Happy Book Birthday! Sweet and Sassy Summertime 2 Now available in Kindle Unlimited.

Don’t you love birthdays? Today I have another book birthday. Sweet & Sassy Summertime 2 is now available from Amazon for only 99 cents USD, or free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

Sweet and Sassy Summertime

So what do you get for your buck? How about this?

SEVEN SWEET AND SASSY STORIES of SUMMER From International USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.


Days filled with lemon yellow sunshine, nights of velvety warmth… summertime is the season of love. Romantic tales filled with memorable characters, these seven binge-worthy books will sweep you away like a summer breeze.


STILL WATERS: Alyssa Bailey, USA Today Bestselling Author: When city ideals meet country tradition, the summer heat is the least of their worries.


WEDDING BELL BLUES: Susanne Mathews, International Bestselling Author: The wedding may be canceled, but the honeymoon’s on!


MAEVE: Josie Riviera, USA Today Bestselling Author: He’s all business. She loves to laugh. When business conflicts with pleasure, what could possibly go wrong?


LISA: Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author: When Lisa’s life crashes, she returns to Enchanted Island. Is true love waiting in this idyllic place from her childhood?


HOPE: Aileen Fish, USA Today Bestselling Author: Will Always Hopeful find her Sir Galahad?


JUDE: Taylor Lee, USA Today Bestselling Author: An arrogant, go-it-alone homicide detective and a quirky intelligence analyst team up to solve a murder during the Summer Solstice Celebration.


LADY IN DISTRESS: Katy Walters, USA Today Bestselling Author: Could he protect her, would she continue refusing him? Little does he realize the height of passion, or the depth of terror that lay before them.

Sweet and Sassy meme2

Here’s a bit more about my book, Wedding Bell Blues!

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.

Get your copy of Sweet & Sassy Summertime 2 featuring Wedding Bell Blues today!

Now available in Kindle Unlimited!

#1 new release

Yesterday was the official release day for Unforgettable Sweethearts. Now you can buy the box set or read it through Kindle Unlimited.

This box set has something for everyone, all with incredible couples destined to be together. The book I have in the set is The Captain’s Promise, a historical novel full of intrigue, spies, and there’s even a sea battle. But most of all, there’s a love that transcends time and social status.

Here’s a taste:

“My father has purchased a commission for me. I leave for Marseilles in the morning to join my regiment. There’s been some trouble in the East, and we’ve been dispatched to take care of it. I don’t know when we’ll be back—perhaps a year, maybe more.”

She looked at him as if he’d struck her, all color seeping from her cheeks. Her titian hair framed the alabaster oval of her face, engraving it on his memory.

“No, Etienne, no,” she cried, jumping up, wringing her hands in agitation. “You can’t do this! Tell me you’re playing a prank on me like you used to do. Why do you have to join the army? Why go fight the Turks? What about all the plans we made?” she wailed, tears coursing down her cheeks. “You’ll be killed. How will I go on without you? You’re everything to me.”

Stunned by the fierceness of her emotions and her tears, he stood and reached for her, pulling her into his arms, holding her as the sobs racked her body. The words were the sweetest he’d ever heard, and yet, they opened a gaping wound in his heart which might never heal.

Mon amie, you’re speaking nonsense, and you know it,” he whispered into her hair. He held her close, at first tenderly, and then with the desperation of a man holding the woman he wanted and needed, but knew he could never have.

“Elle, you know all the grand plans we discussed were just impossible childish dreams. We’re adults now, not children. Look at you. You’re the daughter of a count. I’m the third son of a minor noble—I’ve no title, no fortune, and now I’m a soldier. A lieutenant isn’t always in the midst of the battle. I’ll be safe enough. I’ve no intention of finding myself in an infidel’s prison or an early grave.”

She trembled at his words, but raised her head, her gaze fixing his.

“Promise me you’ll come back to me, Etienne; you’re a man of your word.” Her cheeks were wet, her lips trembled, and her body quaked. “If you say that you’ll come back, then I know I can hold you to your promise.”

“I’ll come back; you have my word,” he said, knowing that it could be many years before he could do so.

Thinking of the oath he’d sworn to her father moments earlier, shook him. Was he doomed to betray his honor to them both? He couldn’t predict the future, and many soldiers did die in battle, some of them officers like himself. Only God knew if he could keep this promise.

Consoling himself with the knowledge that she would understand one day, forgive him, and in time, forget him, he continued to hold her as she wept for her lost dreams of adventure. But he would never forget her. She would haunt him for the rest of his life, and this promise, one he might never be able to keep, would damn him to the fires of everlasting Hell.

He cradled her in his arms, gently rubbing small circles on her back, his chest painfully aware of her young, firm breasts pressing into it. She lifted her arms and looped them around his neck, resting her head on his shoulder. He tried to move away from her, but she refused to release her hold. His rigid erection, pressed against the stomacher beneath her gown, was bittersweet agony. He crooned words meant to soothe, bent to kiss the top of her head, but she raised hers, so that his lips met her brow. It was his undoing.

He couldn’t fight his sudden need for her. He lavished delicate kisses on her face, tasting her tears, his lips trailing down the curve of her neck to her shoulders. Her skin was silky, sweeter than the sweetest honey, and smelled of the floral soap and scent she used. He raised his head and sought her lips, softly, delicately, and then with a purpose, like a starving man finally being fed.

He ran the tip of his tongue over her moist lips, and although untutored in the ways of the world, her mouth instinctively opened to him like a morning glory welcoming the sun. His tongue probed the sweet depths, tasting, wanting more, and devouring what was offered to him.

Danielle’s response to his kiss aroused him beyond the ability to think rationally. His hands left her back to travel along the side of her rib cage to cup the fullness of her breasts straining against her gown. He tore his lips from hers, and transferred them to the flesh above the lacy edge of her dress where he lovingly rained kisses on her mounds. She moaned and threw her head back giving him greater access.

With trembling fingers, he slid the dress lower, exposing her to his hungry gaze. Her mounds were swollen by her response; the dark pink nipples erect, waiting for his touch. He tenderly kneaded her breasts, eliciting a series of soft moans from her. His mouth replaced his hands as he suckled, causing her to whimper with need. He moved his hand lower rucking her skirt as he sought the hem of her dress.

“Mademoiselle Danielle?”

The sound of someone calling her name dragged him back to reality.

Mon Dieu! What have I done?

He looked at her, and couldn’t ignore the evidence of his lust. Her lips, swollen by the assault of his kisses, were slightly parted, and her dress continued to expose her breasts. In her glazed eyes, he saw wonder and hunger, and he recognized he’d done this to her. He’d taken her innocence, treated her like a trollop, and damned himself. Was this how he honored his promise to her father? He needed to protect her from the eyes of others.

Knowing she was too innocent to realize and understand what her eager response had done to him was cold comfort. With every scrap of decency he had left, he pulled her deeper into the shadows of the arbor, using his body to shield her from prying eyes, although the evidence of his hunger wouldn’t be hidden so easily.

When he was sure the servant had moved on, he turned to help her, but she’d already done what she could to put herself in order. He fought the urge to take her into his arms again, but the look on her face was almost more than he could bear. Tears streamed down her cheeks—tears of shame, tears of need, tears of accusation—tears he’d caused with his boorish and careless behavior.

“You can’t leave me now, Etienne, not after this. You love me. I know you do, just as I love you,” she accused, the words stabbing him as she uttered them. “You can’t leave me now!”

He didn’t look at her; he hung his head. “I’m sorry, Elle. I should never have touched you. I hope someday that you can forgive me. I’ll never forgive myself.”

Without another word, he left her in the arbor, fleeing the manor as if the Hounds of Hell were after him. Just as he reached the stables, a servant waylaid him, as if the man had known he would be there.

“Lieutenant Blouin.” The man spoke softly. “The Comte de Cherbourg asked me to give you this before you left.” He handed Etienne a note.

He opened it. Written on the paper were three words: Remember your promise. Etienne crumpled the message in his hand, mounted his horse, and rode away from the manor, guilt and shame spurring him on.


Don’t miss your chance to pick up this great box set for only 99 cents, USD, or read free in Kindle Unlimited.

Sweet and Sassy Summertime Volume 2 Now available for pre-order! Includes Wedding Bell Blues!

Living the Dream

Sweet and Sassy Summertime – Volume 2 by [Alyssa  Bailey, Susanne Matthews, Josie Riviera, Denise Devine, Aileen Fish, Taylor Lee, Katy Walters]

You can never have too much of a good thing! At only 99 cents, USD, you get SEVEN SWEET AND SASSY STORIES of SUMMER From International USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.

Days filled with lemon yellow sunshine, nights of velvety warmth… summertime is the season of love. Romantic tales filled with memorable characters, these nine binge-worthy books will sweep you away like a summer breeze.

Alyssa Bailey, USA Today Bestselling Author: When city ideals meet country tradition, the summer heat is the least of their worries.

Susanne Matthews, International Bestselling Author: The wedding may be canceled, but the honeymoon’s on!

Josie Riviera, USA Today Bestselling Author: He’s all business. She loves to laugh. When business conflicts with pleasure, what could possibly go wrong?

Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author: When Lisa’s life crashes, she returns to Enchanted Island. Is true love waiting in this idyllic place from her childhood?

View original post 76 more words

Happy Mother’s Day! Last Week to Pre-order Twist for Fate for only 99 cents!

Today is the official release day! Now available in paperback, ebook, or free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

Living the Dream

flowers for Mother's day

Happy Mother’s Day. It’s different this year with no family gatherings, no hugs and kisses to share, but that’s okay. Staying away is another way to say I love you these days.  I’ll see my own mother through a galls window and speak to her over a speaker phone, and while that is hard, all I can do is pray she stays safe.

So, with another week of Coronavirus isolation behind us, we need to look forward to better times, knowing they’ll be a long time in coming. For that reason, it’s easier to look back–way back to 1734! This is the last week to purchase Twist of Fate, on pre-order now, for only 99 cents. After that, the price quadruples!

TwistofFateCan a cursed treasure unite two lonely outcasts?

Overton Stafford, shunned by his family because of a birthmark on his face, made a life for himself as Second Mate…

View original post 2,424 more words

Insecure Writers’ Support Group Monthly Blog Post for May.

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWell, here we are at the start of May and the world’s in a bigger mess than it was last month and the month before.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much hope for this month either. All we can do is pray someone finds an effective cure and a vaccine before we get it–and sadly the chances are we will get sick from COVID 19. No one is immune and while we may be staying in place and being careful, too many others aren’t. It’s just a matter of time.

This month’s blog question:

May 6 question – Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

When I can’t focus on what I have to do, I waste time on Facebook. That’s right, I check my news feed, read a few longer posts, click on some You Tube videos until I’m so disgusted with what’s happening in the world, that I’m forced to escape into my mind and write. The world inside my head is a kinder one than the world I live in right now. Inside my head, I can escape from the reality of the Pandemic. Read enough truth and scientific fact, then look at the idiocy disputing it. You’ll want to escape into my head, too. Right now, I’m living 13 years in the past. Never realized what a great year 2007 was!

If you’d like to read how others get into the zone, check this out! https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

It’s May! Forever and Always FREE May 2-6, 2020

crocusesWell, the longest April on record is over, but very few things are changing in my neck of the woods.  Usually, May brings with it flowers and nesting birds. It’s a time of renewal, yard work, and planning summer vacations, but not this year.

While green stuff is poking its nose out of the ground, the birds nested and are now madly feeding hungry mouths, I don’t have that sense of renewal. Nothing is really going to change. Yard work is slowly getting done, but I lack the enthusiasm of the past when I went to garden centers and selected my flowers, I’m grateful that nurseries will be opening soon, but only for curb service, which means someone else will do the picking for me. But on the plus side, there will be some color in the yard this summer since that’s the only place I’ll be going since stay in place and social distancing continue here as elsewhere.

So to celebrate May, I’m giving away Forever and Always  from May 2 to May 6, 2020. For Star Wars fans, consider this my May the Fourth be with You and Beware the Sith of May gift. For the party people unable to party, Happy Cinco de Mayo, and finally for all the mothers out there, human and fur babies included, Happy Mother’s Day. I hope my book will make whatever you are going through these days less dismal!

Book Blurb

The dance is everything, or is it?
Brandi Alexandra Jameson’s entire life has been dedicated to ballet. When an accident she believes was caused by a crazed stalker fan leaves her close friend and dance partner dead and herself barely able to walk, she’s lost, adrift without a future.
Jarrett Sullivan has spent most of his life in love with the petite red-headed brunette he met when he was in first grade, acting as her protector throughout school, but just as he was ready to make his move, she left Victoria for the National Ballet in Toronto. He’s followed her career, and now that she’s back home, he jumps at the chance to get to know her the way he always wanted to.
Brandi remembers Jarrett, the boy she idolized, and when the man wants to have a relationship with her, she’s thrilled. But that joy turns to horror when she learns the truth about a poster, and believes he’s just another fan and that it’s Alexandra, the dancer, he wants, not Brandi, the broken woman. Fleeing her family and Victoria, she runs to the only friend she has hoping to heal her broken heart.
Discovering Brandi may have misunderstood the situation, Jarrett is frantic to find her and straighten out the mess, but will she be willing to listen and give him a second chance?


Enjoy the book, stay safe and positive If you enjoy the book, feel free to leave a review. I love hearing how my readers enjoy my work.

One last thing before I go this morning, here’s your chance to have a book dedicated to you!



Special Agent Murphy by Mimi Barbour

Welcome to Living the Dream. Today, I would like to draw your attention to a recently released novel by a Canadian writer I admire immensely. Her Special Agent Series draws you in and takes you on a suspenseful ride to a satisfying ending. Have a look.
Special Agent Murphy
Undercover FBI Book 8
by Mimi Barbour
Genre: Romantic Suspense
It’s Christmas in Washington, but not for one heartsick family.
Agent Shane Murphy has a hard time believing his life could get so crazy. Because of a choice – one he’d make again – he loses his superiority in the FBI. Now he’s forced to work surveillance with a rookie female yapper. And… gets caught up in the kidnapping of a sixteen-year-old that pulls at the heartstrings he keeps hidden.
Fighting the budding attraction for his new partner, he stresses his way through an escalating nightmare. How can he be so infatuated with a trouble-magnet female who drives like a granny and isn’t able to hide her sensitive reactions when on the job?
Agent Kathleen Edwards does a lot of things her new partner dislikes, but what’s a girl to do when a man ties her in knots and turns her into a chatterbox. Working to uncover the mystery of who kidnapped the Senator’s daughter, and where they’re holding her, continuous conflicts arise.
Struggling alongside an attractive realist whose high morals make him someone to live up to, Kayti’s heart doesn’t stand a chance.
Author’s dedication:
My late husband’s persona is the heart and soul for Special Agent Murphy. While bringing out some of his most endearing and stubborn characteristics, his favorite cuss words and his way of looking at the world, I found myself falling in love with the wonderful man all over again.
Together Forever, my love.
**Get it FREE April 1st – 5th, then only .99 cents!!**

Mimi Barbour is a NYT and USAT bestselling, award-winning author who lives on the beautiful East coast of Vancouver Island and writes her romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. Asked why she prefers this genre, she answers, chuckling,

“Because it’s fun! Imagination can be a lot more interesting than what happens in real life to so-called ‘normal’ people. I love my characters, and my goal is to make the readers love them also. To be concerned about what happens to them while the tale unfolds. If I can steal my booklover’s attention away from their everyday grind, absorb them in a fictional world, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”

Mimi lives with her dog Charli who drags her from her office for walks twice a day. Her son and niece fill her life and make each day a joy.

**1st place prize of the 2015 – Chanticleer Reviews – Clue Awards. Special Agent Francesca
**A TOUCH OF PASSION, has just become the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards.
$25 Amazon
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog for April 1, 2020

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

April 1, 2020, and there is absolutely nothing to joke about. Laughter, when it does happen, is based on morbid irony, rather humor. Did you ever imagine a scenario like the one we’re living in?

Sadly, I did. It was the key plot element that united my Harvester Files series.  The fact that fiction and imagination are now reality scares the bejesus out of me. Too bad I didn’t find a fictional vaccine that worked, but I did manage to have my hero and heroine prevent a massive outbreak.  Funny, the one thing that could’ve controlled my virus had it escaped was what we’re looking at now–QUARANTINE and SOCIAL DISTANCING.

As often as I can, I post on the IWSG’s monthly blog, answering their question and offering you, those who follow my blog, a chance to connect with other writers whether or not you’re one.

This year has turned into everyone’s greatest nightmare. Personally, I was convinced the worst was behind me, especially after  losing several close friends and my father last fall. How could anything be worse than a funeral every second week? Be careful what you wish for.

Now, while I do not personally know anyone who has died from COVID 19 yet, I do know it’s just a matter of time before I will. My 92-year-old  mother is in a nursing home, and we’ve seen how things play out there in Spain, Italy, the USA, and even parts of Canada.

Here’s this month’s question:

The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

Simply put things in my world suck! I don’t mind having to stay in. I can disappear inside my head and socialize with my characters at the drop of a hat. No, my problem is that as essentially a romance writer, I can’t envision how anyone can meet and fall in love in this world we now live in. For years, we’ve been urging people to put down their phones and tablets, get off the computer and Facebook  or Twitter and socialize, face-to-face. Now we’re urging them to do the exact opposite.  We were already an anti-social world. How much worse will it be when this is over, and the fear of touching someone persists?

Another example of irony. Ontario teachers were having labor issues with the government prior to the pandemic. One serious bone of contention was educating high school student using online courses. Now, the only educational opportunities around are online courses. At least we’ll get to see whether they would work or not.

Prior to the pandemic, the gulf between the haves and the have nots was expanding. Now, it may well be shrinking, but at what cost? Millions are unemployed, some waiting for government handouts to see them through, others already destitute in worse shape than ever. The homeless are at risk, too, and the working poor, who can’t stay home if they want to keep a roof over their heads and feed their children.

And then we have the people we never really noticed putting their lives at risk to perhaps save ours–doctors, nurses, PSWs, firefighters, police officers, mechanics, truckers, grocers, pharmacists,–the list goes on, but if they get sick and worse case scenario, die, who will look after us? Natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires aren’t going to stop any more than care accidents, cancer, diabetes, mental illness, and heart disease will. In fact, curbing the ability to exercise and connect with people will  place an even greater burden on those with chronic diseases like those mentioned above.

Finally, before the pandemic, we were being urged to save the planet by reusing and recycling, bringing our own bags to the grocery stores, our own cups to the coffee shops, drinking from water fountains and refilling our water bottles there. Not anymore. You can get your coffee at the drive-through, but leave your cups at home. Some places will still let you use your bags if you bag your own, but because of the social distancing, in most places, the cashier bags and uses plastic. And as for the water fountain, well, you’re on your own. Any attempts to reduce the amount of plastic waste have gone by the wayside, along with everything that was major news pre-pandemic. If anything, we are creating tons more plastic waste. Everything is now single use and disposable, especially medical waste like gloves, masks, and gowns. We’re doing twice the laundry since hand towels are washed after every use. I’ve resorted to paper towels–not because I want to, but because I can’t keep up.

So how are things in my world? They’re lonely, confused, disoriented, and frightened. I’m in the high risk group, asthmatic and four months away from my 70’s birthday, not sure I will even see that day.  At this time last year, I was planning my future cruises. Now, I’m just hoping and praying I have a future.

So, to avoid drowning in this morbidity, I am burying myself in my writing. I will have a new book out in may, a short story in June, and a second book in July. It’s the only way I can handle this new Twilight Zone.

What about you? How are things in your world?

Stay home, stay safe, and stay hopeful.

To read other answers to this month’s question, check this out.





Book of the Month: Desert Deception Only 99 cents or Free in KU

snow ice winter cold

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

It’s March 2020, no denying that, but is it really spring? Hard to tell. Mild days, cold days, snow alerts. It’s a vicious circle.

For this month’s Book of the Month, I’ve chosen Desert Deception, something to bring the heat into your lives.

This novel has an interesting background. Parts of the beginning were published as Coming Home when I wrote in partnership as Misty Matthews. When the partnership was dissolved, I acquired the  rights to it. When we’d written the book, we’d intended for it to be a series, but we ended the partnership before that could happen. So, knowing where I wanted the story to go, I took what I needed from Coming Home a contemporary romance, and added the new material and the suspense need to turn it into a Romance Suspense novel.  The end product also gave me a chance for some unique research on Arizona’s Superstition Mountains.

This month, Desert Deception is only 99 cents or free to read in KU.

The Blurb:


Romance Suspense

Seeing is believing, or is it?

When high-powered Santa Fe attorney Casey Stevens reluctantly returns to Fortune for Gold Rush Days, she is drawn to Cole Walker Junior, but he is no longer the shy, quiet boy she recalls. Then again, Cole isn’t the only one who has changed. The town may be celebrating its past, but someone is trying to destroy its future. A hit and run accident leaves Fortune’s only lawyer in a coma, forcing Casey to choose between helping innocent people and running away once more. Can she face the demons of her past or will they destroy her this time?

Cole Warner has a secret identity, one he’s determined to protect at all costs. The police officer, volunteer firefighter, and part-time store owner, is also popular western novelist, CJ Coleson, who uses Fortune and its people as the inspiration for his books. Having Casey walk into his life turns it upside down. When someone starts using the murders in Cole’s books to stage a killing spree of their own, keeping his secret may be too costly, but admitting the truth could ruin any chance they have for a happily ever after.

As the bodies pile up and the buildings burn down, Casey and Cole have to work together to stop a madman with gold fever before more people die. The answer lies on Superstition Mountain or is it all a desert deception?


An Excerpt:

Cole shook Casey gently, hoping he could mask his concern. “Wake up, Sleeping Beauty. If I let you rest any longer, you’ll miss curfew.”

She opened her eyes, blinked sleepily and then sat up quickly, her teeth gripping her lower lip in horror, her eyes wide open.

“I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I did that,” she stammered, her cheeks red in the LED light spilling from the flashlight. “Please don’t say anything to CJ. It wasn’t the story. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately. I had to burn the midnight oil at work to get this time off, and I guess I was just so relaxed and…”

“Hey, don’t sweat it. I was dozing, too. Besides, if you were comfortable enough to nod off in my presence here, knowing how you feel about the area’s residents, then that’s a compliment. Let’s get this picked up and head back into town.”

The loud, unexpected crack of a rifle made them both jump, reminding Cole of their immediate danger.

“What the hell was that?” she asked, her voice filled with fear.

“Probably a poacher out after deer,” he lied, hoping to reassure her and knowing they needed to get the hell out of here a.s.a.p. That shot most likely came from a rancher or a Bureau of Land Management ranger hunting for the mountain lion he’d heard. Having the big cats this close to civilization didn’t happen often, but when it did, it wasn’t usually a good thing. Last spring, a rabid cougar had wandered into the campground and attacked a camper. The rangers had caught the animal and destroyed it, but the man had lost his leg. The other possibility, the one where that shot had come from whoever was responsible for the lights he’d seen earlier, wasn’t one he wanted to think about.

“Is he near us?” the nervous tremor in her voice convinced him she didn’t need the truth.

“No, that shot was miles away. Sound really carries at night.”

“Well, it sounded really close. It’s getting cold.” She shivered and reached for her leathers.

“Let’s pack it up. As much as I would love to spend more time with you, I don’t want you to catch your death out here.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, he regretted them, but Casey laughed.

“You don’t have to worry about that. I rarely get sick. Mom claims I have the constitution of an ox.”

He chuckled, some of his disquiet vanquished by her innocuous comment. “I guess that animal can be considered red, but it’s the last one I’d have compared you to. I’d envision a fox, a red panda, or some exotic red-haired rabbit—small, and adorable.

She laughed. “You are so full of it. No wonder your eyes are brown.”

Stopping what he was doing, he reached for her.

“You’re without a doubt the most beautiful, puzzling woman I have ever met. One of these days, I’ll convince you of that, and believe me, I have outstanding powers of persuasion, but it’s getting late. I don’t want to ruin my chances at a second date.”

Shaking her head, she smiled sheepishly. “You’re good, but you might need to have your eyes checked.”

She stood on tiptoes and kissed him quickly, a mere brush of her lips on his, and while he might want to take it deeper, the faint sounds of those engines floated over to them.

“I didn’t realize we were so close to the highway,” she said as they moved apart.

Shrugging, he picked up the backpack, and lied again. “Maybe we aren’t, and it’s the Apache Thunder Gods moving around.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

She giggled.

Cole jumped down from the rock and held out his hand to her. “Come on, Cinderella. We’ve got to get back before the witching hour.”

“Very well, my prince. I found you quite charming tonight.” She held out her hand.

Reaching for it, he brought it to his lips and kissed it before helping her down from the rock.

“I try. I’m looking forward to my next chance to show you how appealing I can be,” he whispered, wanting to keep their voices down just in case. “Maybe someplace with candles and silk sheets. I know one only thirty minutes away. I’ve got more coffee, too.”

“Coffee’s good,” she answered, biting her lip once more.

Cole took her hand in his and, using the flashlight to illuminate the ground before them, led her back through the cacti to the trail. As soon as they reached their Harleys, he did his best to hurry her without making her notice the furtiveness of his actions. The sooner they were back in town, the better he would like it. He worried the entire ten minutes it took to follow the path, get to the campground road, and then back onto Highway 88. Watching for signs they were being followed, he saw no one, but he was glad they’d agreed earlier to go to his place. The problem would come later when he would try to convince her to let him escort her home without revealing the possible danger.

It was shortly after eleven when they pulled into his driveway and got off the bikes. Casey removed her helmet and stepped into his open arms.

“You bought your parents’ home. That’s great. I always loved this place,” she said, putting her arms around his waist and resting her head on his chest.

He blinked. “What? No. They still live here, but they aren’t around much, so it doesn’t make sense for me to have a place of my own when this one’s empty most of the time.”

She released her arms from around his waist, and moved away.

“I guess. I’d better get going. Thanks for a wonderful evening,” she said, but the words sounded off somehow. “I enjoyed every minute. It’s definitely been a night I won’t forget, and the most romantic date I’ve ever had—tarantulas and bats notwithstanding.”

He chuckled, trying to figure out what had her shying away. “I thought you were coming in for coffee,” he said, unable to mask his confusion.

“Not tonight. I need to get home.”

“You don’t have to go. My parents aren’t here right now, if that’s what’s bothering you.”

He pulled her tightly against him, but something had changed between them. She was stiff in his arms, and damned if he understood why.

“Nothing’s bothering me,” she answered, a touch too quickly. “It’s getting late. You made me forget about all the things I have to do tomorrow. Randy’s waitress is off, and I promised to help out at the shop. I haven’t worked as a waitress since I got my degree. I’m sure I’ll be dead on my feet by noon. As you saw earlier, I really need to get some rest, and the last thing I want to do is let her down.”

But she could crush his hopes. He released her. She gave him a quick kiss, and mounted her bike.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?” he asked, worried she might be followed. Just because he hadn’t noticed a tail didn’t mean they didn’t have one.

“Absolutely. What could possibly happen to me in Fortune? Besides, two motorcycles pulling into the driveway might wake Jaxon, and he’s really hard to get back to sleep if he wakes up during the night. He’s going through that monster phase.”

Since he didn’t know enough about the sleeping habits of four year old, and vaguely remembered Fallon’s fear of the dark when she was a child, it was hard to disagree.

“I’ll call you. You were right. It was a date that I’ll never forget.” Donning her helmet, she dropped the visor in place, and started the bike. Within seconds, all he could see were her taillights.

Despite his desire to follow her, Cole moved his bike to the garage and locked it up, reminded once more that Fortune wasn’t the town it had been when he’d grown up here. Climbing the steps, he unlocked the door and punched in the alarm code. Too wound up to sleep, he poured himself a drink and turned on the television to catch the late night news, hoping to hear that Skansen Mining had reopened those old mines, but the redhead who’d kept him enthralled ever since her arrival wouldn’t release her grip.

That’s it! 

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Insecure Writers’ Support Group Monthly Blog for March

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWelcome to the March edition of the ISWG’s blog.  This month’s question is: Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

That’s a difficult question to answer since I don’t think my family does anything different from most Canadian families.

It was different when I was a child, but many of the French-Canadian customs in my family simply vanished due to the changing dynamics. We used top go to Midnight Mass at Christmas, at midnight. Now, churches tend to celebrate much earlier in the evening–six or seven pm. New Year’s Day would bring family into town from the country, but after my own grandparents died, that stopped.  We used to go to my uncle’s sugar bush around Easter, but the farm was sold and is now a housing development. I have lost touch with all my second, third, and fourth cousins.

As well, both my husband and my brother-in-law are English protestant, so their customs weren’t mine. As a result, we drifted away from our traditions and customs and embraced those that were the norm. I have used some of those in my books.

As far as other celebrations go, we really don’t have any. What I have incorporated into my books are the words my grandkids invented growing up and some of their habits. For example, in In Plain Sight, the child uses “ahind” My granddaughter’s logic was if you say ahead, why not ahind? I also used “chibens”, her name for pigeons since they was like chickens.  In His Christmas Family, the youngest child has a large beige blankie, just like my grandson did, and as the youngest of four, laments always being last, too.

So, what about you? Do you incorporate family customs in what you write?

Check out other posts here: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html