Book Promo: Battlefield of the Heart by E. A. West

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:

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Opal Campbell for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance E.A. West is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What started out as a bit of research for a sociology paper quickly turns into much more than Cindy ever expected. But can she survive Danny’s PTSD long enough to form a relationship with him?

Cindy Waymire, a college senior in search for a topic for an upcoming sociology paper, finds more than a topic when she meets Army veteran and college freshman Danny Flynn outside the student union. An undeniable attraction to this troubled veteran leads her on a difficult and winding path that brings her to a crossroads — get into a relationship with a man who has serious mental health problems or turn her back on one of the best men she’s ever met.

Can Cindy set her fears aside and follow her heart, or will the ghosts haunting Danny’s mind end their relationship before it begins?

Product Details:
List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492387207
ISBN-13: 978-1492387206

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The late August heat wrapped around Cindy Waymire like a thick blanket as she walked toward Whitcomb University’s student union. As much as she loved New Castle, days like this made her wish she lived in Yellow Knife. The guy standing on the sidewalk just ahead, however, made her thankful she was in Indiana.

A dark-haired guy with an athletic build, not more than an inch or two taller than her height of five foot nine, stood scanning the area as though he was lost. Clean-shaven, with just a hint of a five o’clock shadow along his jaw, he wore a T-shirt and jeans, both fitting just tight enough to hint at lean muscles. Cindy considered taking a candid photo and sending it to her girlfriends, but her cell phone was in her purse and digging it out would be too obvious. Maybe she could find another way to share this cutie with them.

His actions reminded her of her own during her first semester there. She’d had to ask someone where to find buildings so many times. Without those sympathetic upperclassmen, she would have been perpetually lost.

If he was a new student, that made her the sympathetic upperclassman. She stopped near him and smiled. “Hi, can I help you find someplace?”

He didn’t seem to hear her. She moved closer, thinking he might not realize she was talking to him. “Excuse me.”

He twisted and grabbed her wrist with startling speed. She screamed as he spun her around, bringing her arm behind her and forcing her to the ground as he said something unintelligible, but undeniably commanding. As he put a knee on her back and pulled her other arm, she heard people running toward them and prayed they could help. The guy was strong and no amount of struggling did any good. He just tightened his grasp on her wrists and applied more pressure with his knee, making it difficult for her to draw in a breath.

“Danny, let her up!” a male voice said as the running steps stopped beside them.

“He’s a threat.”

He? Before Cindy could figure out what the guy was talking about, she felt some of his weight lift from her back.

“She’s a noncombatant, Sarge,” a third male voice said.

The grip on her wrists loosened. “What?”

“You’re in the States, man.”

“Crap!” He released her wrists, and his weight lifted from her completely.

She scrambled to her feet, grateful she could breathe easily again. Turning around, she found two guys flanking the one who had attacked her.

“Are you okay?” the one on the left asked, his brow furrowed.

She drew in a shaky breath and tried to calm her racing pulse. “Um, yeah, I think so. Thank you for rescuing me.”

The guy in the middle looked so remorseful that she couldn’t help a bit of sympathy as he spoke quietly in a pained tone.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t realize what I was doing. Are you sure I didn’t hurt you?”

“Yeah, I’m okay.” Her wrist was starting to ache where he’d held it, but the way he hung his head made her hesitant to admit it. From the look of him, he didn’t need any more guilt. She noticed the two guys on either side of him looked unusually concerned when they glanced at him. Were they worried she’d file charges against him, or was it something more? “Are you okay?”

He dropped his gaze.

The first rescuer nodded toward the student union.

The other guy touched her attacker’s arm, and they walked to the building.

Cindy watched them go, and then returned her attention to the remaining rescuer.

“Danny’ll be okay,” he said, moving closer.

“What happened?”

“He had a flashback. By the way, I’m Josh Teague.”

“Cindy Waymire.” She rubbed her wrist. “What did he flash back to?”

“Probably Iraq. He just got back from his third tour about a year ago.” He motioned to the wrist she still gently massaged. “Are you sure he didn’t hurt you?”

She stilled her fingers. “It just aches.”

“Let’s go inside where there’s better light. I’ll take a look at your wrist.”

“Are you pre-med?” she asked.

“Nope. I’m a former army medic.”

Cindy raised her eyebrows as he held the door open. “What is this, Military Day at the student union?”

“No, the student veterans’ group is meeting here in a little bit.”

“I didn’t even know there was such a thing.” In the bright light of the student union, she got her first good look at Josh. He had short blond hair, hazel eyes, and looked remarkably familiar. “Are we in a class together?”

He led her out of the way of a student heading outside and studied her. “I don’t think so. Why?”

“You look familiar.” After three years at the university, nearly everyone on campus looked vaguely familiar. “Maybe I’ve just seen you around.”

“It’s possible. Now, let me see your wrist.”

She held it out, and he gently examined it. Despite a little redness from Danny’s strong grasp, there wasn’t any excruciating pain as Josh probed and flexed the joint.

Finally, he released her. “I think you have a mild sprain. I can get something to wrap it with to help with the ache, or I can walk you to the medical center so you can get it looked at by a doctor. What would you prefer?”

“I think I’d prefer to know why you’re so worried about taking care of me.”

“I’m hoping I can convince you not to call the campus police on Danny. He meant it when he said he didn’t know what he was doing. When a flashback happens, the real world disappears and he sees what happened in the past. It’s like he’s there all over again.”

“And I happened to take the place of a bad guy?”

“Yeah, it kind of looks that way.” Josh studied her, a glimmer of pleading in his eyes. “So, are you going to take pity on him and not report him to the police?”

Should she call the campus police or not? The university would want a report of the incident, but Danny hadn’t attacked her with any malicious intent. She was fairly certain he hadn’t even realized she was female. And he’d apologized and seemed to feel true remorse. After a little more deliberation, she felt peace about her decision. “I won’t report him, but I do want to talk to him. I have an insatiable curiosity for what makes people tick.”

“You probably don’t want to know what caused him to suffer from flashbacks.” Doubt filled Josh’s face.

“Actually, I do.” She made a quick decision. “I have to write a paper for my sociology class, and I’d like to write it on what it’s like for soldiers coming home and trying to adjust to life after the military.”

“That sounds more like something you’d write for psychology.”

“No, my professor has pointed out how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affect everyone more than we realize, and I think he’d be interested in finding out how veterans handle coming here while trying to recover from being deployed.”

“Recover… that’s an interesting word to use.”

She shrugged off a flutter of nerves. “Maybe, but it makes sense to someone who’s never been involved with the military and doesn’t know anyone in it. Going by what they show on the news and the psychiatrists who get interviewed occasionally, everyone who serves in Iraq or Afghanistan has to recover at least a little before life is normal.”

Josh searched her face. Finally, he gave a single nod. “I know where you can find a group of veterans who can help with your paper. But first, you need to take care of your wrist.”

“Would it be too much trouble for you to wrap it? I’d rather not deal with the medical center.”

“I’d be happy to do it.” He slid his backpack from his shoulders and dug inside it, coming up with a chemical ice pack. After squeezing it a couple of times, he handed it to her and slung the pack over his shoulder. “Put that on your wrist. It’ll help with the ache and any swelling. Come with me to the meeting room, and I’ll wrap your wrist. That should give the ice long enough to do its job.”

Cindy pressed the plastic pack to her wrist, and the chill spread, numbing the ache. Although curiosity rose, she wasn’t comfortable asking why he carried an ice pack.

“Are you busy this evening?” He gave her a questioning look.

“Not really. Why?”

He wasn’t going to ask her out, was he?

“You can hang out with the veterans’ group and maybe get what you need for your paper. So far this year we only have combat veterans, but there were a couple of guys last year who never left the States during their enlistments. They may come back at some point. Anyway, we’re usually out of here by nine, although sometimes we go somewhere else and hang out for a while after the meeting.”

“Will anyone mind me being there?”

“It’ll be fine. I’m sure they’ll be interested in helping you with your paper, too.”

Cindy followed him into a meeting room with half a dozen men in their mid-twenties to early thirties sprawled in chairs at round tables. She spotted Danny off to one side, talking to her other rescuer and an older man.

Josh led her to a black guy with glasses. “Hey, Corbin, you got a roll of self-adhering elastic bandage on you?”

Cindy glanced at Josh, her mind on high speed. She’d expected him to go to the tiny general store on the first floor to get something to wrap her wrist, not ask a friend for it. What kind of guys carried first aid supplies with them?

“Yeah,” he said, his gaze sliding to Cindy. “Who’s your friend?”

“Cindy Waymire.”

Corbin reached into the backpack lying on the floor and pulled out a rolled, light brown bandage. “Here you go.”

“Thanks, man. I’ll bring this back in a couple of minutes.” Josh led Cindy to an empty table and had her sit down. He dropped into the chair beside her, and then loosened the end of the bandage. “Give me your wrist.”

She held out her arm.

The fluid movements of his fingers indicated he’d had a lot of practice. When he finished, he tore the material and gently pressed to make sure the bandage was secure.

“How does that feel?”

She flexed her fingers. There was enough support to prevent most of the discomfort. “Much better.”

“Good. Keep the ice on your wrist for a few more minutes. I’ll be right back.” He carried the remaining bandage over to Corbin.

A tingle of awareness lifted the hair on the back of her neck, and she glanced around, certain someone was watching her.

Danny looked even more contrite than the last time she’d seen him — something she wouldn’t have believed possible if she weren’t seeing it. He must have noticed Josh wrapping her wrist. He said something to the guys he was talking to, and then he walked over to her.

“Mind if I sit down?” Danny asked quietly.

“Go ahead.” She gave him a friendly smile and waved her hand at the chair Josh had vacated.

He lowered himself into the chair, his gaze on her bandaged wrist. “I thought you said you were okay.”

“I am.” She spoke gently. “It’s just a minor sprain, and it doesn’t hurt at all now.”

He glanced toward Josh and Corbin, who were talking a few tables away. “Did he tell you what happened?”

“He said you had a flashback and probably didn’t even realize I was there.”

“Would you believe I didn’t realize you were American until Alex told me you were a noncombatant?”

“Who did you think I was?”

“Doesn’t matter.” Danny shook his head and looked away. “The point is, I’m sorry. Most of the time I’m fine, but sometimes stress will get to me or something will trigger a memory and I relive some stuff.”

“Can anything be done to keep you from reliving it like that?”

“Therapy, time, maybe medication. I’ll know for sure if they ever figure out what works for me.” The vulnerability in his gray eyes made Cindy want to give him a hug. “I hope you don’t think I’m crazy. I’m not. I’ve just seen a lot of stuff, and I’m still trying to deal with it.”

“Josh said you did three tours in Iraq.”

“Actually, only the last two were in Iraq. I was in Afghanistan for the first.”

“I can’t imagine doing even one tour in either place.”

“It’s what I trained for.” He glanced around the room. “It’s what we all trained for. It was our job to go over there and fight for our country.”

She studied him for a moment, sensing his pride as a veteran, and her curiosity prompted her to ask another question. “Would you go back?”

He met her gaze and, for the first time, she saw strength and determination in it. “If they asked me, I’d go back right now. The job’s not finished yet.”

Josh stepped up in front of the group. “I’m glad you all came tonight. Before we take care of business, I’d like to introduce a visitor. Cindy, come up here for a minute.”

Why hadn’t he warned her he planned to bring her in front of the entire group? She’d thought he’d introduce her to a few veterans after the meeting. Fighting back a flutter of nerves, she set the ice pack on the table and joined him, noting the curious expressions. She prayed they didn’t think she was intruding.

“This is Cindy Waymire. She’s writing a paper on veterans going to college while adjusting to life after the military, and she would like to spend a little time with us as part of her research. All in favor of helping her?” Josh paused, and four hands lifted. After some hesitation and an exchanged glance, the other two guys raised their hands as well. Josh turned to her with a smile. “You have your guinea pigs. You can sit down now.”

She returned to her seat beside Danny, relieved they were going to help her. She’d been a little afraid they might feel insulted by being the subject of a paper.

“Now, I’ve been contacted by several local organizations and professors who want someone to come speak,” Josh said, picking up a piece of paper. “Anybody up for telling groups about the military?”

Cindy looked around the room as Josh paired volunteers with speaking engagements. With their apparent willingness to talk about life in the military, it wasn’t surprising they’d voted unanimously to help with her paper.

The older man nodded slightly as he watched the proceedings with an approving smile.

Danny leaned close. “That’s Dr. Logan. He’s our faculty advisor and a Vietnam veteran who went to college straight out of the army.”

She nodded as Josh moved the meeting on to their upcoming fundraiser: a dinner to help raise money to send care packages to those still serving overseas. Cindy remembered seeing the donation jars and boxes for the military for the three years she’d been a student here. Had these guys been recipients of any of the cards she and her girlfriends had donated?

Once the meeting adjourned, several of the veterans introduced themselves to Cindy, including Alex Dugan, her other rescuer. Alex invited her to join him and a few others for coffee.

Although her heart pounded at the thought of going anywhere with this many strange men, she set her nervousness aside and accepted the invitation. It would give her a chance to gather information for her paper. Besides, going out for coffee meant they’d be in a public place. She would be safe enough there.

These guys had all been through things she’d never be able to understand, and though they seemed willing to talk to her about their experiences, she worried it might bring up unpleasant memories for them as it had with Danny. She prayed the evening would be a positive experience for everyone.

As the group headed out of the student union, Cindy walked between Corbin and Danny. The falling dusk washed out the brilliant colors of the campus’s landscaping. A handful of stars already shone in the darkening sky, visible between trees and buildings. A few pedestrians strolled along the sidewalks, presumably taking advantage of the slightly cooler temperature brought by the arrival of evening.

Corbin lifted his eyebrows and waved his hand toward her bandaged wrist. “So, what did you do that required Josh to wrap you up?”

“Sprained my wrist on my way to the student union.” She didn’t feel right talking about Danny’s flashback, especially with him on her other side.

Corbin chuckled. “That takes talent. How did you do it?”

Danny sighed as he turned to Corbin. “I took her down.”

“One of those moments, huh?”

Danny’s jaw tightened and shadows darkened his eyes. “Fallujah, man. I saw flippin’ Fallujah.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah.” Danny glanced at Cindy and dropped his gaze. “I’m not sure you want to use me for your paper. I’m a bit of a freak.”

Corbin slipped behind her to put a hand on Danny’s shoulder. “Hey, we all have our problems.”

“Maybe, but I have more than the rest of you. I just hope I don’t harm anyone else.”

What had Danny been through? Cindy wanted to give him a hug and maybe remove some of the sadness from his eyes, but she’d just met him — a meeting that had made the evening awkward enough already.

“What about Lacey?” Corbin glanced at the group crowding the sidewalk. “Hey, does anyone know where Lacey is tonight?”

“I think she had a date,” Alex said from behind them as the group parted to let a bicyclist through. “She mentioned something about someone named Matt.”

“She skipped out on us for a date?” one of the others asked.

“Hey, at least she’s going out with someone.”

Corbin sobered, the teasing tone vanishing as quickly as it had come. “I hope it goes well for her. She deserves to enjoy herself.”

What could cause him to look and sound so serious about a girl having a date? Cindy looked from Corbin to Danny and back, her curiosity flaring to life. “Who’s Lacey?”

“Our lone female veteran,” Corbin said, his expression lightening. “You should talk to her for your paper. Get the female perspective.”

“That would be cool.” New possibilities for the paper spread out before her.

“You know, I don’t think anyone ever said what your paper is for,” Danny said.

“Oh, I’m writing it for my sociology class. My professor spends a lot of time pointing out how the War on Terror has affected the way we live and the current state of the world. Lately, he’s started talking about the Department of Veterans Affairs and the issues it needs to deal with in order to provide services to the large numbers of veterans created by the war.”

“Who’s your professor?”

“Dr. Brixton.” A warm breeze blew a strand of hair in Cindy’s eyes, and she swatted it away as they turned onto the street leading toward the diner at the edge of campus.

“You’re writing this paper for Brixton?” Alex asked.

“Yeah, why?”

“Josh was in the same company as his nephew.”

“I should have remembered that.” She suddenly knew why Josh looked familiar.

“What do you mean?” Corbin asked.

“Dr. Brixton showed us a photo of his nephew and a couple of his friends. Josh was one of the friends.”

“Does he know you’re writing the paper for Brixton?” Alex asked.

Should she have told Josh who her professor was for before he offered to introduce her to the veterans group? “Not unless he knows Brixton teaches sociology. Why?”

“I figure if he knew you were writing it for his buddy’s uncle, he might have decided to stay out of it so no one can accuse Brixton of playing favorites if you get a good grade.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “If I get a good grade? Talk about a blow to my ego.”

The guys laughed as they dodged around a trio of students talking on the sidewalk.

She liked these guys and hoped she could develop friendships. With any luck, she could also meet Lacey. The way Alex and Corbin had talked about her made Cindy curious. Most people would consider it morbid curiosity, but she couldn’t help being interested in the human angle of war and all that went with it. If she could bring that down to a personal level, so much the better.

Review: Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher

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Cover Rating:

Date Published: September 24, 2013
Pages: 352
Publisher: Zondervan
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Romance
ASIN: B00BW295KG
Book Source: I received this book for free from Zondervan for my honest review.

Blurb:

Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for seven years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition—-she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

You can purchase it Here:
Deeper Shopping  *  Barnes & Noble  *  Amazon  *  BAM  *  CBD







Author Bio:

Robin Lee Hatcher is the bestselling author of 70 books. Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin and her husband currently reside in Idaho.

You can find Robin Here:
Website  *  Blog  *  Facebook  *  
Twitter  *  Pinterest





My Review:

After her husband was presumed dead while fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba, Diana Brennan had finally decided to move on with her life. Little did she know on the night her engagement to Brook Calhoun was to be announced, her “deceased” husband would show up. Shortly after her marriage to Tyson Applegate he broke her heart when he up and left to travel the world. Diana loved Tyson with her whole heart but the one thing she couldn’t do was make him love her back. Now after years of grieving his absence and his presumed death, he has watlzed back into her life. What Diana can’t figure out is why but, regardless of the reason, she refuses to let him back into her heart.

Tyson Applegate ran. It is as simple as that. He ran from his tyrant of a father. He ran from his marriage. He ran away from everything he had ever known. But when he learns Diana is having him declared legally dead so she can marry another man he knows he can’t let it happen. During all of his travels and time fighting in Cuba he finally realized something… He loves his wife. Totally and completely. But now he must find a way to get Diana to trust him again. He knows he needs her by his side as he runs for the senate and he uses that fact along with under-handed tactics to get Diana to agree to live with him for six months as a trial basis. If he can’t prove he is a changed man and that his love for Diana is real, she is free to leave and live her life without him. Can Tyson prove his love and heal Diana’s broken heart in time?

Beloved is the third book in the Where the Heart Lives series. Robin Lee Hatcher finishes her series off with finesse. Diana lacks the ability to trust and it’s understandable after what she has been through. In her young life her father deserted his family, her mother died when she was only six, she was seperated from her brother and sister and her husband abandoned her and left her broken. So, yes, she had trust issues. But she was also a woman that loved completely, with her whole heart. I loved it when she finally stopped being meek and found her backbone. She had her doubts about God because of all of the things that had happened to her but in the end she rejoiced in where He had led her. She went from uncertain to positive of her Creator’s undyling love and ever flowing Grace.

Tyson got my ire up with the way he had treated Diana but, as the story progressed, I came to understand just why he did the things he did and I became his champion. I so wanted Diana to hurry and give him a break and I laughed out loud when Tyson discovered Ned, the homeless boy that came to live with them, had a dog. The following paragraph reads: “A wife, Tyson had wanted. A widowed mother-in-law, he’d expected. But a cat, an orphan and now a stray dog as well? What a menagerie! Exactly when had he lost control of his household?” LOL Poor Tyson! But in the end he showed himself to be a man that Diana admired. He would move mountains for her and that makes for a good romance!

I have never been disapointed with one of Miss Robin’s books yet. This was a beautiful story of, not only rekindled love but rekindled faith as well. I was led on a journey from beginning to end and when I reached the final destination I was thoroughly satisfied with the story as a whole. Love, romance, a spiritual awakening and a little suspense thrown in. There is something for everyone among the pages of this book. If you haven’t read it yet, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine alone and mine alone and I received no monetary compensation.

My Rating:



Click to Tweet: Can He Win Her Trust And Ultimately Mend Her Broken Heart?”



Book Promo: DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven 1) by Janalyn Voigt

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:

Harbourlight Books (June 29, 2012)
***Special thanks to Janalyn Voigt for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janalyn Voigt’s unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Beginning with DawnSinger, her epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams.

Janalyn is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary. She serves as a literary judge for several international contests and is an active book reviewer. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA.

When she’s not writing, Janalyn loves to find worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens.

But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing—and the salvation he offers—into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.

Product Details:
List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Harbourlight Books (June 29, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611162009
ISBN-13: 978-1611162004

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Part 1: Summons

1

The Whispan Tree

A crosswind caught Kai’s wingabeast as lightning flared too near. Shrilling, the winged horse tilted in flight, and Kai’s stomach lurched. A gust snatched the hood from his head and roared in his ears. He blinked to clear the stinging rain that drove into his eyes. Thunder boomed like a timpani, shaking the air. Flecht shuddered beneath him, and Kai placed a calming hand on his wingabeast’s straining neck. He did not like this long flight through the wild night any better than did Flecht.

An image rose, unbidden—Lof Raelein Maeven, Faeraven’s High Queen, upon her deathbed, her sea-green eyes surging with life. As a guardian of Faeraven and as a friend, he would die to appease the hope that had flared in those eyes.

Wind howled and lightning flashed close enough to blind. Kai wondered if his own death neared. He would not—could not—halt his journey, although it took him into the teeth of danger. Necessity drove him as he pushed onward, past endurance. If he survived the storm, he would deliver Maeven’s last summons.

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Shae put up her hood and left the shelter of the stronghold to follow the graystone path. A chill wind rippled through the folds of her cloak, and she shivered. Overhead, clouds unfurled in a pearling sky. She passed into green scented shadow, where notes of damp moss and ripe humus met her.

She shouldn’t have yielded to temptation and escaped into nature unescorted. In earlier days, she had roamed the grounds in freedom with no one caring. She couldn’t get used to the strictures placed on her now that she’d grown older. When would she learn to be more like Katera? She couldn’t remember her winsome twin ever causing their mother concern.

She would go back, but first she needed fresh air to ease the tightness in her chest.

Shae wandered beneath boughs laced with new growth and came at last to her favorite place at the garden’s heart. Although the voice of a stream beckoned in the near distance, she paused beneath a stand of gnarlwoods, their ancient branches stretched wide. These trees had witnessed the construction of Whellein Hold, and they would remain when the stronghold’s mortar crumbled and its stones fell away. She emerged from the copse into a meadow dotted with early flowers and bathed in morning light. The flutter of wings beat an accompaniment to the warbling of birds, and a wingen flitted through the lesser canopy to light in a nearby whispan tree. She stilled to avoid frightening the tiny bird, which dipped and bobbed its bright head to preen scarlet feathers. With its grooming complete, the wingen lisped into sweet-sad song.

Shae smiled. “Sing, small one.”

But a shriek ended the wingen’s song. Darkness extinguished its colors. Blood dripped from the foliage of the whispan tree, pure white only an instant ago. Terror gripped Shae by the throat, choking off her scream.

The giant raptor had descended from nowhere and now flailed ragged wings as it rose, screeching in victory, its black eyes trained on Shae.

Pulse thrumming in her ears, she crept backward. Back, back she moved, her gaze never leaving the leathery beast in the air.

This made no sense. How could a welke have ventured so far north?

Her heel caught the hem of her cloak, and she slammed into the ground.

Fear yanked her to her knees. Shock brought her to her feet.

The whispan tree stood pristine as new snow. No blood stained the smooth bark. No movement stirred the silken plumes. No sign lingered of wingen or welke.

And yet she had seen…what?

“Lof Yuel! Does this vision warn of danger?”

Wind stirred the leaves. Branches rubbed and creaked. A stone turned in the stream bed.

Another sound whispered at the edge of hearing.

Shae paused to listen. The sound resolved into a steady flapping, and her heart picked up its pace. She ran into the meadow and scanned the pale sky.

With a toss of its silver mane, a wingabeast spiraled toward her.

The rider sagged, and the spiral went amiss, but the wingabeast recovered with quick grace. With a ripple of muscles, its neck arched, and the feathered wings lifted. Shae rushed toward the rider before the creature’s diamond-shod hooves found purchase on the ground.

She reached for his arm as he slid from the saddle, but he shrugged off her help and steadied himself against the shifting beast.

She searched his face. “Kai?” Strain etched her brother’s features.

He turned and with one finger, traced forgotten moisture at the corner of her eye. “Shae?”

She shook her head to silence his question. “You’ve ridden through the night?”

He didn’t answer but pushed her away with gentle hands.

“What troubles you?”

His long silver-gray eyes glazed with tears. “Lof Raelein Maeven lies on her deathbed.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. What could she say to ease him when the news pierced her like a blade? Tears seeped down her cheeks, silent as the grave.

Kai touched her arm. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have spoken so. You formed a heart-bond when she visited Whellein Hold.”

“What other way is there to speak it?” The image of the wingen and welke returned to her. “Death is death.”

His head bent in acknowledgment, the movement slow.

She touched his arm. “I’m sorry, Kai. I know she means much to you.”

“Could but my hope and my prayers save her, she would live.” He spread his hands in a helpless gesture. “Such power is not mine.”

“Only Lof Yuel has the wisdom to command life and death. We must leave such things to him.”

He looked at her with a somber expression, but then tousled her tangled curls. “Truth from a babe!”

“One day, my brother, you may understand I am grown, or nearly so.” She raised her brows at him, but then sobered. “Does Lof Raelein Maeven…suffer?”

“Little. She does not ail. Life ebbs from her, it seems, by choice.”

Shae let out her breath. “I’m glad she feels no pain.”

He nodded; his expression strange. “You love her, as she does you.”

“How can such a thing come from one meeting?” She spoke again the puzzle that had long occupied her.

“Love has no logic. Come. I must tell Father this news.”

“Then you must wake him.” At his look, she added, “Last night’s revelry kept him late.”

“Revelry? Oh!” His eyes widened, and he gave a moan. “How could I forget the celebration of the founding of Whellein?”

She fell into step beside him as he led Flecht toward the stronghold. “Pay no mind. No one faulted you for not being here. You are given over to the Lof Raelein and must go or stay as she pleases.” Struck by a sudden thought, she grasped his arm. “Her death will release you from your promise. Will you not then serve her son when he is made Lof Shraen of Faeraven?”

Kai turned to her. “I may serve Elcon…if I do not undertake our older brother’s duties here at Whellein as Father wishes.”

She considered his words. “Is it not possible to do both? For in serving one, have you not served the other?”

“Such a thing can only be in the realm of dreams.”

“But not in wakefulness?”

He passed a hand across his eyes. “Such an ideal lies far from my reach. I can only hope Daeven will return from his adventures and relieve me from the choice.”

Their older brother had been gone for what seemed an eternity, and she missed him with each passing day. Of her many siblings, only Kai held a closer place in her heart.

She smoothed a stray lock of Kai’s hair. “You will know best when the time comes.”

He sketched a smile. “Such blessed faith I cannot deserve!”

She gave him an arch look. “Faith has no logic.”

His eyes widened, lightening from gray to silver. Laughter broke from him. “Such medicine I find in you!” He sobered. “Now tell me why I come upon you unkempt, unhappy, and alone outside Whellein Hold.”

She gave no excuse. “I woke with the dawn and made my way to the garden to listen to the heartbeat of creation.”

“In that you follow the habit of all Kindren. But you disregard wisdom to seek nature alone. I’ll warrant our mother has no knowledge of your whereabouts. I thought you old enough to leave such mischief behind. You must stop this carelessness, Shae. Even within Whellein in these times of peace, the lands outside our stronghold are not safe.”

She murmured an acknowledgment and broke contact with a gaze that had become too piercing. How could she explain the need that drew her from the constraints of life and into the freedom of nature, if only for a time?

“And the tears?”

She shrugged and looked past his ear. “I tripped on my cloak and fell.”

“But you have no cloak.”

Despite the morning chill, she’d been too preoccupied to notice its absence. She forced a smile that wavered. “I must have lost it when—when I heard you coming.”

“Where did you lose it? I’ll help you look.”

“In the garden. Kai, I welcome your company but regret keeping you from your rest.”

His hand cupped her chin and tilted her face. “What brings the tremor to your voice? Did something frighten you?”

“No.” She pulled away and ignored the puzzled glance he gave her. She still did not understand what she had seen. How could she explain the unexplainable?

“I’ll lead while you ride Flecht.” Kai guided her onto the wingabeast’s back. “Now, where did you lose your cloak?”

She looked down at him, her hands tangled in Flecht’s silken mane. She would have felt more secure if Kai had ridden with her, but he seemed happy to walk. Perhaps he meant to spare her contact with his sodden clothing. She guided him to the emerald cloak, puddled below the whispan tree. Kai gathered it, and she accepted the rough woolen garment with thanks.

Mottled light swept the garden, creating an illusion of movement. The air rippled, on the edge of hearing, with the bittersweet song of a wingen.

Shae sucked in a breath, and her gaze flew to the whispan tree, but its branches remained innocent and bare.

ef

Flecht quivered under Kai’s hand. Shae must have communicated to the beast the tension he read in her face. Why did she stare at the naked branches of the small, white tree? He drew his brows together but didn’t speak. Her eyes, so green they reminded him of deep shadows in an old forest, told him nothing. As she settled the cloak upon her shoulders, burnished tangles cascaded down her back. She looked beautiful and far too grown.

Something had upset Shae—that much seemed obvious. Equally obvious was her desire for privacy in the matter. Well, he didn’t question such things. He already held enough secrets to quell any desire for more.

After his long ride, Kai relished the chance to walk. But he should not linger further. He swung into the saddle behind Shae and reached around her for the reins. Flecht adjusted to the additional burden with trained ease. Shae relaxed against him, and Kai smiled to himself at the small gesture of trust. Would that it could always be so between them.

Kai led Flecht to the path, and the wingabeast’s hooves rang against stone in a steady cadence as the garden fell away behind them. The ancient fortress rose before them sullen and gray, while the fields and orchards beyond glowed with new light. The sharp scent of tilled soil and fresh herbs carried on the wind as they passed into the shadow of Whellein Hold.

They entered the ancient fortress through the gatehouse archway beneath the raised iron portcullis. Following the graystone path along the sward, they skirted the great hall, which rose to impressive heights.

As they neared the stables, voices, thuds, and the rustlings of crisp straw reached Kai. He dismounted and lifted his arms to Shae. Light as she was, he had to step backward when she leaned into him. He steadied them both, and then turned to instruct the groom. When Kai looked for her again, Shae was gone. A smile touched his mouth as he went through an archway in the inner curtain wall. He would keep his knowledge of Shae’s morning activities to himself.

His mother’s voice carried past her maid, Tahera, at her parlor door. “Let us start with soup of boar sausage and wild greenings dressed in sweetberry vinegar, then follow with smoked whitefish in savory sauce and—”

“I hope you have enough for one more.” Kai entered the snug room.

A gold-edged mirror above the ornate mantle reflected his mother, Aleanor of Whellein’s surprise and delight. She rose and pressed her slight frame into his swift embrace.

Kai held her at arm’s length to gaze upon her. How long had it been since he’d seen her calm gray eyes and basked in her smile? He marked, with sadness, the progress of time across her face. Furrows marred a brow once smooth, and lines fanned from the corners of eyes that sparkled. His mother wore a simple woolen tunic of blue, girt with an embroidered sash. Her silver hair coiled in braids about her head.

She smiled. “We have stores aplenty for a Son of Whellein. But how come you by morn and not by eve?”

“I did not stop the night. I couldn’t contain my excitement at nearing home.” His gaze drifted past her to the muscular Cook garbed in a brown tunic, who smiled at their exchange.

Mother met Kai’s look. “I think we shall continue later, Maeric,” she said without seam. “I won’t detain you from your duties longer. Tahera, please bring cider, cheese and bread.”

The door to the raelein’s parlor closed with a click behind Maeric and Tahera, and they were alone.

Kai went to the fire, grateful for its comfort as he steeled himself for what he would say.

“You must sit.” His mother gestured in invitation as she resumed her seat on the bench. “Now tell me what has brought you on such a difficult journey.”

“I’ve come for Shae.”

Mother let out her breath in a long sigh. “And so I am to lose another child.”

“Lof Raelein Maeven sends for her while on her deathbed.”

Her hand flew to her throat. “The time has come, then.”

“It nears, yes.” He ignored a frisson of uneasiness. Of course, he spoke of more than Maeven’s death. “It’s long past time Shae learns her true identity as Raena Shaenalyn of Rivenn. On her dying bed, Lof Raelein Maeven yearns for her daughter.”

His mother squared her shoulders as if recovering from a blow. “I thought I had prepared myself for this, and yet…” Her voice faded to a whisper.

“You’ve raised her well.”

She looked down at the hands clasped in her lap. “I wish I’d done more to treat her as one of my own.”

Kai knelt at her feet. “You did your best. Ever since I brought her to you as a babe in arms, you’ve kept her hidden from those who would destroy her.”

Aeleanor raised eyes shiny with tears. “She’ll return to danger at Torindan.”

“You have my promise to protect her.” Each word fell from his lips by its own weight.

“When do you leave?”

He spoke with reluctance. “At first light.”

She arose and took the place at the fire he had vacated, putting her arms about herself as if cold. “I will not say goodbye to her. It is better so.”

Kai stood. For Shae’s sake, he wished his mother would look beyond her own needs. But he cut short the reply that rose to his lips. How could he censure her when he did not know her pain? He hesitated, and then lowered his voice. “Have you word of Daevin?”

Mother lifted her head, and he read in her face what he should have already known. He need not have worried his question would quicken his mother’s pain. She carried her missing son in her heart as surely as she had once carried him within her womb.

She shook her head and turned toward the fire. “None.”

The word echoed through his mind. Kai shouldered its weight, but wished again for the freedom to search for his brother.

He crossed to one of the tall windows overlooking the inner ward with its herb garden. New growth burgeoned in all its beds, ready to erupt with life. His hands clenched into fists. He wanted to rejoice in such things. He wanted to comfort his mother. He closed his eyes, shut in by his own dark thoughts.

A touch on his arm, feather light, called him back. He turned and read the plea in his mother’s face. “The Lof Raelein’s death will free you to return to Whellein, as your father wishes.”

He met her gray gaze and told her what she already knew. “My duty at Torindan calls for my pledge of service to Elcon when his mother dies.”

“Surely Elcon would not rob the House of Whellein so.” She clasped her hands together so hard the knuckles showed white.

“Mother, let us leave this conversation.” He put his hands over hers to still them. “You know I must decide my own course, for good or ill.”

Tahera returned, bearing on a tray a tankard of steaming cider, a selection of cheeses, and a fragrant loaf. Kai cleansed his hands in the laver the servant provided and fell upon the repast.

His mother sat silent while he ate. She would not try again to win his promise, but he knew she ceded the battle only.

To purchase this entire novel please visit http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/dawnsinger

For questions or more information, contact us at titleadmin@pelicanbookgroup.com.

Harbourlight Books

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May God’s glory shine through

this inspirational work of fiction.

AMDG

DawnSinger

COPYRIGHT 2012 by Janalyn Voigt

The author is represented by and this book is published in association with the literary agency of WordServe Literary Group, Ltd., www.wordserveliterary.com.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

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Cover Art by Nicola Martinez

Harbourlight Books
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Harbourlight Books sail and mast logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC
Publishing History
First Harbourlight Edition, 2012
Print Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-200-4
Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-199-1
Published in the United States of America

Cover Reveal & Giveaway! Christians with Pervasive Issues by Annie Brown

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Book: Christians with Pervasive Issues
Author: Annie Brown
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Hosted By: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours

The author is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win a copy of her book. Two winners will be chosen. Sponsored by author Annie Brown. Contest ends October 7, 2013.

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Synopsis

Even as a faithful Christian, there may be times when you feel that there is no hope of escaping issues and themes in your life that ensnare and trip you up time and time again. When a certain pattern of behavior or type of suffering has been following you all your life, it’s hard to believe that you can ever escape from it. Christians with Pervasive Issues shows us that every child of God can be delivered from issues that cause them to be a victim, rather than walking in victory. In compassionate, no-nonsense language, Annie Brown demonstrates that with genuine repentance, using God’s principles, and the right counseling/support, you can overcome anything. Christians with Pervasive Issues gives you the ray of hope you need in order to heal your life, and get closer to God.

About The Author

Annie Brown is the mother of four adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She is a licensed minister and social worker. As a social worker, Annie works the terminally ill, providing emotional support at the most critical time in an individual’s life. It is Annie’s desire that Christians work through their pervasive issues before the end of life, so that the transition between death and eternity can be smooth, and not cluttered with unresolved conflicts.

Excerpt

A Remedy to Get to the Root of the Problem

WHAT IS NEEDED is that the people of God “must” clean out their secret compartments and confess that they need the Lord to deliver them. Confession is made unto salvation (deliverance). If we confess our faults, the Lord is faithful in forgiving us. You may ask, “Why do I have to confess if I was not responsible for what happened to me?”

The issue then becomes whether you have forgiven the person that caused me this harm. If there is no forgiveness, then you become a victim twice: a victim of circumstance, and a victim of bondage. This can be in some ways more dangerous than cancer. This will always be eating away at you. With cancer, at least you know what is going on in your body. Being a victim of circumstance and having an unforgiving heart bring torment. This torment becomes a part of you in such a way that it eats through your mind, destroys your inner peace, and puts your soul in jeopardy because it becomes a heart matter of sin.

Links

Email  *   Publisher Website  *   Author Website  *   Facebook

Buy Links

Amazon  *   Outskirts Press

Fired Up! Enter to Win a Kindle Fire HD from Mary Connealy and RSVP for her Live Webcast Event!

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nullThis review is posted as part of a tour with Litfuse Publicity Group Please make sure to read the full post for the awesome giveaway at the bottom!

After the death of her husband, Glynna Greer is at a loss as to how to support her two kids, Paul and Janny, and herself. Glynna decides to open a restaurant to feed the people of Broken Wheel, despite the fact that she can’t cook. Cooking is her means of support, Dare Riker is her passion. Dare, and his friends saved her and her kids from an abusive husband when he was killed in a shootout. Flint Greer had stole the land of several people in Broken Wheel, including that of Dare’s friend, Luke. Now the towns people were free from Flint’s heavy-handed tactics and Glynna was free to love another. The only problem is Glynna only wants one man and that is the one man her son, Paul, hates with a passion. Can they get Paul passed his hatred? Will they be free to love each other as only they can?

Dare Riker is a Regulator by choice, a Doctor by accident and Glynna Greer’s self-proclaimed protector. After coming to Texas to help his friend, Luke stone, when he found his father murdered and his ranch stolen by none other than Glynna Greer’s newly deceased husband, Flint, he finds himself in two battles. To find out who is trying to kill him and to win Glynna’s heart. He soon finds that neither battle is easily won but he is determined to succeed in both. Everytime he turns around there is an attack on his life, but worse than that is the way every time he is around Glynna he gets all Fired Up. Can he save himself with the help of his friends? But, more importantly, can he wins Glynna’s trust and, therefore, her heart?

I have read several books by Mary Connealy and, once again, she didn’t disappoint me with Fired Up. Her characters are always so charming and on point with the storyline. I love the way her heros are always that, a hero. Dare Riker is a fighter for justice as well as a fighter for love. He believes in doing what’s right even if it means sacrificing himself in the process. I have read about the “Regulators” in other books and their story always intrigues me. Men that will give up their lives to bring criminals to justice. I’m glad that is the background of Dare, Luke, Vince and Jonas in these stories. It just seems to “fit”.

Glynna is a fighter too but in a different way. She fights for her life. She fights for the safety of her kids and herself. She fights for survival. And she fights for what she wants. She is a strong woman that doesn’t show weakness during a crisis. Instead, she takes charge and helps those in charge when needed. She can also be fiesty when called for and I love a fiesty heroine.

All in all, Fired Up is a story I would read again and again, not just a fly by night read. Mary Connealy is a wonderful writer and, if you haven’t read one of her books, you should. They are definite page turners. Fired Up is sure to keep you enthralled. A HIGHLY recommended read!

My Rating:



Disclaimer: This opinion is mine and mine alone. I was in no way compensated for this review. Thank you Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book!



Mary Connealy is back with the second book, Fired Up, in her Trouble in Texas series, and she’s celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway and a LIVE author chat party on October 8th.

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  One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HD
  • Swept Away  and Fired Up by Mary Connealy

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 8th. Winner will be announced at the “Fired Up” Live Webcast Event on October 8th. Connect with Mary for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Mary will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.


So grab your copy of Fired Up and join Mary and friends on the evening of October 8th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!