“Please sit down, Emily.” He extended out the flat of his hand, very much in control.
“Ah, thank you.” She perched on the edge of the soft leather seat across from a man who was too damn good to look at—a man obviously comfortable in his own skin.
Hardness set his jaw as he studied her. The tick of the wall clock seemed to echo in the silence, and Emily squirmed in her seat. Why was he looking at her like that? Maybe it was her outrageous entrance and he was wondering what kind of kook she was, whether he could entrust her with his child. Yes, that had to be it.
She swallowed hard. “I’m Emily Nelson; I talked to you yesterday on the phone about the job.”
He blinked before closing those exquisite eyes, as if he’d forgotten the reason she was here. When he opened them again, his hard judgmental expression seemed to have softened a bit.
Again he extended his large hand, taking hers in a firm grip. Just the touch of his solid calloused hand and the secure squeeze was enough to teeter her nerves back to that awkward woman at the door. She wondered what it would be like to have a man like this run his hands over you. She snatched her hand back before her face burned any brighter. Finally, he introduced himself. “The name’s Brad Friessen.” Emily kept quiet. He didn’t run on with his words. He must be a deep thinker, a doer. She could relate to that… but not to him. Her sly eyes glanced down at his left hand: no gold band, no white line, no wife or significant other. Or maybe he was one of those arrogant guys who wouldn’t wear a ring, a lady’s man. He had the looks and the attitude. Now was the time to ask about the woman who answered the phone when she called. Who was she?
“This is a working ranch I run, and I need a woman to look after my son. I’m old fashioned in my values. Children should be at home, not stuck in daycare. I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable in a kitchen and looking after children: a role that should come natural to a woman. I don’t want someone who’s got the phone stuck to their ear half the day. It’s a decent job and good pay; $500 a week, room and board, and includes all your meals.”
Her heart sank about the same time the bottom dropped out of her stomach. It was too good to be true. She wanted to cry. “But I… I have a little girl, I didn’t realize–”
His face hardened and he looked away. For some reason he was angry with her… no, furious. Emily didn’t know what to say when he let out a heavy sigh. He closed his eyes, rubbing his hand over the light brown shadow that appeared over his jaw. Then he faced her again, with those deep brown eyes now turned to steel. Emily saw that he could be a hard man.
Friday, May 30, 2014
“Please sit down, Emily.” He extended out the flat of his hand, very much in control.
...and looking out on the two acres of newly planted seedlings, I feel a sense of satisfaction that only working your own land can bring. Although my back is sore and dirt cakes my fingernails, I know that the land gives back so much more than the effort I put into it. Inhaling the fragrant spring air, feeling the sun's gentle warmth, I am at peace. For tonight, my family will feast on cream of asparagus soup, an early season tossed green salad, and a crusty home-baked bread that melts on your tongue. Pair this with a bottle of local elderberry wine, and you're living the good life.
Julia closed her eyes, her fingers a hair's width from striking the laptop's keyboard. She could almost feel the sun on her cheeks, smell the freshly turned soil. It was a comfort she would often recall whenever she needed a reminder of some of the happiest moments of her life. As a child she'd spent her summer months living at her grandparents' farm in Harmony Grove, Iowa. In retrospect, those quaint, stuck-in-time summer vacations were a great way to grow up, but she couldn't be happier having moved to Chicago—or living with Nora, her best friend since they'd been paired as college roommates eight years ago.
The click of high heels brought her out of her reverie. Julia looked up to see the overly made-up face of the nail tech as she glanced at the timer and whispered, "Five more minutes." Julia nodded and looked back at her laptop screen.
She sighed, happy to have finished another weekly column. Not only was it finished, it was actually pretty darned good. Nine months of weekly columns… she never imagined it would last so long, or that she would even have enough to write about to keep it fresh and interesting. When she'd started the column as a simple blog she never thought anyone would read it. But somehow, in the mysterious workings of the internet, her little Wordpress blog had garnered a following, a following that soon outgrew the free domain world of Wordpress. Her blog, The Good Life, had been syndicated by the Chicago Herald website for six months. Her thousand loyal readers had now become ten times that amount, and growing.
She saved the file to her laptop, careful not to smudge her manicure, and then emailed a copy to her editor at the Herald.
When the timer went off, Gloria, the owner of the salon, approached with a smile and lifted the hairdryer. "How was your day of beauty?"
Julia stood up from the pedicure drying station and glanced down at her toes. "I finally look worthy of the gorgeous Jimmy Choos I bought last week. They only cost me a month's worth of columns."
"I don't know how you get any work done here with all of this racket going on."
"When I'm working on my column, I'm not really here," Julia said as she closed her computer and stowed it in her laptop bag. "I'm at the farm."
"You sure don't look like a farm girl to me."
"And thanks to all of your fabulous skills, I never will." Julia wiggled her fingernails, gleaming with fresh polish. She hadn't had her hands in freshly turned soil in many years.
"None of your readers suspect that you're really just a city girl with an active imagination?"
"No, ma'am. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to you. Beautician-to-client confidentiality," Julia said with a wink.
"Your secrets are safe with me, girl," Gloria said as she walked Julia to the cash register. "Same time next week?"
Julia handed over her well-used Visa. "You know I can't resist."
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Daniel sighed and looked at the large clock suspended above the librarian’s desk. It was only noon. This day wasn’t going at all as he had hoped. When he arrived that morning at the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, he had been looking forward to his daily visit with David, a reference librarian in the ancient history section. It was the only thing he looked forward to these days. Instead of the handsome young man he had hoped to see, he was met by a scowling grey-haired woman who informed him that David had called in sick. No, it wasn’t serious, just a case of food poisoning and no, she didn’t know when he would be back at work. Probably in a few days.
Volume Four – Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult’s leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent–their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Metcalf’s child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana’s leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana’s troves–a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf’s son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie’s powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Colin Ryan, family friend and the island’s veterinarian, met Pete first in London, years earlier, when she visited his roommate, Tyler. He’s loved her, privately, ever since. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, son of a bar owner, he’s always been dazzled by what he sees of the sun-kissed lives of the summer people.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Heavenly Father, I pray that others would be a witness to how ____________________ is genuinely laboring to proclaim the gospel of truth so that they would be inspired to do the same. Make his words and conduct holy and blameless in your sight so that his witness is not tarnished. Make him like a spiritual father to those you entrust him with, fill his mouth with encouragement as he charges others to remain on the path of holiness. Lord, give him an assertive spirit to rebuke those who need it and a sweet spirit to encourage those who are weary. Make him patient towards all so that others would you see your character within him.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
as much heart as humor.”
—Michael Dadich, award-winning author of The Silver Sphere