Heather Gray

Flawed...but loved anyway.

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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)!!

Here's a look at His Saving Grace

"What do you think of this one?" she asked Margaret.

"I think it's quite nice."


Grace burst into laughter. "It's the most horrible pair of trousers you've ever seen in your life, and you know it. The legs aren't even the same length!" Whenever she was at the castle, Margaret spent most of her time with Grace, and the two had become almost like friends.

"Well, Your Grace," Margaret said, "if it's your desire to clothe a child whose legs are two different lengths, then I think you've done an admirable job."

Laughing, Grace hurled the pants into the pile at Margaret's

feet. "I don't know why you allow me to help. I make far more work for you." But I'm glad you do. The boredom would make me fit for Bedlam otherwise.

"Perhaps you would like to sew some kerchiefs or cravats for His Grace?"

I can sew a kerchief… fit for a man with two different-sized nostrils!

"You only want to keep me away from anything you're working on."

"I have no idea what you mean, Your Grace. Surely you couldn't have such a low opinion of me." Margaret's eyes twinkled and her face shone with humor.

Go Back

The Seven Days of Christmas
"Days of..." Series, Book 1
Contemporary Christian Inspirational/Romance

For a moment Rick and Caroline swayed in big dips, engulfed in their big bear hug, at the foot of the stairs. Slowly, their surroundings began to blur, and the voices in the living room became hushed and faded. Faint music wafted down the stairs from Caroline’s room and their grand swaying dips eased into a slow, intimate dance. Their big bear hug relaxed into a gentle, almost sensual, embrace. Safety began to slip into security.

Caroline could feel the gentleness of his touch on the small of her back as he pulled her closer; the fierce pounding of his heart against his chest. Her arms floated across his shoulders in a motion so soft and tender, she questioned whether the sparks she felt were real or imaginary. Her fingers entwined his thick, wavy dark hair at the base of his neck. As her breath became short and shallow, a tingle of energy rushed up her spine and through every part of her body. Nestled close to her ear she felt the warmth of his breath and heard the quiet, hope-filled words, “Have dinner with me tonight, Caroline.”

Looking for a great summer read? Check out THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER available in ALL digital formats+print published by Clean Reads.
“this is a well written, beautifully paced novel, with lots of clever dialogue, and excellent in-depth characterization--as well as romance!”
Nancy Means Wright

Here's a brief excerpt:

When my mother talked about Lori, she always got a funny look in her eye — not ha-ha funny but strange funny. When I was little, I never understood. As I got older, I wondered more about Lori, but I hardly ever asked because it just seemed to make my mother sad.
Lori was locked away in my mother's past life like the things in the old attic trunk. I wondered about them too. But Mom would always say when I asked her to open the trunk that the past was best forgotten. Yet, every now and then, I would say something or do something that made her sigh and exclaim: "You remind me so much of Lori!"
Not long ago, I was sitting on the living room couch reading a novel I found on the bookshelf. My mother walked into the room and gasped.
"Something wrong?" I asked.
She stared at me for a moment and shook her head. "No, but for a moment, it seemed like I was looking at Lori. I remember when she read Rebecca. She loved to read old-fashioned romances."
"Mom, what happened to Lori?"
"Danna, I'd rather not talk about her. It only brings back sad memories."
"Sure, except I didn't bring it up."

Phoenix Element book series on Amazon:

Scene taken from Reality Break:

I reach out to grab the orb with my left hand. My finger tips are the only part of my hand to get inside of the shield. The sensation of the shield travels through my fingers and up to my left shoulder. It feels like a strong gravitational force is squeezing my limb inwards. There is no visual indication. My hand cannot move and my fingers spread apart as they are cramping up. I pull away from the shield, holding my lower arm in my right hand.

The floor begins to split apart and I am out of ideas.

My arm falls lifeless at my side. My heart beats faster due to the pain and situation at hand. Tears of sadness and frustration swell in my eyes as I blink myself out of the room and back to the potion shop.

The shop is empty. I try my best to avoid the debris and pillows on the ground. With haste, I make my way outside.

Kasiff has one of his books open on a rock. His fingers frantically move across the pages.

Celestria stands next to him, bewildered by the words written in the book. “We never left,” she informs me. “Kyle thought he could find a solution in one of his books.”

“It’s Ashima,” I tell them.

My left shoulder droops down and I wince from the pain. “She’s using the UPC’s power source for something. I couldn’t get pass the shield.”

Celestria speaks louder in order for me to hear her over the rumbling of the planet. “What happened to your arm?” The healer takes my arm. “It’s heavy!” Celestria can hardly lift it. She inspects my hand, moving up the arm. “You have a few broken bones.”

“I’m fine." I try to pull my arm away. Celestria's grip and the weight of my arm itself does not allow for that to happen. “Do you know what is going on?”

“Your left arm is being affected by some sort of gravity magic.” Celestria's face grow worried with each spoken word. “Another point of time trying to interact with another. It had to have been a time dilatation field. Ashima has all the time she wants to harness energy.”

Kasiff does not look away from the book that is in front of him. “Ashima is destroying the planet."

“We speculated,” Celestria adds. “From what you've told us and these quakes, it does add up. This planet doesn't have much time."

The Rose Ring -- Contemporary romance / family saga

When Sky’s phone rang at nine-twenty the following morning, she picked up on the second ring. “Are you on your way?”

“Well, good morning to you too,” came the cheerful reply.

“Sorry. Good morning, Micah. Have you left the ranch yet?”

“I’m calling from the truck. I’m about to turn onto the main road, so I should reach your place in about thirty minutes.”

“Okay, see you then. Just honk and I’ll come out.”

She set the phone in its cradle and reprimanded herself for not having thought to cook for him. A nice quiet breakfast for two instead of a crowded restaurant held a lot of appeal. Surely it wouldn’t take much effort to whip up an omelet. A quick inventory of her pantry and fridge produced a near-empty carton of orange juice, one egg, some moldy cheese, two cans of tuna, and six boxes of macaroni and cheese. She sighed. “I need to plan better next time.” A chuckle bubbled from her throat. She was certainly reading a whole lot into one breakfast.

Her doorbell rang thirty-five minutes later. Sky opened it to find her handsome date standing there. “You were supposed to honk.”

He tipped his felt hat. “Sorry, ma’am, but I was brung up better’n that.”

“Yes, I can tell.” Grabbing her coat and pulling the door closed, they dashed toward the truck. After ten minutes — more than enough time to get any place in town — Sky asked about their destination.

“I’m taking you to Barnaby’s.”

“The new place in Three Peaks? To what do I owe the special treatment?”

Micah didn’t answer right away. He kept his eyes on the road before turning to her. “I have something huge to ask you, and I figured I’d better soften you up with a good meal first.”

“That sounds ominous.” She laughed nervously as any remaining thoughts of a romantic first date flew by as quickly as the trees that lined the road.

They stepped into the restaurant fifteen minutes later. Micah ordered a traditional breakfast of fried eggs, skillet fried potatoes, bacon, toast, and coffee. Sky wanted the Belgian waffles, but at nine dollars a plate, she couldn’t bring herself to order them. She settled for scrambled eggs and wheat toast. When the food arrived she forked a small amount of the eggs, but only managed to get it halfway to her mouth. “You sure know how to ruin a good breakfast. I can’t stand the suspense. You’re going to have to ask me whatever it is now.”

Micah swallowed and set his fork down. “I knew I should have kept my mouth shut.” He took a sip of coffee. “Okay, but I want you to know that I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t care for, respect, and trust you. I’m in a tight spot, but I don’t want you to feel you have to say yes. I’ll figure it out one way or the other.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Micah, just ask.”

He blew out a breath. “Okay. Will you marry me?”

Man of Her Dreams ~ Welcome to Ravenwood, Book One

“Come on. It’s just over this rise.”

She pushed aside a tree branch and hurried along a faint trail. He followed her down the sloping path, ducking overgrown bushes and tree branches until they broke free into a small clearing.

Ahead of him lay a crystal clear lake, surrounded by towering pines and birch trees. There was no beach, but a plateau of rocks created a natural shelf near and over the water. He proceeded forward and met up with her standing in a sparse area where he could clearly see a fire pit had been built.

Downed logs formed a circle around the blackened area and after dropping her beach bag on the ground, she sat on one of them. He lowered his body next to hers, keeping a ‘safe’ distance between them.

“I love coming here. It’s so peaceful.” Lindsay lifted a knee and cradled it between her hands, rocking slightly on the log.

He took a careful look around and agreed. It was almost as if the tension between his shoulder blades melted off his back and he took a deep breath, appreciating the clean air with a hint of pine. No way he’d have done that in New York, unless he was near Central Park.

He heard a rustling in the bushes. Weren’t there bears and other wild animals around here? His mind raced with the possibilities of what to do in case of a bear attack. They most likely would jump into the water, clothes and all… A rabbit poked its head out from under the bush and after one glance toward them, hopped back into the woods.

A muffled giggle told him that Lindsay knew exactly what had gone through his mind.

“Afwaid of a wittle wabbit,” she teased.

“Think it’s funny?”

“Oh yeah. Very funny.” Her grin stretched wide. “What was your plan of action, author man?”

He stood and turned to face her. Bending low, he placed the palm of his hands on his thighs. This brought him eye level with her. He could see his reflection in her sunglasses.

“My first thought was to run. You see, I don’t have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you.” At her outraged gasp, he continued. “But, I run every day, so that would be too easy.”

“And what was your second thought?” She’d removed her hands from around her knees and lowered them onto the log, as if preparing to flee.

“My second thought—” In a lightning fast move he scooped her off the log and moved toward a natural rock shelf diving board over the lake. “—was to jump in the water.”

She began to struggle in earnest as they came closer to the water.

“No, no, no.” She cried out, laughing. “You wouldn’t.”

“You’re right. I wouldn’t.” He stopped at the edge of the rock and swung to his right, keeping her in his arms. He looked down into the water and judged it was deep enough for what he had planned. “I don’t want to get my new shoes wet, but you only have on canvas runners…”

She squealed. A completely feminine sound and clung to his neck, twisting and squirming so he’d lose his hold and set her down on the rock, not toss her into the water.

“Not a chance, Kane.” She gave a hard twist with her hips. “I’m taking you down with me.”

With that she executed a small flip in his arms, keeping her embrace around his neck. Too late he remembered she had older brothers and at some time in her life learned how to get out of situations such as these. His balance faltered and both of them splashed into the water. He rotated his body to take the brunt of the fall and pushed her to the surface as the icy cold water closed in around them.

Unexpected Rewards - Book 2 in the Not Every Girl Series


“Excuse me, Sir Davenport, Lady Davenport,” says a voice, and suddenly Liam stands beside us. “But I would very much like to have a dance with your daughter.”
“Of course, Your Highness,” Mother replies in awe, dipping into a curtsey.
My acknowledgement is a much stiffer bow of the head. The moments with my family had briefly smothered my worry, but now it hurtles back full force. He takes my hand and I follow him onto the floor, silently praying my knees don’t give out from the terror that rises in me like the tide. One hand fits on the small of my back, the other grasps mine. His palms are uncharacteristically sweaty.
Something is definitely wrong.
I look into his beautiful, blue eyes. They swim with misery. Now that I am going to find out the reason, I am not sure I want to anymore.
He clears his throat. “I didn’t want to have to tell you in public, but I can’t let the night pass and deceive you.”
Not good.
At my silence, he continues, “Somehow Jocelyn has influenced my father. He wants me to court her, to give her a fair chance, because he considers her a more suitable match.”
There she sits now, right next to King William, her usual smug expression in place. Our monarch absently surveys the room. The monarch I saved—who praised me for it—stabs me in the back without a second thought. I should have left him to die in that escape tunnel.
“And what do you think of that?” I ask pointedly.
“Naturally, I protested…abundantly, but…” He stops, won’t meet my eyes.
But? But cannot be good. But can only be disastrous.
I stop moving and we stand looking at each other like mannequins while
couples rotate around us.
“But what?” I whisper, the cacophony of music and chatter turning into an otherworldly buzz while my senses brace for the impact of his answer.
“But…my father told me if I did not give Jocelyn a fair chance, he would not only send you from the palace, but ship you down to Prescott and arrange a marriage for you there. I don’t
know what to do, Olivia. I don’t know how to fix this.”
A barrage of thoughts leap to mind, none of them in any way accepting of this information. Send me away? Ship me to Prescott? As if I were livestock? And arrange a marriage? So many protests, I hardly know where to begin.
The music ends and couples saunter off the floor. Liam and I stand alone in the center.
Eyes will be upon us soon if we remain here like statues.
With every ounce of composure I can muster, I curtsey and hear my voice say, “Thank you for the dance, Your Highness. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”
Then, I walk away.

Harmony Blues - Book 3 in The Choir Girls series

Brittany took a breath and sat up. “So, how did you know?”
“Know?” her mom asked.
“Yeah, know that I was getting picked! You know, to have my painting hung at the capitol.”
“We didn’t know,” Mom said.
“You mean they’re not hanging them all?” Dad asked.
“No! Some judges from the University of Colorado came and picked the best three---mine, Maddie’s, and this kid named Hunter’s.” Brittany was very confused. “How did you know to make reservations here then? You said we’d only come for a special occasion.” Brittany couldn’t think of anything more special than her painting being picked for a distinct honor.
The server came back to their table carrying a tray loaded with small plates of picture perfect fruit and a pot filled with half white, half dark chocolate. It wouldn’t look nearly as pretty when they started dipping things into it, but for now it was a perfect yin yang symbol. A manager stepped up to the table with a big bouquet of roses tucked into a crystal vase. Brittany sat up straighter and she smiled her biggest smile. She didn’t care how dorky she looked.
“I understand we have something to celebrate here!” the manager said, setting the vase down near Mom.
“Yes we do," her dad said. Brittany leaned forward, waiting to jump in with all the details as soon as her dad told the manager about her painting. “We’re having a baby!”
Brittany’s face froze, the smile still pasted on. She blinked as the manager and server cooed out their congratulations. Mom and Dad beamed and snuggled a bit closer to each other.
Mom turned to Brittany. “Well, Brit? What do you think?”

Celebrate Lit:

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.

PROVIDENCE: Hannah's Journey--Biblical fiction inspired by II Kings 5

Scene: finding Gilead

A woman stepped outside, a woman younger than Hannah imagined Gil’s mother should be. Did Gil have an older sister? The woman studied Hannah’s sandals, woven belt, and embroidered head covering. Her brown eyes blinked as if she had been caught in a dust storm.

“Shalom,” Hannah said softly. “I am in need of Gilead. Is he your son?”

The woman pressed forward, glancing back into the house before shutting the door. “I cannot help you,” she whispered. “I know little of my son’s whereabouts.”

Hannah bit her lip to keep from weeping. She was a fool to think her plans would be fruitful. God had cursed her. Her own people shunned her. Even Gil’s mother refused her.

“Daughter.” Gil’s mother brushed her hand against Hannah’s cheek. “My son is a good man. If you have need of him, he will find you.”

“But how—”

A man bellowed from within the house.

“Shhh.” The woman’s eyes widened. “I must go.”

“May I leave word?”

The door closed before Hannah’s request could enter. Hannah wondered if a life with Azor would be filled with such worry. Not ever speaking of her past or of her curses.

Turning the corner into Gil’s alcove, she collapsed beside the barrel where she had taken refuge before. “Come to me Gil,” she breathed. “Did you not speak of hope and mercy?” Her chest constricted as if the bronze hoops of the barrel had bound her ribs.

Historical Fiction -

CHAPTER I: Fire and Rain

The grisly, grey swirls churned up before Marcus, a thin mask to the merciless heat. Dimly he could perceive the fiery furor’s warmth caressing his cheeks in an increasingly unpleasant way. His thoughts were not of himself at that moment, nor even of the fire consuming all his possessions in this world. Instead, his eyes, stung by the acrid mixture his tears made when suffused with the smoke’s tendrils, looked beyond the ravaged home he had returned to. To a point, beyond the scope of simple sight, to where his love was lost. He could not know how many hours late he had arrived. Be it many or few, for the fire seemed so hot, so vicious, it could have lapped up the palatial estate in its searing maw with mere minutes.

He had stood there for close to an hour now. Incapable of moving. Incapable of speaking. Incapable of perceiving the destruction wrought upon him, in full. Within the interior of the blaze, increasingly obscured by the serpentine coils of smoke, he could make out the form of the structure itself, those portions still standing. Without fully realizing he was doing so, he traced the lines up, into where they were lost in the smoke, and the smoke into the obsidian sky above.

Steady rumbling sounds echoed across the landscape, like the heavy footfalls of band of soldiers. How brutish had they been in handling the things he had cherished? As they clomped across the ivory and ebony swirls of his home’s marble floors, did they slow? Did they admire their surroundings when they lit torches with wicked flames and condemned him with a flippant toss? Were they merciful in the execution of his beloved wife?

The darkness of a storm neared; it had been slow in coming. Menacing now, it loomed overhead, ready to unleash its watery weight upon the countryside. The tall grasses around Marcus swayed in a rain dance; as the fruit trees of his grove, too near the house’s scorched perimeter, found themselves frantically holding to every gust in hopes that it might bring with it drops of rain to spare them a similar fate. Little bits of fire-tinged ash hovered in the air, falling to smolder around Marcus as if volleys from the sinister blaze.

Marcus coughed gruffly, the choking plumes of smoke finally forcing him from his dazed despair to consider his own well-being. For a long moment, wild and incautious, he considered not retreating from the smothering fumes. To remain, as his wife had, and be swallowed in a final fiery funeral.

Yet, even as his eyes squinted and were forced shut to guard the sage-hued orbs from the punishment meted out by the fire, he heard a soft voice within tell him he could not do so. He had to flee, not for himself alone, but for another greater than he. He was a Christian now; such things were not to be permitted him.