Tuesday Tales: From the word BLUE

champagneHappy New Year. Let’s toast to 2018, and as I raise my glass to you, I hope 2018 will bring everyone health and happiness.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales. Many thanks to Jean Joachim for creating this blog hop and helping us explore our creativity each week. From her word and picture prompts wonderful scenes and books are written.

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This week’s Tuesday Tale comes from my women’s fiction story, Same Time Next Year. The word prompt is BLUE. See if you can find how many times I’ve used it and variations of it in today’s post.

Mike, barefoot in blue shorts and white t-shirt,  stood on the middle deck, the one off the kitchen, and raised his navy coffee mug to his mouth, praying the analgesics he’d taken would kick in soon. He loved the multi-level house he’d designed all those years ago, the one he’d finally built after he’d retired to the Pacific Coast. With decks off three rooms, it reminded him of the summer house on Indian Lake and the various viewing platforms his father had built down to the water level. While Michael didn’t have direct water access since this section of the coastline was too rugged for that, he was only five minutes from the marina.

Facing the Pacific, he had an incredible view whether from the top deck off his bedroom, this one, or the lower one off the family room, where he’d built a big stone fireplace, the perfect place to sit on those cooler winter evenings. If there was one thing he didn’t miss, it was Eastern Ontario’s cold, snowy winters.

He stared out at the marina, its aquamarine water free of whitecaps today, and spotted Jethro Wilkes’s fishing boat coming in. As usual, the boat must’ve gone out at the crack of dawn.

The guy, his head covered by that antique, indigo, fishing hat he wore, had to be almost ninety years old, but, rain or shine, the man never missed a chance for fresh fish. It was amazing to see, but these days, there was always one of his grandkids there to help him. The old Haida, with the eyesight of an eagle, waved at him. Even from this distance, Mike could see his faded blue jeans, at least two sizes too big, cinched tightly at his waist, giving him the wasp-waist any woman would’ve envied fifty years ago. The twelve inches of additional belt flapped in the wind.

Mike waved and went inside, envying the old man once again. Since he’d never met anyone he cared enough to marry—other than Twyla who’d dumped him—he had no grandkids to help him carry on. Lydia’s boys, Trent and Art, handled most of the tours these days while he focused on the paperwork, but there was nothing like being out on the ocean when the gentle giants surfaced or even when there was a pod of Orca on the hunt. Twyla would’ve loved it. Now that he’d pulled the Band-Aid off and exposed the memories, more and more of them flooded him. He chuckled remembering the first time he’d taken her fishing. She’d been awed by that bass. The damn thing would barely be considered bait out here.

He stared into space, seeing a different azure sky.

 

“Come on, Jersey,” he said. While he liked her name, he preferred nicknames. He’d called her T last night, but he wasn’t sure she liked it. “You’re going to love this. Mom made lunch for me, and I had her add extra. We won’t starve.”

Twyla laughed and then frowned. “I’m not likely to starve to death in a matter of hours, but that’s an awfully small boat. Are you sure it can hold both of us?”

“It’s a standard, sixteen-foot aluminum fishing boat. It belongs to Harold, the fish guide. Believe me, it’s carried a hell of a lot more weight than the two of us.”

He held out his hand to help her into the boat, pulling her tightly to him when she stumbled. The feel of her body against his wasn’t something he could ignore, so he stepped back. They’d only spent some half-dozen hours together since they’d met. The last thing she needed was to feel his pole at attention. Today wasn’t the day for that kind of fishing.

“Thank you,” she said, sitting down on the seat facing the back of the boat and the motor. “Do I need to put on the life jacket?”

“That’s your choice. It’s one of the new foam ones, lighter than the old kapok ones, but if you can’t swim…”

“I can swim,” she answered, grinning from ear to ear, her eyes twinkling, as she set the orange life vest on the seat beside her.

He frowned. “Did you bring a hat and a cover-up? I mean, not that I don’t appreciate what I can see,” he commented, his eyes raking her body in the peacock blue print swimsuit, “but you’re kind of pale. I don’t want you to burn.”

“I have a long-sleeve terry jacket, suntan lotion, and a hat in my bag. The lotion helps me tan instead of burning. One of these days, someone will invent something for skin like mine, but until they do, I just have to remember Mother’s favorite word: moderation. I told her I was going fishing, and I wouldn’t be back until later. Where are the others? You did say we’d be spending the day with the gang.”

“I might’ve misled you there. We’ll meet up with Mavis, Lydia, and a few of the local kids later when we go swimming at a little sand beach we use, but for the next couple of hours, it’ll just be the two of us.” He swallowed. “I can go fishing by myself and come back later for you, if you prefer.”

Twyla smiled, those emerald eyes of hers flashing with pleasure.

“Actually, I like that. Thank you for asking me to spend your day off with you. Since I’ve never been fishing—Ethan refused to let me intrude on his private time—it’ll be less embarrassing if I do something dumb when I’m alone with you rather than in front of an audience. Besides, you did guarantee I would catch a fish. I brought my Brownie, so you can take a picture of me with it. I want to send it to my brother.” Her eyes dulled. “He’s in Vietnam.”

Michael nodded. “I’ve got a few friends from Kingston who crossed the border and enlisted.”

“Will you be going there , too?” she asked, her face pale in the glow of the morning sun.

He shook his head. “Canadian forces officially only support UN Peacekeeping Missions. Unless things change within the next few months, I’ll be headed to the Sinai.” He smiled. “As far as making a fool of yourself fishing, I don’t see how you could do worse than Mavis. I took her and Lydia out when I first came home in May, and she almost tipped the boat over when she pulled in an eel. Funniest thing I ever saw.”

“I’m sure Mavis didn’t think it was funny,” she said, affronted for the girl he knew had been nothing but rude to her.

“Don’t waste your breath defending her. Mavis has a hide on her thicker than an elephant’s and the conscience of a gnat. She’s always ready to do whatever she thinks is best for her. At that point in time, it was getting Peter Seward to notice her, and he was in the boat beside ours. She figured if she draped herself all over me like cheap curtains, he’d get jealous. It didn’t work.”

“You don’t like Mavis very much, do you?”

He sneered. “I’ve known her most of my life. It isn’t that I don’t like her, it’s that I know her well enough to see through some of the games she plays. I also know enough not to turn my back on her. Now, enough about that harpy. Let’s get the show on the road. Harold shared some of his prime fishing spots with me.”

He pulled the cord on the motor, untied the boat from the moorings, and headed down the canal to the open water of Opinicon Lake. The lake was reedy and weedy, ideal for fishing, and within a couple of hours, they’d filled their basket.

At first, he’d had to help her, but after the third try, she managed to bait her own hooks and land her fish without his help, including a sixteen-inch largemouth bass that had to weigh two pounds. As promised, he’d taken a picture of her and her “gigantic” fish as she’d called it. He’d even cleaned the monster for her, and they’d roasted it and a few others on the beach later that da. He’d never enjoyed fishing as much as he had when he’d fished with Twyla by his side.

 

The phone pulled Mike out of the memory. He glanced at the call display—Lydia. Reaching for the handset, he swallowed. While he’d like to ignore her, she’d keep calling until he answered.

“Morning, sis. What can I do for you?”

“Morning?” she scolded. “It’s almost noon.”

“And? Today’s my day off. So, why are you disturbing me on this lovely day?” She didn’t need to know about his hangover and sleepless night.

“Michael Arthur Morrison, you know damn well why I’m calling. You phone, tell me to get the tickets, and then hang up. When I tried to call back, all I got was voice mail. I thought you’d gone to the wedding and looked for you.”

“You know how I feel about weddings,” he answered, and yet he was going to one.

“You’re infuriating.”

“You didn’t phone just to call me names, did you?”

“No, damn you, I didn’t. You’d better have been serious because I got your ticket in a last-minute seat sale. We’re leaving on Tuesday.”

“Tuesday,” he yelled into the phone. “What the hell for? That’s four days before the damn wedding.” While it was true he wanted to talk to Twyla, it wouldn’t take him that long to do it.

“Well, aren’t you good at math,” she answered, her voice dripping sarcasm. “Yes, it is. Mavis has a few activities scheduled for the old crowd, including a meet and greet on Wednesday night. She reserved one of the two-bedroom cabins for us, so we’re all set. Just remember to pack your good blue

pinstriped suit and that royal blue tie I bought you for Christmas to wear to the wedding. Go and get a haircut, too.”

“Yes, mother,” he answered, letting the cynicism ooze out of him, knowing he had no one to blame for this but himself. He’d agreed to go, and he was a man of his word. It was too bad Twyla had never realized that.

“Mike,” there was a conciliatory tone to his sister’s voice. “This is going to be a good thing, you’ll see. Once you get to the bottom of this, you’ll be able to move on and find someone.”

He burst out laughing. “Lydia, I’m almost seventy years old. That’s a little long in the tooth to find love and settle down. But it will be a good thing to get everything out in the open once and for all.”

“But I just hate the fact that you’re all alone…”

“I’m never alone as long as I have friends and family. What time is the flight?”

“We fly to Vancouver at half past one and our flight, non-stop to Ottawa, leaves at three. We’ll pick you up around eleven thirty.” She paused, and Mike knew something he didn’t want to hear was coming. “I always liked Twyla. I’m curious to know why she hurt you that way, too.”

Mike swallowed. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Hell, she may not even remember me. I’ve got to go. I won’t be in tomorrow. I’ll need the day to get a few things organized—including that haircut you think I need. See you Tuesday.”

He hung up the phone and dropped into a chair at the kitchen table. Was he really ready to do this?

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

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Saturday Surprise From Heather Renee

 

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To The Falls  The Falls Trilogy: Book One, By: Heather Renee Free Dates: 12/28/2017 to 12/31/2017

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

To the FallsBack Cover Copy

Kaliah “Kali” Atwater is awaiting two things, finishing sophomore year in college and her upcoming twentieth birthday. The day before Kali’s birthday, she finds out that the dream she’s had every night for almost a year of a beautiful land, isn’t a fantasy at all. It’s her birth place.
Every twenty years a new generation of Guardians return to Arvata to bring life back to their world and renew the magic of the Falls. Now it’s Kali’s turn, but dark magic has made its way into her new home preventing the Falls from replenishing.
Kali must accept the role assigned to her by the Fates or let Arvata crumble. Can she and her friends save Arvata in time? Will new love make her stronger? Or will the darkness finally win?
Only the Fates know for sure…

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On Sale For Only .99! From The Falls The Falls Trilogy: Book Two By: Heather Renee  Sale Dates: 12/28/2017 – 12/31/2017

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

From the FallsBack Cover Copy
Arvata is thriving and Kali is finally getting a handle on being an Elder. The only thing missing from Arvata is their town healer, who left unexpectedly six months ago and didn’t tell anyone why.

Lorelle finally returns to explain what the Fates had assigned her to do, but she now needs the new Elders help with the mission. Half-Guardians, that shouldn’t even exist in their world, are out there and need to be protected, but time is running out.

Unknown magic lurks within these hybrids and they possess powers unlike full Guardians. It’s up to Kali and her friends to figure out how to protect the half-Guardians and prevent more from being created.

Trust will need to be earned, unseen powers will emerge and loved one’s lives are threatened. Will the risk be worth it in the end?

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New Release and Completed Trilogy!

Embracing The Falls  The Falls Trilogy: Book Three  By: Heather Renee Available: 12/29/2017

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

embracing the Falls

Back Cover Copy
Rebellious animals have threatened Strix’s realm and Kali is determined to help him reclaim his home. There’s only one problem… she’s eight months pregnant.

As Kali battles Lucas and her family’s disapproval, help comes from unexpected places. When Otherworld allies pledge their assistance, her friends and family reluctantly agree to accompany her to Dásos, Strix’s world, in hopes of resolving the rebels’ complaints peacefully.

Their journey to Dásos makes one thing clear. There is far more behind the sudden change in the creatures inhabiting the land. Nothing is as it seems, and Kali will have to overcome more than she’s prepared for. As darkness encroaches upon the Elders, it will be up to each of them to embrace the light before it’s too late.

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heatherAuthor Bio:

Heather Renee is a new indie author that lives in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest in Oregon. She writes YA Fantasy that has a mixture of suspense, humor and a little romance.

When Heather’s not writing, she is spending time with her beautiful daughter and amazing husband. Two cats, and a dog who loves the snow, complete their household. On weekends if she doesn’t have a book in her face, you can find Heather going on different adventures with her family. Her favorite being hiking to Multnomah Falls.

She loves to hear from her fans, so visit her webpage and the Contact Me link for ways to connect. http://www.HeatherReneeAuthor.com

Author Links:

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2q8TYjj

Facebook Fan Group: http://bit.ly/2r5YPlt

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hrenee_author

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/2p049of

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2pD1Vwc

Tuesday Tales: From the Word PITCH

mhslm

Good morning. I hope your Christmas was everything you expected and more. If you are looking for a new book, consider one of the above.

Badge for TTTuesday Tales is a weekly blog hop managed and created by author Jean Joachim. Those of us who participate in it use a weekly clue to continue a work in progress. Many of those stories go on to become books in their own right.

This week, for the last post of 2017, I give you more of Same Time Next Year, and a scene based on the word PITCH. Allow me to take a moment and wish you all a happy, healthy, and successful 2018.

Here is today’s tale:

Twyla pushed the hair off her face and turned back to the laptop to continue the story. She’d been so very young…

When we reached the store, Michael held the door open for me to precede him inside.  As always, the jumble of regular grocery items and fishing gear amazed me. I couldn’t imagine opening the fridge door at the Mom and Pop store down the street in Hoboken and seeing worms in  plastic cups next to milk, juice, and soda pop. If Mother ever came in here to buy her own cigarettes and saw this, she would probably pass out. But she wouldn’t. Somehow it was better that the staff here believe I was the smoker, not her. Besides, she’d promised Father she would quit. Hell might freeze over first, but eventually, she would.

Michael put his hand on the small of my back to lead me through the crowded, narrow aisles. Heat pulsed through me at his light touch and scenes from Lady Chatterley’s Lover filled my mind. How would his hand feel on my bare skin?

I pulled away suddenly, embarrassed that I could even harbor such traitorous thoughts, and terrified I might’ve somehow given away my response to his touch. Hadn’t mother claimed boys could read impure thoughts in a girl  the same way dogs could sense fear? My cheeks heated and I swallowed, trying to clear my head of my mother’s nagging voice.

The owner had set up the back of the store to resemble an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with a counter and six tiny tables dotting the room. Michael pulled out one of the chairs for me, smiling as if I were a princess. I certainly felt like one.  I sat, impressed with what Mother would’ve called his gentleman’s manners.

“Mike,” a female voice called from across the room. “I wasn’t expecting you for another half hour.” There was censure in her tone that destroyed my fairy tale. “I can’t take a break until then.”

The scowl on his face was formidable. “I forgot she was working today,” he mumbled before turning away. “I don’t expect you to.”

His tone surprised me. If that was the way he treated his girlfriend, then I’d better cut my losses and leave. But when the girl stepped over to the table, she blocked my escape.

“Well, I thought we could spend time together,” she said, her tone, now sickly sweet.

“Yeah, right. Like that’s ever happened.” Michael shook his head.

“Fine, what will you have?” she asked, her voice not hiding her annoyance. She stepped back surprised when she saw me sitting there, hidden initially by his body. “I didn’t know your family had company.”

“We don’t,” he answered as if there wasn’t a problem in the world. “Mavis Crowder, meet Twyla Lancaster. She’s a guest here. When I saw that hair, I couldn’t look away.”

Mavis snorted, gave my hair and the rest of me a glance that cooled me right down. If looks could kill, I wouldn’t have made it out of the store.

“Good grief. I can see why. If I had hair like that, I’d wear a hat and never take if off.”

I examined her long, straight,dark brown hair, Cher hair, the kind I’d always dreamed of having , and tried to shrink into the chair, wishing I were invisible.

Michael’s frown deepened. “Mavis, that was rude. What the hell’s wrong with you? Her hair’s gorgeous, and you know it. That artist who spends weeks here in the fall, the guy you bothered until he agreed to draw you, would love it.”

Mavis rolled her eyes. “Pa-lease. Don’t make me gag. I did not bother Gilles. Besides, he’s not that great an artist.”

“If you say so. Lydia tells a different story. With those curls and her coloring similar to the fall leaves on my grandfather’s sugar maple, your artist would probably want to use Twyla as a model for Mother Nature herself.”

“I doubt it,” Mavis mumbled, sneering at me.

But the frown on Michael’s face was impressive. I stifled a giggle. With a pitch like that, he could have any one of the girls I knew eating out of his hand. He certainly wasn’t trying to charm or impress Mavis, and who was Lydia?

He smiled at me and gently pushed a tendril off my face. “Don’t ever dye it. Mavis is just jealous because her hair’s that muskrat brown.” He winked and turned to the girl whose cheeks were redder than mine must be. “If anyone should dye their hair, maybe it’s you.”

“Do you want something or not?” she snapped, turning her back to me.

“Lighten up, Mavis, I’m joking. You look fine. Bring us a couple of root beer floats, will you?”

He dismissed her with a glance and focused his attention on me, the glint in his eye telling me he was enjoying Mavis’s annoyance. I should’ve gotten up and left, right then and there, but it was as if I were glued to the seat.

This was the last thing I needed. The most wonderful boy I’d ever met was acting like a jerk, already hooked up with a gal giving me the evil eye, a look any of Macbeth’s witches would’ve envied. Commonsense reared its ugly head, and I stood.

“I’m sorry. I should just go. Your girlfriend—”

He cut me off. “My girlfriend? Mavis? Hell, no!”

The stunned look on his face pleased me.

“Mavis is my sister Lydia’s friend, and that’s it. If she thinks we’ve got something else going on, she’s got another think coming. I’ve known her forever. She might as well be my sister, and that would just be too weird.”

Twyla pushed away from the keyboard. Had Michael really been that blind? That clueless? Why hadn’t she seen Mavis’s reactions and behavior towards her for what they were? The girl had been in love with him, hurt by his words and attitude. She shook her head. Who would ever believe she and Mavis had something in common? They’d been rivals for Michael’s attention, but in the end, his cavalier attitude had crushed them both. Too bad Mavis didn’t realize how lucky she’d been.

The cottage was quiet. The storm had played itself out, and it was well past three. Twyla needed sleep. As much as she would like to pretend she was as healthy as she’d been at seventeen, the truth was she was an old lady with an even older, tired heart. Writing this book was dredging up painful memories, but, because hindsight was twenty-twenty, it would also let her see things for what they’d really been. The truth might hurt, but it was cleansing, and that was what really mattered here.

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales. See you in 2018!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Father Christmas Saint Nick 2016As the big day quickly approaches, I want to take the time to thank everyone who has followed me during this past year, whether here on this blog, or on my Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, All Author, or my new Smashwords account. If you have read one of my books, please consider leaving a review. You can do so at any of the retailers where the book is sold, on my website, or on Goodreads.

It has been a busy year and fans and followers like yourselves make the efforts all worthwhile. Take a few minutes to check out my new Smashwords Interview. https://www.smashwords.com/interview/MHSLM. In the next few months, I will be moving away from Amazon exclusivity in hopes of attracting more readers. Will it work? We’ll see.

snowbound-snugglesSimon and Schuster has two new bundles out with my work featured in them. Snowbound Snuggles is currently available from all online bookstores. It features my novel, On His watch, along with 5 other full-length novels.

Let it snow, let it snow! It’s time to stoke the fires and pour a glass of cabernet as you join these sexy couples who find love while they’re stranded together.

Cloaked in Christmas: Wulfkin Cacey Varg and her daughter have made a new life in Finland, far from her abusive ex. But as Christmas approaches, Cacey learns he’s coming to take their daughter. A massive snowstorm prevents her from fleeing and instead delivers a sexy stranger, powerful hunter Vincent Lyall, to her doorstep. Is love potent enough to win when two sexy wolf shifters, an unwelcome past, and animalistic urges wreak havoc on the holiday season?

Wynter’s Journey: Tragedy tore Wynter and Sam apart twelve years ago, and now she’s back at his doorstep, widowed, desperately broke, and very pregnant. What’s a nice guy to do but offer her shelter? But living under the same roof quickly leads to old feelings resurfacing, even if Wynter is determined to leave the pain of Scallop Shores behind. Now the one person Sam wanted to forget is the one person he can’t let go.

Edie and the CEO: Edie Rowan is passionate about workers’ rights, but when her protests backfire, championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. He sends her to attend management camp—and even drives her there himself. But when they are forced to seek shelter in a snowstorm, they let down their professional guard, and the sparks start to fly.

Starr Tree Farm: Laura Tanner returns home a year after her husband’s death and reunites with Brad Asher, a wounded vet who has come back to pull his life together. When her husband’s murderer targets Laura, too, can her childhood-playmate-turned-devilish-man unravel the secret before it’s too late?

On His Watch: Special Agent Jason Spark is enjoying some welcome peace and quiet when he’s summoned to a 911 call and steps into a horrifying bloodbath. Survivor Nikki Hart believes Jason might be the angel sent to protect her, and willingly goes into hiding with him in a mountain cabin far from civilization. But when she learns about the secret role he played in her tragedy, can she ever forgive him?

As If You Never Left Me: Rey and Joely Birch had what they thought was a perfect marriage … until it fell apart. Joely picked up the pieces and built a successful retail business. Now Rey is back on the doorstep of her mountain cabin, determined to win her heart again. But will his carefully laid plans disintegrate when she finds out what really brought him to Colorado?

Sensuality Level: Sensual 

https://www.amazon.com/Snowbound-Snuggles-6-Winter-Romances-ebook/dp/B0775GFJ88

Come January, a second bundle, currently available for pre-order, called Lost and Found, will feature 8 great novels including my In Plain Sight.

Lost and Found cover.Risking their bruised hearts for a second chance at love is a dangerous prospect for these widows and widowers, but risk definitely has its rewards…

The Election Connection: War widow Lily Ashton’s heart is closed to love, so she’s the perfect choice to play fiancée to help secure a re-election for her pal, Congressman Ford Richardson. But as they work together, their not-quite engagement starts to feel much more real than either is ready to admit.

Luc: Widow and erotic romance author Liz Anderson moved home to the small town of Angel Bay to heal her broken heart. She’s so not ready when friends set her up with a single father ten years her junior. But this hot young chef is igniting her long-dormant desire. Too bad the last thing Luc Rossi’s life has room for is romance. Or can they cook up something that might last a lifetime?

Her Faux Fiancé: Hotshot lawyer Erik Sigurdson breezes into town determined to survive a two-week family reunion. He makes his ex, widowed combat photographer Analise Thordarson, an irresistible offer: pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll pay off her grandfather’s debts. But when their fake engagement is complicated by a very real pregnancy, they must sort out just who is using whom and if this sham relationship could lead to a real future.

Drawn to Jonah: New York-trained artist Quinn Baker is back home in Scallop Shores to reconnect with her family and figure out what to do with her life. Then handyman Jonah Goodwin asks an intriguing favor: teach him to read. Illiteracy has kept widower Jonah from forging friendships and building a career his daughter could be proud of, and hiding his secret has always been a full-time job. Yet something about Quinn inspires trust—but can she show him that he, too, is deserving of love?

Wildflower Redemption: Luz Wilkinson returns to tiny Rose Creek, Texas, to lick her wounds and toughen her resolve against love’s sting. She wants nothing more than to spend her days caring for discarded animals. But will Aaron Estes, her riding student’s widower dad, spur her to try again?

Breaking the Rules: A forbidden love affair in the past has led middle school principal Hope Robinson to restart her career in Harbor Bay, Florida, where this time she’s determined to play by the rules. But when a broken foot sends her to the clinic and Dr. Colin Calaway, sparks fly. Widowed Colin is ready to give love another shot, but he’s the father of one of her students. Is happily ever after worth the risk?

All About Charming Alice: Quirky Alice Treemont has given up hope of finding love in rural Blake’s Folly, Nevada, where she spends her time rescuing unwanted dogs and protecting snakes. That is, until dashing and well-to-do author Jace Constant comes to town to research his new book. Opposites indeed attract, and soon the whole town is determined to make a love match.

In Plain Sight: Widow Misty Starr has fled her past to settle in Pine Falls, New York, where she feels safe enough to sing in an amateur theater revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. Then dashing Nick Anthony joins the cast and stirs up feelings she thought long dead. The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with his vision, yet the former concert pianist and secret CIA courier has been blind since the accident that killed his wife. As Misty and Nick’s attraction grows, so, too, does a series of suspicious events. Nick holds the key to protect them, but only if they both drop their secrets to see the truth.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

This book is available for pre-order from all online bookstores. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Found-Learning-Love-Again-Romances-ebook/dp/B077MTL8KT

As well, after a successful Kindle Scout campaign, which unfortunately did not result in a contract, Wedding Bell Blues is available for pre-order at the price of 99 cents, USD.  The price will go up after January 15, 2018 when the book is available at several different retailers and in paperback. Get your copy now and save!

WBB final coverRomance, mermaids, cursed treasure, and more.
MJ’s having a bad year. She’s canceled her wedding, but refuses to give up the honeymoon. When she arrives on Paradise Island, she discovers her ex has changed the reservation. Stranded, she has to rely on her first love, a man who sees her as his kid sister, for help. When Paul discovers the man behind her plight is the bully who made his own teen years hell, he gets MJ to agree to pretend to be his fiancée. Reluctantly, she agrees. Add in mermaids, treasure hunters, and Quimbois magic, and anything can happen—even falling in love.

Finally, this holiday season marks the start of a new venture for me. Come January, I will be publishing a monthly newsletter.You can join the mailing list by adding your contact information in the comment section here or by messaging me on Facebook. Each month, I will update you on the status of my published books and current w.i.p. To sweeten the pot, everyone who signs up for the newsletter before December 31, 2017, will receive a free digital copy of  my Christmas novella, Come Home For Christmas.  Each month the newsletter will contain an opportunity to give feedback on ideas I’m considering and the chance to win an electronic copy of one of my indie published books. Sign up today for your chance to win.

May you all be blessed this season and in the coming year. Health and happiness to all.

 

Midweek Tease: Merry Christmas from The Perfect Choice

MWTease15Welcome to my last tease of 2017, since I will be unable to post next week.  Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for maintaining this blog hop, and best wishes for whichever holiday you celebrate to all the writers and readers who find their way here each week. By now, you know that Wedding Bell Blues was not accepted for publication by Kindle Scout. The book will soon be available for pre-order with a January 15, 2018 scheduled release date.

This morning, I give you a taste of Christmas. Enjoy!

The perfect choice NewEleni hurried down the stairs and pulled open the door, oblivious to the cold air pouring into the showroom.

Her heart caught in her throat. Joe really was her Prince Charming. He looked handsome in the red doublet, tight white trousers, and knee-high black leather boots. He wore a sword at his waist. He walked toward the door.

“You look magnificent.”

Eleni threw herself into his arms. Tears ran down her cheeks. “I’ve missed you so much.”

Without a word, he took her mouth and kissed her with a hunger and need that matched hers. Slowly, he pulled his lips away from hers.

“If we keep this up, we won’t make the ball, and it won’t be because of my flight. I want to make love to you this minute, but I know how important this is for your sister. Where’s your wrap? Anticipation will make everything sweeter later.” He kissed her again.

She’d gladly have bypassed the ball to be in his bed, but he was right. They couldn’t disappoint Georgia. If he could stand the wait, then so could she.

She grabbed her velvet cape off the chair, and he put it over her shoulders, his lips kissing the nape of her neck.

“You look well and truly kissed, Snow White.”

She laughed, went to the mirror and fixed her make-up.

“Better?”

“I liked the other look, but… Let’s go, the sooner the dance and the wedding are over, the sooner I can feel your naked body beneath mine. I’ve missed you, darling. Remind me never to leave you again.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” she said softly.

He opened the door for her, and they went out into the crisp December night. The door lock behind them.

You can find The Perfect Choice on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Choice-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B00OJB5EPW

Please take the time to visit this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease December 20, 2017


Tuesday Tales: From the Word TINY

hot toddyWelcome back to Tuesday Tales. With Christmas Eve less than a week away, I’ll bet that, like me, you’re scrambling to get things ready. The decorations are up, the gifts bought and boxed or bagged, but the house still needs cleaning and i have the last of the groceries to buy, but I’m  looking forward to the holidays and the arrival of 2018. May your Christmas, or whatever celebration you have at this time of year,  be everything you want it to be.

This week, I am continuing with Same Time Next Year. After Twyla’s initial memory of seeing Michael for the first time, the dam bursts, letting out all the pain and sorrow she’s kept bottle up inside.

Enjoy! 

Badge for TTTwyla cried until she had no tears left. She wept for her innocence, her gullibility, and her years of loneliness. She shed tears for Ethan, William, her father, and even her mother. But most of all, her sobs were for herself and the life of lies she’d led to keep secrets and people’s memories sacred. Maybe once she finished this book, her opus, she would experience the catharsis she needed and find a way to forgive him and herself. Then, and only then, would she be able to lay the burden of lies and guilt aside and die in peace. This was why the Lord had spared her. She had unfinished business, and once she discovered the truth, as unpleasant as it might be, she would finally be able to rest.

Of course, it all depended on her sketchy memories and Michael. Mavis had said his sister would be here. Maybe she would have the answers Twyla needed. If he’d never gotten her letters … Why did she persist in hanging onto that tiny glimmer of hope?

She huffed out a breath and flipped onto her back as her conscience crawled out of its hiding place, putting an end to this pity party. Did she have the right to destroy others at the expense of her own peace of mind? Of course not. Once she finished this book, during edits—done well before she would send a single, solitary page to Caprice—she would disguise the characters so that none of the people who truly mattered to her and a few who didn’t, would see her, or themselves, in the story. She might even opt to write under a pseudonym, considering this book was way different than anything else she’d penned.

Her pillow soaked, she tossed it onto the floor, reaching for one of the other ones on the bed. That was the advantage of a king-size bed—there was lots of room to stretch out, lots of pillows to use, but what she wouldn’t give to be held in the arms of a man she loved and who loved her. After William had died, she’d had offers for dinners from single men in their social group, but memories of Michael held her back. She could’ve gone looking for him, but hadn’t. The reason was simple. She didn’t want to discover that she’d been right. That all she’d been was a summer fling, a notch on his belt.

Unable to sleep even though the storm was now nothing but a gentle rain, she got up and padded back to her desk. Settling in front of the computer, she continued where she’d left off.

 

If ever a man could be described as a god, he was that man. I stood there as mesmerized as a doe in the headlights. The words to the Four Seasons’ newest song ran through my head. Try as I might, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, and as far as the rest of me went, my stomach was doing flip-flops faster than the acrobat at the circus I’d gone to last month. He couldn’t be real, and yet, there he was. This was it—that Juliet first seeing Romeo across the room moment I’d dreamt of. Did I believe in love at first sight? What teenage girl, raised on the Disney fairytales of the day, didn’t?

As the minutes and hours crawled by, the crowds thinned. I’d been coming to The Captain’s Inn for most of my life, and yet suddenly the workings of the lock were of immense interests to me. He wasn’t muscular by any means, but the red serge jacket strained across his shoulders as he wound the chain around the wheel to open and close the canal doors. Tiny beads of perspiration dotted his brow.

Unable to do anything but watch him, I sighed as he pushed back his dark blue shako, as I later learned the hat with black leather peak and chin-strap was called, allowing strands of his dark auburn hair to slip out and plaster themselves to his forehead. The odd-looking, brimmed cap had a regimental design on the front of it, and the strangest looking tiny white-and-red pompom standing on end at the front of it, not in the center the way one would expect. It seemed to dip forward and back with every movement of his head. It looked funny, but the idea of laughing at him simply didn’t occur to me.

My gaze traced the single-breasted red tunic, dwelling on each of the eight brass buttons and white piping down the front. In contrast, the dark-blue collar was edged in white, matching the pointed cuffs trimmed with white braid that ended in a complex knot of some sort. The bottom of the tunic was slightly flared, closed by pleats decorated with white cloth at each side of the front and two large buttons. His dark blue pants were tight fitting, with a red welt down the outside seam. What a contrast to the picture Ethan had sent of himself in uniform.

In the afternoon’s heat, that uniform must’ve been hotter than hell, but he moved along doing his job as if he didn’t have a care in the world. The only sign he gave that he knew I was there was a quick glance my way every now and then. Hot and thirsty and aware my parents had to be wondering where I’d gotten to, I was about to leave to go back to the cabin when he saluted another guard and headed my way.

Held by the direct gaze of the most gorgeous deep blue eyes I had ever seen, I stood there as he approached, nervously glancing over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t heading toward someone behind me.

“Hi,” he said, smiling, displaying pearly white teeth. “I’m Michael Morrison. I haven’t seen you around before. I would never forget hair the color of flames like yours.”

I reddened. I hated my hair—no, hate wasn’t a strong enough word. I abhorred it, and no amount of pleading would convince Mother to let me dye it any other color.

Fearing my voice as well as my commonsense had deserted me, I smiled, closed mouthed to hide the hideous braces on my teeth—something else that would change come September.

“Twyla Lancaster. I’m staying at the inn with my mother. I come here each summer, but I’ve never seen you either.”

He laughed, the rich sound of it wrapping me like a warm cloak on a cold day.

“That’s probably because I’ve spent most of the last six summers at army camp—the first three as a cadet, the last three as a student at RMC—but if I’d had even the tiniest inkling that you would be here, I’d have come home.”

He was a smooth talker as mother would’ve said, but I was so flattered, it never occurred to me he could be just stringing me along.

“RMC?” I asked. I’d never heard the acronym before.

He’d said it as if it was supposed to impress me.

“The Royal Military College in Kingston. You obviously aren’t from around here. Judging by your accent, my guess would be you’re American. From New York?”

“New Jersey, actually.”

“Well, Jersey, I’ve got a twenty-minute break coming up. How would you like to join me for a soda?”

His gaze begged me to say yes. My knees twitched.

“They’ve got a small area at the back of the store, but if you’ve been here before, you know that.”

“I’d like that,” I managed to mumble.

Where was the femme fatale, blasé attitude I’d practiced? I tried again for that nonchalance I didn’t feel, hoping he wouldn’t see how pathetically needy I was.

“I’ve never seen the canal guards dressed like you are before,” I continued, trying to sound suave and sophisticated. I was failing miserably, and I knew it.

“The uniforms are replicas of those worn the year of Confederation. The damn thing’s hotter than hell and itches, but we only have to wear them today and on Sundays. Tomorrow, we’ll be back to our regular khaki shirts and pants.”

He eyed me up and down, as if trying to imprint my flowered sundress onto his mind.

“You look as cool as a cucumber. That green almost matches your eyes,” he said, his eyes filled with an appreciation I couldn’t miss as his gaze lingered on my curves as it I were a Hollywood star and not the short, slightly chubby girl I was. Pride was the only thing that kept me from swooning at his feet.

 

Twyla giggle out loud. Had she really been that easily impressed? How pathetic, but after months of living with parents who’d barely noticed she was alive, in the house with them, the attention—any attention—was flattering, feeding a hunger she hadn’t even known she’d had. But the signs that things wouldn’t move along smoothly had been there. She’d simply chosen to ignore them.

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

Midweek Tease: The Perfect Choice

MWTease15Good morning. Welcome back to this week’s Midweek Tease. We’ve got a winter wonderland here thanks to the seven inches of snow we got yesterday. The grandchildren must’ve played outside for at least five hours. Good boots and snowsuits may cost of fortune, but the look of joy and pleasure on those rosy-cheeked faces is priceless!

Since Christmas is approaching, I thought I would keep with the Christmas theme I’ve offered the last few weeks. Today, we have a scene from The Perfect Choice, the companion story to Holiday Magic.

Enjoy!

The perfect choice New“Dance with me?” Joe stood beside the table. He undid his tie, removed it, and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. He’d already removed his jacket.

“There’s no music.” She laughed softly.

“Sure there is. Listen carefully.”

He started to hum Georgia on My Mind, and held out his hand to her. She stood and walked into his arms. He’d danced with her at least a dozen times during the evening, despite the fact he’d had to play host, and she could’ve sworn even when he was dancing with others, he was holding her in his gaze. As she glided in his arms, listened to his humming, felt the vibration of it in her hair, she knew for certain she was falling in love with this man.

How was it possible to have such deep feelings for someone so quickly? She thought of the feelings she’d had for Tony, and realized they were mere shadows of the way she felt now.  She might have thought Tony was her soul-mate, but she’d been wrong. Maybe that was the way it was for Georgia and Mark. They’d mistaken a lower level of attraction for the real thing and that was why it hadn’t worked.

As she glided along in Joe’s arms, she realized she wanted the dream. She’d love to spend the rest of her days by his side, bear his children, and grow old with him. She stopped dancing as the depth of those feelings struck her and pulled away, frightened by the knowledge of how easily this man could hurt her. Why would he feel the same way? Sure, he wanted her physically, she could feel that right now, but did he want the rest?

She saw the confusion in Joe’s eyes and pasted a false smile on her face.

“My feet are killing me,” she said in all honesty. “I need to get off them sooner rather than later. As much as I enjoy dancing with you, I don’t think I can manage one extra step.” He smiled. “Your wish is my command.”  He swept her up in his arms.

“Joe! Put me down! What will the staff think?”

Being held this way was even more intimate and stimulating, and she could feel Joe’s arousal against her.

“They’ll think I’m the best boss ever, carrying my exhausted special events coordinator upstairs because she has sore feet.”

The young waiter clearing the table beside them laughed.

“Can you hand her that purse and my tie and jacket?” he asked the young man, who smiled and went to get the items.

“I see, I get to carry all your stuff,” she giggled.

“And I get to carry you.” His voice filled with emotion. “Pretty good deal for me, I’d say.”

Being in Joe’s arms like this was heavenly, and as much as she knew she should insist he put her down, the feeling of his heart thudding so close to hers and the warmth of his arms were too intoxicating to give up.

He held her close to him in the elevator, and after they entered the apartment, he carried her to her bedroom, setting her down on the bed. He knelt beside the bed and removed first one of her shoes and then the other, and Eleni’s heart thundered in anticipation. He stood and pulled her up along his body, his erection hard against her, and bent his head to taste her lips as he had the other night. When Eleni thought she’d die if he didn’t touch her, he slowly unzipped her dress and captured her mouth in another soul-searing kiss.

“Goodnight, Princess Eleni. Pleasant dreams.” He straightened, turned, and left her room.

Damn! How am I supposed to get any sleep after that?

The Perfect Choice is available from all Amazon stores. https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Choice-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B00OJB5EPW

Please stop by and visit the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease December 13, 2017