Friday, June 04, 2010



Book One of the Brides of Alba

By Linda Windsor

David C. Cook ISBN 1434764788 $14.99

Her mother's dying prophecy to the chieftain Tarlach O'Byrne sentenced Brenna of Gowrys to twenty years of hiding. Twenty years of being hunted—by the O'Byrnes, who fear the prophecy, and by her kinsmen, who expect her to lead them against their oppressors. But Brenna is a trained and gifted healer, not a warrior queen. When she rescues a man badly wounded from an ambush, she believes he may be the answer to her deep loneliness. Healing him comes as easy as loving him. But can their love overcome years of bitterness and greed…and bring peace and renewed faith to the shattered kingdom?

DEAR FRIENDS, Healer is a historical fiction novel, but it is also more. It incorporates into the

page-turning romance and adventure of Brenna and Ronan, many early Christian traditions of the history of our faith and is yet another witness for Christ on issues as pertinent to reaching believers of New Age as it was their old age predecessors. At least that is my hope…to glorify Him.

"In Healer, Linda Windsor combines a knack for thorough research and the skill to draw from it judiciously in telling an engaging story. She weaves together a rich and detailed tapestry of sixth century life in Scotland. Her notes about Arthurian characters, the Grail Palace, and the bibliography are well worth reading. Linda has done her homework and written a fine story." Randy Alcorn, author of Safely Home and Deception

HEALER: Chapter One

From a lofty ledge in the steep slope of the rock cliff, Brenna of Gowrys watched a lone man on the horse pick a cautious route around the lake. The enemy O'Byrnes had ridden off, but this one made his way straight for the thicket where Faol had disappeared. Whatever had possessed the wolf to venture that close to a human? She'd raised him from a pup to be like her, a hermit for the sake of survival.

And, like her, Faol was curious. Hadn't she come out this very day just to see the enemy that hunted her, ignoring her late nurse's warnings? Yet this stranger didn't wear the colors of the O'Byrnes, who'd abandoned him at the pass to hunt her down like wolves after sheep. Perhaps the man was their guest.

Brenna flexed cold-stiffened fingers within the confines of her wrap and drew her fur-lined cloak more closely about her. A season's worth of hunting and skinning paid well in food and warmth. According to her old nurse Ealga, rest her soul, the good Lord put everything on the earth a body might need.

A flash of white amidst the trees below drew Brenna's attention from the stranger with a start.

Faol! The silver-white wolf had circled and was stalking the man again. And to whistle at the beast would certainly draw the stranger's attention.

Though his horse nervously pranced along the bank, the man thankfully appeared oblivious to her pet's proximity. Thanks be to God, the steed could not speak. The increasing wind wrapped the man's cloak about an able and muscular build. Had he a face as fine?

Not that she'd ever know. Brenna shook the morose reminder aside. After the loss of her sole companion Ealga, Brenna was always at war with her faith that God's grace was sufficient, even in loneliness.

The sudden hiss and thud of a flying arrow finding its mark cut made the stranger stiffened, arching backward. The sword fell from his hand as he grabbed in futility at the missile lodged in his back with the other.

Brenna's sharp gaze fixed on the bright red and green fletching of the arrow in disbelief. God's mercy, he's been ambushed!

A figure, garbed in the brown and gray of his surroundings, emerged from the thick forest at the edge of the bog. No clan colors did he boast. Yet the Gowrys' red and green fletching was on his arrows.

As she puzzled, the assailant drew back another deadly shaft and, with a banshee-like howl that caused his prey to turn toward him, let it fly at the staggered stranger. The impact drove the victim backward off the horse's flank. The stranger struck the ground, breaking off the arrow in his back as he rolled over and to his feet and reclaimed his sword in his good hand.

The assailant dashed back into the cover of the wood and emerged a breath later mounted on a brown horse. With another bone-scraping howl, he charged the wounded man. The stranger, no novice to be sure, stood his ground before the pounding hooves of oncoming steed, sword raised.
Metal struck metal, sharp as lightning crossing a summer sky. The deadly predator past his target and turned his horse, its nostrils blowing clouds in the cold air. His weakened prey staggered in a turn for the next onslaught, making no effort to run from the villain who charged at him again.

She had to do something. Brenna unslung her bow, but the distance was too great to ensure a hit. If she missed, she'd expose herself to the same danger. Caution and the urge to help the helpless warred within. She was a healer, not a slayer.

Beyond, the villain rode straight at the stranger. Even if he chose, the stranger could not reach the protection of the trees in time to escape the horse's hooves. Despite his sidestep, the charging animal struck the man a mighty blow, hurling him toward some ice-encrusted brush near the woods' edge.

The stranger dragged himself into the thin cover and reached for a sapling to pull himself to his feet, while the horseman brought his mount to an abrupt, rearing halt and dismounted. Drawing a short sword from his hip, he advanced for the kill.

Brenna leapt to her feet, throwing caution to the wind. But the shout on the tip of her tongue stalled as yet another banshee wail filled the winter hush of the basin—animal, not human.

From out of nowhere, a bolt of snarling, silver-white fur slammed into the assailant, knocking him over like a chess piece. The weapon in his hand flew, harmless, toward the now still man in the brush.

"Faol!" Surprise robbed Brenna's voice of its strength.

The wolf stood over the blade, wedging himself between its owner and the fallen stranger. Teeth bared, his warning growl drifted to where Brenna watched in open-mouthed wonder. Faol had chosen to even the fight, striking both pride and fear for her pet in Brenna's chest.

Would Faol let the burly assailant retreat? If the wolf did and the man fetched the bow Brenna could see clearly slung on the horse, would her wolf have sense enough to run? She searched the landscape beyond the standoff of man and beast. Where were the stranger's companions? How could this be happening?

Exactly as she anticipated, the intruder backed toward his steed for the weapon slung there. She had no choice. Thawing, Brenna drew an arrow from the quiver strapped across her back.
Nocking it, she raised the weapon and pulled back the string. Pausing. She'd never shot a human.

But then, like as not, she'd not hit the man.

Below, the would-be murderer continued to curse the snarling wolf standing between him and his victim's body. Ever so surely, he reached for his quiver of arrows.

Brenna hesitated no more.

Father, send it straight and true, according to Thy will.

* * *


by Winnie Griggs

Widower Graham Lockwood hasn't stepped foot in church since he lost his family. So he can't possibly say yes to his new neighbor's request that he lead the handbell choir. But widowed mother Reeny Landry is so hopeful—and her fatherless children so in need—that Graham agrees to help. Suddenly, the man who closed himself off is coming out of his shell. And he finds himself acting the father figure to Reeny's sweet mute daughter and loner son. But going from neighbor to husband is another matter altogether. Until a loving family teaches Graham to hear the heart's song.

"Griggs pens a terrific and lovely story of two people affected by grief and loss, but with God always there, waiting to help." - 4 ½ stars, Top Pick, Romantic Times review


"So you're really going through with this."

"Yep." Graham Lockwood shoved the last box into his Tahoe without glancing Mike's way. He'd said all he had to say on the subject last night.

"I can't believe you're leaving without telling anyone."

Graham slammed the hatchback shut. "I told you and Carla."

"Not until last night." Mike stared at him accusingly. "You must have had this move planned for a while now."

Graham only shrugged. Interviewing for this job had taken him out of town overnight twice in the past month and it appeared no one had noticed. Not even Mike, who was both his best friend and his brother-in-law. Or was one still considered a brother-in-law when the connecting link was gone?

He pulled his sunglasses out of his pocket and slipped them on. Mike was too perceptive by half.
Mike hunched his shoulders. "I know you needed a break after..." His Adam's apple bobbed.

"well, after what happened."

Graham's jaw tightened. Even fifteen months later, Annie's brother couldn't say the words either.

"You can still reconsider," Mike added. "They haven't filled your position at J.T. Simmons yet. And Patty's ready to step down as the church's music director whenever you say the word."

"J.T. Simmons will find another teacher." Graham checked the back seat to make certain everything was properly secured. "As for the music director job, I meant it when I said I'm no longer interested." He hadn't set foot in a church since the funeral and didn't see that changing anytime soon.

He closed the vehicle door and forced a smile, trying to ease the tension. "Education is my vocation, but music's only a hobby."

"It's a God given gift," Mike insisted stubbornly. Then he gripped the top of the vehicle's driver-side door. "You've got friends here, Graham," he said quietly, "people who care about you. You owe them the chance to say good-bye."

"I don't want a big send off." He'd had enough of the sympathetic looks, the everything's-going-to–be-fine speeches and the pretend-nothing's-changed conversations to last a lifetime.

"But someplace called Ten Penny Ville, Louisiana?" Mike's lips quirked up in a smile that almost looked believable. "Are you trying to hide yourself in the swamps of Cajun country?"

"It's called Tippanyville." Graham nudged his sunglasses higher with the tip of his finger. "And it's closer to central Louisiana than the southern half. As for why I chose Tippanyville - the school there needs a new math teacher and it seems as good a place as any for a fresh start." Truth be told, what he needed was a complete change of scene. Something that didn't shove unwelcome reminders in his face every time he turned around.

He straightened. Time to go. "Give Carla and the boys my love."

Mike took his proffered hand, then impulsively threw his other arm around Graham's shoulder in a quick, masculine embrace before stepping back. "Carla wanted to be here to say good-bye herself. But with Andy running a fever..."

"I know. The kids come first, and that's how it should be." Graham tried to keep his tone even, but from the flicker in Mike's expression he knew he hadn't entirely succeeded. He was glad he had the sunglasses to hide behind.

Mike stepped back and jammed his hands in his pockets. "Whatever you're looking for, we'll be praying you find it."

Graham wanted to tell him to save his breath, that he didn't believe in the power of prayer anymore. Instead he gave a short nod, closed the door and turned the key in the ignition.


Copyright 2010. Do not reproduce without permission.
THE HEART'S SONG can be purchased at most book stores or online at Amazon ( or ( )
To learn more about Winnie Griggs or her books, please visit her website at or connect with her on facebook at

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