9. And, in the way of old friends who know you best, Jen and Rebecca refuse to let Stephanie wimp out. She's dreaming big. They're going to hold her to it.
8. Our hero Daniel is Rebecca's older brother. I've never written the best-friend's-older-brother story. This one was fun.
7. He's also working hard half a world away while they're plotting with a map and his set of darts. Rural medical clinics in the Andes are the perfect escape from his mistakes.
6. There is a very close encounter with a lizard.
5. No bulls were harmed in this story. In fact, the bull turned the tables. No people were harmed, either.
4. Coca Cola really is universal. Someday, we will find it on Mars. Just waiting for us to get there.
3. Good, kind people who work hard are global (because I'm not sure about life on Mars. Just Coke.). In Spanish and so many other languages, teachers do their best to pass on the education that is the key to kids all over the world following their own dreams. Stephanie is a teacher. She understands this.
2. Sometimes the only way to find your happiness is to take a risk that scares you. Stephanie is scared. She's climbing literal mountains here and staring hard at a big fall, but Daniel knows she can do anything.
1. Being a hero isn't about never making a mistake. In Daniel's case, his own arrogance has lost him his job and keeps him working too hard and too alone in the Andes. Stephanie is going to teach him how much more they can accomplish together.
Want to make my day and pick up Winner Takes All? Here are some handy links:
iBooks: http://apple.co/1LVH3VjGoodreads: http://bit.ly/1csf7we
If you aren't quite convinced...
Check out my Pinterest board for this series. See if you can guess what happens in the next book, Heart's Refuge, coming in October. (You don't have to guess. It's DOGS. So many DOGS!) I'll be posting a little sneak peek in my next newsletter so...sign up here!
And here's an excerpt:
If he’d wanted peace and quiet for his drive to Alto, he was totally going to get it. She couldn’t have made inane conversation about sports teams and weather if her life depended on it. She was too busy swallowing back pleas to slow down and be careful. Be more careful. Please be more careful.
Then the truck lurched, heading for the wall instead of the drop, and Daniel cursed. Before she could gather her breath to scream, before the movie of her life began flashing in front of her eyes, he had the truck stopped. “Flat tire.” Instead of shouting it like it might be the thing that spelled the end, his voice was flat with annoyance.
Like a flat tire while clinging to the side of a mountain was the same as a hangnail.
Here it might be.
Stephanie glanced wildly over both shoulders as if something might have changed in the two seconds she’d had her eyes squeezed shut. “Here?”
Daniel rested his chin against his chest for a second and then handed her his bottle. “They hardly ever happen on nice, level spots, especially around here.” He slid out of the truck, and she put both bottles in the cup holders before she inched her way out between the truck and the dusty mountain.
“But you know how to fix it?” Her fingers ached and she realized she’d tangled them together in a tight ball. At this second in this place, she was as equipped to change that tire as she was to fly back to Lima. Eventually she might figure it out, but not before they were flattened into more Peruvian dust.
Daniel wrapped both hands around hers, the ones she didn’t know she was wringing like a true damsel in distress, until some of his calm and warmth seeped through her skin. He’d always been able to do that, break through her worry and give her some peace.