The countdown begins! Not only is the storm coming your way but so is your copy of Season of Suspense: A Chandler County Christmas. I hope you've ordered your copy but it's not too late to grab it for the low pre-order price of $0.99. I can't tell you how excited I am about this BoxSet. I know you will enjoy the six books that include my book, Missing Christmas Joy. Here's the prologue and an exerpt from Chapter One.
By the way, if you don't yet know, Missing Christmas Joy features five of my favorite Chandlerville couples. If you've read any of my Chandler County books, this will be a great time for you to catch up, cuddle up and cheer for your favorite couples on as they face the storm of a life time.
You are my tornado
I am your storm chaser
I know you are a force to be reckoned with
But I can't stop myself from wanting to get closer to you
They came seeking love, peace and joy...
Ms. Isabel Johnson, lifelong and highly respected resident of Chandlerville, Kentucky, decides to celebrate the first year of her thriving Bed and Breakfast by hosting the Holly Jolly Holiday Couples’ Retreat. Ms. Isabel runs the Home on the Ranch Bed and Breakfast with the help of Manager Joyeaux Noelle and her staff.
Despite dire storm warnings that predict the worse storm the county has faced in 15 years, the influx of jubilant couples descend onto the festively decorated grounds in search of love, peace, joy, fulfillment and in some cases renewed relationships. Two weeks before the start of the Retreat, the highly esteemed Retreat leaders call Ms. Isabel to cancel out their obligation to run the Retreat.
Fate presents Ms. Isabel with an incredulous alternative after her grandson, Dr. Jared Johnson, refuses to step to the plate and co-lead the Retreat with his wife, Marissa.
Personal and physical storms threaten to destroy the planned Christmas-spirited festivities. A team of incognito angels block the evil forces that threaten the lives and relationships of Retreat guests proving once again, that love is indeed the answer.
The Storm before the Storm
“Hey, Cassie. Glad you made it home. This is part two of my message. Yeah, I know. I’m long winded. Ha! Just wanted to let you know I’m headed out to Ms. Isabel’s—for the Retreat. Can’t wait to tell you how this goes. I know you think it’s a good idea. I don’t have time to chat about that now. But get this. I’m meeting Andy out there—Humph, no comments, girl. No, he didn’t volunteer to pick me up. Oh well. Yep, he wanted to get there early so he could take some photos for the paper. Great start to our couples’ holiday.”
“Ooops….sorry. I think we lost each other there for a minute. Can you hear me? Hee Hee. Got to go. Looks like that snow that no one thought we’d really get is definitely coming our way. These back roads are looking pretty wicked. Will call you when I get there. Love you sis.”
The screeching winter storm squalls devoured Tina’s farewell. Her tiny Chevy Cruze swerved and twisted from side to side. As it spun out of control, it created its own path mangled in the thick foliage of the steep Kentucky mountains.
I’m determined to avoid a repeat of last year’s near fiasco. I learn from my mistakes. This year, our specially ordered 27-pound fresh turkey was delivered right on time. It’s resting before the big day on the counter in our graniteware roasting pan and patiently waiting for my lovely wife to prep it. The kids will arrive tonight and Tom turkey will be in the oven at four a.m. as it should be and has been for more than 20 years. I smile and relax for the first time this pre-holiday season. You’ll understand the significance of all this when I explain.
You see, this time last year, the Meriweather turkey was MIA. The case of our missing turkey opened when I accidentally discovered two pans of frozen lasagna tucked away on the bottom shelf of our new freezer. A bright red ‘Do Not Touch’ warning in an easily identifiable script signaled hands off. Lasagna but no turkey. And the day before Thanksgiving?
I’ll never forget it. It’s etched in my mind and I easily replay my discovery much like I’d replay the final overtime minutes in an NBA playoff game.
Maddy and I had watched The Preacher’s Wife, her favorite pre-holiday movie. She was humming Whitney Houston’s 'I Believe in You’ which put some added pep in my step as we ambled down to the kitchen for dessert.
Maddy had whipped up a batch of her made to die for chewy lemon bars while I was out golfing with some buddies of mine earlier. I had just wiped down the counter before joining her at our eat in kitchen isle. We sat shoulder to shoulder sipping our freshly brewed café Americanas-one of my specialties. Two forks, one dessert plate and I did the honors. Divvied up the three by three square into miniature bite size pieces.
"Hmmm, this is delicious, Boo. What a nice surprise. What did I do to deserve this? Do I dare ask?” Although Maddy loves to bake, lemon bars are not normally on her holiday dessert menu.
"Welcome, Sweetie. And no, don’t ask. Let’s make it a surprise. I’ll tell you later."
I laugh when Maddy covers her mouth to catch the crumbs that threaten to fall on our recently installed and just in time for the holidays kitchen flooring. “Ooops.”
I plant a kiss on her lemon-flavored lips and add, "By the way, I didn't see the turkey, Sweetie. Did I overlook it in the car?" I happened to be home earlier when Maddy returned with the groceries for Thanksgiving dinner and carried in the heavy stuff, as she called it. “Hope I didn’t leave it in the trunk. Dang it.” I’m thinking that I must have since I would have definitely remembered carrying in a 25 pound plus big bird.
Maddy stared into her holiday mug as though it had asked the question. Concerned about the turkey, I continue.
“I need to check. I don’t want it to spoil…we need our turkey, right?” I chuckle and push back from my stool. “Can’t have Thanksgiving without a turkey that’s for sure.” While standing, I take another bite, kiss Maddy on her forehead and tease. “Be right back, Hon. No cheating. Let’s finish this up together. While I’m gone, can you top off my coffee, please?”
"Ahem, no.” She cleared her throat. “No, I mean, wait.” She swiveled away from the counter and stood as though she planned to get the turkey herself.
“Sure. I mean. Sure, I’ll top off your coffee but no, you didn’t overlook the turkey.”
She refills my cup and explains, “Uh, Nels, you didn’t leave the turkey in the car."
"Huh?" I shut the door to the garage not sure of how to proceed but happy I can get back to my lemon bar.
“So, where is it? Did I really overlook it in the freezer? I must be losing it.”
I can laugh now when I think about her explanation as to why lasagna and fried fish should replace our traditional Thanksgiving meal. Trust me, at the time, I didn’t find it funny or the slightest bit entertaining.....
As you can see, the fun is just beginning...
Here's the link! Happy Reading.
Season of Suspense: A Chandler County Christmas