Friday, March 23, 2012

Special Delivery by Kathi Macias



Special Delivery by Kathi Macias is an amazing work of fiction that promotes awareness of human trafficking. It is the second book in the Freedom series, book one is titled Deliver Me From Evilbut I believe that it can stand alone.

Mara is finally free!!  Free from her uncle, free from the slavery and free from the closet that was often her punishment.  She has a home and a job and hope for the future.  While at work, she sees some customers that concern her... the man is menacing, the young girl has a look that is so familiar to her. It's the look of her worst nightmares.

Lawan has just past her 10th birthday and she is no closer to escaping the brothel.  Two years earlier she was kidnapped and taken to a brothel where she was forced into sexual slavery.  It was here that she was reunited with her older sister, whom her parents had sold to an "adoptive" family for her to have a better life. It is here that her sister had died and her bed had been given to another girl as if she had never existed. Would Lawan also die in this prison?

Francesca was out walking with her friends in Juarez.  Her parents had told her not to, that it was dangerous, but she felt she was old enough to enjoy some freedom.  Now, she wishes she had listened to them.  If only she had been able to run away like her friends when the men who kidnapped her came.  Now, she lives in a house with a man called El Diablo with others she believes to be slaves as well.

Three young women with different life-stories that share a common horror-- they have all been forced into sexual slavery at a young age.  How can and does God work in these situations?  What can you do about it??

Although, this book is a work of fiction the scenarios are all too real, even here in the United States.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14 or 15.  I believe we need to raise the awareness of human trafficking here in the States.  Children as young as 5, 6, 7 and every age older are pushed into this horrible modern day slavery... not just sexual slavery, but also working without pay and living in horrible conditions and being abused.

Please, read the book. Share the book and get active!!


About the Author:

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.






Special Delivery is book two in the Freedom (human trafficking) series. For anyone who may not have read book one, Deliver Me From Evil, can you fill us in on the focus of the series in general, and Special Delivery in particular?


The Freedom series is a three-book fiction series built around the horrifying topic of human trafficking. People often ask me why I decided to write about such a dark topic. First, I explain that I’m not writing about a dark topic; I’m writing about the Light that shines in that darkness. And second, I believe the Church should be at the forefront of the modern-day abolition movement to set the captives (modern-day slaves) free. The three books in this series specifically follows the life of a young woman named Mara, who was sold into sexual slavery by her own parents in Mexico, and then smuggled across the border into San Diego by her uncle who then served as her pimp. A strong sub-plot throughout the series tells of two sisters in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Chanthra and Lawan, who are also trapped in a brothel. Finally, a teenage girl named Francesca, kidnapped in Juarez, Mexico, and forced into prostitution, is introduced in book two. Special Delivery picks up two years after book one, Deliver Me From Evil, ends, and continues with the stories of Mara and Lawan, as well as others carried over from book one. Mara hopes she is finally free to pursue her own life because she was rescued from the brothel and her testimony helped lock up her uncle for life. But the man has underground connections and is driven by revenge to reach out from behind bars and deliver the ultimate punishment to his niece.


This isn’t the first fiction series you’ve written on nationwide and even worldwide social issues, the one previous to this being the persecuted Church. What draws you to these difficult topics?


As a Christian, I believe I am compelled to use my God-given gifts to honor God in all I do—and that includes exposing the deeds of darkness, calling sinners to repentance, and taking a stand for righteousness by doing all I can to help rescue those who are suffering. I dare not turn my back on “the least of these.” I also believe that God placed this sort of burden on my heart even before I became a Christian at the age of 26. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog, a “soap-box” preacher, if you will. When I met Jesus, I simply redirected that passion toward His people, realizing I couldn’t effect real change in my own strength anyway.


With your obvious passion to right social and moral wrongs through the power of the Gospel, how did writing and speaking enter into that?


I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a child—never wanted to do anything else. When I was a teenager I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I was going to be a writer one day. What a blessing that God allowed me to fulfill that dream! After becoming a believer and growing in my faith, it was natural to take my passion to fight for others and incorporate it into my writing. Speaking, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. I was terrified of public speaking when I was young, and the day I received Christ I made a “bargain” with God, promising to do anything He asked of me—so long as it didn’t include public speaking. (Does God have a sense of humor or what???) Now, when I stand in front of audiences where I believe God has called me to speak (and actually find myself enjoying it!), I tell my listeners that if God has called them to do something and they feel it’s impossible, they can consider me their “visual aid” that NOTHING is impossible with God IF we will simply take that first step of obedience and let Him fulfill His purpose in and through us.


With the topics of the worldwide persecuted Church and human trafficking under your belt, what other issues are you dealing with in your writing?


My Christmas 2011 book, A Christmas Journey Home, dealt with the immigration/border problem, and my Christmas 2012 novel,Unexpected Christmas Hero, will be about homelessness in America. The next issues-related fiction series I have on tap—which I am just starting to write, by the way—is called the “Patches of Courage” series and will begin releasing in late January 2013. Book one is The Moses Quilt, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, and will be followed by The Christmas Quilt and The Impossible Quilt. This series of books will highlight historical American women whose Christian faith enabled them to walk in great courage and make a difference in the lives of countless people.


Where can people find out about you and your books/speaking/appearances?


They can go directly to my website (www.kathimacias.com or www.boldfiction.com) or my Easy Writer blog:http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and various other social sites. Would love to hear from all of you!


Where can people find out about free book giveaways on this blog tour? 


The blog tour host is giving away a set of two books from the Freedom Series -  Book 1 (Deliver Me From Evil) and Book 2 (Special Delivery). Also, readers can follow @ChristianSpkrs on Twitter or follow on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.TheFreedomSeries for more book giveaway locations on the tour.



I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).





Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Newest Cookbook giveaway....

Does anyone else love the PW??  I do!!  Her blog is AMAZING... from her recipes to her pictures to her humor... Anyhow, she has a NEW cookbook out.  I love to pull out her first cookbook and just look through it, it is beautiful.  I am sure her new one is as well.  Here's a chance to win the new one:



Go HERE.  Read the lovely post by Heather at Brown Eyed Bell.  At the bottom of that post, there are 9, yes NINE, ways to enter to win PW's newest cookbook.  You're welcome. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Heart's Frontier by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith



The Heart's Frontier by Lori Copeland and Virginia is not your normal Amish Fiction!  I was very skeptical when I saw the cover and read the synopsis of the book... I mean, who'd ever heard of a story between a cowboy and an Amish girl??

Emma Switzer's family is traveling to Troyer to relocate Emma in hopes of finding a suitable husband for her.  During their journey, they are robbed of all their possessions and left stranded on the prairie.  They walk to the nearest settlement, praying all the way for God to send someone to help them.  As they enter town, they hear noise coming from inside one of the buildings.  As they are standing and peering into the building, a young man is tossed through the doors and onto his back at their feet.

Luke Carson is on his first cattle drive as trail boss.  While trying to pull his friend and cowhand out of the saloon, he is tossed out onto the street and lands at the feet of an Amish family.  They are in need of help and are hard to say "No" to.  What follows is a comedy of errors and a romance no one could have imagined.

Copeland and Smith have done an amazing job in this new novel.   It is filled with Amish proverbs and wise sayings, that not only bring a smile to the face, but provoke thoughtfulness as you consider the truth of them.  

For more information on The Heart's Frontier and it's authors click here.  

To purchase go here: 


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!


You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card authors are:





and the book:




Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2012)




***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.



Virginia Smith is the author of more than a dozen inspirational novels and more than fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense.

Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


An exciting new Amish-meets-Wild West adventure from bestselling authors Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith weaves an entertaining and romantic tale for devoted fans and new readers.

Kansas,1881—On a trip to visit relatives, Emma Switzer’s Amish family is robbed of all their possessions, leaving them destitute and stranded on the prairie. Walking into the nearest trading settlement, they pray to the Lord for someone to help. When a man lands in the dust at her feet, Emma looks down at him and thinks, The Lord might have cleaned him up first.

Luke Carson, heading up his first cattle drive, is not planning on being the answer to anyone’s prayers, but it looks as though God has something else in mind for this kind and gentle man. Plain and rugged—do the two mix? And what happens when a dedicated Amish woman and a stubborn trail boss prove to be each other’s match?










Product Details:
List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736947523
ISBN-13: 978-0736947527





AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:





Apple Grove, Kansas


July 1881





Nearly the entire Amish district of Apple Grove had turned out to help this morning, all twenty families. Or perhaps they were here merely to wish Emma Switzer well as she set off for her new home in Troyer, fifty miles away.


From her vantage point on the porch of the house, Emma’s grandmother kept watch over the loading of the gigantic buffet hutch onto the specially reinforced wagon. Her sharp voice sliced through the peaceful morning air.


“Forty years I’ve had that hutch from my dearly departed husband and not a scratch on it. Jonas, see that you use care!”


If Maummi’s expression weren’t so fierce, Emma would have laughed at the long-suffering look Papa turned toward his mother. But the force with which Maummi’s fingers dug into the flesh on Emma’s arm warned that a chuckle would be most ill-suited at the moment. Besides, the men straining to heft the heavy hutch from the front porch of their home into the wagon didn’t need further distractions. Their faces strained bright red above their beards, and more than one drop of sweat trickled from beneath the broad brim of their identical straw hats.


Emma glanced at the watchers lined up like sparrows on a fence post. She caught sight of her best friend, Katie Beachy, amid the sea of dark dresses and white kapps. Katie smiled and smoothed her skirt with a shy gesture. The black fabric looked a little darker and crisper than that of those standing around her, which meant she’d worn her new dress to bid Emma farewell, an honor usually reserved for singings or services or weddings. The garment looked well on her. Emma had helped sew the seams at their last frolic. Of course, Katie’s early morning appearance in a new dress probably had less to do with honoring Emma than with the presence of Samuel Miller, the handsome son of the district bishop. With a glance toward Samuel, whose arms bulged against the weight of holding up one end of the hutch, she returned Katie’s smile with a conspiratorial wink.


Emma’s gaze slid over other faces in the crowd and snagged on a pair of eyes fixed on her. Amos Beiler didn’t bother to turn away but kept his gaze boldly on her face. Nor did he bother to hide his expression, one of longing and lingering hurt. He held infant Joseph in his arms, and a young daughter clutched each of his trouser-clad legs. A wave of guilt washed through Emma, and she hastily turned back toward the wagon.


From his vantage point up in the wagon bed, Papa held one end of a thick rope looped around the top of the hutch, the other end held by John Yoder. The front edge of the heavy heirloom had been lifted into the wagon with much grunting and groaning, while the rear still rested on the smooth wooden planks of the porch. Two men steadied the oxen heads, and the rest, like Samuel, had gathered around the back end of the hutch. A protective layer of thick quilts lined the wagon bed.


Papa gave the word. “Lift!”


The men moved in silent unity. Bending their knees, their hands grasped for purchase around the bottom edges. As one they drew in a breath, and at Papa’s nod raised in unison. Emma’s own breath caught in her chest, her muscles straining in silent sympathy with the men. The hutch rose until its rear end was level with its front, and the men stepped forward. The thick quilts dangling beneath scooted onto the wagon as planned, a protective barrier from damage caused by wood against wood.


The hutch suddenly dipped and slid swiftly to the front. Emma gasped. Apparently the speed caught Papa and John Yoder by surprise too, for the rope around the top went slack. Papa lunged to reach for the nearest corner, and his foot slipped. The wagon creaked and sank lower on its wheels as the hutch settled into place. At the same moment Papa went down on one knee with a loud, “Ummph.”


“Papa!”


Ach! Maummi pulled away from Emma and rushed forward. Her heart pounding against her rib cage, Emma followed. Men were already checking on Papa, but Maummi leaped into the wagon bed with a jump that belied her sixty years, the strings of her kapp flying behind her. She applied bony elbows to push her way around the hutch to her son’s side.


She came to a halt above him, hands on her hips, and looked down. “Are you hurt?”


Emma reached the side of the wagon in time to see Papa wince and shake his head. “No. A bruise is all.”


“Good.” She left him lying there and turned worried eyes toward her beloved hutch. With a gentle touch, she ran loving fingers over the smooth surface and knelt to investigate the corners.


A mock-stern voice behind Emma held the hint of a chuckle. “Trappings only, Marta Switzer. Care you more for a scratch on wood than an injury to your son?”


Emma turned to see Bishop Miller approach. He spared a smile for her as he drew near enough to lean his arms across the wooden side of the wagon and watch the activity inside. Samuel helped Papa to his feet and handed him the broad-brimmed hat that had fallen off. Emma breathed a sigh of relief when he took a ginger step to try out his leg and smiled at the absence of pain.


“My son is fine.” Maummi waved a hand in his direction, as though in proof. “And so is my hutch. Though my heart may not say the same, such a fright I’ve had.” She placed the hand lightly on her chest, drew a shuddering breath, and wavered on her feet.


Concern for her grandmother propelled Emma toward the back of the wagon. As she climbed up, she called into the house, “Rebecca, bring a cool cloth for Maummi’s head.”


The men backed away while Katie and several other women converged on the wagon to help Emma lift Maummi down and over to the rocking chair that rested in the shade of the porch, ready to be loaded when the time came. Maummi allowed herself to be lowered onto the chair, and then she wilted against the back, her head lolling sideways and arms dangling. A disapproving buzz rumbled among the watching women, but Emma ignored them. Though she knew full well that most of the weakness was feigned for the sake of the bishop and other onlookers, she also knew Maummi’s heart tended to beat unevenly in her chest whenever she exerted herself. It was yet another reason why she ought to stay behind in Apple Grove, but Maummi insisted her place was with Emma, her oldest granddaughter. What she really meant was that she intended to inspect every eligible young Amish man in Troyer and handpick her future grandson-in-law.


Aunt Gerda had written to say she anticipated that her only daughter would marry soon, and she would appreciate having Emma come to help her around the house. She’d also mentioned the abundance of marriageable young men in Troyer, with a suggestion that twenty-year-old Emma was of an age that the news might be welcome. Rebecca had immediately volunteered to go in Emma’s place. Though Papa appeared to consider the idea, he decided to send Emma because she was the oldest and therefore would be in need of a husband soonest. Maummi insisted on going along in order to “Keep an eye on this hoard of men Gerda will parade before our Emma.”


As far as Emma was concerned, they should just send Maummi on alone and leave her in Apple Grove to wait for her future husband to be delivered to her doorstep.


Rebecca appeared from inside the house with a dripping cloth in hand. A strand of wavy dark hair had escaped its pins and fluttered freely beside the strings of her kapp. At barely thirteen, her rosy cheeks and smooth, high forehead reminded Emma so sharply of their mother that at times her heart ached.


Rebecca looked at Maummi’s dramatic posture and rolled her eyes. She had little patience with Maummi’s feigned heart episodes, and she was young enough that she had yet to learn proper restraint in concealing her emotions. Emma awarded her sister with a stern look and held out a hand for the cloth.


With a contrite bob of her head, Rebecca handed it over and dropped to her knees beside the rocking chair. “Are you all right, Maummi?”


Ach, I’m fine. I don’t think it’s my time. Yet.”


Emma wrung the excess water from the cloth before draping it across the back of Maummi’s neck.


Danki.” The elderly woman realized that the men had stopped working in order to watch her, and she waved her hand in a shooing motion. “Place those quilts over my hutch before you load anything else! Mind, Jonas, no scratches.”


Papa shook his head, though a smile tugged at his lips. “Ja, I remember.”


The gray head turned toward Emma. “Granddaughter, see they take proper care.”


“I will, Maummi.”


Katie joined Emma to oversee the wrapping of the hutch. When Samuel Miller offered a strong arm to help Katie up into the wagon, Emma hid a smile. No doubt she would receive a letter at her new home soon, informing her that a wedding date had been published. Because Samuel was the bishop’s son, there was no fear he would not receive the Zeungis, the letter of good standing. Rebecca would be thrilled at the news of a proper wedding in tiny Apple Grove.


But Emma would be far away in Troyer, and she would miss her friend’s big day.


Why must I live there when everything I love is here?


She draped a thick quilt over her end of the hutch and sidled away while Papa secured a rope around it. The faces of her friends and family looked on. They filled the area between the house and the barn. She loved every one in her own way. Yes, even Amos Beiler. She sought him out among the crowd and smiled at the two little girls who hovered near his side. Poor, lonely Amos. He was a good father to his motherless family. No doubt he’d make a fine husband, and if she married him she wouldn’t have to move to Troyer. The thought tempted her once again, as it often had over the past several weeks since Papa announced his decision that she would live with Aunt Gerda for a while.


But she knew that if she agreed to become Amos’s wife that she would be settling. True, she would gain a prosperous farm and a nice house and a trio of well-behaved children, with the promise of more to come. But the fact remained that though there was much to respect about Amos, she didn’t love him. The thought of seeing that moon-shaped face and slightly cross-eyed stare over the table for breakfast, dinner, and supper sent a shiver rippling across her shoulders. Not to mention sharing a marriage bed with him. It was enough to make her throw her apron over her face and run screaming across Papa’s cornfield.


He deserves a wife who loves him, she told herself for the hundredth time. Her conscience thus soothed, Emma turned away from his mournful stare.


“That trunk goes in the front,” Maummi shouted from her chair on the porch. “Emma, show them where.”


Emma shrank against the gigantic hutch to give the men room to settle the trunk containing all of her belongings. An oiled canvas tarp had been secured over the top to repel any rain they might meet over the next week. Inside, resting on her dresses, aprons, bonnets, and kapps, was a bundle more precious to her than anything else in the wagon: a quilt, expertly and lovingly stitched, nestled within a heavy canvas pouch. Mama had made it with her own hands for Emma’s hope chest. The last stitch was bitten off just hours before she closed her eyes and stepped into the arms of her Lord.


Oh, Mama, if you were here you could convince Papa to let me stay home. I know you could. And now, without you, what will happen to me?


Yet, even in the midst of the dreary thought, a spark of hope flickered in the darkness in Emma’s heart. The future yawned before her like the endless Kansas prairie. Wasn’t there beauty to be found in the tall, blowing grasses of the open plain? Weren’t there cool streams and shady trees to offer respite from the heat of the day? Maybe Troyer would turn out to be an oasis.


“Emma!”


Maummi’s sharp tone cut through her musing. She jerked upright. Her grandmother appeared to have recovered from her heart episode. From the vantage point of her chair, she oversaw every movement with a critical eye.


“Yes, ma’am?”


“Mind what I said about that loading, girl. The food carton goes on last. We won’t want to search for provisions when we stop at night on the trail.”


An approving murmur rose from the women at the wisdom of an organized wagon.


“Yes, ma’am.” Emma exchanged a quick grin with Katie and then directed the man carrying a carton of canned goods and trail provisions to set his burden aside for now.


A little while later, after everything had been loaded and secured under an oiled canvas, the men stood around to admire their handiwork. Samuel even crawled beneath the wagon to check the support struts, and he pronounced everything to be “in apple-pie order.”


Emma felt a pluck on her arm. She turned to find Katie at her elbow.


“This is a gift for you.” Her friend pushed a small package into her hands. “It’s only a soft cloth and some fancy-colored threads. I was fixing to stitch you a design, but you’re so much better at fine sewing than I am that I figured you could make something prettier by yourself.” She ducked her head. “Think kindly of me when you do.”


Warmed by her friend’s gesture, Emma pulled her into an embrace. “I will. And I expect a letter from you soon.” She let Katie see her glance slide over to Samuel and back with a grin. “Especially when you have something exciting to report.”


A becoming blush colored the girl’s cheeks. “I will.”


Emma was still going down the line, awarding each woman a farewell hug, when Bishop Miller stepped up to the front of the wagon and motioned for attention.


“It’s time now to bid Jonas Switzer Godspeed and fair weather for his travels.” A kind smile curved his lips when he looked to Maummi and then to Emma. “And our prayers go with our sisters Marta and Emma as they make a new home in Troyer.”


He bowed his head and closed his eyes, a sign for everyone in the Apple Grove district to follow suit. Emma obeyed, fixing her thoughts on the blue skies overhead and the Almighty’s throne beyond. Silence descended, interrupted only by the snorts of oxen and a happy bird in the tall, leafy tree that gave shade to the porch.


What will I find in Troyer? A new home, as the bishop says? A fine Amish husband, as Papa wishes? I pray it be so. And I pray he will be the second son of his father so that he will come home with me to Apple Grove and take over Papa’s farm when the time comes.


A female sniffled behind her. Not Katie, but Rebecca. A twist inside Emma’s rib cage nearly sent tears to her eyes. Oh, how she would miss her sister when Rebecca left Troyer to return home with Papa. She vowed to make the most of their time together on the trail between here and there.


Bishop Miller ended the prayer with a blessing in High German, his hand on the head of the closest oxen. When the last word fell on the quiet crowd, Maummi’s voice sliced through the cool morning air. “Now that we’re seen off proper, someone help me up. We’ll be gone before the sun moves another inch across the sky.”


Though she’d proved earlier that she could make the leap herself at need, Maummi allowed Papa and the bishop to lift her into the wagon. She took her seat in her rocking chair, which was wedged between the covered hutch and one high side of the wagon bed. With a protective pat on the hutch, she settled her sewing basket at her feet and pulled a piece of mending onto her lap. No idle hands for Maummi. By the time they made Troyer, she’d have all the mending done, and the darning too, and a good start on a new quilt.


Emma spared one more embrace for Katie, steadfastly ignored Amos’s mournful stare, and allowed the bishop to help her up onto the bench seat. She scooted over to the far end to make room for Papa, and then Rebecca was lifted up to sit on the other side of him. A snug fit, but they would be okay for the six-day journey to Troyer. Emma settled her black dress and smoothed her apron.


“Now, Jonas, mind you what I said.” Maummi’s voice from behind their heads sounded a bit shrill in the quiet morning. “You cut a wide path around Hays. I’ll not have my granddaughters witness the ufrooish of those wild Englischers.”


On the other side of Papa, Rebecca heaved a loud sigh. Emma hid her grin. No doubt Rebecca would love to witness the rowdy riots of wild cowboy Englischers in the infamous railroad town of Hays.


Papa mumbled something under his breath that sounded like “This will be the longest journey of my life,” but aloud he said, “Ja, Mader.


With a flick of the rope, he urged the oxen forward. The wagon creaked and pitched as it rolled on its gigantic wheels. Emma grabbed the side of the bench with one hand and lifted her other hand in a final farewell as her home fell away behind her.






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