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)!!


Just Dessert - Click to Buy

Gramps, in better control, picked up the conversation while Grady took his last bite of food. "That Mary's a smart one. When her pa started selling off everything, she took and hid some of the livestock." At Grady's raised eyebrows, he continued. "She took a cow and some laying hens out into the woods. It's still on their property, but a far back corner bordering ours. The kids and her built a lean-to for the cow and a pen for the hens. There was a ruckus out in the woods one day, not too long after Emeline passed, and I went to go investigate. Mary and the kids were trying to cart the cow and hens and having a lot of trouble. Imagine little Gigi, who was five then I think, hauling two hens in her arms." Gramps chuckled at the recollection. "I didn't interfere, and they never saw me."

The lines around his eyes looking deeper, he continued, "Couple days later, I found some of their hens on our property, so I gathered them up and delivered them to the pen they'd constructed. Added a few of our own good egg layers, too. Had to do something to help. Wanted to know what they were up to, so I sat up on watch one night. Turns out they're selling the eggs and milk. They sneak into town early before the sun's up and deliver eggs and milk to the boarding house. I don't think anybody knows about it. If they do, they're keepin' the kids' secret. Whatever money those young'uns make from that is pretty much all they have to buy food and clothes and get them through the winters."

"The older we get, the more we've learned about people," Gram spoke up. "That family, they're in a bad way. Spooner knows, the reverend knows, most everyone in town now knows – but no one has a legal right to do anything. He's their pa. Gramps and I have gotten sneaky over these last few years. We visit the pen where they keep the animals. We've left baskets of food, stuff like that. The reverend collects clothes from folks who want to help the poor, and he passes some of those clothes on to me now and then. I do any mending or sizing that needs doing, and I leave those out at the pen too."

Gram's hands fluttered about in the air as though to emphasize her point as she continued, "It's sad this is what it's come to, but we have to be stealthy if we want to be a real help to them. Somebody in the family knows it's us, but we've never said anything, and neither have they."


Go Back

Courage to Change (Grant Us Grace Book 2)

“Come open the door. It’s cold out here and I’m freezing my you-know-what off.”

“Brandi.” Phil sighed into the phone and sank onto the foot of his bed. “What are you doing here?”

“I figured it had been a while since we partied, so I brought a six pack over to share with my husband.”


Her voice lost the playful tone and took on a hard, bitter edge. “It’s not my fault you decided to get sober. Find Jesus. All that crap. What a drag.”
The pounding on his front door echoed up the two flights of stairs.
“I came by to give you another chance to see what you’re missing. Let me in.”

“I’m sorry, but no.” Phil rubbed his temples as a migraine began to build. “Go home…please.” He should just hang up. Of course, the last time he’d done that she’d made such a scene the neighbors had called the police. At least after that his mother had finally understood why he hadn’t wanted Brandi to have his new address. If he didn’t love this historic little town on the river that was still an easy commute to his job in downtown D.C., he might consider moving again and just not tell anyone. He realized Brandi had been wailing into the phone and he’d missed it. “Back up. What?”

“I said I’ve got nowhere else to go, Phil. Let me in.”

The rational side of his mind argued against the tug of guilt. Steeling himself against the inevitable tirade, he took a deep breath. “You don’t have a place here, either. Now, you need to leave before the neighbors get concerned.”

He flinched and held the phone away from his head at the string of threats and epithets she unleashed. When she was finally quiet he put the phone back to his ear. “I’m hanging up now. Good night, Brandi.” He clicked the phone off as she started in again. The phone rang almost immediately. Phil cradled his head in his hands and ignored it. When his answering machine picked up she started ranting right where she’d left off. He groaned and went to the bathroom for some aspirin.

He’d never expected things to turn out this way. He’d been filled with such joy when he understood and accepted what Christ offered; he’d assumed Brandi would share in his excitement. Boy, had that been a miscalculation.
Phil shook two aspirin into his hand. He wouldn’t trade his relationship with God for anything. If only he’d been more willing to hear God calling him before he made the mistake of marrying Brandi in the first place. Of course, he wasn’t listening to anything about God at that point. What was it everyone always said about hindsight? The phone was ringing again and more vicious banging echoed up from the front door. He crawled into bed fully clothed and buried his head under a pillow.

Title: A Chaotic Courtship


“I thought you’d never get here!” Sarah said, ignoring my question completely as she spun to face me. I frowned at her as I put my outside garments away. She seemed highly agitated, a state which I had seldom seen her in. “Diana, I must speak with you!”
“About what?” I asked calmly.
Sarah took up pacing, and for a moment I believed she wasn’t going to continue with whatever she wanted to say. “You must listen to me for once in your life!” she finally said, as
though I had been disagreeable.
Sinking onto our bed, I tried to hide a smile. “Then come out and tell me what has you in such a state.”
“I think Mr. Richfield is the highwayman!”
My smile faded instantly as I stared at her. How had she come up with this ridiculous idea? “You what?” I asked in astonishment.
“There, I’ve said it!” Sarah collapsed into the chair at the dressing table. “I’ve considered the matter carefully, Diana, and as your sister, I could not let you become attached to such a black-hearted criminal!”
I couldn’t help but laugh in response to that absurd notion. “Blackhearted criminal? You cannot be serious, Sarah. I have never heard anything so outlandish. Have you been reading my novels?”
“Diana, I am being completely serious! Stop laughing!”
“How can I take you seriously when everything you say is utter nonsense? Why would you possibly think Mr. Richfield, a true gentleman if I’ve ever met one, is a common criminal?”
Sarah leaned forward, her eyes wide. “Don’t you remember what Aunt Forester said at dinner yesterday?” she asked, lowering her voice for some reason. She acted like she was about to disclose some deep secret to me, and I found myself leaning closer. “About the highwayman being around the Bath area?”
Thinking back, I did in fact remember the conversation and our aunt’s comment. “Yes, of course I remember. What about it?”
“Mr. Richfield was there!”
I failed to follow her line of reasoning. “I’m sure a great many people were in Bath at the same time, Sarah. Aunt and Uncle Forester, for example, were there for two months, I believe.”
Shaking her head, Sarah groaned. “Don’t be obtuse, Diana! You have to see the connection here. Mr. Richfield was in Bath when a highwayman terrorized innocent people. And now, he’s here, where a highwayman has mysteriously appeared to threaten our peaceful home!”

KRACKEN, by Ray Ellis
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Chapter One
The village square was busy. Moist streets and the smell of sweat and dirt, mixed with the aroma of raw sewage, hung heavy in the air. Dirty-faced children played in the streets, and escaped animals ran under foot. Skipp Langg had come to find the needed components to finish the project that he was working on.
Skipp stopped, pretending this time to study a set of sonic amplifiers. He looked back the way he had come. The lone figure stopped as well. Now he was sure he was being followed. He rubbed his chin. He wasn’t sure by whom or why, but he was sure whoever it was or for whatever reason, it wasn’t good.
Tossing his raven-colored braid over his shoulder, Skipp used the occasion to scan the area more thoroughly. Nothing. Where are you guys?
He grimaced and spoke into his wrist communicator, “Jonas! Jay! Anybody!” He let his gaze travel over the sea of faces, studying them. He looked at the walls again. He swore. Signal must be blocked. His gaze shifted upward, tracing the canyon-like walls of the buildings in the inner city.
Since being let go by The Company, Skipp had made his home in the underground; the subterranean world, which had evolved in the abandoned subway systems that ran for over 4700 kilometers in length and more than 2.5 kilometers beneath the city streets. After years of no contact, Jonas had left a video message, calling in an old debt, urging Skipp to meet him that afternoon in the city. Now he was wondering if coming had been the best decision. He called again; still no answer.
Closing the connection, Skipp glanced over his shoulder again and then burst into flight, hoping to draw his pursuers out into the open. As he did, he realized his plan had worked, if only too well. Lowering his head, he simply ran. Rounding a corner, he came to a skidding stop; he had run into a dead-end alley.
Skipp turned—too late. Behind him, blocking the mouth of the alley stood four very large men and one smaller figure whom Skipp took to be their leader. With slow, purposed steps, the men made their approach.
“Jonas,” Skipp called frantically into his wrist-com. “Jonas, now would be a good time to show up.” Despite the cool breeze and damp weather, beads of sweat rolled down Skipp’s aquiline face.
The group was near enough now that Skipp could see their faces. The five figures continued to close the distance between themselves and Skipp, fanning out in a half circle as they advanced. Suddenly, one of them pulled a handheld energy weapon from his pocket, an IMR/S457-Agitator. The weapon banned from legal sale had long been outlawed, even for military use. The energy beam did more than just kill its victim but was designed to torment as well. The beam attacked the central nervous system, disrupting the brain’s electrical activity, increasing the body’s core temperature. This would…

Right Time for Love
By Jannette Spann

Lily’s bright smile lit her eyes when he pulled into Brandy’s drive. A quick glance at the new transformer on the power pole gave him a reason to thank the electric company for a super-fast job. Had they not replaced it, Mrs. Wyne couldn’t have jammed the garbage disposal and he wouldn’t be seeing Brandy, or the freckles on her nose, so soon.
“Come back here, Lily.” Gavin caught the girl’s arm before she barged into the house without knocking. “I think you should wait in the truck.”
“But, why?”
“Because I’m here to work, not visit.”
“But you let me go in yesterday. Why can’t I go with you now?”
The door opened, and Mrs. Wyne smiled at Lily. “Hello, there. It’s so nice of you to drop by. Won’t you come in?”
Lily made an “I told you so face” and shot through the doorway, leaving him to follow. “Brandy said you were having trouble with the disposal. I’ll get right to work on it.”
“Why would you do that?”
The confused expression in her eyes reminded him of the sneaker incident. “Maybe I should find Brandy. Do you know where she is?”
“Of course, she’s on the ceiling.”
“She’s what?”
Mrs. Wyne placed her hand on Lily’s shoulder. “I’m watching cartoons, dear. Do you want to join me?”
Gavin stood in the doorway, deciding whether he should follow the mad hatter, or go ahead and check out the disposal when Brandy called from the kitchen. Rounding the corner, his eyes were drawn to the long shapely legs above the sink. He set his tool box on the counter where she stood and crossed his arms, enjoying the view as his eyes traveled up her smooth skin, to her tight rear end in cutoffs and form fitting tank. “Well, what have we here?”
Brandy glanced down, one hand braced against the ceiling while the other held a dish cloth. “That was quick. I wasn’t expecting you until later. This mess is drying faster than I can get it off.”
The splotches of blueberry stains plastered on the ceiling would most likely need to be primed and painted over, but it wasn’t why he’d been called. On the other hand, he wouldn’t mind doing some moonlighting with a paint brush if it meant spending a few evenings alone with Brandy and her cute little freckles. Some day he intended to kiss each and every one of them. “Can I help you down?”
“No, I’m fine.” She stepped back, her foot missed the counter and she lost her balance.
His arms shot out, cradling her in mid-air. Smiling, he gazed into her periwinkle blue eyes. “Your mom said you were on the ceiling, but I didn’t believe her.”
“Are you gonna kiss her, Uncle Gavin?”
Brandy pushed away, struggling to plant her feet firmly on the floor as a blush rushed up her neck. She straightened her top. “Hello, Lily. I didn’t realize you were here.”
“Yep,” she said, planting her hands on her hips. “Grandpa didn’t need any help, so here I am.”
“I see.” Brandy reached for the cookie jar. “Would you like some of Mom’s chocolate chip cookies?”
“You’re just trying to get rid of me so you can kiss again.”
“Lily!” Gavin raised his voice. “Put a sock in it!”

Best Friends...Forever?
by Krysten Lindsay Hager

“Landry, it’s gotta be so awkward for you to be going to Vladi’s school next year,” Tori said. “I mean, what if you run into him during the tour?"

"It’s a huge place,ʺ Ashanti said. “People break up all the time. It’s not a big deal.ʺ

Tori raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Yeah, right,” and went back to her sandwich. Meanwhile my delicious homemade soup was no longer sitting well. It never occurred to me Vladi might be around during the first pre‑freshman tour. I would be mortified if I ran into him and he was with a girl. Or worse yet, running into him, and he was with Yasmin. Plus, I hadn’t told my mom about the breakup, so if she saw him, she’d probably go over to talk to him. I could already imagine it: “Landry, Vladi’s here! Hon? Why are you hiding behind the garbage can? Your boyfriend, Vladi, is here. Come say, ‘hello.’ Stop trying to run away. Why is everyone laughing and pointing at you and calling you a ‘loser dumpee?’ What does that mean?”

Well, maybe the world would end and I wouldn’t have to deal with high school or Vladi and my mother running into each other.


Sadly, the world did not end, and on Thursday, we all had to go to the high school for a freshman information night from 6 to 9 p.m.