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A Walk in the Woods (Serial Short Story Romance, Part 4 of 4)

Candy paced by the front window of her condo. Jax hadn’t lied. He had called every night since their woodland adventure. Sometimes for only a few moments as he often worked nights. Ironically, sometimes she did as well. Mick was out of the hospital and recovering at home with his family. In spite of the injury, he had managed to bring down a key player in the drug trafficking in the city. She found out Jax had come that evening because he feared something might happen even though Mick had assured him it was all covered. She was glad he had been there. Would she have had the courage to survive that alone?

The grey sedan pulled up and Jax jumped out and strode to the front door. The bell rang but she had opened it before the last tones were done.

“Hey, beautiful. Are you ready?”

“Sure am.” She grabbed her purse and her Bible and locked the door behind her as they left.

As they drove down the street, she giggled.

“What was that for?”

“I’ve never been asked to go as a date to church before. I kind of like it.”

“You needed to try something new. I thought maybe going with a friend would make it easier for you so you can get out of your rut and back to a new normal.”

“A new normal. I like the sound of that.”

They walked into church together and Candace noted the way other women watched Jax. A surge of confidence roared through her along with the awareness that she was not being welcomed as much as tolerated by any of the single women in the church. She couldn’t blame them. Jax was hot.

Jax, while polite to everyone, was not overly warm to any woman and for the most part maintained a hand at her lower back as he steered her through the crowd.

They left shortly after for lunch.

As they sat at a table at a small crowded diner, he leaned over to whisper, his breath tickling her ear. “So, did you enjoy this morning’s adventure?”

She grinned at the handsome man adjacent to her. “I’m enjoying it even more now.”

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One eyebrow quirked, “Really, why is that?”

She leaned forward to whisper in his ear. “Because my ex just walked in a few minutes ago and has been glaring at us from across the room.”

Jax smiled and kissed her cheek. “Wanna point him out to me?”

She did just that but didn’t expect the smile to fade from his face. “That’s your ex?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Excuse me for a moment.” He pulled out his phone and texted rapidly. The waitress came to take their orders and she tried to wait. A glance at her ex showed him squirming in his seat as the voluptuous, scantily clad woman next to him drooled over the menu.

Jax grinned.

“What’s up?”

“I know something you don’t . . . yet. But justice is on its way.”

“I don’t have much animosity for him anymore. I’ve forgiven and even feel sorry for him.”

“And so you should. He’s a pathetic excuse for a man.”

As they ate their food and talked they were soon disturbed by a commotion on the other side of the room. A woman had approached the table of her ex and Candy watched as the color drained out of his skin. The woman next to him reached across the table and slapped him. Soon he was in handcuffs and being led out the door along with this girlfriend who kept up a stream of insults.

“Your sins will find you out,” Jax mumbled with his mouthful.

“Jax? What was that all about?”

“Your ex has been on a wanted list for some time. He’s been good at keeping himself hidden but he is in fact facing several charges. Be thankful you’ve divorced or you would find any of your own assets at risk with all he’s going to face.”

“So he wronged many more people than me?”

“Yup.” Jax paid the bill and left a tip on the table. They stood to leave.

“Looks like you keep helping me out. I could get used to this.” She enjoyed the touch of her hand in his as they walked out the door.

“Ah, but you helped me out too.” He opened the car door. She waited till he got in on his side

“How so?”

The car started and they drove to a park nearby. “Today was the first Sunday when I didn’t have women chasing me around church trying to finagle a date.”

“I did notice they had their eye on you and weren’t too pleased by me at your side.” She allowed him to help her out and took his hand as they walked down by a small pond.

“Just as your ex-husband now regrets that you were by mine this afternoon.”

“I guess that means we’re good for each other?” Candy tapped him on the nose with her finger.

He grinned. “So far it seems that way, but I look forward to time spent with you. I have a feeling though that ‘normal’ will not be a word that would in any way define our relationship.”

“Hmmm, what other words could there be? Providential?”

“Adventurous?” They sat side by side on a park bench. Ducks squawked nearby as a little boy was trying to feed them. Birds sang in the trees and a squirrel chirrupped as it scampered past.

“God-ordained?” Candace leaned over and kissed his cheek. “I look forward to discovering more words with you.”

Jax wrapped his arm around her and drew her close. He leaned down and she saw the intent in his eyes. “How about—wonderful.”

As his lips touched hers she found she couldn’t agree more. A little voice called out “Ewww, they’re kissing!” Candy started giggling as they pulled apart.

Jax rested his forehead against hers. “Give him about twelve years. He’ll change his mind.”

Candy looked up at Jackson and placed a palm on the side of his face, enjoying the texture of his beard beneath her fingers. “It took me a lot longer than that. I think the best kiss I ever had, was with a dangerous man in the woods just a few days ago.”

He frowned. “Competition, huh? I’ll have to do better.” He leaned down and claimed her lips again.

Candace smiled and kept her eyes closed as the kiss ended. “Hmmm, so glad you are striving for improvement, although how you could improve on that, I don’t know.”

He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her to his side as they looked out on the pond. “You give me something to strive towards. Every man needs a goal.”

“Really, and what’s your goal?”

“Making sure you know how loved, cherished and beautiful you are for the rest of your life.”

Candace let her head rest on his chest, grateful for a fresh start and a new love.

A Walk in the Woods (Serial Short Story Romance, Part 3 of 4)

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Candace gasped for breath, more from Jax’s kiss than from the running. Her heart beat fast more because someone desired her than fear of the danger ahead of them. He released her hand so they could run faster and she was surprised at her stamina given her lack of faithfulness to her morning runs in recent weeks.

Another gunshot rang out, much closer. Jax grabbed her hand and they ducked down. Now they could hear yelling. A man came running their way and Jax pushed her behind him as he waited for the man to pass. As the man came close, Jax jumped out on top of him. The gun the man was holding went off and the bullet whizzed past her right ear. She ducked as she watched them fight. Each punch Jax took, she winced.

It dawned on her that she had planned to walk these woods alone today. What if she had?

She was with a narcotics agent. Had he been here for work?

Nah. He would have been carrying a gun then, wouldn’t he?

Soon the man was unconscious. Jax untied his shoes and used the laces to bind the man’s hands. He stood and looked over to her. “Are you okay?”

She shrugged. “Just another walk in the woods for me. Well, except for the bullet that tried to take out my ear. Other than that I’m fine. You?”

He laughed. He walked over and pulled her into a hug. “I’m sorry. I’m glad you didn’t get hit. I should have told you to stay behind the tree.”

“I probably wouldn’t have listened. I wanted to make sure you were okay and didn’t need my help.”

“And what would you have done to save me?”

Candy looked down and then bent over and brought a sturdy rock up in her palm. “I used to be pretty good at pitching.”

He planted a kiss on her lips, took the rock and dropped it on the ground and pulled her down the path. “Someone else was here and might be injured. I don’t know if it is one of the good guys or bad guys.”

“Maybe you should have taken that man’s gun.”

“Nah, don’t want to mess with fingerprints and I have a suspicion we may not need it. By the way, I never did ask you what you did for a living.”

“You want to talk jobs now? I’m a nurse at Valley View Hospital. I work in the Emergency Room.”

“Perfect! Maybe God had you here today for just this reason. I don’t believe in circumstances at all. But divine appointments, definitely.”

“Why?”

They turned the corner and a man was in a crumpled heap on the ground. “It’s Micky. He’s one of the Narc officers. Crap. He’s been hit.”

“I guess this is my turn to save the world?” She knelt by the man and started to assess his injuries.

Jax stepped aside and motioned her forward. “He’s all yours. Tell me what to do.”

“Call for an ambulance. That would be a good place to start.”

* * *

A half an hour later as the sun was setting and mosquitoes were making a vicious appearance, Jax had waved to his friend Micky as he was driven off in the ambulance. The perp had been arrested and taken to jail and now a police car waited off to one side.

Candace’s kahki shorts were streaked with blood as were her arms and hands in spite of having wiped them off on towels.

“Come on, Sweetheart, let’s get you home and cleaned up.”

“My car?”

“I had them tow it to a repair shop. It’s the least I could do after you saved Mick’s life. Officer Joan Marshall will give you a ride home.”

He watched her frown. “What’s wrong?”

She shrugged. “I was enjoying getting to know you and well, it’s been such a long time since anyone has kissed me.” Her face turned a delightful shade of red. “I guess I’m just sad to see this thing between us be over so soon.”

“Who said anything about it being over?” He placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’ll be calling.”

She smiled. “You will?”

“If I don’t, you know how to find me.” Jax stepped back and headed towards the police car. He helped her in the front seat and closed the door. She rolled down the window as the officer started the squad.

“You’re not coming?”

“I live nearby. I got my laces back.” He pointed down to his shoes. “I’ll jog home. Don’t worry, Candy. You’ll be hearing from me.”

He watched as the car pulled away. If he hadn’t come today, she could have been caught in a drug deal gone south. Nope, it was no coincidence that the girl of his dreams had shown up today and had the spunk to run with him into danger. He grinned to himself as he headed down the road at a steady lope. She would be hearing from him, but their first date would be far from what she expected.

Stay tuned for the final installment tomorrow! 

White Knight (Book Review)

white knightWhite Knight by Staci Stallings was free on kindle and I downloaded it and enjoyed reading this heart wrenching romance.

Eve Knox struggles beneath the weight of grief even two years after her beloved husband Dustin, a firefighter, dies as a result of a fighting a fire. She buries herself in her work and suffers the matchmaking of well-meaning friends.

A.J. Knight was a wanna-be drummer who couldn’t make it and returned home to work as an E.M.T. He was the paramedic who as a novice was first on the scene to care for Dustin as he was recovered fatally burned from a fire. That day, along with many others, haunts his soul and overshadows the lives he has saved.

When A.J. and Eve meet, laughter erupts and wounded hearts begin to heal and hope, except that A.J. has never told Eve about his perceived failure and culpability in her husband’s death. He assigns blame for the grief and sorrow she has suffered.

Can two wounded people overcome the heartache of the past and reach for a future of love and laughter? This story is a heartfelt journey of two such people and how memories of pain can overshadow the wonder and joy of love. This is a well-written book. The first chapter was difficult in trying to sort through all the characters involved but it soon becomes clear and easier to follow. Staci draws characters whose pain is experienced by the reader and a pain that is hard to set aside even when the book reaches it’s happily-ever-after and the final page turns.

Homophones: An Author’s Nemesis

I have always enjoyed Veggie Tales but this silly song by Larry the Cucumber is especially poignant to an author. To be clear, having problems with homophones does not make me racist against phonics. Not at all.

Because weather, I mean whether you like it or not, the English language is filled with words that sound the same but have different meanings. When reading or editing a book it can be hard to see these words for what they are, clever masquerades trying to trick you into saying something you didn’t intend and which, if read correctly, would be utterly ridiculous. As an author or an editor one has to have a special radar out for these words as they are commonly misused.

So be aware and watch out for these nasty posers out to doom your writing. And if all else fails. . .

peanuts grammar nazi

Breathing on Her Own (Book Review)

breathing on her ownI am in the fortunate position, many times, to get asked to read and review a book by another author. While the manuscript I review is free to me, I try to be honest in the review. Breathing on Her Own by Rebecca Waters is one such book. It is not a romance but a contemporary women’s fiction. As well as a complex journey that a family takes on in healing and faith.

What if, after your adult daughter’s accident, the most hopeful words someone could say to you was “At least she is breathing on her own?” This is the reality that Molly Tipton and her husband are faced with after they learn their oldest (married) daughter was involved in a car accident and barely alive. The other occupant of the car as dead.

A sharp curve, dark night and alcohol were involved.

Throw in a difficult recovery and other losses as well as the possibility of a lawsuit for vehicular homoside and Molly soon realizes that her daughter is not the only one who is injured. Molly’s faith, or lack of it, is scraped raw by the events surrounding her daughter and she comes to realize how much she has to grow and learn and recover herself from a paralytic faithlessness.

As they struggle with the physical aspects of healing the family, and especially Molly, are challenged with their spiritual healing as well. Can God provide and make good the mistakes of the past?

This is a well written story that takes you into the pain of a family struggling through a crisis not only of physical pain, but financial and spiritual as well and discovering God’s restorative hand doesn’t always give us what we want, but exactly what we need. The book is available on preorder and is due out on the 25th of March.

Power of Attorney (1 of 4) Short Story Romance

My friend Sarah rushed into the break room with a note. “You need to return this call right away, Allyssa. There is some kind of emergency.”

I took the paper and dialed my cell. “Hello? This is Allyssa Reid, someone called for me?”

“Yes, I am calling to inform you that Cal Forte was in an accident and you are his designated power of attorney. We need you to come to the hospital right away.”

“When did this happen?”

“Two days ago. It took a while before we were able to locate you.”

I gave a hasty explanation to my boss, clocked out and rushed over.

Two weeks ago I had been resolute. I would not see Calvin again. I loved him. I just couldn’t bring myself to commit. I know. Isn’t that usually the man’s issue?

Cal hadn’t accepted his conge but had persevered with grace. There had been a surprise every day. Something little, sweet and thoughtful. Two days ago it had been my favorite Frappuccino. Before that there had been sweet notes, or a single flower, or my favorite candy. Every day something reminded me of how well he knew me and had paid attention.

It had stopped abruptly two days ago. Now I knew why. My mind raced through all kinds of scenarios of why my help was needed and it always kept coming back to the same question. Why me? Why would Cal make me his POA?

I arrived and Cal’s attorney, Mr. Coomes, sat me down in a small room and handed me an envelope. “This came with the POA papers. You should read it before we talk about the decisions that have to be made.” He left. I glanced at the envelope and tapped it on the table. The trembling in my body led me to rip it open, earning myself a paper cut in the process. I sucked on my finger as I unfolded the handwritten letter.

Dear Ally,

If you are reading this, that means something has happened to me. I knew from the first date that you were the only one I could entrust my life and finances to. You were never impressed with any of the flash of my family. Please don’t let them make the decisions and keep any news about what happened from the press and my family for as long as you are able. My secretary and bodyguards will assist you as will Drew. Just make the next best choice for me with regards to any treatment. And please be there. I love you and my heart will know your voice. You may be the best medicine that the world could offer.

If I haven’t made you my wife yet, I’m sorry to have thrust this on you. Please get me well so I can rectify that.

My heart is forever yours, Cal

I glanced at the documents in the folder in front of me. He signed them one day after our first date. Who did that kind of thing?

A crazy man.

I met with the doctor and then was allowed to see Cal. Any barriers that I had erected around my heart tumbled down the minute I saw his bruised and battered face. He was still handsome to me. A nurse handed me a bag of his belongings. Shoes, clothes, wallet and . . . a small stuffed kitten. It was a pretty blue with a pink tail and ears. They told me he had been struck by a car half a block from where I work.

He had been coming to deliver a gift for me.

“I am the most selfish of creatures,” I whispered as I read the brief little note with the animal. I hugged it tight. I had always wanted a cat but was allergic to them. He had remembered. Even if he couldn’t have me, he had wooed me by giving me things I liked and wanted.

And now? Now he might die.

A few days later, the doctors backed off on the medications to bring him out of a drug-induced coma to assess the extent of the damage to his brain. What if he didn’t want me anymore? He didn’t need me. He was wealthy enough to hire people to help him through whatever was ahead. I had been the one to walk away. Why would he trust me to do this?

We had dated eight intense months. He started talking about marriage and I got scared. He was wealthy, a sought after bachelor and media darling. I didn’t fit in to his world. His family despised and ridiculed me. All under a veneer of politeness, yet their words had cut deep. I struggled paycheck to paycheck, but I had my degree and I managed. Barely.

And for some reason, Cal trusted me with his health and riches.

I stayed at the hospital with him for two weeks, rarely leaving his side.

My boss tried to be understanding, but someone had to do my job. I was on a leave of absence now after using up all my vacation. That meant there would be no more paycheck. I didn’t have much savings. I had packed my meager belongings into my small coupe and tendered my notice on my apartment. A friend stored my furniture in their garage for the time being. I became homeless but hoped it would be temporary. I would have my security deposit back soon and that would tide me over for a short time. I wasn’t home anyway. I almost lived at the hospital in a room adjoined to the private suite Cal was in.

If I had known sitting in a hospital could help me lose weight I might have tried it sooner.

 return for part 2 tomorrow

Do You Make Jesus Look Stupid?

IMG_20131214_090959_409I’m stepping out on a limb here because something has bothered me a lot lately with social media.

Christians are making statements and polarizing themselves over things that are inconsequential. Oh, I know, you believe your views are important and I respect that, but please, hear me out here.

Does your firm stance and insulting words about whether someone is Republican or Democrat show the winsomeness of Christ?

Or whether you believe in Creation or Evolution?

Or, whether everyone should say “Merry Christmas?”

I’m not saying that these things are unimportant. What I want to propose though is that the militant stand that many take might be doing more to alienate those from the truth of the gospel and the holiness of this time of year than attract them to it.

Insulting someone to try to win them to your point of view is the equivalent of throwing manure on them rather than the sweet aroma of baking Christmas cookies. It doesn’t work.

Our opponents are fellow image bearers of Christ, whether we agree with their political, cultural or theological positions on things.

I have my perspective and stand on issues too, and some I feel strongly about. However, the reason I initially went to pursue a degree in Christian counseling was because I saw too often that the words and behaviors of many Christians were a stumbling block to unbelievers.

Granted, we are all in the process of sanctification–and I am at times as guilty as anyone of being obnoxious about things I believe strongly in. However, I believe as Christians we need to have an extra filter on our conversations on-line. The filter of the question: “Will this bring honor to Christ and make Him desirable for others to pursue?”

Yes, I know Christianity is objectionable to many. But consider this. Is it because of the truths of the Bible itself,or could it be due to the way those who claim to be Christians behave and respond to the world around them?

I’m not going to tell you what to believe about how you educate your child, whether or not you should vaccinate or if you should be for or against Obamacare. I respect the fact that there are people on both sides of the aisle of these issues. And that’s okay. (No. Really. It is.). God can be honored and glorified in many of the diverse opinions we hold depending on the manner in which we hold them.

Does that make sense? I believe God can be glorified in the family that chooses public school as well as  those who homeschool (or private). God leads and guides us all in different ways because He desires to shine His light in all the dark corners of the world. When we can love others in spite of their views on abortion (gasp!) or how they vote, we elevate their dignity as humans created in the image of God above our own agendas. Do we have to negate what we believe in to do that? NO! But we can love and listen and even disagree without disrespecting those who hold opposing views. We can stand for truth, certainly, but let us do it with grace.

Ultimately our goal is to win the world to Jesus, but if  the world sees us as fighting about minor issues as to what color of skin Jesus or Santa had or get militant about boycotting stores that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” then how does that draw them closer to the very Savior we proclaim to worship and adore? When we do things like this we are slamming the door of the inn in their face and tell them they can’t belong with us because of some corporate policy dictated to them by a handful of people removed from the day to day interaction at a cash register.

Go ahead and say Merry Christmas in response to a benign greeting. Sometimes those employees are obeying orders but can respond to your comment with their own Merry Christmas when you open the door instead of being hostile. And the sweetness of Christ will prevail instead of more animosity.

This goes beyond Christmas – but the war seems to be more heated than ever at this season. Christianity is not supposed to intentionally alienate people from the truths of the Gospel. The gospel can do that on it’s own but those who believe in Him should not. We hold our faith as a precious and beautiful gift of grace that is meant to be shared, not horded.

Emdashes, Ellipsis and Commas, oh my!

While words can be a bug-a-boo with writing, so can punctuation.

It isn’t as easy as we were taught in grade school, is it? A statement ends in a period. An exclamation ends in an exclamation point! And doesn’t a question end with a question mark?  My first novel’s rough draft was a minefield of exclamation points. I don’t think you could read through one page without tripping over one. It’s the way I talk. I’m just one big walking exclamation point (or so I’m told).  Sometimes, when it comes to writing, less is more. So if you, like me, have a fondness for that punctuation mark: STOP IT!

Sounds too simple to be true.

Then there the controversy about commas. Some people like more, some like less. “Let’s eat Grandma,” is different from “Let’s eat, Grandma.” In the first you are using economy and becoming a cannibal. In the second you are inviting someone to dinner.

As I’ve done more editing I’ve found that many people have a fondness for the emdash—just like I do. For some, perhaps a bit too much.  I think they are great but like an exclamation point and fine wine, best used in moderation. They stop the dialogue and sometimes you want that pause, but you don’t want your reader tripping over them too often.

The lovely ellipsis . . . I see it over used or not spaced correctly and I know that when it comes to formatting this can be an issue. Maybe I’m wrong but I would rather just see the space dot space dot space dot space. If it becomes a formatting issue that can be changed later to publishing house standards.

What punctuation marks do you struggle with or perhaps have a tendency to overuse?

Attracted to Fire (Book Review)

attracted to fireI’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a free book but when it’s a book by DiAnn Mills that totally ups the appeal. Attracted to Fire is a romantic suspense in her compelling style that makes it hard to set the book, the characters or the story aside until you have turned the final page (or swiped it if you have an e-reader).

No FBI in this book, but Secret Service agents with FBI wanna-be tendencies. Special Agent Meghan Connor’s is one assignment away from her coveted dream of one day protecting the President of the United States. The President hand-pics her for his security detail for his rebellious daughter who struggles with addictions and demons no one can fathom.  Not the worst job in the world unless you are working under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders who has a belief that women do not belong in the Secret Service and who is also gunning for the roll of protecting the President when this assignment has been completed. Ash is known as a perfectionist and detail oriented. Nothing escapes his notice, even an attractive and highly competent female agent he longs to loathe but grows to respect.

A normal protective duty doesn’t include the kinds of threats and security breaches that they encounter on a secluded ranch in Texas. Assuming the threat is drug related they are slow to realize that the threat is far more powerful than they anticipated. And far more deadly. Soon Ash comes to realize the only safe person to process with is Meghan as they try to uncover the clues as to why the President’s daughter is in so much danger. The danger draws them together as forces threaten to rip them apart.

Faith is central to this story as well. I love how the characters who believe struggle to trust God in their circumstances and can still spur each other on in the midst of such evil swirling around them.

DiAnn Mills is a master of suspense and keeps you guessing who the enemy is and even up to the end wondering just how these two agents, not knowing who to trust, will over come the enemy, protect their charge and the President.  I loved this story. It was riveting. I can’t wait to read more by this fabulous author!

* * *

I did have a complaint on my reviews. I do put links to the books on Amazon. However, if you find the book cheaper elsewhere, then by all means by it there. I won’t accept responsibility for your purchasing choices and shopping around is always a good thing although authors deserve compensation for writing such fabulous books and we should never begrudge them that. 

The Gold Standard (Book Review)

The Gold StandardI’m not sure where you live but It’s been unseasonably cool for this time of year in Wisconsin. Normally this is the season of air-conditioning, long swims at the pool and mosquitoes. It’s early August as I write this review and  I’m wearing a sweatshirt.  It’s the perfect weather for snuggling up with a cozy mystery and that’s exactly what author Lisa Lickel delivers in her book of The Gold Standard.

Set in a small town in northern Wisconsin, Judy Winters is forced to deal with the aftermath of her Aunt’s suspicious death. She inherits a farmhouse with the promise of hidden gold on land sought after by a militant tree-hugger group.  Not knowing who to trust, she seeks to use her unusual talent for  being able to tell when people are lying.  Judy struggles to evaluate the colorful cast of characters that made up her Aunt’s life. With a pushy boyfriend as well as an attractive neighbor, named Hart,  who just so happens to help out around the farm, and a crazy cat with an unerrant propensity to preserve Judy.

This story earns it’s designation as cozy. There’s a mystery and some suspense but not over the top anxiety producing. The romance is well-paced and at times I couldn’t help but smile at some of their interactions.  I would love to share more but I don’t want to give any spoilers!  Let’s just say there’s poison, a diary, hidden secrets, a bomb shelter, cows, and more than one romance blooming in the shadow of attempted murder. There is a gently placed faith line to the story as well to encourage the reader and ground the actions of the main characters.

This is the first in a series of books and I reviewed book number two, The Map Quilt.  (You can read the Map quilt Review here: https://susanbaganz.com/2012/06/19/the-map-quilt-buried-treasure-mysteries-book-2-book-review/). Regardless of the order in which you read these novels, they stand alone just fine.  (the third is The Newspaper Code and I look forward to reading that one too and see what adventures Judy and Hart have next).

So on a chilly summer day, go visit northern Wisconsin with Lisa and her cast of characters and be charmed and entertained. Everyone needs a smile on their face and Lisa will help put it there.