Friday, September 10, 2010

A Prarie Christmas Collection, Shelter of Hope

A Prairie Christmas Collection

from Barbour Books
by Tracie Peterson, Deborah Raney, Tracey Bateman
and other favorite Christian authors

Settling the vast open prairies, weathering winter storms, and finding joy to celebrate during Christmas epitomizes the pioneer experience. In a unique collection of nine Christmas romances, Barbour Publishing brings readers A Prairie Christmas Collection where they can relive a prairie Christmas with all its challenge and delights as penned by multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney. Featuring deckled-edge pages and a foil-stamped cover with fold-under flaps, the collection makes an ideal gift for the romance reader.

In this holiday romance collection, the warmth of Christmas will radiate new love from the high plains of Minnesota and Dakota Territory, across the rolling hills of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, and down into the flats of Kansas. Filled with inspiration and faith, each story will become a treasure to be enjoyed again each year. Along with Peterson and Raney, other contributing authors include Tracey Bateman, Pamela Griffin, JoAnn A. Grote, Maryn Langer, Darlene Mindrup, Janet Spaeth and Jill Stengl.

Excerpt from "A Circle of Blessings"
by Deborah Raney

Chapter One

Dakota Territory 1871

Stella Bradford hurried across the campus of St. Bartholomew's Academy, a stack of textbooks in arm and a bulging drawstring bag looped over one shoulder. The petticoat beneath her long-sleeved cotton dress clung to her legs, and with her free hand, she dabbed beads of moisture from her brow with a crumpled handkerchief. One should not have to perspire in October! If she didn't hurry, she was going to be late for class, and it would be the second time this week. She was having enough trouble with this infernal English grammar class as it was. It certainly wouldn't help matters to be late again.

The tower clock in the center of the campus quadrangle began to chime the hour, and Stella lifted her skirts above her ankles and broke into a very unladylike trot. She rounded the ivy-draped corner of Andrews Hall at top speed but was halted in her tracks when she bumped headlong into a broad masculine chest. The only thing that kept her from stumbling to the brick walk beneath her feet, was the strong pair of hands that reached out to grab her by the shoulders.

"Whoa, Miss! Watch where you're going there." The voice was as deep as the brown eyes that looked down into hers.

"Oh, p-pardon me," she stuttered, "but I'm about to be late for class." She took a step backward, out of the man's grasp.

The last chime of the carillon clock died away on the still autumn air, and Stella gave a little gasp of dismay.

"It looks to me as though you are late," the gentleman told her. "And at the reckless speed you were going, I'd venture to say you would have arrived so out of breath that you might as well not have bothered going at all."

"Please," she pled impatiently. "Let me pass. I simply can't miss this class again."

"Oh, I see," he said, a rather wicked gleam in his eyes. "So, you make a habit of tardiness? And let me guess--you are not exactly a candidate for honors in this particular class?"

She stamped her foot and took another step backward. Of all the impudent-- She did not have time for this. Donning her most patronizing smile, she told him, "I do appreciate your concern, Mister--"

"Collingwood."--he tipped an imaginary hat--"James Collingwood."

"I appreciate your concern, Mr. Collingwood, but I cannot waste my time standing here arguing about either my habits, nor my grades--as if it were any of your business!"

"Neither," he said.

"I beg your pardon?"

"The correct word is `neither'. Neither my habits, nor my grades. It's `either, or' and `neither, nor'."

Of all the nerve! How dare this complete stranger stand here and correct her grammar!

He folded his arms across a broad chest and stepped back to gaze at her. "And let me guess," he said. "English Grammar is the class you're tardy for?"

"For which you are tardy," she shot.

He raised an eyebrow. "Pardon me?"

"The correct phrase is `the class for which you are tardy'. It is not proper to end a sentence in a preposition." She bobbed her chin for emphasis, crossed her arms and glared at him, pleased beyond words to have beat him at his own game.

The corners of his lips curled in a slow smile. "Touché, Miss. I stand corrected."

Do not reproduced without permission.
Available in bookstores everywhere, or order online at, or other bookstores online.

* * *

Shelter of Hope, Love Inspired Romance

by Lyn Cote

1st in New Friends Street series
Steeple Hill
# ISBN-13: 978-0373876211

The House that Love Built

Struggling single mother Rosa Santos is deeply touched when volunteers band together to build her a home. With a waitressing job, community college and church, Rosa barely has time to help, let alone dream about a husband and father figure. But when handsome volunteer Marc Chambers hands her withdrawn young son a little hammer, her heart swells. Suddenly, her son is blossoming. But the closer she and Marc get, the more he pulls away. Why? He's built her a shelter of hope. One she-and her son-pray he'll take refuge within..

Chapter One

Out of the clear blue August morning without warning, danger barreled onto New Friends Street. Glancing over his shoulder, Marc Chambers saw the cement truck take the corner a little fast. At the same moment, he glimpsed a boy running toward the street. Not looking.


The cement truck brakes squealed like a trapped animal. Marc raced for the kid. Scooped him up. The wheels of the cement just feet away jumped, skipped-trying to stop in time.

People were screaming. Marc wrapped himself around the small body. Threw himself into a roll.

I can't stop in time. The horrible wrenching sound of metal chewing into metal churned through his flesh like the grinding of some vicious machine. His heart pounded in his ears--

"Marc," a familiar voice came through the din in Marc's head. "Marc, it's all right. You and the boy are safe. The truck missed you both."

Marc blinked. His mind repeated his grandmother's words, tried to grasp them and hold them. What had just happened to him?

Marc looked into his grandmother's soft round face, surrounded by her wavy white hair and straw hat. Her kind blue eyes were dark with concern. He realized suddenly that other people were crowded around him. Staring at him.

Then he heard, felt the boy in his arms sobbing. He released him. Marc shook his head as if that could shake off what had just happened or what had just flashed through his mind.

A pretty young woman claimed the boy and encircled him with her arms. "You could have been killed, Johnny!" she cried out. "You could have been killed!" She sank to her knees, clutching the boy to her.

Marc slowly pulled himself up till he was sitting with his back against the new curb. He held his head in his hands, not trusting himself to speak or to try to rise. His stomach sloshed back and forth in a giddy tide. A deluge of memories wanted to saturate him with fear and carry him back to January, back to that awful day.

"Man," someone with a deep gruff voice said loudly. "Man, am I glad you were able to get to him. I couldn't have stopped in time."

Marc glanced toward the voice.

It came from a man in gray work clothes. He was sort of leaning limply over the back fender of the cement truck. "I don't know what I would have done. I got kids of my own."

I don't know what I would have done. The man's words sent shivers through Marc. And from the corner of his eye, he saw the same shivers go through the young denim-clad woman. Life was so fragile-he'd learned that this year painfully. He put out a hand and patted her slender shoulder awkwardly, briefly.

A horn honked and then another. Awaking to the larger picture, Marc looked around at the crowd in the middle of the street and the cars that had halted on either side of them.

A new brisk voice, a woman's voice, intruded. "Let's all get out of the street. We're blocking traffic."

The people around Marc moved away, returning to the dedication at the Habitat site--only reluctantly. Many kept casting glances back at him. Marc tried to avoid their gazes, and calm the roiling in his mid-section. The truck driver climbed into his rig and drove off much slower.

Marc's grandmother lingered protectively beside him. That bothered him. He didn't want her worrying again. With a mouth as stiff as steel, he forced his lips to curve into what he hoped was a smile and glanced up. "Go on. I'll be all rght. It's just the heat and running like that. The excitement-that's all." I thought I'd put it behind me. What just happened?

Another older woman with salt and pepper hair was standing by the young mother who was still on her knees. "Rosa," she began, "por favor."

He couldn't follow what she said after that; it sounded like Spanish, sounded worried.

"No, abuela, grandmother," the young woman said, shaking her head. "You go. I'll come. soon."

His own grandmother tucked her hand into the Spanish-speaking grandmother's elbow. "Come. We'll go and let them have a few moments to compose themselves."

"Si," the woman agreed in a pleasantly accented voice, "yes, I must represent la familia." Still, the woman looked concerned.

The two grandmothers walked together across New Friends Street to watch the dedication of the Habitat for Humanity house that was being built in their little town of Hope, Wisconsin.

August heat, dripping with humidity, wrapped around Marc. It made it harder to breathe, harder to calm his racing heart.

The mother of the boy looked at him and then slid from her knees to sit beside him against the curb. The little boy sank between them, leaning against her. "I'm Rosa Santos." She offered him her hand. "And this is Johnny."

She still looked shaken. He bent his stiff lips upward again trying for a reassuring smile. He gripped her small hand in his for a brief moment, comforted by touching her soft palm. "Marc Chambers."

"Thank you so much," Rosa said, feathering the boy's bangs with one hand. "Thank you for saving my Johnny." Her voice caught on the boy's name.

He looked into the woman's pretty face, her olive skin smooth and lightly tanned. Her eyes-large eyes so brown they were almost black--captured him. Not only because they were beautiful, but fear blazed there.

He had experienced that kind of flaming, consuming fear. Evidently it still lived him in. I thought I got over all this.

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