Once a week, every Tuesday, an excerpt from one of my books, chosen for no special reason.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

relationship between sisters


From Round the Bend, Where Dreams Go, Going Home, comes the fourth book, Love Waits, bringing back to the family the youngest of three sisters. This is a strong family, staking their claims on love and healthy living, as they protect their land from those who would take it. This scene shows some of  the relationship between the sisters, Amy, Loraine, and Belle. I like writing family in my books. If they aren't blood kin, they are chosen and become as bonded as if by ancestry.

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Loraine came in with Jesse in her arms. “This was a long night.”
“I appreciate your taking a turn with Rand,” Belle said as Loraine settled Jesse into a crib, handing him a rattle and a carved animal, which seemed to fascinate him if his cooing sounds were any indication.
“Since it appears he’s going to be one of the family,” Loraine said, “it’s important to get him healthy again.” She smiled at Belle’s look of uncertainty. “That is if you want him to be in the family.”
“That’s not decided.”
“Oh that sounded like our Arabelle,” Amy said as she entered catching the tail end of the conversation. “Never make things easy.”
Another time Belle might have felt annoyed, but this time she had to agree. “What can I do to help with breakfast?” she asked rather than spit back a sharp response.
“Gathering the eggs would help,” Loraine said as she looked in the cupboard. “I think scrambled eggs might be good for Rand this morning.”
“Where is the hen coop?” She liked that idea. Getting out of the house would be good for her nerves.
“I’ll show you.” Amy pulled on boots and a jacket and handed Belle a basket.
The coop had been built sturdily, which was essential, given all the varmints in the region. It had an equally impressive wire cage around the outside. “Matt dug the wire deep,” Amy said as she showed her the door in the back. Inside they could access the egg boxes from a room that stored grain in tight barrels. One hen, unwilling to give up her egg, had to be pushed off. The rooster looked at them suspiciously.
“There are two dozen laying hens, half a dozen pullets, and four hens that Mama is saving for stewing. If more of us end up living here and as the children grow, we will need more.”
“This is an impressive yield.” She had two dozen full sized and one tiny one in her basket.
“When men work hard, they eat heartily. This place takes a lot to keep eight men fed as well as children growing up so fast.”
“I can imagine. Well,” she laughed. “I can’t but will take your word for it.”
“We process a lot of vegetables and now have several fruit trees beginning to produce. Mostly though we have bought the fruit from a farm down in Kimberly, beyond Monument.”
“When I was in Canyon City, I studied the map to get an idea of where I’d have to go if I had to leave fast. I have a general idea of the country here.”
“You have been quite the adventurer.”
Belle looked over and saw only a smile on Amy’s face. “There was a time you wanted adventure,” Belle said as they put the feed out for the hens and then secured the door to head back to the kitchen.
“And I have lived one.” Amy’s smile widened. “It wasn’t what I expected. I married this man, who had been my friend since as far back as I could remember. I adore him and find every moment with him exciting even in the mundane ones. It’s about getting to know more about him through the stages of life, having children together—it’s been an adventure such as I never dreamed.”
“It’s what most women want, I guess.” Belle sighed as they stepped up on the porch.
Amy reached out to stop her. “Everyone has to find their own adventure, Belle. Maybe this place isn’t it for you. Maybe it’s not Rand. Don’t let anyone push you into what isn’t right for you.”
Belle looked at her with surprise. “I thought you’d be the one most wanting me to marry Rand. Haven’t you always said I was selfish?”
Amy laughed. “Did I say that? Well, maybe, baby sister, I am just as feisty as you are, and we butt heads. Might that be the case?”
Belle smiled and felt a sense of relief. “I would love it if we could be friends.”
“We are sisters. Isn’t that enough for you?” Amy giggled.
“Sisters you don’t have a choice about. Friends though, those you choose. I always felt a little apart from you and Loraine, being so much younger, but now it doesn’t seem there is that difference.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bannister's Way and a new cover

Bannister's Way has been one of the toughest books to come up with a cover. It's set in the art world of a small liberal arts college in Oregon. Much of it takes place at the heroine's home on the Tualatin River, very much a Moon River kind of river. Other scenes are in a classroom or studio. Trying to come up with a cover, especially since the hero soon finds out, what life drawing means-- and if you are an artist, you know. 

The hero was a secondary character in Desert Inferno :). This scene is him remembering when he first arrived for this job. He and his partner have a fun bromance (something I always like writing). 



    Over a quick lunch at a small cafe, Vance, who'd done the advance work and set up the situation, had grinned as he had told David, “I found you a way in.” 
   “Let’s hear it.” David had sipped the strong coffee while checking his Blackberry for emails. 
   “It’s a natural.” David had looked up. Something about Rich’s face had told him this wasn’t going to be good. 
   “And?” 
   “As an artist’s model. Classroom work and private sessions for a sculptor.” 
   “Not a chance.” 
   “It’s not like you could come in as a professor. Give me a break and don’t be so selfish. This was the only way, and it took some work setting it up.” Rich’s look had been aggrieved. David hadn't bought it. 
   “There has to be another way.” 
   “It’s your ex’s drawing class. She’s the sculptor.” 
   David had clenched his jaw but hadn’t tried to explain to Rich how many ways this idea bothered him. He’d always found his supposed good looks to be more detriment than advantage. The idea of students watching him, drawing him, painting him… Geesus. And then there was his ex-wife. She’d be there seeing him in the weakest possible light. There had to be another way. 
   “You do it. I’ll stay outside this time.” 
   “I’m not the type for a model. Too many doughnuts. You work out all the time for tense nerves, but it’s paid off on the body too. Come on, you know it makes sense. It gets you inside, lets you be where you can look for what the cops missed. There will be something there, you’ll find it, and we’ll be out of here with another brilliant solution to a cold case.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Desert Inferno -- contemporary Arizona


New cover for Desert Inferno and it came about because of a conversation with Jimmy Thomas who is one of the best cover models, who is a model and  director for how he puts together combinations of people and costumes to give writers many options. There was a complication with using this one as Jimmy has black hair and Jake Donovan has dark blond hair. Turns out it wasn't insurmountable, and I like this cover much more than what I had... even though I thought I loved what I had.

 When a rugged border patrolman meets a beautiful artist, sparks fly. It's an unlikely combination but then, isn't love often! To complicate it for Jake and Rachel, an enemy is ready to settle an old score.


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    "Let it go, Rachel. Look, I don't get it.” The expression in his eyes hardened. “What's a woman, who looks like you, doing with a guy with a face like mine, a guy whose own mother couldn't stand him, who has a brother doing time? I’m not your kind of guy, Rachel O’Brian."
    She leaned forward, reaching out, lightly tracing his face with her fingertips, her fingers wreaking havoc with his resolve to keep everything casual between them. “How do you know what my kind of guy is?” she asked huskily, trying to keep her tone light and knowing she was failing.
    "I am an ugly man, inside and out."
    Her fingers tipped his chin up and she looked into his eyes. "Obviously," she whispered, "we don't see your face the same way. Know what I see when I see you?” She didn’t wait for an answer. “I see a strong face but with too much sadness. Your face is like the desert, craggy and rugged. The desert is not ugly but beautiful."
    Before he could respond, she pressed her fingers against his lips. "You’ve protected yourself all these years by not caring. You figured that worked.” She felt an almost unendurable surge of sadness to think of what Jake had said and not said about the little boy he’d been, the man he was. She wondered then why she knew so well who he was inside. She knew it better than he knew himself. She had no answer for why that might be true.
    "It does work."
    "Does it?  Or has it only left a lonely boy inside a lonely man?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tucson Moon

Book 2, in the Arizona historical romance series, is where many secrets are revealed. It follows characters from the first book with a new romance.  Priscilla has it all or so she thought.




“How about coming for dinner again tonight? We’ll leave out the attack.” She smiled. “It’ll just be Rose, James and us. Then after dinner, let’s play dominoes.”
“What’s that?”
She shook her head. “Cord, I think sometimes that you have been as suppressed as Grace.” She gave a little laugh.
He couldn’t argue with that. She wasn’t far off base. “All right,” he said. “I should go now. More bad guys to round up and push around.” He liked making her smile. “But I’ll be back. Rose’s cooking is worth coming for, even if I make a fool of myself with some game I never heard of.”
Priscilla rose. “Well if you were counting on that you are out of luck. I’m cooking tonight. Rose is busy teaching Grace to sew and do embroidery.”
“Ah so will my life be at risk again with your cooking?” he asked with a smile as he put on his hat.
“It might be. You just never know now, do you?” Her smile was pure vixen. He fought back the urge to reach out and pull her into his arms. Those lips were so kissable. No wonder half the single men in Tucson wanted her.
Being around Priscilla Wesley so often was going to require more self-control than he had imagined. He only hoped Grace would find he wasn’t a big bad bear and be willing to come to live with him, before he totally lost his heart to this beautiful woman. He had once thought she’d never have him on his knees, but now he wasn’t so sure. She’d only laugh and find it all a joke if she ever knew what he was feeling. It wasn’t stopping the urges. Maybe a good slap would knock some sense into his head, but before he could take that thought further, Grace and Rose came into the kitchen.