Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

May 10, 2017

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 ArrangementClick to Buy

Holden’s fingers traced the image of a horned toad on the cover. “Thank you, Maddie. This is a wonderful gift. A bit unexpected, too.” A grin marked his face, but it was a tired one. He appeared as worn out as she felt.

“My friend here told me about what a dramatic first impression he made on you.” Joshua’s relaxed posture put her at ease. He changed the subject back to the book in Holden’s hands. “How did you come across such a great find?”

“I was perusing the bookstore shelves. Then I turned around, and this gruesome monster-creature was inches from my face. By the time I screamed, jumped, and knocked over a display of cat books, I managed to convince myself it wasn’t alive. But I still made one of the clerks in the store carry the book to the register for me so I wouldn’t be forced to touch it.”

“How did you manage to wrap it, then?” asked Holden.

“Sterile gloves,” she answered impishly. “Plus, my cat helped hold the paper down while I taped.”

Joshua laughed. “A cat person, eh? I’m partial to dogs myself. I’ve developed a theory about people and their animals. What people name their pets says a lot about them. What’s your cat’s name?”

Heat scorched her ears. “Mr. Fish Breath, but I call him Fishy for short.”

Go Back

Check out The Kavanagh House (Book 1 of The Aeturnis Machine Series), introduces Parker, the girl who must live in a mechanized house controlled by Vincent, the dead, vengeful creator.
Read more at:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The large clock to my right chimed the half hour and I jumped.

Beneath the stairs at their highest point, the clock had a shape that suggested a grandfather clock, but without walls or a boxed in frame. It had the same detailed craftsmanship of other parts of the house and included animals like the contraption above. I supposed Vincent had created this work of art too.

The corner supports of the clock had been fashioned of metal, twisting to connect the top to the base. They framed exposed cogs and gears and small steel balls, like marbles, that rested in various positions within an elaborate maze of ramps. On the frame he’d formed birds with claws, tusked elephants, mountain lions, and snakes, each in a different metal.

Every time I found something new that Vincent had made, I felt awed and repulsed. He both intrigued and frightened me.

A chrome disk shaped like a spiked sun swung on a pendulum that intertwined with a serpent, swinging side-to-side to the rhythm of metallic ticks. Left, tick, right, tick. My awareness condensed down to the marking of time. Tick, tick. I felt a tense anticipation, staring at the pendulum. Left, right. A marble slid on a track, wound its way in and through gears, vanishing behind a large cog as a dark shape emerged: an iron scorpion that raised its tail and struck a brass bell. The clock chimed a quarter hour.

I had been transfixed for fifteen minutes. But I had also moved closer to the threshold where the bordered floor of the rotunda began. My right foot was lifted in the process of stepping forward.

In the moment of my reeling backward, frightened by the fact that I had almost stepped within the reach of evil, the door on the clock flew open and the handle—shaped like a stork—snagged my sleeve in its beak. It hadn’t seemed that close. The door closed as rapidly as it had opened, and I was pulled forward.

I stumbled toward the clock, grasping my sleeve with my left hand, trying to unhook it. A second door on the clock above the first one opened, and the silver face of the clock, which looked like a moon face with arched eyebrows, tilted forward and thrust out. I swung left and missed having it slice my scalp.

I tore my sleeve free and ran before the clock had time to make another move. I fell against the doors across the hall, gasping and trembling. I couldn’t believe that the clock, or the spirit that controlled it, had tried to kill me.

Parker! Get a grip! Don’t let him win!

Floor Plans to The Kavanagh House here:

~ ~ ~
Available at Amazon: ; Barnes and Noble; and wherever ebooks are sold.

Excerpt from "A Match Made in Sheffield" by Terri Weldon in The Matchmakers
Pre-order (releases May 23):

NATALIE BENTON LEANED back in the plush cream dining chair. She’d never dined in a five-star restaurant before. She took in every detail from the luxurious eggplant paint on the walls to the elegantly dressed tables and crystal chandeliers.

Never, in a million years, would she have dreamed she would meet a man who could afford to dine at Revolutionary Cuisine. The urge to pinch herself just about overwhelmed her. Instead she focused on her date—Jason Whitney. Impeccably cut, sun-streaked hair, tan skin, sparkling green eyes, and a mischievous grin rolled into one handsome package. And to think they had met when she ran into him—literally—at the country club.

Mr. Montgomery, the senior partner at the law firm where she worked as a law clerk, had requested a stack of depositions be delivered to him at the exclusive country club. He often spent Friday’s golfing with the other partners in the law firm.

Her penchant for volunteering to run errands had paid off in spades today. She smiled at the man seated across from her and sent up a silent prayer of thanks for their accidental meeting.
The waiter placed the Pear Brandy Tart in front of Jason and then lifted a bottle of wine and filled his glass. Jason lifted the goblet and toasted her glass of water.
“To the first of many wonderful evenings together.”

While the words were over the top and she’d have laughed at any other man, her heart still thrilled at them. Warmth crept up her cheeks. She took a sip of the cool water and placed the goblet on the table. Natalie lifted her dessert fork, but before she could cut into the scrumptious concoction, two men stopped at their table.

“Jimmy White, I’m Detective Henderson of the Pittsfield Police Department. I have a warrant for your arrest.” The detective motioned for Jason to stand up.

She tried to get his attention, but Jason avoided her eyes. Instead he pushed back his chair and stood. “You’re making a mistake.”

“Tell it to the judge.” The detective turned him around and cuffed his hands behind his back. “Mirandize him,” he said as he passed him off to the officer beside him.

Every eye in the room watched her date being escorted out—Natalie’s included.

Next, he turned to face her. “Natasha Brent.”

Her jaw dropped and she started to speak.

“I also have a warrant for your arrest.”

The fork in her hand clattered as it fell against the plate and splashed the crème fraiche across her black cocktail dress. “I’m not Natasha Brent.” Her voice shook as the words tumbled from her mouth. “I’m Na–”

“Save it sister.” The detective reached for her wrist and pulled her to her feet.

“Detective, stop.” The waiter appeared at the table.

Natalie wilted in relief. Thank heavens the waiter planned to tell the detective he was making a horrible mistake.

“The bill hasn’t been paid.”

Nina Warrenton checked her watch for the umpteenth time. He was late. On the one hand, she was thankful; on the other, she was annoyed. Who makes an appointment and shows up late? Granted living in the D.C. Metro area guaranteed multiple opportunities to be late, but she made an effort to arrive on time to any appointment. Too bad the unknown Mr. Williams didn’t hold the same virtue.
She sighed. Had she acted prematurely? Putting an ad for a husband was a little archaic, but she believed it would get the job done. However, none of the previous candidates had panned out. One man had been released from prison a couple of months ago. Another had answered her ad with the hope of moving out of his mother’s place. Still, another had answered her ad because the voices in his head had prompted him to. She shook her head.
Maybe the face that Mr. Williams was missing was God showing her he wasn’t the one. Maybe he was prematurely balding or had the personality of wilted lettuce. Of course, she had prayed that God would send her the right man, but there was no guarantee He would acquiesce to her request.
She tapped her pen on the table and looked around the room. The coffee shop was filled with D.C. metropolitans ready to embrace the autumn air. It was a gorgeous day with a light breeze and the preferred seventies temperature. Was it possible that Mr. Williams was already here and hiding behind a coffee mug or laptop, to secretly get a first impression without her noticing? She peeked around the shop, but she was the only one alone.

WARLOCK OF ROCHESTER series by Eli Celata

Barnes & Noble:

Excerpt from Book 1 (HIGH SUMMONS):


Rio’s smile didn’t fall away though she let her hand slide back to her side before coming to rest on her hip when he stepped away from her. “We need a fifth, Cheshire.”


Madrid frowned. “We will be summoning the first-born. Great risks yield great rewards.”

Cheshire Max shook his head, letting his dreads swing. “Or great falls.”
He turned back to his music when Madrid stretched forward grabbing hold of his wrist. Cheshire Max spun, throwing his other hand forward with his palm facing Madrid. She flew back into the railing of the metal deck over twenty feet away. Rio’s eyes narrowed moving between Madrid and Cheshire, analyzing the situation carefully. The tiger on her left arm stirred and paced down her arm through the ruins to her wrist. Its tail flicked before it yawned, stretching its jaws. Rio rested her right hand against the tiger sending it back up her arm to return to its original position.

“Where do you stand?” she asked, placing her hands on her hips.
“Against, with, or neutral.”

“You know me, Rio; always neutral,” Cheshire Max replied turning back to his music. “Your soul is your own to destroy.”

“We will use him against his own kind. We could save hundreds.” She held up a hand when Madrid moved to approach. Fire flickered across the younger woman’s skin.

“Use him? Mammon?” The name resonated throughout the hall, and the music stuttered, causing the dancers to falter for a moment and something flickered at the edge of the room. “Isn’t a weapon to be used? Mammon…” The room shuddered again, and I turned toward the door as the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. “Will kill mortal after mortal for the glory of Hell. Mammon…” The door opened. Black smoke billowed in though the music had returned, leaving the dancers back in their mass trance. “Will use you.”

“Jordan?” I whispered, and he held up a hand, but the gesture wasn’t good enough this time. “Jordan, we’ve got a problem.”

Jordan grabbed me turning my gaze upwards once more. Rio was backing away never breaking eye contact with Cheshire Max. Madrid rushed to her side, and they ran without another word. Cheshire Max crouched down low to the ground and tapped the metal with a smirk. His blue eyes staring straight into my own as runes lit across the deck and the entire room flooded with figure eights and runes. The darkness at the door faded, and a passerby closed the door without a second thought.

Finding Hope:
(The continuing story of the Cooper Brothers introduced in The Rose Ring.)

Over dinner Hope chatted on about school, her dreams to become a veterinarian, and the school play she was taking part in. “I have a really good part. Do you think you could come back to see me, Noah?”

“As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure I could get away so soon.”

“Honey, that’s a lot to ask. The play is only a month away, and Noah doesn’t exactly live across town.”

“Sure.” Hope swirled the mashed potatoes on her plate with her fork. “I understand.”

The downward bent of Hope’s mouth tore at Noah’s insides. He’d barely made contact and was already letting her down. He swallowed his final bite of meat. “Maybe you could spend some time at the ranch over the summer.”

Hope’s frown quickly turned to a face-splitting grin. “That would be amazing. I can’t wait to tell Jenny.”

Fire practically shot from Beth’s eyes, and Noah knew he’d put his foot in it big time.
Beth asked Hope to clear the table and clean the kitchen. “I’m going to show Noah the garden. We’ll have dessert when we come back.”

“Sure, Mom.”

“The garden’s this way.” Beth walked past Noah toward the sliding glass door. She opened it with more force than necessary, causing the door to slam into its metal casing. Cringing at the racket, she was less forceful with the screen.

Noah followed her onto the deck. “Look, I know I spoke—”

“Not here.” She descended the stairs at a brisk pace and walked across the yard until she reached the gazebo. The walk and cool air did nothing to calm her nerves. Spinning around, she faced him. “You had no right to extend an invitation like that without speaking to me first.”

“I know, and I’m sorry. The words just came out before I had a chance to think about what I was saying.”

“Yeah, well, sorry isn’t going to help when I have to tell Hope she won’t be going. I opened my home to you so that you could meet your daughter, not for you to whisk her away at the first opportunity.”

He held up his hands. “Whisk her away? No, you’ve got it all wrong. I expect you to come with her. Hope has other family, which means you do, too. I think she’d enjoy a couple of weeks of ranch life, and you’re both going to love my family.”

“You assume a lot for someone who’s barely known me for twenty-four hours and my daughter half that amount of time. And, yes, I did say my daughter. You may have fathered her, but I raised her.”

“That’s a low blow, Beth.”

Noah’s easy smile vanished. He leaned against the railing and crossed his arms over his chest. The mixture of hurt and anger in his eyes pained her. She knew she was overreacting but couldn’t help herself. He was moving too fast. Surely he realized that. “I think it might be best if you don’t stay for dessert. I’ll explain to Hope.”

“I’ll be the first to admit that my enthusiasm may have gotten the better of me.” He uncrossed his arms and pointed to her. “But you’re the one who invited me into Hope’s life. You asked if I was in for the long-haul, so I assumed you understood I’d want to bring Hope to Montana from time to time.”

“It’s too early for this to be about what you want.”

Awakened Light by J.J. Nite (YA/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy-New Release)

I walked through the halls of school, and nothing felt like it had before. I wished I could go back and do things differently. You know, little things like appreciating my mom and making sure she knew it before she died or paying more attention to the things she was trying to teach me while I was growing up. And then there was the big stuff. Those events you wish you could block out of your mind, but once they happened, they were cemented in your memory for all time.
That’s how I felt anyway—even if everyone else around me thought it was awesome I had been able to send a demon back to Hell all by myself. Granted I had been able to save my own life and Kiah’s, but it bothered me to do it. And because I was the answer to an age-old prophecy that said I was the chosen one to lock Lucifer back to Hell, there was a little added pressure. Not really how I wanted my senior year of high school to go.
I had been avoiding going back to school for fear someone might find out what I could do or what I really was. Even though it had only been two days, it felt like much longer. All I wanted was to be a normal teenager and to be lost in the sea of faces. My destiny, however, was something altogether different.

Excerpt from "Incomplete" (book two of the Insurrection trilogy)

“And I hate cripes,” Tucker stated.
“What?” This time it was my turn to ask. I leaned to the side to look up at his confusing mind, as nonsensical to me as the oxinals.
“They’re all slippery and slimy. And the innards: veiny. No, thanks.”
“What are you talking about?!” I asked again, confounded, grabbing my helmet. I stood up to look him as straight in the face as possible. My chin did only come to his chest, gripped with those buckles and boldness.
“You are talking confusing things!”
“Cripes. The fruit. On the vine. They are green or red, although some call ‘em ‘purple,’ which also is inaccurate and another reason to hate them.”
Understanding flooded in like a beacon. Laughter sailed in on a rickety barge. “Oh, you mean grapes!” I giggled.
“That’s what I said. Cripes.”
“Oh my wordsmithery.”
“What?” he asked, placing his hands on his hips, confused yet interested in my glee.
“Why do you say that? And how do you hate grapes? I’m shocked you hate anything!” Laughter continued to bubble out. My headache seemed to drift away in the flood.
Logan yelled at us, “Move out!” I couldn’t stop the giggling. Tears welled up in my eyes, the late hour and tension of the day brimming to a rolling boil. “I thought you were saying – ha!” I clutched the buckles on my belt to stop from falling over.
Easing away from the cement pile, Tucker’s masked eyes followed me. “Why are you laughing at that?” he asked, his lovely accent still so brilliant.
I popped the helmet back on top of my head and held it up with both hands. “What really is so bad? And why do you randomly say, ‘grapes’?”
“I hate them.”
I giggled more. “Okay, weirdo.”
He crossed his arms, but I could see his lips twisting up into a cock-eyed smile. “It’s my centering technique.”
“Your what?” Serious air stifled the snickers.
“Helps me focus on what I need to do and not get distracted with the gravity of the situation.”
“Huh. That’s something smart.”
“Maybe they’re robots burning like scalding lava. Maybe they are filled with electricity. But maybe they are flying cripes. Either one is just as scary. I’d prefer to think of them as cripes, because it’s a little funnier to think of a cripe flying toward my head. Maybe cripes are more terrifying.”
“I think that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.” I pressed down the helmet.
“To each his own,” Tucker shrugged.
“Pretty brilliant idea.”
“The Commander guided me through those first days on the field, when I was frozen with nerves. He helped me see if I think too much about the consequences, then I lose track of the work. The work is what matters, not how I feel about it.”

All three books of the Insurrection trilogy (Insurrection, Incomplete, Indelible) now available on iTunes, Kindle, Nook and more! Only $4.99 each! Check out all purchase links and book information at:

Fathers and Sons-Sports and Life is the story of the most dedicated, caring, loyal sports parent of all time!
Thanks for taking a look, Keith

Season of Hope (The Seasons Book 1)
Inspirational romance available at

Pulling the headphones from her ears, her voice disrupted the stillness of the room. “Mom, can we talk?”

Catherine lowered her book, positioning the strand of red ribbon to hold her place before closing it shut. “Of course. What would you like to talk about?”

“This…this, meeting.” Amanda fidgeted with the headphones she was holding in her hand. “May I speak candidly?”

“Always. What’s on your mind?”

She blurted, “I would just like to address the elephant in the room here.”

Surprised by the outburst, Catherine lowered her chin with a confused look on her face. “I wasn’t aware of any elephant in the room.”

Amanda tilted her head and let out a deep sigh. “Mom, I know Aunt Phoebe doesn’t like Dad, that she doesn’t approve of your marriage. I know I agreed to this, but I’m having some serious second thoughts. Not that it matters now, I guess. But I just can’t imagine anyone not liking Dad. I like to think that I’m a lot like him in some ways. So, if she doesn’t like him, she’s not going to like me.”

“Oh, Amanda,” her mother reassured her, “Phoebe is going to love you.”

Judging from the expression on Amanda’s face, she wasn’t convinced. “Why now? Why would she start to care after all these years?”

Her mother’s gaze wandered across the room, contemplating the question. “I’m not sure, Amanda.” Shaking her head, her eyes shifted back to face her daughter’s expectant stare. “Age has a funny way of changing your priorities. Maybe that’s it. And I know it was a sacrifice for you to make this trip, with Tyler leaving in just a few months. I know how much you treasure these weekends. So, thank you."

Amanda relinquished her opposing attitude. “She is your sister. I want to like her.”

A look of confidence filled her mother’s eyes. “I think you will. Phoebe is…there are so many words I could use to describe her. Well, let’s just say that she is larger than life. You’ll find out soon enough.”

They turned at the sound of someone wrestling with the keyless entry. A muffled groan came from the other side of the door. “Looks like it’s soon enough.” Catherine hurried across the room to help her sister as she burst through the doorway. “Trouble with your key card, Pheebes?”

“I can never get the knack for these things,” she laughed, giving her little sister a hug.

Amanda stood, nervous and wide-eyed. The thirty seconds it took for the two sisters to exchange hugs and go on about how great they both looked gave her a chance to make a quick assessment. She had seen a few pictures but nothing compared to seeing Phoebe in person.

A YA Fantasy Romance available at

“Do you not pray to the Olevan gods?” A voice as smooth as spiced wine made Laidra jump.
She whirled around to face a tall woman in a gray cloak and veil. Laidra dropped her chin towards her chest, hoping her hood hid her face. “I do not prefer them.”
The woman tilted her head. “And why not?”
Laidra swallowed. No one had ever asked her opinion on anything of such weight before. She closed her eyes long enough to gather her thoughts. “In the stories, the gods behave much like humans. Jovan seduces maidens, betraying his wife, Mira. In turn, she is spiteful and cruel. The goddess of love is vain; the goddess of the hunt, cold; the god of war, arrogant. Even Ethna, our patron goddess, has been known to incite war over mild insults to her beauty. They behave like people.” She sighed. “I have experienced enough pettiness at the hands of humans. I don’t need it from the gods.”
“Interesting. Do you believe the gods exist?”
She hesitated. “I don’t know.”
“Well, they do, but perhaps gods is not the best name for them. So, you choose to believe in other gods?”
“I believe that something put a desire for good in my heart in spite of people trying to train it out of me.” She bit her bottom lip. “If that something is out there, I would worship it.”
“Wise girl.”
Silence fell over the courtyard. Lights flooded the space as the temple doors swung open. Laidra shied away towards the shadows, but the strange woman grabbed her by the wrist. She pushed Laidra’s hood back from her face.
A muffled whimper escaped Laidra. Beneath her veil, the strange woman’s dark eyes glinted, then softened. The look was foreign to Laidra. Not the curled lip of contempt or revulsion but a strange, sad look.
Pity, she realized.
“Oh poor child. The fault was not yours. You should not have to endure this.” She rested her hand against Laidra’s cheek.
Hot shame flared in the princess’s chest as the woman’s smooth hand caressed her hideous face. Tears sprung from Laidra's eyes, but she couldn’t bring herself to pull away. She remembered seeing her mother caress Ellea in just such a way. How much she had envied that touch!  
“Who … who are you?” Laidra whispered through trembling lips.
“A mother.” The woman gave an approving nod. “Yes, there is a good soul behind these eyes. Another strong heart, and that is the true match.”
Voices rose from the direction of the temple. Laidra’s breath quickened. Her family would approach, along with their guests, the king and prince of Carta.
“They can’t see me here,” she pleaded with the stranger. Even though the woman’s hold was light and easily broken, Laidra felt she could not go without permission. Something about this person bent Laidra to her will.