Archive for the ‘Montana’ Category

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT #3 OF CHAPTER 1 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna

December 18, 2017

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT #3 OF CHAPTER 1 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna

Exclusive excerpt #3

12.18.17

Travis Ramsey was behind the counter of Ramsey Fishing Guides when the bell above the door tinkled, telling him he had an early morning visitor. His fishing guide business was mostly dormant during this time of the year and he had little to do over the coming winter months. Next April when the snows left the Bitterroot Valley where Hamilton sat, fishermen from around the world would stream in to take advantage of the world-class trout in the creeks and river. Looking up, he saw a young woman, her short black hair emphasizing the paleness of her features. Straightening, he saw her look around the large, two story building. As her blue gaze met his, he frowned. She was wearing an Army jacket. A real one, with patches that he quickly recognized. Had she bought it at an Army-Navy store or was she the real deal? She was tall, her shoulders thrown back, wearing a heavy Army rucksack on her back. His gaze dropped to her long legs wrapped in denim to her boots. Those were Army boots. There was something about her, a sense that she was probably ex-military. So was he.

“Can I help you?” he called, walking toward the end of the maple counter that had been in his family since the late 1800’s. He saw her blue eyes narrow upon him, silently evaluating him. There was a glittering intelligence in them, something he rarely saw outside the military. Her fingers tightened around the strap of her rucksack curved across her shoulder. He’d been a Delta Force operator and missed nothing. If she was ex-Army, she didn’t act like office personnel at all. No, she was carefully assessing him on every potential level as he was her. There had been women in Delta Force for over a decade. She certainly behaved like an operator and his respect for her was already amping up. He halted at the end of the counter. “I’m Travis Ramsey. How may I help you?”

The woman looked disheveled, but clean, her clothes showing wear and tear. Something pinged his intuition as she headed toward him, her lips set in a line that suggested she was afraid of his response to whatever she wanted or needed from him. Travis couldn’t prove it, but he never dismissed an intuitive hit. It had saved his life way too many times.

“I’m Jesse Myers. I was walking in the woods along the Bitterroot River when I saw a red caboose in the nearby meadow. I went to the county Recorder’s office here in Hamilton to find the owner and they said it belonged to you.” She hesitated and then said, “I’m looking for a place to rent. I have a part time job at Katie’s Koffee Bean down the street. I can’t afford much, but I would take good care of that boxcar if you’re open to renting it to me.”

Stunned by her request, he nodded, watching fear and hope alternate in her eyes. “You did your homework.”

Jesse managed a weak smile. “It’s my nature. I fell in love with the caboose and thought it would be a great place to stay. I’m not making enough money to rent something in town, yet. I could clean it up, maybe paint it and repair some of the things inside and make it livable once more. I’m pretty good with mechanical and electrical stuff.”

Travis liked her low, husky voice. She might be fearful that he’d say no, but she stood her ground and kept good eye contact with him. “You have family around here?” Hamilton was a town of four-thousand plus people and he knew all of them because his family was one of the first to settle in this town.

Shaking her head, she said, “No, sir, I don’t. I was born and raised in Billings, Montana, and that’s where my folks live.”

Things didn’t add up. “And you’ve come to Hamilton to get a job?” Travis knew there were no jobs after tourist season, which ended in late September and didn’t begin again until the first of April. Everyone who worked here was seasonal. What was her story?

“Yes, sir, I have. Growing up, my parents favorite place to go for a weekend or a vacation was Hamilton. I’ve always loved this small town, the people, and how it’s surrounded by nature.” She gave a slight shrug. “I’m not a city person even though I was born in Billings. I need the outdoors, the woods, the water and the quiet.”

She appealed to him on so many levels that Travis felt momentarily rocked by that unexpected awareness. Jesse’s short hair was mannish in cut and that triggered something in him that he hoped to explore with her. “Listen, I’ve got an espresso machine at the rear of the store. Why don’t we go back there, have a cup of coffee and we can talk?” He gestured toward the front door. “There isn’t going to be anyone coming in today. I just bought a half-dozen fresh pastries from the Las Palomas Bakery next door. Let’s talk further in my office?” He wasn’t looking for a woman, but damned if Jesse Myers didn’t call strongly to him, man-to-woman. She was clearly mature for her age, had morals and values because she went to the county office to find out who owned that caboose and then asked to rent it. He’d seen some vets who passed through the area in the summer who squatted and used the caboose, never asking if they could stay there or not. He liked her honesty.

“Well…”

He gestured toward the other end of the store. “Come on. It’s early and I don’t know about you, but hot coffee is something we can all use this time of morning.” Military people were coffee hounds of the first order. He saw her eyes widen momentarily, those thick dark lashes emphasizing them. Pleased, he saw the offer appealed to her.

“Sounds good, Mr. Ramsey.”

“Call me Travis and you can put the ‘sir’ away, too. I’m ex-Army. Are you?” he asked, walking down the length of the counter. He met her at the other end and opened the door to the tourist area of the shop. The waiting room was large, lots of wooden chairs with cushions spaced neatly around the perimeter. At one end was a long table filled with paper coffee cups, boxes of assorted teas, sugar, cream, and spoons, and a very expensive espresso machine. “Put your rucksack on a chair and have a seat,” he invited. Partly shutting the door, he went and turned the machine on. “Coffee? Espresso? What’s your poison?” He grinned a little, wanting the tension she carried to dissolve. He saw her gently set the fifty-pound pack on the floor next to the chair where she sat down.

“Just plain coffee is fine. Black. Thank you.”

Her manners were all military and Travis nodded, getting busy making her that coffee. “Reach over and grab yourself a donut or two,” he said, pointing to a box near where she was seated. “Help yourself. Alex Delgado, the daughter of Hector and Maria, now runs the bakery and she’s known as the queen of pastries around Hamilton. They all taste great.” Jesse was a tall, big boned woman and he noticed how the wrinkled Army jacket hung on her frame. He saw her look wistfully at the pastries and lick her full lower lip. Her hands were taut against the thighs of her jeans. She was hungry. The realization hit him hard. In black ops, it was the little things, jigsaw puzzle pieces that alone, didn’t tell much. But as an operator in Afghanistan for far too long, it was all these tidbits that came together to paint a fuller picture of a situation. Or in the case of Jesse, that she was definitely an Army vet. There was no question in his mind about that.

Further, she had hesitated momentarily at the door to the coffee room to thoroughly evaluate it. This told him she was clearly an operator, not some office assistant. Maybe she was an Intelligence officer or maybe an operator out in the field like himself? When she came into the room after sweeping it thoroughly in a moment with her gaze, she deliberately sat down in one corner, at the end of the table, her back up against a wall, facing the only exit door. An operator always did that. As he put the coffee into the machine, placing a white paper cup beneath the spout, he began to cobble more of her story together in his head. If she’d been in combat, more than likely she had PTSD. The fact that she wasn’t at home after leaving the Army told him that. He had many friends, ex-Delta operators, who had their marriages go bust after coming off a deployment because of the years of accumulated PTSD and being unable to adjust to civilian life again. They couldn’t go home to their parents, either, because they wouldn’t understand the flashbacks, the nightmares, and the ongoing anxiety they carried in them 24/7/365, either.

His mouth flexed in sympathy as he watched her from the corner of his eye. She rose in one fluid motion and picked up a paper napkin, her long, elegant looking fingers hovering over the mouth-watering array of pastries. When she leaned over, her jacket opened and he saw she was wearing a desert tan shirt he was very familiar with. It was an operator’s shirt, with camouflage print on both long sleeves and a tan torso core of one color. Yeah, she was black ops, no question.

“Where were you stationed in Afghanistan?” he asked, turning and placing the steaming brew on the table next to where she’d sat down.

Jesse froze for a second, transfixed by the man’s large, slightly narrowed gray eyes as he buttonholed her with that question. His dark brown hair was cut military short, his beard clipped close, showing off his square face and giving him an air of dangerousness. Trying to slough off her shock that he knew what she was in the Army, she replied, “Nangarhar Province.” Tensing, she saw several emotions flit across his face. How the hell would he know that about her? She hadn’t answered his question earlier about being in the Army. The chocolate éclair teased her wide-open senses. Her mouth watered. The scent of the sugar, vanilla pudding and chocolate was too much to resist and she bit slowly into it, savoring it as if her life depended upon it. Closing her eyes, she made a humming sound in the back of her throat. The world stopped in that moment as she tasted the luscious, thick chocolate coating. He finally swallowed, feeling it hit her hungry stomach, the urgent amount of strength that it created within her as the glucose shot into her system.

Slowly, her senses moved outward once more and she heard Travis tinkering with the espresso machine, the fragrance of chocolate surrounding her as the machine hissed and steamed. Opening her eyes, she saw he was making a large mocha latte. He was a tall man, at least six-foot-tall and broad shouldered. The blue plaid flannel cowboy shirt he wore stretched against his powerful chest, with a black leather vest worn over the shirt. He was someone who was in top shape, probably in his late twenties, she would guess. There were a lot of crinkles at the corners of his gray eyes, telling her he was outside a lot. She liked his short dark brown hair that sported reddish strands among them.

She decided to take a closer inspection of him because no one was a mind reader. His hands were large, square and calloused. When he made a gesture, she saw that he sported a thick callous on the inside of his right index finger, his trigger finger. Black ops all had that telltale sign. She had it on hers, as well. And he might have spotted it on her hand after she’d removed her gloves. When she’d come into the store, she’d seen him suddenly shift almost invisibly, into a heightened space of alertness aimed at her. It was nothing obvious, but her senses were far too honed not to pick it up and now, she was beginning to put together that this man standing in a cowboy shirt, jeans and scarred, well-worn leather boots, was black ops himself, not regular Army–otherwise he wouldn’t have recognized who she was. Questions came, but she sat on them. Right now, she needed a place to rent. Besides, he’d probably find her personal questions rude.

END OF INSTALLMENT #3!

Stay tuned for next Monday’s installment #4 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on 12.25.17!!

Have you missed the 1st Exclusive Excerpt?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpt

Have you missed the 2nd Exclusive Exerpt?
https://wp.me/pBmdA-DpC

If you missed Lindsay’s Blog on the “Story behind the story” of BOXCAR CHRISTMAS?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpp

Happy Holidays!

http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

PRE-ORDER: BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on all platforms except for Google
paperback and ebook and audio!

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT #2 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna

December 11, 2017

CHAPTER 1—continued
BOXCAR CHRISTMAS
Exclusive excerpt 2
12.11.17

Jesse opened the door, feeling guilty about trespassing. It creaked as she pushed it open. Stepping inside, she shut the door and turned, peering around the gloomy interior of the caboose because the sun still hadn’t risen above the carpet of evergreens on the slope above where it sat. She spotted a propane gas stove, a table with two simple, carved wooden chairs nearby, and a bed at the other end of it. In the middle of the car was a kitchen sink and opposite the sink was a long leather couch. To her delight, there was also a rocking chair and an overstuffed leather chair that probably housed a lot of field mice, the stuffing looking like popcorn along the thin, separating seams of leather. The couch was long enough to sleep on and was a possibility because the mattress on that bed looked very old and needed to be replaced. But she considered it a far better upgrade to her tent.

It was dusty and dirty, mouse pellets scattered here and there along the dulled oak floor. Some parts of the oriental carpet had been eaten into, probably by mice who took those fibers to make a warm nest somewhere else in the car. Walking to the other end of the caboose, she saw that the bedroom was roomy with a full-sized bed in it. A few blankets that were probably once folded at the bottom were now open and spread haphazardly across bed. Some of the drawers were partially opened, and appeared to be empty and in dire need of some deep cleaning.

This caboose could become a good place to protect her from the coming winter, and she could buy a tank of propane to keep the boxcar warm instead of freezing to death from hypothermia in her tent. Not wanting to think about her downfall during the last year she had been in the Army when all her hopes and dreams were smashed and shattered, Jesse walked toward the center of the caboose and studied the ivory colored Formica counter that surrounded the double aluminum sink. This was a place that could be cared for once again. Brought back to life. Seeing herself in the same condition as this boxcar made her want to stay here and use it as a place to begin to heal from her recent past. The last year of her enlistment in the Army had turned into a nightmare, because she’d been out of control, unable to fit in and be ‘normal’ in order to perform her duties.

She mentally calculated her weekly salary and compared it to what a tank of propane gas would cost, plus having to buy food, and needing a source of water in order to survive. The numbers churned in her head. Maybe some blankets and a pillow would be a nice addition as well. She’d seen a Goodwill store in Hamilton that would be the perfect place to pick up used bedding. Her parents had wanted to give her money to survive on until she could get a good job and manage her life once more, but she’d refused it. They had worked hard for their savings and Jesse didn’t want to steal from their nest egg meant for retirement. Maybe she could call them in a couple of weeks if she could keep this new job and ask for a loan. And then she would pay it back or else. Jesse had never taken a handout in her life. She’d always worked hard for everything she’d earned, just like her parents had.

The morning light filtered in through the windows of the caboose, illuminating the interior. She could see the electric lights along both walls, sconces that still had a hurricane lamp in each of them–dirty but still looking usable. There were no electric lines out here and she looked around for a generator outside somewhere, but saw nothing. At another time, there must have been one because the sconces would only work if there had been a generator present. Besides, even if there had been one, she couldn’t afford to pay for the gasoline needed to run it. And she didn’t have any wheels. She had to walk everywhere, no matter what the weather did around her. Still, she felt a trickle of hope because the oak tongue-and-groove ceiling looked solid–there were no leaks along it to indicate water had gotten inside, and that was good news.

Stepping carefully to the meadow-facing side of the car, she grazed one of the windows with her fingertips. They were in dire need of a good cleaning and the insulation around the frames needed to be replaced so heat wouldn’t leak out and make the car drafty. The tatty old red and yellow Oriental rug beneath her boots was smudged with dirt and hadn’t been swept for a long, long time. She looked around and spotted a long, vertical door near the kitchen table. Going over to it, she opened one side panel of the door. To her delight, there was not only an ancient looking broom, but dust clothes hanging off hooks, a mop, two small aluminum buckets and several usable sponges. Everything she’d need to clean up this place.

She treaded lightly, her Army boots heavy and clunky, the floor creaking here and there. Jesse closed the closet door, turned and simply absorbed this small, comfy looking place. It could truly become a temporary home for her. Her eyes adjusted to the low dawn light, and she realized this was more than a fishing and hunting cabin. The small kitchen table against the wall was still covered with a dusty red and white checkered tablecloth. A pair of cut glass salt and pepper shakers stood in the middle of it. On a shelf above the kitchen sink, she saw dust-laden, brightly colored Fiesta dishes. To her right, were more shelves that held a set of bowls, a couple of aluminum pans and some cookbooks. Jesse liked the feeling in this caboose. It truly had been someone’s home once. The person probably lived here full time, her intuition told her. Maybe years earlier it had been a warm, cozy house, but now, it had been abandoned for some unknown reason, no longer loved and cared for. She wondered who had made this caboose his or her home. She liked the small bathroom next to the bedroom. There was a shower stall in there as well as a Formica counter with an aluminum bowl in it.

The caboose was forty feet long and ten feet wide: four-hundred square feet of living space. It felt like a warm nest to Jesse and she couldn’t explain why this beaten down train car suddenly meant so much to her. She managed a strangled laugh because symbolically and physically, she was beaten down, too. The inside of her looked like the inside of this car. But even in disrepair, the caboose showed the potential of what it could become if a little care and love was bestowed upon it. Was the same true of her? Could that be her outcome as well?

The right thing to do was to walk back into Hamilton, locate the county Recorder’s office and find out who owned the caboose on this property. She needed to know because she wasn’t going to just move in without permission. Even though this train car was in disrepair, it was owned by someone. Maybe, if she could find the owner, she could ask them to allow her to live in it, hoping that the rent wouldn’t be very much and that she could afford it. Jesse adamantly refused to become a squatter. In her world of morals and values, one didn’t just take over a house of any kind without permission and without paying some sort of rent. She already felt guilty enough that she’d entered the place without permission. The door wasn’t locked, but that wasn’t an excuse to trespass. That wasn’t like her, but she was invisibly driven to explore the inside of it.

She turned and she left the caboose, shut the door and carefully made her way down to the concrete slab where it sat. She picked up her heavy pack and unstrapped her tent—there was a lot to do today. This was her off day from work and it would take thirty minutes to walk through the woods to the south end of Hamilton. Hope threaded through her, feeling grateful that she’d miraculously stumbled upon this place. She placed her rolled up tent on the metal and wood platform of the caboose. If she couldn’t find the owner, she would pitch her tent just inside the evergreen tree line for protection from the elements and stay in it, instead. Jesse took out her phone, a gift from her parents, she located the GPS for the caboose. That information would be instrumental in locating the owner. Hitching the heavy knapsack that carried everything she owned in it, Jesse gave the red caboose a wistful farewell look and then turned away, heading into the woods to walk back into Hamilton. Glancing at her watch, she realized that she would have to locate the county seat office and wait until they opened up at nine a.m. END OF INSTALLMENT #2!

Stay tuned for next Monday’s installment #3 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on 12.18.17!!

Have you missed the 1st Exclusive Excerpt?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpt

If you missed Lindsay’s Blog on the “Story behind the story” of BOXCAR CHRISTMAS?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpp

Happy Holidays!

http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

PRE-ORDER: BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on all platforms except for Google
paperback and ebook and audio!

CHRISTMAS CONTEST #2 from Lindsay McKenna!

December 10, 2017

Dec 10-15, 2017

PRIZE:
Audio tape of a Lindsay McKenna Christmas novella!
SNOWFLAKE’S GIFT

Contest open to readers worldwide.
December 10 – December 15, 2017
STORY:
Two veterans—one human, one canine—have returned to Montana to recover from the traumas of war. Former Army Ranger Nick Conway depended on his WMD dog Snowflake to help him navigate IEDs on the battlefield. Now he needs his best friend to help him cope with his PTSD and acclimate to civilian life. When he meets Holly McGuire and agrees to help her deliver meals to the needy, her inner light calls to him, but his demons hold him back from giving in to his attraction. But Snowflake takes an immediate shine to the kindhearted Holly—and Nick knows his trusty companion has never led him down the wrong path!

Winner will be announced on December 016, 2017 on the Lindsay McKenna Facebook page. If you aren’t subscribed to me on this page, you will NOT miss being the winner because I’ll be emailing you as well!

Just click on this link, sign up, and a winner will be randomly chosen after the close of the contest!

http://lindsaymckenna.com/contest/

CONGRATULATIONS for signing up! Good luck!
and, Happy Holidays!

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna!

December 4, 2017

Hi Readers
A special series of “gifts” are coming your way between Dec. 4, 2017 and January 1, 2018 when BOXCAR CHRISTMAS is released!

I’m planning a special EXCERPT from this heartwarming Christmas story once a week. Every MONDAY, look for a new except from this book!

EXCERPT #1:
Exclusive Excerpt from Boxcar Christmas by Lindsay McKenna #1

CHAPTER 1

November 1
Hamilton, Montana

“It wasn’t much to look at. The wooden slats that made up the ancient red caboose were weathered, the boxcar sitting on the edge of a flat yellow grass meadow, backed by thousands of evergreens in western Montana. Early November wind whistled and cut at Jesse Myer’s exposed face. She felt the icy morning coldness seep through her rain dampened olive green Army jacket as she emerged cautiously out of the woods. She had discovered the boxcar while hunting rosehips scattered along the banks of the Bitterroot River. It was a source of protein for her tightened, gnawing stomach in want of food.

The large, oval-shaped meadow bordered the water and the rose hips were a substantial source of food when in the back country. She chewed slowly on another one, knowing it was packed with nutrition. Shivering, she felt hope spike through her as she walked out of the woods that lay west of Hamilton, a small hunting and fishing tourist town. She had followed the river in search of a place to pitch her tent outside the city limits.

Standing on the edge of the meadow, she fully surveyed it. It rained at dusk last night and then snowflakes had fallen thick and fast throughout the nighttime hours, and toward dawn the ground was covered with about six inches of the white stuff. As a gray dawn sluggishly crawled upon the eastern horizon, the flakes had turned into a soft, constant rain once more. Most of the snow had melted as the temperature rose, but patches of white still existed here and there–it was an Indian summer event. Jesse sincerely hoped that it meant warmer weather would come into the area and warm it up for a couple of weeks while she hunted for a place to live.
She’d discovered the ancient Union Pacific caboose at the edge of the meadow by accident. There was no telling how old it was, the slats of tongue-and-grove wood that composed its sides were worn , the paint chipped off but still solidly in place despite the harsh winter weather that it had obviously endured over the years. There were no railroad tracks around from what she could see. The under carriage of the caboose had been removed and it had been set upon a rectangular concrete slab, reminding her of the tiny house craze sweeping through her Millennial generation.

Her gaze absorbed the forty-foot long boxcar and she could see that at one time, it had been well cared for. But now, it looked utterly abandoned, the paint dull and peeling off the sturdy oak staves beneath it. Someone had brought this caboose out here. Was it someone who lived in Hamilton? Maybe the owner of this plot of land used it as a cabin to hunt and fish on weekends? Jesse had no idea, but there it was. Maybe it could be a possible home for her instead of the tent she had strapped to the huge knapsack she carried on her back. She wanted to make sure no one was living in it presently and thought about trespassing to find out–even though it went against her grain. Jesse couldn’t explain the allure to do just that.

She called out several times, her voice echoing around the meadow. There was no response or movement from inside the boxcar. The four windows along the meadow side were dirty, and she longed to clean them. Deciding either no one was home or living in it, she curved her hand around the rusted metal railing at the rear platform of the boxcar and took the first tentative step upward. The ends of each wooden step curved upward from age and now rested precariously on the metal frame beneath each one, the nails pulled out by rain and snow over the years. The step groaned. Not that she weighed that much. In the Army, she had been a hundred and sixty pounds; but three months ago, when she received an honorable medical discharge at the end of eight years of service, she had slowly lost at least twenty-five pounds due lack of appetite and no money to buy food. Her Army jacket, the only reminder of her life since age eighteen, hung loosely on her frame.

Her gloves were threadbare, her fingertips numb. She hauled herself up the rest of the creaking wooden steps and leaned forward, cupping her hands around her eyes and peering through the dirty glass of the door to see what was inside the caboose. It was a possible place to live but she had no money for a room rental. She’d just gotten a job at Katie’s Koffee Bean in Hamilton as a dish washer. But it was part time and Jesse had no money yet to rent a room in town, much less an apartment. She had lived in her tent since leaving the Army and was prepared to do it now, but maybe her luck was about to change.”

Stay tuned for more exclusive excerpts from Boxcar Christmas!

Release Date: 1.1.2018
pre-order: now
Visit: http://delos.lindsaymckenna.com/book/boxcar-christmas/ and click on “BEHIND THE STORY” of why I wrote this Holiday novel! Enjoy!

BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna! The “story behind the story”

November 30, 2017

Hi READERS!
First off, Happy Holidays!!!
Many of my readers always ask me: “Where did you get that idea?” Well, most of my “ideas” come from real life….read on!

I’m working on BOXCAR CHRISTMAS, my next Delos Holiday story. Last year I tried SNOWFLAKE’S GIFT and it was a huge seller. Everyone loved it and so I thought I’d try it again.


I realize the title is odd, but as you know me by now, there IS a story behind it. 😉

THE STORY:
One train car. Two lost souls. Five adorable puppies.
Travis Ramsey is back in Hamilton, Montana, after 10 years serving as a Delta Force operator in Afghanistan. Now responsible for his dad’s fishing guide business, Travis has to deal with his increasingly distant and difficult father, and guilt over his brother’s death. His life takes a turn for the better when he meets Army vet Jesse Myers. Jesse is taken with his grandparent’s quirky boxcar cabin and wants to rent it. Taken by her beauty—and the familiar haunted look in her eyes—he makes her a deal. He will rent the boxcar to her for free in return for her help in making renovations.

Working on the train car, Travis and Jesse grow closer. But when Jesse rescues a desperate Border Collie and her five adorable puppies, something unexpected happens. A Christmas miracle neither saw coming.

THE “REST” OF THE STORY!!!
Most of you know I moved 22 times in the first 18 years of my life in 7 different Western USA states. My father moved us about every 9 months and he was 1/4 Eastern Cherokee. Maybe he got the ‘seasons change gene’ and that’s why. Anyway, one of the places we moved to was Blackfoot, Idaho. We were very poor and there was a red caboose train car (it’s carriage had been taken off and it set on a concrete slab) was for rent. Can you imagine 6 people living in there? The caboose was probably about 400 sq.ft. and so, it was a “tiny house” long before the word was coined.

We lived there for 9 months. I loved it. We all learned to move like water around rocks (the parents) in the caboose and it worked well. It was a 10 foot by 40 foot caboose–and you might say it was a “tiny house” long before this word was coined! I loved going out at dusk because we’d get Nighthawks in huge swarms of 15 or 20 in each. The caboose was near red raspberry patch, so we got to eat our fill and get pies made by Mom, when they came into season.

For years I’ve wanted to write about a red caboose, a boxcar on the trains that was at the tail end of the line. Nowadays, there is NO caboose any more. But I wanted to wax nostalgic over that wonderfully happy time in my life. In a caboose I felt safe, like a pair of arms were around all of us. I truly liked the boxcar life.

Now that you know what’s “behind” this story, I hope it will enhance a wonderful story with a heart warming ending. And if you like dogs and puppies? You’ll be in 7th heaven 😉

Go here for more info…
http://delos.lindsaymckenna.com/book/boxcar-christmas/

EBOOK and PAPERBACK and Audio!
It is now on pre-order and it will be available by ebook on all platforms, except Google. And a few days after it publishes (1.1.2018), the paperback will become available for those of you who like a “real” book in their hands ;-). Tantor Media will be putting out an audio version of this wonderful Christmas story. Go to Amazon.com to check for it in January 2018!)
Has any of you “out there” in FB land ever lived in a boxcar?
I LOVE riding on trains, and I’m sure it came from my experience with our red caboose in Blackfoot, Idaho!

3 EXCERPTS from DOG TAGS FOR CHRISTMAS authors: Lindsay McKenna, J.m. Madden and KaLyn Cooper!

October 5, 2016

Hi Readers!

We have a treat for you…an exclusive set of EXCERPTS—one each from the three novellas that make up Dog Tags For Christmas! Our special gift to all of you!

Just think! If you pre-order it today? It will be in your email box tomorrow morning!

DOG TAGS FOR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna, JM Madden and KaLyn Cooper coming 10.6.16.

bannerchristmasall2

Read these EXCERPTS and see if you don’t run over and pre-order it 😉

SNOWFLAKE’S GIFT — Lindsay McKenna
lindsay-mckenna-christmas3
Sometimes love needs a little nudge from a dog…

Ex-Army Ranger Nick Conway and his WMD dog, Snowflake, come home. When Holly and Lady show up unexpectedly in his life, he finds out love provides healing and so much more…

Two veterans—one human, one canine—have returned to Montana to recover from the traumas of war. Former Army Ranger Nick Conway depended on his WMD dog Snowflake to help him navigate IEDs on the battlefield. Now he needs his best friend to help him cope with his PTSD and acclimate to civilian life. When he meets Holly McGuire and agrees to help her deliver meals to the elderly, her inner light calls to him, but his demons hold him back from giving in to his attraction. But Snowflake takes an immediate shine to the kindhearted Holly—and he has never led Nick down the wrong path.

EXCERPT:

SOMETIMES A CHRISTMAS GIFT DOESN’T COME IN A PACKAGE….IT COMES ON FOUR LEGS….

Snow was coming down hard in town as Nick drove the van toward the shut-in area at four p.m. The smell of spaghetti and buttered, garlic toast filled the vehicle. Myra had made sweet potato cupcakes for dessert, and he stole one before they left the charity facility. It was nearly Thanksgiving and he was looking forward to taking Holly to his folks place for the afternoon and evening. The wipers were rhythmically swinging back and forth, throwing off the heavy, wet flakes. The roads were salted, but still Nick was wary of invisible black ice. In the late afternoon the heat of the day was gone and things got slick real fast.

“Oh dear,” Holly called, sitting up, pointing out her passenger-side window. “Look, Nick!”

Snowflake, who stood between them, heard the pitch of her voice change, and whined.

Nick slowed and pulled over to the curb, then looked to where she was pointing. There was a yellow Labrador moving awkwardly through the belly deep snow between two brick buildings. Her ribs were prominent even though she had a short, thick winter coat on. “She’s starving,” he muttered, scowling. “It looks like a female Lab. She’s too dainty looking to be a male.”

“She’s terribly thin,” Holly said, worried. “I wonder if someone dumped her—they do that all the time around here. I hate it.”

“No collar on her, either,” Nick agreed. The Lab was about a hundred-feet down the alley between the two buildings, slugging it out with the snow. Nick heard Holly make a little sound of urgency. She had such a big heart, and she hated to see animals or humans suffer.

Nick knew she wanted to get out and try to call the dog over to her. From the looks of the animal, her light-brown eyes wild looking, tongue lolling out of her mouth, her fur matted, he intuitively knew this was a dog that had been left behind a long time ago to fend for herself.

“She’s feral,” he warned Holly. She turned, her huge, blue eyes filled with tears. “She won’t let us near her. I’m sorry.” And he was. It wouldn’t be the first dog dumped here that Nick had found, or that Holly had come upon around the building of one of her shut-ins. They had a no-kill shelter here, and this Lab would have had a warm place to stay, food, and care if they could befriend her.

“Can’t we do something for her, Nick?”

SEAL’s Christmas Dream – J.M. Madden
jen-madden-christmas3_jm
Love is never easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is…

Flynn and Willow find themselves fighting for more than just the abused Pit-Bulls they find. It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to get everyone home safely… or maybe a helpful nudge from an old partner.

EXCERPT:
Willow sighed when she heard Sue’s voice call out that Flynn had just pulled in. They had just gotten caught up on their schedule and now whatever animal he’d brought in would probably throw them off again. Well, shoot.

Running her hand over her belly she smoothed her shirt. It didn’t matter what she looked like right now—considering he was probably bringing in an emergency—but she always wanted to be pretty for him, and six months after having the baby it was a little harder. Between running around like a chicken with her head cut off keeping her business running, taking care of little Raven and trying to be a present wife, she was run ragged.

Automatically, she smiled when Flynn walked in the door. Her big, handsome husband still had his shades on, but when he looked at her his hard, bearded face softened into a smile. That small connection had only gotten stronger in the time they’d been together, and she truly cherished it. Maya, the mixed breed German Shepherd mutt paced around him, prancing anxiously.

Willow’s gaze fell to the towel wrapped bundle in his arms. A black nose peeked out of the folds.

“You brought me a raccoon?” she asked incredulously.

Flynn flashed her an even broader grin and leaned over for a quick kiss. Willow wanted to linger but forced herself to pull away. She looked down at the animal.

Flynn turned the bundle until he could show her the back end. “Looks like he’s been hit by a car, maybe. I chased him across three lanes of traffic before I could catch him.”

She scowled at the knowledge. “You be careful doing that. Denver drivers can be crazy.”

Reaching out she probed at the hanging back leg. “Yes. I would say you’re right. I’ll dose him up with pain medication and splint this leg, then we can call the wildlife rehab center to come pick him up. They have their own vet that specializes in exotic animals. He doesn’t look very old so he should recover fairly well as long as he gets this fixed soon.”

Flynn nodded, manipulating the animal as she needed him moved. When she glanced up she realized he’d been staring at her for several long moments.
“What?” she asked defensively.

He’d shoved his shades to the top of his head. His dark gray eyes were lit with wonderful softness. “Nothing. I’m just peeking down your shirt. I can’t believe how beautiful you are.”

Willow grinned up at the love of her life. A year ago she never would have imagined she could be in this position, but things had seriously changed. Flynn had gone from a frequent client in her veterinarian’s office bringing her strays to her hero then her soul mate. He was everything she could imagine having. And he’d already become the amazing father she had imagined him to be.

The raccoon fought a little, trying to get free, but Flynn restrained him like a professional, biceps pumped. Willow worked quickly, giving the animal a light sedation before lightly splinting the back leg. Then she let Flynn carry the animal to one of the portable carriers in back.

NOVELLA #3
Noel’s Puppy Power by KaLyn Cooper
kalyn-cooper-christmas3_kc-1

Tanner Hill is better at communicating with animals than women. That might be why he hasn’t had a second date in over two years. He’s also been extremely busy with his kennel that has become the premier training facility, specializing in supplying dogs to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Then again, there is this psychologist he can’t get out of his head, or his heart.

Dr. Bailey Conrad would never allow the loss of half her right leg to an IED in Iraq to stop her. Every day at the VA hospital, she sees patients who have lost so much more to the war effort. It’s her goal in life to help as many vets as possible to find a ‘new normal’, because she knows firsthand, it’s the internal scars that can be the most difficult to heal.
EXCERPT:

Case stepped forward. “I’m almost finished, and I’ll be leaving in a minute.” He gave Bailey that lady-killer smile of his. “I’m sure she can wait another minute for me to escort her to her car.”

Tanner insisted, “No, I can walk my friend to her car.”

Friend. So she was definitely in the friend zone.

Bailey smiled inwardly as she watched the interaction of the two alphas, snarling at each other.

Friends, huh. Tanner was acting very possessive for only being friends. She slid her arms down her winter coat sleeves and zipped it up. She could make it to her car on her own. The snow wasn’t that bad.

Before she made the first step onto the sidewalk, Tanner was at her side. He grabbed her hand and slid it into the crook of his elbow. “You’re going the New Year’s party with me.”

PRE-ORDER TODAY! Dog Tags will be in your email box tomorrow morning!

LINKS:
Amazon: pre-order up

http://amzn.to/2b89rK5

kobo.com
http://bit.ly/2b51jLl

Apple/iBooks
http://apple.co/2brPgWE

BN.Com
http://bit.ly/2bLJKCw

CONTEST! Dog Tags for Christmas Pre-Party!! with Lindsay McKenna!

September 12, 2016

WELCOME!! to our
CONTEST #2 starts right now: 9.12 – 9.18.2016! with Lindsay McKenna!

https://www.facebook.com/events/614599988719205/?active_tab=posts

If you love dogs and military vets, these heart warming stories are for you!

If you love dogs and military vets, these heart warming stories are for you!

The countdown is on for our FB party 10.4.16 (9am to 9pm EDT) and in the meantime, the surPRIZES will start NOW!!

Pre-Order NOW and Dog Tags for Christmas will arrive October 6th!

CONTEST #2
Dog Tags for Christmas is all about Vets and Pets.
Tell me about the very first dog that entered your life. His/her name, breed (if any) and how that dog played a part in your young life.

If you don’t have a pet, show us a picture of one that you wished you’d had as a young child and why.

Winner will be chosen by random on Sept. 18th when a new contest will be announced. It will be announced on this party page, so be sure to come back and look to see if you won!!

Facebook has nothing to do with this contest. No purchase necessary.

PRIZE:
For USA and Canada readers only

Signed copy of OUT RIDER by Lindsay McKenna
Paperback, HQN/Harlequin
It is a story that features two dogs owned by the hero and heroine and they almost steal the show ;-))).

WIN an autographed copy of OUT RIDER by Lindsay McKenna!

WIN an autographed copy of OUT RIDER by Lindsay McKenna!

LINDSAY McKENNA’s FIRST DOG: BLACKIE
To get you started, let me tell you about my first memories of the first dog in my life.

His name was Blackie, and he was a black and white border collie. I was five years old at the time. I had two other siblings, age 4 and 1 year old at that time. I remember Blackie because we lived on an island in the Snake River near Ontario, Oregon. My parents were paid to take care of a sheep herd that lived on that island; hence Blackie was there when we arrived. His job was to take care of the herd of sheep, and keep them safe. The only way back and forth on that island was a long railroad trestle bridge across the river.

Blackie “herded” me around, even though I wasn’t a sheep, always at my side, never far from me or my siblings. It was only later that I found out that Border Collies herded sheep was instinctual. He was a very loving dog and my best friend. And he’ll always have a place in my heart and memory. Unfortunately, I have no photos of him. But here is one I grabbed off the internet, in case you don’t know what Border Collies look like ;-).

Blackie was the first dog in my life and I was 5 years old at the time.

Blackie was the first dog in my life and I was 5 years old at the time.

Now! Share your story of the first dog that came into your life over on our FB party page!

LINKS for PRE-ORDER:
Ebook only

Amazon: pre-order up

http://amzn.to/2b89rK5

kobo.com
http://bit.ly/2b51jLl

Apple/iBooks
http://apple.co/2brPgWE

BN.Com
http://bit.ly/2bLJKCw

HOLD ME by Lindsay McKenna RELEASE DAY! Read first chapter!

August 11, 2016

Is Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment over to Afghanistan?

Is Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment over to Afghanistan?


Sequel to HOLD ON!

Read the first chapter:
http://amzn.to/2aE89bK

Callie McKinley’s physical wounds have healed but she still bears the emotional scars from the attack she endured at the hands of the Taliban. Callie’s fiancé Beau Gardner saved her life in Afghanistan, and his love has helped bring her out of her despair. But their time together is cut short when Beau must return to Bagram to complete his enlistment. Beau and Callie are counting down the days until he can return home to her and start their life together. But Afghanistan is a dangerous place, and Beau soon finds himself in the line of fire.

Available in ebook/paperback and audio

LINKS:

AMAZON:
http://amzn.to/1WT2RdK

iBOOKS/APPLE:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-me/id1122804403?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

KOBO:
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hold-me-13

BN.com
Will appear sometime today whenever they get around to it. Please check back with them.

AUDIO: coming 11.22.16
https://tantor.com/hold-me-lindsay-mckenna.html

Stay in touch, readers!
http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

EXCERPT!! HOLD ME by Lindsay McKenna, Delos Series

August 10, 2016

Is Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment over to Afghanistan?

Is Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment over to Afghanistan?

Is Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment over to Afghanistan?

EXCERPT to HOLD ME by Lindsay McKenna, Delos Series, 8.11.16
Sequel to HOLD ON

Callie McKinley tried to stuff down her fears as she stood with her fiancé, Beau Gardner, a Delta Force Army sergeant, at the Butte, Montana airport. He was leaving on this cold January under clear skies, typical of a Montana winter morning. She felt his arm curved around her shoulders and took comfort in it, but it didn’t dissolve her growing terror as he prepared to complete his fifth tour in Afghanistan. Callie felt his fingers move soothingly up and down her upper arm as she leaned against his tall, hard body. Was he reading her mind? She tried to appear relaxed and calm, but inside she was drowning in a storm of anxiety.

People were making their way home from the Christmas and New Year holidays. Beau was dressed in civilian clothes and Callie didn’t think anyone in the bustling airport would know he was a deadly operator. He had saved her life late November when her civilian charity van was attacked by Taliban on the way to a “safe” Afghan village to render medical aid. She had been a devoted child care worker for Hope Charity, spending six months of every year in Kabul, the capital, where she assisted fifty orphaned Afghan babies and young children. She loved her work with them, even while knowing that Kabul wasn’t truly safe.

She sighed, resting her brow against Beau’s Levi’s jacket, closing her eyes and squeezing him around his trim waist. Instantly, Beau responded, dropping a light kiss on her hair and holding her a bit more tightly for a moment, as if to reassure her. He knew she was worried about his going back over there. His enlistment wasn’t up until June of this year and it was only January. Six months. Callie knew that in the winter, the Taliban attacks slowed down or stopped because the heavy snowfall didn’t allow the enemy to travel around the country very easily. They all headed back to Pakistan to wait until the spring thaw in April. Then, they would return to begin systematic attacks against anyone, Afghan, American, or otherwise, who did not share their beliefs.

“You doing okay?” Beau asked as he leaned down, his lips brushing the curve of her ear.
“I’m doing okay,” she lied. The last thing Callie wanted was to have Beau worry about her and not focus on his job in black ops. She heard a rumble in his broad chest.

“You’re such a beautiful fibber, Ms. McKinley, but I love you anyway.”

She absorbed his West Virginia drawl, soothed by the low, husky sound of his voice and feeling how much he loved her. Callie had thought she knew what love was after dating a series of “Mr. Wrongs.” Then, Beau, a twenty-seven-year-old Army Delta Force sergeant, had more or less crashed into her life when she was working in Kabul, changing it forever. Rousing herself, she lifted her head, angling it so she could meet his amused gray eyes focused solely on her. Lips twisting, she whispered, “I’m not lying, Beau. Well, maybe a little…”

“Hey, I know you. You’re a first-class worry wart, sweetheart. I’ll be fine,” he promised, dropping another kiss on her furrowed brow. “I’ll be home before you know it and I’ll meet you right here in this airport.” He lifted his head, angling his chin. “And Grandpa Graham will be here with you.”

TAG LINE:
Was Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment to Afghanistan?

AVAILABLE:
Ebook
Paperback
Audio

And don’t miss WIND RIVER WRANGLER by Lindsay McKenna! Coming 10.25.16 from Kensington Books!! Book 1 of her new cowboy series!
PREORDER and receive gifts:
http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/WindRiverValley/
wind-river-wrangler-(300x250) copy

LINKS:

AMAZON:
http://amzn.to/1WT2RdK
iBOOKS/APPLE:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-me/id1122804403?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
KOBO:
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hold-me-13
BN.com customers will have to wait until the day it is published because they don’t support pre-orders.

Tantor Media AUDIO: Hold Me release 11.2.16
https://tantor.com/hold-me-lindsay-mckenna.html

HOLD ON by Lindsay McKenna EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT!!!

August 2, 2016

Hi Dear Readers!!

HOLD ON by Lindsay McKenna

I have a special gift for all of you! An EXCLUSIVE excerpt! Just follow the URL below and there it is! Only my newsletter subscribers and readers will get a sneak peek at my next Delos Series book!

Exclusive Excerpt Hold On

LINKS:
Amazon

http://amzn.to/1TJY8bA

iBooks/Apple

http://apple.co/1OTOra0

Kobo.com – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hold-on-25

BN.com – to come on pub day, 8.3.16

My website:

Hold On

Join my newsletter and keep up with my books! http://www.lindsaymckenna.com