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)!!


Mail Order ManClick to Buy

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

Sarah had already taken half of the laundry down, folded it, and placed it in the basket she’d found nearby. Samuel shook his head in resignation and helped Sarah get the remainder of the laundry down. Sarah had no intention of leaving until she had done something for this family.

Working together, the two took care of the laundry in quick order. Samuel carried the basket back around to the front porch where he tried the front door. The door opened easily.

“It’s not uncommon for people to leave their doors unlocked around here,” Sarah told him when he raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“I understand, Sarah, but this door doesn’t even have a lock on it. They couldn’t lock it if they wanted to.”

Since her father passed away, Sarah always made sure to lock her doors and latch her windows when she went to bed at night. The mayor had given her strict instructions for her safety, and she had promised him she would do those things. She understood people not locking their doors when they trusted their neighbors, but she couldn’t fathom a door not even having a lock on it.

When they stepped into the house, Sarah was surprised by what she saw. Everything surrounding her was neat and tidy. The wallpaper was peeling, and the furniture was older than time itself, but everything was clean. There was no dirt or clutter or filth like one might have expected based on the outer condition of the farm.

Sarah nodded her approval.

“Mary takes good care of her home, doesn’t she?”

Samuel grunted in reply, still not convinced nobody was home.


Go Back

Nadine browsed through the photos intently, looking at each of them while listening to his parents’ stories. Then she suddenly stopped and placed her finger onto one of the pictures.
“Mum,” she whispered as she turned to Flynn. “She had the same picture next to her bed.” With only a few steps Flynn stood next to her. He picked his daughter up then placed her on his lap as he sat down at the table. Wrapping one arm around her, he followed her gaze to the photo and choked back a smile.
“That was your mum’s debutante ball. She looked amazing. I couldn’t take my eyes off her all night.”
Nadine turned to meet his eyes. “She was very pretty, wasn’t she?”
A rush of warmth spread through his body and he nodded in agreement. “The prettiest girl in town.” Her small fingers touched his cheeks, and just that tiny gesture stirred up emotions in him which until then, he had safely tucked away. The love he had inside for someone else. The love he’d shared and lost. The same love he kept hidden inside, in fear of the hurt it might cause if he ever shared it again.
“Do you miss her?” she asked.
He choked, trying to keep his voice straight. “Every hour of every day.”
Nadine sighed. “Me too.”
Flynn gently pulled her closer and placed a kiss on her forehead.
Jenny came over with the cups of coffee. “Darling, we all miss her and know the pain you’re feeling. It’s an ache right in here.” Jenny pointed her finger towards Nadine’s heart.
“But you can’t describe the pain. It’s different than other aches. Remembering might hurt at the moment, but in time, remembering will bring you joy.” Jenny sat down and took a sip of her coffee as she gazed at the child. Flynn knew it was a lot for Nadine to take in, and as he met his mother’s eyes, he mouthed a silent thanks. It was a heartfelt thanks,
as her words had spread like warmth and care throughout his body as well.
Flynn turned the page and instantly burst into laughter with his father. The photos were from their ill-fated fishing trip to the mountains when it rained non-stop over night and their tent crashed down on top of them.
At that moment, remembering was bringing joy to them all.

Excerpt from "Insurrection" by Kadee Carder
Available on iTunes, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Smashwords (see my site for codes to get it for free!)

If you’re reading this, I suppose something terrible has happened to me. Whether shrouded in darkness, buried in dust, or fading into the hushed background, my story may be ending here in this cinderblock cell. Images from these past weeks keep rolling through my mind: days upon days at sea, a squall line nearly finishing us, groans of hunger, brilliant sunrises, and flecks of stardust shimmering at night. How did we lose ourselves? How did we not see the ship before they overtook us? Time has gathered its discarded hours while I sat here paused in silence, a mere whisper of a heartbeat away from my last breath.

Ten whole days have passed since Micah—left. Since she was taken from the cell. I need to admit the facts. Micah had been here with me for about a day after the fogginess in my head wore off. I guess we made too much noise kicking around the cots, yelling for help, and threatening the empty forest looming in front of us. Five or six soldiers came and took her, their shadows filling the room. They pulled her, kicking, punching, and hollering, away from the cell and into the night. I still keep thinking I hear her voice floating on the breeze. I’d call out for her, but my throat is parched and papery. And my head aches, on and off, throbbing with a rhythmic pulse, my ears popping. I almost can’t hear the thunderous crunch of my heart breaking.

Also, and probably most important, dinner tasted super fun tonight. Nothing on earth compares with flavorless sausage in a thick skin you have to gnaw through. I guess all that chewing burns the calories, right? And those stale biscuits, those were incredible. The food was almost as good as dinner back at the home.

Remember those days back at the home? Micah, Denise, Patricia, and I sitting at our end of the dinner table, organized according to age, height, weight, eye color, and apparent mental incapacity. Look at me, yammering on and on. It’s typical, I guess. Just tell the story, fumblebucket.

I like all of these especially Heather Gray & Felicia Rogers. They both are good authors.

Stealing the Hieland Jewels by Sarah Norkus
a young adult mystery adventure

In the year of our Lord, 1746, a fortune in jewels are stolen from a Scottish Lord fleeing the Hielands ahead of the British Army’s wrath. Secreted aboard a ship bound for the British colonies in America, the gems are smuggled onto a wagon.

Destination: Williamsburg, Virginia

In 2009, in a rundown Palladian Villa near the Appomattox River, a two hundred-forty-year-old skeleton is found beneath the floorboards of the east wing. When sixteen year-old Emily Grace inadvertently touches a delicate finger bone of the skeleton, a vision explodes in her mind. In that moment, she sees a young girl dressed in colonial-style clothing struggling with a man twice her size. The man slaps her. She falls, hitting her head on a stack of bricks.

Horrified at the sudden vision, Emily struggles to her feet as vertigo hits with a vengeance. She staggers a few steps before collapsing and passes out.

In Stealing the Hieland Jewels, Emily and her boyfriend, Josh, are unwittingly whisked back in time to the eighteenth century. As the teens struggle to save the life of the young girl from Emily’s vision, their interference incurs the wrath of her would be assailant, Angus Blackburn, and inadvertently draws the teens into his obsessive search for a Scottish Lord’s stolen gems.

From Loaves & Wishes (part of Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley)

Something banged against the back door. Ruth jolted.
Heart pounding, she leaned back and eyed the window. The mostly sheer and entirely too-frilly curtain barely hid the shape of what was absolutely a man. Fixing a polite smile on her face, she crossed to the door and pushed aside the curtain. Her eyebrows lifted and she raised her voice, praying it would carry through the glass.
“Can I help you?”
The man frowned. “Who are you?”
“I own the B&B. Who are you?”
He shook his head. “Where’s Naomi? Go tell her Corban’s here, would you?”
How did he not know? Ruth flipped the dead bolt and tugged the door open a crack, leaning her weight against it so she could slam it shut if she needed. Not that it would be much defense when the top half of the door was glass. But it might give her a few seconds to grab her phone and run. “How do you know Naomi?”
“I’m her neighbor. I live over there.” Corban gestured vaguely toward the farm across the road. But she hadn’t seen a farmhouse and had assumed it was just a set of fields that belonged to someone who lived elsewhere. However farms worked. “Not that you need to know, but I’ve been in Florida settling my parents’ estate. Naomi knows all this. Could you either let me in or go get her? I brought her the citrus she asked me for, and some avocados that she didn’t ask for, but I remembered she loves them and these are huge.”
Ruth sighed and opened the door. “You’d better come in. Why don’t you go through to the parlor, Corban, was it? I made some lemonade.”
He bent, his muscles flexing under his shirt as he lifted a crate off the step with what appeared to be no effort whatsoever. “Where should I put the fruit?”
“Um. On the counter, I guess. Lemonade?”
He shrugged one shoulder. “Why not? You never said who you were.”
Ruth took two tall glasses down from the cabinet by the sink. She filled them with ice at the refrigerator, poured the lemonade, and then decorated the rims with a transparent slice of lemon. “Let’s go sit.”
Another frown etched lines in his forehead, but he strode out of the kitchen. Ruth followed. Even frowns couldn’t mar his good looks. He was older than her by several years, if she had to guess. But not more than forty. At thirty-three, that wasn’t too much. Oh, good grief, what was she thinking? He’d probably had an eye on Naomi and now Ruth was going to have to break his heart.
He accepted the lemonade, his eyebrows lifting as he took a sip. “That’s good. Thank you.”
She couldn’t miss the implication that he hadn’t expected it to be good. Rude man. Ruth cleared her throat as she sat. Maybe it was better to blurt it out and be done. “Naomi passed away three weeks ago.”
Corban stared at her, his mouth open in a tiny O. Slowly, his lips came together and the furrows in his forehead deepened. He set the glass down with a thunk on the antique table by his elbow, completely missing the lace doohickey that would protect the wood. “I’m sorry. What?”
Ruth’s fingers itched to move the glass but she willed herself to stay still, perched on the edge of the settee. “She had cancer. And apparently never told anyone. I’ve been her best friend since kindergarten, we talk every week, and she only told me she was sick when it was clear that treatment wasn’t a viable option. Her obituary was in the local paper.”
“I told the guys watching the farm to read and recycle them. Nothing ever happens around here that’s worth saving a newspaper. I’m not even sure why I still subscribe, except that Ernie’s been a family friend for so long. She’d been acting odd. I knew I should have pushed.”
“You two were close?” Ruth watched his face. He looked shocked, certainly, but not as destroyed as a man in love should be.
“Not like you mean.” He offered a slight smile. “Though there were plenty of old ladies at church who were hopeful. No, Naomi was like a little sister to me. When she bought this place so my parents could move south, it seemed natural to keep an eye on her at first. And then...” He shrugged. “Then we were friends.”
“Naomi could make anyone into a friend.” Ruth’s heart cracked open a little wider. How was she supposed to go through life without her? “I’m sorry you had to find out from me.”
Corban nodded and stood. “I’ll be on my way. I... my number’s in her book. If you ever need anything, just give a shout.”
“Thanks.” He probably hadn’t heard her, given that he’d been striding into the hall before she’d managed to get the word out. The kitchen door slammed.
Ruth sagged against the back of the stuffy little couch and took several long swallows of her lemonade. She was going to make a success of her friend’s business. She had to. For Naomi, and for herself. And handsome, abrupt neighbors weren’t going to get in her way.

Taken from Reality Break (Phoenix Element #3).
A young adult urban/fantasy novella.
On Amazon:

“All at once!” I yell out.

Kasiff slumps over as we take point. Ashima is hit with three types of fire magic and one ice. Raine pauses to touch Kasiff's shoulder. He then rejoins, this time with a bright beam of light.

With all of our magic slamming into Ashima at once, none of us notice her teleport. I am hit from behind. I stumble forward. Ashima grabs Taryn and Josh by their necks, pulls them together, causing Taryn's and Josh's heads to collide.

With both dazed momentarily, Ashima hits Taryn in her gut and punches Josh in his cheek.

Raine retaliates with a sucker punch right into Ashima's jaw as both Josh and Taryn try to refocus. Raine's fists are now lit with energy. He uses his quick movements to continue to hit Ashima. His final hit connects hard, causing Ashima to stumble backward.

I rush over, activate my fire sword and bring it up underhanded, finding Ashima's chin. I then teleport behind her, launching a series of fire balls into her back.

Kasiff stands up straight and turns around, hurling bolts of energy at Ashima as well.

With Ashima between us both, Kasiff and I release our auras.
I give everything that I can, all the while forgetting lessons with my uncle about auras. I try to bypass my throbbing headache, all for the sake of ending this fight once and for all.

Ashima appears to be in terrible shape yet she finds the strength within. Her arms go straight out before quickly going to her sides. As she does this motion a wave of death enters the barrier. Cracks begin to show on the bubble as Miles struggles to keep the spell active. Two fine slits can be seen to my left and right.

“Is she getting stronger as we attack her? Because I think she is.” Raine limps over to me. "I know how power absorption works and this is definitely a form of it."

“It appears the more we hurt her, the stronger she gets.” I pause to get more air into my lungs. “The closer we get in defeating her, the harder it will be on us.”

“Well that sounds fantastic.”

“She's creating portals,” Kasiff adds. “I don't like where this is going.”

I'm really looking forward to One of Forty and Mail Order Man! But they all sound great!!!

All of the excerpts sound good! I own Mail Order Man, Buying Love, and One of Forty, and look forward to reading them. Krysten Lindsay Hager and J. Carol Nemeth are new authors to me, but I am now following them and look forward to reading their books.

Yellow Rock
Western Romance novella

“I guess Clem was right. He’d told me you had no use for women. I guess you must still be in mourning for your wife. I’m so sorry for your loss,” she said, reaching out to put her hand on his. His skin, thick and browned by the sun, quivered under her fingers. When he spoke, it was heavy with emotion, but she couldn’t decide which kind.
“To be honest, I feel guilty because I haven’t mourned for long. I’ve often wondered if my love for Birdie was based more on gratitude than real love. She saved my life. Something so powerful does something to a person’s way of thinking.”
“I suppose it does. That’s too bad,” Willow whispered, wondering if her attraction and trust toward Dutch was for those same reasons. He’d saved her life, and she’d done nothing but cling to him ever since. Maybe it wasn’t love, maybe it was only gratitude. The thought weighed itself in her mind until it fell like a rock to her gut. She realized she’d been truly happy thinking she might be falling in love. She withdrew her hand realizing she couldn’t have been falling in love with a man she didn’t know.

“This man tried to infiltrate our society. He was caught attempting to upload a virus into the latest batch of MIHs. Tried and failed.” Fishgold then withdraws a scalpel from his pocket letting it glint in the July sun. He snaps rubber gloves around his hands and holds the knife with expert precision.

“Let this be a warning to any of those who dare to join the rebellion. You will be caught. Treason such as this will not go unpunished.”

He turns toward the man as the soldiers step forward and grabs the rebel by the arms, forcing him to stand.

“Any last words?” Fishgold asks as a soldier holds the microphone in front of the man.

“Long live the rebelli—”

His cry is replaced with a shriek of pain that echoes through the silent multitude as Fishgold presses the scalpel against the man’s neck. In a few swipes, he’s removed the thin layer of skin where the tattoo was. The man tries to pull his head away from the knife, but his chains and the soldiers restrain him. Fishgold makes one more cut fully removing the tattooed section of the man’s neck.

From my seat, I see the blood run down the back of his neck, soaking into his shirt. Taryn clenches her eyes shut. I wish I could, but I can’t stop staring. This can only mean one thing. The man is a Natural Born. His tattoo is a fake, and he’ll most likely die for his cause.