Unlikely Merger’s SAM List

Caribbean Beach2It all started on a Love Boat Cruise to the Caribbean. You might wonder how Mercy Lacewell ended up on a cruise like that with her semi-invalid father…

Well, that’s the kind of thing that happens occasionally, even in real life. It seems like the wrong place, at the wrong time, when it could just be wrong place at the right time. Or right place, wrong time. Anyway, Mercy went on a cruise with her dad. She met a young minister named Brent Teague and something happened to her heart. The almost-romance softened her heart a little and prepared her for what was coming next.

What was coming next–

Back home, Daddy and his assistant, Madeline, decide Mercy needs more life experience. They send her out as acquisitions analyst for Lacewell Limited. Her job: to assess the companies and businesses they find, and decide if the businesses are a good investment for the company. Sounds like fun, right? Except that it’s something Mercy has never done, never thought about doing, never wanted to do. She’s perfectly happy in Denver, taking care of Dad.

First trip out: wouldn’t you know they’d end up in Texas during a freak ice storm? Mercy and Lacewell Limited’s other acquisitions analyst (Dustin Rogers) never actually make it to the destination, but they find something better, and are able to add it to the list. And Dustin gets added to Madeline’s SAM list. What’s a SAM? Single, available male (remember that).

Next stop, Watkins Glen, New York, to check out an inn. This adventure includes snow, sledding, and Landon Gates. Now we’re ready for a warmer climate. How about San Diego, CA? Nice, very nice. And once again, Mercy bumbles through her first meeting with the owner of Montoya Olive Oil–yes, that’s MOO for short. Enrique Miguel Montoya, “Ric” for short–doesn’t seem to mind. He makes her feel very much at home among his clan in their beautiful home. Mercy learns not to bite an olive fresh from the tree, no matter how ripe it looks. Ric is a welcome addition to the SAM list.

alligator-439887_1280Staying with the warmer weather, Mercy is headed to Titusville, Florida, and a gator farm. Yes, you read that right. Adventure. For this one, she takes Uncle Thomas along. I don’t blame her. Mr. Mann welcomes her–Gabe Mann. Great name, huh? After a full assessment and a medical procedure, she says goodbye to Titusville, but Gabe finds a place on the list.

Headed north, Mercy stops in Madison, Alabama for a quick look at Diana’s Burger Bistro. Will this be a good investment? She has a rather unfortunate first meeting with the chef, a surfer-type named Talon Hawthorne. But he makes a nice save by cooking a meal that pleases her palate.

Fourteen Quarters Repertory Company is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. And Douglas “Digger” Grant is the contact. Chemistry! Mercy learns all about small productions and develops a nice friendship with a man named Icky. You’ll need to read the chapter to understand that one.

Chapter Eight takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, where Mercy looks at McBride Mortgage. She feels uncertain about this one and tries her best to talk Uncle Thomas into accompanying her. But…ends up on her own with the formidable Mason McBride, until she meets IT director, Levi Shepherd. Mercy was more than happy to spend quality time getting technical with this guy. Another addition to the SAM list!

Great Barrington, Massachusetts is Mercy’s next stop, to look at a trucking company. Ahhh, New England in the spring. Rob and Steve LeClerc of LeClerc Trucking, at your service. Mercy falls pretty hard for Steve. Or 9cb57-shutterstock_40179583maybe his dog.

All the way back across this wide country of ours, Mercy lands at LAX and hits the road for Santa Monica, CA. She quickly learns there is no avoiding L.A. traffic, but that’s nothing compared to the crankiness of St. Andrew. She ends up trapped in a very small room with Reuben Miller. For three hours. Kind of a crash course, ending with Rube Miller on the SAM list.

So that brings us to the final stop on Mercy’s itinerary–in Lexington, KY–land of blue grass, beautiful horses, and Knight-Link & Associates. After a near head-on collision with someone she believes to be a handyman or plumber, she meets with Philip Knight, the owner of the architectural engineering firm. He introduces her to his nephew Daniel Knight, aka handyman/plumber, who turns out to be a designer of equine habitats. And his cowboy charm wins him a place on the list.

11112210_858579607541022_8504991036842170166_oFinal chapter, readers’ choice. One of the ten handsome, young fellows you met in the above summary has won the chance to woo Mercy. Our readers voted for their favorite. Who is it? Well, you’ll just have to read the story to find out. Today, and for the rest of the 4th of July holiday weekend, you can download it absolutely free. Don’t have a Kindle? Did you know you can get a free Kindle app on your phone or computer? Just go to Amazon Kindle and check it out.

If you miss out on the free download, Unlikely Merger be available through the remainder of July for just 99 cents.

LandingRelated articles, blogs, and posts…

Write Integrity Press: Book Release Day – Free on Kindle!

Jennifer Hallmark: 3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Hallmark

            Fay Lamb: Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Suzy Moore

Write Integrity Press: One Moose of a Summer

Fay Lamb: Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Jennifer Hallmark

        Write Integrity Press: That’s When the Crazy Started

Jennifer Hallmark: Collaborative Projects by Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb: Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Fay Lamb

I’m Thankful for Thanksgiving

RoyaltyFreeThanksg
I have a confession to make. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a beautiful time, when families gather together. We live on a small court and like us, many of our neighbors have lived here a long time. As the holiday approaches, extra cars are parked in their driveways. Their children have arrived.
I remember those days, when we packed up the car and left on Tuesday night, or Wednesday evening, to drive the seven hours to Mom and Dad’s. It was a special time filled with hikes in the woods, roasting marshmallows over a fire, and of course, the main event: Thanksgiving Dinner. Mom spent days preparing and finally, dinner is spread on the table and we sit down. 
Yes, it was over in minutes. But we lingered around the table, laughing and talking. Clean up meant time spent on my own with Mom as we put the food away and washed the dishes. We put away all the special things she only used on holidays. We reminisced about past Thanksgivings, and loved ones now gone. Our sleep was sweet, maybe because of all the turkey we ate, but also because we were tired from all the activity. 
If you ventured out on Thanksgiving evening, stores were closed. Restaurants were closed. Ghost town. And I liked that feeling. Families gathered together to celebrate. They weren’t working. They weren’t shopping. I was reminded of my childhood, when Sundays meant darkened store windows. Even the grocery stores closed on Sunday, the traditional day of rest.
Those days slipped away and now you can buy groceries on Sunday. And if you forgot cranberry sauce, you can buy it on Thanksgiving. I guess it’s convenient and the stores make more money, but it makes me sad to see these old traditions slip away. And now, Christmas has encroached on Thanksgiving. 
Yes, in a way, Christmas has always out-shined Thanksgiving. When I was little, I was happy to see the back of Thanksgiving, because I knew Christmas was close behind it. Now, I want the days to linger longer. I want to enjoy Thanksgiving and then turn my attention to Christmas. But I realize it’s a personal choice. Christmas lovers all around me already have their houses decorated. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. 
Their emphasis is still on celebrating families, and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. Taking time to be thankful for the year’s bounty. I’m thankful for all that God has given this year. Like so many others, we’ve been through some things. But in the midst of all that, I can be thankful for God’s provision throughout our time of need. He’s brought our family together in a positive way and helped us overcome our difficulties. 
When we sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner this year, we’ll have so much to be thankful for, beyond the food that is set before us. Each individual sitting at our table is a part of something so much greater. When all the pieces come together, we are whole, and we are blessed. 
I hope your Thanksgiving is a time of celebration. Thanks for stopping by!

photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc

Work Less Summer

It’s been a different kind of summer for us. My husband lost his job when the company closed. He’s been off since January. In April, our youngest son moved home to look for work. Then middle son announced he was changing jobs. All three of them were job-hunting at the same time.

Yes, I was tempted to worry. But I had an inner assurance. I kept my mind focused on the outcome. I’ll admit, it took longer than I’d hoped. Now, six months into the year, middle son found a job. My youngest just got the news he’d been hired. And my husband has two really good possibilities. Things are happening quickly, and all at once.

I was thinking about being on your own with no job. We had a lot of friends and connections who played roles in our job hunt. But what if you were down and out in a new town, with few skills and no prospects? That was the situation I was working through in my latest story. Two widows are trying to make a fresh start in a small southern town in the mid ’50’s.

Times were hard, but they had friends and family helping them out. They had church friends who dropped everything and came to their aid when they needed some work done on their house. Friends who put together enough staple food items to get them through the winter.

Though their basic needs are met, their struggles are not over. It’d be a pretty dull story without some juicy gossip and a good dose of prejudice. Not to mention, a bigoted lawyer and a run-in with the local “K.”

There’s nothing so compelling as a lifelike story and I’ve definitely been able to pull on my personal experience to tell this one. I’m so glad you stopped by today. I’m planning some special guest posts in July. Four really talented young readers and writers are set to share their thoughts. And I’m looking forward to a spectacular end to my summer! How about you?

Thanks for reading,