Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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Wordy Wednesday

October 26, 2016

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)!!


An Informal ArrangementClick to Buy

“No, no, don’t flush the toilet!”

Maddie ran into the room, assessed the situation, and placed her hand on the patient’s shoulder, shaking him lightly. “Mr. Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins, it’s just a dream.” This was her first day working with him, but he’d been on the unit for a while. Nothing in his file indicated a history of night terrors or bad dreams.

The man in the bed groaned and thrashed. “Not… albino… horned toa’… Please, no.” Was he talking about toes or — a shudder tore through her — toads?

Had he seen one? She fought a shiver as she searched the immediate vicinity. No toads — horned or otherwise — in sight. He was obviously dreaming, but still… What did a horned toad look like, anyway? Not a frog with antlers, surely.

Every off-white nook and cream-colored cranny of the room came under careful scrutiny as Maddie continued speaking to her distressed patient. “Mr. Jenkins, wake up. You’re having a nightmare.”

His eyelids fluttered for a moment before opening. When he saw her, Mr. Jenkins’ eyes grew wide. A remnant of sleep slowed his voice. “Is everything okay?”

What was she supposed to say to that? Tell the poor man he’d awakened her deep-seated dislike of all creatures not cute and furry? Or worse, explain how that dislike had been birthed?

“You, uh, were having a dream.” Brilliant response.


Go Back

The Starlight Inn: A Tillie Spencer Novella -- releasing Oct. 27

Not wanting to interrupt her call, or worse, eavesdrop any further, Nick backed away from the door and waited for her to finish. The inflection and hurt in her voice filtered into the hall. From the bit of information he’d gathered, she was a Christmas baby.

He jumped when the door slammed with a bang. Now he didn’t know whether to knock again or come back later.

With all he had to attend to, there really wasn’t much of an option. He knocked and waited. Ella opened the door with a smile, though it didn’t come close to reaching her eyes. He smiled back. “I brought your things.”

“Thanks.” She reached for the handle and her hand brushed against his, sending a surge of electricity up his arm. Their eyes locked momentarily, but she didn’t hold the gaze. “What time is dinner?”



“Yes, please. The establishment frowns upon guests who dine without their clothes on.”
Ella looked up, a spark lighting her eyes, and a slip of a smile lifted the corner of her mouth. “Good to know. Allow me to rephrase. Should my attire be casual or dressy?”

“We don’t hold to a dress code, but most of our guests tend to range between formal and semi-formal.” He chuckled. “I gotta tell you, though, Tillie sets the bar pretty high. I can hardly wait to see what she wears this year.” He handed over the garment bag. “As for you, I’m guessing there’s some sort of party dress in there?”

Ella chewed the corner of her lip. “Let me guess. You overheard my conversation.”

“Just a small part. The door was ajar, and . . . ” He shrugged.

“It’s okay. I don’t blame Eva for being upset. This birthday was really important to her. If I hadn’t taken on so much work, I’d be in New York instead of here.”

“Wait. Your sister’s name is Eva, as in Eve, and yours is Noella, as in Christmas?”

“That’s what happens when your twin is born on Christmas Eve, you on Christmas Day, and your parents obviously have no imagination.” Ella hung the garment bag in the ornate armoire.

“I’m glad to learn I’m not the only one.”

Ella pulled her brows together in a frown. “Care to explain?”

“Believe it or not, I was born on Christmas day too, and my folks couldn’t think of anything more original than Nicholas.”

“As in Saint Nicholas?” She chuckled. “I hope I’m more creative, if and when the time ever comes for me to marry and have kids.”

Warmth filled Nick’s chest. She had just answered one of the many questions he had about her.

Buying Love
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.

Thank you for the excerpts. I have read a couple of the stories, but, now, I want to read them all. :-)

From Swim Season, a new release

Practice was tough that afternoon. Coach put us through the paces, working us hard.

“What is he doing to us?” Mel asked between sets. We’d stopped in the shallow end to regroup.

“It’s only the Eagles. They’re 5-3. We’ve got this.”

“They beat the Boxers yesterday,” Tati said.

“No way!” Mel said. “Only two teams ever beat the Boxers –the Bears and us.”

“They’ve got some new stars on their team: a flyer, a sprinter, and a distance swimmer. And their relays are crazy fast. Coach is worried.”

“A sprinter? How fast?” Mel’s eyes bugged out. She was starting to frighten me.

“25.75 yesterday, a win.”

Mel sagged against the pool wall. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t know these things.”

“Sorry,” Tati said. “Does it make a difference?”

“Well, yeah, because I’ll be up all night worrying about the 50’ s when I’d rather sleep like a baby.”

“Don’t psych yourself out, Mel. Think positive. Envision coming in first. If you see it, you’ll believe it, and if you believe it you’ll achieve it.” Tati quoted Coach. She was turning out to be a great team captain, understanding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and acting as head cheerleader.

“A little competition is a good thing,” Erica said. Her season was right on track. She’d qualified for the Division Championships in all of her events, beat her personal best in the fly twice, and had recruiters sending her emails and letters every day.

“It’s good for all of us,” Tati said, the reigning queen. So far, no one was positioned to steal her crown. Other than the event where she lost to the Chinese exchange student, she’d won all of her races –the 100, the 200, the 500, and all of her relays. Her times hovered close to her personal bests. She was on target to break her own record in the 100 and 200, and then smash Allison Singer’s 500 record and win the scholarship. It was her year. Her father probably had his phone glued to his ear 24/ 7 fielding calls from recruiters. To date, Tati hadn’t said a word about which college she planned to attend.

“What about their breaststroker?” asked a worried Charlie.

“No worries, Charlie,” Tati said. “You’ve got it.”

So many new books to look forward to! And now I gotta know what was up with horned toads...

The Governess' Debut - a sweet, regency romance
~ 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.

~ Happy Reading :-) ~

All 3 of these books sound really good! I own Heather's book, and will look at Lucie's tomorrow. I've never read any of Toni', but have A Life to Live. Wish there was more time in the day! Too bad I can't just read all day! LOL!

I liked the excerpts I read. They all sound like great books.

Enjoyed reading about all three books above. I don't care for things that hop either! Love the way Toni writes, so how we think about things, and had me cracking up. And Lucie's book, well I have seen the cover and it's just so inviting & like who doesn't enjoy a great Christmas story? It was neat the way the main characters were all born either the day before Christmas (I have a nephew who was also born on Christmas Eve-Noel) or on Christmas Day.

Holiday Escape
A Team Macachek Sweet Romance

“How’d you end up on this cruise?” he asked, twirling Bridget to the left to avoid another couple on the increasingly crowded floor. “I think we may be the only two guests under the age of sixty.”

“That’s one of the reasons I chose it.”

“Really?” Conversation was helping. He wasn’t quite as acutely aware of the soft fabric of Bridget’s dress or her fingers twined in his. “You go for older men?” he teased.

Bridget pulled as far away from him as she could while keeping her hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t come for romance.”

Conversation was definitely helping, like a bucket of cold water.

“I needed to get away from all of the family celebrations this year.”

“You, too? I couldn’t take the annual familial critique and my falling short of their standards, as always.”

Her eyes narrowed.

That was a jerk thing to say. He’d insulted her family by assuming she was escaping for reasons similar to his. Other families weren’t like his. He’d learned that in elementary school. Luke’s shoulders slumped. Even in his family, Bridget would be a success. Physical therapy was a skilled profession, although his family would encourage her to become an orthopedic surgeon.

“No, my family is very understanding, maybe too understanding.”

Luke nodded. He did have Uncle Ralph, who’d always gotten him. Great minds think alike, Ralph said. More like birds of a feather flock together.
“Tonight.” Her voice caught. “Was supposed to be my wedding. I probably would have been dancing at our reception about now. Honeymooning on the slopes in Lake Placid tomorrow.”

Luke gazed into her misty blue eyes.

The music stopped, and she pulled away. “I couldn’t take them all looking at me like you are now, and everybody avoiding talking about Jeff.”

Luke grabbed her arm before she ran away to her cabin as he suspected was her plan. His hand spasmed, gripping her harder than he’d meant. Add that to probably ruining her evening by asking why she was here and reminding her of things she’d come to escape for a while. He was getting jerkdom down to a science tonight.

“Wait. Let’s take a walk on the lido deck. Talk. You shouldn’t be alone right now.”

She drew her lips into a straight line.

Challenging his telling her what she needed? He released her arm and raised his hands in surrender. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”

The line curved into a smile. “You forget,” she said. “I know you and your behavior.”

“That’s all hearsay. Was I ever anything other than a perfect gentleman during all the time of my therapy?”

“A little more flirtatious than most of my clients, but a gentleman.”

Luke shrugged. “I like women, all women.”

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