Monday, July 16, 2012

Oregon Outback

by Elizabeth Goddard
A four-in-one novella collection featuring A Love Remembered, A Love Kindled, A Love Risked, and a Love Recovered.
The harsh, yet peaceful Oregon Outback molds the lives of four rugged brothers who stumble into love.
FBI agent Jonas Love has brought trouble back home, endangering his life and that of an old flame. Cattle rancher Carver Love finds himself falling for the sheriff in the midst of chasing down modern-day rustlers. Thrill-seeker Lucas Love fears nothing—until he meets a beautiful bookkeeper. Justin Love is trailing a fugitive who's heading too close to home—and one particular lodge keeper. How will God protect these men as they risk their lives to defend the ones they love?  

A Love Remembered
Chapter 1

Newton's Law of Gravity: What goes up must come down.

She took five running steps and leapt from Tague's Butte.

The force that countered gravity? Lift.

Wind rushed under the nylon fabric of the hang-glider and carried Darcy Nichols forward. She was an eagle, soaring through the sky thousands of feet above the ground. Riding the wind, she savored the freedom of flight.

No matter how many times she'd launched from the six thousand foot knob across from Albert's Rim—the largest fault lift in the US—the view always left her breathless.


Leaning her hips to the right, she turned the hang-glider toward the northeast into the straight line for her flight, maintaining a constant speed.

As she pushed her arms straight, forcing the control bar forward, the wing above her stalled. Then she caught the lift band, the thermal that would carry her higher.
Rising high into the wide open air space she craved, Darcy could see miles of the Oregon backcountry. She collided with molecules as she moved through the air, creating friction, or drag—another invisible force in the equation.

How high she could fly, how far she could go and how long she could stay in the air depended on balancing the three forces of gravity, lift, and drag. Maybe she could make it forty or fifty miles. Someone made it over eighty miles a few years ago.

It all came down to balancing invisible forces. They carried her through the air, allowing her to fly. But invisible forces were at work in her life too, never ceasing. They ushered her through the days, weeks, months. . .through a lifetime.

A balancing act that left her exhausted.

Eventually, she'd need to radio Emily, her best friend, when she knew where she'd land. A few of Darcy's friends had been heading to Lakeview and agreed to drop her off at the jump-off point on the way.

 With perfect conditions for hang-gliders and extraordinary views, the region had earned the title, The Hang-gliding Capital of the West.

Darcy let the wind carry her away from her thoughts. She absorbed the view and took pictures as she swept over Albert's Lake, the water reflecting the blue sky filled with cumulus clouds.  From directly above, the lake was indescribable—but she'd catch the image with her camera. 

Her photographs ended up in her gift shop that targeted tourists traveling along Oregon's scenic byways. In the distance, she could make out Fort Rock, and on the horizon, the Christmas Valley sand dunes. A few miles east of Christmas Valley was Carnegie, the small town where she'd grown up. The views were spectacular but the population was lean in Oregon's high desert, or the Oregon Outback as some called it.

The arid loneliness contradicted the beauty at times, making the land seem forgotten.  Darcy shared that with the land—her father died just over a week ago.

On Thursday, June 26th, he'd left her behind and alone. 

She'd been preparing for his death these last nine months since he'd received the poor prognosis. Though he'd only been gone a week, after remaining by his side for months, Darcy needed today. She needed to feel lifted above it all.

In the sky, she could soar above the earth and all the problems of the world appeared small. It wasn't all about her.

"Oh, Daddy." There was so much she'd wanted to say to him but it was pointless saying it now. All she'd ever wanted was what every child wanted—a father's approval. Why had it been so hard for him to give?

And now, that chapter of her life was gone forever.

A gust caught the delta wing, threatening to take her off course. In the sling, she leaned her body to the left.

North by northwest. Emily wouldn't be happy if she had to drive too far to pick Darcy up. An experienced pilot, she built altitude so that on her final glide she could go as far as possible, making it somewhere in the vicinity of Carnegie.

But even at thousands of feet above the ground, images accosted her mind. Her daddy's funeral in the pouring down rain. And then. . .

The familiar silhouette leaning next to the centuries old juniper tree.

 A hood protected him from the rain, hiding his face. Darcy's pulse had raced. Was it Jonas?

 No. Jonas Love had left town years ago thanks to her father, Pastor Jeremy Nichols', counseling.

Jonas was the man she would have married, if it hadn't been for her father. In the end, Jonas was the one who'd hurt her the most. The best thing she could do now was start a new life elsewhere.

With only ten or fifteen minutes remaining in her flight, she fumbled with her radio and hailed Emily.

"What do you want?" Emily's voice barked over the radio.

Darcy's friend knew the drill. They'd done this for years. "I'm about ten minutes out. You could probably see me to the south."

"Come again?"


Emily laughed. "I'm on it. And, there's something else."

The wind whipped in Darcy's ears, nearly drowning Emily out. "What?"

"I'll tell you later."

Darcy shut off her radio. "I hate it when you do that."

An eagle again, Darcy lost herself in flight, savoring those last few minutes. Finally, she soared over the small two-lane highway that Emily would take to meet her. McFarlane's ranch was across the way, a small swath of earth where she was permitted to land. Too soon, her time in the sky was over, like the ending of a well-loved book.

Grass and earth came at her fast. She pushed the bar forward and stretched her arms, tipping the nose up and stalling the glider until it began to slow. . .slower. . .Darcy stuck her feet out and landed upright, running through the sagebrush and bunchgrass until she stopped.  The wing dropped behind her.

Grounded, the exhilaration of flight slowly dissipated. She unharnessed from the contraption.  When she looked up, Emily was jogging across the property. Breathing hard, she slowed as she approached, her dark blond hair bouncing in a ponytail.
"You didn't have to run," Darcy said.

"Didn't I?" Emily leaned over her thighs.

"On second thought, you probably need the exercise," Darcy teased.

"Are you prepared to walk home?" Emily raised her eyebrows.

"No, not really."

"Didn't think so." Emily drew in a long breath. "Let me help you with that."

"No. I have to fold it just right. It'll last longer. You know that."

"Yes, but I always have to ask, don't I?"

"Maybe. You can tell me whatever it was you were going to tell me later."

"Now?" Emily sounded cautious.

Darcy glanced up from packing the glider. "What is it?"

With an unreadable expression, Emily pinned Darcy with her sage-green eyes. "Jonas Love is back in town."

Invisible forces.

Oregon Outback is available anywhere books are sold:,, Wal-Mart and at your local Christian bookstore
Copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth Goddard. Do Not Reproduce without  permission.

1 comment:

Beth Goddard said...


Just came across this. How cool! Thank you so much for posting about Oregon Outback. :)