Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Promises
Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


Sheila's favorite books »

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Walk of Infamy (Book 6 in the Rhea Jensen Series) By Sheralyn Pratt-Book Review


{Product Details}


  • Title: Walk of Infamy (Book 6 in the Rhea Jensen Series)
  • Author: Sheralyn Pratt
  • File Size: 771 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Wicked Sassy (October 29, 2016)
  • Publication Date: October 29, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01M8P9V0



{Book Details}

Rhea always knew she worked for a powerful men, but she didn’t understand the full scope of their influence until she quit her job—or tried to.

The clandestine group that calls themselves The Fours doesn’t accept two-week’s notice from employees. Instead, they’re demanding Rhea perform a final task of their choosing to earn a life free from their demands.

Rhea knows whatever The Fours ask of her will be unlike any challenge she’s ever faced. She’s prepared for the worst, but what she’s about to learn is that groups like The Fours are a secret for a reason.

Because no one gets to walk away from them. Not even Rhea.


{My Review}
Wow! I just finished this book, Walk of Infamy, that took me on a wild ride! It truly gets your adrenaline moving like and you totally ignore everything else around you. It's like watching a movie in book form. There comes a point when all you can do is just read because you are so caught up in whether or not Rhea is going to live or die and that nothing else matters. The writing is intense and most of the book is paced quickly, all except for the beginning where I felt like what was happening kept repeating over and over and I just wanted it to move forward, and once this happened it was like a bullet shooting out of a gun. If you want to read a story about a kick butt woman, this book and series is the one for you!

{Meet the Author}

 About/Contact Sheralyn Pratt


Sheralyn was born at an early age, with 10 fingers and 10 toes. She is proud to report that she currently retains all 20 digits. Described by one reviewer as "the bomb dot com" (url already claimed... bummer), Sheralyn has been a karate instructor, musical theater performer, a beach bum, freelance writer, nomadic traveler, and, yes, a private investigator. At the moment she enjoys working with and training her dog to give the poor thing breaks from sitting and Sheralyn's feet with the unbearable task of watching someone write a book.

Really, and you thought your job was bad!

Sheralyn currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, although as people who know her can attest to, that is subject to change at any time ;)

Email me here.
Friend me on Facebook
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Be my tweep on Twitter @SheralynPratt 



View all my reviews

Grandma's Wedding Quilts: The Prequel by Kate Cambridge-Book Blitz and Giveaway





Kate Cambridge is an emerging author of Sweet Historical Romance and Sweet Contemporary Romance. She is a hopeless romantic, strong supporter of women's rights, and loves to create stories that inspire, and characters who seem real long after "The End."

Visit KateCambridge.com for more information, or KateCambridge.com/Choice to join the Choice Readers group for special launch-day pricing, contest, and more. Be one of the first to know what happens next...

Kate loves to connect with readers!


Connect with the Author here: 


The greatest inspiration is often born of desperation.


One year ago Hannah Quinn scored her dream job, and now the fate of the museum she loves will rise or fall on her next exhibit. But wait... there's a problem. She doesn't have a clue what her next exhibit will be!

When a trunk with two quilts is donated to the museum, Hannah's boss thinks she's wasting her time chasing down the history of the quilts, regardless of their beauty; but Hannah persists. She knows there's something special about these quilts, and a story that demands to be told.

Little does Hannah know, her friend Callum, a researcher and consultant, plays an unexpected a role in her investigation that leads to questions and discoveries that threaten the foundation of all she holds most dear.

Will her desperation to discover the story of the quilts cause her to lose the very thing she loves the most - or will the secrets she uncover lead her to more than she ever dreamed?



~ Amazon ~  Amazon UK




10 top favorite things:


1.     Spending time with my husband
2.      Playing with dogs
3.      Writing, writing!
4.      Sailing
5.      Photography
6.      Hiking: walks in nature
7.      Spending time with family, friends, the people I love
8.      Listening to the ocean waves, & walks on the beach
9.      Reading (just about anywhere, but my fav spot on the planet is British Virgin Gorda)

10.  Meeting new and interesting people



To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson-Regency Book Review



The Fall of Lord Drayson{Product Details}
Title: The Fall of Lord Drayson
Author: Rachael Anderson
Series: Tanglewood #1
Genre: Regency Romance Publisher: HEA Publishing Release Date: August 29, 2016
 











{Book Summary}
 Who is he really? A high and mighty lord or a lowly servant?
When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother need to vacate the house they’ve called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied. They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience?

Fate plays her hand when Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. When he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach the earl a much-needed lesson in humility and tells him that he is nothing more than a mere servant. Her servant, in fact.
And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

{My Review}

The Fall of Lord Drayson was a delightful read! To me, it wasn't your typical Regency Romance in that the female in the story was in control of the direction that the relationship went. When you first meet Lord Drayson he's a pompous jerk who Lucy wants to shove out the door and out of her life. Once an injury occurs to the great lord, Lucy finds a way to take control of the situation and the fun ensues. I loved what happened in the story and I'm sharing no details because each reader needs to experience the funny happenings for themselves. 

The Fall of Lord Drayson has such wonderful characters from the leads Lucy and Colin, to the faithful maid Georgy, and Colin's mother and sister Harriett. Each memorable character stands out and lends so much to the overall enjoyment of the story. 

This book is a quick read with an entertaining story line where there is immense character growth and a happy ending to boot. I highly recommend this romance to all readers.

{Excerpt}
He stared at her incredulously, as though she had escaped Bedlam. “Are you in your right mind, woman?”

Lucy leaned forward and planted her palms on his bed so that her eyes were level with his. “My name is Lucy Beresford. I have lived in Askern all my life. I’m the sole daughter of a vicar and a seamstress who lived most happily despite their differences in station. When my father passed away, I came here, to this dower house. So yes, I am in my right mind. It is you who are not.”

The earl’s jaw clenched, and Lucy took some pleasure at the sight. Perhaps he would come down off his high horse and show at least a small amount of kindness or respect.
“I may not know who I am or where I came from,” he finally said, “but at least I do not feel the need to tell tales.”

“Tell tales?” Lucy gaped at him. Was he accusing her of telling untruths? Her, of all people? What untruths? How dare he!

Lord Drayson glanced down at his fingers, frowning when he spotted grime under his nails. He began to scrape it out as he spoke. “Claiming to be the daughter of a vicar and seamstress is all very romantic, but it cannot possibly be the truth.”

“And why not?” she asked.

His gaze returned to hers. “In my experience, the daughter of a vicar would behave with more decorum, would know how to make a palatable broth, and would never allow herself to be alone in a room with a man who is not her relative. If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it is that you are no relation of mine.”

Lucy’s jaw clenched as she fought to control the rage building inside her. Ever so slowly, she pushed herself up to standing and glared down at the earl. “You are correct in thinking I am no ordinary vicar’s daughter. I do not love unconditionally. I show decorum only when I wish to. And I despise those who care for no one but themselves. But I do not tell tales.”
He actually chuckled, but it was more of a scoff than a show of humor. “Did you learn those traits from your father?”

“Do not speak of my father.”

“I would prefer to speak of myself, but you do not seem to share that preference, so perhaps we should speak of your father instead. Where is he, by the by? I would very much like to meet him.”

Lucy’s fingers became fists while her conscience became a battleground between all that was good and evil inside her. It was a short battle, with evil making a quick triumph.
Ever so slowly, her body still trembling with anger, she lifted her chin. If he was going to accuse her of telling tales, then tell them she would. “Very well, Collins. If you must know, I am your employer. And though you may not remember me, or this house, or your position in it, or the fact that you are perfectly susceptible to coming off a horse, just like any other human, I still expect some kindness and respect from you.”

“What on earth are you talking about? What position?”

There was not a hint of hesitation in her voice when she answered. “You are a servant in this house.”
add to goodreads new


Rachael{Meet Author Rachael Anderson}
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft by Heather B. Moore-Blog Tour Review and Ebook Book Series Giveaway

  {Product Details}
Title: Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft
Author: Heather B. Moore
Publisher: Mirror Press
Published: March 14, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN13: 9781941145951
Paperback/ebook: 250 pages

FTC FYI: I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.


 
{Book Summary}
“This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life.” —Reverend Cotton Mather, 1692

USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.

                                                           {My Review} 
I've always been interested in the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the late 1600's in Salem, Massachusetts. I've been looking forward to reading this story that I knew Author Heather B. Moore was writing about her 10th Great-Grandmother, Susannah North Martin. I knew that she'd been doing intensive research in order to write this story. I was amazed at how she brought this story to life from an event in history to the story of a woman who lived, loved, laughed and cried.


This book is not a cheery book, but full of true angst. You feel a deep depression and lost hope from the women and men that were jailed and accused of witchcraft. The whole book isn't totally sunk in darkness though as you read about when she first met her husband and fell in love. Susannah's story is masterfully told from different viewpoints during her life. One is when she's in jail awaiting her trial and then the story shifts to her looking back at happier times in her life. This was a wonderful way to show just how horrid the townspeople and court were to the accused, as the writing and feel of the story swings from sadness to happiness. I'll say it again, this was a brilliant way to write this story.


I really loved these quotes from the story that came from Susannah. I feel it shows how the Salem Witch trials and the hangings of innocent people were allowed to happen.

"They do not have the courage to speak the truth, but rather they'd join in with the other accusers so that they themselves, might be seen as innocent."

"Fear drives men and women to do mad things"


Condemn Me Not is a great addition to other fiction and non-fiction books about the Salem Witch Trials. If you don't like reading non-fiction books, this novel will accurately show you the details from that time in Salem, while also weaving a powerful story that will leave you in tears and your heart aching for those who lost their lives to circumstances that were out of their hands.


   

 {Meet the Author: Heather B. Moore}

Heather B. MooreHeather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author, with a dozen historical written under the pen name H.B. Moore. Latest is Slave Queen (Thomas & Mercer). Under Heather B. Moore she writes romance and women’s fiction and inspirational non-fiction, latest is Condemn Me Not: Accused of Witchcraft. Her various author names can be confusing so her kids just call her Mom.

Visit her blog for writing and book signing updates: http://mywriterslair.blogspot.com

Sign up for Heather's newsletter or email her at www.hbmoore.com

Author Links

Goodreads / Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Barnes and Noble


{Schedule}
March 24My Book a Day / Empower Moms

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Make It Happen Blueprint By Michelle McCullough-Release Day Book Blast and $50 Giveaway

 


{ Make It Happen Blueprint} 
Despite living in a world of abundance, many people still feel unhappy, over-scheduled, tired, and unsuccessful. Yet there seems to be a group of people who “get it.” They catch all the breaks, accomplish more in a day, make more money in their business ventures, bounce back from trials faster, and always have their lives in order. Are they just lucky, or is there some sort of secret most of us are missing? Michelle McCullough has spent thousands of hours studying, listening to, and learning from success experts including Stephen Covey, Jack Canfield, Brendon Burchard, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Ken Blanchard, Darren Hardy, and more. Applying key principles (and learning a few things on her own) she’s built three successful businesses and while still maintaining a meaningful personal life. Everyone has the ability to be a high performer. All it takes is the right mindset, the right tools, and a willingness to work. As she shares eighteen practices for high performance, you too can learn how to take your business and personal life to the next level. Success is possible, happiness is achievable, so stop dreaming about it and get out and MAKE IT HAPPEN!    


{Excerpts - From The Make It Happen Blueprint}
 -Success is not a destination, it’s a practice. The actions we take every day, week, and month to make our dreams a reality are what determine our success and happiness. 
-The most paralyzing thought keeping you from your goals is, “I don’t deserve it.” 
- “Plan” is the four- letter word for success. Peak performers know this, and they find power in a plan and thrive on the execution and ultimate success of seeing it through to completion. 
-Trying to do two things at once is a recipe for failure. The time has come for you to give up your “Multitasker of the Year” award. 
-High performers don’t just understand the value of a person—they understand the value of every person. 
- If you’re going for a gold medal in raising high performers (and I hope you are), daily ask kids this powerful question, “What did you do to make someone else happy today?” This helps them become more aware of others.  


{Praise for the Book
“I do love this book. McCullough is real and relate-able. I was only in the first chapter when I felt hopeful and empowered. While some of her golden advice is aimed mostly to those working in the field of Business (which I am not), there is more than enough real-life help that a Homemaker can use too. She doesn't create, yet another, list of things "I should be doing", but attainable solutions to MAKE TIME for the other things I really DO need to do. These recommendations are easy to do. I am so thankful for McCullough's inspiration and passion to share this knowledge; my life was immediately changed and improved for the goals her book motivated.” - Kristin Call; London, ENGLAND 

"Michelle McCullough has one of those minds you love to be around! She shares fresh ideas, content, and strategies for creating a life and a business that you love. Reading this book will elevate your life!” - Tiffany Peterson, Professional Speaker, www.TiffanySpeaks.com; Utah, USA 

“The beauty of Michelle's book & writing is that it is a lucid, unadorned reminder that we periodically need. It reinforces powerful practices which we often brush past and only remember when we fail to "make it happen". I love her earnest voice and really personal examples.” - Vilasi Venkatachalam; INDIA

"As entrepreneurs we often feel alone. McCullough's book Make It Happen reminds us that we are all in this together. She manages to rekindle your purpose as well as provide pertinent ideas and strategies to help you preform at your best. I love the way she provides a section at the end of each chapter to help you implement the things you read and learn in Make It Happen. Every purposeful entrepreneur should have this book on their nightstand!" - Nicole Carpenter, CEO of MOMentity.com and bestselling author of 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family: 5-minute messages; Utah USA      


{Meet Author Michelle McCullough}
 Michelle McCullough started her first business when she was 19 and currently runs 3 companies including consulting other businesses all over the world. A seasoned speaker, Michelle teaches success principles and leadership insights that help boost employee engagement and higher performance. In addition to running her own consulting businesses, Michelle is the managing director for Startup Princess, listed by Forbes as “One of the top 10 resources for Women Entrepreneurs”. She’s worked with top brands like Visa Small Business, UPS Store, AWeber and more. She’s spoken for the Air Force Reserve, Goldman Sachs and Ancestry.com, among others. She’s been featured in entrepreneur.com, in the 40 under 40, Fox TV and has been interviewed for television and radio over 100 times, including Good Morning America and The Today Show. She was recently named in the Top 100 Small Business Influencers with Inc Magazine, Michael Gerber and Grant Cardone. Her own radio show “Make It Happen” has over 1 million downloads.
 
amazon paypal

{Blast Giveaway}
  $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/6/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Essence of Courage by Lynn Watson-Book Tour






 As women we encounter multiple challenges, while simultaneously wearing
many hats. We need courage to face our challenges and commitments. In Song
of Solomon 4, Solomon ascribes the essences of his locked garden to the
courageous woman he has taken as his wife. This inspirational study will
provide an opportunity for you to discover:

• The secrets of the fruit, spices, and essential oils in Solomon’s locked garden.

• A deeper meaning of these fruits, spices and essential oil essences in Scripture by studying different women in the Bible.

• How others learn through their struggles and triumphs when you meet Cinnamah-Brosia and the women with whom she does life.

• Encouragement to allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate the essence of courage in your heart.

• Fun facts about the spices and essential oils, along with ways for you to
enjoy incorporating reminders of the fruit they represent into your life.



~ AmazonAmazon UK




Pulled reluctantly into women’s ministry nearly four decades ago, Lynn Watson now treasures the opportunities that were provided to lead, encourage and mentor women through relationships and Bible studies. She wrote a few of the studies, too. Drawing from those experiences, along with years serving others professionally in the complementary healthcare field and her love for essential oils, Lynn delights in bringing her readers freshly inspired insights drawn from and focused on the many fruits, plants, oils, and spices mentioned in God’s Word. Married since 1973, Lynn and Steve call Bartlett, Tennessee home. Their
home is filled with handmade treasures and lots of love for family, especially their five beautiful (of course) grandchildren.




Connect with the Author here: 






-->
Top Ten List
1.    Baking bread from freshly milled grain has become a bi-weekly ritual in our home. The aroma, the taste, and the nutritional value are impossible to beat.
2.    Weather permitting, a friend and I enjoy early morning bike rides. Gloria is my tangerine cruiser. She sports a 1970’s vintage leather purse for carrying little things like my phone.
3.    A queen at the age of 5, I also had two princesses to attend me. The local businessmen in our community held a parade. My dad and grandfather owned a construction company. My doll house sat on the float with us. A banner proudly announced, “We Build Homes Fit for a Queen.”
4.    My grandmother had a vintage stove in her basement just for making fresh donuts. I loved to help, but my grandfather and I were often accused of eating donuts faster than we helped make them.
5.    For my 60th birthday my husband gifted me a hot air balloon ride. It was a dream come true around my 61st birthday when we finally experienced the adventure!
6.    I love chocolate!
7.    Between kindergarten and high school graduation, I attended 16 different schools.
8.    For a costume party once as a child, I dressed as an organ grinder accompanied by my well loved sock monkey. 
9.    There's little sun in my yard for growing veggies, but I always have an herb garden.
10. K-LOVE is my favorite radio station.

-->
Snippets

An unsightly explosion brewed. Holding back the anger I felt, I’m certain my tongue bled ’til I could taste it. I shrugged my shoulders and may have commented, “This is not my choice to make.”
from "A Woman of the Bible Displays the Fruit: Hannah Bites Her Tongue," page 173

******

Jochebed placed the basket in the water. Miriam's actions were necessarily gentle as she hid among the reeds of the Nile and waited. When Pharaoh's daughter found the baby, Miriam met the challenge. She assessed the situation while thinking very quickly on her wet feet. The Egyptian princess loved on Miriam's baby brother. In response to the hopeful sight, Miriam simply asked if the assistance of someone to nurse this baby would be helpful. A pleased adoptive “new mom” readily agreed and offered compensation for the task.
from "A Woman of the Bible Displays the Fruit: Miriam's Gentle Negotiations," page 155

******
     "Ewww.... that smells like my closet floor with all my dirty clothes and smelly socks!" That was one young lady's spontaneous reaction as my husband shared spikenard with his fifth grade
Sunday school class. The day's lesson: Mary anointing Jesus’ head. We can be sure the aroma of a full pint of the oil filled the room. Shooey!!!
     The cost – not the aroma – alarmed the disciples (especially Judas, the one who later betrayed Him for personal financial gain). The others’ concerns acknowledged the fact spikenard sold for a handsome price, and the money could help the poor. There was surely a better use for the resource than pouring a whole pint of expensive oil on someone's head.
     Considering the cost and undeterred by their criticism, razzing and complaints, Mary chose to serve Jesus. She believed He was the most valuable investment opportunity in her life. Hindsight tells us she was absolutely correct!    from "The Essence of Spikenard in Scripture: What Is Your Spikenard?"  page 69

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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 



Friday, March 17, 2017

Arizona Forever by Jaclyn M. Hawkes-Book Blast and $50 Giveaway

 


{Arizona Forever by Jaclyn M. Hawkes}
Dr. Jessie Benn has everything—except Mr. Right. There’s only one problem. The one guy who intrigues her is completely wrong. She’s a veterinarian specializing in horses with a thriving practice nestled between her family’s Arizona ranches, looking for a nice, dependable guy who can take her to the eternities. He’s a visiting Australian business tycoon who’s just a touch bitter, a touch wild, and way more than a touch fascinating. What’s a girl to do?

 

{What Readers Are Saying About Jaclyn’s Books}

-Jaclyn M Hawkes ROCKS! I love all of her books! This was another great story that had it all; great characters, fun, happiness, love, suspense, sadness, triumph, family, and joy. I'm not worried about letting my teenage daughters read anything Jaclyn writes. Thanks for another great read and please keep them coming! Karen

-Fantastic as always! Fantastic, magnificent and beautifully written.  

-Amazing! I have never read a book before that had me captive from the beginning. I cried, have laughed and felt her deep grief and confusion. What a wonderful book and a wonderfully exceptional writer. I can't wait to read more of Jaclyn Hawkes books! Lorraine I love the way she writes! I love it! A fun read that warms your heart and makes you feel just as awesome as the characters!   Jaclyn Hawkes was delightful!

-A love story with depth and characters you want to meet. I find myself reading halfway into the night if I don't set a reminder to stop and sleep when I get her new books. Janie   Be sure to read Jaclyn’s other books Journey of Honor A love story The Outer Edge of Heaven The Most Important Catch Healing Creek Rockland Ranch Series Peace River Above Rubies Once Enchanted For Joey Warrior’s Moon The Sage After Rain After The Wind Wildflowers And Kisses  

{Excerpt - Arizona Forever}

{Prologue}

  Six year old Jessie Benjamin did what she always did when she was afraid—she ran to her big brothers. Hurrying, she went two doors down the hall to Josh’s room where her other brothers, Brennan and McCade, would most likely be as well. It was where the four of them usually met whenever there was something wrong. Only this time, she knew something was really wrong because her brothers didn’t smile and tease her before they gathered around her like they usually did. They swallowed her into their jostling group hug, but this time there was the same scary feeling here in Josh’s room that she could hear in her parents’ raised voices coming from their room further down the hall. She couldn’t tell what they were fighting about. She only heard a word here or there, her mother’s voice loud and angry, while her dad’s had calmed down to sad and almost pleading. This bickering had been going on for a couple of days now, but nothing like tonight’s fighting. It was so strange. Her mother got fussy pretty often, but her dad never got like this. Ever. He was typically calm and soft spoken. Even when someone did something big, like when Brennan broke the garage window, he never got too riled. Whatever this bortion thing was her mother was hollering about had made him truly upset. Jessie looked up into the serious faces of her brothers and hid her own face against Josh’s chest. She wished her mother would calm down. That shouting couldn’t be good for the baby in her mom’s tummy. They’d just found out she was expecting. Jessie was praying it was a girl and couldn’t have been more excited for anything! Ever since she was little, she’d imagined she had this little blonde sister named Jennifer who did everything with her. She’d even dreamed about her and it felt like she’d waited forever. Even a baby brother would be wonderful! The fighting spilled out of their parents’ room into the hallway and her father almost seemed to be begging as he said, “Please, Clara, don’t do this. Just hang in there four more months. Even three and a half. Then you can leave and won’t ever even have to see it. I know it’s your body, but please . . . It’s my baby too.” Storming past Josh’s bedroom door, her mother shouted something they all clearly heard, “I’ll do what I want! It’s my body! In four months I’ll have missed the two biggest shows of the season. I missed shows for years to get the four we have. They’re plenty. It’s too much to ask that I do it again. This was your mistake, Ken—not mine! I shouldn’t have to pay for it and you can’t make me!” The front door slammed and a moment later Jessie heard a car squeal away and then there was only silence. For some reason, that scared her more than the arguing. Finally, her dad went into his office and stayed on the phone with someone for a long time and when he came out, he actually looked like he’d been crying. Of course, that couldn’t have been true. Dads didn’t cry. But he looked like it. That night, after everyone else was gone to bed, Jessie snuck into Josh’s room and sat on his bed and whispered, “Josh, what are they fighting about? What does bortion mean?” He was almost ten. He would know. At her question, Josh began to cry. He pulled Jessie into a gentle hug. When he could finally speak, he said so softly and so sadly that Jessie could hardly hear the words that shattered her world into pieces, “Dad says it means Mom’s going to have the baby taken out of her tummy and then it will die, Jessie.”  

Chapter 1

  21 years later   Jessie slid onto the bench on the edge of the soccer field beside McCade and gave an exaggerated sigh of exhaustion as she began to unlace her cleats and said, “Man, you schooled me out there this morning, Muck. I thought I had you until that sweet juke before the half and then I was toast. My calves are killing me!” McCade smiled and batted at her blonde ponytail. “That’s what you get for working too much and playing too little. Juked by the king of jukage!” He reached a hand over her head to fist bump Brennan who sat on the other side of her sucking on a water bottle. “She’s getting old and slow, Bren. Adulthood’ll do that to ya if you let it!” Brennan stopped drinking and squirted her in the face with the water bottle. “I don’t know. She’s still got some moves of her own. You forget she scored on me like I was standing still. She even got around Suki. And you know she’s got some moves.” Brennan winked at his wife Suki and McCade rolled his eyes. Jessie opened her mouth to catch some of the water Brennan was squirting, then smiled and said, “Twice. That would be twice I scored on you, bro. And that second one was world class. Christiano himself would have been jealous. Old and slow? I may be overworked and under played, but I’ll always be younger than the three of you. And we did win. I love this deal where the winners get taken to breakfast.” She pulled off her socks and wiggled her toes. “It’s already insanely hot out here. You two seem to be buying a lot lately. I’m having blueberry waffles. Think they’d care if I walked into the Wagonmaster bare footed? My feet can’t face shoes yet. They need air.” As if on cue, all three of her brothers held their noses and Josh’s wife, Lucy, laughed from where she was standing beside the bench. “Just ignore them, Jessie. They’re only sore losers. Nice toenails, by the way. Love the polka dots.” Jessie stretched her foot out to admire her pedicure. “They are cute, aren’t they? Ryley did them for me yesterday while I was finishing my patient log. You have a very artistic son.” Josh turned to her from the other end of the bench with a look of horror. “You let my son paint your toenails? Jessie!” Jessie laughed. “What? He did a great job for a three year old. Well, once I’d showered the excess polish off my skin. For awhile there it looked like I’d been attacked by an ax murderer with a foot fetish. But he did much better on his own toes. I think mine gave him some practice. His didn’t look nearly so gory.” This time it was Lucy who was horrified. “You let him paint his own toes, too? Jessie! That’s a terrible thing to teach a little boy. You are never babysitting again!” “Okay. Fine. I won’t do it again. Don’t ground me from your kids. They’re my favorite nephew and niece.” “They’re your only nephew and niece.” Jessie stood up and picked up her bag. “True, but they’re still my favorites.”She gave a wide smile. “So . . . Hustle up people. I’m starving and my fans are waiting. I have a 7:30. Justison is bringing in that boneheaded buckskin gelding of his with the speed index of 106.” Josh grimaced. “Some fan. He’s likely to try to kick your head off. Justison thinks if they try to strike, they’re just feeling good and ready to run.” McCade shook his head as they headed to their trucks. “There’s probably nothing wrong with the horse. Justison just needs an excuse to visit Doc Jessie again. Don’t take any of his crud, Jess. You know how he is.” At the restaurant while they waited for their food, Josh began fooling with his phone. After a second, he gave a low whistle and then said, “Unbelievable! You know that guy from my mission, my friend Riordan Kane? From up in Brisbane? The one we taught forever and got to be such good friends with, but he would never join even though he basically agreed with all the principles. He’d had that LDS girlfriend who had played him so bad and he always said it all sounded great, but he’d already been baptized and didn’t need to do it again. Remember he came over for a visit a couple years ago? Elder Burton says the Wall Street Journal reported that he’s selling his company for $168 million dollars! Holy crud! That’s a hunk of dough! He’s only like twenty-nine years old! How does a guy do that?” Brennan only shook his head as he built sugar packets into a cube. “Apparently very deliberately. You said he was a business machine. Didn’t you say he was ruthless? He was in software, right?” “Oh, I don’t know about ruthless. Well, actually, yeah, he was pretty ruthless in business. But I don’t think he’d always been that way. He’s a nice guy. I think he started out developing the software of some of his computer geek friends, but somewhere along the way he became ruthless. Awhile back his girlfriend, who he thought he was going to marry, started sleeping with the enemy—literally. So he wiped the other guy out. Apparently his company was built on solid technology, mostly phone apps I think, and it snowballed.” Brennan nodded. “Yeah. I’d say it pretty well snowballed. Why’s he selling?” “Who knows why Riordan Kane does anything he does? You’d think he had it made, but he doesn’t seem very happy sometimes. Last time I talked to him he distrusted every woman on the planet. Talk about your disenchanted. He had tons of money, no smile, and no idea of his purpose in life.” Brennan raised his eyebrows. “I’d say if you built a company to $168 million dollars before your thirtieth birthday that you had some purpose in life.” “Well, that seemed to be his only purpose. Other than to fish. He does like to fish. I hope once the sale is final he throws himself into something else and doesn’t just go all billionaire playboy. That’s the last thing Riordan needs. He’ll never join the church.” Lucy patted his hand. “Relax, honey. It’s hard to go all billionaire playboy with only a paltry $168 million. He can hardly do much damage on that pittance.” She smiled at him. “Didn’t you say he was coming to the National Stock Show and bringing his fancy reining horse?” Josh put his phone away and grinned. “He is. He’s bringing a guy named Quinn something, who’s some famous goalie for a pro soccer team over there. Riordan got him into reining as well. He says Quinn is a maniac.” Jessie accepted her plate of blueberry waffles from the server, smiled her thanks and then said sweetly, “Well, you’d better not have them stay at your house then. That’s all Ryley would need is an aunt who lets him paint his toenails and a resident maniacal pro soccer goalie for role models. My, but this breakfast bankrolled by the losers looks wonderful, don’t you think, Lucy?” Lucy smiled just as sweetly. “Indeed it does, Jessie. Bon app├ętit, Bren.”    

{Author Jaclyn M. Hawkes}
Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, pizza, the out of doors, the youth, and hearing her children laugh. She and her incredibly handsome husband, their younger children, and their happy dogs now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.
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