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 Arrangement, Click to Buy

“You mentioned something about a toad…” Her remark hung between them like a two-day old helium balloon.

The worry wrinkles on his forehead faded away, melting into his hairline and drawing her eyes to light chestnut hair that couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether it wanted to stand at attention or lie down and take a nap.

“Umm, I guess I remember. Huh. I wonder where that dream came from.” If his nonchalance was anything to go by, he had to dream about toads on a regular basis.

“And you mentioned the toilet.” Maddie took a deep breath and went about her morning routine. Shift had just started, and she still needed to do her patient assessment.

She put the blood pressure cuff on Mr. Jenkins as he told her about his dream. “There was an albino horned toad that got out of its terrarium. It was in the toilet for some reason, but because the commode was white, nobody could see it. Which doesn’t make sense. Albino animals aren’t pure white, but what can I say? A hand reached for the lever to flush, and I panicked. That’s when you woke me.”

After she charted his blood pressure and listened to his heart and lungs, she asked, “What exactly is a horned toad? I’m picturing something froggish.”

Mr. Jenkins laughed, disturbing Maddie’s attempt to count his pulse. He reined himself in, and she began counting again. “Frogs and toads are different, you know, and a horned toad isn’t even a toad. Not really, anyway. It’s a lizard.”

Her eyes darted around the room again. Maddie worked with people — and not animals — for a reason. “So toads and frogs are different, but a horned toad isn’t a toad.”

“That’s right. The people who discovered and named it must have been confused.”

Maddie held up an index finger. “Hold on a second.” Then she marched over to the small attached bathroom. An empty toilet had never been so beautiful. She stepped back into the room. “Whew. All clear.”

When her patient chuckled, she knew she’d hit the mark.

“Are you sure you’re not the one who’s confused? A toad that’s not a toad?” She quirked her eyebrow as laughter sparkled in Mr. Jenkins’ eyes.

“I’m never going to live this down, am I?”

Go Back

I always enjoy these little blurbs, and finding new authors! Thank you!

Sweet Surrender - a sweet, regency romance
~ Can a second chance at love lead to happiness? ~


Julianna made a graceful curtsy and finally managed to raise her eyelashes and survey the room. It was not playacting that caused her sudden intake of breath as she saw her old beau again. In fact, it took all the force of will she possessed to keep her reaction within bounds. At that first brief encounter, she had been too surprised to take in his splendour. No one had told her the viscount had grown even more handsome in the ensuing years, the strength of his jawline more pronounced, and just the very slightest of grey at the temples in his nearly ebony hair. Forcing her jaw not to drop open in shock, Julianna felt her stomach flutter with nerves as she gripped tightly to her friend’s hand and tried not to cause an ill-bred scene in Catherine’s parlor.

~ Happy reading ~

Mara’s Secret by Felicia Rogers (YA paranormal romance)

She clasped her hands and prayed he would leave.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

So much for that prayer.

He settled next to her on the throne, not quite touching, resting his hands on his knees and staring straight ahead. “This is a beautiful place. Your pa said he and your mother married here. He explained that marrying here helps a couple endure.”

She didn’t respond. Let him wonder what she thought; maybe he’d go away.

He dug in his breeches pocket then brought out his closed fist. “I have something for you.”

She narrowed her eyes. When had he had a chance to get her something?

He unfurled his fingers and revealed a perfectly oval, gleaming white egg.

She placed her hand over her open mouth.

“I know what you’re thinking. Well, maybe I don’t. I probably don’t want to know.” He grinned. “Anyway, I know flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and those kinds of things turn a girl’s head, but I have no money. And besides, you seem like a lady who enjoys the simpler, more practical pleasures in life. So I brought you this.”

She tilted her head. Would he continue this insanity? An egg, indeed!

“I can see from your expression you don’t understand what I went through to get this.” He rubbed a spot between his brows. “Let me explain. This egg, this porcelain white egg of hardboiled perfection, was reflected in your brother’s eyes. It was the last one and he wanted it bad. But of course I’m quicker and I grabbed it first. I even told him finders keepers, but I don’t think it mattered too much to him. See this?”

She held back a snicker as he pointed to a small red mark on his tanned cheek.

“First, the big oaf tried to skewer me with his fork, and then he cuffed me! Over an egg! Anyway, I’m glad I expended the effort. The look on your face was worth it all. Here you go. You deserve it.”

He thrust the hardboiled egg in front of her, and she had no choice but to take the offering. A smile tugged her lips up as she deftly cracked the shell, peeled it off, and placed the entire egg into her mouth.

As she ate, her cheeks bulged and the yolk broke deliciously on her tongue. Dougal fidgeted, appearing nervous and frustrated as if he waited for her response. Didn’t he know better by now?—she was dimwitted.

Here's an excerpt from A Fence Around Her, YA Historical Fiction. It is available as an ebook, and last week was released as an audiobook. Here's a link on Audible, where you can listen to a clip:

From across Main Street, I could see Mortlock alone in the deep shade of the porch. He loomed up like a ghost, tall and imposing, with broad shoulders and long arms. As he walked back and forth with the languid motion of poured molasses, a well-tailored Chesterfield coat with a velvet collar swung gently on his large frame. Nearing the saloon, I was surprised to discover that his once-fine coat was now dusty and frayed at the collars and hem. When I stepped onto the porch, he turned toward me, pushing his slouch hat of soft felt back off his face to reveal eyes as dark as a mineshaft and a smile on long, sensuous lips.

“Aren’t you a trifle young for this place?” he asked in a voice deep and mellow like a tuba, the tongue lazy on the consonants.

“My Pa’s in there playing pool.” I was in my rights to go into the Sawdust and felt angry with this stranger for suggesting otherwise.

“Then by all means, allow me.” He made a gallant show of opening the door for me, giving a slight bow as I passed him. I suspected him of mocking me in some way, and I could feel blood warm my face.

Stepping into the sudden darkness of the saloon after walking in bright sunlight blinded me to a standstill. I stood by the doorway for several seconds and breathed in the fumes of bad whiskey and fresh beer brewed with water from Bodie’s deep, cold springs. Soon the heads of men around game tables, playing cards and drinking, became visible below a wispy sheet of smoke that floated throughout the saloon like an angel.

Landry in Like (Landry's True Colors Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Clean teen fiction for ages 10 and up.

I wanted to call my friends and tell them about being on the talk show, but Mom said we had to be at the TV station super early — even before school started. She said I could text them, but I had to turn off my phone and go to bed.

“I’m waking you up at four a.m.,” she said. “You have to be there at five-thirty.”

“Can I just call Peyton and Ashanti? Please?”

“Fine, but you have five minutes and then that phone is mine and you’re in bed.”

I dialed Peyton, but her mom said she was in the shower. I told her mom about the show tomorrow and said my mom wouldn’t let me stay up any later to call Peyton back.

“How exciting! I will make sure Peyton knows, and I will be watching you tomorrow. Good luck, honey,” Mrs. Urich said.

I called Ashanti next and told her.

“Get out. Get. Out. No way. This is so exciting!”

“I’m so nervous. My stomach is already doing cartwheels. I can’t do one, but my stomach can. Seems unfair. What if I throw up before I go on? I did that right before I went on at the statewide Ingénue modeling competition in Detroit, and my mom had to give me a cough drop to cover up the smell.”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine, but… just in case, take a cough drop with you,” Ashanti said. “Good luck. You’ll be great and I’ll go set the DVR now.”

I hung up and sent a text to Vladi, India, Devon, Thalia, Tori, and Ericka, so no one would be mad and feel left out. Then I shut off my phone. Mom poked her head in the door to make sure I was in bed.

“Night, hon. Try to get some rest,” she said.

Easier said than done. I stared at my ceiling while thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong tomorrow. Seeing as the show was on in the morning, I never got to watch it, so I had no idea what the set was like — did it have super high chairs and I’d struggle to get into them? And what if it had those higher stools that were kind of tippy and my rear overshot the seat and I fell off? Or what if the prep questions got lost and the interviewer asked me random things like my feelings on nuclear war or asked me about some foreign political leader who I had never heard of before, and I appeared stupid? Why did I say I’d do this? I tried to get comfortable and it felt like I had just dozed off when I felt my mom shaking my shoulder.

“Rise and shine, TV star,” she said.

Quest for the King: A 60 Day Devotional Written as a Fantasy Tale
by AJ Benson and Heather Sutherlin

“So glad you are ready to go,” he says. “The King is waiting.” You stare at the scroll for a moment and then look back to the courier, but he is gone as a wisp into the fog. You start to question whether he was real at all or just a figment, but realize you are still holding the King’s sealed words in your hands. Trembling, your fingers break the wax and untie the ribbon. The scroll is a summons to appear before the King. You are to leave everything behind and come at once.

THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER is available in all e-book formats plus print by Astraea/Clean Reads Press. Besides being a romance with some paranormal elements, this novel is about life and family values. It is a coming-of-age novel for Young Adults. Check out the great reviews here:

Here is a brief excerpt:

When my mother talked about Lori, she always got a funny look in her eye — not ha-ha funny but strange funny. When I was little, I never understood. As I got older, I wondered more about Lori, but I hardly ever asked because it just seemed to make my mother sad.
Lori was locked away in my mother's past life like the things in the old attic trunk. I wondered about them too. But Mom would always say when I asked her to open the trunk that the past was best forgotten. Yet, every now and then, I would say something or do something that made her sigh and exclaim: "You remind me so much of Lori!"
Not long ago, I was sitting on the living room couch reading a novel I found on the bookshelf. My mother walked into the room and gasped.
"Something wrong?" I asked.
She stared at me for a moment and shook her head. "No, but for a moment, it seemed like I was looking at Lori. I remember when she read Rebecca. She loved to read old-fashioned romances."
"Mom, what happened to Lori?"
"Danna, I'd rather not talk about her. It only brings back sad memories."
"Sure, except I didn't bring it up."

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