The Long Ride Home

The Long Ride Home

by Marsha Hubler


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In the eighth and final book of the Keystone Stables series, perfect for girls who love horses and horse fiction, foster child Skye must confront her past and decide her future when she has the opportunity to find her birth parents and possibly reunite.

On a trip to South Carolina with her foster family, Skye gets the shock of her life when the waitress at a local diner seems to recognize her. The woman proves to be Skye’s long-lost Aunt Millie—the first blood relative Skye has ever met. As Skye and Mom and Dad Chambers attempt to track down Skye’s birth parents with Millie’s help, Skye’s foster sister and best friend, Morgan, struggles with her own family regrets. As the secrets of both Skye’s and Morgan’s lives are revealed, it becomes clear more is at stake than anyone can imagine—and both girls have a big decision to make.

The Long Ride Home:

  • is written by an author who has firsthand experience with horses and foster care
  • is a contemporary and realistic plot, with an inspirational Christian message
  • features a character with special needs
  • contains extensive back matter on different horse breeds, how to care for them, and horsemanship, as well as facts, diagrams, and a glossary of horse terms so girls can better know their favorite animal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310716921
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Series: Keystone Stables Series , #8
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 473,579
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Marsha Hubler is a homeschool consultant, evaluator, and educator specializing in elementary education and learning disabilities. She and her husband, Richard, were foster parents to countless children for more than eleven years. They live in Middleburg, Pennsylvania.

Read an Excerpt

The Long Ride Home

By Marsha Hubler


Copyright © 2009 Marsha Hubler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-71692-1

Chapter One

The waitress carrying two coffee pots walked to the table and stood beside Mr. Chambers. "More coffee, sir?"

Skye glanced at the waitress, who stared back with a strange look on her face.

"Regular, please," Mr. Chambers said, handing the waitress his cup.

The waitress poured the coffee, shifting her glance from Mr. Chambers' cup to Skye and back. The waitress's dark hair, the color of Skye's, was drawn back into a ponytail and adorned by a yellow cap that daintily covered her crown. In a blue top, black pants and a frilly yellow apron, the petite woman, probably in her early thirties, looked like she needed a good dose of vitamins. On her apron bib a small silver nametag displayed her name: MILLIE.

"How about you, ma'am?" Millie asked Mrs. Chambers, now with a slight edge to her voice. The waitress never took her eyes off Skye.

"No thank you," Mrs. Chambers said. "I'm fine."

Walking away, the waitress glanced back at Skye one more time.

"Mom," Skye said, "did you see how that waitress stared at me?"

"Sure did," Mrs. Chambers said. "You probably remind her of someone she knows. That often happens to me. I can be hundreds of miles away from home, but, almost without fail, I'll see a stranger who looks like someoneI know."

"Been there, done that, too," Morgan agreed.

Skye pulled her focus away from Millie and studied her surroundings. "This place is too cool," she said. In a diner on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina, she was about to enjoy a Saturday evening meal of burgers and fries with her foster parents, Tom and Eileen Chambers, and her foster sister, fifteen-year-old Morgan Hendricks, who sat in a wheelchair. In the diner's parking lot, their horse trailer was hosting an oats-and-hay feast for the family's four show horses, including Skye's pride and joy, her sorrel Quarter Horse Champ.

Back at Keystone Stables, Skye's good friend Chad Dressler was house-sitting, looking after the two Westies, Tippy Canoe and Tyler Too, as well as the family's two other horses.

After spending the last week of June at a state horse show in Virginia, the Chambers' family was now heading to Rebucks' Rocking Horse Ranch, a Christian special-needs dude ranch in the southeast corner of South Carolina near Charleston. As short-term staff, they would donate their time there for the next two weeks. Morgan planned to work in the kitchen while Mr. Chambers would volunteer his carpentry skills to remodel the chapel. Mrs. Chambers and Skye would teach horse care and Western riding techniques to about a hundred campers. On some of their time off, they planned to visit Mr. Chambers' sister, Dot, who lived in North Charleston.

As the Chambers family settled at a table, Skye studied the unique décor of the "Cozy Cupboard." Reminiscent of the 50s, the small diner oozed with mouth-watering smells and delicious-looking food. At the counter, a row of tired men, truck drivers Skye figured, had lined up on the stools to grab a quick bite. Along one windowed wall a row of booths held numerous patrons who talked as slowly as they ate. Between the counter and booths most of the tables were occupied, one of them with the Chambers clan. The floor, in gray and red tile blocks, displayed an original design of scuffmarks and food stains. One waitress behind the counter and two others moving through the dining room had barely enough time to breathe as they hustled with orders, trying their best to exude a pleasant demeanor. In the background, country music blared.

Within minutes the Chambers' food was served, Mr. Chambers prayed, and the family's conversation focused on the past week's activities.

"Girls, I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of you." Mr. Chambers took a sip of his coffee and smoothed his brown mustache. "We're taking home seven blue ribbons and five red ones, and most of them are yours."

Skye's brown eyes flashed as she tucked her long dark hair behind her ears. "I started to lose count about halfway through the week. Dad, you didn't do too bad yourself. When you won first place in calf roping, you and Chief broke your own time, didn't you?"

"By a half second." Mr. Chambers replied proudly. "That little Paint cowpony of mine can really fly. And how about the woman of the house and Pepsi?" He gave Mrs. Chambers a quick wink. "They cleaned up the Western Reining Class. I don't think they could have done any better with a vacuum cleaner."

Mrs. Chambers' deep blue eyes sparkled as she smiled at her husband. "Oh, Tom, stop that carrying on. I had an easier time this year because the competition was not as keen as in the past. But Pepsi was at the top of her game. I will agree with that." She shifted her glance across the table to Morgan. "And how about our special-needs gal, here? She and Blaze blazed up a storm in their barrel-racing event too. Second place out of ten in a regional championship is nothing to sneeze at."

Morgan's freckled face beamed with her usual radiant smile. Her sunburned cheeks matched the color of her long wavy red hair. "Thanks, Mrs. C.," she said, blowing on her fingernails. "I guess when you've got it, you've got it!"

"Girls, are you ready for next week?" Mr. Chambers asked, taking a bite of his double burger.

"Dad," Skye said, "I'm so excited, I can't stand it." She shoved a French fry in her mouth. "I never thought serving the Lord could be like this. I mean, Champ and I will be serving the Lord together. How cool is that?"

"Although I can't stand it anytime in this wheelchair, I'm going bonkers too," Morgan said, giggling. "I can't wait to get in that camp kitchen to peel hard-boiled eggs and potatoes. I know that sounds weird for a teenager, but I love every part of cooking, even stuff like that. I can't believe that we'll all be doing things we love so much."

"That's the way God works," Mr. Chambers said. "It says in Proverbs that he'll give us the desires of our heart if we love him and trust him. He's proven himself over and over to us."

"Skye, will you-" Mrs. Chambers started to say.


Passing close to the Chambers' table, Millie dropped a full tray of food onto the hard tile floor. Spaghetti and meatballs flew everywhere, and the vintage Melmac dishes bounced off the tile floor like rubber balls, sending an irritating echo through the entire place. Skye jumped like she'd been poked with a pin. Everyone turned and stared, and the place grew dead silent.

"I am so sorry." Millie was already on her knees, trying her best to clean up the mess.

"Accidents do happen." Mr. Chambers, his clothes littered with red blotches, shoved back his chair and picked up several plastic glasses.

Mrs. Chambers and Skye launched out of their chairs and brushed off spaghetti from their clothes. From a swinging door behind the counter, a man in a chef's hat, blue shirt, and white apron came rushing out. He lugged a large bucket of soapy water, a mop, and another bucket that was empty. "You got butter fingers tonight, Millie?" the man said gruffly as he pitched in.

"I'm sorry, Butch," Millie said, shoving spilled food and plates into the empty bucket. "It was a little heavy."

"We'll have to put you on steroids," Butch said as though he meant it. "I'm terribly sorry folks," he said to Mr. Chambers. "Your meals are on the house."

"It's all right," Mr. Chambers said as he helped Millie. "Nobody's hurt. That's what matters."

Skye looked around, and except for two small children still gawking, everyone else had gone back to their meals as though nothing had happened. She glanced under the table and saw a biscuit near Morgan's foot. Quickly, she retrieved the roll and placed it in the trash bucket.

"Thank you," Millie said as she, again, stared briefly at Skye and resumed her clean-up job.

Butch finished wiping the floor and hurried away. "Remember, folks," he yelled back without looking, "the meals are on me tonight. Millie, a fresh order of what you just dropped will be ready in ten."

"Thanks, Butch," Millie said. "Be there in a sec."

While Morgan supplied clean napkins from the table's dispenser, Mr. and Mrs. Chambers and Skye worked at wiping spots from their clothes. Finally, after a quick sweep of their chairs, they sat down to finish their meal.

Millie stood beside Skye, grabbed an array of soiled napkins from the table, and stuffed them in her apron pocket. "Folks," she said sheepishly, "I apologize again for scaring you out of your wits." She fingered her collar, crossed her arms, then placed her hands on her hips, all the while staring at Skye.

Mr. Chambers held up his hand. "Now, that's all right. No harm done."

"No, really," Millie said, fidgeting with her collar again. "I was startled when I heard someone here call this young lady 'Skye.'"

Skye glanced at Mom and Dad Chambers' surprised faces. With her mind full of questions, Skye looked deep into Millie's brown eyes. "Do ... you ... know me?" she asked.

"I think I do," Millie said. "Is your name Skye Nicholson?"

Chapter Two

I really can't talk now," Millie said, glancing at her watch. "I get off in a half hour. If we can meet then, I'll explain everything."

Skye sat with her mouth stuck in neutral.

"By all means," Mr. Chambers said. "We'll be waiting right here."

"Could I meet you outside in back of the restaurant?" Millie asked, eyes focused intensely on Skye. "There's a picnic table there where us waitresses go for breaks."

"Sure, that'll be fine," Mrs. Chambers said.

What's going on? Skye wondered.

"In a half hour then?" Millie smiled at Skye, turned, and hurried away.

"In a half hour," Mr. Chambers yelled after her.

As Millie rush behind the counter to pick up her next order, Skye watched every move the woman made. "Mom, who is she?"

"Other than her name being Millie, I have no idea," Mrs. Chambers said.

"And, Skye, how does she know your last name?" Morgan asked.


Excerpted from The Long Ride Home by Marsha Hubler Copyright © 2009 by Marsha Hubler. 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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Long Ride Home 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
poco1960 More than 1 year ago
I love this book it keeps you on your toes and u just want to keep reading.
Lauren Bruno More than 1 year ago
i have read all of them and loved them they were clean cute dramatic and thrilling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When l want a book to read,l know where to go!
h2ogal More than 1 year ago
Luv 'em!
Addison Woods More than 1 year ago
i luv this series ive read them all and loved everyone of them! they r so good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg these books are so good ive read the whole series and i would read them over and over. I love how it includes God in the books thats just so cool and i love how skye and chad like each other that just ties the books together. If i could put more than 5 stars i would. I love horses as well so that makes it even better and then when skye finds her parents i cried so hard. I also cried when sooze died that was so sad. I read the last book in one night lol. My favorite book is the second one. They have made me laugh so hard i peed my pants(i was on my period)they have made me cry so hard i coughed,and made me so happy i screamed. These books are so emotional and they are just amazing. If you read them you have to read all of them you cant just read one. If you have any questions ask me my name is gigi5678 great books!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is there any point to this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to speak to Moony plz.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi i am Anate then whips out bow and kills everyone in the room with arrows then walks out of room pleased with myself as i go back to moon camp to kill more hunters of artemis!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is amazing book! I love it so much. It is a great way to experince Gods love and what He does. I think if you have not already read this book you need to ASAP
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hmm. Well im gonna chat with Cato if your just gonna ignore me now. Whatever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
$@m is still here!
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I luv it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I just loved how everything tied together. I love this series! It kept me guessing the whole time!
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