Where Hope Starts by Angela D. Meyer – Book Promo

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:

CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)
***Special thanks to Angela Meyer for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 22 years. They have two children whom they homeschool – recently graduating their son. She has taught childrens’ Bible classes for over 35 years. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. Where Hope Starts is Angela’s debut novel.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From New York City to the suburbs of Kansas City, a marriage struggles through the fallout of secrets and addictions.

Eight years after saying I do, Barry raises his hand against Karen and she discovers his addiction to pornography bringing their marriage to the edge of destruction.

Karen returns to her childhood home near Kansas City, MO to think through her options, but discovers her first love ready to pick up where they left off so many years ago.

Still in New York City, Barry attempts to fix the mess he has made of his life and his marriage. His choices take him on a downward spiral that leads to brokenness and the possible loss of his freedom.

Will they find their way back to each other or will they walk away from the future God has for them?

Product Details:
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936501155
ISBN-13: 978-1936501151

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Come home.

Karen Marino choked back a cry as she stared at the words scribbled on the front of the envelope. She slid her fingernail under the flap and gaped at the plane ticket nestled inside a letter. Why now? She gritted her teeth. Heat flushed from her neck to the top of her head as she remembered the look of disgust on her father’s face.

The clash of pans in the restaurant kitchen startled her back to the present. “What the…?”

She glanced at her watch. Almost eleven. She slid the ticket and letter back inside the envelope and tucked it into her purse. She took a deep breath before stepping out of her office.

“Steve, how does the schedule look?” Karen hired him straight out of culinary school. His lack of experience paled next to his talent, and within a year his specialties had drawn in customers from all over New York City’s five boroughs, earning the restaurant a five-star reputation.

“Perfect, my love.” He crossed his arms and smiled. “Now, when are you going to marry me?”

She laughed. “Your mother would be disappointed. I have more red hair than Irish blood.” She enjoyed the attention her hair brought in The City, where she no longer stood out like an apple on an orange tree.

“My ma would love you anyway.” Steve placed his hand over his heart.

She shook her head and waved him back to work, then strode through the kitchen inspecting the line cooks as they prepped for the noon rush. “Be sure and clean up as you go….No, not that dish. Use the glass one. And keep a towel nearby.…How long have you worked here?…Don’t wipe your hands on your apron.”

She stopped. “Jimmy,” she yelled above the din of the kitchen. Her voice carried to the break room where the young man sauntered out with a donut in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.

“Yeah?”

She glared at him. “What’s with all these dirty pots and pans?”

The guy shrugged. “Had somewhere to be last night, so I saved them.”

“Get rid of that donut now and finish your job in the next half hour, or you’re fired, no matter who your cousin is.”

He threw the donut and coffee in the trash can and plodded off to his station.

“Karen.”

“What!”

“You okay?” Her assistant manager, Cathy, raised an eyebrow.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to snap.” Karen took a deep breath. “Is the dining room ready?”

“No problems there. But…” Cathy glanced over her shoulder. “Barry’s at the bar.”

“Not with the new owner coming in.” Karen clenched her fists. If she talked to her husband now she would lose her cool. “Did you tell him I was busy?”

“Yes. But, he’s got that look.”

Karen rolled her eyes. That meant another of Barry’s money-making ideas. Ideas didn’t pay the rent. “I better go talk to him.”

Barry grinned as she approached and she paused at the sight of his dark wavy hair and strong jaw line. If life were a photo, he would take her breath away. But once you added sound and action, that fantasy vanished.

She bit her lip. A part of her longed for what they used to have. How does a man change so much? He used to lead people. Now he controlled them, like the other night. Karen shuddered, then closed the gap between them. “We’re about to open. You need to go. We can talk tonight.”

“Like all those other times? Please.” He leaned against the bar.

“I said, we’ll talk.”

Barry slid off the bar stool. Although he stood only a few inches taller than her five foot seven frame and didn’t work out enough to have an impressive build, he carried himself with a bravado that demanded attention. “We’ll talk now. You’ll like this idea. It’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of a start-up company.”

Karen caught a whiff of liquor on his breath. “A little early to be drinking, don’t you think?”

“Don’t change the subject.” He banged his fist on the bar.

She jumped. His eyes grew dark. She backed away, her eyes frozen on his hands. “You need to leave. Now.”

“Why?” Barry’s voice grew louder.

“So I won’t lose my job.” The new owner was a powerful man. Barry could blow it for her.

“Miss Indispensable? Lose her job?” His empty laugh bounced around the deserted room.

“Please.” Karen reigned in her hostility.

“I will do as I please.” He took a step toward her.

“If you hope to get your hands on my money, try honey not vinegar.” She crossed her arms and stared at him.

“What are you talking about?”

“This approach will not get you what you want.”

He looked behind her and backed away. “Yeah, maybe we should talk tonight.”

Karen wrinkled her brow. What’s got into him now? She turned. The new owner walked toward her. He reminded her of Danny Devito. Short, stout, and balding. Add a bit of swagger to his walk and you would have her new boss. She groaned. Glancing Barry’s direction she saw him leave through the kitchen. I hope he didn’t just cost me my job.

She turned to face the man. She mustered a smile and extended her hand. “Karen Marino. You must be Mr. Simon.”

The man stared at her. “You’re fired.” He smiled like a kid who just lifted a trinket from the store and got away with it.

“You can’t do that.” Her throat closed up. Breathe.

“I own this place, I can and will clean house as I see fit.”

His reputation was well earned. She forced herself to unclench her hands. “I built this restaurant into what it is today.”

“There’s no place in any of my restaurants for what I just witnessed. Home stays at home.”

“You’d get rid of me for one incident?”

“It’s not just one incident.”

She bit her tongue and glared at the man. Who talked?

“Leave now. Come back and clear out your desk after lunch.”

“Fine, I don’t need you or your restaurant. I have my reputation.” She regretted the words as soon as she said them.

“When I’m done, you won’t have a reputation.”

She turned and fled to her office. A man that powerful didn’t make idle threats. She grabbed her purse, squared her shoulders, and marched through the kitchen. She would not be shamed out of here. She did nothing wrong.

Her assistant manager barked orders at the staff. The new owner smiled while he watched. So Cathy betrayed me. An old pain grabbed at Karen’s heart. Why do people turn on me?

Letting the door slam on her way out, she rushed into the flow of human traffic. The wall of buildings hid the breadth of the sky and pressed in around her. Exhaust fumes mingled with the aroma of pizza from a nearby kiosk. She jumped when a taxi blared its horn. Two people shoved each other to get in, arguing over appointments. She picked up her pace, needing to escape the surroundings that for the last fifteen years had made her feel so alive. An image of the family orchard in Missouri filled her heart.

Her past caught up to her present and the old emotions, released from their prison, pinballed around inside her. She ducked into a nearby alley and leaned against the wall. Pressing her hands against the wall, she took several calming breaths against the tears welling up in her chest. She needed to think, not cry.

She pressed her fingertips against her eyes. I don’t want to go back to the apartment yet, and I don’t have an office anymore. Where can I go? She fought the desire to throw things and stomp her feet. She would not lose control.

Something brushed against her elbow and she jerked away. A pungent odor assaulted her nose as a man in a tattered jacket stepped closer.

“Some money for food?” He reached out his hands.

She pushed the man away and tucked her purse close to her body as she stumbled out of the alley and hurried away. Her thoughts latched onto her husband and the impossibility of the situation. Lost in a daze she walked several blocks before her stomach growled, reminding her of the time. She paused and looked around. Carnegie Deli looked like a good choice. Crossing the street, she stood in line for her turn, anxious for the line to move, yet longing for a slower pace.

Pressure built up in her right eye and tension grew between her shoulders. She dug through her purse for some pain reliever and popped two in her mouth.

“Next.”

She looked up at the man behind the counter. “Uh, I’m not sure, what—”

“I’ll take a Woody Allen and a coffee.” A construction worker shouldered his way past Karen, slapping some bills on the counter.

Karen glared at him, then raised her voice above the next person trying to steal her place in line. “Give me a Woody Allen, too.”

Within minutes her order sat next to the construction worker’s sandwich. She grabbed her plate and cup of coffee, and turned to find a seat in the crowded dining room. From across the room, she saw two women get up from their table. She rushed to grab one of the empty chair.

She settled in to her seat and thought of the first time she came here. She was on a blind date, and he wanted to share his favorite place to eat. Crowded elbow to elbow with strangers at the shared table, it was not exactly romantic, but the food was delicious and plentiful. Her sandwich was piled so high with meat she ate for several days off of the leftovers.

Now, the deli gave her the anonymity she needed.

Cradling the coffee mug in her hands, she allowed the heat to calm her nerves. The day had not gone the way she planned. Lately, not much had. She rubbed her temples then scooted her plate forward to make room for her note pad. Avoiding the glares of her table mates, she pulled out a pen and began to list her options.

Find a job. In this economy? Right.

Barry find a job. She laughed.

Dip into her savings. She ripped the paper off the pad and wadded it up. Not again. That money was for the future.

Her head pounded as she fought back the tears. Barry’s scheme might be all they had. Maybe not.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the letter. Karen remembered how special it felt to be a daughter of Charles and Annibel Hannigan. They were well respected in the community and at church, and then everything changed.

What’s so important that they want me to come home now? She laid the ticket aside and unfolded the letter.

Dear Karen,

Please come home. Your mother is dying and she needs to see you. She needs to know you understand. You need to hear what she has to say.

We are both sorry for the past and ask your forgiveness. I’ve enclosed a plane ticket. Change the date to what works best.

Love, Dad

Her hands trembled as she held the letter. Mom’s dying?

She laid the letter down and leaned her head onto her hands. She lost their favor with no explanation, and now they offered it to her again on a silver platter. It felt fake. What had she done to lose their favor in the first place? She wiped at tears she couldn’t stop. Did they think an apology could make up for everything?

“Hey lady, if you’re done, why don’t you move on. There’s folks waiting for a seat.”

Looking the bus boy directly in the eye, she reached for her sandwich and took a bite. He waved at her in dismissal and went back to work.

She glanced out the window as a mother bent down to look her child in the eye. She pointed at a large bulldozer across the street. The little boy smiled, looked back at her and nodded. They hugged. She grabbed his hand and continued walking.

She and her mother used to have a relationship like that. Carrying on like they were the only two people in the world. She looked away. Maybe going home wasn’t a viable option either.

She bit her lip. Am I supposed to just forgive them? How could they ask that of her? She hit the table with her fist and the coffee mug jumped, spilling onto the letter.

“Hey, watch it!” The man next to her grabbed his paper and picked it up ahead of the offending liquid.

“Sorry.” She grabbed some napkins and sopped up the mess. Blowing out a hard breath and tapping her fingers on the table, she checked her phone for the time before dialing her best friend.

Megan and Robert Fletcher reserved a table every Tuesday night at the restaurant Karen managed. Over time she became friends with Megan despite her penchant for religion. She always listened and gave good feedback.

And she’s the only person I trust.

Karen wouldn’t get the same attentive ear once Megan and Robert had their baby. The call went straight to voice mail, so she left a message. Megan must be at the women’s shelter she managed.

Karen picked up the letter and airline ticket and stuffed them in her purse. A walk might help her think better. Catching the waitress’ attention, she asked for a to-go bag.

Back on the street, her mind quickly turned to what her lack of employment meant for her life. Stay in New York and try to find another job without a reference. Give Barry’s scheme a chance. Or go home.

She cringed at all of those options. Like it or not, she had to consider them or maybe…her steps faltered as she did some quick mental calculations.

It would be risky and Barry wouldn’t like it, but she didn’t care. She quickened her step. She needed to stop by the bank.

Blog Tour – The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

The Beloved Daughter, an inspirational suspense novel by award-winning author Alana Terry, is a story of persecution and triumph set in the oppressive North Korean regime. The audiobook version of Alana’s bestselling debut novel is narrated by Kathy Garver, a four-time Audie award winner and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Motion Picture Council. (You might also recognize Kathy as Cissy from the TV show Family Affair.)

Listen to a sample of Kathy reading from The Beloved Daughter.

The Beloved Daughter

Synopsis: In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. It is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being. The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.

Acclaim: 
 
     *Winner, Women of Faith Writing Contest
 

Join the giveaway

     *1st Place, Book Club Network Book of the Month

     *Amazon Bestseller (#5 Christian Suspense)

Reviews:

“…an engaging plot that reads like a story out of today’s headlines…” ~ Women of Faith Writing Contest

“The Beloved Daughter is a beautifully written story that is…both personal and representative of the challenges that many North Koreans still face today.” ~ Sarah Palmer, Rescue Team Coordinator at Liberty in North Korea

“The author does a phenomenal job… HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – but have tissues handy.” ~ Pauline Creeden, Editor AltWit Press

“…the most compelling Christian novel I have read.” ~ Temujin Hu, Author of The Rage

Order your own copy of The Beloved Daughter.

Awesome Prizes!

A sample of Nicole’s nature-inspired earrings

You don’t want to miss out on The Beloved Daughter audiobook launch party. RSVP now on Facebook. Dozens of winners … Hundreds of $$$-worth in prizes!

THIS WEEK’S PRIZES: The author’s friend Nicole makes beautiful hand-made earrings out of bark, coral, and even teeth and bones. Six winners! To see what kind of work Nicole does, check out her etsy shop.

SEE THE AUDIOBOOK HERE

SEE THE PAPERBACK HERE

SEE THE EBOOK HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heirs of Rebellion (Morrison Family Secrets Book 1) by Vanessa Miller – Book Promo

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:

Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vanessa Miller is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her romance series include Forsaken, Rain and Storm, and with Whitaker House, the Second Chance at Love series: A Promise of Forever Love, Yesterday’s Promise, and A Love for Tomorrow. Her books, which often depict lost characters in need of redemption, have received countless favorable reviews and numerous awards. Vanessa holds a degree in organizational communication from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She is a dedicated Christian and a devoted mother serves in her church as an ordained exhorter.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Heirs of Rebellion contains the first two of five stories chronicling the dramatic lives of Joel Morrison and his adult children. “The Blessed One” kicks off the saga in the Bahamas where Joel has gathered the family to go over changes to his will, but a turn of events sends shock waves through the Morrison family, altering Joel’s plans. “The Wild One,” revolves around daughter Dee Dee Morrison-Milner, a film star living life in the fast lane who adopts an African child — only because she believes it will benefit her career. When a series of events leads to her adopted daughter’s kidnapping, Dee Dee turns to her estranged husband in hopes of finding the child whose kind nature has captured her heart.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Series: Morrison Family Secrets (Book 1)
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603749489
ISBN-13: 978-1603749480

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“Mr. Morrison, I really need to discuss something with you before you leave today.”

Eric’s assistant, Karen, had come into his office just as he was leaning over his desk, putting some files in his briefcase, so he could head home. He straightened up, revealing his full six-foot-two, 178-pound physique. He straightened his buttercream-colored tie and looked at his watch. It was 7:30 pm. He’d promised Linda that he would be home by six. Well, he’d already broken that promise, so he might as well handle this business. He sat back down. “What can I do for you, Karen?”

“I would just like to state for the record,” Karen began as she handed him a stack of bills, “I had no clue that this much money was being spent since you put Mark in charge of marketing for your campaign.”

It was the Corporate America motto: “Cover yourself and blame the other guy.” In truth, Karen’s responsibilities included reviewing the finances of his campaign and letting him know if his contributions were insufficient to cover his spending. He flipped through the bills, and then, with a frustrated sigh, laid the stack on his desk. “Why are all these bills past due?”

Karen plopped down in the chair in front of his desk and let out a long sigh. “We haven’t received as much in contributions as I originally projected. The election is nine months away, and with nothing significant happening, we haven’t given the donors a reason to part with their money.”

Here he was, mayor of Cincinnati, fully intending to make the White House his home within the next decade, and he didn’t even have enough money to run for Governor of Ohio? What did that say about his chances at the presidency? Was he dead in the water before his presidential campaign even marinated in the delegates’ minds? Eric refused to believe that. His father had always told him that God was looking out for him and wanted to see him prosper.

Being the eldest child, Eric had always been called upon to solve problems, starting with his own siblings. If he heard someone say, “Give it back; I had it first,” Eric would suggest something along the lines of, “Why don’t you play with the truck first, Isaiah, and then, in a little while, you can let Shawn see it, okay?” or, “Look, Dee Dee, there’s a prettier doll on your bed. Why don’t you let Elaine have this old doll, so you can play with the prettier one?”

Problem solving was in his genes. So, before his pity party got started, Eric decided to search for a solution. He grabbed his calculator and began adding up his debts. He turned to Karen. “It looks like we owe almost five million for various items, including my radio and television ads. How much money do we have right now?”

Karen glanced at the spreadsheet in her hand. “We have about two million in liquid assets.”

His father could cover these bills without even blinking an eye. But Eric hadn’t asked his father for anything since he’d graduated from college. Sure, he gladly accepted the $50,000 his father sent through his accountant to each of his children every year. His father had also bought him and his siblings their first homes. Everyone but Elaine, that is; she was still too busy saving the world to plant roots anywhere. But Eric hadn’t asked his father for anything else since he’d bought the house for Linda and him. When their daughter was born, Eric sold that house and used the proceeds to buy the 6,000-square-foot home they now shared. He wanted to be his own man and make his father proud of his accomplishments. The last thing Eric wanted to do as he neared forty was to beg his father for money. Besides, his father knew that it took money to run for public office; and if he wasn’t offering, Eric wasn’t asking.

“Okay, then,” Eric finally said. “Call all of our creditors and offer them a third of what we owe, and then tell them we will pay the rest over the next three months.” Eric had no clue where the money would come from to pay the remaining balances. But in the political arena, you never knew—a scandal could develop surrounding his opponent, prompting more voters to want to oust the incumbent and perhaps even pledge money to Eric’s campaign. He hoped he wouldn’t have to hire investigators to dig up dirt on Governor McDaniel, but he wasn’t opposed to it if the need arose.

He finished his meeting and left the office. Linda was going to kill him. This was the third night this week that he’d arrived home after eight o’clock. She didn’t understand how much public service meant to him, how much joy he received from setting policies in place that would help communities for generations to come. Being in public service allowed him to use the peacemaking finesse and problem-solving skills he’d developed as a child. But Linda was always complaining that he was more dedicated to the City of Cincinnati than to his own family.

Eric didn’t understand his wife. She had everything a woman could want, and yet she was still unhappy. He had bought her a nice home, and she had a hefty clothing allowance. Yes, he was often late, but at least he came home to his wife every night. Not every woman could say that. But Eric Morrison, the next governor of the great state of Ohio, didn’t cheat on his wife. Mention the name Bill Clinton to any politician—enough said. No, sir. Eric wasn’t trying to build a legacy just to have it torn down by infidelity. His father had taught him that. Joel Morrison used to tell his sons every chance he got: A man’s name is only as good as his wife says it is.

Eric had met Linda after college, while he was serving as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Linda’s father was a colonel in the army, so she’d grown up as an army brat.

Now she’s just a brat, Eric thought as he pulled into the driveway. She was never satisfied, no matter what he did for her. And if she didn’t get her way, she fell apart.

He walked into the house, took off his hat and coat, and put them in the closet. “I’m home,” he yelled.

No one answered back. He looked at his watch and walked out of the foyer in search of his wife. He found her asleep in the living room, stretched out on their beige sofa with a half-empty bottle of scotch by her side. Eric rolled his eyes and turned to walk away. Then he noticed a letter typed on his father’s stationery, sitting on the coffee table. He crossed the room and sat down on the edge of the couch next to his wife, catching a whiff of her alcohol-laden breath as she snored.

Shaking his head, he picked up the letter and read.

Son,

I hope all is going well for you and your family. It has been way too long since I broke bread with you and your lovely wife. Just thinking about how much I miss my grandchildren brings tears to my eyes. So, I’ve decided to invite you all to our vacation home in the Bahamas for a week of fun and family.

I know you’ll need time to get things in order at your office, so I’ve scheduled the vacation for the end of the month. How about it? Can you bring your family to the Bahamas on March 25? I really hope you will be there, because I will be going over some changes to my will.

Love, your father,

Joel

Eric held his breath and leaned back on the sofa. What changes could his father be making to his will? As far back as he could remember, his father had said they would split his fortune five ways when he died. Had something changed?

***

“What did you say to me?” Dee Dee Morrison-Milner glared across the table at her Bible-toting husband. Actually, she preferred thinking of him as her soon-to-be ex-husband.

“I said I love you, Dee Dee. Please, let’s just go home and talk this over,” Drake Milner pleaded, his dark brown eyes filled with liquid sadness.

Dee Dee didn’t care. She rolled her eyes and turned to face her lawyer, who was seated on her left. She ran her fingers through her fifteen-hundred-dollar weave. “William, can you please tell Drake how much alimony he will receive from me when this is all over?”

While Dee Dee’s attorney flipped through his files, Drake said, “What if I don’t want alimony? What if I just want you?”

Drake’s attorney, Mark Winters, elbowed him and spoke up. “Actually, my client has given up a great deal for this three-year marriage. Alimony is the least Mrs. Milner can do.”

“Don’t call me that.” Dee Dee scowled. “I am Dee Dee Morrison. I insist that you refer to me in that manner during these proceedings.” Actually, her name was Dee Dee Morrison-Wilcox-Johnson-Sooner-Milner, but Dee Dee didn’t want to think about all her failed marriages. She’d rather just be Morrison again and start over. The only reason she’d even entered into marital mistake number four was because her father had thought Drake was a great catch. According to Joel Morrison, Mr. Drake Milner was one in a million. Well, her daddy didn’t have to live with Drake. He wasn’t around when Drake opened his Bible and dared to read it to her. He wasn’t dragged to Sunday morning worship service when all he wanted to do was sleep in. Dee Dee had been through all that madness when she’d lived with her father. That’s why she’d thought she could handle a clone of Joel Morrison. But she’d had enough.

“What did I do that was so wrong, Dee Dee?” Drake protested. “I didn’t cheat on you, didn’t abuse you. I honored the vows that I made to you.”

Dee Dee turned to William. “Can you please tell him how much I’m willing to give him in alimony?”

William cleared his throat and announced, “Ms. Morrison is willing to give you fifty thousand a year for the next three years.”

Mark laughed. “How generous you are, Mrs. Milner, but it’s going to take much more than Daddy’s annual allowance to help my client retain his standard of living.”

Glaring across the table at Drake again, Dee Dee said, “Did you tell him all my business?”

“The bottom line is this,” Mark began. “My client gave up his career to move to LA and become your houseboy.”

“I never told him he couldn’t work,” Dee Dee insisted.

“Oh, really? Is that why you got him fired from the last two jobs he acquired since moving here?” Mark asked.

Dee Dee harrumphed. “That’s a lie. Drake didn’t like any of those jobs. He wanted to travel with me. I did him a favor by calling his employers. If anything, he should be thanking me, rather than trying to extort more money.” She stood up and extended her manicured index finger in Drake’s direction. “You’re getting out of my house today. Do you hear me? Your days of freeloading are over.” She turned and stormed out of her attorney’s office, jumped in her red Ferrari 575M Maranello, and sped off. She had no time to waste. She intended to put Drake out of her ten-million-dollar Bel Air mansion that day. She lived thirty minutes away from her lawyer’s office. Nonetheless, in less than twenty minutes, she was punching in the access code to her gated home. She parked her car in front of the house and ran inside.

Dee Dee stood in the foyer for a moment with her back against the door. She detested the stale white walls, the white marble floor, and the circular staircase. It was all too calm and drab for her taste. She still didn’t understand why she had purchased this house. Maybe she had been on some kind of calm-and-drab kick the year she’d married Drake, but she was way over it now.

She went upstairs to Drake’s room, gathered a handful of his shoes and clothes, then opened his bedroom window and threw the stuff out onto the well-manicured lawn. On her third trip to the window, she saw her assistant, Marcia, coming up the walkway.

As Dee Dee dumped Drake’s underclothes on the lawn, Marcia waved some envelopes in the air with no acknowledgment of the garments. “I have your mail.”

“Just leave it on the table in the foyer. I’m busy right now.”

Marcia pulled one of the envelopes out of the stack. “This one is from your father.”

Dee Dee was tempted to continue with her work, but her daddy was a peculiar kind of man. You never knew when he might just add an extra check to one of his letters. And she could use some extra money right now. God only knew how much it was going to cost her to get rid of Drake, since he was telling everyone it was her fault he didn’t have a job.

She went downstairs, took the letter from Marcia, and opened it. As she read it, her world fell apart. Daddy’s changing his will? Was her father disinheriting her because of her four failed marriages? Could the old man really give away her birthright just because she didn’t measure up to his high standards? Dee Dee didn’t really know if this was bad news for her or not, but she knew one thing for sure. There was no way that she could go to the Bahamas without Drake. Not when her share of six hundred million was at stake.

Blog Tour & Giveaway – Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman

Chasing HopeChasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman

A Personal Drama of Shattered Dreams and Second Chances

A talented runner fully committed to Olympic dreams, Sabrina Rice’s future was shattered by a devastating diagnosis. One forfeited scholarship and several years later, she has new goals and dreams that have nothing to do with running–something that’s become far too painful to think on.
Until the day she sees Brandy Philip running across the community college campus, easily outpacing security. Sabrina immediately recognizes world-class speed, and it’s all the more painful that it belongs to a teenage graffiti artist. When a chance encounter brings the two young women together, Sabrina becomes Brandy’s best hope for staying out of juvenile hall. Soon, Sabrina begins to feel an uncomfortable nudge that her new life is just about to be toppled…that God may be calling her to minister to this talented but troubled girl.

kathrynAuthor Kathryn Cushman

Author Kathryn “Katie” Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy.

She is the author of five novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women’s Fiction.

She is also the co-author of Angel Song with Sheila Walsh.

Kathryn and her family currently live in Santa Barbara, California.

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Chasing Hope excerpts

Excerpt:

Prologue

A dozen men in ugly white outfits and weird haircuts ran barefoot along the ocean’s edge, moving faster, faster, faster, as the music swelled until it filled the entire theater. Sabrina Rice leaned forward in her seat, clutching her bag of popcorn tight to her chest. Her feet tapped against the sticky concrete floor, twitching with the urge to run alongside those men. And then she saw him. The man with his head thrown back, arms churning at his sides, and a strange sense of joy shining in his eyes. In that moment, her life made sense. In that moment, she found her hero.

It made no difference to her that this movie was over twenty years old, or that the revival theater was mostly empty, or that it would have been far more convenient to rent Chariots of Fire at the local video rental store and watch it at home—as only a few hours ago she had complained bitterly to her mother—or that she’d really wanted to go bowling with her friends today. For the next two hours, nothing existed but Sabrina and the runners on the screen, particularly Eric Liddell. And watching him, face toward the sky, drinking in God’s pleasure as he ran, that’s when she knew. With absolute certainty she knew what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. As she walked from the theater, she turned to her mother. “I am going to be an Olympic runner and I’m going to tell people about God, just like Eric Liddell. Maybe not China, though. I don’t think they allow that anymore.”

Mom threw back her head and laughed. It wasn’t one of those grown-up kinds of laughs that let a kid know how stupid they were. No, this was one of those “I’m so completely happy I can’t hold it in” kind of things. She reached down and scooped Sabrina into her arms and spun around in a circle. “Sounds terrific.”

Sabrina was so happy with her newfound purpose that she wasn’t really too embarrassed by her mother’s public display of affection—thankfully none of the kids from school were anywhere near this old movie theater. “Can we start training now? You want to go for a run when we get home?”

“I think that’s a grand idea.” And just like that, they became running partners.

Much to Mom’s credit, she never balked when Sabrina insisted that they go for a run every single morning, rain or shine. It didn’t seem to matter that Sabrina was only twelve years old and according to most grown-ups, “couldn’t possibly be serious about what she’s going to do with her life.” Even long after the point that Mom had to ride a bike to keep up, she was always there and ready.

Every single day.

At five in the morning.

Rain or shine.

For the next six years.

Review: The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown

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Cover Rating:

Date Published: September 30, 2013
Pages: 322
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Author: Carole Brown
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary
ISBN-10: 1938499948
ISBN-13: 978-1938499944
Book Source: I received this book for free from Author Carole Brown for my honest opinion.

Blurb:

Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter at the hands of a radical religious cult – The Children of Righteous Cain. So when her husband, a founding member of the cult, suffers a massive heart attack, Caralynne allows her husband to die. Caralynne’s secret seems safe until Dayne MacFarland returns from college. Determined to learn the truth about the clan, Dayne’s investigation and his rekindled love for Caralynne, lead the pair toward a confrontation with clan leaders. Can Dayne’s love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divide the community? Or will Caralynne’s deadly secret prove too high a price for her redemption?

You can purchase it Here:
Amazon



Author Bio:

Carole Brown’s debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

You can find Carole Here:
Blog  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads



Favorite Excerpt:

“What would you have done if you’d had the chance to choose something else?”

“Are you serious? I’ve never taken the time to think about could-be’s and would-be’s. As I said, there’s not much since in wishing for what will never happen.”

“But if you could have…?”

“I don’t know. I’d mountain climb. Probably fly. Own my own private plane. Do rescue work.”

“What else?” His interest spurred her on. How long had it been since she’d had someone to share nonsense with?

“I’d learn to parachute and hang glide for fun and anything else to get me off the ground and into the air.”

“You crazy girl. mind if I join you?”

Richard had called her crazy too. Cara rested her head against the back of the seat. His hand stirred beside her.

“I am crazy, aren’t I?”

He slipped his arm around her and tugged lightly until she gave in and rested her head on his shoulder.

“You know it’s not too late to experience your dreams.”

“What do you mean?” Elder Simmons would never allow me to do that.”

A pause. Dayne stroked her hand with one finger. “Do it anyway.”

“I had a hard enough time accepting Donald’s beating. I couldn’t take them from the elders.Don’t encourage me, Dayne. Please. You don’t know—” With a sob, she straightened, and flung open the door.

Dayne ran from his side of the car and grabbed her shoulders. “Cara. Cara, don’t cry. I’m doing my best to work on the elders. Trust me.” He cupped her chin, tilted it, and stared into her eyes.

She gave a nod. “I do.”

Mostly.

With a thumb he wiped away the tears from her cheeks. I wish—”

For me?

“What do you wish?” Cara held her breath.

My Review:

Caralynne Hayman was raised in the religious group The Children of Righteous Cane. After her parents passed away she was taken in by Dayne MacFarland’s parents and raised as their own child. Living among these people is simply a way of life but Caralynne started to question their rules and beliefs a long time ago. She was forced to marry a man she didn’t love at the age of fifteen, her oldest daughter, Lori, was killed at the hands of her brother-in-law during her “breaking in” at the age of 11, not to mention the abuse the women receive at the hand’s of their husbands. After the death of her husband, Donald, Caralynne knows she will never marry another man they choose for her. Her plan? Execute revenge on the men in the group that she deems worthy and figure out a way to escape with her two daughters. When she becomes the target of Elder Simmons’ anger and he continues to lower the age of the “Breaking in” period for the young girls in the group, Caralynne knows she has to save her youngest daughters from the same fate as her beloved Lori. Will she have time to execute her plan for revenge or must she flee for her life and forget her plan and all of the hatred she feels for these men?

Dayne MacFarland has always loved Caralynne and regrets not being there for her when she needed him. He was sent away to seminary school for training so he could return to The Children of Righteous Cane and be their minister. But Dayne learns the way of his people are misguided, something he has always felt in his heart. When Dayne returns to the group he has an agenda. He intends to change the way they rule their people using Scripture to refute their past rules and decisions. He doesn’t count on falling even deeper in love with Caralynne. Dayne knows he has to protect her. With Elder Simmons out to hurt her, or even worse, Dayne takes up the fight and makes getting Caralynne and her daughters to safety his top priority. Can he help bring order to these people in the process? Can he win the heart of the only woman he has ever loved?

When I was asked by Miss Carole to review this book I agreed but I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure if I would like the overall story or not BUT I am so glad I agreed because The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a book I couldn’t put down. From the first page I was drawn in and from there I just wanted to see what would happen next. Caralynne was a real fighter. She loved her daughters with the fierceness of a mother cub and you could feel her grief over her daughter Lori’s death. The way she wanted to protect her friends from the abuse of their husbands had me cheering for her loyalty. No matter what she went through she didn’t let it break her. She came back fighting with a new determination. I loved Caralynne’s spunk and strength.

Enters Dayne MacFarland… Minister, loyal friend. He has a burning desire to “fix” their religious group and I had not doubt he would. He had the same determination as Caralynne but it was toned down a little and the way he protected her children as if they were his own just melted my heart. I could feel his deep love for Caralynne and I was rooting him on the whole way. His loyalty to their people, despite the head Elder’s disgusting rules, was something to be admired.

This was a story that was both beautiful and way too true. It opened my eyes to a practice that really goes on in this world. A practice that the world sometimes turns a blind eye to. It was so realistic and fast-paced that you won’t be able to put it down. The characters are spot on and you can’t help but feel the emotions they go through. It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel because it’s so well written. I’m so glad I read this book and I’ll be looking for more from Carole Brown in the future. Highly recommended!

 

My Rating:



**While I was given a free copy of this book for my honest opinion, I was in no way compensated for this review**

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