking the man’s interest off
their conversation. When it was once again safe to resume, Tom’s pale blue eyes
flashed. “Keep it down, would you? This is not my fault. First,” the banker
held up one short finger, “his wife isn’t nearly as timid and withdrawn as you
said. She’s made friends with over half the country, for goodness’ sake!
Second, he’s no longer willing to go along with our plan. And now…” A third finger
joined the first two. “You’re telling me you think he might have a herd of
horses back in those hills that could pay off his loan?”
rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know. Things just don’t add up. He’s been
making his payments?”
on time, every time.”
sighed. There was only one way to ensure their plan would work. “We know what
the Association thinks. But how badly do you want your share of that land?”
Tom Roland
dabbed at his glistening pate with a handkerchief. Then, leaning back, he lit a
cigar and blew a ring of smoke in William’s direction. He wanted that land. The
original owner had given up on ranching and moved back to Chicago, leaving the
land up for sale. Tom had been tempted to buy the land himself, but then John
Trent had walked into his bank. The only reason Tom had loaned John the money
was that he was almost assured the gambler wouldn’t be able to come up with his
payments. Then the land would revert to the bank, where Tom could discreetly
snap it up at a lower price. That and the fact The Stockman’s Association had
needed a scapegoat for their dirty work. But then John had developed a
conscience. And, on top of that, he hadn’t missed one payment.
ran his handkerchief across the back of his neck. Five thousand acres of the
finest range land in central Oregon, and half of it was to be his. Well, maybe
more than half, but he was careful to keep that thought off his face. Yes. He
wanted that land very much. But a couple of things bothered him. “What about
his wife?”
smiled sardonically. “Let me worry about the little woman. Once John is out of
the way, she’ll give up. There’s no way she’ll be able to make a go of it.
They’ve only got two hands.”
Stockman’s Association will break loose with all the fury of Hades if this
doesn’t pan out,” Tom warned. “They were plenty upset that I let him buy that
land in the first place. And if things don’t work out for me, you know they
certainly aren’t going to work out for you, right?”
couldn’t be clearer. Have I ever let you down before?”
blew another ring. “No, William, you haven’t. But let’s make sure this isn’t
the first.”
gaze hardened. “Tom, this better be the last time you need my services. A man’s
patience can only be stretched so far.”
do your job, William. Do your job and let the future take care of itself.”
men glared at each other across the desk. Tom didn’t want to be the first to
look away. Finally William conceded the battle.
looked down at his desk, pulling in a deep drag on his cigar. “Now, back to the
job at hand. I think we both know there is only one way to solve this little
two men’s eyes locked. A silent understanding passed between them.
stood, straightened his cowhide vest with a tug, and placed his hat carefully
on his head. He shook Tom’s fleshy hand and said loud enough for the teller to
hear, “Thanks. You won’t regret making me this loan, Mr. Roland.”
that, he moved toward the door, stepping out into the cold. He took a cleansing
breath of the refreshing air, then headed toward the livery, his boots thudding
loudly on the boardwalk. He had a job to do back home. And maybe, just maybe,
if he played his cards right, by the end of the year he’d be owner of some of
the finest range land in Oregon, not to mention the husband of one beautiful,
desirable Mrs. Dominique Trent. A smile lifted the corners of his mouth at the
thought. Yes, indeed, now that was a dream worth chasing.

Winner of River Rose by Gilbert Morris

Hey folk. Sorry for the delay in the drawing for this book. The results are in. I numbered all of the entries and used to select a number for the winner. And the name that goes with the number 11 is……..Liz! Congrats Liz.

Liz has been sent an email and I will send her mailing address to the publisher for her copy of Gilbert Morris’ new book River Rose.

Thank you to everyone who entered, and for all of you who rated my book review on Blogging for Books!


Lady Anne’s Quest by Susan Page Davis

Lady Anne’s Quest

by Susan Page Davis


Finding an imposter instead of her uncle means Anne’s quest must continue after The Lady’s Maid is wed, and Dan is determined to protect her from the swindlers now trailing her. But though he’s good at keeping her safe, he’s certain he’ll never be able to convince Anne to be his wife since her sights are set on finding her uncle and returning to England. As her quest becomes even more difficult—and dangerous—Anne finds her feelings for Dan changing. Will she soon be envisioning a new life in America?


This second book in Prairie Dreams Series continues where the first book left off. Lady Anne and Elise has accomplished making it across the Oregon Trail with the Wagon Train, and Elise finds herself married. Yes, that right, Married. And Lady Anne is off to the address given for her Uncle David. Only when she arrives at his house, something is just not right. This man isn’t anything like what she thought her uncle would be like. Thankfully Daniel Adams made the trip with her since Elise couldn’t, and she has him to confide in and lean on. Of course she doesn’t want to do much leaning, since Daniel is one who proposed marriage to her while on the trail.

Another funny and fun, and sometimes mysterious and scary story from Susan Page Davis as Lady Anne continues to search for her uncle and new Earl of Stoneford. Along with the same characters we met in the first book of this series, we continue to meet believable and interesting characters throughout this book, some we like, and some that are just not so loveable. And again, Susan Davis pens a story that will keep you reading because you want to find out what happens and to whom it happens to.

Another book I highly recommend to you history buff out there, and really to anyone who wants a good clean and fun read. You will sure enjoy this continued story of Lady Anne and her cast. So grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself. And don’t forget to pick up the first book in the Prairie Dreams Series, along with the third book that will be out soon.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing for providing a copy of this book 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.


Susan Page Davis is the author of more than thirty published novels. She’s a Carol Award Winner and a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. In 2011, Susan was named Favorite Author of the Year in the 18th Annual Heartsong Awards. A native of Maine, she and her husband, Jim, now live in western Kentucky.

The Lady’s Maid by Susan Page Davis

The Lady’s Maid

by Susan Page Davis


Travel along with Elise Finster and her British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, as they search for the new but missing earl of Stoneford. Determined to follow David Stone’s somewhat cold trail leading to Oregon, greenhorns Elise and Anne secure livestock and supplies to join a wagon train. Will the ladies succeed in their quest or succumb to the malfeasance of the mysterious man dogging their heels? Scout Eb Bentley’s initial disgust with these ill-prepared women eventually turns into admiration for one lady in particular. Can he protect her long enough to win her over, or will prairie dreams turn into a Wild West nightmare?



This book was a little bit slow starting for me, but after a while I started thoroughly enjoying the story. This is Oregon Trail/Wagon Train story with a twist. In this one, The Earl of Stoneford’s daughter, Lady Anne Stone and her Lady’s Maid Elise Finster is on the trail. Both ladies know nothing about cooking, or taking care of themselves for that matter. Scout Eb Bentley sees that right off, and does everything he can to try and stop them from joining the Wagon Train. After all, everyone needed to take care of themselves, and no one had the time to take care of two prissy ladies on the long Oregon Trail. But Anne was determined to find her uncle because he was next in line to be the Earl of Stoneford, and Anne wasn’t about to give up her inheritance without trying with all her might to find the next Earl.

This was an interesting story to say the least. Just reading about these two ladies was a hoot at times. Susan Page Davis creates two quirky characters that you will grow to love, and sets them in a historical setting totally different than anything they have ever know, and probably totally different than anything you’ve ever read. And the outcome is very interesting and enjoyable. And I love the history throughout the story, giving readers like myself an enjoyable history lesson to go along with the interesting story.

I highly recommend this book for your reading enjoyment, and especially if you are a history buff. The Lady’s Maid is truly a good, clean, fun, funny, witty read that will not disappoint.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing for providing a copy of this book 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.


Susan Page Davis is the author of more than thirty published novels. She’s a Carol Award Winner and a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. In 2011, Susan was named Favorite Author of the Year in the 18th Annual Heartsong Awards. A native of Maine, she and her husband, Jim, now live in western Kentucky.

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble Plus Facebook Party and Giveaway..ENDS TONIGHT HURRY

Tidewater Inn

by Colleen Coble

Link to buy the book:
About the Book:
Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.
Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.
But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.
Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.
Meet Colleen:
Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
Visit her website at Twitter @colleencoble.



<Enter Today – 8/3-8/23!

Colleen Coble Tidewater Inn Giveaway


Libby loves old historical buildings so much that she has made a career out of it. She and her best friend and partner Nicole restores old buildings and sells them. Little did Libby know that she would inherit a masterpiece historical building for herself, and from family she didn’t even know she had.

Wow, another awesome read from Colleen Coble. Libby’s arrival on the Island, finding out she was now owner of the Tidewater Inn, and meeting her new family and the folks on the Island was more than Libby could comprehend. And then when the lights are turned on her as a suspect in her friends murder, well things start getting a little touchy, nasty and very intense and interesting on this small little Island.

Libby is a sweetheart and everyone can learn from her soft spoken, graceful attitude. And for me, the question What Would Jesus Do? Now has a whole new meaning. And Alec is a man everyone wants to have! He’s just adorable! Colleen has created a cast of characters in Tidewater Inn that you will grow to love and adore. The are so very real-life that I sometimes felt like they were family or close friends. I love characters that give readers this feeling. And Aunt Pearl, a character created in the image of Colleen’s own grandmother is the binding that brings the story together. Between Aunt Pearl and Ray’s love for the Lord, my desire is to be more like these two wonderful characters. People who selflessly love God and show it in their everyday lives.

I was provided a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through LitFuse Publishing Group. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

FIRST Wildcard Tours presents Confessions of a Control Freak by Priscilla Knox Morrison

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:
Priscilla Knox Morrison
and the book:
Confessions of a Control Freak
Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

Priscilla Knox Morrison
serves in a women’s prison ministry, speaks at conferences and retreats
on women’s issues, and writes on topics related to these ministries.
Priscilla enjoys entertaining, playing with her grandchildren, reading,
crocheting, and walking in the woods on the Blue Ridge Mountains where
she resides with her husband, Larry.
Visit the author’s website.


For every woman who can’t let go of control—and for those who live and work with them—comes
Confessions of a Control Freak,
by Priscilla Knox Morrison. Through her practical advice and humorous
personal illustrations, readers will learn to accept their limitations
and trust God with
the future.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99

Paperback: 144 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736946209

ISBN-13: 978-0736946209



Wow did I ever need this book! Sometimes I am a total control freak, and this book shows me just how much of one. A couple of the main things I came away with reading this book is that I need to stand back and let people help when they offer. I like to jump in and do and do….and sometimes thats not so good. Other’s may need and want to help, and I should consider that.

And one that probably all of us need to realize more is how to let go and trust God to take care of our situations. Isn’t it just so easy to step in and take care of things for yourself? Well it is for me, and especially when there is fear of something involved. But we must trust God in everything. Letting go is very difficult, but letting God is so much better.

I highly recommend this wonderful book for your personal library. It is a great reference to go to many times when we are striving so hard to be in control.

This book was provided by the publisher, Harvest House and FIRST WildCard Tours 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.



Are We

Talking About Here?

We all know a control freak when we see one. It’s the person
hardly anyone can stand to work with because it’s her way or the highway. The
mother whose children have to file their socks. The father who gets obedience
from his family but scares the living daylights out of them. The guy who can’t
relax because things around him aren’t perfect. Or the woman next to me on a
plane recently who not only demonstrated how to put my tray down, but told me
where to put my cup. These people can be the bane of our existence, or worse,
we might realize that we’re control freaks too.
Am I a control freak?
Perhaps you’re honestly asking
yourself, “How do I know if I’m a control
freak?” Here are some recognizable signs:
nagging others
trying to orchestrate outcomes
butting into others’ affairs
worrying about things beyond your
feeling anxiety about the future
never feeling peaceful
needing everything to be in perfect
It takes some harsh
evaluating to recognize some of these habits in yourself. If you’re a detail
person, it’s tricky to wear the planning hat and not put on the micromanaginghat at the same time. Before admitting to
this aspect of my nature, I was a very frustrated person. I grew up in a big
family, and I was the neatnik. I loved to clean and organize and had plenty to
work with since our house was always Grand Central Station. If I was a control
freak when I was younger, though, I certainly wasn’t aware of it! Then I got
married and had children. If you’re single and think you might
be a bit of a control freak, just get married and have some kids. Your
tendencies will blossom into a garden of full-blown habits.
My husband, Larry, and I have six
children. I wanted all six. I love
all six. But it was in parenting that my control freak dilemma surfaced. I
still marvel at how many details come into play for eight people to get through
one day—you have to plan for rising times, cooking, dishes, carpooling,
surprise throw-ups, chores (yours and training them to do theirs), squabbles,
laundry, missing socks, sports (in different locations simultaneously), music
lessons, music practice, weather (which is always a challenge to control),
grocery shopping, phone calls, junk mail (thankfully e-mail hadn’t been
invented during those busy days), paying bills, running to the Emergency Room,
making reservations, visiting friends, helping each child with homework,
doctors’ visits, church activities, clubs, kind deeds, character building,
listening, encouraging, wife-ing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Over time, I
morphed from detail-person to Frau Commandant. When did I cross the line? Where
did good mothering, wife-ing, and friending end
and controlling begin?
Where does the term
“control freak” come from?
Curious as to how exactly the term
“control freak” became so popular, I decided to look up the word control in the
dictionary. According to Webster, control means…
to regulate financial affairs
to verify, as an experiment, by
comparison with a standard
to exercise authority over; direct;
to curb; restrain; hold back
authority to direct or regulate
a means of restraint; check
a standard of comparison for verifying
or checking the findings of an experiment
an instrument or apparatus to regulate
a mechanism; as, the controls of an airplane
See anything negative here? When I read
this, a light went on. Not all control is bad. I had become so self-critical
about my controlling nature that I was afraid to tell my kids to take out the
trash. My new goal was to figure out how my personality could flourish without
driving others nuts. There might be a place in the world for someone with my
If the term “control” isn’t all bad,
then perhaps being controlling isn’t all
bad either. Yes! I asked friends about conditions in which it was proper or
valid to be controlling, and they mentioned these situations:
when taking care of children or the
elderly; when you’re responsible for other people
when you’re the chairperson of a
when you need to take charge in an
when you’re an employer managing a
when you’re in an experimental
laboratory and there must be strict control of conditions
when it’s a question of duty—military
leaders, police officers
when it’s forced upon you by people who
are too passive
when you’re in church leadership
So what’s a “control
You know them. You avoid them:
the mother who watches her child’s
every move
the friend who tries to orchestrate a
situation to his or her benefit
the husband who wants to monitor his
wife’s comings and goings
someone who wants to make all the
decisions at the office with no input from others
the one who deliberately joins the
committee in order to run the show
the acquaintance who continually gives
unsolicited advice
We get the idea. When people call us
control freaks, they’re not paying us a compliment.
When I started journaling on the
subject, I actually thought that control was a woman’s problem. This probably
grew from my frustrations as a wife and mother and knowing so many other women
who were in the same boat. In time I saw that control is, of course, a human
problem. I think we all have our areas where we’d like to have more
control—some of us just have more areas! The urge to control is a universal
trait found in women and men alike. My paternal grandfather, for instance,
controlled the household finances, and my grandmother had to go to him each day
for the grocery money. The man was into control.
I a hopeless case?
In the midst of many happy years of
raising what I felt was a wonderful family came some agonizing times. As life
spun out of control I was frustrated beyond belief. I had many difficult
lessons to learn if we were all going to survive. Three things helped me make
Finding that the Bible, God’s holy
Word, was relevant for today. And not only was it relevant, but it was true,
and it worked. Whenever I took the time to search out an answer in Scripture, I
got help. And amidst all the wisdom and help was a relational God who loved me
and graciously revealed purpose to all I was going through.
Reading several books, which I’ll
reference throughout. It’s fun to keep learning and discovering through the
wisdom and experience of those who have been through the same struggles.
Discovering prayer. I was raised in a
Christian home, I married a pastor, and I taught my kids about Jesus, all
without much prayer. Simple, right? Nope—it was the hardest—and most
foolish—thing I ever tried.
What drives us to
control others, or even just our own circumstances?
Some of what drives me—and perhaps you
too—will be covered in the following chapters. Each of us has our own past and
our own unique personality, both of which form our reactions and responses to
life. But control freaks all have some things in common. They might say things
I actually have more talents and
abilities than some others I work with.
I want to feel better about myself.
I’m afraid—afraid of the future, afraid
of losing control, afraid to trust someone else, afraid of failure, and afraid
for those I love.
Are any of these statements true for
you? If so, perhaps you will identify with one or more of the confessions that
follow. If you find yourself in these pages, I hope you will turn to the God
who enlightens, forgives, delivers, and, most of all, loves.
Before we dive in, take a few minutes
to consider the following questions about your own need to take control and
your attitude toward those who seek to control you.
In your own words, describe a control
Would you consider yourself to be a
control freak? Why or why not? (If not, skip to question 10.)
If yes, does this bother you about
yourself? Why or why not?
Do others accuse you of being a control
freak? If so, why do you think they do?
Does it bother you that others feel
this way toward you? Why?
What might you like to change about
yourself, if anything, as it relates to this issue?
What do you think may cause you to seek
control? Is it just a part of your personality? Does it relate to your
childhood experiences?
How did you first become aware of this
Can you think of certain circumstances
that cause you to want control?
of someone you would describe as a control freak. What do you think causes them
to act in this way?
you have a good relationship with this person? If you do, how have you learned
to get along with them? If not, what changes would need to be made before you
could be close?
do you find most difficult about your relationship with this person? Have you
been able to talk with them about it? If so, what was the outcome?
you could communicate one idea to this person, what would it be?
you think it is ever proper/valid to be controlling? Explain.
you are a person who reads the Bible, what have the Scriptures taught you in
regard to the desire to control other people and events?
have other people and life experiences taught you about control issues?

CFBA Presents Murray Pura and his new book “The Face of Heaven”

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingThe Face of HeavenHarvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)byMurray PuraABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


In April 1861, Lyndel Keim discovers two runaway slaves in her family’s barn. When the men are captured and returned to their plantation, Lyndel and her young Amish beau, Nathaniel King, find themselves at odds with their pacifist Amish colony

Nathaniel enlists in what will become the famous Iron Brigade of the Union Army. Lyndel enters the fray as a Brigade nurse on the battlefield, sticking close to Nathaniel as they both witness the horrors of war–including the battles at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. Despite the pair’s heroic sacrifices, the Amish only see that Lyndel and Nathaniel have become part of the war effort, and both are banished.

And a severe battle wound at Gettysburg threatens Nathaniel’s life. Lyndel must call upon her faith in God to endure the savage conflict and to face its painful aftermath, not knowing if Nathaniel is alive or dead. Will the momentous battle change her life forever, just as it will change the course of the war and the history of her country?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Face of Heaven, go HERE.



Wow, mix historical 1800’s Amish living with the Civil war and what you get is an awesome, interesting and intriguing novel that will capture your attention as no other book has. I thoroughly enjoyed Murray Pura’s new book, “The Face of Heaven.” I felt like I was in a history class there for a while, with all of the vivid historical details so professionally described by the author. With a case of characters that will sure warm your heart, this book will stay with you for a long while. I love Amish fiction, and I love historical fiction and books about the civil war, so this was a winner for me!

For all of you history buff’s out there….you will be amazed at this wonderful book with all of his historical facts. I strongly encourage you to grab a copy for a most amazing and enjoyable read.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Harvest House and CFBA for me to read and review. I was not expected to required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.

The Choice … Robert Whitlow…Plus Nook Color Giveaway

The Choice

by Robert Whitlow

About the Book:

One young woman. Two very different roads. The choice will change everything.

Even as a pregnant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing. But when an ageless woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear. She made the best choice she could . . . and has lived with the consequences.

More than thirty years later, a pregnant teen has come into her life, and Sandy’s long-ago decision has come back to haunt her. The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more. But will her choice decision bring life . . . or death?


Wow, this is one good book! I haven’t read many books on adoption, and am really glad for the opportunity to read this one. Robert Whitlow has a unique way of writing that draws you into the story and captures you until way after the book has ended. I kept going back and re-reading parts of it because it is so good!

Cheerleader Sandy Lincoln find herself pregnant by her popular football boyfriend. All of her dreams for life are now dashed, Brad is trying to talk her into marrying him, but does he really want marriage, or does he trying to make sure Sandy gets an abortion so their little ‘problems’ will be over? And Sandy doesn’t know what to do. Between Brad and her family, things are getting even more complicated.

This book starts out with highschool student Sandy pregnant, and ends up with Sandy, thirty-three years later and involved in the life of a 16 year old student who is pregnant. Will Sandy give this student the same advise she was given when she was in the same situation? What decisions did Sandy make for her unborn child? Get these answers and more when you read the interesting and exciting novel “The Choice.”

This book is just so good I can’t begin to explain it all. And it would ruin it for you if I did. So I just highly encourage you to grab a copy for an enjoyable read. It is one of the best books I have ever read, and I think you will feel the same. I appreciated how the author shows that listening to God’s voice when He speaks to us, and following what He wants us to do, makes all of the difference in our lives. You just can’t go wrong with this book!

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

Link to buy the book:

Meet Robert:

Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.

For more about Robert and his other books, visit




Enter Today – 8/7-8/27!

Robert Whitlow The Choice Nook Color Giveaway

5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom Plus Awesome Giveaway!






Duane Harden just doesn’t teach you theory but rather you learn through his very own life hands-on experiences that come along with building a strong portfolio of successful businesses, including residential and commercial real estate, a restaurant, a music company, and many more. He began with no financial education, but he was determined and inspired. Today he leads a Cash Flow Club where he mentors entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their business so they, too, can become financially free.

His latest book is 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom: Do What You Love & Get Rich Doing It.

Visit Duane Harden’s website at

To enter $10,000 Prize Giveaway:

To get your paperback copy of  5 EASY STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Duane Harden at Amazon:

To get your ebook copy of 5 EASY STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Duane Harden for your Kindle:

To purchase a copy of 5 EASY STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Duane Harden at Barnes & Noble:

Pick up your copy of 5 EASY STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Duane Harden on iTunes:

Like Duane Harden on Facebook:

Follow Duane Harden on Twitter:!/CEOeBooks



5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom 2ABOUT 5 EASY STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM

If you hate your job and feel stuck in life, and believe that your skills, education, or lack of finances prevent you from taking a chance on something new, then you need to read 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom: Do What You Love & Get Rich Doing It by Duane Harden.

Conversationally written, and peppered with humorous drawings, helpful worksheets, and key tips, 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom: Do What You Love & Get Rich Doing It shows you to do nothing short of changing your life. Harden helps you figure out what your passions are and how to turn them into profitable businesses. When you love what you do, he says, it isn’t work and any business then becomes a real pleasure. Because attitude is everything, Harden demonstrates how to say yes to opportunity, yes to financial freedom and no to the naysayers who would pull you down while trying to elevate themselves (he calls this a crab pot mentality). Practice the Law of Attraction, he advises, by putting up vision boards around you that have photographs of the things you want in your life. If you imagine yourself rich and happy and doing what you love, you attract those things to you. Plus, you are more likely to go out and do the concrete things you need to do to make that life a reality.

Harden doesn’t just advise. He practices what he preaches. His 90-day action plan comes from Harden’s own reading, attending seminars, completing home-study courses, and pursuing a variety of his very own life experiences, including purchasing numerous real-estate properties. His “Life Assignments” can help you to begin to think and act differently. His “Keys” point out truths about learning to live a wealthier life style. Rich people are not afraid to take chances, he says, and those chances always pay off.

From putting your financial house in order to discovering what really makes you tick, 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom will change your life and make you wealthy while doing it.



In his new book, Duane Harden has given readers an easy and unique way to turn your passions into profits. What a wonderful thing to do with your time and energy! Using the action plan Harden lays out in his book, with the assignments and worksheets, readers will see that making money from what you really like to do is not as difficult as it seems. All it takes is going through the careful planning outlined in this book. And if you are already a business person, this book can make your life so much easier with the tips and planning Harden has successfully outlined and planned out just for you.

I highly recommend this book for those wanting to start a business, or anyone already into a business. This is a sure keeper and will stay on your shelves for a good long while.

This book was provided by PYUB for me to read and review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. Enjoy your money making venture!



~ ~ ~ $10,000 GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~

Duane Harden is giving YOU the opportunity to win $10,000 worth of prizes.  Click banner below for details!

Duane Harden Giveaweay Banner


Food Family Style…….By Leigh Oliver Vickery

Food Family Style

By Leigh Oliver Vickery


365 Simple and Tasty Recipes to Satisfy the Entire Family

Your family is busy. But you still have to eat! Reclaim the family dinner in your household with these mouthwatering recipes, sure to draw your family into the kitchen and around the table day after day. From tasty breakfasts, soups, and salads to easy main dishes and desserts, Food Family Style delivers delicious recipes such as:

  • Easiest Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • No-Rise Cinnamon Rolls
  • Breakfast Pizza
  • Grilled Apple Cheddar Sandwich
  • Bistro Tomato Basil Soup
  • Pesto Pasta Salad
  • Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • Mexican Lasagna
  • Molasses Barbecue Beans
  • Southern Pecan Pie
  • Toffee Ice Cream Squares
  • Easy S’More Bars
  • And much more!

Throughout Food Family Style you will find symbols indicating recipes that double easily, freeze well, are gluten free or vegetarian, can be made in a slow cooker, or are favorites contributed by moms around the country. And since there’s more to mealtime than just the food, this innovative book also includes tips about how to involve your kids in meal preparation, meaningful conversation starters, and simple ideas to bring warmth to your home.



When I saw “Simple and tasty recipes for everyday life” on the front of this book, I knew it had to be a good one. I love that this book has recipes from snack to dinner items with loads of different recipes to help keep everyone happy. I enjoyed trying several of the vegetable recipes as well as some of the pork ones. From what I have experienced, the recipes in this book are easy enough for anyone to make, and tasty enough that you and your family will love them.


There are sections for Kids in the Kitchen, Snacks and Beverages, Breakfast, Sandwiches and Beverages and Pizza, Table Talk, Soups and Salads and Main Dishes and much more in this 268 page book.


I highly recommend this to all of you recipe book lovers. This will be a pleasant addition to your recipe collection, one that you will thoroughly enjoy



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



I received this book from Revell Publishers. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are my own.



Leigh Oliver Vickery is creator and founder of Leigh Oliver’s, a specialty “fun food” company with numerous products on the market in at least twenty-five states and grocery chains, including Whole Foods Market and Costco. She is the former food editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph in Tyler, Texas, and now blogs at


Hidden In Dreams ….By: Davis Bunn Plus Giveaway

Hidden In Dreams

By: Davis Bunn

About Hidden in Dreams           

Just when the world’s foremost expert on dream analysis, Dr. Elena Burroughs, thinks she is getting her life back under control after losing her position at Oxford University and the man she hoped to fall in love with, she is approached by Rachel Lamprey, the product manager of an innovative new ADHD treatment about to hit the market.

Rachel asks for Elena’s help with a clinical trial participant who has had a disturbing dream foretelling a cataclysmic global financial collapse. But even more alarming is the fact that fifteen people scattered across the globe—including Elena herself—begin to experience the same repetitive, devastating dreams of economic ruin just as one bank crisis follows another, suggesting that these aren’t merely dreams.

As Elena searches for answers in her professional networks, she is forced to form an unlikely alliance with her most vehement critic and is drawn back into the spotlight as the public face of the so-called dreamers. As Elena and her collaborators attempt to discover the dreams’ source, the clock ticks down to devastation. Suddenly, it’s no longer just about the dreams. It’s about survival.



I was excited to again meet Dr. Elena Burrough from Book of Dreams in Davis new and exciting new book, Hidden In Dreams. Being the dream expert, Dr. Elena ends up having the same dream as many others around the world, which takes this story into a whirlwind of events that will blow your mind.

Again, author Davis Bunn creates new characters along with those from first book in this series to bring an interesting and intriguing story that will capture your attention and won’t let go until you finish the last word. It was sometimes like reading today’s newspaper or watching the world news. And as with most of Bunn’s novels, when you think you have it all figured out, watch out because there’s another twist or turn around the corner.

Davis Bunn is a unique and crafted writer and has his own unique way of keeping your attention. Hidden In Dreams is truly storytelling at its very best. If you miss this one, you will sure miss an unforgettable treat. I highly recommend this book for your reading enjoyment!

I received a copy of this book for review from Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Read Chapter 1 of Hidden in Dreams for free

Direct link to Chapter 1:

Reading Group Guide for Hidden in Dreams

Video Book Trailer for Hidden in Dreams


About Davis Bunn

Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write. Visit Davis at

A Conversation with Davis Bunn                        

 Q: How much research did you have to conduct to write this intriguing story?

 A: In a way, I suppose you could say I’ve been researching this story all my adult life. I did my studies in international economics and finance. Observing the difficulties our nation and economy has faced over the past three years, as well as what we personally have endured, has been tough. It really was great to have this chance to give voice to what we increasingly hear, that the people at fault need to be brought to justice, and the risk of another economic collapse needs to be halted.

Q: Why is it important for you to write about such timely themes?
A: Economic uncertainty defines the world we live in. I feel it is important to show how the timeless and eternal messages are applicable to every aspect of our world and our lives. And how the gift of peace and wisdom can be used in every circumstance we face.

Q: When you wrote Book of Dreams, did you have plans for this sequel, Hidden in Dreams?

A:Two months after Book of Dreams was released, I had the call every author dreams about and yearns for—a vice president of NBC/Universal suggested we discuss the possibility of turning it into a television series. I was put in touch with one of their producers and over the next six months began working up the basic structure of what this program might look like. One of the ideas I found most appealing became the basis for Hidden in Dreams. There is as yet no firm decision about the television project. But it has been a blast to even be considered.

Q: In writing a sequel it’s always a challenge to include enough back story to satisfy those who haven’t read the first book while still making sure the book stands alone. How do you approach this dilemma?

A: You’re right, it can indeed be troublesome, but this time it all fell together very easily. The structure just flowed. That sometimes happens, where the story seems to create itself. I wish it was true all the time. I can’t even say why it was such a smooth process with Hidden in Dreams. But there was a sense of impatience about the back story, as though I needed to fit in just a few paragraphs, but I couldn’t allow myself or the reader to be drawn too far from this new story’s flow.

Q: Why did you choose to end Elena’s relationship with Antonio? They seemed like a good couple.

A:For this story to work, Elena needed to enter into the dilemma as vulnerable as all the other people who shared the recurring dreams. She was isolated in a new place and forced to be dependent upon her faith and newfound friends.

Antonio (from Book of Dreams) belonged to a different universe, far from what was happening here. I had to make a choice at the outset. Would she remain with Antonio, and the two of them experience this together? Or would she be isolated?

Writing a new story is all about two things: facing the empty page, and choices. It is kind of fun to go back and revisit decisions I made eighteen months ago, when first outlining this concept.

Q: You’re writing about two women in this novel. Is it ever a challenge to write from the female point of view?

A: Learning to write from a woman’s point of view is very difficult for a male writer, as it usually is for a woman author writing a man’s story. Before I was published, I became friends with a husband and wife team who were both opera stars. The woman often sang a male role in a Mozart opera that was originally designed for a young boy, but which nowadays is usually sung by a woman with a slightly lower range, called a coloratura.

I discussed my difficulty with her, of trying to make my women sound real. She told me that my trouble stemmed from working on a woman character from the outside. It wasn’t about making women ’sound’ anything. It was all about making the character live from the inside-out.

 As I worked on the point of view issue, trying to put my friend’s challenge into practice, I also began going into any meeting with a woman carrying a secret tape recorder, and taping everything that was said. I then went back and wrote out every word. It was perhaps the most boring month of my entire writing career.

But gradually I found that I could ‘hear’ the speech patterns of these women, and reshape them into structures that fitted around what was happening in my stories. And through this exercise, the emotional content that lay behind the dialogue, the person who was expressing herself, became more real, more solid.

And then I met my wife, Isabella. And the process of instruction at the intimate level of a God-centered marriage began to unfold.

Q: In Hidden, Elena and her colleagues are attacked in Miami. After the attack, why did Elena not take more precautions? 

A: Elena had a choice to make, and so did I. Either she could play the delicate flower – fearing everything and going nowhere – or she could go on the hunt. I liked the balance between her internal fears and uncertainties, and her quest as a professional psychologist. She is, in effect, trained to look for clues – to go on the quest of drawing out the hidden. I felt the actions she took, despite the dangers, to be her natural response.

Q: Is there another Elena Burroughs book planned?

A: I have another idea. The question is, what do the readers want, and how positive is the reaction to this story?

Q: Why do you write fiction?

 A: I became a believer at age 28. Up to that time, ever since graduating, I had been working in international business. I came to faith while working as a consultant in Germany. I started writing two weeks later. Up to that point, I had never picked up a pen in my life to write anything longer than a business report. But I had always been an avid reader. And the moment I started, that very first instant, I had the sense of invitation. It was the first time I had ever experienced that incredible sense of being drawn in a new, divinely inspired direction.

I wrote for nine years and finished seven novels before my first was accepted for publication. Simply because I had received a sense of calling did not mean I was ready to serve. First the diamond had to be polished. Hard and painful as that was.

Q: While you are a prolific writer, you also get out there and live too! What’s been your most exciting real life adventure?

A: It would probably be better to ask, what has been the most exciting real-life event so far this year. Undoubtedly that would be working on the set of a film being shot from a screenplay I wrote last year.

Unlimitedhas now ‘wrapped’, that is, filming has been completed. The producer and director are now deep into the editing process. The film is due for release in September, 2013. I am currently working on the novel, which comes out a couple of months before then.

I had the whole thing backwards here, doing the script first, but it has been a lot of fun, and the concept remains very fresh. So hopefully Unlimited will come alive on the page as well as the screen.

Q: What is your goal as a novelist?

A: I want to combine a truly entertaining read with a powerful after-effect. My dream is that long after the book is set down with a satisfied sigh, there are still images that surface, lessons that can be drawn, genuine hope and healing and challenges and inspirations. I want my writing to be worthy of the gift.

Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website and blog are at

Subscribe to my blog’s feed (to get my latest posts via e-mail or through your feed reader) at

Sign up for my e-newsletter (for subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of my upcoming novels):

Facebook Author Page:

Twitter: @davisbunn –



Davis Bunn is giving away one copy of Hidden in Dreams on this blog. All you need to do is leave a comment about the book, and leave your email address so I can contact you. I will draw a winner on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

CFBA Presents…..A Sweethaven Homecoming by Courtney Walsh

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingA Sweethaven HomecomingGuideposts (August 2012)

byCourtney WalshABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooking expert, theatre director and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was released in February, 2012 by Guideposts Books, and will be followed by two additional novels in the series. She has also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper and is currently working on her third, The Scrapcrafter’s Idea Book (F&W Publications, February, 2013.)

Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum, newsletters and other publications. She has also written several full-length musicals, including her most recent, The Great American Tall Tales and Hercules for Christian Youth Theatre, Chicago. Courtney is a member of ACFW and is the current PR Manager for Webster’s Pages, a scrapbooking manufacturer. She lives in Colorado with her ultra creative husband and three children.


Suzanne’s daughter, Campbell, journeys there in search of answers to her questions about her mother’s history.

Suzanne’s three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-were torn apart by long-buried secrets and heartbreak. Though they haven’t spoken in years, each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together in Sweethaven.Suzanne’s letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers.

As the scrapbook reveals secrets one by one, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored-just as Suzanne intended.



A Sweethaven Homecoming continues the story of Meghan, Jane, Lila, Adele and Campbell as they work through their differences and friends as well as with their husbands and children. Country Music Star Meghan is shocked that ex-husband Nick wants full custody of their twins, and  flies home immediately after finding out about the custody suit. But why should she be so surprised? She hasn’t seen her twins in two years! Jane still can’t forgive Meghan because she still thinks she is partly responsible for her son, Alex’s death. Lila has filed for divorce from Tom because she can’t forgive him for being the missing father of her childhood friend, Suzanne’s daughter, Campbell. Campbell was excited about spending the summer at Sweethaven because of her budding relationship with Luke, only to find out he is really being distant, and hardly speaks to her. And Adele is finally spending more time with her grandchildren, which is Meghan’s twins. And she wonders if Meghan will ever more back and claim her children.


Wow! All of this makes for a novel full of drama, and that is just what this story is! Another Courtney Walsh book that I thoroughly enjoyed. However I did think a little too much emphasis was put on Meghan at times. Even though she’s dealing with a lot, so is Nick and her twins, so at times I really didn’t feel sorry for her. There is so much in this book that I will just say when you start reading, you will not want to put it down until you find out what happens with everyone involved!!


Crafted with characters that are so believable and real, this is a story that sticks with you a long time after you finish reading. I only hope for another book in this series. This is truly a book about love and forgiveness, and I appreciate Courtney showing how God’s forgiveness can change hearts and restore love between old friends, husband and wives, mothers and daughters and other family members. This is a book well worth your read and I highly recommend it.


This book was provided by Bethany House through Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I was not required or expected to give a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only



If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sweethaven Homecoming, go HERE.

Starring Me by Krista McGee

Starring Me

by Krista McGee


Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do—like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all—in a story so big only He could write it.




Kara McCormick is all excited about being a star in the new teen variety show she is auditioning for. But she doesn’t need God in her life, no matter what her friend says. If she makes the cut, it will be because of her, she will do it on her own. But what Kara doesn’t know is that God wants Kara’s life, and He is in charge of the details.


Starring Me is a fun, youthful, interesting and enjoyable book starring Kara McCormick and some of her friends. Kara is a feisty, fun-lovin teenager who wants to be a TV star, and is very excited when she gets the chance. But its when she has to choose between family and stardom that she really finds out what life is about. I really liked Kara, and I like her family, and family values. I like that the author brings out the struggles Kara deals with because that’s what other teens need to hear. That’s what happens in real life, and just as God was there for Kara during her nervousness, insecurities and difficult situations she had to face,  He is with each of us the same way.


This is a great YA book and I highly recommend this for any teenage girl to read. I love that God leads authors to write books for teen girls so that they can read about characters their age and they way they face life. You will not be disappointed in this one.


I received this book free from blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.



FIRST Wildcard Tours presents….Laura V. Hilton and Healing Love

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:
Laura V. Hilton
and the book:
Healing Love, Amish of Webster County Book One
Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


Laura V. Hilton, of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, author LVHilton1210and book lover. She’s got a degree in business but her passion has long been the mission of Christian fiction. Her first series, The Amish of Seymour from Whitaker House (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) earned praise from critics and fans for originality and authenticity, thanks in part to Laura’s Amish grandmother who taught her Amish culture at a young age, and her husband Steve’s family ties to the Amish community in Webster County, Missouri, which has been helpful in her research. Laura is the author of two novels for Treble Heart Books and a contributor to Zondervan’s It’s The Year Life Verse Devotional. She’s a member of ACFW for whom shewrites Amish reviews for the magazine, Afictionado, anda long time reviewer for the Christian Suspense Zone. Laura is astay-at-home mom, homeschooler, breast cancer survivor and avid blogger who posts reviews at:
Visit the author’s website.


Shane Zimmerman, a young veterinarian and widower, is first person on the scene of a serious buggy accident buggy in Webster County, Missouri. He rushes Amish midwife Kristi Lapp, been badly injured in the crash, to the nearest hospital. The two discover they’re next door neighbors and a friendship develops as Shane helps Kristi with her high-energy Siberian husky, Chinook, for whom she can’t properly care because of her leg injuries. Shane hopes to further develop their relationship, but Kristi is leery and discourages him at first — Shane isn’t Amish (although his grandparents were) and Kristi’s father would prefer she marry any aged Amish widower rather than an Englischer – even one with ties to the community who is close to her age. Despite the forces that would keep them apart, the strong attraction Kristi and Shane have for one another grows stronger. As their on-again, off-again relationship persists, Shane must come to grips with his identity and reevaluates why he’s Englisch.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1603745068

ISBN-13: 978-1603745062





Healing Love by Laura V. Hilton


When Kristi Lapp wrecked in her buggy, she never dreams she will meet the man of her dreams. Or could he be, because he’s not Amish, and Kristi could never give up her family and Amish lifestyle to marry outside her faith. And to make things a little more tense, Shane Zimmerman lives next door to the Lapp farm.


Wow this is a wonderful Amish story, but one with many twists and turns, as I have found in all of Laura Hilton’s Amish fiction. And this is what makes Laura’s book so very good! I love the attraction between Shane and Kristi, and the sticky situations they find themselves in because their lifestyles are so different. And I can understand that Kristi’s dad loves her, and wants only what is best for her. And Shane Zimmerman is not that best, as far as her dad is concerned. But then as Shane spends time around the Lapp farm, with her dad and uncle because he’s walking Kristi’s dog Chinook, the two Amish men begin to respect Shane, and even think he is a good man, good enough for Laura, only if he was Amish.


Oh what a tangled web we weave, and that is just what author Laura Hilton does in Healing Love. Throughout the book, I kept wondering how the author was going to make it a happy ending, or if she would indeed. Well, I’m not going to tell in my review, because it will ruin it for you, but you really need to get the book and read it. I will assure you, there is no disappointment here. And don’t forget to watch out for the next installment in this series, The Amish of Webster County.


A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Whitaker House through FIRST Wildcard Tours for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions here are mine only.


Chapter 1


Kristi Lapp flicked the reins impatiently. “Kum on, Samson. ‘Slow’ isn’t the only speed you’re capable of, ain’t so?” She needed him to pick up the pace. Silas Troyer had banged on her door earlier to alert her that his frau, Susie, was going into labor, and then he’d raced down the lane in his horse-and-buggy to notify their family members of the imminent birth.

Kristi was especially excited about this boppli. Susie had four girls, all of them a year apart, and she’d been expecting to have a boy this time, based on how different it had felt carrying him. Mamms usually sensed these things. And Kristi predicted she was right.

Several deer stepped onto the road right in front of Kristi, none of them even glancing her way. Smiling, she pulled the reins slightly to the right to direct Samson away from them, over to the side of the road. A similarly sized herd had meandered its way through her family’s backyard the other day, and she’d always admired the animals for sticking together as they did.

She tightened her grip on the reins and gave them another flick, hoping to encourage Samson to move more quickly.

As the deer were crossing the center line into the other lane, the powerful roar of an engine broke the serenity of the setting. A red sports car crested the hill up ahead, barreling in Kristi’s direction at a speed she’d never witnessed on this road. She heaved a breath of exasperation. Any idiot would have noticed one of the several signs that read, “Watch for Buggies.” They were impossible to miss, and Kristi had passed four of them in the last mile alone.

As the car whizzed toward her, the herd of deer scattered, darting in different directions. The driver swerved sharply into Kristi’s lane to avoid them, and she gasped, frantically trying to steer the buggy over toward the shoulder. A chill ran up her spine at the sight of the steep embankment and deep ditch below.

One of the spooked deer pivoted. Made a mad dash straight toward her horse. Samson reared and immediately took off at a run, straight toward the ditch.

“Whoa, Samson!” Kristi planted her feet against the front of the buggy and pulled back on the reins with all her might. Leave it to Samson to shift into high gear at the worst time.

The car sped past, but Samson wouldn’t slow down. He was heading straight for the side of the road. Panic surged through Kristi, constricting her breath. Should she try to jump out? She dropped the reins and scooted to the edge of the seat.

She was too late. The buggy lurched as Samson ran headlong over the embankment. As the vehicle tipped, she was propelled out the side. Hours seemed to pass before her body collided with the ground and pain engulfed her.

Teetering on the edge of consciousness, she thought briefly of Susie. How desperately she wanted to be there to assist with the birth of her boppli! Especially considering the problems she’d had with her first delivery…. And then she blacked out.


Shane Zimmerman flipped on his fog lights to illuminate the low-lying clouds, which created interesting shapes and shadows against the dark backdrop of woods lining the rural Missouri highway. He scanned the area for deer ousted from their natural habitats by hunters. Of course, rutting season also brought them out of hiding. Not that he hunted. He did treat many a pet that had been injured accidentally by a hunter, such as the Great Dane boarding at his clinic while she recovered from the surgical removal of an errant bullet.

Shane reached inside the console for a CD—the latest release from LordSong—and slid it into the player. As the uplifting music filled the car, he flexed his shoulders in an effort to relieve the tension of the busy day behind him. He looked forward to getting home and kicking back to read his Bible and watch the evening news.

As his Jeep crowned the hill, he tapped the brakes at the sight of a wrecked Amish buggy. He scanned the area, but there was no sign of horse or driver. The animal must have been released and carted home. Or put down, if its injuries had been severe enough.

Returning his gaze to the highway, he slowed. A young buck lay on the road, still alive yet struggling.

Shane pulled his Jeep to the shoulder, put it in park, and clicked on the hazard lights. Leaving the keys in the ignition, he got out, his heart pounding in time with the obnoxious dinging sound of the car. Cautiously, he approached the deer. Its brown eyes fixed on him, wild with fear. The animal lurched to a standing position for a second but quickly collapsed again on the hard pavement, where it remained. Its labored breaths intensified. Whoever had hit it had driven off, leaving it to die. Was the same person to blame for the buggy accident? He’d probably never know.

“It’s okay,” Shane spoke softly.

The deer flicked its ears and struggled to its feet again.

“I’m here to help you.” Shane stepped closer, keeping a wary eye on the rack of antlers. It was hardly the biggest he’d seen, but even small antlers could do hefty damage.

With another flick of its ears, the buck struggled to a semi-standing position and limped off to the edge of the road and into the forest. It would surely die, but Shane couldn’t do anything about that. He wasn’t about to chase an injured wild animal through the woods. He didn’t carry much medical gear in his Jeep, anyway, aside from a few larger tools used for treating farm animals.

He started back toward his vehicle, but a glance at the buggy lying on its side gave him a strong urge to check it out. No point in hurrying. He rubbed his eyes, weary after a long day at the clinic, and surveyed the scene. The buggy appeared to be abandoned.

Then, he moved to the edge of the embankment and gazed down the leaf-covered slope. Something caught his eye. A woman? Shane squinted. Sure enough, there was an Amish woman, wearing a maroon dress and a black apron. Gold hair peeked out from underneath her white prayer kapp, and a black bonnet hung loosely around her shoulders. “Hello?”

No answer. His breath hitched. Had she hit the deer? Or had the deer hit her? He frowned. Accidents caused by deer affected more cars than buggies, by far. Where was the horse?

Heart pounding, he scrambled down through the brush into the ditch. As he crouched beside the woman, his nose caught the metallic odor of blood. The brilliant red on her dress wasn’t part of the fabric. He lifted the hem just enough to spot the injury. Her left leg lay at a weird angle, with a bone protruding from the skin. Definitely broken.

His heart sank. He couldn’t help her. His expertise was limited to animals.

But he was the only one there. And she needed help—urgently.

“Hey.” He touched her left hand. It felt warm. He noted the shallow rise and fall of her chest. His fingers moved down to her wrist, feeling for her pulse. Alive but unresponsive. He reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed 9-1-1. When the dispatcher answered, he said, “I’d like to report a buggy accident. We need an ambulance. The woman is unconscious and bleeding with a badly broken leg. Looks like a serious injury.” He added their approximate location.

Glancing again at the bone sticking out of her skin, Shane shuddered. Animals, he could handle. Humans were too easy to identify with; their injuries hit too close to home. He leaned down and gently pushed her hair away from her neck. Her pulse was extremely rapid and weak. He breathed a prayer that help would arrive quickly.

As he studied her face for the first time, recognition nearly knocked him off balance. This woman lived right next door to him. What were the odds of that? Her backyard was overrun with weeds, a stark contrast to her meticulously maintained garden in the side yard. He’d seen her working there many a time. She had the most beautiful dog he’d ever seen, a Siberian husky. And the thought had dawned on him, more than once, that the dog’s owner was more than usually beautiful, as well.

She wasn’t married, as far as he knew. The only other people he’d spotted next door were an older couple, presumably her parents. Their last name was Lapp, if the stenciling on their mailbox was current.

Shane would have to stop by the house to let her family know about the accident. They would probably be worried sick when she didn’t return.

The young woman moaned, drawing Shane’s attention. He saw her eyelids flutter slightly, and then her eyes opened.

“It’s okay,” he said, gazing as calmly as he could into her grayish-green eyes. “Help is coming.”

“The pain…my head…my leg….” She winced as tears filled her eyes. “Who are you? I’ve seen you before.”

“I’m Shane Zimmerman. Your next-door neighbor.” He reached for her hand, hesitated, then folded his fingers gently around hers. As their skin connected, he was startled by the jolt that shot through his fingertips and gained intensity as it traveled through his hand and up his arm. He had no explanation, other than his being overly tired. “You’ll be fine,” he assured her.

She only moaned again and closed her eyes.

Shane stared down at her bloodstained skirt and saw that the fabric was saturated. He grimaced. She needed help fast, or she’d bleed out. Animal or human, he didn’t want death on his hands tonight.

God, help me. Shane let go of her hand and yanked his sweatshirt up and over her head. He lifted her skirt again and pressed the garment against her wound, knowing he could be introducing harmful germs. But there wasn’t a choice. He tried to make her as comfortable as he could without letting up the pressure. Even though she didn’t rouse again, he explained every measure he took, from applying pressure to strapping his belt as a tourniquet around her leg. Then, he sang a couple of Amish songs, the ones he remembered learning from his grandparents. His father had left the Amish as young man, choosing to marry Shane’s mom, who wasn’t Amish. But Shane had often spent entire summers with his grandparents.

Time hung in the air as he waited for help to arrive.

Finally, there was a screech of brakes and a rumble of gravel on the road above, followed by the sound of a vehicle door opening.

“Down here!” Shane called.

Seconds later, an EMT carrying a medical bag peeked over the embankment. “Ambulance is right behind me. You didn’t move her, did you?”

“No. But she’s bleeding profusely. I did what I could to slow it down.”

The man half climbed, half slid, down the slope toward Shane. “I’ve got some emergency flares in the back of my truck. Mind setting them out while I take a look at her?”

“Not at all.”

Shane did as he’d been asked, then walked over to the buggy to inspect it more closely. The leather harness straps dangled with frayed ends, indicating that the horse had broken free, possibly when the buggy tipped. He checked the immediate area and even wandered a ways into the woods for signs of a wounded animal, but no clues turned up. The roar of sirens in the distance beckoned him back to the site of the wreck.

In his Jeep, he found a rag and wiped off his bloody hands while he thought out the statement he’d make to the police.

An ambulance screeched to a stop beside the pickup, lights flashing, and a police cruiser pulled up alongside. It wasn’t long before the ambulance wailed away again, spiriting its nameless passenger toward the hospital in Springfield.

After Shane had finished answering the police officer’s questions, he started the two-mile trip home, keeping his eyes peeled for an injured horse. He passed his own small plot of land without any sign of the animal.

He pulled into the driveway next door, hurried up to the house, and pounded on the front door. No response. After several moments, he knocked again. He knew that the Amish generally kept their doors unlocked, but he didn’t feel comfortable opening the door and hollering into the hallway of a stranger’s house. He rapped one more time, just to be sure.


Shane turned around and saw a man on the front porch of the house across the street.

The man started down the steps. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for Ms. Lapp’s family. She was in a buggy accident.”

The man came closer. “She hurt bad?”

Shane nodded. “Bad.” Would she survive the trip to the hospital? His heart clenched.

“Donald Jackson. Me an’ the wife live here.”

Shane stretched his mouth into a tight smile. “Shane Zimmerman. Neighbor on the other side.”

“Oh, the new guy. Vet, right? Welcome to Seymour.”

“Thanks.” It hardly seemed appropriate to exchange pleasantries when someone’s life was hanging in the balance. Shane shifted his weight. “Does she have any family?”

Donald shrugged. “Everyone has some. See her parents and other people around from time to time. Sometimes lots of buggies over there. Besides, ain’t the Amish all related? Heard that somewhere.”

“Seems that way sometimes.” Okay, this man was no help. A howl from the backyard reminded Shane about the Siberian husky. “I’m going to check on the dog.” He strode down the porch steps and made his way around the side of the house.

Donald trailed him. “Barn’s always unlocked, I’m pretty sure, so you could get the dog’s food. I never see her lock it, anyway. But then, I don’t watch her twenty-four-seven or anything.”

Shane raised an eyebrow. This Donald apparently watched her often enough to know about the barn door and the dog food. “Nice meeting you, Donald. I’ll just make sure the dog has fresh water, and then I’ll go.” He needed to find someone Amish to notify.

Seeing the red and white Siberian husky in a large kennel in the backyard, Shane opened the gate and went in, shutting it behind him. The dog whined and jumped up, wrapping him in a sort of canine embrace. Shane hugged her back. This breed was so affectionate. He rubbed her neck, then stepped back, picked up her metal water dish, and headed for the outside spigot, which he’d spotted on his way to the backyard. The dog followed closely at his feet, growling in a friendly way, as if she carried on a one-sided conversation. At the spigot, Shane filled the dish with cold water, then checked the barn door. It was unlocked, as Donald had said it’d be.

Shane stopped and scratched the dog behind her ears. “I’ll be back later to get you some food.” He hesitated. “No, I’ll do it now.” He turned back to the barn and slid both wobbly doors open, going into the darkness. He paused, wishing for his flashlight, then remembered that his Amish grandfather had always kept a lantern near the door. He turned back and groped along a shelf, finally feeling the familiar metal base of a lantern. Next to it was a book of matches, one of which he used to light the wick. It didn’t seem right, being in a stranger’s barn, but the dog would be hungry.

He found the dog food and bent down to scoop some into the dish. Then, he straightened and looked around. This was an Amish farm. There’d be other animals to bed down. Cows. Chickens. Horses. He sighed.

A nicker sounded, and Shane turned to the door. Ah, the prodigal buggy horse, dragging the frayed strands of a harness. Shane spoke softly to the animal as he grabbed hold of one of the harness straps, and then he led it back to an empty stall. The dog followed, whining all the way. Shane gave the sweaty horse a rubdown, checking it for injuries. Nothing seemed amiss, other than the wild look in its eyes and the way it kept tossing its head, probably responses to the trauma of the accident.

When Shane had calmed the horse as best he could, he glanced around again. He knew the basics of managing an Amish farm, thanks to the years he’d spent helping his grandparents, but it was more than one person could handle alone. Another Amish family would probably take on the rest of the chores.

Still, he wanted to go to the hospital to check on Ms. Lapp. Why did she still weigh so heavily on his mind? He’d done his duty to her, a stranger.

His decision made, he returned the dog to her kennel. Before closing the door, he gave her another rub behind the ears. “I’ll be back.”

The dog flopped down on the ground with a reproachful whimper, as if he were abandoning her in her time of greatest need.

“Your master was in an accident, but she’ll be okay,” Shane explained. “I hope.” He crouched down to the dog’s level. “I’m going to the hospital right now to check on her.”

With another whine, the dog lowered her head to rest on her front paws. Apparently, she had resigned herself to his departing.

Shane drove home for a quick shower, then got back in his Jeep to head to the hospital. First, though, he stopped by the farm on the other side of his property. The mailbox there also said “Lapp,” and he figured the residents had to be relatives of the injured woman.

Seconds after he pulled into the driveway, a man came out into the yard. Shane introduced himself and asked for confirmation that this family was related to the other Lapps, specifically the young woman with the Siberian husky.

The man frowned. “Jah, we’re family. I’m Kristi’s onkel. Timothy. I’m caring for their livestock while her parents are visiting family in Sarasota. I was getting ready to head over there.”

Shane proceeded to tell Timothy about the accident. For a relative of Kristi’s, he processed the information rather stoically, Shane thought.

“Can I give you a lift to the hospital?”

Timothy took a step back. “Nein, I’ll contact the bishop, and he’ll get the word out. And I’ll make a call down to Florida to tell her parents.”

Timothy headed back to the barn, and Shane drove away, wondering why was he was taking the time to go to the hospital and check on a woman he didn’t even know. He probably wouldn’t find out anything, thanks to the strict privacy policy. But still, something drew him.

At the hospital, Shane went directly to the emergency wing and approached the front desk. “Kristi Lapp, please.”

The receptionist nodded and checked something on her computer. Then, she looked up with a sympathetic smile. “If you’ll take a seat in the waiting room, a doctor will be out to talk with you in just a few minutes.”

She must be in more serious condition than he’d thought. Shane went down the hall to the waiting area, where he was relieved to find a coffeemaker. He poured himself a coffee and watched several minutes of the sitcom playing on the TV mounted on the wall overhead.

As the only person in the room, he had his choice of seats. He selected a chair in a corner and picked up a magazine from the end table next to it. However, the contents didn’t appear to be any more interesting than the drama he was caught up in, so he put it back. Instead of reading, he prayed for Kristi and for the doctors working on her. It felt strange praying for a woman he didn’t know and waiting for an update from the doctor, as if she meant something special to him. But it seemed she did, even though he’d just met her. Did their brief interaction even count as a meeting? He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he hadn’t felt this strong a connection with a woman since Becca. Immediately he dismissed the thought.

He was glad he’d found out her name. Calling her “Ms. Lapp” seemed so wrong. Plus, he probably wouldn’t have been permitted to see her if the hospital staff thought he was a stranger.

Several people came into the waiting room and exited again during a period of time that felt like hours.

At last, a doctor came into the room. “Family for Kristi Lapp.”

Shane blew out a breath. Family he wasn’t, but he was the only person there for her. Hopefully, the doctor wouldn’t ask how he was related. He got up, feeling a twinge of guilt at his act of impersonation.

The doctor led him into a private conference room and gestured for him to sit down. “She’s in recovery. We’ve given her a blood transfusion, and we’ll be monitoring her hemoglobin and hematocrit—that is, blood values. As soon as we’re sure they are in the normal range, she’ll be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a procedure we abbreviate as ORIF: open reduction internal fixation.”

Shane nodded. He was familiar with the procedure, but the doctor was probably accustomed to having to explain it, so he continued.

“Open reduction—that’s how we put the bone back in the position it’s supposed to be. And internal fixation is how we stabilize it—with a rod down the center of the bone and plates on either side, to keep it in the position it’s supposed to be in until nature takes her course and it heals completely. The plates may be removed later, as long as the bone heals well. Also, her femoral artery was nicked, but she’ll be fine. Lost a lot of blood. We had to give her three units. She’s going to have substantial bruising and probably be in considerable pain.”

“Has she regained consciousness?”

“Not yet. But brain activity is normal, and we expect no complications.”

“Thank you.” Shane stood up and started for the door.

“If you want to wait, I’ll have a nurse come and show you to her room.”

Shane stopped in the doorway. “I’ll come in tomorrow.”

The doctor frowned. “I’m sure your wife will want to see you when she wakes up.”


Kristi woke up in an unfamiliar room filled with odd beeping noises. Straight ahead, a television was mounted on the celery-green wall. To her right was a beige-colored curtain; to her left, a big, dark window. The hospital. How did she get here? Someone must have found her. What about Samson? What had happened to him?

Had Susie birthed her boppli? Kristi groaned and shifted on the bed, noticing the bedside table with a plastic pitcher of water and an empty tumbler. And…flowers? She smiled at the vase holding six pink rosebuds, a cluster of baby’s breath, and some other greenery. Who would have sent a bouquet? Maybe the person who’d found her.

With great effort, she reached with her right arm toward the table, pain washing over her anew. It seemed every part of her body ached. Despite the discomfort, she extended her arm just far enough to snatch the white envelope from the plastic forklike thing tucked into the bouquet.

Her left hand had an IV needle stuck in it, taped down. She grimaced at the sight. She’d have a bruise there, probably, but that would be the least of her injuries. Even with her pain-blurred vision, which made it seem as if the room was spinning, she could tell from the shape of the blanket that covered her legs how swollen they were. Her left leg, in particular—that’s where most of the pain radiated from. Wincing with effort, she tore open the envelope and pulled out a plain white card. The message written inside was simple:

You’re in my prayers.

Shane Zimmerman

Sweet, but it must have been intended for another patient. She didn’t know anybody by the name of Shane Zimmerman. Or did she? Her head pounded as she tried to figure it out. No one came to mind.

Maybe this mystery man would come to the hospital to see her.

She pressed the card to her chest and closed her eyes, imagining a tall, handsome Amish man. Hopefully, when she fell asleep, he would visit her in her dreams.

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