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Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

February 24, 2016

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday!  If you're an author, 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 more people will find it.  If you're a reader - enjoy!


MY EXCERPT

Jackal, http://amzn.to/1JLLikO

1810

Jackal jumped from the carriage before the dust could settle. His best chance would be to go on the offence and catch the driver off-guard. Though he'd assumed the driver had a partner, nothing could have prepared him for the vicious attack awaiting him on the other side of the door.

Jackal no sooner touched the ground than he was trampled under the anxious feet of a high-stepping horse. He'd not even had a chance to gain his footing. As he lay on the ground, Jackal both heard and felt the breaking of bone in his left leg. A couple of his ribs surrendered to the heavy hooves as well. Rolling onto his side, he took aim at the perpetrator. The sun blinded him, and he could distinguish no features on the man whose gun dared him to move. In the split second it took for him to reassure himself he was not aiming at an innocent bystander – for they were indeed in one of the numerous modest hamlets that dotted the continent's countryside – the rider pulled the trigger, and pain seared through Jackal's already throbbing leg. It felt as if the lead had burrowed its way into his very bone.

He pulled the trigger of his flintlock pistol, and the man on the horse recoiled. Even as Jackal reached for the gun concealed at the ankle of his wounded leg, he knew it was futile. The rider had a second gun in-hand before his own fingers even brushed against the grip of his hidden weapon. Pain tore through his shoulder, immobilizing his shooting arm. Another ball of lead ripped into his middle. He felt his blood seeping out onto the street.

Accepting his fate, he asked only one thing. "At whose hand am I to die this day?"

Laughter vile enough to sour port met his question. "Today the Jackal shall meet his end at the hands of The Hunter."

The Hunter? The Austrians were supposed to have him by now.

"Your plan failed, and I am free. Prepare to die."

Blackness closing in around him, Jackal released the last thought held captive in his mind.

Why God?

Cold claimed his body as he slipped into darkness. He neither heard nor felt the next shot.


 

Go Back

From WARM HEARTS IN WINTER

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O2BOMWU

"My accommodation," she explained. "I hope it's not too far away?"

Jack's eyes widened, and he slowly shook his head. "Not too far at all. Follow me." He led the way into the hall, leaving her to trot after him, but as she started to pull on her boots, he said, "There won't be any need for those," and started up the stairs.

Abby stared after him, confused and bordering on dismayed. He'd already vanished, and she had no choice but to go on up after him. He waited at the top of the stairs. As she appeared, he opened the nearest door and gestured into the room.

"I don't understand," Abby said hesitantly, even though the sinking feeling in her stomach told her she already did understand, all too well.

"Your room," he announced.

"My room?"

Jack nodded. "I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear you don't have to head out into that awful weather again. It's spacious and en suite, so you'll have plenty of privacy." When she remained rooted to the spot, he added, "I'm right down at the other end," wafting his hand as though to indicate he would be miles away.

Abby wasn't reassured. "You mean I'm expected to stay here?" she managed when she finally found her voice, although it came out a little squeaky.

"Why not?"

The colour flashed in Abby's cheeks as she fought for some control over the combination of panic and anger rising within her.

"But the agency told me you would be arranging some accommodation for me!"

"And that's exactly what this is," Jack said, gesturing again. "Come and take a peek. I'm sure you'll like it."

Abby still made no move. Her heart was in her mouth, and she struggled to breathe. She shook her head.

"No, I don't think so. No."

She turned and shot down the stairs. By the time Jack caught up with her, she'd already pulled on soggy boots and was busy rewrapping herself in her equally soggy outer garments.

"What on earth are you doing?" he asked.

"Leaving."

"Leaving?"

"To find somewhere to stay," she clarified. She didn't want him to think she was giving up on the job itself — she needed it too badly — but she had no intention of spending the night here. That was not the deal at all.

LANDRY IN LIKE by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Clean fiction for teens and preteens
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01AL6AUA2

“This is going to be so much fun!” Devon said as she opened the door. We all walked in and instantly my head felt weird and I tripped. My eyes had to adjust to the light as it was way darker inside, and everything was outlined in neon and lights. It was like a huge warehouse, and it was noisy and crowded. I wanted to turn around and call Mr. Allen to save me from this big, scary mob. But the other girls were all smiling. Even Peyton. Great, I was the only one wetting my pants in fear. Liv saw some guys she knew so we walked over to watch them play pool. Almost immediately a group of boys came over and bought sodas for Kendall, Liv, Valine, India, and Devon. I went to say something to Peyton when I noticed she had a soda in her hand, too.

Just then one of the guys bumped into me. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there,” he said.

“No worries,” I said. I’m just the invisible soda-less one. Don’t mind me, I wasn’t thirsty anyway.

Kendall glanced at her phone. “My brother texted me that he and Vladi are here already. Do you want to go find them?” I nodded.

“Does he know I’m here?”

She shook her head. “No, I wasn’t sure if you were coming or not when I talked to him, so I just told him you might be coming. They usually hang out over at the air hockey table.”

I tried texting Ashanti again, but no response. Was it too loud in here for her to hear her phone, or was she too busy having fun to care? Liv and Peyton came with us to go look for Steve and Vladi. Liv spotted them over by some couches. Vladi was sitting on the edge of an ottoman and a red-haired girl was leaning over and whispering in his ear. He was nodding and looking around. She put her hand on his arm and leaned forward.

“Oh man, that does not look good,” Liv said.

“He doesn’t seem interested in her,” Kendall said. “He’s looking everyplace but at her. I’ve known him for years, and if he likes a girl then he has razor focus. Trust me.”

I felt a little queasy when she said that. How many girls had she seen him be interested in?

Peyton put her hand on my arm. “It does seem like she’s more into him.” We watched as Vladi pulled out his phone and started texting.

“See? You don’t text when you’re with someone you like,” Kendall said, folding her arms. “That would just be rude.”

The redhead moved closer and now had both her hands on his upper arm. My eyes stung with tears.

“Clingy, much?” Liv said. “She’s, like, a stalker.”

“Do you want me to go over there?” Kendall asked. I shook my head, willing myself not to throw up on the floor.

From: Not Every Girl

http://amzn.com/B00WT7DQTY

I dust off and grab my bags, intending to fetch the horses. Only one short step later I hear an angry voice yell, "Peter! Where are you?"
It is Sir Michael. He is not happy. Freezing in my tracks, I spin around to him, as does nearly everyone else.
"Get over here, lad," he yells in my direction, "this stupid lace has broken."
In an instant, I am at his side. Indeed, the end of the leather lace that secures the left side of his jerkin has snapped off. His supply sack sits nearby. I rummage through it, hunting for a replacement cord. Surely, Puck packed an extra lace or something that can be used as a reasonable substitute.
Uh-oh!
Dread drifts in, envelops me in its icy claws. My stomach becomes lead. Puck had spoken about replacing the laces of Sir Michael's jerkin in the armory the other night. Obviously, he had planned to do it before the journey, but he did not get the chance—because I had interrupted him with dinner and…
My heart races, sweat beads on my brow. I am paralyzed with fear until a boot toe jabs my side. "Look alive, boy!" Sir Michael orders. Mechanically, I resume groping through the bag hoping to find something—anything—that I can improvise with. There is nothing.
"What I don't understand is why these laces were not replaced prior to this trip. They clearly needed to be," he snaps.
Unsure what else to do, I mumble an apology.
Bad move.
Sir Michael takes this as insolence and yanks me up by the armpit. Spinning me around to face him, he roars, "I am speaking to you, Peter, and therefore require your undivided attention. Do you understand?"
I stand there mutely, aware that his yelling has drawn the attention of everyone. Certainly, they all try to act as if they are not listening, but I am sure every ear is perked up in this direction. Before I can think of a way out of this situation…
"And take off that blasted helmet so you can look me straight in the eyes when I am talking to you!" In one fell swoop, he reaches out and knocks my helmet to the ground. "Surely I have taught you more respect than…"
His words abruptly cease.
"Who are you?" He scowls. "Speak quickly!"
"Olivia," I say in a strangulated whisper. It dawns on me that Sir Michael does not have the first clue who I am. For all he knows, I mean them harm, particularly the King, whom he is sworn to protect with his life.
"Who?" The point pushes painfully into my neck.
"Olivia?"
This time the voice isn't mine. It is my father's. He rushed over at the sound of the commotion and now stands with much the same expression Sir Michael had a moment ago.
"How…? What are you…? Explain yourself, young lady!"

Innocent Tears by Iris Blobel
http://amzn.com/B009CK7HSC

Ignoring Nadine’s companion, he knelt down in front of the girl and rested his arm on his leg. “Hey, little Muffin!”

“Hi.” Nadine’s reply was shy, nothing more than just a whisper.

They both looked at each other. “Are you my dad?” Nadine asked with slightly more voice, but still hiding behind Emma.

Flynn nodded and replied with warmth in a voice that came straight from his heart. “So it seems.” He just couldn’t get his eyes off the small child. No doubt she was Sarah’s child. He choked back a smile. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, indeed. Flynn stood up and went back to his chair and took the small parcel out of the bag he'd left there. Then he returned and crouched down in front of Nadine again. He gave her a wrapped box. “Buying presents for girls is new for me, so I hope you like it.” Okay, he felt odd, and he knew he owed Joyce big time for this, but how was he supposed to know what young girls liked?

Nadine let go of Emma’s hand and hesitantly came out from behind her. She took the box with both hands and looked at Flynn. “Thank you,” she whispered.

From: Broken Valentine

Amazon: http://amzn.to/20UW5B2

The little girl in her had dreamed of a fairy-tale proposal.

Instead Sarah Sawyer had been stood up. On Valentine’s Day.

With a sigh, she checked her phone again for a text or missed call. On a whim, she opened her Facebook app. She blinked at the first post in her feed. Swallowing a gulp of her water to fight off the emotion welling in her throat, she read it again.

"The most wonderful woman in the world said yes." A picture of two intertwined hands followed. One well-manicured hand displayed an expensive diamond ring. The next picture made Sarah gasp. Trey stood with his arms around another woman, staring lovingly into her eyes. She was everything Sarah wasn’t—tall, shapely, blonde, and beautiful.

A cloth napkin appeared in her line of sight. She looked up to see her waiter holding it out. “How did you know?”

He pulled out the adjacent chair. “The gasp was my first clue. The running makeup cinched the deal.” He dabbed at her cheeks with the cloth she hadn’t taken.

At any other time, she might have backed away from the unexpected attention, but he didn’t seem aggressive, just caring. “Why does it matter to you?”

He shrugged and leaned back in the chair. “You’ve been sitting at my table for the last ninety minutes, drinking water and glancing at the door each time it opened. I got the distinct impression your dinner date had ditched you.” He shrugged again. “I’m a sucker for the down-trodden.”

Sarah snorted. “Down-trodden? Definitely ditched. Why not add deceived? Or plain dumb? I think all of those describe me about now.”

“Aw, come on. It can’t be that bad.”

Tears welled in her eyes again. “Well, my boyfriend didn’t show, call, or text. To waste even more time, because I’m a sap and kept hoping he’d been held up at work and couldn’t get to his phone, I decided to check my Facebook page.” She turned the phone so he could see. “That’s my boy…” She snorted again. “That’s him. With his new fiancée.”

From the novel Everlasting:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BW8WRK4?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

“Hi.” He flashed perfect white teeth at me and shook my hand. My breath caught at the coldness of his skin, and pain shot through my fingers from the strength of his grip. An awkward silence shuffled between us. “Well, I’m gonna go finish my game. Hope to see you around again sometime.”
“Me too, same here.” I pulled a strand of hair from my eyes, flicking sand in my face. My face, neck, and ears burned again. I silently thanked God for the color the sun had put into me that day—maybe he wouldn’t see the disturbing, gross splotches that had overtaken my face, itching like a contagious disease.
“C’mon, let’s go.” He whistled and called to the dog, then spun around, giving me one last look before he disappeared from view around the Ice Cream Shack.
My heart raced and clamored against my chest, its incessant loudness urging me to release it—to follow him. It shocked me how quickly I fell in love. Me, the shy, low-self-esteem girl who vowed that whenever I entered into a relationship I would take it slow, and I would seek out any warning signals, using them as an excuse to bail early, if need be. But this…this was exhilarating, and it took a while for my heart to return to its proper place.

http://www.amazon.com/Intent-Krista-Wagner-ebook/dp/B00N18VLTM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1456331010&sr=8-3&keywords=intent

The sun was shining so bright for a change that Raylee had to put on sunglasses. It seemed wrong that the sun would be shining on such a dismal day. Billy was so calm and in control all the time. She feared what this might be doing to him. When he had come into the diner with his dad last month, the two had seemed so close, like she and her own parents had been. And then for such a tragedy to tear up that bond. . .no one should have to go through that.
She stepped on the accelerator as she continued along the freeway. Within minutes she was in Billy’s neighborhood. The car had hardly turned off before she was jumping out and running up to Billy’s door. He answered right away but looked surprised to see her there.
“Raylee, I wasn’t expecting you. Come in.” His voice was hardly audible, like he’d been crying or trying not to cry. She stepped inside and he closed the door behind her. The TV was on but the audio had been lowered. An annoying commercial played. There was a smell of bleach too; it was overwhelming. Billy must have noticed her cringe.
“My mom’s been doing some heavy spring cleaning. Sorry about the smell.”
The living room contained a beige leather sofa and a light wood-bordered glass table. Under normal circumstances the room would have felt warm, even cozy. Billy was standing next to the table, looking at her, his eyes filling up.
“I’m so sorry, Billy. What can I do?”
He was quick to answer.
“Nothing. We’re okay. My mom is stuck in traffic. She was at work when it happened. I’ve been on the phone with her for the last hour.”
Raylee noticed a newspaper folded on the table, strangely though, in the shape of a tent. The pistol grip of a gun poked out the backside of it. What was the gun doing there? Was he trying to hide it?

The sun was shining so bright for a change that Raylee had to put on sunglasses. It seemed wrong that the sun would be shining on such a dismal day. Billy was so calm and in control all the time. She feared what this might be doing to him. When he had come into the diner with his dad last month, the two had seemed so close, like she and her own parents had been. And then for such a tragedy to tear up that bond. . .no one should have to go through that.
She stepped on the accelerator as she continued along the freeway. Within minutes she was in Billy’s neighborhood. The car had hardly turned off before she was jumping out and running up to Billy’s door. He answered right away but looked surprised to see her there.
“Raylee, I wasn’t expecting you. Come in.” His voice was hardly audible, like he’d been crying or trying not to cry. She stepped inside and he closed the door behind her. The TV was on but the audio had been lowered. An annoying commercial played. There was a smell of bleach too; it was overwhelming. Billy must have noticed her cringe.
“My mom’s been doing some heavy spring cleaning. Sorry about the smell.”
The living room contained a beige leather sofa and a light wood-bordered glass table. Under normal circumstances the room would have felt warm, even cozy. Billy was standing next to the table, looking at her, his eyes filling up.
“I’m so sorry, Billy. What can I do?”
He was quick to answer.
“Nothing. We’re okay. My mom is stuck in traffic. She was at work when it happened. I’ve been on the phone with her for the last hour.”
Raylee noticed a newspaper folded on the table, strangely though, in the shape of a tent. The pistol grip of a gun poked out the backside of it. What was the gun doing there? Was he trying to hide it?

The sun was shining so bright for a change that Raylee had to put on sunglasses. It seemed wrong that the sun would be shining on such a dismal day. Billy was so calm and in control all the time. She feared what this might be doing to him. When he had come into the diner with his dad last month, the two had seemed so close, like she and her own parents had been. And then for such a tragedy to tear up that bond. . .no one should have to go through that.
She stepped on the accelerator as she continued along the freeway. Within minutes she was in Billy’s neighborhood. The car had hardly turned off before she was jumping out and running up to Billy’s door. He answered right away but looked surprised to see her there.
“Raylee, I wasn’t expecting you. Come in.” His voice was hardly audible, like he’d been crying or trying not to cry. She stepped inside and he closed the door behind her. The TV was on but the audio had been lowered. An annoying commercial played. There was a smell of bleach too; it was overwhelming. Billy must have noticed her cringe.
“My mom’s been doing some heavy spring cleaning. Sorry about the smell.”
The living room contained a beige leather sofa and a light wood-bordered glass table. Under normal circumstances the room would have felt warm, even cozy. Billy was standing next to the table, looking at her, his eyes filling up.
“I’m so sorry, Billy. What can I do?”
He was quick to answer.
“Nothing. We’re okay. My mom is stuck in traffic. She was at work when it happened. I’ve been on the phone with her for the last hour.”
Raylee noticed a newspaper folded on the table, strangely though, in the shape of a tent. The pistol grip of a gun poked out the backside of it. What was the gun doing there? Was he trying to hide it?

https://www.createspace.com/5990239

This is it, Rian. The end of the road. You have completed your mission. It is time to go. They were thoughts from the past. When she had almost died.
And here she was again, though in a very different situation, still seconds away from death.
"Oh, God!" she started gasping, but all the air she took in was too thick and it made her cough.
The black ocean looked bottomless. She shuddered and looked away.
The lamppost above her head burned into her eyes. She squinted as tears fired into her soul. She opened her mouth and a blast of cold air poured inside of it. Coughing again, she gradually rose, stepped forward, and stopped. Her heart felt heavy as it pressed down inside of her. The boardwalk stretched far. Too far.
Her body buckled beneath her.
"Rian? Rian!" The voice sounded so far away. She tried to open her eyes, but it was as if a strong weight pulled her eyelids back down. "Stay with us, Rian." The voice was urgent. "Don't move!"

A bright light stared down into her face; it came from the ceiling beams. She tried to move her arm, but it was too painful. She slowly turned her head to the left. A starch white wall faced her. To her right, a window opened into a view of a cemetery.

mybook.to/nursedragon

Cora sat, watching Cricket sleep, curled about the eggs as if they were his favorite teddy bear.
I wouldn’t trade him for a thousand racers. I just want him to be with me, forever. How long do nurse dragons even live?
She brought out the book and found the chapter.
“The well-being of a nurse dragon is tied to the health of the colony as well as the life of the queen. Because of this, their lifespans are hard to track. If the colony is in a time of sickness, nurse dragons often experience a mass die-off.” Cora shuddered. “However, there have been anecdotal reports of nurse dragons living as long as queens, or even outliving them as they branch off to form new colonies.” Cora flipped to the chapter on queens. They were known to live as long as fifty years. “I hope that’s true.” She ran her finger down his spine. “When I was little, I had a mom. She … she used to sing to me, and then one day she was just sort of gone, you know? And the only dragons I’ve had before you were mayflies. They die so quickly you can’t love them if you don’t want to cry all the time, but Cricket … you have to stay. You and Dad and Abry, those are the three things that matter. Everything else is just mayflies.”



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