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

Morning came long before anybody was ready. Mary lay in bed after she woke. Something was wrong. Heart constricted within her chest, it was a moment before she recalled what had occurred the prior day.

Pa was dead.

The terror she'd felt the day before at the thought of being in charge of her family's welfare and survival had faded. Sleep had cleared her mind, and she realized that she'd been in that role for years. The difference now was that she had sole responsibility and no longer needed to shield the rest of the kids from Pa.

Looking around the room, she saw Clive watching her.

Everyone else was still asleep. "What now?" he asked.

"Well," Mary said, matching his whisper, "we get up, go home, and start running the farm the way it ought to be run. There won't be any need to hide our work from Pa. As many fields as we can prepare, we plant. We can put a latch on the front door and get more chickens so we have more eggs to sell. Basically," she said with a hint of a smile, "we can do whatever we please."

"We got t' bury him, don't we?"

Mary cast her eyes to the ceiling and bit back the retort that almost spilled over her lips. Sighing, she said, "You're probably right. Ma would want us to do that for him."

"It'll matter to them, too," Clive said, pointing his chin toward the two young girls still asleep in the bed.

Go Back

Excerpt is from I Get a Clue by Nancy Ellen Hird. American Libby Carlsen and older sister Mags have arrived—finally--at Gran and Aunt Susannah’s B&B in Edinburgh. The girls’ first hours in Scotland have had its challenges, especially for preteen Libby. And now this!

[Gran] hugged me again, then picking up one of the suitcases led the way up the stairs. Mags followed. I sniffled my way to my duffel bag and telescope. Squatting down, I locked the telescope case and began shoving clothes into the bag.
“Aye, Susannah, it is troublin’.” I overheard Mr. MacLeod say. “A question, if you will. Did you notice anyone other than a guest in the car park last evening?”
“No, I can’t say that I did,” she said. “But I had no need to come to this part of the house. We had no late arriving guests.”
“Would you ask your mother if she noticed anyone?”
“I will. Are you thinkin’, Jock, that someone could be responsible for the [van’s] breakdown?”
“Libby, will you come on!” Mags shouted from the first landing.
I picked up my duffel slowly. I wanted to hear Mr. MacLeod’s answer, but he must have become aware of me. He and Aunt Susannah moved down the steps. I glanced over my shoulder. They were still talking, but their voices were too low for me to hear what they were saying.
I did see their faces. Aunt Susannah looked shocked and a little scared. Mr. MacLeod shook his head, his beard wobbling. He reminded me of my dad when he was trying to solve a puzzle and something didn’t make sense.

I Get a Clue is available at Amazon,

The Duke Conspiracy - a sweet, regency romance novel
Available wherever ebooks are sold for only $0.99, including Amazon:

~ A spying debutante, a duke, and a conspiracy. Can love be found despite their feud?~


Alex gazed at his old friend in admiration. If anyone had ever told him he would be standing in Burlington House surrounded by Elgin’s Marbles debating with Miss Rosamund Smythe about who might be conspiring to entrap him into marriage, he would never have believed such a claim. But here they were. And she looked mighty fetching as she gazed up at him expectantly. He had to make an effort to remember what she had said. Oh yes, something about ideas to investigate. He wondered absently what she could possibly know about investigations and clues and all that. But she was right. They needed to have a direction. The only trouble was he was drawing a blank about any possible ideas.

All he could do was shrug helplessly. “I am so sorry, Rose, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. To the best of my knowledge I have never had any dealings with Broderick. I developed an instant dislike of the man upon first making his acquaintance, but I cannot even tell you why, as we have barely conversed.”

The duke was clearly flabbergasted over this development and was even slightly ashamed to not have a ready solution. Rose must have realized this. She hastened to reassure him. “Never mind about that. We both agreed earlier that the best place for us to start is with Lady Anne. That will have to be my job, as you will just be walking straight into their plot if you try to do anything about it. Now, I really must be going, so we must hurry and establish another appointment to meet up to discuss any of our findings. In the meantime, you should speak to your solicitors or man of affairs or whatever you might have along those lines and see if they are aware of any issues Broderick might have with you. Those gentlemen might know more on the subject than you.”

“How did you get so smart about such things?”

Alex was intrigued by the blush that spread over her face at this unanswerable question. The only thing she could offer was “My father is a diplomat,” with as much dignity as possible.

Alex allowed the moment to pass and was rewarded by the look of relief on her face. He hurried to make an appointment as they saw her maid approaching. “Would it be remarked upon if you come here again tomorrow or the next day?”

“Probably not,” Rose answered. “My mother never rises before noon and is really only concerned with how I spend my evenings. But you had best give me at least one day to try to make the acquaintance of Lady Anne, so let us say the day after tomorrow. That gives me a day and a half to gather as much information as possible. I shall start with my friend Lady Elizabeth. She is a font of knowledge about the ton, as well as being friendly with Lady Anne.” While she was speaking she fumbled with her drawing supplies, finally tucking them under her arm. “Wish me luck,” she concluded as she once more faced the duke.

The duke watched a myriad of emotions chase themselves across his companion’s face. He was unable to identify most of them, but he thought she looked rather wistful as she offered him a brief curtsy before she hurried away without another word.

Alex stood in the same spot for several moments, watching her retreating figure, wondering if she would look back before exiting the building. He was unprepared for the profound disappointment that swept over him as she strode away with purpose, never once glancing back in his direction. Slowly bringing his focus back to the statue she had been sketching, the duke allowed the entire interlude to play itself out in his mind. Giving his head a shake to rid himself of the melancholy that had befallen him, he followed in her footsteps and strode from the hall.

~ Happy Reading :-) ~

An Improper Proposal
Cade cut Deacon a look. “And considerate of your sorry hide, I’d say.” As well as his own. He wasn’t surprised that she’d braved his room and gone through his things to bring them dry clothes. But bringing his moccasins—the thoughtful act moved him more than he cared to admit.
Deacon let loose a laugh and tugged off his wet drawers. Cade turned away and did the same. A whiff of hot biscuits vied with the logs snapping on the fire, and Cade’s insides warmed with the sounds and smells of home at his wife’s hand.
No—not his wife. His bride. There was a difference, and that difference was starting to rub him raw.
He gathered his wet clothes, took them out back and hung them over the porch railing. The tang of rain and wet earth filled the evening, and the dying sun broke through a spent cloudbank skimming the western ridge. Contentment settled in his chest. Right next to deep longing.
He raked through his memory for the exact wording of Mae Ann’s proposition:
If I do not appeal to you, we can live as man and wife in name only.
Appeal to him? Lord have mercy on his stubborn soul. No woman had ever appealed to him like Mae Ann. But he sure enough hadn’t told her in so many words.
He looked down at his feet and wiggled his toes in the soft comfort, recalling other aspects of their agreement. Something about sending her away if he wasn’t satisfied with her help. A groan rolled up from his chest and he let it out on the cool air.
He was a coward. That was all there was to it. He’d given his heart to Alexandra, and she’d tossed it aside as soon as a better option came along. Now he was afraid to make the same mistake again.
A second groan followed the first. Life had become more than just cows and grass and rustlers since Mae Ann came, but what if she wasn’t willing to return his affection?
Confound it all, he’d rather face a rattler bare-handed than be rejected by another woman.
But she’d brought his moccasins.
He plowed through his hair, digging deep for a clear thought as the sun slipped behind the mountains. If he didn’t tell her how he felt, he might lose his mind. And what good was a heart without a mind to follow it?

Healing Seas
by Christina Lorenzen

Available exclusively at Amazon:

Chapter One

Addie Mayfield pulled the ill-fitting, long wool coat closer to her body and huddled against the cold vinyl backseat of the touring car. Mrs.O'Reilly, pregnant with her sixth child, had gifted her the coat, not having been able to fit in it for years. As noisy and chaotic as the O'Reilly house had been, it had been a comforting escape from the tragedy she'd been through three months ago. But even days filled with laughing and crying children couldn't help her escape once the sun went down. Every night she would lie in bed, fighting sleep and the ensuing dreams that took her back to that horrific night in April when the RMS Titanic and the Fairchild family succumbed to the icy ocean.

Despite the warm late June sun, she felt a chill, in part because of lingering memories and in part because she was headed to the home of a great aunt she had never met. Her plans, or rather her parent's plans, had changed on a dime. Just three months ago she had been sailing on the Atlantic, her two charges tugging playfully at her dress, or rather one of the dresses Mrs. Fairchild had ordered for her, breathing in the sea air.
Becoming a governess to rather rambunctious children had not been her dream. She wasn't quite sure it had been her parents' dream for her either. But it had been a means. A means to escape the life her parents did not want for her. They wanted better. Velma and Arnold Mayfield were hard working people. Velma was a seamstress and cleaning woman, juggling the two demands while raising Addie and her sister Emma. Her father worked on the railroad and at night would often work down at the docks. Between them her parents had four jobs. Addie was the oldest and they'd taken great care in deciding what she should do. While Addie had pleaded to pursue drawing, she'd been drawing for as long as she could remember, her parents had argued for sensibility. And there was no money for art school. Despite their hardships, occasionally her mother would go into a 'proper lady' jag when it came to her mention of a career. No. They wanted for her to marry a man who could provide for her and provide for her well.

Then they had met Aesop Hancock, proprietor of the Bedford Wake, a rather fancy hotel in the city. Mr. Hancock introduced them to the Fairchilds and a deal was struck.

Addie Mayfield reached up to secure her hat. As the wind whistled in her ears, the breakneck pace of the car finally dawned on her. She wasn't accustomed to traveling in cars back home in England. She and her sister had walked everywhere. She'd only been in a car one other time, and mercifully the driver had plodding along, looking unsure of how to handle the vehicle himself. Now as the car sped along on the nearly empty road, she prayed they wouldn't turn turtle. She'd seen a picture in the Daily of a car flipped upside down, its passengers trapped underneath. Even Mrs. O'Reilly's bulky over-sized coat could do little to ease the chill that ran down her spine.

"How much longer, sir?" She yelled over the noise of the touring car, hoping to catch her driver's ear. No answer. She leaned forward and tapped his shoulder with a gloved hand. They both jumped, equally startled.

"I asked how much longer," she yelled into the ear he tilted her way.
"Not more than five, miss." He pulled himself upright and focused once again on the road in front of them.

Seeing she'd get no more from him, she leaned back and focused on the scenery as it whizzed past her.

Once again she was in completely new territory. She had only been in New York City for a little under three months, having been taken there by the RMS Carpathia, the ship that had rescued her and the other survivors of the RMS Titanic. She only remembered being huddled alongside with what seemed like hundreds of other people on that ship. That and the scent of the ocean. It was as if her subconscious was protecting her from any further trauma.

Readers are saying this is the ideal Father's Day gift!

eBook & Paperback:

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.