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Rocky Mountain Oasis (The Shepherd's Heart Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 336 pages
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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. Rocky Mountain Oasis is based on historical fact. In 1885 a merchant in Pierce, Idaho was brutally murdered and there is much historical documentation about that event and the inquiry that followed. 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

Rocky Mountain Oasis, Chapter 1

Brooke Marie Baker pressed a hand to her thumping heart and forced herself to breathe normally as she walked into town beside the last wagon of the caravan. Whether she wanted to be here or not, they had arrived. Six months of grueling travel across rugged prairies and mountain passes. Aching back. Aching feet. Oppressive heat and little to eat. Yet she'd be willing to travel on forever if it meant she didn't have to be here. Didn't have to give up her freedom.

This morning Harry had said they would arrive in Lewiston today, but she had hoped something would delay the inevitable.

The weathered facades of the clapboard houses she walked past and the monotonous creak of the wagon wheels turning over the graveled street proved her hope had been futile.

Along both sides of the road, as they turned onto the main street, people stopped to stare. Brooke didn't meet their gazes but kept her perusal focused on the buildings. Real buildings with boardwalks, stairs, and windows. The last time she'd seen boardwalks had been three months ago at Fort Laramie.

Ahead, someone let out a loud whoop of joy.

She looked down the line of bonnet-topped Conestogas.

The first wagons had come to a stop, and apparently the gathered crowd had been anxiously awaiting their arrival. Toward the front of the throng, a cluster of men stood, studying the caravan expectantly.

Almost all of them had long, tobacco-stained beards. Not one looked like he was under fifty-five, and several had no compunctions about scratching themselves in public. One man, thick black suspenders holding up his baggy pants, ogled Brooke from head to toe. Then, still scrutinizing her, he leaned to one side and spat a stream of tobacco.

She felt a familiar quiver of fear and glanced away, offering the man no challenge.

"Let's get on with the marryin'," a deep voice toward the back shouted. "I got plenty o' work waitin' for me back ta home." A loud grumble of agreement followed.

An older man scratched at his beard and complained, "You all was supposed to be here two days ago."

"Gentlemen! Gentlemen!" Harry's spurs jangled as he jumped to the ground from his position in the lead wagon. He was using his let's-stay-calm tone--the same one he'd used when Emily Donaldson had discovered the much-too-friendly beaver in the bathing hole back on the Platte and every last woman had rushed screaming from the water. "Give me a moment to gather your brides, and then we can proceed."

The grumblings ceased and, apparently satisfied the men had gotten his message, Harry turned and strode Brooke's way, thumbs hooked into his large silver belt-buckle. "Come on, ladies. Everybody circle up. We're here." His familiar rap-rap as he knocked on the side of the first wagon resounded down the street.

Her stomach threatened to empty right there in front of God and everyone. She stepped back behind the tailgate, drew in a long breath, held it, and eased it out between pursed lips. Pushing aside memories of days gone by, she forced her shoulders to relax. While she dared not hope that things would be different this time, neither did she want her nervousness to be apparent.

Rap-rap. He'd reached the second wagon. Only four more to go.

She took another breath and released it on a low whisper. "You can do this. Calm down."

A moment later he peered around the end of the wagon. "Brooke? I need everyone to meet up front, please. The men have a minister here already."

"I know." The words emerged on a squeak, and she pressed moist palms together, rubbing them in circles.

Harry gave her a sympathetic look. "You don't have anything to worry about. I'm real careful to make sure all the men are honest, upstanding citizens."

Emily Donaldson rounded the wagon, her red-painted lips puckered in aggravation and one dark eyebrow arched. "Comforting, I'm sure, Harry, for a young girl like her." She pierced the wagon-master with a glare.

If only Emily knew. But she didn't. None of them knew anything about her or the real reason she was here.

Harry snorted and stalked off, grousing, "Just be up front in five minutes. And best you follow instructions this time, Emily Donaldson!"

Emily huffed. "What do men know?" She put an arm around Brooke and rested one cheek on the top of her head. "Come on, now." She gave Brooke a gentle squeeze. "No use us trying to postpone the inevitable."

"I suppose you're right." Brooke trailed after her past the row of wagons, feeling sweat trickle down her back.

All the women gathered on one side of the street under the overhang in front of the bank. The men clustered across the way, looking them over like meat on a market table.

She swallowed down the burn pressing at the back of her throat. Of course she hadn't expected anything better. She pressed the sleeve of her dress to the beads of moisture dotting her forehead. If it wasn't so hot, this might be easier to face.

The minister in the dusty street between the two groups raised his arms for silence. "All right, listen up now. To make this as efficient as possible, I will call forward each man. He will present me with his documents, and then I will call forward one of you women and we'll have a ceremony for that couple, then move on to the next one. My wife and Mr. Preston here--" he glanced over his shoulder at a plump woman and a frowning man standing off to one side, "have agreed to be witnesses, and the hotel down the street has prepared a special meal for the occasion."

A chorus of appreciation rose from the men. The women remained silent. Only one or two even shuffled their feet.

"Oh and one more thing." The minister again gestured for everyone's attention. "Is there a Miss, ah--" he patted several pockets then finally pulled a paper from the one in his shirt and consulted it--"Brooke Baker, here?"

Brooke blinked in surprise. Could this be a reprieve? Maybe the man Uncle Jackson had pledged her to had died or changed his mind. She stepped forward.

But Harry spoke before she could find her voice. "Yeah, she's here. What do you need with her?"

The minister peered at her over the top of his spectacles. "Miss Baker?"

Mouth dry, she nodded.

"Your intended has asked that I escort you by stage to a town about half a day's ride from here called Greer's Ferry. So you won't meet him until tomorrow."

Brooke's knees nearly gave out in relief, but by some miracle she stayed on her feet. "Oh, thank you, sir." Heat rose up from her collar and into her face. She'd sounded a trifle too gleeful.

Easing to the back of the crowd, she relaxed against the building's warm brick and tucked her trembling hands behind her. Her eyes dropped closed, and she tilted her face to the sun.

One more day. One more day of freedom.

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 1707 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: July 20, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,663 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

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Judisch on July 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Confession: At first, I was fearful this was going to be just another Wild West saga nestled into the dusty piles of rustic romances filling the shelves at the local bookstore. Then I read the first chapter. Many thanks, Ms. Bonner, for allaying my fear.

In Rocky Mountain Oasis, Lynnette spins a tale with a unique twist that keeps your attention from the front cover to the back. Brooke Baker is on her way west, a mail-order bride escaping an abusive past, but with little hope of a less abusive future. And her lack of hope would have been justified, but for Divine intervention through the initiative of one Skylar Jordan of Pierce City, Idaho.

Sky discovers the slovenly Jason Jordan has bought himself a bride. Pricked at the thought of any woman left at the hands of his sot of a cousin, Sky buys the rights to her during one of Jason's drunken stupors. He meets his unseen, newly betrothed with the chivalrous intention of protecting her from local men less genteel than himself through the coming winter, then granting her the freedom to return east in the spring. But the moment the beautiful girl alights from the stagecoach, his world changes.

Brooke holds the ruggedly handsome Sky--and her own heart--at arm's length, convinced that all men are like her cruel Uncle Jackson and brutal ex-fiancé, Hank. Fighting her own emotions, and the draw of the kind and thoughtful Sky, she struggles to escape a past that refuses to let her go. The question is, can Sky's patience and prayers heal the wounds on Brooke's heart? It's slow going, and, at times, becomes as agonizing for the reader, it seems, as it is for Sky. But the story is worth the agony.

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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By L. McDaniel on August 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
In "Rocky Mountain Oasis" by Lynnette Bonner, 18-year-old Brooke Marie Baker has been sent west as a mail-order bride. As the stage nears Greer's Ferry, where she is to meet the man she's pledged to marry, she tries to swallow the lump of nervousness in her throat. Can it be any worse than living with Uncle Jackson...or Hank? All men are the same, aren't they? But with her parents and sister dead, she has no choice.

Sky Jordan, a rancher, holds a single, yellow daisy in his hand as he watches the ferry cross the river. Ever since he'd found out his surly cousin, Jason, had sent for a mail-order bride, his mind and heart had been ill at ease. No woman deserves to be left with the likes of Jason. But now he questions his own plans to claim the bride for himself. Why is he drawn to this woman he doesn't even know?

Lynnette does a wonderful job of capturing life in the Idaho Territory in 1885. I was drawn in from the start to the dangers that were a part of life for settlers a century ago. Still, her characters' struggles are easy to relate to in a modern context. While the concept of a young woman being sold as a mail order bride is far from our contempory consciousness, we can relate to Brooke's feelings about her experience. Does she dare let down her guard with her new husband, or should she steel herself against yet another abusive man?

As the relationship between Brooke and Sky deepens, the plot takes enough turns to keep us wondering if the two will even survive. A menacing villain sets his sights on Brooke just as she begins to trust Sky. Will Sky win her over to the Lord, or will she succomb to her own fear and the dangers that lurk in the darkness?
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lionel D. Alford on August 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rocky Mountain Oasis is a delightful step back into the Wild West. Ms. Bonner draws her characters in bold and wonderful strokes that give a portrait of them so tender and convincing you cannot help loving them. Brooke is a broken beautiful woman. Sold as a mail order bride, she expects nothing but a life of abuse and horror. Her Uncle and previous lover gave blows instead of understanding. Her first reaction to any man is fear. Sky Jordan is the only man who can redeem Brooke's life and love.

Sight unseen, Sky buys Brooke's contract from his drunken cousin and marries her. The novel starts on this beautiful note of tension and continues to reveal the growth of trust between Brooke and Sky. The novel would be charming if this was the only theme, but Ms. Bonner includes a historical subtext that drives an adventure and mystery. She weaves these together with the story of Brooke and Sky seamlessly.

I really enjoyed this novel. It is touching and fulfilling. It also includes a very strong message of redemption. I look forward to her next novel.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sharlene Maclaren on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Posted 07/29/09: Don't miss this unforgettable read by Lynnette Bonner. (She has an awesome talent.) Rocky Mountain Oasis will grab the reader from Page ONE and take you on a fast-paced trail through adventure, romance, and intrigue. I enjoy Lynnette's grasp of the English language, the way she pulls you into a scene and keeps the story moving. "Oasis" is one of those books you'll probably want to pass along to your friends, especially if they enjoy a good romance. Sharlene MacLaren Author [..]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Martha A. on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is very well written, I really enjoyed every word of it! This book touches on some very key issues that relate in marriage that I am sure were huge issues with mail order brides. There is a wonderful story intermixed as well with the story of Jenny Chang and her husband. The love she had for the man although he was such an awful person, yet her forgiveness was amazing to read about. For me, I married someone I barely knew, so I tend to relate to mail order brides a bit....although I did know my husband 2 months before we married, I really related to Brooke's feelings and emotions. Lynette does an excellent job making you feel the fear and the trauma from past abuse in her life and how it greatly effected each aspect of her future life as well as how hard it is to break through that. Plus the suspense part, just really keeps you on the edge of your seat!!! This is a great historical, mail order bride read......I highly recommend it!
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