Wednesday, August 31, 2011

R.I.P. VI 2011 Reading Challenge


This is a  yearly challenge hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.
http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/

Brittanie:
I am ready for something different and I am determined to read at least one book for this challenge so I am doing Peril the Third. I love the graphics Carl designs for the challenge each year. :)

From Carl:
Summer 2011: record-breaking heat waves, drought, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes–we have had it all. For most of us who have experienced it, the turning of the calendar to reveal a September 1st date is not going to feel all that different. Summer has not yet relinquished her hold. And she has a right to hold on. After all, Autumn does not begin for another three weeks, and even then Summer may greedily hunger for a little more time. Let us pray otherwise.
Regardless of what my thermometer tells me, my heart tells me that autumn is here and that it is once again time to revel in things ghostly and ghastly, in stories of things that go bump in the night. It is time to trail our favorite detectives as they relentlessly chase down their prey, to go down that dark path into the woods, to follow flights of fantasy and fairy tale that have a darker heart than their spring time brethren. To confront gothic, creepy, horror stories in all their chilling delight.
Every September 1st through October 31st for the last 5 years I have hosted the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, affectionately known as the R.I.P. Challenge. I began this reader event, I blinked, and now I am hosting this for the 6th time. Wow, that is so hard to believe.
The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

There are two simple goals for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI Challenge:
1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

As I do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. VI without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have many other commitments) but want to participate all the same.

R.I.P. VI officially runs from September 1st through October 31st. But lets go ahead and break the rules. Lets start today!!!

Multiple perils await you. You can participate in just one, or participate in them all.

For more information and to sign up go here:
http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/r-eaders-i-mbibing-p-eril-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StainlessSteelDroppings+%28Stainless+Steel+Droppings%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

The Survivor by Shelley Shepard Gray

I am really looking forward to reading this book. I am running way behind on my review books. I can't seem to focus to finish any books these days.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Avon Inspire; Original edition (August 30, 2011)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.



Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page







ABOUT THE BOOK



One of today’s most beloved authors of inspirational Christian fiction, Shelley Shepard Gray completes her acclaimed Families of Honor series with The Survivor—a poignant and beautiful story of love and faith in a small Amish community. Delving once more into the lives of these devout and fascinating folk, as she did in her popular Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek novels, Gray tells the story of a young Amish woman who has survived the ravages of cancer, but now longs for the love of the one man who can heal her lonely heart. Like Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Cindy Woodsmall, Shelley Shepard Gray introduces readers to characters they will never forget as she masterfully depicts a world of simple living, abiding faith, and honest emotions.



If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of The Survivor, go HERE.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading? August 29, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books:
http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

I can't believe August is almost over. I went on vacation last week and did not finish a single book. I don't know if I will ever be able to focus again. I am happy to finish a book a week right now. Audio books are helping but I really only listen to them in the car. My main focus has been getting in shape and staying there.

What I read last week:

- The Witness by Dee Henderson (on audio in the car)

What I am currently reading:

- The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (on audio in the car)

- Sketchy Behavior by Erynn Mangum

- Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

- My Dearest Friend by Hazel Statham

- The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (on audio)

- To Be a Runner by Martin Dugard

- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

What I am reading next:

- Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown

- The Survivor by Shelley Shepard Gray

Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thunder in the Morning Calm
Zondervan (August 2, 2011)
by
Don Brown




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. After TREASON, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, was published to rave reviews in 2005, drawing comparisons to the writing style of John Grisham, Don Brown was named as co-chairman of national I LOVE TO WRITE DAY, an event recognized by the governors of nine states to promote writing throughout the nation, and especially among the nation’s schools.



Paying no homage to political correctness, Don's writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.



Don graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.



During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Lieutenant Commander 'Gunner' McCormick is assigned as an intelligence officer to Carrier Strike Force 10, being deployed to the Yellow Sea at the invitation of South Korea for joint exercises with the US Navy. During his pre-deployment briefing, he discovers a TOP-SECRET MEMO revealing rumors that the North Koreans may still be holding a handful of elderly Americans from the Korean War in secret prison camps.



As it happens, Gunner's grandfather, who was a young marine officer in the Korean War, disappeared at Chosin Reservoir over 60 years ago and is still listed as MIA in North Korea. Sworn to silence about what he has read, the top-secret memo eats at him. Gunner decides to spend all his inheritance and break every military regulation in the book to finance his own three-man commando squad on a suicide mission north of the DMZ to search for clues about the fate of his grandfather.

Risking his career, his fortune, and his life, Gunner will get his answers, or he will die trying.



Don Brown is building a loyal fan base by writing what he knows best: thrillers with heart. A former Navy JAG officer and action officer in the Pentagon, Brown pens action-packed plots and finely-drawn characters that are credible and compelling. Thunder in the Morning Calm is a novel of bravery, duty, and family love that will keep readers of all ages reading straight through to the last page.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Thunder in the Morning Calm , go HERE

Monday, August 22, 2011

Its Monday What Are You Reading? August 22, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.
http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

What I read last week:

- Fireman Dad by Betsy St. Amant

What I am currently reading:

- Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

- The Witness by Dee Henderson (on audio in the car)

- The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (on audio)

- To Be a Runner by Martin Dugard

- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

What I am reading next:

- Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown

- The Survivor by Shelley Shepard Gray

What I reviewed last week:
http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2011/08/consequence-by-hazel-statham-review.html

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ransome's Quest by Kaye Dacus

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!



You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:



and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Kaye Dacus, author of Ransome’s Honor has a BA in English, with a minor in history, and an MA in writing popular fiction. Her love of the Regency era started with Jane Austen. Her passion for literature and for history come together to shape her creative, well-researched, and engaging writing.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:







This engaging end to the Ransome Trilogy is a fast-paced tale of love, faith, and danger on the Caribbean Sea in the early 1800s. Captain William Ransome frantically searches for his kidnapped wife and sister. But who will rescue them when buried secrets emerge and challenge everything they believe?











Product Details:



List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927557

ISBN-13: 978-0736927550



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:





It is too dangerous.”



William Ransome snapped his cutlass into its scabbard and turned to face his wife. “The longer I delay, the farther away they take Charlotte.”



Dread froze his lungs, his stomach, his heart. Charlotte. His sister. Taken. “If anything happens to her…”



Julia wrapped her arms around her abdomen and leaned against one of the heavy posts at the end of the bed. “Why the message to my father? What has he to do with Charlotte?”



William double-checked the load of his pistol and tucked it under his belt. “Your father has publicly vowed—more than once—to rid the Caribbean of pirates and privateers for good. Charlotte was likely a target of opportunity, not purpose.”



“But if the man’s argument is with my father, it should have been me taken, not Charlotte.”



William could not disagree with her. Nor could he agree, as the very idea of Julia’s being taken by pirates nearly ripped his heart from his chest. “I should have put her on that ship in Barbados returning to England. If I had followed my conscience”—instead of listening to Julia’s and Charlotte’s emotional arguments—“she would have been well out of harm’s way by now.”



They both startled at a knock on the door.



“Come.”



The door opened at his command, revealing Jeremiah. “The horses are ready, Commodore.”



“Very good.” William took up his case and hat and moved toward the door.



Julia stepped in front of him, expression imploring. “Please, William, wait until dawn. The roads are treacherous enough in the full light of day. At night…and you do not know where you are going. What good will it do Charlotte if you become lost or…or something else happens to you or the horse? Or what if the pirates have laid a trap and done this to lure you from the safety of the house?”



A mirthless laugh expanded in his throat, but he stifled it. Safety of the house? Was the house safe when the brigands had snatched Charlotte from the porch almost directly outside this very room?



“I am sending Asher with him, Miss Julia,” Jeremiah said. “He knows the roads ’twixt here and Kingston better than anyone I know.”



William tore his gaze away from Julia’s anxious face. “Jeremiah, I am depending on you to protect Mrs. Ransome and ensure no harm comes to her while I am away.”



“I will protect her with my life, sir.”



He stepped around Julia and handed his bag and hat to Jeremiah. “Thank you. I shall join you in a moment.”



As he hoped, Jeremiah understood the dismissal. He gave a slight bow and left the room, closing the door behind him.



William took Julia by the shoulders and directed her to the chaise positioned at the end of their bed. He had to apply more pressure than he liked to make her sit. “You are to stay at Tierra Dulce. You will keep an escort with you at all times. I want armed guards posted near the house.”



She nodded, never blinking or breaking eye contact. “Yes, William.”



“If you hear any word from Charlotte or receive”—his voice caught in his throat—“a ransom demand from the pirate, you will send a messenger to Fort Charles. They will get word to me.”



“Yes, William.”



Heart tearing asunder at the necessity of leaving Julia behind, he bent over and pressed his forehead to hers. “Pray for Charlotte.”



Julia’s hands slid around behind his neck, her fingers twining in his hair. She angled her head and kissed him. “I promise. I will pray for you also, my love.”



He kissed her again and then tore himself away from her embrace. “I must go. I promise I will return—and I will bring Charlotte with me.”



Determined to not look back, he made for the door. He opened it and then hesitated. Without turning around, he said the words he needed to say, just in case they were the last he ever said to his wife. “I love you.”



“I love you, William.” Though softly spoken, her words acted as the command that loosed him from his mooring. He stepped through the door and closed it, leaving her on the other side.



Ned Cochrane paced the drive below the porch steps when William exited the house. He barely spared his former first officer a glance. Intellectually, he knew Ned had done his best, having been taken by surprise and set upon by several men. However, in his heart, he wanted to rail at the younger man for failing to protect Charlotte.



Though a horse was his least favorite mode of transportation, William easily swung himself up into the saddle. Once he was settled—and Ned appeared to be also—William nodded at Asher to lead the way.



Darkness enveloped them. Behind, the light from the house acted as a siren’s call, beckoning him to turn, to look, to regret his decision to leave in the dead of night and wish he had taken Julia’s advice and waited until dawn.



His neck ached from the effort of keeping his face forward instead of giving in to temptation and taking one last look at the house, hoping to catch a final glimpse of Julia.



He focused on the bumpy motion of the animal underneath him. He must leave all thoughts of—all worries about—Julia behind, just as he now left her home behind. Jeremiah had known Julia most of her life. He had been as much of a substitute father for Julia as her father, Admiral Witherington, had been for William.



No, he could not worry about Julia and her safety. Rescuing Charlotte must be his only focus, his only thought.



The monotonous rhythm of the horses’ hooves, at a walk over the dark, deeply rutted dirt roads, along with the necessity of keeping his eyes trained on the light shirt stretched across Asher’s broad back, lulled William into a stupor.



Ahead lay his ship. The thought of boarding Alexandra and getting under sail chipped away at his anxiety. As soon as he was on the water, as soon as he stood on the quarterdeck and issued the command to weigh anchor, he would be that much closer to finding Charlotte and bringing her home.



The road widened, and Ned pulled up beside him.



“You are certain the man did not identify himself?”



“No, sir. He did not give his name. He only said her safety depended on the mercy of a pirate.” Ned’s voice came across flat and hoarse.



“What were you doing out on the porch, alone with her in the dark?” Even as William asked this, he reminded himself Ned was not at fault. But if Charlotte had been inside, perhaps…



“I followed them—Miss Ransome and Winchester—when they went for their walk. I did not trust Mrs. Ransome’s steward to behave honorably.” He paused. “I need not have worried. Char—Miss Ransome handled the situation admirably and dispatched Winchester, and their engagement, with aplomb.”



“Winchester was with you when she was taken? Why did you not tell me this before?”



“No, sir. Miss Ransome dismissed him. He had been gone for…several minutes.”



Could Winchester be involved? Dread sank like a cannonball in William’s gut. Julia already suspected the steward of embezzling money from the plantation. And William had left her there with that man—



“I asked her to marry me.”



If Winchester were involved, and this was a ploy to get William away from Tierra—he yanked the reins. The horse voiced its protest and jerked and swerved, nearly unseating William. “I beg your pardon?”



“After Charlotte broke her engagement with Winchester, we talked about our mutual regard. I proposed marriage to her, and she accepted.” Ned’s words barely rose above the sounds of the horses’ hooves on the hard-packed earth.



From a sinking ship into shark-infested waters. Could Charlotte not have waited even a full day after breaking one engagement before forming another—again, without her family’s knowledge? “And if I refuse my permission?”



“Then we shall wait. We’ll wait until you think I am worthy to marry her, sir.”



Worthy to marry her. William did not have to think hard to remember standing before Julia’s father twelve years ago and saying the same words. Sir Edward had graciously given him—a poor, threadbare lieutenant with no prospects and nothing to recommend him as husband or son-in-law—a father’s blessing for William and Julia to marry based on nothing other than their love for each other. William had been the one to deem himself unworthy of her affections, and he had almost lost her forever.



“We shall discuss this after we return Charlotte home.”



“I pray that will be soon, sir.”



“So do I, Ned. So do I.”



Charlotte awoke with a gasp. Wooden planks formed the low ceiling above her. A canvas hammock conformed to her body and swung with the heave and haw of the ocean beneath the ship.



A ship?



Not possible. They had made port, hadn’t they?



She stared at the underside of the deck above, trying to clear the haziness from her brain. Yes. They had made port. Left Alexandra and ridden in carriage across those horrible, rutted roads to Tierra Dulce, Julia’s sugar plantation. The low, sprawling white house with the deep porch that wrapped all the way around and the white draperies billowing through the open windows.



The porch. She blinked rapidly. The porch. At night. In the dark. Henry Winchester and…and Ned.



She bolted upright and then flung her torso over the side of the hammock as her stomach heaved.



Why should she be sick? She hadn’t experienced a moment of seasickness on the crossing from England to Jamaica. She climbed out of the hammock, skirt and petticoats hindering her progress until she hoisted them above her knees, and made for the small table with a glass and pitcher.



Wan light from the stern windows sparkled through the glass, revealing a residue of white powder in the bottom of it. She set the glass back on the stand. Last night the pirate had made her drink from the glass, and then everything had gone hazy. But before that…



She buried her face in her hands. Being torn away from Ned. She prayed they had not killed him. She’d heard no gunshot, but as their raid had been one of stealth, they would more likely have used a blade to end Ned’s life.



A sob ripped at her throat, but she forced it to stay contained. She would not give the pirates the satisfaction of seeing her upset. And she must, and would, find a means of escape.



Thirst got the better of her, and she lifted the china pitcher of water and rinsed her mouth before drinking deeply the brackish liquid. She then turned and surveyed the cabin. Obviously the pirate captain’s quarters. Though smaller than Ned’s aboard Audacious, which was in turn smaller than William’s aboard Alexandra, the room was neatly kept, with serviceable furnishings, whitewashed walls and ceiling, and plain floors. Nothing to exhibit the extravagance or wealth she’d expected to see in a pirate’s private lair.



The desk. Perhaps something there would tell her more about her captor. She crossed to it, rather surprised by the empty work surface. No stacks of the papers or books like the ones resting on William’s or Ned’s worktables. Her fingers itched to open the drawer under the desktop and the small doors and drawers along the high back of it, but Mama had taught her better than that.



Two miniatures hanging above the desk caught her eye. One showed a woman, probably a few years older than Charlotte, with dark hair and angular features. Too plain to be called pretty, but not ugly either. The green backdrop of the second painting contrasted vividly with the reddish-brown hair of a pretty girl and matched her vibrant green eyes.



Mahogany hair and green eyes—just like Julia. Why would a pirate have a portrait of Julia hanging in his cabin? But, she corrected herself, the painting was of a girl no older than thirteen or fourteen. Surely the resemblance to Julia was merely coincidental.



“She was lovely, was she not?”



Charlotte gasped and whirled. A dark-haired man dressed in a blue coat that resembled a commodore’s or admiral’s—complete with prodigious amounts of gold braid about the cuffs, collar, and lapels—stood in the doorway of the cabin.



He tossed a bicorne hat—also similar to a navy officer’s—onto the oblong table in the middle of the cabin, clasped his hands behind his back, and sauntered toward her, his eyes on the portrait.



“What do you want with me?”



“I am sorry for the manner of your coming here, Miss…?” He cocked one eyebrow at her.



“Ransome. Charlotte Ransome. My brother is Commodore William Ransome. He will hunt you down. And when he finds you—”



“When he finds me,” the pirate said, sighing, “I am certain the encounter shall be quite violent and bloody. Is that what you were going to say?”



Charlotte ground her teeth together. The man stood there, serene as a vicar on the Sabbath, acting as if they stood in a drawing room in Liverpool discussing the weather. “What do you want with me?”



“With you? Nothing.” He flicked an invisible speck of dust from the oval frame. “My business is with her.”



“With her?” Charlotte nodded toward the painting. “Is that…?”



“Julia Witherington—or Julia Ransome, as I have lately learned. Empress of the Tierra Dulce sugar empire.”



The strange lilt in his voice when he said Julia’s name sent a chill down Charlotte’s spine. “Yes, she is married. To my brother.”



“The famous Commodore Ransome.” The pirate turned and ambled toward the dining table. “His reputation precedes him.”



Worry riddled Charlotte at the pirate’s lack of worry over the thought of William’s hunting him down and blowing him and his crew out of the water. After Charlotte escaped, naturally.



“You were not part of my plan, little Charlotte Ransome.” He turned, leaned against the edge of the table, and crossed his arms. The coat pulled across his broad chest and muscular shoulders. A lock of dark hair fell over his forehead, softening the way his heavy black brows hooded his eyes. His nose had been aquiline once, but now it sported a bump about halfway down from whence the rest of the appendage angled slightly to his left. A scar stretched across his forehead and down into his left eyebrow. On first sight he could have passed for Spanish, but his accent marked him as an Englishman.



If he weren’t a no-good, dastardly, cowardly, kidnapping pirate, she might consider him handsome.



“Did you kill him?” The question squeezed past her throat unbidden.



“Him?”



“Ned—Captain Cochrane. The man with me on the porch.” She schooled her emotions as best she could, pretending the man standing before her was none other than Kent, her nemesis during her days aboard Audacious as a midshipman.



“If he is dead, it is through no work of me or my men. We do not kill for sport, only for defense.”



“Ha!” The mirthless laugh popped out before she could stop it. “Morality from a pirate? Someone who spends his life pillaging and thieving and destroying and killing and…and…” Heat flooded her face.



“And?” The pirate stood and stalked toward her, an odd gleam in his dark eyes. “And ravishing young women? Is that what you were going to say?”



Charlotte backed away, right into the edge of the desk. She gripped it hard. “N-no.”



The pirate leaned over her, hands on either side of her atop the desk, trapping her. “Do not try to lie to me, little Charlotte Ransome. You have no talent for it.”



Stays digging into her waist, she bent as far back as she could. “Yes, then. Ravishing.” Not that he would get a chance to ravish her. A fork. A penknife. Anything with a sharp edge or point. Once she had something like that in her possession, she would be able to defend herself against him.



Up close, the pirate’s brown eyes held chips of gold and green. A hint of dark whiskers lay just beneath the skin of his jaw and above his upper lip.



He blinked when someone knocked on the door but didn’t move. “Come!”



“Captain, Lau and Declan are back.”



“Very good. I shall meet with them in the wheelhouse momentarily to hear their report. Dismissed.”



Charlotte wanted to cry out to stop the other man from leaving, but she knew she deluded herself. She was no safer with any man on this ship than with their captain.



Would Ned still want her—even be able to look at her—after the pirates were finished with her?



“What’s this?” The pirate reached up and touched Charlotte’s cheek. “Tears?”



She shook her head, more to dislodge his hand than in denial.



With another sigh he straightened and then handed her a handkerchief. “Calm yourself, Miss Ransome. I have no intention of ravishing you. Nor of allowing anyone else to ravish you. While you are aboard my ship, you are under my protection.”



He crossed to the table and retrieved his hat. “You, however, must stay to this cabin at all times. Though my men know my rules of conduct, a few of them might give in to the temptation of their baser desires should they see you about on deck.”



Charlotte leaned heavily against the desk. The handkerchief in her hand was of the finest lawn, embroidered white-on-white with a Greek-key design around the edge. She frowned at the bit of cloth. Why would a pirate carry something so delicate?



He settled the bicorne on his dark head, points fore-and-aft, the same way the officers of the Royal Navy wore theirs.



“Who are you?”



He touched the fore tip of the hat and then flourished a bow. “I am called El Salvador, and you are aboard my ship, Vengeance. Welcome to my home, Miss Ransome.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Ewen


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dancing on Glass
B&H Books (August 1, 2011)
by
Pamela Ewen




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Until recently retiring to write full time, Pamela Binnings Ewen was a partner in the Houston office of the international law firm of BakerBotts, L.L.P., specializing in corporate finance. She now lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, James Lott.



She has served on the Board of Directors of Inprint, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting the literary arts in Houston, Texas, as well as the Advisory Board for The New Orleans Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans; Pamela is a co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society in the Greater New Orleans area. She is also a member of the National League of American Pen Women.



Pamela’s first novel, Walk Back The Cat (Broadman & Holman. May, 2006) is the story of an embittered and powerful clergyman who learns an ancient secret, confronting him with truth and a choice that may destroy him.



She is also the best-selling author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Faith On Trial, published by Broadman & Holman in 1999, currently in its third printing.



Although it was written for non-lawyers, Faith On Trial was also chosen as a text for a course on law and religion at Yale Law School in the Spring of 2000, along with The Case For Christ by Lee Stroble. Continuing the apologetics begun in Faith On Trial, Pamela also appears with Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, Darrell Bock, Lee Stroble, and others in the film Jesus: Fact or Fiction, a Campus Crusade for Christ production.



Pamela is the latest writer to emerge from a Louisiana family recognized for its statistically improbable number of successful authors. A cousin, James Lee Burke, who won the Edgar Award, wrote about the common ancestral grandfathers in his Civil War novel White Dove At Morning.



Among other writers in the family are Andre Dubus (Best Picture Oscar nomination for The Bedroom; his son, Andre Dubus III, author of The House of Sand and Fog, a Best Picture Oscar nomination and an Oprah pick; Elizabeth Nell Dubus (the Cajun trilogy); and Alafair Burke, just starting out with the well received Samantha Kincaid mystery series.



ABOUT THE BOOK



In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama's rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.



In this lawyer's unraveling world, can grace survive Ama's fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Dancing on Glass, go HERE.



Watch the book trailer:





Friday, August 12, 2011

Consequence by Hazel Statham (Review)



  • Hardcover: 192 pages

  • Publisher: Avalon Books (August 5, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0803476721

  •  

    Product Description

    In the wake of a duel, Marcel Blake, the Duke of Lear, an infamous rake and gamester, leaves London to visit his cousin in Paris. Here he meets and falls in love with Julie, the British ambassador's daughter. Thinking she would be horrified if she learned of his reputation, Marcel fights the attraction; but when he is wounded while saving her from the unwanted advances of a less-than-desirable would-be suitor, Marcel finds that she returns his affections. Ultimately, vengeance conspires against them; at their wedding reception, Julie is maliciously informed of Marcel's previous life of misdeeds, and she's led to believe that he only married her to please the king. With this insurmountable gulf suddenly between them, will Marcel prove his reformation, woo his wife, and find happiness with her, or is the sudden desolation in Julie's heart impossible to overcome? Have Marcel's games finally caught up to him for good?

    My Review:

    This was an enjoyable historical fiction book set in the Regency period. I read the author's book, The Portrait, and liked it too. While not a long book it is filled with vivid descriptions and well developed characters. The plot is interesting even though it has been done before. This is one of my favorite time periods. Recommended. :)

    About the Author

    Hazel Statham lives in England and has been writing on and off ever since she was fifteen. Hazel lives with her husband, Terry, and a beautiful Labrador named Mollie. Apart from writing, her other ruling passion is animals, and until recently she had served as the treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities. Consequence is Hazel's second novel for AVALON. The Portrait is also available.
     

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    It's Monday What Are You Reading? August 8, 2011

    This is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books. http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

    What I read last week:

    - Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh

    - The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

    What I am currently reading:

    - To Be a Runner by Martin Dugard

    - The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

    - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (on audio in the car)

    - Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen
    What I am reading next:

    - Ransome's Crossing by Kaye Dacus

    - Ransome's Quest by Kaye Dacus
    What I reviewed last week:

    http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2011/08/restless-in-carolina-by-tamara-leigh.html

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh (Review)

    It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
    You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


    Today's Wild Card author is:


    and the book:

    Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
    ***Special thanks to Ashley Boyer, Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


    Tamara Leigh began her writing career in 1994 and is the best-selling author of fourteen novels, including Splitting Harriet (ACFW Book of the Year winner and RITA Award finalist), Faking Grace (RITA Award Finalist), and Leaving Carolina. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara enjoys time with her family, faux painting, and reading. She lives with her husband and sons in Tennessee.

    Visit the author's website.

    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

    Tree-huggin’, animal-lovin’ Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is on a mission. Well, two. First she has to come to terms with being a widow at thirty-three. After all, it’s been four years and even her five-year-old niece and nephew think it’s time she shed her widow’s weeds. Second, she needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate—a Biltmore-inspired mansion surrounded by hundreds of acres of unspoiled forestland. With family obligations forcing the sale, Bridget is determined to find an eco-friendly developer to buy the land, someone who won’t turn it into single-family homes or a cheesy theme park.

    Enter J. C. Dirk, a high-energy developer from Atlanta whose green property developments have earned him national acclaim. When he doesn’t return her calls, Bridget decides a personal visit is in order. Unfortunately, J. C. Dirk is neither amused nor interested when she interrupts his meeting—until she mentions her family name. In short order, he finds himself in North Carolina, and Bridget has her white knight—in more ways than one. But there are things Bridget doesn’t know about J. C., and it could mean the end of everything she’s worked for…and break her heart.

    Product Details:

    List Price: $14.99
    Paperback: 352 pages
    Publisher: Multnomah Books (July 19, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1601421680
    ISBN-13: 978-1601421685

    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

    Deep breath. “…and they lived…”

    I can do this. It’s not as if I didn’t sense it coming. After all, I can smell an H.E.A. (Happily Ever After) a mile away—or, in this case, twenty-four pages glued between cardboard covers that feature the requisite princess surrounded by cute woodland creatures. And there are the words, right where I knew the cliché of an author would slap them, on the last page in the same font as those preceding them. Deceptively nondescript. Recklessly hopeful. Heartbreakingly false.

    “Aunt Bridge,” Birdie chirps, “finish it.”

    I look up from the once-upon-a-time crisp page that has been softened, creased, and stained by the obsessive readings in which hermother indulges her.

    Eyes wide, cheeks flushed, my niece nods. “Say the magic words.” Magic?

    More nodding, and is she quivering? Oh no, I refuse to be a party to this. I smile big, say, “The end,” and close the book. “So, how about another piece of weddin’ cake?”

    “No!” She jumps off the footstool she earlier dubbed her “princess throne,” snatches the book from my hand, and opens it to the back. “Wight here!”

    I almost correct her initial r-turned-w but according tomy sister, it’s developmental and the sound is coming in fine on its own, just as her other r’s did.

    Birdie jabs the H, E, and A. “It’s not the end until you say the magic words.”

    And I thought this the lesser of two evils—entertaining my niece and nephew as opposed to standing around at the reception as the bride and groom are toasted by all the happy couples, among them, cousin Piper, soon to be wed to my friend Axel, and cousin Maggie, maybe soon to be engaged to her sculptor man, what’s-his-name.

    “Yeah,” Birdie’s twin,Miles, calls from where he’s once more hanging upside down on the rolling ladder I’ve pulled him off twice. “You gotta say the magic words.”

    Outrageous! Even my dirt-between-the-toes, scab-ridden, snot-on-the-sleeve nephew is buying into the fantasy.

    I spring from the armchair, cross the library, and unhook his ankles from the rung. “You keep doin’ that and you’ll bust your head wide open.” I set him on his feet. “And your mama will—

    ”No, Bonnie won’t.

    “Well, she’ll be tempted to give you a whoopin’.”

    Face bright with upside-down color, he glowers.

    I’d glower back if I weren’t so grateful for the distraction he provided. “All right, then.” I slap at the ridiculously stiff skirt of the dress Maggie loaned me for my brother’s wedding. “Let’s rejoin the party—”

    “You don’t wanna say it.”Miles sets his little legs wide apart. “Do ya?” So much for my distraction.

    “You don’t like Birdie’s stories ’cause they have happy endings. And you don’t.”

    I clench my toes in the painfully snug high heels on loan from Piper.

    “Yep.”Miles punches his fists to his hips. “Even Mama says so.”

    My own sister? I shake my head, causing the blond dreads Maggie pulled away from my face with a headband to sweep my back. “That’s not true.”

    “Then say it wight now!” Birdie demands.

    I peer over my shoulder at where she stands like an angry tin soldier, an arm outthrust, the book extended.

    “Admit it,”Miles singsongs.

    I snap around and catch my breath at the superior, knowing look on his five-year-old face. He’s his father’s son, all right, a miniature Professor Claude de Feuilles, child development expert.

    “You’re not happy.” The professor in training, who looks anything but with his spiked hair, nods.

    I know better than to bristle with two cranky, nap-deprived children, but that’s what I’m doing. Feeling as if I’m watching myself from the other side of the room, I cross my arms over my chest. “I’ll admit no such thing.”

    “That’s ’cause you’re afraid. Mama said so.” Miles peers past me.

    “Didn’t she, Birdie?”

    Why is Bonnie discussing my personal life with her barely-out-of-diapers kids?

    “Uh-huh. She said so.”

    Miles’s smile is smug. “On the drive here, Mama told Daddy this day would be hard on you. That you wouldn’t be happy for Uncle Bart ’cause you’re not happy.”

    Not true! Not that I’m thrilled with our brother’s choice of bride, but…come on! Trinity Templeton? Nice enough, but she isn’t operating on a full charge, which wouldn’t be so bad if Bart made up for the difference. Far from it, his past history with illegal stimulants having stripped him of a few billion brain cells.

    “She said your heart is”—Miles scrunches his nose, as if assailed by a terrible odor—“constipated.”

    What?!

    “That you need an M&M, and I don’t think she meant the chocolate kind you eat. Probably one of those—”

    “I am not constipated.” Pull back. Nice and easy. I try to heed my inner voice but find myself leaning down and saying, “I’m realistic.”

    Birdie stomps the hardwood floor. “Say the magic words!”

    “Nope.”Miles shakes his head. “Constipated.”

    I shift my cramped jaw. “Re-al-is-tic.”

    “Con-sti-pa-ted.”

    Pull back, I tell you! He’s five years old. “Just because I don’t believe in fooling a naive little girl into thinkin’ a prince is waiting for her at the other end of childhood and will save her from a fate worse than death and take her to his castle and they’ll live…” I flap a hand. “…you know, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me.”

    Isn’t there? “It means I know better. There may be a prince, and he may have a castle, and they may be happy, but don’t count on it lasting. Oh no. He’ll get bored or caught up in work or start cheatin’—you know, decide to put that glass slipper on some other damsel’s foot or kiss another sleeping beauty—or he’ll just up and die like Easton—” No,
    nothing at all wrong with you, Bridget Pickwick Buchanan, whose ugly widow’s weeds are showing.

    “See!”Miles wags a finger.

    Unfortunately, I do. And as I straighten, I hear sniffles.

    “Now you done it!” Miles hustles past me. “Got Birdie upset.”

    Sure enough, she’s staring at me with flooded eyes. “The prince dies? He dies and leaves the princess all alone?”The book falls from her hand, its meeting with the floor echoing around the library. Then she squeaks out a sob.

    “No!” I spring forward, grimacing at the raspy sound the skirt makes as I attempt to reach Birdie before Miles.

    He gets there first and puts an arm around her. A meltable moment, my mother would call it. After she gave me a dressing down. And I deserve one. My niece may be on the spoiled side and she may work my nerves, but I love her—even like her when that sweet streak of hers comes through. “It’s okay, Birdie,” Miles soothes. “The prince doesn’t die.”

    Yes, he does, but what possessed me to say so? And what if I’ve scarred her for life?

    Miles pats her head onto his shoulder. “Aunt Bridge is just”—he gives me the evil eye—“constipated.”

    “Yes, Birdie.” I drop to my knees. “I am. My heart, that is. Constipated. I’m so sorry.”

    She turns her head and, upper lip shiny with the stuff running out of her nose, says in a hiccupy voice, “The prince doesn’t die?” I grab the book from the floor and turn to the back. “Look. There they are, riding off into the sunset—er, to his castle. Happy. See, it says so.” I tap the H, E, and A.

    She sniffs hard, causing that stuff to whoosh up her nose and my gag reflex to go on alert. “Weally happy, Aunt Bridge?”

    “Yes.”

    “Nope.” Barely-there eyebrows bunching, she lifts her head from Miles’s shoulder. “Not unless you say it.”

    Oh dear Go—No, He and I are not talking. Well, He may be talking, but I’m not listening.

    “I think you’d better.” Miles punctuates his advice with a sharp nod.

    “Okay.” I look down at the page. “…and they lived…” It’s just a fairy tale—highly inflated, overstated fiction for tykes. “…they lived happily…ever…after.”

    Birdie blinks in slow motion. “Happily…ever…after. That’s a nice way to say it, like you wanna hold on to it for always.”

    Or unstick it from the roof of your mouth. “The end.” I close the book, and it’s all I can do not to toss it over my shoulder. “Here you go.”

    She clasps it to her chest. “Happily…ever…after.”

    Peachy. But I’ll take her dreamy murmuring over tears any day. Goodness, I can’t believe I made her cry. I stand and pat the skirt back down into its stand-alone shape. “More cake?”

    “Yay!” Miles charges past me.

    Next time— No, there won’t be a next time. I’m done with Little Golden Books.





    Excerpted from Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Copyright © 2011 by Tamara Leigh. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


    My Review:

    I loved this book. It is the best so far in the series. It can stand alone but I have enjoyed the whole series. It is a contemporary Christian fiction book with a little chick lit bent. lol I loved all things environmental in high school. I liked how real these characters seemed. The book was well written with an interesting plot. I could not wait to see what happened next. I am happy with the ending but I wish it was not the last book in the series. Highly recommended. :)

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    It's Monday What Are You Reading? August 1, 2011

    This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

    What I read last week:
    - Perfectly Invisible by Kristin Billerbeck
    - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (on audio in the car)
    - Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig

    What I a currently reading:
    - Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh
    - To Be a Runner by Martin Dugard
    - The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
    - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (on audio in the car)

    What I am reading next:
    - Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen
    - Ransome's Crossing by Kaye Dacus
    - Ransome's Quest by Kaye Dacus

    Reviews I posted last week:
    http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2011/07/perfectly-invisible-by-kristin.html
    http://abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2011/08/wolfsbane-by-ronie-kendig-review.html

    Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Review)

    It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!I loved this book. It was great. I read it in one day. It is the third in a series and I recommend reading them in order to know the history behind the characters. The book was a great combination of suspense, romance, and a little mystery. Although Christian fiction that aspect is not overwhelming. It is my favorite so far in the series. The characters and plot were well developed, interesting, captured my attention. I was turning pages as fast as I could to see what happened next. Canyon was the main focus in this book and I loved how he was not perfect but made mistakes and owned up to them. Danielle is the perfect heroine, strong, feisty, and beautiful. There were several twists I did not see coming. The ending was good and fitcliffhanger for the whole series. Highly Recommended! :)

    You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


    Today's Wild Card author is:


    and the book:

    Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (July 1, 2011)
    ***Special thanks to Camy Tang and Ronie Kendig for sending me a review copy.***

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


    Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat, married a veteran, and they now have four children. She has a BS in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Nightshade, Discarded Heroes #1, has earned recognition as a finalist in Christian Retailing's 2011 Retailer's Choice Awards as a finalist and with The Christian Manifesto's 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction. Ronie lives in the Dallas/Ft Worth her family and their pets, Daisy, a Golden Retriever and Helo, the Maltese Menace.


    Visit the author's website.

    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

    Embark upon a danger-laden mission within the pages of Ronie Kendig’s riveting Wolfsbane. Demolitions expert Danielle Roark thought escaping from a brutal Venezuelan general was a challenge. Now she’s charged with espionage and returned to the jungle where a new nightmare begins. Will Dani survive or become just another political pawn destined to be lost forever? Former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe is disgusted with the suits on Capitol Hill. Still wrestling with the memories of a mission gone bad, he and Nightshade launch a mission to find Dani. Can Canyon rescue Dani, armed with nothing but raw courage?





    Product Details:

    List Price: $12.99
    Paperback: 352 pages
    Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (July 1, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1602607842
    ISBN-13: 978-1602607842

    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

    The Invitation

    Judicial Building, Virginia Beach

    Blood dripped into his left eye.

    No. Not blood. Sweat. Hands tight against his hips and fists balled, Captain Canyon Metcalfe blinked away the sting. Another salty drop slid down his temple. Eyes ahead, he focused on his reflection in the massive mirror. Between it and him sat an eight-foot table harboring a panel of three Army investigators from Criminal Investigation Command sent for his one-year evaluation. More like interrogation. And he knew they weren’t legit. Nobody got a review once they were out. This wasn’t about legitimacy. This was about them insuring he’d kept his mouth shut.

    Canyon watched his reflection as a bead skidded over his forehead and nose. Felt warm and moderately sticky. So much like. . .

    It’s not blood. Not blood.

    “Captain, do you have anything to add?” Major Hartwicke lifted the inches-thick file in her manicured hands and stared at him.

    “You understand, Captain, if you reveal anything about what has happened here, you will face a full court-martial and dishonorable discharge.”

    The voice from twenty-one months ago forged his response. “No, sir.”

    Behind the one-way mirror a ghost of a shape shifted. Or was that a shadow? No, he was pretty sure he’d seen the human outline. So, there were more eyes monitoring this so-called review. They’re testing me. No surprise. As a matter of fact, he’d expected them to drag him out of bed in the middle of the night, haul him into the woods, and try to beat a confession out of him.

    Innocence didn’t matter. Justice didn’t matter.

    Only one thing mattered: silence.

    Hartwicke pushed her chair back from the table and stood. “Captain, I don’t understand.” She motioned to the two investigators with her. “We’ve told you the CID believes there is enough. . .ambiguity in the charges and proceedings from thirteen March of last year to question the guilty verdict.” She tilted her head. “In fact, this panel believes you may be innocent.”

    “You are not innocent in this brutal crime, Captain Metcalfe. No matter your role, you are guilty. As the officer in charge, you bear that responsibility. Do you understand?”

    The eyes of the government held no boundaries. They saw everything. Knew everything. One way or another. Always waiting to throw him away for good. Just as they’d done with the villagers.

    Her shoes scritched against the cement floor as she stepped nearer. “Why are you doing this?” she whispered. “Why would you throw away your career?”

    Throw away his career? Was she kidding? It’d been ripped from his bloodied hands in a colossal mistake twenty-four months ago. Canyon ground his teeth together. Do not look at her; do not respond. She didn’t deserve a response if she thought this was his choice.

    A chair squawked, snapping his gaze to the second investigator who moved from behind the table, his gaze locked on Canyon. What did they want from him? He’d kept the dirty little secret. Lived with it. Relived it night after painful night. Living when she died.

    Brown eyes cut off his visual escape. “Captain Metcalfe,” Major Rubart said in a low, controlled voice. “I don’t know what they”—he rolled his eyes to the side to indicate the one-way mirror—“told you or what they used against you as a threat in retaliation for talking, but I think you know something.”

    Despite his every effort not to, Canyon looked at the mirror.

    “You know the truth about that fateful night, don’t you?”

    The words yanked his eyes to Rubart’s. Did this officer really want the truth? Or was this another test? What Canyon wouldn’t do to tell, to right the wrong, to relieve the burden. . . But that’s just what they wanted him to do—relieve his mind and prove they were right, that he could be coerced into talking. That he was weak.

    He flicked his attention back to the glass and the shadow moving behind it.

    “You disappoint me, Captain.” Air swirled cold and unfeeling as Rubart eased away. “Your sister says you’ve not been the same since you returned from that mission.”

    “My sister puts her mouth before her brain.” And for that, Canyon would have a long talk with Willow.

    “Do you understand what your silence means?” A bitter edge dug into Rubart’s words as he glared at Canyon, who stared through the man.

    “What I understand is that you’ve abused a relationship with my impressionable sister to extract information for the military.”

    Rubart’s lips tightened. “Your silence means the people of Tres Kruces receive no justice.”

    The thick-bladed words sliced through Canyon’s heart.

    Quiet tension tightened the air.

    “Willow says you’ve wanted to be a Green Beret since you were twelve.”

    “Ten.” Canyon bit his tongue on the automatic correction. He wouldn’t do this. Wouldn’t cave under the pressure. He’d endured far worse.

    “How can you let them rip it from you? Everything you love and worked for with blood, sweat, and tears?” After several slow, calming breaths, Rubart gave a single nod. “Enough evidence exists to open a full investigation that could reinstate you with full honors, full rank. Just give us one word, one inclination that you’ll work with us, and it’ll be as if you never left.”

    Everything in Canyon wanted that back. Wanted the career he’d felt called to, the adrenaline rush of battle, the humanitarian work of helping villages after a tragedy or an insurgency. . .

    Screams howled through the fires. He glanced back. Where was she? How had they gotten separated? He spun, searching the debris and crackling embers.

    A scream behind him.

    He pivoted. Two feminine forms raced into a hut. “No,” he shouted. “Not in—”

    BOOM!

    His body lifted, flipped as he sailed through the taunting flames and grieving ashes.

    “Captain?”

    Canyon blinked back to Major Rubart.

    “Just give us some indication you’ll help. We’ll mete out the details later. Just don’t let it go at this. You know this is wrong. Don’t let them win.”

    Irritation clawed its way up Canyon’s spine, burrowing into his resolve. He saw through the tactic. “Are we done, sir?”

    Rubart’s cheek twitched. “You’re going to walk away?”

    “In a three-to-one decision, you are hereby discharged. Your actions will be mentioned in limited detail in our final report to the congressional oversight committee. Should you speak openly about this again, you will find yourself in a federal prison for the rest of your life. Do you understand the ruling, Captain Metcalfe?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “I cannot express this enough—this favor we are extending you will be revoked completely if you ever again speak of Tres Kruces.”

    “Captain?”

    He met Rubart’s gaze evenly. “Decision’s been made.”

    “You can’t mean that.” Hartwicke’s voice pitched. “Think—”

    “Dismissed, Captain,” the third investigator barked from his chair at the table.

    Canyon saluted, then pivoted and strode out. He punched open the door. As he stomped across the parking lot, he wrangled himself free of the dress jacket. He jerked open the door of his black Camaro and snatched off the beret. Flung it into the car. Slammed the door shut. Shuffled and kicked the wheel.

    Voices behind pushed him into the car. Letting the roar of the engine echo the one in his head, he peeled away from the curb. Screaming tires fueled his fury. He accelerated. First gear. Second. He sped down the streets. Third. Raced out of Fort Story as fast as he could. He shifted into fourth.

    They’d stolen everything from him. What did he have now? The last twelve months had been a futile attempt to plaster meaning to the disaster of a thing called life. Can’t serve. What was the point? They had him on an invisible leash. Shame trailed him like the dust on the roads.

    As he rounded a corner, a light glinted—yellow. Speed up or slow down?

    Slow down? I don’t think so.

    Canyon slammed into fifth and pressed the accelerator. The Camaro lunged toward the intersection. A blur of red swept over his sunroof as he sailed through and cleared it.

    Ahead, a sign beckoned him to First Landing State Park. The beach. Something inside him leapt.

    Sirens wailed.

    He glanced in the rearview mirror and growled. Banged the steering wheel. One more violation and he’d lose his license. Two seconds of fantasy had him on his bike screaming off into the sunset.

    Yeah. Right. A high-speed chase. Wouldn’t his mother love that? She’d give him that disappointed look, and in it, he’d read the hidden message—“what would your father have said?”

    Dad.

    His foot hit the brake. He eased the gears down and brought the car to a stop along the pylons that led to the beach. Less than a mile out, blue waters twinkled at him.

    He eyed the mirror as a state trooper pulled in behind him. Lights awhirl, the car sat like a sand spider ready to strike.

    Canyon roughed a hand over his face. This was it. Career gone. License gone. He gave his all for his country, and all of it had been systematically disassembled in the last two years.

    Hands on the steering wheel, he let the call of the Gulf tease his senses. He should’ve taken a swim instead of unleashing his anger on the road. He was a medic. He knew better than to endanger lives. How stupid could he get?

    What was taking so long?

    He glanced back to the mirror, only. . .nothing.

    Huh? Canyon looked over his shoulder. Where. . .?

    An engine roared to the left. A Black Chrysler 300M slid past him with a white-haired old man inside.

    But where was the cop? Again, he double-checked his six.

    Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

    With more care and attention this time, he pulled back onto the road and drove to the ocean. He parked and stared at the caress of the waters against the sand that lured him out of the Camaro and to the warm sand. Rolling up his sleeves, he made his way down the beach.

    On a stone retaining wall he stood and watched a couple of surfers ride a wave. Canyon squatted. Hands fisted against his forehead he struggled through Rubart’s promise—they’d give him his career back if he ratted out the very people who’d made the nightmare go away.

    He wanted to. Wanted to set the record straight. Knew they’d done wrong, but blowing this thing open meant they’d pin every drop of blood and blame on his shoulders. He’d go down in a blaze of disgrace. It was bad enough he’d had to tell his mom he was put out of the military for “medical” reasons. She didn’t buy it. She was smarter. But she didn’t press him.

    Maybe. . .maybe he should let the panel dig into the tsunami-sized disaster and find the truth.

    But he couldn’t. They’d promised to make his life a living hell.

    That happened anyway. Everything that felt right and just died. Just like her.

    Canyon closed his eyes against the pull of memories and allowed his mind to drift. To everything he felt for her. To all the things he’d done wrong, could’ve done better.

    I’m sorry.

    Lot of good that did. She died.

    He hopped off the wall and strolled to where the waters stroked the sand. He let out a long breath and ran a hand over the back of his longer-than-normal hair. He’d tried to leave the tragedy behind. Move on. But who could move on after something like that? Even the government was scared of Tres Kruces. Nice PR disaster with the whole world as witnesses.

    Canyon drew out the small vial. Shouldn’t do this. The back pain was gone. The heart pain permanent. He popped two pills into his mouth and swallowed.

    His hand closed around the Emerson in his pocket. Canyon drew it out and eyed the gleaming metal. He’d used it to cut her tethers the first night his team had come up on the backwater village. Flipping the blade to the ground, he tamped down the fireball in his gut. He saved her that night only to end up killing her thirteen months later.

    She was gone. His career was gone. The government had a shackle around his neck. What was there to live for?

    He retrieved it and swiped the sand from the blade on his rolled cuffs. The silver glinted against his forearm. He pressed the metal against his flesh. Wouldn’t be the first attempt. Maybe he’d succeed this time. Drew it along his arm—

    “Never did understand how they stand up on a piece of wood.”

    Canyon jerked at the deep voice. He returned his Emerson to his pocket and eyed the old man a few feet away. Looked like the same man from the 300 earlier. What was he saying? Something about wood. . .?

    Canyon followed the man’s gaze to the water, the surfers. Ah. Surfboards. “They’re not wood.”

    “Really?”

    “Polyurethane and fiberglass or cloth. Depends on the board.” He might be off-kilter, but he wasn’t stupid. The man had a military cut and bearing. “What’s your game?”

    A slow smile quirked the face lined with age. White hair rustled under the tease of a salty breeze. “Recycling soldiers.”

    Why wouldn’t they leave him alone? Believe he’d keep his trap shut when he said he’d keep his trap shut? “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say.”

    “Yes, that was quite apparent.”

    Hesitation stopped Canyon from trudging back to his car. This man had been at his evaluation? Where. . .? “You were behind the mirror.”

    “While you said little, your actions said much more, Captain Metcalfe.”

    A knot formed in his gut. “In case you missed the point, I’m no longer a captain. Go back to your leeches and tell them I’m done.”

    “Is your career worth cutting your wrists, Captain?”

    The knot tightened. “My career was everything,” he ground out. “It’s who I am.” He swallowed. “Was.”

    “Yes.” The man smiled. “You wanted to finish what your father started.”

    A blaze scorched his chest. “Who are you? What do you know about my father?” Who did this guy think he was?

    “Major Owen Metcalfe lost his life trying to free his spec-ops team from a POW camp during Vietnam.”

    Canyon jerked his attention back to the water. Focused on the undulating waves. The way they rolled in, rolled out. Just like breathing. In. . .out. . . “How. . .how do you know about my father?” The only reason Canyon knew was because the government tried to use it against him in his trial.

    Slowly, the man turned toward him, his smile growing.

    Only then did Canyon recognize him. “General Lambert.” He took a step back. “I didn’t. . . You’re out of uniform.”

    “Yes, thank goodness. I’ve put on a few pounds since they issued the last uniform.” Lambert laughed and pointed. “Walk with me, Captain.”

    What possessed Canyon to indulge him, he didn’t know. But he found himself walking the quiet beach, curious that the general would seek him out. Was it yet another trap?

    “So that you will understand me, I have read the full file on Tres Kruces.”

    Of course. He’d fallen right into the general’s trap, hadn’t he? “This conversation is over.” He pivoted and started back to his car.

    “If my memory serves me correctly, the vote was three to one.”

    Canyon hesitated. Cursed himself for hesitating. Just walk away. That’s what they’d done to him.

    “What would you say the value of that single dissenter is worth?”

    “Nothing. I still lost my career, everything.”

    “What if that dissenter held the power to change everything? What would you say it was worth then?”

    Eyeballing the man, Canyon tried to think past his drumming pulse. “My life.”

    Lambert grinned. Nodded. “Good. . .good.”

    Good? How could he say that? What use was a dissenter now anyway? But that unflappable grin and knowing eyes—this man knew something.

    “You.” Canyon stumbled back as if hit by a squall. “It was you. You were the dissenter.” He slid a hand over his head and neck. “General, I— It has to stay buried. Or I go down hard and fast. I’m not playing with this fire.”

    Hands in his pockets, Lambert smiled up at him. “I am not here in any official capacity related to the U.S. government.”

    Dare he hope that this nightmare was over?

    “How do you like working as a physical therapist?”

    Canyon shrugged. “Not bad. It’s work. I help people.” He hated it.

    “That’s what’s important to you, helping people, is it not?” When Canyon shrugged again, Lambert continued. “Thought so. I have a proposition for you, Captain. One that will get you back in your game.”

    Wariness crowded out hope. “What game is that?”

    “The one you do best. The one that allows you to serve your country, use the medic skills crucial to saving lives, and be part of a winning team.”

    “They benched me, said I was done, no more or they’d—”

    “What do you say?”

    A wild, irregular cadence pounded in his chest. “I’m ready to get off the bench.”


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