Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Featuring Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry (Doc)

Back Cover Blurb:
It was supposed to be a quiet dinner party with her colleagues. Not the scene of a murder.

But the murder of a stranger on her front lawn is only the first in a string of events that have Dr. Shannon Frasier’s life teetering on the edge of chaos: She’s unable to make the deeper commitment her boyfriend deserves. Her sister shows up at Shannon’s home needing a place to stay, but with no promise she’ll stay sober. And her father is diagnosed with cancer.

Then Shannon’s life stops teetering, and plunges into the abyss. Because the person behind the guttural voice on the phone wants to know what the stranger said before he died. And he won’t stop until Shannon gives him the information wants—even if she doesn’t have it.

He’s coming for her. She’s not sure the police on the case can be trusted. And her only hope of escape—for herself, and for those she loves—is to overcome her buried past.

Book Excerpt:

…Dr. Shannon Frasier turned on the porch light and opened her front door. Warm July air rushed in, but nothing caught Shannon’s eye. The porch was empty. No cars moved in the street outside her house. Then she saw it on the lawn—a crumpled mass, like a pile of old clothes. She jumped, startled, when the clothes moved, and she could discern a hand clawing at the dirt. A faint cry, like that of a wounded animal, reached her ears.
 “Someone’s out there, and they’re hurt,” Shannon said to Lee, who’d edged up behind her.
The man lay sprawled facedown on the lawn. Lee reached him first, with Shannon right behind. The faint light spilling from the open door was enough to show a dark stain in the center of the victim’s back, spreading rapidly outward. Shannon felt her heart race as she was seized by déjà vu.
She touched the man’s neck. “He’s got a pulse—faint and thready, though.”
“Call 911,” Lee yelled over his shoulder. Mark, now standing in the doorway, disappeared into the house.
 Lee and Shannon exchanged looks. Help was unlikely to get here in time. The man had been shot three times in the back and was bleeding out fast, probably from injury to a major vessel. The two doctors knelt at his side, powerless to intervene. Without equipment, there was nothing they could do, and they both knew it. Shannon’s stomach knotted at her helplessness. She began to sweat. Her heart threatened to jump out of her chest.
The man stirred. His eyes fell on Shannon, and she almost felt as though there was recognition there. He mumbled something before a gush of blood issued from his mouth. The man sighed, seemed to sink into himself like a balloon deflating, and lay totally still.
Shannon bowed her head and felt defeat wash over her. She’d lost one more fight with death, a fight she’d been forced to wage with no weapons. Once more, a gun had taken a life while she was forced to watch helplessly. Memories came rushing back like a flood.
“Police and EMTs are on the way,” Mark called from the doorway.
Lee rose and shook his head. “Too late.” He edged around the body until he was next to Shannon. “Get into the house. I’ll stay out here until they arrive.”
Shannon nodded and rose slowly. As she moved toward the lighted doorway where Mark waited, she clenched her fists and felt the stickiness of the blood clotting there. The racing pulse and sweating palms were already subsiding, but she knew they’d be back. They always came back.
She brushed by Mark and walked purposefully to the downstairs half bath. Carefully, like a robot moving in slow motion, she turned on the taps. Then she started to scrub the blood from her hands. In the mirror over the sink, her blonde hair was perfectly in place. Her makeup was understated and unspoiled. Her blue eyes displayed not a touch of red. There was no evidence of the turmoil within her. But it was there.
She was still at the sink when Mark spoke from behind her. “The police are here. They’re interviewing Lee now and want to talk with you after that.”
Shannon nodded but kept her hands under the running water. It was several more minutes before she reached down to turn off the faucets. As she dried her hands, a line ran through her head—not one from the Bible, although she wished she could remember an appropriate verse. No, this one was from Shakespeare.

Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

Author Bio:  
Richard L Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award.  His most recent novel, just released, is Critical Condition.

You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter, and his Facebook fan page. He’s also on GoodReads.

Readers, you may purchase my friend, Doc Mabry’s book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!

Richard L. Mabry is giving away a copy of Critical Condition  The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on the previous post)

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Interview With Texas Author Richard L. Mabry

Welcome Doc Mabry, we are so thrilled to have you here with us today. I hope you don't mind that I used a photo of your book signing with a different book. I felt our readers need to know you have published many books.

And now we want to know more about your novel Critical Condition. 
What can you tell us about the story behind this book?

Most of my books are suggested by a “what if” coupled with a situation, news story, or something that made me think. In this case, an incident I encountered started me wondering what would happen if an event in a surgeon’s past affected the way she handled similar problems in the future. After that, the characters told me where to go with the story.

Question: Ah … the characters! Who is the most fun character you ever created?
I think the character of Deputy Sheriff Frank Perrin in my third book, Diagnosis Death, qualifies for that honor. The reason I say that is that when the book ends, you still don’t know if Frank wears a white hat or a black one. Incidentally, I saw my friend, the real Frank Perrin, recently and he was quite happy with the character bearing his name.

Question: And then, who is the most annoying character you ever created?
That honor has to go to Dr. Phil Rushton, the chief of staff at the clinic featured in my last book, Heart Failure. The heroine of that book, Dr. Carrie Markham, has her hands full with all the problems she encounters after she finds that her fiancé isn’t really the man she thinks he is, but despite that she spends a lot of time wondering what Phil is up to.

Question: Even as a writer myself, I still find it fascinating how our characters rule the making of story. And the surprises the characters bring to the author.

What’s the most unusual plot twist you ever wrote?
That one is in a book that hasn’t been published. In my first novel, More Than A Game, I had nurtured the second lead through the whole story, making him a friend and mentor to my protagonist, and about two-thirds of the way through the book I realized that this man had to die. It was like the death of a family member when I wrote it.

Question: Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Oh, yes. Every time I write a scene and decide to delete it (and that happens a lot during my first draft), I put it in a folder I name “holding.” Sometimes I use it in the same book, sometimes in another, and sometimes it simply languishes there. But I never totally discard anything.

Question: I hear you!
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Just one? I can name several: science fiction, dystopian, young adult, historical, gothic romance, and the list goes on. I’m pretty happy with romantic medical suspense right now, and, as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke…”

Question: So … how many writing projects are you working on right now?
I have a number of potential projects, but I can only work on one at a time. I’m not good at multitasking.

Currently, I’m working on my next book, Dead On Arrival, which begins when a man bursts into an Emergency Room, brandishing a gun and threatening to kill everyone if the doctor doesn’t save his wounded brother’s life. After the brother dies and the gunman is killed, the doctor learns that they were members of the Zeta drug cartel, a fact that puts his life in jeopardy.

Question: Now that sounds intriguing. I can’t wait until that one releases!
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I’m sort of a grammar Nazi, having minored in English in college, and I hate to see mistakes, even in a first draft. Sometimes I even have to fight with autocorrect when it doesn’t know what I’m trying to say.

Question: Does music help you write?
Unlike many authors, I like peace and quiet as I write. I have Pandora on my computer, and sometimes listen to music when I’m doing other things in my office, but not when I’m writing.

Question: How do people react when they find out you are a novel writer?
I’m not a local celebrity, nor do I aspire to be one, but it’s always fun to interact with people when they find out what I do. After they discover that I’m neither rich nor famous, their first question is generally, “Where do you get your ideas?” Although I am happy to answer, I’m always tempted to tell them in hushed tones about a site known only to writers: “plotideas.com.”

Question: What or who is the biggest influence on your writing?
I think John Grisham writes excellent Christian fiction, although he’s generally thought of as a “secular” writer. I try to write from a Christian worldview, and Grisham does a great job of doing just that without hitting the reader over the head with his viewpoint.

Beyond that, I’ve been influenced by the work of two recently deceased writers, Robert B. Parker and Dr. Michael Palmer. Reading Parker’s novels (and I’ve read all of them) taught me to write simple declarative sentences and keep the plot moving. Palmer showed me how to make medical suspense carry other messages—in his case, social injustice or political inequalities.

Question: I love to read John Grisham. Not being a lawyer I don’t try to comptet but …
Do you have a mentor, other than the books you read?
I don’t have one particular person to whom I talk with about my writing. However, I do owe a great deal to the people who have helped me (and continue to do so) along this road, beginning with James Scott Bell and Alton Gansky who got me started and have kept me on track, and continuing with Gayle Roper, Karen Ball, Jeff Gerke, DiAnn Mills, Rachelle Gardner, and a host of others.

Question: When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I don’t have a lot of information yet about publication of that book. I’ve already mentioned the premise behind Dead On Arrival.  It, like all my other books, is what my readers have come to expect from me: Medical Suspense With Heart. I hope they’ll enjoy it.

My special thanks goes out to all the ladies here at the Barn Door Book Loft for this opportunity to connect with your blog readers. I appreciate it.
 
Thank you for joining us and telling us a bit about your life as a writer! The pleasure is all ours.

Readers, you may purchase my friend, Doc Mabry’s book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!

Richard L. Mabry is giving away a copy of Critical Condition  The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on the previous post)



Friday, April 11, 2014

Interviewing Christian Author V.B. Tenery

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Virginia. We are glad to have you here with us today.

Question: Is there a story behind your book Works of Darkness?
I wanted this story to show the consequences of not taking responsibility for ones actions, and the consequence of failing to do so.

Question: What started you on your writing journey?
I’ve always been an avid reader of mystery/suspense novels and found that more and more of what was available had too much graphic violence and sexual content. I wanted to write the kind of wholesome novels I liked to read. Works of Darkness was the first novel I wrote and it has undergone many transitions.

Question: Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Police Chief Matt Foley.
Why?
He is a good, honest man and a good cop, who overcame a brutal childhood and is fighting the loss of his wife, while trying to keep the bad guys off his streets.
   
Question: What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I let a friend talk me into entering a dance competition in the tango. I was so nervous I don’t remember anything from the time the music began until it ended. But somehow, we won a bronze medal.

Question: What is your strangest habit?
I sing, a lot. While I write, while I clean house, in the shower, etc. whatever song that gets stuck in my head during Sunday services. I didn’t say I was good, just that I sing.

Question: What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
Ironic humor, and of course the antics of my grandchildren, especially when they were small. They grew up to be a bunch of clowns.

Question: What is your favorite season of the year? 
I love fall, and the anticipation of a new school year, the football season, the changing colors of the leaves, and the cooler weather after a long hot summer.

Question: Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
If I have to choose, it’s a series of verses I memorized as a child.  When things look bleak I recite these verses of Jesus’ admonition not to worry, that he is building a place for us.
John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and received you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. Where I go you know, and the way you know. And Thomas said, Lord we know not whither thou goest and how can we know the way? And Jesus said. I am the way, the truth and the light. No man cometh unto the father except by me.” 

Question: When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next novel is Dead Ringer and it releases May 9. It was a Genesis semi-finalist and is about mistaken identify that takes a young woman into a life of personal discovery and extreme danger. 

Readers, thank you so much for joining us today. 

You can purchase V.B. Tenery's Kindle ebook at:
And she assures me that the paperback will be available in June

V.B. Tenery is giving away a Kindle copy of Works Of Darkness 
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Featuring V.B. Tenery's "Works Of Darkness"

Back Cover Blurb:

Some secrets just won’t stay buried.

A construction site provides a horrific discovery when a worker uncovers the skeleton of a small child wrapped in a sleeping bag. Police Chief Matt Foley soon links the murder to another cold case, the hit-and-run death of Attorney Josh Bradford.

The long suppressed memory of the young victim’s childhood friend, Sara Bradford may hold the key to both crimes. But Matt has mixed emotions about Sara—his prime suspect in her husband’s murder. 


Matt soon discovers the twenty-five year old mystery has the power to stretch across decades to kill again.

Book Excerpt:  
“The night is far spent; the day is at hand, let us therefore cast off the works of darkness.”                                                               Romans 13:12


CHAPTER 1



Bay Harbor Development
Construction foreman Jason Watts stood by his truck and gazed across the job site. Heavy equipment cleared the prime lakefront property of stumps and rubble as machinery shifted sand from one place to another. The smell of damp earth permeated the air around him. An early morning chill crept under his coat collar making him shiver.
Across the way, his backhoe operator scooped up a load of sand, lowered the bucket, and stopped the machine. Isaac Hummingbird, the Native American operator, stepped off the front-end loader and tossed something to the ground.
“Hey, Jason, you’d better come take a look at this.” Hummingbird stood next to what looked like a large, white trash bag.
Jason shoved his clipboard onto the truck’s bench seat and trotted across the field, the dirt still sticky from the recent storms. He noted the heavy, dark clouds hovering overhead as he crossed the field. Fierce October rain that pummeled the area had thrown him behind schedule, forcing him to play catch-up. Big time. The moneymen who financed the project were popping Xanax by the handful.
 Those clouds would dump any minute, and he’d have to send the crew home. Again. And lose another day’s work. “Whatcha got, Hummingbird?”
The machine operator didn’t reply. He stepped back and pointed at the open bag, the side folded back. It was the tattered remnants of a sleeping bag. Cold sweat broke out on Jason’s brow, and a tight knot clutched at his gut, his breath shallow as he gazed into the opening. Inside, were the skeletal remains of a child, the bones white and clean.
Pink overalls hung on the shoulder bones of the wasted frame. Tennis shoes had slipped from the feet. A small birthstone ring hung loosely on the right ring finger.

Jason rubbed his hand over his face and drew in a lung full of moist air. He removed a cell phone from his jacket pocket. “I’ll call it in.”



Author Bio:
V. B. Tenery’s desire to write grew from a love of reading that blossomed at a very young age. Quickly bored with cartoons, she devoured books, impatient for the next visit to the library.

After finishing school she went to work as an administrative assistant in the country’s largest optical firm. Writing took a back seat to her career when she became director of service for the firm’s national warehouse. Marriage, a young daughter,
and active involvement in church turned her into an occasional weekend writer.

During this period she wrote poetry, a series of short stories based on family history, and a number of Christian songs that were performed in her church.

When the company she worked for downsized, she jumped at the opportunity to retire and write full time. Since then she has written two Christian novels in a suspense series, WORKS OF DARKNESS and THEN THERE WERE NONE, and a stand-alone romantic suspense, DEAD RINGER. In another series she has combined suspense elements with a supernatural theme in her latest novel, THE WATCHMAN
  
You can find her on the web on her:


Purchase the Kindle ebook at:
Paperback will be available in June

V.B. Tenery is giving away a Kindle copy of Works Of Darkness 
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.

I know you want to know ... WHO WON?

But before we announce our three winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:
Sandy Nadeau who offered her Mystery Red Gold.
Develynn Spencer who offered her Romantic Suspense The Cowboy Takes A Wife.
And Ada Brownell who offered her YA Joe The Dreamer.
 And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Jrs362 has won Sandy Nadeau’s Mystery Red Gold.
Susan P has won Develynn Spencer’s Romantic Suspense The Cowboy Takes A Wife.
And Jennifer Tipton has won Ada Brownell’s  Young Adult  Joe The Dreamer. 
Congratulations Winners! Remember, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 


Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss seeing the winners list.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Interview With Christian Author Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft Shannon.
Is there a story behind your book Rodeo Song?

It’s the only book I’ve ever written that was based on a dream. Long ago, I went to a Michael Bolton concert. I always loved the power and raspiness in his voice. I was sitting with my friend in the nosebleed seats during intermission. We heard a bunch of commotion in the lobby. It was an octagonal shaped arena with stadium seating and the lobby at the top with a dozen doors into the sunken arena.

We watched the doors and could see Michael Bolton running through the lobby with a trail of screaming women chasing him. He came into the arena and sang on a small stage at the opposite end from the main stage.
That night, I dreamed I was in the lobby and he grabbed my hand, pulled me onstage and sang a love song to me.

I knew there was a book in that as soon as I woke up.

Question: What distracts you from writing the easiest?
My son and husband. When my son was little, I wrote while they were home with the TV on and general chaos. But since my son started school, I write during the day when no one is home. I’ve gotten so used to writing in a quiet house that now when they’re home, I don’t even try. In the summer, I stay up and write after they’ve gone to bed.

Question: What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction. I only read inspirational. I get enough of the trashy world closing in on me—I don’t want it trashing up my reading enjoyment. Denise Hunter, Lenora Worth, and Linda Nichols are my standby favorites. I’ve recently discovered Melissa Tagg, Marybeth Whalen, and Becky Wade also.

Question: Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Garrett Steele. It was interesting to write a Christian character whose life had gone off the rails with women and alcohol. By the beginning of the book, he’d straightened up his life, but felt unworthy and that God had given up on him. I had to find something that would break him to the point of finding fellowship with God again. It was also a challenge to write him as a Country singer since I don’t like that style of music.

Question: If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Contemporary Christian – I love Third Day and Todd Agnew.
But for church services, I’m very traditional. I like the old hymnbooks and actually holding the book in my hands. Kind of like holding a book instead of a Kindle.

Question: What is your strangest habit?
I live on chocolate covered coffee beans. I’ve gotten immune to plain coffee, so it takes the beans to perk me up.

Question: Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
My husband’s dad lived in the San Antonio area until he passed away a few years ago. My rodeo series was inspired by our Texas visits. The books are mostly set in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Aubrey because most of the characters work at the Fort Worth Stockyards and the possibilities are endless there. But my characters in Rodeo Queen visits Medina where my father-in-law lived and the ranch in the book is based on his ranch.

Question: Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It says to me that no matter what this world throws at me, I’ll be okay.

Question: When is your next book due out and what can you tell us about it?
I’ve had at least two books release since 2010. But in 2014, I only have Rodeo Song releasing. The next book, Rodeo Break is book 7 in the series and releases in January 2015.

Here’s the blurb:
After her mom’s suicide, interior decorator tori Eaton learned about love on the road with her womanizing, abusive Country music star dad. Looking for love in all the wrong places landed her in a violent relationship. Determined not to be a victim anymore, she accepts a friend’s help to turn her life around and realize her dreams as a clothing designer.

Brant McConnell chased his Christian music dream to Nashville, but gave up after a year and embraced his calling as a song director. When offered the chance to headline at the Fort Worth Stockyards Championship Rodeo, and a song director position at a small church in Aubrey, he’s sure his break is just around the arena for a chance at a mega-church.

Their lives collide when Brant shows up at the guest-house where Tori is in hiding from her ex-boyfriend. Sporting a black eye and weilding a fire poker, Tori makes quite an impression on him. They end up in the same church, where Tori accepts Christ and a position as piano player. The two make beautiful music for the Lord together, but will their chance at a future come to a screeching halt when Tori learns she’s pregnant by her ex-boyfriend?

Thank you so much for joining us today, Shannon.

You can purchase the book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is giving away a copy of Rodeo Song. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Featuring Shannon Taylor Vannatter's Rodeo Song

Back Cover Blurb:

JENNA WENTWORTH FOUND THE MAN OF HER DREAMS 
But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer. 

Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.
Book Excerpt: 

Screaming fans surrounded Jenna Wentworth as Garrett Steele’s rich, seductive voice and acoustic guitar drove the enraptured women into a frenzy. And despite her painful past with him, his lush baritone melted her insides.
          Thirtieth row, floor seating. Jenna peered through the chaos, but with everyone standing, she couldn’t see much onstage. Her first country music concert. Ever. Stale beer assaulted her senses and her ears would probably ring for a week. Why had she come?
Because her friend Tori had promised to attend church with her in return, but. . .that wasn’t the whole story.
          Truth be told—she couldn’t resist getting a glimpse of Garrett again. Pathetic.
          The music stopped. Applause, whistles, and screams shattered her eardrums.
          “What an awesome crowd.” Garrett’s words boomed over the speakers. “We’re taking a short break but we’ll be back, so don’t go anywhere Dallas.”
          The crowd roared and the lights brightened. She stood on her tiptoes long enough to peer around the tall man standing in front of her to get a fleeting glimpse of Garrett leaving the stage before it went dark.
          “I can’t believe I’m here,” Tori shouted over the clamor. “He’s even better looking in person.”
          Jenna’s mouth went dry as the arena lights brightened. “How can you tell what he looks like?”
          Maybe his floozy, boozy lifestyle had taken its toll, but Jenna couldn’t tell from the few glimpses she’d gotten of him.
          “He’s just the greatest.” Tori did a little bounce.
          Sure. Jenna rolled her eyes. The greatest guy to ever walk out on her.
          “Okay, Jenna, I know you don’t really like him, but can’t you humor me?”
          Time for a distraction. “I’m thirsty. Let’s get something to drink.”
          They inched slowly up the stands toward the lobby, along with half the crowd in the American Airlines Center.
          She could happily not talk about Garrett—if only she could stop thinking about him too.
          Tori would be beside herself if she knew Jenna had grown up with him. That she’d once had feelings for him much deeper than like. Had once been the girl he’d claimed to love.
          Though the cold bite of New Year's Day lurked outside, the lobby was toasty warm. But the line at the concession stand was endless. At this rate, they’d never get anything to drink.
          Amongst the crowd of adoring fans, dutiful husbands and shrewd boyfriends, Jenna blended in like a Queen Anne wingback in a farmhouse.
          Several amorous couples surrounded them. Men obviously brought their dates to Garrett Steele concerts to perform the dance of seduction for them. And it was working. All too well. Jenna closed her eyes.
          Past simply thirsty, her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.
“Look! It’s Garrett Steele!” Excited voices echoed through the lobby.
In the distance, security guards cleared a path. Garrett ran toward the concession stand pursued by a trail of women.
          Tori and a herd of females surged toward him. Men, deserted by their dates, stood as if rooted to the spot. Jenna moved closer to the counter to avoid the mob. Surreal. At least she’d get her tea faster now.
          Though the women ran to meet Garrett head-on, they ended up in the throng behind him with the security guards keeping them at bay. Hands grabbed and clawed at Garrett as he and his entourage got closer to her. She could no longer see Tori. The rush forced abandoned men to move out of the way.
          Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me. The pathetic one he’d turned his back on—at his concert with the rest of his minions.
          Brilliant green eyes locked with hers. A flick of recognition followed by a familiar grin. Her heart went into overdrive. Surely she’d swoon. Mere feet away from her now, he held his hand out toward her. As if of their own volition, her fingers clasped his as he ran past, dragging her with him.
          What was she doing? Hadn’t she been sucked in by him once before? And in exchange for her brainless devotion, she’d gotten her heart broken.
          Jenna fought to keep up with Garrett’s pace. Too late to turn back now, the stampede behind them encouraged speed despite her strappy heels.
          He slowed only when they squeezed through a doorway and descended the stairs back into the sunken arena, then surged toward a smaller platform at the other end from the main stage. Security guards surrounded them as Garrett guided her up the steps. A guard tried to pull her hand from his.
          “No!” he shouted above the chaos. “I want her onstage with me.”
Her stomach did a flip-flop. “No!”
          The pandemonium surrounding them carried her protest away and the guard helped her up the stairs.
          “It’s okay. I won’t force you to sing.” Garrett winked. “Even though you have a lovely voice.”
          Her heart pooled at his feet, but her insides twisted in knots as he led her to a tall stool. Weak-kneed, she gratefully perched on it. His band and backup singers faded to the back of the stage. A spotlight blinded her.
          The music started—the opening notes of his signature wedding song—“One Day.” She’d heard it countless times over the past month with his voice crooning to her at Walmart, restaurants and the streets of the Fort Worth Stockyards historic district as Texas proudly gave its star plenty of airtime.
          Until finally, she’d downloaded it on her iPod. A few times, she’d allowed herself the guilty pleasure of listening. Okay, more than a few times.
          Pathetic. She inwardly cringed.
          His green gaze imprisoned hers as he sang the words of adoration.


Author Bio:  

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.

Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/. Connect with her on Facebook:  Pinterest:  and Twitter: @stvauthor


Her books are available at:
Or have your local library order them in for you!

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is giving away a copy of Rodeo Song. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Preacher's Bride Claim by Laurie Kingery

CLAIMING THEIR FUTURE

For the Thorton brothers, the Oklahoma Land Rush is the perfect opportunity to finally put down some roots. A new start, a new community—what more could preacher Elijah Thornton need. Not a wife—not after losing his fiancée. But something draws him to the pretty nurse whose eyes are clouded by trouble.

Only by claiming her own homestead can Alice Hawthorne avoid an unwanted marriage. Even Oklahoma may not be far enough away from New York to escape her past. Yet with courage—and the handsome reverend's support—can she forge a loving future?


BRIDEGROOM BOTHERS—True love awaits three siblings in the Oklahoma Land Rush



Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE
April 1, 1889—Boomer Town, Oklahoma Territory

Alice Hawthorne sat down quietly on an empty bench in the back of the tent church. She'd waited until the little congregation was absorbed in singing "Shall We Gather at the River" so she could steal in unnoticed. There was a family of six on the long bench ahead of her, but none of them paid any attention to her arrival--except for the shortest of the four stair-step boys. He looked over his shoulder at her, his face full of freckles, a cowlick at the back of his shaggy thatch of hair. When he noticed Alice was watching, he gave her a cheerful, gap-toothed grin. Despite the anxiety constricting her heart like a coiled snake, it was such a comical sight that she couldn't help but smile back.
"You turn around this instant, Otis Beauregard LeMaster," his mother hissed at him, without looking to see what or who had distracted her youngest. The boy obediently did so, and Alice was once again alone.
That suited Alice just fine. She hoped to continue to be overlooked among the inhabitants of the tent city as much as possible until the day of the Land Run, after she had claimed a hundred and sixty acre-homestead for her very own--her own and her mother's, she reminded herself.
It was the first of April—just twenty-two more days until the Unassigned Lands, the lands not claimed by one of the many Indian tribes that now called the Oklahoma Territory home, were opened for settlement by the Indian Appropriations Act signed by President Cleveland. His successor, Benjamin Harrison, had designated noon on April twenty-second as the moment the settlers could rush in, plant their stakes at the claims of their choice, and become real homesteaders.
She'd be safe then, wouldn't she?
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust…She remembered the verse from childhood, and it comforted her now when she felt like a terrified little bird fleeing from a hunter. Her fear was the reason she had come to the chapel service, to be reminded of God's love and protection.
As the hymn ended, so did her comfortable solitude. With a rustle of skirts, two women plopped themselves down to her left. Alice kept her gaze aimed at the front and hoped they would leave her alone. She had not been an unsociable person before she'd fled New York, but now, she feared each introduction.
But the woman next to her didn't take the hint. "Hey, you're new here, ain't ya?" she asked, smiling in a friendly fashion, which revealed incisors that would have done a jackrabbit proud. "Don't believe we've met before. I'm Carrie Ferguson, and this here's my sister Cordelia."
If she hadn't said they were sisters, Alice would have guessed it, for the two women at her right were so similar-looking with their sun-weathered long faces and noses so sharp they could slice cheese, the same teeth.
"N-nice to meet you," Alice managed to say. "I'm—" She thought about using an assumed name, but how could she lie--especially in a church, even one of canvas? "I'm Alice Hawthorne." Hopefully the two women would forget the name--easy to do in a temporary city populated by hundreds of people, with more coming every day.
"Been in Boomer Town long?" Cordelia asked.
If only the service would start, Alice fretted. She didn't want to answer a bunch of questions. But now that the hymn had concluded, the tall man who seemed to be the preacher was talking to a middle-aged couple up front, and he seemed to be in no hurry.
Alice managed a small smile. "Just since yesterday."
"Where ya from? We hail from St. Louis."
"B-back east," Alice said, and prayed they would let it go at that. She wasn't looking to make friends. Each person she gave her name to was one more person who could help Maxwell Peterson find her. And if he did, it would mean the end of her dreams.
***
"Looks like you've tripled attendance in the week you've been here, Reverend," Keith Gilbert, his deacon, exulted as he nodded toward the nearly-full benches. "You must be doing something right."
"It's the Lord's doing," he told Gilbert. "I have such plans for the church we'll build in the territory. I hope many of the folks here will be able to settle near us."
"Well, we're certainly planning to stake a claim near enough to help you build it, once you decide which way you'll head," Gilbert said, and added, "Lord willing."
"Glad to hear it, Keith," Elijah murmured. "I'm counting on your help."
Only one thing marred Elijah's joy in the growth of his congregation—his brothers weren't here. Wanting a fresh start as much as he did, they had come to Oklahoma with him, but they wouldn't attend his chapel services. His middle brother, Gideon, wanted nothing more to do with God after he'd lost his wife and child in the influenza epidemic of '87, and since Elijah had also lost his fiancée, Marybelle Atkins, Gideon couldn't understand why Elijah didn't feel the same. And Clint, the youngest of the brothers and still a bachelor, was at odds with the Lord too after so many losses. They should be here, he thought, with that old familiar ache. Lord, please draw them back to You.
"The Lord has blessed our work," he told the Gilberts. "Or perhaps folks come to the chapel because they need divine reassurance at this time of such big changes in their lives."
The Gilberts nodded in approving agreement, but Elijah knew Gideon would have said something like, "Maybe they think the more they show up here in chapel, the more likely the Lord will grant them the one hundred sixty acres claim of their choice. Or they don't have anything else to do while they wait to claim their land."
Perhaps it was presumptuous to call the big tent that sheltered them from the blistering sun and spring rains a chapel, much less a church, but for now it was all the church they had, and he was grateful for it. Hadn't the Hebrews worshipped God in the open desert air, all those years they wandered in the wilderness?
He was about to greet the congregation when Mr. Gilberts said, "Did you see the pretty lady sitting in the back? The one in the dark bonnet? She came in during the hymn. Can't remember seeing her before."
Elijah followed the direction of Gilbert's nod. He couldn't see the woman's face at the moment, because her head was bowed and the bonnet she wore hid her features, but as if she felt the scrutiny, she raised her head just then. He saw sky-blue eyes set in a heart-shaped face with a peaches-and-cream quality to it—she must be scrupulous about wearing a hat under the hot western sun. Her hair, what little of it he could see, was auburn. Her petite frame was clothed in serviceable calico.
Her blue eyes looked troubled, and he wondered why. Who was she? He thought he'd met everyone who came to his daily services, if not all the inhabitants of this tent city. But newcomers were arriving daily in anticipation of the Land Rush, so she must be a new arrival. He'd have to make it a point to introduce himself after the service in case she was in need of assistance, as a woman alone very well might be. As the pastor of the freshly-sprung-up encampment, his ministry consisted of helping the would-be homesteaders with their needs as much as it did preaching. He was merely doing his duty.
Of course, she might not be alone after all, he reminded himself. Her husband might be buying supplies at one of the tent stores that had sprouted like weeds after a good rain, dealing with livestock, or like his brothers, not a believer.
"Yessir, she sure is a pretty gal," Gilbert murmured, as if afraid Elijah wouldn't see that for himself.
Elijah wondered what Mrs. Gilbert must think of her husband noticing other ladies, but he darted a glance at her, and Cassie was still smiling.
"We thought we ought to point her out to ya, Reverend," she said with a wink. "It isn't good for a man to be alone. You ought to go meet her, after the service."
Elijah sighed. At least they hadn't spoken loud enough for any of the other worshippers to hear. "The Lord calls some of us to singleness," he said. "I am one of them."

Neither of the Gilberts looked convinced, but he was thankful when they didn't press him on the point.  He hadn't told anyone in the tent city about his lost fiancée, nor did he intend to. And in any case, there was no time to discuss it further.  


About Laurie:


Laurie Kingery is a central Ohio author and veteran E.R. RN who has written twenty-five historical romances, first as Laurie Grant and now writing Christian historicals under her own name for Love Inspired Historicals. She won the Reader's Choice for short historicals in 1994 and was a finalist in the 2010 Carol Awards in short historicals by the American Christian Fiction Writers for THE OUTLAW'S LADY. Her website is http://www.lauriekingery.com. Her April 2014 release will be the first book in Love Inspired Historicals' "Bridegroom Brothers" continuity, set in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. Her next installment in the "Brides of Simpson Creek" series, also from Love Inspired Historicals is A HERO IN THE MAKING, July 2014.

To purchase her book:

Laurie Kingery is giving away a copy of The Preacher's Bride Claim. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)


Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


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