The Iron Wagon (Return of the Stranger: Thorndike Press Large Print Christian Historical Fiction)

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9781410434159: The Iron Wagon (Return of the Stranger: Thorndike Press Large Print Christian Historical Fiction)
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Deputy U.S. Marshal Paul Brockman turns the transport of five killer outlaws into an enjoyable ride when he agrees to bring the beautiful Lisa Martin to Yuma, Arizona, until an attack by a band of Apaches forces Paul to draw on all his skills--and his faith--to survive the onslaught. (religious fiction).

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About the Author:

AL LACY is an evangelist and author of more than one hundred historical and Western novels, including the Journeys of the Stranger, Angel of Mercy, and Mail Order Bride series, with more than three million books in print. JOANNA LACY, Al's wife and longtime collaborator, is a retired nurse. The Lacys have been married for more than forty years and live in Florida.

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Chapter One
 
On Monday, August 20, 1888, Meggie Brockman’s birthday party was held as planned at the Brockman home. Dr. Matthew Carroll and his wife, Dottie—Breanna’s sister—were there, as well as the Brockmans’ close friends deputy U.S. marshal Whip Langford and his wife, Annabeth, and Pastor Robert Bayless and his wife, Mary. When dinner was over, it was time to go to the parlor for the party.
 
“John,” Breanna asked, loud enough for everyone to hear, “would you take me up to the master bedroom so I can rest a little bit?”
 
As John took hold of the handles on the back of the wheelchair, Meggie turned to her mother. “I’ll wait to open my presents, Mama, until you get some rest and come back down to the parlor.”
 
When John wheeled Breanna out of the dining room, everyone went to the parlor and sat down, with Meggie sitting by a stack of brightly wrapped birthday presents. A short while later, everyone was pleased when they heard John call from the hall that he and Breanna were back.
 
All eyes went to the parlor door and widened quickly when Breanna entered the room—walking! She held a cane in one hand, and John steadied her by holding her other hand.
 
Fifteen-year-old Paul, thirteen-year-old Ginny, and ten-year-old Meggie rushed to their mother, smiling broadly, their arms wide open to hug her. One at a time, they each gave her a delicate, heartfelt hug as their father continued to steady her by holding her hand.
 
Tears misted Breanna’s eyes as she was being hugged. Everyone else jumped to their feet, staring in stunned silence, hardly able to believe their eyes.
 
Meggie looked toward heaven. “Thank You, Lord Jesus! I know I will like all these presents in the packages, but this is my favorite birthday present. My mama is walking!
 
Breanna sat on a soft chair with John’s help. More tears were shed as Meggie leaned over carefully and wrapped her arms around Breanna’s neck, sobbing joyfully. “I love you, Mama! I love you so much! I’m so happy you can walk again!”
 
As Meggie eased back and smiled at her mother, Breanna looked lovingly at her little adopted daughter, her own cheeks shining with tears, then embraced her. “Oh, sweetie, I love you so much too!”
 
John Brockman, the Carrolls, the Baylesses, and the Langfords all smiled through their tears as they observed the scene.
 
Tall, dark-haired Paul now stood in front of his mother’s chair with Ginny beside him, and they both poured out words of love to her as they wiped their tears, saying how happy they were that her legs had regained so much strength.
 
Ginny and Paul bent down and embraced their mother. Breanna’s tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she told Paul and Ginny how very much she loved them.
 
A small frown creased Meggie’s brow. “Why didn’t you tell us you were able to walk again?”
 
Breanna smoothed a hand over Meggie’s blond curls, then clasped her hands in her own. “Just because I was getting feeling back into my feet and legs, Papa and I weren’t sure it would mean I could walk. It’s been a hard and sometimes discouraging struggle...and well, we didn’t want to disappoint everyone if the attempt to get me walking again wasn’t successful. So every night after you children were in your beds, Papa and I went to work on the therapy recommended by your uncle Matt.”
 
Breanna released Meggie’s hands. “Honey, I’ve been doing some small exercises on my own when Papa was at work and you, Ginny, and Paul weren’t home.” She looked at her ruggedly handsome husband as he stroked his well-trimmed mustache. “Papa and I really wanted to surprise everyone once we knew God had healed me and helped me get to this point. I still have a long way to go, but thankfully, the Lord indeed has healed me and given me the grace and strength to come this far.”
 
Meggie gently wrapped her arms around her mother’s neck again and held her for a few seconds. A crooked smile lit up Meggie’s face. “I guess it’s okay you kept this secret as long as you did, but now that we all know, we can help you with your therapy, and maybe you can get all well quicker.”
 
Breanna tenderly placed her palms on Meggie’s cheeks and smiled. “Maybe so, sweet one, but I can only do so much exercise in a day!”
 
Meggie giggled. “Okay, Mama, we’ll do it your way. Just give a holler when you want our help.”
 
“I’ll just do that, Meg. Now, I think you need to put your attention on these birthday gifts that have been sitting here waiting for you to open them.”
 
 “Oh my, yes!” Meggie squealed, her dimples flashing as she moved to where the brightly wrapped presents were stacked.
 
As Meggie opened her presents, one after another, her eyes widened with joy. When she had finished, she went to each and every person at the party, hugged them, and thanked them for her gifts.
 
Meggie then positioned herself before her family and the guests. “Oh, this has been such a wonderful birthday party!”
 
John stepped over to her and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Well, my sweet, you’ve got a long line of birthday parties in the future.”
 
Meggie looked up and smiled. “But this one will always be extra special, Papa, because God answered my prayers and made it so Mama could walk again!”
 
“Amens” were spoken by everybody.
 
Meggie glanced at her family and choked up a bit as she said, “Papa, Mama, Paul, Ginny...thank you for taking me into your home and giving me the happiness I’ve had ever since I was adopted. I love you!”
 
John hugged Meggie; then Paul did the same, followed by Ginny. Breanna opened her arms, and Meggie went back to her. They kissed each other’s cheeks, then embraced for a long moment.
 
Realizing it was time for the guests to leave, Pastor Bayless said, “Well, since the party is almost over, let’s bow our heads and thank the Lord for Breanna’s healing and that Meggie has had such a happy birthday.”
 
Heads were bowed instantly, and the pastor led them in prayer.
 
The guests all spoke their joy to Breanna again concerning her regaining the use of her legs, wished Meggie “Happy Birthday” once more, and then left. As they were walking out the door, Breanna said, “Pastor, I’m planning to be at church Sunday morning.”
 
Pastor Bayless paused and smiled. “Great! It will be good to have you.”
 
After John closed the door behind them, he turned to his family and smiled. “Before we all head for our bedrooms, let’s pray together. I want to just thank the Lord together once more for making your mama well enough to walk again.”
 
The family joined hands in a circle, bowed their heads, and John said, “Dear Lord, my mind goes to verses 6 and 7 in Psalm 28 as David wrote: ‘Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.’ ”
 
By this time, tears flowed from the closed eyes of the parents and the children, and a few sniffles were heard.
 
John went on. “Dear Lord, we can all say with David in that seventh verse, ‘my heart trusted in him, and I am helped.’ ” And this makes me think, heavenly Father, of the psalmist’s words in Psalm 121:2: ‘My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.’ Thank You, precious Lord, for healing these children’s wonderful mother and my wonderful wife. Thank You that she is indeed walking again!”
 
There was a chorus of “amens,” which were repeated when John closed off his prayer in Jesus’ name.
 
Paul, Ginny, and Meggie hugged both parents before mounting the stairs to the second floor of the ranch house. John lifted Breanna into his strong arms. “Sweetheart, I’ll carry you up the stairs for a while yet before you try climbing them on your own.”
 
Breanna kissed his lips and smiled. “I just love being carried by you, darling. Maybe I’ll just let you carry me up the stairs from now on.”
 
Laughter burst forth from the top of the stairs; then Paul called down, “What about when Papa isn’t here, Mama?” Breanna giggled and looked up at her three children. “Well,
I guess I’ll have to climb up there on my own. But don’t tell your father. I want him to carry me up these stairs when he’s home for as long as I can get away with it.”
 
John laughed as he started up the stairs with Breanna in his arms. “Sweetheart, you can always get away with it!” During lunch at the Brockman home on Wednesday afternoon
two days later, Breanna, Dottie, Ginny, Meggie, and Paul sat at the table.
 
“Aunt Dottie,” Paul said as he rubbed his stomach, “I really appreciate your being here so often to help my sisters with the cooking.”
 
Dottie smiled at him. “It’s my pleasure.”
 
Paul put a heckling grin on his lips and looked at his sisters. “Well, Aunt Dottie, if it had been left up to Ginny and Meggie, we’d probably all be malnourished by now!”
 
Ginny glared back at Paul in a teasing way, her sky blue eyes sparkling. “Now, wait a ...

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9781601420565: The Iron Wagon: A Novel (Return of the Stranger Book 3)

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Publisher: Multnomah, 2010
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