Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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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)!!


Jackal, Click to Buy

The music came to a close, and Juliana joined them near the entrance, where they awaited a maid with his coat and the sisters' cloaks. Juliana's cheeks were rosy, and despite the fact she stood still, her toes continued to tap. "That was so much fun!"

ʺItʹs a good thing we didn't come here to find a husband for either Eudora or Eleanor.ʺ Rupert tried to convince himself he spoke in jest and not jealousy.

Her eyes widened as she peered from him to her sisters. He expected her to berate him for saying it. Instead she laughed. "It appears I completely bungled that one. It's not like me to forget myself so."

Eleanor gave her sister a quick hug. ʺYou were having a marvelous time. How could we begrudge you such fun? Besides, Eudora got to dance with a nice young gentleman.ʺ

"Oh?" Julianaʹs eyebrows climbed as she glanced at the older of her two sisters. "Does this gentleman have a name?"

ʺLucien." Eudora averted her eyes, and, much to his dismay, Rupert realized the girl was well on her way to developing a tendré for the young man. He hoped she would not be too terribly disappointed as the days came and went without young Mr. Fletcher coming to call. The last thing he needed was a hysterical female broken--‐‑hearted because sheʹd been used as a pawn so the minister could get some sort of message to him.


Go Back

Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure.

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Penny awoke to familiar surroundings. She was sitting in a chair in the nurse’s office. She felt a glimmer of hope. Perhaps she had just been sick and brought in here to recover. Maybe this whole thing was just a hallucination. Her hopes sank when she realized that her arms and legs were tied to the chair.

Her heart beat rapidly. She could feel her forehead breaking out in a sweat. If she were to make a list of all of the terrible scenarios that she would never, ever, want to find herself in—and she could imagine many—this would be at the top of that list. Actually, she thought, being in a pit of flesh-eating zombies would be at the top, but this would be a close second.

“Ah, you’re awake.” Snyder didn’t bother trying to hide her devious smile. “We won’t keep up any false pretenses with you, Penelope.” Mrs. Snyder walked closer. “There will be no fake IQ tests or pretend medical examination for traveling overseas. No, none of that.”

Mrs. Snyder moved in so close, Penny could smell stale onions on her breath. “We just need your blood.”

If you are a reader of historical romance and regency novels, this just might be the book for you.

A Chaotic Courtship excerpt:

“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!”

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Love, Lies, and Fireflies

A Christian contemporary romance with elements of suspense.

With sleepy, half-closed eyes, Jake yawned and opened his arms in invitation. Without hesitation, Didi slid into his embrace. “You’re welcome,” he murmured into her ear. He stroked her hair as she nestled into his shoulder. His arms around her were warm and comfy.

Knowing Jake needed his rest, Didi stretched up and planted a light kiss on his cheek. When she tried to let him go, Jake tenderly drew her closer.

“Not this time, Didi.” Pulling back slightly, his gaze full of longing reached out to her. Gentle fingers wound themselves in her hair as he whispered, “Close your eyes.”

His husky voice sent shivers of anticipation down Didi’s spine. Heart pounding, she drew in a deep breath and lowered her eyelashes. Slowly, so slowly, he drew her closer and kissed her with soft, chocolate-scented lips. With her eyes still closed, she melted into him, and he kissed her again—this time not quite so softly.

They stood in the hallway, arms draped around each other, until a drowsy Jake bent back against the door and groaned. “Now I really do have to go before I collapse on your floor, but I’d love to see you again. What are you doing Friday night?” His eyes held a trace of fire as he brushed a strand of hair from her face.

The touch of his fingers on her cheek warmed her heart and gave her shivers. He was a good kisser—no, a great kisser. Beating back apprehension, she made a quick decision. This man was a gentleman, unlike Kevin. “Instead of going out, why don’t you come here? I’ll make dinner if you bring popcorn and a movie. Does that work for you?”

“A nice, quiet evening sounds wonderful, but don’t fuss over dinner. I’m easy to please. Around seven?”

“Perfect.” He leaned in for a swift final kiss, and Didi was charmed that he seemed to have a hard time letting her go.

Buy Link -

If you are looking for a sweet, fall contemporary romance, check out Autumn Leaves.

Angie Demarco is a small town, family girl. She’s the ultimate peace keeping middle daughter of a tight knit family in southeastern Tennessee. When the youngest girl announces to the family that she’s pregnant at 17, it sends shock waves through the family, and Angie finds herself picking up the pieces.

Carter Haage is an active duty soldier stationed two hours north of Angie and her family at Fort Campbell. Upon returning from an arduous deployment, he and some friends take a much needed retreat to her small town.

While Angie and Carter are instantly drawn to each other, the timing is terrible for both of them. Angie is trying to untangle her family’s drama. Carter has committed himself to serve our country. This is a contemporary clean romance novel with a lot of heart, redemption, and family angst.

She was so absorbed in her musings that she hadn’t noticed the pounding feet beside her that had been beside her for a good mile already. The gym had fifteen open treadmills, who had decided to take the one right next to hers?

She glanced sideways, trying to take care with her footing and also not stare outright at the idiot while determining what she was dealing with.

Carter grinned back at her. It was a huge, carefree grin that said, “Aren’t you glad to see me?” without actually saying anything.

While maintaining a careful check on her feet, Angie noticed him push some buttons on the console. His speed increased. He wagged his eyebrows at her in challenge.

She bit her inner lip while keeping from embarrassing them both with the ridiculous grin she felt tugging at the corners of her mouth. She reached down and increased speed.

This was fast. Angie was forced to keep her eyes locked ahead of her, but she quickly found the power button on her phone and turned it all off, music and everything so that she could at least hear the rhythm of Carter’s pounding feet beside her.

Now that sound was comforting and demanding her to push, not the annoyance it had first presented.

A thousand thoughts flitted through Angie’s mind. He was flirting with her, right? She was not accustomed to the sensation, and she did not trust herself with it. But she also couldn’t deny the joy bubbling up within her.

But then, it was just the running, heart hammering, arms pumping, legs flying, eyes focused ahead as the full onslaught of the speed took over. She heard Carter beside her and pushed harder, until she was gasping for air and reached for the bright red stop cord. She wasn’t sure she’d ever used it before.

She stuck her head between her knees and forced deep breathes, a giddy feeling overwhelmed her. She glanced up to see Carter beside her, also having abandoned his treadmill. Of course, he was not bent over wheezing like she was, but she didn’t care.

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If you're looking for slightly spooky YA fantasy/sci-fi now that Halloween is on its way, maybe The MirrorMasters is for you! It's set at the end of a school year, but it's got a bit of a paranormal element, along with some scary--and way cool--magic. Oh, and a save-the-galaxy quest.

Amazon Buy Link:

Here's a little excerpt:

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.

Come Eat at My Table (on sale right now!)
Amazon -

When the girls came home from school one day in early October, Karin met them at the door with buckets.
“What are these for?” Hope wanted to know.
“Man! I thought we were done with all the fruit picking stuff!” Hope whined.
“Almost,” Karin assured her. “At least for this year.”
“Let me change my clothes,” Faith said. Apples were her favorite fruit. Maybe if she picked some her mom would make apple dumplings for supper. “What’s for dinner?” she asked.
Karin smiled, reading her daughter’s thoughts, “Maybe apple dumplings.”
“Let me go change, too!” Hope’s attitude suddenly changed. She enjoyed apple dumplings almost as much as Faith.
Their mom’s apple dumplings had a nice crispy outside, while the inside was soft and sweet with apples, cinnamon, and sugar. They would often drizzle ice, cold milk over them if they were for dinner or whipped cream if they were a dessert.
As the girls were on their way out the door Karin hollered, “See if the pears are ready, too.”
When they were gone Karin sat down. She had to come up with something quick for the girls to do. She had been in the middle of her devotions and prayer. Normally she was done by now, but she was struggling with something. One passage kept her mind going crazy. Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.’” It was a verse she had read before, but this time it was different. It was personal.
It seemed like God was trying to tell her something. Every time she read it, faces from her past came to mind. She saw her father, her mother, her stepmother, her stepsisters, and her step uncle. She never thought she would be able to forgive them for all they had done to her. If she were to be honest, she hadn’t even thought of them over the years, at least up until she ran into Harriet Taylor at the gas station last December. Everything seemed to go downhill from there as far as forgiving and forgetting.
With the approaching holidays many memories from her past came back. These were memories she hadn’t recalled in a long time and not many of them were good. She thought of the Christmas mornings when she sat off to the side with her two or three dollar store presents while her stepsisters opened gift after beautiful gift. Not that presents meant everything to her, even as a child, but it should have been the one time of year that she actually felt like she was loved. But she hadn’t.
She thought of all the holiday parties where everyone got new dress-up clothes and she didn’t. Karin would have been happy to wear an old thrift store dress, if only she had been allowed to go to the parties. She was always told, “When you’re older,” but older never came. After that, the excuse was, “You weren’t invited.”

HIGH SUMMONS by Eli Celata

A chance to win a free copy at from Amazon Giveaway:

Amazon Buy Link:



“Jordan?” I called cautiously. He didn’t respond. Stepping
out into the alley, I trudged up beside him. “Jordan?” I asked again,
reaching out to put a hand on his shoulder.

He jumped and backed away. “Go back inside, Jon.”

“You can’t keep brushing me off.” There was only so many
times a guy could stand being ignored.

He licked his lips. Rocking back and forth, he went from still
to an explosion of fidgeting movement. His hands clenched
and unclenched. Tossing a hand to the side, he sent tendrils of fire
down one end of the alley while his other hand shot lightning at
the ground. Jordan gritted his teeth, and I jumped back. The stoic
calm I’d come to expect from Jordan had shattered. While his
expressions had aged him before, he looked almost younger than
me in his strange tantrum.

“I killed him,” he snarled. “I killed the one creature on this
forsaken rock who had done anything for me.” He slammed his fist
into the other side of the alley. I hoped nobody was home to feel
the foundation shake beneath the strength of Jordan’s strike. “I
didn’t grow up in this, boy. I grew up with a suicidal maniac for a
mother and a father who’d rather have set the entire world on fire
than help a single living soul! His own son included! You want to
know why there’re so few magic users left? Do you?” Jordan
stormed at me. He got right up in my face with all five foot nine of
his height and towered like Goliath. “You can thank Ezekiel
Ostairius. He left over five hundred screaming in pain in a single

Landry in Like (clean teen fiction)
by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Excerpt: “This is going to be so much fun!” Devon said as she opened the door. We all walked in and instantly my head felt weird and I tripped. My eyes had to adjust to the light as it was way darker inside, and everything was outlined in neon and lights. It was like a huge warehouse, and it was noisy and crowded. I wanted to turn around and call Mr. Allen to save me from this big, scary mob. But the other girls were all smiling. Even Peyton. Great, I was the only one wetting my pants in fear. Liv saw some guys she knew so we walked over to watch them play pool. Almost immediately a group of boys came over and bought sodas for Kendall, Liv, Valine, India, and Devon. I went to say something to Peyton when I noticed she had a soda in her hand, too.

Just then one of the guys bumped into me. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you there,” he said.

“No worries,” I said. I’m just the invisible soda-less one. Don’t mind me, I wasn’t thirsty anyway.

Kendall glanced at her phone. “My brother texted me that he and Vladi are here already. Do you want to go find them?” I nodded.

“Does he know I’m here?”

She shook her head. “No, I wasn’t sure if you were coming or not when I talked to him, so I just told him you might be coming. They usually hang out over at the air hockey table.”

I tried texting Ashanti again, but no response. Was it too loud in here for her to hear her phone, or was she too busy having fun to care? Liv and Peyton came with us to go look for Steve and Vladi. Liv spotted them over by some couches. Vladi was sitting on the edge of an ottoman and a red-haired girl was leaning over and whispering in his ear. He was nodding and looking around. She put her hand on his arm and leaned forward.

“Oh man, that does not look good,” Liv said.

“He doesn’t seem interested in her,” Kendall said. “He’s looking everyplace but at her. I’ve known him for years, and if he likes a girl then he has razor focus. Trust me.”

I felt a little queasy when she said that. How many girls had she seen him be interested in?

Peyton put her hand on my arm. “It does seem like she’s more into him.”

We watched as Vladi pulled out his phone and started texting.

“See? You don’t text when you’re with someone you like,” Kendall said, folding her arms. “That would just be rude.”

The redhead moved closer and now had both her hands on his upper arm. My eyes stung with tears.

“Clingy, much?” Liv said. “She’s, like, a stalker.”

“Do you want me to go over there?” Kendall asked. I shook my head, willing myself not to throw up on the floor.