A Stone Barn is book one in the Travelers Trilogy. Years ago, Lynne lost her family in a horrible car crash. Now a successful business woman, she is about to lose her sanity because she has buried her grief too deeply. Jared has lost his daughter and his wife to disease and suicide. He has dealt with the grief and moves to America in order to start his life anew, only to discover secrets that could ruin the lives of new friends. Join us on this journey across time and continents, a journey of pain, healing and discovery. With the help of family, friends and a feisty Guardian Angel anyone can learn to live again. Look for book two, Red Dirt, to come out in 2011.
A Stone Barn is book one in the Travelers Trilogy.
Years ago, Lynne lost her family in a horrible car crash. Now a successful business woman, she is about to lose her sanity because she has buried her grief too deeply.
Jared has lost his daughter and his wife to disease and suicide. He has dealt with the grief and moves to America in order to start his life anew, only to discover secrets that could ruin the lives of new friends.
Join us on this journey across time and continents, a journey of pain, healing and discovery. With the help of family, friends and a feisty Guardian Angel anyone can learn to live again.
Look for book two, Red Dirt, to come out in 2011.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A Stone Barn
By Nancy Lynn
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Nancy Lynn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHer whole life had been the ideal, old-fashioned All-American life. A big brother, a little brother, Dad worked to support the family and Mom stayed home to keep them all in line. They all went to church every Sunday and attended vacation bible school in the summer.
She did well in high school and was accepted to every college to which she applied. She was a fairly good-looking, reasonably intelligent woman and falling madly in love with the man of her dreams during college hadn't been too hard.
She never had any burning desire to be anything in particular. Her college degree was Environmental Management, but she never had any real plans for what to do with her life. She got married, she worked at the local Parks and Recreation Office, but she never felt fulfilled.
Then she had kids. BOOM! She found her niche. Raising three children and keeping house for her breadwinner suited her just fine. B.C. (Before Children), she tried the workplace and discovered she hated working for other people. So running a family – being her own boss – worked out just fine. Once the kids were school age, she volunteered at the schools and in the community when she wanted to, said no when she didn't.
She and her husband loved doing things with the kids – museums, hiking, art shows, fishing. But they also loved doing things without the kids. Museums, hiking, art shows, fishing. Or just plain nothing. One thing that always made them crazy were people who felt that every hour of every day had to be totally structured. People who were so involved in everything that you needed to make an appointment just to see if they wanted to go to the local sports bar for a few drinks. People who were constantly driving their kids to some kind of sporting event or music lesson or dance class, then hurrying themselves off to aerobics classes and PTA meetings. People whose day was so structured that they couldn't live without a Dayrunner and a Palm Pilot.
Sitting and doing nothing every once in a while was kind of fun. Once a week they had a family night – they ordered pizza and watched TV or a movie together, sometimes played a board game. It gave the brain a chance to rest and gave people a chance to get to know the person sitting on the couch with them. And the kids seemed to actually enjoy not always being off to some activity. Not to be constantly occupied, entertained, told what to do and how to do it. Sure, they were involved in some activities, but not every minute of every day. They enjoyed having to use their own imaginations and occupy their own time. The house had been full of the products of those imaginings: homemade clay pots, popsicle stick structures, paper mache animals. Kid artwork was proudly displayed alongside art gallery pieces.
For nearly twenty years, her life and all its joys had sailed smoothly along.
Until one day a drunken truck driver altered the course of her life forever. Robert, age 42; Shanna, age 15; Phillip, age12; and Andrew, age 10, ceased to exist. And Lynne, age 40, was forced to learn to live life all over again.
She lost her All-American status.
Chapter TwoRising out of the now tepid bath water, Lynne cursed the inability of the water molecule to remain hot once heated. Then she saw her toes.
"Harry, you'd think with as many therapeutic bubble baths as I've been taking lately, my toes would have built up a tolerance to prunyness!"
Harry, being the sedate, middle-aged gentleman that he was, stuck his elegant tail up in the air and strolled out of the room. He couldn't be bothered with the babblings of a bothersome human. He had been lying on Lynne's bath towel, so when she picked it up and started drying off, she found herself covered with his long black and white hairs.
Harry pulled that most infamous of cat tricks and disappeared into thin air.
Once she succeeded in rinsing the cat hairs off her body, she grabbed a clean towel, checking it first for unwanted fibers. While drying herself, she gazed around her bathroom. Her very elegant bathroom. Lots of mirrored surfaces, shiny brass fixtures and black and white marble flooring were not her idea of homey.
Why did I ever let that interior decorator have her own way, she thought.
When Lynne received her first big management promotion, she'd rewarded herself for a job well done by turning a high-priced interior decorator loose on the three-story brownstone in which she now lived. The woman's claim to fame was that she didn't need her customers to tell her exactly what they wanted. She said that she could tell exactly what your tastes were and what you wanted just by having lunch with you a couple of times.
So the lady claimed. And lunch was always on the customer. Lynne realized that during those lunches, she had never mentioned her previous life. The decorator only saw the 40ish professional woman who had hired her. An upwardly mobile, mid-level management workaholic whose day was so structured that she couldn't live without a state of the art Blackberry.
No wonder this place looks nothing like the house Robert and I were raising our children in.
What the Brownstone became was very elegant, very shiny, and very expensive. The brass-fixture-lots-of-mirror-marble-floor look prevailed throughout the house. The furniture was mostly pale shades of blues and greens with metallic accents in upholstery that did not invite one to sit down. It was also very hard to keep clean. It kept Tatiana, her three-day-a-week housekeeper, busy keeping all that expensive shine shiny. And her only roommate was Harry.
One of those shiny mirrors was now reflecting back a woman on whom life had been a bit rough. Permanent frown lines between her eyebrows made strangers think she never smiled. People who claimed to know her thought she never truly smiled. What most people didn't know was that those lines appeared the moment she opened her front door to a state trooper eight years ago. So, now they were permanent. So, there you have it.
Beneath, she found blue eyes with long, dark lashes she could still be proud of. The beginnings of crows feet but, what the hell, she was 48! Around her mouth were laugh lines that were acquired while she had been living her all-American life. That pleased her. Something left over. Besides family photos, there wasn't much she had kept.
In a fit of depression two months after her family was killed, she had called an auctioneer and told him to sell everything in the house he could. Then she packed up her clothes, her favorite pieces of jewelry, all the photos and left for a month. When she came back, the house was empty except for the kitchen appliances and a few pieces of kid art on the refrigerator: flowers made of hand prints and a self portrait in charcoal that Shanna had done in art class that year. She would regret that forever. She sold the house and left.
The rest of her reflection revealed a body in fairly good shape. She had never been slender, always curvy. So, the outside looked to be in pretty good shape for now. That meant she could concentrate on getting the inside straightened out. Mainly the part between her ears, and the cold lump that was her heart.
Slipping into her favorite red cotton gauze caftan and grabbing what was left of her wine, Lynne was unable to close off all the memories that came flooding through the proverbial gates. That was the thing about memories. Once they started, one always led to another. Her Mom always said that memories went hand in hand, the bad with the good.
When that state trooper had showed up at her door to give her the bad news about her family, her heart instantly and irreparably shattered into a million pieces. She had ranted and raved in her anguish until her family physician introduced her to Valium. The "I don't care pill". She tried to learn to deal with her loss, with the help of her first shrink and more pills. That helped her enough so that she could sleep and exhaustion wasn't a problem, but hadn't done much else for her.
She went to Shrink #1 for a couple of months, but that didn't feel like it was really helping. It seemed to Lynne as if all he could do was mutter meaningless phrases like "humm, I see" and "oh dear, isn't that too bad" and "well, what do you think" and worst of all "I can understand". The last time she went to him was just before she called the auctioneer.
Always, there in the background, were her parents. First with their presence, then with their phone calls. Robert's parents came, stayed for the funeral, then found they couldn't stay any longer. They didn't deal very well at all with the deaths of their oldest son and only grandchildren. They kept in touch, but less and less often until keeping in touch was reduced to exchanging birthday and Christmas cards.
But her parents had always been there with whatever kind of support was needed. Whether it was a shoulder to cry on or a stern admonition to get a grip, they always seemed to know what was needed.
What Lynne needed right now was to deal with her current problem. She had been working on setting up a profitable new support contract with a company run by three men who seemed unable to deal with the realities of the corporate world. It was frustrating her beyond belief and one day during a telephone conference she lost control. Her usual composure deteriorated into an emotional outburst that sent everybody running from her office. She threw the phone against the wall, breaking the connection. Everything went flying off her desk in one sweep of her arm. But it was when she picked up a silver coffeepot and threw it out her office window that Lynne's secretary had called for assistance.
Her parents knew she suffered an emotional breakdown. Ruth and Harvey Nichols were listed as her In Case of Emergency contacts on her employee records. Lynne's secretary called them immediately after the ambulance left the corporate headquarters with Lynne as the star passenger. Ruth and Harvey then called Lynne's two brothers and by the time the sedatives wore off and she woke up in the hospital, her support team was in place. But because she had been admitted for a psychiatric problem, professional psychiatric assistance was in order. Shrink #2 deemed family support secondary in importance and he sent them home.
So, Lynne began a relationship with Shrink #2 and the new drug of choice: Prozac. The "Happy as a Clam" pill. Fortunately, it was only a two-day hospital visit. Once her psychiatric evaluation was done and it was determined that she was no longer a threat to anyone, she was released with the confirmation that she would continue her counseling with Shrink #2 and attend a posh Corporate Stress Reduction Retreat. She hated that she was once again having to put up with unwanted professional help, but there seemed to be nothing she could do about it. And there was no one to blame but herself.
On Lynne's release, she was soon enveloped back into her family support cocoon. They wrapped her up and took her home to her shiny, elegant brownstone. They pampered and comforted her, but the time had come to leave for the Retreat and it came time to release her family support team and go it alone.
There was something she needed to work out on her own.
The Prozac went towards making the sewer rats happy.
Standing in her mirrored and marbled bedroom gazing out at her view of the city, Lynne prepared to put her life back together.
Chapter ThreeThe drive up to the Retreat turned out to be relaxing in itself. Lynne took her own car – no worrying about handling a strange car. One less thing to worry about. Her part-time housekeeper, Tatiana, a 50ish woman with no family, had agreed to stay in the brownstone full-time while Lynne was gone so Harry wouldn't have to go to a kitty kennel. Harry and Tatiana got along well, so there was another thing not to worry about.
The Brownstone. Funny how I never think of it as home.
Looking out at the surrounding scenery Lynne realized that by immersing herself in city life she had forgotten how much she enjoyed the mountains, especially in the autumn. She found herself remembering the names of the trees as she drove along. Brilliant crimson were the maples. Burgundy and mahogany were the oaks. Larches turn yellow and drop their needles. The forever greens of the many varieties of pine trees, with a shock of red from Virginia creepers and wild grapes interlaced in some of the branches were a sight for city sore eyes. The wild apple trees, with their fruit heavy branches, were a temptation to stop and taste. God bless Johnny Appleseed! Then there were all the myriad of bushes and undergrowth, echoing the vibrant tones of the trees. God bless Mother Nature!
I wonder if they serve apple pie at this retreat.
As she drove higher into the mountains, the autumn color gave way to permanent green, and leftover patches of early snow started appearing in the shady spots. The brochure for the retreat said that it sits at an elevation of 3,800 feet, overlooking a valley of hardwood and evergreens.
Must be getting closer.
Just then, coming around a corner, there it was. Just like in the brochure. It poked up through the trees in all its three story, manmade splendor. It was very elegant, kind of like a small Versailles, right down to the circular drive. But it didn't blend in with its surroundings at all. Elegant manmade splendor plopped down amid the elegant natural splendor of the mountains. It just didn't mix.
Lynne pulled up to the front entrance. Sure enough, valet parking. Both the valet, who took her keys, and the porter helping her with her bags were strapping young men eager to please with an eye on making big tips.
"Great. Out of pocket expenses" she muttered, doling out the appropriate amount to the valet.
Walking into the lobby, she suddenly felt under-dressed. The khaki slacks and cardigan sweater she wore seemed out of place and she wondered if the Retreat's interior designer was the same one she had used: marble flooring, gold toned shiny surfaces as accents, off white walls with a piece of artwork every once in a while and upholstered furniture in shades of greens and wheat. No wood accents that suggested a mountain retreat. Instead, it was the corporate world brought to the mountains.
Lynne assumed that "mountain retreat" meant casual dress. So that was what she had brought. Casual. Granted, it was all right out of an LL Bean catalog, but it was still just casual.
And, judging by the way the desk clerk was looking down her nose at Lynne, casual wasn't good enough.
"May I help you, Madam?" Turned Up Nose asked.
Lynne took a business card out of her gold engraved cardholder and handed it to the desk clerk. "I'd like to check in."
As Turned Up Nose checked Lynne's reservations, her face became more and more pleasant until finally, when she handed Lynne her key card for her room, Turned Up Nose had become Purrface.
"Do you have a name?" Lynne asked. She noticed that so far, none of the staff wore nametags. The only thing that distinguished them as staff members was the similar clothing they wore: Dark green vests, black slacks, white dress shirts and monotone ties.
"Yes Ms. Simms," the clerk purred, all smiles now. "I'm Jeanine. Just let me know if there is anything I can do for you to make your stay with us more enjoyable. Anything at all."
I just bet Lynne thought, with an equally pasty smile on her face.
Following the still nameless porter to her room, Lynne could feel the tension building in her neck and shoulders. You can deal with this, she told herself. These people just work here and have no effect on your life whatsoever. And they can just learn to live with casual.
"Do you have a name, young man?"
"Yes Ma'am, I'm Neal."
"Why don't any of you wear a nametag?"
"It's staff policy Ma'am. Keeps things on a corporate level. Here's your room."
Inserting her keycard to open the door of her room, Lynne looked Neal the Porter in the eye.
"Please inform your supervisor that I find it extremely bothersome to have to ask the staff members their names. If he isn't going to have any of you wear nametags, the least he can do is to teach you all how to introduce yourselves!"
A dumbfounded Neal followed Lynne into her room and placed her bags on the floor. Lynne simply stood there with her arms crossed and one eyebrow raised. It didn't take Neal the Porter long to figure out that there would be no tip, so he excused himself and softly shut the door on his way out.
Excerpted from A Stone Barn by Nancy Lynn Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Lynn. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
**** A Story of Personal Tragedy, Spiritual Reawakening and Romance Recommended. Review by Douglas Quinn, Author of the Webb Sawyer Mysteries, The Ellis Family Suspense Thrillers, etal. and by Donna Higgins Colson, Artist/Publicist From Douglas Quinn: Set in western Pennsylvania and the Finger Lake Region of New York, A Stone Barn follows the separate lives of Lynne Simms and Jarred Cameron, two people from different walks of life, as they struggle to reinvent themselves after each experienced family tragedies. Lynne Simms lost her husband and children to a fatal auto accident. After eight years of losing herself in her work, she has a nervous breakdown and finds herself at a high-priced retreat for overworked and stressed out executives. Scotsman, Jarred Cameron, lost his wife to suicide after their daughter succumbed to leukemia. Wanting to start over, he comes to America to take over a family bed and breakfast in the Catskill Mountains of New York. With the help of a guardian angel named Sophie, they find each other. They also find that they share more than their family tragedies. But will their common journey of pain, healing and discovery be enough for them to find comfort in each other? In the beginning of the book, a moving poem entitled For Victoria by the author caught my attention. The poem alone draws the reader into the novel. This is Nancy Lynn's first novel. Her second novel Red Dirt, has just been released. Recommended. From Donna Higgins Colson: (Caveat: Donna knows the author because, many years ago, she taught art to her twin sons; nevertheless, Donna promised both the author and Douglas Quinn that she would give a fair and honest review) As part of my reading-for-sanity program, I just finished A Stone Barn by Nancy Lynn. I enjoyed her cast of characters and her skill at unfolding the tale. It's obvious that the author is a writer who knows whereof she speaks and is not afraid to put into words abstract concepts of spirituality and emotional healing. This is a novel that exhibits the wonder and hope for those who are overwhelmed by the unfortunate events in their lives. Recommended.
Nancy Lynn may be a new author, but she is an old soul with terrific insight to dealing with life's booby traps. Her easy-going style pulls the heart strings and takes the reader into her inner circle of best friends.