Friday, April 4, 2014

A Taste of Friday First Chapters with Lisa Lickel and A Summer in Oakville

A Summer
in Oakville

Lisa J. Lickel and Shellie Neumeier
Black Lyon Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2011 by LISA J. LICKEL

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any way by any means without the written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews
Please note that if you have purchased this book without a cover or
in any way marked as an advance reading copy, you have purchased
a stolen item, and neither the author nor the publisher has been
compensated for their work.
Our books may be ordered through your local bookstore or by
visiting the publisher:
Black Lyon Publishing, LLC
PO Box 567
Baker City, OR 97814

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, events,
organizations and conversations in this novel are either the products
of the author’s vivid imagination or are used in a fictitious way for the
purposes of this story.

ISBN-10:     1-934912-39-5
ISBN-13:   978-1-934912-39-3

Library of Congress Control Number: 2011935872

Tessa’s Story

Psalm 84:3 “Even the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. ”

Chapter One

Contessa Marie Hasmer Murphy closed her eyes and inhaled the scents of her summer kingdom. First hay cutting—sweet and fragrant alfalfa from Janssen’s across the road—cress, and mint that she had just walked on. A cardinal’s peculiar trilling keen and artesian water bubbling from the spring a yard in front of her rock throne seemed magnified in the leafy glen. Tessa wiggled against her backrest, the channeled bark of the century oak a solid comfort behind her.

Whiny mosquito! Tessa scrunched her brows and batted the insect from her ear. She sighed and sat up. Where’s a good slave with a palm fan when you need one?

Who was she trying to kid? At age forty-eight all she’d been her whole life was a slave to her family, to Oakville. And unappreciated went her efforts to keep the family together. First, Robin. Married and moved so far away. Having grandbabies Tessa couldn’t hop in the Land Rover to visit. Skype was just not the same. Phil. Good riddance. He hadn’t thanked her for anything in the past decade anyway. Lindsay … her baby girl coming home after earning her master’s degree. But not home to mom. Home to grandma.

Tessa leaned over and plucked a small white lady slipper. Everything seemed to bloom earlier each spring. Even though she knew the flower, a member of the orchid family, had no fragrance,
she brought it to her nose, always hoping something might have changed.

Something shimmied the leaves. A muffled step? Tessa stayed still, hoping to see a doe and maybe a fawn. When a large human hand thrust aside the leaves of her willow curtain, she stiffened. Her husband Phil had been gone three months and likely wasn’t coming back. Her father was too weak to walk this far from the house.

“This is private property,” she said.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” a man’s voice called. He entered her domain despite her warning. Tessa glanced around for a weapon, a stick, something. Crime was rare in rural Oakville, Wisconsin, but that didn’t mean it was non-existent.

Hoping he was a hiker wandering off the nearby popular Ice Age hiking trail that meandered through this glacier-gouged part of the state, she asked, “Can I help you? Are you lost?”

The stranger, a young man perhaps her daughter’s age, straightened. “No, ma’am. I believe this is the Hasmer farm.”

Tessa raised a regal brow. “The house is a quarter-mile east. Do you have an appointment?” As if her father was in shape to see anyone, anyway. “Are you looking for someone?” My daughter,
maybe? Lindsay hadn’t mentioned a beau. Such a handsome fella too, with lovely wavy hair and showing buff under his off-white polo. They’d certainly make a cute couple. Already tan, must work outdoors. Huh—or played a lot of golf. Like her husband.

“I’m just out for a walk. Sorry to disturb you.”

He didn’t look in the least like he was sorry as he scanned her special hideout. Hideout? A grown woman needed a place to hide? Tessa went on the defensive and rose from the comfy rock where
she spent so many hours reading and dreaming and watching nature. “I’m Tessa Hasmer Murphy, and this is my father’s farm.” She stood in front of him and folded her arms. “Private property.”

The young man’s knowing little smile seemed to indicate introductions hadn’t been necessary. She changed her mind from her first impression. Hopefully he wasn’t here to see Lindsay. She
tilted her head to look up at him. Did he … his deeply grooved mouth sent her back a couple decades, to college, and … but no. Why bring up old dead memories now?

“Sorry again. I didn’t mean to disturb you.” He turned and left the way he’d come before she could make her lips ask for his name.

Tessa slowly turned to survey her secret place. The ambiance had been ruined. No birds called. Janssen had started spreading manure on his field.

Still clutching the lady slipper, Tessa climbed out, ready to go back to her empty house in town. She walked across a field that hadn’t been worked in ten years and was as tangled as her lonesome life.

About the author:
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She has penned short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer and reader, writing mentor, freelance editor, and blogger. She loves to encourage new authors and is the editor of Creative Wisconsin magazine. Find her at

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