The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Upcoming: Editor, Rachel Burkot from LIH

On Wednesday, October 5th, Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Historical Editor, Rachel Burkot, will be on my blog. She'll be discussing the kinds of inspirational historicals they are looking to acquire from new authors. Don't miss it!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Word of Inspiration: The Promise Is for All of Us

"For the promise that He would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but the righteousness of faith." (Romans 4:13)

When God promised Abraham that he would have a son and God would establish a covenant with him and his descendants, he wasn't just referring to the physical descendants, the Jews. God was talking about us, the gentiles, anyone in the world regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, and gender who is willing to be adopted as God's spiritual child. The promise, Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings to us, is ours if we will receive it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Highland Blessings a Free Kindle Download

#christianfiction #kindle
Beginning today and a for a limited time, Highland Blessings is available as a free download on Amazon's Kindle. This is an historical Christian fiction novel. To download, go here!

Bryce MacPhearson, a highland warrior, kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. While Akira’s strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment when he forces her to wed him, hoping to end a half-century-old feud between their clans. While Akira begins to forgive, and Bryce learns to trust, a series of murders leaves a trail of unanswered questions, confusion, and a legacy of hate that once again rises between their families. Clearly, a traitor is in their midst. Now the one man Akira loves no longer trusts her, and her own life is in danger. Can Bryce look beyond his pain and seek the truth? Will Akira discover the threat against her before it’s too late? How will God turn a simple promise into bountiful Highland blessings?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Highland Sanctuary Book Launch Contest

To celebrate the launch of my new novel, Highland Sanctuary, I'm hosting a contest for a limited time beginning September 26, 2011 at 8AM (EST) and ending October 9, 2011 at 11PM (EST). All rules of entry must be followed as stated below.
 
Note: Photos may not include exact prizes as some items were not yet in my possession when I took the photos.


PRIZES

3 participants will win a $10 Gift Card to their choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


 


2 participants will win a $10 Gift Card from Chick-Fil-A.




1 participant will win a tote bag with the following books: A Mile From Sunday by Jo Kadlecek, Leaper by Geoffrey Wood, Mysterious Ways by Terry W. Burns, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.




1 participant will win a coffee mug with assorted coffee and the following books: New Testament (Common English Bible Translation), Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate, A Touch of Grace by Laura Snelling, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.


 

1 participant will win a tote bag with the following books: The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom, In the Shadow of Lions by Ginger Garrett, To Die For by Sandra Byrd, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.



1 participant will win a coffee mug with assorted coffee and the following books: Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus, Freedom's Crossroad (3 in 1 collection) by Ramona K. Cecil, Silver Mountains (3 in 1 collection) by Pamela Griffin, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.

 


1 participant will win a stationary packet and the following books: A Cousin's Promise by Wanda E. Brustetter, When the Morning Comes and When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.



1 participant will win a tote bag and the following books: With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman, Just Jane by Nancy Moser, Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor. 





HOW TO ENTER

Mandatory Requirements:
Participants must leave a comment on Jennifer’s Blog with their name (first and last), listing each completed entry on which locations for verification purposes. If you are uncomfortable leaving a comment with your full name, please leave a comment letting me know you plan to send me a private email at jt4novels@yahoo.com with your full name and list of entries. (Please Note: Simply leaving a basic comment will not enter you into the contest.) 

Participants will receive:
1 Entry for following Jennifer’s Blog via Blogger or Google (http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com)

1 Entry for following Jennifer on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/jt4novels)

1 Entry for following Jennifer on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jenniferhudsontaylor)


Optional Requirements:
Participants who may already follow Jennifer's Blog, Twitter & FB accounts and new followers, may receive additional entries by doing the following:

2 Entries for retweeting the following phrase exactly as it is on your Twitter page, once.

2 Entries for posting the following phrase on your Facebook page or profile, once.

            Please cut and paste this phrase exactly as is in either a tweet or on a facebook post (ONLY ONCE, please.):

#HighlandSanctuary Contest Book Launch.  Free gift cards Amazon/B&N/Chick-Fil-A. #JenniferHudsonTaylor Click here: http://bit.ly/mfjYex

3 Entries if you blog about the Highland Sanctuary Book Launch Contest and include a link to this page.

3 Entries if you sign up for Jennifer's Quarterly Newsletter, here: http://bit.ly/fY9EY7.

(PLEASE NOTE: It is mandatory that you leave a comment with a link on author Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s blog in order for the entries to be counted and verified, as well as distinguished from those who just happen upon the site or social media pages and who did not arrive due to the promotion of this contest).

SELECTION OF WINNER
Winners will be drawn at random.  The number of times a person may enter depends on the number of mandatory and optional requirements they succeed in achieving.  Chances of winning will also depend on the number people who enter the contest.
Winners will be announced on Jennifer's Blog at http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com on Friday, October 14, 2011. All winners must respond within 7 days of announcement of winners by contacting Jennifer at jt4novels@yahoo.com with mailing address with "Highland Sanctuary Contest" typed in the subject line. If a winner does not respond in this time frame, they forfeit their win, and we will announce a new winner, who will also have 7 days to respond. 
Please read ALL Official Contest Rules here

Friday, September 23, 2011

Catching Up with My Readers & Some Exciting News!

First, I want to thank everyone for your prayers during the loss of my father-in-law last week. Your support and faith during a time when our family was grieving is greatly appreciated. We miss Winston, but we know he's in a better place, and we are learning to cope. Next month when his birthday rolls around will be a little hard. He and I often celebrated our birthdays together since his was on Halloween and mine is the day before. 

Now, for some upcoming good news! Highland Sanctuary releases in 2 weeks. I'm very excited to share with you that RT Book Reviews gave it 4 1/2 stars

Today is the first day of Autumn! My favorite season. This weekend my family will enjoy the fall by attempting to find our way through a corn maize. In a few weeks I'll attend the Renaissance Faire where I'll be signing books and wearing my 15th century highland gown. How do you plan to celebrate fall? 

On Monday, my newsletter will go out, you can subscribe to it in the gray box on the left side of my blog. Each quarter I produce a newsletter and draw a winner from the list of new subscribers who will have a choice of a signed copy of one of my books. The winner will be announced in the newsletter.

Also on Monday, my Highland Sanctuary Book Launch Contest begins! It will continue for 2 weeks and there will be lots of ways to enter the contest and win free gifts. This means there will be several winners! Gifts include free books (not just mine), tote bags, coffee mugs, assorted coffee, stationary, as well as Amazon, B&N and Chick-Fil-A gift cards. Details will be in Monday's blog post. Don't miss it!


If you're in the Greensboro area of North Carolina, I'll be at Barnes & Noble at Friendly Shopping Center on Saturday, Oct 8th (3-5 pm). I'll be signing copies of my books, offering a Q&A, and holding a drawing for a free basket of goodies, but you have to be present to win. We'll give out tickets as you enter the store for the drawing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Word of Inspiration: Trust in the Lord

"Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40:4)

It is so tempting to believe in the things we see, especially when our circumstances surround us like steep mountains on all sides and we feel trapped with no way out. We forget that God is our deliverer. No mountain or obstacle is too great for Him. The just walk by faith, not by sight. Trust in the Lord when you can't see over the walls, the mountains, and the obstacles surrounding you. Close your eyes to the bad images, your ears to the negative words of others, and call out to the Lord for deliverance, for He alone is able to save you from your troubles.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CFBA Blog Tour - "A Whisper of Peace" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

The
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Whisper of Peace
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
by
Kim Vogel Sawyer


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal...until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen.

But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Whisper of Peace, go HERE.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Word of Inspiration: Shelter Me, Lord

"For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever. I will trust to the shelter of Your wings." (Psalm 61:3-4)

Even when we don't know it, God is sheltering us from the worst. He sends the Holy Spirit as a comfort to us in the midst of our trials and sorrow. It may look like the enemy is attacking from every direction, but God has put boundaries upon him just as He has the ocean. There may be storms and the tide may rise, but it will never flood the earth again. The enemy cannot overtake you. Know that YOU belong to GOD!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering....

X-Posted: This morning my father-in-law, Winston Taylor, went to be with the Lord. He fought a long, hard battle, but never once complained or lost his sense of humor and stood strong on his faith until the end. We already miss him very much! While I spend time with the family, I will not be blogging for a few days.
Below is a video my daughter made for him this past Father's Day. 
 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Highland Sanctuary Blog Tour

Today is the first day of the blog tour for Highland Sanctuary! Stop by and join in on the fun. 

Blog Stops:
Sept. 14, 2011 AJ Hawke Inspirational Writing

Sept. 15, 2011 A Day in the Life of a Wife Mom and Author Blog

Sept. 16, 2011 Quintessentially Quilly

Sept. 19, 2011 Faith Chats Blog 

Sept. 20, 2011  Living Water Fiction Blog

Sept. 21, 2011 Creative Madness Blog

Sept. 22, 2011 Sharon's Garden of Books

Sept. 23, 2011 Reviews By Molly

Sept. 27, 2011 Katieslegacy Blog

Sept. 27, 2011 A Christian Writer's World Blog

Sept. 29, 2011 Tracy Riva Books & Reviews

Sept 30, 2011 Black n' Gold Girl's Book Spot

Oct. 3, 2011 By Grace Alone Blog

Oct. 4, 2011 Edgy Inspirational Blog

Oct. 6, 2011 Write of Passage Blog

Oct. 7, 2011 Beverly's Bookshelf

Oct 10, 2011 Margaret's Blog 

Oct. 10, 2011 K. Dawn Byrd Blog

Oct. 11, 2011 Daysong Reflections Blog

Oct 12, 2011, Living Faith in the Real World Blog

Oct. 13, 2011 The Twinners Blog

Oct. 17, 2011 Valentine at Carabosse's Library

Oct. 20, 2011 Reviews by Jane 

Oct. 21, 2011 Inkslinger Blog

Oct. 24, 2011, Bibliophile's Retreat Blog

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Word of Inspiration: Lord, Teach Me Your Will

"Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness" (Psalm 143:10)

How often have you decided to do something and prayed for God to bless it and help you in the effort? If we're praying for Him to bless our efforts, then we've already decided what we're going to do. We didn't ask Him if it was His will. We didn't WAIT for the answer. Sometimes we think we're seeing signs for the correct direction, but there is a part of us that secretly hopes for a particular direction and we justify it through signs and circumstances. Our justifying habits can give us a false sense of peace about a decision. The best thing we can do is WAIT. God's answer will come.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wild Card Book Tour - "Pirate of My Heart" by Jamie Carie



#christianfiction

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:



***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources for sending a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jamie Carie is the author of Snow Angel, a ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, USA Book News National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Her third novel, Wind Dancer, was a 2010 Indiana State Library Best Books of Indiana finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Indianapolis.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805448152
ISBN-13: 978-0805448153


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


PROLOGUE

Arundel, England 1777

The grey clouds of dawn shivered against the paned glass of the castle, shrouding the three figures at the side of the four-poster bed in an eerie light. The raging storm of the night before had settled into a dreary misting rain though an occasional jagged flash of lightning flaunted its power, not yet ready to relinquish its right to ravish the leaden sky. Dim light clung to the faces of those inside the bedchamber where the very walls seemed to echo the anguish felt inside the room.

All that could be heard in the chamber was the shallow, labored breathing of the one abed. A frail creature, now, pale and lifeless after the travails of childbirth. The others included the old family doctor, Radley, who hovered beside his patient and friend of many years with a strained look in his eyes. Hovering in the shadows was Bridget, the lady's long-standing nurse and companion. But their suffering was not to be compared to the tall, handsome gentleman who knelt at the woman's bedside, her hand clasped in his; a haunted look in his eyes that attested to the fact that he too feared the end was near for his beloved.

He gazed down at the limp form of his wife. She lay so still, so pale, sunk into the feather mattress as if she'd become a part of it. In a matter of hours she'd become a shallow breathing shell of the bright and glorious women she had once been. How was he to live without her? His heart spasmed with the thought.

He held his breath as her thin, white eyelids opened to reveal pain-racked eyes the color of bluebells. She exerted a small strength in squeezing his hand while a serene smile played at her lips. Her voice was a weak whisper. "I will not be leaving you forever, my darling. Our daughter will grow strong and always be a symbol of the love we shared."

"No." Edward groaned in anguish, his head falling forward, his hand clasping tight as if to force his strength into her. "I will not let you go."

"Love her, Edward, love her with all that you are." Lady Eileen closed her eyes seeming to gather what little strength she had to continue speaking. A small, whimpering sound came from the shadows of the room where Bridget held the newborn babe to her bosom. Lady Eileen opened her eyes at the sound. "Please, let me hold my sweet child."

The nurse skirted around the bed with the tiny bundle, her eyes bright with tears. "She's the mos' beautiful of babes, my lady, truly she is." She laid the wee babe in her mother's fragile arms.

His wife stared down at their daughter and then looked up at him. Her voice became fierce but still so quiet Edward had to lean in to catch the words. "This one has a special purpose in life and I expect you all to care for her as I would have."

Edward could only nod, mute and staring, aching with grief.

"I have one more request to ask of you, my love." Her breath rasped in and out causing the panic in Edward's stomach to claw into his chest like a nightmare's hand, but he nodded for her to continue and clung to her hand.

"My greatest joy in life has been you. I want her to find love, someone to share her life with who is as kind, as loving and wonderful as I have had in you." She rested a moment before continuing. "Let her choose, Edward, do not make a match for her. I know it is right." She gasped for a final breath. "I've made provision. In my will . . . no entailments, Edward. Give her the dragonfly brooch as a promise from me that I will be looking down from heaven to keep her safe."

"Of course, my darling, anything you ask I will do."

A small smile touched Eileen's lips as she gazed at their beautiful child for the last time. With a single tear sliding down her cheek she kissed the light fuzz on the child's head. "I love you." She breathed the words with her last breath, barely audible, and then she went still.

Edward collapsed over her limp hand still clutched in his strong one. "No," he cried with ragged breath. He brought the hand to his check, soaking it with his tears, willing her to come back to him.



CHAPTER ONE
Arundel, England - 1796

Kendra stopped halfway down the path that led to the stables, happiness lifting her heart at the autumn scene. The leaves had turned into a crimson, sunny yellow and carroty riot of color, as if a magician had waved a wand during the night and created a new world. She stepped across the lawn, feeling the kind of happiness that burst against the walls of her chest, stopping long enough to turn in slow circles so to watch the waving leaf show. She closed her eyes, still slowly twirling and smiled up toward heaven, humming a simple song of praise to God. The notes of her song danced around her and made a happy knot form in her throat. There was nothing she loved more than singing praises to God. Her father had instilled his love for God in her since she was a child - always making sure they had a curate in the village residence for weekly services at St. Nicholas Parish Church, praying with her each night before bedtime and teaching her scriptures and hymns. Most of all, he’d been an example of someone who was temperate, kind and patient. They had memorized the scripture about the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - and often reminded each other of the one they should practice when the occasion called for it. She wished so much to be like him but sometimes her best intentions went awry and she fell short, far short of her father’s shining example.

The sound of wheels crunching over dead leaves gave her pause. She stopped, turned toward the horse-shoe drive at the front of the castle and saw a shiny black post-chaise carriage. Who could it be? They had not seen visitors in so long. Kendra hurried toward the entrance to meet their guest, then came to an abrupt stop and clasped her hands in front of her dress. She held her breath as a tall, handsome man sprang from the carriage. He was dressed in a waist-coat of navy wool with an intricately knotted necktie at his throat, cream colored breeches and matching hose. She lifted her gaze to his face. Her jaw dropped with surprise. The face staring back at her looked like the one in her bedchamber mirror each morning . . . except for the color of his eyes.
Andrew Townsend matched his nieces startling gape as he found himself looking into the younger, female version of himself. Surely this was not Edward's daughter! She could have been his own child. Recovering from his shock with more effort than he'd exerted in months, Andrew questioned the young lady. "And who might this lovely creature be? A relative of mine, perhaps?"

She curtsied and smiled up at him. "I'm Kendra Townsend sir, and who might you be?" Her smile was soft and contagious, so irresistible that Andrew found himself thawing in her presence.

"I am Andrew Townsend, your uncle, my dear." He held out his hand in greeting. "I am most pleased to finally meet you. It seems we bear a striking resemblance to one another."

"You're very handsome." She stated with bold faced honesty.

Andrew let out a bark of laughter. "Well. Thank you, I'm sure. Now, would you be so kind as to show me to your father? I have some business to conduct with him."

"Of course, sir." Kendra replied as she reached for his arm. "Your papa's brother, his twin, aren't you?" Her eyes lit up as she led him through the front door, past their astonished looking butler, and down the wide corridor, the elegant carpet making silence of their footsteps. Just as well, the surprise element couldn't hurt to gage how his dear brother was going to react to his request. “Father will be in his study with his solicitor this time of day.” At her knock they heard a preoccupied "come in."

The Earl of Arundel sat behind an ancient desk with stacks of documents in front of him. Facing him was Mr. Walcott, the trusted family solicitor. As they walked into the study, Edward's face lit up with joy. Then, as he looked beyond her, his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

"Andrew?"

Andrew put on his best smile and chuckled, walking forward toward his brother. He needed Ed to accept him back into the family fold and that might require some persuasion. "Great heavens, man, is it really you?" Edward came from behind the desk and greeted him with a handshake and an awkward hug that turned into a haphazard slapping against his shoulder. "You remember Parker Walcott." He motioned to the man who had risen, eyes round behind his spectacles.

"Yes, of course, how's the family, Parker? Dorothy and the children doing well?" Andrew felt the smooth mask of charm take hold of his being and hoped Parker would take the hint. He looked as if he’d seen a ghost.

"Oh, very good, my lord, yes indeed. And yourself?"

"After meeting my lovely niece here, I couldn't be in better spirits." Andrew replied. "Ed, why have you failed to mention our likeness in your letters? It nearly frightened us both out of our wits when we clapped eyes on one another." The laughter in his voice was real this time.

"It's been so long since I've seen you." Edward hastened to explain. "Until this moment I didn't realize just how much you resemble each other." He glanced from one to the other, astonishment and something disapproving, consternation perhaps in his eyes before continuing. "Your eyes are more blue than her unusual shade of violet, but you’re quite right, you resemble twins more than you and I ever did. It's remarkable, isn't it?"

Edward motioned for Andrew to have a seat. "Please, join us." They both looked up at Kendra to find her staring at Andrew. Andrew winked at her as he plopped down in the chair beside Parker. Edward cleared his throat and frowned at his daughter. "Kendra, go down and have Willabee bring up some refreshments please."

Kendra nodded but clung to Andrew's side before she left. "How long can you stay Uncle Andrew? You should stay at least until the end of the week." Her eyes were bright with excitement.

"And what, pray tell, happens at the end of the week?" Andrew asked with a half grin that he'd been told sent the ladies into a swoon.

"I've persuaded papa to have a garden party." Her eyes slid to her father before she continued. "He hates to entertain you know, but I've been so forlorn for company my own age since my friend, Lucinda, moved away that he's feeling guilty and has agreed. Please say you'll stay. Lady Willowbee's girls will be absolutely speechless for once."

"I seem to recall a Lady Willowbee, lives down the way, only other gentry around here, eh?" At Kendra's nod Andrew chuckled with the memory. "A bit of a sour puss. Are her girls as malicious and back-biting as she and her sisters used to be?"

Kendra put her hand to her mouth in an attempt to suppress a horrified giggle.

"Can't offend them though," Andrew continued with grave mirth, "must do our duty and invite the only other cream de la cream in the area, even though it is soured cream, is that the dilemma you find yourself in, my dear?"

“Papa says I must love them as the Bible says.” Kendra raised her brows in beseeching charm that he recognized as one of his own trademark moves. "But if you were there it would be ever so much easier. They will be nice in hopes of an introduction. Please say you'll stay."

Andrew caught his brother's gaze and asked in a soft voice. "Can you deny her anything?"

Edward looked down and cleared his throat, a red flush filling his cheeks. "Very little, I'm afraid.

Swinging back to Kendra's expectant gaze, Andrew mused. "I will have to give you your answer later, moppet, but I promise I'll try.

That seemed to satisfy her as she gave him a happy nod and turned to leave the men to their business.

"You're going to have a devil of a time fighting off all the suitors at your door, Edward. She's amazing." Andrew remarked as he watched the whirl of Kendra's skirts around the door as she left.

Edward sighed. "I've already had my share of offers, but she's just nineteen. I'm not ready to see her betrothed to anyone yet."

"I can understand why, she brightens up the old place." Pausing, Andrew ran his fingers through his blond hair and added. "I was truly sorry about Eileen, Edward. I would have attended the funeral had I not been out of the county."

"I won't pretend I was anything other than devastated. But time has a way of taking the edge off the grief and Kendra has taken care of the rest. I don't know how I would have gone on if she had died with her mother.”

Andrew didn't know how to respond to his brother's heart-wrenching revelation. Edward had aged in more than the receding hairline and creases around his mouth it would seem. Andrew cleared his throat and looked down at the floor.

Edward leaned across the desk, his hands clasped together. "Enough about me, what have you been doing with yourself these last fifteen years?"

"A little of everything, I dare say. Traveled around a good bit." The rake's smile slide across his lips and he shrugged. "Been enjoying life with good drink, fine horseflesh and beautiful women."

Edward shook his head in an older brotherly way. "I know only too well of your love for the worldly passions. It's a life that will never satisfy you, you know. I have to hear of your exploits every time I'm in London. When will you settle down? Start a family of your own?"

A bark of laughter escaped Andrew's throat. Not here ten minutes and he was already getting the lecture. "Now is not a good time for thinking of that, Ed. I - uh, seem to have gotten myself into a bit of a jam." Glancing at Parker Walcott, Andrew girded up his courage and rushed out the rest before his nerve failed him. "I was hoping to have a word with you, big brother. I have some business I would like to discuss."

Parker rose rather abruptly for one keen to the family's business dealings. Andrew smothered a chuckle as the solicitor beat a hasty path to the door. "I will bid you both good day, my lord. You and your brother have much catching up to do." Andrew suppressed a chuckle as he scurried from the room.

After the door was closed silence descended upon the room. Andrew braced his arms on his legs and pressed his sweaty palms together.

Edward broke the silence with a voice both grave and guarded. "What can I do for you, Andrew?"

Shifting in the chair, Andrew ran a well-manicured hand though his blond hair, took a deep breath and plunged into his story.
It would seem Andrew had heard, through a reputable source, about an investment that was sure to make him a very wealthy man. The Brougham Company had been started to finance several voyages of trade to America with goods the colonist desperately needed. Five great ships had set sail over six months ago to deliver their goods. Andrew had invested all that he had and was given a great deal of credit as he bore the Townsend name.

The first two ships to sail had been attacked by pirates and overtaken. The following ship did not survive a great storm, and of the two that made it to America, one had perishables on it that were ill-packed, causing the contents to spoil, while the other had cheaper goods that even when sold at an exorbitant price did not come close to making up for the expense of the trip. "I've lost everything and my creditors are threatening Newgate Prison if I don't come up with the funds."

Edward listened with sinking despair. It seemed fate would never grant his twin the power he so desperately coveted. "Of course I will help you, Andrew. Have your creditors send me the contracts and I will take care of them." He paused before continuing in a fatherly tone. "I understand you want to handle matters on your own, but please consider consulting me or even Walcott before plunging into a scheme like this in the future." Edward pressed his lips together with that eagle-eyed stare that always made Andrew squirm in his chair. "I could have had the company investigated for you, at the very least."

"Of course." Andrew shook his head, eyes downcast. The act was growing tedious but pressed on. "It's just that I was so excited. I wanted to surprise you and mother with my good fortune. I realize the family thinks me a spoiled dandy so I wanted to do something to make you all proud. Instead I proved what an idiot I am."

"Now don't be too hard on yourself. We've been through worse and we'll come through this together."

"I can't thank you enough, Ed, just the thought of that prison sent me fleeing here on wings. There is just one more thing," Andrew rushed out, fidgeting with his fingers. "I was wondering if the creditors could go through old Parker instead of you. That way it won't become common knowledge that my brother had to pay off my debts. It's a matter of pride you see." He raised his brows and gave Edward a shrug of his shoulders.

"Of course. There's no need for our business to become something for the gossip mills."

Andrew stood up, gave his brother a quick, firm hug, and hurried from the room.
Edward gazed at the closed door, sadness and bewilderment weighing down his shoulders like a heavy blanket. He had not seen his brother for years, and then when he finally did come home, it was only because he was in trouble and needed money. Would they ever be close?

Dear God, help me reach him.

He let his thoughts drift back to their childhood, a good and proper upbringing he had always thought, but not without its animosities. Animosities that led all the way back to their birth.

They had heard the tale countless times. Edward had been the first-born twin, the heir to the earldom, but it had come about by a strange quirk of fate. His mother, who now lived on her own estate miles from Arundel, had pushed for hours with no sign of the babies coming.

The midwife, in an effort to feel the baby's position, placed one hand on the extended abdomen and the other inside the womb. She pulled back in surprise. "Your ladyship, I do believe you are having twins. There's a head and feet near the opening."

His mother gasped and her face whitened. "Twins! I shan't be able to do it."

The contractions continued though, strengthened instead of daunted by the thought of two.

Hours dragged by as they all wondered if Lady Lenora would be able to deliver the babies. In a wondrous moment, a hushed moment between pushes, a tiny foot poked out of the womb. The midwife didn't say anything but knew the importance of the firstborn's place so she tied a scarlet thread around the tiny ankle. Gently slipping the foot back up, she concentrated on delivering the baby in the head-down position. The child seemed ready to cooperate and after several more minutes emerged from the womb.

"A boy, my lady." One of the servants rushed to take the child to clean him before he was presented to his mother. After another hour, Lady Lenora held two healthy sons. She noticed the thread and looked up at the midwife. "But what's this, Ida?"

The midwife told the story of how that child had poked his little foot out first and thought to tie the yarn around his foot in the event that Lord Townsend would regard him the first born.

And he had. Lord Albert Townsend named the babe with the string around his ankle Edward Alexander Townsend, and proclaimed him the rightful heir. Lenora named his twin brother, Andrew Richard Townsend and thought that son cheated.

Edward's knuckles whitened with the memory as he clinched his hands into fists. They'd been so close when they were boys! Inseparable until the day Andrew heard the story of his birth bluntly put by a stable hand. Andrew had changed then, pulling away and becoming distant and ever more brooding. After awhile it seemed they had little in common and less to like about each other. And that wasn't even the worst of it. The resentment his mother held destroyed their marriage. Lenora devoted herself to spoiling her younger son which forced the earl to take Edward's causes.

Edward sighed, his head dropping forward, sadness pulling at his heart. They were so different in every way. Andrew was strikingly handsome with his fair hair and pale blue eyes, so much like their mother. Edward supposed he was the epitome of an Englishman with his dark brown hair, aristocratic nose, and hazel eyes. And that was only their outward differences. Inwardly they couldn't be more distant. He a long-grieving widower and Andrew a financially destitute dandy in dire straits. But he was back.

His brother had come home.

Maybe if he loved him enough, if he showed it and gave him all the attention and praise and . . . well, whatever it was that Andrew needed, maybe he could, uptight Englishman that he was, humble himself and shower his brother with love.

Father, help me love him the way he needs it. Help me show him You.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Word of Inspiration: Fill Up the Tablet of Your Heart

"Let not mercy and truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man." (Proverbs 3:3-4)

It isn't so much the memorization of scriptures that will help us, but the knowledge of what those scriptures mean as we safeguard them in our hearts. There are many scriptures that I cannot quote word for word, and I may not remember which book or chapter in which they're located. Yet, when I'm in despair, my heart is aching, and I'm grieving and crying out to my Lord, those words will come to me out of the depths of my soul and I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW them. This is what I believe God means when He says write them on the tablet of your heart.

Don't feel bad if you can't memorize scripture, keep reading His word. Each time you read it, God is writing and imprinting His words onto your heart and making that imprint deeper and deeper until it is branded inside your soul. You may not be able to recall it in a casual conversation, but when you NEED it most, His word will be there to comfort you.