Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

December 14, 2016

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 DateClick to Buy


Owen rounded the corner and leaned against the wall. He took a sip and glanced back toward the coffee kiosk. The edge came into view, enough for him to catch movement, but not enough for him to get a good look at Kimi.

Just as well. He never knew what to say to her. The petite pixie with brown hair and eyes had tried to chat with him nearly every time he’d purchased coffee from her, but conversation wasn’t easy for him. The fact that she hadn’t given up on him yet was no small miracle. She would eventually. Common sense said so. His stomach clenched at the thought. Despite the way he always found himself at a loss for words when around her, he regularly bypassed three other kiosks to get to hers whenever he spent his day on-site at the hospital.

Owen shook his head and pushed off from the wall. With any luck, he’d make it back to his office without tripping or spilling coffee on his newly cleaned lab coat. Some doctors managed to wear the same coat for an entire week. Not him. His dry cleaner, a petite woman with an accent placing ancestry somewhere south of Russia and north of Australia, beamed with glee every time she caught sight of him at her counter. He couldn’t blame her. After all, he was single-handedly putting her grandchildren through college.

Go Back

Broken Vessels by Lucie Ulrich

Emma entered the church and took a seat on the last row. What had she been thinking, inviting Luke to dinner? She didn’t need him asking any unwanted questions. Too many years had passed. Hopefully he would understand when she uninvited him.

Within minutes, she caught sight of him talking to a church member. She fought off the first wave of panic by forcing herself to breathe slowly. When he waved and started down the aisle toward her, she reached into her purse for her emergency stash of Xanax. Her hands shook and her chest tightened. She stared at the prescription bottle and tossed it back into her bag. She hadn’t taken a pill in three weeks, and didn’t want to start now.

Luke sat next to her and grinned. “What are you doing way back here on the last row?”

Play it cool, she told herself. “This is where I always sit. I like it here.”

“Really? I prefer to sit further up front. Fewer distractions.”

Emma glanced toward the front of the church. “The first few rows are filling up, so you might want to grab a seat before they’re all taken.” She opened her bulletin and began reading silently.

Luke peered at her closely. “I just stopped by to say hello, Emma. Is that okay with you?”

She shrugged. “It’s a free country.”

He chuckled. “Same old Emma, still as feisty as ever.”

Hurt and anger squeezed her chest and throat. “That’s where you’re wrong. I’m not the same old Emma at all. The Emma you knew died when she was seventeen. I’m not sure you’d even like the new Emma.” She returned to her bulletin, not that it did her any good. Her eyes were misting so badly she couldn’t make out a single word. She waited for Luke to say something, but he didn’t. His eyes were on her, though; she could feel them piercing through her. When she finally found the courage to look at him again, she was surprised to see a smile on his face.

“Are we still on for dinner next Saturday?” he asked.

How could he be so nice when she’d been so rude? The pain in her chest eased, and she found it impossible not to smile back. “You may live to regret it.”

“Twelve years is a long time. I’m willing to take my chances.”


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.

I really like writing today of Lucie Ulrich. The characters Emma and Luke are great.

The Widow's Captive by Lucette Nel

A loud crack split the air. The stallion reared. Jonah fell back, dropping the lantern and missing a hoof by mere inches. Before he could grab the reins, the animal took off.
Jonah slapped the snow and pushed to his feet. The mount’s shape disappeared as darkness swallowed it. Lifting the lantern, he didn’t need to see it to know it was broken and no longer useful. He rounded his shoulders and, dipping his chin to his chest, resumed his journey toward the cabin marching like a wounded soldier.
Please let Don be sober.
The lean-to, warm from the fire in the cabin, welcomed him. Two paints lifted their heads at his entrance, ears twitching. A mule continued to eat its dinner at leisure. Impressive and well-looked after animals. No wonder he saw a light. Someone had filled up the hay and poured fresh water for the animals. Had Don bought horses? Nah. He thought them ornery. Maybe he was sheltering travelers.
Jonah stroked one paint’s side. How long would he have to stay cooped up with crazy Don?
Wrapping his arms around his chest against the vengeful wind, he hurried to the door and pounded on it. “It’s me, Jonah Hale.”
The wooden slab creaked open on leather hinges. No sooner had he set foot inside, when his boot caught and he went tumbling forward. His hands and knees connected with the cold floor. Before he could gather his wits, excruciating pain exploded in the back of his head and shot down his neck. All energy left his body. Stars flecked his vision and he crumpled to the floor.

These all sound amazing! I found Widow's Captive the! :D

JOSS THE SEVEN by J. Philip Horne
ebook: (in Kindle Unlimited)

“You just ran?” Thomas asked.

“Like a scared rabbit.” I put my foot back on the ground and nudged the merry-go-round into a slow orbit. “CEO dude was yelling and security was closing in.”

Thomas sat on the opposite side of the merry-go-round facing me. It was Friday, a week and a half after my first mission. Early dusk lit the sky with pink, yellow, and red, and a cool breeze broke up the summer heat.

“But you were invisible, right?”

“Sure, but it’s not like that.” I frowned, struggling for the words. “Invisible isn’t part of real life, you know? If someone looks at you, they see you, right?”

Thomas shrugged. “Okay. But not you. Not when you’re blending.”

“Yeah, but it’s like my body, or my mind, or whatever, doesn’t feel that yet. So when the security guard shone his light on me, I felt like I was caught. I was terrified.”

“Huh,” Thomas said. “I think I follow. So then what?”

“Like I said, I ran. Didn’t stop running until I was back in Jordan’s car.”

“That’s pretty intense,” Thomas said.

“It was.” I stuck a leg out and gave the merry-go-round another push. “And I felt sort of dirty. I mean, sure, a couple of our pranks haven’t been totally in line with the rules, but none of it was go-to-jail illegal.”

Thomas nodded slowly. It was like a tight cord around my chest loosened. It helped having a friend know what was going on. “But you’re working for the good guys, right?”

“Sure, but...” I wasn’t sure what to say. “Should the good guys be using me to steal stuff?”

A Shining Star

eBook: (Kindle Unlimited)

©Copyright Protected All Rights Reserved Rose Castro

Cali looked through the window before continuing.

“Placing parents in real scenarios where the child could potentially act out or need further instruction forces them to multitask, prioritize, and most importantly, learn coping mechanisms for themselves and their children. The counselors on hand observe and intervene only when necessary.”

Reginal observed with great interest.

“Does it all come easy to the parents? I mean, while they are participating, because of the safety net of the program.” Grant inquired.

“The program has strict guidelines and is not meant to be easy, since life never really is, especially for recovering individuals. But the program provides a nurturing environment filled with support. The ultimate goal is to create the best possible outcome for the children and their families.” She said.

The families present today were engaged in what most would consider typical activities, but to them, they were all new. Grant took a particular interest in one family, a father with his daughter and son.

The father prepared a snack behind the island, and the children sat quietly on bar stools. Cali knew this was only the second time the man had been here with his kids. He’d served four years on drug charges and was a recovering addict himself. When he went to prison, the little girl had been two, and the boy hadn’t even been a year old. In the past five months, the father had obtained employment and had gotten an apartment, and now he was saving for a car.

During his prison sentence, his children had lived through a nightmare. The mother, also a drug addict, had permanently lost any possibility of returned custody.

Now five and seven, these children had witnessed and experienced more than many adults could fathom.

Cali, Reginal, and Grant observed through the one-way mirror.

“How many families participate in this program, and what is the success rate in reuniting them?” Grant asked.

TRY ME, I AM JESUS: A Muslim's Journey with Christ
by Syed Ibn Syed

It was nearly nine o'clock on the night of December 24, 1990. I was seventeen years old, sitting alone in a park, contemplating the recent turn of events. My mind was racing back and forth between incidents that could potentially have a very debilitating effect on my entire family. Wave after wave of emotions crashed through my soul. I was feeling angry, upset, sad, and lost. Yes, that was the word, lost. I had no one to turn to for help. The future seemed so bleak, and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to be slipping away into oblivion. Everything was so confusing; a host of questions bombarded my mind. Why were these things happening the way they were? Ours was a very good, God-fearing family. Then why these problems? Was Allah not pleased with me? Had I failed in any of my duties toward Allah? I had tried to keep my eyes and thoughts focused on the Almighty and had striven to fulfill the requirements of Islam to the best of my knowledge. Then why had this storm brewed in my family? I cried out toward Allah, the Almighty, Most Beneficent, and Merciful, yet the heavens seemed strangely distant. As I sat deep in thought, one question superseded all others. What use is this life after all that has happened?

Innocent Tears by Iris Blobel

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.

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.