Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesdays

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 more people will find it.


Happy reading (and writing)!


My excerpt:


"I'm going to have to go get the other one out of the attic," she said with a sigh, hoping her son would volunteer to climb up in there and retrieve it for her.

Instead, he nodded and asked, "You want me to pull the ladder down for you?" She grinned to herself as she nodded. They had a regular battle about the attic. Neither of them liked going up there. Since he'd gone up to retrieve all the Christmas decorations earlier in the month, she'd let him have the victory this time.

After Avery scaled the creaky ladder up into the attic, she scanned the web-dusted contents, quickly locating the suitcase she needed. It was older and more faded than the green one, and it had a rust-and-mustard-colored seventies floral pattern on it. At least no one will try to steal it.

As she dragged the suitcase with its one broken wheel across the attic floor, a cloud of who-knew-what gently puffed up into the air around her. Then she got a mouthful of it and started coughing, which led to more grime and dust billowing into the air. That, of course, led to more coughing.

Avery lost her balance and started to fall out of the attic opening, but the suitcase blocked her way enough to pause her descent, giving her time to reach out and grab the back of an old chair that had been in the attic longer than they'd lived in the house. The suitcase wasn't so lucky. It fell zipper-over-wheel down the attic ladder and landed with a loud thud on the carpeted floor below.


By the time Avery pulled herself back to her feet and made her way down the ladder, she expected to find Eli standing there wondering where his dinner was. Alas, her teen was blissfully unaware of her near-death-by-attic experience. He was in his room listening to his MP3 player. It's for the best. I wouldn't want him to pull a muscle laughing at me.




Go Back

Short excerpt from Hidden Hills
Jake thought about the kiss he’d shared with Charlotte in her bedroom. “About what happened back at the house…”
“It won’t happen again.”
His brow shot up in surprise. “What makes you so sure?”
She waited for the boys to pass. “I’ve got more than enough problems without getting involved.”
“Who said anything about getting involved?”
Charlotte’s head snapped up. “I’ve never been a one-night stand, and I’m not about to start now!”
The glare alone was enough for him to know he was skating on thin ice, but the razor edge to her voice was a real eye-opener. After all this time, he’d finally met a woman who didn’t play silly games.
“So you want to get married again?”
Jake could see his options dwindling away. All remaining was the good neighbor award, and he’d never been one to settle.
Excerpt from The Second Life of Magnolia Mae by Angela Schroeder

Jace leaned forward in the chair. “This says that Daciana never took off the ring while she lived. When she was found dead, the ring was gone. Some believe that the wolf took it until he could find her again, to reunite her with her love and finally give her people a true home.”

“If she was a princess, why did they not have a home?” Bash leaned back onto his hands to look up at Jace and Magnolia.

“Her people, including the king himself, had been forced from their country by the king’s twin about two-hundred years before she was born. While the king was away making treaties with other nations, his brother rallied people to support his claim to the throne. He used bribery in whatever form he could; he even hired soldiers to stand as his guard while he took the throne. The king loved his brother so much that he did not want to be the cause of his death, so he and those loyal to him never returned to fight for the kingdom. Instead they wandered, living like gypsies searching for a home. Wherever they went, they were chased away because they were thought to be thieves. Some accused them of being witches and warlocks. Others believed they were half-human, half-elfin. That’s why they had no home —they didn’t fit into either race. With Princess Daciana marrying the prince, they would call Marcello home and could finally stop wandering.”

Magnolia found herself drawn into the story. “What happened? What was the prince’s name?”

“Alistair, and it doesn’t say what happened to her. Only that she was found dead with the ring missing. He spent his life wandering the country as if he was searching for something, giving up his claim to the throne.”

“That is sad,” she whispered from behind her brother. ‘Why is it here?” Her hands twisted at the bottom of her shirt.

“Maybe once we figure out the dreams and the wolf, we will figure out how this got here.” Jace closed the book gently then set it on the table next to the chair.

“What dreams?” Bash suddenly leaned forward.

She looked over at him and wondered how much she could share. Would he think of her as a freak the way everyone else seemed to?

Rocky Mountain Sunrise (Rocky Mountain series Book 2)
by Jodi Bowersox

He broke off the kiss and bent his head with his eyes closed. “I’m so sorry, Mari.”
She leaned her forehead against his. “If you’re apologizing for kissing me, I’m going to be pretty upset.” She sat back and ran a hand through his hair. “If you’re apologizing yet again about the house, then stop it. What’s done is done. God has another house for us.”
Joe lifted his gaze to hers, his voice husky. “Have I told you how much I love you?”
“Yes, but feel free to tell me again.” Mari’s eyes sparkled, and Joe slid his hand into her hair, pulling her lips toward his once more. He took his time, exploring and nibbling, each kiss lightening the burden of losing his Victorian treasure. Giving her one last dizzying kiss, he snuggled his nose into her hair and held her tight. This treasure is all I need.
“So, are you going to tell me?” Mari whispered.
“Tell you what, sweetheart?”
She pulled back to look in his smoky blue eyes and blinked. “How much you love me.”
The corners of his mouth lifted in a sly smile making his dimples pop, and his fingers dug into her ribs just a bit—a warning for impending tickles. “I thought I just did.”

I thought I'd give you all a snippet of my soon to be released book. It will be released by Brimstone Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas in Sept. Enjoy!

“There is one group of people who will not benefit from our successes. Those who work to destroy the progress mankind has made. From the raids of years ago until now, there is one group who seeks to undermine further growth and development for our people: the Natural Born Rebels.”
Whispers rise through the crowd and soon turn to gasps. From the far corner of the stage, Institute workers carrying weapons emerge. Two in front, two in back and between them a young man in handcuffs and ankle chains. The soldiers lead him onstage next to Fishgold where a folding chair awaits. One soldier forces the man to sit while another withdraws hair clippers and presses them to the man’s scalp. There’s silence as the soldier shaves the man’s head, revealing to the crowd the community identification tattoo at the base of his neck. (A barcode with identification numbers). It looks the same as the rest that come with the MIH we all receive at birth. But it’s not.
“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.

“Why would the Royal Princess fire Nicoletta?” Darius asked, putting his arm around the distressed lady‐in‐waiting. “Are you going to tell your sister that she was kissing me?”
“I should.” The ground seemed to sway beneath Mariana’s feet, and she grasped a nearby column for support. Something in his voice caused her to tremble. He’d never spoken to her so coldly, without a trace of the affection he’d shown her in the past.
Darius continued, “Will you also tell the Queen and Royal Princess I need to kiss other women because you’re afraid to let me touch you?”
“I’m not afraid.” Mariana straightened her back and lifted her chin, wishing she were taller. “It just isn’t proper to engage in…those kinds of activities before we’re officially engaged.”
To her chagrin, he burst into laughter. “I’m sorry, Mari, but can you be that naive? ‘Those kinds of activities,’ as you call them, are part of an adult relationship. You need to wake up and accept
She swallowed. “Then come back to the ballroom and dance with me again.”
He shook his head. “I like you, Mari, but I’m not going to marry you. I can’t afford to bond with a commoner.”
“Commoner? What are you talking about?”
“Mari, you can stop pretending. Everyone in the kingdom knows you’re not the King’s daughter by blood. How else do you explain your Insensitivity?”
Mariana felt as though her bones had liquefied. With great effort, she stayed upright until she found a nearby bench and dropped to it. The two other women rushed away, giving her sidelong glances as they passed. “Why would you say these things to me? I thought you had feelings for me. Real feelings.”
“I did. “He sat next to her and took her hand. “I was young. I thought your deficiencies wouldn’t matter, but I’m a Metal Sensitive, and I need to wed someone who can complement my Abilities. I have to think about my inheritance.”
He stared into the night on the other side of the balcony railing. Mariana wondered what he was seeing.
“I can use my abilities to strengthen the defenses of Sasoin. Maybe one day, I can add to our holdings. My sisters will need property to take to their own marriages, unless they wed above their stations.”
“My father will give me property.” Her argument was weak, for while Liliana had gotten a large estate, she was the Royal Princess and second in line for the throne until Grand Duchess Victoria delivered her child. Liliana’s husband, Nigel, had been of high noble blood, his father an Amar, a cousin of her grandfather.
Darius shook his head. “I cannot count on that, and there is still the issue of the Bonding. Face it, Mariana, I need to do better.”

The Duke Conspiracy

Their eyes met across the crowded ballroom. Rose’s stomach tumbled and a wave of heat swept her as she took in his rugged handsomeness. He had changed since she saw him last, three years ago. She had always thought Alex’s beautiful sea-green eyes were his best feature, but the sight of them had never caused goose bumps to march up her spine as they did now. Previous to this, it had always been her opinion that girls who sighed over handsome men were silly widgets, but now she had an unforeseen empathy for them. The air of maturity that emanated from him suited him, she thought absently, as she struggled to breathe through the uncharacteristic fluttering of her heart.

He had not yet descended the stairs so he was clearly visible, but she was surprised that he even noticed her, tucked away in the corner of obscurity such as she was. Her surprise turned to shock when she recognized the look of appreciation warming his eyes as his gaze remained on her for what felt like eons, but was undoubtedly a couple of seconds. She was torn with a maelstrom of conflicted feelings. A part of her preened under the admiration of the handsome nobleman, while another part bristled with indignation that he would even dare to look at her, considering their history. She could feel her mother’s indignation smoldering behind her, but she was unable to tear her eyes away. She almost wished she could go back to how she had been feeling just a couple moments before.

Andrea & the Five Day Challenge YA Novel by Cindy K. Green

My heart echoed just as loudly in my cavernous chest. Friday. What did she plan to do by Friday? My fleeing mechanism was about to click into overdrive, but I controlled the fear and took a deep breath. It wasn’t like she planned to club me with a meat cleaver or anything. Right? No, it would be something much worse and longer lasting. I mean, when you die—you go to your great reward or otherwise, as the case may be. The evil cheerleader can never hurt you again. But when it’s high school embarrassment, the scars stay with you for life.

BROKEN SMILES by: Tara Mayoros

One night, while watching dusk settle around the canopy of the trees, Laidan sat with Andi, discussing how sad it was that these children barely saw their parents. They only came to visit maybe a couple of weekends a month or on a holiday. Education and improved health were more important than family time. Even though she didn’t understand why some of the children had been sent here, so far away from home, she did understand why the children with cleft palates were here. They’d been sent to the clinic for surgery and for the famous Dr. Rafe Watkins. He had an endless list of pro bono and government-funded cases on his to-do list. But to him it was an act of service. Laidan sighed as she thought, he’s the most giving man I have ever met.

“Sounds like Rafe’s telling one of his bedtime stories again,” Andi said.

Laidan looked over to the large mess tent in the middle of the village. Inside she heard children giggling.

“Let’s go watch,” Laidan said as she jumped up and dusted off her pants.

Andi’s eyes twinkled. “Wow! I’ve never seen you move so fast. Hold on, it looks like they are coming out.”

Children hung all over Rafe as he exited the tent. He roared like a bear and dropped to a knee. After hollering something in Chinese like “I surrender,” he fell flat into the grass. His laughter echoed around the village as the children climbed around him.

Without thinking, Laidan ran across the field. She looked down and saw Rafe faking sleep amidst the children. As they tickled him, they would squeal whenever he flinched a leg or snort as if he’d been deep in sleep. She put her finger to her lips to quiet the children. She bent down and tickled his sides, taking note how lean he was.

He hollered while his eyes flew open. The children scattered in pure blissful laughter, leaving just the two of them.

She laughed as she noticed how embarrassed he had become.

“I surrender. You’ve caught me.” He chuckled, still lying in the grass.

She offered her hand and helped him stand. His hair splayed out in a wild mess around his face. He swiped at his wrinkled clothes and ran both hands through his hair. It was an action that made her face feel hot.

“You better watch out. You’ve woken the sleeping bear.” He growled trying to contain a smile.

“Sleeping bear? What’s that?”

A smile curled on his lips. “The game I was playing with the kids.” He paused and looked at her with teasing eyes. “You know what happens to the one who awakens the bear. Don’t you?”

Laidan’s stomach jumped with anticipation. She bit her lip to hold back a smile, but it would not stay contained. She was just too happy. “N-no...”

He lifted his arms and yelled, “They get tackled!”

Both Laidan and the children started screaming and ran. He growled, running after her.

While dashing around the buildings, dodging trees and children, she laughed until tears formed in her eyes. She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed so hard. Maybe years.

As she sprinted around the corner in front of the mess tent, she squealed as Rafe surprised her and grabbed her waist. He swung her about while the children jumped up and down with glee. She was dizzy with euphoria as the two of them twirled right in the center of the village.

He placed her feet down, and she fell into him, feeling a little wobbly.

“Now I’ve caught you.” His breath tickled warm in her ear as he whispered.

She smiled as she thought, you most definitely have.

She looked over to Andi, who stood near the dorms with her hands over her heart. Upon her petite face was a smile as big as the setting sun. Kort had come down, and in the fading light, Laidan noticed a smile gleamed in his eyes too.


Searching for Lady Luck by Patricia Kiyono:

“You must have met your Lady Luck,” said Connor.
“My what?”
“Lady Luck. Remember when Uncle Phineas would go to Atlantic City? He’d talk about the women in the casinos. If one of them happened to be nearby when a gambler hit it big, that woman would be his Lady Luck and he’d keep her by his side the rest of the night.”
“Lady Luck. That’s pretty much how I felt about her. It was as if she put a special spell on those paintings and that’s what made the next person buy them.”
“You’d better keep an eye out for her. The next time she walks by, ask her to touch all your paintings.”

Fast-Pitch Love
by Clay Cormany

The skinny student recoiled from the push, his back thumping into the wall behind him. His books fell to the floor as he raised his hands to guard against the punch that seemed imminent.

“Don't hit me, Carson,” the student pleaded.“I didn't mean anything by it.”

Carson Ealy, all two hundred thirty pounds of him, loomed over the frightened student like a hungry bear. “How can you say you 'didn't mean anything by it,'?” he snarled. “You asked her out, didn't you?”

“Not … not really. I just thought Stephanie might like to stop by my house to … to see my tropical fish. She … she … she lives just around the corner from me and now that school's out –”

“Shut up!” Carson yelled. He grabbed the quivering boy under the armpits and lifted him until his shoes dangled at least a foot off the floor. “Stephanie doesn't want to see your stupid fish or your Barbie dolls or your beanie baby collection. She doesn't even want you to ask her the time of day. And you know something else?”

The student, his face whiter than paste, shook his head.

“I don't want you to either cause if you do, I'm going to twist your head off. Capisce?

The student nodded frantically. “Yeah, yeah, sure, I cap –”

Carson dropped the kid like an unwanted toy and watched him slink away. The handful of students who witnessed the encounter also began to walk on. Some of them might not have known what it was all about, but Jace Waldron did. He knew the skinny student made the near-fatal mistake of putting a move on Stephanie Thornapple. Jace had never made that mistake – but he sure thought about it.

A new student at Ridgeview High, Stephanie joined Jace's American history class right after Christmas break. She sat a little ahead of him and one row to the right, giving him a near-perfect position to admire her near-perfect beauty. Only minutes before watching Carson bully the student with tropical fish, Jace had gazed at Stephanie while working on his history final. In the midst of answering questions about the Great Depression and the Cold War, he imagined himself making out with her.