Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday!  If you're an author, 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.  If you're a reader...enjoy!

Happy reading (and writing)!!


Redemption - Click to Buy

Wishing she would trust him, Art brought them to the end of Main Street and began leading them around the community's center, known as The Green. "Is there anything you need to tell me?" he asked.

"Such as?"

"Have you received correspondence from anyone unusual? Have you noticed any strange people in town watching you? Following you?"

"Arty, you're starting to spook me." He had long ago stopped allowing anyone to call him Arty, but on her lips the name sounded musical.

"It's not my intention to spook you, Minnie, but it's important you understand I'm keeping your secret at a cost. You need to be honest with me, and you need to let me know if anything unusual happens, even if you don't think it's important. I can't watch you all day long, so I need you to be looking out for yourself and reporting to me anything you notice that's out of the ordinary."

She nodded in the dimming light and said, "Okay, I'll try. I'm not very good at trusting people."

"Who do you turn to when you need advice?" he asked.

"No one. I figure things out for myself. I've had to." Her answer rang with quiet defiance.

"I hope you'll eventually feel you can count on me," he said. She started to protest, but he stopped her. "I think I understand." He looked at her, hoping she could see how earnest he was. "Try to remember that while you may not be able to think of a person to trust, you can always trust God. He's listening all the time, and He gives great advice."

With a sigh, Minnie said, "I know. I'm afraid I've been a terrible disappointment to Him, too."

"You say 'too' as if you've got a whole slew of disappointed people to contend with."

"If you knew the whole truth, you'd be added to the list of people disappointed in me."

"I doubt that, Minnie," he said, his tone casual. "We all make mistakes, and most of those times, we're harder on ourselves than anyone else is. If you're so certain you've let down the people around you, maybe it's because you're disappointed in yourself."

Minnie's look was peevish, but she didn't protest. "Give it some thought, that's all I ask."

Minnie nodded, her raven locks bouncing with the motion.

"You're all grown up now, aren't you, Arty Paulson? You didn't just grow into your Adam's apple and get an adult job. You went and did some maturing on the inside, too, where it matters most."

"We all have to grow up eventually."

"Thank you for wanting to look out for me and for wanting me not to be so hard on myself. I'll give some thought to what you said."

"And you'll tell me if you see anyone unusual around town or if you get anything strange in the mail?"

"Yes, sir," she said with a mock salute.

Go Back

The Governess' Debut -

Can the governess charm both the spoiled child and the haughty earl?


Lord Victor Astley, the fifth Earl of Standish, was surprised by his own undisciplined reaction when the young woman was announced. He was always in control of himself and his environment. It was decidedly out of character that he would be unnerved by the presence of a young woman in his library.

“Miss Felicia Scott to see you, my lord,” Alfred, the earl’s aging butler, had announced in even tones, not revealing anything about his own reaction to the elegant young woman who had been recommended to fill the post of governess to the earl’s hoyden of a daughter.

The earl nodded to her from behind his desk, not bothering to come around to bow over her hand. “Thank you, Alfred. Please see that a tea tray is brought in momentarily.”

Miss Scott dipped into a respectful, deep curtsy, forgetting for a moment that her new position in the servant class did not require the varying degrees of courtesy. When it did cross her mind she dismissed the thought, surmising accurately that the haughty looking earl would consider the extra depth to be his due.

Felicia had made every effort to appear as serious and trustworthy as possible. Her sober gown of brown worsted material was just perfect for whatever activities she would be involved in while chasing after a seven-year-old child. Realizing she looked quite young, she had scraped her thick, curling, brown hair into the severest hairstyle she could manage, hoping it lent her an air of maturity.

Of course, in her innocence, she was unaware of the things that were impossible to hide – her obvious breeding was evident in her proudly erect carriage. Intelligence shone from her wide, shining, green eyes as she glanced around the earl’s handsomely appointed library.

Her own governess had done her best to prepare her but since this was the first time Felicia had applied for a position she was somewhat uncertain as to proper protocol. The earl was still gazing at her with a rather arrested expression on his severe, but still handsome face, so she surmised that he was waiting for her to say something.

“Thank you for agreeing to see me, my lord.”

The earl blinked away his momentary inertia. Despite the glowing recommendations he had received it was obvious to him she would be impossible for the position. He was uncomfortable with the strange reaction he had felt to her presence, besides she was much too young. There was no way she would be able to control his daughter. He supposed he still had to interview her.

~ Happy reading :-) ~

Extract from my romance novel THE MILLIONAIRE PLAN. Released on Friday 8 July. Preorder link:

Chapter One

Rule number 1: Make sure you’re seen at the right places

Great. Here she was, dressed to kill and without a clue what to do, Amber thought, tugging self-consciously at the hem of her dress. Everyone else was walking around in groups, or at least in pairs, chatting and laughing together and making her wish that she’d taken up Callie’s offer to go sailing with her and Simon instead of wandering around Coombe Bay Marina alone. Honestly, dressed in this skin-tight, extremely short white designer dress, high heels, and the pile of make-up Callie had insisted she wore, she might as well have the words ‘gold-digger’ written on her forehead.
Well, that’s what she was, wasn’t it?
Not for the first time she wondered how she’d let Callie talk her into coming here to try and hook a millionaire. It was mad. Insane. Immoral.
And her only option if she didn’t want her parents to lose their home as well as their business.
Spotting a café overlooking the marina, she bought herself a latté and was making her way over to one of the tables with it when a white yacht caught her eye. It wasn’t huge or brash, like some of the yachts in the marina, but it was definitely classy. The sort that a millionaire would have for his own use, to sail around in rather than show off and entertain his friends. As she peered over at it, trying to read the name painted on the side, she collided into something hard. Her coffee cup went flying off the saucer, emptying its contents over a pair of cut-off denim shorts that were hugging lean, definitely male, hips.
“‘Whoa!”’ Strong, suntanned arms held her steady. “‘You want to try looking where you’re going,”’ an incredibly sexy voice drawled in an unmistakeably American accent.
“‘Sorry.”’ She looked up into a pair of twinkling tawny eyes that laughed at her from a ruggedly handsome face, topped by thick, light brown hair with sun-kissed highlights. Phwoarr!! was her immediate reaction, but she quickly pulled herself together. She’d just spilt coffee over this guy, for goodness sake, the least she could do was apologise instead of drooling over him like a lunatic.
“‘I’m so sorry,”’ she apologised again. “‘I was looking at that yacht over there. It’s fantastic, isn’t it? I’ve never seen one like that before.”’ Not the thing to say, Amber, she scolded herself. You’re supposed to be acting smart and sophisticated as if you come to these sort of events all the time, not twittering away like an idiot and letting the first person you bump into know that you’ve never seen anything bigger than a dinghy before. Then she remembered that she had quite literally ‘bumped’ into this man and drowned him in coffee in the process.
“‘Gosh, I’m so sorry,”’ she said, fully aware that this was the third time she’d apologised but unable to stop herself gabbling. She looked down at his wet denim cut-offs, trying not to let her gaze linger on the sun-tanned legs below them, then shifted her eyes hurriedly back to his face. “‘Er, I’ll go and get a cloth so you can clean up.”’
“‘No need. I’m working on that yacht you were admiring so I haven’t got far to go and get changed,”’ he replied. “‘Perhaps you’d like to join me and clean yourself up too? You don’t want to leave that to stain. It’ll ruin your dress.”’
What? She glanced down in confusion and saw that coffee was splattered all over the bottom of her – or rather, Callie’s - – dress and running down her legs. How could she have not noticed? Because I was too busy gawping at him, that’s why.
She hesitated. He had said he was working on the yacht, which meant he didn’t own it – more’s the pity. So his boss could well be on board. And whilst the ‘How to Hook a Millionaire’ book Callie had brought and insisted she read from cover to cover had declared she should ‘seize any opportunity to mix with the seriously rich’ – - and let’s face it, anyone who owned that yacht was seriously rich – - meeting them with a coffee-stained dress and legs was not a good idea. ‘Always be perfectly made up and elegantly dressed’ was another rule of the book.
“‘Is your boss on board?”’ she asked.
“‘No, only me.”’ He was looking at her intently. “‘Perhaps I should introduce myself and then you’d feel more at ease., I’m sure your mother drilled it into you to never go off with strangers.”’ He held out his hand. “‘Jed Curtess.”’
She took his hand. It was strong and warm and his touch sent tingles running up her arm. “‘Amber Wynters,”’ she told him.
“‘Now we’ve been introduced, Amber Wynters, would you like to come on board the yacht and get cleaned up?”’ he asked, a playful smile hovering on his lips.
She most definitely would but should she? She didn’t even know this man, although she had to admit that she definitely found him appealing. Should she risk going onto the yacht with him? He might not be as harmless as he seemed. She saw the teasing twinkle in his gorgeous tawny eyes and her heart flipped. Cancel harmless. This guy was a danger to her blood pressure if nothing else.
“‘I promise I won’t try to seduce you,”’ he said solemnly. “‘Unless you beg me too, of course.”’ His eyes danced with humour and she thought that there was probably a queue of women who would love him to do just that.
Something about this guy made her feel she could trust him. Besides, there were lots of people around to hear her shouts if she needed help – not that she would step one foot on that yacht if she felt in any danger. Anyway, she further convinced herself, she was supposed to be here to meet a millionaire and she wasn’t about to do that in the state she was in.
“‘Okay, thank you,”’ she agreed.

Chase Tinker and the House of Magic (The Chase Tinker Series, Book 1)
Middle Grade Fantasy

Hooooonk! Honk! Honk!
"Hey ya, kid! Look where you're goin'!"
The taxi driver shook his fist at Chase Tinker as he ran across the busy street and leaped onto the sidewalk.
"Sorry!" Chase yelled back with a quick wave.
He skidded to a stop in front of a small grocery store. Pictures of ice cream cones and popsicles were taped to the windows. Licking his lips, he dug in his pockets for some money. His shorts were so worn that one pocket had several holes in the bottom of it. In the other, he found nothing but a crumpled Derek Jeter baseball card, a fuzzy gummy worm, and his lucky race car from an old board game.
Scratching his nose, he squinted at the posters again, and then sauntered into the shadowy, cool store. He strolled down an aisle to the freezer section. Glancing casually over his shoulder, he opened one of the glass doors. White fog puffed out, chilling his face as he reached in and snatched one of the paper-wrapped cones. Head down, eyes on his scurrying feet, he was almost out into the hordes of New Yorkers when his arm was grabbed from behind.
"Hold it, sonny! Where do you think you're going?" growled a deep voice. "You didn't pay for that."
Chase's heart skipped several beats as he stumbled and stared up into a gray-haired man's bushy-eyebrowed face. Chase was tall for his age, but, man, this guy towered over him by at least a foot and a half.
"I—" he croaked.
"Chase Tinker!" spat the shopkeeper. "I'm not one bit surprised." He shook his head. "Out troublemaking again, eh? Took me an hour to wash all those rotten tomatoes off my front windows last week, mister. Well, I'll take you home to your folks today, but you better hope they do something about you or I won't be so nice next time." He looked to the rear of the store and yelled, "Hey, Louise! I'll be back in a bit. I've nabbed another shoplifter I need to take care of." He tossed the ice cream back into the freezer. "Okay, kid, lead the way."
The man kept a tight grip on Chase's arm as they headed down the sidewalk. Chase scrunched his face as the man's fingers dug into his skin, making Chase feel as if it were crushed in a subway door. What a sucky way to start my summer vacation, he thought while his stomach twisted into knots.
After a short walk to Chase's apartment building, they pushed through the revolving door and entered a lobby with peeling wallpaper and stained carpet. Hurrying into one of the old elevators, they stood in silence as it clanked and rattled its way to the tenth floor. Chase tapped his foot and jiggled his leg. Yep. His mom would ground him for life for this one.

Phoenix Element: Mages of Vane (A magical YA adventure)

I fall to my knees, landing in a patch of green grass. It is night. I can smell the ocean as the wind blows gently around me. It is an ironic calm that flows around me but not within. I look up to see a castle in front of me. The stars and torches around the outside of the castle provide some light. They cast shadows on archers that stand guard on the battlements. They finished it, they actually finished the castle that was once in ruins. It stands tall now, a beacon.

“That went well.” I look over to Kyle. “Wait, you didn't think I would join her, did you?”

He ignores my question. “Ashima allowed us to leave.”

I agree. The portal opened back up and when I teleported, Kyle stepped through it right after.

“So how do we stop her?” I ask.

“We don't,” Kyle sighs. “We had our chance but because of Raven---”

“I knew you should have brought that sword with you,” I half-jokingly say.

“I have an assumption,” Kyle says as he sits next to me on the grass. “I don't think we'll be able to kill Ashima.”

I remark, “That's a terrible assumption.”

The grass crunches under my weight as I sit down. Each blade of grass itch my skin and I love it. Real, proper grass.

“She might try to take over another body if we kill her current one. Granted, she'll have to fight for control, but it is possible. I have to try to stop her while she is in her Rayasha form. Terminating the host body to stop Ashima was the original plan but it might be more complicated than that. I don't even know if this will work but I have to ascend and fight Ashima as a Rayasha.”

“So you have to leave your body and fight Ashima on another plane?” I ask.

WITCH'S MARK (a young adult novel)
by Sarah Norkus

Dread squeezed Emily Grace’s heart in a vise as the word “witch” reverberated around the meeting house. Her worst nightmare had just materialized in the form of a teenage girl screeching and pulling at her puritan clothing as she accused Em of witchcraft. Em shook her head, her denial drowned out as more voices chanted “witch.” Her terrified gaze locked on Samantha, frozen in place next to the dais, one purple lock of hair accentuating her too pale face.

The sound of the mallet striking the table on the dais and the magistrate shouting for order, added to the chaos of the three teenage girl’s screams and the loud shouts of “witch” by the frenzied villagers. Em’s heart started to pound like a trip hammer and she nearly jumped out of her skin as a commanding voice shouted.


The room became as quiet as a tomb. A chill crawled up Em’s spine as the magistrate’s cold gaze fell on first her and then Sam. “It is our degree that these girls shall be removed to Ingersoll’s Ordinary and examined for the mark of the witch.”
In Witch’s Mark, Em, Megan, and Sam journey back in time to the Salem Witch trials, where one girl is accused of theft, two are accused as witches and heart break ensues as two girls return to their time and one is left behind.

Innocent Tears by Iris Blobel

Ignoring Nadine’s companion, he knelt down in front of the girl and rested his arm on his leg. “Hey, little Muffin!”

“Hi.” Nadine’s reply was shy, nothing more than just a whisper.

They both looked at each other. “Are you my dad?” Nadine asked with slightly more voice, but still hiding behind Emma.

Flynn nodded and replied with warmth in a voice that came straight from his heart. “So it seems.” He just couldn’t get his eyes off the small child. No doubt she was Sarah’s child. He choked back a smile. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, indeed. Flynn stood up and went back to his chair and took the small parcel out of the bag he'd left there. Then he returned and crouched down in front of Nadine again. He gave her a wrapped box. “Buying presents for girls is new for me, so I hope you like it.” Okay, he felt odd, and he knew he owed Joyce big time for this, but how was he supposed to know what young girls liked?

Nadine let go of Emma’s hand and hesitantly came out from behind her. She took the box with both hands and looked at Flynn. “Thank you,” she whispered.

True Colors
(clean fiction for teens and preteens ages 11 and up)
by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Excerpt: The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.