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.


According to her website, “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.


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.


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 or 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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in Book Reviews


Secret Santa Romance – Part 4

The next day had a hectic start. Teddy got fed and walked, puppy pads got changed and Jolene ate breakfast with Randall. They had barely finished when the doorman rang to say that the wedding planner was on her way up.

Randall asked the kitchen staff to bring them a pot of coffee and three cups to the sitting room. Then he led Jolene to the couch and went to the foyer to meet the wedding planner.

Jolene was both nervous and excited. Nervous that the planner would tell them there was no way to pull off a fairytale wedding in three weeks at Christmas. Excited that she was getting the wedding of her dreams with the man of her dreams. Voices intruded on her thoughts – Randall talking to the professionally-dressed woman as they entered the room. “Cost isn’t an issue get her what she wants, and send me the bill. We want the perfect wedding on the 23rd.”

“I understand, but you do realize what it will cost to pull this together so quickly?”

“I do, and I’ll cover every expense just give her what she wants.”

Jolene stood as they came fully into the room. “Hello, I’m Jolene, thank you for coming on such short notice.”

The woman laughed. “Honey your man’s assistant made it impossible to say no. I’ve never been offered such an open-ended contract before. I wouldn’t miss the chance to – how did he put it, oh yeah, spare no expense. Your man has just confirmed that you get whatever you want, so let’s talk wedding.”

Randall sat on one side of Jolene and Clara, the wedding planner, set on the other. She opened up her tablet and started asking questions. An hour later, she was showing Jolene wedding gown photos and when they had picked a few, she called and made an appointment for her to try them on. Then it was on to venue. The lady again made the call and confirmed that Jolene and Randall’s church and pastor were available that day. She made the reservation and assured the pastor that Randall and Jolene would be at his office that evening to start the required premarital counseling. Randall put it on his calendar and quickly called Larry to make sure there was nothing that needed rescheduled. After getting off the phone, he handed Jolene his American Express Gold Card and gave her a kiss. “I need to head in to the office, the board is having a fit with me being gone so much. If you need my opinion on anything, just call me. Larry has been told that you have priority over anything. So call if you need me. I’ll be home in time to eat supper with you before we head over to the church.”

“Okay, I love you, have a good day at work,” Jolene responded, looking up from the images of floral decorations.

“I love you, too.”

Randall hurried to the parking level and raced uptown to his corporate offices. He still got a kick out of seeing his name on the glass doors, but today he only smiled a little bit. He only had an hour till his meeting with the board of directors and he needed to speak with both his lawyer and accountant. As he hurried through the hallways, he smiled and greeted everyone he passed. He remembered that he came from less than most of his employees did and was thankful for all that God had given him. He tried to make sure each and every employee felt like he knew them and cared about them.

Larry was waiting for him outside his office. He didn’t know how, but his assistant seemed to always know when he arrived. Randall was sure the man had someone who called him when the boss was seen entering the building.

“Good morning, Larry.”

“Hello, Mr. Herrschner, the board is already here and wanted to meet as soon as you get here.”

“They’ll have to wait. Get my lawyer and accountant up here right now. Tell them it’s an emergency.”

“Yes, sir, what should I tell the board?”

“Remind them that they work for me, not the other way round. I will be there when I’m ready to be there.”

“You do know that they won’t like that answer.”

“Too bad, while I try to treat everyone fairly, they seem to think that means their combined 15% of the stock gives them control over me. This is not a public company, it is my company. I own 85% of the stock and am the CEO not because they made me CEO but because I own the company. My name is on the doors, not theirs. Now get me my lawyer and accountant.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ten minutes later, both the lawyer and accountant were sitting in front of his desk.

“Thank you both for coming. Let me get right to it.” Randall looked at his lawyer. “I need to know what my options are for buying back the 15% stock that the board holds right now. I know there was a buy back clause – what does it say and how long will it take to enforce it?”

The lawyer reached into his briefcase and pulled out five contracts that were gator-clipped together. “Each of your board members signed the same contract. Your buy back option is that you can buy their stock at full market value anytime, and they are required to accept the payment as long as it is full market value. However, if I may give my opinion here?”

“Certainly, that’s why I hired you in the first place, to advise me on legal and contract matters.”

“Mr. Herrschner, such an act will be seen as hostile by the board and as a lack of confidence in their leadership.”

“I understand that.” Randall then looked at the accountant. “What is fair market value of their stock right now?”

The accountant opened his laptop and went to the NY Stock exchange. Then he asked to see the contracts and flipped to the section detailing how much stock each of them held. After using a calculator, he figured out how much each of them were entitled to. “They each have an equal amount of shares in Herrschner Industries that are worth fifty thousand dollars each, as of today’s index.”

“So two hundred and fifty thousand total?”

“Yes, sir.”

“ I would like you to prepare me five checks, one for each of them, for one hundred thousand apiece. I need them at noon.”

“May I use your phone?”


While the accountant was calling his office downstairs, Randall turned back to the lawyer. “I’ll need the proper paper work then, as well.”

“Not a problem. Is there anything else?”

“Yes, what are my options when it comes to terminating them all?”

A frown creased the lawyer’s face. “Who?”

“The board, who else have we been talking about?”

“Again, they serve at your pleasure. You may terminate them at any time. It would be customary to give them a severance package equal to two month’s wages.”

“Fine, draw up that paper work as well. I want them gone by the end of the day.”

“I can do that as well. I’ll just head down to my office and get both sets of paperwork ready. Shall I attend the meeting as well?”

“Yes, please.” Randall turned back to the accountant. “I will need those severance packages at noon as well.”

“Of course sir, I’ll go get right on that. Both sets of checks will be here in half an hour.”

“Good. Also, if I can meet with both of you this afternoon I would appreciate it. I have other things I want to do but this takes priority.”

Both men nodded and then left Randall’s office. Larry stepped inside. “Sir, I informed the board that you were booked and would meet with them at noon as was scheduled. They were not pleased.”

“I don’t care. Larry, you’ve been my assistant since I started this enterprise and you’ve done a wonderful job.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“So I want to do something for you. This afternoon I’m promoting you to Vice President of Operations.”

“That isn’t necessary, sir.”

“Actually it is, Larry. As you know, I got engaged this week and Jolene and I are planning to be married before Christmas. I plan to be absent from the company till after the first of the year starting next week. I need to leave the company in the hands of someone who knows me and how I would want it run. That’s you. So I need you to find a replacement for your job as my personal assistant and train them while I’m gone. Also find a female who would make a great personal assistant for Jolene, will you? She’ll need one after we get back. She just doesn’t know it yet. Have that person report to my penthouse tomorrow morning at nine.”

Larry had been busy taking notes. “Yes, sir. May I ask what my new responsibilities will be?”

“You will help me run the company. You will be a member of my new board of directors and will sit in for me when I’m away. Your salary will be $95,000 a year and you will receive 5% of the stock of this company. You will receive an office on this floor and a leased car, and your insurance package will remain the same.”

“Thank you, sir. I will get right on the task of finding those personal assistants.”

“Good – and Larry, congratulations, you’ve earned this post.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Larry left and Randall took a moment to sit and get himself calm. First, he prayed for God’s peace to fill him. Then he opened the Bible that he kept on his desk and spent time sitting at the feet of his Lord and Savior. When the lawyer arrived, with the paperwork for his signature and the checks from accounting, Randall was ready to face the board with integrity and peace.




Randall entered the board meeting, followed by Larry and the lawyer. Jeff Davies, who considered himself the leader of the board of directors, stood. “Randall, what is the meaning of this? We are having a board meeting. Bringing your entourage is unacceptable.”

Randall stopped where he was and stared at Jeff. “Sit down, Mr. Davies. Contrary to what you seem to think, you are not in charge here. This is my company, I own 85% of the stock and you five board members own 3% each. That’s an equal amount, making you all equals. As the owner of this company, I will bring anyone I think is needed into these meetings. Have I made myself clear to you, Mr. Davies?”

Randall waited until the man nodded and sat down. Once the man was seated, Randall continued to his own chair at the head of the table. He indicated that Larry and Mr. Archer, the lawyer, take seats behind him along the wall.

“Now that we are all in understanding of how this company works, lets get to business.” He nodded to Mr. Archer, who stood and began to hand each board member a copy of their employment contract. Randall continued, “As I’m sure each of you are aware, you hold a copy of your contract in front of you. Will you please confirm that you signed that contract stating that you read and accepted it upon employment here as board members?”

They each agreed that they had. Randall looked at Larry. “ In your notes of this meeting, please note that each and every member of the board has agreed that they did indeed sign their employment contract.” Larry began to make notes on a steno pad. Randall picked up a copy of the contract. “Please open your contract to the post-it flagged page.” He waited as each of the board members did as he asked. “Notice the section highlighted on my right to buy back your stock options at full market value.” He pushed a button on the projector remote and a screen descended, on which the projector displayed the current market value of their stock. “Notice that the market value of each of your stocks as of an hour ago is fifty thousand dollars. I am executing my option to buy back all your stock.” He gestured to Archer, who handed each of the men a contract for the purchase of their stocks. “Notice that the amount has been left blank. If you sign this bill of sale right now, I am offering you twice the fair market value. If for some reason you decide to not sign your shares over to me, then two things will happen. First, Mr. Archer, here will leave at the conclusion of this meeting and go directly to the courthouse and file a suit against you for breach of contract. The second is the purchase price will drop to fair market value minus the cost of legal fees and lawyer fees for having to sue you.”

Everyone but Jeff Davies signed the contract and was handed a check for one hundred thousand dollars. Randall and everyone else looked at Jeff Davies, who was red with anger. “I will not be bullied by you, Randall.”

“I’m not bullying you, Jeff, I’m exercising the rights of the company owner that you agreed to when you were given the position as a member of the board of directors. I’m making sure that you and everyone understands that to not accept my more than fair offer has consequences that you will also see are spelled out in the contract you originally signed, stating that you accepted.”

“So you are bullying us! If we don’t agree, you sue us and give us less money. Well, screw you, Mr. Herrschner, I won’t sign.”

“Fine, your loss, Mr. Davies. Let’s table that for a minute, but I suggest that after this last piece of business, you contact a contract lawyer and see what he tells you. I’ll give you till five today to accept my price for your stocks, which is now only fair market value.

“Let us move on to the next order of business, then. Mr. Archer, will you please?”

Archer again reached into his briefcase and stood, handing each board member a manila envelope with their name on it.

Randall pointed at their envelopes. “Inside, each of you will find your severance package. As of January second, your services will no longer be needed.”

Jeff Davies jumped to his feet. “This is an outrage! I refuse to be treated like this.” He looked at the other four members of the board. “I say we get a lawyer and sue Mr. Herrschner here for putting his personal desires and feelings ahead of the good of the company.”

Randall shook his head. “Mr. Davies, you really seem to have no idea of who you really are in this company.”

“I do, sir, I’m a stockholder and member of the governing board of this company.”

“No, sir, look at your contract again. You, sir, are an employee of MY COMPANY. Your stock was a part of your employment contract as is your place on this board. This board was not a governing body, but an advisory one. I own this company. It is not a publicly traded company, it is MINE. Again, I will direct your attention to the contract you admitted you read and signed upon your employment with me. That contract does not guarantee you a severance package, and it states that I may end your employment at my convenience just as you can end it at yours. However, it also states, and which you agreed, to sell me back my stock for fair market at my request. Today you have refused. Now, you threaten me with a legal action you have no cause for. Therefore,” Randall stood and picked up the envelope sitting on the table in front of the angry board member. “You are terminated immediately and you will receive no severance.” He walked back to his spot, picked up the phone, and spoke. “This is Mr. Herrschner, I need two security personnel to the board room immediately. Thank you.”

Everyone was now talking at once. Before order could be restored, the two security members entered the room, which brought instant silence. “You sent for us, Mr. Herrschner?”

Randall walked down to where they both stood and looked at the name tags on their uniforms. “I did, thank you for hurrying, Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Thompson. Would the two of you be so kind as to escort Mr. Davies here to his office? See to it that he only removes his personal belongings, and then escort him to his car and make sure he gets off the premises for me.”

“Of course, boss.” The bigger of the two stated, then they both went to stand behind Jeff Davies. “After you, Mr. Davies.”

The man stood and pointed at Randall. “You haven’t heard the last of me.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure I have. You, however, can expect to hear from Mr. Archer here before the end of the week. I suggest you seek a good attorney, Jeff.”

The ex-board member stormed out of the room, followed by the two security guards. Randall went back to his chair and sat down. “I don’t want any of you to feel like this is punishment. It isn’t, but you allowed Jeff to lead you in a direction you had no business going. I’m willing to allow any of you to stay on as employees, but under a new contract that does not include stock options. If you wish to stay, give me back your severance packages and I will shred them right here in front of you. If you keep them, I’ll assume that indicates you wish to leave the company. I will expect you to leave the building by the first of the year. Before you decide, let me tell you that I do value your opinion and if you stay, we will change the title of this board from board of directors to CEO advisory board. The duties of that board will be to advise me on ways to keep making this company successful. The final decision will be mine as to what direction we as a company go. Also, I want you to know that your salaries will remain as they are, with incentives given to those that bring us opportunities that bring us more profit. The decision is yours. I’ll leave for a few minutes to check on my fiancé and will expect your answer when I return.”  Randall stood and indicated that Larry and Mr. Archer follow him out.


He called and checked on Jolene and was told by his staff that she and the wedding planner had gone to talk to some people about flowers and wedding cake. Randall knew right then that Jolene would be getting two gifts today. She had resisted buying a cell phone because she couldn’t afford it before, but he didn’t like not being able to get hold of her or her being able to contact him or get help if she needed it. So tonight, a phone and his extra special gift -he hoped. If the realtor came through for him.

He looked at his watch and realized he needed to get this situation wrapped up, the realtor would be here in about thirty minutes.

Larry arrived at the boardroom door with a trashcan and diamond cut paper shredder. They entered to see that Mr. Archer was already there and answering questions about the new contracts.  “Have you four made up your mind?”

Two of them stood up and walked out, holding their severance packages. Randall stopped them both at the door and shook their hands. “I appreciate your honesty, gentlemen. If you need references, I will gladly give you both good ones.”

They left and Randall went to the head of the table. Both of the former board members handed him their severance packages and watched as he shredded them.  “You each will be asked to come to my office tomorrow to sign your new contracts. I’m glad that you all are willing to stay and help us make Herrschner Industrial a more successful company.”

He went from there straight to his office, where he met with his relator. “Was she open to the offer?”

“She was more than open! She remembered you and Jolene, and was tickled that Jolene would be the new owner. She accepted your offer and agreed to a January third closing. She also was willing to hang around and help Jolene get settled in as the new owner, if she wants.”

“Awesome. So do you have a copy of the contract with you?”

“I do, but you realize it isn’t legal till closing?”

“I understand, but I want to give it to Jolene as a Christmas gift.”

The realtor handed over a copy of the contract and received the security check from Randall in return.

“Now about that other thing we talked about. Have you got some listings for me?”

“My staff is working on that right now, I should have a few for you by end of business today.”

“Can you text them to me? I’d like to take her to look at them in the next few days.”

“Of course, sir.”

The two shook hands and the realtor left. Once he was gone, Randall got to work, taking the contract and putting it in a shirt box with a couple of old paperback books. Then he inserted a yellow sticky note to the contract where Jolene would see it when she opened the box. He wrapped the box and placed the card on it. Then he buzzed Larry.

“Yes, sir?”

“Larry, your contract will be ready to sign tomorrow. Will you call down and tell the accounting manager to meet me in the office at ten tomorrow so I can have him start the paperwork for your new salary and benefits package?”

“Yes, sir, anything else?”

“No, I’m taking the rest of the day off. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. I’ll be here by nine. If you need me before then, call the cell phone. I’m not going straight home. I need to pick up one more gift for Jolene. Then I’ll be at the penthouse the rest of the night, I believe.”

“What about the party planner? She is supposed to be here in a little bit.”

“Send her to the penthouse. Tell her I want her to throw an engagement party on the rooftop terrace for 100 people, no expense spared. Jarvis can show her the space and I’ll call her tomorrow to hammer out the details.”

“As you say, sir.”

“Goodnight, Larry.”

“You as well, Mr. Herrschner and happy shopping.”

Randall exited his office and headed for the elevator. Time to find his love a phone.


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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Book Reviews


Secret Santa Romance pt 3

This story looks like it is going to run another day at least. I hope everyone is enjoying Randall and Jolene’s story. I would love a few comments telling me what you think.-PG


Jolene woke to pain on her right side. She looked around her, realizing that she was in a hospital, and reached for the nurse call button, when she noticed Randall sleeping in a chair beside her. She pushed the call button to let the nurse know she was in pain. She looked at her stomach and realized she had been operated on. She sort of remembered someone telling her that her appendix had burst. Randall stirred beside her and opened his eyes to see her looking at him. “Hey, how are you feeling?”

“I’m hurting, but I just called for the nurse.”

“You really scared me, Jolene. When we got to you, the EMT’s couldn’t wake you up. Then I got here, the doctor said your appendix had ruptured. For a while there, I was afraid I had lost you.”

“I’m glad you got to me in time.”

Just then, the nurse entered. “You’re awake, good! How are you feeling?”

“I’m in a lot of pain right now.”

“I thought you might be, so I brought your pain meds with me. This may make you a bit drowsy, don’t fight it. The more you rest, the quicker you’ll heal.” She connected a syringe to Jolene’s IV and about five seconds later, Jolene felt the pain melt away.

“I’ll be back later to check on you. Do you need anything else?”

Jolene shook her head. “Okay, you rest and I’ll check on you in a bit.”

After she left, Randall stood and came over to the bed. “Jolene, do you think you can stay awake for a few minutes? I need to talk to you.”

“I’ll try, Randall, but I can’t make any promises.”

“I’ll try to be quick, then. I was going to wait until you’d received all my presents but this surgery made me realize I don’t want to wait, not one more day.”

“What are you talking about? You haven’t given me any presents.”

Randall reached into a bag that was sitting beside the chair he had been sleeping in and pulled out a box that was wrapped in the Christmas wrapping paper that all her Secret Santa gifts had been wrapped in. He sat it on her lap. “Yes, I have.”

She looked at the tag attached and it read “The third gift of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me was…”

She gasped and looked up at her best friend and the only man she had ever loved since high school. “It was you? You’ve been giving me these gifts?”

“Yes, I know you’ve thought our dates have been to keep other people away from us. But I’ve never thought that way. I’ve always loved you. I wanted to make you fall in love with me for real, and had twelve of these planned. Then I saw you laying on the bathroom floor unconscious and realized I don’t want to wait even till Christmas to tell you how I feel. I love you. I want us to be a couple for real. Honestly, I want us to be more than a couple, I want us to be husband and wife, mom and dad, and eventually, a grandma and grandpa together.”

Jolene couldn’t stop the tears that leaked out of her eyes. “That’s what I’ve wanted, too. I thought you didn’t want me like that. Every time I got one of those gifts, I wished it was you sending it instead of some unknown guy.”

“Then let’s make it official. This was going to be gift number twelve.” Randall reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a blue Tiffany’s box and flip it open to reveal a beautiful diamond ring. “Jolene Fairaday, will you marry me?”

“Yes, Oh, YES!”

Randall slipped the ring out of the box and placed it on her finger. Then he leaned down and kissed the girl of his dreams gently and sweetly for the first time. Jolene wrapped her arms around the man she’d always dreamed about and the kiss intensified till her toes curled. When Randall pulled away, they were both smiling like goofy lovesick kids. Randall rubbed her check, then leaned down and kissed her again, and whispered, “Get some sleep, my love. I’ll be right here when you wake up.”

Jolene looked up at him and slowly did exactly what he’d told her to do, and slipped into medicine-induced sleep. Her dreams were all about her future with Randall. She knew that her dreams would now become her reality. God had heard the cry of her heart and blessed her with her heart’s desire. Randall felt about her like she felt about him.


Randall watched as his fiancé slipped into a drug-induced sleep. She hadn’t even opened her gift but he left it on the hospital table and set the ring box beside it. She said yes! He’d been ready to convince her that they were right for each other; instead she had been feeling the same way he had all this time. They’d wasted years by not telling each other how they felt. Never again. He’d tell her every day how much he loved her. He’d shower her with tokens of his love just to make sure she never felt like he didn’t care about her. She said yes. He wanted to shout it from the rooftops; instead, he called his assistant and had him make the announcement. When Jolene woke up, he’d see how long an engagement she wanted. If he had his way they’d be married before Christmas. They’d wasted enough time apart.




Jolene slowly recovered from the surgery, and having gift number three helped. Randall had gotten her a signed first edition of her favorite book: “Persuasion” by Jane Austen. She loved that he’d noticed her eyeing it on one of their trips to the used bookstore. Every day she was in the hospital, Randall would arrive right after breakfast with another of those gifts. Each had that Card which always read: “The ___ gift of Christmas My TRUE LOVE gave to me was…”

She’d open each one to realize just how special a man God had gifted her with. Gift four was an antique music box just like one her grandma used to have. Gift five was tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet three days before Christmas. She got gift six just before they released her from the hospital, and it was a new outfit, which she was grateful for since she had been brought to the hospital in her ratty old pajamas.

They only had one argument as she was released. She expected to go to her apartment, but instead found herself at Randall’s Penthouse for the first time. “Randall, I can’t stay here with you. What will people think?”

“I don’t care what they think. You need to rest and continue to get well. Here I can look after you, and when I’m not here, Jarvis and the staff can make sure you are taken care of.”

“Jarvis works for you? I should have known that.”

“I hired him after he was at your house. You made him sound so great, I didn’t want to let him get away.”

“Randall, I can’t stay at your place alone with you. We may be engaged, but I don’t want either of our reputations to be soiled by rumor and speculation.”

“We won’t be alone, there is staff here all the time and until we get married, you will have your own room. I insist, Jolene. You can’t be alone right now and I refuse to have to kick your door down again. Here, someone can make sure you’re okay and call the doctor if needed.”

Jolene knew that look. He wasn’t going to relent no matter what she said. “Fine, but I think you’re overreacting.”

“Maybe so, but this is the way it’s going to be.”

“What about my things?”

“I’ll send Larry with a couple of the maids to your place to bring your clothes. Anything else we can talk about later, okay?”

Jolene sighed. “Fine, you win, but make sure someone else is in the apartment the whole time I’m here.”

“I can do that, at least until after our wedding.”

Randall helped her out of the car and into the elevator. When they stepped out into the penthouse, Jarvis was waiting at the door. “It is good to see you again, Miss Jolene.”

“You as well, Jarvis, I’m glad that Randall gave you a job.”

“It will be a pleasure to serve you again, miss, and I see he gave you his heart,” the butler said, looking at the ring on her finger.

“Yes, it seems that I just needed to pass out to earn his name.”

“I hear it was more than that. Shall I show you to your room and help you get comfortable?”

“That would be nice, thank you.”

The butler gave Jolene his arm and showed her to her suite, which was a bedroom and small sitting area, as well as an ensuite with glass shower and soaker tub. “If you need anything, miss, just push this button, and either I or one of the staff will respond in seconds. Everyone has been informed that your needs are top priority, per Mr. Herrschner’s orders.”

“Thank you, Jarvis, and can you have someone bring me a drink? I need to take my antibiotic and a pain pill, then I’ll rest till dinner.”

The older man nodded. “We have been informed of your favorite foods and beverages. I will have an ice cold grape crush brought to you straightaway, miss. Shall I call you when supper is ready, or would you prefer I have a tray delivered to you?”

Jolene smiled. “You’d better just inform me, I’m sure that Randall will end up in here himself if I don’t come out to eat with him.”

“As you wish, Miss Jolene.”

Once the soda had been brought and Jolene had taken her pills, she laid down to rest until she was called for supper.

Cute newfoundland puppy face in pure black

She woke several hours later to a knock on her bedroom door. She called at whoever it was to come in, and several of the house staff entered with several boxes of her clothes from her apartment, as well as her laptop and personal grooming products. She eased out of the bed and started putting stuff where she wanted it. As she put the last of the products in the ensuite, there was a scratching sound at her door. She opened it to a see a solid black puppy with a golden bow around its neck and that familiar tag – “The sixth gift of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me was the puppy I always said I wanted.” On the opposite side of the card was, “He’s a Newfoundland puppy just like you always said you wanted. He needs a name.”

She squealed and picked up the ball of fur and hugged him to her. “Look at you. You’re such a cutie, you look like a living teddy bear. That’s it I’ll call you – Teddy. Now, I hope Randall bought some puppy pads and food for you. I bet he’s here somewhere let’s go find him.” She sat her Teddy on the ground and headed into the main part of the penthouse. The little puppy whined and then followed right along behind her. When she got into the sitting room, there was Randall looking like the cat that ate the canary. She walked over to him and gave him a big hug and a kiss. “I love him, thank you! I’m going to call him Teddy because he looks just like a little teddy bear.”

Randall laughed. “You do realize how big these dogs get, right? It’s going to be hilarious to here you calling a hundred pound beast a little teddy bear.”

“I don’t care how big he gets, he’ll always be my teddy bear. Now, did you get him a collar, food and water dishes, and puppy food? Also, how about puppy pads? I doubt he’s house broken yet.”

Randall laughed. “I did get all those things. I figure you want them taken to your room?”

“Yes, please.”

“I got you a leash too, in case you want to take him out to the park for a walk. Also, he is scheduled to start obedience training on January the 2nd. I figured as big as he is going to get, you need to make sure he’s properly trained, or he’ll drag us both around like a chew toy.”

Jolene gave him a kiss that told him just how good a job he had done picking this gift.

“Can we sit and have a conversation while waiting on supper?”

“Of course.”

Jolene sat down on the love seat and waited as Randall sat beside her. Teddy jumped at her legs, trying to get up on her lap. She reached down and pulled the fluffy little bundle of love onto her lap.

Randall laughed “I don’t know that you want to get that beast used to sitting on your lap. In about six months, he’ll crush you.”

Jolene stuck her tongue out at him. “Well, until then, he is perfect for cuddling.”

“You’ll wish you hadn’t started that, but he’s your dog. Anyway, we need to talk about our engagement.”

“What about it?”

“How long an engagement do you want?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, when do you want to get married, Jolene? I feel like we wasted a ton of time and I don’t want to waste any more.”

“Well, I haven’t even gotten to show off my ring to our friends yet.”

“We could have a party and invite them all over this weekend if you want. I could have a heated tent put up on the rooftop terrace and hire a band. But I would want us to announce our wedding date if we do that.”

“Well when were you thinking?”

“How about on the twenty-third of December?”

“You want me to plan a wedding in three weeks?” she asked incredulously.

“I would like to be married before Christmas if you think we could do it.”

“I want a real wedding, Randall, in a church with all the trimmings.”

“Okay I’ll make you a deal, you agree to marry me on December the 23rd and I’ll hire you a fleet of wedding planners to make it the wedding of your dreams.”

“I don’t even know if we could get dresses altered in that time frame.”

“Jolene, trust me, with the kind of money I’ll throw at them you could get the dresses made from scratch in that time frame.”

“Then I guess it’s a good thing you’ve been so successful, isn’t it?”

“It has its advantages. We’d never pull this off if we were still in the old neighborhood.”

“Okay, I will marry you on the twenty-third but you have to get our friends here this weekend. I’ll call the girls I want for bride’s maids and maid of honor. And you will find me a wedding planner tomorrow.”

“ I will get a wedding planner and party planner to meet with you before tomorrow is done. Thank you. I love you, never doubt that.”

“I know you do. I love you, too.” She leaned against him, asking, “Why did we wait so long to tell each other how we felt?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t want another day to pass without us telling each other from now on.”

“Let me go put Teddy in my room, I’m sure supper will be ready soon.”

Randall nodded and kissed her soundly, which was hard with a wiggly puppy trying to lick them both. Jolene got up laughing and sat Teddy on the floor. “Come on, Teddy, let’s get you in the room and get ready for supper.”

Randall grabbed his phone and gave Larry a call. “I know it’s late for work, Larry, but I want you to find a Wedding Planner who is willing to plan a wedding for December 23rd. Money isn’t an obstacle. I’ll also need a party planner for a party this weekend. Send them both to the penthouse tomorrow to see Jolene. I’ll be in at some point tomorrow.” He was silent and then said, “Yes I know they are getting antsy, remind them who owns the majority of the stock. I’ll be there by noon then. Just get me those planners here in the morning.”

Randall hung up and then called his real estate broker and told him what he wanted to purchase and scheduled to see him at the office tomorrow at two. Jolene would be blown away by her next present. He planned to see all her dreams fulfilled from now on.

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Book Reviews


Secret Santa Romance part 2

Here is part two I hope you continue to enjoy this tale will put up part three tomorrow God willing-Pgwhite-elephant-gift-exchange

Tuesday went by without a gift or word from her secret Santa. Jolene was kind of glad, there was something almost stalker-like about having someone know where you live and what you like and you have no clue who they were. She figured he must be someone she knew but the only one who came to mind that knew her that well was Randall. While she was secretly in love with him, he really only saw her as a sister or good buddy. Someone he could turn to for a night out without drama or tons of paparazzi. Wednesday she got up to go to work and experienced a severe pain in her right side. Before she could even get dressed she found herself on the floor in terrible pain. She dialed 911 and after they told her they were sending an ambulance, she called Randall. Since her grandmother’s passing, he was her emergency contact person. Before he could answer, another wave of pain hit her and she crawled to the bathroom and started vomiting. Randall answered to the noise of her being sick and immediately told her he was on his way.

The pain didn’t cease and neither did the nausea. She could hear someone pounding on her door but she couldn’t move to respond. Then everything went black as the pain grew in intensity and her body finally passed out from the pain.


Randall woke to his phone ringing. The caller ID showed that it was Jolene. Why would she be calling this early, he wondered. He answered to hear her retching on the other end. That went on and on and she didn’t respond to his calling out to her. Something was very wrong. “Don’t worry, Jolene, I’m on my way.” He threw on some clothes and grabbing the keys to his Tesla, tore out of his house. By the time he hit the street the sports car was humming its way to 100 mph. He turned on his emergency flashers and laid on the horn as he tore across town to Jolene’s apartment.

He arrived just as an ambulance did. He didn’t wait to see where they were going but headed straight up to Jolene’s apartment. He started knocking on the door but Jolene didn’t answer. He tried to call her and tell her he was there but her phone was busy. Then the EMTs arrived at the door. This made him more worried than he had been and he started pounding on the door as hard as he could. The first responders talked about going to the super and getting him to let them in. Randall wasn’t going to wait that long and took a step back and using his muscular leg kicked the door right at the deadbolt. The cheap frame couldn’t withstand the force of the worried and adrenaline fueled man; the door slammed open with a loud crack.

He entered and stepped aside as the Medical personnel raced into the apartment. He showed them where the bathroom was and there they found Jolene unconscious on the cold tile floor. They quickly tried to revive her but she never fully became conscious. They strapped her to the gurney and headed out to the hospital. Randall stopped down at the management office, explained about Jolene’s door, and asked that they repair it and send him the bill. Then he raced to the hospital at a breakneck speed, pushing the electric sports car to its limit. All the way there he prayed that Jolene would be okay.


He entered the emergency room and asked about her. The woman at the desk told him what room she was in and buzzed the door open for him. He entered her room to see a doctor and several nurses working on her. Jolene’s face was pale and soaked with sweat. There were wires and machines all around her..

“Who are you?” The doctor asked.

“I’m Randall Herrschner, I’m her emergency contact and friend.”

“You wouldn’t happen to have medical power of attorney in case of an emergency would you?”

“Yes, ever since her grandmother passed away. Why?”

“Can you get me a copy of that document?”

“I can have it faxed over right away, why?”

“Do that”


“I officially can’t talk to you until I have that document, but you need to hurry. Every second counts.”

Randall pulled his cell phone out and called his personal assistant. “Larry, its Randall, fax Jolene’s Medical Power of Attorney letter to the emergency room at county hospital immediately and cancel all my appointments till I say otherwise. I don’t care, do it now. Oh, and send me a shot of it right now to my phone. Yes, right now.” With that he hung up and waited for the buzz that said he had received a text. Then he opened it and showed it to the doctor. “Here, the fax is on the way. Now start talking.”

The doctor looked at the document on the screen. “Alright, your friend’s appendix has ruptured. I need to get her stabilized and into surgery as quickly as possible.”

“Do it.”

The doctor nodded and sent one of the nurses to get the paperwork and call surgery. Then they rushed Jolene out the door and up to the surgery team. “You can wait for her in the surgery waiting room upstairs. Someone will contact you when she is out of surgery.” The nurse put her hand on his arm to stop him. “Just know they are doing everything they can, but this is a very serious condition your friend finds herself in.”

Randall stopped and looked at the woman. “How serious?”

“Extremely serious, if you are a praying man you should do that.”

Randall felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. He knew what the nurse was saying; Jolene’s life was in danger. He nodded to her and hurried upstairs to the surgery waiting area. On the way he called the pastor of their church and told him what was going on. He called Jolene’s office and told them what was going on as well. Then he put the phone in his pocket and contacted the only one who could really do anything to help them. “God, please don’t let her die. Help the surgeon and guide his hands. Heal her, God. I can’t lose her, not yet, not without telling her how I feel.”

He continued to pray while waiting to hear that she was out of surgery and okay. He didn’t even notice when the pastor arrived, so intense was his inner prayer and turmoil. He noticed nothing till he heard someone asking for the family of Jolene Fairday. Then he was on his feet. “That’s me.”

An exhausted looking woman in surgical scrubs approached him. “Jolene is out of surgery and in recovery. Her appendix ruptured and it took a while to get all the infection that had leaked into her system. I’m going to start her on a high dose of antibiotics and keep her for a few days to make sure they are working. I think we got it all and she should be okay in about a week. Sore for a while, but okay. You should be able to see her in about an hour. I’ll have one of the nurses get you when she is awake. She’s lucky, it could have been a lot worse. If you hadn’t found her she could have died.”

“Thank you, doctor. I appreciate it.”

The doctor nodded and headed back into the surgical ward. Randall couldn’t think straight, all he could hear was, “She could have died.” She could have died never knowing that he really and truly loved her. Well, that was going to change. Enough Secret Santa crap; it was time to man up and tell Jolene how he really felt. With that decided he turned and talked with the pastor, letting him know what the doctor had said and arranging for him to come visit Jolene after she had rested and recovered some.

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Book Reviews