Summer of Promise

Monday, January 30, 2012




Book Blurb:
Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont with her sweetheart, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads West to Wyoming. The endless prairie seems monotonous, but when her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

When circumstances—and perhaps a bit of matchmaking—put Abigail and Ethan together, there's certainly attraction. But Abigail is planning to marry another man and return to life in Vermont as soon as she is finished attending to her sister. And Ethan loves his life in the Army and the wilds of Wyoming. When summer ends, will Abigail go back East? Or will she fall in love with this rugged land herself?

Book 1 of the new Westward Winds series, Summer of Promise is a tale of following your heart to unexpected places. Readers will enjoy Amanda Cabot's passionate characters and vibrant setting in the beautiful high prairie.

My Thoughts: Abigail is quite happy in Vermont, yet letters from her sister Charlotte draw her to go and see her in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. While she is on the stage-coach she is talked nearly to death by a widow who won't be quiet. On the stage-coach is a Lt. Bowles returning from leave. Abigail is not thrilled with the Wyoming countryside. To her it is boring! That changes pretty quick when the stage-coach is attacked and Lt. Bowles saves the day. When Abigail arrives she finds that her sister is pregnant and her brother in law, Jeffery is not as interested in his wife as he was when they married. Jeffery is not all that happy that his sister in law has arrived in town either. Abigail is determined to bring fun back to her sister's life and see her happy once again, after that she will return to Vermont, her teaching position, and the man she intends on marrying. Or will she?
This is the first book I've read of Amanda Cabot, and I loved it! It will not be my last! I highly recommend it and am looking forward to the next one in the series.

CSS Blog Tour - Light Under The House




What inspired you to write this story?
I feel very strongly about the breakdown of the family and fatherlessness and how there is much dysfunction and despair because of it. I wanted to tell a story to shed some light on the situations that many face and hopefully bring some type of reversal to the current dynamic in whatever small way I could. I wanted to challenge men, fathers especially, to be who they were created to be ... its certainly a challenge I face myself daily. A challenge that I often fail at but keeping picking myself up to start again.

Did you model any of the characters after people you know?
I used many things to model the characters ... people I know, other literary figures, actors, biblical characters, celebrities ... the characters are a combination of all of these. I wanted them to be new and familiar at the same time, universal.

Why did you choose the Dallas/Ft Worth area as your primary setting?
First of all, the south has a certain reputation for is deep spiritual roots (bible belt and all). I patterned the book in part after GONE WITH THE WIND (another book set in the south) ... not in the sense of a love story but in the sense of "here is civilization that is about to cease to exist, come see it before its gone". In the case of my novel it is a spiritual civilization on the brink. Dallas just seemed to have everything I needed to make the story work from both a symbolic and technical standpoint.

Do you have plans to write more books?http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
i have an idea or two floating around ... nothing concrete yet.

What sort of research did you do for the historical portions of your book? What did you like best about the research? The least?
My co-author and I researched deeply into ancient history for some aspects of the book ... I learned a lot of things ... some things I'd rather forget but most of it was enlightening. What I liked best was that it confirmed for me mostly what I already knew, there really is nothing new under the sun.

Where can we find out about more opportunities for a free copy of this book?
Follow @ChristianSpkrs on Twitter. You can purchase the book through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Light-Under-the-House-ebook/dp/B0060C2O92.

Ruth's Redemption

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ruth's Redemption
Moody Publishers/Lift Every Voice (February 1, 2012)
by
Marlene Banks




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:







Marlene Banks has worked 30+ years combined in nursing and the business arena. Her goal as a writer is to create inspiring, gripping and realistic stories with an emphasis on African American literature. She believes her gift and desire to write is from God and desires to use it to fulfill His purposes. Marlene lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church.









ABOUT THE BOOK



Set in the 1800s, Ruth's Redemption, is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America. Bo, a main character, was educated while a slave. He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom.



Bo is also a man of God and widower whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave girl, Ruth. Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, Ruth struggles to adjust to life outside of bondage. She wants no part of Bo's Godly devotion. Yet Bo is unlike any man she's known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed.



A gripping slave era novel, Ruth's Redemption is a story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God's unconditional love in the darkness of a culture's cruel socially accepted inhumanity.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Ruth's Redemption, go HERE.

Shadow of Your Smile - Susan May Warren

Thursday, January 26, 2012



About the book: The Shadow of Your Smile

A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage.
http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it whttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifould. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember?

Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/books/the-shadow-of-your-smile.

Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1414334834/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=sprightly-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1414334834


About Susan: Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim withhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com.



Come Back to Deep Haven and Win a $200 Visa Card from @SusanMayWarren!

Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand alone story.



Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.







One grand prize winner will receive:


  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great books!)



  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books


The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.




Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


You can catch the other bloggers on tour here http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13448479



My Thoughts: Noelle and Eli have suffered a devastating loss, one parents should never have to go through, the loss of a child. Eli is a police officer and feels responsible for the death of his daughter and so he has chosen to spend his time fishing, "helping" a female friend whose husband was killed the same night his daughter was killed. Everything comes to a head when Noelle goes into the city and on the way home is involved in a burglary at a coffee shop. She is severely injured and looses 20 years of her life.
This book wrapped itself around my heart and didn't let go. These characters became apart of me, and I hurt for them and with them. As the pieces come together Eli and Noelle find healing, and it was a beautiful thing to see. Highly recommended!

Love Blooms In Winter - Giveaway

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Blooms in Winter
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
by
Lori Copeland




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and six wonderful grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. Lance and Lori are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.



Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has had over 100 books published.







ABOUT THE BOOK



A romantic new book from bestselling author Lori Copeland that portrays God’s miraculous provision even when none seems possible.



1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.



Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Blooms in Winter, go HERE.

I have an extra copy of this book to giveaway. To enter you must be a follower of my blog, must say so, and must leave an email address in their comment or it will be deleted. To receive extra entries you can tweet about this giveaway and come back and leave the link in a comment. You can blog about this giveaway and come back leave the link in the comment. This giveaway will start today, Wednesday 1/25/12 and I will pull a winner on Wednesday, February 8th. The winner will have 48 hours to give me their address after I contact them.

Where Wildflowers Bloom




Book Blurb:
The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg-- as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to the Oregon Territory to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns to town, Faith allows herself to hope that her dreams might come true. Does he truly love her? Or could another man claim her heart? Will she find that following her dreams may not mean leaving home after all?

The characters in Where Wildflowers Bloom jump off the page and into the reader's heart. Author Ann Shorey infuses her characters with the virtues and quirks that bring them fully alive as they search for contentment and love.

My Thoughts: Faith's grandfather has asked her to take over the mercantile so he can write his memoir for the future generation. He goes to deliver dishes to a customer and falls. Faith will need help to get him home and she enlists help from a man who has just come into town and is working at the livery, Curt Saxon. He is happy to help her. His sister was a nurse during the Civil War and Faith approaches her about watching her grandfather during the day while she works at the mercantile. She refuses as she feels her volunteering as a nurse was not what she should've been doing. Faith talks to her grandfather about moving to Oregon which he does not want to do.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Denise Hunter - The Accidental Bride - Interview

Tuesday, January 24, 2012




Author Denise Hunter explores the flaw in seeking favor with others



Do the opinions of those around us really matter? Should we live our lives based on what others might think? In her latest release, The Accidental Bride (Thomas Nelson), award-winning author Denise Hunter explores these questions as she deftly leads her readers to discover the One whose favor should always be sought. Skillfully creating a love story that beautifully reflects God’s grace, Hunter uses the pages of The Accidental Bride to bring to light preoccupation with caring what others think. Using complex characters, an enticing backdrop and an almost palpable range of emotion and conflict, Hunter draws her readers to a new awareness of how much more simple life becomes when we aim to please God instead of man.




In the interview below, Denise Hunter shares more about her latest release.



Q: In The Accidental Bride, your main character, Shay is continually concerned with what others might think. Worrying about the opinions of others is a common malady in today’s society. What made you decide to write about it?



As you say, it’s so common to be worried about what others think of us. I love that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” So true! Shay needed to realize that it’s God’s opinion that really matters. When we focus on pleasing people, we tend to make poor decisions.



Q: This isn’t your first novel based on the cowboy lifestyle. What drew you to this particular lifestyle as the backdrop for your writing?



I’m drawn to the rugged appeal of the cowboy lifestyle. Even though I live in a city, I’m a country girl at heart, and I especially love the mountains; that’s why I was drawn to Montana for this series. There’s something simple and beautiful about living off the land that I think appeals to readers right now. Things are tough for so many people—and though the cowboy lifestyle is a hard one—it’s also very organic, a back to our roots kind of thing.



Q: The premise of The Accidental Bride is both interesting and unique. What inspired your decision to involve your hero and heroine in an “accidental” marriage?



I was watching a TV movie in which the actors were getting married, and I wondered, “What if the actor playing the preacher was an ordained minister? Would the couple be legally married?” Turns out, it’s not quite that simple to become accidentally married. There’s the matter of a marriage license that the pastor has to sign and mail to the proper government agency. So the good news is, it’s not likely to happen to you or anyone you know. But it sure was fun instigating such an event in a novel!



Q: Before she could forgive him, Travis had to rebuild Shay’s trust. Is this a necessary step, or do you believe we should forgive even those who may never be trustworthy again?



Trust and forgiveness are two different things. Forgiveness is something God commands us to do—regardless of circumstances like whether or not the offender is apologetic or has changed, etc.



Trust is different; it’s earned. And unfortunately, it takes a long time to build trust and only one bad decision to wreck it. We forgive the offender, but if he or she doesn’t change, we aren’t required to trust the person again. It’s the offender’s responsibility—if he or she wants to be trusted again—to earn back that trust.



Q: As an award-winning romance novelist you are, no-doubt, a role model for many would-be writers. What advice would you give to those who dream of one day being published? What’s an absolute must for a great romance?



First of all, I recommend aspiring writers to study and practice. Writing is a craft to be honed, and no matter how much natural talent you have, it takes both of those things to become a good writer.
Also, write the book you want to read. If you want to read that kind of book, there will be others who want to read it too.
Study the market, not so that you can jump on every trend, but so that you know how your story fits into the market.
Join a writers group so you can meet other writers—iron sharpens iron.
Once you have a marketable manuscript, go to conferences. The American Christian Writers Conference is the best out there in my opinion (www.acfw.com). At conferences, you will learn from some of the best in the industry and get a chance to pitch your work to agents and editors.
E-publishing is becoming huge, but don’t put a sub-par manuscript out there where it will only flounder. Hone the craft, write the best story you can, and learn to re-write. Then hire an editor. Every published author has one for a reason!
Getting published can be a long, uphill climb, but persistence pays off.

Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway

Win an iTouch SPY Pack in the Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway from @triciagoyer @mikeyorkey!

Chasing Mona Lisa is the continuing tale of Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler (first introduced in The Swiss Courier). This time the due are on a relentless quest to save the most famous painting in the world - the Mona Lisa. You can help Gabi and Eric with your very own spy pack when you enter The Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway!







One passionate protector will receive:


  • iTouch (The must-have device for any spy. Camera, Maps & Music.)

  • Starbucks Gift Card (For all those late nights.)

  • Moleskin Notebook (For those important notes.)

  • Invisible Ink Pen (Don’t want anyone reading those important notes.)

  • Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey (Great handbook and intriguing tale for any spy-in-training!)


Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on January 31st. The winner will be announced at the Chasing




Enter 1/16 - 1/31. RSVP for Party today!


Firethorn

Monday, January 23, 2012

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:







and the book:





Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)




***Special thanks to Ronie Kendig for sending me a review copy.***





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:








An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.


It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.


Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.




Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:


    • Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade)

    • RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade)

    • Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)

    • 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.

    • INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)

    • The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Blown and dismantled, Nightshade is ready to repay the favor.



Former Marine and current Nightshade team member Griffin "Legend" Riddell is comfortable. So comfortable he never sees the set up that lands him in a maximum security prison, charged with murder. How can he prove his innocence behind bars?



Covert operative Kazi Faron is tasked with reassembling Nightshade—the black ops team someone dissected. Breaking Griffin out of a federal penitentiary amid explosive confusion may turn out to be her last assignment. What will it take to convince the fugitive that whoever set him up has also dissected the Nightshade team? As Kazi and Griffin race to rescue the others and discover the traitor,

love begins to awaken in their hearts.



Can a covert operative and the felon she's freed overcome their mutual distrust long enough to save Nightshade? Will anything prepare them for who—or what is coming?










Product Details:







  • List Price: $12.99



  • Paperback: 352 pages

  • Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1602607850

  • ISBN-13: 978-1602607859








AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:









To all American military heroes




At home and abroad,





Those who have gone before





and those serving today—





THANK YOU!





Because of you, we are FREE!





RECON CREED

Realizing it is my choice and my choice alone to be a Reconnaissance Marine, I accept all challenges involved with this profession. Forever shall I strive to maintain the tremendous reputation of those who went before me.

Exceeding beyond the limitations set down by others shall be my goal. Sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating myself to the completion of the reconnaissance mission shall be my life. Physical fitness, mental attitude, and high ethics—The title of Recon Marine is my honor.

Conquering all obstacles, both large and small, I shall never quit. To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a Recon Marine is to surpass failure; To overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.

On the battlefield, as in all areas of life, I shall stand tall above the competition. Through professional pride, integrity, and teamwork, I shall be the example for all Marines to emulate.

Never shall I forget the principles I accepted to become a Recon Marine. Honor, Perseverance, Spirit, and Heart.

A Recon Marine can speak without saying a word and achieve what others can only imagine.


Swift, Silent, Deadly






Chapter 1

The Shack

“It’s sad, really.” Marshall “The Kid” Vaughn trudged away from the thumping rotors of the helo that had deposited them back at the Shack, his pack almost dragging the ground. “Ya don’t realize how much a person adds until he’s gone.”

“Legend’s not gone.” Max “Frogman” Jacobs hoisted his rucksack into a better group, his mind locked on Sydney and their two sons waiting for him at home. Poor woman had to be going out of her mind with two of his Mini-Me’s running around.

“Yeah.” John “Squirt” Dighton hit the light breaker, then waited for the six-man team to clear the door. “He’s just temporarily detained.”

Lights sizzled and popped to life. Groaning bounced off the grimy windows as he hauled the door closed, locked it, then started toward the showers.

The Kid grunted. “Forty-years-to-life temporary.”

In the locker room, a depressive gloom hung over the team. They’d been on countless missions, hit just about every terrain and environment imaginable, but none had taken the toll the last couple had. And there was one reason—they were down a man. Griffin “Legend” Riddell. If Max could write the playbook, they wouldn’t do another mission without the guy. But with the man in federal prison for murdering a congressman, it’d be a long wait.

It was quiet. Too quiet. Max looked around the Spartan room. Walls of lockers, most unused. A few benches. A giant once-white bin for dirty duds. And the team. Six men, now. All very skilled. Good men. Even the one missing. Every man here knew Legend had been set up—he didn’t murder that congressman. But nobody could prove it. The evidence was damning. Justice—injustice was more like it—came swiftly. Lambert, ever the puppeteer, couldn’t pull the right strings to get Legend off.

“I’m heading up to visit him tomorrow. Anyone game?” Colton “Cowboy” Neeley slumped on a bench and ran a hand over his short, dark hair. His blue eyes probed the group.

“Nah, man. I’ve got a date,” the Kid said.

Squirt beaned him with a towel. “What girl would go out with you, mate?”

The Kid snapped the terry cloth back at the former Navy SEAL. “Your sister.”

Squirt froze. His jaw went slack. Then his eyes darkened.

Laughing, Canyon “Midas” Metcalfe rose to his feet from the corner. “You just proved his point by thinking your sister would actually go out with him.”

Squirt swallowed, his face drained of color. “I introduced them at a New Year’s party.”

Midas laughed harder. “Your mistake, mate.

Shuffling closer, Squirt pointed a finger at the Kid. “I swear, you touch her, I’ll shove a fist full of witchety grubs down your gullet.”

“Give me credit, dude.” The Kid raised his hands. “I’m a gentleman.”

Max grunted. “Right.” As he strode around the lockers to the shower well, he heard more threats and much more laughter from the Kid. Max shook his head. Would the Kid ever grow up, learn when to leave things alone?

As he tossed his oily, grimy duds on the bench, Max paused, thinking maybe he should send his report to Lambert now so he wouldn’t have to mess with it tomorrow. The mission had been simple enough, a snatch-n-grab of an Iranian doctor. It’d been nice and clean, in and out. The report wouldn’t take long. Then he could shower, bug out, and know he had the whole weekend with Syd and the boys.

Max jogged up the iron stairs, which creaked and groaned beneath his weight. Down the hall to the right. He punched in the code and entered the secure hub, the door hissing shut behind him. The most high-tech part of this dump-of-a-warehouse.

Shouts drew his attention to the blinds. He jabbed two fingers between a couple and spread them to peeked down into the main area. Squirt and the Kid raced into the bay and back the way they came. Squirt looked ready to kill. The Kid’s face revealed his fear. Max shook his head again. Man, he wanted Griffin back. The guy seemed to bring balance to the team. Badly needed balance.

Max powered up the computer. Hand propped on the warped wood, he waited for the system to boot.

More shouts. Loud thuds.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. Would they never—?

Tat-a-tat! Tat-tat-a-tat!

Instinct drove Max to his knee at the sound of gunfire. He scrambled to the window. Through the slanted blinds, he peered down into the slab of cement. His brain wouldn’t assemble what he saw. Gunmen. A dozen or more. Rushing into the Shack from the parking bay. Moving swiftly, as if. . .

They know the layout.

Max darted to the door and jerked it open. He sprinted down the hall toward the stairs. As his boot hit steel, he froze. A shadow emerged. Floated into the hall.

Too late.

Max jerked back. Pressed his spine against the wall.

By the showers, the Kid looked up. Max signaled to him. Then made his best and loudest Nightshade whistle, hoping it would penetrate the building, give the men warning to take cover.

The Kid threw himself back into the locker room.

Men swarmed the corner. One looked to his left, one right. His weapon slowly rose as he traced the stairs with his M16.

Max leapt backward into the darkness and into office. He closed the door. As the lock clicked, darkness dropped like an anchor over the entire building. Behind him, a glow screamed his location. The monitor!

Max spun. Lunged across the desk. Stabbed the power button. And paused with his hand still near the monitor. If someone was coming after them. . .accessing this computer. . .

On his knees, Max yanked the cords free. With the box, he moved to the window and reassessed the parking bay. Another van with a half-dozen men with AK-47s. They streamed into the warehouse.

Max’s gut wound into a dozen knots. They were screwed.

Think! Hand on the door, he considered going back downstairs. But that would get him captured. Killed. Yet he’d rather be with his guys than running like a chicken.

No, not running. Considering options, gaining the advantage. Planning. The invasion force was armed to the teeth. They knew who they were coming after. They’d brought weapons. And those guys moved with precision. Swift, deadly precision.

Though Nightshade had a stellar ops record, perhaps they had finally met their match. Still. . .two to one? Nightshade had faced worse.

A large black Suburban screeched to a halt in the middle of the parking bay. Two men emerged, both wearing trench coats.

Max cursed his luck to be up here, away from his gear, his weapons. Up here, without firepower. Thus, powerless.

Okay, enough. He was going down there. He eased the door open and slid across the hall. Bathed in darkness, he crouched at edge of the landing, using the wall for cover. A dozen men so far, rushing here and there. Quick, quiet chatter between the men.

A smirk slid into Max’s face. His team had taken cover and these goons couldn’t find them. If he could just get a weapon. . .

“Can’t find them.”

“They’re here. I saw them go in,” the man nearest the SUV shouted. “Find them! Lights!”

Light rushed through the building as headlamps from the vehicles stabbed the dusty, damp building. Max yanked back, out of sight. He needed to get down there, defend his men. His boot hit the landing.

Shouts erupted. A shot bounced off the steel rafters, taunting as it echoed through the Shack. Stilled, Max waited. More shouts. The sound of a scuffle. The half-dozen men waiting by the SUV lifted their weapons to the ready.

The locker room door swung open. A man walked backward, his AK-47 aimed at a large form filling the doorway. Cowboy. Arms raised, dressed only in his jeans, he stalked forward. Someone shoved him from behind, which barely moved the big lug.

Spine pressed against the wood, Max peered down into the bay.

“You move one wrong muscle,” the one in front of Cowboy growled, “and so help me God, I’ll kill you.”

“No you won’t.” Cowboy lowered his hands. “If you wanted me dead, I wouldn’t be out here.”

Ride ’em, Cowboy.

From the side entrance to the showers, three men dragged a shouting, cursing Kid into the bay. Max smirked that it took three tangos to wrangle the Kid.

Hand clenched, Max’s mind went into overdrive. What could he do? God. . .I need. . .something. What could he pray for? Intercepting the team was impossible. Twelve, fifteen armed tangos against one unarmed man?

He latched on to the hope that they’d only found Cowboy and the Kid. No Midas, Squirt, or Aladdin. Good. Maybe they could regroup and—

A man flew through the bay door from the showers and landed with a thud a yard from the others. Midas flipped over, scissored his legs, and swept the thug off his feet. The Kid seized the confusion to attack the men guarding him. And impressively. With a hard right, he dropped the first and used that weapon to disable the second.

Cowboy took a step back and rammed his elbow into the gut of the nearest guard. The gunman bent forward—straight into Cowboy’s meaty fist. The big guy pivoted, slapped the interior of the gunman’s wrist, effectively seizing the weapon and flipping the muzzle around. He fired at the guy.

Crack!

In the split second it took for Max to realize the sonic boom that rent the air wasn’t the report of Cowboy’s .45 MEU but of a rifle, Max saw the man in the black trench coat drop to the ground. A circle spread out like a dark halo.

“Sniper!” someone shouted.

The dead guy had fallen backward. Most likely shot from the front. Which meant. . . Max’s gaze rose to the rafters. With no light, it’d be the perfect hiding spot. But. . .who? Squirt? Aladdin?

Crack!

The man guarding Colton stumbled forward, then went to his knees before hitting the cement.

The man in the black trench coat nearest the SUV dropped. A pool of blood spilled out.

“There!” One guard swung and fired his fully automatic at the ceiling. Four others followed suit, firing at the bank of grimy windows on the southeast wall of the building.

Max followed their direction and watched. Waited, his breath caught at the back of his throat. Cracks and shattering glass blended with the staccato punches of the guns to create a wild cacophony of noise. Max tuned it out, praying whoever—Aladdin or Squirt—wouldn’t be hit.

But then he saw it. A shift of a shadow. Like someone rolling. . .

The gunfire petered out as a body plummeted the eight feet to the ground.

The thud seemed to have supernatural powers as it pounded Max’s chest and pushed him back. Away from the window but not far enough that he lost line of sight.

Silence dropped on the Shack.

“Where’s Max Jacobs?”

As the question streaked through the warehouse, Max registered a red glow in the far corner. Even as he noticed it, he heard a beep. Another. His gaze darted to the source of the noise. Two men were walking the perimeter, their M16s dangling as they raised their arms and pressed something against the supports. Arms lowered and the men stepped back revealing gray bricks with wires.

Explosives.

Gotta stop this. Do something. His gaze collided with Cowboy’s. The big lug gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

Max’s nostrils flared as he wrestled with what to do.

“Where’s Dighton?”

How do they know our names?

“Dead,” someone answered.

Pulled back into the shadows, Max clenched his eyes and bit down on his tongue. Dighton was dead. What about Aladdin—had he survived the fall?

Sirens wailed in the distance.

“Load ’em up.”

“What about Jacobs?”

“Outta time.” The leader left as the gunmen dragged the team out of the building.

Stealthily, Max held on to the box and sprinted the length of the hall to the side of the Shack. In the conference room, he plunged toward the window. Craned his neck to peek out. Three vehicles—twin white vans and a black town car.

The guys were loaded into the van and one into the car.

The leader shifted, held something out, then it wavered.

Detonator.

Max spun around, searching for an out. Doors. Only one way down—the stairs. But they led to the bay, which would be engulfed.

Windows. Overlooked the dock. The canal. It was January. The water would be brutal cold. His split-second assessment told him no matter what route he took, it’d be deadly. Despite his training, if he didn’t find shelter out of the water once he broke surface, he’d die an ice cube. If he stayed, he’d die a fireball.

Good thing SEALs are insulated against cold water.

Max vaulted toward the window, hurtling the computer through the window. The glass shattered as a violent force blasted through the air. It lifted him. Up. . .up. . . Flipped him. Searing pain sliced through his arm. Heat stroked his back and legs. Fire chased him out of the building. Into the night.

Boom!

Another wave slammed into him. Threw him backward. Toward the water.

Something punched his gut. Knocked the breath from his lungs.

Bright white lit the night. Blinded him. Then—almost instantaneously—black. Pure black. And he was falling. . .down. . .down. . .







Ro n i e K e n d i g


Firethorn


Discarded Heroes # 4





OTHER BOOKS BY RONIE KENDIG




Nightshade (Discarded Heroes #1)




Digitalis (Discarded Heroes #2)




Wolfsbane (Discarded Heroes #3)




© 2011 by Ronie Kendig


ISBN 978-1-60260-0785-9

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.



All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.




This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.




For more information about Ronie Kendig, please access the author’s Web site at the following Internet address: www.roniekendig.com




Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,




www.barbourbooks.com




Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.




Printed in the United States of America.



My Thoughts: Ronie has penned a book that will keep you up late reading. Griffen gets set up and finds himself in maximum security prison for sticking up for his wife. It's something right out of a movie. Then the unit is ambushed and the book just rock n' rolls from there. I love these characters and the way Ronie pulls you into the story. I highly recommend this read!

Love Blooms In Winter

Thursday, January 19, 2012

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:







and the book:








  • Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)






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




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.



Visit the author's website.





SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



This new romance from bestselling author Lori Copeland portrays God’s miraculous provision when none seems possible. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more adventure than Tom Curtis is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter with God in charge.




1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.



Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.












Product Details:






    • List Price: $13.99

    • Paperback: 304 pages

    • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)

    • Language: English

    • ISBN-10: 0736930191

    • ISBN-13: 978-0736930192








AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:









Dwadlo, North Dakota, 1892


The winter of ’92 is gonna go down as one of the worst Dwadlo’s ever seen,” Hal Murphy grumbled as he dumped the sack of flour he got for his wife on the store counter. “Mark my words.” He turned toward Mae Wilkey, the petite postmistress, who was stuffing mail in wooden slots.


“Spring can’t come soon enough for me.” She stepped back, straightening the row of letters and flyers. She didn’t have to record Hal’s prediction; it was the same every year. “I’d rather plant flowers than shovel snow any day of the week.”


“Yes, ma’am.” Hal nodded to the store owner, Dale Smith, who stood five foot seven inches with a rounded belly and salt-and-pepper hair swept to a wide front bang. “Add a couple of those dill pickles, will you?” Hal watched as Dale went over to the barrel and fished around inside, coming up with two fat pickles.


“That’ll fix me up.” Hal turned his attention back to the mail cage, his eyes fixed on the lovely sight. “Can’t understand why you’re still single, Mae. You’re as pretty as a raindrop on a lily pad.” He sniffed the air. “And you smell as good.”


Smiling, Mae moved from the letter boxes to the cash box. Icy weather may have delayed the train this morning, but she still had to count money and record the day’s inventory. “Now, Hal, you know I’d marry you in a wink if you weren’t already taken.” Hal and Clara had been married forty-two years, but Mae’s usual comeback never failed to put a sparkle in the farmer’s eye. Truth be, she put a smile on every man’s face, but she wasn’t often aware of the flattering looks she received. Her heart belonged to Jake Mallory, Dwadlo’s up-and-coming attorney.


Hal nodded. “I know. All the good ones are taken, aren’t they?”


She nodded. “Every single one. Especially in Dwadlo.”


The little prairie town was formed when the Chicago & North Western Railroad came through five years ago. Where abundant grass, wild flowers, and waterfalls had once flourished, hundreds of miles of steel rail crisscrossed the land, making way for big, black steam engines that hauled folks and supplies. Before the railroad came through, only three homesteads had dotted the rugged Dakota Territory: Mae’s family’s, Hal and Clara’s, and Pauline Wilson’s.


But in ’87 life changed, and formerly platted sites became bustling towns. Pine Grove and Branch Springs followed, and Dwadlo suddenly thrived with immigrants, opportunists, and adventure-seeking folks staking claims out West. A new world opened when the Dakota Boom started.


Hal’s gaze focused on Mae’s left hand. “Jake still hasn’t popped the question?”


Mae sighed. Hal was a pleasant sort, but she really wished the townspeople would occupy their thoughts with something other than her and Jake’s pending engagement. True, they had been courting for six years and Jake still hadn’t proposed, but she was confident he would. He’d said so, and he was a man of his word—though every holiday, when a ring would have been an appropriate gift, that special token of his intentions failed to materialize. Mae had more lockets than any one woman could wear, but Jake apparently thought that she could always use another one. What she could really use was his hand in marriage. The bloom was swiftly fading from her youth, and it would be nice if her younger brother, Jeremy, had a man’s presence in his life.


“Be patient, Hal. He’s busy trying to establish a business.”


“Good lands. How long does it take a man to open a law office?”


“Apparently six years and counting.” She didn’t like the uncertainty but she understood it, even if the town’s population didn’t. She had a good life, what with work, church, and the occasional social. Jake accompanied her to all public events, came over two or three times a week, and never failed to extend a hand when she needed something. It was almost as though they were already married.


“The man’s a fool,” Hal declared. “He’d better slap a ring on that finger before someone else comes along and does it for him.”


“Not likely in Dwadlo,” Mae mused. The town itself was made up of less than a hundred residents, but other folks lived in the surrounding areas and did their banking and shopping here. Main Street consisted of the General Store, Smith’s Grain and Feed, the livery, the mortuary, the town hall and jail (which was almost always empty), Doc Swede’s office, Rosie’s CafĂ©, and an empty building that had once housed the saloon. Mae hadn’t spotted a sign on any business yet advertising “Husbands,” but she was certain her patience would eventually win out.


With a final smile Hal moved off to pay for his goods. Mae hummed a little as she put the money box in the safe. Looking out the window, she noticed a stiff November wind snapping the red canvas awning that sheltered the store’s porch. Across the square, a large gazebo absorbed the battering wind. The usually active gathering place was now empty under a gray sky. On summer nights music played, and the smell of popcorn and roasted peanuts filled the air. Today the structure looked as though it were bracing for another winter storm. Sighing, Mae realized she already longed for green grass, blooming flowers, and warm breezes.


After Hal left Mae finished up the last of the chores and then reached for her warm wool cape. She usually enjoyed the short walk home from work, but today she was tired—and her feet hurt because of the new boots she’d purchased from the Montgomery Ward catalog. On the page they had looked comfortable with their high tops and polished leather, but on her feet they felt like a vise.


Slipping the cape’s hood over her hair, she said goodbye to Dale and then paused when her hand touched the doorknob. “Oh, dear. I really do need to check on Pauline again.”


“How’s she doing?” The store owner paused and leaned on his broom. “I noticed she hasn’t been in church recently.”


Dale always reminded Mae of an owl perching on a tree limb, his big, dark blue eyes swiveling here and there. He might not talk a body’s leg off, but he kept up on town issues. She admired the quiet little man for what he did for the community and respected the way he preached to the congregation on Sundays.


How was Pauline doing? Mae worried the question over in her mind. Pauline lived alone, and she shouldn’t. The elderly woman was Mae’s neighbor, and she checked on her daily, but Pauline was steadily losing ground.


“She’s getting more and more fragile, I’m afraid. Dale, have you ever heard Pauline speak of kin?”


The small man didn’t take even a moment to ponder the question. “Never heard her mention a single word about family of any kind.”


“Hmm…me neither. But surely she must have some.” Someone who should be here, in Dwadlo, looking after the frail soul. Mae didn’t resent the extra work, but the post office and her brother kept her busy, and she really didn’t have the right to make important decisions regarding the elderly woman’s rapidly failing health.


Striding back to the bread rack, she picked up a fresh loaf. Dale had private rooms at the back of the store where he made his home, and he was often up before dawn baking bread, pies, and cakes for the community. Most folks in town baked their own goods, but there were a few, widowers and such, who depended on Dale’s culinary skills. By this hour of the day the goods were usually gone, but a few remained. Placing a cherry pie in her basket as well, she called, “Add these things to my account, please, Dale. And pray for Pauline too.”


Nodding, he continued sweeping, methodically running the stiff broomcorn bristles across the warped wood floor.


The numbing wind hit Mae full force when she stepped off the porch. Her hood flew off her head and an icy gust of air snatched away her breath. Putting down her basket, she retied the hood before setting off for the brief walk home. Dwadlo was laid out in a rather strange pattern, a point everyone agreed on. Businesses and homes were built close together, partly as shelter from the howling prairie winds and partly because there wasn’t much forethought given to town planning. Residents’ homes sat not a hundred feet from the store. The whole community encompassed less than five acres.


Halfway to her house, snowflakes began swirling in the air. Huddling deeper into her wrap, Mae concentrated on the path as the flakes grew bigger.


She quickly covered the short distance to Pauline’s. The dwelling was little more than a front room, tiny kitchen, and bedroom, but she was a small woman. Pauline pinned her yellow-white hair in a tight knot at the base of her skull, and she didn’t have a tooth in her head. She chewed snuff, which she freely admitted was an awful habit, but Mae had never heard her speak of giving it up.


Her faded blue eyes were as round as buttons, and no matter what kind of day she was having, it was always a new one to her, filled with wonders. Her mind wasn’t what it used to be. She had good and bad days, but mostly days when her moods changed as swift as summer lightning. She could be talking about tomatoes in the garden patch when suddenly she would be discussing how to spin wool.


Mae noted a soft wisp of smoke curling up from the chimney and smiled. Pauline had remembered to feed the fire this afternoon, so this was a good day.


Unlatching the gate, she followed the path to the front porch. In summertime the white railings hung heavy with red roses, and the scent of honeysuckle filled the air. This afternoon the wind howled across the barren flower beds Pauline carefully nurtured during warmer weather. Often she planted okra where petunias should be, but she enjoyed puttering in the soil and the earth loved her. She brought fresh tomatoes, corn, and beans to the store during spring and summer, and pumpkins and squash lined the railings in the fall.


In earlier days Pauline’s quilts were known throughout the area. She and her quilting group had made quite a name for themselves when Dwadlo first became a town. Four women excelled in the craft. One had lived in Pine Grove, and two others came from as far away as Branch Springs once a month to break bread together and stitch quilts. But one by one the women had died off, leaving Pauline to sew alone in her narrowing world.


Stomping her boots on the porch, Mae said under her breath, “I don’t mind winter, Lord, but could we perhaps have a little less of it?” The only answer was the wind whipping her garments. Tapping lightly on the door, she called, “Pauline?”


Mae stepped back and waited to hear the shuffle of feet. Pauline used to answer the door in less than twenty seconds. It took longer now. Mae made a fist with her gloved hand and banged a little harder. The wind howled around the cottage eaves. She closed her eyes and prayed that Jeremy had remembered to stack sufficient firewood beside the kitchen door. The boy was generally responsible, and she thanked God every day that she had him to lean on. He had been injured by forceps during birth, which left him with special needs. He was a very happy fourteen-year-old with the reasoning power of a child of nine.


A full minute passed. Mae frowned and tried the doorknob. Pauline couldn’t hear herself yell in a churn, but she might also be asleep. The door opened easily, and Mae peeked inside the small living quarters. She saw that a fire burned low in the woodstove, and Pauline’s rocking chair sat empty.


Stepping inside, she closed the door and called again. “Pauline? It’s Mae!”


The ticking of the mantle clock was the only sound that met her ears.


“Pauline?” She lowered her hood and walked through the living room. She paused in the kitchen doorway.


“Oh, Pauline!”



 
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