Raven Weber hates football. As if her fiancé breaking off their engagement to follow his NFL dream wasn't bad enough, her football-obsessed family only made things worse. Twelve years later, she pours everything into her job as a physical therapist assistant. Helping others never prepared Raven for the day her ex would hobble back into her life. How can she remain professional when spending time with him only reminds her of what they've lost?
The day Heath Shaw walked away from his relationship with Raven, he’d been convinced he was doing it for her. Fulfilling his father’s dream gave him the distraction he needed to get over her. Now he’s back in his hometown with weeks of physical therapy ahead of him before he can escape the past. Running into Raven was going to happen eventually, but he didn't expect her to play a vital role in his recovery. If she's got him second guessing why he left in the first place, what effect will she have on his heart?
Her meddling family thinks this is a second chance, while Heath's father only wants to squelch what he sees as a distraction. Raven and Heath know they should walk away, but what if they're better together than they ever were apart?
Marrying Raven will be available March 29th
Raven is introduced in Marrying Mandy, the first book in the Brides of Clearwater series.
Mandy Hudson swore she'd never marry. Abandoned by her parents and raised by her grandparents, she has a hard time trusting that real love will last. When her grandmother dies, Mandy's shocked to discover a stipulation in the will. Considering marriage to her best friend may be the only way to keep her family's beloved bed-and-breakfast.
The loss of his job threatens Preston Yarrow's shaky financial stability. Besides, he can't watch his best friend give up the only real home she's ever known. Frustrated by Mandy's stubborn refusal to let him help, he's certain they are stronger together than they are apart. A marriage of convenience might be crazy... or an answer to both their prayers.
When I started writing Finding Peace, the first book in the Love's Compass series, I knew there would be at least two more titles. Little did I know, I would be publishing the sixth book exactly three years after the release of the first. It's been amazing working on this series and watching these characters fall in love, their families grow, and their faith persevere.
Finding Grace is about Beth Davenport, Lance's youngest sister. I've been looking forward to this book because I knew I could include Lance and Lexi from Finding Hope (which, I have to admit, is my favorite couple lol), and Avalon's family from Finding Courage.
Writing this book was such a bittersweet experience. The story itself was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting all of my favorite characters. It was also sad, too, knowing that this was the last story I'd write based on the Chandler or Davenport families.
Even though there will be no more books in the Love's Compass series, I will continue to imagine their families relying on God and each other as they grow and change.
Without further ado, continue on for the cover reveal of Finding Grace, a special price for Finding Peace, and enter for your chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card!
Finding Grace: The Final Chapter
Single dad Tyler Martin can't be more grateful to the woman who finds his missing daughter. Even though he feels a spark between them, falling in love is a risk he shouldn't take. Too bad chance encounters and his stubborn heart keep trying to convince him otherwise.
After escaping a nightmarish relationship, Beth Davenport is content with her safe and blessedly normal life. Yet something about Tyler and his adorable daughter makes her wish for more. With the walls around her heart finally starting to crumble, she's afraid of a future she can't predict.
Can they let go of their fear and trust God to lead them to the love they desperately need?
Love’s Compass: Book 6
Available January 3rd, 2018
Finding Peace - Only $0.99!
If you haven't read the Love's Compass series yet, now is a great time to start! Finding Peace, the first book, is available for only $0.99. Pick up your copy and dive into the lives of the Chandler and Davenport families.
Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.
Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.
When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.
Will the past get in the way of their future?
Giveaway: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
For your chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card, comment on this blog post. If you've read the Love's Compass series, which book is your favorite? If you've never read one of these books, is there a particular cover or title that stands out to you? I look forward to reading your responses!
This giveaway will remain open through Sunday, November 5th. One comment will be chosen randomly on Monday morning, November 6th, and notified by e-mail.
Did you know the entire Love's Compass series is available on Kindle Unlimited? If you've got a subscription, you can start reading today. Then be on the lookout for the release of Finding Grace January 3rd.
Finding Peace – Police Officer Tuck Chandler is determined to protect Laurie Blake and find out who keeps breaking into her photography studio – assuming she lets him! As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises. Will the past get in the way of their future?
Finding Hope – When Lexi Chandler is diagnosed with cancer, it feels like her life is falling apart around her. Lance Davenport has had feelings for Lexi for years. He doesn’t know what the future holds, but he’s determined to not waste another minute.
Finding Courage – For Duke and Avalon McNeil, it was love at first sight. But shortly after getting married, Duke’s heart was shattered when Avalon disappears for three weeks. As outside pressure continues to threaten their fragile foundation, they must find the strength to prove to each other their marriage is worth fighting for.
Finding Faith – Serenity Chandler will do whatever it takes to help her son, Gideon, who has autism. That includes moving away from everyone she knows so he can attend a special needs school. Aaron Randall is a music therapist and enjoys helping children reach their full potential. The more time Aaron spends with Serenity and Gideon, the harder it is to ignore what they could have together.
Finding Joy - A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. The beautiful new employee his mom hires is the last thing he needs to deal with. Nothing short of desperation would force Chelsea Blake to work on a local cattle ranch. Unprepared to discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they might find joy beyond measure.
Finding Grace - For Tyler, falling in love is a risk he shouldn’t take. Too bad chance encounters and his stubborn heart keep trying to convince him otherwise. After escaping a nightmarish relationship, Beth Davenport is content with her safe and blessedly normal life. Yet something about Tyler and his adorable daughter makes her wish for more. Can they let go of their fear and trust God to lead them to the love they desperately need?
My friend and fellow author, Faith Blum, has a new book coming out in November, and she wants to share the cover with all of us. Be on the lookout for the pre-order coming soon!
Trusting God is hard
Eleanor Miller has never lacked for anything, but she wanted to become a schoolteacher anyway to instill the love of learning into other children. Unlike what happened with her brother, Grover.
Grover hated school and authority. He rebelled any change he could. When he almost killed a man, their family was torn apart and he was disowned.
Eleanor understands her father’s decision, but she worries she will never see Grover again. Will she find out how sweet it is to trust Jesus in everything no matter what happens or will she stop trusting Him completely?
Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and spend time with her husband. She lives in Wisconsin in a small town with her husband and cat where she can write to her heart’s content during the day. Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ.
Please join me in welcoming Faith Blum as she reveals the cover for her new series. These books are Christian Western Coming of Age and if you've read any of Faith's other books, it sounds like you'll enjoy seeing some of those characters again.
About the Series
Through God’s leading, four orphans grow up to be important members of their communities.
The Orphans of the West series is a continuation of the stories of 4 orphans that were introduced in either a Hymns of the West novel or novella and goes through each orphans life.
Savior, Like a Shepherd is about Titus Hine who was introduced in Blessed Assurance (Hymns of the West Novellas #6) and how he must take care of his sister and brother as winter approaches, all while not being allowed to work anywhere.
All the Way is about Henry Salisbury, the only orphan in the series not directly introduced in a previous book, but it has other characters you will recognize from the books about the Brookings family.
He Hideth My Soul is also attached to the Brookings family and Otis Miller as Otis finds out that his grandfather left him a large inheritance and he can finally follow his dream.
He Leadeth Me takes up Gage Wilhelm’s story. Gage was introduced in I Love Thee (Hymns of the West Novellas #1) and tells how he is given the deed to his farm and told to go back to his farm. Gage gladly accepts only to have someone show up claiming his long-dead father owed another man a large sum of money and now there’s 10 years of interest added on.
About the Author
Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and play games with her family. She lives in Wisconsin with her family on a small family farm where they raise goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and have 2 dogs and a varying number of cats.
Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ. If you enjoyed this book, go to her website to sign up for her New Releases Newsletter so you can get an email when her next book in the series comes out. You will also find links to her other Social Media sites on her website. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her.
Now comes the fun part, the cover reveal! First, here is the cover I am revealing to you:
Savior, Like a Shepherd
When an illegitimate young man is orphaned, he must take care of his sister and brother as winter approaches, all while not being allowed to work anywhere.
To gain access to the secret web page so you can see the other three covers, go here to find options for Facebook post, tweet, Instagram, and email wording. Each option shares the pre-order link to the first book in the Orphans of the West series, Savior, Like a Shepherd. In each post is a word in ALL CAPS. That word is the case sensitive password to gain access to the covers.
I thought I'd share the cover for the next title in the Love's Compass series:
This book will be released
November 7, 2016
More information and the pre-order coming soon!
My debut novel, Calming the Storm, has a new cover. I'm thrilled with the result and I think it fits the story perfectly!
I want to extend a big thank you to Blue Valley Author Services for this gorgeous cover.
The Kindle version has been updated already, and the paperback will follow in a week or two.
A marriage of convenience isn't exactly what she had in mind.
After a rocky start, Rachel Peters finally has her life on track. Then a tragic accident takes away her sister and leaves her to raise her niece, Kendra, alone. About to lose custody of her last blood relative, Rachel is desperate to prove she can adequately care for her niece. On the verge of running away to keep Kendra, a new friend offers Rachel an opportunity she can't refuse.
Brandon Barlow has long admired Rachel. When her world begins to fall apart, he feels led to help. A marriage of convenience would enable him to provide Rachel and Kendra with a stable place to live, proper health insurance, and a viable shot at staying together. Once Rachel gained full custody of her niece, the marriage could be annulled.
His plan provides the perfect solution, until Brandon realizes he's fallen in love with Rachel. Through love and patience, can he help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she's never alone?
Hello everyone! I'm excited to be able to share the cover and synopsis for Safe in His Arms. This is the first book in a new series called Life Unexpected. Victorine at Blue Valley Author Services did a fantastic job with this cover!
Safe In His Arms is available for pre-order now and will be released May 21, 2016.
When a beautiful woman walks into his diner asking for a job, Joel Ash can't bring himself to say no. The more he gets to know Anna, the more he's convinced she's hiding something. Intrigued and drawn to protect her, he prays he can ensure her safety and guard her heart. Even if it means risking his own in the process.
Anna Henderson is on the run. In a new town, she wants nothing more than to trust Joel and the family offering her a fresh beginning. She's secured vital evidence that could put her obsessive ex behind bars and out of her life. But without the ability to access it, she'll always be looking over her shoulder.
Worried her past will catch up with her, can Anna ever feel safe in Joel's arms?
Scheduled to release May 21, 2016
Release Party - 50's Diner Style!
We're going to celebrate the release of Safe In His Arms with a Facebook Party - 50's diner style! So make sure to drop on by! There will be some fantastic guest authors, contests, giveaways, and a lot of fun! The party will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 1-4 p.m. (CST). Keep an eye on the event page for a list of guest authors, a pre-party contest, and more!
Today, I'm excited to help Faith Blum announce that not only does she have an official release day, but also a cover for her newest novel, The Solid Rock! There's a catch, though. You can't see the cover for the novel until you've gathered all 15 clues. There's also an exciting giveaway of 10 books .
I invite you to browse through the details below. Have fun searching for the clues! Instructions on how to see the cover are under the "Clues" section of the blog post.
About the Book
Joshua woke with a quiet groan. As his senses woke up one at a time, he cracked his eyelids open. Sure enough, there was a silhouetted form standing at the foot of the bed. From the smell, the person was either from the brothel down the street or had recently left one.</em>
<em>He forced himself to breathe evenly and reached for the knife in his thigh holster. With as tough and evil a voice as he could imitate, he spoke, “State your intentions.”
Pinkerton detective, Joshua Brookings, is sent on a job that seems simple on the surface. His fellow detective has been kidnapped and his boss, William Pinkerton senses foul play. Joshua is sent to investigate Edward's case in hopes of finding the kidnapped detective and helping solve the case that has taken over ten years to investigate.
Arriving in Cheyenne, Joshua finds much more than a simple kidnapping. Yet again, he must go undercover, something he made his boss promise never to make him do again. The only Christian in the outlaw group, Joshua falters and almost loses faith in God’s providence. Will he stand on the solid Rock or drown in the sinking sand?
All the books in the giveaway are either Christian, Mystery, or Western. I have not read all of them, so I cannot vouch for what they are like inside. There will only be one winner (sorry), and since they are all ebooks, we can open the giveaway up internationally as well! Here is the list of the ebooks. To find out more about each book, please click on the title and read the Amazon description.
Dangerous Illusions by Barb Goss
A Box of Dreams by James DiBenedetto
Heartfelt Cases by Julie C. Gilbert
Pride and Butterflies by Franky A. Brown
Guardian (Guardian Trilogy #1) by Robin Helm
SoulFire (Guardian Trilogy #1) by Robin Helm
Legacy (Guardian Trilogy #1) by Robin Helm
Finding Hope by Elizabeth Diaz
Lily of the Valley by Faith Blum
Life and Salvation by Faith Blum
In order to gain access to the blog page that has the full cover on it, you need to hop over to the 14 other blogs to gather the clues. Each blogger will have a clue number and one character of the clue. Each clue is either a number, letter, or symbol. What you need to do is gather the clues and put them in the correct order. Once this is done, type in the password (no spaces) on the protected page (found here) and you will find the full cover in all its glory.
While you’re on each blog, be sure to read the excerpts and I’m sure each blogger would appreciate a comment. Happy sleuthing!
Amazing Grace on Sale!
To celebrate the cover reveal, Faith also has the third book in her series on sale! It will be $0.99 through 11 a.m. tomorrow and then will go up to $1.99 until Monday evening when it will be back at full price.
Here's a short description of Amazing Grace: A doubting man agrees to wed a widowed mail-order bride, but he struggles with whether or not he can be a father to the woman's daughter who desperately wants a father's love.
You can purchase this book here: getBook.at/AmazingGrace.
How do you prepare yourself for writing? Find a quiet place, listen to music, etc.
I get my writing things ready. I sometimes type the stories on my computer, sometimes on Alfie, my Alphasmart Neo, and sometimes I write it out by hand. Once they are ready, I turn on some music and start writing. I almost always write in my bedroom or some other quiet place if I am not at home.
Do you have any favorite snack foods that you eat while writing?
My two go-to snack foods are dried mangoes either with or without walnuts or yogurt with strawberries and walnuts. Can you tell what my favorite nut is?
What's your favorite part of writing: Starting the book, working on the middle, writing the end, etc.
Coming up with the ideas and starting to write them down. The rest is usually fun, too, but the ideas and first draft would definitely be my favorite.
About the Author
Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. (The picture doesn't show it well, but there are scribblings on the page of Green Eggs and Ham). Now that she's grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn't stop her from trying.
When she isn't writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, writing, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.
Finding Faith, the fourth book in my Love's Compass series, has an official release date: February 13, 2016. I can't wait for you all to read Serenity's story!
Single mom Serenity Chandler is determined to do anything to provide better opportunities for her son, Gideon. Moving away from her family support system so Gideon can attend a special school seems like the right choice, even if it means her entire life is about to change.
The satisfaction of helping children and being a part of their lives is one reason Aaron Randall loves his job as a music therapist. When Hope Academy instills a dating policy, he doesn't give it a second thought. Until the new coworker who'd caught his attention turns out to be the parent of one of his students.
Any relationship between them will put his job at risk. The more time Aaron spends with Serenity and Gideon, the harder it is to ignore what they could have together. With Aaron's job and Gideon's education hanging in the balance, they'll have to rely on faith to find their way.
Calla's disappearance leads her family and friends to suspect that she’s lost. In a desperate attempt to find her, Valcas seeks help from a man he betrayed. A new search begins, one that sounds promising, even if it forces Valcas to confront his past.
The travel team reunites for a mission they never saw coming: a journey to a world caught between life and death, and hidden within the deepest recesses of time. Ivory rediscovers a friend and Ray learns the meaning behind his tattoo. But the connections they make between travelers and the lost may twist the core of the Time and Space Travel Agency inside out.
Time for the Lost is the third installment in The Call to Search Everywhen serial series.
Catch up with Calla and Valcas' adventure before the third book releases in February 2016!
About the Author
Chess Desalls is the author of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She's a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. Her non-fiction writing has led to academic and industry publications. She’s also a contributing editor for her local writing club’s monthly newsletter. The California Writers Club, South Bay branch, has awarded two of Chess’ stories first place for best short fiction. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.
New Cover Reveal!
by Marianne Sciucco
Cover design by Perry Elisabeth
What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn't remember your name? A pair of retired Cape Cod innkeepers struggle with the wife's Alzheimer's. A beautiful love story written by a masterful storyteller who happens to be a nurse.
Amazon-rated 4.7 out of 5 stars
Goodreads rated 4.11 out of 5 stars
I felt drawn to Jack and Sara from page one and find myself wondering about them even now.
The book is very well-written and believable.
A heartfelt tender story that is entertaining and emotionally gripping!
A real page turner and it gives you insights of the daily life events living with this crushing disease called Alzheimer’s.
While not a "happily ever after" love story, Blue Hydrangeas is sure to be one you will ponder for some time after you have finished reading it.
Purchase Blue Hydrangeas in ebook, paperback, and audiobook
Barnes and Noble
About the Author
Marianne Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. Her debut novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller, IndieReader Approved, a BookWorks featured book, a Self-e Selection, a 5-star Readers Favorite, and winner of IndieReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award, 2014. She's currently working on a YA novel, Swim Season, about the new girl on the team who challenges a longstanding school record, to be released in 2015. A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college. She loves books, the beach, and craft beer, and especially enjoys the three of them together.
Connect with Marianne Sciucco
Why did I Write a Book about Alzheimer’s?
An Interview with Author Marianne Sciucco
Connect with Perry Elisabeth
I'm excited to have Author Katy Huth Jones on my blog today as she reveals the beautiful cover of her newest book, Mercy's Gift. This is the second book in her fantasy series He Who Finds Mercy.
Peace is fragile. Gifts have limits.
While Prince Valerian adjusts to marriage as well as his new title, conspiracy brews in the south among disgruntled lords who wish to separate from the north. The situation is made even more volatile by a charismatic rebel leader whose guerilla tactics are swift and brutal.
The clandestine efforts of a witch hired by one of the lords render Valerian's gift of Sight ineffective, and Merry's Healing gift is sorely tested.
It has become dangerous for a northerner living in the south, and if the gifted young royals fail to stop the growing rebellion, evil will reign in Levathia.
MERCY'S GIFT will be released September 25
The story begins in Book One, MERCY'S PRINCE:
A heart of peace in a time of war
As second son of the King of Levathia, seventeen-year-old Valerian desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. But when he fails to save his older brother in battle, Valerian must instead become crown prince.
While a traitorous knight schemes against him, Valerian meets Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons. Their bond emboldens Valerian to seek out the legendary dragons and ask for their help against the monsters who killed his brother.
Can Valerian survive the traitor’s assassins long enough to find the dragons? And if he does, can he convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction?
Praise for MERCY'S PRINCE:
"Easily one of the best indie books I've ever read." Story Sanctuary
"A truly believable fantasy world saturated with suspense." Marcha's Two-Cents Worth
"The action is heart-stopping, the love is pure, and the emotions are real." Amazon reader
"A lovely, spiritual tale with all the adventure, mystery and romance a reader could want. Oh. And dragons!" Amazon reader
MERCY'S PRINCE will be FREE on Amazon September 17-19
Connect with Katy on her website
Hello everyone! Please welcome Author J.J. DiBenedetto. I'm excited to have him on my blog as he shares the cover for his newest book.
After ten books and nearly a million words, the Dream Series will be complete on October 20th. Book number ten, DREAM WEDDING, will be released, along with DREAM FRAGMENTS, a collection of short stories that fill in some of the gaps between the novels of the series. And here is the brand new cover for DREAM WEDDING, designed by Emma Michaels
What's it about?
It ought to be a joyful time for Dr. Sara Alderson. Her daughter, Lizzie, is about to graduate college, and marry her longtime boyfriend. But the family’s happiness is shattered when a drunk driver seriously injures her teenage son in a hit-and-run accident.
The DREAM FRAGMENTS collection also has a brand-new cover, also designed by the wonderful Emma Michaels:
If you can't wait for October 20th (and I don't blame you if you can't!), all nine of the previous Dream Series books are available on Amazon as well as many other eBook retailers (visit my website to see the full list of where to buy them!). You can also check out my website (listed above), as well as Facebook and Twitter for the latest Dream Series news. Or you can click here to download a quick guide to the Dream Series and me!
You can also check out the Dream Series on Audiobook. The first seven books are currently available on Audible, and book number eight, DREAM VACATION, will be available within the next two weeks. You can hear samples from all the audiobooks at my website, too!
Cover Reveal for Alora: The Portal
The compelling story of the young soulmates, Alora and Kaevin, continues…
The adventure begins with Alora: The Wander-Jewel.
Fifteen-year-old Alora has visions.
Only while in the shower. And only of one stranger: a handsome boy with long brown hair, intense green eyes, and the oddest clothes. A boy who vanishes whenever she opens her eyes.
And then one day, he doesn’t…
Alora’s safe world is soon turned upside-down as she’s thrust into another realm where her soulmate waits, magic abounds, and unfathomable evil seeks to claim her.
The epic fantasy continues in Alora: The Portal.
Cover design by StunningBookCovers.com
If one of them dies, they both die.
Bound together as soulmates, something compels Alora and Kaevin to abandon the safety of their refuge for the dangers of Kaevin’s realm.
The soulmates arrive in the midst of a raging battle as Stone Clan warriors defend their capital, an attack made more deadly by the pervasive evil of her father. Alora and Kaevin face mortal danger as they fight against man and magick to preserve Kaevin’s home and heritage.
For Alora’s father will have her allegiance. Or her death.
Praise for Alora
“…I have to admit – I wish the book had not ended! …The romance is sweet rather than steamy making this a clean read for young adults, but the action and adventure is thrilling enough to keep any age reader turning pages…” Today’s Visions
“I found Alora to be a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy genre! … A YA fantasy with characters you will adore and cheer for, Alora is a book I would recommend to any of my friends!” Books Are Sanity
Alora: The Portal is available on Amazon for the special pre-order price of 99¢ through the August 31 release date! As a bonus, Alora: The Wander-Jewel will be FREE on August 30 through August 31!
Find Tamie Dearen on her website, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.
Excerpt from Alora: The Wander-Jewel
Alora fought the urge to beat on the tile wall. He’d disappeared again. Who was this boy she kept seeing? Why did he only appear when she was in the shower? He seemed so real, and she could have sworn he looked as confused as she felt. As if he was trying to figure out who she was, as well. Was he a figment of her imagination? His eyes were so unusual. They were green. Not an ordinary green, but a deep, intense jade, the color of her aunt’s emerald ring. He was really cute, although he wore his wavy brown hair a little long for her taste. Yet she could only see his head—never his clothes or the background. Today he’d tied his hair back in a ponytail. Surely the fact he’d changed his hair was significant. Wouldn’t a figment of her imagination have his hair the same every time?
She peeked around the shower curtain at the clock on the bathroom counter. It was five a.m. on a Saturday, and she had chores to do, feeding the horses and letting the chickens out. But it was winter, so she had plenty of time to spare before the rising sun tolled the beginning of her responsibilities. Living on a ranch in the backcountry of Montana meant cold winters, lots of work, and little time for leisure. It was the only life she’d ever known, and she usually enjoyed it, despite the heavy work involved. But right now, she wanted another stab at seeing that boy. The image was always so fuzzy. If only he wouldn’t disappear when she opened her eyes. She couldn’t summon his visage at will. He didn’t come every time she closed her eyes in the shower; it seemed to happen when she was relaxing and letting the water beat down on her head and shoulders. Maybe, if she were soaking in the tub, she might see his image again.
She pushed the curtain back, put in the stopper, and turned the faucet on full blast. As an afterthought, she added bubble bath, filling the tub with fragrant suds. Soon the bath was full, with aromatic bubbles foaming on top. She eased into the soothing water, closing her eyes at the blissful caress of the heat on her tight muscles. And she waited. Anticipating. Would he come? She tried to stay alert, but the relaxing warmth seeped into her skin, lulling her to sleep.
Awakening with a start in the cold water, disappointment formed a knot in her stomach—he’d never appeared. She released some water down the drain and added hot water, swirling it around until the temperature was comfortable again. She had five more minutes before she had to abandon her bath to start her workday. She lay back down, sinking below the water with her eyes closed, swishing the fresh water over her skin to remove the bubble bath film, her face floating above the surface to breathe.
He appeared. She held her breath, clamping her eyes shut tight, trying to hold the image as long as possible. Though the apparition was still slightly blurry, she could see all of him, head to toe. She took advantage of her increased perception, thoroughly studying his image. She almost clapped her hands when her mental measurement estimated his height at over six feet. At five feet ten, she was taller than most boys her age. But she scolded herself for examining him as if he were a potential boyfriend. He wasn’t even real. His clothes were made of supple-looking brown leather. The attire was odd—held together with ties and toggles rather than buttons or zippers. The fit was close
enough that his well-formed muscles were evident. She noted his long hair was tied back, as it had been earlier. She could only see the front of him as he stood frozen, stock-still, with his mouth agape, his jewel-green eyes wide and… moving. His eyes were moving, up and down, as if he were scanning her body as she had done. And it occurred to her if she could see all of him, he might be able to see all of her.
She gasped, opening her eyes to dispense with the specter. But his image remained, now sharp and clear. And he seemed to be standing in her bathroom. She cowered under the water, attempting to hide under the few remaining bubbles. His eyes dropped down to her navel, and as they widened, he whispered, “Wendelle?”
Lunging for her towel on the floor, she screamed at the top of her lungs. Hastily covering herself and preparing to leap from the tub, she looked up, only to discover the vision was gone—if indeed it had been a vision.
Read the first two chapters of Alora: The Wander-Jewel here.