Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Wayfinding Bible Review



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 About
What if you had a trusted friend to guide you through God’s Word every day? Whether you want a fast overview of the grand story of the Bible or a deeper exploration of the riches of Scripture, The Wayfinding Bible is that guide.

With an innovative, full-color visual guide at the top of each reading, The Wayfinding Bible provides you with three paths through God’s Word: the Fly-Over Route, the Direct Route, and the Scenic Route. Following the Fly-Over Route, you’ll cover the most important events in the Bible in just 40 readings, giving you a fresh overview of how these events tell the story of God’s redemption. Following the Direct Route’s 200 readings, you’ll develop a better understanding of how God’s story develops through history. Following the Scenic Route, you’ll explore new territory while discovering a richness and depth in God’s Word that you’ve not seen before. All without the discouragement of getting bogged down in any single book.

Whether you are encountering the Bible for the first time or simply looking for a new journey through Scripture, you will always know where you are and where you’re going in God’s Word. Just choose your route, and prepare yourself for life-changing experiences with God.

Special features: Getting Your Bearings: These 8 two-page articles occur at major turning points of Scripture and help the reader stay on track Side Trips: Explore a known concept in greater depth or read about a topic for the first time Scenic Overlooks: Stunning visuals including maps, photos, infographics, and charts that aid in understanding the Bible text The Wayfinding Bible uses the clear and understandable New Living Translation text. (Goodreads)






My Review

I really enjoy this Bible. I love how it is laid out, while the words don't change, it's still a Bible folks, but it makes reading it more interactive. There are little blurbs about fun history facts that I never knew and different routes you can take. There is the Flyover Route, Direct Route, and Scenic Route. Flyover consists of 54 readings, while the scenic has 386 readings. I thought it was easy to follow, and they tie in different verses that connect from the Old and New Testament. I also LOVE the maps in the back and the listed "itinerary" so if you get off track on your route you can flip to the back and find where you were at. There is also a bunch of "side trips" that are compiled in the back so if you want to read multiple verses on one topic they are put together so easy to find. I know a lot of times I want to read about certain things but I have no idea where to look, while a concordance is wonderful, this added feature in the Bible itself is nice. 
I really like this Bible and the version is NLT (New Living Translation). I think this would be a great Bible for a new believer or someone who has read the Bible for years. If you are in search of something new or trying to read more of the Bible- I highly recommend!!

"I received this Bible for free from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review."



Watch the video here.



Friday, November 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley Book Review


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 About the Book
 Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.

 My Review


What a unique debut! This book is all letters sent from Samantha to Mr. Knightley who is helping her with a grant to get through college. Her letters are her daily life in detail and about the people see interacts with. She shares all in her letters and has never met Mr. Knightley. Very Mr. Darcyish type book set in present day, this is a good book. The only thing I didn't like is the fact that the letters didn't seem real enough to me and it was all one sided. I understand and love the back story that comes out in the end, but I would have like to see Mr. Knightley write back more often. The letter format is good but for the entire book it makes it difficult for me to read. In any case many people will love this book and I think it is good for a new author! I will be looking for more from her.




 "I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review." 






Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.
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  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!


...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Country Faith Book Review



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 About the Book


Pour yourself a fresh, cold glass of sweet tea and ease into your favorite chair with a copy of the Once-A-Day Country Faith. You'll enjoy a front row seat to an intimate look at your favorite country stars as they discuss the personal significance of their favorite Bible passage. With contributions from 56 of today's top country artists, the Once-A-Day Country Faith includes the Bible passage that tops each of their charts as well as the reasons why this part of scripture is so valuable to them. After reading Country Faith, you'll be inspired to identify the Bible passage that's most meaningful to you. You'll also listen to your favorite country artists in a whole new way. (Goodreads)



My Review
What a fun read of compiled country star's favorite Bible verses. Some of the country stars I had never heard of but many are the ones we hear every day. My favorites were, Miranda Lambert, Sara Evans, and Joanna Smith. They had good things to say. So basically the book is laid out for each page to be a new artist. Their favorite Bible verses is listed and then they artist writes why this is their favorite and how it applies to their life. This is a very sleek nice hardback book with an actual 56 reflections for you to read daily. At the back of the book is an introduction to Mark from the Bible. Honestly it surprised me that many of these artists even had a favorite verse but it's fun to read their outlook on life and view on how different Bible verses are a part of their lives. 

"I received this book from Booksneeze for free in exchange for an honest review."




Monday, November 25, 2013

The Marriage of Middlebury Book Review




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 About the Book
 What happens when the matchmaker finds a match for herself?Charlotte Rose Hill has been serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky but beloved customers for more than 10 years. But for her, marriage seems like an elusive butterfly, always out of reach. At 18, Charlotte fell in love with a young man, Sam Wilder, but his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. She did, and then became engaged to another man, who later died before they were married. Now, more than a decade later, Charlotte finds that she still has feelings for her first love. Initially thrilled to learn that Sam has come home to Middlebury, Texas, Charlotte is devastated to learn that he’s brought someone with him: his fiancée. But all is not lost when the townsfolk decide to get involved. Will Charlotte and Sam find their way back to each other?(Goodreads)

 My Review
Anita Higman is a great author, I enjoy how she writes in a very visual way. She makes the reader feel like they are there. This book started off good, I love that Charlotte makes her own tea for her tea room. The community of Middlebury is fun, I liked this setting. The only thing about this story is it didn't completely capture my attention. It dragged on for me in the middle, the ending is rather predictable, so it took a lot for me to finish the book. Perhaps this book is just a tad too wordy but the meaning behind the main characters story is great. If you are in the mood for a slower easy going tea read you will like this.



"I received this book from Lituse for free in exchange for an honest review."  

Anita Higman is celebrating the release of her latest book, A Marriage in Middlebury, with a double Kindle Fire giveaway (one for you & one to give away!) and a "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th.


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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire for you AND a friend
  • A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman (one to keep and one to give away!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 12th. Winner will be announced at the "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th. Invite your friends and connect with Anita for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Anita's next book!

So grab your copy of A Marriage in Middlebury and join Anita on the evening of December 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 12/12!

Aloha Rose Book Review CFBA Blog Tour



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 My Review



I wanted to read this book because I thought I could relate to it in a more personal way. I enjoy reading books where the lost child now adult discovers the lost parents or vise versa. This speaks true in my own life and I just met my birth father and family this year. That being said I'm sure my opinions on this book would be different if my own experiences were different. I love the idea of Laney finding out where her family was because of a quilt. I love that she goes to Hawaii to meet them and answer all of her questions. These are all great things that add to the story. I just didn't like how overly dramatic everyone was throughout the book and I didn't enjoy the romance. The book moves quickly in every way and I was disappointed with the characters and the plot. I wish I could say it was great but it simply is not. I'm sure others will enjoy this read, but I can't honestly recommend it. 

"I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review."








This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Aloha Rose
Abingdon Press (November 19, 2013)
by
Lisa Carter


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

I am a wife and mother. My husband and I have two daughters and make our home in the beautiful state of North Carolina.

I am a teacher. With a Master’s degree in history, I have taught at the university, high school and middle school levels. After years of church involvement as a soloist, choir member and worship leader, I also teach music.

I am a writer. Delighted by the rhythm and musicality of words, I have been writing since childhood. In 2001, I won the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Story Writing Contest that re-ignited a lifelong love of writing.

I am on a journey of faith. My ultimate desire through my life and my writing is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, His redeeming love as seen in the life of Jesus Christ and to help others know for themselves this great, awesome God of all comfort and wisdom. He is enough for every need.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliquéd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Aloha Rose, go HERE.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Horses and Mules in the Civil War Book Review



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 About the Book
Horses and mules served during the Civil War in greater numbers and suffered more casualties than the men of the Union and Confederate armies combined. Using firsthand accounts, the many uses of equines during the war, the methods by which they were obtained, their costs, their suffering on the battlefields and roads, their consumption by soldiers, and racing, mounted music and other themes are all addressed. The book is supplemented by accounts of the "Lightning Mule Brigade," the "Charge of the Mule Brigade," five appendices and 37 illustrations. More than 700 Civil War equines are identified and described with incidental information and identification of their masters.(Goodreads)




 My Review
This book caught my eye because I love history and my husband is a civil war reenactor. That's where they dress up and play the part. Since this something he loves it has become a normal part of our lives and so the research of history on the subject surrounding the civil war is plentiful in our house. This book is unique, as it mainly talks about the horses and mules in the war. The first part of the book is a bit wordy for my taste-my husband read this as well and thought the same. But the great part starts on page 107 which is the Roster of Civil War Equine Veterans. Now this is an alphabetical listing of the horses, their background, riders, and facts. This makes the book worth reading and keeping. Aside from that part the first section I could do without. If you want an excellent listing of the Equine Veterans, this is a great book!

"I received this book from LibrayThing for free in exchange for an honest review."



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Critical Reaction Book Review


 

After decades of turning out plutonium for the arms race, the Hanford Nuclear Facility has long been shuttered, though its deadly legacy cannot be fully contained. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings for radiation leaks are told the risks are under control. They believe it, until the worst happens: a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Two workers, lifer Poppy Martin and new hire Kieran Mullaney, believe themselves lucky to survive the blast. But as the debris is cleared, they discover their safety is not assured. Dead ends and closed doors halt their efforts to discover what really happened--and what radiation may have poisoned them. When stalling and threats force them into the hands of experienced trial lawyer Ryan Hart, they learn that theirs is no ordinary lawsuit. There is something still hidden in the desert of eastern Washington, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure it never sees the light of day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Critical Reaction, go HERE.



Critical Reaction is not the book I was expecting. Part of this was my fault, I didn't realize who the author was until I got it in the mail and looked into the book more. Todd Johnson is a great author, he knows a lot so he can write a detailed legal suspense and story. However, I personally can't handle his writing. I don't enjoy his books, though I've only read one previous to this one. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and was hopeful this book would be better than the one I read before about a year ago. Sadly this book did not capture my interest and was very difficult to read. Don't get me wrong, I love a good suspense novel, even novels with legalstic terms, but for some reason these ideas mixed with his writing don't work for me. I do have friends who would love this book, but I probably won't be reading any more of Todd's books. I give it two stars. In any case, if you have read his previous books and enjoyed them you will love this one!

 "I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review." 


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Critical Reaction
Bethany House Publishers (November 19, 2013)
by
Todd M. Johnson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012. Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

Stones for Bread Book Review



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 About the Book
What do you do when the gift you thought was bread turns out to be stones?
Liesl McNamara’s Wild Rise is not only a popular bakehouse and café in Vermont, it’s an extension of herself. Liesl is an artisan bread maker, like her mother and grandmother before her. Even though she lost her mother to suicide when she was eleven, she keeps this maternal bond alive as she bakes.
Liesl prides herself on living an uncomplicated, unattached life. But that changes when Seamus walks through the door of Wild Rise, lugging the large bags of whole wheat flour from the local food co-op. He and his daughter Cecelia have recently moved to the country seeking simplicity. Despite her best effort, Liesl becomes attracted to this teddy bear of a man who laughs easily and eats strange sandwich concoctions—on her bread, much to her dismay.
Her simple life is further complicated when a popular cooking show features her bakery. The publicity increases her business and brings several offers from larger businesses, all of which she turns down. But it also brings a completely unexpected phone call, one from a woman claiming to be her half-sister.
Liesl’s sense of identity dissolves as everything about her relationship with her mother—and the bread that held them together—comes into question. Has she been given stones rather than bread? And how can she ever take these crumbs and make them whole again?(Goodreads)



My Review
  First of all the cover of this book is wonderful! I was looking forward to this book because who doesn't love bread? The story starts out in a unique way, taking the reader back to life in a child's mind. From there the story moves forward in the life of Liesl and her Wild Rice bake house. I loved how the recipes are throughout the entire book and that there is a list on where to find them at the end! The writing in this book is very different and unique. Everything is short and to the point. Multiple sentences create one small thought or process. I like it because it is different. The only thing is the overall plot and story line didn't captivate me. I really wish I could say that it did, but it honestly did not. I didn't feel connected with the characters and found myself not really caring about the plot. 
In any case this book has gotten great reviews and I'm sure many will love it, it's just not the book for me. 

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."









Christa Parrish is celebrating her fourth novel, Stones for Breadwith a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway.
#StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://bit.ly/1aBTNz9

Easy steps to enter:

1. Follow Christa Parrish and TNZ Fiction on Pinterest.

2. Then Pin the Stones for Bread book cover (below), the contest graphic (above), or both, and link to this post (using this URL: #StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/stones-for-bread-by-christa-parrish).

3. Then fill out THIS SHORT FORM to let us know. (There are also some additional ways to earn extra entries, as well as an option for non-Pinterest users. It's true—people like that do exist!)

Questions? Email info @ litfusegroup dot com.

Winner will be announced on 12/9 on Christa's Facebook Page.


Monday, November 18, 2013

David and Goliath Book Review



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 About the Book

In his #1 bestselling books THE TIPPING POINT, BLINK and OUTLIERS, Malcolm Gladwell has explored the ways in which we understand and change our world. Now he looks at the complex and surprising ways in which the weak can defeat the strong, how the small can match up against the giant, and how our goals (often cultural determined) can make a huge difference in our ultimate sense of success. Drawing upon examples from the world of business, sports, culture, cutting-edge psychology and an array of unforgettable characters around the world, DAVID AND GOLIATH is in many ways the most practical and provocative book Malcolm Gladwell has ever written.(Goodreads)




 My Review
This book looked so intriguing and I was fairly excited to read it. Over the chapters the author has different stories about people who have overcome the "Goliath" in their lives. The only is that this book is so detailed and jumps from one thing to the next before continuing on a story it made it difficult to read. I did not enjoy reading it after the first few chapters. I wish I could say I loved it but I did not. I have not read this author before so I can't say if this is like his other writing. I did enjoy the Biblical aspect that is woven throughout the entire book.

"I received this book from B and B Media Group for free in exchange for an honest review."



Church Rescue/Church Hoppers Giveaway

 
Doc, Glandamere and Rev Kev make up the Church Hoppers, a church-rescuing recon team that travels the country to help struggling parishes.
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I was contacted about this new show for National Geographic called Church Rescue


that follows “The Church Hoppers”, a team of ministers who specializes in helping struggling sanctuaries get back on their feet. After being contacted by pastors looking for a helping hand, The Church Hoppers dig deep to uncover the church’s problems and then provide them with solutions – a faith lift if you will. Over the course of the first season we’ll get to know The Hoppers as they answer their calling to revitalize churches across America inside and out. 
 
 
After I was sent more info I watched the show and started reading more about it. 
 
Honestly, I'm not sure what to expect with the rest of the season. It seems odd for them to be in a church trying to "blend in" when there are clearly movie cameras everywhere. While I think the intention is to help others, I just hope that it doesn't become all about money and status and having a bigger better church than the one down the road, that's simply not what faith is about. 
 
For those who have seen the show or what to learn more stop over to this site.  
 
 
 
 
 
Giveaway!
 
Grace Hill Media has kindly offered me a toolkit of goodies to give away to one of my readers. It includes the following: two t-shirts, two highlighter pens and two sticky pads all that correspond with the show. The above picture shows the t-shirts and sticky pad.

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment on this blog post including your email address. example(at)yahoo(dot)com
Winner will be chosen by Random.org on Monday November 25th.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Andi Unexpected Book Review




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 About the Book
Twelve-year-old Andora 'Andi' Boggs and her fourteen-year-old sister Bethany move to rural Ohio to live with their eccentric twenty-something aunt after the sudden death of their parents. While dealing with her grief, Andi discovers proof of another Andora Boggs in the family tree whose existence was hidden in a Depression-era trunk in the attic. With help from her new friend and neighbor, Colin Carter, Andi is determined to find out who this first Andora was and what happened to her. (Goodreads)




My Review
What a great read!!! I usually enjoy juvenile fiction especially if it has to do with history in any way. This book takes you into the life of Andora who is in for a big change. Living in a strange house she is told she can have the attic as her bedroom and starts to clean it up. To my delight she finds an old trunk, how neat would that be to find!! This trunk takes her on this adventure in finding out who the former "Andora" was and why no one will talk about her. 
I really loved the history, the quirks, the innocence, and Andora's character. This is not a complex book or difficult to read but it a great wholesome unique read that is perfect for young adults.

 I highly recommend!
"I received this book from Booksneeze for free in exchange for an honest review."




Noah Movie Trailer Promo


NOAH
Synopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise.

Cast: Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Trailer: http://www.bit.ly/1hJjuUM

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In Capable Arms Book Review


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 About the Book
Sarah Kovac was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a rare congenital birth defect that left her with arms that she could barely use. Growing up, she was the only one in her class with a disability, setting her apart as different and unpopular. Realizing her unique place in the world, Sarah began adapting, working to her strengths, and eventually learned to use her feet to do such activities as changing her son's diapers, making dinner, putting on makeup, and even typing on the computer--even as she grew in spiritual and emotional maturity and independence in exceptional ways. Picked up by national news network CNN, Sarah s story went viral and she was suddenly presented with a platform from which to share her love for God. "In Capable Arms" brings readers on Sarah s journey, crying with her through intense frustration and the desire to be perfect, cheering her through physical training and pain, and admiring her eventual spiritual surrender as she let go of her insecurities and let God use her . . . even her crippled arms.

Sarah brings readers face to face with their own struggles, challenges them with questions about self-worth and fear, then offers guidance, wisdom, and inspiration for finding hope and healing in the arms of the One who loves them no matter what.(Goodreads)



My Review
 What a great story to read!! Sarah comes across as a sweet lady who has gone through more in her lifetime than I can even imagine! Born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) she has learned how to adapt and use her feet instead of her hands to perform tasks. Such a great testament of faith and trust in God. Even during her biggest struggles and worries, childbirth for one, she remains strong in her faith and writes about the Bible verses that helped with her courage during giving birth. 
Anyway if you like reading insightful true honest stories about real people, I highly recommend! 


"Thanks to the author for the free copy!"


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Online Pampered Chef Party-Now Through November 22nd!








Hello everyone!! I just wanted to drop a note about my Pampered Chef party. I don't know enough people who will be able to come to my house so I decided to have a virtual party!
Orders can be made up until the Friday before Thanksgiving November 22. 
Each person who orders $75 or more receives a free gift!! 

If you are looking for some Christmas gifts, now is a good time to order! 
Victoria is helping me out with hosting this event and has offered a deal for the next five people that order get a free gift, no maximum amount spent!


Join the fun on Facebook.


Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Journey's End Book Review





SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Devastated after the brutal murder of her husband, Chelsea Hammond vows never to love another lawman.Intent on rebuilding her shattered life, she turns her focus to helping troubled teens. But when an angry father bent on retaliation, threatens her, Chelsea must turn to the one man she never thought to trust: Deputy U.S. Marshal Trey Colten.

Trey wants only to protect Chelsea, but she blames him for her husband’s death. Trey can relate. He blames himself, also. As danger lurks, Trey begs Chelsea to heed his warnings. He let down one Hammond. He won’t let down another—especially one who now holds his heart.

When Chelsea is snatched from her home, can she put aside her fear, and trust Trey with her life? Can she forgive him for destroying her past and let him help to rebuild her future?


 My Review

This book suprised me. Here I am expected a typical novel and Journey's End throws me into this story with mob members, murder, and a woman with a slowly healing heart. I LOVE how Chelsea Hammond creates a place for broken teens. Having her husband killed by a ruthless man completely shattered her-how devastating I can't imagine! Then she chooses to create a beautiful life for herself and others. But here comes trouble as the men from her past have found the teen she is helping and decide they want rid of her too. This is a thrilling page turning novel with a strong Christian emphasis. The cover does not serve the story justice. I highly recommend!! 



"I received this book from FIRST and the author for free in exchange for an honest review." 



Website - www.dorahiers.com Email - Dora(at)DoraHiers(dot)com Blogs - http://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com/ & http://dorahiers.blogspot.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dorahiers Twitter - https://twitter.com/DoraHiers Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/dorahiers/boards/ 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:

White Rose Publishing (May 20, 2011)

***Special thanks to Dora Hiers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After a successful auditing career, Dora left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When her youngest son didn't want her hanging out at school with him anymore, Dora started writing Heart Racing, God-Gracing romance. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers. Dora and her husband, her real life hero, make their home in North Carolina.

When Dora isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, family gatherings, and mountain cabin getaways. She despises traffic, bad coffee, technological meltdowns, and a sad ending to a book. Her books always end with a happily-ever-after!

Readers can connect with Dora:
Website - www.dorahiers.com
Email - Dora(at)DoraHiers(dot)com
Blogs - http://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com/ & http://dorahiers.blogspot.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dorahiers
Twitter - https://twitter.com/DoraHiers
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/dorahiers/boards/





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: White Rose Publishing (May 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611160804
ISBN-13: 978-1611160802


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The mystery man with haunted eyes was back.

Chelsea Hammond placed the lawn chairs next to the cooler in the trunk, but kept her eyes on the man. He stood alone, farther up the hill, tucked under some towering maple trees. Far enough away that she couldn’t make out all his features, but close enough for Chelsea to glimpse his pain. The slight slumping of his expansive shoulders; the hands clenched at his sides; the haunted eyes that stared out into the distance when he removed his sunglasses; the lips set in a straight, hard line.

And the words “Deputy U.S. Marshal” that blazed from the front of his polo shirt. It had taken her three years, but this year she determined to talk to him, to rid her dreams of those haunted eyes. To hear his story. To offer closure if his version somehow connected to hers.

Chelsea closed the trunk of the old Cadillac and turned to her in-laws. “There you go, Henry. You’re all set.”

“Thank you, dear. We appreciate you lugging those lawn chairs for us.” Henry opened the door for his wife while she wrestled to get into the car, sweat beading on her upper lip. Henry and Stella always made a day of it when they visited their two sons.

“You’re welcome. You take it easy going home.” Chelsea peered overhead at the steely gray clouds, swirling into angry puffs. “Looks like a storm is brewing.”

Henry followed her gaze, then turned to look at her. “Oh, we will, dear. We don’t have far to go. Will we see you next year?”

Her stomach lurched. She couldn’t let Doug’s elderly parents face this day alone. Besides, where else would she be on the anniversary of her husband’s death? “Same time, same place, Henry.” Chelsea smiled and leaned into the car to give Stella a peck on her moist cheek. “Bye, Stella.”

Chelsea straightened and Henry wrapped his frail arms around her for a hug. “Glad to see you with a smile on your face this year.”

She slipped away from his embrace, blinking, until Henry started the engine. The giant sedan glided away, their hands flapping through the open windows. She lifted her hand in return, the smile still firmly planted across her lips. Henry was right. This was the first year she hadn’t cried on his shoulder.

Thunder rumbled across the sky, and she jumped, feeling the echo vibrate against the ground. Fat raindrops splashed against her bare legs.

She glanced up the hill. The mystery man was gone.

Disappointment sliced through her chest. Maybe next year.

Chelsea hurried toward her truck and dived in through the open door. Now she wished she’d taken the time to change from her sundress into jeans after the graduation ceremony this morning.

She exited the memorial gardens and headed south on the interstate toward Charlotte. Dark gray clouds dumped rain from the sky, but even the stormy skies couldn’t dampen her spirits. Her sunglasses and an unopened tissue box sat on the seat next to her. She dared a glance in the rear-view mirror. Nope. Not bloodshot. Wonder blossomed in her chest.

Life was turning around. Finally.

She hunched forward and strained to see, the windshield wipers swishing at their maximum speed, her white knuckles gripping the steering wheel. She slowed down to exit the interstate and released a pent-up breath.

She pulled to a stop in front of the barn and cut the engine. Two streaks of lightning pierced the sky, snapping into electrical balls a few feet away. She sucked in a deep breath and pulled the keys from the ignition, chuckling at her shaky hands.

Thunder couldn’t be too far behind.

One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three. A long crack of thunder boomed through the silence, the ground trembling in its wake.

Whew. That was close.

Chelsea waited, peering through the rain pelting the windshield, feeling the truck sway with the heavy winds. She didn’t want to go out in this, but she had to check on Molly. Kalyn, her live-in housekeeper, had fed the fawn earlier but Chelsea wanted to settle her in for the night. Besides, this rain didn’t appear to be lessening. She couldn’t stay in the truck all night.

She glanced to the passenger seat, deciding to leave her purse in the truck for now. She reached under the seat for the umbrella. She couldn’t use it now, but maybe the rain would dwindle enough where she could use it from the barn to the house. She slipped her sandals off. No need to ruin them.

Jerking the door open, she bolted for the barn, gripping her sundress, the wind all but whipping it over her head. Good thing it was just her and Kalyn out here.

She reached the barn and screeched to a halt, digging toes in the wet grass. The door stood slightly ajar. Alarm snaked up and down Chelsea’s spine. Hadn’t she closed it when she left this morning? She knew she had. She’d been worried about Molly roaming around, so she’d locked her up in a stall. A baby deer without a mama was easy prey.

Chelsea shook her head. Enough. Wondering wasn’t keeping her dry. She slid the barn door open the rest of the way and stepped inside. Mustiness and humidity slammed her in the face, along with the comfortable smells of leather and hay. Chelsea flipped on the light switch, but nothing happened.

She squeezed back the apprehension that rippled through her chest. The storm had clearly knocked out the power; she’d seen the fireballs.

Water rolled down the middle of her back. She shook her head, bouncing wet curls to get some of the water off, then gathered long hair in her hands and squeezed. That would have to do until she got inside where she had access to a dry towel. She shivered and rubbed her upper arms to generate some warmth.

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness. OK, so the barn smelled normal, but something didn’t feel right. Chelsea scanned the cool interior. The riding lawn mower and a few garden tools. Some extra straw for Molly’s stall. Looked about the same as it did every other day.

She was acting like a baby. She needed to get over it. Kalyn had probably come out to feed Molly, then left the door open. End of story.

Chelsea gritted her teeth and pushed shoulders back. She wasn’t scared. She couldn’t be. When Journey’s End opened next week, a bunch of teenagers would look to her as a role model for strength and courage. Teenagers could sense cowardice. They wouldn’t see it in her. No way.

Rain pummeled the barn roof. The wind howled, screaming through the open door of the barn and hurling straw pieces from one wall to the other. Another deafening crack of thunder boomed outside. She jumped, a nervous giggle escaping from her throat.

So, maybe she was just a little scared. She’d feel better if she were inside the house sipping a cup of coffee. Something to warm up her insides.

She would check on Molly. Get inside and dry off. Then whip up the latest recipe for apple pie that she’d been dying to try. Oh yeah. She grinned. Sounded good.

With quick steps, she headed toward Molly’s stall and pulled the latch to open the gate.

A streak of lightning flashed from the open door, lighting up the inside of the barn, and she turned to look outside. Blinded, Chelsea blinked and waited for her eyes to readjust, expecting to see Molly cowering in the corner.

But she didn’t. Molly snuggled comfortably next to something.

Someone?

Chelsea gasped, hearing the wild pounding of her pulse over the rain hammering on the roof.

A pencil-thin teenager scrambled to his knees, grabbing something from the straw next to him. Drool oozed from his open mouth, and straw poked out of his black hair. With sleepy brown eyes, he crouched on one knee and brandished a pitch fork at her like it was a rifle. “Don’t co-come any cl-closer.”

Chelsea did what any rational female would have done under the circumstances.

She screamed and threw hands in the air, the umbrella banging against her forearm.

He frowned and shook his head. “I…I’m not go-going to hurt you, lady.” Squeaky Voice said. He brushed the lone tear sliding down one cheek with his shirt sleeve. “I wouldn’t.”

“I believe you.” Chelsea took a step closer. The umbrella zinged open. Whoosh.

Chelsea rolled her eyes to the open umbrella, then back to the teenager.

Surprise distorted Squeaky Voice’s face until he dropped the pitchfork to the straw and doubled over, laughing. He laughed like he couldn’t imagine a tomorrow, like he couldn’t bear to look at yesterday, like he didn’t want to face today. Tears streamed down his face.

She knew that laugh. Recognized the tears.

Shock.

She needed to get him inside and assess the situation. She lowered her hands, slow and easy, and tossed the umbrella into the corner of the stall. She held out a hand with more confidence than she felt. “I’m Chelsea Hammond. Welcome to Journey’s End.”

He waited a few beats before standing up to his full six foot plus height. In what seemed like slow motion, his hand slid into hers. “I’m Jacob Carpocelli.”

Her stomach threatened to give up the hamburger she had devoured on the drive home. The stall started to spin. She reached out with a hand to steady herself against the door. Maybe she was the one who would need medical attention. “Did you say Jacob Carpocelli?”

He nodded while his face blanched, almost like he didn’t want to be known by his last name. She could understand that. Jacob tugged his hand away from her wet, slimy one and stepped back. “Jacob’s my real name, but I just go by Jake.”

“Jake?” Was that harsh whisper her voice?

Tony Carpocelli’s son?

God, why would you do this to me?

OK. Maybe she wasn’t so ready for closure after all.



****



It wasn’t too late to turn around.

Yeah, well, maybe it wasn’t too late to turn around, but he wouldn’t have a job to turn around to. His boss had made that clear.

Trey Colten spotted the end of the snaking road and blew out a long breath. “Looks like we’re here. I don’t see any signs for the shelter, but this is the right address.”

Renner Crossman, his partner, glanced up from studying the case file and looked at him, sympathy oozing from his face. “Sorry about what happened with the chief, buddy.”

“Yeah.” Trey’s hands clenched the steering wheel. He turned into the clearing used for parking, pulling the Suburban to a stop in front of a house tucked deep in the middle of a forest. Hundreds of chirping birds drowned out any noise that might otherwise have filtered through the trees, like the neighbor’s dog from two miles back that ran back and forth barking at their car. Good ol’ Nowhere, USA.

The chugging of a lawn mower sounded nearby although they couldn’t see it.

Hammond’s widow?

Trey’s gut churned, and he reached in the center console for his roll of antacids, popping one into his mouth with a loud sigh. “Tell me again how Carpocelli’s kid found this place.”

“Chelsea Hammond’s brother.”

“Her brother?”

“Yeah, indirectly. It says here that”—Renner flipped the page in the folder to read the notes—“Chelsea’s brother is the resource officer at Jake’s school.”

“Chelsea’s brother sent him here?” Trey frowned. What kind of brother would send trouble to his sister in the form of Jake Carpocelli? Trey might go looking for her brother when he got back to Raleigh. Sit down and have a friendly little chat with him. Instruct him on the do’s and don’ts of brotherhood. Do not send a kid related to the mob to your sister’s house.

“No. Her brother didn’t send him here.”

Trey rolled his eyes and opened his door, his legs not cooperating. “So if Chelsea’s brother didn’t send Jake…”

“Jake was chatting with the resource officer in his office. The officer was called out for a fight.”

“Let me guess. He left Jake sitting in his office while he took care of business?”

“Yep. Chelsea’s advertising fliers were on his desk.”

“Ah. Pretty slick kid.” Trey still wanted that chat with the brother. It was due to his negligence that Carpocelli’s kid had landed here. That burned his gut. He popped another antacid in his mouth before stuffing the roll in his pocket.

Renner grinned and opened his door wide. “Let’s go, cowboy. Home sweet home.”

Trey glared at his partner. Renner’s joking manner only set him further on edge. Didn’t he know who they were up against? Tony Carpocelli? He wouldn’t put anything past that scum. His drug money would buy anything. Or anybody. Trey knew not to trust Carpocelli, even if Carpocelli was locked up, but nobody else seemed inclined to take Trey seriously.

“Maybe it’s time for a new partner.”

Renner scoffed. “Yeah, right. Nobody else will put up with you like I do.”

“I think it’s the other way around.”

Renner threw his head back and laughed. “Could be. But after your conversation with the chief this morning, I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon.”

Trey gritted his teeth and forced his legs out of the car. “Don’t remind me. I should have tendered my resignation. While I still had a job.”

Renner walked around the car to join him, his dark eyebrows raised. “Meaning you won’t have one after this is over?”

“You never know.” Trey mumbled, looking away from the troubled eyes of his partner to scan the yard.

Two other agents were staged at vantage points around the perimeter, but this area was his worry. He wanted to make sure he knew what he was up against before trouble came knocking. And he was fairly sure it would. It was just a matter of time.

His eyes settled on the wrap-around front porch. Water gurgled softly down the side of a ceramic pot. Giant green ferns swayed gently in the breeze. Rocking chairs, Adirondacks and a swinging bench beckoned visitors to step onto the porch, to relax and embrace the solitude, the serenity.

He took a deep breath, appreciating the scent of freshly mowed grass.

This place whispered peace, quiet, and tranquility. He could see how it would be a beacon to a troubled soul. His lips twisted in a grimace. Too bad it had to attract the likes of Carpocelli’s son.

Most of the time Trey liked kids. But this was Carpocelli’s son. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the chief had given him responsibility for the widow.

Trey licked his dry lips.

“Nervous, buddy?” Renner said.

Trey shot him another annoyed glance. “Shove it, Renner.”

His gaze jerked back to the front door. Their trip from Raleigh had taken a little over two hours, but now it didn’t seem nearly long enough. With his eyes focused on the front door, he took the first step and willed his mind to cooperate. His boots felt weighted down with mud. Renner’s movement from behind forced him forward.

He licked his lips again. The widow Hammond would be standing in front of him in about four minutes.

Three years and he still wasn’t ready for this. How could he explain the knot in his stomach that grew tighter every time he heard the name Hammond? Like a sucker punch to the belly that produced more pain with every blow.

He had considered quitting after the chief refused to take him off this assignment, even up until he got in the car today. Days like this, he didn’t like his job. Where was the justice in all this?

He blinked and shook his head, hoping to clear his thoughts, to shake off this pathetic attitude. An attitude that could get him killed if he wasn’t careful.

He slowed his steps further, glanced back at Renner. How could he explain to his partner the sudden, urgent desire to…uh, take an extended vacation? Trey reached the end of the sidewalk and started up the steps. It wasn’t too late. They could be in the Suburban and out of here before anybody knew different. But where would they—?

“Looking for Journey’s End, gentlemen?”

That wasn’t good. She already caught him off guard, and he hadn’t even rung the doorbell. How was he ever going to focus on this assignment? He took a deep breath before turning around, hands fisted at his sides.

Renner pushed his back and propelled him forward, but Trey dug his heels in the ground a few feet away from the widow. He’d never seen her this close.

Chelsea Hammond’s simple beauty knocked the breath out of his lungs. Curly auburn locks cascaded gently onto a cream-colored shirt, and faded jeans graced gentle curves. Her lips formed a slight smile, and freckles peeked out from under a hint of makeup. A fawn nestled at her side, enhancing her sweetness and gentle aura.

Panic rippled through his chest at the war going on between guilt and attraction. His memories—and he hated to admit—his dreams hadn’t captured her essence. He wasn’t sure what he expected, but it definitely wasn’t the beauty standing in front of him.

Trey tipped his head forward in a slight nod. “Ma’am.”

“Good afternoon, gentlemen. I’m Chelsea Hammond. Welcome to Journey’s End.” She extended her hand, graceful, poised.

And him? He needed to get his act together before he lost his job. Reaching out to shake her hand required all of Trey’s willpower. “Trey Colten. Deputy U.S. Marshal.” Trey flashed his badge briefly, as he always did.

She tugged her hand from his grasp. Heart racing, he studied her through hooded lids, not wanting his eyes to mirror his own thoughts but wanting, no, needing, to know hers.

Trey tilted his head sideways to introduce Renner, never taking his eyes off Chelsea’s face. “And this is my partner, Renner Crossman.”

Renner shook hands with Chelsea and flashed his badge.

“Please forgive me, but may I take a closer look at your badges?”

“Sure.” Trey reached for Renner’s badge and handed both to Chelsea for closer identification. “We appreciate your caution. You’re tucked out here in the wilderness pretty far.” An understatement for sure. Two miles from her nearest neighbor? The chief had mentioned Chelsea installed a security system specifically designed for the shelter. He made a mental note to ask her about that later.

“Not so far out that Jake couldn’t find me, I guess.”

She had a point there. He caught her biting her lower lip while she studied the badges, and his stomach clenched. Did she recognize him from her husband’s graveside? He visited Hammond’s grave every year, around the same time as her, but he always stayed far enough away where she couldn’t recognize him.

Or maybe she recognized his name from the newspaper? He’d scoured the newspaper for weeks after Hammond’s death, relieved that the Marshal’s office hadn’t coughed up his name to the press.

She couldn’t possibly know him, could she?

Trey stuffed an antacid in his mouth, almost swallowed it whole.

She handed back their badges without a word, and he released the pressure that had been building in his lungs. “I believe you spoke with Joshua Hamilton, our Deputy Supervisor from the Raleigh office who worked out the details of our visit?”

Chelsea nodded.

“Would you mind if we continued this conversation inside?” The hair on the back of Trey’s neck stood on end. Standing outside, exposed, made him feel like a sitting duck. A big, open target, screaming, “Shoot me.”

Chelsea blinked and her eyes grew wide. “Oh, sure. I’m sorry. Come on in. Do you need me to call Jake in?”

“Let me guess. Jake’s the one mowing the lawn?” Renner’s voice expressed the disbelief that threatened to clog Trey’s arteries.

Jake, their key witness, was outside mowing the lawn? In broad daylight?

“Is there anything sweeter than a teenager mowing the lawn?” Summer and sunshine sparkled in Chelsea’s smile. She scooted passed him to wave at Jake, leaving the fawn lazing in the grass. The light scent of jasmine floated around Trey’s head.

Trey had anticipated other emotions from Chelsea. Like coldness. Anger. Contempt. Even had prepared himself for hatred. Those he could deal with, would actually make his job easier. But this sweetness and sugar? It would kill him. If one of Carpocelli’s thugs didn’t get to him first.

Trey waited while their witness, the one they were supposed to be protecting, rumbled over to Chelsea and cut the motor, casting a furtive glance in their direction. Chelsea spoke quietly to Jake before he hopped off the lawn mower. Trey didn’t miss the look that passed between them or the way she placed her hand protectively on Jake’s back while she led the way indoors.

Trey caught Renner’s raised eyebrows and his cocky grin before following Chelsea inside. Once inside the reception area, he allowed his eyes to wander. In the connecting room, sofas and recliners arranged in different settings throughout the massive area beckoned them to relax, and a 52-inch flat screen television played softly over a beautiful stone fireplace. He could imagine the flames frolicking quietly in the fireplace during the winter, adding a touch of warmth to the large room. Balls were racked on a nearby pool table, set and ready, inviting them to play.

Chelsea, still with her hand against Jake’s back, propelled them around, her quiet spirit a healing balm. No wonder Jake had found his way to Journey’s End.

Maybe there were some perks to staying here after all.

Something about Jake’s profile blasted through Trey’s consciousness, reminding him of Carpocelli. Did Chelsea know who this kid was? Did she know that Jake’s last name was Carpocelli? As in Tony Carpocelli’s son? Tony Carpocelli, the murderer who killed her husband? Why hadn’t they thought of asking the chief that important detail?

OK, go with the flow. No sense in giving away Jake’s last name or trying to fabricate one at the last minute. He would never be able to keep up with the lie. All the lies.

He could hardly live with the truth.

Trey stuck out his hand. “I’m Trey Colten, and this is Renner Crossman. We’re from the U.S. Marshal’s office. You must be Jake.”

“Yeah.” The kid squawked, sliding his sweaty palm into Trey’s. Dressed in slim-fitting jeans and a wrinkled t-shirt, Jake didn’t come across as a wealthy fourteen year old. All the money in the world couldn’t help the kid now. He was scared to death. Scared of them? Or retaliation from his father?

Trey would find out eventually. “Jake, I’m sorry about your mother.”

“Yeah. Thanks.” The kid swiped at his eyes with the back of his arm.

Trey turned his head away to give Jake a chance to pull himself together. “We’ll need to sit down and talk with you for a few minutes. Ask you a few questions about what happened and discuss the schedule for the next few weeks.”

“Yeah. Sure.” Another squawk.

“You guys can make yourselves comfortable in here.” Chelsea led them to the seating area in front of the fireplace and then disappeared. Trey sank down into one of the leather recliners and closed his eyes for a moment.

He opened his eyes to see Jake settle on the couch, his white knuckles gripping the arm, while Renner plunked down in the other recliner.

Trey leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. He didn’t want to be too comfortable. He had a job to do. “You’ll be spending most of your time with Agent Crossman.”

Renner grinned at the kid. “Just call me plain old Renner.”

“And you can call me Trey.”

“OK.”

So far so good. “Do you have any specific questions we might be able to answer right now?”

“Do you guys know when my mom’s funeral is?”

O-K. That didn’t take long to go south. Trey glanced at Renner, hoping he might want to field that question.

Renner took the bait. “It’s planned for Monday at two.”

“Will I be able to go?” Hopeful brown eyes flicked warily from him to Renner, scanning the two of them for the response he wanted.

Trey measured his answer. Let the kid think about the danger in going to the funeral. “Do you think that would be a wise thing to do?”

Jake’s eyes narrowed and filled. “I don’t care if it’s the wise thing to do. She’s my mom.”

Trey settled back in the recliner at Jake’s sudden hostility and reached for his roll of antacids. He popped one in his mouth.

Chelsea walked into the great room carrying a tray of glasses filled with ice and a full pitcher. She placed the tray on the coffee table and sat down on the couch next to Jake, glancing at the three of them as she poured. “Iced tea?”

“Sure, thanks.” Trey reached to take hold of the glass she offered, then watched Renner and Jake do the same.

Trey took a sip. Sweet, with just the right amount of sugar. Good stuff.

No one said anything. Chelsea looked up, an uncomfortable expression settling on her face. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude on this conversation.” She started to stand.

Jake stopped her with his free hand. He coughed and seemed to fight to keep control of his emotions. He wasn’t winning. “They’re trying to tell me that I can’t go to my mom’s funeral.” His voice faltered, then exploded, sorrow making his words sound angry. “My own mother’s funeral.”

Chelsea’s censure flitted from Trey to Renner, leaving both of them aware of how she felt. Mama bear.

“How could there be a problem with Jake attending his mother’s funeral?”

A problem? Couldn’t she see that attending the funeral would create just a tiny little problem? As in ambush? “You do realize Jake’s dad doesn’t work by himself? There’s probably six or seven guys waiting for word from him, happy to do his dirty work.”

He heard her soft intake of breath. So he scared her. Good. Now if he could only scare Jake. “Have either of you considered that Jake’s mom’s funeral would be the first place one—”

“Maybe you guys would like to freshen up? Give Jake a chance to catch his breath. I believe your rooms are ready.” Chelsea interrupted. She stood, pointing toward the stairwell. “If you’ll follow me—”

“We have a lot to go over and not much time—” Renner stopped her mid-sentence.

Chelsea flashed her teeth, something between a smile and a warning. “You’re at Journey’s End now. In our little corner of the world we have all the time we need. Right, Jake?”
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