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Snow Melts in Spring
     

Snow Melts in Spring

4.6 25
by Deborah Vogts
 

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She loves the land. Mattie Evans grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Although her family has lost their ranch, she still calls this land home. A skilled young veterinarian, she struggles to gain the confidence of the local ranchers. Fortunately, her best friend and staunchest supporter is John McCray, owner of the Lightning M Ranch. They both love the ranch, and

Overview

She loves the land. Mattie Evans grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Although her family has lost their ranch, she still calls this land home. A skilled young veterinarian, she struggles to gain the confidence of the local ranchers. Fortunately, her best friend and staunchest supporter is John McCray, owner of the Lightning M Ranch. They both love the ranch, and can’t imagine living anywhere but in the Flint Hills. He’s haunted by it. Gil McCray, John’s estranged son, is a pro football player living in California. The ranch is where his mother died and where every aspect of the tallgrass prairie stirs unwanted memories of his older brother’s fatal accident. Gil decides leaving the ranch is the best solution for his ailing father and his own ailing heart. But he doesn’t count on falling in love. Falling in love isn’t an option. Or is it? When Mattie is called in to save a horse injured in a terrible accident, she finds herself unwillingly tossed into the middle of a family conflict. Secret pain, secret passions, and secret agendas play out against the beautiful landscapes as love leads to some unexpected conclusions about forgiveness and renewal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310292753
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
06/03/2009
Series:
Seasons of the TallgrassSeries Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Snow Melts in Spring


By Deborah Vogts

Zondervan

Copyright © 2009 Deborah Vogts
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-29275-3


Chapter One

Red lights flashed like fire in the murky shadows of the night. Mattie Evans slid from the seat of her truck and made her way to the accident scene, tuned to the shrill, intermittent static of the emergency radios.

What a way to start this early Sunday morning, not even a week into the new year. Lord, give me strength.

As she neared, the crushed sedan came into view. A ghostly chill crept up her spine. She noted the shattered glass, a trail of blood. Paramedics worked to pull the driver from the car and transferred the motionless boy to a stretcher.

At the sight of the victim's marred face, Mattie pressed her hand to her mouth. Another body lay covered on the ground.

"Thanks for getting here so quickly, Doc." The county sheriff met her on the dirt road, and Mattie forced herself to regain control. "Got ourselves a bad one. Two drunk teens hit a horse with their car. One's dead, the other ... well, it don't look good. As for the horse, I doubt you can save him."

With his flashlight, he cleared a path through the dense fog, and Mattie followed to the edge of the road where her patient lay. Blood stained the gravel.

"They probably didn't even see the animal until it was too late," he said. "Don't know why the horse was on the road-must have a fence down." He shined a beam into the dark pasture. "Likely spooked and jumped toward the vehicle, then smashed into the windshield. Still breathing, though."

Mattie knelt for a closer inspection. Someone had tried to stop the massive bleeding with towels, to no avail. She stroked the horse's neck, and the gelding raised his head. The white of his eye showed pure terror, dilated from shock.

"He's lost a lot of blood." The sheriff drew the light over the animal's body.

Mattie took a deep breath and reached into her bag for a syringe. Once she had the horse sedated, she removed the towels to examine him. Her heart sank at the extent of the damage.

The impact of the windshield had lacerated his right shoulder, withers, and limb. Corneal rupture of the right eye and massive skull fractures. A quick check of his mouth revealed his old age. She noted the paleness of his gums.

At times like this, she hated her job. Such hopelessness. Angered by the senseless destruction, she fought back tears, her teeth clenched as the horse lay wheezing his every breath. Despite her oath to save animals, Mattie knew the horse would require extensive treatments, and even then, his chances for a full recovery were slim.

"He's in a lot of pain." The nagging worry from her recent loss caused her to doubt her abilities. "There's no reason to make him suffer. I recommend putting him down."

"Can't do that, Mattie," a gruff voice answered close by.

Her gaze jolted to see her friend John McCray slumped over his cane. "Didn't you just get out of the hospital? You shouldn't be out on a night like this."

"That's my fault." Another man stepped from the darkness, and Mattie acknowledged John's hired hand, Jake. "When I heard the car horn blaring and realized what had happened, I called the ambulance. Figured the boss would want to be here."

"This is Gil's horse." John gripped her shoulder. "You have to save him."

Mattie had heard stories about Gilbert McCray from her older sisters, though John hardly spoke of his son. Some said he could have been a professional team roper, but he'd left it all to become a football hero in California. A stupid move, as far as she was concerned. Why would anyone give up being a cowboy for a football career?

She shook her head. "I don't know if I can." She studied the horse's wounds again, then glanced up at John McCray. Mattie recognized the look of regret, the kind that left people empty. She also acknowledged the uncomfortable tightening in her stomach. If she tried to save the horse and he died, could her business or her heart handle another fatality?

* * *

The team manager for the San Francisco 49ers opened the door to the trainer's room, and the musty stench of sweat crept in and mingled with the odor of medicine and bandages. "Gil, your dad's calling on your cell. I figured you'd want to take it." His booming voice broke through the racket of the locker room next door as he tossed the phone to Gil.

Gilbert McCray slid off the table and apologized to the attendant taping his ankle. He checked the caller ID and couldn't imagine why his dad would be calling just hours before a playoff game-unless it was an emergency.

He flipped the phone open. "Hey, Dad, what's up?"

A raspy cough sounded on the other end. "I have some bad news for you, Son."

Gil stepped into the hallway for better reception. "Is everything okay?"

"It's Dusty," his dad said. "He was in an accident early this morning. I hated to call you, but they're not sure if he's going to make it. I thought you should know."

Gil frowned at the mention of his chestnut gelding. "What happened?"

"He was hit by a car. Got through the fence and must have been on the edge of the road. Too foggy. The driver didn't see him."

Dusty. Gil swallowed the emotion threatening to clog his throat as the memories whooshed back. He and the horse had been a team. Gil trained Dusty from a colt, learned some great techniques on his back, and won plenty of high school championships with him. The old boy was dying? Though he hadn't ridden the horse for two years, the news caught him off guard.

"Is he in much pain? If we need to, I'll hire the best vet in the country. Fly him in." The familiar catch in his voice reminded him of his boyhood when he'd asked for simple favors, believing his dad could do anything.

"We've already got the best, Son. I just thought you should be prepared."

After he said good-bye, Gil slammed his fist against the wall. A burning sensation shot through his shoulder to his palm. He'd give anything to see Dusty one last time. Unfortunately, two hours from now, he had a date with destiny, an appointment at Lambeau Field. If his team won the Division Championship against the Green Bay Packers, they'd be one game closer to the Super Bowl. If they lost, this would be the last game of Gil's career. Funny, he was about to retire from a game he loved, and his old friend was retiring from the game of life.

* * *

Gil waited on the sideline while the defense played the field. In all his years as quarterback, he'd never experienced the chaotic feelings tumbling over him this first half. Two decades ago, he'd left everything for the game of football. Rodeo. His dad. With no regrets. Or maybe he'd never allowed himself that luxury until now.

He stared out at the field and watched as one of their linebackers intercepted Green Bay's pass.

Offense's turn.

The lights glared down as Gil blocked the roar of the spectators from his mind. Silence. His offensive line crowded around, waiting for his call.

"Go on two." His breath turned into a puff of vapor in the brisk night air. Gil walked to the line of scrimmage, adrenaline pumping.

"Down, set, hut, hut ..."

The ball snapped into his hand. He dropped from the line of scrimmage and looked for his primary receiver. Covered. The defense had his running backs blocked as well.

No clear path-either throw or run.

No time for debate.

He tucked the pigskin into his arm and faked a sweep, rolling over the first lineman coming his way. His legs careened him up and over the defense as they'd done a hundred times before, and he flew down the field like a horse after a steer let out of the chute. A cornerback charged him from the side. Gil slid to the ground.

"First down," the referee called out.

Gil saw the official's signal and should have been thrilled. Instead, he stole a glance at the hostile Packer crowd and caught sight of a man who looked like his father. His breath stilled.

Impossible. His dad didn't attend his games. He didn't care enough to.

"Do you even see what's happening out here?" Johnson jammed his fists into Gil's padded shoulders. "It's like you're in another world."

Gil stared up at the lights.

Concentrate. Keep your mind in the game.

He went to set up another formation and listened for the radio signal in his helmet. Receiving his coach's instructions, Gil pitched his hands into the huddle, felt the determination of his teammates as the heat rose off their bodies. He refused to let them down. "This time we'll go for a 40/50 sprint draw. On one."

He moved into position behind his center.

"Red, blue, 40-50, set hut."

The ball swept up into his hands. Gil sensed a blitz and passed to his wide receiver. Missed. Incomplete.

He tried again. This time when Gil got the ball, he maneuvered it to feel the roughened leather of the seam and pedaled back. He snaked to the left to hand off to Johnson, his halfback. The ball barely left his hand when three defensive linemen dropped him to the ground.

Everything went black.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts Copyright © 2009 by Deborah Vogts. 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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Deborah Vogts knows her horses; and she knows the human heart. Snow Melts in Spring introduces us to a new, warm, and discerning author’s voice unveiled by the landscape of Kansas, and of the hills and valleys of wounded souls. I kept turning pages late into the night and anxiously await the next book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. I hope you will too. -- Jane Kirkpatrick

Deborah Vogts knows her horses; and she knows the human heart. In Snow Melts in Spring we’re introduced to a new, warm and discerning author’s voice unveiled by the landscape of Kansas and of the hills and valleys of wounded souls. I kept turning pages late into the night and anxiously await the next book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. I hope you will too.” -- Jane Kirkpatrick

Deborah Vogts has garnered a place on my must-read list with her compelling debut novel! Snow Melts in Spring captured the unique beauty of Kansas’ Flint Hills as wonderfully as this story captured my heart. -- Deborah Raney

Deborah Vogts has garnered a place on my must-read list with her compelling debut novel! Snow Melts in Spring captured the unique beauty of Kansas' Flint Hills as wonderfully as this story captured my heart. -- Deborah Raney

Deborah Vogts is a fresh new voice in fiction. -- Karen Kingsbury

Bitter regrets, fragile relationships, and unfulfilled dreams converge in the Flint Hills of Kansas, weaving a story of love, hope, and faith. Debut author Deborah Vogts’ attention to detail brings the setting and characters to life, creating a lively, enjoyable, yet thought-provoking tale of the importance of forgiving past mistakes and trusting God with the future. I look forward to future installments of the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. -- Kim Vogel Sawyer

Deborah Vogts is a fresh new voice in fiction
Karen Kingsbury, America's No. 1 Novelist and Bestselling Author of The Above The Line Series
Bitter regrets, fragile relationships, and unfulfilled dreams converge in the Flint Hills of Kansas, weaving a story of love, hope, and faith. Debut author Deborah Vogts's attention to detail bring the setting and characters to life, creating a lively, enjoyable, yet thought-provoking tale of the importance of forgiving past mistakes and trusting God with the future. I look forward to future installments of the Seasons of the Tallgrass Series. -- Kim Vogel Sawyer

Deborah Vogts has penned a captivating story of love, conflict, and forgiveness that will transport you to the magnificent Flint Hills of Kansas where the unforgettable characters of Snow Melts in Spring will capture your heart. A wonderful read! -- Judith Miller

Deborah Vogts has penned a captivating story of love, conflict, and forgiveness that will transport you to the magnificent Flint Hills of Kansas where the unforgettable characters of Snow Melts in Spring will capture your heart. A wonderful read! -- Judith Miller

Rarely does a debut author capture the poignancy of human drama and weave it so artfully with the presence of setting in a first novel, but Deborah Vogts does just that. And far more. Set against the majestic hilltops and valleys of the Kansas Flint Hills, Snow Melts in Spring draws you in until you’re swept away---and loving every minute! -- Tamera Alexander, , Author

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Meet the Author

Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

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Snow Melts in Spring 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read, well written and very enjoyable
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a heartwarming tale about letting go of guilt, and following your true dreams. I loved how Deborah matched Dusty's stages of healing with that of his owner's, and how she used Mattie to get Gil to face up to his past. This book really shows that the dreams we sometimes want, aren't really the ones that will make us happy, and that we should give everything to God. Because when we give it to Him, He can give us something so much better in return. I was on the edge of my seat there at the end, but everything turns out wonderfully.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mattie is a veterinarian who has been called out to the scene of an accident where a horse was hit by a car. She doesn't hold out much hope for the horse, yet the owner, John McCray, has asked her to do all she can. Little does she know, the real owner of the horse is none other than local football hero, Gil McCray, John's son. Once Gil comes to town to see to the care of his horse, many things happen that cause him to question why he came back. This is a very heartwarming story about finding forgiveness in oneself and acceping the love and forgivess from our savior. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story and the characters involved. It was a pure joy to read, and I look forward to more work from Deborah Vogts.
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LeiaJ More than 1 year ago
I was very surprised with this book, what I thought was going to be your typical jock love story turned out to be a real page turner, I love the fact that the one you thought was going to be the bad guy really was a true christian would recommend. Will look for other books from this author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hollyMG More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book.It was easy to read and held my interest.Would highly recommend.
bp0602 More than 1 year ago
I have finished another book! It is called Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts and is published by Zondervan. Main character Mattie Evans is a young veterinarian who is trying to save a horse named Dusty after he was badly injured in an accident. Dusty belongs to the quarterback of the 49ers Gil McCray. Mattie's close friend John McCray is Gil's father. Gil ends up back home at the ranch, exactly where he doesn't want to be, because of Dusty's injury and his father's failing health. He wants to return to California but there are issues at home that he realizes he needs to confront. Mattie is somewhat stuck in the middle of trying to help both Gil and his father. One thing I appreciated about this story was the important role of a couple of the minor characters, Jack (a ranch hand) and Clara (Mattie's friend). This is a well-written story of love, renewal, and forgiveness. This one was enjoyable from beginning to end. It was a bit predictable but I recommend you read it. I look forward to more form this author.
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
Snow Melts in Spring is a good romance packed with tender moments between the main characters and yummy kisses that'd make any romance lover sigh. While a bit repetitious in some areas -like the reasons for the characters not being a good match, I still enjoyed the story and read it fairly quickly. I liked the heroine's vet job and some of the conflict she had resulting from a sense of failure even though she'd done the best she could. I also loved the guilt issue from a past action that plagued the hero and how the hero (for good reason) didn't want to share this information with anyone. As I read about their budding relationship I was reminded about how important it is to really like the person for who they are before allowing your heart to get sucked into a relationship because of feelings that happen when you are are attracted to someone. I also enjoyed how the author showed that wholesomeness was truly more attractive to a man who desires real love than seduction or the offer of a fling, which doesn't last and often creates disrespect for the person doing the seducing. The faith element in the story was also strong, as was the forgiveness theme and the message regarding the importance of family and heritage. This was a good story with a solid message and I definitely recommend it. The hero was pretty hot, too. :)
Neoma57 More than 1 year ago
Deborah Vogts debut novel, "Snow Melts in Spring" was a book that touched my heart. Mattie was such a kind and loving person who had so many problems to overcome. John McCray was an interesting character with much depth. It took me longer to like Gil, but he proved his worth. Christian values, mountain top and down in the valley experiences compelled me to keep turning pages. I recommend this book and am looking forward to the rest of the series which are set in the tall grass of Kansas--a delightful place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Mary-Bell-Foster More than 1 year ago
Mattie Evans is finally living her dream. Gil McCray is determined to keep his distance from the rolling hills. In her debut novel Deborah Vogts gives us a story of hope, struggle, faith and love. Mattie faces a daunting task. It's a long shot and her practice has already had losses so taking the challenge of treating the famous Dusty isn't easy. But Mattie Evans does it to help her dear friend. For Gil, facing his past and the reason he has run for so long is tangled through the tallgrass. Going home isn't something that puts joy in his heart but he gets on a plane to see his old friend. Will these two come through their struggles and jealousies to embrace the possibilities? Will they be able to put aside their preconceived notions to see the love that waits? An enjoyable story I plan to keep on my bookshelf. I look forward to reading the next book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series as soon as it is available. Reviewed by: Mary Bell Foster Snow Melts In Spring By: Deborah Vogts Zondervan Publishing ISBN 978-0-310-29275-3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
marybeth67 More than 1 year ago
Author Deborah Vogts brings the Kansas prairie alive in her debut novel Snow Melts in Spring. This was a wonderful read. The prose is almost lyrical, a love song to the rolling Flint Hills of Kansas. Ms. Vogts does and incredible job with her setting. The prairie becomes another character in the book. It all sounds so peaceful and the way of life so simple. It was a wonderful escape from my technological wonderland.I thoroughly enjoyed this inspirational sweet contemporary romance. With the themes of forgiveness and renewal center stage amidst the family conflict, Ms. Vogts characters draw you into their inner struggles and painful losses. She develops the romance slowly with friendship first and when Mattie and Gil share their first kiss, it is just sweeps you away. What a lovely escape. This is an impressive debut novel and I look forward to many more to come. Well done, Ms. Vogts, Well done!
ChristyLockstein More than 1 year ago
Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts is the first book in the Seasons of Tallgrass series. Mattie Evans has happily devoted her life to the Flint Hills of Kansas, working as a veterinarian and trying to find a way to buy her own ranch so she can ride its beloved hills. Gil McCray left those hills at the first chance he got and because successful as pro football player, but after his retirement from the game, he returns home to help his ailing father repair the family ranch and to check on his injured horse, Dusty. Mattie and Gil instantly clash as he assumes she's incompetent and after his father's money. She thinks he's an arrogant and selfish man trying to abandon his legacy as a rancher, but the more time they spend together, the more they learn about each other. Vogts has created an incredibly charming character in Mattie, I could read a whole series of books about this feisty, bright, and loyal woman. Gil is an unexpected pleasure to read about as well, not at all fitting the stereotype of the arrogant, famous prodigal son. They both have a lot to learn about forgiveness and sacrifice. It's a terrific romance, and I look forward to more in the series.
Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, Kansas definitely isn't just Dorothy's home anymore! Deborah Vogts has written a lovely first novel about a determined veterinarian, a grizzled old man, and a football star at the end of his prime. The three characters are thrown together after a series of mishaps that happen out on the farm. All three have decidedly different personalities so when they're all together, they seem to clash horribly at first. Gil got on my nerves in the beginning of the book. I know that he's been out of the area for a bit and that he's not on good terms with his father. Plus he's been a big shot NFL player and is now back in small town America. It just rankled me how as soon as he gets back he just seems to want to take things over and then gets highly suspicious of Mattie. The kicker is that he just assumes she's having a relationship with his father and is out to get the property simply because he sees her making cookies for his father and treating him with kindness. His dad mellows out throughout the story and you can see that his one soft spot is for Mattie. The doc is a caring woman who loves animals very much. It's heartbreaking to read about animals in hurt conditions but she is the type of person who doeseverything in her power to fix them up or at least try to take away their pain as best she can. I really appreciated the realistic situations on the farm, theinvolvement of the animals and even the NFL scenes. They didn't seem fake or written by someone who doesn't really know how football is played. It's a minor plot in the book but just the little details really make it stand out more and were greatly appreciated. While I enjoyed this book, for me it felt though like there wasn't anything new explored in the book. I just didn't see anything out of the ordinary in the story that hasn't already been done in other novels. It was just for me, a very safe book that can be seen as a comfort read. There's nothing wrong with that and if you enjoy a sweet contemporary romance and especially with animals this is the perfect book for you. I will be looking forward to reading the next books in the series.
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
Seasons of the Tallgrass Snow Melts in Spring Book One Deborah Vogts 2009 Zondervan Christian Fiction Reviewed by Cindy Loven Dr. Mattie Evans is in love, with the Flint Hills of Kansas, she loves the land, she loves the people and she loves the animals. Veterinarian Mattie Evans is building a practice, slowly but surely in the area she loves, when troubles beset her, animals she is treating dies, a horrible accident leaves the horse of a famous home town hero injured so badly she suggests putting it down, and then a fire destroys her clinic and home. Deborah Vogts brings us a story of overcoming odds, of love, of compassion and romance too. Gil McCray, hometown hero, is retiring, football has been good to him but age is catching up, it is time to retire, and settle down, marry perhaps and train horses. But first Gil has to rest the demons that have tormented him over the years concerning his brother's death. Follow along and read in anticipation of the story to come and Gil and Mattie's paths cross, you will be delighted and never bored with this book. Toss in a sister who is much older than Mattie, and who seems to cause trouble and strife where ever she goes and you have a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. Deborah Vogts has brought us a wonderful book, and we will all wait in anticipation for more Tall Grass books to come. 302 pages $10.99 US
KeliGwyn More than 1 year ago
Mattie Evans, a dedicated veterinarian, loves animals, her independence and her beloved Flint Hills of Kansas. Gil McCray, rodeo hero turned football star, headed to California after the death of his brother and has no desire to return to a place filled with painful memories. When Gil's favorite horse is injured, he grudgingly makes a visit to his father's ranch. Sparks fly between Gil and his dad, who've been sparring for years, but another kind of spark flares when he meets the spunky vet caring for his four-legged friend. He's drawn to Mattie as she is to him, but Gil harbors a secret that could change everything. Can he make peace with his past, accept the Lord's forgiveness and overcome Mattie's resistance? Can she forgive Gil when she learns the truth and put love of the man before love of the land? Deborah Vogts has crafted a heartwarming tale in her debut novel, Snow Melts in Spring. I warmed to Mattie from the beginning, grew to like Gil soon after and found myself eager to see them work out their differences. There's plenty of conflict to move the well-written story along, but it's tempered by touching scenes that create a pleasing balance. Vogts seamlessly weaves the faith element into her story as both characters endeavor to turn their struggles over to the Lord. I enjoyed my time with Vogts' characters and look forward to reading the next book in her Seasons of the Tallgrass series.
Bold_and_Free More than 1 year ago
Deborah Vogts debut novel, Snow Melts in Spring,does not disappoint! Deborah writes like a seasoned pro - realistic, engaging and poignant. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Not only is this book engaging, but at 10.99, it's priced right too. Available for pre-order.