Lane announces the bittersweet
release of Broken Wings, the first book in the
Thistle Series. Only a short time ago,
we offered a contract to the amazing
Dianne Price for her six-book WWII
romance. Knowing she had terminal cancer,
we did everything within our power to get the first book out while
she was still
However, she passed on to Glory one week
shy of the first release. How blessed we
all are that her legacy lives on in these
stories. Please read Broken Wings and fall in love
with Rob and Maggie and the isle of
Innisbraw. (Book Two, Wing and a Prayer, releases in October!)
E-versions are available at:
The print book will release soon--check our Product Page
to place your order!
The Book's Dedication
Foremost, to the glory of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And for my husband and best friend,
True, who always wore the “Colonel’s cap” in
our family, but only with calm Christian dedication, love, and compassion. See you in Heaven, my
was granted her wish and she joined her beloved Savior and her husband in
Heaven. She is probably dancing a Scots
reel even as you read this.
He lives to fly—until a jagged piece of flack changes his
A tragic childhood
has turned American Air Forces Colonel Rob Savage into an outwardly indifferent loner who is afraid
to give his heart to anyone. RAF nurse
Maggie McGrath has always dreamed of falling in love and settling down in a thatched cottage to
raise a croftful of bairns, but the war
has taken her far from Innisbraw, her tiny Scots island home.
Hitler’s bloody quest to conquer Europe seems far away when Rob and Maggie are sent to an infirmary
on Innisbraw to begin his rehabilitation
from disabling injuries. Yet they find themselves caught in a battle between Rob’s past, God’s plan,
and the evil some islanders harbor in
their souls. Which will triumph?
Dianne fell in love with writing at the age of five. Because
her father was a barnstorming pilot, she
was bitten early by the “flying bug” as
well. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and met and married the man God had prepared
for her—an aeronautical engineer. After
their five children were in school, she burned the midnight oil and wrote three novels, all
published by Zebra Press. When her
husband died only three years after he retired, she felt drawn to visit the Outer Hebrides Isles of Scotland,
where her husband’s clan (MacDonalds)
and her own clan (Galbraiths) originated. Many yearly trips, gallons of tea, too little sleep, and
a burst of insight birthed her Thistle
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Dianne, born August 1933, lived joyfully
despite dealing with terminal cancer and
died in August 2013, a mere week before
the release date for the first book of this series, Broken Wings. Everyone involved with the production of this
book and the next five has been blessed
beyond measure to have known Dianne and be a part of giving readers a chance to meet Rob and
Maggie and visit the beautiful,
fictional isle of Innisbraw.
of Innisbraw, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Stay! Don’t go! Maggie McGrath struggled to ignore
the words screaming in her mind. She tucked a tissue-wrapped sprig of heather
into a fold in her battered traveling bag. Too dry for the fragrance to linger,
but she’d put it in a drawer. When the longing for home shredded her heart,
she’d hold the fragile, purple buds close to her nose and imagine the sweet
scent perfuming the air every summer.
Her fingers trembled as she fastened the bag and looked
around the wee bedroom she’d shared with her younger brother, Calum, for over
half of her life. His box-bed unmade, sheets and bed plaid in a muddle. A
ragged sweater and pair of soiled trousers crumpled on the floor. Tears burned
her eyes. Typical of a nine-year-old lad who lived for the day he would be old
enough to crew a fishing trawler. Och, she would miss him so
Heedless to those words still torturing her mind, she pulled
the sides of her waist-length black hair into a celluloid clip at the top of
her head and dragged her bag into the cramped room that served as the cottage’s
living quarters and kitchen.
Her father stood at the small, deep-set window above the
sink, his face toward the morning sun colouring the cloudless blue sky with a
soft blush of orange.
The bump of her bag over the rough stone-flagged floor
seemed to rouse him. He placed his cup of tea on the scarred table and walked
toward her, arms outstretched. “Ready are you to be off then, lass?” He
enveloped her in a hug, the tweed of his jacket scratchy, yet so familiar,
against her cheek.
The soft cadence of the Scots he spoke threatened to crack
her resolve. She’d hear only English in Edinburgh. I cannot stay. I have to go.
A sigh. “Aye, as ready as can be.”
“I know ’tis hard.” He stepped back and wiped a tear from
her cheek. “But in a bit over twa months I’ll join you in
She wanted him to beg her to stay, to refuse her opportunity
to study at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s Nursing School. But why would he?
It was her dream, the culmination of everything she had studied for, including
four years at a boarding academy on the Isle of Harris where she had learned to
speak English as fluently as her father. Hard years, those. Painful raps on her
knuckles when she spoke Scots, followed by humiliating mockery from the
His warm hand rested on her shoulder. “On you come, lass.
I’ve a pottle of strong tea waiting.” He poured tea into her mother’s treasured
china cup. The burden in her heart lifted a wee bit. It seemed only fitting she
embark on her journey into womanhood after drinking from her mother’s legacy.
If Elizabeth McGrath had survived the birth of her laddie, Calum, she would
have been proud of her daughter.
Maggie added heather honey and milk to her tea and stood in
front of the glowing peat fire, shivering from an inner chill no flame could
warm. It was already gone 0530. In less than half an hour she would be saying
“guid-by” to all she held dear. And how would Calum fare? “Are you certain
Calum will be all right staying with Morag and Alec when you
“Och, the lad’s spent most of every winter with the
MacDonalds since you started academy.” Her father settled into his rocker with
a grunt of satisfaction. “And he’ll have a bed to himself now, what with their
Graham going off to school.”
A few strands of grey invaded his dark brown hair and short
beard. When had that happened? It seemed only yesterday he’d rocked her in his
lap and sung silly ditties in Scots or the Gaelic to soothe away her tears from
a skinned knee or bad dream. That had all changed ever-so-gradually over the
years. There was no question he loved her and Calum. But as head of
Orthopaedics at the Royal Infirmary, he now spent most of his time in
Edinburgh. Only one short three-month visit beginning in August and a weekly
radio call the rest of the year to fill the aching void in their
Her heart cried out to recapture those carefree childhood
days when her life revolved around family and friends, this wee stone cottage
with its thatched roof, and her beloved green island. But she would be eighteen
in a few months—old enough to fall in love, marry, and have her own bairns to
And old enough to voice the one subject she’d never dared
broach aloud. “Are you never coming home to open your infirmary permanently?”
Maggie choked out the words. “I know what you do is important, but Calum needs
a faither, no’ just fishermen who have their own lads.”
He stroked his beard, avoiding her gaze. Was he considering
an excuse—perhaps something familiar, that he told himself every day to assuage
She shouldn’t allow such words to ruin her last moments at
home. Leaving her untasted tea on the table, she dashed to the door, pulling it
open with a jerk. Even the pervasive scent of the heather covering the towering
slopes of Ben Innis and tumbling in purple splashes down braes and over
hillocks brought no solace as she raced to the low, dry-stone wall separating
their croft from the path which ran across the high, flat top of Innis
Tears pooled in her eyes, blurring the harbour below and the
Minch stretching to the horizon, its waves capped with white horses whipped to
a gallop by the brisk morning breeze. What if the rumors of an imminent war
with Germany came true? Everyone on the island was talking about Hitler’s
invasion of Austria. Would he be satisfied to stop there or would he want more
and more until all of Europe erupted into flames the way it had in the last
Great War? Calum was too young to serve, but what about Graham MacDonald, Mark
Ferguson, and the other lads on Innisbraw? Their ruddy-cheeked, innocent faces
swam before her eyes. How many would die? How many would never come home to
take up sheep or cow crofting or fishing with their fathers?
Her father came behind her and his strong arms pulled her
against his chest. He rocked her back and forth for a moment before speaking.
“I canna leave my work yet, Maggie. I’m on the brink of perfecting a new
technique for repairing compound fractures. Mebbe when you’ve finished your
training we’ll come back together. I’ll need a nurse at our infirmary, and in
the meantime, Elspeth and Hugh have promised to write often.” He squeezed her
shoulders before his steps faded away on the scudding breeze.
Maggie bit her lip to keep from weeping aloud. She couldn’t
bear to hear the names of her two dearest friends when she wouldn’t see them
for at least two years. Elspeth NicAllister had been her surrogate mother since
Calum’s birth. Hugh MacEwan, the island’s minister and other anchor in her
life, had never been too busy to offer words of encouragement or scriptures to
give her guidance.
Och, Heavenly Faither, please help me be strong, for You
planted the need to help others in my heart. Help me remember the honey-sweet
scent of the heather, the sound of the sea sooking on the shore, the tumbling
burns and shaded glens, even the plomping rain and skailing winds of winter.
But most of all, give me the faith that I’ll come home to Innisbraw
Edenoaks Air Base, England
Early May, 1942
“You gotta have a death wish.”
Colonel Rob Savage steeled himself against the pleading eyes
of Major Dennis Anderson, his second-in-command. “The mission’s set. It’s a go
whether you approve or not.” Rob untangled his long legs from the barstool,
waved at the fug of cigarette smoke clouding the teeming officer’s club, and
shrugged into his A-2 bomber jacket. “I’m going to catch some shut-eye.
Wheels-up at 0400.”
Den snagged his sleeve. “Let me fly cover for you. A
single-plane strike over Metz is suicide.”
Arguments flew through Rob’s mind, each as hollow as his
bones. Suicide? No way. Pushing the odds against surviving the war? Yeah, he’d
give Den that, but he’d never dodged his commitment, no matter the risk. Every
bomb dropped on German-occupied territory brought them closer to victory. He shot Den a
thumbs-up. “I’m counting on you to lead the group to that alternate target
Den returned the good-luck gesture. “Somebody needs to watch
your back. At least I tried.”
Rob grunted. Knowing Den, he hadn’t given up. He’d be at the
hardstand in the morning, trying to talk his way into flying right
seat. “See you at Interrogation tomorrow. That cot’s calling my
A grin split Den’s flushed face. He leaned closer, Old Spice
shaving lotion marking his territory like a feral tomcat on the prowl. “Who
needs cot-time when there are enough nurses here to make a man drool?” He
smacked his lips and exchanged winks with a nurse carrying two beers away from
the bar. “Or are you going to spend the rest of your life married to an
Not again. When would Den stop trying to set him up with a
date? Sure, he wanted a family to replace the one he’d lost so long ago. But a
world torn apart by war had a nasty way of putting the kibosh on most dreams,
and his awkward attempts at social conversation were harder work than planning
strikes and flying lead.
He reached for his beer and took a swig, gaze sweeping the
officer’s club. From the radio, a band belted out “Chatanooga Choo Choo,” while loud,
boisterous officers packed the Nissen hut, drinking beer, sucking on
cigarettes, and openly ogling the nurses sitting at their own crowded table.
Was it always this noisy?
It’d been a mistake to hope to relax before hitting the
sack. The morning’s bombing strike had him so tied in knots he’d be lucky to
clock a couple of hours sleep before briefing his crew.
His crew. Nine good men—like family—whose survival depended
on him. Oh, God, don’t
let me fail them. Den’s poke in the ribs interrupted his dark
“Dare you to dance with that teensy bee-u-tiful nurse in the
RAF uniform.” The redhead rocked back on his barstool. “That’s what I call a
Rob drained his pint. “Then you dance with her. The gossip
mill’s busy enough without adding the base commander to the mix.”
“But she’s just your type, Bucko. You know, serious looking,
kind of uncomfortable, sitting on the edge of her seat like she’s about to
run—just like you at every dance at the Point.”
Frowning, Rob turned to look. And froze. The lieutenant’s
black hair, pulled into a bun above her gray-blue uniform collar, caught the
overhead lights and sparkled like raindrops on wet tarmac. His fingers itched
to loosen the pins and watch it spill down her slim back. Pale skin, delicate
nose—and the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. He’d signed the papers placing her
on-loan from the RAF, yet he couldn’t recall seeing her around the base
hospital. A yearning he’d thought long buried threatened to weaken his resolve,
and a bitter taste flooded his mouth as he looked away.
Den waggled his eyebrows and flapped his arms. “Chicken. I
“Enough.” Rob growled. Refusing a double-dare would deal Rob
a crushing defeat in their ongoing game of one-upmanship.
Besides, she might get his mind off that bombing
He stood, unzipped his A-2, loosened his tie, and wove his
way between the tables. Mouth dry as an empty fuel tank, he tapped her
shoulder. “Care to dance?”
She stiffened and turned, gaze darting to the silver eagles
on his shoulders.
He never fraternized with someone under his command. What if
she refused? Then he’d get what he deserved—a red face and another foot added
to that stone wall he’d built around himself.
“Och, no, but ... thank you,” she stammered, cheeks
One of the nurses nudged her. “What’s the matter, Maggie?
You Scots only dance with men wearing skirts?”
He tried a smile, nearly succeeded. “Well?”
A brief nod.
He pulled her to her feet and led her silently to the
crowded dance floor. She really was tiny. At six-five, he was accustomed to
towering over women, but the top of her head didn’t even reach his shoulder. He
turned and placed his arm around her, hoping his tense body didn’t reveal his
unease. Hard as it would be, he’d have to initiate the conversation. “So, um
... Leftenant Maggie, how do you like being here at Edenoaks?”
She averted her eyes. “’Tis very interesting.”
That tickled his funny bone. Must have been around Den too
long. “Interesting? That’s not much of an endorsement.” Emboldened, he stooped
over and said into her ear, “What’s the matter? Find us Yanks a little hard to
She recoiled. “Och, no, Colonel.”
He opened his mouth to comment on her charming burr when she
“I ... I’d best be going. I’ve drawn an early shift and
“I’m only teasing, Leftenant.”
How stupid could he be? She’d offered him a perfect out and
he’d thrown it away. Why could he conduct a briefing and argue bombing strategy
with two-and-three-star generals, yet fail to untie his knotted tongue when
talking to a woman?
Those blue eyes met his. “Only teasing, were
The unspoken challenge in her slight smile dissolved the icy
splinters of fear in his chest. He clasped her hand tighter as their feet moved
to the slow love song, “The Nearness of You.” The softly crooned words washed
against the stony shore of his heart. The scent of warm honey dislodged another
stone. He leaned closer, his chin brushing her forehead. “Your hair smells
“’Tis heather. A friend at home makes the soap and sends it
Her voice, soft and warm, reminded him of a breath of summer
air in an open cockpit. “And home is ... where?”
“Innisbraw. I’m certain you’ve never heard of
He tasted the word. Innisbraw, a fitting name for a village
folded into the heart of mist-shrouded hills. “You’re right. But it has to be
somewhere in Scotland where the heather blooms wild and a good friend makes you
soap.” His labored breathing eased.
nearness of you.
“Aye, ’tis a wee island. That’s where the Innis comes from.
’Tis one of the Gaelic words for island and braw is Scotssag
for fine, even beautiful, in a rugged sort of way.”
“And what’s the word for ‘fine and beautiful,’ in a more
“Bonnie.” Her shy whisper and downturned eyes brought a
frisson of hope. Did she long for someone too?
The lilting Scots rolled effortlessly from his tongue.
“Then, ’tis bonnie you are, Maggie, lass.”
The music crescendoed, faded, and died.
She looked up at him, those blue eyes with their violet
depths calling him to dive in.
Could he muster the courage to seek her out later?
Perhaps—if he survived the mission. He squeezed her hand before leading her
back to her table. One last touch to treasure.
nearness of you.
“Thank you, bonnie Maggie, for the dance. I hope to see you