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Midweek Tease:

mwtease15Good morning! Sorry I’m a little late posting this morning, but I got into put Christmas away mode yesterday, and overdid it as usual. Such is life when you struggle with arthritis. Overdo one little thing and you’re in agony for a week.

Many thanks to Angelica Dawson and all the other authors who make this weekly blog hop possible. There’s more variety here than anywhere. Don’t forget to click on the links below and check them out!

This morning, I would like to offer a scene from In Plain Sight. That idea has been cropping up in my new wip, and I thought I would revisit it this morning. People often ask me what the catalyst is for a story, In the case of this one, it was a costume I had to wear in an Easter pageant at the church. When I got home, I put my feelings on paper and voila!

in-plain-sight-coverEnjoy!

In life, you pay a price for everything you do. Widowed, her dream of starring on Broadway in ashes at her feet, Misty Starr yearns for a happy, healthy, normal life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Debbie. Settled in Pine Falls, New York, a sleepy little town filled with friendly people, she believes she’s found it and feels safe enough to sing in an amateur theater revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. She’ll do anything to keep this life even if it is built on lies, because revealing her secret is impossible. When Nick Anthony joins the cast as music director, Misty is attracted to the man who stirs up feelings she thought long dead, but can love grow on a bed of deceit?

A former concert pianist and secret CIA courier, Nick lives in darkness ever since the accident that killed his wife. The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with his vision, so why can’t he see? Hiding from his former life, he reluctantly agrees to help with the musical and is drawn to the young singer with the voice of an angel. When a mysterious fire destroys her home, Nick vows to keep her and her daughter safe. After one suspicious event leads to another, Nick is determined to protect them from an unknown assassin, but in order to do that, he needs to know her secrets. With his money and connections, he’ll do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves, but does she love him enough to reveal the truth?

Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors

Your tease:

Nick sat with his back to the keyboard listening to Misty’s footsteps as she hurried out of the theater. What had just happened? His hand pulsed with heat and energy. He hadn’t imagined that jolt of electricity through his body, the flash of lightning that had illuminated his darkness. He’d been struck mute, unable to utter a sound. He’d shaken more than his fair share of hands, and no one had ever affected him that way. Had she felt it, too? She’d sounded flustered before she’d left so abruptly.

Without sight, it was harder to judge someone’s initial reaction, but she’d let him hold her hand a second longer than necessary, and he’d felt her pulse race almost as fast as his. Hell, he was still breathing heavy, and all he’d done was shake her hand. He stared into the black void in front of him as he had every waking moment of his life since the accident. He’d come to hate the blackness that surrounded him, but just for a moment tonight, when he’d touched her, there’d been light.

Her voice! She had a wonderful voice, an angel’s voice, the kind of voice that belonged on Broadway, not in some small-town theater production. She must have had vocal training. He hadn’t been kidding; she could out-sing more than half the so-called divas out there today. He pulled the small hand-held recorder he’d brought with him and rewound it to the track he wanted.

He pressed play, and her powerful, soulful voice filled the room. Nick had recorded all the soloists, but this was the only one that mattered. Micah had raved about her voice, and Nick had recorded her number simply to prove to them both that, while her voice might be good, it wasn’t memorable. Listening to someone on tape often brought his or her vocal flaws to the surface. As the song continued, he had to admit there were no flaws here. He’d been hoisted on his own petard. For the first time in his life, he was glad he’d been in error.

Micah was a car salesman, not a Broadway producer, nor was he a musical director, and though his little group had done well in the past, they’d never attempted anything quite so grand. This time, knowing the intricacies of such a production and the need for it to succeed, Nick had thought Micah had bitten off more than he could chew.

How could he have been so wrong? Not only was the Pine Falls Theater Company more than up to the task, their version of the musical, toned down as it needed to be to meet their production limitations, was original, and they had some real talent in their midst. He replayed the tract, mesmerized by the hypnotic quality of Misty’s voice. He continued to listen to her sing because she touched his soul, that part of him he’d thought as dead and lost as his vision.

He wondered fleetingly what she looked like. Her voice had carried into the hall where he’d been standing with Micah before they’d entered the room. He knew from her quirky comments that she must be short since she didn’t think the pink stripes made her look taller. A smile crossed his face at her sense of humor when he remembered the way she’d compared herself first to a cabana and then a clown; he figured that possibly she was on the more voluptuous side, curvier than Becca had been. He had always liked women with a little meat on their bones, but he’d been mesmerized by Rebecca, and it hadn’t been until much later in their relationship that he’d realized what a cruel, self-centered bitch his wife had been.

You can pick up a copy from a number of online retailers including:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Nobles

Now, please check out the other Midweek Teasers.

#MidWeekTease January 11, 2017

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Tuesday Tales: Candace Kayne’s Christmas

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Good morning. Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales and Candace Kayne’s Christmas.  The novella is unfolding as it should. Tuesday Tales is a closed weekly blog in which talented authors share their works in process. I was honored to be invited to join in 2015 and the thrill of being part of this awesome group continues. With their help, I created Hello Again, which was published in 2016, and hope to finish Wedding Bell Blues in 2017. This week, I continue with the novella I began in December, Candace Kayne’s Christmas will wrap up next week. This week’s word is COFFEE. Apologies to all since the post is longer than usual.

“Thanks for everything, Ruth,” Bill said, putting his suitcase into the trunk of the rental car. The winery owners had been a huge help. With their assistance, he’d met with all of the local entrepreneurs—except Candace. She’d refused his invitation, claiming she wasn’t feeling well, and had offered to get together with him the next time he was in Willow Grove. It was true she’d sounded sick, but he was convinced there was more to her reticence than that.

spring-in-ontario“I wish I could put you up again tonight,” Ruth said, a frown marring her brow. “But now that the whole family is here, there’s no more room at this inn. You aren’t planning to drive all the way back to Georgia, are you? They say the storms even worse along the coast.”

“Don’t worry about it. My plane’s waiting in Rochester, and that’s only eighty miles from here. I’ll be fine. You just take care of yourself and that baby.”

She rubbed her barely protruding belly. “I will, but that drive will be miserable. You get white-outs in this kind of weather. When will you be back?”

“Mid-January, but this time, I’ll be smart enough to book a room since I’ll be here at least a month.” When he’d arrived in Willow Grove, he’d intended to spend his two weeks at the motel he’d visited last spring, only to discover it, and most of the others in town, were closed for the season. The two Bed and Breakfasts and the one winterized motel were booked solid with out of towners home for Christmas. He hadn’t relished the idea of driving back and forth to Rochester each day. Thankfully, Ruth had opened her home to him, even if he had outstayed his welcome by a couple of days, but now, he really needed to get back to Savannah. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve.

“You could stay with us again,” she offered. “The in-laws and out-laws will all be gone by then.”

Bill laughed. “You’ll have enough on your hands without me underfoot. Tell Lucas I’ll be ready for that Candyland rematch when I come back. Merry Christmas, Ruth.” He kissed her on the cheek, got into the rental car, and waved goodbye.

Twenty minutes later, he sat in his car pondering the cruelty of Mother Nature, while a boy dressed in winter gear that probably resembled what people wore on expeditions to the South Pole filled his gas tank. The wind whipped snow around, reducing visibility to zero. That eighty miles to Rochester might as well be a thousand now. There was no way he would be able to drive there today.

“That’ll be twenty-five dollars,” the gas jockey said.

“I’m using a credit card,” he answered.

“No problem, but you’ll have to come inside. The portable machine doesn’t work in this weather.”

Bill got out of the vehicle, locked the doors, and followed the boy into the convenience store attached to the gas station. A fire blazed in the wood stove. He recognized the man sitting in the rocker.

“Good morning, Mr. Simpson. Looks like we’ll have that white Christmas for sure.”

“You can say that again,” the crusty garage owner said, as he stood. “I hope you aren’t planning to drive to Rochester.”

“He owes Twenty-five for gas, Elmore,” the boy said, hanging his wet gear near the stove.

“Thanks, Stan. Go finish your breakfast. Your Pa’s coming to get you. I don’t think we’ll have too many customers today. The highway’s closed.”

“Not the highway to Rochester?” Bill asked. “I know it looks bad but—”

“Not only looks bad, is bad,” the man said cutting him off. “Just came over the scanner. Tractor-trailer jackknifed and flipped over. Caused a dozen fender-benders. The state police have closed the highway until further notice. It’s going to take a while to get that mess cleaned up in this weather.”

Bill scowled. “That can’t be the only way to the city.” Surely there was another way out of here.

The man shook his head. “It might as well be in this weather. None of the lesser highways will be plowed. The police are urging everyone to get off the roads. You best get yourself back to Ruth’s.”

Going back to Ruth’s wasn’t an option. Bill handed him his corporate card, signed the slip and went back outside. Once in the car, he pulled out his cellphone and called his pilot.

“Sam, it’s me,” he said as soon as the man answered.

“Yes, sir. I was just about to call you,” he said, concern heavy in his voice. “I’m afraid all planes have been grounded by the FAA until further notice.”

Damn!

Sighing, Bill ran his hand through his wet hair. “There isn’t much we can do. Have you got a place to stay?”

“Yes, sir. According to the Weather Channel, the storm should let up early tomorrow morning. We should be home in time for the Christmas Eve play.”

“I hope so. Listen, I’ll stay put here—they’ve closed the highway and the locals tell me traveling on the side roads in this weather isn’t a good idea.” Would staying in the car be any better? “I’ll leave as soon as I’m able and meet you at the airport some time tomorrow.”

He ended the call.

“So, what the hell am I supposed to do now?” he asked aloud.

The only answer was the icy wind’s unending howl.

He reached for his phone once more and dialed his home.

“Kayne Residence, Marian speaking.”

“It’s me. I’m afraid I won’t be home today as planned. Mother Nature has her own ideas about holiday travel, and I’m stuck in Willow Grove until tomorrow.

“I’m not surprised. Mr. Kayne has been watching the weather like a man possessed.”

Bill pursed his lips. “I’m sure he has. Grandpa worries about me every time I travel. Well, come February, I’ll be doing a lot less of it. Can I speak to Scotty?”

“Of course. He’ll be disappointed.”

“I know.”

The last time he’d spoken to his son had been three days ago when he had promised to be home in time to attend his school Christmas play rehearsal tonight. Damn it! How many more significant things would he miss? None if he could help it.

While he waited for his housekeeper to call his son, he examined what he could see of downtown Willow Grove. Through the curtain of snow, over on his left, he spotted the Eden Café. He probably could’ve sat out the storm there, but Cynthia had closed for the holidays. She’d left yesterday to visit her daughter-in-law in Buffalo.

What a difference a day makes.

“Dad?” Scott’s voice pulled him back.

“Hi, champ. Listen, I’m really sorry, but I’m snowed in up here. I won’t be home tonight, but I’ll be there for the pageant Christmas Eve, I promise.”

“Is there a lot of snow?” the boy asked, never having seen the stuff.

“Yeah. There’s at least a foot of it and more coming down.”

“Will it still be there when we move?” His excitement was tangible, clearly overshadowing his disappointment at his father’s absence.

Bill laughed. “I can’t say for sure, but I doubt this is the only snowstorm they’ll have. Are we good?”

“Yeah, Dad. Tonight’s only a rehearsal. Take some pictures for me?”

“I will. Maybe I’ll have a special surprise for you when I get there. I love you.”

“Love you too, Dad.”

The special surprise was tickets to Disney World, already packaged at home.

Bill waited for the line to go dead before ending the call. Scott had grown up a lot since his mother’s death. For a five-year-old, he was old beyond his years. Marian and Grandpa tried to make things easier for the child while he was away, but losing one parent and the other on the road 80 percent of the time, left his son as much an orphan as he’d been before the adoption.

A knock on the window startled him.

Lowering the power window, he stared into Elmore’s dark eyes.

“You fixing to stay here until the storm blows over?” he asked.

“Not sure what I’m going to do. I can’t go back to Ruth’s. All of the family arrived earlier this morning before the storm got bad. I was thinking of getting coffee while I figure out my options. Is there anywhere I can park without risking getting boxed in when the plows pass?”

“You can put your car inside, and I’ll drop you at Candy’s on my way by. Sally will know where you can hold up.”

“Thanks.”

Bill followed Elmore’s directions, parked the car, and grabbed his suitcase out of the trunk. His feet were cold and wet, the shoe-boots not anywhere good enough for walking through the accumulation of snow. He would definitely need to make sure they had the right kind of clothing when they came back. Winter gear, Savannah style, was useless here.

“Called Sally and told her you were on your way. She’ll let Candace know,” Elmore said. “Get in.”

Bill walked around to the passenger side of the tow-truck. The inside of the vehicle was warm and toasty, but he was so cold, he doubted he would ever feel warm again.

Less than five minutes later, Elmore stopped in front of the old brick and limestone building.

“Thanks for the lift,” he said.

“No problem. What you’re going to do for this community is thanks enough.”

Bill waved as the truck drove off. He steeled himself to go inside. This was no time to be a coward. He’d always believed that like knew like, and though they might not be blood relatives, he was every bit as much a Kayne as she was. Time to get in out of the cold.

Pushing open the door, he stepped into the warm, cozy atrium that separated the four stores. Decorated as it was, the place felt more like home than any place he had ever been. At the far end of the room, a woman stood with her back to him, tight, caramel-colored curls hung down her back. Her legs were incased in tight jeans, a pale blue sweater ending just below her butt. She turned at the sound of the door, and Bill stopped breathing.

The only picture he’d ever seen of Cousin Candace had been the black and white picture from her wedding. In no way had that prepared him for the woman looking at him, her head cocked to one side. His jaw dropped open and he snapped it shut.

“What? Surprised to find a Creole-Mohawk-Irish relative in your family woodpile, Mr. Lamont?” she asked, a forced smile, half frown, on her face. “In or out. It’s too cold to leave the door open.”

Mumbling an apology, too stunned by what she’d said to comment on it, he closed the door behind him and stepped into the room. In the heat, snow melted off him, puddling at his feet.

“Mr. Lamont,” Sally said, coming out of her shop with a towel. “Elmore just called and told me you’re stranded here. Poor you. I’d offer you my couch, but my brother’s here for Christmas and my son’s home from school.”

“That’s okay,” he answered, grateful his voice even worked.

“He can stay in my spare room,” Candace said, her voice as breathy and sexy as the rest of her. “Wouldn’t want the town savior to catch cold now would we?”

She set down her coffee cup and walked over to him, her blue-green eyes flashing her fury.

“So Mr. Kayne-Lamont, what do you really want from the town of Willow Grove?”

Bill’s cheek’s heated and not just from the difference in temperature.

“Kayne- Lamont?” Sally asked Candace, her face all scrunched up in confusion. “Kayne as in your Kayne?”

“Yes,” Bill answered. There was no point in lying. The lady looked mad enough to spit nails as it is. “I’ve come for you, Candace. I’ve come to take you home.”

Come back next week for the ending to Candace Kayne’s Christmas. 

Don’t forget to check out all the other delicious stories coming your way today on  Tuesday Tales

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Sunday Musings: Weird Words of the Week

highwayGood morning. Well, Old Man Winter has a firm grasp on this part of the world, and while it might look magical, as it does in this picture, it isn’t always as nice.  This morning, the temperature is a balmy -16 C (3F), but with the windchill, it feels like -21C (-6F) Tonight’s a good night for a wood fire and cuddling as the mercury drops to -28C (-18F), which will be the temperature I’ll wake up to tomorrow. Strangely, as has been the norm around here this year,  by Wednesday, it’ll be 5 C (41F). Crazy, right? No wonder everyone gets sick–cold and flu season.

For as long as I can remember, it was traditional to make New Year’s Resolutions. Each year, I vowed to do the same thing–lose weight, get more exercise, spend quality time with friends and family, etc. The only one I’ve ever managed to keep was spending time with my family.

I haven’t made any resolutions this year, but I have challenged myself to do a better job keeping in touch with others, including the people on social media. I am not good at this–never have been–but I’m determined to try harder. One way I want to do this is through regularly scheduled posts.  So, with that in mind, last week I posted the first of my weekly personal blogs. Since I wasn’t at the computer on New Year’s day, I posted on Monday. If you didn’t read it, just follow the link below. https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/out-with-the-old-year-and-in-with-the-new/

rave_in_the_henge_2005_02Welcome to the second Sunday of 2017. As I explained last week, among the Christmas gifts I received, was a calendar of forgotten English words and folklore. Last week, I babysat my grandchildren for four days. We had a great time, and one of them enjoyed the “funny” words on my calendar. What were they? Well, on the 3rd, we had ZINGERATION, which is according to Edward Slow’s Glossary of Wiltshire words, a word used by peasants, circa 1900 to describe a musical party. Today, we’ve chosen a new way to describe something similar. an electronic music dance party that lasts all night is called a Rave. So, do you think this Summer Solstice Rave took place in the 1900s?

lossy-page1-330px-comparative_lettering_hauy-barbier-braille-tifOn the 4th, I learned about CROSS-READING. In the mid to late nineteenth century, people purposely read the newspaper across from left to right, instead of the usual up and down columns, to mix the stories into sometimes hilarious connections between subjects and stories. Maybe that was where Lewis Carroll got his inspiration for The Jabberwocky  and other nonsense verses. Jan 4th was also Louis Braille’s birthday. It was interesting to note the famous Braille alphabet for the blind was adapted from a failed military system designed by Barbier to send messages to the soldiers that could be understood in the dark. The ‘night writing’ project  was too complicated and impractical for use, and was never deployed.

January 5th gave me the word EMBRANGLEMENT, which essentially means to confuse and perplex. The word is still used today as a synonym for confusion, ensnarement, entanglement, involvement or trouble. Maybe I’ll use it in a book someday.

hoodsMy second favorite word of the week was LIRIPOOP. What on earth is that? Well, it can be one of two things. Most commonly, it’s the long tail on a graduate’s hood, which comes from the medieval latin word liripipium. If you look hard enough, there’s a word for everything.

modern-leripoops The second meaning requires a slight alteration to the spelling LERIPOOPS were eighteenth century shoes tipped with horn and tied up to the knees with either silk ribbons or silver chains.  Maybe modern ones would look a little like these? Either way, I’m not wearing them. haxeyhoodlogoadamwheewall

The 6th was also Haxey Hood Day, a 13th century folklore activity that still goes on today in Haxey Lincolnshire. You can learn more about it by checking out the link below.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haxey_Hood

st-gudulaThe week ended with the Saturday -Sunday word that really had them laughing. The word GUBBERTUSHED means having projecting teeth, what we might call buckteeth. Did you know there’s a patron saint of dental problems? Neither did I. Today is the feast day of St. Gudula, and you can visit her skull, carefully preserved in the St Hildegard Catholic Church  in Eibingen, Germany.Who knew?

Well, that’s it for this week. Come back next week for more Weird Words of the Week.

Looking for books that fit your budget?

Check out my website. http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

 

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Midweek Tease:Hot For The Teacher

mwtease15Good morning and Happy New Year. I hope all of your dreams and wishes come true in 2017. Midweek tease is a blog hop open to anyone who would like to join. At the moment, it consists of nine authors who present a snippet of a book for your enjoyment each week. The styles, tastes, and heat levels vary, but there’s always something to read and enjoy. Thanks go to Angelica Dawson for continuing to host the blog again this year. Without her, this blog hop wouldn’t be possible.

This morning, I would like to tease from Just For the Weekend, my novel included in the new bundle from Crimson Romance, entitled, Hot For The Teacher, which includes 10 contemporary stories. Here is the blurb:

hot-for-the-teacher-1Reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic aren’t the only subjects these ten passionate couples explore in this fun digital romance bundle. But are their relationships strong enough to make the grade? Turns out love doesn’t always follow a lesson plan. . .

  • The Professor’s Secret: English professor Claudia Manchester secretly writes spicy romances under a pen name to keep her side job under wraps till she’s secured tenure. But when she meets historical romance writer Bradley Davis while dressed as her sexier alter ego at a conference, can they build love on lies?
  • Just for the Weekend: Multimillionaire Sam Mason is sick of gold diggers. When he meets role-playing kindergarten teacher Cleo James at a sci-fi convention in Vegas, she seems like the real thing. Then – surprise! – he wakes up married to this sexy stranger . . . only to find Cleo has vanished. Is he looking for a swindler or the love of his life?
  • Probabilities: Bubbly were-lynx Tizzy Sands planned to teach kindergarten, eventually marry, and start a family. But cancer changed that goal, and she’s now determined to take down the nefarious Nexus Group – and steer clear of any romantic involvements. Quinn Arons’s genius IQ makes him the least socially skilled were-lynx in the colony, but he might just be the man to show Tizzy there’s more to life than saving their world.
  • In the Shadow of Evil: After ten years with Maryland’s Special Crime Unit, very little rattles Jared McNeil. Then his nemesis resurfaces, with his sights set on Jennie McKenzie, the fifth-grade teacher and face from the past that Jared is honor bound to protect, no matter what.
  • Between the Sheets: The Western Washington Choral Directors’ annual retreat is the perfect setting for music teacher Maggie Schafer to turn over a new leaf in her love life, but a pretend romance with handsome Randy Devers gets surprisingly real.
  • The Look-Alike Bride: High school gym teacher Leonie Daniel leads a double life, often standing in for her glamorous older sister who works as a government agent. All Leonie has to do this time is spend a few weeks in Zara’s lakeside cabin near Hot Springs, Arkansas, behave like Zara, and avoid Adam Silverthorne, the man her sister is interested in. But now Adam is falling for Leonie . . . or is he?
  • The Marrying Kind: Professor Jane O’Hara takes a sabbatical to follow her bliss to a horse farm. She doesn’t expect to find it with the owner’s son, Mark Hannon – but their connection is sudden and sizzling. Will their pasts prevent them from having a future?
  • The Gettysburg Vampire: Ghosts are a popular draw in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, so college student Abby Potter takes advantage of the phenomenon by inventing a vampire folktale for the annual holiday production. Problem is, her leading man – a history professor at the college and a renowned Civil War re-enactor – is a little too convincing in the role.
  • Winter Fairy: Recuperating ballerina Penelope Glazier can enchant the young girls in the Fairy Dreams class she teaches, but will her magic work on Carson Langley, the sexy but straight-laced single father of her most talented student? Or will she dance out of their lives when her big break arrives?
  • Inventing Sin: English professor Gabriella Kurtz tells her colleagues she’s dating the perfect guy: big, masculine but gentlemanly, and capable of mind-blowing sex all weekend. Problem is, he’s not real . . . until ex-military man Duncan Sinclair enters the picture, posing as an accomplished academic to take down a terrorist.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Here is your tease from Just For The Weekend:

Cleo followed Mitch into the convention hall packed with hundreds of people in various alien costumes, and allowed some of the excitement in the air to calm her fears. She recognized outfits from various sci-fi movies and television shows, as well as others straight out of the video game world. There were several Orion slave girls in a variety of  shapes, shades, and sizes, and Cleo saw the not-so-friendly glares she got from them—especially when one of their male friends stared admiringly at her. She nodded in return and chuckled when one girl gave the guy she was with a jab in the ribs.

She tried to keep up with Mitch who barreled across the room as if she were in a speed-walking race. Barefoot as she was, conscious of the icky, sticky carpet, Cleo moved slowly to  avoid stomping boots and heels. She’d almost made it to the promised land of booth security when a giant, in snake-like make-up and the dark gray leather and chainmail associated with the Cardassians, grabbed her arm. He spun her around quickly.

“Hey, let go of my…” Her angry words died on her lips.

“What have we here?” He eyed her hungrily. “Are you lost, my pretty little slave girl?”

Familiar chocolate eyes pierced hers, and she couldn’t think straight. His whiskey-smooth voice caressed her; his touch ignited a fire along her spine. Realizing what he’d said, she searched for an answer.

“Lost? No, I got separated from my Klingon friend. She’s over there.”

She pointed to the publishers’ autograph area where Mitch stood.

“Then allow me to escort you safely to her.”

Holding her close to him, he ushered her across the congested convention floor. He bowed to Mitch and gave the Cardassian salute.

“I believe she’s yours, but I’m entitled to a reward for coming to her assistance.”

He smiled wickedly before pulling Cleo into his arms and capturing her mouth with his.

Cleo held herself rigid, but the kiss poured liquid fire through her. Of their own volition, her arms wrapped around his neck both to hold her upright and to encourage the incredible sensations to continue. His mouth devoured hers as if she was his last meal. She’d been kissed before, but never like this. When he slowly pulled away, she was breathless. She read desire in his eyes.

“Later, my Orion beauty.” He turned and walked away, disappearing into the crowd.

“Who the hell is that?”

“I have no idea.” Cleo reached for Mitch’s blue-tinted Romulan ale and drained the glass.

Want to read more? Reserve your copy today. Less than a USD for 10 complete novels! The bundle will be available January 9, 2017.

Can’t wait?

You can also pick up Just For The Weekend in one of the following bundles available now

Holiday Fling: https://www.amazon.com/Holiday-Fling-10-Vacation-Romances-ebook/dp/B0195QNTQG

Wedding Season: https://www.amazon.com/Wedding-Season-10-Nuptial-Novels-ebook/dp/B01HH2TGN0

Betting on Love: https://www.amazon.com/Betting-Love-4-High-Stakes-Romances-ebook/dp/B01LOIJPTS

Not a fan of bundles? Just For The Weekend is also available alone:

Thanks for dropping by. Now please check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease January 4, 2017

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Out With the Old Year and in With the New.

pt6Well, it’s January 2, 2017. This year promises to be an interesting one, and definitely an exciting one if you are a Canadian. Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday as a nation on July 1, 2017. I was fortunate enough to see the beautiful lights on Parliament Hill at Christmas.

Canada has been around in some form or another for much longer than that. Our aboriginal peoples were well established when Jacques Cartier sailed into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in 1534 to claim the land for France, but our first permanent settlement didn’t occur until Champlain arrived in 1605.

We were a French colony, Nouvelle France,  until the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 when we became a British Colony, Canada.  Not wanting to rock the boat since they were having problems with their other colonies in North America, the British allowed the French settlers to basically keep on doing what they’d always done. The laws remained the same as did the position of the Catholic church. Sadly, for those remaining, the French leadership they knew and trusted left, leaving them isolated in many ways. At the time, Canada consisted of the area we know as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, as well as vast partially uncharted territories to the west.

canada-with-flagWhen the Thirteen Colonies to the south of us declared their independence from England in 1776, people loyal to the British crown, the Loyalists, moved north and settled in what is today Ontario. So we had French to the East and English to the West, each section of the land with its own language, culture and laws. Eventually, good men with an eye to the future prevailed we formed our own country, the Dominion of Canada–not by fighting for it, but through diplomacy, compromise, and hard work. On July 1, 1867, Sir John A. Macdonald became the first Prime-Minister of Canada, in its new capital, Ottawa. Eventually, we grew and stretched from coast to coast. It wasn’t always easy, but we managed.  Our flag, the distinctive red maple leaf, wasn’t officially chosen until our 100th birthday! We are a proud people with a lot to offer the world. This year, we will honor all the accomplishments of our past and look to our future. And I will do the same.

wellAmong the interesting gifts I received for Christmas this year was a calendar of Vanishing Vocabulary and Folklore for 2017. Each day highlights and explains a word or a tradition no longer used. Yesterday, January 1, was “WATER HOLIDAY”, sometimes known as Flower of the Well or Cream of the Well. Whoever drew water from the well first on New year’s day would have good luck all year long. Scottish farmers would wash their milking instruments in it in the belief that their cows would give more milk. If a young girl drew the first pail of water, she could expect to marry her true love in the coming year. As far as the water itself went, bottled, it stayed fresh and pure and protected the family from misfortune for the entire year. If you owned your own well, then, you wouldn’t have too much trouble, but it is was a community well, then look out! People used to stay up and wait for the clock to strike twelve, then they would all race to the well. I’m sure there was more than one argument. Once the first water was drawn, the next person tossed a few blades of hay or a few flowers if they had them as both a thank you to the spring supplying the water and a notice that the next person was too late.

victorian-ladiesIn Victorian England, today was Ladies’ Day, the one time a year, ladies could call on gentlemen without raising eyebrows. That passed out of fashion quickly, but the day remains on the books the same as a chance to return visits that didn’t get done before the end of the year. Our word today is “chamberer”, which has 3 meanings: a gallant who visits ladies’ chambers, men of intrigue as in Othello, and effeminate men also known as ‘carpet knights’.

So there you have it. Welcome to 2017!

 

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Tuesday Tales: POINT and Candy Kayne’s Christmas

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Hello and welcome to the first Tuesday Tales’ post of 2017. I wish you all health and happiness in the coming year. As promised, I’m continuing for three more weeks in Candy Kayne’s Christmas. It’s my intention to then go back to Wedding Bell Blues. 

Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog where select authors post from their work in progress. Each post is based on a word or picture prompt. In December, we were given six pictures, two of which were to be used for our shorter 300 word picture prompts. I decide to use all six as I presented excerpts from this novella.

dec2Today’s word is POINT and here is the picture I chose to add to the story today. Here’s your post. It’s just over 1500 words.

After the drive from hell in which she silently cursed Phil Stockton more than once, Candace pulled into the parking lot at the winery, noting it was half-full.

“Looks like most of the gang’s all here,” Sally said, waving to a couple getting out of their vehicle. “There’s Amy and Nate. I’ll bet their ride in along River Road was worse than ours, but it’ll be gorgeous out that way tomorrow with the sun shining on all the new snow.”

“If you say so. Personally, I would be happy if it stopped snowing. There’s Cynthia Warner,” Candace indicated the middle-aged woman getting out of her car. “I can’t believe she came out here by herself. I heard she was going to pack up and sell the diner.”

“She might, but you know what the experts say about making any drastic changes right away. I understand her son and daughter-in-law are interested in taking over, so she may be waiting to pass it along to them.”

Candace chuckled. “Maybe. It’s a good point. Eden’s Eatery is still the best place to eat in town, and it is open year-round. She buys her coffee from me.”

Sally nodded. “I supply her with flavored chocolates, too. We’d better get in there. Phil won’t like waiting.”

Ten minutes later, coat, mittens, and all the rest of the cold weather paraphernalia she wore neatly put away in the closet, Candace pulled her flats out of her purse and slipped them on.

“Candace, so glad you could make it,” Phil said, handing her a cup of mulled wine. “Try this. Ruth came up with a new recipe that should warm you up nicely.”

“Thanks.” She reached for the cup and sipped cautiously, delighted to find she liked the taste. “Not bad. I’ve never been a fan of the stuff, but I could grow to like this.”

Phil smiled. “Good. I’m hoping to sell the recipe to our newest member.”

She frowned. “New member? Of what?”

He put his finger up to his lips and hurried away.

Frowning at the secrecy, Candace glanced around the winery’s party room. She had to admit Ruth and Phil had gone out of their way this year. It was true they hosted most of the weddings and parties in the area in the winter, but the greenery was spectacular, especially the twenty-foot pine tree. The only time she’d seen a larger one had been in New York City. She wouldn’t go there now. Musing on that tree and Rockefeller Square meant thinking about Judson again. To do so would suck the pleasure right out of the occasion.

“Despite the less than stellar driving conditions, it looks as if every one of the business owners from Willow Grove has made the trek out here,” Sally said, coming over to stand with her again. “I was just talking to Elmore. He’ll come over after the meeting to see if he can boost my engine.” She reddened. “I mean my car’s engine.”

Candace laughed. “Of course. I never imagined it would be anything else.”

The fifty-eight-year-old widow and the garage owner, ten years her junior, were seeing one another, and it was the worst kept secret in Willow Grove. No one said anything about it, though, happy to see two lonely friends find one another.

“Elmore told me Phil insisted he be here tonight, even though he may have to run out if he gets a call. Phil has some big announcement to make, but you know the man. To him everything is important.”

“If you’re talking about my husband, then you’re right,” Ruth Stockton said, joining them.

“Everything around here looks amazing, especially that tree. Phil’s gone overboard,” Sally said, her face conveying her admiration more than her words did.

“I agree,” Candace added. “Everything is gorgeous and must’ve cost the earth.”

Ruth chuckled. “You know it. Phil claims he’s investing in the future, but Sally, he’s like a kid let loose in a candy store. He’s been working on this deal for weeks and just got the go ahead two days ago. Between that and the other thing, the anticipation has been driving him crazy. I swear he’ll end up with an ulcer.”

Candace grinned. “And the other thing, it’s confirmed?”

Ruth nodded and smiled. “It is. Plain eggnog for me tonight.”

Sally squealed. “You’re expecting? That’s wonderful.”

“Not so loud,” Ruth said, but she glowed. “Phil wants to break all the news tonight. You don’t want to steal any of his thunder.”

Holding her wine in one hand, Candace embraced her friend with the other. “I can’t even imagine how thrilled you both are. What a marvelous Christmas gift.” She tamped down her envy. She’d wanted children, lots of children, but that wasn’t to be.

“The doctor says everything is fine.  He’s given me a July due date.”

“July? I thought you were only two months along.”

Ruth laughed. “So did I, but apparently I’m not. Thank God he’s telling everyone tonight. I need to get some different clothing. I can’t zip up my jeans.”

“Ladies and gentlemen. If I can ask you to be seated now and have my lovely wife up here with me, we can get this started,” Phil said into the microphone.

Ruth nodded toward the stage. “We can talk more later.”

Candace watched her walk up to the podium. The look of love on Phil’s face as he embraced his wife created an ache inside her. Would a man ever look at her that way?

“Candace, Sally,” Amy called from a table on the left side of the room, and they hurried over to join her and Nate.

“Haven’t they done a great job?” Amy asked as they sat. “I heard he’s going to host a breakfast with Santa for the local kids on the twenty-third.”

“Whatever this news Phil has must really be something. He’s spent a fortune on this little shindig,” Nate added.

She nodded. “Yeah. This is the biggest thing to happen to him yet.” Ruth’s secret was safe until Nate told everyone. She wouldn’t steal his thunder.

“Is Cathy here? I haven’t seen her.”

“She’s just gone to the bathroom. Here she comes now,” Amy answered. “She drove in with the Richardsons. I don’t blame her for opting not to travel alone. The roads are bad and will probably be worse when this is over. I’m glad Nate put the chains on the tires.”

Richardsons was the town’s main hardware store. While there was one of the bigger chain stores in the Seneca Shopping Center a few miles away, most of the locals got their hardware and fishing supplies from Rick.

“Can I have everyone’s attention?” Phil asked. He held Ruth close to him. “I have two announcements to make tonight, and I would like to start with the personal one. As you know, Ruth and I have always dreamed of having a big family. I’m thrilled to announce that Lucas will have a baby brother or sister this summer. It’s an unexpected miracle, but Ruth’s got a bun in the oven. She’s pregnant.”

The room erupted in cheers and people rushed the dais to congratulate the couple.

“You knew, didn’t you?” Amy accused. “Don’t deny it. It’s written all over your face.”

Candace shrugged.

“Now, if I can have your attention again, I would like to explain the other issue behind today’s meeting—not that my going to be a daddy isn’t news enough.”

Everyone chuckled.

“Syd, turn down the lights, will you?”

The room darkened, and seconds later the screen lit up with the words Serendipity All-Season Resort. The image was of Silver Mountain and the old flour mill, but in the sketch, the mountain had ski runs on it and the flour mill was a hotel.

“Starting after Christmas, Serendipity Construction will begin renovating the flour mill into a five star luxury resort. The man in charge of the project, William Lamont, also purchased the Jessup house out on River Road. He’s already got Avery working on fixing it up for him. He’ll be moving in mid-February. Ruth and I will host a welcome to Willow Grove dinner for him and his family. Now, let me show you his plans for Silver Mountain. Willow Grove is getting a ski resort of its own for Christmas.”

The crowd cheered as loudly as they had earlier. Wasn’t this just what they’d all wanted?

Candace listened as Phil outlined the plans, her mind racing through the possibilities of what this might mean for her and her shop.

“I don’t get it,” Candace said an hour later as they were driving back into town. “I know everyone sees this as a wonderful opportunity, but something doesn’t feel right. Why would that Mr. Lamont and his company want to buy from us when he could get it cheaper by buying directly from the manufacturer?”

“He could get things like the coffee makers cheaper, I agree, but you roast and flavor that coffee yourself, just as I make all my sweets. Keeping the hotel in business with two hundred chocolates a day won’t leave me much time for making anything else. I’ll have to hire more staff, but this is a dream come true. Willow Grove will be a destination all year long.”

Candace shook her head. When things seemed too good to be true, they usually were. She’d learned that lesson from Judson. Mr. Lamont had to have an angle. When they discovered what it was, she hoped no one would be hurt.

Don’t forget to check out all the other delicious stories coming your way today on  Tuesday Tales