Duty to Protect….and cookies!


Early forecasts for the Upper Midwest indicated that we were going to have an unusually cold and snowy winter,   though so far we’re still having lovely forty degree days (far nicer than thirty below!) and have had just a single whisper of snowflakes one day.  I can still water the horses using the outside water tank, and even the barn cats’ water bowl hasn’t been freezing overnight, which makes life a lot easier!  But even though the weather is still lovely, I’ve got our Christmas decorations up and now need to start baking. How about you–are you set for the holidays?  Page down, for one of our family’s favorite recipes for this time of year!

DUTY TO PROTECT,  my December release, wraps up a very busy year.   My 2011 releases include:
April:     Murder at Granite Falls        (Love Inspired Suspense)
June:    Second Chance Dad            (Love Inspired)
July:     Home at Blackberry Hill        (Harlequin Heartwarming)
October:      A Home In Hill Country  (Harlequin Heartwarming)
November:  A Loner’s Thanksgiving Wish  (Love Inspired)
December:  Duty To Protect              (Love Inspired Suspense)

DUTY TO PROTECT is  a Love Inspired Suspense set during a very snowy winter in the ranching country of Colorado and Montana.  Brrrrrr!  I’m glad it was Emma and not me,  trapped in a frigid horse trailer crossing Nebraska!   It’s now available in bookstores everywhere, as well as at www.harlequin.com, www.christianbook.com,  www.barnesandnoble.com,  and Amazon.

Here’s the blurb…

She needed a safe haven…

After nearly a lifetime in witness protection, Emma White depends on the anonymity of her false identity. But when her mother dies under suspicious circumstances, her father is shot and Emma is framed for murder, all of her security is gone.  There’s nothing left to do but run.

Montana cop-turned-rancher Jake Kincaid is an unlikely defender.  Why would an ex-cop believe an accused killer?  Though he is determined to find the truth, he is an honorable man who makes Emma feel safe.  With his drive to protect her, she knows staying on his ranch endangers him both and she needs to leave–yet now that he has captured her heart, she’s not sure she can walk away.


DUTY TO PROTECT 1/2   RT Bookclub Magazine Rating (4.5 stars )   and MURDER AT GRANITE FALLS  (April)  are both  Nominees for Best Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense of 2011 by RT Bookclub Magazine.

RT’s review of Duty To Protect:

After testifying against a powerful drug cartel, Emma White and her family were placed in the witness protection program. Over the past few years, both of her parents have been targeted and killed. Emma appears to be next. Fearful for her life, Emma stows away in Jake Kincaid’s truck. After hearing her story, Jake vows to keep her safe. Emma does not want to place his family in danger, but she may have no other option. A riveting page-turner with the promise that forgiving others and turning one’s worries over to God will help in making a new start. Reviewed By: Leslie McKee

I hope you’ll track down a copy, and that you’ll enjoy reading it!


I’d like to share the best recipe I’ve ever found for cut-out cookies, one especially great for when you’re baking with small kids.  As much as you work with it, reforming the odd bits and pieces into a ball and rolling it out again, it still stays nice to work with.   I’ve used this since the early 1980’s.  Once, while reaching for the nutmeg, I knocked a container of chili powder into the bowl, the lid came off and the entire container emptied over the cookie dough.  I removed what I could, then added ample cocoa powder to cover the taste–and everyone still loved them.  Now, this is one very forgiving recipe!  🙂

Super Easy Roll-out Cookies    –The Rustands

1 cup shortening           1 ½  tsp cream of tartar
1 ½ cups sugar              1 tsp soda
2 eggs                           ½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla                  4 cups flour
2 Tbsp milk
optional: 1 tsp cinnamon  and/or  1 tsp nutmeg
You can drop these on a  cookie sheet and flatten with a fork, or use for cut-out cookies.  We like to double the recipe, and roll them out  quite thin.  350 degrees, 8-10 minutes.  My favorites are the ones liberally decorated with cinnamon red hots candy!
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