Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Audra Harders

Sometimes great things happen.

And then there are times when God just sends you for a loop with plans so MUCH better than you could have planned. That’s what meeting the Seekers at ACFW was like for me. I didn’t go with grandiose visions of publication – but I had one primary objective: Meet as many Seekers as possible! Why? Because they have been such an encouragement to me for the past year and half. Ever since Mary Connealy suggested I take a peek at Seekerville.

And the rest is obsess…er…history.

So among the amazing people at ACFW, God provided the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Audra Harders.  And let me just tell you. She. IS. WONDERFUL!!! She didn’t mind my obesess…my interest in the Seekers, or my need to stalk..er…visit with them often. She even encouraged it. Taking me under her wing, so to speak, and giving me advice. She even endured my jigsaw-puzzle-genre-hopping with a longsuffering smile. Oh, I just LOVE her.

Do you see that picture? Doesn’t she look SWEET?!? Lovely and sweet!

And BEST OF ALL- her debut novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, comes out in JANUARY 2011. YIPEE! Check out this cover! And in celebration of this momentous occassion, one lucky commenter will win an IOU for the book as soon as it is released! So leave your email along with your comment. VERY EXCITING!

Okay, okay, time for the juicy stuff. Thanks for being a guest, Audra.

What do you think makes a great experience where the hero & heroine begin to realize one is in love with the other?

When the hero and heroine first realize they’re falling in love with each other, each character questions the reality of their feelings. After all, they come into my books absolutely certain they’ll never find a kindred spirit, much less a soul mate. In the past, love opportunities that looked promising for them have fallen short when weighed on the can-I-grow-old-with-this-person meter. Physical attraction alone makes for a very shaky foundation. They subconsciously know the cornerstones of a good relationship need to be in place — friendship leads to trust leads to support leads to caring. They’re so busy denying their fascination with each other, they are completely blindsided when the truth of love lifts the veil from their eyes.

 And then the fun starts!

And by ‘fun’, of course she means a sneak peek into Rocky Mountain Hero.  (giggle)

Melanie glanced at her watch again. Five minutes. Grace sat across the room, her head bowed in prayer. Gabe stood at the window, his shoulder propped against the mullion and arms crossed over his chest. He just stared out the glass.

Looking lost.

            She folded her hands and bowed her head. Almost before her eyes closed, her mind stilled. Peace washed over her. Lord, comfort these people.

            An elbow poked her in the side. She opened her eyes and saw Jason frowning at her. “Mom, don’t fall asleep.”

            She reached out and smoothed back his blond hair. “Just thinking.”

            His frown lifted and his shoulders relaxed. “You were grinning.”

            “I was looking for a happy place.”

            “The ranch is a pretty happy place.”

            She lifted her eyes and looked across the room at Gabe. “I think it is, honey.”

            Gabe shifted his weight and settled beside the window. Chin tucked into his shirt collar, he stared with a vacant look.

Unable to sit a moment longer, she walked over to him, reached out and touched his arm. “C’mon, let’s walk.”

Stark pain reflected in his beautiful brown eyes. She slid her hand down his sleeve and into his rough palm. As his fingers interlocked with hers, the sharp edge in his gaze softened. Melanie gave a feeble smile, the best she could manage at the moment, and tugged on his hand.

            He followed her out of the waiting room. The late afternoon air cooled her skin and cleared her head. “I love the evenings up here. The day wrapping up and getting ready for bed.”

            They strolled in silence, their shoulders bumped as they followed the path that meandered around the commons area of the medical center-slash-hospital-slash-clinic. The range of medical care available in such a tiny community surprised her as she’d passed it earlier in the week. Now with Martin’s health in question, she thanked the health facility for being well staffed. She pressed her knuckles into his palm, savoring the warmth of his skin. They finished the entire loop and started a second.

            “I like watching the sun come up.” Gabe spoke in a bare whisper beside her.

            So did she. “Best part of the day.”

“You’ve got the whole day to work, and sometimes, you work into the night.” The heels of his boots clicked on the cement walk, his pace easy to keep up with. “It’s all gotta get done.”

            She loved the sound of his soft, strong voice. Even in the midst of a crisis, he maintained an even tone, a gentle calm. “I imagine there’s a lot to do to keep a ranch the size of the Circle D organized.”

            “Cattle, hay, fence, equipment–it all needs attention. Dad knows how to do it all.”

            She stole a peek, the brim of his hat cast a shadow across his cheek making the lines at his eyes appear deep. “You run the place, too.”

            “Right now, I can’t think of a thing to do.”

            “There isn’t anything more important than being here for your family.”

            Gabe shook his head. “Dad wouldn’t have let a little thing like someone getting sick stop him from finishing chores. Zac came down with pneumonia one winter. We all stood around his hospital bed praying for the fever to break. Waiting. Finally, Dad had enough. He told Mom the cattle needed feed. He took Nick with him and told me to stay with Mom so she wouldn’t have to drive home by herself. Dad didn’t shirk responsibility.” He looked straight down as they followed the path, the very bleakness of his words etched on his face. “I can’t think of a single chore that needs to be done.”

            Melanie squeezed his fingers and rubbed her shoulder against his sleeve. “Your dad hates feeling helpless. He needs to fill time with physical activity; he needs to fix it. Not everyone is like that.” She stepped closer beside him. “Offering comfort with your presence is a gift you have. Gabe, you’re a different man than your dad.”

            A growl rumbled deep within his chest. “You got that right.”

            “It’s not a bad thing. When your dad is out of danger, you’ll collect your thoughts and finish what needs to be done.” She nudged him. “I’m sure whatever chore you think of will still be waiting for you when you’re ready.”

            He leaned closer. “You’re right. No one’s racing to go muck out stalls for me.”

            “No, but people like being around you.”

            He threw her a sideways glance. “Do you?”

            “Sure.”

            “Why?”

            Why? She’d been asking that same question for days now. She walked along the path, careful not to step on the lines, a childhood habit. Why did she look forward to seeing him in the morning, or talking to him through out the day, or wanting him to push her on the swing again just to feel his touch? Why did she trust him with her son?

            Why did she want to trust him with herself? “You make me feel safe.”

            Steps slowed and he came to a stop. His eyes grew round as he tipped back his hat and stared at her. “Safe?”

            Her cheeks burned as she scrambled to call back the truth she’d unwittingly blurted. “Well, you are a stranger after all.”

            “Hard to remember that.” He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. “Seems like you’ve been here longer than a week.”

            She took a step back. He held firm and tugged her closer. A surge of panic raced through her until she recognized the vulnerability in his rich, dark eyes. “This has turned into the most bizarre vacation I’ve ever experienced.”

            She wanted to bury her face in his shoulder, to feel his arms wrapped around her. She wanted to hug and be hugged in return. To offer comfort more than words. She wanted to know what safe and trust really felt like.

Copyright 2011 by Audra Harders

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.          

Oh dear – how beautiful. Anyone else REALLY want a hug? Like Right NOW!! Thank you for sharing this excerpt, Audra, and I plan to start looking for your book by the third week of December (just in case)

Inspirational Moment

Oh my goodness – check out this wonderful paraphrase of Psalm 119:73-76

With your very own hands you formed me;
      now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
   When they see me waiting, expecting your Word,
      those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
   I can see now, God, that your decisions are right;
      your testing has taught me what’s true and right. 
   Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight!
      just the way you promised.
   Now comfort me so I can live, really live; 
      your revelation is the tune I dance to.

Did you know that God hugs you with his love? Sometimes he uses the hands and arms of his servants on this Earth, but even when there aren’t people with ‘skin on’, He’s still there. Everpresent. Ten times better than the worlds coolest cyberhug.

It’s an internal comfort and knowledge that you are loved.

Accepted

Adored

and Treasured beyond your wildest imaginings.

The hug that squeezes out the doubt and insecurities.

That envelopes the pain and deepset wounds with a ceaseless comfort.

That enfolds you in the truest love you will ever know.

Wow – He made us. He loves us. WHAT A SAVIOR!!

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47 thoughts on “Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Audra Harders

  1. Pepper! Thanks for hosting me on your blog. I love your place. So homey! I can’t believe you chose that Psalm to post! It’s my favorite. Each section of it pertains to something I’m going through at the moment I re read it. Wow. We spent so much time together at ACFW, we’re thinking alike. Now THAT’S a spooky thought, LOL!

    Thanks for your kind words, Renee Ann. You have no idea how impatient I’ve been (read: chomping at the bit and breaking teeth) waiting for my baby to be delivered.

    Like

    1. Audra,
      MY PLEASURE to host you. Really. Truly.
      I can’t express how thankful I was to get the opportunity to spend time with you at ACFW. You are such an encourager. And real!

      When I say you are one of my favorite people. I mean it!!
      Can’t WAIT to read your book!

      Like

  2. Pepper,
    Don’t ‘cha just love those Seekers? I believe their influence reaches farther than they will know this side of heaven.
    With that said, the interview was great!

    Audra, l love the book!

    Blessings!!

    Like

  3. It was my joy to meet Audra at the Seekerbash every night of the ACFW Conference. She’s so gorgeous, I wanted to hate her, and so sweet, I couldn’t possibly. (She didn’t mind my stalking…er hanging out with all the Seekers at every opportunity either–or at least she was too nice to say so. 😀 )

    I loved the excerpt. Makes me more eager than ever to get him hands on a copy of this book!

    Like

    1. Erica, you are too funny! I had such a blast at the conference and it’s all because of YOOOUUUUU, my fine friends.

      Can you imagine what conference would have been like without all our fun?? I don’t even want to think about it : )

      Like

  4. Audra,
    I’ve been with through this entire process, yet reading this, knowing it’s in print…or will be soon, brings it to fruition. You are a wonderfully sensory writer. I’m so thrilled for you.

    Leslie Ann

    Like

    1. Leslie!! Glad you made it over to Pepper’s place, LOL! She’s a great hostess and a blast to conference with.

      You’ve been with me since I started this whole writing adventure. This should be a publishing credit for both of us! Can’t wait until I can cheer on your novels AND your screenplays!

      Like

    1. Mary, you can stalk all you want. I’m riding on your coattails, remember??

      It’s a real rush seeing an EXCERPT FROM YOUR BOOK on someone’s blog. Makes it feel real. LOL! Isn’t it funny, this whole process feels more like a dream now then when I first signed the contract.

      And really–mushy? I didn’t even shoot anyone in this book.

      Like

  5. I love this story line. After reading excerpt I am adding Rocky Mountain Hero to my wish list. I love mushy romance. lol
    Enjoyed the interview.

    Pepper, Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    Like

  6. Pepper, you are an “honorary Seeker” if there ever was one! We LOVE having you visit, and it was TONS of fun meeting you in person at ACFW!

    Audra!!!!! So excited about the release of your debut novel! What a beautiful except–thanks for sharing!

    Like

  7. So cool to read more about Audra. I had the pleasure of sitting next to her at a lunch at ACFW. I was a little in the dark about the Seekers, but I learned quickly what I’d been missing.

    I loved learning about Audra’s involvement w/ 4-H.

    Great interview and a big congratulations for Jan. debut!

    ~ Wendy

    Like

    1. Wendy? Of the gorgeous-matching-bags Wendy? I had a blast at lunch! I’ll bet those waiters are still shaking their heads, LOL!

      Glad to hear you’re catching up on the Seekers. We love meeting new people and hey, anyone who’ll listen to my stories about 4-H instantly becomes my BFF!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  8. Audra IS the most sweetest person I know.

    Truly, truly, truly!

    Can’t wait for Rocky Mountain Hero to hit the shelves. It’s gonna be a keeper.

    Like

    1. Pam, would you like that payment in cash would would you prefer an Amazon gift card, LOL?

      “Sweet” is that sweet southern accent of yours! I could listen to you talk all day. Everyone, when you see Pam at ACFW next year, stop her and ask her to just say your name. She could make *Brunhilda Schlefferwess* sound dreamy.

      Like

  9. I just discovered Seekerville recently and understand the obsess. . .interest you have in them! I’ve been so blessed reading their stories they share about their writing methods and their testimonies:)

    Please enter me this giveaway! I’m thankful to have this opportunity!

    Blessings to you:)

    Like

    1. Mwahaha Charlotte
      Another one has been converted to the Seekerville side of the force 😉
      You know, it’s really some sort of massive plot those 15 ladies have.
      Mary Connealy has been talking about one of them taking over the world.
      Be afraid. Be very afraid.
      And bring chocolate.

      Like

    2. Charlotte, you’re too funny. I’m glad you enjoy your visits to Seekerville. It takes 15 to make up the fun we have on that blog. I’m honored to be counted with the 14 gifted ladies that let me hang out with them : )

      Always remember, Seekerville would be nothing without all our friends. I love you guys!

      Like

  10. Loved every minute I spent with Pepper, Erica, everyone at ACFW. How did I miss meeting you Edwina???

    Wonderful excerpt, Audra!!!! Can’t wait to read the entire book!!

    Pepper, thanks for your lovely words about the Seekers. You’re the sweetest. Audra is the second sweetest. 🙂

    Hugs, Janet

    Like

    1. No more syrup running all over Pepper’s blog, Janet! Besides, Pepper is spicy, not sweet…well, she is sweet, kinda like a salted nut roll standing close to the jalepenos, LOL!

      How’d you like THAT fiery description of you, Pep?

      I’ve got to tell you…Janet hosted a party for the Seekers when we were in Indy. She confiscated her daughter’s house and we met over there to enjoy a wonderful evening filled with barbeque (her husband and Myra’s husband are chefs supreme…Mary’s husband supervised, LOL), cake and conversation. Lovely evening. Janet is a very gracious hostess.

      Right up there with you, Pepper!

      Like

      1. (snicker) I’m trying to visualize that description, Audra.
        really funny – One of the ladies at the traumatic brain injury, clinic where I work, calls me Paprika.
        At least she gets the right category 🙂

        Like

    1. Patti! Meeting you was one of the highlights of my entire trip! I so enjoyed having lunch with you and then running into you all over the place. Very sweet, very kind, very FUN!

      And our books come out the same month! I came home from the conference with a copy of What the Bayou Saw. It’s FINALLY at the top of my TBR pile. I can’t wait!! But of course, now that I know you have another coming out in January…hmm, can one have a “top of the To Be Bought pile?” Well, I do now!

      Thanks for stopping by, Patti!

      Like

    1. Missy, my goal in writing Rocky Mountain Hero was to make Gabe as yummy as Michael Throckmorton in your debut book Her Unlikely Family. Of course, that was back then…but you’re still creating heartstopping heros I can only drool over.

      Glad you peeked in today!

      Like

  11. Audra,
    Sorry to be late to the party. Congrats, kid! You so deserve all the joy and recognition coming your way. Now your secret is out and EVERYBODY will find out what a stellar writer you are and be able to savor your books like Leslie and I have been privileged to do for years.

    Enjoy the ride, pal. A-n-d . . . I think I’m jealous of you inspirational writers. you have so much fun and drive, you’re . . . pardon the pun. Inspirational.

    Like

  12. Theresa, YOU’RE my inspiration…you’ve helped keep me writing when everything went south!!

    Where would I be without friends like YOU!

    Like

  13. Hi Audra,
    Loved the excerpt from your book. It sounds so sweet. Would love to read it.

    Hi Pepper,
    This is such a fun series. Keep ’em coming. And BTW, I’ve enjoyed seeing the pics of you and all of the Seekers that you had the opportunity to meet. Please enter me in the drawing.

    diamondsixgunsofangioakley at yahoo dot com

    Like

  14. NOooooo!!!! I was out of town and missed Audra’s post on your blog, Pepper, and am SO bummed! Why?? Because like you, Pep, I LOVE this woman!! She is, hands-down, one of the NICEST human beings on the planet and a WONDERFUL writer, to boot. Can’t wait to get my hands on your book, Audra, ESPECIALLY after that scene — WHEW!!!

    Love you!! (Both!!)

    Julie

    Like

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