Monday, May 15, 2017

First Chapters with Christine Lindsay, author of Sofi's Bridge



Seattle Debutante Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.




Chapter One of Sofi’s Bridge
Seattle Washington, 1913

A blur of white raced along the grounds to the beach. 
Sofi froze at the second story window. Set against the tattered sky of an incoming squall, her sister’s nightgown billowed in the dark. For the past six weeks Trina kept as much distance as she could from the sight and sound of the surf. Sofi raised a shaking hand to her throat, turned and tore along the upper hall. “Mattie, she’s outside.”

China shattered as Matilda, their housekeeper, dropped a supper tray. At the staircase, Sofi hiked up her black silk skirts and pounded downwards. Matilda followed close behind.

Ten minutes ago Trina had been in the nursery, huddling on the window seat. Though nearly grown she was always in the nursery since that night when. . .Trina even slept in the nursery instead of her bedroom, crying for Papa, with Sofi holding her close.

Matilda huffed. “I only left Trina to collect her supper.”

A yelping Odin found Sofi at the kitchen hallway. The Springer Spaniel bounded, his cold nose nudging her hand. Thank goodness one thing in this house had stayed the same. With Odin barking, she pushed through the green baize door. The dog darted past her. Inga, their cook, swung around to face her. Frida, the housemaid, dropped whatever she held in her hand. A man Sofi could swear she’d never seen before sat at the table, and shot to his feet as she hurtled through the kitchen.

She reached the outer door when the man—the gardener, she remembered now—pushed past her and flung the door wide. He charged across the lawn. The dog yowled and leapt after him. With Inga, Frida, and Matilda running behind, Sofi fled in the wake of the gardener down the trail to the beach.

The man reached the sand. Odin bolted past, across the beach as Trina rushed along the dock. Sofi scrambled to keep up, each ragged breath a prayer. Matilda shrieked, and behind, Frida’s and Inga’s calls, “Trina!”

Sofi reached the beach in time to see Trina slip into the skiff at the end of the dock. Her sister pulled on the oars, and made swift progress out on Puget Sound. At the edge of the dock, the dog pawed the planks, whining.

“Trina!” The wind snatched her cries as Sofi tripped over the shore strewn with rocks and driftwood. Dear God, please keep her safe. She had failed in looking after her sister.

The gardener reached the end of the thirty-foot dock and dove. It was hard to see anything other than green phosphorous as he swam toward the small skiff. Cold brine swirled at Sofi’s knees as she waded to the dock. She ran to the end of the wooden planks. It should be her saving Trina. It was her job to look after her family. Twenty yards out, Trina stood up in the skiff. Her nightgown streamed in the wind, a white sail against the squalling night.

Sit down, Trina. Oh, please sit down.

Swells buffeted the small craft as Trina stood, peering into the depths. Sofi cried out, but the wind swallowed her words, until a wave nudged the boat, and Trina fell. Sofi screeched.

One moment Trina was there, the next the sea had taken her. Just like Papa.
She wrenched open the buttons of her bodice. She would not remain frozen, but get out of this wretched gown and bring her sister out of the depths.

“No, Sofi!” Matilda gripped her arm. “You’re not as strong a swimmer as Trina. She has a better chance than you.”

She thrust off Matilda’s hand. She couldn’t lose her sister. She’d swim in her petticoat if need be. But Inga and Frida had made it to the end of the dock, and now three sets of hands held Sofi, as the rising tempest droned. Captive, Sofi counted the strokes of the man swimming to Trina. Then he dove, and the night went quiet. Sofi couldn’t breathe. All that she’d kept dammed up since Papa’s death cascaded over her.

Waves pummeled the pilings and beach. Odin whimpered at her knee. A moment later the gardener came up, gasped for air and dove again. Sofi pressed the heel of her hand against her tight chest. Dear God, don’t take her from me.

At last the waters broke. The gardener surfaced with Trina coughing in his arms. Pins and needles flared over Sofi’s skin. At last, she could do something. She reached for the life ring, tossing it to the man. It landed on the waves near his head. Trina batted at him, and he ducked beneath her. Seconds passed. He emerged to take hold of the life ring. He kicked, towing Trina with his arm across her chest. Until he lost his grip on the ring.

The wind and waves flailed at him and Trina. Hand over hand, Sofi pulled in the rope, and threw the ring out again.He caught it. The tide fought to drag him and Trina, but with Frida’s help, Sofi hauled them in.

As they neared the dock, Sofi and the women reached down to lift Trina from the waves. Sofi pressed on her sister’s back to expel the water she’d taken in.The man hoisted himself to the dock. Dripping wet, he pushed Sofi away, and rolled Trina on her back.

“What are you doing?” She slapped his hands. If anyone would take life-preserving measures it would be her.

But he shoved her and pried Trina’s mouth open. After searching her mouth and throat, he flipped Trina on her front and thumped her back.

A moment later, Trina coughed and spat, and the man stood, leaning down to lift Trina into his arms

Sofi gave him a shove. “I’ll carry her.”

“Don’t be foolish, miss.”

“You can’t possibly carry her up to the house after that swim. We’ll carry her together.”

He swiped his wet hair out of his eyes. “It’ll be quicker if I carry her. She’s worn out and she needs—” He scooped Trina up.

“Please...hurry.” Sofi turned and ordered Matilda. “Water on to boil. Get blankets.” Buffeted by the wind, Sofi walked beside him as he carried Trina up the incline with the squall whistling.

He kept his gaze on the lights shining across the lawns from the kitchen. She kept turning to watch the rise and fall of her sister’s chest, those pale eyelids that remained closed, that long blond hair straggling like seaweed over the bodice of the white nightgown.

When they reached the kitchen stoop, Trina opened her eyes and looked at the man holding her. Sofi gasped. For a moment a spark of the real Trina—sixteen-year-old Trina—shone in the depths of her blue eyes.

Inside the kitchen was a warm hive of activity. The gardener settled a shivering Trina in Inga’s armchair next to the stove.

“A towel,” Sofi said to Frida. She dried Trina’s arms and legs, and wrapped her in a quilt as Matilda barged in with dry clothing.

Kneeling before her sister, she’d been prepared to take charge, have the man fade to the background as a servant of his standing should, but just as he’d done on the dock, he pushed her away. Ignoring his dripping clothes, he leaned close, listening to Trina’s breathing.

And Trina latched her blue gaze with his. In rigid silence, Sofi stood.

Matilda pierced her with a look that asked if she’d lost her mind. Sofi put a hand to her head. Was it giddiness at Trina being alive that sapped her of her usual verve? No. There was something about this man that calmed her sister like none of them had been able to do for weeks.

“Take your hands off her, ye shameless oaf,” Matilda shouted. She’d cared for Trina since she’d been a baby as if she’d been her own.  

The gardener fended her off with a pained look. “Matilda, do you honestly think I’d want to hurt her?” He took hold of Trina’s wrist, as if he counted her pulse, and hunched down to examine her feet. Rocks on the beach had gashed the inside of one arch. With a tea towel, he wiped away a trace of blood.

Sofi reached out to help, but Trina shirked from her, and focused on the fire burning in the grate.

Inga, Frida, and Matilda began to talk at once while Sofi stood aside, alone in the eye of the storm. It wasn’t that Trina rejected her help—she was getting used to being rebuffed by her young sister lately. But this stranger had taken control.

Frida and Inga submitted to his orders as if they’d known him for years instead of a month. Even the dog sat, his tail thumping as he shifted his gaze between the gardener and Trina.

Only Matilda eyed the man as though he were a hooligan. The desire to cry crept up on Sofi, but she shoved it deep. She must be exhausted from carrying the weight of what was left of her family, to let him take charge. Everything had changed since Papa’s death. She spoke to the man in a level tone. “You’ll need iodine. Bandages.”

“Hot water too.” He smiled his thanks when she brought him the basin. “She’ll be fine, stop your worrying.” His voice flowed in rhythmic Irish cadence.

With a calm Sofi did not feel, she retrieved the tin box, opened the bottle of iodine while Matilda ripped a clean white cloth into strips. Sofi would let him see to Trina’s superficial abrasions. He obviously had first aid training. But more than simple medicine was needed to heal her sister’s mind and heart. To think...only a few months ago Trina had been at the yacht club, laughing, challenging the young men to a race. Her sister’s teeth chattered. But her gaze was more clear than since the day they’d brought her home without Papa. “Leave me...alone. It’s my…”

The man’s eyes crinkled with a smile. “You’re all right. Your few wee cuts and bruises don’t worry me at all.”

Trina moaned as her shivering eased, and pulled the quilt around her. Then that heavy curtain came down behind her eyes. It seemed she grew smaller, shrinking away from them all. At least Trina was safe for now. Sofi pressed a hand to her stomach.

A frown replaced the gardener’s smile as he scrutinized Trina. “Is any tea ready? She needs a cup. With plenty of sugar and milk.” He cupped Trina’s chin, but she avoided his eyes. “It’ll do you good,” he murmured, “whether or not you want to talk to me.” His brows creased at Trina’s lack of response, and he cupped her shoulder. “You’ll be fine, so I’m handing you over to Matilda’s care before she tears me limb from limb.” His smile matched the lilt in his voice.

Matilda needed no further encouragement. She, Frida and Inga, began to cluck over their one chick, Matilda’s Scottish ‘R’s rolling, the two other women elongating their Swedish vowels.

For now, Sofi would leave Trina in their capable hands. Her sister was locked away in one of her moods. Later, tonight, Trina would need her. Setting her jaw, Sofi studied the gardener in an attempt to remember his name. She and this man had hardly spoken until tonight. Inga laid out his duties from the time he arrived on their grounds just days before Papa...

Emptiness swelled inside. With Papa’s drowning so shortly after this man started to work for them, she’d not had the heart to get to know him. She dammed up the memories of her father again, before grief sluiced through her—a grief she had no time to indulge. Not now when Trina needed her so much. And Mama too.

This gardener’s name was...Neil Macpherson. And his manner, his confidence...too controlled to be a mere laborer. His abilities hinted at some training, but he was still the gardener. A man who thought he knew what was best, as Charles thought. But then Charles, as Papa’s business partner, always thought he knew best.

Her voice shook. “You’re quite handy at first aid, Mr. Macpherson.”

“Sure anyone could do this. Even me, hired to trim the grass and prune the shrubs.” He flinched, so slight, she almost missed it.

Matilda held a cup of tea to Trina’s lips. Trina sipped and leaned her head against the back of the chair, her eyelids drooping.

Sofi felt Neil Macpherson’s gaze. “You don’t look so well yourself, miss. Take that cuppa that Frida’s bringing you.”

She rubbed her arms, and shook her head. Her soaking clothes clung. Weariness of heart must be spurring this unfamiliar perversity within her. This need to fight, to protect Trina and Mama.

“Well, if it’s not a cup of tea you want,” he said, “then perhaps coffee, as long as it has plenty of sugar to counteract the shock.” He led her away from Trina, and for a second she wanted to lean against him, like Mama used to lean against Papa. 

But this was her family. She must rally herself.

“It’s plain your sister’s suffering from a prolonged sense of trauma,” he said, lowering his voice.

“It’s nothing more than a nervous malady.”

His brow winged upward. “It’s far more than that. She needs help.”

She turned away from his all-too-inquisitive eyes. Of course, her sister needed help.
Trina just didn’t need the kind of help Charles was suggesting.

Inga and Frida whisked away the first aid materials, and Matilda raced upstairs for an item of Trina’s clothing she’d forgotten. Sofi hunched down in front of Trina. She traced a finger down her sister’s cheekbone, along the delicate line of jaw. She turned the young face toward her only to be met by Trina’s vacant stare. Sofi choked back a sob. “Where are you, √§lskling? Where are you?” 

No response came from Papa’s favorite endearment. And really, there was no need for Sofi to ask. She knew exactly where the soul of her sister lay. Six weeks ago, it floated downward with Papa’s body to the dark and sandy bottom of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

What the gardener said was true. She didn’t need anyone to tell her that her sister suffered from trauma, but there had to be a way to bring her sister back to health other than what Charles was arranging.

Neil Macpherson’s officious manner wasn’t what angered her. As a simple laborer, he must only mean well.

But as for Charles...she would fight him with everything she had before she’d allow her sister to go to a hospital for the mentally insane.





Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Christine's fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest. 

Purchase Links for Sofi’s Bridge


Pelican Book Group (Paper and Ebook)

Barnes and Noble (Paper and Ebook)

Christine Lindsay’s Social Media Links

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Christine, thanks for joining me today and sharing your first chapter of Sofi's Bridge with my readers! God's best to you in your writing venture!


Friday, May 5, 2017

Now Available: Kenzie and the Spooky House Adventure for kids!


Missionary Kid Series, Ages 8 and up

 Kenzie Gunter, new missionary kid in India, wants a friend but 
 finds one in short supply. When an Indian family with a nine-
 year-old girl moves in to the house next door, Kenzie urges her 
 mom to make an introduction. But friendship in a foreign land 
 proves to be a challenge. That doesn’t stop Kenzie, however. 
 Her humorous and sometimes dangerous attempts to connect 
 with her neighbor keep the adventures coming . . . and the 
 surprises! 











Kenzie and the Spooky House Adventure also includes the following:


More About India section with link to pictures and videos I took while visiting this amazing country!

Think About It (thought-provoking questions that help kids process the story)

Closing Words from the Author



Find Kenzie at the following locations:

Paperback here. 

Paperback here. 

Ebook here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

First Chapters with Ane Mulligan, author of When the Bough Breaks



Her dream job has a Catch 22—and time's running out

Rookie lobbyist Sienna O'Shea is determined to make a name for herself in New York's capitol city and use that influence to gain easier access to her birth records. For years she's searched for her birth mother, but when she's handed her first assignment—to lobby support for the permanent sealing of all adoption records—her worlds collide. Swept up into the intrigue of backroom politics, falling in love was not on Sienna's agenda, but the candidate for Lt. Governor runs a formidable campaign to make her his first lady. When an investigative reporter discovers foreign money infiltrating political campaigns, the trail leads to Sienna's inner circle.

~~



CHAPTER 1

Sienna O’Shea slammed the door of her red Volkswagen Beetle, trying not to slip on the icy patches in the parking lot. She hurried to the elevator for the Legislative Office Building and her dream job in New York’s capitol. New York! Her heart kicked up its heels and she could hardly believe she’d made it. Her second day on the job and already she’d been assigned to testify before New York’s Senate Judicial Committee. She might be a rooky at lobbying, but she’d show them.
It took her half the night to work up her presentation, praying the whole time it would be good enough. It should be, her old friend Matt Dressler gave her the background information. If it was, she could leverage her position as team newbie into a force to be reckoned with—someone they’d be proud of. And for once, it would be because of something she did, not who she was.
She pushed the button and waited, catching her breath that came out in little puffs of fog in the frigid air. A long-legged man in a dark grey overcoat approached from between two cars and stopped beside her. He tipped his hat.
A courteous New Yorker? Wow. And a handsome one. Double wow.
The doors opened and they both entered the elevator. He stood in front of the numbered panel, blocking it. She’d been told the Senate Hearing room was on the third floor. Since he didn’t move...
“Third floor, please.”
He grinned and punched the button for the first floor. Sienna blinked and stepped back. So much for courteous, that was downright uncivil. Her heartbeat accelerated and she forced herself not to look at him. He could be a pervert. Good looking or not, the dude better not try anything.
She slipped her hand into her coat pocket and wrapped her fingers around the cold cylinder of mace. The same one she’d laughed at when Mom made her promise three times to carry it in her pocket. Well, she wasn’t laughing now. If he made a move toward her, she wasn’t going down with a whimper. 
As the elevator slid downward and he didn’t make any attempt to touch her, her fingers relaxed their grip on the mace. He didn’t dress like a mugger. The cut and quality of his overcoat whispered money. Still, why had he sent the elevator to the first floor instead of the third? Maybe she should say something. But what do you say to a potential assailant? She chewed her lip, trying to think of something.
“I said three ... please.”
He grinned but didn’t move. Her hand tightened on the mace.
“All the other floors go to different levels of the parking deck.” He removed his hat and brushed his fingers along its rim. “The only entrance to the LOB is from the first level.”
Oh.
Did this elevator have an emergency exit for the terminally embarrassed? Not wanting to encourage him, she averted her eyes. Then again ... Keeping her head down, she peeked through her eyelashes. He exuded charm. And he hadn’t made an improper advance. Was there any way for this to be salvaged?
A slight bounce alerted her to the elevator’s impending stop. The doors slid open to reveal a brightly lit corridor from which other passageways branched off. Shops, restaurants, banks and offices lined the hallways. Voices, like an indecipherable hum, reverberated off the marble walls. People carrying briefcases and armloads of files scurried past, leaving a trail of perfume and aftershave in their wake. Her nose twitched. The scene gave her a sense of continuity— historic walls juxtaposed against energetic youth. Trying not to gape, she looked up at the man beside her.
“It’s like a city.”
“We’re underground. You can access the entire Capitol campus from down here. Around this wall and straight ahead is the Senate Office building, down that hall to your left, the Assembly Offices. You can go to the school board and the Capitol too, all without stepping outside which is a blessing in winter.” He took her elbow and pulled her closer so four men could enter the elevator.
“From here, if you turn right, you’ll see the Senate elevator.” He pointed down the hall. “Take it to the third floor and follow the signs to the Judiciary Hearing Room.”
“Third floor, uh, thank you.” How’d he know that was where she was going? Her elbow still tingled from his touch.
He raised one eyebrow and smiled at her. “Come on, I’ll show you.” He guided her along, weaving in and out of the crowd with expertise. He stopped in front of a bank of doors. “Here you go.” His eyes crinkled with good humor. “It’s all yours from here.”
The timbre of his deep voice resonated in her ear. “Thank you …” She suddenly realized she didn’t know his name.
“Reese.” He slipped his card into her jacket’s waist pocket. Her skin beneath the material tingled where his fingers grazed. “Reese Van Daal.” With the accent on Daal, it sounded like doll. He sure was that. Sun-streaked blond hair—natural, no hairdresser could match that subtle coloring—and ice blue eyes.
“Sienna O’Shea. I’m sorry … I don’t have any cards yet. New job” Brilliant conversation, O’Shea—quit blathering. “I really do appreciate the guide. No telling how long I would have wandered.” If not for him, she’d have wandered lost in the vast underground maze of Albany’s capitol and been even later. What a way to make an impression.
With his head slightly cocked, he nodded. “The pleasure was distinctly mine.” He didn’t move but stared into her eyes as if memorizing her. Then he turned and walked away.
Wait! 
She clamped her hand over her mouth. Did she say that out loud? When he didn’t turn around, she breathed a sigh of relief. What a hunk of gorgeous, rugged—
“Are you coming, Miss?”
“What?” Sienna whirled around. A withered man the color of charcoal sat on a stool, holding the elevator door for her.
“Oh, yes, I’m sorry.” She stepped inside. “Three, please.”
He reached out and pulled the iron grate shut with a clank. The outer doors closed in silence. She’d never seen an elevator operator before. It reminded her of an old late night movie her mom loved. What an amazing place.
A moment later she stood outside the Judiciary Hearing Room. She gave the guard her name, and after receiving her clearance, took a deep breath and opened the door, stepping inside.
The floor slanted downward like a theatre, each row of seats lower than the previous one. Her gaze progressed to the front of the room where a huge mahogany conference table stood, a bouquet of microphones clustered at its center. A row of journalists squatted on the floor in front of the table. She didn’t know the media would be here. Her stomach flip-flopped, sending waves of anxiety crashing on the shore of assurance. Lobbying she knew. Testifying before a judicial committee? No way—amicus curiae she was not.   
A heavyset woman sat at the table, testifying. Her strident alto, proclaiming her group’s admiration of the judge, punctuated the rustle of papers and whispers from the assembled audience. A dais rose in front of the table. Behind the modesty rail, she could see a dozen high-backed, leather chairs—filled with senators. Only one or two of the senators paid attention to the woman speaking. The rest talked among themselves. Sienna shrank back and gulped. This must be what a prisoner felt as he left his death-row cell for his execution. Sure she’d lobbied, but that was one-on-one. This was onstage. Had they called her name yet? If so, what now? Her glance swept the room. CFC’s assistant, Christine, who would be showing her around, should be there. When Sienna spotted her, Christine was waving and motioned over her soccer-ball belly to the chair next to her.
She whispered, “Where have you been?”
Sienna lowered the theatre-style seat and dropped into it, setting her briefcase at her feet. “Caught in traffic. Lost. Don’t ask. Have they called me yet?”
“No, but you’re up in a few minutes.”
Hardly time to catch her breath. “I hope—What are they handing out?”
Behind the senators on the dais, an aide distributed what looked like an entire ream of paper to each senator. An intern pushing a trolley followed behind.
“That’s the next person’s testimonial.”
Sienna clutched the arms of her chair. Her eyes darted to Christine. “I don’t have that much.” The volume of her voice attracted attention. She slunk down in her chair and whispered, “I didn’t know I’d need anything like that. Christine, mine’s only a single page.”
She wanted to throw up. Her first day on the job as legislative affairs director for CFC and she was going to bomb. Cheese grits. Better to run. She started to rise.
Christine pulled her back down. “Don’t worry. You’ll do fine. Just read your paper, then get up and leave. Don’t give them any time to ask questions, unless you’re prepared to answer.”
“Answer them? No way.” She’d take the get-up-and-leave option. “I don’t know much about this issue, but I did unearth something I hope will blow the lid off the appointment. A good friend of mine, Matt Dressler, is an investigative reporter. It’s really his research and story. He emailed it to me last night. All I did was rework it to fit our needs. Of course, it took me most of the night.” Sienna leaned down and pulled a paper from her briefcase. “Look.”
Christine read the paper, her eyes growing wider with each line. “You’re sure of this?” She handed it back.
The man in front of them turned and scowled. Sienna leaned closer to her assistant and lowered her voice to a whisper. “That’s what I asked Matt. He said he had all the proof anyone would need—bank records, corporate reports, audits, you name it. I trust his work a hundred percent, and I’ve cited all the references on the back.”
“This is amazing, Sienna. You don’t need more than this one page.” A smug grin stretched across her lips. “Glen’s going to be so glad he hired you.”
“I was terrified I’d be too late to testify and he’d fire me.”
“Not after this.” Christine sat up straight. “Watch now. You should be up next.”
The clerk stood. “Conservative Family Coalition representative, please.”
Sienna walked to the standing microphone in the aisle. “I’m Sienna O’Shea.” Her voice trembled. She swallowed and tried again, handing her testimonial folder to the clerk. “I represent the New York CFC.”
The uniformed man looked at the measly offering then back at Sienna. When she nodded once, he shook his head and walked up the steps of the dais. Clutching her copy, Sienna took her seat at the table.
With her heart hammering in her ears, she watched the senators as the clerk handed them her paper. They reached up for more, but when the clerk shook his head, each senator, one after the other, glanced at Sienna, then at the printed testimony. Nervous as she was, she almost giggled. Her single page caught the attention of everyone, and they waited for her to speak.
Something tapped against her chair leg and persisted, sending vibrations up her back. Sienna turned. Directly behind her, and drilling her with a hateful stare, sat Judge Leone. Coal black hair pulled tight against her scalp gave the judge a pinched look. Tortoiseshell glasses perched on an eagle-beak nose. Sienna blinked and turned back. I’m glad she’s not my mother. The tapping continued. How rude. If she thought it would distract Sienna, she had another think coming. She bit the inside of her lip to stop the smirk.
“Please go ahead, Ms. O’Shea,” the chairman said.
Sienna took a deep breath and peered over the microphones. Twelve pairs of eyes were trained on her. She swallowed again and hoped her voice wouldn’t crack. “Mr. Chairman, members of the Senate, I won’t bore you with statistics on the number of families affected by addiction to gambling, or its negative effects on communities. Rather, I’m here to show why Judge Leone should not be appointed to the Supreme Court. Before moving to New York, she used her position on the Ninth Circuit Court to further her own agenda and personal financial gain.” The tapping increased. Sienna cleared her throat and lobbed her bomb.
“In the report before you, you will see that Judge Leone is part owner in a casino. The majority shareholder is a brother-in-law—her sister’s husband to be exact.” The stuttering beat against her chair faltered. “The judge presided over numerous cases involving its owners, rendering each verdict in favor of the casino.”
The chairman held up her testimony in a clenched hand. “Can you document this?”
Sienna laced her fingers together on the table. “Yes, sir. The Atlanta Daily Register published a story on gambling casinos three months ago. The casino in question was exposed in the article. Since then, the judge’s ownership has come to light. The implicating documents are listed on the back of the report you hold and are of public record. The New York Conservative Family Coalition recommends Judge Leone not be appointed to the New York Court of Appeals.”
The tapping stopped abruptly as Sienna stood. The judge stood at the same time, blocking her exit. Nose to nose with her, Judge Leone opened her mouth to say something when a reporter shoved a microphone in front of her. She glared at the man and slapped his hand away, then turned and stalked out of the hearing room. Sienna bit back a laugh as the media raced out after the judge, and the room erupted in pandemonium. The chairman banged his gavel and called for a recess.
Her laughter died when the remaining media started to close in on her. Suddenly, Christine broke through the crowd.
“Keep down while I distract them.” She shoved Sienna’s briefcase into her arms, covering her face. Pointing to the back of the room, she yelled, “There goes O’Shea!”
The reporters sped up the aisle.
Christine grabbed her elbow. “Come on. Follow me.” She headed toward one side of the room. As she stopped in front of the wood-paneled wall, something in the balcony caught Sienna’s eye.
Reese Van Daal leaned against the railing, talking into his cell phone and smiled down at her. He touched a finger to his brow in salute, then turned and disappeared from sight as Christine pulled Sienna through a doorway.

~~

"Ooh, I do so love a good intrigue!" said one of the stepsisters in the movie, Ever After
Well, I agree! Ane's story is cooking up to be a good one you won't want to miss. In fact, she's offering a FREE BOOK to one commenter. So, leave a comment for a chance to win!

~~
MORE ABOUT ANE MULLIGAN and HER BOOKS


Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. An award-winning and multi-published novelist and playwright, Ane is the executive director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a community theater and a contributor to Novel Rocket. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a dog of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her website or her Amazonauthor page.


A peek at Ane's titles



Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of When the Bough Breaks!