Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sneak Peek from Special Guest: Renee Blare

Ladies and Gents, I'm so excited to have a special BIRTHDAY guest today! Renee Blare is here to give us a Sneak Peek into her BRAND NEW book, To Soar on Eagles Wings!AND she's brought presents. 

Renee is giving away a copy of To Soar on Eagles Wings to one commenter today! In addition to that, she's giving EVERYONE a free excerpt.

Wowzer. How's that for a HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

About the Book:

Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the season, but the trouble follows him—straight to town.

Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between paperwork, and harassing phone calls, she may as well have stayed in her classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers love, like life, isn’t easy.

He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more of a challenge than ever before...

Book Trailer:

And now for the Sneak Peek!


A shadow darkened the pages of her book. Shielding her eyes against the late afternoon sun, Rachel followed the bird soaring over lake. She caught her breath as he dove in a sudden display of power and skimmed along the surface, its reflection a shimmering echo. When the eagle climbed back to the heavens, his piercing cry echoed off the white-tipped crags above the high mountain valley. 
“What’d I tell ya?” 
Her foot vaulted into the air, sending a spray across the water. Rachel peeked over her shoulder and spied her twin brother. He stalked toward the lake, a stranger in tow. She closed her novel with a snap and sighed. He would find me.  
Well, she shouldn’t be surprised. After all, today was their sixteenth birthday. She touched her cold ankle with a grimace. Although numb due to its icy bath, the injured joint still appeared puffy. She winced and peeked at the guy with her brother. Now this is embarrassing…  
“You ready to head down the mountain? Mom and Dad want to start supper.” Michael propped his hands on his hips and shifted from one foot to the other. 
At her twin’s look of expectation, all frustration dissolved. So much like her own, his hair curled around his head. He appeared almost comical. She suppressed a laugh. But when her gaze skimmed over his companion, an unexplainable warmth spread through her. 
Her heartbeat thumped in her ears. With her lashes shielding her gaze, Rachel studied his broad shoulders and wavy brown hair. She tore her eyes away from the man and pushed her ankle back into the frigid water with a hiss. 
“Rachel?” Michael’s brows sunk low over his eyes. “What are you doing up here anyway?
Dad’s not gonna like it.” 
She ducked her head. Great. Heat worked up her neck. After rummaging through her backpack a few minutes, she sucked in a deep breath and cleared her throat. The cool mountain breeze blew at her bangs, and she cut her gaze to the stranger. “I love it up here. I can sit and listen to the wind in the trees for hours.”
A low chuckle reached her ears, and she glanced at her brother. A slow smile spread across his face. His shoulder lifted, and he gestured at the pines. “So…what are they saying today?” 
“Oh, stop it.” Rachel waved off Mike’s teasing and tipped her head back to track the flight of the golden eagle. “Do you see him? He’s a regular around here. I named him Max. It seemed to fit.” 
Michael’s companion bumped him and pointed. “He’s a beautiful bird, that’s for sure.” 
A clap shot through the pristine stillness, and Rachel jumped. She glared at her brother when
he grinned at her. 
“Hey, sis, you met this guy yet?” At the shake of her head, he continued. “This is Steve
Mitchell, Paul’s roommate. I guess they’re both gonna be new this semester.” 
The University of Wyoming freshman flashed his gorgeous smile, and her cheeks ignited once again. She pressed her palms against her face with a groan. Could she crawl underneath one of these boulders…or push her brother under one? 
“Rach? You ready or not?” Michael’s annoyed tone drew her attention away from Steve, and
she pulled her foot out of the water. 
She bit her lip. “Well, not really.” 
“What’d you do now?” The disgust in his voice was palpable. 
“Nothing,” she mumbled. Michael’s rough grunt grated along her spine. She crossed her arms in front of her chest. So what if she’d twisted her ankle hiking into the valley? It didn’t matter if she couldn’t— 
Rocks and pebbles cascaded down the hill into the lake, and she lifted her head. Steve’s wide shoulders were coming toward her. Snagging her sock, she wiped the water from her toes. 
In a flash, Steve hopped the boulders and landed in front of her. “May I?” 
“What—no really, it’s fine.” Rachel cradled her injured foot close. When he squatted at her feet, she found herself mere inches from chocolate brown eyes. Oh…does he know how much I love chocolate?  
“I promise I won’t hurt you.” His whisper tickled her ear. 
She blinked. Her breath caught when his dark head bent, and his warm hands engulfed her ankle. An electric jolt shot to her toes. Steve glanced up, and his jaw tensed. 
“Is it okay?” Rachel tugged at her foot, but his grip tightened. He fixed his attention on her swollen joint. After a few gentle prods, he gently rotated it before lowering her heel to the rock.
“Well, I don’t think you’ve broken anything, but you need to ice it.” Steve released her and
rose, brushing dirt off his pants. 
Rachel ripped her eyes away from him to stare across the mountain lake, her skin still tingling from his touch. She’d never felt this way before…about anyone. Not even— 
“Let’s get you home.” He squeezed her shoulder and waved at her brother. “Hey, Mike.” 
From her perch on the rock, she admired her rescuer. He was perfect. The reflections off the lake radiated across his lean features, accentuating the cheekbones and strong jawline. The flashes of light illuminated his tanned cheeks and caused his dark hair to glow. 
“You mind carrying her stuff?” he hollered at her brother. Suddenly, he looked down and winked. 
Her face flamed, and laughter rang through the valley. She stared at Michael. You’re dead if you say a word, buster.  
Now if only there was a place to hide…or run…even with her injured foot. She spied Max as he skimmed above the water. After a sudden dive, he climbed once again, a trophy catch dangled from his talons. Deep within her soul, she envied her feathered friend. Flying high above the world.
Nothing could touch him up there. 
“Got your things?” Steve scanned the boulder. When Rachel grabbed for her book, her fingers brushed his hand. Her head snapped up. 
“Sit back and relax, angel.” Steve loaded her backpack with her romance novel, trash, and water bottle. He tied the laces of her hiking boot, securing it in place on her backpack. “Ready?” 
Rachel nodded and ducked her head to put on her sock. She slid her arms in her jacket before grabbing her sunglasses out of her pocket. 
“Michael, I’m tossing it.” Steve threw the bag to Mike and turned around. “Hop on, and I’ll carry you down.” 
Rachel hesitated. “I’m not sure about this.” 
“Don’t worry. I won’t drop you.” His lips lifted in a boyish grin. 
She propped her glasses on her head and laughed. With a grunt, Rachel climbed aboard his back, clasping his broad shoulders. 
“Yep, like I thought. Light as a feather. You ready?” At her squeak of agreement, Steve stepped across the boulders and landed on solid ground. After a brief juggle which had them both laughing, he marched up the trail.
Another cry echoed through valley, and Rachel waved to Max. 
Mike shouldered her backpack and trotted to catch up. “Does my sister have a new knight?” 
Mirth graced her brother’s expression, but an awareness glinted back at her. Rachel wrinkled her nose at him. The easy lope of her human ride calmed her as they continued down the mountain. The temptation to rest her head against his shoulder proved too much to resist, and the smell of his shampoo pricked her nose. When Steve started whistling, her heart tripped in her chest. 
“Well, lil’ Miss Pip?” 
The nickname grated across her nerves. Rachel peeped at him through her lashes. “Yes,
“How will you explain this latest fiasco?” Mike’s tone appeared to be one of mischief and humor, but his eyelids flickered, and a small frown marred his young features. 
“Oh, don’t worry, I’ve got it all figured out.” Rachel lifted her head and studied the trees along the trail. When Steve stumbled into a hole, she gripped his broad shoulders and cleared her throat. “I’m telling everyone you pushed me in the lake.” 
Mike and Steve’s laughter bounced off the boulders and trees next to the trail, and heat rushed up her neck. Tilting her face into the breeze, Rachel discovered the beautiful bird gliding high above them. She pressed her cheek against Steve’s back. “Bye, Max.” 


6 years later  
The bell rang on her last class of the day. Rachel stretched in relief. 
“Enjoy spring break, guys. I’ll see you in a week,” she called over the hustle of the room.
“Don’t forget to turn in your essays on photosynthesis before you leave.” 
Groans met her belated announcement, and the students scrambled through their gear. One paper after the other landed on the desk as the kids filed through the door. 
“Bye, Miss Fizz.” Cheerful farewells accompanied a few hugs with the start of a long week
of relaxation. 
Well, no rest for the weary. Rachel shuffled the cluster of papers into a pile and cleared her desk in preparation for the upcoming break. 
“What are you shaking your head about, Pip?” A rough voice drifted into the room. 
“Michael?” She jerked, the pencils slipping from her fingers. She dove for the doorway and threw her arms around her twin. She couldn’t believe he was here, in Timber Springs. In her
His embrace tightened for a few seconds before he pulled her hands away. 
Rachel wiped at her face with shaky fingers. “Does Dad know you’re in town?” 
Michael walked to the first row of students’ desks and shook his head. He traced a square tile
on the floor with his shoe. After a minute of stony silence, he met her eyes. 
She’d been prepared for anguish or anger. A shiver slid up her spine at the icicles staring back at her. Rachel held her breath for a second. After a brief exhale, she bent to pick up the pencils. 
“I haven’t called him yet. I thought I’d surprise you first. I knew this was your last day before break.” He scooped up a few as well. After sliding them into the cup on her desk, he walked to one of the windows lining the side of the classroom. 
She ran her palms down her slacks. “He’ll be excited to see you. I’m headed over to the
church office in a few minutes. I can tell him you’re home if you want.”
Pink scar tissue caught the glare of the fluorescent light when Mike tucked his hand behind him. She shifted her gaze to the mountains. Her throat burned, and she swallowed the tears. 
After the wreck, she was thankful he was alive. They all were. And although his skin appeared raw and painful, her brother seemed to have adapted to his amputations. He used his right hand rather well without two fingers. But would he ever be normal again? 
“No, sis, I’ll swing by the office and talk to Dad. I’ll be heading home to Jackson right after anyway.” He faced her. “I hear your knight’s back in town.” 
Rachel tilted her head. “Yeah, you are.” 
Mike’s unflinching gaze locked on hers, and Rachel grew nervous. She fought the urge to fidget. She breathed a quiet sigh when he broke the contact to study the desks. 
“How’s it going here for you?” He ran a finger along one of the flat surfaces. 
She flipped her hair out of her face. “Oh, okay, I’m still getting used to the position, I guess. I
went to school for it, right?” 
“Rachel, you’re not their friend—you’re their teacher,” he snapped. 
“I know.” Rachel caught herself before she rolled her eyes and walked behind the desk. “I’m
not trying to be their friend. 
“And the hugs? What were they all about?” 
Rachel crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Maybe it’s a way teenage girls say goodbye to a teacher they like? This is Timber Springs, Michael, not college. Oh, never mind. Don’t worry about me. Go talk to Dad.” 
She sat down and picked up the stack of student essays. Silence stretched between them. 
“All right, I’ll see you at Mom—” 
Rachel’s head popped up, and her chest tightened in anguish.

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. As the memories waged war across his features, grief seeped from voice when he finally spoke, his words guttural. “I may see you at Dad’s tonight.” 
Rachel approached him at the window. “Tonight’s Friday Game Night at the church with the
Singles Group. I’ll be there if you want to come.” 
Silence swallowed the room. He flinched at her touch. 
“Why don’t you come? We start at six o’clock.”
“No.” His reply was quick. And curt. “I need to go. I have an appointment.” He shrugged her off, marching to the door. He paused but didn’t turn. “Goodbye, Pip.” 
Rachel stood in frozen silence as he stalked out of the classroom. She pressed her fingers into her eyes to ease the sudden stinging, and tears seeped between her fingertips. “Lord, what’s going on?” 
She studied the distant peaks out the window. “What can I do? He’s hurting, but he won’t let anyone in.” A small sob worked its way to the surface. “Oh, Lord, please help me.” 
Her voice cracked, and tears coursed down her cheeks. She walked to her desk to grab a tissue. Maybe game night wasn’t a good idea. She debated her options while packing her briefcase with her students’ assignments and gradebook. 
“Oh, I don’t know anymore.” She kicked her plastic tote, slamming it into the desk drawer.
“Why do I go to these things anyway?” 
Rachel stared at the boards of her classroom and closed her eyes. She knew why…expectations. Hadn’t that been the purpose of her life? A lot of good it did. Her grip tightened
around the stapler. The click snapped through the stillness of the room. 
The staple tumbled to the floor. Rachel groaned. What a waste…and right now, that’s exactly what her life was—a complete waste. 
She tossed the stapler on top of her study planner and shut the lid on the tote. With the walls closing in on her, Rachel needed to leave. Spring fever coursed through her, and she wanted out of the school almost as bad as her students. Who knows, maybe worse? 
“Hey, Fizzy, what’d you do? Get fired?” 
Balancing the tote on her hip, she locked the door and turned toward the loud voice. A young student leaned against the gray lockers on the opposite side of the hall. 
“Excuse me, Mr. Jeffries?” She stared at the boy with disapproval. 
Peter Jeffries threw his thin shoulders back and smirked. Framed by jet black hair, the pimpled features lifted. “Yep, looks like it to me.” 
Rachel frowned. “Actually no, I’m headed home. Aren’t you?” 
“Oh sure, Fizz.” Peter pushed away from the lockers. “You want me to come with?” 
She stiffened. “My name is Miss Fitzgerald. And I think you should leave now, Mr. Jeffries.”
“Fine.” He jerked his pack out of the locker and slammed the door. His fingers spun the dial, and he glared over his shoulder. The kid stalked down the hallway without another word. 
“Have a nice break, Mr. Jeffries,” she called after him. 
Adjusting her grip on the tote, Rachel shook her head. Peter Jeffries was a confusing one. She tried not to let him get under her skin, but she had to admit he had a knack for it. 
After saying goodbye to the last of the meandering staff in the lounge, she hauled her gear out to the parking lot. While she approached her Jeep, the brisk wind pierced her. She ducked and scrambled for her keys. A shiver coursed through her. So much for spring… What happened to sixty degrees? 
A truck slid to a stop next to her, and a shout brought her head up. Her best friend waved at her through the windshield. She cranked the window down on her old beater. “All done?” 
“Finally, yes. As soon as I can find my keys.” The sound of tinkling metal drifted on the
When she climbed into the driver’s seat, the warmth of the old jalopy enveloped her due to the afternoon sun blazing down on the soft top. Rachel tossed her purse into the floorboard. Her ignition key still in hand, she paused to stare at the school. 
“It sure is a beauty, isn’t it?” 
Rachel grasped her throat. “Don’t do that.” 
“Do what?” Melissa Hampton leaned her hip against the vehicle. “Ask you about the school?” 
“No, of course not.” Rachel shoved her foot against the door to keep it from hitting her best friend. “You shouldn’t sneak—oh, never mind. Yes, the building’s beautiful. I’m really grateful for the new school.” 
Melissa studied her for a moment before she nodded. “Yeah, sure. Still it has all the big time comforts right here in the boonies of Wyoming.” 
“Hey.” She punched her friend in the arm. “I do love it. I graduated from the old school with
you, remember? But this one has a computer lab with Wi-Fi, and even a pool.” 
“The Pine Valley Lumberjacks on the Net,” Melissa joked, framing an imaginary banner with her hands. “You think the world can handle it? 
Rachel laughed. “All five hundred of them? We’ll see, lady, we’ll see. What are you doing here anyway?”
“The last on-line class before break.” She gave her a thumbs up sign before shouldering her backpack. “I really need to get my laptop fixed. Tonight, right?” 
“Yeah, yeah.” She grinned as Melissa walked across the lot, and Rachel leaned against the
“You gonna start that rat trap? There’s no cops around. Go for it.” Melissa flashed her a grin and waved from next to the school’s welcome sign. 
After unzipping the window, she poked her head out. “Yeah, I’m going to start it.”
Her vehicle was a standing joke with everyone who knew Rachel. It was loud. Not just a little, either. And her pile of tickets kept climbing. Last month, her insurance cancelled her policy.
They considered her high-risk, and premiums cost a fortune. 
Even though she couldn’t prove it, Rachel knew her dad was in on the whole thing. He’d asked, begged, warned, and threatened her to get rid of it. She refused. She loved her Jeep. It was old, it was rusty, and yes, it was loud. But it was hers. 
Rachel shoved the clutch to the floor and turned the key. A roar erupted from the tail pipes in front of the back tires, and the vehicle shook with power barely contained in the small CJ5 frame. She smiled at Melissa’s bark of laughter. She pushed on the accelerator, and the glass packs popped in protest. If she didn’t know better, she thought the school windows shuddered. 
On second thought, tonight may not be a bad idea. After all, Melissa would be there. She shifted into gear. But first to the church office. Maybe she could catch Mike. 


Rachel pulled to a stop in front of New Hope Baptist Church and hopped out. At the same time, Mike slammed the office door. As he strode toward his vehicle, his anger thundered all the way across the street. 
“Hey, what’s up?” Short of breath, she caught up to him. 
“Nothing.” His hazel eyes dismissed her. 
“Oh, really?” Rachel grabbed his arm, halting him mid-stride. “Can you please talk to me?
Did you see Dad?” A lump built in her throat. “What’s wrong with you?” 
He brushed her hand away and continued on. “Nothing. I’m going back to Jackson tonight.” 
Rachel blinked. She couldn’t think. The blast of a horn startled her, and the driver of a red van waved at her to move. She hurried after Mike. 
At his truck, Michael turned his cold, hard gaze on her. The silence stretched between them
like a taut wire about to snap. 
“When are you coming back?” Rachel whispered into the cool afternoon breeze. The street remained quiet. No cars drove by or dogs barked. As if the town itself held its breath for an answer. 
He hesitated and sighed. “I don’t know. It was good to see you, Pip.” 
For an instant, warmth melted the ice chips in his eyes, and a spark of hope ignited deep within her. Before she could say a word, he jerked the door open. 
Michael stared over her head at the church office. He threw his briefcase across the seat. A mask slipped into place, and his face became like stone. He climbed into the cab without a backwards glance. 
At the squeal of tires, Rachel spun. Her brother’s pickup shot up the street, finally disappearing around the curve. 
What had sent her brother all the way across the state to turn and go back? She needed answers. If Mike wasn’t going to explain it to her, someone would. And who else but Reverend James Fitzgerald?
The door swung open without a sound. A quick gander at her watch showed five o’clock.
With the furnace humming in the shadows, Rachel peeked around. Her father’s secretary, Betty, had already left for the day. Where was Dad? 
She tiptoed into the small reception area. Most of the lights were off except for a few in the back. Wandering through the building, she poked her head in the darkened rooms. The place was empty. When she made her way back toward the front, she sidled up to her father’s office. 
Only muffled sounds worked their way to her ear. Puzzled, Rachel almost knocked before it dawned on her. He was praying. She eased away. 
Tossing her hair over her shoulder, Rachel jerked open the front door. “I will talk to you about this, Dad.” 
* * *
Rachel shut off the shower and tilted her head. A shrill ring echoed throughout the apartment.
Reaching around the seashell curtain, she grabbed her towel from the rack. 
“Not even an hour to myself?” She darted to the kitchen, a wet trail in her wake. “Where is
The bare hook glared at her. When the phone continued to ring, Rachel followed the tone into the other room. 
“Where is it?” She continued to chant as pillows, coats, and blankets flew across her living room. Her towel slid lower, and she clutched it to her chest. 
“There you are.” The cordless sat in the corner of her couch, revealed with the pitch of the last cushion. “Hello?” 
Raspy, heavy breathing greeted her through the phone line. A fleeting glance at the caller ID showed the number to be private, and Rachel’s temper ignited. The second call this week. 
“All right, you degenerate, that’s enough.” When the rasp across the wires turned into a twisted laugh, she glared at the receiver. “Stop calling me. And find a few cough drops. You sound horrible.” 
A punch of a button disconnected the call, and Rachel threw the phone on the table, wincing when it knocked hard on the wood surface. She adjusted the towel. On the way back to her bedroom, another ring stopped her in her tracks. 
Rachel marched back to the coffee table and stabbed at the phone. “I told you to stop—” 
“Well, hello to you too.”
“Oh, Missy. It’s you.” She sank on the couch at the cheerful voice. 
“What’d you do? Get on some solicitor list?” laughed Melissa. “I figured everyone in the state knew about you by now.” 
Rachel’s hatred of the telephone was common knowledge in Timber Springs. She didn’t like answering them or talking on them. She’d rather talk to people in person, if at all. She gazed at her
white ceiling. What do You think, Lord? Can You take me away? Please?  
“Rachel, you there?” Melissa chuckled again. 
“Oh. Sorry, Missy. Yes.” Beep...beep... Uh, oh. Rachel growled. A red light flashed on the
top of the receiver. 
“My battery’s dying, Missy,” Rachel said in a rush. A squeal echoed down the phone line, and she rolled her eyes. “Are you going to be there tonight?” 
“Of course, Rachel, that’s what I was calling about. Don’t be late. I need to—”  Beep…beep…beep…beeeeeepppp… The phone died. 
“Don’t be late,” she snorted in disgust. “Me?”

Still mumbling under her breath, she strode into the kitchen and hung the phone on the charger. “You’re one to talk, chick. You’re the Queen of Late.” 
Standing in her bedroom, she gripped the towel around her. She stared at her reflection in the dresser mirror. The crank call had fried her nerves. All she really wanted to do was curl up on the couch. If Melissa hadn’t called, she wouldn’t even go. But her friend needed her there, so she’d be there. 
But visiting her dad? No, that confrontation would have to wait for another time. 
“Oh, Michael, where’s my knight when I need him?”

Sounds great, Renee, great work! Thank you for giving us a look at your book. 

Readers, don't forget to comment for a chance to win To Soar on Eagles Wings!


  1. Thank you for the wonderful read through.

  2. You're welcome, Mary. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Enjoyed reading this. I have read To Soar on Eagles Wings and I really did enjoy it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ann! We appreciate you being one of our Birthday Bash guests.

    2. Hi Ann! Thanks for the encouraging words and for stopping by! :)

  4. Thank you Renae for this sneak peak into your wonderful story. I am hooked and can't wait to get my copy to read the rest of the story.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Carol! Best wishes in the giveaway. Thanks for stopping by during our Birthday Bash!

  5. Wyoming? Game Warden? Spring Break from the classroom? I'd like to read your book, Renae!

    1. Doesn't it sound great, Deb? How exciting that she's offering a copy as a birthday present!

    2. Hi Deb! Welcome to my backyard! I'd love for you to read it too! LOL :)

  6. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us today, Renee! What a great sneak peak.

    1. I second that, Renee! You're helping get our Birthday bash off to a wonderful start! Thanks so much!

    2. You're welcome! Thanks for having me and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)

  7. The synopsis sound wonderful. That's why I'm rebelling and not reading the excerpt. I'm one of those people who cover their ears and hum loudly if someone starts telling me about a book (or movie) that I really want to read (see.) :) I like to experience it all by myself from start to finish. But then I'm the one that wants to go tell everyone about it and probably give too much away. haha

    1. Haha, I know what you mean! Best wishes in the giveaway!

    2. I was also the same way.

  8. Enjoyed reading about your book! I have this in my stack & now I think it needs to go to the top of it! !

  9. Sounds like a great book. Loved the synopsis