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High Desert Haven (The Shepherd's Heart Book 2) Kindle Edition

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

While I enjoy writing many types of Christian fiction, I think Christian historical romance, especially western romance, is one of my favorite genres because I learn so much while researching the history of those novels. High Desert Haven is based on historical fact. In the middle of the nineteenth century a cattleman's association known simply as "The Vigilantes" ruled a corridor of eastern Oregon with hemp rope and bullets. While most of the characters in this story are straight from my imagination, I hope you'll find the facts to be just as interesting as the fiction. May God richly bless you in the days ahead and I hope this Christian romance uplifts you in some way today!

From the Inside Flap

High Desert Haven, Prologue...

As Dominique Noel Vasquez methodically scrubbed clothes in the tub of soapy water, she listened to the quiet, strained tones of her parents who sat against the shady side of the house.

Scorching afternoon sun shone on the hard-packed, earth yard of the small adobe hut. Heat waves, radiating from every sun-baked surface, turned the landscape into a shimmering sepia blur. Dead brown land lay in every direction; the only hint of green life was the small scraggly plot of corn that would hopefully feed the family for the year to come. Even the wheat struggling to grow added to the dull brown vista. A solitary chicken, scratching for a meager meal, sent small puffs of dust filtering across the yard and a lonely cow, the children's only source of milk, rested her head on top of her split-rail fence and let out a low bellow.

In this heat everyone should have been down for a siesta, but on this day only the smallest children of the household were resting. Tension rode the heat waves.

Dominique plunged harder and glared at the clothes. The creditors had come again this morning. Last year Papa had been forced to borrow money for seed, and now for the second season in a row the rains had failed them. There were no crops; they were down to their last chicken; the one cow's milk was needed by the children; and the creditors were howling for their money like a pack of hungry wolves hot on the scent of lame prey.

Nicki tossed an angry glance at the sky. "Lord, where are You when we need You?" Sweat trickled down her temple and she rubbed it roughly across one shoulder as she shook out a little skirt with more vigor than necessary and tossed it across the line. Gentle conviction washed over her. She was throwing a bigger temper tantrum than two-year-old Coreena did when Papa told her "No."

Nicki's anger eased. "Forgive me, Lord. You alone know and care about our plight. But if there were anything I could do to help Mama and Papa, You know I would do it." She paused in her prayer, thinking, then continued, "What is there to do, Lord? Show me what I can do to help."

Mama called across the yard, interrupting her prayer. "Nicki, you work too hard. Sit! Rest! We will finish the washing when it is cooler."

"Almost done, Mama. Then I will rest."

"That girl!" Mama turned to Papa but the rest of her words were drowned in a dry, hot breeze.

Nicki smiled. Mama often castigated her for working too hard, but with twelve children, nine of whom were still at home to feed and clothe, Mama needed and appreciated all the help she could get.

Silence reigned for a time. The only sounds filling the afternoon air were the soft swish, plunge, and gurgle of Nicki's washing and the giggling of her two younger sisters splashing each other with cool water by the well. Nicki gave the last small shirt a snap and deftly flipped it onto the line where the laundry was drying. Dumping the soapy water in front of the door, which helped keep the dust down, Nicki hung the wooden bucket on its nail and moved to carefully empty the contents of the rinse bucket on the one small rosebush at the corner of the hut.

"Girls, please!" Juanita Vasquez called from the shadow of the house to Rosa and Juna, who were getting a little wild and loud with their splashing game. "I have just gotten Manuel to sleep. Quiet!"

This sent the girls into another gale of giggles. Their mother's voice had been twice as loud as theirs. But when Papa tipped his sombrero back and glared at his two wayward offspring, the giggles ceased immediately.

Nicki shook her head fondly at her sisters' wayward ways and sank to the ground next to Mama, suppressing a groan of satisfaction as she leaned back against the cool adobe wall. She was tired. All morning she had helped Papa haul water from the well to carefully water their acre of wheat and corn. A large enough plot to hopefully get them through another year. Later they would repeat the process, because watering with buckets did not soak the ground like a good rain would, and the crops needed plenty of water if they were to produce well.

Nicki closed her eyes, trying to ignore Mama and Papa's furtive conversation.

"The chicken, Carlos?"

"Mama, the chicken will not bring in enough to get us through one day, much less pay the money we owe."

"Yes. You are right, of course, and it has stopped laying, so we don't even have the eggs from it anymore." Mama sighed. "Ahhh, maybe we should have chicken tonight, sí?"

Papa sighed at Mama's little joke. "We could sell the cow."

"Papa, she is the only milk for the children. I would like to keep her if we could."

Hot tears pressed the back of Nicki's eyes, and she leaned back against the wall. What were they to do? Papa would be taken to jail if he didn't come up with the money by next week, and then they would all die for sure. The creditors would take their meager crops to recoup as much of their money as they could. They wouldn't care that they'd be leaving a woman and her nine children to starve to death. Where was Juan when they needed him? Were he here, he'd think of some way to make the money they so desperately needed.

A slight breeze rustled the dried grasses, and Nicki pulled her skirt up around her knees, not caring that Mama would chastise her for such an unladylike action. The small breath of fresh air was worth it. Reaching up, she brushed at the long wisps of black hair that had escaped her braid and rubbed the perspiration from her upper lip. She wanted a drink of water but felt almost too tired to get up and get it. Eventually the thought of the cold water won out. She shifted forward. Mama and Papa could surely use a drink as well. "Child, you don't sit still for even a minute! What are you heading to do now?"

"A drink, Mama," Nicki said lovingly. "Would you like one as well?" She pushed herself up from the wall.

Mama's voice turned tender. "What would I do without you, child?"

Nicki chuckled. She was hardly the child her mother kept insisting she was. At seventeen she more than carried her weight, but Mama didn't like to see her children grow up. Nicki remembered Mama calling Roberto "my little man" on the day of his wedding! Those had been happier times, Nicki thought as she walked to the well. The rains had been good in those years, and debt had not hung over the little adobe hut and its occupants.

As Nicki cranked the lever that would pull the bucket up from the depths of the well, she scanned the horizon and stiffened. "Papa." Her tone held a soft warning. Someone was coming on the trail.

...Click the cover above to read more of the excerpt...

Product Details

  • File Size: 2062 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 194298202X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: June 15, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008C2MS6C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born and raised in Malawi, Africa. Lynnette Bonner spent the first years of her life reveling in warm equatorial sunshine and the late evening duets of cicadas and hyenas. The year she turned eight she was off to Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya where she spent many joy-filled years, and graduated in 1990.

That fall, she traded to a new duet--one of traffic and rain--when she moved to Kirkland, Washington to attend Northwest University. It was there that she met her husband and a few years later they moved to the small town of Pierce, Idaho.

During the time they lived in Idaho, while studying the history of their little town, Lynnette was inspired to begin the Shepherd's Heart Series with Rocky Mountain Oasis.

Marty and Lynnette have four children, and currently live in Washington where Marty pastors a church.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Books for Breakfast on June 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nicky Trent never had it easy. From the moment John Trent takes her from her family in California and settles her in Oregon, she grows in her faith. In the time after John's death, Nicky finds herself praying Psalms 23 on a daily basis.

This book kept me reading. I bought it and read it all in the same day. I have both books by Lynette Bonner and can't wait to read what she has in store for me next.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By June on June 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lynnette Bonner did an outstanding job on describing the dry conditions of the California landscape. I could feel the heat, the dust, the misery. Move on to Oregon and the characters became my friends... or enemies... I really enjoyed this story about Nicki and Jason, their struggles, their triumphs and their desire to serve God. The story moved along well and kept me wondering what was going to happen in the end. Not just with Nicki and Jason, which since it's their story is fairly predictable how they will end up, but there were other characters that were interesting to watch. I am really looking forward to the next installment of the series and hope to see many more books from Lynnette in the future.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melanie on August 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I started High Desert Haven I wasn't quite sure if I'd like it (there were some Spanish words and I was thinking that if there were going to be a lot of foreign words, without interpretation, it would be hard to follow the story). Thankfully that wasn't the case. While there were times in High Desert Haven that a word or phrase wasn't explain, for the most part they were. :)

Once I got a couple chapter into High Desert Haven, that is when I really got into the story! I liked a lot of the characters and the story was very interesting. Even though it wasn't really a secret who the bad guy(s) was/were in this book, there was still a lot of suspenseful moments, and that kept me clicking my kindle to go to the next page.

Even though this is the second book in Lynnette Bonner's "The Shepherd's Heart" series, I haven't read the first book yet and didn't feel lost.

All in all I loved High Desert Haven and definitely recommend it if you enjoy historical books. I am really looking forward to book three because I want to find out what will happen with certain characters.

*I received an eBook copy of this book for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions I've expressed are my own.*
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rocky Mountain High on March 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I looked at the reviews, I was surprised to see such a difference in the rankings--5 stars to 1 star. I guess this is to be expected when all of us have different tastes and some seem to have noticeable biases against any Christian story, but when I read the comments of the lowest ranking raters, I was hard pressed not to roll my eyes. Things like "chickens don't lay in February without artificial lights" (mine do without artificial lights, and in cold weather), and comments about the use of Spanish, when the main character grew up in a Spanish-speaking home seemed a little arbitrary.

From my perspective, High Desert Haven was an enjoyable read. I've read books that deserved a one- or two-star ranking, but this is not one of them. I liked the first book in the series, Rocky Mountain Oasis, well enough to continue with this one. The opening scene established the extreme hardships under which the main character's family lived. It was within the context of this setting that John Trent appeared and offered gold for Dominique. She sacrifices herself so that her large family, who faces destitution and starvation, can live. This theme can also be found in the classic, Les Miserables.

The characters were both believable and likable, and the plot was interesting enough that I could overlook a couple of probable inconsistencies. I do plan to read the next book in the series, as well as other works by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teresa E. Snyder on October 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the second book in The Shepherd's Heart series. Although this was a good book, I did not feel as connected to the main characters, Jason and Nicki, as I did to Sky and Brooke, in the first book. I was also disappointed in the ending. It was a happily-ever-after ending, but it seemed lacking somehow. Maybe it was because there wasn't an epilogue. All in all, it was a good book. Moving on to book 3 ....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By booklover on September 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
High Desert Haven By Lynette Bonner
{Review By Madi}
Title: High Desert Haven

Author: Lynette Bonner

Source: Gift

Number Of Pages: 332

ISBN: 9781477586488

Publisher: Createspace

Publication Date: 2012

My Rating: 5 Our Of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From [...]):

Is Jason Jordan really who he says he is?
Everything in Nicki's life depends on the answer.

Oregon Territory, 1887

When her husband dies in a mysterious riding accident, Nicki Trent is left with a toddler and a rundown ranch. Determined to bring her ranch back from the brink of death, Nicki hires handsome Jason Jordan to help. But when William, her neighbor, starts pressing for her hand in marriage, the bank calls in a loan she didn't even know about, bullets start flying, and a burlap dummy with a knife in its chest shows up on her doorstep, Nicki wonders if this ranch is worth all the trouble.

To make matters worse, terrible things keep happening to her neighbors. When her friend's homestead is burned to the ground and William lays the blame at Jason's feet, Nicki wonders how well she knows her new hand - and her own heart.

A desperate need. Malicious adversaries. Enticing love.
Step into a day when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat.


This was such a good book! Here lately I have had a bit of trouble getting into books, and I was starting to wonder if I was being just a bit too picky. I wasn't. This book caught my attention *Snap* Like that!

Nicki (female lead) and her family were in a tight situation, when a dusty and dirty cowboy rides onto the family ranch.
Read more ›
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