Tag Archive | family

Brigham Tea Magazine Free This Weekend!

Brigham Tea Magazine is free again this weekend! Enjoy…

https://www.amazon.com/Brigham-Tea-Magazine-Julie-Worthington-ebook/dp/B07R92QJT1/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=brigham+tea+magazine&qid=1556905020&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull  

 

 

Little sister Hannah…

I’d like to introduce you to Hannah, if you’ve read my book New Parish, you’ve already met Sarah her older sister. Hannah is the epitome of the sassy Southern girl. Oh, she is respectful and kind, but she has a fiery temper that flares up every now and then. Hannah loves horses she’s ridden horses since she was 9, and used to love watching old cowboy movies with Sarah when there were kids.

Now she’s going to live in a place where there are real cowboys, lots of horses, and maybe something wonderful for her… if she can get over the bad thing that happened…

You can find out all about Hannah, her sassy ways, and the bad thing that happened, in Return to New Parish. Return to New Parish will be out this summer, more details soon!

Until then you can always get acquainted with her sister Sarah in my book New Parish available now on Amazon.com. Brigham Tea Magazine is also available now in digital form on Amazon.com. (Links below)

 

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 2 – Cowboys and Horses

            “The rest of her road trip was peaceful and full of anticipation to see Sarah and her family. She was no longer plagued by the pain of her past. She felt at peace, although she knew the Nathaniel thing was simmering just under the surface, she was determined to cling onto the peace, even if it was temporary.

            As she neared the small community Hannah saw some men and a small boy riding horses across the prairie next to the main road. She also saw that they had a purpose, they were moving a herd of about thirty cows away from the road. One man, an older cowboy, who seemed to be in charge was sitting on his horse, a large impressive palomino, and pointing while the other men were gathering the cows in the direction he wanted them to go in. The sage cowboy made Hannah think of Sam Elliot, whom she had loved in several westerns.

            The boy stayed near the cowboy in charge until the old truck in front of Hannah made a huge bang! It was a very loud backfire, Hannah jumped and shouted, “Dang!” She looked back to the scene she’d been watching to see the boy’s beautiful blond palomino suddenly dart toward the fence opposite the road she was traveling on. The old cowboy was suddenly on the move, his horse quickly caught up with the one the boy was on. He grabbed the reins of the other horse slowing, then stopping the horse. After steadying the boy on his saddle, he patted him on the back reassuringly.

            Hannah smiled, “I’m gonna like it here.” A right turn took her into the community, a few more turns and a couple of miles later and she was pulling up in front of Sarah’s home. It looked like the pictures Sarah had sent her, beautiful gardens surrounding the huge rock face house. She saw the barn, across the drive from the house, and longed to just go out there for a bit. She sighed and decided that saying hello to her sister would be more appropriate, so she got out of her car and stretched. Then she walked up the short walkway to the front door.”

New Parish:

New Parish on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Brigham Tea Magazine:

https://www.amazon.com/Brigham-Tea-Magazine-Julie-Worthington-ebook/dp/B07R92QJT1/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=brigham+tea+magazine&qid=1556905020&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull  

 

A Box of Chocolates

Forest Gump made the old saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates,” famous. I agree that life is that way, but I also think people are like a box of chocolates too. I’ve long been a people watcher, maybe all writers are, anyways, I’ve discovered so many variations of chocolate that it’s blown my mind at times. When I’m working on developing a character for my books, New Parish, I often reflect on that wide variety of chocolate I’ve discovered over the years. In the first book, New Parish, the main character, Sarah, is a well educated, independent, young single woman who wants not be so single. Her character grows in depth as she discovers just how much she really wants to be a mother, and what she’s willing to explore to obtain her goal. Sarah of course is surrounded by many other characters who are also growing and discovering more about themselves as they journey to, and through New Parish. My characters are a box full of chocolates, each with many layers, just like us real people. I hope you enjoy getting to know each of them, as you journey to and through New Parish… Excerpt from New Parish: Chapter 1 – Bad Date “When the files had sent properly and she’d received confirmation from her supervisor, her mind went back to the conversation with Mary… “Why am I doing this?” she questioned herself. She could tell from Mary’s expressions, it had sounded out there. “But still, according to Mary, there were people living that way, and they were happy. Were they really happy or was it pretense? Could I be happy in that type of marriage? What if I couldn’t get along with the other wives? What if they wanted to boss me around? What if they were so jealous that they couldn’t do anything other than be mean?” The questions kept coming, and running over and over in her mind for the rest of the day. The fears, doubts, and worries from her research into this lifestyle were mounting to an incredible height. The distraction of the questions lasted all through her night of restless sleep, which caused really odd dreams where women were chasing her with broomsticks and iron skillets.” New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! You can get a copy of New Parish here: New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com Also available at: Barnesandnoble.com Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park) Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

Challenges…

I think in life we all have challenges. Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Some challenges lead to other challenges that come along because of the original challenge… In my book New Parish Sarah finds that her challenge of becoming a mom is complicated by several other challenges. Challenges such as finding a good man to marry, moving west to live in Arizona, overcoming some predisposed prejudices about a certain cowboy… I hope you’ll enjoy Sarah’s challenges, and her journey to solving those challenges, in New Parish.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 5 – The Storm

“Looking out the window Sarah could see the wind blowing wildly as the rain pounded the windows and everything else outside. The storm outside was gaining strength…            

Sarah wanted desperately to distract her mind from the thoughts and feelings she was having so she went into the kitchen to fix some hot chocolate. She grabbed a warm blanket to wrap herself in on her way, the chill from earlier was still lingering deep inside her.            

With hot chocolate made, she sat on the mismatched cushions of the wicker sofa and watched the storm outside. The storm inside her raged on as well, she felt like her whole life was in turmoil, not just because of another bad date with a man who really, in the big scheme of things, didn’t matter – but because she had allowed herself to be in that situation, “So, what’s the next situation I’m going to allow myself to get into?” she wondered. She decided to go back to an earlier strategy and consider the pros and cons of plural marriage because now that she had definitely decided that dating was never happening again, plural marriage with its matching system seemed her only option. “Well either that or live my life completely alone and never have the kids I’ve always dreamed of having,” she spoke this thought aloud – she thought her voice sounded sad and angry at the same time.            

Sarah took a sip of hot chocolate and thought, “Cons, umm, Brother Michael’s wives covered a lot of those – jealousy, unfair treatment, possessiveness, controlling sister wives, husbands not doing what they should or allowing the new wife to be excluded… “Ah,” she said aloud, “It all sounds like a bunch of “mean girl” stuff! I don’t want to live the rest of my life that way!” She wrapped the blanket tighter around her and listened to the storm outside. The rain beat on the balcony like hundreds of miniature drums beating, the lightning and thunder joined in often to round out the show.            

Sarah felt like her mind was going numb from too many thoughts – like when you get an injury, it initially hurts then it goes numb and then hurts like crazy later… she welcomed the numbness, but she could still feel the turmoil and conflict of her inner storm just under the surface of her emotions. She sipped her hot chocolate again and braced for impact. Then a memory suddenly and clearly came to the forefront of her thoughts and she could hear Brother Michael’s voice repeating the advice he’d given her when she was in New Parish.            

He said, “The last thing I want to suggest to you is to take some time to ponder and pray about this decision. This is your life. Is this really what you want for your life? This lifestyle has many blessings but it can also be considered a curse to those who don’t have the capacity to accept it in all its varied and sometimes complicated components. I want you to understand that I only want the best for you. If this is truly what you want to do then I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen for you. But, if you have doubts about it, then take the time to find the answers you need to put those doubts to rest, before you make your decision. Okay?”            

“Okay,” she said aloud to this vivid memory, “I’ll pray, I’ve done the “pondering” well, I’ve mostly done the struggling, agonizing, and suffering.”            

Sarah determinedly sat her hot chocolate down on the old wooden end table beside the sofa and pulled the blanket tightly around her. Bowing her head, she poured out all her thoughts, doubts, and questions in sincere prayer. When she finished the long tearful appeal she sat there on the sofa quietly wondering what to do, then the memory of how she felt when she went to church in New Parish filled her with the peace and sense of belonging she’d felt when she was sitting in that place. She began to feel a new calm come over her heart and mind. Memories flowed now of how happy Brother Michael’s wives were and the things they said about accepting each other without requirements or expectations came to her memory’s surface. Next she remembered how happy the kids were and how Mary had described her family.            

The thought dawned on her, “I was only focusing on what could go wrong. There’s a lot that can and does go right…”            

Sarah began to smile, she wanted to keep this feeling, the storm inside was gone as the thunder outside was now sounding far away, she felt peacefully happy inside and had a peace and calm she hadn’t felt in a very long time… “Yeah,” she said, “I know what to do and what I want.””   New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! You can get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Old Friends…

Sometimes when we haven’t done something we really enjoy for a while, we miss that activity, like an old friend. Old friends can be a book, a movie, holding a baby, making a craft, or watching a basketball game… at least with me they can be. These old friends can give us happy moments similar to the happy moments we experience with people. They are even a bit easier to deal with than people, because there’s no worries about awkward moments, tensions, or stresses… they are easy.

In my book Return to New Parish Hannah finds one of her old friends – horses. She’s always loved horses, and learned to ride at the age of nine. This old friend always gave her comfort, peace, and of course, joy. She finds it much easier to admire horses, or ride them, than to deal with an ornery old cowboy…

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

“In a few minutes they were driving under a rustic archway made of roughly hewn cedar and wrought iron that said, “Lucky A Ranch” with two horses on either side of the words. Pulling into the paradisiacal looking ranch, Hannah was blown away. It had a huge mansion type house with rock face like the one Max had built, only much bigger. There were three above ground levels, balconies were on the second and third levels with a large wraparound porch on the ground level which had desert landscaped gardens surrounding it.  A huge classic red with white trim barn sat directly across from the house, about a hundred feet away, with three long stables on the right side of the house also about a hundred feet away in the other direction. There were two fenced in paddocks or corrals next to the stables, with beautiful palominos frolicking about in them. All the fences around the ranch, including the one around the large pasture to the left of the driveway, where the green grass was knee high, were painted white giving the whole place a fresh crisp look.

            Hannah had to do a double take, to realize this amazing place was really real. It was like the opulent ranches shown in the old westerns she and Sarah used to watch when they were kids.

            “So does Louis L’Amour live here?” she asked trying not to giggle out of sheer delight.

            Sarah laughed, “Nope, but a real cowboy hero does. Wait till you meet Uncle Alex, he’s great! He used to ride in rodeos, herd cattle on long trail drives, and do all that cowboy stuff. You’ll love him!”

            “I love those palominos!” Hannah said excitedly, “They’re gorgeous!”

            Sarah pulled the car up near the house and got out, “You can go ahead out there and see them if you want. I’m going to pop inside to see the ladies of the house then I’ll join you.”

            “Cool,” Hannah replied and headed toward the palominos. Reaching the corral fence she climbed up on the bottom of the three wooden rails and held onto the top one while reaching out to touch the nose of an approaching blonde horse. The horse nuzzled her hand as though they were old friends. Hannah smiled and let the honest friendship flow between them.

            “Well, aren’t you a pretty little sorrel filly?” a deep melodious voice said from behind her.

            Turning quickly to see who was talking Hannah saw a tall, slender, older cowboy, dressed in full cowboy regalia. From the top of his dusty cowboy hat to his dust covered cowboy boots, Hannah couldn’t believe it, she might have been very happy to meet this guy, if he hadn’t just called her a red headed horse.

            Looking that old cowboy up and down she could see the weathered tanned skin on his face, the graying mustache, the cowboy hat that covered his graying unkempt hair, the worn pale blue cotton button up shirt, the worn leather chaps that wrapped snuggly around his blue jeans, and his very worn cowboy boots. He was carrying a lasso in one gloved hand and a tool to remove rocks from a horse’s shoe in the other hand – Hannah recognized the tool from her stable days as a kid.

            He was smiling at her in a friendly sort of way, which annoyed her, she knew why but didn’t want to admit it to herself. She did admit to herself that a guy smiling friendly at her was still not something she was ready for.

            “I’m not a horse,” stepping down from the rail, the anger in her voice was evident as she spoke to the man who looked like he was the beach-bum of ranch hands. He made Hannah think of the old guys on the beach who forgot they grew up so they were still out there acting like kids, “What does he think he’s playing at?” she thought. He had no right to call her a filly or approach her like that. The anger was gaining ground as he stood there looking confused at her comment.

            When he finally spoke again, Hannah thought he sounded like he was excused from the “normal” etiquette that everyone else had to adhere to.

Smiling broadly underneath his mustache he drawled, “Yes ma’am.” 

            “Who does this guy think he is?” Hannah thought angrily. Looking toward the house where Sarah had gone, she didn’t see her. “Come on Sis,” she continued to think, “rescue me or him, this isn’t going to be pretty.” All the while she continued to give the old cowboy an annoyed look that would have made most guys leave whimpering. He didn’t leave, he kept smiling like he was enjoying himself, this made Hannah even angrier.

            “Do you like the horses?” he asked still smiling.

            Instead of saying they’re absolutely gorgeous and I love them, which was the truth, Hannah looked at the dusty old cowboy and said, “I’m waiting on my sister and I don’t need company to do that.” She hoped that would be blunt enough to let him know to leave her alone.

            “Aw, you’re much to pretty to have that much venom,” the old cowboy smiled at her with one eye closed as though he were sizing her up.

            “Listen here you ornery old codger! I don’t put up with any crap from men like you nor do I need your passive aggressive comments!” Hannah unloaded on him with full force, and would have kept going if Sarah hadn’t intervened.

            “Hey,” Sarah said with an awkward, let’s calm down, tone in her voice, “What’s going on, Hannah? I see you’ve met Uncle Alex,” she gave Hannah a look that told her to cool it. Then turned to Uncle Alex and said, “Hi, this is my sister Hannah, Uncle Alex.”

            Uncle Alex smiled broadly and said, “It’s very nice to meet you Hannah,” removing his glove and holding out his hand to shake hands with her.

            He still looked like he was enjoying himself, which kindled Hannah’s anger even more, she took a deep breath and said, “Yeah,” as she took his hand, but only because of years of her mother droning it into her to have manners. She pulled her hand away quickly so as not to prolong the experience or give him any ideas about forgiveness or friendship. The soft gentle touch of his hand lingered in her mind but his next comment synched her dislike for him.

             “I can see that your hair and temperament are in perfect alignment,” he smiled pleasantly at her.

            Sarah gave Hannah a look that she recognized immediately, it said, behave, but she wasn’t sure that was going to happen. “This guy is asking for it!” she thought as she leered at him. Looks passed back and forth between Hannah and Sarah with no words being said, Hannah’s final look told Sarah she wasn’t going to put up with Uncle Alex’s comments.

            Sarah quickly said, “I came over to see your ladies about the party prep we’re going to be helping with and get an idea of what we’re going to be doing tomorrow. So I guess we’ll go now, I need to get back home and you know, hurl,” she smiled awkwardly at Uncle Alex and pulled Hannah along with her toward the car.”

  New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! You can get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Snow Days

I don’t know if the reason is that I was born in a snow storm, or that the snow makes everything look new and clean, or that the snow makes me dream of Christmas… whatever the reason is, I really do love snow. We’ve had a goodly amount this winter, and it’s so pretty outside. The mountains out back look as though they’ve been sprinkled heavily with powdered sugar. I went exploring a bit the other day and saw some prickly pear cacti, mostly covered with snow, but still peeping out from under as though they were giving a little warning sign just to let people, or animals know, they’re still there and not to get too close. A snow storm out here is a sight to behold. You can see the storm coming from miles away, then everything gets white, the mountains are completely hidden, and the magic begins. In my book New Parish, they get some of the white and fluffy too. I don’t think I could ever write about winter and not include that most important element.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 4 – Girl Talk

“On Christmas morning Sarah and Mary were up early because Mary said Sarah, “Didn’t want to miss this!” Entering the main sitting room, it looked to Sarah like a magical place of happiness. The tree was full of colored lights and was filled to the brim with ornaments that depicted children, toys, and candy, and all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia. The tree had been there when Sarah first arrived and she’d immediately loved it. Mary had complained that she missed the decorating and explained to Sarah that the whole family gets in on the event, they put the tree up together, place the lights together, hang the ornaments together, make homemade things like popcorn and cranberry garland together and put it on together. She’d given Sarah the whole run down on Christmas at her home.            

The presents that had been added over night were covering a third of the room and there was a table with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and cool-whip. The table, with hot chocolate, made Sarah think of that “incident” she had been trying not to think of. The room looked and felt like Christmas, the best part of Christmas, you could feel it when you walked in… the kids were all filing in with excitement in their eyes and big smiles on their faces. Everyone was in their pajamas. This made Sarah think of her own childhood and the wonderful feelings she’d on Christmas morning. This made her both happy and sad, as a deep longing to share this type of experience with her own children filled her heart.            

Brother Michael came in last and as the kids excitedly jumped up and down pleading with him for permission to open presents he laughed and said, “Okay, have at it.” They did just that, there was a present opening frenzy the likes of which Sarah had never seen. She watched as Brother Michael slowly walked over and put his arms around two of his wives and kissed each on the cheek. Sarah smiled thinking she might like something like this, “It could really work… maybe,” she thought.             The rest of the morning was spent with hot chocolate and viewing the gifts the kids had received. Mary shouted looking out the window, “It’s snowing! How perfect is that?” Everyone crowded around the windows to see the Christmas magic falling down in large fluffy feathery flakes outside.”

 

New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! You can get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

Free Ebook

As promised, the free ebook (on Amazon.com) of New Parish will start tomorrow and be available through Friday! Happy Birthday to me, a free gift for you!         You can get a copy of New Parish here: New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com Also available at: Barnesandnoble.com Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park) Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Giving…

I love to give! It’s one of my favorite things. This next week is my birthday, so for my birthday I’m giving away free ebook copies of my book, New Parish, on Amazon.com – Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (1/30-2/1). I hope you all enjoy the adventure of New Parish, I know I have… and still am. Return to New Parish will be available this year and I can’t wait to share that adventure with you all. Excerpt from Return to New Parish: Chapter 5 – Christmas Party “Hearing a light tapping on her door she pulled herself up from the sofa and walked to the door.  “Hi,” Sarah said, entering the room. “I wanted to check in with you before I settled in for the night.”             “I’m good,” Hannah smiled at her sister who looked very tired, “Go settle.”             “I will in a sec,” Sarah shrugged. “What did you think of things today?”             “It was all good fun,” Hannah shrugged back. Then thinking of the guys she’d met asked, “So what do you know about Daniel and Steve?”             “Um, not too much.” Sarah wrinkled her nose as if a bad smell had entered the room then asked, “Why?”             “Well they are cute eligible guys,” Hannah proposed, thinking Sarah had been out of the game too long.             Sarah laughed, “Oh, I see. Well, all the guys here are eligible, but really those two guys are unproven. So I wouldn’t give them much thought.”             Hannah was a bit surprised at Sarah’s comments, “Ah, I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way.” She felt a little weird with the new perspective Sarah had just put forward. She knew the sink in time for this new perspective was going to take some time.             “You have that deer in the headlights look,” Sarah teased her.             Hannah laughed, “I suppose I’m allowed,” she defended. “I really hadn’t thought about that whole eligibility or unproven thing. What do you mean unproven?” she asked, completely not understanding what her sister had said.             “They don’t even have one wife,” Sarah explained with her nose wrinkled again. “Max told me that he went on a work mission, then to college, then built a house and started a ranch and his electrical business before he got married. He said it gave him time to get his head on straight and mature some, so he could appreciate having wives, and becoming a father.”             “Oh,” Hannah said, feeling like the deer in the headlights look had returned to her expression.             Sarah smiled slyly at her and said, “Goodnight.”                  “Goodnight,” Hannah chuckled as Sarah closed the door.” You can get a copy of New Parish here: New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com Also available at: Barnesandnoble.com Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park) Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Promise and Possibilities

We’re in 2019! This year is full of promise and possibilities for New Parish and its sisters. I think of the New Parish series as sister books: they’re related, they’re all about family, and most of all they stick together and support each other.

Last year Sarah found her way to New Parish, and this year Hannah makes the journey. In each book the Nichols sisters find not only romance, but also lots of adventure, many surprises, some frustration, and in the end their very own happily ever afters.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 9 – Max

            “The trail began to be quite steep just a few minutes into the hike. Sarah’s thoughts were soon lost in the beauty that was surrounding her, the mountains were striped with wonderful chocolaty umbers, the cacti, and other desert plants growing sparsely along the trail.

            The excitement of being out in nature was filling Sarah up, with no room leftover for any of the issues she’d been dealing with. Albert was talking about his work and how much the work load increased during tax season. Sarah sympathized with him but couldn’t really pay too much attention to what he was saying, the beauty of the mountains was distracting her.

            After about thirty minutes on the hike, Mary, who had been paying more attention to things asked, “Hey, have we gone off the trail?”

            “No,” Albert sounded very sure of his course. “We’re on the trail, it goes over here then up some more,” he pointed out the way he thought the trail went.

            “I don’t think so,” Mary disagreed, “I’ve hiked this trail many times and this isn’t it.”

            “It’ll be fine,” Albert smiled. “You’ll see we’ll come out on that ridge in just a bit.” He pointed to a rock outcropping several feet above them.

            Mary looked as though she were going to argue more but a light sprinkle of rain started to fall on them. As they looked up, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky which was now dark and filled with clouds.

            “We’d better head back down,” Albert’s voice sounded uneasy.

            “We should find shelter till the storm passes,” Mary suggested.

            “No way,” Albert said. “We’re going down.”

            “Okay,” Mary reluctantly followed.

            Sarah hadn’t really watched which way they were going, but now she wished she had. The rain began to pour down and pelt them so hard that it was difficult for Sarah to keep her eyes open.

            The noise of the storm had become very loud, Mary shouted, “We need to find shelter!”

            Sarah agreed with her, “Yeah, but where?”

            “In my car when we get back down!” Albert stubbornly insisted.

            “NO!” shouted Mary, “We need shelter now!”

            She grabbed Sarah by the hand and pulled her along to the side of the mountain where there was a short overhang, “It’s not much but it’s better than staying out there and getting struck by lightning.”

            Sarah nodded her agreement, the wind had begun to blow, gusting hard, and she was so cold that she didn’t want to try talking. She was shivering uncontrollably, and even though her coat was usually very warm, she discovered that when it was wet it was just heavy and if she moved it felt like it was stuffed with ice cubes.

            “It’s not that far to get back down to the car,” Albert argued his point.

            “It took us over thirty minutes to get here,” Mary stated the facts. “We need to stay and wait out the storm.”

            The wind blew hard, pummeling them with rain that felt like it had slushy ice in it, Sarah shivered and gasped for air.

            “I’m calling Dad,” Mary shouted.

            “There’s no phone service up here,” Albert reminded her.

            “No cell service but Dad gave me a satellite phone just in case of emergencies,” Mary said pulling off her backpack and rummaging through it.

            “Awesome!” Sarah said through chattering teeth.

            “Here it is,” Mary retrieved the phone and turned it on.

            She pushed in some numbers and held the device to her ear. After a few seconds she said, “Dad, we’re stuck up here in the storm. What? What? Okay. No I think we lost the trail a while back. What? Okay.” She turned to Sarah and shouted, “He’s sending someone to help.”

            Sarah nodded, she was shivering too much, again, to talk.

            “Who’s he sending?” Albert asked, sounding annoyed.

            “He didn’t say,” Mary replied sounding annoyed back at him.

            Sarah would have laughed if she could have, instead she made a mental note to laugh about their exchange later, when she could feel her feet and hands again. Sarah tried to busy her mind with thoughts of soaking in a warm tub, with the room all steamed up from the warmth of the water she was soaking in. She imagined the smell of sweet honeysuckle and roses permeating the warm room… the wind blew hard again and disrupted her thoughts. In an instant, her self-imposed delusion vanished and she was back standing under the small rock overhang with rain stinging her skin and her body shivering uncontrollably.

            Sarah looked at Mary, her lips were getting a bluish tint to them, she tried to smile but wasn’t sure it had worked. Mary nodded and said, “It shouldn’t be too long,” through chattering teeth.

            Sarah nodded back, knowing that talking was still beyond her capacities. The rain slowed but the frigid wind continued to blow through her as if she didn’t have any clothes on at all. She looked at Albert, he was leaning back against the side of the mountain with his eyes closed and arms wrapped around him in a sort of self hug. Sarah started wondering how long they’d been waiting, it seemed like an eternity. The not being able to feel her hands and feet was spreading, she was sure now that she couldn’t feel her knees anymore. She couldn’t understand how it could’ve become so cold so very fast. Her mind was pondering the morning, it was a bit chilly but not too cold, she remembered thinking that she would probably have to take off her coat in a while, now she felt like she might never be warm again.

            Sarah turned to look at Mary again when she thought she heard a loud shrill whistle.

Mary nodded eagerly, “They’re close,” she struggled to whisper through the shivering and shaking.”

 

Sneak preview excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 3 Palominos –

“Hannah had to do a double take, to realize this amazing place was really real. It was like the opulent ranches shown in the old westerns she and Sarah used to watch when they were kids.

            “So does Louis L’Amour live here?” she asked trying not to giggle out of sheer delight.

            Sarah laughed, “Nope, but a real cowboy hero does. Wait till you meet Uncle Alex, he’s great! He used to ride in rodeos, herd cattle on long trail drives, and do all that cowboy stuff. You’ll love him!”

            “I love those palominos!” Hannah said excitedly, “They’re gorgeous!”

            Sarah pulled the car up near the house and got out, “You can go ahead out there and see them if you want. I’m going to pop inside to see the ladies of the house then I’ll join you.”

            “Cool,” Hannah replied and headed toward the palominos. Reaching the corral fence she climbed up on the bottom of the three wooden rails and held onto the top one while reaching out to touch the nose of an approaching blonde horse. The horse nuzzled her hand as though they were old friends. Hannah smiled and let the honest friendship flow between them.

            “Well, aren’t you a pretty little sorrel filly?” a deep melodious voice said from behind her.

            Turning quickly to see who was talking Hannah saw a tall, slender, older cowboy, dressed in full cowboy regalia. From the top of his dusty cowboy hat to his dust covered cowboy boots, Hannah couldn’t believe it, she might have been very happy to meet this guy, if he hadn’t just called her a red headed horse.

            Looking that old cowboy up and down she could see the weathered tanned skin on his face, the graying mustache, the cowboy hat that covered his graying unkempt hair, the worn pale blue cotton button up shirt, the worn leather chaps that wrapped snuggly around his blue jeans, and his very worn cowboy boots. He was carrying a lasso in one gloved hand and a tool to remove rocks from a horse’s shoe in the other hand – Hannah recognized the tool from her stable days as a kid.

            He was smiling at her in a friendly sort of way, which annoyed her, she knew why but didn’t want to admit it to herself. She did admit to herself that a guy smiling friendly at her was still not something she was ready for.

            “I’m not a horse,” stepping down from the rail, the anger in her voice was evident as she spoke to the man who looked like he was the beach-bum of ranch hands. He made Hannah think of the old guys on the beach who forgot they grew up so they were still out there acting like kids, “What does he think he’s playing at?” she thought. He had no right to call her a filly or approach her like that. The anger was gaining ground as he stood there looking confused at her comment.

            When he finally spoke again, Hannah thought he sounded like he was excused from the “normal” etiquette that everyone else had to adhere to.

Smiling broadly underneath his mustache he drawled, “Yes ma’am.” 

            “Who does this guy think he is?” Hannah thought angrily. Looking toward the house where Sarah had gone, she didn’t see her. “Come on Sis,” she continued to think, “rescue me or him, this isn’t going to be pretty.” All the while she continued to give the old cowboy an annoyed look that would have made most guys leave whimpering. He didn’t leave, he kept smiling like he was enjoying himself, this made Hannah even angrier.

            “Do you like the horses?” he asked still smiling.

            Instead of saying they’re absolutely gorgeous and I love them, which was the truth, Hannah looked at the dusty old cowboy and said, “I’m waiting on my sister and I don’t need company to do that.” She hoped that would be blunt enough to let him know to leave her alone.

            “Aw, you’re much to pretty to have that much venom,” the old cowboy smiled at her with one eye closed as though he were sizing her up.

            “Listen here you ornery old codger! I don’t put up with any crap from men like you nor do I need your passive aggressive comments!” Hannah unloaded on him with full force, and would have kept going if Sarah hadn’t intervened.

            “Hey,” Sarah said with an awkward, let’s calm down, tone in her voice, “What’s going on, Hannah? I see you’ve met Uncle Alex,” she gave Hannah a look that told her to cool it. Then turned to Uncle Alex and said, “Hi, this is my sister Hannah, Uncle Alex.”

            Uncle Alex smiled broadly and said, “It’s very nice to meet you Hannah,” removing his glove and holding out his hand to shake hands with her.

            He still looked like he was enjoying himself, which kindled Hannah’s anger even more, she took a deep breath and said, “Yeah,” as she took his hand, but only because of years of her mother droning it into her to have manners. She pulled her hand away quickly so as not to prolong the experience or give him any ideas about forgiveness or friendship. The soft gentle touch of his hand lingered in her mind but his next comment synched her dislike for him.

             “I can see that your hair and temperament are in perfect alignment,” he smiled pleasantly at her.

            Sarah gave Hannah a look that she recognized immediately, it said, behave, but she wasn’t sure that was going to happen. “This guy is asking for it!” she thought as she leered at him. Looks passed back and forth between Hannah and Sarah with no words being said, Hannah’s final look told Sarah she wasn’t going to put up with Uncle Alex’s comments.

            Sarah quickly said, “I came over to see your ladies about the party prep we’re going to be helping with and get an idea of what we’re going to be doing tomorrow. So I guess we’ll go now, I need to get back home and you know, hurl,” she smiled awkwardly at Uncle Alex and pulled Hannah along with her toward the car.

            “Alright, Sarah, hope you feel better,” he smiled. “I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again Hannah,” he winked at her.

            Hannah had a myriad of things to say to him but Sarah pulled her arm very hard and said, “See ya tomorrow,” to Uncle Alex.

            Once in the car and on the road Sarah asked, “What the heck, Hannah?”

            “He made me mad,” she sulked back.

            “He jokes around a lot, but he’s really a nice guy, really,” Sarah almost pleaded with her. “We’re coming back over to his place tomorrow. You will try to be nice, right?”    

            “I’ll try, but I make no promises if he starts up his crap again,” Hannah returned.

            Sarah sighed loudly, but didn’t say anything else about it.”