Saturday, March 4, 2017

Celebrate the Luck o' the Irish!

Can an Irish American Princess find true love with a struggling English musician? Discover this unique story of love and loss for only 99 cents this month. Also available in Audiobook and paperback, or read free with Kindle Unlimited.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lost in the Plains: Double Deal

Lost in the Plains: Double Deal: Begin at the beginning! For the next few days, BOTH of the first books in BOTH the Valley Rise and Walnut Lodge series will be FREE . K...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Double Deal

Begin at the beginning! For the next few days, BOTH of the first books in BOTH the Valley Rise and Walnut Lodge series will be FREE . Katie Lost and Found is FREE FEB 9-11 from Hearts Unfold is FREE every day wherever you buy your ebooks. Find these two special love stories, along with all my other books, right here~


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Valley Rise Christmas--Day Eight

This scene from Heart of My Own Heart joins Stani and Emily for Christmas morning at Valley Rise Farm--

Emily was in the kitchen just after dawn, humming along with the carols on the radio as the bacon sizzled and when Stani crept up behind her at the range, she let out a little sigh.  “You didn’t really think you could startle me?  I could feel you coming all through the house.”

“Feel me?”  He lifted her hair and nuzzled her neck, his hand finding the little bulge at her waist.

“You’re radiating something this morning.  Christmas joy, maybe?  I could hear it echoing in your footsteps.”  She turned in his arms, a twinkle in her eyes.  “Besides, I heard you banging around in the hall closet.  What is it you have hidden in there, anyway?”

“Christmas surprise.  But not until after breakfast.”  His kiss was meant as a reminder of all the past breakfasts they’d shared, including the one on Christmas morning only a year ago. 

They didn’t rush through the meal, and John joined them while they were still at the table, pouring a cup of tea and helping himself to a chunk of cinnamon bread.  “What’s on the agenda this morning?” 

His eyes widened as Emily went down the list.  Open a few gifts, dress for church.  Have a quick lunch after church, then start dinner preparations, which would involve a list of things all its own. 

“No just sitting around the fireplace with our feet up?  Yesterday was hectic enough.  I could use a day off.”

Their voices rose in unison protest.  “John, it’s Christmas Day!  This is the real celebration.  Friends and family all gathered for a meal, music and gifts.  Tonight, when we’re all so full we can’t move, then we’ll sit by the fire.”  Emily was on her feet, pulling at Stani’s hand.  “But right now, I want to show you something, darling.  In fact, if I don’t, I’ll just explode.  Get your coat.  Hurry!”

Laughing and rolling his eyes at John, he let her lead him to the front door.  “Really, love, you want me to go outside now?  It’s snowing!”

“Only a little flurry.  And there’s nothing much on the ground.  It won’t take long!”  Her excitement was tangible, as she bundled into her coat.  And it was infectious.  He realized his own heart was racing as he did the same.

He took a moment to tie her muffler high around her ears.  “Are you sure you can’t just tell me what it is I’m supposed to see, without running out into the yard yourself?”

She grabbed his hand and pulled him through the door.  “No!  I want to see your face.”

He followed her across the yard toward the gate, struck by the stark winter scene that spread in every direction from the high ground on which the house was situated.  Beyond the surrounding valley, the distant ridges were nearly obscured by a blue haze.  The ground underfoot was covered with a light dusting of dry snow, and huge flakes drifted lazily through the air.  Near the gate, a lone pair of cardinals took flight, their bright wings a startling intrusion of color into the gray landscape.  The silence was profound, and he took a moment to appreciate the peace of this place.  And then Emily pulled him through the gate and came to an abrupt halt, steering him around until he stood facing the house again.  The satisfied smile on her face suggested they had reached their destination, but he couldn’t imagine what he was expected to see.

“Look, Stani!”  She nodded toward the fence, or was it meant to be toward the house?  Still, he couldn’t grasp this marvelous thing she was showing him so proudly.

Finally, his eyes fell on the sign.  The large oval that bore the name of Valley Rise Farm.  It had been newly painted, the letters a fresh, crisp green against the white background.  Beneath, scripted in red, were the names of the farm’s proprietors.  Now, instead of the former “J.E. Haynes,” it read “S. and E. Haynes-Moss.”  When he couldn’t find words, she hugged his arm and said softly, “James brought it out and hung it last night.  Do you like it?  I decided to use our names the way you did for the foundation.” 

He took another moment to recognize what this really meant to her.  It was her farm, her legacy from her parents.  Now she was adding his name to the most treasured thing in her life.  “I love it, darling girl.  You know, I even had a thought about it, when we were shopping for the caretaker’s home.  But then I decided it was too much yours to ever change it.  Haynes has always been here, and for some chap named Moss to move in was just too overreaching.”  He wrapped her in his arms, staring into the intense gray depths of her eyes. 

“Not overreaching at all.  It’s yours now too.  It’s ours, Stani.  And that J.E. Haynes person is gone forever.”  Her kiss was deep and sweet and for a time he was lifted off the cold hillside, swept away by the miracle of this girl in his arms, who carried his child deep inside her, whose love had brought him to a place he could call home. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Valley Rise Christmas--Day Seven

   We move next to Heart of My Own Heart to join Stani and Emily as they celebrate Christmas at the farm--their first Christmas as a married couple. 

For the first time, Stani Moss performed in the church where a year earlier he had begun his own journey to meet the Christ Child.  On the night of their return to the farm, Pastor Mike had asked if he would consider playing at the Christmas Eve service and he had immediately agreed.  Now, as he sat with Emily and John in a pew full of friends who had been strangers a year earlier, he knew he had completed that journey.  Watching the cherub choir, now under the care of Sara McConnell, seated around the crèche just as they had been with Emily that night, he felt the same tingle of anticipation.  Glancing at her candlelit face beside him, he saw much the same emotion shining in her eyes, and the corners of her mouth were turned up in that sweet, tranquil smile he so loved.  Beyond her, James and Penny sat hand in hand, their eyes meeting briefly as if to confirm the step they had taken together such a short time ago.
At the rear of the already crowded church, a whispered commotion could be heard.  Turning, Stani saw that Jack had arrived and was ushering in a group of late arrivals.  Leading the way down the aisle, he was followed by Bobby, walking slowly and leaning heavily on a cane.  Next to him, Ruthie carried little Emily, who gazed down on the faces along the way, her eyes bright with curiosity.  Three little boys followed, Robbie Joe bringing up the rear.  Stani watched their progress, as Jack brought them straight to the front of the church, where they filed into the pew directly opposite.  From his seat on the aisle, Robbie Joe looked across at Stani and smiled his brightest gap-toothed grin.  As he turned to leave, Jack laid a hand on Stani’s shoulder.  “Merry Christmas, son.”
The organ began to play, as the last of the congregation filed in, and when Pastor Mike took his place in the pulpit, a chill touched the back of Stani’s neck.  “This is the night of brilliant stars and heralding angels.  This is the night of humble shepherds and watchful wise men.  This is the night of our Savior’s birth.  Let us worship God together, on this night of miracles.”
Stani listened to the scriptures and carols, Emily’s hand tucked securely in his.  At the appointed time, he rose and took his violin to stand near the manger.  Aware of the wide-eyed cherubs, watching from the other side of the crèche, he smiled.  Then closing his eyes, he played.  What Child Is This?, a tune as familiar as his own breathing, tonight infused with a new spirit.  When the choir joined him, the music soared, swirling within the little church to draw in every listener.  In his mind’s eye, he saw Emily, her eyes glistening in the candlelight, her hand resting lightly over their unborn child.  His heart swelled in his chest, filled with more love and longing than he could ever have imagined a year ago, when he had stood at the back of this church and for the first time recognized the voice of God speaking so clearly.
     When he returned to his seat, he met the gaze of the little boy opposite, a gaze so full of awe that he felt another shiver of emotion.  For a long moment, he stared at Stani as if seeing him for the first time.  But when Stani smiled into the dark eyes, Robbie returned an adoring grin and darting across the aisle, threw himself into Stani’s arms.  Wordlessly, he gathered the child to him, momentarily overwhelmed by his own response.  This boy, so earnest and open, would never understand the power of his simple gesture.  But for Stani, who had yearned for the courage to show the same kind of gratitude to the man he most wanted to please, Robbie Joe’s arms, tightly hugging his neck, were the finest Christmas gift he could ever receive.