Ransomed Dreams

Ransomed Dreams

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by Sally John

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Sheridan Montgomery leads a charmed life as the wife of Eliot, U.S. ambassador to Venezuela. But an attack on their lives cripples Eliot, and they retreat to a remote Mexican village. As Sheridan quietly cares for her husband, she sees her dreams slipping away. Luke Traynor shatters their reverie when he arrives to tell Sheridan of her father’s heart attack and…  See more details below


Sheridan Montgomery leads a charmed life as the wife of Eliot, U.S. ambassador to Venezuela. But an attack on their lives cripples Eliot, and they retreat to a remote Mexican village. As Sheridan quietly cares for her husband, she sees her dreams slipping away. Luke Traynor shatters their reverie when he arrives to tell Sheridan of her father’s heart attack and the evidence implicating him in a conspiracy. Sheridan returns to Chicago to untangle the web of her father’s past and is forced to confront her feelings for Luke, a trail of deceit, and the truth about her marriage. Tyndale House Publishers

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
John (Safe Harbor series) sets her new novel in the world of diplomacy. Sheridan Montgomery is the wife of Eliot Montgomery, ambassador to Venezuela. When an assassin’s bullets cripple Eliot and wound his wife, the traumatized couple retreats from the world to an off-the-map hamlet in Mexico. Sheridan is called from there when her father, a U.S. congressman from whom she is estranged, is dying. She returns to her family home in suburban Chicago to confront her past and make some decisions about her present, which includes her atrophied marriage to an invalid. The tangled relationships are engrossing and evolving, especially between Sheridan and her sister, Calissa, and between Sheridan and Luke Traynor, the government man who saved her life in Venezuela and returns to complicate her life. The criminal elements in the plot are less compelling than the human elements. The religion element required in Christian fiction is unobtrusive and natural to a story about healing. A thoughtful and engaging novel. (July)

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Side Roads Series, #1
Product dimensions:
8.26(w) x 5.66(h) x 0.99(d)

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Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Sally John
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-2785-3

Chapter One


Like everything about the small village tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Madres in central Mexico, sunrise was a leisurely event.

Sheridan waited for it, tea mug in hand, shawl over her cotton nightgown, bare feet chilled against the tile floor of the second-story balcony. Alone, she listened in the dark to the squawk of roosters and clung to their promise that the world would once again know light.

"Oh, good grief," she murmured to herself with a groan. "That is so maudlin. Truly and hopelessly maudlin. You might try something more chipper. Something like ... Something like ..." Her foggy brain offered nothing.

She scrunched her nose in defeat. The morning had shuffled in on the heels of a sleepless night. Chipper was not going to happen, no matter how hard she tried to talk herself into it.

If she could turn the calendar back eighteen months, she would not be talking to herself. No. Eliot would be right next to her, responding, most likely pointing out a dozen chipper thoughts in that funny way of his.

Nostalgia and regret hit her, a powerful one-two punch that still took her breath away. She clenched her teeth, waiting for it to pass, mentally spewing forth a verbal attack at the counselor who had promised her that time healed all wounds, that month by month they would see improvement.

What drivel that was! Eighteen months-or to be more precise, seven teen months, three weeks, and two days; but who was counting? All that time had passed and only one thing was healed: Eliot's gunshot wound. His other wounds, the invisible ones, still oozed like toxins from a waste dump site. He was not the same man she had married.

Sheridan took a deep breath and let the bitter argument go. Nostalgia and regret settled back down into whatever corner of her heart they'd found to hide out in. Their impact, though, lingered.

Would time ever erase her longing for the Eliot she had married? The animated one, the one others adored, the one who was engaged in every detail of life, whether simple or complex, with every person who crossed his path. The one from B.C.E., Before the Caracas Episode. Now, in their A.C.E. days, he might as well be a deaf-mute for all the interest he showed in the world around him.

Sleep deprived, she totally blamed him. She didn't mean to. It wasn't like he had much of a choice. The bullet that shattered his nerves shattered their life. Everything about it was over. Health, career, home, friends. All gone. Kaput. Some days she barely recognized herself and Eliot. Where were the Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery she once knew? These routines, hometown, health, acquaintances, and even personalities seemed lifted from the pages of some stranger's biography.

"Oh, honestly. Get over it already, Sher." She forced a swallow of tea and focused on the scene before her.

A lone sunbeam pierced between two mountain peaks and sliced into the distant mists. Another followed. And another and another until finally pure light broke free. Valleys and canyons burst into sight. Loud birdsong erupted. Then, as if God had uncurled His fist, long fingers of sunlight shot forth and touched the wrought-iron railing where she stood.

It was achingly gorgeous.

Sheridan flicked at a tear seeping from the corner of her eye. "You should have stayed in bed, you foolish, stubborn woman."

Sunrises were the worst because they represented the best of what had been.

Most days she could ignore that thought. Evidently not today. She and Eliot were morning people. Had been morning people. Their daily ritual of tea and conversation at an east-facing view, awaiting dawn, was seldom missed. With crazy-full schedules, they needed such a time to relate on the deepest levels. Some days their hearts positively danced and sang in union. Naturally, through the years the tune changed now and then, the tempo sped up and slowed down, but the music never stopped. It never stopped. They always talked. They always connected.

Until that day in Caracas.

Now she watched sunrises by herself.

"You really should've stayed in bed."

But it was so beautiful. And it went on and on like a slow waltz. At the bottom of her street now, purple haze still shrouded the town square. The sky brightened in slow motion above it, the fiery ball itself still hiding behind a peak.

Something moved in the semidarkness below. A person. Early risers were not uncommon, but she was startled. Something felt off about this one.

Or was that just her hypervigilance? Compliments of the incident in Caracas, it kicked into gear at times without warning, filling her with anxiety and suspicion.

Now she could see that it was a man. He passed the bandstand, his strides too deliberate for a villager, too American. He headed straight for the steep incline that led up to her house. In city terms, the distance was perhaps a block. In Topala terms, it was simply up beyond the sculptor's shop.

The sun overtook the peaks and the man came into view.

"No way." Her heartbeat slowed, but not quite to normal.

Even with his face concealed by a ball cap, his body clothed in a generic khaki jacket and blue jeans, a city block separating them, she recognized him. She recognized him simply because the air vibrated with him.

Luke Traynor owned whatever space he occupied.

Sheridan set the mug on the table beside her, tightened the shawl around her shoulders, and massaged her left arm. She felt no surprise at his unannounced arrival nor at the early hour. It was as if she had always expected him to show up sooner or later.

But as he climbed the narrow street, an uneasiness rose within her. Her muscles tensed. Why was he here? He had promised not to come. Sixteen months ago he promised. Not that she was keeping track....

The sound of a soft whistle drew her attention back toward the square. Javier, the young sculptor, stood on the porch steps outside his shop. Behind him, the handicraft shop owner emerged from his door.

Javier raised his chin in question.

Sheridan gave a half nod. They needn't be concerned. The stranger was, so to speak, a known quantity. Not that she felt the least bit glad to see Luke. Eliot would most likely be severely distressed at his arrival.

Wishing Luke were an apparition did not make it so. He continued his steady pace, arms swinging gently, head down as if he studied the cobblestones, making his way to her house.

Since that day in Caracas-the day her husband died in every sense except physically, the day this man saved her life-Sheridan had understood intuitively that Luke would always be a part of her life. And there he was, out of the blue, ascending her street in the middle of nowhere on a spring day as if he visited all the time.

She suddenly remembered the date. "Good grief."

It was Annunciation Day, a day of remembrance, of celebration for when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and announced her future. How apropos. Luke appeared without warning. He would not have come unless he had something to tell her, some message that would irreversibly change her future.

Was this his joke or God's?

Luke neared and looked up, straight at her.

She saw not the man whose presence had always triggered apprehension in her, but rather the guardian angel who had saved her life.

Sheridan turned and made her way inside, down the stairs, and through the house.

* * *

Sheridan opened the front door and stopped.

Luke Traynor stood less than six feet away, at the low gate in the stone wall where her front terrace met the steep hill.

She returned his steady gaze, knowing full well her own expression did not mirror the one before her. While dread, relief, and excessive gratitude rearranged every muscle on her face, his remained perfectly composed. The sharp nose, thin lips, and deep-set eyes could have been made of the same cobblestone he stood on.

He flashed a rakish grin. "I was in the neighborhood."

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

He cocked his head, somber again. Always the gentleman, he waited for her to make the first move.

Sheridan clutched her shawl more closely and resigned herself to riding out the emotional disarray rumbling through her. She both loathed and loved this man. Of course he knew that, so it didn't matter how she reacted to him except that she'd like herself better if she were polite.

With a quiet sigh, she walked to him, planted a kiss on his scruffy, unshaven cheek, and eased into his embrace. Nestled against the rough collar of his jacket, she smelled the familiar scent of him, an indescribable mix of earth, sun-drenched air, and confidence that bordered on lunacy. She felt the hardness of his body, always unexpected given his average height and build.

"Sheridan. How are you?"

"Fine." She backed away, crossing her arms.

"And Eliot?" he said. "How is he?"


Luke blinked, a slow movement of lids indicating he could take the truth.

She wanted to shriek obscenities at him. The disconcerting thing about angels, though, was that it was impossible to keep up any sort of pretense. Like an angel, Luke had stayed close beside her for long weeks after the shooting. He had gone with her to the edge of hell, holding on to her until she came back. He knew her better than she knew herself. Glossing over answers was a waste of time with him.

She tried another phrase. "We're doing about as well as could be expected."

He nodded.

"Eliot is still asleep."

"It's early. Perhaps I can greet him later."

The resistance drained from her. Yes, Gabriel had come to deliver a message, and he would not leave until he'd done so.

She had no inkling how to shield Eliot and herself from this unexpected source of distress but gave a lame attempt. "I don't suppose you're passing through town and simply must be on your way right now, this very minute?"


She inhaled, her shoulders lifting with the effort, and blew the breath out with force. "Coffee?"

"Love some."


Excerpted from RANSOMED dreams by SALLY JOHN Copyright © 2010 by Sally John. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Ransomed Dreams 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
BVO More than 1 year ago
I'm far from being into politics and religion but this story was completely moving. I would recommend this book to absolutely ANYONE; especially if you are: 1. Looking to forgive someone 2. Interested in reading about true love There is so many emotions that are in this book that it is just incredible.
Smilingsally More than 1 year ago
These days, couples face problems and pull apart. I enjoyed this novel with the theme of a long-term marriage and forgiveness. As a wife of fifty-two years(!), I know that marriage is like a roller coaster: it goes up and it goes down. I believe that one of the secrets to longevity is to hang on until it levels out. Sally John, a best-selling author, took this premise, mixed in some cloak and dagger intrigue with a smidgen of temptation to illustrate how believable characters might react to some down-turns on their married roller coaster ride. The characters were carefully scripted, and the plot kept me curious. I must say that I had no idea where the story would lead or what decisions would be made. Thank you to Vicky Lynch at Tyndale House Publishers for my copy of this Contemporary Fiction. This is a good one. I recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had a hard time putting this one down. Another good read with great characters. Good illustration of how faith enables one to handle life changes, shattered dreams, and hope for new ones. Look forward to reading more by this author.
JoyAnneTN More than 1 year ago
The story is very interesting involving several characters with different problems, tragedies, betrayal. Sally tells the story of Calissa, Sheridan, Eliot, and Luke, their stories grabbed my heart. I felt like these were my real friends. Sheridan's life will make you thankful and may bring a few tears. Real life troubles. Trying to heal the hurts. There's tension and intrigue. Everything to make a great book.
L.A.Carlson-writer More than 1 year ago
I didn't know this was considered Christian Lit before I read it. The characters are interesting but often times their actions are a bit too sedentary for my taste so it slowed the pace of the book. Chapters are often very short and there is no sexual explicitness in this book. Anyone who has been married for awhile and having gone through a life-changing event can appreciate the premise of this novel.
lilredhenJP More than 1 year ago
Sheridan Cole Montgomery is the wife of Eliot Montgomery, Ambassador of Venzuela, living in Caracas. Her life is parties, meeting famous people, and doing her hearts desire, ministering to the poor women, helping them become a productive part of society. Then her friend is killed and her husband is severely wounded, and not expected to live. From that moment on, their lives are forever changed. Eliot survives, but is severely disabled, and when he is well enough, they move to a small village in the Sierra Madres in central Mexico. Their lives are divided into B.C.E and A.C.E. Before Caracas Event and After Caracas Event. After 13 months, Luke Trayner, the man who had been with them, when Eliot was shot, and who had helped her through the terrible weeks following, when Eliot was so bad, shows up on their doorstep. He'd been hired by her sister, Calissa to find them, and tell her that their father, Senator Harrison Cole, was dying, and she was needed in Chicago. Sharidan first refuses to go, but before long, she is convinced she has no choice. Sally John has written a very complex, interesting, entertaining, and most of all uplifting novel. It deals with the subject of what happens to a marriage, when things happen that people 'didn't sign up for' along the way. And how faith and prayer can help when dealing with these issues. Tyndale House Publishers I recieved no compensation for this review, I was given an Advance Reader Copy of the book to read and review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
When a dream life turns horribly tragic, Sheridan and Eliot Montgomery whisk themselves off to a remote place in Mexico to escape further danger. A year and a half later, someone Sheridan thought she'd never see again finds her and detours her quiet life into a whirlwind of the past--filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreak. I couldn't put this book down. Ransomed Dreams pulls the reader through intrigue, misfortune, doubt, attraction, loneliness, revelation...and the list goes on! The main characters are flawed, relatable, and layered. The scenes are vivid, almost tangible. And the story filled me with a myriad of emotions, sometimes conflicting. Sally John has a wonderful gift of tugging at readers' heartstrings, jerking the rug from beneath them, and giving them a soft place to land. I L-O-V-E-D this book. Cover: Like it Title: Love it Publisher: Tyndale Publishing Pages: 391 Pace: Steady First Line (prologue): At precisely twelve minutes, thirty-five seconds past ten o'clock in the morning Venezuelan time, Sheridan Montgomery's world ceased to exist.
Louisa_May More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and was captivated by it. The characters seem like real, flawed people who just want to do what's right but are thrust into the middle of a situation that seems impossible. The setting is a small, cozy town in Mexico. It's an intriguing story and I loved the characters... well, most of them. The main character, Sheridan, is living with a husband who is not at all the man she married and finds herself in love with someone else. The reader really doesn't know what choice she'll make until she actually makes it. A poignant, touching read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stuck with it and the finish was a definite improvement.
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"Okay. Thank you." He doesn't bother to ask why Lanistar's name ends with star if she's leader. In the Gray World the leader's name ended with moon (unfortunate for the leader of BlackClan, Sunmoon); he figured that Color World leaders' names ended with star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi. Missed me? I was kicked from immirtal
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Answer at boremeer result two. Do u have access to a puter full time?
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