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Monday, March 18, 2013

A Vow Fulfilled & Giveaway (Chapter 6)


Set in 1800 South Carolina, this serial anthology follows the romantic adventure of Miss Celia Sheldon.

Excerpts written by  . . . 

Click to read part 1 ~ part 2 ~ part 3 ~ part 4 ~ part 5

Click HERE for a list of our giveaways. 

Chapter Six

Turner yanked Celia into his arms as an explosion of sound tore through the forest. She nestled closer, her slender hands clasped around the lapels of his waist coat in a death grip, her face buried in the safety of his neck, her warm breath sending shivers of awareness skating down his spine. Her bonnet had fallen back, the ribbons knotted loosely at her neck, a riot of honeyed curls falling in waves around her shoulders. He tightened his arms around her, resting his cheek against her hair, filling his lungs with the scent of her. 

Movement beside Turner made him glance up. The blast from Elijah’s shotgun had left the woods shrouded in a fog of gunpowder, the biting odor stinging his eyes and nose, making him cough. Through the haze, Turner could just make out the shadow of Celia’s servant walking toward Gaskins, then leaning over to pick something off the ground. 

“Mercy, I han’t seen nothin’ this big slithering around these parts since I was knee-high to a peanut,” Elijah said, studying the length of snake hanging from his clutched fist. “Got the makin’s of a good stew.”

Gaskin cringed. “You could have killed a body.”

Elijah lifted the barrel of his gun toward the man. “Still might iffen you don’t throw your gun down.”

A soft thud fell against the damp leaves. Elijah and the pastor both reached the man at the same time, wrestling him to the ground. Over to the side, his cousin William was taking full advantage of Miss Mabel’s fright, his arms around her, whispering inaudible words against her ear. Whatever intentions William may have had for Celia had quickly vanished, replaced by his fear of losing the woman in his arms.

Turner frowned. How would Celia take being thrown over for an upstart?

“Turner?” 

Leaning back, he looked down at Celia’s up-turned face, ribbons of golden curls falling over her shoulders and down her back, brushing against his forearm in a soft caress. Resolve and a kind of sadness had replaced the sassiness that had sparkled in her eyes just moments earlier. For the briefest of moments, he longed to comfort her, to lower his head to hers and kiss her until there was no pain; just the two of them. But he wouldn’t, not until he made her understand his part in his cousin’s deceitful plan. “Yes, dearest?’

If she noticed the endearment, she didn’t acknowledge it, pulling away from him until he had no choice but to release her. “Gregory only wanted to marry me for your grandfather’s inheritance and for the combined wealth of our families. But what of you? What did you stand to gain from kidnapping me?”

Taking her arm, he led her away from the others, but close enough to guard her reputation. The evening breeze blew softly through the water oaks, the lacy tendrils of Spanish moss dancing on the wind, the warm musky scent of the rising tide more pungent than just moments before. He turned to face her, once again caught off guard by his reaction to her beauty. True, Celia Sheldon was lovely but there was something more, a resolve that hid her vulnerability. He fought the urge to take her in his arms again.

“Turner?” 

He drew in a deep breath. “A ring.”

Celia stared at him as if he had gone mad. “You kidnapped me for a ring?”

“It’s my mother’s betrothal ring.” He studied her. “It was stolen not long after my father’s death last winter.”

A silence stretched out between them. For a long moment, Turner thought all hope of gaining her understanding was lost when her slender hand settled gently on his forearm. “I’m so sorry, Turner.”

“Thank you,” he answered, closing his hand over hers, unwillingly to relinquish this small expression of her concern. “My mother grieves his passing greatly, even more so since discovering that her ring had been taken. Fortunate for me, I received a note a few days ago from one of my father’s friends who knew the ring and saw it.”

“Where?”

He smiled down at her. “At a ball that your father gave last week to celebrate your impending marriage.”

“Oh,” Celia whispered, looking down at her hand as if picturing the ruby setting against her finger before dropping her hand to her side. “And what of your grandfather’s estate? Surely, you have an interest in claiming your rightful inheritance.”

Turner shook his head. “My father estate and my own business endeavors will provide very nicely for my children and my children’s children long after I’ve received my reward. My only interest in anything concerning my cousin was in procuring my mother’s ring.”

“I only wished I still wore it,” she said but adding. “So that I could have returned it to its rightful owner.”

“Now, may I ask you a question?”

Celia hesitated for a moment then nodded.

“If you never intended to marry William, why did you accept his offer in the first place?”

She lowered her gaze, her dark lashes fanning out against the creamy skin of her cheek. “I’m not exactly sure. Only that my father thought it was a good match.”

Tenderly cupping her chin in the palm of his hand, he tilted her head back until their gazes met. “Did you love him?”

She gave a very unladylike snort. “From my perspective, property and wealth carry a great deal more importance in the making of a marriage than so called love.”

Not exactly the answer one would expect from a lady of marriageable age, but it did provide an answer to the trail of broken hearts Celia had left in her wake. “You don’t believe that a mutual affection and respect are necessary for a happy union?” 

“I might be more apt to believe in such things if I had witnessed such a match.” Celia took a step back, her hand trembling as she smoothed the front of her gown. “But there have been none in my acquaintance.”

Something in her manner, a sadness around her eyes that spoke of girlish dreams, visions of love and romance broken pushed him to take a step toward her. “I’m sorry, Celia. Sometimes, I forget how blessed I am to have had parents who had so much affection and admiration for each other.”

She lowered her gaze. “It must have been lovely, growing up like that.”

“Yes, it was,” Lifting his hand from his side, Turner traced the delicate line of her chin, warmth shooting up his arm and across his chest before settling around the region of his heart. He lifted her face until her eyes met his. “And it is a vow I have made to myself, to marry only for love and respect as God intended.”

“I very much like that vow,” she whispered, leaning toward him, her eyes a sliver of vivid blue peeking from under a fringe of dark lashes. She moved closer, lifting her lips in an unspoken invitation.

He couldn’t deny himself this one kiss any more than he could forget to take in his next breath of air. Turner lowered his head, gently brushing his mouth against hers before settling his lips against hers. She lifted her arms and wrapped them around his neck, burying her fingers into his hair, bringing him closer. He tightened his hold of her, a feminine bundle of silk and lace in his embrace. Never in all of his days would he forget this moment, when he fell in love with Celia Sheldon.

“Celia!”

They both jumped, the word exploding on the air like a bullet out of old Elijah’s shotgun. But the man coming toward them was a great deal older, regal. A gentleman by all accounts right down to the double barrel pistol aimed at Turner’s chest. He shoved Celia behind him, ready to take a bullet rather than have even one hair on her lovely head put in harm’s way.

“Papa, what are you doing here?”

Papa?

Mr. Sheldon stared at Turner, his cheeks a shade of fiery red, his lips pressed into an unforgiving line. “You were back due home almost three hours ago, young lady. Do you have any idea how frantic your mother is?”

“I’m sorry, but. . .” He felt her take a deep breath. “My driver fell ill, and we had to stop.”

“Yes, I found your driver.” Sheldon glared at him, his finger trembling at the trigger. “With a nice sized goose egg on the back of his head. He told me you had been kidnapped by this man.”

Celia stepped around him, standing by his side. “It was all a misunderstanding.” 

“A misunderstanding?” her father repeated, eyeing them both. “Well, there will be no misunderstanding this, young lady. If word gets out about your so-called abduction, no one in polite society will ever welcome you in their home again.”

“Mr. Sheldon,” Turner started. “If you will allow me to explain.”

But Celia’s father wasn’t finished, staring down at his daughter. “You have dodged the matrimony bullet for the last time. According to the reverend, you and this man have made vows before God and man, and are but the stroke of a quill away from marriage. First thing tomorrow morning, I will see that the papers are signed.”

“But Papa,” Celia rushed forward and grabbed her father’s arm. “Turner and I hardly know each other.”

“You should have thought of that before that display. You will either marry this man. . .” He waved the pistol toward Turner, his face growing redder by the moment. “Or it will be pistols at dawn!”

Contributed by Patty Smith Hall 
www.pattysmithhall.com

A VOW FULFILLED SERIAL SCHEDULE
date/blog/author
3/11 Overcoming with God hosting MaryLu Tyndall
3/12 Laurie Alice Eakes hosts Roseanna White
3/13 Cross and Cutlass hosts Debbie Lynne Costello
3/14 Patty Smith Hall hosts Gina Welborn
3/15 Writing Roseanna hosts Carrie Fancett Pagels
3/18 Inkwell Inspirations hosts Patty Smith Hall

Tomorrow concludes A VOW FULFILLED and our fun blog hop. Chapter Seven will be hosted by Debby Lynne Costello's blog, Sword and Spirit, hosts Laurie Alice Eakes.

SERIOUS QUESTION OF THE DAY:: Celia made a rather flippant vow about who she would marry. Have you ever made a vow and regretted it? What made you break that agreement you'd made? Or did you stick with your vow despite the consequences?

NON-SERIOUS QUESTION OF THE DAY:: Ack! How do you think Celia is going to get out of this pickle? Or will she?

And don't forget our giveaways . . . so leave a comment!

53 comments:

  1. Seriously I can't remember a vow I didn't keep...
    I enjoyed how you sorted out the web that Celia was entangled in and I hope that she does marry Turner;-)

    This has been fun...

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  2. Gosh, how can you stop here?? I have to wait 24 hours to find out what happens next?!

    Jasmine A.
    montanamade(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. Just lovely, Patty! Ooooh, the kiss. Made my morning.

    Oh Gina, if that's a pickle she's in, then I truly love pickles!

    I've loved this serial and look forward to the tie-up but will miss the anticipation.

    I can't remember making any vows flippantly but I've broken one that was serious.
    If you include vowing related to carbohydrates, however....

    TO OUR VISITORS -- Welcome to the Inkwell. We're thrilled to have you here and hope you visit again now that you know where we are.

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  4. Ha! Gotta love when Dad steps in :)

    booksandbeverages (at) gmail.com

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  5. Mon March 18th,
    Hello again. Absolutely loved Chapter 6 ... the excitement and suspense are leaving us wanting more !
    As to vows -- all I can say is, that I "try" my very best: "to be a person who says what she means, and, means what she says".
    As to Celia's predicament ... guess I'm "hoping" she ends up with Turner ... who wants to marry for "love and respect", as God intended. (And Celia obviously wants that very same thing too.)
    Can hardly wait for Chapter 7 !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley
    brennie7@hotmail.com

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  6. Thank you for joining us for Part 6. Patty is a talented author and a dear friend. All these ladies are talented authors and dear friends and sisters in Christ. I've had a wonderful time working with them.

    I had the nerve-racking privilege of finishing up this story, of finding all the threads and straightening them out. Not easy. You'd understand that if you ever saw my attempts at knitting. :-)

    Thank you all for participating with our fun expedition.

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  7. I am loving this book, it is going to be so sad to have it end! Any chance you will do something like this again in the future? It has been so much fun waking up each day to a new chapter of such an exciting book! :)
    michelle-stockton@sbcglobal.net

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  8. Wonderful, wonderful addition, Patty!!!

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  9. Making vows flippanty...does marrying someone I knew for two months count? Maybe we shouldn't go there. LOL.

    Loving the story!!!! So glad it came to the Inkwell today.

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  10. Love the excitement through this chapter! Very much anxious to see what is going to happen in the final chapter!

    In Christ,
    Tracy

    Blog: http://poetics-of-life.blogspot.com/

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  11. This is such a neat idea! Can't wait for the conclusion tomorrow!
    Lisa
    deiselbuffs@yahoo.ca

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  12. Oh it just gets better and better!!
    Except for the mention of SNAKE STEW!! ACK!!! lol
    I do believe Celia has met the man of her dreams.

    As for making vows and breaking them, I am very careful to keep my word, ask my boys about the time they were arguing over the GameCube and I threatened to throw it out the door if they didn't stop. YEP! They didn't and I DID! Crazy thing didn't even break! LOL!!! :)

    Can't wait for tomorrow!

    avonmathews(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. Loved this chapter!!
    I don't remember a vow I've ever made flippantly. The only vow I can remember is the one I gave my husband 10 years ago and I plan to never break it!
    I think Celia will marry Turner. They are wonderful together.
    ~Sarah
    sarpenner(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. I don't make vows I don't intend to keep. And I sure hope Celia and Turner get married! They deserve each other. :)

    amberthereader@juno.com

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  15. By the end of the story, it will probably be the best pickly Celia's ever been in :).

    So on Saturay I was so tired I slept until eleven and I didn't want to get up. Then I remembered it was a new morning, which meant a new chapter, so I leaped out of bed and ran to the computer....only to find this story doesn't continue on weekends. :'( heartbroken....
    Callie
    genuinegagirl(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ps. I hope y'all continue writing stories together like this! I'm so sad it ends tomorrow but excited to see what will happen!

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  16. Oh this just gets better & better. Well as I said before I don't like snakes so I an proud it turned out good.. Hoping that Celia will marry Turner. I hope turner gets the ring back. Maybe gives to Celia .As far as making vows & keeping them , I try to do just that keep them.. I am enjoying this short story story very much . Ohhhh can't wait till tomorrow.
    Elizabeth
    lizd225@gmail.com

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  17. We were taught at an early age to be careful with vows...haven't made one I regretted so far! =)


    OH Celia...just give up and marry the handsome stranger!! If he'll take a bullet for you - I'm sure you'll be able to work things out!

    truckredford (at) gmail (dot) com

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  18. As a young parent, I heard a child care expert say on one of those talk shows that you shouldn't threaten your kids with something you can't carry out or they'll know your words don't have weight. So when I hear a parent say, "Be home by midnight or I'll rip your head off," that makes me cringe. And not just for the image it presents. Someone else might say it's only a term for 'you'll be punished', but kids need to know what the punishment will be before they do the crime. It helps them weigh the consequences and decide if it's worth the risk.

    So when the kid breaks curfew, how can the parent carry out their flippant vow of ripping the kid's head off? They can't. And it's not fair to put another punishment on the kid - like grounding, no TV, taking away electronics - because that wasn't the promised punishment.

    Learning that helped me place reasonable demands on my kids, and they grew up knowing exactly what the rules were, as well as the punishment for breaking them.

    My most memorable experience with this however, was when Crystal was 5 yrs old, and I was tired of her colouring on the walls. Keeping in mind what the child care expert had said, I drew up a list, taped it to the fridge at Crystal's eye-level, and explained to her the punishment for each crime, some of which she'd already pulled off, others I imagined she might be contemplating.

    Several days later, I found her staring at the list and wondered how much of it she could actually read. She finally yelled out, "What's the punishment for writing on the walls?"

    I'm glad to say, she never wrote on the walls again.

    But 2 days later I had to add, 'colouring on the furniture' to the list.

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  19. Ladies, thanks for visiting our blog, reading the story, and leaving a comment.

    Snake stew? I'll pass.

    Dina, I was engaged to hubby longer than we dated. And most of our 6mth engagement, he lived in Texas.

    Vows . . . The verbal ones aren't as much an issue for me as unspoken agreements. I remember when I was in 3rd grade, after my parents told us we had to go to Girls in Action (which I hated back then), I vowed when I was a parent, I would never make my kids go to church or anything that they didn't want to do. I've broken that vow. But I've also been less dictatorshipish about forcing my kids to do things they didn't want to without talking to them about why they didn't want to go.

    I've also made vows such as "i'm never going to let so-and-so break my heart again." We can spend so much time protecting our hearts from pain that we harden our hearts to love.

    Tomorrow Laurie Alice Eakes brings the conclusion to the serial story. It's fitting . . . and probably not something you'd guess.

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  20. Oh such fun - pistols at dawn! I am royally enjoying the twists and turns in this story! You ladies really should put together a book!
    Looking forward to tomorrow :)

    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. What a story. Can't wait for the conclusion. Sad it will be over.
    Nancycooks4u@gmail.com

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  22. Patty, this was great!!! I am amazed how you ladies continue on with this story without missing a beat. I can't wait for the last chapter.....yet, it will be sad as well. God bless!
    debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

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  23. So glad the serial story has finally made it to the Inkwell! Such a gifted group of writers and a great story!

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  24. Anita, I am cracking up over that story with your daughter.

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  25. Well, I'm afraid I made a vow I didn't keep. When I was about nineteen and thoroughly disgusted with my latest boyfriend, I declared I would never get married. . .

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  26. Great story! Oh, the suspense! Nice job, Patty.

    Gina and Dina, I was engaged longer than I dated my husband, too.

    What will Celia do? Hmm, I have some thoughts. Laurie wouldn't leave us without a happy ending, would she? (wink wink)

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  27. Don't fight it, Celia! Sign the paper.
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

    Serious: Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they are agreed?
    thankfully, our vow together has held ~ we will be married 29 years in May

    Non-Serious: When my husband was in the service he told me he heard Cross over the Bridge by Patti Page ~ he thought the one line was, "leave your pickle patch behind you," which he had done from their farm.

    I don't think Celia is in a pickle ~ I hope she finds out it isn't dill but sweet ~ she will relish Turner!

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  28. Hi everyone! I've had a blast doing this with my friends--we'll have to do this again real soon!

    As far as vows go, I've broken one--like Celia, I promised to marry a man then backed out when I realized I couldn't see us lasting a lifetime together. I don't like breaking promises, but in this case, it was better than a broken marriage.

    I proposed to my husband of 30 years on our very first date--I KNEW he was the one for me, and he still is. Only man who can still make me belly-laugh! And he's a red-head which I have a serious thing for!

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  29. Lady DragonKeeperMarch 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    I usually make promises to myself like, "I'm going to study or write ___ this week" ... not quite vows. My success rate of keeping them are not quite as high as I'd like though. =)

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  30. Oh wow! I thought Elijah really had shot Gaskins! I absolutely believe that they will get married tomorrow :) After all, it is a romance, and the name is A Vow Fulfilled... Lol. Can't wait to read the last chapter!!

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  31. I LOVE this so much!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait for tomorrow's chapter, but I'm sad it will end! I have enjoyed this.

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  32. I am loving this so much and hate for it to end. I probably won't win a prize, but this has been exciting. I am a follower of OWG and love it.
    Maxie Anderson mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  33. I try to keep my promises and definitely my vows. I hope this great couple gets married! I am so enjoying this story! Thank you authors!
    southernbelle75@hotmail.com

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  34. Love the comments! I've made quite a fee flippant vows to my kids. Noy proud to admit that. Nor that I didn't keep those vows. Such as "you two stop yelling at each other or I'll cut your tongues out!" funny thing is they both stopped yelling at each other and said "thats not funny, mom."

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  35. I think Celia will marry Turner and be very glad she did! This is such a fun story; it kind of reminds me of a really old movie, a melodrama.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  36. Only with the Lord's help am I able to keep commitments.

    Hmm, Celia is in a rather tasty pickle:-) By your leave, I do hope she marries Turner. Anticipating the last installment!

    aizess@christianbookreviewblog.com

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  37. Ooh my, your leaving us in wonton need of seeing this resolved in a happier than it began kind of way! I am most certain that Celia will have a clear head come the morrow, and sign with a quill to complete the marriage with Turner! At this point, you'd have to surely pity her the complete fool, after he showed her every ounce of what she'd hope to find in a man deemed worthy of marrying!

    On the serious and not so serious questions,... I am not yet at a stage in life where that came to pass, and on the second question, I think she's going to find that love came unexpectedly to her and that its the love that can last a generation! She doesn't need to wriggle or wrangle out of the pickle, she needs to rather see what is in front of her and accept that the best moments in life are not planned! :)

    I cannot wait for the finale of this serial! Thank you to each of the writers who penned such a riveting tale!

    inkand-blogaways(at)usa.net
    //Florida

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  38. It seems rather poetic that Celia finds herself facing a shotgun wedding after she "shot down" all her previous beaus, often rather frivolously. And I think the papa who has been dragged through all her broken relationships has a right to be steamed enough to force the issue.
    Looking forward to tomorrow's big finish.

    dsks88(AT)gmail(dot) com

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  39. What suspense! Can't remember any vows made that I regretted - however, am sure there were some when I was going through that "young & foolish" stage. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing.

    bonnieroof60@yahoo.com

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  40. This has been fun. Our God so has a sense of humor and you ladies have shown that well. I do hope both of them keep the vows they made. They belong together. rttl@mosquitonet.com

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  41. This has been so much fun & all of you ladies have done such a great job of taking what was given and running with it. A sign of very creative & great authors & I can't wait to read the last chapter of this story.

    One vow I made that I was reminded about by the ladies talking about vows to our children. I also had been taught that. You shouldn't make threats if you didn't intend to follow through, so, when my 1st born son was trying me to see if I 'really meant it" I had to follow through, even though it was difficult. I had told him that I was going to count down from 3' and if he didn't comply, I would begin counting UP to how many swats he would receive. He didn't believe me & after reaching a high # of swats, he looked at me to see if I would really do it--many swats later (yes, they were light ones...), he believed me and would not let me get to more than 1 or 2 swats & usually made sure it was NO swats. LOL

    I believe that Turner & Celia will both fulfill their vows--to each other! (BTW, I loved the way someone above put it: hope the pickle is not Dill, but sweet that they will both relish...(did I get that right? ;-)

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  42. Wonderful chapter!!! It might be my favorite so far. Of course she isn't getting out of this. How can she let Turner go? He is perfect for her :)

    homesteading at charter dot net

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  43. What will I do when you all end this lovely serial?????? It is so great each day to wonder just where you will take these two!! I hope she signs!!! :D Blessings! Darlene
    spangldlady[at]gmail[dot]com

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  44. I don't remember making that sort of a vow, but I've said things that I wished I hadn't. Sometimes we speak first and think later--regrettably.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  45. I was sick yesterday, but glad I could find this post today. I so enjoyed reading Patty's section when I got my copy of "A Vow Fulfilled." And now we have Laurie Alice's to finish it out!!!

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  46. I was sick yesterday, but glad I could find this post today. I so enjoyed reading Patty's section when I got my copy of "A Vow Fulfilled." And now we have Laurie Alice's to finish it out!!!

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  47. I loved reading this chapter with that kiss from Turner... a perfect moment beautifully written! Truth be told I don't think she'd care that much to get out of this pickle... although I'm sure she'd like Turner to propose of his own violition!

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  48. Silly comments can come with serious repercussions. i love that both Turner and Celia made vows that seemed more like comments! Hurrying along now to read the rest! Thanks!

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  49. Loving the twists and turns of this story! I'm thinking she best honor her vow! ;)

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  50. No, never made a vow that I recall that I broke. But who knows? Anyway, this story sure moves rapidly. Perhaps that is the way with co-authored serials.

    godleyv [at]yahoo[dot]com

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  51. I've not made a vow though my husband - when he makes a gentlemen's agreement - he sticks to his end though many at the other end of the handshake didn't keep their end of the deal. I'm always ready to challenge but he says a Christian keeps his end regardless.

    She's going to marry him!

    missionwife@hotmail.com

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  52. I'm very careful about making vows. Fortunately by God's grace my husband and I have kept our wedding vows!

    And I think Celia and Turner will keep theirs as well!

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