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Saturday, June 16, 2012

I hope you have all taken advantage of the FREE download for RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, available from Kindle, Nook, Apple I-Store, Smashwords and If not, it will still be FREE for a limited time. Please take full advantage.

RIDE THE RAINBOW home tells the story of high school pals, Meg Taylor and Jim McAllister who rediscover one another ten years after graduation. One of the characters you'll meet in this story if Jim's brother, Kurt McAllister. This week's sweet sample is from AT THE RAINBOW'S END; it begins with Kurt's point of view.

A stiff breeze scoured the desert floor, catching powdery snowflakes and drifting them against the roots of the greasewood and creosote bushes. Kurt McAllister watched the would-be storm with tepid interest, idly reminded of the way his mother used to sift powdered sugar onto freshly baked gingerbread.

It had been a good meeting in Gallup that morning. If all went as planned, Rainbow Productions would soon have a contract for an exclusive series of educational videos. They had a funding proposal in for a documentary on Navajo weaving and were already paying their bills with pickup jobs for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and family reunions. In the four years since he had established his business with the woman who was now his sister-in-law, Kurt and Meg had built an inventory of successful management training programs that were bringing in steady income.

They were earning a strong reputation in the field and had recently moved into a larger storefront office in Holbrook. All was going splendidly, better than expected.
So why, Kurt wondered as he gunned the engine of his shiny new pickup and pulled into the I-40 fast lane, did he feel like chewing rails and spitting spikes? Frustration seemed to dog his heels these days, faithful as a bloodhound and not one bit prettier.
The road sign showed that Holbrook and his turnoff were still twenty-seven miles away as Kurt punched up the speed to pass a black touring car, but the added speed did nothing to decrease his restlessness. Neither did the fact that there was no apparent reason for it.

Things were going splendidly in the business. The only weak area they'd had from the beginning had been scriptwriting. Meg wrote the basic script when they did a management training video, and his brother Jim, an expert in Navajo and Hopi art, wrote most of their documentary pieces. So far, there had always been someone at the community college in Holbrook who could refine their scripts. Though he and Meg had spoken of hiring a professional scriptwriter—and they'd have to get someone if they got the documentary on Navajo weaving—that seemed more an opportunity than a problem. So it had to be something else that was wringing his stomach.

Whenever they had a problem in the business, Meg always sat down to analyze it. Maybe he should try... But thinking of Meg only made him more uneasy. Was it something about Meg that was bothering him? True, she hadn't been kicking in her usual full share in the business lately. Normally, she'd have been with him at that meeting in Gallup, but her burgeoning pregnancy was slowing her down. Kurt hadn't minded picking up the slack. Rainbow Productions was his dream, and he never would have been able to start it without his sister-in-law.

Besides, he was delighted to see Jim becoming a father. He loved Jim as he loved all the McAllister clan—fiercely, and Meg had made Jim happy. They were a dynamite couple and Kurt had no trouble imagining the beautiful, intelligent child that would result from combining those two gene pools. He fully expected to be an insufferable uncle, bragging to anyone who would listen. So the problem wasn't with Meg's contribution to the business, or with the pregnancy.

What was it then? He was thirty years old, well established in a growing business, and doing exactly what he'd always wanted to do, and still he couldn't help feeling that something important was missing from his life.

* * * *
The idiot light in the small compact flashed on for the fifth time in as many miles: Brakes, it said.

"Drat!" Alexa brought her fist down on the dash. "Now that's useful. Tell me something I don't know." She eased her foot onto the brake pedal and got mush, the same thing she'd been getting for the last twenty miles. "If I'd wanted oatmeal, I could have stopped at that greasy spoon," Alexa grumbled, pushing harder on the brake pedal and cutting back a little more on her speed. She had struggled for so long, wanting what no one from Henderson, Kentucky had ever dared to want, and promising herself she would have it. Now here she was, touching distance from the dream of her lifetime. No way was she going to let a set of bad brakes stop her!

The last road sign had said Holbrook was only twenty-seven miles away. It was probably a risk to drive that far on spongy brakes, but she figured they'd still stop her in a crisis, and risking it was probably wiser than stopping along the shoulder of Interstate 40 in the middle of nowhere at all. She glanced at the road atlas she kept open on the passenger seat.

Holbrook didn't look like much of a town, but even if the place was positively dead, it probably had a mechanic who could work on brakes, or the master cylinder, or whatever it was that was causing that accursed idiot light to make her feel like such an idiot.

"Okay," she said aloud, determined to strike a deal with the car. "I'll coax you into Holbrook if you promise not to break down on me before we get there, okay?" She cast a worried glance at the offending light, almost expecting it to answer.

I hope you enjoy reading RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, now available as a FREE download. If you do, perhaps you'll want to know more about Kurt and Alexa as well. Have a great week!