Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

header photo

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 DateClick to Buy


“She stood on the pew.”

Owen’s mom tsked. “I’ve stood on a dining room chair before when I’ve needed help to reach something. How is that any different?”

“That’s in your house. Would you go over to someone else’s house, pull out one of their dining room chairs, and climb up on it?”

His mom chuckled. “I suppose you have a point there. What if we were at your grandmother’s house, though? Or someplace where I felt comfortable and familiar enough to make myself at home?”

Owen grunted. “People aren’t supposed to make themselves at home in church, though.”

“Are you sure about that?”

The ground shifted under his feet, and Owen decided to back out of the conversation. He wasn’t ready to jump into that quicksand yet. “That’s not important right now. I need to understand why she got upset when I pointed out that she’d been standing on the pew. It’s not like I said something she didn’t already know.”

Mom exhaled with a half-laugh-half-sigh. “You’re not going to dig in your heels and demand that pew-standing be punishable by flogging, are you?”

Owen ran a hand through his hair. “No. Not giving your son the answer he needs, though... Well, no promises there.”

“Ha. Nice one.” Owen’s mom was one of the few people who always knew when he was joking. People generally took him literally. He couldn’t blame them, either, since he often did the exact same thing to other people.


“Very well. You were stating a fact, but your friend Kimi might not know you well enough to realize that. Most people, when they say something of that nature, mean it as condemnation.”

“Huh.” Owen leaned back in his chair. “Are you sure this isn’t just a female thing?”

“I’m pretty sure it applies across the board — men and women.”

“So... stating fact is a form of judgment?”

“In social settings like this, yeah, most of the time. For example, if you tell someone their shirt is blue, it’s not a big deal. If, however, you tell them their shirt is too small, then you’re judging them for being overweight or eating too much or not being able to properly dress.”

Owen shook his head. “So when I commented on her pew-standing, what was I saying? I wasn’t calling her fat, was I?”

Mom’s chuckle gave him hope. “No, not fat. Maybe a sinner or a heathen or something like that, but not fat.”

One sentence from his mother, and his hope was dashed. Which was worse? Calling Kimi a heathen or calling her fat?

Go Back

I have read An Informal Date and loved it! I have Buying Love and intend to read it soon. I have 5 of Cecelia's books, 3 of JC Morrows' books, and 2 of Christa Nardi's books. I hope to read all of these this year. I'm not really familiar with any of the others, but these excerpts sound good.

Heather, this is a great idea! In addition to reading 'Wordy Wednesday' Writings I will spread the word!

excerpt of Sweet Surrender by Ann Marshall (Book One of The Surrendered Life Series)

Buy on at:

“Well then,” Trevor said, “since we're both mobile now, would you like the grand tour?” “I would love it!” Cassie responded, her eyes growing large once again. “Why don't we start over there,” Trevor said, pointing to his left even as he began walking towards a tremendous looking flower garden.
“This is the main flower garden,” Trevor explained when they reached its perimeter. “It's in the shape of a “C” for Cunningham – I designed it that way to put my own mark on this property.” Cassie looked around and noticed that they were standing at the opening of the “C” which was facing one side of Trevor's home. Noticing the upstairs windows, Cassie thought there was probably a great view from up there so the whole shape of the flower garden could be seen even better than at ground level.
As Trevor led the way through the flower garden, Cassie asked him if any of the flowers he'd planted held any special meaning for him. “Well,” Trevor said, thinking back, forcing himself to push past the lump that was beginning to form in the back of his throat, “when my wife and I first met, she was working at a wedding and flower shop, and I had come in to rent a tux. Amanda was so bright and had such a sunny disposition. Later on, when I planted the yellow tulips over there, I was thinking of her.”
“Oh, how nice,” Cassie said. “And did you plant the baby's breath near it to remind your wife of wedding bouquets?” “Yeah, I suppose I did,” Trevor admitted. “What about these pink peonies? Do they have a story behind them?” “Not really – just that pink was Amanda's favorite color,” Trevor said quietly.
After that, Cassie could see that she'd brought back some difficult memories for Trevor, so she fell silent as she continued to walk around the flower garden, realizing that Trevor had poured his heart and soul into its formation. Every detail of the garden did, in fact, hold a special meaning.
Just like every detail of our lives, Cassie thought to herself. Everything is significant in its own way. As she saw a butterfly land on a red cosmic cosmos, a bee fly towards some white day lilies, and, further away, a hummingbird make its stop over the purple delphiniums, it was further confirmed in Cassie's heart – everything did indeed have a purpose.

"I am more convinced than ever that..."
page 117

Excerpt from "Insurrection"

He had to be a couple years older than me. The green t-shirt and tan skin didn’t hide the hours he spent in the weight room. I couldn’t look away; he didn’t pull back. He was peanut butter and I was the jelly. Maybe the other way around. Maybe I’d never been so close to someone whose presence made me aware of how often and why my heart beat.

After several seconds, he dropped his gaze and tugged at the laces. “These boots aren’t great for physical activity. Don’t know-r why they make us wear them out here. We see a loht of sprains.”

Only then did words find their way into my dry mouth.

“I’m okay,” I said. “I’m a klutz sometimes.” I tried to laugh but sounded more like a honking goose. Stop talking.

By that time he had my boot off, pressing the sides of my ankle with a gentle touch. “Does this hurt?” he asked, squeezing around the bone. His warm hands brushed over the skin, tingles shivering up my spine and into the roots of my sweaty hair. I wanted to be scrubbed shiny and clean, a dainty princess in some kind of lacy dress-thing, all the while wishing he’d slide his arms around me and carry me off into the sunset.

Then I remembered I needed to speak a language indicating the presence of gray matter behind my eyes.

“Um. No,” I replied.

The muscles in my ankle writhed, pounding, but nothing unbearable. I never wanted him to move his hand away, so maybe I wished it broken into a thousand tiny pieces. He could be the bandage.

At the time, I analyzed the interaction as overwhelming because I hadn’t had much human contact aside from Lieutenant McEnforcer. I mean, this soldier was gorgeous, but I’m not a giddy strumpet-type of person. His warmth, his breezy manner, striking and charismatic, churned my insides to mush. His knee against mine. Never move.

His eyes rose to my face and those dimples widened. Still holding my foot, he replied, “Good. Looks like we won’t need to-r amputate.”

I tried to mirror his enthusiasm, managing a crooked wince, trying not to melt into the ground. I’m sure my pale cheeks were a harsh red because of the sweltering exercise, and I knew I looked about as good as my foot smelled. Let me shower and then we can run away.

Read more at or purchase for only $4.99 on iTunes, Kindle and Nook.

My latest novel, entitled THE INHERITANCE, published this month, is a romantic mystery with cozy elements. It's available in print and ALL ebook formats:

Here's a brief excerpt:

Late that afternoon as Jen left the house and started to drive away, a strange sound whizzed across the open front car windows from the driver’s side through the passenger side. She was startled by the sound. Her heart began to pound. Jen glanced over at the thicket of overgrown shrubs and trees to the side of the grounds that led back into woodlands. Had the sound been a bullet? If so, it had nearly hit her. Her hands shook on the driver’s wheel as she took off at high speed.
One block away she heard the police siren and saw the flashing lights. She groaned. Not again! He signaled with his hand, pointing his index finger for her to pull over. It was all she could do not to burst into tears.
Grant Coleman approached the car like a gunfighter in a spaghetti western. “I thought you learned something the first time,” he said. “Guess I was wrong. License and registration.” He held out his hand with a bored, impatient gesture.
“I have a very good reason for speeding.”
The smile was more of a smirk. The man was infuriating! “I’ve heard them all, but you can try.”
“As I left my grandmother’s house, a bullet passed through my car. I had the windows rolled down. So they weren’t broken, but it just missed hitting me.”
He stared at her. “Maybe it was a kid with a Beebe gun. Are you certain it was a bullet breezing by you? How familiar are you with weapons?”
“Not familiar at all, but I know what I heard.” Jen swallowed hard. “I think someone might have intended to shoot me.”
He let out a loud laugh. “In Bloomingvale? I doubt that very much.”
“So you’re not taking this seriously?” She folded her arms over her chest.
“Admit it. You’re just looking for an excuse to keep me from writing you another ticket.” His intense gray eyes bore into her like the steel blade of a dagger.
Jen raised her chin and stiffened her spine. “You are so wrong. Why don’t you check the area near the house, just to see if you can find anything.”
“Waste of time.” He leaned toward her and she felt his breath on her cheek which caused her to shiver. “Tell you what I will do though. I won’t write you a ticket this time because that’s the most creative excuse I’ve ever heard.”
“So glad I managed to amuse you,” she said.
Jen watched him drive off. He was probably still laughing, the sexy jerk. Several people had come out of their houses and were staring at her. Jen managed to restart her car and drove off before others gathered. She certainly didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself. Letting out a shaky breath, Jen wasn’t certain now if she’d really heard what she thought she had. A professional law enforcement officer didn’t think anything of it. She supposed it might have been nothing at all. Maybe it was a child with a Beebe gun as he suggested. But try as hard as she might, Jen couldn’t convince herself.

This novel is a “clean read” suitable for young and old readers alike.

Here's a little excerpt from my award-winning YA sweet romance Passing Notes about a ghost who teaches a boy to write love letters. I hope you enjoy it.

When I got in my room, I flipped on my computer and went to Bethany’s favorite social network site. I stared at her updated picture and read her recent posts. Nothing at all about me—good, bad, or indifferent. I wasn’t her awesome new boyfriend or a hated ex. It was like I simply didn’t exist. Like the night at the drive-through never happened at all.

I typed on her wall: Miss you.

You too, came a quick reply.

All right! She was online.

Call me?

Can’t. Too much homework.

1st day back?

I didn’t have any homework, so I kind of had trouble believing that. Maybe the Advance Placement classes dug in faster.

C u 2morrow?


Oh no. Sure is not the same as yes. Not the same by a longshot. Sure is very, very unsure. It’s a waffle. It’s the weak, wimpy kid brother to “I guess so”. It is the kind of affirmation that makes you feel like your request is an obligation. What could I do?

I typed quickly, my heart pounding in my chest and my fries from earlier scorching the back of my throat.

I really did think you looked beautiful today. You always do. I’m sorry if I texted something that upset you. From my heart, sincerely, you are gorgeous in every way from your looks to your brain and your heart. In fact, it’s the brilliance and sweetness that are what make you so stunning. I’ve never met anyone like you, and I hope you’ll give me a chance to show you how much I adore you.

The words poured out of me. I’d never written or said anything like that before.

For an hour I sat and stared at my computer screen, waiting for some kind of reply. Midnight came and went, and nothing happened except that the wall filled up with questions and comments from her friends about my post. All of them tore it to shreds like I was some weird stalker trying to inflict mental anguish on my girlfriend. A handful asked who I even was.
I hoped the reason she wasn’t responding was because she actually was doing homework or had gone to bed. Only, I’d posted this right on her wall where all 382 of her friends were clearly reading it too. Surely one of them had called her to ask, “Did you see what that Mark guy wrote?”

Why didn’t she respond?

I finally shut down my computer and slipped into bed, wondering as I began to doze off if I’d get another note from the ghost writer in the morning telling me what I’d done wrong this time.

Ghost writer. Yeah. That made perfect sense. Instead of throwing books around, slamming classroom doors, and screeching through hallways, this ghost chose to haunt the high school by teaching random kids how to write better love letters.

Even though there was nothing remotely scary or believable about that concept, I wound up not sleeping a whole lot that night.

Here is an excerpt from the first of a new Teen/YA mystery series The Mysterious Package - available from AMAZON (ebook or paperback)

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

The scenery flew by as Hannah and Tamar rode the first leg on Amtrak from Baltimore, Maryland to Rutland, Vermont. It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the girls were on the way to their grandparents’ house to help prepare for Thanksgiving Day. The rest of the family would arrive Wednesday or Thursday.

It hadn’t been easy to get the high school to excuse the students from two days’ classes the following week. But both were honor students and they had promised to keep up with their school work. With over eight hours of train ride, Wi-Fi, and available plug-ins, the girls would have plenty of time to get their pesky homework out of the way.

Even though Tamar and Hannah had travelled this route many times, the scenery distracted them. They enjoyed the view of the cities, small towns, and landscape. As the train edged north, vestiges of the last snowstorms were evident. Dirtied piles of snow, not big enough to even call drifts, dotted the landscape.

“Leave me alone!” A woman’s high-pitched plea shattered the constant drone of conversation and the hum of the train as it moved along the tracks.

Both girls turned toward the source of the scream. A girl, about their age, was pushing a young man away. She had medium brown, straight hair to her waist that swung from side to side as she tried to pull away from the man.

Conversation stopped as passengers watched the two, but nobody moved. Hannah and Tamar exchanged glances and as one they walked up to the pair.

“Hi! Do you know where the restrooms are?” Tamar asked the man.

As she spoke, she and Hannah positioned themselves on either side of the girl. While her polite words and sweet tone were innocent enough, the sisters stood firm and stared him down.

Up close, the young man appeared to be a few years older than the girl. He had dark hair, piercing blue eyes and the shadow of a beard. His wrinkled shirt, dirty jeans, and more than hint of body odor contrasted sharply with the girl’s coral V-neck cashmere sweater and black designer pants. She clutched her Kate Spade bag and tears trickled down her cheeks.

He glared at Tamar without speaking. When Tamar held his gaze, he released the girl’s arm and slithered away.

“I’m Hannah, and this is my sister Tamar. Are you okay?”

“I… I think so. I’m Gwen Singleton. Thank you. Can you believe that jerk followed me from the Café Car.” She considered the two girls in their casual jeans and sweaters. “I think I’ll go back to my seat now. Business class.” With a forced smile, Gwen sashayed down the aisle and into the next car.

“I wonder what that was all about.”

“Life After e.l.e. is a post apocalyptic dystopian that will keep you turning the pages. J.C. Morrows is a must-read author!” ~ Mandy Fender, Award winning author of the Defier series


The muscles in my legs were screaming from over-use, burning with exhaustion. . . but I knew I couldn't stop. . . I could not rest. To stop or even to slow down would mean death.

If I didn't get to the gates in time, if I didn't make it, I would be locked out.
They would close them, lock them and it would be too late. They didn't wait for anyone.

I knew this better than most.

I had watched, screaming, while my father had been locked out. I had screamed and cried and begged until someone had to drag me away to the infirmary.

I had fought them all the way.

I had struggled and scratched and even bit at those who were pulling me away, trying desperately to get free, to see him again, to call out to him over the walls, to tell him I loved him one last time, because I knew I would never see him again.

No one survived on the outside—not overnight.

It was the first rule we all learned. Some learned it the hard way. You were either in the compound by sunset or you were dead.

Now I was on the outside—and I was out of time.

So I ran.

I pushed my over-taxed muscles even harder. I could already hear the sound of the heavy wheels that moved the doors into place.

And I knew—I knew I was not going to make it. . .

Sugar and Spice:
Amazon Universal Buy Link:
The woman’s piercing eyes looked as if she wanted to shoot daggers right into his soul. “Reese!” She marched over to him, her beautiful mouth mashed down in apparent anger.
“I-I’m n-not—-”
She rushed right into him, bumping his arm, and the cake he’d been holding dropped from his hand. The dish crashed to the floor, breaking into several pieces. She grabbed his arm. “What are you doing here?”
“B-but I-I--” Lord, please help me. You know my stutter gets worse when I’m upset. Please open my mouth so that I can speak to this woman – a woman whom my identical twin brother has probably treated wrong.
“Are you here to torment me?” The woman’s voice resonated in the room. The toddler in the high chair howled, staring at the angry woman with wide, frightened eyes.
He needed to get a handle on this as soon as possible. He’d just opened his bakery and he didn’t want to risk losing customers so soon. He focused on the woman, pushed his glasses up on his nose. When he fiddled with his glasses, the woman’s dark eyes snapped, as if she realized her mistake. She licked her full lips, leaned closer to him, peered into his eyes. “You’re not Reese.”
“D-do you m-mind going into my office in the b-back?” Blue Spring was a small town, and he could imagine a lot of the residents talking about this incident while they ate dinner that night. He gestured toward the nosy crowd. “D-don’t want to d-disturb the c-customers.”
The pretty woman took a few steps back, glanced at the crowd, as if suddenly realizing she’d caused a scene. Her chocolate brown eyes widened as she covered her quivering lips with her hand. She looked mortified, and he didn’t want to risk her leaving before he had a chance to explain. “D-don’t leave.”
He needed to be sure she was okay. He touched her elbow, breathed with relief when she didn’t shove his hand away. He led her behind his counter and into the back hallway. He then coaxed her into his office, offered her a chair. Continuing to silently pray about his voice, he fetched a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator and handed it to her.
Did she need a few minutes to calm down? Well, he’d go and check on the customers and give her some time alone. He returned to the sitting area. A few customers had already taken their exit. The remaining patrons gave him curious looks. He grinned at them before cleaning up the cake and broken dish from the floor. “S-sorry about that. W-woman troubles.”
A few of them chuckled. He washed his hands and sliced another piece of cake and served it to a customer at one the tables. After he’d rung up a few orders, he finally made his way back to his office.
The woman clutched the bottle of water in her small hands. Her leg jiggled. The bottle was half empty. Good. Maybe the cold water helped her to feel better. He took a seat behind the desk.
“Who are you?” Her beautiful lips barely moved as she voiced the question.
“I’m Mason, Reese’s i-i-identical t-twin b-b-brother.”