Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

header photo

Wordy Wednesday

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)!!


Redemption - Click to Buy

Nodding, she craned her neck to see around the officer. He tried to block her view, but she caught a peek inside. A strangled gasp escaped her lips. With strength out of place in her small frame, she shoved past the policeman and dashed into their quarters. Her husband of not quite three years, William Drake, lay in a pool of blood, almost unrecognizable. His corpse lay there beaten – nay, bludgeoned – to death. His lifeless eyes stared off into the distance. "W-what happened?" she asked, her voice hoarse.

"Mrs. Drake." The man speaking wore his somber expression as comfortably as he wore his suit – both were threadbare from too much use. "I need to ask where you've been these past two hours."

Trying desperately to pull her eyes away from her husband's corpse, she fought to speak. "An errand." The words felt as if they were being pulled from her throat. "I had an errand to run."

"Where, Mrs. Drake?"

About a year into their marriage, William had stopped pursuing his journalism career. He was always either deep in his cups or giving up their every possession at the gaming tables. Going to work had become necessary, but she wasn't sure how she felt about exposing that part of her life to the man in the suit, a virtual stranger. It had been easy enough to step into Will's shoes and take over his position at the newspaper. She did her writing in secret, and everything was published under the name Will Drake, the byline her husband had used.

Minnie didn't know how to explain her job to these men without feeling the shame and embarrassment of having to admit both facts – that her husband was a sluggard who'd forced his wife to support him and that most of San Francisco believed her to be a man. Little encouragement was to be found in the stern faces of the officers, and she began to question whether either claim would be believable.

Looking into the eyes of the suited man, she saw something dreadful. Minnie lifted her hand to her throat in foreboding. "You suspect me, then, in my husband's death." It wasn't a question. She could see the truth of it on the detective's face.

"Answer the question, Mrs. Drake. Where have you been?"

"Everywhere but where I should have been, it would seem," she said softly.

Go Back

Here's an excerpt of my YA fantasy adventure, The MirrorMasters. I'm running an Amazon giveaway, and in case you don't win, It's on sale for just $0.99 through September 1!

Giveaway Link:


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.

Day Moon (Tomorrow's Edge Book 1)
Book Trailer:
Read More:

“Everywhere I look there’s some kind of trap or clue to a puzzle I never meant to try to solve.”

“I guess I can understand that,” Lara said, a grimace on her face.

“Are you sure?”

“No, but I like you enough to give myself time to figure it out.”

Elliott’s cheeks grew rosy and he wanted to apologize, to erase the hurt in her cocoa eyes, but he couldn’t begin to frame it in a way that would cover it justly.

He couldn’t let it end on that note. He had to turn it in the right direction. The words came to him in a rush and, like a wave crashing on the shore and then receding, they escaped his grasp again. The only person I trust right now is Christ, but you’re the closest anyone else could come.

Those words remained out of his grasp because vexation descended upon him as he wondered at the truth of the words. Am I really trusting Christ? Grandpa used to tell me, “Perfect love drives out fear,” but that certainly doesn’t look anything like how I act.

More than Lara’s ire, this realization hurt him. He was truly failing everyone.

Before him stood the doors to the library. Elliott noticed Lara’s arms were crossed and tense. Grasping the door, he pulled it open and said, “Lovely ladies before bumbling, and apologetic, boyfriends.” The taste of iron drifted faintly onto his tongue as he bit down on his cheek in horror at what he had just said.

Lara rolled her eyes, but her posture relaxed as she strolled in. Elliott couldn’t be sure, but he thought she wore the ghost of a smile as well.

Inside the library, things looked much like their last visit, largely empty with lights dimmer than most buildings of similar purpose in more developed cities. Behind the circulation desk, Elliott caught a flicker of motion, as Rosalyn saw them and stiffened as if they were specters rather than patrons.

Shooting Lara a quick glance, Elliott shrugged. Lara shrugged back and mouthed, “Go ahead.”

By the time the pair made it to the desk’s edge, Rosalyn had regained some of her composure. The librarian’s discomfort was seemingly displaced by confusion…and annoyance?

Before either teen could speak, she addressed them both in an even, but clearly strained tone. “Why are you both here?”

“We ran into some…complications following the tips you gave us,” Elliott replied, trying not to sound abashed over circumstances that were not his fault.

“And you think I can do something about it?”

“No,” Elliott rejoined, “but you can give us some answers. Like, what is going on, and what my grandfather was trying to clue us into.”

Rosalyn’s arms were perpendicular to one another and she rested her head in the palm of the vertical. A faint moaning sound escaped her lips. “You both think you can find answers here? Wonderful. We’re all as good as dead.”

"BUILDING BENJAMIN" (Biblical fiction from Judges 19-21)
Catching grapes in your mouth...


Before she knew what was happening, an object pelted her in the nose and fell to the ground. Of all the childish games! Staying balanced on the uneven trail was task enough, let alone leaning off the side of a mule.

"Tis a waste," she scolded.

"Not if you catch it." Isa chomped on another grape. His cheeks puffed as if he had stuffed an entire cluster in his mouth.

"Did we not meet these girls in a vineyard?"

"Meet? Did he jest?"

Eliab stifled a laugh. "Give her a warning. They may not be as quick in Shiloh."

Another grape tapped her cheek and plunged to the dirt.

She envisioned flinging something harder than a grape at their cackling faces. She sat straighter.

"You did not call my name."

"Naomi," Eliab blurted out.

Humiliation would come swiftly if she missed the next grape. Opening her mouth, she thrust herself forward and bit down. Sweet, watery syrup soothed her tongue. A victory.

Isa clapped.

She wiped her mouth. "Ephraim is not without honor."

Eliab shushed their banter. "Listen."

"For what?"

Isa slumped. "We have scouted this ravine before and not found a stray."

Holding up one hand, Eliab motioned with his other.

Naomi heard a faint bleating. Was she imagining the muffled protest?

Isa shot up, his back straight as an axle. "I hear it too. What are you waiting for? Someone to steal our sheep?"


“Welcome to The Maple Pit.” Her eyes widened as she took in his appearance.
Was it his six-foot-three frame, leather apparel, or scruffy face that did her in? Since his boots had hit American soil, he’d been growing out the hair on his face. Judging by the relaxing ambiance and dress of their customers, he’d bank on his appearance being the reason for the look of astonishment on the hostess’ face.
“Thank you, ma’am.” His voice sounded a little rusty as thirst pushed against his throat.
“Would you like to sit at the bar?”
Luke glanced around. Families were enjoying their meals in booths and tables. Was there really a point in taking up a table for just himself? He glanced at the bar. A tightness in his gut brought forth beads of sweat.
“Um sure.”
“Great, this way.”
She headed toward his right, a menu in hand. After placing it on the countertop, she smiled at him. “Your server will be right with you.”
He nodded, then straddled the stool and picked up the menu. Oh, man. The food reminded him of his grandmother’s cooking. In his opinion, Rosa Robinson was the best cook in west Texas. A small smile tugged at his lips as he thought about the petite woman who ran the Robinson men better than any four-star general ever could. Once the Army had released him on R&R—rest and relaxation—he’d hopped on his roadster and headed straight for Virginia. The need to make amends pressed down upon him. Now, he regretted not taking the time to see his grandmother before he left. She would have calmed him.
A mature African-American woman came out of the kitchen. A frown on her face etched deep lines across her forehead. She paused in front of him. “Excuse me, sir. Have you been helped?”
“No, ma’am.”
Her frown intensified. “I’m so sorry. I’ll go find your server.”
“No worries. I’m in no hurry.” He offered her a smile, despite the objection coming from his stomach.
“Thank you for your patience.” She rounded a corner and disappeared.
Was there a break room back there or a server hiding out?
His gaze landed on the menu again, skimming the offerings. They served Arnold Palmers, a sweet tea and lemonade concoction. His mouth salivated imagining the taste of the drink he hadn’t tasted in months. It would be the perfect way to quench his thirst.
A shadow fell across the bar distracting him from the list of entrees. He looked up into the most gorgeous brown eyes he’d ever seen.
“Delaney Jones,” he whispered.
Her eyes widened, wariness coloring her gaze. “Do I know you?”

Escape the Pain to Survive
Book 1 - The New Waiver trilogy
Christian YA Action/Suspense

Purchase kindle version at:
Purchase paperback version at:

The door shuts behind her. His eyes shift to mine.

My heart skips. My breaths grow fast and shallow. I’m unsure if it’s because I fear him or because I’m intrigued by him. Whatever it is, I can’t look away.

His eyes are different now, different than the first time they studied me. They still cut through me as if they’re searching deep within my mind and soul, but now it’s something more. It’s like he’s yearning to tell me something but can’t . . . like somehow we’re connected . . . like somehow he understands me even though I can’t understand myself, and somehow I understand him even though I’ve never seen his face.

Even more intriguing, they send the message that we’re both here in this room for the same reason . . . to let go of the pain, anger, and emotional turmoil deep within through every breath of exertion and drop of sweat that leaves our bodies each time we push ourselves past the point of exhaustion into a realm of personal victory. The only difference is he finds peace in the end. I see it in his eyes every time, a peace that I continue to search for but believe I’ll never find.

He breaks the moment, shifting his eyes toward the floor. We both turn away and exit through opposite doors without ever speaking a word.

From "Evidence Not Seen", available at

As he opened the massive door to leave the courthouse, someone shouted his name.
“Yo, Jeff Galloway. Quit trying to act like you don’t see me.”
He took a hard look at the tiny woman buried in a bright red shawl thrown over her dark ankle-length coat. “Melanie?”
She smiled and pulled her wrap tighter. “Am I glad to see you! Jeff, I’m in a pickle. My car won’t start, and I have to be somewhere in a few minutes. Could you give me a ride?”
“Why not?” Bumping into Melanie settled his dilemma about whether to go back to work. With the Meeker case on hold, Jeff saw no reason, aside from habit, to return to the office this evening. He motioned across the street. “I’m in the Uptown Garage. Where are we going?”
“Wow, you park in there? Right next to the courthouse?” Melanie’s eyebrows shot up. “I wondered who could afford to pay the rates at that place. Now I know, high-priced attorneys.”
“Perhaps you should stand on principle and refuse to ride with such a fat cat.” He bounded down the steps, forgetting the possibility of ice patches.
Melanie caught up with him and tugged at his sleeve. “Wait, Jeff, please. I’m sorry. I really do need your help. I have to get to Children’s Hospital to see a client right away.”
He couldn’t keep from smiling at her earnest, frost-kissed face. “Let’s go, then. In this traffic, we’ll be lucky to get there in under a half hour.”
“You look different,” Jeff said as they settled into his sporty car.
“Maybe it’s my hair,” Melanie answered, unwinding her shawl. “I always put it in a bun when I go to court.”
“And you’re wearing glasses.”
“Oh.” She removed her heavy-framed spectacles and tucked them into her tote. “I got these at the drugstore. They’re supposed to give me an air of studious maturity, lend weight to my testimony, you know?”