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 An Informal Affair, which can be found in the Love at First Laugh box set,

Lia Promise stared at the man across the table from her. This couldn’t be happening.

He reached for his fork, pried one of the tines wide, and used it to scratch the inside of his ear.

When had her life turned into this?

Oh yeah, that was right. Maverick was to blame. His ridiculous dare had landed her in this mess.

Even with him and his ridiculous dare, she didn’t need to subject herself to… whatever passed for normal dinner etiquette in his world.

“Look, Albert, it’s been swell getting to know you, but I don’t think this is working out. At least let me pay for my half of the meal.”

Albert eyed her, his brows drawn together. “You sent me the invite. Doesn’t that mean you’re supposed to pay for the whole meal?”

Lia stared at him. Did the man not understand the concept of dating? Sure, she reached out to him initially, but this date had been his idea. His. Not hers.

She forced a smile to her stiff lips, waved to their waiter, and stood. “Dinner’s on me, Albert. Enjoy.”

As she sidestepped a server on her way to the cash register, Lia pulled out her phone. She shouldn’t take so much delight in telling Maverick all about her bad dates, but doing so had somehow become the highlight of her week.

Lia typed out a text as she waited for the waiter to run her debit card. Got another whopper for Sunday lunch. You won’t believe this one.


Go Back

YA romance/coming of age novel. Available in ALL ebook formats.


Chapter One

When I was in junior high school, the boys used to call me “Giraffe.” I hated it, but they were right. I towered over them. On top of that, I had this skinny, long neck. Things got better when I became a sophomore in high school. It seemed as though most of the boys in my class finally caught up with me and I didn’t feel so gawky anymore. But I’m still taller and skinnier than any of my friends.

This is an excerpt from my most recent book, Wise Turned Foolish.

“Are you on the highway to hell?” Keith heard this on the radio a few nights later. “Or are you just living on a prayer?” The man asked this to attempt to get listeners’ attention on WIMZ, the classic rock radio station.
Keith loved AC/DC; the “Highway to Hell” reference annoyed him. He played the guitar riff of that song a lot. It amazed everyone when he did. When he was with Kicking and Taking, plenty of mail had come in telling the band they were going there if they continued doing what they did. Was the mail, and the band members’ responses to it, now coming back to haunt him?
This commercial continued. “Well, take the stairway to heaven. Hi! I’m Pastor Rick Carey. Join us at Rock Solid Church for our Sunday morning service at ten. I teach solid biblical teaching and offer a safe church atmosphere for you and your family. Our church is very warm and welcoming, and there is a place for you.”
A week later as he was surfing the channels on TV one late night, he came across a religious broadcast called Your Life Matters. Is there something you need? Do you feel like your life is a mess? Do you need someone to pray with you? Call this toll-free number.
Assuming it was a twenty-four-hour line, he dialed the number.
“Your Life Matters. My name is Ellen. How may I serve you today?” A woman who sounded like she was in her mid-forties answered. If it was in such a way to comfort the caller and impress her employer, she did well at both.
Heavily inebriated, and in a raised voice, Keith said, “I’d like to speak with Jesus Christ please.”
“I’ll be more than happy to pray with you. Is there-“
“I’D LIKE TO SPEAK WITH JESUS CHRIST!” Keith repeated, shouting so loudly the entire street could hear him.
“We can both speak with Him by-“
“Lady, you don’t understand. I have some connection to Jesus Christ. Apparently, you don’t.” He hung up and bent his arm to the point of the toilet, eventually passing out on the cold bathroom tile floor.
When he woke up, he was lying on his side in the doorway between the bathroom and the hallway. His hair was disheveled and in his face. As he gradually regained consciousness, he brushed his hair away from his eyes, trying to figure out where he was and how he had gotten there. He noticed he had thrown up on the floor.
As he slowly made his way on to his hands and knees, he placed a hand to his chest and felt it was bare. He glanced at the dragon tattoo on his chest. He felt his legs, he was wearing jeans. His head hurt, he felt light-headed...and empty, a condition he had been running on for many years.
Looking around him, he assessed it was morning. A bright light shone from the window into the bathroom.
Sitting with his back up against the wall, he simultaneously wiped away strands of his hair and remorseful tears from his face. He couldn’t remember the last time he cried. Guitar gods didn’t do that.
The desperation in his voice matched his hysterical crying. He looked up and all around him, many times out the window, panting, trying to catch his breath in between sobs and his simple plea to God. He repeated it, getting louder and more desperate each time. Through blurred eyes, he managed to get himself up on his knees, his elbows propped on them, his face buried in his hands.
You need Him.
Wasn’t that what Reuben told him at his bedside when he was lying on his hospital bed?
When he gathered enough strength, he crawled to the phone and called him, his only lifeline.
“Hello?” It was Sandra. She sounded bright and perky, like the morning person Reuben had described her.
“Um…uh…Sandra?” He said, struggling with each word, his head resting on the edge of the bed. With the other hand, he compulsively pulled his hair behind his ear.
“Yes, this is she,” she said, every word enunciated and articulate.
“This is Keith.”
“Keith, are you okay?”
“No,” he said, his voice low, almost quivering, trying to fight back more tears. He leaned his head on the edge of the bed in anticipation of what he was going to say. It was hard, but he had to do it.
“What can we do for you?” Keith was thankful she asked that. In that way, that could break the awkward silence between the two of them, and he could buy a few more seconds to say what he needed to.
“I…uh…well…” After a few more deep breaths he said, “I’d like to go to church with you tomorrow.”

Here's an excerpt from my new release:

Finding Joy
Love's Compass: Book 5

This is a sweet, inspirational romance novel

Chelsea nodded slowly. “That makes sense. It hurts when people don’t see us for who we really are.”

There was no doubting the sadness in her eyes. “Are things still not going well with your parents?”

She gave a half shrug. “I don’t know why it always surprises me. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. You were right, though. My parents never knew me.” She took a long drink. “I’ve always been their daughter and Laurie’s sister. Never Chelsea. I’m not even sure I know who I really am.”

“Well, I do.” Parker reached across the table and cradled her hand in his. Not even the hot drink had warmed her skin after being outside. He covered it with his other hand. “You, Chelsea Blake, are a beautiful, intelligent woman. You never give up, no matter how many obstacles get in your way. You were willing to fly in the face of what your parents expected of you in order to find your own direction in this world.” She was blushing furiously now, but he wasn’t done. “And you were able to single-handedly drag a grumpy man out of his misery with a broken bottle of tea and your stubbornness.”

Chelsea laughed then and covered her face with her hands. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she shook her head. “You’re something else.”

“Oh? A good something, or a bad something?” He hiked one eyebrow at her.

“Good.” She peeked at him from beneath her lashes.

Someone else came into the coffee shop, bringing with him a blast of cool air. As much as Parker didn’t want his time with Chelsea to end, he kept in mind the area of town she lived in. It was nearly dark, and he’d rather she got home sooner than later.

Chelsea sighed and reached for her coat, apparently realizing the same thing.

Parker escorted her to her car and held the door open. Chelsea started the engine and cranked the heat up all the way. Instead of retreating, he waited, one hand on the roof of the car and the other on top of the door.

She turned toward him, lifting her chin. “Thanks for the hot chocolate.”

“You’re welcome.” He leaned down, his face inches from hers. “Chelsea?”


He placed a light kiss to the corner of her mouth. “I’ve missed you.”

Escape the Pain to Survive (1 of 3: The New Waiver trilogy)

Christian YA action/suspense

All profits will be donated to the veteran organization 22KILL through March 31st.

Paperback (free ebook included):

Amazon kindle:


Stars stretch across my line of vision. Searing pain travels up from the point of impact deep into my head. Everything fades out.

I squint my eyes.

He stands above me, offering me his hand. He appears angry . . . livid . . . at least through my blurred vision. “You really can’t take no for an answer, can you?” Beneath his frustration, he can’t hide the guilt in his voice, even though it wasn’t his fault.

"No, I guess not,” I squeak through the pain as I cradle my pounding head with one hand while he pulls me to my feet by the other. I squint at him again. His eyes say it hurt him even more than it hurt me. “How do I look?” I inquire innocently, trying to make him feel better.

He takes a step closer toward me.

My heart pounds harder . . . faster, but no longer from the searing pain in my head.

He gently presses his fingertips to my aching cheek and then traces them down my jaw line to my chin.

Chills surge through my body, and goosebumps closely follow. His touch completely washes away the pain.

“Beautiful,” he whispers as he gently cradles my head in his hands. He leans down and softly presses his lips to my cheek, right where the bruise is already forming.

Fiery passion pulses through my veins. His eyes, his touch, burn into me like an unseen magnetic force drawing me right into him. My heart yearns just to pull him close and capture his lips with mine . . . to fall into his arms, completely consumed by the passion and safety of his strong embrace.

He steps back as if he precisely read my every thought and doesn’t want me to do anything out of emotion that I’ll regret later. “Be careful,” he says as he climbs back into his truck. “Tomorrow . . . fourteen hundred. Don’t forget. My offer still stands!”

The Black Raven, White Dove #NEWRELEASE
Clean romance PIRATES


“If you have captured me for ransom, pirate, you’ve obviously made a humorous, although somewhat sad mistake. My father cares not for me, but for his gold and diamonds. You have nothing with which to barter. He will care little that you’ve captured me. What a terrible disappointment that must be for you.”
Stefan momentarily lost his train of thought. He was impressed the girl had such fire in her, but her statement confused him. How could that be true? How could Overmort not be concerned for the welfare of his only daughter? She lifted her chin, her disgust written upon her features. While her spunk was admirable and understandable, he could not, he would not, put up with nonsense.
“Is that so? Then the man is a fool not to know his true value in life lives and breathes. You should be glad to be rid of him.”
He turned to look at Overmort’s cutter. The fire had already been put out, and even now was a floating speckle of light upon the dark waters. Still, he’d have to test Miss Paloma’s claims. He’d find out for himself which Overmort valued more.
“Hampton! There are cakes on that boat filled with the old man’s treasures. Take what you can, give nothing back!”
Hampton hurried to his side while a grin shaped his face.
“Ah, I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. As you wish, Captain Ice.”
“Captain Ice?” her voice repeated in disbelief.
He left Hampton to stand before her, stooping himself into a bow.
“The pleasure is all mine. Welcome aboard the Raven, Miss Paloma.”

From ROMEO AND JULIANA, written under my Maggie Adams pen name:

“Why were you having trouble falling asleep?”

“You first,” I insisted.

“I liked holding you in my arms when we were dancing today—yesterday—and all I could think about was finding a way to be with you again.”

Romeo’s honesty left me stunned. He wasn’t trying to make me feel off-balance with teasing and flirtation, or to come across as some kind of player; on the contrary, his blunt words seemed sincere and heartfelt.

“My feet kind of brought me here on their own,” he continued. “I guess I must’ve remembered where you live from back when we were in school together.” He shrugged. “Before I realized where I was going, I was here.” He gestured at the house. “I thought I heard you talking to somebody, and I could see you up in the window but for the longest time you didn’t see me. I didn’t want you to look down and think that I was spying or eavesdropping.” He dipped his head. “Originally, all I was going to do was walk on by and keep on going. But when I saw you in the window”—he shrugged again—“I don’t know. It just took my breath away. I could barely move.”

“You moved enough to hit the trashcan.”

“I said that I didn’t want to disturb you. I never told you that I wasn’t klutzy.”

A smile twitched at the corners of my mouth. Relieved Romeo’s explanation absolved him of stalker status, I had to admit it sure would have been a shame to waste those handsome chocolate-hued eyes, that wavy brown-black hair, and those muscular good looks on a sociopath.

“Now you,” he said.

“Now me what?”

“I told you why I was sleepless—I bared my soul to you.” His white teeth flashed a grin caught in what little moonlight there was that night. “So now it’s your turn.”

I felt my face flame before I even opened my mouth to confess anything, and took only slight comfort in the fact that Romeo likely couldn’t see my deep blush in the dim light of the alley. I decided to try to bluff my way out of it. “You said you were standing under my window. You must’ve heard everything firsthand—so you already know.”

“Actually...” He took a step toward me and clasped one of my hands with one of his, giving me exactly the sort of instant zing I’d always fantasized about. “Actually, I was working hard not to eavesdrop, so I’m not sure I heard everything you said. You’re going to need to repeat yourself.”

At the far end of the alley, several houses away, the peach-colored glow of a streetlamp suddenly extinguished. I pulled back from Romeo. “The light went out. It must be later than I realized. I’ve got to get going.”

“Not so fast.” He pulled me closer to him. “It’s not that late. The bulb blew—that’s all.”

He moved aside as she walked in and a hint of spice made her stumble. He smelled divine. She walked pass a mahogany partition with aqua etchings running through it. His place was a mix of black and beige, but every now and then, she spotted her favorite color. It was definitely a bachelor pad. She walked forward and paused as a huge Saint Bernard got up from one of the sofas and lumbered over. He walked over to her and nudged her with his massive head.
A dog! She had always wanted one growing up. She dropped to her knees and ran her hands through his thick fur. “Aren’t you a beauty.” She’d debated on getting a dog once she was older, but could never decide on a type. She reached behind his ears and began scratching them. He rumbled low in his throat and his left foot began thumping. “Oh you like that do you? Such a handsome fellow.”
“I cannot believe what I’m seeing.”
She looked over her shoulder at Dwight. “What? I put I like dogs on the survey.”
“Yes, but Beast doesn’t like people.”
Her mouth dropped open. She promptly closed it hoping she avoided the guppy look. “You named him Beast?” She turned back to the dog. “You’re not a Beast are you? He’s obviously confused.” Beast continued to thump his leg and rumble. She snuggled her face in his fur. “You smell like you just came from a bath. Did you prep for the date too?”
She heard Dwight laugh and the sound sent shivers up her arms. She looked at them. Yep, goosebumps took over, raising the tiny hairs on her arms.

Here's an excerpt of my YA fantasy adventure, 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.