Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

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)!!


Redemption - Click to Buy

"Sheriff…" The mayor's voice sounded weak, and his face was ashen.

"Yes, sir?"

"Do whatever you need to do. Find and take care of my girl."

Art gave the mayor a brisk nod, grabbed his saddlebags, and sprinted out the back door of the sheriff's office. He hadn't bedded the horse down yet, so thankfully, Mutiny was still saddled and ready to go. Art tied his saddle bags into place, put the rifle in its scabbard, mounted, and gave a loud, "G'yup!"

Without hesitation, Mutiny took off and followed the directions Art gave him with both the reins and his knees. Snow flew up behind them as the horse's feet dug into the ground covering. About two miles out of town he saw a flash of color on the side of the road. After dismounting and searching the area, he climbed back on Mutiny's back, fired one shot, and continued down the road.

The urgent need to find Minnie pressed in on him. She was out there somewhere without her horse, a horse that had been injured beyond the hope of recovery. He dreaded telling her he'd had to put it down, but he'd gladly deal with it as long as she was healthy enough to be angry at him for it.

Visibility faded more with each passing minute as the weather continued to worsen. It took an hour to cover the next mile of road and another thirty minutes past that before Art again saw something on the side of the road. The black buggy was almost masked under the blanket of snow. Art threw himself off of Mutiny and began yelling. His calls went unanswered as he scaled the buggy to search its interior. Seeing the way in which the buggy rested on its side, he next began digging through the snow in the surrounding area.

His gloved hand touched something soft, and he began to dig more frantically. "Minnie! Minnie!" He brushed the snow away from her face and ran his hands over her arms and legs, checking for broken bones the best he could. When he went to check her head for injury, his glove came away with blood on it. Using his teeth to yank one of his gloves off, he cradled her head in his lap.

With his now bare hand, he felt for a pulse.

Please God, not like this…

Go Back

Season of Hope (The Seasons Book 1)
Inspirational romance available at

“Catherine, dear, I’ve booked a luxury suite at the Four Seasons in Atlanta for the last weekend of March. Can you meet me?”

Catherine smiled at the sound of her older sister on the other end of the telephone. Phoebe Garrison had always been very direct. “I’m doing fine, Phoebe. How are you?” Cradling the phone between her ear and shoulder, she finished wiping down the kitchen counter.

“If I weren’t fine I’d tell you. Just like I’d expect you to tell me if you weren’t fine. So? Can you come or do you need to check with Ephraim first?”

“Phoebe!” The sternness in Catherine’s voice made it clear she wasn’t in the mood for her sister’s rudeness.

“What? What? Isn’t it—it’s Ephraim, right?”

Catherine sighed. “It’s Ethan. And I’m not buying your act.” The sudden silence on the line caught her by surprise.

“I’m sorry.” Two words she had rarely heard from Phoebe. “Really. I was trying.”

Catherine rolled her eyes, shaking crumbs from her dishrag into the sink. “And after eighteen years of the same thing, I’m supposed to believe that?”

“Listen, Sis. I didn’t call to start a fight. I miss you. I know when you followed E...than to the mountains twenty years ago I thought you had lost your mind. I had.”

Catherine sighed, again. “Yes. You made it very clear to both of us what you thought.”

“Well, I won’t pretend that I don’t still hate it. If you could get the internet or cell phone service out on that mountain, we could keep in touch with all the modern technology. But I guess it could be worse. At least you have a landline.”

“Phoebe is this why you called? To just remind me of all the reasons why you think I should not be living the life that I’m extremely happy to be living?”

Her sister was quiet again.

“Are you still there?” Catherine found Phoebe’s behavior puzzling.

“No. I mean, yes. Yes, I’m still here. No, I did not call just to nag you. I’m sorry. The truth is, I ran into a young intern that we hired last week, and it occurred to me that I have a niece close to her age.”

“Right.” Catherine shook her head, unimpressed with Phoebe’s epiphany. She loved her sister but Phoebe’s relentless ambition, along with her disdain for Ethan, had damaged their relationship over the years. Phoebe had made one trip to Nathan’s Mountain not long after Amanda was born almost seventeen years ago. Calling it a disaster would have been an understatement. Her visit was nothing more than a long weekend of constant disapproval of Catherine’s new life “out in the boonies.” She had only agreed to meet Phoebe in Atlanta over the years because her sister was all the family Catherine had left.

“Listen, Sis, I know I’m just the aunt who sends birthday and Christmas gifts. I want to change that."

Excerpt from "Indelible" the third book of the Insurrection trilogy:

Down the hall we strode, past several closed doors, into a bright white room filled with computer monitors, rolling poles, charts, tools on silver trays on rolling tables, and a thin hospital bed. Teams of lab coats worked throughout the room, muttering codes and words to each other, the likes of which I had no clue. Piotre pointed to the white mattress in the middle of the room, and a man in loose-fitting blue cotton clothing held out a hand for me to hold while I climbed on. He squeezed my hand and smiled. “We are rooting for you. Nothing to worry about.”
They hooked me up to monitors, clipped gadgets on my fingertips, while one lab coat warned me that the needle he was about to shove in my inner arm would “pinch just a bit,” but I knew better. That guy pinched and prodded both arms, taping needles into my skin, one line taking blood, the other giving fluid. Hearing the pulse of my rapid, chaotic heart brought me back to the medical ward of the Villa.
Closing my eyes, I heard Tucker’s voice amid the cacophony of staff bustlings. “You’ve got to work past whatever is holding you back,” Tucker had said. “Nevah queet, Saylah.”
We win.
We defeat.
Never quit.
Breame stood over me, wearing a set of light blue clothing similar to the others, a blue hat nestled against his forehead, a white paper mask strapped over his mouth and nose, his gloved hands flung jauntily in the air at his shoulders. “Astounding work back there. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.”
“Shall we?” Those serene green eyes twinkled.
​“As you said. It’s a rather good day to make history.”


See more about the trilogy at:
Insurrection, Incomplete, and Indelible only $4.99 each!

"A Match Made in Freedom" in The Matchmakers anthology, releasing May 23.

Kindle/Print available:
Nook (print coming soon), iBooks & Kobo:

“THIS ISLAND IS too small.” Stephanie Gould slammed the door and stormed across the floor of her store and escaped into her private design studio.

A minute later, her shop manager Zoey Pierce peeked in the studio door. “Everything okay, Steph?”
Okay? No, definitely not.

Her emotions swinging from hurt to anger, Stephanie drew in a deep breath. “I stopped in the bakery to pick us up some croissants, and who do I see? Tim and Kay, that’s who.”
“Oh, wow. I didn’t know they were back.”

Stephanie, fit and lean in faded jeans and a lavender blouse, paced behind her drying table, eying the four necklaces waiting to be polished before they’d be moved to a showcase in the store. Kay had been wearing a beige dress accented by a stunning sea glass necklace of greens and blues. At least the necklace wasn’t one of hers.

“Oh, they’re back, all tan and happy from their honeymoon. I was next to order when I heard Tim talking from the back of the line. Two years of dating him, and I’d recognize his voice if I was blindfolded.” She’d recognize a lot about him, but she hadn’t expected to feel so angry. Or hurt.
“Did he speak to you?”

Stephanie flinched. “Of course. ‘Hey, Steph. How you been?’ As if he were my friend, as if I wanted to speak with him. Kay just stood there looking smiley and happy, not a visible sign of remorse or a fraction of guilt.”

“What can I get you? Tea? Chocolate? A gun and an alibi?” Zoey drew an imaginary gun from her hip and pretended to fire.

Her manager had read one too many crime novels, but the action gave Stephanie a brief chuckle. “I’ll leave the guns and revenge to you and your murder mysteries. I had all I could do to walk out without tossing a few choice words at them. I love living on Martha’s Vineyard. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But sometimes the hundred square miles are not enough.”

“I hope you thanked Kay for cheating with your fiancé before you married him. Let Tim cheat on her now that they’re living in wedded bliss.” Zoey snapped her fingers.

Stephanie knew Zoey was right. Better to find out that Tim was a two-timer before they had a home and children. But the searing pain in her chest wasn’t lessened by that knowledge.

Had it really been five months since she’d walked into the crafting studio to find Tim and Kay locked in what was nothing short of a passionate embrace? She hadn’t seen that one coming. Kay Salazar had been her partner in From the Sea Designs, and she’d thought they were friends. She’d thought wrong.

In one day, she’d lost her fiancé and her business partner.

The Countess Intrigue is a 60,000 word sweet, regency romance with a thread of suspense.
~ Engaged to a rumored murderer – what’s a lady to do? ~


The evening had already been harrowing with the abduction of her dearest friend from that very ballroom mere moments earlier, but it already felt like eons. After she had left it in the Duke of Wrentham’s hands there had been nothing she could do to help. She had no desire to stand about wringing her hands so she was making every effort to remain calm, keeping up appearances in order to prevent Rose’s absence from becoming common knowledge, in an effort to preserve her reputation. The last thing Elizabeth needed was to be seen conversing with the controversial earl. But despite every instinct shrieking for her to leave the man’s presence on the instant, she forced herself to meet his eye as she bade him good night.

His handsome face always made her blink. Well defined, with a sharp jaw and angular cheekbones. His skin looked smooth, as though he had just left the ministrations of his valet. His wide set eyes were a unique color, somewhere between blue and green, and leant an air of watchful intelligence to his beauty. She wondered if he found it amusing to be constantly faced with wide-eyed women or if he had become immune to it. Perhaps he took it as his due, Elizabeth thought absently, before she refocused her attention. She ought to be keeping her wits about her. Exhaustion from the evening’s turmoil was dulling her senses.

Now only $0.99! Available wherever ebooks are sold, including Amazon:

Soprano Trouble by Victoria Kimble
a children's book about peer pressure and fitting in

“They better hurry,” Summer said, peeking out the door. “Mr. Camp is going to be here soon.” Just then Brittany poked her head in the room.
“Hey guys, come here for a minute,” she said, breathless with a twinkle in her eye.
“Where?” demanded Maddie. “Mr. Camp will be here any second, and we have to be ready to line up.”
“Oh, just come on. The band still has two songs left.” Maddie and Summer followed her out the door.
“Hold this, and don’t drink it,” she said to Summer, handing her a cup of punch.
“Where did you get this?” Summer asked.
“From the table in the lobby. It’s supposed to be for the refreshments after the concert, but no one will mind,” Brittany replied.
“What’s it for? Where’s mine?” Maddie asked.
“You don’t need one. Oh, here they come. Act casual,” Brittany said, bouncing up and down. They looked down the hall to see Cammie and Pilar coming toward them.
“Maybe you could just show me this part in the music I keep messing up,” Cammie said to Pilar. “I know you can play it on the piano. I just don’t want to ruin the concert.”
“Oh, sure,” Pilar said, looking pleased at being asked to help. Just as Cammie and Pilar reached the other girls, Cammie jumped back, and Brittany knocked into Summer from behind, causing her to dump the punch all over the front of Pilar’s white blouse. Pilar, Summer, and Maddie all gasped.

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
(YA contemporary fiction)

“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”

“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.

Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”

“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.

“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said. “Em, do you think he knew?”

I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?

“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”

Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket.


“Welcome to The Maple Pit.” Her eyes widened as she took in his appearance.
Was it his six-foot-three frame, leather apparel, or scruffy face that did her in? Since his boots had hit American soil, he’d been growing out the hair on his face. Judging by the relaxing ambiance and dress of their customers, he’d bank on his appearance being the reason for the look of astonishment on the hostess’ face.
“Thank you, ma’am.” His voice sounded a little rusty as thirst pushed against his throat.
“Would you like to sit at the bar?”
Luke glanced around. Families were enjoying their meals in booths and tables. Was there really a point in taking up a table for just himself? He glanced at the bar. A tightness in his gut brought forth beads of sweat.
“Um sure.”
“Great, this way.”
She headed toward his right, a menu in hand. After placing it on the countertop, she smiled at him. “Your server will be right with you.”
He nodded, then straddled the stool and picked up the menu. Oh, man. The food reminded him of his grandmother’s cooking. In his opinion, Rosa Robinson was the best cook in west Texas. A small smile tugged at his lips as he thought about the petite woman who ran the Robinson men better than any four-star general ever could. Once the Army had released him on R&R—rest and relaxation—he’d hopped on his roadster and headed straight for Virginia. The need to make amends pressed down upon him. Now, he regretted not taking the time to see his grandmother before he left. She would have calmed him.
A mature African-American woman came out of the kitchen. A frown on her face etched deep lines across her forehead. She paused in front of him. “Excuse me, sir. Have you been helped?”
“No, ma’am.”
Her frown intensified. “I’m so sorry. I’ll go find your server.”
“No worries. I’m in no hurry.” He offered her a smile, despite the objection coming from his stomach.
“Thank you for your patience.” She rounded a corner and disappeared.
Was there a break room back there or a server hiding out?
His gaze landed on the menu again, skimming the offerings. They served Arnold Palmers, a sweet tea and lemonade concoction. His mouth salivated imagining the taste of the drink he hadn’t tasted in months. It would be the perfect way to quench his thirst.
A shadow fell across the bar distracting him from the list of entrees. He looked up into the most gorgeous brown eyes he’d ever seen.
“Delaney Jones,” he whispered.
Her eyes widened, wariness coloring her gaze. “Do I know you?”

Escape the Pain to Survive (1 of 3: The New Waiver trilogy)

YA action/suspense

Available at: (paperback) (Amazon Kindle)

All profits through June 30th are going towards the Books for Bikes campaign, providing bikes for local foster teens.

Sgt. Hicks and Lt. McGee enter. They exude a commanding presence as they stand up front for a moment in silence, glaring at us seated behind our desks.

"Usually I’ll be your primary instructor; however, for the first day of classroom sessions, we’re privileged to have Lt. McGee with us. He will give a general overview of the New Waiver Program.” She takes a seat at the front of the classroom.

Lt. McGee remains up front. “Welcome again to the New Waiver Program! I know I briefly spoke with you yesterday, but today I will go into more detail as to why you’re here. Each of you had some reason why you signed your life away to us, having no idea where you were going or what you were getting into. But you see, that’s just the beauty of it. Troubled pasts, no home, no parents, no direction in life . . . whatever the reason, you’re here now. Look to your right and to your left. Here is your family. Here is your loyalty. Let go of everything you’ve learned in the past. You’re here now. Your only purpose is loyalty to each other and the program. Now, what you may not realize is you are the future of our nation. There is not a greater calling and purpose, and here you are, about to fulfill it. We, your instructors, will transform you into an elite force, one which you could compare to a type of super soldier.”

He continues his motivational rant for way too long. I stopped paying attention at one simple phrase . . . “super soldiers.” I don’t mind the thought of being a soldier and making the world a better place. I never felt purpose in my life, so it’s good to know I might accomplish something before I die. But the way he said it, his passionate enthusiasm while he speaks of it, makes me shudder.

"There are three phases to this program. During the first two weeks, you’ll learn the basics. The next two will grow more intense, and the final two will summarize everything you’ve learned in a way never before seen in the history of military and law enforcement training.” He pauses as if to admire something he just said.

His arrogance makes my stomach quiver.

"My final word of advice to you is this. Believe in nothing but the program. By this, I mean there is no God, no religion, no family or friends, and no purpose other than loyalty to each other and to us. The sooner you accept and practice this mentality, the better off you’ll be.” He glowers at us. His eyebrows narrow under the brim of his ball cap. “With that said, you will pay the penalty if we catch you participating in any religious practices or anything else that will influence your loyalty or commitment to the program. We do this by design. We can’t afford any distractions or hindrances.” He pauses as if to give his little threat a moment to sink in. “On that note, I’ll turn it back over to Sgt. Hicks. Thank you!” He exits the room.

He put his cup down on the table. Sammie watched as he got down on one knee next to her. She giggled like a teenager when hevtook both of her hands. "I was confident that you loved me, yes. Wasvi confident that today you would have accepted? I confess I wasn't sure. But, after I prayed ove that sketch, it seemed like the only thing to do. Now, just so we've covered all the proper bases, " Rob paused a moment, reaching into thr pocket of his jeans, and pulling out the glorious ring. "Samantha Young, will you marry me?"

Her smile lit the room as well as his heart. "Yes, Robert A. Revell. I will marry you. This time when you kiss me, I doubt we'll get interrupted. But do hurry," she requested with a small grin. He smilingly obliged, after sliding the ring on her finger.

Seasons of a Life, Chapter 15