Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday!  Share an excerpt fewer than 500 words from your family friendly book in the comments below.  Be sure to include the title and one buy link.  Then go spread the word about this post so even more people will find it.

Happy reading (and writing)!!


An Informal Christmas - Click to Buy

“Ah-hem.” The man still leaning against the wall cleared his throat.

A quick glance at the clock told Rylie she needed to be on her way. The first of the CT scans was scheduled to start in fifteen minutes. Scotty, an eight-year-old patient, had asked her to accompany him because his parents were at work, and he didn’t want to be alone.

“Walk with me, Mr. York.” She brushed past him hoping her voice hadn’t sounded as cold to his ears as it had to hers. It wasn’t his fault she’d been running nonstop since coming through the hospital doors hours prior — or that the day’s race was far from over.

A second later, the yell came from behind her. “Watch out!”

Rylie spun around in time to see a previously stacked column of boxes tumbling in her direction. Of course. The boxes with the marbles in them. Who had piled those blasted boxes so high? No one in touch with their sanity would be foolish enough to… Oh yeah. She’d done it. Because they’d needed the room.

A speedy jump saved her from most of the trauma, but the edge of one box landed on her left foot. Her yell filled their small office. Meanwhile, one of the other boxes broke open. Marbles began rolling across the floor. Rylie, her lost balance tossing her in that direction anyway, managed to throw herself in front of the door as she fell. At least the glass-orbs-of-doom wouldn’t wander out into the hallway and cause further catastrophe.

Whose brilliant idea was it to donate a hundred pounds of marbles to the Child Life department? Now she remembered. The international marble champion Rylie had convinced to visit the hospital and host a demonstration for the children one afternoon had been so moved by the experience that he’d donated thousands of choking hazards to them. The boxes had been stacked in the corner so long she’d almost forgotten about them. Until now.

“It’s awfully narrow in here. I brushed against a box. Sorry.” Mr. York held his hand out to help her up, but Rylie wasn’t sure she wanted to move. Some falls – and crushed toes – deserved to be babied for a bit. The image of poor Scotty, afraid of the CT machine, popped into her head, though, and she couldn’t ignore the outstretched hand.

The benevolent stranger and knocker-over-of-boxes started to speak again, but Rylie cut him off as she got to her feet. “I’m needed elsewhere. Walk with me, or it’ll have to wait.”

“Don’t worry about the mess here, folks. I have nothing better to do with my time.” Suzie’s indignant muttering followed them all the way to the elevator.

Go Back

Until I Sleep – Book 1 of the Alora Chronicles (A clean YA fantasy romance story)

Facing the pool with his back to me was a boy or man, I couldn’t tell which, and a black horse.
“Come on Thunder, we have to go, you know they aren’t far behind us,” he said.
He attempted to tug on the horse’s reins, but the horse only shook his head to free himself and continued drinking from the pool. He turned around and strode quickly towards the forest, where I was still standing. Backing away nervously, I unconsciously tried to smooth down my tangled hair. Part of my brain said ‘run!’ The other part couldn’t help noticing his wavy blond hair and attractive features. The choice was suddenly taken away from me as he looked up straight into my eyes.
His eyes locked onto mine, from where I stood, I could see they were a bright green colour framed by long black lashes any girl would kill for. He looked around my age. He spoke while I was still gaping at him.
“What?... Who?... Who sent you? And what on alora are you wearing?”
I was sure my face had gone bright red, could you get embarrassed in a dream?
“It’s not my fault I’m wearing my pyjamas,” I said angrily, deciding to stand up for myself. “This is just a stupid dream anyway!”
His green eyes went wide and he looked shocked. “You’re a dream maiden?”
“A what? Yes, this is a dream and as to my maidenhood that’s really none of your business.”

Excerpt from "Insurrection"


Twilight had fallen one evening in April when Micah and I snuck out after a dinner of some curry dish with soppy, grass-like green vegetables and noodles. Gotta love a flavorless, fiery, tongue-numbing meal. We had decided to go see the boat in real life. After doing some reading and making a few fake phone calls with a disguised voice at a public service phone around the corner from the high school, I learned the boat still weighed anchor at the old Oak Point Marina. If anything, taking a little peek at the boat beat staying in and doing homework.
We crept behind the younger kids splashing and chattering in the kitchen, wiping down dishes and stacking them in the cupboards, unaware it was the easiest chore they would ever do at the home. Dodging through the large dining room and behind the scratched wooden tables and chairs, we slid open the glass patio door, ready with any number of excuses for going into the yard after curfew, be it lost homework or forgetting to put some shovels away.
Once free of the stale air inside, we ran along the drive toward the street, slipping into the shadows of the town where crickets sang in rhythm to our flying feet. The sun drifted down past the horizon and the evening breezes whispered around us. Reaching the marina, we walked down the grassless hill to the pier where a shack sat, covered in newspaper advertisements, cobwebs, and boating gear. A large, round, dusty, orange lifesaver leaned against one side, almost as if keeping the shack standing upright.
Micah took the lead.
An ancient man sat on a stool inside with his back to us, his shoulders slumped forward, reading under a solitary hanging lantern. I tapped a rusty bell molded into the decaying wood shelf, resulting in a quiet thud.
Looking at each other in amusement, and waiting for a minute with no movement from the man, I cleared my throat. “Sir.”
No response.
“HELLO?” Micah called out.
The man tilted his head as if he heard a fly buzzing.
Micah banged her fist on the counter; only then did he turn in surprise.
“Eh?” he said, standing. Baggy green coveralls matched the wrinkled hands holding the book close to his chest. His hands shook, vibrating the air from his limbs to my soul.
When he said nothing more, I called through the window, "Sir, could we look at the sailboat for sale?”
He stared at my mouth, shifting his lips as I spoke, and interpreted the words. The man extended his right arm to the side and pointed, nodding. Sitting down on the stool, he absorbed back into his reading before we left the stand.
Silhouetted against the dusky blue of the night, in the lapping of the waves, surrounded by the occasional soft creaking of wood, several boats sat in their slips. Scanning the inventory of the small marina, we spotted her at the same time in the furthest slot, filling the great void with her thirty-foot long, dark wood hull, deep green, navy, and white paint, and waiting masts. Rocking to some quiet song sung by the waves, the forgotten jewel hid among these plain sea vessels. Seeing the ship before my eyes lit a fire in my blood and drained the air from my lungs.

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"The fear was constantly there, like an ominous cloud, filling her mind with the dread that any moment she could be incarcerated like a criminal and deported to a country she didn’t remember and where she’d be completely and utterly confused and alone."
- Vivir el Dream

Season of Hope (The Seasons Book One) by Sara Jane Jacobs
A coming-of-age inspirational romance available at

Amanda looked up to find both women staring at her. “Did I miss something?”

“Apparently.” Phoebe held out her hand, snapping her fingers. “Let me see those again. Geena wants you to model for Sei Bella,” she stated, taking the photographs, this time looking over them more slowly.

Amanda was stunned. “What? Me? Why?”

“We need you for an upcoming fashion editorial,” Geena answered.

“But I don’t know anything about modeling,” Amanda argued.

“Hmm,” Phoebe mumbled. “Judging from these pictures Amanda, it looks like all you need to do at this point is show up.” She slid the photographs back inside the envelope, setting it aside. Phoebe leaned forward in her chair, getting down to business. “Who is going to manage her?”

Geena met her question head-on. “I took the liberty of giving Casey Campbell, with Campbell Model Management, a call and sending her those pictures. I told her I wanted her on my next cover, and she has a contract ready for you to sign.”

“Well,” Phoebe smirked, “you didn’t waste any time.”

“Phoebe Garrison, you know that I’m no different from you when it comes to business. I know an opportunity when I see one. And I don’t let them just pass on by.”

“I want a piece of this action,” Phoebe demanded. “I want some control. She is my niece. Someone is going to have to go with her on castings if she intends to pursue this. I’ll need to get a power of attorney drawn up. First, I’ll need to talk to her parents. But I want to manage her career.”

“You should,” Geena agreed. “I can tell you that I will want to use her in future editorials. There’s no telling what doors this will open up for her. It could lead to plenty of steady work.”

Amanda felt her eyes getting wider as the two women continued to discuss her future. “Ms. Chiatti, I’m flattered that you want me to be in your magazine, but I’m only here for the summer.”

Phoebe objected. “Nonsense. You want to go to Barnard don’t you?”

“Of course, but I haven’t been accepted,” Amanda reminded her.

“Then you stay with me until you are accepted. And you model. You don’t want to pay off student loans for the next ten years, do you?” Amanda shook her head. “Then this might turn out to be the perfect opportunity to avoid writing those checks every month.”

Geena stood, making her way to the door. “Your aunt is right, Amanda. The fact that Casey Campbell wanted to offer you a contract after seeing those photographs says a lot.” She turned to address Phoebe. “You should call her and see what kind of a deal the two of you can work out.”

“I plan to,” Phoebe assured her, seeing her out of the office.

Amanda sat in her chair, listening to the chatter fade as the two women disappeared into the reception area.

An Improper Proposal

The shooter did not flinch.
Neither did Henry Reiker. He merely slammed to the bank lobby floor with a hole in his chest.
Mae Ann dropped to her knees, ears ringing from the close gunshot. She lifted Henry’s head, and his blue eyes teared at her touch. Her first.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I … ” Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth as he fought for a gurgling breath.
His last.
Mae Ann gently lowered his head and stood to face his murderer. Her fingers clenched into tight balls at her sides, lest she claw the smirk from the gunman’s face. Surely he would dispatch her to join her betrothed. Such a fate would be ten times better than what awaited her in this treacherous town. For she had no family, no means, no friends. Nothing—other than Henry’s offer of marriage.

The Debutante Bride - a sweet, regency romance
~ First comes marriage, then comes love ~
Available for $0.99 wherever ebooks are sold, including Amazon


As she came to wakefulness, Beth held herself very still, momentarily surprised to find herself in a strange bed, but then it all rushed back into her consciousness. She was a married lady. A countess at that. And she had only met her husband thirty-six hours before.

The thrill of freedom flowed through her as she reminded herself once more that she would never again have to return to the house she grew up in unless she so chose. Of course, she would want to see her mother again, but she allowed herself to bask in the contentment she was experiencing. She wiggled her toes and stretched her arms, reveling in the new sensation.

The unknown factor of her new husband was obviously of concern, but so far he had been remarkably even tempered. She would even go so far as to describe him as kind, at least what she had seen of him in their short acquaintance. Beth could not decide how she felt about how handsome he was. He was deliciously attractive, but she was unsure if that could be trusted. No doubt other women would find it to be a point in his favor.

~ Happy reading ~

Excerpt from STEALING LIBERTY by Jennifer Froelich.

Reed is frowning. Something brews behind his eyes. “You said the Bell will travel by freight train?”

Sam nods.

“From Old Philly to the Western Sand? Any chance it will pass on these tracks?”

Sam shrugs and bends over his tablet, tapping and swiping with sure fingers. Finally he raises his eyes. “It’s possible. There are a couple routes from Philadelphia to San Francisco still passable since the Yellowstone landslide, and this one hasn’t been bombed by rebels. Yet.”

Reed starts pacing. “Is there a way to hack the transportation system? To make sure it will pass the school?”

“Probably,” Sam says.

“Even if we do, the Bell will be crated and traveling by pretty fast,” Paisley says. “Not much to see.”

Reed stops pacing and his eyes lock with mine. My heart turns over. I somehow know what he’s thinking and, for the first time, the hole left by Zak’s death feels like it might heal.

“I don’t want to see it,” he says. “I want to steal it.”

STEALING LIBERTY is now available from Clean Reads, Inc. for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.

Coiled releases tomorrow!
YA Mythological Fantasy

“You are far too world-weary for one so young.” Zephia stood.
He flinched. What if the blindfold slipped from her eyes? What if she saw him and he changed? What if he hurt her?
She inhaled as if preparing herself for some great effort. “There is a chance,” she said. “The princess of Oleva is herself a mirror-cursed twin. She has a sister.”
Calen’s eyes widened as he realized his mother’s intent. He scoffed. “A fine catch I am. She won’t be able to look at me without risking her life. Unless she is blind, I have no hope.”
“There are ways. We are meeting now, are we not?”
He lowered his eyes. “And what would you have me do? Swim to Oleva and carry her off? Bring her here by force to be my bride, sight unseen?”
“If such an act could save you—”
“That’s not who I am!” Calen growled, clenching his fists. “This curse forces me to be a monster when looked upon, but leaves me the mercy of being human in my solitude. If I stole the choice of some poor, frightened maid, I would be a monster within as well as without.”
Zephia held up her hand to calm him. “But if I could bring her here willingly? If she is cursed as well, her options are likewise limited.”
“It’s too dangerous. Any option is better than a husband who might devour her.” His throat tightened. “Who she could never look in the eye.” He inhaled the sea-kissed air, trying not to look at his mother's trembling chin. He knew his death would break her heart, but to become a monster forever was unthinkable. He steadied his voice. “Mother, if the curse does fall fully upon me, you must find a way to end me. Do not let me live a mindless beast, terrorizing sailors and endangering innocent lives. That isn’t who I am, and I would rather die than live like that. It isn’t as if I was given any choice in my fate, but perhaps in death the gods can have mercy on my soul.”
“Son…” She found his shoulder and squeezed it.
Calen quivered at her touch. His forced solitude made contact with another human rare and therefore overwhelming. “I’m sorry, Mother. I’ve been such a burden. You should’ve listened to Father and tossed me into the sea as a child.”
Her hand traced up his neck. She cupped his face between her palms, perhaps trying to imagine what he looked like.
“There is as much chance your death would curse your brother as cure him. It was desperation that made your father suggest such an act. You are strong of heart. Your father’s words have twisted your brother against me, and if I lose you, I will no longer have a son.” Damp patches appeared on her blindfold, and her bottom lip quivered.

Silver Princess - Available for free kindle download 6-15 through 6-16!

Still distracted, I barely glanced up when my escort took his place beside me. Smiling politely, but without enthusiasm, I slipped my hand through his arm and fell into step. It was not until I nearly tripped on the hem of my dress that I realized that the man-fairy beside me was not the Count! As he caught me and carefully steadied me, I found that I knew the muscles rippling under my hand all too well.
"Scamp?" I whispered, still smiling politely for the guests.
"Of course," came the reply, his tone tinged with laughter. "You did not really think that you could escape that easily, did you?"
I glanced up quickly, not sure what he meant, but was only more confused by the light in his eyes. I averted my eyes and concentrated on my smile, which had slipped. As we moved along, I searched the crowd for any indication that the switch had been detected. I spotted the Count and he dipped his head respectfully, but I was startled at the smile on his face. What did Scamp say to him? I wondered. Thankfully, we made it to the thrones without incident and my parents seated themselves.
"I have to start the dance," I told him softly, the doubt in my mind somehow translating itself into a concerned tone without bothering to ask my brain for permission.
"We have to start the dance," he corrected gently. "Perhaps you believe that I cannot dance?"
Fairly caught, I hesitated, unsure of what I should say. Part of me was sure that he could do anything, and part of me was furious with him for interfering in such an important event. Which part should I listen to?
"Can you?" I responded at last, dropping the matter back in his lap. "If you cannot," I continued hastily, snatching it back out of his lap as one might retrieve a glass bauble from a child, "I am sure that the Senior would be only too glad to act as my partner."
He cocked his head to the side for a moment, as though thinking about it, and then shook his head.
"No," he said. "I started this, so I will finish it." His mouth settled into a determined line that warned against argument.
Suddenly our quiet conversation was interrupted by the announcement that the Ball was about to begin. I opened my mouth to explain what was expected, but he did not even seem to notice. I followed in surprise as he led me onto the floor, directly into the center, and stood at a ninety-degree angle from me, waiting for the musicians to begin playing.

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“Welcome to The Maple Pit.” Her eyes widened as she took in his appearance.
Was it his six-foot-three frame, leather apparel, or scruffy face that did her in? Since his boots had hit American soil, he’d been growing out the hair on his face. Judging by the relaxing ambiance and dress of their customers, he’d bank on his appearance being the reason for the look of astonishment on the hostess’ face.
“Thank you, ma’am.” His voice sounded a little rusty as thirst pushed against his throat.
“Would you like to sit at the bar?”
Luke glanced around. Families were enjoying their meals in booths and tables. Was there really a point in taking up a table for just himself? He glanced at the bar. A tightness in his gut brought forth beads of sweat.
“Um sure.”
“Great, this way.”
She headed toward his right, a menu in hand. After placing it on the countertop, she smiled at him. “Your server will be right with you.”
He nodded, then straddled the stool and picked up the menu. Oh, man. The food reminded him of his grandmother’s cooking. In his opinion, Rosa Robinson was the best cook in west Texas. A small smile tugged at his lips as he thought about the petite woman who ran the Robinson men better than any four-star general ever could. Once the Army had released him on R&R—rest and relaxation—he’d hopped on his roadster and headed straight for Virginia. The need to make amends pressed down upon him. Now, he regretted not taking the time to see his grandmother before he left. She would have calmed him.
A mature African-American woman came out of the kitchen. A frown on her face etched deep lines across her forehead. She paused in front of him. “Excuse me, sir. Have you been helped?”
“No, ma’am.”
Her frown intensified. “I’m so sorry. I’ll go find your server.”
“No worries. I’m in no hurry.” He offered her a smile, despite the objection coming from his stomach.
“Thank you for your patience.” She rounded a corner and disappeared.
Was there a break room back there or a server hiding out?
His gaze landed on the menu again, skimming the offerings. They served Arnold Palmers, a sweet tea and lemonade concoction. His mouth salivated imagining the taste of the drink he hadn’t tasted in months. It would be the perfect way to quench his thirst.
A shadow fell across the bar distracting him from the list of entrees. He looked up into the most gorgeous brown eyes he’d ever seen.
“Delaney Jones,” he whispered.
Her eyes widened, wariness coloring her gaze. “Do I know you?”