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)!!

Here's a look at His Saving Grace

Perhaps he needs to be loved rather than handled?

Grace was shaking her head at her own fanciful thoughts when the footman opened the door of the carriage and gave her a hand out. Thomas neither offered her an arm nor allowed her to precede him. She arrived at the counter of the downstairs tavern directly as Thomas left it to follow someone up the stairs. Trying not to be left behind, she bustled after them, her amber gown rustling in her haste.

No, please, don't wait for me. I'll be fine down here in the tavern full of drunken men with not another woman in sight anywhere. Go on ahead to our room, Your Grace. Don't spare a thought for your wife.

She arrived at the top of the stairs as Thomas went through a door into a bedchamber. Not sure if she should follow, she hesitated in the hallway. A woman exited the room Thomas was in and said to her, "Are you the duchess, then?" When Grace nodded, the woman said, "Follow me, Your Grace. Your chamber is this way."

Separate rooms. He'd booked them into separate rooms. She didn't know whether to be relieved she would not be spending her wedding night with a bitterly angry Thomas or vexed she would be spending it alone. He's trying to hurt me on purpose, and it's working.

The woman, no doubt the proprietor's wife, showed Grace her room, then excused herself. Looking around the small chamber, Grace realized she'd not thought to ask about dinner or a bath or even her belongings. A hard knock at the chamber door drew her attention. "Who is it?" she asked.

"Your husband." The voice was stark and commanding.

She opened the door, a smile pasted on her face. The smile died within seconds. Thomas's appearance matched his voice. His eyes remained glacial, and his mouth was drawn tight, lips thinned. He wouldn't even look at her. "You are to remain in your chamber until someone fetches you in the morning to leave. It's not safe for you below." He didn't even wait for her to acknowledge his words. As soon as he was done speaking, he shut the door on her.

His steps quickly receded down the hallway. Grace was left with nothing but a sinking feeling. The longer she stood there at the closed door, the more that feeling grew, urging her to let it transform into blistering anger.

It was safe enough below that you had no qualms about deserting me there when you went to your chamber. Now that you're going to be below stairs, I'm confined to my room. It's not about safety. This is about you wanting nothing to do with me! At least be honest about it.

Hunger gnawed at her. Surely Thomas would order a tray sent up to her.

He's not a cruel man. He's behaving this way because he's angry. He's not cruel…

Go Back

I always enjoy reading these and looking at new books! I loved both His Saving Grace and Buying Love!!!

So they lived in great joy and if ever they remembered their life in this world it was only as one remembers a dream. And one year if fell out that Tumnus (who was a middle-aged Faun by now and beginning to be stout) came down river and brought them news that the White Stag had once more appeared in his parts - the White Stag who would give you wishes if you caught him.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Season of Hope (The Seasons Book One) by Sara Jane Jacobs
A coming-of-age, best friends to more, inspirational romance available at

Tyler began a short discourse on gun safety and basic shooting tips. “This is the gun your dad started me off on when he taught me to shoot.” He lifted the Remington 770 rifle off the table, pulling back the bolt to make sure the chamber was clear. Reaching for the empty magazine, he loaded four rounds.

Anticipating his next set of instructions, Amanda placed the ear muffs in a ready position around her neck and slipped on the glasses.

Tyler noted her preparation. “That’s perfect.”

Pulling a small, sand-filled gun rest from his shooting bag, he positioned it on one of two bricks sitting on the table. Next, he slipped on his shooting glasses and continued his demonstration. “When you push the bolt forward it loads the round into the chamber. Rotate, and you are locked and loaded.” Positioning his earmuffs, he motioned for Amanda to do the same.

Amanda covered her ears while Tyler took aim at one of the farthest targets. She jumped as the gun fired. He pulled back on the bolt, extracting the spent round and repeated the cycle: push, rotate, fire; hitting the targets without effort each time until the magazine was empty. “Your turn. You ready?”

Nodding, she sat forward, eager to take on the challenge while Tyler reloaded the magazine. He wrapped his arms around her, guiding her hand as she pushed the bolt forward and locked it. The feel of her next to him created a cocktail of chemicals, catching him off-guard. He noticed his palms growing sweaty and took a step back, trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Hoisting the gun, she glanced over her shoulder for confirmation. “Like this?”

Tyler watched her, forcing himself to re-engage “Yeah, yeah. Just be sure you keep it tight in your shoulder and position your cheek like I showed you.”

“Okay, I think I’m ready,” she said, holding her aim steady.

“Okay. Just watch your breathing and slowly release the trigger.”
The shot fired, followed by the sound of silence. She frowned, stating the obvious. “I missed.”

Tyler smiled at her with an overwhelming relief that the initial shot went off well. “That’s okay. It was your first try. How’s your shoulder?”

“It’s fine. I had it tight,” she assured him.

“Well, keep going. You’ve got three more rounds.”

She fired again. Another miss. Holding it steady, she fired once more. The clink of the target sent her excited smile in Tyler’s direction, creating another shot of that cocktail.

“Nice.” He fumbled, trying not to act as awkward as he felt, his mind racing as fast as his heart. What is going on with me? It’s Amanda. Are you crazy? He pulled himself together. “You have another shot left.”

Amanda took it, satisfied at the sound of another clink. “Yes! I think I might like this!”

There it was again; the smile that was suddenly melting his heart.

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

YA action/suspense

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We come into town. He pulls into the parking lot of a small church and shuts off the engine. “We’ll talk more when we leave. I respect your desire to wait in the truck, but if you decide to come in, you’re more than welcome.”

He walks inside.

I sit awkwardly, somewhat crouched below the window. I’m still afraid someone will see me, even though it really doesn’t matter if they did. No one here would know who I am, or at least I think they wouldn’t. I don’t even know where I am. Bloomfield, New Mexico? Where’s that?

Everything in me tugs to go inside. I haven’t been in a church since I went with my parents when I was eleven or twelve. It was always out of duty, usually just on holidays or special occasions. I guess it made them feel better about everything they did to me and each other behind closed doors. By the time I hit my teens, they didn’t even go anymore. I didn’t either since it apparently never made a difference in their lives.

As I crouch in my seat thinking, staring down at my feet, I hear a thump on the hood of the truck. I swear I’d have completely jumped out of my skin if I wasn’t already instantly frozen with fear. I don’t move. I hold my breath. It must have been my mind playing tricks on me.

But then I hear it again.

THUMP . . . C-r-e-a-k.

My heart pounds so hard, I hear its fast, steady rhythm in my ears. Slowly, very slowly, I bring my head up to look out the windshield . . .

I scream. It’s the most high-pitched, girly little scream I’ve ever heard come from my lips! Two green, beady eyes stare right at me. I swear my heart completely escapes my chest and then returns, beating faster than ever. Focusing my eyes, I laugh hysterically when I see a mangy orange cat proudly seated on the hood of the truck as he enjoys the warmth from the engine. He gives me a cynical smirk as if he’s laughing at me.

I sigh in relief, glancing at the small, simplistic building, a far cry from the giant cathedral I used to attend. If I go in, everyone will be watching me. I can’t just slip in unnoticed. But I don’t like sitting here by myself . . . vulnerable, now with this mangy cat staring at me.

I fold down the visor and try to fix my messy hair so I at least look somewhat presentable. I never wore jeans and a T-shirt to church. So awkward!

I glance back at the proud-looking, furry creature gaping at me, now twitching the tip of his tail to add to his arrogant persona. When I make eye contact, he lets out a rough-sounding, demanding “MEOW!” I swear he said, “Just go with it already! And bring me back some tuna while you’re at it.”

Excerpt from "Indelible," the final book in the Insurrection trilogy!

"You can all jump ship if you want. No judging. It’s not even jumping ship. It’s getting out of the sinking ship and reclaiming dry land. This is the last stop before it’s too late. I’ll be fine on my own. I’ll get a plane and make it overseas and take this on. If I fail, I fail, and nobody’s worse the wiser.”
“Are you kidding?”
“Not at all. I don’t want to take anybody else down with me.”
“That’s not your call,” Logan argued.
“I feel a little insulted right now,” Micah said, whipping her head toward me. “Who says you get all the fun?”
“What?” I asked.
“And the glory,” Logan added.
“No, I’m trying to give you an out here.”
“No, thanks. I love swimming.” Logan leaned back on his heels. “And besides, it’s not up to you.”
“Fine!” I rolled my eyes. “You each get to decide. Your contracts with Alliance are being reviewed, I’m guessing?”
Logan exhaled, before a slight nod. “Possibly. The chips are still settling. Contracts have yet to be renegotiated.”
“Well, then.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” O’Leary jumped in, “I made ECB because I wanted to. And I’ve stuck around this far, so I might as well finish this war.”
Chisholm nodded. “Too many hours of training to give up right when we get the upper hand.”
“But guys,” I tried to wave them off.
“You have no argument.” Canaan radiated enthusiasm.
“We’re the team. You’re stuck with us. Plus, you need someone to run the coms. So, I’m in.”
“There’s no guarantee about this,” I reminded. “We don’t have — we may not—”
“Never had a guarantee,” O’Leary stated. “Except that we’d face dangerous circumstances. That’s why I signed up. You don’t get to kick me out the second it gets rough. Rough is my playground.”
“Yeah!” Other voices agreed, rallying.
Eight faces shifted, eyes shining, reflecting those immense stories.
“Alright, then.” I accepted, my team lining up to face the field and our Commander. “Play ball.”

Purchase Insurrection (book 1), Incomplete (book 2), or pre-order Indelible (book 3, available May 9) for only $4.99 each!

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.

From my urban fantasy, Angeline 43:

The sobs came as I rushed to the bathroom to hurl.
After emptying what little remained in my stomach from breakfast, I looked up at the mirror as I washed my hands, not too keen to see the lost, broken look in my eyes.
I gasped.
I’d forgotten what could happen.
“No-o-o-o,” I rasped out.
It only happened during times of deep pain or grief.
Had Darrick hurt me that much?
I usually never felt anything in my body at first. The wings would appear in spiritual form in the beginning, but my third eye would see them. Only after several minutes, would I sense the gentle tug on the muscles of my back. Then the pure white, expansive structures would pop out of my skin and spread out behind me. As majestic as they looked, I braced myself for the way my life would change for the next however many months until my intense internal pain subsided. Not that everyone could see that I had angel wings. Only a few individuals had ever noticed—usually people like psychics, energy healers, spiritual nurturers—those who’d opened up to the spiritual plane. But no one had been able to explain what it meant, what I was, and why.
Shudders rippled through me, different from the trembling brought on by Darrick’s lack of love confession. Power entered my being; light filled the hidden expanses of my soul. Gasping, I braced myself for the transformation that would take over my being. It wouldn’t take away the pain, but it buoyed me and filled me with something inexplicable, a sense of purpose, and a feeling of pure exhilaration. How I could feel crippling emotional devastation and this new energy surging through me at the same time, I couldn’t explain. Nothing made sense.
As the metamorphosis came to an end, I stared at myself in the mirror. My eyes had a piercing nature about them, their blueness now stark and sharp like a blue diamond with many facets. I reached back to touch my wings, relishing the silky softness of each feather, thickly layered upon bone, sinew, and raw power.
My body seemed to stand more erect, I looked proud and powerful, and yet I’d never felt such heart-crippling despair. For this meant my breakup pain was intense. It meant it would last for months, and it also meant I’d have to avoid being questioned by the spiritual people who noticed my odd form. And the questions would come flooding back, the unanswered ones that kept attacking my mind: Why am I like this? What exactly am I? Why
does this happen whenever I’m grieving?
It had happened twice before—the day my mother left and never came back, the terrifying week my father got deathly ill and lost his life, and now, today, when the man I loved and wanted to spend the rest of my life with had quite coldly told me he didn’t love me anymore without a valid reason.
Loneliness, as wicked as the creature I’d seen in the elevator, pierced my gut, making my chest burn. I gasped for breath. The world didn’t want me. I didn’t belong here. Not a soul cared. Who could I tell that my heart had been broken by the man I loved? Or that I had wings the size of two massive kites on my back?

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“It was excellent Keith! Very moving...well written.”
Great Book”“5.0 out of 5 stars”

Looking for a YA fantasy adventure that's got some fun sci-fi and paranormal elements? Here's an excerpt from THE MIRRORMASTERS (YA fantasy):
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Strange things happen in Sea Cliff Heights every single year on this date, June 15th. Mysterious pulses of light flickered in the forest. Not-quite-solid figures appeared in the cemetery one second and disappeared the next. All day, I couldn’t shake the intuition that this year would bring something much worse than the usual weirdness, much worse than the usual gibes about how it began thirteen years ago, the same night my parents found me abandoned on the beach.

"Let’s watch something light — not a horror movie," I said.

"Leah, Leah, Leah." My brother David shook his head and scooted closer to Kara, my best friend, on their loveseat. They shared a conspiratorial grin. "Don’t tell me you want to watch some lame comedy when we can have a slasher fest. It’s tradition."

A shiver raced down my spine at the mental image the idea conjured, one of chilling music, strangled sobs and hitching breaths, followed by silenced screams. Tonight also marked the town tragedy of the 1870s, when strangers murdered the Stanford twins, the mayor’s daughters. Of course David would insist we do something scary to commemorate the anniversary.

"Come on!" I shot him a pleading look. "I’m sure you breezed through exams, but I took three AP finals this week and fielded a million alien jokes today. Enough already — I deserve a break from crazy."

"Just go out to the cemetery with us," Kara said, her eyes sparkling. "We won’t do anything risky, I promise."

Sure. Why wait for trouble to find us when we could seek it out and bring it right here?

Glancing out the sliding glass doors toward the church beyond, I couldn’t help checking for signs of unusual activity. My hands fidgeted, and I fought to still them. I thought I could just make out the sound of otherworldly voices speaking in urgent whispers outside. A gust of wind rustled the palm trees, obscuring any other noise and causing moonlight and shadows to flit across the lawn. Every muscle in my body tensed. Whatever might lurk out there, we’d be safer staying away from it.

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Ellie Alexander is in love. And the only thing sweeter would be if Libby, Natalie, and Stephanie, her three unmarried, unattached granddaughters, could find the same happiness. Maybe with a little help from her and her beau Blake Parker . . .

“I THINK THAT went well,” Blake said as he and Ellie settled onto the couch in her living room to watch a movie after Jack and Libby had left.

Ellie lifted the remote and started the DVD, smiling at the generous man beside her. “Only if you excuse my granddaughter’s rude insinuations.”
Blake patted her hand. “She’s looking out for you, as Jack is for me.”

She squeezed his hand. “I’ve spent a good portion of my life successfully avoiding my family’s ‘good’ intentions to look out for me, with Libby on my side.”

“There’s nothing wrong with letting someone take care of you sometimes.”

Ellie warmed at what she read as Blake’s underlying meaning of him taking care of her, but still couldn’t let it go. “So you wouldn’t mind Jack questioning me the way Libby harassed you?”

Blake’s snort made her smile.

“I’d hate it, like I hate Jack’s concern about my finances. My fault for making him my financial back-up.”

“No, that’s a smart move for people our age, as much as I hate to say that. I should do the same.” Ellie bit her lip. “What I shouldn’t have done was share my disappointment in the Honeymoon Travel’s first quarter profits with Libby.”

He wrapped his arm around her and she placed her head on his shoulder.

“It’s perfectly all right,” Blake assured her. “Jack will be tracking my replacement of the rest of the money I took out of my IRA, if not directly asking me about the agency’s earnings.”

Ellie straightened and faced Blake. “Do it. Show Jack our balance sheet.”

He looked at her as if she’d gone mad. “He’s fussing at me enough already, as if I didn’t know what I was doing. Those numbers aren’t going to do anything to help.”

“Maybe not with his fussing.” She patted his arm. “Did you know that he thinks I lured you into the partnership, that I’m after your money?”

“He what?”

“Calm down.” She rubbed the spot she’d patted. “How is that any different from Libby thinking you’re siphoning money out of the business without my knowing?”

“That’s what her questions were about?”

“Yes, although she didn’t say that exactly.”

His brow creased in thought. “I can see her wanting to protect you.” Blake drew her back to his side.

Ellie resisted. “On pain of sounding like I’m repeating myself, how is that any different from Jack being protective of you?”
“Well, I’m the. . .”

She placed her finger on his lips. “Don’t even say it. It’s as much of an insult to me as it is to you. I’ve taken care of myself in all kinds of situations all over the world.”

Blake favored her with a smile she might have thought of as patronizing if the man was anyone but him. “I concede. You think it’s wise to give him our balance sheet?”

“Definitely. He’ll take it right to Libby.”

“Ah, I see where you’re going.”

“That’ll keep them busy together for a while. And while they are, we can figure out some way for one of them to get ahold of our franchise agreement and they can widen their investigation.”

“Did your granddaughter say something about the agreement?”

“No, but that’s where I’d go next once I’d proven to myself that neither of us was taking advantage of the other.”

Blake’s eyes shown in understanding and something more. “Have I told you that you’re as brilliant as you are beautiful?”

Ellie’s cheeks warmed. “Not today.”