Tuesday Tales: From the Word METAL

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Hello again and welcome back to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales, free reads written by bestselling authors. Thanks go to Jean Joachim for keeping us on our toes each week. Each post is a snippet from a work in progress and is  based on a specific word prompt. Our word this week is METAL, and believe me, considering where I am in this story, it was a stretch!

I’m working with Wedding Bell Blues, my contemporary romance, with a best friends to lovers-second chance at love trope. For those following the story, MJ and Paul have agreed on a marriage of convenience in order to right a few wrongs from their pasts. What they have yet to realize is that they were meant to be together. As I heard in a television program lately, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him look at his reflection.” Right now, that’s exactly where my characters are. Enjoy.

Paul pulled MJ’s arm through his and led her back to the Cinderella coach, releasing her to help her into the carriage and climb in beside her. The bench seat was small, the interior of the metal carriage not designed for a man of his size. He put his arm across the back of the seat to give her a little more room.

“How are you holding up?” he asked, unable to see much of her face with only the carriage’s twinkle lights to see by. “I think that went well, and your mother was in seventh heaven.”

“Did you know about the padre?” she asked softly, but the tremor in her voice told him the truth was critical to her. The last thing she needed right now was to be backed into a corner. She was as skittish as a newborn colt.

“You mean before we arrived? No. Louis Rich told me about it just before he handed me my uniform. I was as stunned as you must’ve been. He didn’t tell me about your mother until the curtain opened, and there she was.”

“That must’ve been a surprise.” She giggled nervously. “Is it really your uniform? You’ve got a lot of medals on your chest.”

He chuckled bitterly. “There are a lot of guys with more, but sadly they didn’t all get to come home and brag about their service. Rich arranged to have someone from the post go into the house and get it for me. Since until now, I had no next of kin, the camp commander was my emergency contact. Now, it’ll be you. I didn’t expect the interview, either.”

“What did you talk about?” she asked, and he sensed her curiosity was genuine.

“You and me, the way we met, fell in love—the kind of stuff we agreed on. He blindsided me with questions about my last tour, but I managed to deflect them. National security comes in handy at times.”

She exhaled heavily. “I’m sure it does. What are we going to do Paul? This changes everything.”

“Does it? The way I see it, everything has improved. We’ll save money on a Thanksgiving wedding–maybe I can even skip out on the Greek Baptism–although I’m sure your mother will want to throw a party. You can move into the house now, the way you’d hoped and be within walking distance of school. You’ll save on gas and rent–and don’t even think of offering to pay me rent. This may be a marriage in name only, but I have my pride. You can cover the cost of groceries and incidentals, if you insist, but the big expenses are mine.”

“Pulling rank, lieutenant?” There was bitterness in her words.

“I didn’t mean it like that, MJ,” he said, wishing he could take the words back. He’d probably sounded as controlling as the Achilles Heel. “You’re my wife now. I want to take care of you and make you happy for as long as it lasts.”

“You do realize that after this dog and pony show, it could be longer than either of us thought. Mama will be devastated. I haven’t seen her this happy in years,” she stated, her voice choked with emotions. “I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to tell her the truth.”

The last thing he wanted was for her to cry. He reached for her hand and took it in his, gently squeezing it in reassurance.

“I’ve often heard the expression,’ if life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ but I’ve never really understood it until now. This may not be what either of us had in mind, but I’m actually glad it’s turned out this way. The last few years of my life have been lonely, bitter ones, filled with sorrow and regret, and talking about my last posting reminded me of why I bought the house in the first place. I want to wake up in the morning and know I deserved to survive.”

“Don’t be silly, of course you deserved to survive. And as for making lemonade, I think I’m the one coming out on top here. I arrived a jilted bride with no place to stay, and nowhere to go. Like a white knight, you’ve rescued me, and the cost you’ve paid to do so is staggering.”

“I have to disagree with you. You make me laugh again and think that maybe I can be a better man because of you. I’m looking forward to having someone other than King to talk to. I can’t wait to sit and listen to you tell me about your day, knowing it won’t involve the number of casualties suffered by both sides. The thought of not sitting down to dinner with sand in my food and another hundred guys, each one lost in thought remembering loved ones far away thrills me, especially when I’ll get to sit across from you and watch your face as you sample my cooking and I enjoy yours. We can make this work, if we really want to, Marilyn, and damn it, I know it isn’t logical, and I don’t deserve someone as wonderful as you are in my life again, but I want it to work. This place is filled with magic. Maybe we can take a little of it back home with us.”

The carriage pulled up in front of the building and in the light, Paul could see the shimmer of tears in her eyes. His heart fell. Was the thought of being his wife that disturbing to her?

Surprising him, she reached over and kissed his cheek. When she leaned back, she was smiling. “Okay, Mr. Davis. Magic it is. Let’s get this party going.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post. Don’t forget to check out all the other on  Tuesday Tales

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Look Who Dropped By Today: Elizabeth Meyette

When Jesse Graham almost runs over a “body” in the road one night, she is plunged into a labyrinth of secrets, lies and murder. All Jesse wants is a simple life teaching at St. Bart’s… and a chance at love with Joe Riley. She realizes that plan has been thwarted when puzzling occurrences at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls get increasingly dangerous. The danger doesn’t just spring from the ghost who haunts the grounds of St. Bart’s, but from a sinister presence that is not ghostly at all. As she digs into the mystery, threats on her life and the life of her student escalate.

Which danger threatens her life the most? The ghost haunting her student or the secrets buried in the school?

Just $0.99 for a LIMITED TIME
Buried Secrets
by Elizabeth Meyette
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Genre: Mystery | Suspense | Thriller
Release Date: October 3, 2016
Length: 324 Pages
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Excerpt

Jesse Graham squinted through the windshield wipers at the rain-swept road ahead of her. In her twenty-eight years, she had never liked being out in a thunderstorm, and this one was a doozy.

“NASA plans to put a man on the moon next year, but nobody can invent windshield wipers that work in a downpour,” she grumbled.

She hadn’t meant to work until after sunset, but she’d obsessed with putting up creative bulletin boards and adding final touches to the course guides to be ready for the first day of school tomorrow. Though she had taught in Rochester for five years, no doubt her obsession stemmed from the fact that she was the newest faculty member at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls.

Adjusting to the late-summer darkness was hard enough, but add this thunderstorm and visibility was nil. At least upstate New York didn’t suffer through tornadoes or hurricanes. She gripped the wheel, concentrating on avoiding the deep ditch carved out along the shoulder.

A flash of lightning revealed a shape sprawled in the middle of the road ahead. She leaned forward, as if that would help her see if it was a deer someone hit and left to die. Another bolt of lightning illuminated the shape again, revealing blonde hair spread out on the wet pavement. In a moment of clarity—at least she could always count on that oddity in the midst of panic—she knew it was not a deer. Downshifting, she slammed on the brakes, her 1965 Volkswagen Beetle skidding sideways. She broke out in prickles of sweat as her car thudded against the form and halted.

“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” she cried out.

She was pinned to her seat. Her legs shook, then her whole body. She fumbled for the door handle, unable to find it at first. Finally, she grasped it, threw open the door, and scrambled out onto the road. The sky strobed as a lightning bolt slammed into a nearby tree. Her nose stung with the acrid smell of sulfur. Her knees buckled, but she recovered, stumbling toward the immobile form. Slowing her pace, she neared the cloth-draped figure, afraid it might leap up and attack her. Afraid it might not move at all.

Have I just killed someone?

Trembling, she dropped to her knees beside the form. Bile rose in her throat at the sight of long, blonde hair streaming out from beneath the gray wool blanket that covered the shape. Pulling the blanket back, she gasped. A blonde wig was perched atop a dummy fashioned from burlap stuffed with hay. What the…? Slowly, she realized what she was looking at. She breathed with relief. But her relief was short-lived.

Son of a bitch. This prank could have sent someone flipping end over end. Storms weren’t known to improve traction.

“Who the hell would pull a rotten trick like this?”

She looked around—was the perpetrator standing just off in the trees beside the road? Rain spattered against her hair. As she brushed the clinging ringlets from her eyes, she pulled up the hood of her nylon poncho. Heart pounding, she leaned back on her heels, inhaling deeply to still her trembling. Hot breath escaped through her flared nostrils. Grabbing the dummy, she wrapped the blanket around it and lugged it to the car.

ABOUT ELIZABETH MEYETTE

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest

Author, blogger and believer in dreams-come-true, Elizabeth Meyette fell in love with books as a child when her sister read her Goldilocks and the Three Bears. “She had me at ‘Once upon a time…’” Elizabeth confesses. Writing her first book on a dare, she kept Love’s Destiny on her closet shelf for more years than she would like to admit while she taught English and Journalism. Finally she retired early in order to pursue her passion: writing. A friend says she’s not retired, she’s “refired.”

Readers wanted more of the story of Jonathan Brentwood and Emily Wentworth, so Elizabeth got to work on Love’s Spirit. While she loved writing the two historical romances, her muse, Boris, started whispering in her ear characters and plot for The Cavanaugh House. That book was conceived on a trip to upstate New York to visit her family. The Cavanaugh House was a number one paranormal bestseller on Amazon for weeks until Stephen King bumped it to number two. Readers wanted more of Jesse Graham, so Boris nudged Elizabeth to pen a sequel to The Cavanaugh House, Buried Secrets.

Elizabeth has also written several children’s books that she hopes to publish in the near future. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies.

A native of upstate New York, Elizabeth now lives in Michigan with her husband Richard. They have an agreement that she cannot cook on writing days after he endured burnt broccoli and dry chicken. Fortunately, Rich is an excellent cook.

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Midweek tease:Prove It!

heart shaped flagPLEASE NOTE THERE ARE TWO SCHEDULED BLOGS TODAY. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY, THAT POST PRECEDES THIS ONE. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY! 

Hello and welcome to February, the shortest month of the year and the one dedicated to lovers. Each mwtease15Wednesday a group of talented authors share snippets from their current work with you. Most of them write far steamier stuff than I do, but diversity is what makes us so great.

As a Christmas present for my eldest granddaughter, I wrote a YA romance suspense with herself and her closest friends in the starring roles. Prove It! is now available in paperback, so if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your tween and teen, why not give it a try.

The Blurb:

High school sports can be more dangerous than you think!

Ivy Hill’s track star, Liam Howard, has his future all mapped out: date Hannah Connors, win the New Horizon scholarship, get a spot on the next Olympic team, and then go to medical school. Sounds simple, especially when he’s well on his way to achieving his dream. But someone else has other plans. Ignoring the most recent threatening note, Liam goes out for his regular practice run and is struck by a vehicle and left for dead.

Hannah refuses to believe Liam will never walk or run again, especially when she learns the person behind the accident may be her own track coach. Working with Erik Jenkins, Liam’s best friend, she searches for proof, but Erik vanishes on his way to see the coach. Now, it’s up to her, Liam, and their friends, to find Erik and the evidence they need to put a hit and run driver behind bars. But time may be running out for both Erik and Liam as someone tries to finish the job they started, regardless of collateral damage.

You can pick up a copy from any Amazon retailer

Your tease: 

Going through his stretching routine, Liam forced himself to tamp down the apprehension today’s note, the conversation with Erik, the sounds around him, and his mother’s concern had raised. This kind of weather didn’t help either and brought back another unpleasant memory. It had been a day a lot like this when his older brother had gone fishing and drowned. Had that really been five years ago? Strange, he’d never really thought about it, but at the moment, he was the same age Mike had been when he died. Maybe that was why his mother seemed to be in such a heavy Mama Bear mode these days.

He shook off the uneasy sensation. Instead of worrying about non-existent dangers and idiots who liked to mess others up for the fun of it, he let himself dwell on Saturday and Hannah. If she agreed to go to the maze with him, he would be the envy of all the guys in the 4 H club, most of whom attended Central like she did. Well, they’d missed their chance. He had it on good authority that Malcolm had made a play for her and had been shot down. Of course, she could do the same thing to him, but Mari had told him to go for it, and he would. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If anyone wanted to see him fail, both with Hannah and in a race, it would be Malcolm, but there was no way he could be behind the threats. As Erik had pointed out, getting into the locker room was as hard as getting into Fort Knox, so the chances were a guy from Central certainly couldn’t. So who did have access?

Liam shook his head. Here he was obsessing on it again. This was his year, and an idiot with a computer and a printer wasn’t going to ruin it for him. He could win this scholarship, and if Hannah agreed to go out with him, well, he would have it made.

Setting the timer on his watch and the fitness app on his phone, he jogged down the farm lane, and as soon as he was out of sight, put in the earbuds, and turned on his music. When the laneway met the county road, he turned east into the wind, letting the tension roll off of him. His mind emptied and while his eyes focused on the road ahead, he listened to Mrs. Strange’s latest release. Soda Music was right up his alley. He loved the whole kaleidoscopic rock and roll scene, and the tempo suited the pace he preferred.

Enjoying the adrenalin rush he got from running, feeling the cold wind caress his face, and pleased with the way his muscles worked effortlessly, he was surprised when the alarm went off to show he’d run forty minutes straight. He wasn’t even breathing hard and had barely broken a sweat.

Knowing his mother was probably pacing the house and checking the clock every two minutes, he crossed the road and turned west, heading back to the farm. With the wind at his back, he would be home well within the time he’d allowed himself. He’d only gone a mile or so when the skies opened once more, showering him with a cold drizzle, but he barely broke stride. Running in the rain was nothing new, but at the moment, it felt as if he were caught inside a cloud, making visibility poor. If Mom was looking outside, her anxiety meter had gone sky high.

He was less than a hundred yards from his own driveway when the bright LED lights of an approaching vehicle blinded him. There weren’t many of the newer trucks or SUVs in the area, and given the height of the lights, it had to be one of those. Blinking rapidly since the beams pierced his eyes with their intensity, he slowed his pace and relaxed. Despite the mist, there was no way the driver could miss him—his jacket had to be lit up like a Christmas tree.

Liam chuckled softly. Whoever was behind the wheel probably thought he was some kind of idiot. He didn’t care. There was something exciting about braving the elements. The lights vanished as the vehicle disappeared in a trough on the hilly section of the road. Lost in the music, Liam was startled when the lights appeared again, moving toward him faster than they should be. What kind of fool sped under these conditions?

His inner sense of preservation warned him, and after yanking the earbuds out, he inched farther to the side of the road, but the dark pick-up increased its speed. Liam sucked in a breath, surprised by how cold he suddenly felt. The tension in his gut increased. Terror filled him as that note came back to him. Who knew he would be running tonight? Everyone. As Erik had reminded him, his routine was well-known.

Tamping down his panic, Liam moved as far to the edge of the ditch as he could. Unless the driver were under duress and had lost control of his vehicle, which was unlikely given the road conditions, whoever was behind that wheel was aiming right for him. If this was some crazy game of chicken, he wasn’t interested in playing. And if that’s what this was, then the jacket his mother had thought would protect him had just made him a target—a great, big, neon-orange bullseye.

Waving his arms frantically and screaming his lungs out, he stopped within a few yards of his own laneway, standing as close to the slippery edge as he dared, praying he wouldn’t end up at the bottom of the embankment. It was a moot point when the dark-colored truck caught him in the stomach, veered away from the edge of the road, and tossed him into the air as if he were nothing but a rag doll. The full frontal impact with the pavement snapped his head back uncomfortably, his melon bouncing twice before coming to rest on the blacktop, blood pouring from his nose and mouth, his chest on fire, filling him with agony.

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#MidWeekTease February 1, 2017


 

Valentine’s Day Giveaway


We’re spreading some Valentine’s Day love with a giveaway full of chocolate, books, and pretty things! 

Good morning and welcome to the Valentine’s Day Giveaway. To enter fill out the Rafflecopter then hit the comments and tell us about something YOU love. Your favorite author, book, or blog. Tell us about your true love, your kids, your best friend or your pets. Anything you love. We want to hear about what makes your heart full or just makes you smile.
20160516_121612I’ll get the ball rolling by telling you about my true love, my wonderful husband, John. We’ve been together 46 years, and I can’t even imagine my life without him. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and the best example of that would be the sacrifices he made in 1980, to allow me to go back to university and get my teaching degree. We had 3 kids– ages 5,6,and 7– and I left Cornwall and went to Kingston to complete one year at Queens for my Bachelor of Education. I didn’t commute–it’s more than a hundred miles away.  Despite the fact that he worked long hours and curled twice a week, he took on the task of being both Mom and Dad  to our children, with only an after school  babysitter to help him out. Every second weekend, I either took the train home or he and the kids came to Kingston on Sunday to see me. My in-laws were an enormous help, covering the cost of my tuition, and my sister-in-law let me live in her spare room for the nine months I was in school. It was a difficult year for all of us, but he never complained and when graduation day came, he and my kids were there to cheer me on.
Similarly, when I retired from teaching and decided to pursue a career as a novelist, he supported me 100%. He’s never complained about the way my writing has taken on a life of its own and is my biggest fan. He’s not perfect, but neither am I. There’s a little bit of him in all my heroes because he is the man I most admire and always will be the love of my life.
Now, it’s your turn.
Enter the Giveaway!