You'll find excerpts and links to my novels below. First up, I'm highlighting my debut novel, Unexpected Legacy, which was a quarter-finalist in this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
It's a novel with romantic elements that crosses over to young adult as well. Happy reading!
Here's the link to the Fair. Virtual Ebook Fair - 3 Day BOOKLOVER'S BASH! JINGLE BELLS, MISTLETOE & MAGIC - DEC. 13, 14, 15TH
Unexpected Legacy: Chapter Three --
Matt walked into the room behind Helen, his heart pounding. A standard hospital bed crowded by machines and equipment dominated the small space. The lights had been dimmed, giving the room a slight greenish tinge. Only the steady chirping from one of the machines broke the heavy silence.
Matt’s first glimpse of the figure lying in the bed was partially blocked by the boy’s grandmother. She approached the bed with a backward glance at Matt. She whispered a few words, then stepped back, making way for Matt to move up. He was so nervous his jaw clenched, and he had to force himself to smile at the boy, whose face was only half visible under all the bandages.
Blood swooshed in his ears. This was harder than he expected.
“Brady,” Matt said softly. “I’m so very glad to meet you. I know this is going to be a big shock for you – it was for me, too.” He cleared his throat and touched the boy’s arm. “I’m your father.”
Even on that half-a-face and single blue eye Matt could see the emotions running through his son. His eye widened as his startled gaze shifted to his grandmother. Helen gave him an encouraging but watery smile, and nodded her head.
Brady stared at Matt. “For real?” he asked, his voice almost croaking.
Matt’s smile widened, and he blew out the breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding before. “For real,” he said. “How are you feeling today?”
“Um. Okay. Better, I guess,” he mumbled.
“Brady, you understand the extent of your injuries and what’s happened, right?”
Matt watched as the boy closed his eye and nodded. He thought the lump in his throat might choke him.
“That creates a whole lot of challenges for you and for your grandparents, and they’ve asked me to help out.” He leaned in close, his hand tightening just a bit on Brady’s arm. “And I really want to do that.”
He waited a minute for any reaction. There wasn’t much.
“You think that’s gonna be okay with you?” he asked when the silence stretched.
“Why?” Brady asked. His voice was strained, and Matt could see tears building in the kid’s eye.
“Because I’m your dad, and I’ve missed out on a big chunk of your life. I need you to understand, Brady, until your grandmother called me a week ago, I had no idea you existed. I never knew I’d fathered a son.”
The eye glared at him, and tension filled the room.
“So here you are – sperm donor to the rescue. Jeez, I didn’t know all I had to do to get a dad was get my leg cut off.”
The man was slightly turned, but from her vantage point, she could see that an impeccable charcoal gray suit hugged broad shoulders, and a crisp white shirt fit snug at his strong neck, accented with a perfectly smooth red tie. The slightest curl of dark hair at the top of the collar practically invited a woman’s fingers. Oh, my.
The man dwarfed poor Matthew both in size and presence. This guy shouted pure power. Megan would bet he’d gotten whatever it was he wanted at the bank that morning. She couldn’t help but stare at such unexpected eye candy for a moment. By the time she thought to retreat, Matthew saw her, and motioned her over.
“Hey, angel,” he said. He gave her a quick hug, then turned to Mr. "Armani."
“Tom, I’d like you to meet Megan Monroe.” He beamed at the man. “This is a special lady. Dad’s on our board. I’m following in his footsteps, and believe me, he’s a tough act to follow.”
She listened to Matthew, but at the same time wished she’d put on heels instead of her flat Mary Janes that morning.
“Meg, this is Thomas Blake,” Matthew continued. “He’s buying half of the Spencer’s old place. He’s a horticulturist. Going to do some agricultural research out there right next to you all.”
With easy confidence, the man smiled, exposing straight white teeth and a few crinkles around his deep blue eyes – and sending a warm rush rocketing through Megan’s entire body. The warmth turned to embarrassment as Megan realized she’d seen him before – this had to be the guy who’d approached her dad yesterday. A horticulturist, Matthew called him. Really? The power suit didn’t fit the picture. This guy didn’t look like anyone she’d ever seen in the landscape or farm business.
She smiled back at him and extended her hand. Oh, be still my heart, she thought, as his strong, warm hand closed around hers. Thank God he didn’t seem to recognize her. She cringed inside, remembering what a scary sight she’d been yesterday.
Then the other part of what Matthew said registered, and alarm bells sounded in her brain. “Half the land? What do you mean? You’re dividing it?”
She got the picture now. This guy wasn’t a horticulturist. He was the money man putting a deal together – turning a private farm operation into a commercial business.
Claire woke to rumbling in her stomach and an aching soreness over her entire body. She lay awake for a moment wondering if she had the strength to get up and get dressed. But she was already dressed. Had she slept all night? The morning sun peeking through the window gave her the answer. She flopped back against her pillow. She’d planned to head to the Rise and Shine Café this morning. But rising didn’t sound too appealing, and shining was out of the question. Still, she had to do something. She couldn’t stand another day like yesterday.
After a few more minutes, and some nagging from Reggie, she swung her legs over the side of the bed and eased herself up. Testing the waters. So far, so good. She forced herself upright and stumbled to the kitchen to make coffee. While it brewed, she poured fresh food for Reggie then headed for the bathroom.
Careful to adjust the shower head to a gentle sprinkle, she stepped inside and let the stream of tepid water soothe her aching skin. Several minutes later, she blotted her skin dry and applied another film of aloe gel before pulling on an apple green blouse and a pair of khaki crop pants. Her stomach grumbled again, and it hit Claire that she’d completely skipped dinner last night. No wonder she felt woozy. At least she could justify the huge cinnamon roll in her future.
She slipped into her comfy flip-flops, poured coffee into a travel mug, and then climbed into the car.
At eight a.m. the road was deserted, so she drove slowly, meandering along, scanning the scenery, looking for both change and familiarity. A man she didn’t recognize waved from his yard when she went past. She waved back, unsure whether she should know him.
Just ahead was the Rise and Shine Café. Claire was surprised to find no cars lining the road leading into the tiny parking lot. Until she turned in. She jerked the car to a sudden stop, her heart sinking as she took in the scene before her. That explained why there were no cars. No people. No noise. Only a charred shell of the shack remained. A piece of paper blew from one of the partly blackened posts that once held up the awning.
A deep sadness gnawed at her, and once again she felt as though she’d stumbled into someone else’s life. She stepped out of the car and made her way across the dusty gravel lot, shaking her head. The damage was devastating, and the faint odor of fire still clung to the remaining structure. The happy aroma of fresh bread and cinnamon she’d been expecting – gone.
Her breath caught on a little choke. She supposed it was silly to be sentimental about something so trivial, but it touched Claire. More change. Another piece of her life vanished. She read the sign on the post. It thanked the patrons for many years of business and requested that they visit the new location. In town. Oh, no. Would they not rebuild? The café was an icon, part of the very fabric of lake life.
Claire rubbed a thumb across the post, black soot staining her skin. Then she wandered around the burned skeleton of the building.