Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart of Gold
by Robin Lee Hatcher

The truest treasure is found deep in the heart.

Life in Grand Coeur, Idaho, is so different! Back in her beloved Virginia, Shannon Adair loved nursing injured soldiers back to health. But in this rough-and-tumble place where her father has been called to lead the church, she's not sure where she fits in. Then a critically ill woman arrives, and Shannon knows her place at last: to care for this dear woman and ease her pain.

Matthew Dubois is a stagecoach driver through and through. But his widowed sister is dying and he's about to inherit his young nephew. So he takes a job at the Wells, Fargo express office in Grand Coeur until he can find the one thing he needs to get back on the stage: a wife!

What neither of them knows is that someone is at work behind the scenes. Someone who cares for them both, and knows exactly what these two need: each other!

"Robin Lee Hatcher is one of my favorite authors, and Heart of Gold was another can't-put-it-down story. I loved it and am sure you will too."
–– Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of
Redeeming Love


May 1864

Shannon Adair leaned close to the door as the stagecoach slowed, trying to catch her first glimpse of Grand Coeur, wanting it to be more than she had any right to hope it would be. She'd said good-bye to everything and everyone she loved in order to come with her father to the Idaho Territory. She was both scared and excited now that the dirty, bone-jarring, difficult, and sometimes treacherous journey was at an end.

The coach jerked to a stop, and the driver called down, "Grand Coeur, folks."
Shannon glanced toward her father, seated across from her.

The good reverend gave her a weary smile. "We are here at last."

"So it would seem."

The door opened, and the driver offered his hand. "Let me help you down, miss."

"Thank you." Shannon placed her gloved fingers in the palm of his hand. "You are ever so kind."
The driver bent the brim of his dust-covered hat with his free hand, acknowledging her comment.
Once out of the coach, she turned a slow circle, taking in her surroundings. Her stomach plummeted. This was Grand Coeur? Merciful heavens! It was not better than she'd hoped. It was worse than she'd feared.

The street they were on was lined on both sides by unpainted wooden buildings of various shapes and sizes. The boardwalks in front of the buildings were uneven, sometimes nonexistent. And the hillsides that surrounded the valley had been stripped clean of trees, undoubtedly for the wood used to throw up this ugly, sprawling gold-mining town of more than five thousand souls.

"Oh, Father," she whispered. "Whatever shall we do here?"

"Don't look so despairing, Shannon."

She turned to find her father had disembarked from the coach and now stood nearby.

"We knew it would be different from home," he said. "And we are needed here."
More than they'd been needed in the war-torn South, where he'd ministered to his flock and she'd been able to help nurse the injured?

As if he'd heard her unspoken question, he said, "I have always tried to answer God's call, even when I don't understand it completely. Would you have me do differently now?"
"No, Father."

The lie tasted bitter on her tongue. She would have him do differently. She would have him decide to go back to Virginia, to recognize that God wanted him to be there to help rebuild when the war was over. When the South no longer had to fight for its existence, the Confederacy would need men like her father. He was a natural leader with a head for governing and a heart for the kingdom of heaven. He was strong in his faith and able to forgive and show others the grace of God.

What on earth made him believe the Lord wanted him in such a place as this?

"Reverend Adair?" a voice called.

Shannon and her father turned in unison to see a rotund man in a black suit hastening toward them.

"Are you Delaney Adair?"

"Yes, sir. I am."

The man stopped in front of them and thrust out his hand. When her father took it, the man gave it a hearty shake. "We've been watching for you on every stage for the past week. Welcome. Welcome. We're glad you've come. I'm Henry Rutherford."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Rutherford. May I introduce my daughter, Miss Shannon Adair."

"How do you do, miss?" Henry bowed in her direction.

She decided a simple smile and nod of her head would need to suffice. If she opened her mouth, she was certain she would say something disparaging about Grand Coeur.

"My wife's got the parsonage all ready for you. 'Course, it probably isn't what you're used to. Kinda small and plain. But we hope you'll be comfortable there, you and your daughter."
"I'm sure we will be," her father replied.

Shannon wasn't at all sure.

"I've got some men with me to help with your luggage." Henry turned and waved his helpers forward. The three men were a rough-looking bunch, with scruffy beards and weathered faces. Their trousers, held up by suspenders, were well worn, as were the dirt-encrusted boots on their feet. The sleeves of their loose-fitting shirts had been rolled up to their elbows, revealing dark skin on their arms. Miners, she supposed, who spent every hour of daylight panning for gold in the streams and rivers somewhere nearby. At least that's how she'd been told it was done.

Shannon's father identified their trunks and one small crate, then he took hold of her arm at the elbow and the two of them followed Henry Rutherford down a narrow side street.
She saw the church first. Built on the hillside, its steeple piercing the blue sky, the house of worship had white clapboard siding, giving it an air of elegance in comparison to the mostly unpainted buildings in the town. There was even a round stained-glass window over the entrance.
Perhaps Grand Coeur was not completely uncivilized if the citizens had taken the time to build such a church.

Her moment of hope crumbled the instant Mr. Rutherford pointed out the parsonage. It was little more than a shack. Crude, cramped, and completely unsuitable.

Oh, Father. You cannot mean for us to live here.


For more information about Robin and her books, please visit or join her on Facebook at Heart of Gold can be purchased at Christian Book (, Amazon (, and fine bookstores everywhere.

Copyright 2012 RobinSong, Inc. Do not reproduce without permission.

Robin Lee Hatcher
Faith. Courage. Love.

"Robin Lee Hatcher is one of my favorite authors, and Heart of Gold was another can't-put-it-down story. I loved it and am sure you will too."
–– Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love

* * *

Blue Moon Promise
By Colleen Coble


Lucy Marsh's worldly resources are running out, but she's fiercely determined to care for her younger brother and sister. When she discovers that their father's recent death was no accident, Lucy is eager to leave town. She accepts a proxy marriage she believes will provide safe refuge. But trouble follows her to Texas where her new husband is surprised to suddenly have a wife and children to care for. Blue Moon Promise is a story of hope, romance, and suspense . . . immersing the reader in a rich historical tale set under Texas stars.

Lucy Marsh pulled her threadbare coat around her neck and hurried down the snow-clogged street. Glancing behind her, she saw only the snow drifting down onto run-down houses. The rapid thump of her pulse began to calm, and she managed to breathe through her tight lungs.

 Maybe it was her imagination. For the past week, she'd caught a glimpse of the same man every evening after work, and until today, she told herself he must live in the same general area. But she'd left early today and he had still been there. This time he seemed to watch her. A black coat covered him and he wore a hat pulled low over his face, so only the twitch of his smooth-shaven chin appeared. When she stopped and stared at him, he darted around the corner of the building.

She took the opportunity and dashed across the street, skirting the horse and carriage blocking her path to the house. The roof leaked and wind blew through the boards and under the windowsills, but it had been home for ten years. Glancing behind her again, she saw no sign of the man so she hurried up the steps.

Pressing her hand to her stomach, she paused and wished she didn't have to go inside. What was she going to do now? Mrs. Hanson had been apologetic about letting her go. It was hard times and not her work that necessitated firing her. But the hard facts didn't feed them. 1877 had been a bad year so far, and Indiana had been particularly hard hit, but she would find a way. She always managed.

Fingering her locket, she straightened her shoulders and pushed open the door.

Her three-year-old sister launched herself against Lucy's legs. "Lucy, you was late." Eileen stuck out her lower lip. "We has company."

Lucy looked toward the single chair in the tiny parlor. A man with gray hair and penetrating charcoal eyes sat regarding her calmly before he stood.

"Uh, Lucy, this is—" Jed said.

"I'll introduce myself," the gentleman interrupted. He stepped toward her and stared into her eyes. "Henry Stanton of Larson, Texas." He shifted his gray Stetson in his hands. "Your father was my boyhood friend. I came as soon as I heard of his death."

Henry Stanton. Lucy struggled to remember if her father had ever mentioned him. She knew her parents had grown up in Texas. Her Uncle Drew was still there. "I'm delighted to meet you, Mr. Stanton. How did you hear of our father's death?"

"His wife wrote me asking for help, so I decided to make a stop here on my way back from Chicago. Is she here?"

Lucy shook her head. "Catherine left right after Father died."

The man frowned. "Left? I don't understand."

She didn't like to speak ill of anyone, but he had to know why Catherine wasn't here. "Her, uh, friend showed up and she left with him."

"She abandoned her children?" His voice rose.

Lucy looked to where Eileen was playing with her doll. The child didn't seem to be paying attention. "I cared for them anyway," she whispered. "Catherine wasn't good with children."

"Tell me, Miss Marsh, are you a Christian woman?"

She straightened her shoulders and exhaled. "Why, yes sir, I am."

He smiled. "I thought as much. God has led me here for a purpose." He pointed the gold head of his cane at her. "I have a proposition for you."

 Her pulse quickened. Perhaps there would be a way out of these dreadful circumstances yet. "What would that be, Mr. Stanton?"

"Have you read in the Bible how Abraham sent a servant out to find a wife for Isaac?"

"Of course." Lucy's heart sank before beginning a rapid beat against her chest. Surely, he wasn't offering for her hand. He was old. Older than her father.

"That was my main purpose for this trip, though my son has no idea of my mission. Now that I've met you, I believe you will do nicely. Nate needs a wife like you."

His son. Lucy's limbs went weak. The room spun, and she sat on the edge of the bed.

"I can see I've shocked you."

Lucy eyed the man. "Is—is your son a Christian?"

Mr. Stanton smiled. "That just confirms the Lord's leading me here. As soon as I clapped eyes on you, something reared up inside me and I knew you were the right one for my Nate. Yes, my boy is a Christian." He put a hand on her shoulder. "I have my son's signature to act as his agent in all business matters for this trip, so if you agree, I will arrange a proxy marriage. Right after the ceremony, we'll leave for Texas. A train leaves at one o'clock tomorrow afternoon."

"Why would we not return to your ranch and see if your son and I would suit?"

"You don't know my boy. He is apt to send you packing rather than listen to reason." He shook his head. "No, this is the only way."

It felt wrong to surprise this unknown Nate. Lucy held up her hand. "I'd rather know we suit before I pledge my life to a man. And give him a chance to get to know me as well."

He thrust out his chin. "This is my offer, Miss Lucy. It's the only one I'm making." He nodded at her siblings. "Think of your brother and sister. They will have warm beds and plenty of food to eat. Fresh Texas air and plenty of room to grow up."

Her main consideration was the children. While the thought of marrying someone she didn't know was most unappealing, Lucy had to consider the offer. They were about to be evicted, and she'd lost her job. How could she possibly support the children? "I'd like time to pray about it."

Blue Moon Promise is available online at, or and other on-line booksellers or at bookstores everywhere.

Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at

Copyright ©2012 by Colleen Coble
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN:  1595549153
All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce without permission.

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