Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tammy Doherty's Celtic Cross - A Beautiful, Dangerous Love Story...Includes Tribute to Maureen O'Hara as Cristeen

She had worn the Celtic Cross the day she rode toward the ranch, her hands bound to the saddle, her horse leading the way, working to save his mistress from not falling off...
Everybody had run to help her, quickly seeing the blood-soaked cloth that clung to her leg. One ran to quiet the horse with his special words, as the others took her into the house... Where had she come from? Did anybody recognize her from nearby? The unfortunate part was that, even if she were conscious, awake, but now she wouldn't be able to tell them... 

Earlier she had been conscious and she had remembered a little...


With a detached curiosity she noted that the blood soaked fabric... appeared a dark reddish-brown color. Almost black in places. That’s not right. Her mind grappled with reason. A glance to her left confirmed the correct fabric color as the indigo blue of denim. She looked again at her right leg. Thoughts and memories swirled and the explanation danced just out of reach. What had happened? Blackness closed in around her. Just as it seemed about to swallow her, Cristeen remembered. The memory snapped her eyes open, if only for moment. She had been shot, twice. Hours ago. But how long ago? It had been dark, the landscape bathed in the silvery light of a full moon. Now the sun was rising. Had only one night passed? She was so tired...

She was dying. 
She accepted the conclusion as logical and inevitable. Had she the supplies needed to nurse herself back to health, death would yet be inescapable. She was simply too tired. Merely staying conscious was becoming nearly impossible. She should give up and give in to the blackness. Her eyelids drooped closed; her head bobbed. 
No! I’m not ready to die.


Rocky Mountain Range
Celtic Cross


By Tammy Doherty

This is my first time reading Tammy Doherty, but the Title and blurb sounded interesting--and I'm certainly happy to have read and enjoyed it. If you are into romantic suspense, with an emphasis on romance,  do check this one out! While I was doing my usual searches, I came across a pic of Maureen O'Hara,
who I remembered as a spunky, quick-tempered filly much like our the female lead. Since the world lost her last year, I'm merging a tribute in with  this article to remember this beautiful lady of the screen.

The suspense starts right at the beginning with a young woman comes riding onto the ranch owned by Matt Donovan... She is near death, having been shot in two places and beaten as well.  They call the doctor and quickly learn that there is no choice, she will need to stay there until she recovers or they find out who she is...

Matt, his sister and her fiancee, plus an older man who has essentially become part of the family, live there and do as much as they can to help her get past her initial fear, especially of the men. Without many words, however, readers quickly see that Matt has already formed an attraction, especially when he sees how much she comes to love the ranch the mountains and the horses. We soon see how his kindness and gentleness and gentlemanly ways wins over her fear of him...(You should recognize the man stepping in for Matt since John Wayne often played in movies with O'Hara...)

And, of course, his sister is wonderfully happy to have another woman, a sister, to have there, even for a short time...

As time went by, the woman started to have nightmares and things began to come back to her through the dreams...Her childhood was not a happy one. Her mother, who had given her The Celtic Cross, had died early and her father had taken to drinking, striking out against her because she had grown to look like her mother. Her younger sister looked more like her father's side of the family, so he tended to favor her...

Things got so bad that she had run away, dressed like a boy, and had participated in many dangerous activities...

Thinking of her sister soon led to nightmares of what had happened--how she had got here!
And no matter what time of the day, Matt was there to calm her and either listen to her tell about her dreams or change the subject to keep her from thinking too deeply

Ty, who took care of the horses, was the first to notice how comfortable she felt around the horses, spending time and talking to them and soon they became friends and spent time talking about her life... He was the one who got her to admit something that she didn't know how Matt would think about it--she was prone to first consider how Matt would react and as she began to care for him more and more, her fear grew as well--that she was a horse whisperer... (Ok, when I saw the pic for O'Hara playing Lady Godiva, I just had to use, LOL!) and there were so many other issues from her past that she was ashamed of. 

But one night she had dreamed of her heritage of the fairies and music was guiding her dreams... 
Stories of fairies, elves, and princesses were the fodder of Cristeen’s childhood imagination. Her mother, born and raised in Ireland, loved to pass on the traditional stories of her homeland. Tales of magical, mystical times and deeds when everything was possible, love conquered all, and good always overcame evil in due time. Mother. Such a powerful and potent word. It evoked in Cristeen feelings of love, security, warmth, and tenderness. Images of a beautiful, lithe woman sprang into her mind. Memories of being held in her mother’s arms or rocking on her mother’s lap.


And when the music suddenly stopped, she awoke and went hunting for it... she found that Matt had been playing the piano... Was it then that they began to grow closer? For she soon was showing an entirely different side--a mischievous tease who could playfully and quickly turn a conversation with her control of words--that he became enchanted...and those on the ranch was watching their every move...

But this was not to go on...soon her dreams were opening up to the day when she had first come to the ranch...to what happened as she was shot in the leg, in the shoulder, and beaten... She knew now that her sister had been with her that day and she clearly now knew who she was...

Somebody else, though, also remembered that time and still raged that he had not been able to stop both women and get rid of them for killing his friend...

Doherty's attention to small details and her wonderful ability to set a scene and bring readers into what is happening is remarkable and allows us to totally sink into the intimacy of the lives we are watching. A Christian author, I was impressed with how and when she brought God into the storm...i.e., when Matt saw her cross, he hoped that she believed in it enough to help her through the turmoil she was going through. 

For Cristeen, she had been away from any type of religion for so long--using her cross to bring her mother's presence to her--that we watch as she begins to hear Matt's own commitment to God and how he came to make that decision. The author has led us through an inspirational experience, just by watching the lives of two people falling in love and sharing about the importance of their faith. Enchanting and almost mystical, especially when we learn that Cristeen speaks Gaelic without ever having learned it and gentles her time with horses by using the language from her heritage.

When it comes to the dramatic danger as the book closes, we all see that it was surely God who controlled exactly what happened--and everybody who had come to love Cristeen were right there to add their support! A beautiful sensitive yet exciting story that I highly recommend!



GABixlerReviews



Tammy Doherty writes Inspirational/Christian fiction. Her first three novels are Western romances set in late 1800s Colorado. After completing this series, Tammy turned to contemporary romantic suspense. The Mystique of Naultag series is set in a small town in central Massachusetts very similar to the town where she grew up. 

Tammy Doherty grew up in the family greenhouse business but decided to go into an animal related career and became a veterinary technician. Her husband is "The Perennial Guy," so she's back to being immersed in the plant business. Currently, she works for a veterinary distribution company, selling pharmaceuticals and supplies in the Northeast. Tammy shares a blog with critique partner Nike Chillemi. There you can find information about the world of writing along with personal interest articles. Yes, writers have lives too. They just need to be reminded of that sometimes! Visit the blog at http://faith-fiction-friends.blogspot.com/ Or visit http://mystiqueofnaultag.blogspot.com/ about life in small town Massachusetts - the setting of her current works. Learn more about Tammy on her website http://tammydoherty.com



Note: The world lost beautiful and talented Maureen O'Hara in 2015...