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Meet Faith Blum and her book”The Solid Rock”

I have had the great pleasure the last few weeks to get to know a spectacular young woman who is a prolific writer of Christ centered Westerns. I want to take the time to tell you a little about her and the awesome series of books she is writing. Let me introduce you to my friend and fellow writer Faith Blum, that Blum which sounds like plum with a B not Bloom.

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She amazes me in that at only 25 she has five novels and three Novella’s already published the newest book is the last in her “Hymns of Faith” series and I’ll review it here in a minute.

I encourage you to go to Faiths website and read the about section she has quite the sense of humor.  She lives in Wisconsin on what she describes as a hobby farm with her family. I’ve read all but two of her published works and have added her to my “favorite authors”

I want to get straight to her newest book and give you it’s description. The book is book five of the series and while you don’t need to read them all to enjoy and get drawn in to “The Solid Rock” but you should at least read the first book as it gives a lot of the background information.

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Description:

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?

My Review:

This is a good solid ending to the series. If you haven’t read the others you can start right here but you’ll want to go back and read the rest of them.

The characters in this book are believable and the story is full of action, adventure, and even romance. The book starts with a huge attention grabbing kidnapping. A Pinkerton detective has been kidnapped to keep him from finishing a case and fellow Pinkerton, Joshua Brookings is sent to find the detective and finish the case.  This leads to Joshua being undercover with some of the worst criminals in the west. As a Christian the lies alone  begin to wear on him, and listening to the men boast about past crimes and wicked lifestyles drag his faith down.

I loved the hero and the amount of action in this book. I loved the women and the fact that they weren’t just damsel’s in distress waiting for a man to save them. Every character in the book was true to what people in the west would have been like. The hero’s weren’t perfect and the villains weren’t all bad either.  Just when you think the book should end Miss. Blum adds another twist and draws you right back in. It wraps up the series very well and ties up almost all of the lose ends. The only thing not tied up nice and neat is what happens to five minor characters who the author assures me are getting their own tales soon. Grab this book and enjoy being drawn into the wild wild west once again.

You can grab this and all of Faith’s books at her amazon page: here.

Connect with her at her website here, and on facebook here. Also you might want to check out her blog here.

Until next time, keep yer six-guns loose and yer powder dry.- PG

 

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

Review Or Die! (Not you, the Reader — the Author)

This is a great article on why to review by my friend Mary.

Elk Jerky for the Soul

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It’s a pain to write reviews. If I liked a book, I liked it. I don’t need to review it. Maybe I’ll tell some friends. Maybe I’ll lend the book to someone else. And it sounds stupid to say, “This book was great! I loved it!” What good does that do anyone? Other readers don’t care about reviews. They pick a book because they get pulled in by the cover, they’re a fan of the genre, or a friend or some bigshot blogger they follow recommended it. Who cares about my little dumb reviews?

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Honestly, I can sympathize with those reasons for not writing a review. But I’m still going to shoot them down and give you some help to understand why every time you read a book but don’t review it, you are sucking just a little bit of life out of that author. If people keep taking these…

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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

Redeeming Character is Out on Amazon.

So Book Five of the Redemption Tales just hit Amazon. After two years and three strokes and a stomach bleed as health setbacks I’ve finally gotten “Redeeming Character” published. Below is a short taste of this book. If it peaks your interest then go grab your copy today at http://www.amazon.com/Redeeming-Character-Redemption-Tales-book-ebook/dp/B01BU6F7VO

If you haven’t read the first four books in the series you might want to start with Redeeming Reputation and then Redeeming Trail, Redeeming Grace and Redeeming Love. All are available on my Amazon Author Page Here.

Now a peek at Redeeming Character.

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The look on Bart’s face told David he was surprised Nathaniel’s father would ask such a question. “Reverend, I don’t understand your take on your son. You raised him to be a Man of God, and that’s what he is. He is the most forgiving person I know.”

David scoffed, “We both know he isn’t forgiving. Just the number of people he has killed since he came West proves otherwise.” The only thing that gave away Bart’s emotional response to David’s statement was a quick tightening of his hands on his reins and the flinty hardness of the gunslinger he used to be in his eyes.

“Reverend, I’m not a Bible scholar but I was in church Sunday and heard your sermon. I got to say that I disagreed with you. You say your son is a killer, and yet since the day I met him, he has tried his hardest not to take any man’s life.”

David shook his head, “I find that hard to believe. In the year we’ve been here I personally know of at least two dozen men he has killed.”

“Yes, but do you know in almost every single one of those cases, and the others I’ve seen in the two years I’ve known him, he has tried to spare every life he can. Take myself and Timothy as an example.”

David’s face puckered in confusion, “What do you mean?”

“Reverend, didn’t you know both of us set out to kill him? Instead, he led us both to Christ and offered us not only forgiveness, but his friendship and a new chance at a better life. The same with Sheriff Stevens. Dakota was one of Diamond Dale’s men and had taken over the Dueling N Ranch. David forgave him, and even convinced the town to pardon him and allow him to become the Sheriff to repay the debt he felt he owed. My own personal story with Nathan is, I challenged him to a duel. As a matter of fact, I threatened to kill him and anyone I found him with if he didn’t meet me in the street for a showdown. Do you know what his response to that was?”

“Well, since you are both alive, I assume he didn’t meet you in the street.”

“Actually, he agreed to meet me for the showdown but invited me to breakfast first. Then he shared Jesus’ message of salvation to me. I laughed in his face and as much as told him I’d kill him at noon. He spent the rest of the morning finding out something about me no one before him had realized.

When noon rolled around, he stepped onto the street and made me admit that by being there he had kept his word. Once I did, he dropped his guns in the dirt and refused to draw against me. Instead, he informed me I was not wanted back east by the law, and handed me a telegraph from my wife telling me she was coming to be with me. Then he offered me a job working for him. He did the same thing for Timothy, too.

They actually had a shootout, and Timothy surrendered to Nathan as acting sheriff. The next day Nathan apologized to Timothy for almost killing him. Several days later, he led Timothy to the Lord and gave him a job as well. So when I say he is the godliest man I know, I mean it.”

David pondered on what Bart had told him as they rode the land. Bart pointed out several good places to build small sharecropper homes and natural dividing lines to each sharecropper’s property. He showed David the right land to keep for himself to raise a small amount of livestock. Some cows and enough horses and oxen to keep the sharecroppers, himself, and any workers he hired in milk, meat, mounts and work animals. As they were riding back to the homestead, Bart informed David of one more fact.

“Reverend, earlier you asked me why Nathan sent us to help you. Truth is, I’m the only person on the ranch that knows the two of you had a fight and why. He made me promise to help you because you’re his parents, and he said this to me just before he and Grace left. ‘He may be wrong in how he treated Grace and me, but he’s still my Father and I will honor him by forgiving him even though I don’t want to. Make sure they are both taken care of ‘til I get back.’ So while you may not be welcome on the Dueling Ns right now, one or more of our hands will be here to check on y’all every day ‘til he returns.”

David was about to respond when the two men heard someone shouting their names. Riding hell bent for leather one of the young hands came tearing up to them. “Reverend, Bart; Sandy Bob said to get back to the house quick; there was some trouble on Mrs. Ryder’s way home from town.”

All three men kicked their mounts into a full-out run. David’s heart was in his throat as he asked. “Is Rebecca okay?” The words of the young hand wrapped the icy hand of fear around his heart and troubled lungs.

“Sandy Bob has done sent for the Doc; he should be there by the time we get there.”

Bart asked one question “What happened?”

The one-word answer made that hand clamp even harder on David’s insides. “Outlaws!”

****
That’s all you get for free. If you want to know more then head on over to Amazon and grab yer copy of “Redeeming Character.”

Till next time Pardners. -PG

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

Two Awesome Westerns

As most of my friends know, I love me some good westerns. I love western tv shows, movies and I really love western novels. It’s one reason why I’ve written five so far and plan to write at least five more.  But I also love reading them. So I like to share when I find some good ones. That’s what I’m doing today sharing two Westerns I just read that were phenomenal. Both were written by fellow Christian Western Writer, Crystal Barnes.

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According to her website crystal-barnes.com, “Crystal is an award-winning author, who also happens to be a born-n-raised Texan and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She has a degree in Computing Science because she loves putting things into their proper place, and she enjoys writing because she gets to share her love of old-fashioned things and the Lord. When she’s not writing or reading, Crystal enjoys knitting, sewing, or crocheting while watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy is one of her favorites.”

She has two books out in her series of “Marriage and Mayhem” so far. I read them both this past week and loved them. Bellow you’ll see my review for each. I really want to encourage my fans and readers to give her books a try. I know if you love My “Redemption Tales” your gonna absolutely adore  Crystal’s “Win, Love or Draw” and “Love, stock and Barrel”  So here’s my review of both.

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Win, Love or Draw

Catherine McGarrett is a strong woman. Life in Texas demands such. For five years, she has built a growing horse ranch while praying for the return of the one man who stole her heart and shattered it in a million pieces when he left.
Now he’s back.
Samuel McGarrett rides into Cater Springs, Texas toting two six-shooters and too many scars. The trouble and pain from the past erupts around the couple. And not just in their marriage.
Can Sam win Catherine’s trust? Will their love survive? Or will his final draw be his last?

My Review:

As a Pastor and an avid Western fan I often have to overlook things in the books I read. This time I didn’t need to overlook anything. This is a well written, exciting Western Romance with plenty of action, adventure and romance. The fact that it is written from a Christian perspective for me was all the better. Unlike some “Christian” fiction books that come across as either preachy or with the Christianity tacked on as an afterthought; Win Love or Draw was just a western romance that happened between to characters that could have been real life Christians. They struggled and feel short at times but they kept striving to live as Christians. The action was fast, the adventures were thrilling and the romance was at times sweet and at times rocky and at times passonate. I loved this book and really loved the plot device of marriage as a waltz the author used. This is a five star read for certain and really should have more than five stars. An excellent addition to the Christian Western Genre.

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Love, Stock and Barrel

Hiding from a rat of a fiancé, Dinah Lexington makes tracks for Texas and who she hopes is her late mother’s relative. She’s seeking answers but finds more than she bargains for when she gets caught in a shotgun wedding—with the rifle pointed at her.
Russell Cahill can’t believe his father is demanding he marry the feisty redhead. The sharpshooting female would only add to his troubles, but how does one argue with a gun and an attraction he’s fought to ignore?
Sparks fly. Secrets surface. Loss threatens.
Will a dream for love shatter forever, or will the pair find a marriage worth lock, stock, and barrel?

My Review:

This is the second in the Marriage and Mayhem series. I loved this one as well. There were twists and turns. The biggest of which was Ms. Barnes’ play on the shotgun wedding. I laughed and cried as I read this novel. Again just like the fist in the series I loved the action, the adventure and the romance. This one was very different than the first one and even though part of a series having read the first one isn’t necessary but you should read that book too. Another five star effort from a great new Christian Western author.

 

Seriously ,if you love Westerns or good clean Romance novels with Christian themes that aren’t preachy or phony, then these two books are for you. Go get them right now. Why are you still here? If you got them go read them. -PG

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

How to write an Excellent, Well Written Book Review and Why

Can I talk to you the reader for a minute?  I and every other author you know needs your help. I’m serious. If you know an author who has books listed on Amazon, then they need your help. No, I’m not asking you to buy more books, though that would help us as well. I’m talking about leaving excellent reviews.

I bet as a reader you don’t know how important it is to leave a review for that book you just finished. Let me give you some interesting information you might not know. Lot’s of readers choose the book they read next by the reviews they see at places like Amazon.com or Goodreads.com. If they don’t see any reviews or if the reviews they see aren’t well written, they may pass on the book.

Not only does leaving a review help readers pick a good book but here are a few other benefits that Author’s get from having a lot of well written reviews. I bet you didn’t know that after an author gets 25 reviews on Amazon, the company begins to include them in their “Also bought” and “you might like this” lists. This increases that books visibility on Amazon and helps put the book in front of more potential readers. That helps to boost sales.

When a book gets 50 or more reviews, Amazon highlights that book for spotlight positions in its monthly newsletter. This put’s the authors book in front of literally hundreds of thousands of potential readers. This can mean a huge boost in sales for your favorite author.

Are you one of those readers who get emails from sites that promote books that are free or on sale? I bet you didn’t know that almost all of those sites require a certain number of high star reviews before you can submit your book.  For example, before submitting a book to E-Read New Today an author must have a minimum of 10 reviews that are 4 star of above. Some places require even more. One place that I list my nonfiction books when they are free Require 60 four star or above reviews. Without readers leaving those reviews, your favorite author can’t use these advertising tools.

The final reason your need to not just leave a review but leave a well written review is because of a new app that came out recently called “Fakespot”. This app claims to be able to tell you how many reviews on a certain book or product are fake. By that they mean not posted by customers but by friends, relatives of authors or are bought reviews. How they determine if a review is fake is based on the quality of the review.  So Let me give you some Do’s and Don’ts that will help you write an Excellent and Honest Review.

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Guidelines for Excellent Reviews.

 

1.Do be honest. If the book was good, then say that. If it was bad then say that. People are more articulate when they believe what they are saying. Every author I know, would rather have your honest review than for you to just say “It was great.” We don’t need you to pump us up if we don’t deserve it. We want to write the best stories or information books we can. If you tell us it was perfect, then tell everyone you; how it blew chunks, that doesn’t help us.

2. Don’t leave a 5 word or less review. This is one of the things that Fakespot considers a bogus review. For instance, a review that says “It was great.” Without saying why it was great, is not really a review at all; and will be considered by this App as less than honest. Let me tell you what I think has started happening. Now Amazon has a link at the end of every Kindle book to leave a review right from your E-Reader. However, most people don’t like typing on those tiny keyboards, or hard to use touchscreen keyboards. Because of that, people leave a single word or just a few words review.

The purpose of leaving a review is to help other readers decide if they want to read the book. We have all been taught an informed customer is a smart customer, so we do our research before we make a purchase. We only have so much time to read in this hectic world of ours, so we use reviews to help us decide if the book is worth our time.  “It was good.” Or “Awesome” or “Loved it” don’t help anyone else decide if the book is for them. Tell why you loved it. What made it a good book? Describe the awesomeness. The same is true if you feel you must leave a terrible review. Tell us what made it terrible, how did it suck? You get the picture, use your words.

3 Do share your review once you’ve written it. Post a link to it on your Facebook. Pin it, tweet it. Heck, even blog about it if you want. Those reviews don’t help us sell more books unless people see them.

4.Don’t review things that weren’t about the book. I can’t tell you the number of authors who have poor reviews that talk about a problem they had with the place they got the book. We as authors have no control over which device the book was downloaded from. We don’t control the font size of the book the reader does. (There’s a place on you E-reader where you adjust that.) We didn’t charge you twice, the bookseller did. Don’t post a one or two-star review because of something the bookseller did. Reviews are about the story and cover themselves. Not about the process of getting the book. If you have one of the above listed problems then contact Amazon or the book provider.

5.Do check your spelling and grammar. Nothing makes a review look more like a fake, than someone who use bad grammar and spelling. Books are made up of words and grammar; if yours seems poor, then people who read your review will think- “They can’t even spell or follow basic grammar, they must not have read this book. I’m not saying you have to be perfect, but if you can’t tell the difference between think and thank; people will wonder if you can even read. Seriously it happens.

6.Don’t tell the plot of the book. No-one and I mean NO-ONE likes spoilers. A good review talks about why you liked the book; it doesn’t give a the plot and details of the book. Nothing is worse for an author, than a review that tells everything that happens in the book. If you do that in a review, what reason does the potential reader have to read the book? You already described the whole thing to them.  Imagine you are looking for a good mystery book, and you think the cover and book blurb make the mystery sound interesting. So  you want to see what those that have read it have to say about it. You go to the reviews, and the first one you read gives the book five stars; then tells you who did it, why they did it, and how they did it.  No mystery left for you. This is not a quality review, its a spoiler without a warning.

7.Do make sure you are reviewing the right book. I’ve had this problem myself. I received a 1-star review, and the guy was saying why he didn’t like my book. Yet nothing he talked about was in my book. I’ve talked with other authors who’ve had similar experiences. If you are going to review a book, make sure it’s the right book. Read the book blurb. Look at the cover. If your using your computer to write it get out your E-reader and look up the name and author of a book. Some people don’t know, this but more than one book can have the same title. I have a book out called Redeeming Love, so does another dozen authors including, Francine Rivers. Imagine the confusion, if a review of her book which is a historical romance, but not a western, was posted to my book which is a western with some romance in it.  Or if a review of my Redeeming Love was posted to her book reviews. The reader would not get the book they thought they were getting.

8 Do contact the Author if you find a ton of spelling, grammar, and formatting mistakes.  We know they shouldn’t happen, but they do. Personal example, I paid over 300.00 for editing on my book Redeeming Grace. It was money well spent and I made all the changes the editor suggested. However, when I went to upload the content to Amazon I used the wrong file, the unedited file.  I messed up. But a reader contacted me and said this is so much a lower quality than your books are normally. What happened? I went to Amazon and very quickly noticed, yep, I uploaded the wrong file. I re-uploaded the right file and informed Amazon, who in turn, informed everyone who bought the book so they could re-download and get the correct version. However, I’ve had friends who’ve gotten poor reviews on bad grammar, spelling and formatting. This keeps readers from reading the book, even after it’s been corrected. So give the author the benefit of the doubt, and contact them first to see if they will fix it. Give them some specific examples if you can of what you’re referring too. Again, most indie authors want to put out the best product they can. Most will correct the problems and respond to the reader with a thank you. If you don’t get that after say a month then check to see if a new version is up. Your kindle or e-reader should let you know when that happens. If it still hasn’t been corrected don’t leave a review, contact amazon. They will put a hold on the book, till the author fixes it.

As you can see, it isn’t hard to leave a great, well written review if you just follow these eight simple guidelines. In the end, the author will love you for it. Other readers will love you for it, and maybe, just maybe Fakespot won’t think your review is a fake review.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

Fox Tv show “Lucifer”

I’ve been under the weather for the past week. Which for me means I was sick and didn’t feel like working or writing or for that matter doing much of anything. Instead, I binge watched television. One of the shows that caught my attention is a new fox show called Lucifer. This show, more than any other in recent time, worries me.

The premise of this show is that Lucifer has come to Los Angeles because he has retired as the Lord of Hell. I watched this show to see what all the fuss is about. People that I have in my life are raving about it. What I saw as a former Satanist made me sick. The real purpose of this show is to put several lies about the devil in the minds of today’s generation.

The first lie is that Satan is the Lord of anything. He isn’t, he’s a fallen angel. He’s forbidden to enter heaven according to scripture and was cast down to earth where he roams until the time of his punishment is come. By watching this show you are given the impression that God himself put Satan in charge of hell and that in reality Satan is just a good guy who wants nothing but to punish the evil people.

That too is a lie. Satan isn’t good; there is no good in him. He doesn’t care about punishing bad people or, as the show said, “get justice for the good people.” No, Satan has one agenda and only one, and that is to destroy everything that God loves. Jesus himself said it best in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

This show bothers me because it is a new way of Satan getting his old lie out to a new generation. He’s using fiction to do it because fiction reaches us in places that nonfiction can’t, deep in our thoughts and feelings. Satan is not here to rest, he’s not here to become more caring. He can’t care. He is a destroyer and he want’s nothing more than to kill our chance at a meaningful relationship with God. Oh, I know I’m preaching to the choir because those that will read this blog won’t watch that show, and yet what are we doing to reach those that will watch? How do we lovingly present the TRUTH to those that are going to be reached by this cleverly disguised lie? We rant at their sin and failings. We harp on how evil the world and they are. We point out how they aren’t good little believers like we are. When in reality the only difference between Christians and the lost is our acceptance of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Nothing else. They are us before we gave our lives to HIM.

Satan is winning the battle for the lost by appearing to care for them more than God’s own people do. Yet we prove his lie true by how we respond to their captivity. God help us.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

Secret Santa Romance Ending

I apologize for the lateness of this ending. I became very sick over the holidays and didn’t get back to this story till this week. So for those who have been asking here is the end to the Secret Santa Romance story. Enjoy.

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Randall went by the cell phone store and after getting the newest cell phone, he quickly wrapped it and headed home. He was worried that Jolene may have overdone it with the wedding planner today. She needed to rest to be well in time for their wedding. Hopefully, the planner would have enough information to get the planning taken care of without having to drag Jolene around town again. He would speak with her about not wearing Jolene out the next time they talked. He pulled his Tesla into the parking spot and hooked up the charger so that the car would be ready to go out again after dinner.

Grabbing both wrapped gifts he headed up to the Penthouse to check on Jolene. He found her on the couch sound asleep with Teddy the dog nestled up against her. He just shook his head. She was going to be in trouble when that dog was twice her size and more than hundred and fifty pounds. He laid the smaller of the two gifts on the coffee table in front of her and then headed to his own room. Once out of site he dialed her new number and set the phone to ringing. When he heard her grumbling in the front room, he hung up and allowed the gift to reveal itself.

Randall went and changed into more informal attire than the suit he had worn to work and then headed to the dinning room knowing that dinner would soon be served. He laid the second gift on the table by his right hand. Not long after he had gotten settled, he heard the heavy quick pace of Teddy, and Randall knew that Jolene was in the room. He stood and pulled out a chair for the love of his life.

Jolene seated herself and waited for Randall to be seated as well. “Why did you give me this phone as a Christmas gift Randall? You know that I don’t like them.”

“I know dear but maybe my next present will change your mind to owning one. Besides I was worried about you today while you were running around with that wedding planner, and I had no way of checking up on you. If you won’t carry it for yourself, then carry it for me so that I know if you need me or help you’ll be able to get it.”

Jolene frowned and then sighed. “Fine if it makes you feel better, I’ll carry the infernal thing.”

Randall handed her a shirt sized box wrapped like all the others this one’s card said, “The eighth gift of Christmas My TRUE LOVE gave to me was…” She opened the box and a card was attached to what looked like a bunch of legal papers. The card said, “My hearts fondest desire.” Jolene looked up at Randall with a puzzled look on her face.

“Look at the papers love.”

Jolene started to read the pages, and then she squealed “Randall are these real?”

“Yes they’re real. It will take a few days to close but on January the third you will be the sole owner of The Readers Nook book store. So you should call your boss and give him your notice now.”

“Oh I hadn’t thought about having to leave my job. I’m not sure my Authors will like that.”

“Maybe not but I bet they’ll love knowing you’ll be able to have them for book signings. Plus you’ve always said you wanted to have time to work on your own novel. Now you can do it in the Readers Nook your favorite book store.”

Jolene smiled “You’re right. I’ll call him first thing in the morning. I’ll also recommend that he promotes Angie, she does a lot of the initial editing for me anyway.”

The staff brought dinner and served it to them, and the two continued to chat as they ate. Once they were done they both headed to their rooms to get cleaned up so that they could meet with the pastor and start the process of premarital counseling so their wedding could take place as planned. On the trip to the church, Jolene filled Randall in on everything she and the wedding planner had accomplished that day. Tomorrow they were going to send out invitations and have her dress fitted. They would also make an appointment for Randall to have his tux fitted as well. They had just agreed on dates for that when they arrived at the church.

The pastor congratulated them on their engagement and explained that usually, the counseling took twelve sessions since they only had six sessions till their wedding, they would have to do twice the work between each session. The couple agreed and after the pastor prayed with them; he handed them their workbooks and encouraged them to do the first two-week assignments before the meet again that weekend. Then they set that date and said their good-bye and returned home. Jolene found it strange to already be thinking of Randall’s penthouse as home, but she figured soon it would be her penthouse too. After a couple of hours cuddling on the couch and working on their first assignment, Jolene yawned and rang Jarvis and asked for a drink and her pain medicine. Half and hour later, Randall picked her up and carried her sleeping body to her bed and after getting her tucked in and Teddy settling himself Randall turned out the light and headed to his home office to look at the other listings the real estate agent had sent him. The next two gifts were going to be fun to give her.

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The morning came quickly enough, and Randall got dressed in a hurry. Today he would change the way he had been giving Jolene her presents. Today they were going house hunting. He’d gotten an email from the agent with four places that looked acceptable. Now he wanted to let Jolene have the final say. He dressed casually and went and knocked on her door. He heard Teddy snuffling at the bottom of the door. He opened it just a crack, and the pup came through and sat at his feet. He figured the little critter needed to go out so he grabbed the lease that was inside the door and took it up to the roof to take care of business. Then it was back inside and another knock on Jolene’s door. She answered this time, and Teddy scampered back inside. “Traitor” she whispered as he sat at her feet and barked once.

“Good morning, get dressed, we have a full day ahead of us.”

“Randall what are you talking about I’m supposed to go by work and give them my resignation and then the wedding planner is coming over so we can pick the cake and place settings.”

“When is she coming?”

“Around noon.”

“Get dressed and then call her and reschedule for three. I really need you with me today.”

“Aren’t you going to work?”

“No, Larry will be running things until after our honeymoon. I wanted to be part of everything leading up to our wedding.”

“I know you Randall, your up to something. What are you up to this time?”

Randall smiled, “I just wanted to be with you when we find your next Christmas gift. I’m afraid this one will be too big to wrap.”

“Randall, you’ve given me enough presents. I’ve not gotten you anything.”

Randall took her in his arms and kissed her. “This right here is the best present you could ever give me.” He tapped the engagement ring. “All I’ve ever wanted was you as my wife. I’ll unwrap my present on Christmas Eve after you say I do.”

Jolene turned red and pushed him away. “Go on!”

He reached for her again to pull her back in his arms when she slapped his hand. “I mean it go on, get out. I need to get dressed.”

Randall pretended to pout like a little boy. “Fine but I will have you in my arms again soon, Jolene. You can count on that.”

Jolene smiled a mischievous smile. “Well, We’ll see about that.”

She shut the door, and Randall sighed. Leaving her alone was a harder struggle than he’d realized. Maybe he should get himself a room at the Hyatt until the wedding. He turned and headed to the dinning room. Breakfast and then he’d go for a long, long run. Followed by a shower, a very cold shower. Then he’d take Jolene to look at homes. He’d call the relator and have her meet them. He was going to have to take precautions from here on out not to let his lust get ahead of his love. He valued Jolene too much to allow temptation to win. He’d thought separate rooms would be enough, but if she hadn’t chased him off this morning who knows what would have happened.

####

He ate, ran and showered. Then he called the relator and told her they’d be at her office at ten and wanted to see all four places. But before that he needed to take Jolene one other place. One extra gift if you will.

Jolene laughed at Randall as teddy had insisted on coming with them. It made riding in his little electric sports car difficult. The puppy couldn’t make up his mind where he wanted to sit and kept climbing on her lap and then back into the floor then up into the back window and even tried to sit on Randall’s lap. She couldn’t help but laugh at how aggravated he was getting. Yet he tried not to let it show. She looked at the man shoving on the dog’s rump to get it back on her side of the car and realized how close she’d come to asking him into her room this morning. Their wedding may only be three weeks away, but it was going to be a struggle to remain pure for those three weeks. She thought of the homework they had started for their premarital counseling and knew she didn’t want to spoil what would be the best night of their lives. She’d tell Randall to take her back to her apartment tonight. She just couldn’t stay in the same house as him any longer. She knew he’d be upset, but she didn’t trust herself. She thought he might be struggling too. He’d run for a long time this morning and that was unusual for him. Plus he hadn’t used the treadmill but opted to leave the penthouse. Yes, she’d go home till the wedding. That was the safest thing.

She wondered where they were going when Randall turned into a Land Rover dealership. She’d always wanted a Land Rover, but they were so expensive and she was satisfied with her little bug. “Randall why are we here?”

Randall smiled “I’ve had it. That beast of yours needs a proper seat, and this was the closest place.”

“I have a car Randall. I don’t need another one.”

“Yes you have a car. A little car. I want you to have a car that can hold your dog and our babies when we have them.

I want them to be safe, and this will keep you safe no matter what the driving circumstances are.”

“You’re spoiling me.”

“I know and I plan to keep spoiling you, as long as we both shall live.”

Jolene sighed and allowed him to lead them inside. He went up to the salesman and told him to show her whatever she wants and when it was picked to load it with every option. He wanted it to be as special as they could make it. Jolene sighed he really was going to spoil her. He was never going to stop showering her with gifts. She’d have to be very careful after they were married. He seemed to remember everything she ever showed any interest in. If she wasn’t careful, he’d buy everything she ever showed a bit of attention to. She loved him, and the fact that he wanted to show her how special she was to him, but she needed to figure out a way to turn the tables on him. The dealer told her to look at anything she wanted and just let him know if she wanted to test drive any of them or had any questions. She nodded and started letting herself get used to the idea she was going to be driving one of these no matter what.

In the end she ended up with a Range Rover SVAutobiography in Spectral racing red with all the options. She about had a fit when the dealer told Randall the price, but he didn’t even blink at the 220,00 price tag. He called his insurance agent had the car added as well as Jolene. Then shocked he when he asked the salesman if they had someone who could drive his Tesla back to the penthouse. He offered a hundred-dollar tip to the driver, and the salesman said that wouldn’t be a problem, and no tip was needed.

“I know it isn’t needed. However, if one of your people is going to take time out of their sales or repair work to drive my car home, then they should be compensated.”

“I will have one of our detailers take it home for you. I’m sure he’ll love the experience of driving such a rare automobile.”

Randall laughed. “It is a joy to drive, here’s the key just have him park it in the spot labeled Penthouse. I’ll plug it in when we return. Thank you.”

Randall set the hundred-dollar bill on the desk picked up the keys to the land rover and tossed them to Jolene. “Your car you drive.”

She giggled and thanked God that Randall seemed to have no male ego when it came to driving. She knew he’d never have agreed to riding in the bug, but he didn’t insist on driving the Land Rover first. She scampered to the SUV and climbed behind the wheel lucky for her. They had had a fully loaded one in the color she wanted on the lot.

Randall and Teddy got in the pup not happy when Randall snapped his leash to the seat belt in the back seat. “Get used to it boy.”

Jolene looked at him and asked, “where are we going now?”

He gave her an address downtown and when she arrived, she saw it was the same realtor who had brokered the deal on the Reader’s Nook for them. “What are we doing here?”

“It’s time for your next gift. Like I said it’s too big to wrap.”

“I thought the car was the gift.”

“The car was a gift it wasn’t the gift I mentioned this morning. Just wait right here I’ll be right back.”

####

Randall jumped out of the car and headed inside within a few minutes, he came back out with a woman who climbed in the back seat. “Well Jolene, It’s nice to meet you. Mr. Herrschner has told me so much about you. Are you ready to go find your family home?”

Jolene gasped and turned to Randall “You didn’t?”

“No I didn’t you are going to. I gave Mrs. Roseman picked out four that met with my approval, and I asked her to show them to you today. You pick the house you want, and I’ll buy it for us.”

“Randall, why the penthouse will be fine for a while?”

Randall shook his head. “No it won’t I remember you told me you always wanted a place with lots of rooms and enough acreage to have animals on so that your children could run and play and enjoy life. That’s what we have picked. There are four of them. You just have to pick the one you want.”

Jolene looked at him for a minute, and finally she smiled. “That wasn’t quite what I said.” She put the vehicle in drive and took off.

“It was what you said, I remember. I remember everything you told me you wanted when you got married.”

“Apparently not everything. I didn’t say I wanted a house with all those things.”

“Yes you did we were in the country visiting that Rancher your Grandmother knew.”

“That’s right we were.” Jolene got on the interstate and increased her speed.

Randall was pleased with himself. “See I told you. I remembered everything you said.”

Mrs. Roseman spoke up “Excuse me, where where are we going? This direction won’t take us to any of the homes I’ve picked out.”

“No they won’t. But it will take us to the place I told Randall I wanted. If he is going to spoil me with these gifts, then I’m going to have my dreams fulfilled. Not something like my dreams but my actual dreams.”

She got off the interstate and followed the road about two miles and then turned up a long overgrown drive. Randall said, “Isn’t this the ranch we were at?”

“Yes it is and this is what I told you I wanted. Get me this one.”

“But look at it! It’s abandoned. Who knows who owns it.”

Jolene looked at him. “I know who owns it Mr. Jones owns it. He is in a senior’s home now, but he still owns the ranch. You go see him and pay him what he wants. I want this place Randall this is the place I told you I wanted when we were teens.”

The Realtor spoke up. “Jolene, it will take a lot of work and money to fix this place up.”

“I know are you worried about losing the commission from the sale? Why don’t you and I go see Mr. Jones and see what he want’s for the place? I’ll allow you to write up the contract, and then you’ll still get your commission. I don’t want you to be out all the time it took you to find those four homes.”

“I’m not concerned with the money. Mr. Herrschner has always taken good care of me. I just don’t want you two starting your life together with such a huge expense.”

Jolene nodded to her. “Randall, is this place alright with you?”

Randall looked at her and saw how much she wanted this particular place. “You know that I’ll do whatever you want Jolene. However, the other four are move in ready we could close quickly and be able to move in after we get back from our honeymoon.”

“So we live in the penthouse for a while. I want this ranch Randall if Mr. Jones won’t sell it, then I’ll choose another place, but I want to try.”

“Okay then drop me at the penthouse, and I’ll meet with the wedding planner and you and Ruth go see Mr. Jones. Call me when you get an offer.”

Jolene grabbed his face and kissed him “Oh thank you. Will you take Teddy with you? I think he’s been in the car too long already.”

“Of course dear. Anything you want.”

“I love you so much you know.”

“I love you more.”

“I don’t think that’s possible.”

Mrs. Roseman piped up. “You two are so cute together.”

Jolene jumped she had gotten so lost in the moment, she’d forgotten the realtor was in the car with them. She restarted the Land Rover and headed back to the highway. Time to make all her dreams come true.

#### 1ed607315e0a04045c4ed997a64a8465

The three weeks flew by. Christmas Eve arrived, and it was time. Randall looked in the mirror one last time. His tuxedo was a classic black with a white shirt black bow tie and cumber bun, He had wanted something more modern but Jolene and kissed him and told him her dream wedding had him in the classic look. How could he refuse her? The work on the ranch was going smoothly. Jolene had talked with the contractor who was modernizing the house without making it look modern. They’d added a wing to the back for the staff. Jolene refused to give up Jarvis and the girls. As a matter of fact, the girls were probably helping her get dressed right now. He’d never seen her wedding gown. He knew that its price was included in the bill that the wedding planner had given them. There was only one attendant for each of them. Jolene had asked her assistant at the publishing company to stand with her, and Randall had asked Larry.

He pulled their tickets out of his breast pocket. It was the fifth time he”d checked to make sure he had the tickets and their passports. After the reception, they would take the company jet to the coast and board the private cruise boat that he had reserved for the week long cruise. They were heading for Hawaii and a private beach that belonged to the cruise company. There was a knock on the door that interrupted his thoughts.

The wedding Planner stuck her head in. “Oh don’t you look dashing! It’s time Mr. Herrschner. Your attendant is with me are you ready?’

“I am more than ready. Lead on Macduff, lead on.”

Randall followed the woman, and Larry fell in behind him. They entered the sanctuary through a side door and stood at the front of the decorated church. Because of the Holiday, Jolene chose to keep the decoration’s Christmasy. There were white Christmas lights along the balcony and down the middle aisle. A huge Christmas tree was center stage, and a trestle arch covered in Holly was in front of that making an arch for Randall and Jolene to stand under.

Then before he could take in any more details, the music started and up the aisle came Angie leading Teddy who had a ring bearers pillow attached to his back. Randall was surprised at how well behaved the pup was being. He hadn’t been thrilled with the idea but what Jolene wanted Jolene got.

Then the music changed. The wedding march started, and Randall looked to the doors waiting to see Jolene appear. Then like a vision, she was coming up the aisle. His heart started to race. This was it, she was about to be his, forever. The gown started just above the swell of her bosom leaving her shoulders bare. Her hair was up in a bun with a long lace veil that didn’t actually cover her face but dropped from the bun in her hair down around her shoulders and lower. The gown itself was white it had a series of scalloped pleats that started just under her left breast and continued to the floor. The train was not to long but full and made it appear that Jolene was floating down the aisle. To him, she had always been perfect but today, today she was beyond perfection. Their eyes locked, and everything around them disappeared. Randall lost himself in her eyes and the look of love and longing that she gave him sent his already racing heart to new heights. Without thinking he took a step towards her, and Larry reached out a hand to restrain him. “Hold on boss, she’s just a few steps away. Jolene smiled, and it was like an atomic bomb went off in his soul. He wanted to rip loose of his friend’s gentle restraint and have her in his arms.

Before he could act on the thought, she was there taking his hands in her own. “You’re a vision.”

 

“You clean up nicely yourself.”

The preacher cleared his throat “If the two of you look this way we can get you married, and you can bask in each other’s presence after wards.”

The crowd laughed, and Jolene blushed. Randall started as he realized he was standing in front of his friends. He’d completely forgotten as he watched his bride.

“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to join in holy Matrimony Randall and Jolene. Theirs is a love that fairy tales are made of. Friends from childhood, sweethearts from their teen years and finally today husband and wife. I had a whole little charge prepared but these two are so lost in each other, I doubt they’d hear a word of it. So let’s just get right to it shall we. Jolene do you take Randall to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do.”

“Will you love, and cherish him in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, in good times and bad as long as you both shall live?”

“Oh I will.”

“Randall do you take Jolene to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do”

” Will you love and cherish her in sickness and in health for richer and poorer, in good times and bad as long as you both shall live?”

“I will, for much longer than that.”

“May I have the rings?”

Angie handed him a ring and so did Larry.

T”his ring is a symbol of the unending love that God ordained marriage to be. A picture of his love for his children. Randall take this ring and place it on Jolene’s finger. Then repeat after me. With this ring I thee wed.”

Randall slid the plain gold band up her finger and looking deep into her eyes stated “With this ring I thee wed.”

“Jolene take this ring and place it on Randall’s finger. Then repeat after me. With this ring I thee wed.”

Jolene slid the ring on Randall’s finger and a tear flowed down her cheek as she said with a shaky voice “With this ring I thee wed.”

“I am glad to announce by the power vested in me by God almighty and in the presence of these witnesses. I now pronounce you man and wife.”

Before the preacher could say you may kiss your bride, Randall had Jolene in his arms. He crushed her to him, and his lips devoured hers. After an eternity, he released her lips and growled into her ear. “Your mine all mine for ever more.”

She grabbed his face and kissed him back just as hungrily as he had kissed her a second ago. “Yes,” she whispered, “Yes I am.”

The preacher placed a hand on both their shoulders. May I present Mr. And Mrs. Randall Herrschner.”

The processional music started, and Randall surprised everyone by sweeping Jolene up in his arms and carrying her down the Asile. She laid her head on his shoulder and began to place little kisses on his neck and chin. He carried her right to her Range Rover and placed her in the passengers seat. Some how Teddy had gotten loose from Angie and climbed up in her lap. They both laughed and Randall shut the door and sprinted to the drivers side. He jumped in and drove them straight to the penthouse. The doormen had been told that the reception was on the roof and to let their guests in. Randall took Jolene in his arms again and didn’t set her down till they were in her bedroom. He kicked the door shut and devoured her in a kiss again. His hands roaming every place he’d wanted them to go for weeks. Finally, she was his.

Jolene broke their kiss and leaned back shoving on him. “Randall, our guests.”

“Let them wait.”

“Now Randall, that’s not nice besides, I could never face them knowing they knew why they had to wait for us.”

Slowly and with great reluctance Randall let go of her keeping hold of just her hand. “Fine but I won’t be put off much longer Jolene.”

“Slow down tiger, there’s plenty of time for that later. Now let me enjoy my wedding reception.”

 

Randall allowed her to lead him up to the roof. He didn’t complain and put a smile on his face through it all. Soon enough his watch went off reminding him that they had to leave now if they were going to make their ship.

He thanked everyone for coming and told them that he, and Jolene needed to leave to make their flight. He picked her up amidst laughter from their friends and carried her to the elevator and down to the penthouse. He called out to Jarvis.

“Is the car packed?”

Yes sir your’s and Mrs. Herrschner’s bags are in the back. Here is Teddy, I will see you both in a week, and Sir may I say congratulations to you both.”

Jolene smiled at the butler. “Thank you Jarvis. Well see you when we get back.”

###

Two hours later Randall shut the door on their stateroom. He pulled Jolene into his arms as his fingers worked at the fastenings of her dress. “I’ve waited long enough Jolene. I won’t wait any longer.”

His wife looked up into his eyes with the same level of passion as he had in his. “Then don’t”

The night passed as the two lost themselves in each other only to find they were never lost, only home where they belonged.

JUST THE BEGINNING!!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in Book Reviews

 
 
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