My guest today is Lisa Lickel. A Wisconsin author who loves books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Besides writing inspiring fiction, she also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at LisaLickel.com.
Lisa's latest release is Crazy Creek Christmas. The story is about a town that saves Leah Hanes's life. Running on fumes and bald tires, she thanks heaven for Cookie and Jeanette Wimmer who send her to the Rocking J Ranch as a winter cook. Leah arrives to discover the ranch and the people need more than a cook.
Noel Johansen, heir of the Rocking J, happily left for the big city years ago. When he loses his family in a terrible accident, the best thing for everyone is to sell the place, ditch the memories, and move on. But his brother-in-law has other plans, and the beautiful new cook they've hired for the season threatens Noel's desire to remain detached.
The ranch represents Noel's future and selling it becomes more important than ever when one more tragedy leaves him with nothing. But memories can't be bought and sold, nor can a broken conscience heal itself. Home, heart, and future are irrevocably tied in Crazy Creek.
And now for a bit of an excerpt to tempt you:
Noel pushed through the passage into his mother’s dining area.
“Did that woman get here yet? I don’t want to have to haul someone’s…”
It was Gil’s voice Noel heard, but definitely not Gil’s face across the big table. Noel amended his language and raised his arms to brace himself against the sides of the doorway.
“Ah…vehicle…out of the ditch.”
The vision before him was not some hardened woman used to ranch life and the lonely, harsh conditions of a Wyoming winter.
Jeanette and Cupcake sent a woman several years younger than himself, younger even than his sister. How could she have experience cooking? Noel stared. She was very pretty in a pinched, inexperienced way, with dark blonde hair pulled back from her face in a loose ponytail. She seemed startled, maybe even confused. The opposite of Carolyn in every way.
The folder with the contract was on the table. To one side, Marty rested on the table. To the girl’s other side, Gil huddled in his wheelchair. He’d obviously slid downhill since coming home from rehab last month. It didn’t look as if he’d done anything to keep himself or the place up in the weeks since Noel brought him home. Marty had been sick, Noel knew, but a visiting nurse was supposed to check in on them.
Mom would never have allowed this. Jeanette should have known better. What had she been thinking? The situation had clearly gotten out of control.
“I wasn’t expecting you,” Gil said.
“Clearly.” Noel snapped himself upright and walked in. “What’s going on? The place looks like it’s falling apart. I only left a few weeks ago.”
Gil gave a sideways eye-roll toward the young lady. “What are you doing here?”
“Jeanette and Cupcake sent a message.” Noel hedged. “Where’s the nurse?”
“After the first two weeks I told her she didn’t have to come back,” Gil said.
The young lady turned her face from their 1 exchange. Noel set his hands on his hips. “Excuse me. You’re…you’re Lady…Laney…La-something?”
The woman raised a brow at Gil, who had turned red.
“This is Leah Hanes. Leah, meet my brother-in-law."