Thursday’s Throwback with Barbara M. Britton

Jerusalem Rising

In November of 2017, Jerusalem Rising launched. I had taught about Nehemiah’s rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall many times, but I had missed the women in the story. Now, I had a chance to correct that oversight.

The daughters of Shallum helped Nehemiah rebuild the stone wall around the city. What? Women wall builders in Bible Times? Yes, you can find them listed in Nehemiah 3:12. We don’t know the daughters’ names, or how many there were, so I call my faithful duo Adah and Judith.

There is also a nasty woman in the story of Nehemiah. A prophetess, albeit a false prophetess, works against Nehemiah and ultimately God, in her plans to thwart the rebuilding. Her name is Noadiah, and you can find her in Nehemiah 6:14.

Even though my launch was almost four years ago, I am always learning something new about this story and God’s Word.


Blurb

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

 Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

Excerpt: 

Holding the oil lamp before her, Adah strolled toward the mournful sounds. If this were a trap, the deceiver would receive a warmed-oil bath. She passed through the remnants of the gate, by a length of crumbling wall, and inched closer to a figure crouched on the ground. Muttered words grew louder. Was this person in prayer or pain? She kept a safe distance in case the stranger lunged.

 She licked her lips and concentrated on her single word greeting. “Shalom.”

The figure flinched. The weeping halted. No sudden movements came, only a careful rise and a slow turn in her direction.

Her trembling hand held the lamp aloft and sent light gray shadows dancing across a man’s face.

“Daughter of Shallum?”

It couldn’t be.

“Governor?”

What was the governor of Judah doing weeping outside the city in the middle of the night? Did he find some fault with the officials, or with her father and his duties? And if he had fallen, where were the soldiers that had accompanied him on his trip? Sweat pooled above her lip as she balanced the lamp. Should she go and find Nehemiah’s guard? But where would she look? Her mother waited for her return.

Nehemiah brushed off his robes and swiped at the skin beneath his eyes. No salutation came. Chirping crickets continued their unending song.

“Are you hurt?” She blurted as she scanned his garment for the stain of blood.

He shook his head, but his chest shuddered.

She opened and closed a fist, not knowing what to do or say next. Her wandering alone at night, needed an explanation. A man could scout the streets of Jerusalem in the dark…but not an unescorted girl. And not the daughter of a ruler. She swallowed, but the lump in her throat remained. A small cough cleared her windpipe. “I did not mean to disturb you, Governor. My mother could not sleep, so I brought her outside for some night air. She heard someone in distress, so I came to see if I could help.”

He glanced off into the distance. “Your mother is here?”

“I left her beyond the gate.” Would he think her irresponsible? “This section of the city lies within my father’s district.” She looked around as if a crowd of city dwellers encircled their meeting place. “Most people are known to us.”

Nehemiah stepped closer. The flame from the lamp illuminated his finely stitched collar. She lowered the light so as not to irritate his eyes and to show him the respect he deserved. “You are a brave woman.” His praise was filled with the familiar authority she heard at their introduction hours before. “Your compassion knows no end, for you did not turn back at this hour.”

If that were only true. Her mother had sent her to seek the mourner. Left to her own decisions, she would have fled. “My mother deserves your praise. She heard you.” Heat rushed to Adah’s cheeks. “Sometimes I believe God blesses my mother’s hearing since her sight is no more.”

Nehemiah scrutinized her face as if the sun was in full glory. “Is her blindness a burden to you?”

“No.” Adah flinched at her half-truth and stood a bit straighter.

The governor’s stare did not waiver.

“Well, maybe. Some days.” Had she ever admitted this truth before? Not desiring to sound hard hearted, she said, “I love my mother. I would never complain about the extra work.”

The governor nodded. He averted his gaze and pointed toward some crags in the distance. “My father and his father are buried near here.”

She knew the caves of which he spoke, for many tombs were carved out of the same rock.

He continued, “When my brother brought word that Jerusalem wallowed in disrepair, I could not stay away any longer.” Nehemiah pressed a fist to his chest as if he were seeing the destruction of his city for the first time. “God has called me to rebuild the birthplace of my fathers. To resurrect the city of His beloved, David.” He turned to her with a gleam in his eye. “That, daughter of Shallum, is my burden.”


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You can purchase “Jerusalem Rising” on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold. Ask your library to order a copy for sharing.


About Barbara

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical Fiction and loves bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Her WWI Historical Until June released in 2020. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barbara’s books on her website, www.barbarambritton.com.You can also follow Barbara on TwitterBookBubFacebook and Instagram

Thursday’s Throwback with Terri Reed

Daughter of Texas

Discover the Texas Ranger Justice series where danger lurks in the Lone Star State

Texas Ranger Ben Fritz would give his life to protect Corinna Pike. After all, she’s his captain’s beloved daughter—and the only witness to her father’s murder. When the assassin targets Corinna, Ben dedicates himself to her safety…while keeping his distance. The beautiful ballerina deserves better than a rough-and-tough ranger. Yet Corinna refuses to ignore the draw between them, just as she refuses to give in to fear as danger grows. Ben will need her courage—and love—to guide him through the line of fire when the killer strikes again.
Originally published in 2011


Read an expert from Daughter of Texas

CHAPTER ONE

The Ranger creed: “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’.”

Corinna Pike froze on the unlit front porch of her family’s ranch home. Gunfire had come from within the house!

Her startled gaze shot to her father’s Crown Victoria parked in the driveway. Her father, the only person she had left in the world, was inside the house.

Terror crashed through her like a runaway freight train.

She exploded into motion, but the front door was locked. She dropped her dance bag, fumbled with her house key, jammed it in the lock and pushed the door open so hard it bounced back from the wall.

“Dad!” she yelled at the top of her lungs.

A chill of dread that had nothing to do with the drop in the late September evening temperature skated across her flesh.

Corinna raced through the darkened hallway of the sprawling, single-story house toward the crack of light coming from beneath her father’s study door. As the daughter of a Texas Ranger, running to gunfire was in her blood.

She skidded to a halt and reached for the study’s doorknob and flung open the door. The light in the study winked out, throwing the world around her into pitch blackness. A loud feline screech, followed by eighteen pounds of fleeing cat slamming into her legs, made Corinna lurch back.

Before she could even think of shouting out in surprise at her deranged tabby, an explosion of noise erupted. A bright flash of light scalded her eyes. Her ears rang. Something hot sliced across her bare biceps. Searing pain brought tears to her eyes. She’d been shot!

She instinctively dropped to the floor, her hands covering her head. No more bullets came her way. Instead, she heard the patio doors fly open and the sound of running feet leaving the scene.

Around her, the house settled into a stark silence where only the rasp of her own breathing echoed in her ears. The acrid smell of gunpowder permeating the air almost obliterated the coppery scent of blood assaulting her senses.

The moon’s light spilled into the study through the open patio doors outlining the desk. Staying low, she edged along the wall toward it. Using the desk as cover, she reached for the lamp with her right hand and winced with pain at the effort to raise her injured arm. Switching to her uninjured arm, she flipped the control knob. Soft light made her blink as she adjusted to the brightness. Cautiously, she peered out into the room.

She didn’t see anyone ready to take another shot at her, but the sight before her was even more horrifying.

Her gaze landed on her father sprawled across the thick wool rug in front of his cherrywood desk. Everything inside her recoiled. Her mind tried to process what she saw, her feet felt rooted in place.

Her father’s service weapon lay beside him. Blood oozed from a gunshot wound in his chest just below the Texas Ranger badge pinned to his plaid flannel shirt, soaking the beige carpet beneath him a deep crimson red.

Her wild gaze swept the room again looking for a threat and landed on an unfamiliar man’s prone body. He had a similar wound in his abdomen. The man, mid-thirties and looking very much out of place with his dirty clothes and matted dark hair, lay very still.

She didn’t see a weapon in his hand.

Crying out in anguish, Corinna crawled as best she could with one arm to her father’s side. “Please, don’t let him be dead.”

A high keening noise filled the room. Vaguely aware the sound came from her, she reached a shaky hand to his neck and pressed her fingers to the spot where a pulse should beat. Nothing.

Agony trapped her breath in her lungs. She fell forward, her head coming to rest on her father’s broad shoulder. First her mother, now her father. The two people she loved most in the world both taken from her. Her mother by sickness, her father…murdered.

How could God let this happen?

Forcing herself to move, to assess the situation, she asked herself, What would her father do?

She scrambled over to the other man and checked for a pulse. Beneath her fingers she felt the faint beat of his heart.

Quickly, and without regard to her own pain, she ripped off her navy sweatshirt with the orange-and-white roadrunner logo of the University of Texas, San Antonio. She pressed the wadded-up material against the man’s wound to stem the flow of blood seeping from his abdomen.

She needed help. She ran to the credenza and grabbed the cordless phone with the hand of her uninjured side.

A cat yowled to her left.

Corinna jumped at Gabby’s unexpected cry, her heart still racing from being shot at, her breath stalled in her chest. The orange tabby stood on the threshold of the open double French doors leading to the back patio. Corinna breathed a sigh of relief. If it hadn’t been for Gabby’s forceful exit just minutes ago, Corinna might be dead.

In the distance the sound of an engine turned over, roared and then faded away. The killer getting away. Returning to the stranger’s side to press the hand of her wounded arm on the bunched-up sweatshirt, she dialed 911 with her other hand. Her gaze shifted back to her father.

A sob caught in her throat. Now she was truly alone in the world.

    •  

Texas Ranger Ben Fritz threw his Jeep into park on the curving, graveled driveway of the ranch behind the small compact car belonging to Corinna, Captain Pike’s daughter.

Gut churning, Ben glanced once more at the cryptic text message he’d received on his cell phone from his boss, Texas Ranger Captain Gregory Pike, only twenty minutes ago.

CONVENE AT MY HOUSE, ASAP. MAJOR CASE ABOUT TO EXPLODE.

What was Greg working on that was so volatile?

No way would he call the Rangers to his house for a case with his adult daughter in attendance. Greg had kept his private life as isolated from his job as possible.

When he’d first received the text, Ben had been bothered that Greg had kept a case from him. But his annoyance evaporated. Something weird was going on and Greg had reached out to him. Apprehension slithered down Ben’s spine like a rattler on the loose as he jumped out of his Jeep.


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About Terri

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top twenty-five, Nielsen’s Bookscan top hundred, Amazon Bestseller and featured in USA Today. Her books have been finalists in Romance Writers of America RITA contest, National Readers’ Choice Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and finalists three times in American Christian Fiction Writers The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri @ P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224

http://www.terrireed.com https://www.instagram.com/authorterrireed/

https://www.facebook.com/terrireedauthorpage/

 

Thursday’s Throwback with Ruth Buchanan

Collapsible

Check Out Book 1 in the Collapsible trilogy!

Rachel Cooper has life under control: good job, good friends, and good plans for the future. All of that collapses one early morning when she falls and breaks her ankle. Now she must face the horrors of preparing for an upcoming move and handling her tenth year of teaching while clomping around on crutches. Worse, somewhere in the shadows, the Memento Killer lurks—a serial murderer who stalks women with four anonymous gifts before moving in for the kill. When unexpected presents begin arriving on Rachel’s doorstep, she fears that she’ll soon be crutching for her life.


EXCERPT

Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder

Chapter 1

Rachel’s total life implosion came about in this way: one Wednesday morning in early April, she tripped and broke her ankle.

She didn’t remember falling. One minute she’d been rushing to finish her drill on the agility ladder, and the next, she was going down hard. Her scream covered the sound of the snapping bone—a sickening little snick—and she found herself lying flat on her back on the gym mats, right leg elevated, foot lolling strangely. Somehow her foot had looped through the ladder on the way down, and now she rolled on the floor in a snarl of straps and plastic rungs.

This couldn’t be happening.

Coach Donovan whooped. Then, there he was, dropping down beside her, so close that she could feel the heat radiating off him. One of his giant hands cupped her calf to stabilize her leg while the other hovered in the air, poised to intercede if necessary. “I think I’m hurt,” Rachel said, alarmed to hear her voice wobbling strangely. Not that her ankle actually hurt, though. Not exactly. It just felt wrong somehow.

The buzzer went off across the room to signal the end of the final round. If she were to have even a prayer of showering and getting into her classroom before her students showed up, she needed to pack her gym bag and jump into the car immediately. Instead, she lay writhing on the floor of the gym tangled in the agility ladder, leg cradled awkwardly by her coach, heart still hammering from the final cardio push. Rachel turned her head to the side and saw a set of feet approaching. She looked up and beheld her sister’s face, dripping sweat. “What happened to you?” Ann asked.

“She rolled her ankle,” Donovan said.

Rachel felt thankful that she and Ann worked out with Donovan privately instead of as part of his workout classes. This scenario was embarrassing enough with only two witnesses.

Rachel winced as the pads of Donovan’s fingers pressed against her foot to keep it from listing to starboard. She blinked through the mist and reached a hand to swipe back gobs of clumpy red hair from her forehead. “I hope it isn’t sprained,” she moaned.

Ann grunted dispassionately, using her teeth to pull away the hook and loop strips of her boxing gloves. She pulled off the gloves and swiped her forearms across her face. She leaned down to take a closer look at Rachel’s ankle. “Yikes.”

“Ann,” Rachel gasped, “do something.” Although what exactly she wanted her sister to do, she wasn’t sure.

“There are cold packs in the mini fridge in the office,” Donovan said.

Ann jogged away and Donovan tightened his hands around Rachel’s leg. He narrowed his eyes. “Lie still.”

Rachel curled an arm over her eyes. “This is the worst,” she moaned. She could feel her heartbeat everywhere: behind her eyeballs, down her legs, through her toes, and in the tips of her fingers. “Let go of my foot for a minute.” Cautiously, she rotated her elevated foot in tiny spirals, breathing a sigh of relief when it moved. Surely if she could move it, it couldn’t be too badly hurt.

Ann reappeared, threaded her arm around Donovan’s, and pressed an ice pack against the quickly-swelling ankle.

“I think it’s OK,” Rachel said, ignoring the looks that Donovan and Ann gave her. She looked away and concentrated on keeping her breathing even. “Let me see if I can stand.”

“You’ll have to get untangled first,” Ann said. She squatted and began to tug at the straps to the agility ladder. “Scoot your hips up,” she told Rachel.

Donovan shook his head. “I don’t know, Rachel. If your ankle’s broken, you could do some real damage by trying to walk.” He moved the flat of his hand against the sole of her foot to provide further stability. “Just stay put for a few minutes until we see if—”

“I’m fine.” As Rachel struggled up to her elbows, her arms trembled beneath her. “It’s not broken.” Her sore abs convulsed in protest, and she subsided against the mats, panting slightly.

Ann worked the rest of the ladder free and pulled it off to the side, straightening it out neatly before coming back to stand over her sister, hands on hips.

“You should still have an X-ray,” Ann said, frowning.

“There’s a walk-in clinic down the road.” Donovan squatted back on his heels. “But it’ll be closed at this hour.”

“I don’t need that. I’m fine.”

“So,” Donovan said to Ann, ignoring Rachel completely. “X-rays?”

Donovan scooped his arms under Rachel, lifting her. She could no more have stopped herself from squawking than she could have reversed the flow of time. This was to remain etched in her memory as one of the least dignified moments of her life.

Given Rachel’s life, that was saying something.

Check out Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder.

Get your copy! Amazon.com


About the Author

Ruth Buchanan is a Christian freelance writer who holds degrees in ministry and theology. She’s traditionally published in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, plays, and sacred scripts. She’s an eager reader, an enthusiastic traveler, and the world’s most reluctant runner. Ruth loves Jesus, family, church, friends, and coffee. She lives and works in South Florida. You can learn more about her work by visiting RuthBuchananAuthor.com.

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