Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

header photo

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)!!


Mail Order Man, Click to Buy

As the women gathered up their plates from their basket, Mrs. Smith gave Samuel’s plate to Sarah so she could pass it to him. Mrs. Smith led the way, followed by Minnie. Sarah was right behind Minnie, but she paused long enough by Samuel to hand him his plate. When he took it from her, his fingers brushed across hers. Sarah jumped back as though she, too, had felt lightning dance between them at that passing touch.

Looking into her eyes, eyes that reminded him of the greenest lake kissed by grey clouds, he saw something that made him want to sink into her expression. Taking him entirely by surprise, though, a flash of shame crossed her face, and then she averted her gaze. Puzzled, he walked with the women toward the food tables. Shame was not a word he would have ever thought to associate with Sarah Jenkins.


Go Back

Part of Chapter One from Phantom Love, a serialized novel I'm posting on my blog. Read the rest of Chapter One at New chapters posted each Friday starting tomorrow.

Chapter One excerpt, Phantom Love

Jared Quinby stared at the printouts of chat transcripts scattered on his bed, willing the words to make sense. He’d been pouring over the material for far too long and now his left leg cramped, muscles bunching and twisting beneath the marred surface.

Gritting his teeth and willing his left leg to support his weight, he hobbled to the dresser and reached for the bottle of pain relievers. Pain made his fingers clumsy and it took him four tries to wrestle it open. After dry-swallowing the Percocet, Jared closed his eyes. He had to get out of his cousin’s house and into his own place. Coming here seemed like a good idea two months ago.

His cell phone chirped and he lumbered to the bedside table to answer it before it went to voice mail. “Hello.” A quick glance at the alarm clock on the bedside table showed the time: 2:35 a.m. No wonder he was tired.

“Oh, fantastic, you’re awake.” Will Fulton sounded way too chipper this early in the morning.

“Couldn’t sleep, so thought I would work on the case.” Jared sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed his eyes. “What’s up?”

“I think I found something interesting. Are you online?”

“Yes.” Jared leaned over and pulled the laptop toward him. Will rattled off a URL. Jared keyed in the website and watched the page load. Slowly. “It’ll take a minute.” Another reason to move—he needed a faster Internet connection like yesterday. The Soul Believers site unveiled itself like a bride at the altar. Will had better not be trying to set him up—he knew Jared had sworn off women after what happened the last time. “It looks like a Christian dating site.”

“Yes, but this relates to the case, not your personal life.” Will chuckled.

“Enlighten me.” Jared tried not to take offense. His personal life was not something he wanted to discuss with Will or even himself.

“Our tech guy saw something in the chat transcripts that pointed to this site.”

“Which one?”

Jared heard pages rustling. “It’s labeled ‘Cynthia B.,’ and dated January 8.”

Jared flipped through his copies. “Okay, got it.”

“Do you see the username at the top of the page?”

“Yeah. ‘Wildcat.’” He shook his head. “This guy is sure full of himself, with a name like that.”

“From what I’ve read, the ladies love his smooth talk. Maybe you should take some notes.”

“Ha, ha, very funny. What’s the connection?” Jared shifted on the bed to get his leg into a more comfortable position.

“The tech went behind the scenes and found that Wildcat prefers a certain type of woman on Soul Believers.”

“What’s the motive?”

The Governess' Debut ~ Can the governess charm both the spoiled child and the haughty earl?
Available wherever ebooks are sold, including Amazon:


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.

From "The Wrangler's Woman" in Barbour's bestselling collection, The Cowboy's Bride.

Josiah pulled Rena to a stop in front of Hobson’s Mercantile. That blasted stagecoach rattled all the smooth words from his mind that he’d planned to say to Corra. Words he’d hoped might make her consider staying on after Beatrice’s visit. In a more permanent capacity.

He reined in his irritation and lifted Corra from the wagon seat, catching the pleasant blush it brought to her face. He preferred that method of helping her down, and he would take every opportunity he got. In a fit of genteel manners, he offered his elbow and she took it. They crossed the boardwalk to the door, and she stopped and looked up at him.

“Would you mind picking up the few items I have on this list?” She pulled a slip of paper from her small bag and handed it to him. “I would so appreciate every moment I can spare to visit with Letty.”

And he would so appreciate spending the rest of his days with her beside him at the ranch. “No trouble at all.”

She touched his arm with that fiery hand of hers. “Thank you.” Then she left him standing there with his gullet full of words he couldn’t say and his heart stampeding through his chest.

Opening scene from Swim Season, now available for preorder on Amazon. Release date: November 1st

Aunt Mags didn't say a word on the way to the high school and neither did I. We were up and out too early for anything more than, "Got everything?" "Uh huh," and "Let's go." We'd left the house before her first cup of coffee and she was not in a talkative mood.

It was just after dawn, the moon still visible as the sun peeked out over the horizon. A chill in the air hinted at summer's end. I regretted leaving my sweatshirt behind, although after swim practice the sun would be shining and we'd be back to the mid-August heat.

We arrived at the school and a deserted parking lot. Mags parked her minivan at the athletics entrance.

"Are you sure it starts at 6:45?" she asked.

"Positive," I said.​

She yawned. "Looks like you're the first one here."

"I doubt it."

Today was the first day of swim season. Tryouts started at 7 a.m. The coach had instructed all wannabe swimmers to be on the pool deck no later than 6:45. My experience as a varsity athlete told me that anyone with any degree of competitiveness had already arrived. I had five minutes to spare.

"Want me to walk in with you?" Mags asked.

My horror at her suggestion must have been all over my face, because she said, "Sorry. Having a teenager is new to me. My girls would beg me to walk them into that big, scary building." We looked at the three-storied hodgepodge put together over the years to house Two Rivers High School.

"I can take it from here." I was sure I’d remember the meandering route to the pool area from the tour we took when we registered for my senior year.

She still looked anxious. "Sure you're all right?"

"Don't worry. I've got this routine down pat." Two Rivers would be my third high school. I played the role of new girl so well I deserved an Oscar.

I opened the door and hopped out. "Don't hang around waiting for me to call for a ride home," I said, reaching back to grab my bag. "I'm not sure when I'll get out, and I don't want to mess up your day. I'm okay to walk."

Aunt Mags nodded, and I shut the door.

"Don't forget we're going school shopping later on," she said through the open window.

"Got it."

“Go get 'em, Aerin." She gave me a thumbs-up.
I shot her a grin, hoisted my bag over my shoulder, and went off to join the Two Rivers High School Girls Varsity Swim and Dive Team.

Everlasting is on Sale!! Everlasting... a Young Adult Paranormal Romance Read is .99 for a limited time!

We stood there and looked around, an awkward silence playing between us. Then he stepped closer and took my hand in his, sending a bolt of staggering electricity zipping through my chest. “Her hand fits perfectly in mine.” He whispered this, as if confirming it with someone. His gaze locked on it, analyzing, then with a shake of his head, he spoke louder. “Sophia, I’m sorry. I …I lied to you.”
I looked at him—bewilderment crinkling my face—and tried to understand. “Lied?” My voice broke. “I don’t get it.”
“I wasn’t sick that day. Well, in a way I was, I guess. The truth is, I was gut-sick. That guy …he was sitting by you the whole day ...and …and he never left your side. I’d check throughout the day, but he was still there. I couldn’t help it. I was insanely jealous.” He looked down, his tone deepening as he flexed his fingers that were still laced through mine.
“What?” His words astounded me. I swiped my brow with my free hand. “You were jealous …of me?”
He released my hand and paced back and forth, the nervousness seeping through as he wrung his hands. “I know it’s stupid, but I couldn’t help myself. I love the way you laugh and …I like you, Sophia …a lot, and it hurt me to see you with someone else.”
He lifted his hair off his forehead, pushing it up. His eyes locked on mine again, captivating me. I couldn’t look away. My self-consciousness took over—heckling me. The way I looked right now—with my hair a matted mess from the mist, and no makeup on—must look ridiculous. I drew away, making myself smaller.
I laughed my nervous laugh and kicked the sand with my shoe. “Who, him? You mean …Brian?” My words wobbled, but I giggled, unable to believe that Brian talking to me could make anyone jealous.

Ronan's Blood Vow
Lonely Irishman Ronan O’Neill wants a place to call home and a woman to love – more than anything.
Ronan lifted his head to find the woman he noticed before the fight standing at his side. At close range, he found her beautiful. Her delicate features could have been those of an expensive china doll. He could get lost in her dark eyes, so deep and filled with mystery. Her full pink lips begged to be kissed. With interest, despite his hurts, he smiled at her and said, “Aye, well, it’s never so bad. I’ll fare well enough if I stop the blood.”
“I reckon I can tend to your wounds,” she said. “I don’t have anything here, though. You’d have to come home with me.”
Not one to trust much of anyone unless they earned it, Ronan trusted her. He didn’t understand why. But his instincts did and so did Ronan. Her willingness to bring him home surprised him, though, because most women wouldn’t risk their reputation, especially not with a stranger such as him. “Aye, I will, then,” he said. “I hope home’s not far?”

Here's an excerpt of my YA sci-fi/fantasy, The MirrorMasters:


Barnes and Noble:

The cool water invigorated me as it splashed against my skin. I wiped my hands and patted my face dry with a towel, meeting my eyes in the mirror. In the florescent lighting, my complexion shone snow-pale, ghostly pale, even though I’d already started working on a "summer tan." It was a hopeless cause.

Jenny should have showed by now. Kevin should have, too. He didn’t have to babysit tonight. My nerves would ease, at least a little, once all my friends arrived. I wanted to hear Kevin say he didn’t notice anything strange by the cemetery. It would start there, if anywhere, and he lived the closest to it.

The lights flickered, then went out. Startled, I jumped. Darkness and the scent of cucumber-melon air freshener enveloped me. My breaths quickened. Limbs trembling, I groped for the light switch and managed to find it, but flicking it up and down did nothing. Midway toward the doorknob, my hand paused as a bright flash in the mirror caught my gaze. I froze.
Where was that light coming from? This bathroom didn’t have a window.

It was coming from the mirror.

Transfixed, I saw the images in fragments. A soft glow of white light amid the trees. A blonde girl struggling out on the church grounds to protect herself and her sister — the Stanford twins! — against a man with ice-blue eyes. Strange symbols on his weapon that flashed, faster and faster, and hummed, higher and higher in pitch until it emitted a burst of green energy. One sister crumpled, while a boy with those same ice-blue eyes chased the other into the woods.

Then a wave of a hand, and shattered glass reassembling itself. Lightning bolts of electricity from a dark, cloaked figure striking a brunette girl. Her body, small and slender, falling to the floor — Jenny?

A hole in the ground, surrounded by headstones.

I stepped back, toward implied safety. That did not just happen. Oh, blazes, it did. The last trace shadows of a freshly dug grave, now covered, lingered in the glass.

"What is that?" My voice sounded small and tight to my ears in this enclosed space. I rubbed my arms in a vain effort to warm myself. Goosebumps prickled all along them. Dread seized me, settling like lead in the pit of my stomach.

I blinked as the images disappeared, leaving me in complete blackness again. Heart pounding in my chest with a desperate need to escape, I fumbled for the doorknob, barely restraining the impulse to pound the door like a crazy person when my fingers failed to find it. Out in the game room, I heard the patio door slide open. Kevin said something to David and Kara, but his words were muffled, indistinct, worried. A jolt of fear shot through me. What if Kevin told them Jenny had been hurt — or worse — just like the mirror had shown?

"Leah, come on," David called.

"Coming!" My hand finally grasped the doorknob. When I turned it and pushed, the bathroom door wouldn’t budge. I pushed again, harder. The door still didn’t move. "Guys, wait! I’m stuck."

Their only reply was the sliding glass door slamming shut.

From "Finding Hope in Savannah"
This story will be FREE Aug 25th- 29th
****Setting - Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA****
They walked in silence until they came and stood before the fountain. Liz was in awe of its beauty. Water poured from every figure that surrounded the large basin and random characters of swans and mermen that were scattered in the pool. At the top stood a woman draped in cloth who held a staff in her hand. She was breathtaking as she stood there with courage, her face showing no fear. Liz wanted to be like that, to stand in the face of adversity and show no fear.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Jake’s voice hummed through her ears and went straight to her heart.
“I’m just admiring her,” Liz told him as she nodded toward the woman.
“How so?”
“She’s brave and strong. There is no fear of what is coming at her. She knows she will be the victor in the end. I want to be like that.”
She heard Jake take a deep breath and felt him pull her to his side. He gently wrapped an arm around her and whispered in her ear. “But you are.”
Liz pulled back a bit to get a better look at him as he continued. “Look at what you are facing now. Yet again, everything you know to be true is tipping on its axis and even though you feel fear, you don’t show it. That, Lizzy girl, is courage. And instead of admiring a statue, I’ll choose to look at the stunning woman before me who actually is living through adversity and handling it well. Far better than I would have.”
A tear fell from her eyes as Jake caught it and wiped it away with his thumb. She searched his eyes in anticipation when his hand didn’t leave her face but instead cupped her cheek. Such love poured from him and she surrendered to the fact that she never wanted to leave this place. She was done running and ready to show the bravery he said he could see in her.

A Chaotic Courtship

Available on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords for $3.99
“I thought you’d never get here!” Sarah said, ignoring my question completely as she spun to face me. I frowned at her as I put my outside garments away. She seemed highly agitated, a state which I had seldom seen her in. “Diana, I must speak with you!”
“About what?” I asked calmly.
Sarah took up pacing, and for a moment I believed she wasn’t going to continue with whatever she wanted to say. “You must listen to me for once in your life!” she finally said, as
though I had been disagreeable.
Sinking onto our bed, I tried to hide a smile. “Then come out and tell me what has you in such a state.”
“I think Mr. Richfield is the highwayman!”
My smile faded instantly as I stared at her. How had she come up with this ridiculous idea? “You what?” I asked in astonishment.
“There, I’ve said it!” Sarah collapsed into the chair at the dressing table. “I’ve considered the matter carefully, Diana, and as your sister, I could not let you become attached to such a black-hearted criminal!”
I couldn’t help but laugh in response to that absurd notion. “Blackhearted criminal? You cannot be serious, Sarah. I have never heard anything so outlandish. Have you been reading my novels?”
“Diana, I am being completely serious! Stop laughing!”
“How can I take you seriously when everything you say is utter nonsense? Why would you possibly think Mr. Richfield, a true gentleman if I’ve ever met one, is a common criminal?”
Sarah leaned forward, her eyes wide. “Don’t you remember what Aunt Forester said at dinner yesterday?” she asked, lowering her voice for some reason. She acted like she was about to disclose some deep secret to me, and I found myself leaning closer. “About the highwayman being around the Bath area?”
Thinking back, I did in fact remember the conversation and our aunt’s comment. “Yes, of course I remember. What about it?”
“Mr. Richfield was there!”
I failed to follow her line of reasoning. “I’m sure a great many people were in Bath at the same time, Sarah. Aunt and Uncle Forester, for example, were there for two months, I believe.”
Shaking her head, Sarah groaned. “Don’t be obtuse, Diana! You have to see the connection here. Mr. Richfield was in Bath when a highwayman terrorized innocent people. And now, he’s here, where a highwayman has mysteriously appeared to threaten our peaceful home!”

Available on Nook and Kindle for 99¢.

He looked down, sorrow flooding his face. He cleared his throat before continuing. “I know. I shouldn’t have lied. When I found out about Chrissy, I felt broken. I felt like I had come to know Christ too late. That my life would never be the same and that it couldn’t be repaired. I didn’t know how I would tell you and I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a father.” He paused, gathering his thoughts. “Mia, when I held Chrissy for the first time, I couldn’t help but see the good in all my mess. I finally believed the scripture that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God’.”
Mia watched him as he spoke. Watching his eyes light up, she couldn’t help but believe him. Deep down she had known she couldn’t blame him for his past. Everyone had a past. To remain angry would go against every teaching of Christ she believed in. Let go. She looked down, feeling the tears well up in her eyes.
“But there’s something you don’t know. Something I’ve been trying to tell you for years now. The reason I constantly searched for you.”
She froze, holding her breath. What more could he possibly have to reveal?