About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Building Benjamin by Barbara M Britton




Book blurb:
Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot.

Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife.

As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her tribe. 

Extract:

Naomi hopped out of Ashbanel’s path. Her gaze met Cuzbi’s. Cuzbi turned away, chin high. Naomi struggled to breathe. How could Cuzbi align with the tribe of Benjamin? Against a friend she had known since birth?

"We must ride." Eliab’s hand was heavy upon her shoulder.

Would he touch her later? Make her his wife? Make it so she could never to return to her tribe or family?

Mules spidered into the cavernous hillside. Eliab did not seem in as much of a hurry as his tribesmen. Was he confident in his skill to elude the men of Shiloh?

As she and Eliab passed the small cave, stuttered cries, shrill and desperate, escaped from inside.

Words from the Law flooded her conscience. Moses had taught her people to do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight. How had a tribe of Israel become so perverse? And how had this night become so lawless?

"Naomi?" Eliab stared at her as if she were bewitched. He loosened his grip to help her mount. "Get on the mule."

She was not like Cuzbi. She could not accept the deception and thievery of the Benjamites. And she could not leave a dancer from Shiloh crying in a cave. She ripped free from Eliab and darted into the dark mouth of the mountain.

I cannot forget who I am.

Purchase links: AmazonB&NPBG

review: (also on good reads)
Loved this one. It kept me reading far into the night, several nights running. With 3D characters you sometimes want to shout at, a 'bad guy' you're unable to hate (bit like the heroine actually) and the best bit - a heroine who can stand on her own two feet and protect her man when needed.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Poem a day challenge.

This month, as well as doing Camp nanowrimo, and keeping up with usual stuff, I decided to attempt the April poem a day run over on writers digest. Day 1 is here. You can get the links each day on twitter here

Anyway, I have done day one. I won't post that one yet. I will do a weekly summary, assuming I remember as my forgettery is far better than my memory.

In other news it's almost Easter. Check out my fave children's talk ever on the blog here - the day the assistant pastor ate a daffodil. Yes, you read that right. Not to be recommended. Eating a daffodil that is, not reading the post. Please, do go and read it.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Welsh Wildfire

Today sees the launch of my 43rd book! 7 years and one day after signing my very first book contract!


Pastor Josh Wilson is running from his past and from God. He takes a construction job and volunteers as a retained firefighter in hopes that the small Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed will be a refuge and hiding place...but God has other plans.
GP Jess Thomas fights the instant attraction when an injured construction worker comes into her surgery. A native Scot with a U.S. passport is a mystery, but there is something else about the man that keeps drawing her to him.
As summer heats up, and the wildfires draw closer, can Josh overcome the past and move on? Or will he lose everything before his new life has begun?

Extract:

Jess shook her head and laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Big strong bloke like you isn't afraid of a little needle, surely?” she asked, making light of the situation.
“Aye, maybe I am,” he drawled, sounding Scottish again this time.
“So close your eyes and think of home,” she told him. “I won't be long. Small scratch first as I'm going to numb your hand. That's an intriguing accent you have. You're not from around here, are you?”
“No. I was born in Scotland, but spent my life all over. Most of it in the States.” He stared at the ceiling as she stitched.
“Sounds like a fascinating story.”
“Not really.”
Jess finished with a bandage. “All done.” She scribbled quickly, grateful the local pharmacist could read her handwriting. It was a standing joke that all doctor's handwriting was illegible and hers certainly was. “Here's a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers. When was your last tetanus shot?”
“Five weeks, three days ago.” The answer came back firmly and swiftly.
“That's very precise.”
“It isn't something I'm likely to forget in a hurry.” His gaze swung from the ceiling back to her face. “They use needles in the States, too.”
“OK. Go and see Nerys on the desk, and she'll give you the forms to fill in to register you here. Make an appointment for next week to have the stiches removed. Either with one of the nurses or with me, depending whom you'd rather see.”
“Thanks, Doc.”
“You're welcome. Take care now.”
Jess cleared up for the next patient. Her pulse pounded, her chest tightened, her stomach was doing somersaults and her head throbbed. Anyone would think she was in love.
Pfft. Jess shook her head. She could give herself several very good reasons why love was not a good idea. She marked them off on her fingers as she listed them.
“One–he's a patient. Two–you've only just met him. Three–he's a patient. Four–he isn't going to be here long. No one ever stays here long. Five–he's a patient. Six–love at first sight doesn't exist. And seven and most importantly– He. Is. A. Patient.”


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Redemption’s Whisper by Kathleen Friesen



Desperate to escape her past, Hayley Blankenship flies from Toronto to the Saskatoon home of Pastor Dave and Lydia Harris, the only people who may be able to help her. If she doesn’t find a reason to hope, she may give in to the temptation to end it all. If only someone could love her, in spite of what she’s done.
Trevor Hiebert aces the interview for his dream job in Toronto, but he’s torn. His beloved parents need him, and while he doesn’t want to let them down, he craves the affirmation he hopes to find in the big city. But on the flight home to Saskatoon, he meets an intriguing, gorgeous redhead with dark secrets of her own. 
Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love?

Review:
Haley and Trevor's story is a well written, thought provoking tale of forgiveness and hope. Not easy to put down, the 3D characters, with genuine flaws, have the reading rooting for them. Nice to see recurring characters from Nila's Hope pop in and out. 
(I received a copy from the publisher. Review is my own and in no way related to the free book)


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Time Search—The Time Counselor Chronicles #3 - Danele Rotharmel


Time Search—The Time Counselor Chronicles #3


A nameless evil lurks in the shadows…

In the wake of a recent wave of violence, TEMCO employees are left reeling. While some of the staff are put into hiding, others are left behind to discover the true identity of the mysterious nemesis who is determined to destroy them all. While Crystal, Marc, and Zeke search for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for TEMCO’s missing leaders. It’s a race against the clock! And as the hours and seconds tick away, it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!

Excerpt:
Crystal entered Drake’s bedroom, searching for clues. Hugging her arms across her chest, she stood in the middle of the floor and looked around. Again, everything seemed normal, but something felt off.
“What do you see?” Marc asked gently.
“It’s what I don’t see,” she replied. “This room is twelve inches shorter than the living room.”
Moving to the northern wall, she spotted a blotch of ink. Her mind recoiled in horror. Springing back, she stuttered, “T-this is a false wall. Drake is hiding something behind it.”
“I think you’re right about the dimensions of the room,” Agent Ruthford said. “I’ll have my team check it out.”
As Agent Ruthford went back to the living room, Crystal heard him contacting his agents. She started shivering again.
Marc touched her arm. Crystal jumped nearly out of her skin.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Can’t you feel the evil in this room?” she replied. “It’s oppressive.”
Marc looked around. “Everything seems normal to me.”
“Everything is a lie.” Running her hands over her arms, she whispered in a voice full of horror, “I don’t want to be here when that wall comes down.”
“Why? What do you think is behind there?” he asked.
“Nothing good.” She pointed at the tiny, black stain on the wall. “That says it all.”
Kneeling down, Marc studied the blotch. “It looks like Drake threw a pen against the wall and some ink leaked out. It seems like an ordinary stain to me.”
“It’s not ‘ordinary’ at all,” she replied. “Look closer. It’s a black half-circle with one short line and one long line dangling down. It’s the ancient Egyptian symbol for Amenta. It was used to represent where the Egyptians buried their dead.”


Time Search’s Formats:

Amazon: Paperback and Kindle eBook
Barnes & Noble: Nook eBook


Time Search’s Purchasing Links:



Bio:
Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful. To learn more about Danele, visit her blog:  https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/


Danele Rotharmel’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/
Danele Rotharmel’s Testimony: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Time Trap—The Time Counselor Chronicles #2 - Danele Rotharmel




Time Trap—The Time Counselor Chronicles #2

A chilling chess game through time is about to unfold…

When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate.  While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program.  As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question.  A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself. 

Excerpt:
The soft sound came again. Standing to her feet, Laura tried to calm her breathing. The furtive sounds could only mean one thing—their captor was approaching.

“Whatever happens,” she said quietly, laying a hand on Peter’s shoulder, “don’t tug against your cuffs. You can’t afford to lose more blood.”

“Keep your head and take your time,” Peter said stiffly. “Be patient. Stay out of his reach until you see an opening. If he has a gun, you can use a roundhouse kick to disarm him, but you’ll have to be quick. If he gets you down and starts kicking you, curl into a ball and protect your head and stomach.”

Laura squeezed Peter’s shoulder. She could hear the tension in his voice, and she knew he was terrified for her. She also knew that his inability to protect her was ripping him apart.

Peter spoke quickly, “If he manages to get his hands on you, use the heel of your palm and thrust it up against his nose. Don’t be afraid to be vicious. Go for his eyes, throat, and groin.”

“Don’t worry,” she said in a focused, determined voice. “I’ll fight dirty.”

The door opened.


Moving to the center of the room, Laura took a solid stance.

Time Trap’s Formats:

Amazon: Paperback and Kindle eBook
Barnes & Noble: Paperback and Nook eBook
Smashwords: eBook
Apple: iBook



Time Trap’s Purchasing Links:





Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful. To learn more about Danele, visit her blog:  https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Danele Rotharmel’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/
Danele Rotharmel’s Testimony: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

Monday, 27 February 2017

Time Tsunami–The Time Counselor Chronicles #1 - Danele Rotharmel


Time Tsunami
By: Danele Rotharmel

Before I dive into this, a word from me. It's not often I binge read. But these were... incredible. I was hooked from page one. I got the third as part of a subscription from the publishers, and immediately got books one and two so the third made sense.
I read far later into the night than I ought. I woke wondering if such and such were okay, should i text them to check... then realised they were characters in a book. Eagerly waiting for book 4, because I need to know what happens next. No make that I NEED to know what happens next.


Time TsunamiThe Time Counselor Chronicles #1

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…

Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution.

Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline.

As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path?


Excerpt:

Gil sprinted into the hall. The broken rubbish on the floor crackled beneath her feet, making her easy to find. Grabbing at her, Rick tossed her into the kitchen. She fell against the sink and reached for the window. She tugged on it until she realized it had been nailed shut. Shrinking back against the counter, she knew with sudden clarity that Rick had made the kitchen a trap with only one exit—an exit he was blocking. Standing absolutely still, she forced herself to calm her rapid breathing. She had to be quiet, very quiet. Sooner or later, Rick would leave the kitchen doorway, and when he did, she would sneak past him.

“All ye, all ye, outs in free,” Rick sang in an eerie voice that sent chills racing down her spine. “Come out, come out, wherever you may be.”

Gil shivered and choked down a whimper. She saw Rick’s eyes flicker. Peering from side-to-side, he whispered, “Why don’t you come out and play?”

With bated breath, she watched as he slowly advanced. She knew he was trying to draw her out. If she moved prematurely, she’d give away her location. Her muscles tensed and a mist of perspiration beaded her brow. As he made his way deeper into the kitchen, she made a sudden lunge for the doorway.

Time Tsunami’s Formats:

Amazon: Paperback, Kindle eBook, Audible Audio Book narrated by Hollis Beck
Barnes & Noble: Paperback and Nook eBook
Smashwords: eBook
Apple: iBook


Time Tsunami’s Purchasing Links:



Bio:

Danele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.

During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.

When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.

Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.

You can learn more about Danele by visiting her blog at https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Danele Rotharmel’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/
Danele Rotharmel’s Testimony: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

Friday, 24 February 2017

Spring Raine - Delia Latham




Blurb:
An uncharacteristic, last-minute decision to do something "wild and crazy" before entering the stressful world of forensic science sends Raine Presley to Cambria, California. Against a cloud of disapproval from her slightly manipulative, over-protective parents, she signs a seasonal lease at the beautiful Paradise Pines Lodge...and winds up over her head in life and love.
Declan Keller's just minding his own business—literally—when Raine drops into his world and turns it upside down. He's far too busy carving beautiful shapes out of chunks of wood to be babysitting a gal from Pasadena. Even so, his father’s promise to an old friend obligates him, despite a looming deadline that could make or break his career in the art world. He’s praying for anything but Raine when she comes along.

Neither Declan nor Raine is prepared for the seemingly divine influence of Paradise Pines—and Miss Angelina Love. A mysterious lady who may or may not own the lodge, Miss Angie possesses an amazing talent for mending ruffled feathers, spouting proverbs, and somehow bending even the most determined of hearts to the power of love.

Extract:
For a moment she couldn’t breathe, and then the barest whisper passed her lips—half spontaneous praise, half simple awe. “Oh, my…I’ve found Paradise!”
From within her sporty little red convertible, Raine Presley peered through a misty, early March drizzle at the most beautiful piece of land she’d ever seen. Paradise Pines Lodge. Her home for the next three months.
Aside from the forest of tall Cambria pines, which she had expected to see, the grounds boasted a huge number of beautiful old sycamore trees—tall, stately, and dripping with silvery Spanish moss. Moonlight glowed through the lacy fingers of hanging flora, creating a somewhat haunting air, and a tiny shiver made its way up her spine. But not enough to make her turn and leave. The beauty far outshone the slight spookiness of moss in moonlight.
Square in the center of the surrounding forest of variegated tree species, many of which Raine found unfamiliar, the lodge itself demanded far more than a passing glance. The website had described Paradise Pines Lodge as “spacious.” Raine chuckled as she pulled her car under the east carport, as she’d been directed.
Spacious was a blatant understatement. The place was huge, and yet warmth and welcome radiated from within. Lights shone from every facing window—and they were many. Two chimneys, one on each end of the lodge, sent thin plumes of smoke spiraling into the sky.
Miss Angelina Love, with whom Raine had communicated via email, had provided a bit of history on the duplex, which had once been a popular fishing lodge. The former owner, known only as Preacher, renovated the interior shortly before his death, turning each floor into a single, large apartment. The upper dwelling was available for rent on a seasonal basis. No one got to stay at Paradise Pines for a week or two…it was all season or not at all.
The online photographs did little justice to this place. Now that Raine sat, stunned and overwhelmed, staring at the old lodge, she understood why the waiting list was long, even though the site made it clear Paradise Pines would host only one guest per season—or perhaps a small family. Only the upper apartment was offered for rent, and unit had only two bedrooms. She assumed the lower level was occupied by the owner, or possibly management.
An applicant’s chances of being chosen were slim, even within a few years of applying.
“Thank you, Lord!” She breathed a prayer into the silence inside her vehicle. How she’d managed to find favor with whoever granted access to this place, given her last-minute application for spring tenancy, she had no idea…but now, with her stunned gaze taking in the glorious surroundings, she had to believe God had a hand in it.
She climbed out and headed for the large entryway, pulling her suitcase behind her and trying to take in everything as she went. So much incredible beauty. Even the three months she planned to stay seemed inadequate. How would she ever make herself leave?
Pausing at the end of the walkway, she studied the log building.
Lights in a dozen windows lent the place an almost magical feel, as if she stood on the brink of a fairyland. But wasn’t there something else? Some aura that placed a pale but luminous glow around the entire lodge?
As she stood, suitcase handle in one hand and handbag hanging off the other shoulder, a large insect flitted close and hovered a few feet in front of her. Startled for a moment, she laughed when she realized it was a gorgeous monarch butterfly.
“Well, hello there.” She spoke softly, her eyes on the delicate creature. While she was by no means an expert in the ways of butterflies, it seemed odd to see one flying about in the wet weather. “Why aren’t you hiding away somewhere nice and dry?”
The monarch flew closer, brushed against her cheek, and then backed away to hover a foot or two in front of her yet again.
Raine laughed. “So you came out just to welcome me? Well, thank you kindly, little one. I appreciate that.”
She shook her head. Good thing no one was around to witness her talking to an insect. Her parents, in particular. They’d think she’d lost her mind.
The creature circled her body in a graceful, fluttering dance of delicate wings, and then flew off toward the woods.
In the next instant, the front door opened and Raine caught her first glimpse of Miss Angelina Love.
Snowy white hair formed a glowing nimbus around the woman’s head. With the lights behind her tall, willowy figure, and the moonlight between Raine and the door, the result was a perfect halo. Miss Love’s maxi-length sheath—the same pure white as her hair—only added to the startling illusion. Raine gasped when an amorphous shadow beyond the doorway moved in a soft wave, creating a massive pair of shadowy wings. She released a breath when the shadow disappeared.
“Raine! Is that you? Come in out of that drizzle!” Even Miss Angie’s voice had a melodious trill that, given the impression already created by light and shadow, made Raine think of angelic song.
She shook her head at the her own fanciful imagination. In her defense, however, she’d been driving several hours, and spent most of the previous night packing, after a long, grueling argument with her parents about this trip. No wonder she was seeing things and imagining even more.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m Raine Presley.” She arrived at the door and found herself mesmerized by a pair of eyes the bright, clear blue of a summer sky, and a smile that surely epitomized the word “welcome.” Tiny lines around Miss Love’s eyes and mouth spoke to the fact that she smiled often. She wasn’t exactly beautiful, and yet…something about her was. Raine couldn’t stop staring, and felt a blush warming her cheeks at her own impolite reaction.
The moment she stepped into the large, open entry area and released her grip on the handle of her suitcase, Miss Love folded her into a gentle hug.
“Welcome, child.” Her voice flowed over Raine’s exhausted body and mind like warm, soothing honey, refreshing her in some inexplicable way. “Welcome to Paradise Pines. Make yourself at home, because that’s where you are.”
For one awful moment, Raine was sure Miss Love’s kindness would open a floodgate, releasing a veritable deluge of tears.
This trip to Cambria had come at a high emotional cost for her. For the first time in the entirety of her twenty-six-year existence, she’d stood up to her parents for something she wanted. What was so wrong with taking a few months to just be…to simply enjoy life before launching herself into the career she’d worked hard and long to achieve?
A position within the state forensics department was no small accomplishment, even as an apprentice. Raine was well aware that she was the envy of many of her classmates at California State University Los Angeles. But the job would be taxing and life-consuming. She’d be sacrificing her secret dream of having a home and family—even a real life outside her job. So she’d demanded this getaway to Cambria, in the face of her parents’ blatant disapproval.
That disapproval had weighed on her during the entire four-hour drive from Pasadena. Her father’s thunderous expression, along with her mother’s disappointed one as she drove away, left her feeling like a bad daughter and a horrible human being. They’d always been wonderful, supportive parents…didn’t she owe it to them to be a perfect daughter?
But she so desperately needed this time away, to be on her own for a time. No one telling her what to do, or what decisions she should make.
Miss Love’s warm, open-armed welcome, and a smile that said Raine wasn’t a terrible person comforted her to a ridiculous degree.
After all, the woman needed to welcome her tenants. Her pleasant demeanor was most likely good customer relations. That’s all Raine could possibly be to her—a young woman who had rented the upstairs apartment for the next three months. If she didn’t leave happy, the owner of this beautiful paradise in the Cambrian pines risked a bad review online. No, she shouldn’t take Miss Love’s sweet welcome too personally.

But she could enjoy it for the moment.




Bio:
Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in this author’s sweet tales of romance.
Delia lives in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author of inspirational romance…with a finger or two immersed in the design pool, where she creates beautiful marketing material for other authors. Delia treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and loves hearing from readers.
Contact this author at any of the following locations:

Amazon purchase link for Spring Raine, Paradise Pines Series, Book 1

Friday, 17 February 2017

Grace and the Rancher - Mary Alford


Blurb:
Grace Bradford is living a lie. To the world she has the perfect life: A promising country music career and a husband who adores her. But her husband isn't the man everyone believes him to be. When a car accident widows her and ends her career, Grace escapes to Delaney Mountain. But moving to the remote town doesn't wipe away the ugly secret of her marriage.Kyle Delaney never intended to return to Delaney Mountain, but he promises his dying father that he'll turn their land into a working cattle ranch. He uproots his life in Austin, sells his flourishing business as a music agent, and returns to the Colorado town of his childhood.Can a runaway singer and a makeshift rancher, thrust together by circumstance and held together by the common thread of loss and a love of music, find hope and a happily-ever-after under the stars of Delaney Mountain?

Excerpt:

Grace Bradford cast a worried glance out the storefront window as snow continued to fall. “It’s really coming down out there.” 
Martha McDougal, the store owner, stopped to watch the winter wonderland unfolding outside. “The storm seems to be moving in earlier than was expected. I don’t like it. Let’s give it another hour, and if we don’t have any customers, we’ll close up shop. I sure don’t want you to get stuck down here.” 
Grace smiled at her friend’s consideration. When she’d first arrived in town eight months ago, widowed, injured, flat broke, and desperate to find a job and rebuild her life, Martha had accepted her. Grace had been such a wounded soul back then. Still, Martha hadn’t asked a single question. She’d simply given Grace a job and invited her to the small church on the edge of town. Grace had found a home. 
“We had a delivery yesterday, thank goodness, so there's plenty of food on hand. Derek put some of the stuff away during his shift yesterday, but I don’t expect him to be in today. Since I doubt we’ll have a customer, you might as well stock a few items. But I’m serious, Grace. If no one comes in soon, go home. When you get ready to leave, just lock up and go. I think I’ll head out before the storm shuts down the pass outside of town, and I can’t get home to Ed.”
Grace walked Martha to the door. “That’s a good idea. You have a lot farther to go than I do, and Ed will be worried. Be careful. I’ll call you when I’m leaving.”
“All right, hon. I’ll talk to you soon.” Martha hugged Grace then forced the door open against the blustering wind and slipped into the increasing snowstorm. 
Once Grace was certain Martha’s car would start, she closed the door and went to the back of the store. She brought out boxes of dry goods while keeping a close eye on the weather. By the end of the hour, she’d managed to shelve most of the stock. She turned up the radio and listened to the local weather report. 
“Most of the roads leading into town have closed already or will be closing soon. If you don’t have to be out today, then we suggest you stay home. We’re expecting up to three feet of fresh snow with the storm clearing out sometime tomorrow. This one’s going to be a bugger, folks.”
It was time definitely to call it quits. She picked up the items she needed, left a check in the register, and then called Martha. “I’m heading out now. I have everything put away. If I’m able, I’ll come in tomorrow to make up my time.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to wait out the storm at the store?” Martha asked. “It’s really coming down here. I’ve barely made it home.”
Although the thought was tempting, Grace just wanted to get home. Her dog, Lizzy, would be anxious in this weather. “Thanks, but I’ll be OK, and it’s only a few miles. I’ll see you soon.” She carried out her groceries then turned off the lights and locked up. But the farther she drove up Delaney Mountain, the more doubts she had. Maybe she should have stayed in town. 
Grace blew out a frightened sigh, and her breath chilled the air as she clutched the steering wheel. Her palms grew sweaty as the SUV slipped and slid on the icy road. 
She slowed to a crawl as ice and snow began to accumulate on the windshield, destroying visibility. She strained to see, her gaze locked on the road ahead, as the storm continued to intensify. 
She remembered another terrifying time less than a year earlier. The day her promising career had ended with the death of her husband. To the world, she and Nick had been one of Nashville’s up-and-coming couples. Grace knew nothing was further from the truth. That night more than her career had perished. Everything she believed to be real about her marriage and her husband died along with Nick. 
Just let go. Let God take it...
Father, please, help me let go of the hurt… 
Even today—even right now when she knew she should be focusing on the road and the weather— letting go was a next-to-impossible task. 
At times, Grace still woke up in the middle of the night and could feel the car crashing into the tree, could feel the excruciating pain of the steering wheel slamming into her throat as it damaged her vocal cords. She couldn’t scream or cry out for help. 
Grace shoved aside those dark thoughts and scrubbed a hand over weary eyes. She leaned forward. She could barely see the hood, much less the road. The conditions were worsening by the minute, and she had no idea how much farther the vehicle would go. She eased down on the gas pedal, and the tires spun, spewing icy debris against the underside of the SUV. 
The vehicle jerked forward as the tires caught. 
Grace whispered a thankful prayer. The road continued its upward climb as it snaked around the side of the mountain. Her heartbeat pounded a frantic rhythm as she reached another ninety degree bend. To her right was a sheer drop off. She wouldn’t survive the fall if the SUV went over. 
Grace gently nudged the steering wheel, at odds with her terror. She had almost reached another treacherous turn when the vehicle slid closer to the edge. She panicked and jerked the wheel in the opposite direction. The vehicle skated backward some twenty feet. The tires lost their tenuous grip and slithered closer to the drop-off. 
She floored the gas and the vehicle jerked forward, swerved sideways, and headed straight for the overhang. Grace screamed and tried to turn the wheel but it was useless. 

The Jeep didn’t react to anything. She had lost control. She closed her eyes. She didn’t want to die. Not when she’d just started to live again. ‚Please, Lord, no.‛ Grace barely got the words out before the Jeep hurled itself head first over the side of the mountain.  

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Mary’s Bio:
Mary grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than her two brothers and her sister, Mary had plenty of time to entertain herself. Making up stories seemed to come natural to her.
As a teen, Mary discovered Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt and knew instinctively that was what she wanted to do with her over-active imagination.
She wrote her first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued her writing career seriously until a few years later, when she wrote her first inspirational romantic suspense and was hooked.
Today, Mary still lives in Texas, and still creates people facing dangerous situations. In fact, she can’t think of anything else she’d rather do.
Learn more about Mary at www.MaryAlford.net, or send her an email at maryjalfordauthor@gmail.com