25 January 2017

Books Revisited ~ Krista Wagner's The Gold

Today Krista Wagner is giving us another chance to become acquainted with her book...

The Gold
Ten-year-old Amanda is constantly teased and tormented in school. Her home life is less than satisfactory where her widower father, who is often away on business trips, leaves her in the care of her indifferent teenaged sister. Worse, not a day goes by when Amanda doesn't miss her mom. TO escape reality, Amanda creates fantasy stories, but when she discovers a talking golden pebble, her imagined world turns into a new-fangled reality.

About the Author
Krista Wagner, a mother of three and wife of TJ, has been writing since she was seven. She started out creating songs and plays and then graduated to poetry during her teen years. In high school, she was on the staff of her literary magazine, co-authored her own zine, and began to write numerous short stories, mostly dealing with dramatic instances like murder or kidnapping.

Krista received her BA in English from UMBC in 1999, her MA in English Composition with a Literature Concentration from CSUSB in 2008, and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University in 2013. Since 2008,

Krista has been an English adjunct instructor. Krista started work on her first novel, Intent, during a summer road trip in 2013.

Intent was published with TouchPoint Press in 2014. Her second novel, Rian Field, a psychological thriller, was published January 2016.

She has also penned screenplays for her published novels. She enjoys suspenseful films, reading the Bible, and spending time with her family.

If you enjoyed this book, I hope that you will take the time to post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and spread the word. My readers are the ones who keep this story alive.

Praises: "The Gold by Krista Wagner & published by Clean Reads is a short fantasy novel that will keep your attention from beginning to end.
The publishing information for this book is specifically labeled for the 10-18 year old age group. The main character, Amanda, is in fifth grade. She lives with her Dad and sister. She spends much of her time at home alone or with her preoccupied teenage sister
As the story unfolds, the reader learns a little about Amanda's Mom who "passed away from a long term ailment". The incredible sadness and loneliness that her mother's passing has created is tenderly and realistically portrayed from a young girl's perspective. The author's development of Amanda's character creates a connection with the reader immediately and her adventures are spun from there. It is at times a whimsical ride and at other junctures a tumultuous journey.

Here is my take on this novel.
First of all, the book left me wanting more. Right from the start, I wanted to know more about the past...so a prequel would be exceptional....and I definitely want to know what happens in the future....so a sequel is a must. Secondly, I greatly appreciated the presentation of the sensitive matter of bullying. Wagner's vivid description of the emotions encountered during episodes of harassment is exceptional. The author also beautifully illustrates how important it is to be connected and aware of what our children are experiencing, so that we can show them love and avoid feelings of desperation and isolation.

Finally, I think this work is entertaining for the younger reader and simultaneously has the potential to deliver a sense of hope to a hurting heart. I will be watching for the next book in this series!" "When I started reading The Gold, I was expecting more of a fantasy style of writing. Instead, Krista quickly developed the characters so the 'make believe' aspect of the book revealed more realities as young people worked thru the struggles of adolescence. Constance P."


17 January 2017

Books Revisited Love and Diamonds ~ Valentine Anthology

This week Love and Diamonds ~ A Valentine Anthology
is the Book Revisited
"An outstanding collection of stories with memorable characters and engaging story lines. Each author has put their personal stamp on their story and each one left a definite impression. I bought this book because it had stories by authors I have come to know and enjoy in recent months. I now have a new collection of authors I will be following. If you enjoy quick, sweet romances I recommend this book!"
by Just my opinion 
Love And Diamonds is a varied collection of romantic love stories for Valentine's Day by:-
      Heather Gray,    Patricia Kiyono,    Zanna Mackenzie,    Kelly Martin,   
So sit back, relax and fall in love all over again.
 No Love, No Diamonds: The Story I Couldn’t Write
By J. L. Salter

“No vampires either?” My best friend clutched me like she feared I’d lost my mind. “Susan, no editor in her right mind is going to waste five minutes on a submission like that.” Though she was also my occasional beta reader, Allie didn’t know nearly as
much about writing and publishing as she pretended.
“I don’t want my characters to be un-dead,” I protested. “I want them full of life.” We’d already covered this territory. “I think readers want flesh and blood humans they can identify with.”
Allie shook her head the whole time I was speaking —one of her annoying habits. Susan, just tell that to those paranormal writers who sell millions of books every day.” She also exaggerated. “Well, I guess you could have some humans, but they’ll need to be shape-shifters at the very least.”

* * * * *

The Flood By Amy Mullen

Tapping her feet nervously, Manda eyed the dyke three hundred feet away. The rivers were high and expected to spill over. She sat on damp concrete steps trying to summon the courage to knock on the door behind her. Faint sounds could be heard coming from within the house. He was there. All she had to do was stand up, turn around, and face him.
Shouting erupted in the distance, startling her. Flashes of red and blue reflected off a large bay window across the street. The gray clouds above threatened to release more rain. The warnings had not deterred her from entering a potential flood zone, but now
she was having second thoughts.
Standing, she stepped up and went to the door. It was now or never. She didn’t know what he would do or say, but it had to be done. The mistake was all hers, she knew that now. If nothing else, she owed him an apology.

 * * * * *

Meet Me in the Copy Room By Brenda Maxfield
Gen flashed her hand in front of my face. “What do you think?”
I pasted on a smile, shocked her fourth finger hadn’t broken off from the weight of the diamond. “It’s beautiful.”
I was a nice person, but right then I wanted to slap her silly.
She leaned in, staring at me with makeup-laden eyes. “Don’t worry, Leanne, your day will come.”
I choked back a smart retort.
She batted her false lashes and caressed her ringed hand like a pet rabbit. “My diamond was frightfully expensive. Cost a fortune, I’m sure. I told Roderick not to be extravagant, but he said I was so worth it.”
My smile stayed super-glue tight.
“But then, you know Roderick’s family.” She stretched out her arm, gazing at her jewel from a distance. “They wouldn’t have approved of anything less. I can’t stop looking at it.”
But she did stop, instead, zoning in on me. “We haven’t set a wedding date yet, but you’ll be first to know.” She pursed her mauve lips into a little-girl pout. “You’re okay with this, aren’t you? I mean, you said you were over him a long time ago, right?”
* * * * *

The Heart of Africa   By E.A. West

 A pair of thuds on the wooden porch of the mission’s main building interrupted the paperwork in front of Mara Taylor.
“What on earth?” She rose from the beat-up desk to check on the noise, but Gary Delaney’s arrival stopped her.
“Wait here,” he said as he crossed the small, brick-walled office. “Let me make sure it’s safe first.”
Mara’s heart pounded as she watched him cautiously open the weathered wood door. Even though the rural area surrounding the mission had been fairly quiet in recent weeks, Central African Republic was far from safe. Between the rebels running nearby
diamond mines and the government forces trying to regain control of the country’s security, gunfire and violence were disturbingly frequent occurrences.
If God hadn’t called her to this place, she never would have come.
* * * * *

Treasure Hunt By Vivian Roycroft

Kingwood, Texas
February 14

The weathered sign read Deer Ridge Park in faded script, and a bit of white fluttered after the k like some sort of intermittent punctuation mark. Ellena paused on the roadside, standing back  out of reach of even the worst Houston driver, and peered at the flapping thing. With every flap, the brilliant white paper reflected the strong winter sunshine, flashing a bright pop of light her way. Her pulse quickened, matching the rhythm. It would be just like Frank to arrange an adventure along with a picnic.
Yep, it was an envelope, taped to the sign, and even across the road’s wide lanes, even through the passing traffic, two bold, swirling ells stood out. Well, it was too beautiful a day to waste with padding her writerly word count, the first halfway warm day
since January, and she was ready for some fun. At a break in the cars, Ellena scurried across.
Frank’s strong handwriting couldn’t be mistaken, and she grabbed the envelope, tearing its tape from the roughened wood. Heavy paper, not his usual cheap, whatever’s-on-sale stock; he’d put some thought and preparation into this unannounced adventure. It was something important to him, then. With a surge
of giddy delight worthy of a teenager, she slid the envelope’s flap free and pulled out the equally heavy sheet within. Two stanzas… wait, what? Poetry? From Frank?
* * * * *
Even When it Hurts  By Heather Gray

 "I need your help." Her voice was timid, her uncertainty evident in the stumbling hesitation that tripped over each word. Which was it? Was she unsure whether she needed help or whether she should have called him?
Her voice still had the power to make his heart stutter. Dawson Page was calling him and asking for help. Three years ago – a lifetime it seemed – Liam wouldn't have thought anything of picking up the phone and hearing her throaty voice on the other
end. He'd had dreams of marriage, children, and picket fences, but then she'd told him to get out of her life and never contact her again.
Much as he wished it were otherwise, he couldn’t blame her. He'd been working on the drug taskforce then and had orchestrated a raid on a warehouse suspected of housing a drug lab and a large stash of street-ready product. The raid was successful by most standards. His team took the warehouse and everything in it, but there had been a casualty. A rookie went down. Charlie Page, Dawson's baby brother, gave his life that day, defending the city and people he loved.
* * * * * 

Love and Diamonds By Jennifer Gravely

 Lane Andrews sat in the back row of the auditorium hoping not to be noticed by his fellow teachers. The summer was difficult for him, and everyone knew it. Since the divorce last winter, he’d fallen into a deep depression. In fact, his drinking almost cost him the head baseball position at Keowee High School. Luckily an officer intercepted him before he climbed into his truck after the town’s Fourth of July event and called him a ride. Saved him a DUI charge and proved a wake-up call. Since that night, Lane hadn’t had a drink.
The principal continued to talk about the school’s mission  statement, and Lane zoned out. This was his third year at the high school, and he’d heard the opening day speech before.
* * * * *

The Engagement Ring By Kathy Bosman

Rosalee pressed her hands into the pockets of a somber gray suit jacket. Sometimes she cringed while checking pockets before placing the clothes in the dry-cleaning room. She’d encountered melted and then hardened chocolate, moldy sandwich crumbs, and
even a jagged, rusty blade that had cut her finger.
Her hand brushed against something hard yet velvety soft. A ring box. Everything in her was swept away into a vortex of memories. Time seemed to stand still. The dry-cleaning room where she worked became the machine and she the garment. Her
head spun. Why did she always get such a physical reaction to such a simple, common thing—an engagement ring?
The black velvet box was on her moist palms, the little gold clasp mocking her.
Reality jarred her. She placed the box down on the desk. This wasn’t the one she’d received about a year ago. No, it belonged to one of the customers at the dry-cleaning service where she worked in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa. No need to feel like
her whole world was spinning out of control again.
* * * * *

The Best Catch By Kelly Martin

Justin Scott rolled the princess cut, diamond ring around his finger. He couldn't sleep, and the ring made it even more difficult.
It stared at him, mocked him, called him a liar, called him an idiot...what if she said no? What if she laughed in his face? Worse, what if she said nothing?
What if she just ran?
Well… he had that covered. They'd be in a fishing boat. She couldn't run.
Or could she...
Justin rolled over and looked at the red numbers on his nightstand. 3:48.

* * * * *

Facets of the Heart by Kristine Cheney

The callous jackal dared to hold her flush against his muscled chest. Stealing the liberty of cupping her buttocks through her leather pants, he gifted himself the favor of a chauvinistic squeeze; a luxury she’d never permitted. The sleek black of his
clothing meshed with hers, creating no beginning or end to where the contours of their bodies shared contact in the darkness. The only feature giving him away was the blond of his military flat-top that escaped beneath the edges of his raven wool cap. Her heart
hammered in her chest with pure adrenaline, aware that at any moment, Braddock would guide her through the narrow blade-cut  window to rappel into the depths of the heavily secured store. An enhanced voltage of internal energy gave her a heightened sense of awareness. Never had she felt so alive…to the point of wanting to hurl.
* * * * *

All For Love by Nicole Zoltack
Felecia tossed the spear into the air. The weight, the length, and the feel of it in her hands all perfect. Too bad coal comprised the head.
"Nothing stronger?" she asked. The coal tip didn't even cut the flesh of her thumb.
"I'm afraid not. Ever since the castle confiscated all of the steel and the gems, coal is the strongest available. Durable, too."
Not nearly strong enough to cut through a dragon, though. Still, a spear was better than no weapon. "How much?"
"A copper shieldnote."
She paid the tanned, dark-haired blacksmith and exited his stifling shop. The market thinned out, and the blue sun rode low in the sky. Night would make an appearance soon, and with it, the dragon Grul. If it was the last thing she did she would steal Grul's
life away, as he had confiscated her heart.

* * * * *

Operation Rhombus By Patricia Kiyono

 Ellie Hartwell dismissed the students in her Freshman Literature class, thankful to be finished with her final group of the day. She waited until the last student left, and then sat back at her desk. She had two hours to get her essays graded and plans for
 next week finished before meeting Paul for dinner. Since they both taught at rural Willow Run High School in rural west Michigan, she and math teacher Paul Cramer saw each other every day. Through conversations in the teacher's lounge they'd found they had a lot of the same interests, liked the same movies, and both loved to cook. Soon they'd started trying out new recipes on each other.
But Thursdays had been their night to eat out ever since they discovered that they both preferred to stay late at school that afternoon in order to avoid taking home a lot of work on Fridays. Paul often spent weekends working on his father's farm, and Ellie
helped out in her parents' flower shop in nearby Pine View. So on Thursday nights, they always went out to eat at Dinah's Diner, and then they'd buy groceries for the following week.
* * * * *

Queen of Diamonds By Sherry Gloag

“How could you do this to me —again?” Sybil Diamond stormed round her brother’s living room.” I told you I wasn’t interested, and it’s the third time you’ve pulled this stunt without my permission.” She whirled on Ritchie and aimed her fist low into
his gut. It did nothing to appease her rising fury when he deflected her punch. Ritchie worked out more hours daily than she spent shopping.
When she nearly tripped on the discarded shirt he’d dropped on the floor, she swore, bent to pick it up, and threw it on top of the pile of clothes on a nearby chair. “When are you going to shovel some of this lot into the washing machine?” she demanded,
hiding a satisfied smirk at her brother’s wince. He may be a world champion surfer, but much as she loved him, the guy was a slob when it came to his living quarters.
Instead of trying to fix me up with all your friends, you should concentrate on clearing up this mess and getting a girl of your own.”
“Aw, Sis, don’t be like that. Culley’s okay.”

* * * * *

One of These Days by Zanna MacKenzie
Megan pulled her jacket off and slung it over the back of a nearby dining chair. “We’ll go out again later,” she promised Tizzy, who fixed pleading brown eyes on her. “I have work to do. More walkies after dinner, I promise.”
Duly satisfied, the Terrier curled up in her basket. Megan, who was a self-employed graphic designer, worked from home, which suited her just fine.
“What time is it anyway?” Megan asked, glancing at her wrist, aware she was in the habit of talking to Tizzy as though she understood every word. Maybe she did. “Oh no!” Megan gasped. “Please no!”
Frantically she dropped to her knees and started searching the rug, the floor and underneath the table. Next she turned the sleeves of her coat inside out. It was no use. It was gone.
* * * * *

Delusions of Love By Liz Botts

 Moonlight shimmers on rippling waves that lap gently on a white sand shore. A gentle breeze sways the palm trees. The man puts his arms around the woman. They are both laughing. The moonlight catches a delicate glimmer on the woman’s left hand. A diamond ring!
I glance furtively around and then gently tear out the ad. I’ll just add this to my collection of romantic proposals. I leave them out in strategically random places in Ryan’s apartment: the bathroom by Ryan’s shaving stuff, in the refrigerator by the orange  juice, underneath his pillow. Sometimes if I’m feeling really creative, I’ll roll them up and stick them in silly, out of the way places, where Ryan just might happen to stumble across them, like in his running shoes.

     Love and Diamonds is available from            Amazon UK        Amazon     

13 January 2017

Second Chances - A Love Antholoy - Blog tour.

Second Chances

A Love Anthology

Five Sweet Romances


E.A. West

Pravina Maharaj

Patricia Kiyono

Kathy Bosman

Leenna Naidoo

 When a couple falls in love, sometimes their relationship doesn’t work out and they part ways. One day they may meet up again. The sparks fly. The hurtful memories rise to the surface. Is it possible for them to heal the rift between them and start all over again? Can they have a second chance at love? Or is it too late? Find out in this feel-good anthology of five unique, sweet romances.
All proceeds go to charity: HIC Children's Home, Newcastle, South Africa.
Available from:-       Amazon        Amazon UK

Escaping the Past: by E.A. West

~True love never dies, but can it overcome mistakes of the past?~

When Felicia Coronado’s soon-to-be ex-husband kidnaps her daughter on a remote mountain road, she must rely on the assistance of a group of soldiers in the area for a training exercise. She’s stunned to discover the soldier in charge is the high school sweetheart she never thought she would see again. Lieutenant Mark Benson never stopped loving Felicia, even after she dumped him before their senior prom. Now, six years later, he learns the truth behind why she left him. Can he forgive her for the past and give her a chance for the future once her divorce is final, or will he help find her missing daughter and leave Felicia behind?

Rain poured from the dark clouds, making the winding mountain road slick. Felicia Coronado’s hands tightened on the steering wheel as she fought back panic. Ramon’s truck hugged the rear bumper of her car. Speeding up didn’t increase the distance between them; it only made the car harder to control. She glanced in the rearview mirror, meeting her five-year-old daughter’s frightened brown eyes.

“Mama, why is Papa chasing us?” Raquel’s quivering voice sent an arrow straight through Felicia’s heart. Her daughter had already endured far too much fear in her young life.

“I don’t know, mi hija.” Yes, you do! He wants to kill you and take your daughter to Venezuela for who knows what horrible reasons. She would never let that happen. No matter what it took, she would protect her daughter from Ramon’s cruelty.

Felicia slowed to round a curve, and Ramon fell back. Her relief was short-lived as the road straightened again. She glanced back in time to see his pickup truck shoot forward.

“Hold on, Raquel!”

She barely had time to brace herself before the truck connected with the back of her car. Raquel screamed as the car lurched forward, but Felicia couldn’t reassure her. She had all she could do to keep the car on the road. Ramon rammed the back of her car again, sending it sliding across the wet pavement. A huge tree loomed ahead. She fought the wheel, but it was no use. The car slammed into the tree, crushing the right front corner. A second impact from behind smacked her head against the steering wheel, and blackness crept into the edges of her vision.

“Mama!” Raquel’s shrill voice penetrated the fog in Felicia’s mind.

Before her sluggish thoughts could form into any kind of reassurance, Ramon had wrenched open Raquel’s door and was pulling the girl out of her booster seat. Felicia tried to protest, but Raquel’s screams drowned out anything she said. Adrenaline rushed through her veins, and she forced her way out of the car as Ramon carried her daughter away.

“Ramon! Let her go!” Felicia shouted into the storm. “You have no right to take her from me!”

He turned his cold eyes on her. “This child is my daughter. I have every right to take her.”

“You’re breaking the restraining order! Give Raquel back to me or you’ll face more charges.”

Ramon laughed, his expression full of hate. “Stupid woman. You think a piece of paper and empty threats will stop me from taking my daughter with me? You are a bigger fool than I thought.” He picked up his pace as he headed for the woods.

“Ramon!” Felicia’s scream didn’t stop him, and she watched helplessly as he disappeared into the forest with her daughter in his arms.


About the author:~
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn't laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.

Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she's not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.

* * * * *

Giovanni’s Christmas Bride: by Pravina Maharaj

~Mistletoe Magic. Two Passionate Hearts. A Christmas Wedding to Remember.~

Italian billionaire Giovanni Ferruccio had sworn never to forgive Brennan Shaw for breaking off their engagement and marrying his cousin Anthony.

Five years later, when fate delivers a widowed Brennan and her young son Luca to Giovanni's door, he is determined to discover the reason for Brennan's betrayal. But after one too many kisses under the mistletoe, Giovanni realises he can’t let go off Brennan and wants to make her his Christmas bride.
She looked up, stunned to see the man she’d never thought to face again. Not after five bitter years.

Giovanni Ferruccio. Italian billionaire, philanthropist and jet-setting playboy.

At thirty-five, Giovanni was one of the most eligible bachelors in New York. Brennan had followed his life and career through the media. She knew he was never short of female company—often seen with actresses, models, and wealthy heiresses.

As Giovanni’s dark gaze locked with hers, Brennan forgot to breathe. Her mind flew to ten years ago when they’d first met. She’d been a twenty-year-old waitress, paying her way through college. Giovanni had been twenty-five with a steely determination to succeed in the world of business. He’d just launched his first Information Technology Company and was in the process of expanding his business when they’d met.

Brennan’s life changed forever when Giovanni had stepped into the café where she worked. It was five days before Christmas on a snowy Saturday afternoon. Giovanni had insisted she sit with him while he had a coffee and pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. Her boss at the café was shocked when Giovanni laid down a bundle of notes.

“I’m buying more than your food and drink. I’m also buying the company of your pretty waitress,” Giovanni had told the man, with an air of arrogance.

If it were any other customer, Brennan would have been incensed by such audacious behaviour but immediately there was something about Giovanni that tugged at her. It was more than his darkly handsome features or his Italian accent. She’d served many handsome men at the upmarket Manhattan café, but none had made her pulse race.

Intrigued by the stranger, Brennan agreed to sit down with him, and thereafter Giovanni began visiting the café often, always paying a small fortune for Brennan to sit with him. Their encounters fed the gossip mill of the restaurant staff and had the female staff mooning over Giovanni’s sex appeal.

Soon Giovanni began seeing Brennan away from the café. Brennan suddenly in a relationship with Giovanni discovered she was helplessly in love. She graduated from college and Giovanni was blazing his way through the business world. Then one Christmas Eve, Giovanni stunned her by proposing. It had been the happiest moment of Brennan’s life. But her happiness was short-lived because ten months later she broke off their engagement. Her world had come crashing down around her ears. Giovanni was left gutted by their breakup and Brennan’s heart broke into a million tiny pieces.

“Brennan Shaw,” Giovanni said, the deep timbre of his voice sending a shiver down Brennan’s spine and jerking her back to the present.

“Welcome to my home,” he added, sounding anything but welcoming.

“I didn’t know you lived here.” Brennan dragged her gaze away from Giovanni’s face. Luca stared at his mother with wide, dark eyes, sensing the tension in the room.

Giovanni entered the room, his gaze never wavering from Brennan.

She bit her lip self-consciously. She knew she looked a mess. Her usually lustrous honey-blond hair hung limp and damp, her woollen dress smudged with mud was molded to her thin frame, and her face lined with exhaustion.

Drawing breath, Brennan met Giovanni’s obsidian gaze. “Please, can I use your phone? I’d like to call a taxi,” she said, grateful that her voice was steady.

“I insist you stay the night,” Giovanni said like the spider might have said to the fly.

Brennan gritted her teeth. “Thank you but I’d rather go home.”

“It’s not a night to be out with a child,” Giovanni pointed out, glancing at Luca.

Brennan wanted to scream with frustration. How could fate be so cruel to deliver her on the doorstep of the man who hated her most?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Author Pravina Maharaj writes passionate, contemporary romances.

* * * * *
Flowers for Maddy by Patricia Kiyono

~ Sometimes the roadblocks in your life aren’t as high as they seem. ~
Maddy Benning’s life has been full of missed opportunities. She’s had to settle for commuting to local colleges rather than attending the school she and her high school boyfriend had chosen, and spend all her time either working or taking care of her mother. She’s resigned herself to a life void of excitement and love. Meeting Jake again opens new hurts—but can it lead to new joys?

Jake Warner gave up his teaching position to return to his Lake Michigan hometown and care for his father. But it looks like the job is more than he can handle on his own. While looking for appropriate care, he runs into a girl from his past. Years ago, their parting had been painful. But was there more to the story than he’d realized?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jake nearly stumbled. He’d just been thinking about needing someone who’d understand, and now Maddy was here, going through the same struggles. Someone had been listening.

She turned her soft gaze to him. “What about you? I heard you and your choirs have been winning all sorts of awards. I even saw you and your group perform on one of the morning news shows.” She frowned. “Is your school on break now, or did you retire already?”

“I resigned. Dad’s got health problems, and someone had to take care of him, now that both Mom and Sarah are gone. In fact, he’s in Rest Haven, too.”

Those expressive eyes glistened. “I’m so sorry, Jake. That had to be so hard, losing half your family in an instant.”

He nodded. “Dad hasn’t been the same since then. I didn’t realize until I came back how much it affected him. It’s like he has no will to live and sees no reason to care for anyone, including himself.”

“I’m so sorry. Your dad was always such a strong man.”

“Yes. I used to hate that about him. Now I miss that strength.”

She opened her mouth, and Jake expected she would say something about her mother, but she clamped her mouth shut and nodded. He decided to change the subject away from parents. “How’s Jeff?”

She frowned then, and he wondered why the question would bother her. “Jeff died eighteen years ago,” she told him.

He stopped in his tracks. “I-I’m so sorry. What happened?”

 “Cancer. We were going through fertility tests when they found it. He was gone two months later.”

“Maddy, I’m so sorry.” She’d been a widow all this time?

She nodded her acceptance of his sympathy, and they continued their walk. “Thanks. It was rough, but he made me promise I’d get my degree. He knew how much I’d wanted to go, and he made that possible.”

Jake digested that. “I always thought you’d changed your mind and didn’t want to go to school.”

“Never! I cried for days each time mom told me I hadn’t been accepted.”

“Each time? How many schools did you apply to?”

“U of M, Eastern, and MSU, as well as several private schools. Actually, I was accepted at a few of them, but I couldn’t get any financial help, so I couldn’t afford it. That’s why I went to Community College, and then commuted to Grand Valley.”

He walked in silence for a few moments. What she said didn’t match with his memory of events, but he wasn’t about to argue. “Why didn’t you tell me about any of this?”

Her eyes narrowed. “I did. I wrote to you.”

“I never got any letters from you.”

“Never? I wrote almost every day. Mom said we couldn’t afford that much postage, so I’d put a week’s worth of letters in an envelope. I wrote for weeks before I finally gave up. “

He ran his free hand through his hair. “I swear I never got those letters. If I had, I would have called you. I could have transferred or taken some time off until we could find a place to go together.”

She pursed her lips together. Did she doubt his sincerity? “I guess it doesn’t matter now. We can’t change what happened, and eventually we both got what we wanted.”

Maybe you did. I settled, and my poor wife knew it.


Patricia Kiyono writes both contemporary and historical sweet romance. She likes to incorporate the lakeside setting of her West Michigan home in her contemporary works.


* * * * *

His Treasure by Kathy Bosman

~ What Treasure from the past will Dale find? ~

Bridget is the new chairlady for the Treasure Hunter’s Club, a hobby she’s taken up to fill the loneliness after breaking up with her boyfriend Dale. The magic has left her life too, or so it seems, because the magic matchmaking photo album told her Dale was the right man for her. So when her ex-boyfriend walks into the club meeting, she’s barely able to make her speech. Dale can’t believe he’s in the same room as the woman who broke his heart and made him lose interest in dating. Being together for a night might be too painful to bear.

Since Bridget had told him it was over, he’d turned into some kind of Cookie Monster with women. He chewed them and spat them out within weeks of their first date. Could it be something to do with the gnawing feeling of being not good enough? If Bridget didn’t want him, there must be something intrinsically wrong with him. They’d grown so close in a space of a few months, and then she’d told him “enough.” Her reasons still didn’t make sense. He’d bared his soul to the woman, but she didn’t seem to care.

Swallowing a sudden lump in his throat, he closed his eyes for a moment, feeling the tension release out of his clenched fists and jaw. He needed to forget her. He’d always been outgoing, had plenty of friends, been rather popular. Some quiet, studious, poetry-obsessed college student shouldn’t destroy his self-esteem so easily. Nope, she wouldn’t. He’d forget about her. He wouldn’t give her the joy of making him miserable.

“Why did you think I’d help you, though?” he couldn’t help asking Ebon. “You know I don’t talk much nowadays.”

“You’re still a chick magnet despite often acting like a forty-year old with six kids and no time for fun.”

He pursed his lips. He didn’t want to be a chick magnet anymore. Why did he have to be born with such good genetics—broad shoulders, tall, good hair, flat abs, “sparkling blue eyes” as the girls would say, and a charming, dimpled smile?

For once, he wished he could be like Ebon, plain and ordinary, medium-height, skinny arms, bit of a paunch, ash-brown hair. He looked at his friend and punched him in the arm.

“Hey, why did you wear that stupid golf shirt again?”

Ebon picked up speed and glared at the traffic in his way. “You don’t look any better in that stupid white T-shirt. What, you think you’re Adonis or something?”

Dale laughed and his mood picked up as Ebon joined him in cackling.

They soon arrived outside a chapel which seemed to be teeming with life. Several women had gathered by the entrance, all young and hip-looking with their skinny jeans, sleeked hair, and shiny lipstick. He sighed inwardly. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, after all.

“Too many chicks,” he muttered, but Ebon didn’t hear him. Instead, he headed for the entrance with a confident stride. The guy had suddenly grown in boldness. He’d hide behind Ebon, then.

He desperately tried to spot some male company in the crowd, but nothing. Maybe the guys were inside. How to weave through the crowd of girls? He saw a path and headed straight for it, for once not caring about introducing Ebon to everyone as he usually did. Once inside, he could breathe again and sucked in several calming breaths while looking for a place to sit. He found seating near the back. If Ebon complained, he’d say it was to get a good vantage point to see all the women. The plastic seat wasn’t too comfortable and the buzz from the doorway made his heart-rate climb again, especially seeing that buzz heading inside. He tried to take in the traditional décor of the chapel and imagine he lived in medieval times and had chosen to be a monk. A smile filled his face at the thought. His thirst for adventure wouldn’t make him a good monk, though. But the thought calmed him. Phew, he really had developed a dislike for girls.

The swarm came down the aisle and hovered around, giggling over their seat choices. One of the bees headed for the front and fiddled with the projector set-up. Fuzzy, dark-brown curls at the back of her head caught his eye and his palms grew sweaty. She looked a lot like Bridget. Great. Now the leader of the club was a Bridget look-a-like. Turning around, she scanned the room with all seriousness.

He blinked.


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Author Kathy Bosman writes sweet contemporary and fantasy romances and occasionally other genres like fantasy or women’s fiction.
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Three Million’s a Crowd by Leenna Naidoo

 ~ 3 Million eyes, 2 desperate hearts, 1 second chance. ~

Munro Calliston needs to win a few million. Vivian Francis needs to win back Munro. The TV reality show Treasure Seekers seems the perfect route to a win-win situation...But can two so very wrongs ever make things right?

Before the reunion of Team Academia was complete, another car hurried down the drive and into the car park. Munro took a deep breath and steeled himself. This was Vivian, he knew. The car door took almost a minute to open, Munro imagining Vivian frantically searching for something she’d deemed vital and had forgotten. Or was she losing her nerve and on the verge of thumping the chauffeur on the back and screaming at him to, “Drive! Just drive!” He held his breath. She’d done that before, and Vivian was nothing if not predictable emotionally.

The door opened too fast, swung back alarmingly, and was pushed back again. She was still curvy, her skin that natural olive, looking respectable in her glasses as she stepped out in Capri cargoes, a cotton shirt, and hiking boots. Then she stumbled as a familiar backpack tumbled out behind her. She stuck her head back in the car, and emerged a few moments later with a shawl, closed the door, opened it, then slammed it shut again. She looked nervously around as the car pulled away, before hefting the backpack onto her shoulders, balancing precariously as she did so.

Munro breathed in, not realising he’d been holding his breath, then shook his head. That Woman hadn’t changed a bit. His grin was pure wickedness. He wouldn’t have to create any drama, it still followed her around like a dog on a leash. All he would have to do was drag her along and make sure they were always in the Top Three. He glanced at the other four teams and the sixth team’s lone member – a dumpy man with veldskoene boots who looked liked a miner. He could do it, he had to.

I’d only just arrived and my nerves were shot. Where was Munro? Already breaking out in a sweat, I walked along the burning beige walk towards the odd-shaped tower of Maropeng’s entrance. I’d never visited this museum and discovery centre celebrating palaeontology and astronomy. All the other contestants were standing in the shade of the entrance, making their faces hard to distinguish. I should have worn my sunglasses.

And there he stood, feet apart, arms crossed with his sun-bleached, tousled hair making it appear like he’d just left the beach. He’d always made me feel safe and protected before—my rock in a crazy, unpredictable world. He’d been the one who’d always caught me when I fell, the one person in the world who’d thought I’d been more than enough for him, who’d loved me just as I’d been, though I’d known I was far from perfect ‘cos everyone else told me so.

I couldn’t breathe. My stomach lurched and crashed like an alien trying to birth itself. I gulped in air as I met his smile and brilliant eyes with their hostile expression.

Who was I kidding? I had absolutely zero chance of winning Munro back, not after what I’d done. So why had he agreed to Audrey’s suggestion, even welcomed it?

“You made it,” he said. “No change of mind?”

I cleared my dry throat and tried to unwind my hands from my shawl. “No, of course not.” My voice was a croak. I cleared my throat again. “How are you?”

“Never better.” His eyes were as feral as his grin though his voice was as smooth as ever.

My stomach heaved. I couldn’t figure out if it was fear, lust, or nerves. I dropped my bag and ran off to the ladies, certain my breakfast wasn’t going to make it to the starting line.
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 Author Leenna usually writes contemporary suspense with a dash of fantasy and romance. She also dabbles in science-fiction & fantasy, and blogs at www.leennanaidoo.wordpress.com
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The authors taking part are:

Leenna Naidoo on 10 January
Patricia Kiyono on 11 January
Elaine Cantrell on 12 January
Sherry Gloag on 13 January
Devika Fernando on 16 January
Marian Merritt on 16 January
Landra Graf on 17 January
E.A. West on 17 January
Elaine Dodge on 17 January
Gail Pallotta on 18 January
Kathy Bosman again on 19 January
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