Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lonestar Homecoming, The Word Reclaimed


Colleen Coble
Gracie has spent her life running from her problems. This time, it's a matter of life and death.
With nothing but five dollars, a train ticket, and the wedding dress she's wearing, Gracie Lister escapes with her daughter to the West Texas country where her family fell apart years ago.

There, Lieutenant Michael Wayne-devoted single father, dedicated soldier-gives Gracie the hiding place she needs, and a job caring for his two children. Michael and Gracie aren't looking for love, but it finds them right away.

The couple doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye, though. A vengeful druglord has put a price on Michael's head, and he's determined to face the enemy head-on. When Gracie's ex-fiance catches up to her, her impulse is to flee the danger … and the father she lacks the courage to confront.
Find LONESTAR HOMECOMING at CBD or any bookstore.


In a few minutes, she'd be a married woman. Gracie Lister tugged at the silk encasing her hips and drew a deep breath that did little to calm the flutters tapping against her ribs. San Diego traffic rumbled past her small rental house, but she blocked out the noise. Things would be better now. Cid had changed. She was sure of it.

Hope tugged at her hand. "I have to potty."

"Hurry, we need to meet Cid in fifteen minutes." Gracie smiled when she saw her daughter hiking the hem of her ruffled pink dress before she reached the bathroom. "Shut the door," she called. "Someone might come in."

Gracie rubbed her perspiring palms together and wished the ceremony were over. Soon this dump would be just a memory. Hope would have a princess room with ruffled curtains in the window that overlooked a park. Their furniture would be better than this mismatched collection of things from the Salvation Army.

When the knock came at the door, she glanced through the window and saw two men in suits standing outside. She lifted the hem of her dress off the floor. The dress rustled in a delicious manner as she went to the door. When had she last worn something so beautiful?

She opened the door. "Hello," she said, smiling. "Can I help you?"

The tall blond man flashed a badge that identified him as Roger Hastings. "Federal officers, ma'am." His gaze swept her dress. "We'd like to talk to you a moment."
She stepped aside to allow them entry. "What's this all about?"

The younger one glanced her way with something that looked like pity in his eyes, but Hastings kept his expression impersonal. "We'd like to talk to you about Cid Ortega."
Goosebumps raised on her arms. "Can't this wait? Our wedding is in just over an hour. I have several things to attend to before the guests start arriving." The few guests would be Cid's family and a few of her coworkers. "What's this all about?"

"Have you observed him transferring anything to others? A box, a briefcase, a bag?"

"No," she said. "What is it you suspect him of doing?"

The two men exchanged a glance. "Think," Hastings urged in a harsh voice. "Maybe in the park?"

"What is this about?"

"We have reason to suspect he is turning a blind eye to gun-and-drug traffic through his district."

Gracie took a step back and put her hand to her throat. The fact that she didn't spring to Cid's defense told her more than she wanted to know about their relationship. Her main priority had been to make Hope happy, no matter the cost.
"We'll know more when we talk to your fiancé. I suggest you let us take you into protective custody. When he's arrested here, the cartel will assume you helped us and may retaliate."
Protective custody. "But wouldn't that make me look even more guilty in their eyes? The minute you let me go, they'd come looking for me."

Hastings shrugged. "Then you'd better get out of town until this blows over."

Tires squealed outside, and Gracie turned to peer out the window. "It's Cid."
Hastings pulled a paper from his jacket and headed toward the door. "Stay back, ma'am, in case it gets dangerous."
Gracie backed away from the door as the men exited and approached Cid's car. With the door partially shut, she peered out into the street. Cid exited the car and turned toward the house. A battered brown van veered to the curb with a shriek of brakes, but she barely noticed with her attention focused on the exchange between Cid and the federal agents.
When the first pop, pop, pop came, she thought a car had backfired. Then she saw three men, their guns smoking, spill from the van. She slammed the door and locked it, then peeked through the open window in the entry. She didn't see the agents at first, then she noticed a shiny pair of black shoes by Cid's back tire. And a second pair of shoes. There was no sign of Cid. Was he dead too?

Gracie ran to the bathroom and grabbed her daughter's hand as Hope exited. "Be very quiet," she whispered. Keys, she needed keys. She snatched her bag from the top of the dresser.
Hope's dark eyes were huge. "Mommy, what's happening?"

Gracie put her finger to her lips. She led her daughter into the hall. Where could they hide? The voices grew closer. They'd be in the house any moment.
Staying as close to the old brick building as possible, she led Hope down the alley to where it exited onto the street. A glance up and down the crumbling sidewalk dissuaded her from stepping out. Teenagers with tattoos stood smoking in groups. They could be part of the neighborhood gang.
She ducked back into the alley. The train whistle blew again. The train. She still had the tickets to Alpine that she'd bought a few weeks ago, before Cid talked her out of leaving. If she and

Hope could get to the train, they could escape.

The teenagers ignored them as she and Hope ran across the street to the intersection. A few men whistled at her through their open windows, and she knew her wedding dress was an attention getter she didn't need. The train platform was just ahead. The strong smell of diesel fuel burned her nose but the odor signaled her escape. Passengers stared down at her from inside the train as she hurried to the steps.

She dug through her purse past the wallet, lipstick, and gum to find the train tickets. With the tickets in her hand, she and Hope boarded the train. Her wedding dress raised a few eyebrows as she walked by the other passengers. Two seats together were a welcome haven, and she sank onto the upholstery before her legs could give way.
Safe, at least for now.


Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 1 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana and is a proud new grandma. When she's not spoiling her granddaughter, she is teaching at a writer's conference or researching a new book. Visit her website at
* * *

The Word Reclaimed -- Book 1 of The Face of the Deep

Steve Rzasa

In the far future, the civilized worlds have finally been freed of the curse of religion. Thanks to the secret police, no one has been bothered by so much as a hymn in two generations. Son of a starship captain, young Baden finds a book preserved carefully against the ravages of deep space. Thinking he'll become rich if only for the value of the paper, he takes it. He counts himself lucky beyond all imagining. Until it begins talking to him. Amidst an interstellar war that threatens to overthrow the monarchy and drive great families to oblivion, Baden must evade the secret police and their attempts to get that book. He never had much use for religion. But, it seems, one has use of him.


September 2602 -- Eventyr star system

"Their faith is illegal."

Detective Chief Inspector Nikolaas Ryke smiled as he said it. His cold, brown eyes squinted out

of the bright comm screen. His head had been shaved bald. His skin was a ghostly white. He looked like a ghoul, save for the deep maroon uniform jacket he wore.

Captain Charlotte Ruby Bell shifted uncomfortably in her small seat. She was perched on one wall of the nearly pitch-black comm booth. She absently scratched her ragged mop of short black hair as she returned Ryke's stare, willing herself not to flinch before the young investigator. Bell curled a lip. What galaxy was this that this whelp, at least twenty years her junior, was telling her what to do? But, she thought with a shrug, she was willing to overlook such insults where money was concerned.

"You sure you want this done?" People had told Bell that her voice gave the impression she'd been gargling with metal shavings. If it resulted in better pay, so be it. "This ain't my usual line of work."
Ryke brushed lint, either real or imagined, off his immaculate coat.

Bell wished for half a second that she'd worn one of her nicer, albeit stolen, jackets in place of the patched brown and grey work jacket. But she liked the feel of this old one. It clung to her tightly muscled arms and shoulders. She liked letting everyone see that, while she was a thin woman, she was a strong one.

Even with that strength, Bell despised the tiny comm booth. The walls, ceiling, and deck were unadorned metal. She'd extinguished the only light. Her lone seat faced five small screens, two of which were blank. Ryke inhabited the middle one. The single console of flickering buttons and switches would let her speak to five people at once. The calls could be completely open or heavily encrypted. It was a complex piece of hardware. Bell always thought it was the best investment she'd made in her ship.

"Come now, Captain," Ryke said smoothly. "It is not so far afield from your sacking of the six-brace off Port Kapteyn."

Bell gripped the armrests tightly. How did Ryke know about that? If he'd learned what she'd done to the survivors…

Ryke spoke again, as if reading her mind: "Needless to say, that incident will be…overlooked…if you satisfactorily complete this assignment."

"Yeah?" Bell scowled. "Look, I don't usually go after these religious nuts. Ain't that your job? Usually no profit in it for me and my crew. Who cares if they're off their course?"
"I care, Captain." Ryke's voice was a low hiss. "We cannot allow such a threat to the Realm of Five. As I'm sure you fully believe, Captain, the belief in a single, jealous God is tyranny for the human spirit. Kesek will not allow it."

"For the stability of all. I know." Bell's eyes flicked to the Ryke's chest and the brass badge affixed there. It bore no decoration or insignia, only the words Koninklijke stabiliteitskracht. Bell knew it was abbreviated KSK, and usually pronounced Kesek. "You know, I always thought `Royal Stability Force' was a dumb name." She twisted her lip into a sneer.

"Your candor," Ryke said dryly, "is…appreciated.".
"Okay, so you want `em dead." Bell shrugged. "There's a lot of people on that ship."

"The people are a secondary concern," Ryke said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "This is a case of texts-in-violation. We have never had a printed copy of the Talmud and the Torah in one place at one time. You must seize this opportunity."

"Why me? You guys got your own ship in the area! Tell me again why we can't seem to track it…"

Ryke smirked. "Captain, I pay you the compliment of believing you are an intelligent woman."

Bell nodded glumly. That confirmed her worries. "No point in getting your hands dirty if you got someone else willing to make the mess."


"It's a lot of killing," Bell said, laying more sorrow into her gravelly tone. "Makes for a heavy burden."

Ryke didn't bat an eye. "I will double the price. Does that adequately lighten your load?"

"Oh, definitely," Bell said, suddenly eager. With that much money, she'd be able to outfit her ship in style. No more insults from more powerful pirates. "You got a deal, Mr. Ryke."

"Detective Chief Inspector Ryke," he reminded her sternly.

"Of course. You got it."
* * *
Captain Bell left the comm room and sauntered out onto the bridge of Golden Orchid.
Her spirits were brightened now, not only because of the new contract under her belt but because of the more open feel of the command section. The bridge was hemispherical, almost perfectly round. She all but bounced into her tattered captain's chair, spinning it in a half circle. From there, seated up a couple meters above her bridge crew, she could keep watch over everything going on under the sickly pale lighting.
Bell felt like she was looking down into a bowl about six meters wide as her eyes roved across her bridge crew. The main monitor dominated the bridge. It was a glowing, round-cornered rectangle of stars filling sixteen square meters, directly ahead of her chair.

"Any news on the target?" Bell asked.

"No change," the navigator replied. "Same heading, same speed. Don't think they've seen us."
One of the three monitors attached to the arm of Bell's chair flickered. She smacked it on the side with an open hand. It blinked once more and settled down. "Most likely they have, but they don't care," she said. "We look like every other navastel out there."

Now that the monitor was working, she could watch her own, smaller version of the nav chart. "Distance holding?"

"Aye, Skipper. Five light-seconds out."

Bell grinned. "Continue to match speed and course. No sudden moves. We got a big payday ahead, boys."
To purchase, go to or
To learn more about author Steve Rzasa, visit or Friend him on his Facebook page.

Copyright 2009. Do not reproduce without permission.

Marcher Lord Press

ISBN 978-0-9821049-9-5

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Asking For Trouble; So Over My Head

Asking For Trouble

Book One: London Confidential Series

Sandra Byrd
Savvy is a unique but relatable character. She has traits that any girl can identify with and insecurities that we all have experienced ... I found it to be a comforting reminder that no matter what happens, God will be right there to love and to guide us along the way."

– Dominique McKay, Lily Girls Magazine
When her family moves to London, 15-year-old Savvy Smith has to make her way in a new school and in a new country. She just knows the school newspaper is the right place for her, but she doesn't have the required experience and the cute editor-in-chief is not looking to train anyone. She has to come up with a way to prove herself and nab the one available position on the newspaper staff at Wexburg Academy.

I hung back at the doorway to the cafeteria of my new supercool British school, Wexburg Academy. Most of the lunch tables were already packed and chattering. The populars, whom I'd secretly nicknamed The Aristocats commanded an entire table right in the center of the room. Their shiny hair and posh accents made up the sun around which all other tables orbited. The normal kids were in the second circle, arranged by friends or clubs or activities. The drama kids table was on the outside of the room, with the geeks, the nerds and the punk wannabees, way out there like Neptune and Pluto, but still planets. Most everyone had a group. I didn't.

Okay, so there was one table with lots of room. The leftovers table, otherwise known as the dark side of the moon. Unseen and unknown.

No way.

I skipped lunch – again - and headed to the library. One of the computers was open and I logged in, desperately hoping for an email from Seattle.

An email from my grandmother reminding me to floss because British dentists only cleaned adult teeth.

Spam from Teen Vogue.

An invitation to join the Prince Harry fan club – I opened and saved that one as a favorite. I'd consider it later.


I clicked open the email from my best friend at home – well, it had been my home till a few months ago – hoping for a lunch consisting of a meaty email full of juicy news served alongside tasty comments of how she missed me and was planning stuff for my next visit home. I craved something that would take me the whole lunch period to read and respond to and remind me that I did have a place somewhere in this universe.

Ephemera: Email from Jen to Savvy

Hey, Fortune Cookie, so how's it going? Met the queen yet? LOL. Sorry I haven't written too much. It's been so busy. Samantha took the place you'd been promised on the newspaper staff. L She's brand new, like you would have been. But she'll do okay – maybe even better than okay. And hey, life has changed for everyone, right? Things are crazy busy at school, home, and church. Now that some of our friends are driving our social life is swinging too. Will write again in a few weeks.
Miss you! Jen

A few weeks!? My lungs filled with air and I let it out slowly, deflating like a balloon with a slow leak. I poised my hands over the keyboard to write a response but just…couldn't. What would I say? It'd already been weeks since we'd last emailed. Mostly my friends texted instead of emailing anyway, but texting across the Atlantic Ocean cost way too much. And the truth was…
I'd moved, and they'd moved on.

I logged out of the email and sat there for a minute, blinking back the tears. Jen hadn't meant to forget me. I was simply out of her orbit now.

I pretended to read Sugar magazine online, staring at the clock, passing the time till I could respectably head to my next class.

Five minutes before class I swung my book bag onto my shoulder and headed down the hall. Someone was stapling fliers to the wall. I recognized her. "Hi Hazelle."

"Hullo, Savannah." She breezed by me, stapling another pink flier further down the wall. We had math class together, oh yeah, the Brits said, maths, first period. I'd tried to make friends with her; I'd even asked her if she'd like to sit together in lunch, but she'd crisply informed me that she sat at the table with the other members of the newspaper staff.

She didn't bother with small talk now, either, but went on stapling down the hall. I drew up next to one of the fliers, glancing at my watch. I wouldn't have time to read it all now, but one sentence caught my eye right away: Looking for one experienced journalist to join the newspaper staff.

I yanked the flier off the wall and jammed it into my bag. I was experienced. Wasn't I?
A nub of doubt rose inside me, the one that popped up, unwelcome, any time I was going to try to rationalize a lie or sin.

This time, I swallowed it back. I thought back to Jen's loving-but-slightly-kiss-off email. I lived in London now.

It was time to take matters into my own hands.

Please visit Sandra at to view this series and her other books for tweens, teens, and adults

Do Not Reproduce without permission
* * *
So Over My Head, book three in the YA series A Charmed Life
By Jenny B. Jones

Thomas Nelson
When the Fritz Family Carnival makes its annual appearance in Truman, Bella's keen reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Though the police make an immediate arrest, Bella doubts this case is quite that simple.

She needs her crime-solving boyfriend Luke more than ever, but his ex has moved back to town, giving Bella some murderous thoughts of her own. Then again, there's no time for a relationship crisis when Bella's doing her best to derail her father's wedding while keeping the peace at home and staying one step ahead of a killer.

Chapter Two

"Just take deep breaths, Bella. Deep breaths."

I don't know how sticking your head between your knees and staring at your own crotch is supposed to help anything, but here I am. Trying not to pass out. Trying not to bawl uncontrollably.

Mark Rogers, friend and member of the Truman PD, pats my back as we sit on the arena bleachers. The rest of the police force combs through Betty the Bearded Lady's trailer. I've already answered a hundred questions, and I have a feeling that's the tip of the iceberg. Why me, God? How will I ever get that image out of my mind? All that blood.

My breath hitches and Mark does more patting. "Think nice thoughts." Tonight his voice is as high pitched as a flute. "Go to your happy place."

"I thought I was at one. Then I saw a dead woman." I want this to be one of those too-

realistic dreams you wake up from. The kind that makes you happy to be awake, realizing it was all just a vivid dream, and you are safely tucked in bed.

I hear the crunching of a wrapper and raise up. Mark sticks half a Snickers in his mouth.

"What?" His eyes go wide. "I'm a stress eater. Want some?"

My stomach does some acrobatics at the thought of food. "You have no idea what you're doing here, do you?"

"Not every day I see a bearded lady kill herself." He eats the last bite. "Seriously, that is some freaky stuff in there. The only dead body I've ever seen was my Great Uncle Morty. And he was ninety-six, so it wasn't a real shocker that he went, you know? He keeled over at the nursing home square dance. He just did one too many Do-si-dos. But still—" he shivers—"he was awfully pale and wrinkly. Kinda cakey looking."

"Thanks for sharing." I cover my face with my hands and rock back and forth. Mark's hand plops on my head. "Stop patting me!"

"Excuse me." He sniffs. "It works on my schnauzer."


At that familiar voice, I stand up. "Luke." He walks past two cops, and I run straight into his arms.

"Shhh." He holds me close, and I breathe in the scent of him. His shampoo, his cologne, the smell of his clothes. Him.

"Please don't leave me."

"I'm not going anywhere." He caresses the back of my head, and I hang on like he's my lifeboat off the Titanic. "Your mom and Jake are on their way. They left as soon as Mark called them. It's just going to take them a little bit from Oklahoma City."

My stepdad Jake's on the road a lot with the wrestling circuit, and Mom goes whenever he's close. Why couldn't he have been in Philly or Phoenix tonight? Seeing a dead woman definitely qualifies as one of those moments a girl needs her mother.

"She died. . . in her pie." My breath hitches. "Why would someone kill her and let her die in her meringue?"

"I don't know." Luke's voice is calm, reassuring.

"It was good pie, too."

"I'm sure it was, Bel."

I sniff on his shoulder. "If I die over pie, I want it to be coconut cream."

"She's a little shocky," Officer Mark says. Like I'm not right here. Like I'm talking crazy. But who, I ask, would want their last breath to be taken nose deep in raisin pie? Or a meat pie. It would be my luck I'd go in a big `ol bowl of peas.

Luke steps back, keeping his hands locked with mine. "Do you think you can tell me about tonight?"

"I'd like to know, too." A girl in a sparkly leotard appears. Her hair is blonde, slicked back into a ponytail. Though she still wears stage makeup, her face is pale. Her eyes haunted.

"This is Cherry Fritz," Mark says. "She's the owner's niece."

"This was my parents' circus." Watery eyes meet mine. "Betty was my Godmother. After my parents' accident, she let me live in her trailer." As she steps closer I can see she doesn't look quite so harsh beneath the makeup. "Do you think she—she. . .suffered?" Cherry's tears inspire some of my own.
"I don't know. It didn't really look that way." Except for the sword the length of my leg sticking out of her back. "She did have dessert, if that's any consolation." Wow. My ability to comfort is just. . . awful.

"Betty didn't have any enemies. I just don't understand. There has to be some mistake." Cherry turns to Officer Mark. "Who would m-murder her?" Tears make tracks down her painted face.

"We'll get to the bottom of it." Mark clears his throat. Probably has a peanut stuck in there.

"Cherry!" The ringmaster roars explodes through the big top entrance. "Where have you been? We have a killer on the loose, and I couldn't even find you!"

I move closer to Luke as Red Fritz's piercing brown eyes land on me.

"You the one who found her?"

"Um. . ." I swallow past a lump and nod. "Yes."

The seconds stretch as he watches me. I look away, my skin tingling.

"Well, I'm sorry you had to see that." Red stands beside Mark. "We are a family here at the Fritz and Family Carnival. And I can't imagine who would do such a vile thing. Surely it can't be one of our own, that much I know."

Officer Mark jots down some notes. "Mr. Fritz, Miss Betty's trailer will obviously be unusable for a while. Will the children be staying with you?"

"My son Stewart lives with me in my own trailer, so space has always been too tight for the kids. I've contacted a distant family member in Truman to take Cherry until she can move back into Betty's."

Ew. Like she'll ever want to live in the place where their godmother killed herself.
Copyright 2010.

So Over My Head by Jenny B. Jones can be found at , , , and fine bookstores everywhere. As well as the trunk of her grandmother's Buick.
You can visit Jenny at

Find her on Twitter: JenBJones

Saturday, April 10, 2010

No Distance Too Far, A Stranger's Wish

Lauraine Snelling continues Astrid Bjorklund's journey to follow God's plan in No Distance Too Far, book two in the Home to Blessing series. Astrid wants to use her medical training to serve God and feels he is leading her in the direction of missionary service. Smarting from a misunderstanding with Joshua Landsverk, the young man she thought she loved, she heads to Georgia to attend a missionary school, hoping to eventually use her skills in Africa. If she follows God's call, will love pass her by?

No Distance Too Far

Lauraine Snelling

March 1904

Athens, Georgia

The dream was a lie. She was in Georgia, not Blessing, North Dakota.

Staring out the window did nothing to calm the butterflies rampaging in her middle. Astrid tried swallowing—once, twice—no matter, they continued to spiral and cavort. She laid a hand on her diaphragm and closed her eyes. Please, Lord, fill me with your calm and peace.

A throat being cleared behind her caught her attention. She turned, swallowed again, and smiled. At least she hoped she smiled.

"Dean Highsmith will see you now." The young man needed to loosen his collar. He appeared to be near to strangling.

Dean Highsmith, gold glasses perched on the end of a rather aquiline nose, sat down in the chair opposite her, nodding and smiling. "I received your application with enthusiasm. Rev. Schuman is an old friend of mine, and he has been raving about you." He paused for a moment. "I must say, you look amazingly young for a person of your accomplishments."

"I understand that, and yes, my youth has caused some to doubt my ability."

"I wonder why that is, that we do not expect a lovely young woman to be involved in the medical field. Stereotypes are sometimes difficult to overcome." He propped his elbows on the arms of the chair and steepled his fingers. "Be that as it may, tell me about yourself. What brings you here and where do you dream of going?"

I dream of going back to Blessing, she thought but knew that was not what he wanted to hear.

"Your friend, Rev. Schuman, was invited to speak in our church one Sunday. When he said the fields were ripe unto harvest in Africa and they desperately needed missionaries, especially medical missionaries, he looked right at me, as if I were the only person in the room. I feared…er… felt like God was speaking right at me. I have written back and forth with Rev. Schuman, who has been so encouraging—"

"I see." He tapped his index fingers against his chin, studying her all the while. "All I can do is submit your name and application to our mission board to see if they will approve a two-year enlistment for you. In the meantime I have here a list of classes you will be required to take. If all goes well, you would be leaving for Africa in early July. We allow our students to return home for a short period of time before embarking if they have any affairs that need to be put in order. As a medical missionary, the more supplies you can accumulate, the better. Our missionaries are always in need of the most basic of medical aids and equipment."

"One question. Will I be sent to the same area as Rev. Schuman? He said they are in need of a doctor there."

"Dr. Bjorklund, you have to understand something. There is a need for medical people all over Africa. The term Dark Continent is actually an apt description. There is little education, there's a terrible lack of transportation, and the sanitary conditions are beyond belief. But"—he held up one finger—"when the light of Jesus shines there, it glows so brightly that it cannot be extinguished."

Within an hour she'd emptied her trunk, hung her clothes, and found homes for all that could be folded. Her books lined the shelves above the desk, and her writing kit now lived in the central desk drawer. She pulled her trunk out into the hall, where someone was supposed to pick it up for storage. It was not hard to believe that this had been someone's home at one time, before it was donated to the school.

She sat down at the desk and dashed off a letter to her mother.

Dear Mor and Far,

I have arrived safely and already had my incoming interview with Dean Highsmith, dean of the missionary school here at Cardin College. He is a pleasant gentleman and easy to talk with. He was not pleased when I said again that I am signing up for two years and no more. While they do accept some people for two years, they prefer a much longer commitment. He said that the missionary board may not accept my application for that reason and also because I am young and single. If they turn me down, then I shall know that I have done my best and, as always, the outcome is in God's hands.

I cannot tell you how close I came to changing trains and heading west. I wish that I were more certain that what I am doing is God's will. One step at a time. Right now the staff thinks I have a tight schedule, but they have no idea what my life was like in Chicago. This will seem like a vacation. I do hope I can find something medical to do to keep my hands in tune.

I've enclosed my address. Please give it to everyone who wants it, as I would so love news from home. Here I will have time to answer them. I will write to Elizabeth immediately. I'm afraid she might be furious with me, but I hope not.

Love from your daughter,


As she read it over, she thought through the day's conversations. Even though she had been homesick and overwhelmed in Chicago, she'd still had the sense that she belonged there, if only for a time. But here she felt nothing fit. Where was that peace Mor and Pastor Solberg said came when in God's will? How long did one need to wait for it?

To purchase No Distance Too Far go to or or visit your favorite bookstore.

To learn more about Lauraine Snelling visit and
Copyright 2010. Do not reproduce without permission.

Bethany House Publishers
ISBN 978-0-7642-0610-8

* * *

A stranger's request, a secret key, a handsome man, a series of escalating threats—art teacher Kristie Matthews faces them all as she boards at an Amish farm.

"Gayle Roper is the author you've been waiting for."
-Robin Jones Gunn


Gayle Roper

By the time Jon Clarke What's-his-name drove me to the hospital, my terrible inner trembling had stopped. My hands were still cold, and the towel pressed to my cheek was still sopping up blood, but I was almost in control again. If I could only stop shaking, I'd be fine.

All I'd done was bend down to pet Hawk, the sable and tan German shepherd sleeping contentedly in the mid-August sun. How was I to know he had a nasty cut hiding under that sleek hot fur?

I was horrified when he lashed out, startled by the pain I inadvertently caused him. He got me in the cheek with a fang. I don't know about the dog, but what exquisite relief I felt when I realized he hadn't actually bitten me, just bumped me. The thought of what would have happened if he'd closed his mouth made me break out in a fine sweat.

How dumb to touch a sleeping dog. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I knew better. Everyone knew better.
As we entered the Emergency Room, I rearranged my towel to find an area not stained with blood. I went to the desk and signed in.with a woman whose jet black hair stuck out in spikes to rival a hedgehog. When she had my life's history, she patted my paper work with a proprietary air that made me wonder if she was willing to share the information with the people I'd come to see.

"Have a seat." She gave me a warm smile. "They'll be with you shortly."

Hoping shortly really meant shortly, I took my seat.

"You don't have to wait," I told Jon Clarke as he took the bright orange plastic chair beside me in the otherwise empty Emergency Room. He smiled slightly and stretched his long legs out before him, the picture of long-suffering and quiet accommodation. His posture said it didn't matter how long things took. He was prepared to be gallant and wait it out.

"Really," I said. "I'll be all right. You can go."

I was embarrassed to have inflicted myself upon this man I didn't know, this man whose last name I couldn't even remember. He'd pulled into the drive at the Zooks' Amish farm just as I bent over Hawk. While Mary Zook plied me with towels and bemoaned my possible disfigurement when she wasn't yelling at the innocent Hawk, John Clarke Whoever climbed out of his car, took me by the elbow, put me in his passenger seat, and drove me here.

"Have you lived in the Lancaster area long?" he asked, and I could have sworn he actually cared.

"Three years. I love it here."

"Were you at the Zooks' to visit Jake too?"

Too. So he had come to see Jake. I shook my head. "I live there."

That stopped him. "Really? On the farm?" He raised an eyebrow at me, an improbably dark eyebrow considering the light brown of his hair. "Have you been living there long?"

I glanced at the clock on the wall. "About four hours."

The eyebrow rose once again. "You're kidding."

"Kristina Matthews?" called the woman at the desk. Her nameplate said she was Harriet. She scanned the empty room as thought there might be several Kristinas lurking about, and I resisted the urge to look over my shoulder to see who might have sneaked in while I wasn't looking.

When I stood, Harriet smiled brightly. "There you are. Right through here, please."

When the doctor was finished, I took the paper he handed me, and hurried to the waiting room. At least Jon Clarke hadn't had to wait long once I got seen.

But the waiting room was empty. My angel of mercy had flown the coop.
Harriet got up from her desk. "He said he'd be back, honey. He looked pretty reliable, don't you think?"

I looked at her blankly.

" Listen," she said, not put off by my lack of answer. "I've got to go to the ladies' room. I'm talking emergency here, believe me. Stay by the desk and watch things for me, will you?"
Yikes. "What if someone comes in?"

"Tell them I'll be back in a minute. But don't worry," she called over her shoulder as she disappeared through a door. "Nothing big ever happens on Saturday afternoon."

Taking no comfort from those words, I looked at the quiet waiting room.

No one, Lord, okay? Not til she gets back, okay?

The prayer was barely formed when the waiting room door slid open and an older man in khaki work clothes entered. His face, damp with perspiration, matched the color of the white envelopes sticking out of his shirt pocket, and he was rubbing his left arm. He stopped beside me at the desk.

"I think I'm having a heart attack," he said as he might say he was going to sneeze.

I felt my own heart stop beating and my mouth go dry.

I ran to the door of the treatment area. "Help, somebody! Help!"

"In a minute," called a voice.

"Hurry! Please hurry!" Pushing down panic and not knowing what else to do, I went back to the man.

Suddenly he raised his head and looked at me with an intensity that made me blink. "Will you do me a favor?"

I leaned close to hear his weak voice. "Of course."

"Keep this for me." He fumbled in his shirt pocket. "But tell no one—no one—that you have it." He slipped a key into my cold hand and folded my fingers over it.

I stared at it and he stared at me as if searching my soul. He must have been satisfied with what he saw because his hand relaxed on mine and his eyes closed. "Don't forget. I'm counting on you." He gave a deep sigh, and I froze. Was that his last breath? "I'm counting on you."

The room came alive with people. Medical personnel converged on the sick man, and I stepped back with relief.

An arthritic finger tapped my closed fist as they rushed to put him on a gurney. "Remember, tell no one," the old man managed to whisper. "Promise?"

"I promise." What else could I say?

But what did I do if he died?

This material cannot be reproduced without permission of the author.

A Stranger's Wish is available at bookstores and on line at, and other sites.

Visit Gayle at her web site

Friday, April 02, 2010

Polar Opposites
By Susan Page Davis

Cheryl Holland enjoys working in her son-in-law's veterinary clinic in Wasilla, Alaska. When she goes to the Anchorage airport to pick up the new partner for the practice, she expects a young man about Rick's age. To her surprise, his former roommate is Cheryl's age-mid-50s-and very attractive. But Oz Thormond has been a globe-trotting scientist who's worked for city zoos and been honored for his wildlife research. Cheryl is a frontier woman who's learned to fix engines and drive a dog team. She's sure they're too different to form a personal relationship. But when Oz invites her to go to the North Slope with him to help study polar bears in the wild, she learns they're not so far apart in their thinking.

Author Bio:
Susan Page Davis is a Maine native and still lives there with her husband Jim and two younger children. Susan is the author of 30 novels in the mystery, suspense, historical romance, and fantasy genres. Jim recently retired from his job as a news editor and now does freelance book editing. They are the parents of six children (all home schooled) and six grandchildren (all adorable). Be sure to visit Susan's Web site at: She holds a monthly drawing where the winners get to choose their free books.

You'll be able to find this book at

Eternity Falls
Kirk Outerbridge

In the future, death is only a problem if you can’t afford the price. Such is the promise of Gentec Corporation’s “Miracle Treatment”, a genetic anti-aging elixir that grants eternal life—or does it?
When a Gentec client suddenly dies of natural causes, the powers that be will stop at nothing to ensure their version of eternity remains unchallenged; even if it means concocting a religious sabotage conspiracy to cover a lie.

With the media about to blow the story wide open, the credibility of Gentec and the lives of millions of clients rest on one man’s ability to uncover the truth.

Enter detective Rick Macey, religious counterterrorist expert and Gentec executive Sheila Dunn’s last hope for salvation.

Now with the clock ticking and the corporate brass seeking their own solution at any cost, Macey must track down a religious zealot out to destroy the Miracle Treatment for good.
But when Macey finds himself not only falling for his client, but confronted with the possibility that the culprit could hold a connection to his shaded past, the truth suddenly becomes a dangerous thing.

Only through a test of faith can he stop the crisis before it’s all too late and eternity falls.

Kirk resides in beautiful Bermuda with his wife Ria and son Miles. He is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and a professional engineer by trade.

Marcher Lord Press is the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. Find "Eternity Falls" and all the rest of the MLP novels at All Marcher Lord Press novels can also be purchased through Amazon and are available in print and several e-book formats such as Kindle, Nook, and the Sony e-book reader.