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Friday, April 9, 2021
Sunday, March 28, 2021
NEW RELEASE! "SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL"
I struggled to write "Some Kind of Wonderful", book 7 in the Pine Grove series (but reads as a stand-alone) this during the last six months as pandemic sapped by strength and focus. But I love Jackie & Jeff and had to get their poignant story written and now it is. SO, I am posting the blurb and an excerpt today.
I will post a new excerpt every day for a week. If you don't buy the book on the first day, be sure to come back and read the other snippets until you are so hooked you have to have the book!
Here's the blurb:
Life sucks for Jeff Barrett. His girlfriend hates his hometown, and his mother hates his girlfriend. His alcoholic father dies and leaves his ramshackle bar to Jeff. He can’t even tear down the dilapidated building because it’s landmarked! He puts it on the market with one caveat – the buyer can’t make it a bar again.
Jackie Stone’s life grinds to a halt when the IRS closes the restaurant she managed, and her boyfriend skips to Montana with another woman. While visiting tiny Pine Grove, looking for a bar to own and run herself, Jackie gets lost. She flags Jeff down to ask directions. The attraction is instantaneous.
It’s smooth sailing on the sea of relationships until Jackie makes an offer for his bar and Jeff refuses. The irresistible force meets the immoveable object. Who wins the tug-of-war? Will the winner find a tornado of trouble is just picking up steam?
Now, the excerpt:
July, New York City
Jackie Stone narrowed her eyes to read the sign on the door of Chuck’s Wagon, the steakhouse where she worked as a manager.
Big black letters on a bright orange piece of paper plastered on the inside of the glass door shouted out. A huge padlock secured the knob and prevented entry. Puzzled, Jackie tugged on it anyway. The door rattled but stayed shut. She shook her head. How stupid. Like the padlock is gonna fall off because you pull on it?
She whipped out her cell phone and dialed her boss, Chuck Gregory.
“Hey, Chuck. What’s going on? The door’s padlocked. There’s a sign saying ‘seized’ in the window. What the hell?”
“Tax man cut us off.”
“What do you mean, the tax man cut us off?”
“I’m a little behind in taxes. So, they took the restaurant.”
“A little behind?” She paced up and down on the sidewalk in front of the big plate glass windows of the empty eatery.
“Okay. Maybe a lot behind.”
“Chuck. You lost the restaurant?” She stopped, her mouth fell open.
“Yeah, so I’m going out west. Sindara’s got a house in Montana. I figure I’ll find a place out there and open another steakhouse.”
“You’re going where?” She fished a bottle of water from her purse.
“Montana. Is there something wrong with your hearing, Jackie?”
“Nothing wrong with my hearing. Just my choice of boyfriends.”
“You and I were never serious.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. How could you let this happen? I told you to put money in a separate account. And then when tax time came around, you’d have it.”
“Yeah, well, Sindara wanted to buy a house. She needed the down payment.”
“You gave your tax money to your other girlfriend?” She shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand.
“It was a good move because now I have a place to go.”
“What about me? And our staff? Have you told anyone else?” The sun beat down on the back of her neck.
“Nope. They’ll find out soon enough. Like you did.”
“I can’t believe this.” She resumed pacing.
“Believe it. Have a good life, Jackie. I’m changing my number, so don’t try to get in touch with me.”
“What about my stuff?” She guzzled water.
“Change of clothes, some baking stuff.”
“Sorry. Everything in there belongs to the tax man now. Gotta go. Good luck.”
Her phone went dead. Screwing her face up, her hand drew back as if to throw the phone but stopped. Hell, it was her phone. She’d have to pay to replace it. Pay. Pay with what? She didn’t have any income, as of like ten minutes ago.
She sank down on a nearby stoop. Tears burst forth. Chuck—what a dirty, lowdown bastard. Two-timing her and squandering the restaurant’s money. Leaving her with nothing. Branded a failure. Thirty years old and no job, a small savings account, and no place to go.
Opening her phone again, she scrolled through her contacts. When her father’s name came up, she hesitated for a moment before pressing the button.
“Jackie?” The familiar gruff voice set her on edge.
“What’s up? Aren’t you working today?”
“That’s what I’m calling about.”
“Oh?” She could hear her father raise his eyebrows.
“Yeah. See, uh, Chuck…kinda didn’t pay his taxes.”
“So the feds shut him down, right?”
Jackie closed her eyes and took a deep breath, preparing herself for the giant “I told you so.”
“Yeah.” Her voice was almost a whisper. She drew her knees up and rested her forearms on them.
“So you’re out of a job?”
“Aren’t you gonna say it?” Her head bowed.
In a soft tone she’d not heard since she was six, he said, “I’m not gonna say it. Why don’t you come home for a while? You could use a break.”
“Yeah. I’ll fire up the grill. I’ve got some chops in the freezer.”
“Really?” She sat up straight.
“Sure. You work plenty hard. Take a couple of weeks off. Come out here. We’ll put our heads together and come up with something.”
“Are you hard of hearing or something, Jackie?”
She laughed. “Chuck asked me the same thing.”
“I hope that scoundrel is out of your life now.”
“Oh, he is. Count on it. We’re so done.”
“Every cloud has a silver lining. Hold on a sec.”
Jackie grinned. Could it be true old Cecil Stone would actually come through for her? And without a lecture? Maybe the lecture was yet to come? She’d deal with it.
“Okay. I’m back. The schedule says there’s a three thirty train. Can you be ready in time?”
“Good. I’ll pick you up at the station.”
Her tears returned. “Thanks, Dad. You’re the best. I didn’t think. I just—”
“Oh, hush. That’s what dads are for, see you at four fifteen.” He ended the conversation.
Buy the book here:
BARNES & NOBLE
COME BACK TOMORROW FOR ANOTHER NEW EXCERPT!
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Have you heard about my new sweet historical romance, "Abigail's Journey"? It's book 1 in the Catskills Saga, takes place in Colonial America, and is being read faster than you can flip a page in Kindle Unlimited! Reviews are glowing, with the book achieving a 4.6 overall rating. How about an excerpt?
First, a bit about the book:
Abigail Chesney has it all; a husband more loving than she could have dreamt, three healthy children, and a house on thriving farmland. She’s happy in her little world until it crashes down around her.
Losing almost everything tests Abby in ways she never expected. Can she learn to accept what she can’t change and trust those she loves? Relying on help from the people of Fitch’s Eddy, a tiny Catskill logging town, Abby discovers her own strength. Will Fate’s cruel blows crush her? Or will love give her a new reason to go on?
Abigail’s Journey – travel back to Colonial America, 1786, with this heartfelt, sweet, historical romance, where the flavor of the past leaps off the page.
“Pack up and get out, Chesney. I’m moving in.”
No sooner were the words out of the scoundrel’s mouth than George Chesney hit him square on the jaw. The man exploded in rage and landed two on George before bystanders pulled him away. Chesney had never been much for fighting to settle a dispute. However, when the welfare of his beloved family hung in the balance, he’d gladly trade fisticuffs with the devil himself.
Leaving the Danbury Inn, he wiped the blood off his nose. Tramping through town, he breathed deeply. The bell of the town crier stopped him.
“Seven o’clock and all is well.”
He compressed his lips together as bitterness soured his mouth. It might be seven o’clock, but all was not well, not for the Chesney family. Old Luke Morton had gambled away the deed to their farm. He had been Morton’s tenant, working the farm for the past ten years. He figured to own it outright in another five. Luke’s one whiskey too many and his losing hand at cards smashed George’s dream to bits.
Laughing in his face, the winner had dashed any hope of staying to farm the land. So, he’d lashed out at the man who’d threatened his future but had come out the worse for it in the end.
Fear spiked in George’s chest, slowing his pace. For once, he dreaded returning home. Since he was late, his beautiful wife would have kept a plate of dinner aside for him. She’d be wondering where he was. How could he tell her Morton didn’t own their farm anymore and they had to pack up and leave?
As he struggled to find words, his heartbeat sped up. Sweat poured off his forehead and soaked his shirt. He wiped his face with his sleeve and shivered in the chilly May wind under the cold light of a full moon. The sweet smell of freshly turned earth met his nose. Crops were already planted, but he’d not be around to harvest them. Where would they go? Farming was all he knew. How would he make a living and feed his family?
It didn’t help that his face had swelled and the flesh around his eye throbbed. Gently, he fingered his nose and flinched in pain. He grew angry. It wasn’t his fault Morton was an old, drunken fool.
Seemed like bad luck had dogged his steps lately. They’d lost a goat through a hole in the fence. Fox killed two chickens. He figured it was timing. He’d had the best fortune in the world to win lovely Abigail’s hand. And the three wonderful children she’d given him had brought him much joy. Now he was thirty-six years old, maybe his luck had turned.
As he drew near to the little farmhouse he’d called home, emotion choked him. How could he tell his family they’d have to leave the life they loved—the only life they knew?
Smoke curled up from the chimney and the aroma of burning logs drifted his way. Yep, his son, Samuel, had remembered to bring in wood. He could almost taste his wife’s fine stew and smell the freshly baked bread his daughter, Sarah, had put up in the afternoon.
George directed his gaze upward and uttered a prayer as he approached his home. He stopped halfway up the path to swallow hard and wipe his cheek. The wetness wasn’t blood, but tears. He took a deep, shuddering breath. No nice way to break such bad news. They were losing their home—he’d come right out with it.
He pushed the door open.
“George! I’m so glad you’re home. Where were you? We were worried.”
Speech eluded him. He stood, solid, feet spread slightly, and reached for words that wouldn’t come. His gaze hopped from his wife to each of his children in turn. They stopped what they were doing. She approached and put her hand on his arm.
The smile faded from her face. “You’re bleeding. What happened? Are you all right?”
He shook his head. “No, I’m not. And nothing is going to be all right again for a very long time.”
Her eyes widened. “What?”
“Sarah, put Lizzy to bed then come back. You and Sam are old enough to hear the truth.” He ran his palm over his face then sighed, sinking into a chair. His wife picked up a dish towel, removed a plate from the warming oven and placed it on the table in front of him.
“Hungry?” She raised her gaze to his.
“Not really.” But the aroma of the stew set his mouth to watering.
“Eat. Whatever it is will wait.” She poured a cup of tea for him and one for herself.
“You deserve better,” he mumbled, picking up his fork.
“Better than me.”
“Hush, George Chesney! I don’t know what happened today, but I married the finest man in all of Danbury. And don’t you dare disagree with me.” The fire in her eyes, and her high spirit turned her cheeks a becoming rosy shade.
“If you aren’t the prettiest woman in all of Connecticut, I don’t know who is.” He leaned over to plant a gentle kiss on her lips then took her hand and raised it to his. “And you make the best stew in God’s creation.”
His daughter returned. She joined Samuel on a bench across from their parents. Sarah fiddled with her long hair, while Sam tried to twirl a penny on its end.
“What is it, Papa?” her young voice squeaked. The children raised their gazes to meet his.
He poured out the story. Shame filled him to admit he’d struck the first blow and yet had still come out the worse for the battle. When he finished, silence blanketed the room. The only sound was the scraping of his spoon against the plate as he finished the last drop of gravy.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be all right,” she said.
“How, Mama? How?” The boy’s eyes filled with fear.
“Your mother’s right. We’ll be all right. Go on to bed now. We need you to be ready to help at sunrise.” He stood.
The children hugged him and left the room. When he turned around, Abigail fisted his shirt and pulled him toward her. Gently, she cleansed his face then brushed her fingers through his hair.
He drew her into his embrace. “I’m so sorry.”
“Stop apologizing. It’s not your fault.”
“Yes. We will. “Get some rest. You look all in.”
He trudged off to their room. “You coming?”
Get your copy here, free in Kindle Unlimited:
Watch for book 2, "Sarah's Dilemma" coming in April!
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Danny took a journey. He came back to life. I was privileged to go along for the ride. Still one of my favorite books, I'm pleased to offer you, "Now and Forever 2, The Book of Danny" for free until March 24. I hope you download it, read it, and enjoy it...and fall in love with Danny, just the way I did.
Here's a bit about the book:
Killer? Lover? Professor? Which one is Danny Maine? Leaving the Army to teach college didn't mean the war left him. Scars to his body, heart, and soul haunt him. Capt. Danny Maine seeks a normal life. He struggles to free himself from crippling war memories and dangerous men, hoping love and a new Glock will bring him peace.
Eliza Baines, widowed dean at the university, finally has life exactly the way she wants it, doesn’t she? When Danny Maine blows into town, he fires up her hunger for love and affection. Can she throw aside convention to build a life with a much younger man?
An engrossing, tale of love, loss, mind-blowing surprises, and facing off against insurmountable obstacles, the Book of Danny will touch your heart.
Caution: Occasional cursing and violence.
“...it was a wonderful read that tore me up in the middle, but left me satisfied in the end.”
HERE'S A TASTE OF THE BOOK:
“This way, Danny.” Cal motioned.
“No, don’t go that way…” Danny hollered.
Too late. The explosion might have deafened him, but Danny got lucky. Running away from a bomb one minute, the next, he woke up in an army hospital in Germany. Still, he was the charmed one—getting the Purple Heart and a trip home. Cal hadn’t been so blessed.
Danny had only been out of the hospital for three days when he hitched a ride on a military transport back to the United States. A long plane ride provided the chance to say goodbye to his buddies.
“Hey, Captain, ever get the guy in Iraq who killed your brother?” asked Sgt. Josh Benson.
“Sure, Benson. Him and the rest, too. All those bastards,” Danny replied.
“You got the highest score. How many killed?”
“More than me.”
“Everybody got more than you, Benson. Jenny behind the desk hit more than you.”
“Can’t see nothin’ on you. Looks like they never touched you.”
“Yeah, looks can be deceiving. How’s your leg doing?” Danny asked, moving away to make more room for Benson’s leg cast.
“Good,” he lied.
Danny saw the beads of sweat on Benson’s forehead, his pale face. Benson had always been a good liar.
“Glad to be delivering you back to your sister. Say what does she look like again?”
“Stay away from her, Captain. She’s got enough to do takin’ care of me. She can’t be cryin’ her eyes out over givin’ it up to you.” Benson chuckled.
“Too bad. But if she looks like you, maybe not!” Danny laughed.
“I’m not tellin’.” His brow furrowed, Benson asked, “Say Captain…you sleep good?”
“Okay, I guess,” he said, side-stepping the truth.
“I see things. I wake up. I don’t sleep all night,” Benson said quietly.
Danny nodded, looking away.
“Will those things go away? Will I always be seein’ Joe or Cal when I go to sleep?”
“I hope not,” Danny said, looking down at his hands.
“At least I’m still here. Thanks to you.”
“I told you, just shut up about what happened,” Danny snapped, making a fist.
“Everybody here does his bit. I did mine…with you. Don’t talk about it,” Danny said in a low voice.
“You’re one brother I’m returning home,” Danny said to himself.
“Hey, Maine, we’re coming down over Syracuse. This is your stop, right?” the pilot hollered. Danny moved up to the cockpit.
“Yeah. That’s me.”
“Where do you go from here?”
“I got a ride with Sgt. Marie Willis to Willow Falls,” Danny said.
“Some hick town?”
“You going to school?”
“Better warn her about the Captain,” Benson piped up from the back.
“Shut up Benson or I’ll have to break your arm, too,” Danny called.
“Ever see her, Benson? Don’t think the Captain’ll be interested.”
“She’s female, isn’t she?” Danny cocked an eyebrow.
“As far as I know.”
“I’m interested,” Danny said with a snicker.
“Your vitamin E pack, Captain.”
Accepting the pouch from Benson, he put it in his duffle bag. “Thanks.”
The plane landed. Danny parted from Benson and two other members of his squad. Marie Willis stood at the gate jingling car keys in her hand. Danny stored his gear in her trunk then got in next to her.
“How long a trip is this, Sergeant?” Danny asked the washed-out brunette.
“Call me Marie.”
“Okay, Marie. How long?”
“Maybe four hours?”
“Too bad. Thought we might need to stop for the night,” he said, looking her over.
“That could be arranged,” she said, smiling.
You'll find the ebook free only on Amazon here:
All of the Now and Forever series books are available in Kindle Unlimited.
And as a boxed set, too