How do Jen and Michael meet? On line romance.

Excerpt from Finding Her Voice:

After she and Ollie36451078204185961_HMZmvGgi_b returned, she dried the dog off and settled into warm flannel jammies with some peppermint tea. Ollie burrowed into the covers on her bed, but she wasn’t tired enough to sleep yet. Jen turned back to her computer screen.

She clicked on the icon where she’d saved the grief group to her browser toolbar.

Couldn’t hurt to look in on the conversations. She didn’t have to write anything.

This time the front page held a picture of a young teenager — eleven years old, the caption said. A boy whose birthday was the same day as Trudy’s. His father had posted the story of his son sometime late the night before. The eyes of young Landon pulled at her. There was so much life in those eyes. So much wonder and fun. It was so brutal to see a life cut short.

She took a deep breath. Beth had been right — they knew better than most how precious life was.

Jen clicked the Comment box at the end of the post about Landon.

Your son shares my daughter’s birthday. I can see he was a very precious boy. You are in my thoughts and prayers tonight. Jen

She was startled when, with a ding, a reply popped up.

Thanks. I saw your pictures of Trudy and thought the same thing. I’m not sure about prayer. I gave it up a while back. But I am sending good thoughts your way. Michael.

Sometimes she wasn’t sure about prayer, either. Before she realized it she had replied with those very words. She elaborated.

I don’t understand how a God who cares can take away the one we love the most. And if God doesn’t care, just lets it happen, then He isn’t the God I thought I knew, either. Jen

Had she really written those words right out there where another person could read them? She gasped, a little shocked at her own daring. She had hardly admitted to herself, much less to someone else, that she was mad at God. She slammed the lid of her laptop down before she wrote something else she’d regret.

*****

He hadn’t meant to scare her away, but it looked like he had. “Jen” was off-line.FindingHerVoiceCoverArt

Maybe she wasn’t ready to talk about God yet anyway. He wasn’t.

What faith he’d had was lost at the terrible death of his family.

Like Jen said, “How could a caring God allow it?” And if He didn’t care, what was the point?

There were lots of preachy people who came to his site. They came and went, because their too-rosy response wasn’t a good fit.

Those who continued to participate were grittier, realistic about their loss once they admitted to it.

Like Jen. He sensed a kindred spirit in the few words she’d shared.

He sighed and pushed away from the desk. He put a kettle on for a spot of tea and then added another layer of clothes for warmth. The wind whistled around the house. They were in for some weather.

Buy Finding Her Voice today at Desert Breeze Publishing or Amazon.

When Joy met Mark

Joy Huffman doesn’t know how to get on with her life after Steve’s fatal accident. Then, several years after his death, he calls to her in a dream and urges her to go to the cabin they’d designed together, and that she has never seen. Can she embrace this home Steve built for them, and find a way to let love in once more?

Excerpt, The Return of Joy:

She stepped from the vehicle and took a deep, steadying breath to shake off the long day’s fatigue. Evelyn moved more slowly, chatting with Charity as she unbuckled the child from her safety seat.joy cover

“Now there’s the woman I like to see,” Evelyn commented.

Joy turned to smile at her. “I’m so excited to be here.”

Here, where I can be more like the woman you knew years ago. The woman Steve loved.

For a brief moment, she was no longer in mourning. She was full of joy.

A movement from beyond Evelyn caught her attention, and a man emerged from the woods, a yellow lab trotting at his side. As he moved closer, Joy stepped toward him with a smile and a greeting.

Then the greeting died on her lips, and she swallowed, hard. Something about his presence startled her. He was under six feet — only a few inches over her own five-seven. He had thick, dark, wavy hair that brushed his collar, and a red chamois shirt he’d rolled up to display his muscular arms. His face was mobile and expressive, showing determination, tension, and — something else. Joy wasn’t sure what. He moved with a graceful, confident stride. An athlete’s stride. Tight jeans hugged his hips. He stirred something within her, something she hadn’t felt for a long time.

“Hi.” She shook his extended hand, a large, strong hand that engulfed hers and made her feel dainty and petite. She gazed up into his eyes; they were of an indeterminate color — maybe blue, maybe green, maybe gray. To call the color indeterminate was unfair. They were beautiful eyes, with depths like a fine gemstone.

“You must be Joy Huffman. I’m your tenant, Mark Stone. This is my dog, Atlas.”

She had expected someone different. A pale computer nerd, maybe. After all, he ran a computer business from here. She had not expected this masculine man.

You can buy The Return of Joy at Amazon or Desert Breeze Publishing.

About disability…

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Because much of my professional life is lived in the disability rights and justice community, some of the characters in my books, including main ones, have disabilities. Here are some examples.

In More Than a Job, Paige and Joshua work for a company that provides small, personalized and respectful living settings for people with cognitive disabilities, in contrast to the institution where some of her family once resided. The book addresses some of the problems with institutions and the very controversial topic of parents who have a cognitive disability.

In Out of Agony, Brian works through the depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that result from the death of his daughter. One of his clients is a man with MS who loses his job in what appears to be discrimination because of his disability, but becomes something more when his employer attempts to steal his patent for a new pain medication that will mean relief without liver damage for people with chronic pain.

In the next release, next January, the heroine is a blind single mom, loosely based on someone I know, and explores the prejudice in society against people with disabilities being parents. It is especially challenging when her ex attempts to gain full custody of their child.

You can find all my books, paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon or eBooks only on my publisher’s page, Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc..

Will he ever really smile again?

dreamstimefree_3756336How can he recover from losing all he loves?

Brian Van Pelt leaned a little closer, let the fragrance and warmth of the woman next to him encompass him in a cocoon of illusion. For a moment he could believe that there was still beauty and joy in the world. Even though the woman, a client, was almost a stranger, he was drawn to seek some kind of comfort, however broken and unreal it was. His sense of isolation and hopelessness was pushed away for that brief moment.

A movement just beyond them, in the hallway into his law office, drew his attention and the terrible, desperate truth slammed into him.

It was Jennifer, his soon to be ex-wife. He swallowed the breath of shock and shut his heart away. He couldn’t afford to let it crack open, not even a little, or he would shatter into fragments that could never be put together again. He raised his eyes to hers and stiffened his resolve, looked her up and down in what he hoped was a disinterested, dismissive gaze. He pushed away the wisps of emotions from their decade of marriage together.

She looked like he felt, and a little empathy pushed back. Her face was puffy and red from crying. Her brown eyes, always before so warm and clear and full of love for him, brimmed with tears and pain. She was dressed in jeans and a sloppy shirt, comfortable and homey, and an ache to hold her and be held by her threatened his resolve.

He curled his lip into a forced sneer.

She would not tolerate his scorn, even though it was a thin façade over what he really felt. She raised her chin, straightened her shoulders, and somewhere found some of the dignity her mother’s people were so famous for. Without a word, she fanned the papers in her hand, raised them high over her head, then let go. As they drifted toward the floor, they spread, going their separate ways. She turned on her heel and headed back the way she’d come. She didn’t say a word.

“How odd. Do you know her?”

Brian struggled to pull breath into his lungs, to steady his nerves so he could respond with the expected nonchalance. “A client — one who isn’t particularly pleased with her divorce settlement.” He stepped back with what he hoped was a light chuckle. “I’d better get them filed before she changes her mind.”

He started toward the drifted papers. He wanted to run from the building and find Jen, crush her to him, tell her he had been a fool and that this was all wrong.

Instead he bent and shuffled the pages into a stack, slanted a wry smile at his co-worker and headed to his office. He closed the door…

…and sank back against it, closed his eyes against the pain. He rubbed his hand over his face before he straightened and went to his desk, where the check and envelop to file the divorce papers were the top thing on the stack of work to do. He pulled the envelop toward him, dropped everything inside, sealed it shut.

Sealed the coffin that held the remains of his marriage.

Out of Agony picks up where Finding Her Voice left off, and tells the story of the other parent devastated by the loss of their daughter. Available soon. Check out my author page for more Starting Over stories.

Work in Process…Out of Agony

When Jen and Brian lost their daughter Trudy in a tragic accident, their marriage fell apart. Jen’s story is told in Finding Her Voice. That book left Brian in bitter denial. Frankly I didn’t like him ver36451078204185961_HMZmvGgi_by much. He left Jen when she was most vulnerable and returned to the careless and arrogant man he had been before Jen’s warmth and love changed him. The family man turned cold, uncaring attorney. My readers felt there was more to know about his journey. And as his story unfolded, they were right to want to hear it.

Out of Agony is Brian’s story of grief that would not be denied, and pain that took root in a way that put his life on a completely unexpected road. When Jessie came to work at his firm, she instantly disliked the man and yet was intrigued by inconsistencies that hinted at  something more to know about her co-worker. But she didn’t have time to explore those thoughts — she was deep in her own pain as she  supported her niece Sara, who was struggling with a virulent cancer and the aggressive treatments that took such a toll they would not be worth it — except they are her only hope to save her life.

Coming July 21 from Dessert Breeze Publishing, Out of Agony is the fourth book in the Starting Over Series and like the prior volume, is inspirational romance. Starting Over Book Five, will be released in January, 2015. While each book stands alone, some of our favorite characters cross over from book to book.

From Ireland to the New World — Pioneer Instinct

PioneerInstinctCoverArtEliza O’Malley and brother Allen travel from Ireland to join their father and brothers on an 1890s Wyoming homestead. Allen is almost destroyed during the voyage, but Eliza’s benefactors rescue them both from their father’s foolish carelessness and mounting debt.

When she has worked off her passage and built her own wealth, Eliza completes the journey, knowing that she has been called to fulfill her destiny as a Heartmark woman. She is immediately swept off her feet by the neighboring rancher Frank McGee. His sister Jude, her friend and business partner, harbors a secret that will nearly destroy the love between Eliza and Frank.

Clues from an ancient diary, the fierce intervention of animal helpers, and ancient artifacts play a part in the life of all Heartmark women, including Eliza. Will they be enough to overcome the horrible rumors spread by Jude and restore Frank’s love for her?

Excerpt

Could this man be the answer to her prayers? “Oh, sir, I am looking for someone to help me find my brother.” She turned to the door of the men’s quarters the man had just come out of, then turned back to him. “I haven’t seen him since we left port and I’m worried sick.”

The man blanched and alarm flashed across his face, then he gave her a gentle smile and she wondered if she’d imagined that first reaction.

He cast a quick look to the door of the men’s quarters, then cleared his throat and gave her his complete attention. “Well, tell me more about this brother of yours and we will see what we can do.”

Relief and hope eased the knot in Eliza’s stomach for the first time since her father had taken charge of Allen. “Oh, yes, thank you. His name is Allen O’Malley and he’s ten years old. He has dark hair and green eyes and is about this tall.” She put her hand at about her shoulder level. “He is thin and when I saw him last he was crying his heart out at having to leave home.”

A thin man, pale and looking worse for wear, pushed open the doors from the men’s quarters, heading to the rail of the ship. Eliza peered into the darkness below before the door slammed shut again. If only she could see him…

Her companion’s eyes followed hers.

“Tell you what, Lassie. You stand right here at the opening and call out his name. Tell him I’ll bring him to you. Maybe that will help me find him.”

Hope bloomed in her breast and she nodded eagerly. Mindful of his steps on the thin rope ladder, the stranger backed down into the darkness.

Mustering as much confidence as she could, she called out to her little brother. “Allen, I’m here. Come up on deck please. This nice man will bring you to me. Allen O’Malley, I’m waiting to see you, but I’m getting impatient. Do you want me to come down there after you?”

“Eliza?”

The call was so timid she almost missed it completely. Eliza fisted her hands to her chest to keep her heart from pounding its way outside her body. “Yes, Allen, it’s me. Let this nice man bring you up on deck with me and I’ll make sure you don’t have to go down there again.”

*****

Pale circles of light from the few lanterns which were hooked to the rafters were all James McWhorter had to guide him around the mass of humanity suffering from sea sickness below decks. He found the boy huddled in a corner. There was no lantern in this area, and it was too dark to be sure what he saw, but the smell was even worse in this corner. He put a handkerchief to his nose and tried to take shallow breaths. Feces, urine and – could it be blood? – crowded his nostrils and gagged him.

When James knelt beside the balled up little boy, his pant leg became wet with who knew what. “Son, are you all right?”

There was a sniff, followed by a long silence. “They– they hurt me. I’m scared.” The whispered, broken words tore at James’ heart.

Download now from Desert Breeze Publishing, where you can check out Books 1 and 2, Animal Instinct set in Missouri in the 1970s and Survival Instinct set in 2020 in San Francisco.timeaftertimeseries

Reviews for Finding Her Voice

From Amazon Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars How Do You Heal a Broken Heart? July 22, 2013FindingHerVoiceCoverArt
Format:Kindle Edition
What does one do when everything begins to go wrong? Finding Her Voice is a heart wrenching story about a young couple with a sweet young daughter, who soon learn what it really means to have to deal with tragedy from the first page and on through the book. When they learn of the death of their daughter, not only are two hearts broken, neither are able to find a way to heal and go on. Not able to cope together the couple ends up in divorce, they also lose their home, and Jennifer, the mother, struggling miserably with her own grief, her faith, and her loss of peace, has to venture off on her own to find some answers.As a historical romance writer, I don’t normally read contemporary fiction, but I found this story to be a fast-paced page turner from the beginning to the end, sometimes difficult to read because of the sadness, but so well written I had to go on to find out what would happen next — An easy to read, true-to-life book of friendship, faith, and hope.

Only one disappointment for me was in not finding out what happened to a very important character in the story who could not bear the tragedy of a lost child.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with real life circumstances.

Shirley Kiger Connolly,
award winning author of both historical romance and nonfiction books of reflection

No Easy Answers

Posted by Natalie Chamberlain on 16th Jul 2013

I don’t usually read this genre of literature but I really enjoyed this book. As a pastor, I especially appreciated the fact that Lynette Endicott not only chose not to give easy, pat answers to difficult questions, she even confronted those easy answers, showing them to be more harmful than helpful.

The happily ever after ending was expected but the journey there wasn’t. The story is well written and engaging. The characters are true to life as are their situations. I found it to be a very hopeful book and well worth the time to read it.

Now available in Paperback…Books One and Two of the Starting Over Series

Announcing the Paperback release of my first two books in the Starting Over Series

I am pleased to announce that the sales for these books were high enough to go to press — literally. My debut contemporary romance, More Than a Job,  follows Paige Hamilton as she is forced to seek a new life when her consuming, 24/7 job ends at the hands of a new company owner. But Paige is a survivor, and begins to build a new life, one that may even have room joy covercover for on line adfor romance. A handsome stranger helps her through the transition, and soon she falls fast and hard for Joshua Robinson. Then she discovers he is the cruel owner, and that the company she loved — the company that cared so much about the adults with disabilities who lived in their homes — is in a downward spiral that puts the life of one of her friends at risk. Romance, job loss, life coaching, hidden family treasures, and a secret about an uncle she’d never met — Paige learns that life is More Than A Job.

The Return of Joy is actually the first book I wrote — and the first where an animal is one of the key characters. Patterned after a therapy dog I know, Atlas steals the show every time he shows up. His story is woven into his master’s, Mark Stone.

When Joy Huffman’s recurring dreams of the husband she lost become urgent she is convinced to go tot he cabin, their project of love, in New Mexico. With her daughter and mother-in-law, they set out to learn what Steve wants them to know — that his death was no accident, but murder. Their investigation stirs up the evil that ended his life, and puts them all at risk. The caretaker at the cabin, Mark Stone, is challenged to keep them safe while he unravels the mystery of why Steve died. Along the way he falls in love with Joy — but will she be open to loving again?

These books are available in paperback from Amazon today! Check out all six listings at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Lynette%20Endicott&search-alias=books&sort=relevancerank

The blizzard of 1890 – Wyoming turned deadly

downloadEliza was unprepared for the bone-chilling cold. The snow began to fall and the wind blew it horizontally across her view. The barn, which had been clear to see just moments before, faded into a hulking, indistinct shadow as the snow came between them.

“’Liza, wait.” David O’Malley turned and took a long rope from a hook beside the door. He tied one end of it to a high hook at the roofline of the house. “Let me go first,” he offered as he unwound the rope behind him. “Hold on to me with one hand, and to the rope with the other.”

She did as he said, and closed her eyes against the sting of ice mixed with the snow. The ground underfoot became slippery. Even mostly covered, her face stung. She could no longer feel her toes and fingers, even though she moved them to keep them warm.

It was impossible to talk in the whining wind, so when they reached the fence Papa gestured that she was to go to the barn. He tied the rope to the fence, she realized, so they could find their way back to the house. She groped along the fence line toward the barn. Icicles formed along the top rail.

Fancy called out to her with a loud neigh when she opened the barn door. She would have to leave it open so Papa could drive the animals from the pens into the barn.  She closed it as far as she dared to limit the cold air coming in. She climbed the ladder into the storage above the barn and pitched hay – a lot of hay – down to the floor of the barn. The sheep and goats that were in the pens began to trickle in through the door. In the dim light she piled the hay into a corner and put grain into the feed troughs. When she checked the water there was plenty, but it was already beginning to freeze.  She broke up the shell of ice that skimmed the surface and hoped that the animals could get enough to drink. She opened the stalls for the horses in the barn so that they could press close to each other for warmth. It was all she could do.

The stream of animals had stopped so she gritted her teeth and stepped out the barn door, closing it behind her. She reached out with her hand to find the fence rail. She needed to find her father and they needed to get back into the house before they were too cold to move. She’d never known the cold could penetrate so deep into her bones, that she could move inch by inch down the invisible fence, finding her way by feel, and could not see or feel anything at all. If Papa had gone back to the house without her she would never find her way.

He hadn’t. He was slumped over the fence at the place where the rope connected to it.

She tugged on his arm and for a moment she feared he had frozen as he stood by the fence and waited for her. Then, moving slowly, he straightened and felt for her hand. He put one of her hands on the rope and the other grasping the back of his coat. Then he led her back to the house, step by agonizing step.

And suddenly they were there. She bumped up against her father’s back as they ran into the wall of the cabin. She continued to hold on to his coat as he shuffled along the wall to the left, feeling for the door. At long last a sliver of light penetrated into their dark, cold world and they were able to push through the door then slam it shut on the dark, cold, dangerous storm behind them.

PioneerInstinctCoverArtAllen turned bleak eyes to them from his place at the stove where he fed sticks into the flames.

“I couldn’t see. I couldn’t get any more wood,” he pronounced solemnly. “I was lost for a moment, not two steps from the house.”

“We’ll need to close off the bedroom, bring all the blankets and clothes, everything we can find, into this room. We need to keep each other warm until the storm passes.”

Eliza and Allen did as he asked, and carried everything that could provide warmth into the main room. They piled the mattresses around as well as under them, and each put on several layers of warm, dry clothes. Eliza’s fingers began to thaw as she worked in the relatively warm cabin. She found several pairs of socks and gloves for each of them. Then they lay down on the mattresses, pressed close to each other, and covered up with the blankets they’d gathered.

Then they lay there and listened to the wind continue to blow, and heard the snow mixed with ice crystals as it struck the windows. Snow sifted in through the space under both doors and formed a little drift of snow on the floor.

“What happens to the cattle when they are caught in a storm like this?” Eliza thought of the brown animals scattered across their ranch. She loved riding Fancy to the top of the hill and looking out at all the stock dotting the hillsides. “Will they be smart enough to huddle up and keep each other warm?”

“Probably not.” Her father’s voice was gruff. “We will be lucky if any survive, even the ones in the barn. We weren’t ready for a blizzard this early in the year. I never even thought to put the cattle into the pens this early.”

“Papa, what about Davy and Hugh and Ed?” Allen’s voice was small and scared and squeaked with his nervousness.

Eliza began to calculate in her head. It took at least two hours to get to the road, then another three on the road to get into Cheyenne. There was no way they could have made it all the way into town before the storm hit.

A shudder of fear ran through her and chilled her to the bone.

Buy Pioneer Instinct and other books by Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee at Amazon or Desert Breeze Publishing.