Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live Reflectively AND Live Abundantly by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the books:

Live Reflectively: Lessons from the Watershed Moments of Moses

David C. Cook (November 1, 2011)


Live Abundantly: A Study in the Book of Ephesians

David C. Cook; 2 edition (November 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Lenya Heitzig is an award-winning author and popular Bible teacher. She and her husband founded Calvary Church of Albuquerque—one of the fastest-growing churches worldwide. She is the author of Holy Moments: Recognizing God’s Fingerprints on Your Life and also contributed to the best-selling New Women’s Devotional Bible. Heitzig serves as Executive Director of She Ministries of Albuquerque, overseeing weekly Bible studies and yearly retreats. She and her husband Skip live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Penny Rose is the award-winning author of numerous books. Penny thrives on teaching at conferences and retreats nationwide. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband, Kerry, a pastor at Calvary of Albuquerque.

Visit the authors' website.


The Fresh Life series was created for women who crave a profound experience of God’s Word without an overwhelming time commitment. Bible teachers Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose challenge readers to dig deep into Scripture by using a directed study method that only requires twenty minutes a day. With a fresh approach to studying Scripture that gives newcomers as well as seasoned students deep insight into God’s Word, the latest two additions in the series explore the life of Moses and the riches in the book of Ephesians.

Live Reflectively: Lessons from the Watershed Moments of Moses (Heitzig) is an engaging Bible study on the life of Moses. He was saved from death on the Nile and raised as an Egyptian prince. He met his wife at a Midianite well, witnessed the birth of a nation as the Red Sea parted and watched water gush from a rock with one touch of his rod. He died overlooking the Jordan River. Through viewing the water moments of Moses’ life, readers will be encouraged to consider the moments in their own lives that shape who they are and who they are becoming.

Live Abundantly: A Study in the Book of Ephesians (Heitzig and Rose) challenges readers to dig deep into the book of Ephesians to find the spiritual treasure God has for them. The book of Ephesians is God’s “last will and testament” that bequeaths his spiritual treasures to His beloved children. Covering topics such as living in God’s will and receiving peace no matter the circumstances, it reveals the magnitude of every Christian’s inheritance—a gift “exceedingly abundantly above” what you could ever ask for.

The Fresh Life series teaches readers to:
· Lift up...a prayer
· Look at…God’s Word (answering questions concerning what the passage says)
· Learn about…what the passage means (sidebars define words and profice background information)
· Live out…what they have learned (personalizing the text and learning how it can impact their daily life)
· Listen to…quotes from well-known figures to build on the truths uncovered in Scripture

Readers will develop a deeper intimacy with the Lord and walk away feeling inspired to move forward in their walks of faith. Live Abundantly and Live Reflectively continue the rich biblical tradition of the Fresh Life series. They offer wisdom that will leave readers encouraged in their present situations and hopeful for the spiritual journey ahead.

Product Details:

Live Reflectively: Lessons from the Watershed Moments of Moses

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (November 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781405939
ISBN-13: 978-0781405935

Product Details:

Live Abundantly: A Study in the Book of Ephesians

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 2 edition (November 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434703304
ISBN-13: 978-1434703309

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (Click on images to expand):

Live Reflectively: Lessons from the Watershed Moments of Moses

Live Abundantly: A Study in the Book of Ephesians (Click on images to expand)

Friday, November 18, 2011

TruthTats: The Christmas Story by Jeff Sheets, product creator for Broadman and Holman Publishers

What I Think: TruthTats The Christmas Story is an awesome way to memorize scripture and prepare your family's heart for Christmas. It has tat pages enough for a family of four. You wear one tattoo a week, starting on December 1 and ending on Christmas Day (there is also one bonus tattoo on each page). Each week has a new tattoo with a different scripture to memorize. The tats come with a guide for each of the Advent weeks. You just read it with your family and put the tattoos on the back of your hand. It also has a small section for notes. What a fun way to learn about the Advent and memorize scripture

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card is developed by:

and the Advent idea:

TruthTats: The Christmas Story

B&H Publishing Group

***Special thanks to Susan Otis of Creative Resources, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Truth Tats: The Christmas Story
Celebrating the Season of Advent with Truth Tats

Designed just for the season, Christmas Truth Tats present a new way of telling the story of Christ’s birth. Truth Tats are temporarily on your skin, permanently on your heart.

This is a five week program leading up to Christmas day, each packet of Truth Tats includes a family devotional booklet that kicks off each memory scripture of the week. The twenty accompanying Scripture tattoos are a visual way to continually applying and memorize God’s word. Each week opens with a set of four identical Scripture tattoo designs so that each family member can have his or her own tattoo! Week two, there is a new Scripture for memorization and four new tattoo designs, again identical designs so each person is memorizing the same Scripture.

For over 1,000 years Christians worldwide have been celebrating Advent, a time of spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus meaning “coming toward”. So it is entirely appropriate that the four weeks prior to Christmas we will be preparing our hearts for His Advent.

Truth Tats are a unique way to celebrate the season as well as to “show and tell” God’s word to others. This is ideal for the classroom, family devotion time, and in personal Scripture memorization

Product Details:

List Price: $3.99
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Language: English

AND NOW...WEEK ONE OF ADVENT (Click on pictures to enlarge):

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Song of Unmaking (Legends of Karac Tor) by D. Barkley Briggs

My Thoughts:

I have enjoyed Dean's creative fantasy series about Karac Tor. This is the third installment in this five part series. If you love epic fantasy, be sure to check out this series. You must read them in order though...so start with The Book of Names. It will not disappoint. Dean's characters are so real that you feel like you know them as you read...and miss them when you finish. Can't wait for the next one!

This is what I said about book one, The Book of Names:

D. Barkley Briggs has penned a rousing fantasy packed full of Norse and Celtic mythology with a hearty dose of Arthurian legend. With a wide range of emotions, he moved me from the sadness of loss to the giddiness of comic relief, all the way to the excitement of heart-pounding tension. Strap on your armor, pull out your sword, and get ready for an adventure.

And here's my opinion of book two, Corus the Champion:

Once again, D. Barkley Briggs has managed to capture the mystery of Arthurian legend, the enchantment of fairy tale folklore, and the valor of Celtic and Norse mythology. This rousing second installment of the Legends of Karac Tor delves deeply into the heart of heroism, its joys and sorrows. Train with the Barlow brothers as they separately learn how to use the incredible gifts they have received from Aion, the God-King. Let yourself burn with adventure while you follow them into battle against the growing evil inside the realm of Karac Tor.


D. Barkley Briggs loves fantasy novels. He is, after all, a fantasy novelist himself. He is about to make one fan's fantasy come true. Briggs is giving away, not just one of his books, but a complete young adult fantasy library from 15 top authors.

“The Fantasy Prize Pack Giveaway" contains forty-­‐eight (48) of the best YA Christian fantasy novels on the planet, plus a brand new Kindle Fire™...FREE! But that's not all. Second Place gets a FREE iPod™ Shuffle. Briggs has also collected several mini-­‐prizes, including dragon jewelry and children's books. To enter, participants must upload at least one photo of themselves reading a book from Briggs’ Legends of Karac Tor series (The Book of Names, Corus the Champion, or The Song of Unmaking) to his Facebook page. The contest launches Nov. 1 and concludes Nov. 30. For official rules, visit deanbriggs.com.


The Song of Unmaking (Legends of Karac Tor)

Living Ink Books (October 14, 2011)

***Special thanks to LeAnn Hamby, Publicity Coordinator, Glass Road Public Relations, LLC for sending me a review copy.***


Dean "D. Barkley" Briggs is an author, father of eight, and waaay too prone to twisting his ankle whenever he attempts a pick-up basketball game in his old age. He grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lews, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursila K. Leguin, Susan Cooper, Madeline L'Engle, Terry Brooks, Andre Norton and Lloyd Alexander (just to name a few).

In the aftermath of losing his wife of 16 years, Dean decided to create a heroic journey that his four sons could relate to. Thus was born a new and paradoxical genre: semi-autobiographical fantasy, as Dean actively weaves elements of his life and family into the plots of his stories.

"The Legends of Karac Tor" tells the edgy, sweeping tale of four brothers who get stranded on another world. Together, they must find their courage, battle overwhelming odds, face their pain, and never quit searching for home. Five books total are planned.

Visit the author's website.


He was once the greatest champion in the land. Then he disappeared. With Nemesia's defeat, the Barlows have helped turn the tide in the Hidden Lands. But the victory is short-lived. An even greater evil stirs in the north with a fierce new army bent on destruction. As the twins, Gabe and Garret, discover their own special powers, a thin thread of hope emerges: long ago, a fabled king was rescued from death on our world and hidden on Karac Tor. Who is he? Each brother has their part to play. Hadyn must travel north to warn the land rulers, which leaves Ewan with a bitter choice. Will he sacrifice what is most precious to discover whether Corus lives? Even more important, if Corus is alive, can he wake the Sleeping King of legend...before it's too late?

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Living Ink Books (October 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0899578659
ISBN-13: 978-0899578651

Monday, November 14, 2011

F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire by M. C. Pearson

Preorder F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire by M. C. Pearson now on Amazon.com, just click on the cover.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Mercy Come Morning by Lisa T. Bergren

What I Thought: Wow. This is such a great book, dealing with mother/daughter love and forgiveness, Alzheimer's, and a touch of romance. Tear-jerking, first person narrative gives the reader an inside look at the main character's honest emotions. Read the first chapter...I bet you'll go and buy this book if you do.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Mercy Come Morning

WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (August 16, 2011)

***Special thanks to Laura Tucker of WaterBrook Press for sending me a review copy.***


LISA BERGREN is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty books, with more than two million copies sold. A former publishing executive, she now splits her time working as a freelance editor and writer while parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of the family’s next visit to Taos.

Visit the author's website.


There are no second chances. Or are there?

Krista Mueller is in a good place. She’s got a successful career as a professor of history; she’s respected and well-liked; and she lives hundreds of miles from her hometown and the distant mother she could never please. It’s been more than a decade since Alzheimer’s disease first claimed Charlotte Mueller’s mind, but Krista has dutifully kept her mother in a first-class nursing home.

Now Charlotte is dying of heart failure and, surprised by her own emotions, Krista rushes to Taos, New Mexico, to sit at her estranged mother’s side as she slips away. Battling feelings of loss, abandonment, and relief, Krista is also unsettled by her proximity to Dane McConnell, director of the nursing home—and, once upon a time, her first love. Dane’s kind and gentle spirit—and a surprising discovery about her mother—make Krista wonder if she can at last close the distance between her and her mother … and open the part of her heart she thought was lost forever.

“A timeless tale, to be kept every day in the heart as a reminder
that forgiveness is a gift to self.”
—PATRICIA HICKMAN, author of The Pirate Queen

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (August 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307730107
ISBN-13: 978-0307730107


“She’s dying, Krista.”

I took a long, slow breath. “She died a long time ago, Dane.”

He paused, and I could picture him formulating his next words, something that would move me. Why was my relationship with my mother so important to him? I mean, other than the fact that she was a patient in his care. “There’s still time, Kristabelle.”

I sighed. Dane knew that his old nickname for me always got to me. “For what? For long, deep conversations?” I winced at the harsh slice of sarcasm in my tone.

“You never know,” he said quietly. “An aide found something you should see.”


“Come. I’ll keep it here in my office until you arrive. Consider it a Christmas present.”

“It’s December ninth.”

“Okay, consider it an early present.”

It was typical of him to hold out a mysterious hook like that. “I don’t know, Dane. The school term isn’t over yet. It’s a hard time to get someone to cover for me.” It wasn’t the whole truth. I had an assistant professor who could handle things on her own. And I could get back for finals. Maybe. Unless Dane wasn’t overstating the facts.

“Krista. She’s dying. Her doctor tells me she has a few weeks, tops. Tell your department chair. He’ll let you go. This is the end.” I stared out my cottage window to the old pines that covered my yard in shadows. The end. The end had always seemed so far away. Too far away. In some ways I wanted an end to my relationship with my mother, the mother who had never loved me as I longed to be loved. When she started disappearing, with her went so many
of my hopes for what could have been. The road to this place had been long and lonely. Except for Dane. He had always been there, had always waited. I owed it to him to show. “I’ll be there on Saturday.”

“I’ll be here. Come and find me.”

“Okay. I teach a Saturday morning class. I can get out of here after lunch and down there by five or six.”

“I’ll make you dinner.”

“Dane, I—”

“Dinner. At seven.”

I slowly let my mouth close and paused. I was in no mood to argue with him now. “I’ll meet you at Cimarron,” I said.
“Great. It will be good to see you, Kristabelle.” I closed my eyes, imagining him in his office at Cimarron Care Center. Brushing his too-long hair out of his eyes as he looked through his own window.

“It will be good to see you, too, Dane. Good-bye.”

He hung up then without another word, and it left me feeling slightly bereft. I hung on to the telephone receiver as if I could catch one more word, one more breath, one more connection with the man who had stolen my heart at sixteen.

Dane McConnell remained on my mind as I wrapped up things at the college, prepped my assistant, Alissa, to handle my history classes for the following week, and then drove the scenic route down to Taos from Colorado Springs, about a five-hour trip. My old Honda Prelude hugged the roads along the magnificent San Luis Valley. The valley’s shoulders were still covered in late spring snow, her belly carpeted in a rich, verdant green. It was here that in 1862 Maggie O’Neil single-handedly led a wagon train to settle a town in western Colorado, and nearby Cecilia Gaines went so
crazy one winter they named a waterway in her honor—“Woman Hollering Creek.”

I drove too fast but liked the way the speed made my scalp tingle when I rounded a corner and dipped, sending my stomach flying. Dane had never driven too fast. He was methodical in everything he did, quietly moving ever forward. He had done much in his years since grad school, establishing Cimarron and making it a national think tank for those involved in gerontology. After high school we had essentially ceased communication for years before Cimarron came about. Then when Mother finally got to the point in her descent into Alzheimer’s that she needed fulltime institutionalized care, I gave him a call. I hadn’t been able to find a facility that I was satisfied with for more than a year, when a college friend had shown me the magazine article on the opening of Cimarron and its patron saint, Dane McConnell.

“Good looking and nice to old people,” she had moaned. “Why can’t I meet a guy like that?”

“I know him,” I said, staring at the black-and-white photograph.

“Get out.”

“I do. Or did. We used to be…together.”

“What happened?” she asked, her eyes dripping disbelief.

“I’m not sure.”

I still wasn’t sure. Things between us had simply faded over the years. But when I saw him again, it all seemed to come back. Or at least a part of what we had once had. There always seemed to be a submerged wall between us, something we couldn’t quite bridge or blast through. So we had simply gone swimming toward different shores.

Mother’s care had brought us back together over the last five years. With the congestive heart failure that was taking her body, I supposed the link between us would finally be severed. I would retreat to Colorado, and he would remain in our beloved Taos, the place of our youth, of our beginnings, of our hearts. And any lingering dream of living happily ever after with Dane McConnell could be buried forever with my unhappy memories of Mother.

I loosened my hands on the wheel, realizing that I was gripping

it so hard my knuckles were white. I glanced in the rearview mirror, knowing that my reverie was distracting me from paying attention to the road. It was just that Dane was a hard man to get over. His unique ancestry had gifted him with the looks of a Scottish Highlander and the sultry, earthy ways of the Taos Indians. A curious, inspiring mix that left him with both a leader’s stance and a wise man’s knowing eyes. Grounded but visionary. A driving force, yet empathetic at the same time. His employees loved working for him. Women routinely fell in love with him.

I didn’t know why I could never get my act together so we could finally fall in love and stay in love. He’d certainly done his part. For some reason I’d always sensed that Dane was waiting for me, of all people. Why messed-up, confused me? Yet there he was. I’d found my reluctance easy to blame on my mother. She didn’t love me as a mother should, yada-yada, but I’d had enough time with my counselor to know that there are reasons beyond her. Reasons that circle back to myself.

I’d always felt as if I was chasing after parental love, but the longer I chased it, the further it receded from my reach. It left a hole in my heart that I was hard-pressed to fill. God had come close to doing the job. Close. But there was still something there, another blockade I had yet to blast away. I would probably be working on my “issues” my whole life. But as my friend Michaela says, “Everyone’s got issues.” Supposedly I need to embrace them. I just want them to go away.

“Yeah,” I muttered. Dane McConnell was better off without me. Who needed a woman still foundering in her past?

I had to focus on Mother. If this was indeed the end, I needed to wrap things up with her. Find closure. Some measure of peace. Even if she couldn’t say the words I longed to hear.

I love you, Krista.

Why was it that she had never been able to force those four words from her lips?

Excerpted from Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay

What I Thought: I'm currently reading this, but so far, I love it! If you like India,mystery, suspense, romance, and historical novels, you will really enjoy this!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Shadowed in Silk

WhiteFire Publishing (September 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Christine Lindsay for sending me a review copy.***


Christine Lindsay writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India. SHADOWED IN SILK won first place in the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical under the title Unveiled.

The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. It’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.

Visit the author's website.


She was invisible to those who should have loved her.
After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0976544490
ISBN-13: 978-0976544494


December, 1918

Abby Fraser gripped the railing of the New Delhi and lifted her chin to defy the solitary expanse of sea. She refused to believe a wife needed an invitation to join her husband. The war was over at last. Nick and she were married, and it was about time he remembered that.

One of the Queen Alexandra nurses escorting the Indian troops home stood beside Abby. With a rustle of starched cotton, Laine Harkness leaned over and whispered in her ear. “Why do you look like you’re headed for the Black Hole of Calcutta and not about to have a passionate reunion with the love of your life?”

Abby ran a hand down her linen skirt and watched the blue line of shore draw closer. What could she possibly say? Instead of replying she cuddled her little son, Cam, nearer to her side. In less than an hour he’d meet his father for the first time. Had she been foolish not to wait for an answer from Nick? So few letters from him in four years.

“I know you’re American,” Laine went on, “but I assure you, the only thing to be afraid of in this part of the British Empire is the wife of your husband’s commanding officer.” She shuddered with drama and grinned maliciously. “Once you’re settled in your shady little army cantonment, the old battle-axe will whip you into shape in no time. Then you’ll be quite the proper memsahib. It’s them that run the colony for us Brits. Don’t you think for a minute it’s the Viceroy or our army—it’s the average colonel’s wife.”

Abby crinkled her nose as she smiled. “You win. Is this better?”

“Much better. You were altogether too peaked for meeting your handsome lieutenant.”

The New Delhi sliced her way through the narrows of Kolaba Point, and the familiar scent of Bombay reached out to Abby. Laine was right. No sense worrying. Tucking a strand of hair into her chignon, she savored a tantalizing whiff of overripe fruit, roses, marigolds and cloves, mingled with the acrid smell of dust. She lifted Cam up and snuggled her face into his neck, but he wiggled in her arms. At three years old he was heavy, much too big to be carried.

On the deck below, Indian soldiers stood with their British officers waiting to disembark. Yanking on her arm, Cam laughed and pointed to the tugboat pushing the ship into her berth, and Abby laughed with him. She felt six years old again. Like the troops, she was home. So close. In a few minutes she could touch her birthplace, so much brighter and warmer than Aunt Doreen’s dismal mansion in upstate New York or her father’s retirement manor in the Yorkshire Dales.

As soon as the liner stopped, it was as though an oven door dropped open, and hot air rushed in. On the quay, a kaleidoscope of color and humanity dazzled Abby’s eyes—Hindu women in saris of every hue, hot pinks, ochre yellows, lime greens. Parsee women wore their skirts of equally brilliant shades, their black hair ornamented with lace and gold. People balanced immense bundles on their heads. Bengali clerks rushed here and there, wearing yards of white muslin and Hindu caps, while other men wore turbans or solar topis. On the dock, uniformed soldiers joined the throng. So many people. She’d forgotten that claustrophobic feeling, the teeming press of millions. But she loved it all.

She hugged Cam and scanned the crowds of people on the quayside for Nick’s lean face and startling blue eyes. He’d be down there waiting for her, wouldn’t he? Her gaze stopped.

There he was. Her pulse pounded.

A tall soldier wearing his tan uniform, epaulets at his shoulder, his cap on his head, peered upwards at the passengers lining the ship’s railing. She could barely catch her breath as she waved. Cam, not seeing who she waved at, threw out his small hand, pumped it up and down, and laughed.

Nick looked up and waved. Her wide smile dimmed, and her hand went still. It wasn’t Nick. Someone farther along the ship’s railing sent an answering wave to the stranger on the quay.

Abby steadied her breath and swung her gaze over the crowd. Where was he? In addition to her letter announcing she was coming, she’d telegrammed Nick with her itinerary before she left Southampton. She’d sent another telegram and checked twice with the purser when they stopped at the Port of Aden days ago, and still there’d been no message from him.

“See you soon . . . goodbye . . . Christmas . . . take care of yourself,” the nurses said between hugs as they crowded toward the gangway. But Laine remained at Abby’s side.

“Please, Laine, go with the others. You’ve been wonderful, but Nick will be here.”

“You don’t know that for sure.” Laine’s practiced look was that of a nurse hating to give bad news. “You can’t fool me with that Yankee stoicism of yours. The whole voyage out, you’ve tried to hide your concerns.”

“Laine, please.”

“Oh, all right.” Laine grew gruff as she relented, tucking a dark strand of hair under her nursing veil. “I’m always sticking my nose in where I shouldn’t. Occupational hazard.”

Abby took Laine’s arm and shook it. “Don’t be silly. I don’t know what I’d have done those first days of the voyage if you hadn’t taken pity on me till I got my sea legs. We’ll see each other on the train later anyway.” She gave the nursing matron a firm hug.

Laine joined the nurses, but Abby didn’t watch them leave the ship. She arched her neck to look into the sea of faces below. Sunlight glinted off the tin roofs at the quay and bounced off the ground. She squinted like a cat soaking up its rays and, taking a deep breath, moved toward the gangway.

A half hour later she carried Cam on her hip and walked out of the blistering customs shed. A hired bearer followed with their baggage.

The warm breeze loosened tendrils of hair at the base of her neck, and she blew from the side of her mouth to free a strand clinging to her cheek. Too bad she couldn’t tie it back in a plait like she used to. But as the wife of a British officer the time had come for chignons, silk stockings, and serving tea with cucumber sandwiches in flower-laden gardens. Time at last to be a proper memsahib. Her insides skittered. Time at last to be a wife.

Please, Nick, where are you?

The crowd thinned, and her fixed smile began to slip. She kissed Cam on his grime-streaked cheek. Her little boy made up for everything. He had Nick’s deep blue eyes, the right one slightly more narrow than the left so it always seemed one side of his face grinned in mischief. Without the help of the single photograph she had of her husband she doubted she’d have remembered his features. The echo of his voice faded long ago. Had that happened during the first year of the war? Or the second? But they’d only known each other those few weeks in England before he’d shipped out to India.

Coldness seeped into her veins. Was it possible she’d disappeared from Nick’s thoughts? She roused herself. If that indeed had happened, she’d fight it. She’d win back their brief flash of love and turn it into something to last a lifetime.

“Won’t be long, honey,” she said to Cam, more to bolster herself. Nick would be here. Of course he would.

“I’m thirsty, Mama.” Cam fussed, but she didn’t have the heart to scold him.

Over his complaints came the reed-like notes of a lute, the backdrop to thousands of voices, calling out, bartering, chattering. Overlaying the odor of burning cow dung patties hung the pungency of blossoms. Dust and spices clouded the air. Horns beeped and trolley cars rattled past. Wooden axles on bullock carts squeaked, counterbalanced by the tinkling of bells. It all smelled and sounded like home, except there was no sign of her husband.

“Mrs. Abigail Fraser,” boomed a voice with a Cockney accent. “Paging Mrs. Abigail Fraser.”

Abby whirled around to wave to a burly English sergeant. The soldier presented her with a telegram. “Here you are, madam. May I hold the boy for you?”

Entranced by the soldier’s uniform, Cam went to him willingly while she held the envelope for a long moment before tearing it open to read:

Sorry STOP Away on Business STOP Meet your train in Amritsar STOP Nick STOP

All noise ceased and a buzzing filled her head, leaving her only marginally aware of the sergeant returning Cam to her arms and leaving. She blinked and raised her hand to shield her eyes from the sharp colors and white sunshine.

The last of the passengers moved away, and a swarm of children with extended bellies called out to her, “Maa maa, maa maa,” all stretching out small hands to grab her skirt.

“I’m sorry.” She gave them a few annas from her bag. “I’m sorry I don’t have any more.” She wasn’t sure if the moisture blurring her eyes was for Nick not meeting them or for these poor children as young as Cam begging for their food. Most of the children wandered off when the coins were gone, but a few stayed at her knee gazing up at her. A lump grew in Abby’s throat as she caressed one little girl’s head, but even this tiny one fled when a stench came close, gagging Abby.

A wild-eyed sadhu with three bars of sandalwood paste scoring his forehead strolled toward her. With Cam in her arms and her back to the luggage cart, she had nowhere to turn. Ash covered the sadhu’s emaciated body and long, matted hair. She tried to catch his eye, but his gaze—dead-looking—bore through her as though she weren’t there.

She offered him a few coins, but he swerved and glided past her. She shook her head. For a moment she was back in Albany, unseen by those who were supposed to love her.


Geoff Richards’ throat thickened as he and his risaldar-major Muhammad Khan, mingled with the troops on the quayside. His men stood with their usual spit and polish as the ranks were dismissed. Like him, their joy to be back on Indian soil shone from their eyes, but their smiles couldn’t quite cover the shadows there. Only a fraction of them were coming home. He could still envision every one of his men who used to ride out with him on parade. That was before they left India for European shores. And paid a terrible price for the British Empire. If the Indian people didn’t hate them . . . perhaps they should.

The familiar shaking began in his right hand.

Geoff clenched it into a fish behind his back and stopped to talk to a few soldiers lingering outside the customs shed. “Will any of you chaps from Rawalpindi have a chance this year at the Christmas polo tournament?”

A Sikh jemadar squared his shoulders, his eyes glinting black with his grin. “Yes, sahib, your regiment will not be able to keep up with us in a polo chukka. I can guarantee it.”

“Right. I’ll take that as a warning, Kanvar. We’ll see you at the tournament in Lahore.”

Geoff clapped the young Sikh on the arm.

Dhyan Singh stood on the outskirts of the group. Both he and his brother had served in Geoff’s regiment while in France. Geoff moved toward the soldier, but the memory of Dhyan’s brother, dying in his arms, pulled Geoff back to the nightmare of the trenches. He locked his hands behind his back, clenching his fist in an attempt to still the tremor. Dear God, I failed them . . . brought only one son home to his mother and father.

He managed a smile. “Ah, Jemadar Singh, how many chukkas will you play when you get home? You must be terribly rusty, old man.”

Dhyan grinned. He, too, acted like a man recently come back to life. “Sahib, I am sure I will have no trouble playing at least ten. If my brother, Manjit, were here today, he would say you would be having many, many troubles playing even two or three.”

The men’s laughter roared, and Geoff leaned toward his risaldar-major. “Khan, did you hear that? I think I’ve been advised to stick to cricket. Seems rumors are about, my polo days are on the wane.”

His grin matched that of the men. It was good to talk about something that didn’t mean the choice between life and death. But his laughter stopped.

Cam Fraser and his mother stood not far from him. He’d know the child anywhere, having played marbles and shuffleboard with him a number of times on the voyage. Other than a nod and exchanging the time of day, he’d hardly spoken to Cam’s mother. Why were they still here? According to ship’s gossip, Lieutenant Fraser was to meet them. But here she was, balancing the boy on her hip, and with her free hand brushed her chestnut hair from her face. And no husband in sight. The trace of fear in her eyes was belied by her clamped mouth that silently said I can look after myself. Of course she could.

He’d leave her to it. His own plans were set, and he began to follow his men, but it was too late.

The boy saw him and squirmed free of his mother’s arms, shooting off like a missile to him. Geoff swept the child up, feeling the warm little body and wiry arms and legs wrap around him. Cam rested his head against Geoff’s chest. The sensation of the child’s curls under Geoff’s chin brought a shiver of feeling he’d thought long dead and buried.

Geoff’s voice quavered as he took steps in the direction of the boy’s mother. “Chin up, old man. There’s a good soldier.”


Sunlight blinded Abby. Against its rays the silhouette of a soldier with the lean lines of a cavalry man scooped Cam up. Her little boy wound his arms around the man’s neck, and she put her hand to her mouth. So many nights these past few years she’d urged sleep to come, imagining this scene at the pier.

As the man walked toward her she made out his clean-shaven features under the peaked military cap. Major Richards, who’d befriended Cam on the ship, carried her son back to her. It wasn’t Nick enfolding his son close.

“Mrs. Fraser,” Geoff said when he reached her.

She turned to the major a smile she didn’t feel. “With the two of you such good pals I think it’s about time you called me Abby.” She forced a lighter tone. “I was thinking those suffragettes back home might have something, marching about quite pleased with their self-reliance.”

The major’s stony look melted into puzzlement, then his gray eyes began to dance. “I can imagine you marching about with a placard in your hands. For a good cause, of course.”

“But of course.” In spite of Nick’s absence, her smile deepened. “My husband’s not able to meet us, so I was about to hire a—”

She couldn’t finish her sentence. As the major turned toward the street, the sun set afire the twisted, burgundy scar that traveled from his temple to his cheekbone. She fumbled for the word that escaped her.

“Rickshaw,” he finished for her. “If you’ll allow me, I’ll see you to the train station. Going that way myself. And you’re right, the little CO and I are great friends.”

“Little CO?”

He sent a pointed glance at Cam.

She laughed. “Oh, I see. I hadn’t realized he’d been given a recent promotion.”

“I’m meeting a friend, Miriam, at Victoria Station. We arranged to meet and travel at least some of the time together. She runs a medical clinic in Amritsar, where you’re going.” His mouth grew tender.

She darted a look up at him. What sort of woman made the ever-so-proper major’s heart flutter? Her own insides did a somersault. Did the same kind of love wait for her from Nick?

Within minutes a driver loaded their luggage onto a tonga. They climbed into a separate rickshaw and joined the hundreds of other tongas, bicycles, carts, trams, and cars. With the pier behind them they headed for the station.

“Unfortunate your husband was unable to meet you,” Geoff said, never taking his eyes from the passing streets. “India’s not safe for a woman and child traveling alone.”

“I’m aware of that, Major. I was born here.”

“But not raised here.”

Abby lifted her chin. “I may be a bit of a mixture—American mother, British father—but India is my home.”

His eyes twinkled as he dipped his head, conceding defeat. “Everyone onboard wondered how you as a civilian got passage with demobilizing troops, until we realized who your father was. I imagine the general’s name pulled strings for you.”

“Maybe,” Abby drew the word out. Her adrenalin surged, remembering the stuffy war department offices in London. “Let’s just say I made a few social calls to friends of my late father.”

“Many would call General Mackenzie Hughes a pillar of the British Raj. You must take after him. Most young woman would have collapsed into tears being stranded at the pier.”

“You forget, Major, I am coming home.”

His chuckle reverberated from deep within him. “I do keep forgetting. You’re an old India hand. How old were you when you left?”

“I was a wise old memsahib of six when I first left these shores.” She tucked a strand of hair under her straw boater hat and, catching his eye, laughed out loud.

“Ah, yes . . . a memsahib. “He sat back, and all amusement left his face. His tone bordered on dryness. “I daresay you’ve forgotten all that entails. No fear, the wife of your husband’s colonel—your burra-memsahib—will be only too pleased to instruct you on the protocols of being a proper memsahib.”

Their shared laughter had disappeared as if snatched by the flock of green parrots swooping over their heads. But as though he remembered his manners, the major lifted Cam onto his knee, his well-oiled Sam Browne belt creaking as he did. The man and the boy immersed themselves in conversation. Interspersed with Cam’s piping voice she caught the hint of a Northumberland burr in Geoff Richards’ speech. His crisp, English school accent must be a learned one, like Nick’s.

She had enough of an ear to recognize her husband had worked hard to gain that polished manner of speaking, but she knew next to nothing of Nick’s youth. Six weeks wasn’t long enough to know a man.

Bombay’s traffic bustled past. Her fingers itched to pull out the telegram she’d folded into her bag at the pier. But there was no need. The words were stamped on her mind. Nick hadn’t said much, but at least he’d acknowledged they were coming. She had to cling to that, to keep believing they’d become a real family, given time. Perhaps have more children. Cam would have brothers and sisters, a houseful of them . . . and love. Not the existence she’d had growing up in Albany under the disinterested eye of her mother’s only sister.

She’d waited four years. The train trip would take three days. Only three more days, and all she longed for would be waiting for her in Amritsar.

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