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 ChristmasClick 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

Drip, drip, drip. Rain. It smells like earthy mold and wet dirt in here. Not to complain or anything, but this stinks. My stomach is twisting in on itself with hateful somersaults. I would, however, trade a couple days’ food rations for a toothbrush and toothpaste about now. The fuzz on my teeth has a personality, and it isn’t cheery. My red-and-gray plaid shirt is crumbled and grimy. My jeans are more brown than the faded blue they used to be.

Still no word from anyone. Fear creeps around this cell on its hands and knees, growling occasionally. Last night during the changing of the guards, a troop of rats assaulted my cell.

I’ll just continue with how we got to be here, and, with a hopeful scrawl, my whole story will be told before—well, before it isn’t. Most likely, if you are reading these words, I’m not around to tell the story myself.

Excerpt from ~Insurrection~
Purchase on iTunes, Kindle, Nook, only $4.99!


My Christmas release is here. Here's a little peek at Rafe Sullivan....

Rafe Sullivan shied away from crowds and hated mirrors. But put him into a red velvet suit, add a mane of white hair and a flowing beard long enough to make ZZ Top proud, and his inhibitions vanished. Rafe might dislike such things but Santa Claus basked in it. Climbing down from the fire truck and strutting into the mall while a high school choir sang “Santa Claus Is Coming Town” gave him a chance not to be a Marine or disfigured or suffer from PTSD. He became the mythical, almost magical elf who delivered Christmas presents around the world each December twenty-fourth. And in those moments, he almost forgot Christmas hadn’t been a thing for him in a long time.

Here is the prologue from my new release, Hello, Forever (contemporary Christian romance):


It all happened so fast. Maggie had never actually seen someone get punched or witnessed up close the cracking sound knuckles make on impact. She stood on the sidewalk in front of her apartment in complete and utter shock. How had it come to this?

Simon shook off the obvious pain in his hand as he spun around and marched toward his car.

“Simon!” Maggie cried.

He kept moving.

“Simon Walker, you better stop walking right now!”

His steps slowed.

“Please don’t leave like this.”

He turned to look at her. His hands were still balled up in fists,
his jaw was set from gritting his teeth, and the hurt in his eyes was unmistakable.

“Please don’t leave me.”

His shoulders sank, and a look of sheer sadness swept over his face.

Her heart raced as he took one step toward her then turned toward his car again. “You promised we would always talk to each other,” she cried desperately.

He glanced back over his shoulder at her. “I can’t right now.”

Maggie watched Simon climb into his car and drive away. She couldn’t breathe. She thought nothing could be more painful than the day Ben broke her heart, but she was wrong. It hurt so badly that she couldn’t even cry. She felt paralyzed, in complete shock. Had she lost him? Was it really over?

Maggie whipped around to face Ben, who was holding his cheek, in pain. “This is all your fault.”

“My fault? He punched me.”

“Why did you have to come here, Ben? After all this time, why couldn’t you just let me be?”

He opened his mouth to speak, but she didn’t give him a chance.

“I was finally happy. Do you know how long it took me to feel that way again? And you ruined it. You ruined everything.”

Thanks so much for this opportunity!


The Mercedes was not turning, not changing lanes, not doing anything except driving straight ahead at 95 kilometers an hour as though its driver didn’t have a care in the world. He – or she – clearly knew exactly where they were headed, and as she drove past an overhead sign, Jane realized where that might be. She hadn’t been able to decipher the words, but the symbol for an airport was recognizable in any language.

She heard a deep sigh next to her, followed by “Oh, God.” Cassie had seen it, too.

“What? What did you see? Would one of you please tell me what’s going on?” Sheryl was leaning up, clutching Jane’s headrest and just about shouting in her ear.

“They’re headed for the airport.”

Cassie spoke up. “I’ve gone along with everything this far, but I have to draw the line somewhere. We are not getting on a plane to Russia, even if it is to help your brother.”

True Blue Murder

Lilliana Wentworth pushed the cart with the wobbly wheel toward the dining room of the Rainbow Ranch Retirement Community. Or, as most of the residents referred to it in private, “the old folks home.” She wrestled the contrary cart carrying her plants past the poster board sign announcing the First Annual African Violet Club Show and Sale. Fighting the cart’s threat to tip over, she turned into the large room that had been transformed from dining facility to exhibit hall. Several members of the club, already at their assigned places, busily tended their plants. It took her only a minute to find the table with a little gold stand holding a place card with her name on it.

Frank Bellandini rushed up to Lilliana’s side and clutched her arm. His eyes bulged so hugely they looked as if they might fall out of their sockets and tumble to the floor. “You’d better watch out for Bette Tesselink. She stole my red hybrid and is claiming it’s hers.”

Lilliana sighed. Bette was a pain in the behind, if she did say so herself. “Did you tell the judges?”

“Of course I did,” Frank said. The more he spoke, the redder his face got. “They asked me if I had any proof. Proof? I wasn’t taking pictures with my cell phone when she stole it.”

Lilliana stifled a smile. Frank had one of those basic cell phones for the elderly, the ones with the large numbers and minimal functionality. She wondered if he realized his phone didn’t have a camera. “How do you think she managed to steal your cultivar?”
“Remember that meeting when we all brought in the hybrids we were growing and talked about how we’d gone about creating them?”

She nodded her head.

“Well, she must have taken a cutting off one of my plants then. No one but me has a red like that,” Frank said.

Lilliana thought that would be hard to prove, but she remembered being impressed by the deep crimson Frank had achieved. More than impressed. She’d been terribly jealous.

Lilliana glanced at the clock on the wall. Ten minutes remained before the show officially opened, but the hallway was already filling with people waiting to get in. “I’m sorry, Frank. Maybe the judges will take that into account when they come to your plant.”

“They’d better.” Frank glowered.

“I should put this cart away before they start letting people in,” Lilliana said. “Good luck to you, Frank.”

“And to you, Lilliana.” Frank headed across the room to his assigned table.

Lilliana continued pushing the balky cart. As she drew closer to the door, she saw the dreaded Bette Tesselink at a table next to the entrance. Bette’s mouth was much too large for her face. It looked even larger as she bared her teeth in what, for her, passed for a smile.

“Lilliana,” Bette said. “All ready for the competition?” Bette lifted a pot containing an African violet covered in lovely yellow blooms from a cardboard box and put it on her table.

“As ready as I’ll ever be. And you?” Her gaze went to Bette’s display and was immediately drawn to a lush hybrid with deep crimson blossoms. Frank was right. There was no doubt in her mind that “Bette’s” plant had been grown from a leaf of Frank’s spectacular hybrid.

Bette pulled her last plant from the box, an intense blue violet labeled Deep Blue Sea. The same deep blue as the one sitting proudly at the center of Lilliana’s own display.

Excerpt from: High Summons


It wasn’t ugly; in fact, it was almost pretty. Long knotted black hair pooled about its narrow shoulders. Pale skin pulled tight about its cheekbones. It swirled, unable to move on its own, completely at the mercy of the whims of the tiniest breeze. It wore black robes: tattered and worn as if decaying. The fingers of the hands of the creature were long and skeletal, as were the arms. Its lips were chapped; its eyelashes covered in ash. It smiled at me almost gently. Tears filled its eyes, and magma flowed down. The flesh crackled, burning away only to reform. It reached for me, and I stopped in my tracks. Its mouth opened, and a swirling vortex sat where an esophagus should have been. Stars and planets swirled in orbit around a black hole slowly swallowed them, one by one. There the beauty ended, and the fear began. Except the monster wasn’t like the usual ones who floated around without acknowledging me or anyone else. This monster was fighting someone.

The man was decent height though a bit shorter than most, maybe around five eight or nine. He wore skinny, dark-wash jeans with a white, button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He was using a flame thrower on the monster except the flame thrower was his hand. Meaning, the fire was coming out of his skin like it was nothing. I’ve manipulated fire, but to create fire so intense was incredible. His bright white hair was highlighted by the light as was the tanned tone of his skin. He couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, but he was the most awe-inspiring guy I’d ever seen. This was made even more so considering, when the fire stopped, there was no more monster. It melted away, and he just stretched like it was his warm up.

Spinning around, he swaggered over to a nearby motorcycle covered in glow-in-the-dark tribal designs. He hopped on, riding off in the opposite direction all within a couple of seconds.

Name The Day

Why couldn’t the stubborn man get it? She wasn’t giving him any favours at the expense of her other clients. In his case, money would not talk. Almost all her clients were well-heeled, but most understood the time restraints. After all, as she told each person, including Rafael Santini, who contracted a commission they wouldn’t want her to rush their painting and offer them a sub-standard product, would they?
“Give me the names of your clients and I will arrange to exchange places in your queue.” His unequivocal belief pulsed across the airwaves. Did the stupid man expect her to break the confidences of her clients?
“Tell me, Mr. Santini,” she asked in her most dulcet tone, “if I asked for a list of your clients would you hand them over, simply because I wanted something?”
“Don’t be stupid woman. It’s not the same thing at all. I’m a businessman.”
Would someone please save me from stupid arrogant men, Samantha offered in silent plea to the ether without expecting any response.
“I may not deal in electronics and communications systems, or equipment for the world of espionage, secret agents, and private investigators, Mr. Santini, but I do maintain a strict code of integrity and honour and customer confidentiality.”
“Why would you need confidentiality to daub a few colours on a piece of paper?”
Is this guy for real? Does he think insults and condemnation will get him what he wants?
“Let me get this straight. You want my agreement to let you queue jump the rest of my clients, who, incidentally have all signed contracts to be here on specified dates at specific times, and then you will be quite happy for me to go around publicising the fact you are not only having your portrait done, but that you bullied, harassed and threatened me into agreeing to your terms? I don’t think so. Not to mention that in many cases the commission is usually a gift for someone special and total secrecy is not only expected it is essential.”
The silence at the other end of the phone was almost deafening.

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