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I love fresh spices and the flavors seem a little brighter if you grind them right before using them. I love to do this with coriander, cumin, cardamom and peppercorns.

And most of the time this works out well.

Except with peppercorns.

For some reason I tend to forget that the grinder produces a fine, powdery dust which billows out of the grinder if you open it too soon. You need to give it a few seconds to settle. Otherwise…

Yes. You get a nose full of pepper dust and think you’re going to die from sneezing. And coughing. And grab a fresh box of tissues, because you’re gonna have a runny nose for an hour.

But the pepper is ground, I’ve nearly recovered, and the steaks are ready for the grill Now as soon as the grill is ready, it can all go out to the grill master–my guy who is home for the weekend–and I can ready everything else for dinner while he works his magic.

Got any weekend plans?

I’ll take some time this weekend and do some more editing on Lady Calloway. I must cut it down by at least 15,000 words. (sigh) I really kind of envy those people who need to bulk up their word count. Me and short stories? Doesn’t happen, unless you consider short around 75,000 words.

Yeah. Really.

If you’re looking for something to read, go check out my books on Smashwords or Amazon. I may go over to Smashwords later and see about some sales for the weekend…

Prefer paperbacks?

Dante’s Angel is now available in print from Amazon!

Have a great weekend.

Watch out for the peppercorns!

And as always.

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

This weekend I’m putting three of my books on sale for $0.99 on Smashwords!

The first book of each series–Gambler’s Folly and Esperance– plus Master of the Fleet will be available now through Monday May 10 for only $0.99 each.

Which books are those?

Gambler’s Folly Book 1–Gambler’s Folly.

Esperance Book 1–Jareth, First Lord

And of course Sultonna Nadine’s book Master of the Fleet.

Don’t miss the sale!

And have a marvelous Mother’s Day!

As always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

Happy Mothers Day tag close up among a bouquet of flowers over a white wood background

I know. Mother’s Day isn’t until Sunday. However, I normally write on Friday before the weekend gets too hectic.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?

When I was growing up, we normally had a bunch of friends over–families from church with all the mothers, fathers, and kids. My dad would do a big chicken BBQ and each family brought a side or dessert. Mom and I usually made a big batch of potato salad.

Come on. We ALWAYS made a big batch of potato salad. What’s the point of potato salad unless there is some left over to sneak out of the fridge later? And the few times we tried, we still wound up with the big yellow bowl full, plus about two servings which wouldn’t fit…

It was a beautiful time up around the Great Lakes. While winter has finally paased, and the weather has warmed, the summer swelter hasn’t yet arrived, Hay fields are growing toward mowing season, spring flowers are popping up everywhere. It is truly a beautiful place. And the spring flowers didn’t bother my mother as much when we picked bouquets. The golden rod and wild flowers in the fall about did her in, so they had to sit outside on the cistern lid, in front of the kitchen window.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

And perhaps your mother likes to read…

I’m getting into a book our daughter bought for me–the complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I know. I’m weird.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a Happy Mother’s Day!

And Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

Beautiful tulips on white wooden background

Welcome to May

It’s the first day of May today. I believe spring may be here to stay this time, even though it did get down into the high 40’s last night. I think they’re predicting a high today of around 85.

So what’s happening in your world today? I’m thinking about taking my walk early to avoid the heat this afternoon. I’ve never gotten along well with heat, so I try to do all my outside work early in the morning before the sun gets too high in the sky.

I’ve nearly wrapped up Lady Calloway. Yes, I know, but life has a way of getting complicated. And after this one is wrapped, I really need to get finished with a half-finished book in the Esperance series. This one will come after Ben of Blackstone’s Forge, which will be Book 5 in the series and is in a second round of edits.

Gregor is the heir of Clan Rowan. In his younger days, angry with his father, he left the family home and went to the other side of the clan to join the guard. To further distance himself, he took his mother’s maiden name. When he and his father finally reconciled, he agreed to come back and take up his place once again, but chose to keep his mother’s family name. Gregor Thayne–Heir of Rowan brings in a new cast of characters to join those already in the series.

And Ben of Blackstone’s Forge? This is another story inset into the story, a vignette of Ben Blackstone, son of the local blacksmith. Now a journeyman smith, working on becoming a master, Ben inherited his father’s Talent with iron. Though his father keeps hinting it’s time for him to marry, the one girl he’d always thought would be his seems out of reach. Tired of waiting for him to come around, his father arranges a marriage for him. Can he and his new wife find a happily ever after?

Watch for Too Many Talents later this year. And wish me luck on wrapping Lady Calloway and finishing Gregor Thayne.

Have a wonderful month of May.

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

Come With Me…

…to a world full of mischief, magic, and romance.

Come to Esperance!

You won’t need a passport or airline tickets. No need for a Covid test. All you need is a comfy chair, something delightful to drink, and maybe a fireplace.

And of course, a book. Or an e-book. Either way, it won’t cost much. But such a world you’ll find.

Discovered by the seekers when Earth began to expand into the universe, the colony was just getting on its feet when tragedy struck. They were cut off from their home world without warning while facing a pandemic which was wiping out the population.

After weathering this time of trouble, the survivors fell into a world of chaos and confusion. It became a world of every man for himself and damn the consequences.

Out of this tribulation, people with special abilities emerged. Descendants of the seekers who had come with them, they developed strong psychic abilities. Eventually they were able to enforce the rule of law back onto the population and divided the lands into clans. Each clan was ruled by one of these psychically talented First Lords.

Our first story begins several hundred years after this time of confusion, in Clan Brannach, which is ruled by First Lord Jareth. A widowed ruler with no heir, he has no heart for finding another wife, until he meets Viviane from a neighboring clan.

But will he win her heart before the two of them start a clan war?

The story continues in Book 2, where we learn more about Talents and the problems they can cause.

Book 3 is inset into the main story line, following the tale of another girl from the neighboring clan, of her struggles, and of finding the possibility of love. With a little more psychic magic involved, there are some surprises along the way.

So, beginning with Jareth, First Lord, continuing with Viviane, First Lady, and moving on to Morgan–The Pixie and the Green Man, the wonders of this world unfold. Next up will be Too Many Talents, continuing Viviane’s story and bringing in Connell, ov Clan Belfort, the new heir to the clan.

All these books are available on Amazon, Smashwords, or most major booksellers.

So take a break. Take a vacation. Come with me to a simpler, more magical time and place.

Come to Esperance.

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

Happy Friday!

Here it is Friday again, and here I am back at my desk, getting ready to do some writing.

But what do I have on the table once Lady Calloway is out of the way?

Several things come to mind… The first one is the first book I ever wrote, which I call Mistaken Identity, which will be from Sultonna Nadine. It is no where near to being ready to publish, and my editor is going to have a job. As it was the first, there is a lot to weed out, but once it’s ready, it will be a great story.

This is another book which came to me in a dream and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down. And as I wrote each bit down, another bit would show up. Putting the pieces together was the trick, since the bits weren’t necessarily in order.

Where does this piece belong?

How did we get here in the first place.

And where do we go from here?

In this story we have a young woman, who is a martial artist as well as a piano instructor who is mistaken for someone she’s not. Taken to a world hostile to her own, she finds she will be forced to stay and put to work as a servant wherever the state chooses.

But what they decide will risk her life, as well as the lives of others, in a bid to save both their worlds.

The next one that comes to mind is Whiskey Jug Genie, a book from Sultonna Nadine. It will be ready much faster and is more about magic than romance, though there is a bit of romance mixed in. Set in London, this features a young apothecary owner who finds an old whiskey jug while touring the American Southeast. Imagine his surprise when he opens it up and a red-neck genie appears.

That’s when the trouble begins. It seems anyone with sufficient magical ability can sense his presence, and someone is determined to steal the jug and the genie.

From Esperance, after Too Many Talents, we will have Ben of Blackstone’s Forge. The girl Ben has always thought would be his suddenly turns an icily cold shoulder to him when he comes back from completely his training for Journeyman and nobody can tell him why. But his father wants to see him married, and her father needs for her to marry so her sisters can make plans for their futures. So the two men arrange a marriage for the two of them, turning their world upside down.

And from Gambler’s Folly, we’ll be meeting the characters in Old Flame. They first met thirty years ago at university and haven’t spoken since graduation. Her world is in the East, near the Cherokee National Forest. He’s from Texas, but has based his business out of Northern California. Meeting just before they both catch the shuttle for Gambler’s Folly, a spark which had been missing between them at uni begins to blossom. And it turns out they share a common enemy.

So, that’s what’s happening in this writer’s life. If you have any questions about what I’m working on or something I’ve written, drop me a line in the comments.

In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend.

And as always

Don’tForget

…to Share the Romance…

We’ve talked about Esperance and Lady Calloway, but what’s up next for Gambler’s Folly?

Old Flame

They were friends in university thirty years ago, though they never dated. They were simply friends with no strings, no desires beyond that. His family had money to burn while she struggled to make ends meet.

Who would guess that thirty years down the road, with him single and her a widow, they would meet on their way to Gambler’s Folly?

And who would have guessed an attraction, which had been absent in their university days, would suddenly blossom?

Meet Kort Behrens, multi-millionaire tycoon. His family made it big in electronics with the development of a new drive for interstellar shuttles, along with other inventions and developments along the way. After two failed marriages, he’s decided not to risk any more entanglements. Women only wanted to be with him for the money and prestige.

Elizabeth’s husband died four years ago and she has secluded herself in her little mountain home seeing only her Reiki clients and any neighbors who stop by. She has her cat, Puzzle, for company and hasn’t even considered dating, let alone remarrying.

During an altercation in the hotel the night before her flight to Houston to catch the shuttle, a voice from her past intercedes on her behalf. Warm strong hands on her shoulders comfort her as he deals with the situation. But she was not prepared to see her old friend, Kort, alive and in person. And since she rarely listened to the news or paid much attention to the society rags, she didn’t realize that the young man she’d known at uni was the powerful bachelor billionaire in today’s world.

Neither was Kort prepared for their meeting, or for the feelings he developed during their flight to Gambler’s Folly. But he is determined to show her a good time on one of his favorite worlds. If nothing else, he could help her come back out and learn to live again.

Old Flame hasn’t made it to the editor yet, but how about a brief excerpt?

OLD FLAME

Gambler’s Folly Book 4

Checking her reflection in the mirror, she decided she didn’t look bad for a woman of her age. Her hair was beginning to gray a little, but it didn’t show too much in her blond hair. With a final tug at the skirt of her black dress, she slipped on pumps and took the lift to the third floor dining room. She preferred a table which wasn’t out in the open, so it took her a minute to get situated. Once seated, she took a deep breath and began to peruse the menu. 

“Excuse me, Mrs. Murphy?”

Staring up at the stranger, she said, “I’m Elizabeth Murphy, yes.”

“It’s about time we met,” the man sneered.

“I don’t know you,” she answered. “What do you want?”

“You may not know me, but you have received several letters from my boss concerning a debt of $10,000. We haven’t received your payment yet.”

“You’re with them? I’ve written back and explained everything to your boss. I don’t know what the debt is for, and I can’t get the money to pay it.”

“May I remind you of a trust your late husband set up for you that you can borrow money against?” the man asked.

“How do you know about that? There is nothing I can do. Go and talk to the attorney who administers the trust. If your claim is legitimate, I’m sure he’ll do what’s right.”

“Mrs. Murphy, it isn’t wise to anger the people I work for. I suggest you find a way to get the money and pay us what you owe.”

“Look,” she said, beginning to panic. “I don’t know who you are, or who your boss is, but I’ve never owed anyone that kind of money in my life. And I can’t imagine Joe did either.”

“Mrs. Murphy,” he began again.

“No! Go away. Go talk to the attorney, but leave me alone.”

Her whole attention had been on the man across the table, but she suddenly felt warm, strong hands on her shoulders.

“Listen, friend,” a deep and vaguely familiar voice said. “You have the lady’s answer. Anything more from you is harassment. Call it a night.”

“This is none of your business. It’s a private affair. Go away.”

“Your private affair became my business when you shouted it across the dining room. You are bullying this poor woman, who I understand has lost her husband. Say good night.”

“Listen, buddy, I don’t know who you think you are, but I can make big trouble for you,” the man threatened.

One of the hands lifted from her shoulder and she heard the man behind her speak into his com.

“Security? Behrens here. I need to have someone escorted off the property from the third floor dining room. I’ve sent a photo.”

“You can’t do that!” the man across the table shouted.

“I think you’ll find I can,” he answered as his hand returned to her shoulder. Liz felt so much safer with him here.

Almost immediately, two security guards from the hotel came down and took the man into custody.

“Anything else, sir?” one of them asked.

“No, thank you. He was making a nuisance of himself and upsetting this lady. We were going to have dinner.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

As they took the man away, Liz felt drained and slumped into her chair. The hands left her shoulders, and the man came around to kneel in front of her.

“I’m sorry your stay here has been marred,” he said and then stopped abruptly, looking startled. “Liz? I mean, are you Elizabeth Stockton?”

Looking up into dazzling blue eyes that could belong to nobody else, she asked, “Kort? Is that you?”

“Yes. Liz, what are you doing in my neck of the woods?”

For some unknown reason, she sprang out of her chair and threw her arms around him. Tears she’d held back began to trickle down her face.

“Hey, it’s all right. I’ve got you. You’re going to mess up your makeup,” he told her softly.

Forcing herself to give him some space, she dabbed at the tears with the handkerchief he offered.

“I’m Elizabeth Murphy now. Our kids sent me tickets for my birthday, so I could come visit them.”

“How many kids do you have?” he asked.

“Two, a son and a daughter. Our daughter has two sons, who are eight and ten. What about you?”

“No. I married right after university, but it didn’t work out. A few years later, I tried again, and it lasted less than a year. I’ve been a bachelor most of the time since we last saw each other.”

“That’s a shame,” Liz said. “You were always such a sweet guy.”

With a hearty laugh, which was as delightful and sincere as she remembered, he said, “I know quite a few people who would disagree with you. Would you join me for dinner? We could catch up on old times.”

Seated comfortably at his table, she picked up the menu and began to look for something relatively inexpensive. She knew it was included in her holiday package, but she hated to waste money, even if it wasn’t coming out of her wallet..

“Liz, get whatever you like. It’s on me tonight,” Kort told her.

“Oh, no. I couldn’t,” she insisted. “Anyway, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do with your money.”

“Not really. I have loads of the stuff. Why not enjoy it?”

“Seriously? What do you do for a living?”

The look he gave her was part amusement and part surprise before he asked, “Do you watch the news?”

“Yes. Well, not watch. I listen to the news while I putter. Why?”

And then her mind put the facts together and she began to sputter.

“Oh! You’re that Kort Behrens–the billionaire who is always on TV?”

“Right in one,” he said with a smile. “How many Kort Behrens do you know?”

“Oh, Kort, or Mr. Behrens, you must have better things to do than entertain me. I’ll go order something from room service. Thank you for your help and everything,” she said as she began to push her chair away from the table.

“Liz, sit down. Please,” he insisted firmly. “I may be wealthy, but I love to visit with old friends. People who knew me before the media splashed my life all over the world.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “I don’t even know how to talk to you. I can’t believe the Kort Behrens I knew became one of the wealthiest people on Earth.”

“Sit down. Forget the money. I’m Kort, Liz, the guy who almost lost you over a balcony one night.”

“Oh my gosh! I’d almost forgotten that dance.”

“It wasn’t one of my better moments,” he said.

“Nice save, though,” she added.

“Thank you.”

They talked over dinner and wine before he suggested a walk around the gardens. She had forgotten how big the man was. He towered over her. If he was anything like he’d been at university, there was no fat concealed under his three piece suit. It was all washboard muscle. It was a good thing he had such a mild mannered way.

“Are you headed back east tomorrow?” he asked her.

“It’s sort of funny, considering I don’t travel much, but I’m not. I’m headed to Houston.”

“What’s in Houston?”

“The kids bought me a vacation package—transportation and four weeks of vacation on Gambler’s Folly.”

“Five o’clock shuttle?” he asked with a curious look.

“Yes, as a matter of fact. Why?”

“This is quite a coincidence. I’m booked on the same shuttle.”

“To Gambler’s Folly? You’re kidding,” she said in amazement.

“What flight are you on tomorrow morning?” he asked.

“I’m on the ten o’clock Delta flight. Why?”

“I can call and have your money refunded if you’d rather fly with me. There are fewer lines and hassles when you fly corporate.”

“Seriously? Won’t I be in your way?”

“Not at all. Once I get to Gambler’s Folly I’ll have a couple things to check on for business, but for the rest of the time, I’m on vacation. Just plain old rest and relaxation.”

“I don’t know, Kort,” she said, hesitantly.

“Say yes, Liz. It’ll be fun.”

“If you’re sure,” she told him, not sure why she was agreeing.

“Perfect! I’ll have my driver get your luggage in the morning. We need to leave by nine-thirty, which will get us into Houston early enough to have a late lunch before we go on to the Spaceport. Do you have all your paperwork ready?”

“Yes, Kate and I made sure of that before she left the hotel.”

They chatted all the way back to the hotel, where they were besieged by people with cameras.

“Is this a new girlfriend, Mr. Behrens?” one of the reporters asked.

“No, Liz is an old flame from my university days. Say hello, Liz,” he said with a smile.

“Hello,” she managed as Kort turned away from the reporters and entered the hotel.

“Sorry about that. I hadn’t expected them so soon. I’m glad we’ll be off planet tomorrow night. By the time we get back, they’ll have something else to talk about, hopefully.”

“I hope so. I never thought about reporters,” she said, still a little shaken. “Old flame?”

He grinned widely at her expression, winked at her, and put his arm around her shoulders. When they got to her room, he looked deeply into her eyes for a moment.

 “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said before he pressed a warm, gentle kiss to her cheek. “Sweet dreams, Liz.”

It may be just a little while before this is ready to be published, but it is in the process.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

And as always

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance.

And that is a very good question. Where do authors and artists get their ideas?

And for me, it depends on which book we’re talking about. Some of mine have come from recurring dreams of a particular scene. Jareth, First Lord is a good example. I kept dreaming a particular scene over and over until a sat down and wrote the scene out. Of course I then had to figure out where in the story this particular bit occurred, but this was my starting point.

Some start with a “what if” sort of idea, such as Gambler’s Folly. I heard a particular song and wondered how this sort of thing could happen now or in the future. What if…?

But Master of the Fleet was a bit different. For several years I participated in a group called the SCA–Society for Creative Anachronism. The people in this group learned skills used during the middle ages and met to practice their particular skill. I was a musician. Mostly I played in a recorder consort, but sometimes I sang and composed little ditties about the places I’d been.

It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about the various skills the people during that time used in their lives.

And I loved watching the fighters. Some fought with sword and shield, others with staffs. Some wore leather armour, others chain mail. Watching someone painstakingly make chain mail is an education in itself.

So one day as I was daydreaming about this and that, I came up with a scenario for entertainment at a high feast. A scene that would play out in the performance area in front of the high table, which should shock yet entertain those gathered there.

It began with an argument between a man and his lady over something silly, until tempers flared and blades were drawn. As the disagreement escalated, her blade was thrown clear before she was backed up to the baron’s table, sword tip at her throat, as the man demanded justice.

As these things go, it eventually ended up as a book, and while it is in the first chapter, it is only the beginning of the story. There were a lot of questions I had about this relationship.

Why were they at the feast?

Why were they arguing?

Why did they marry, and what about the blood oath which bound them together?

Do they ever find happiness?

What is a weather shaper? And where does magic fit into this picture?

Ready to find out?

How about a short excerpt?

MASTER OF THE FLEET

Richard was angrier than he had ever been. How had she used him for so long without him noticing the hints he should have seen? After a year of courting, he had asked her to marry him, but she’d begged for more time. He’d decided to ask her again, here at the festival. He was so certain of her acceptance, he had bought a ring for their betrothal.

She had never intended to marry him. She had simply used her charms to get what she wanted. When the source dried up, she would have left him for greener fields. Use him would she? He would show her what it was to be used, and he had half a lifetime to make his point. As soon as the priest got here, she would be bound to him, not only by her oath to him and the blood oath, but by her vow to heaven as well.

Master of the Fleet is available at Amazon, at Smashwords, and most major book sellers.

So if you’re ready for a little magic, check out Master of the Fleet, written under my pen name, Sultonna Nadine!

And as always…

Don’t forget…

…to Share the Romance…

Welcome to April!

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t expecting below freezing temperatures this time of year down here in the American Southeast. Last week we had highs around 80 degrees outside with night time temperatures in the 50’s. So yesterday’s high in the low 50’s followed by below freezing temperatures was a shock to my system.

And then there were the tomato plants we set out, thinking warm weather had arrived. I managed to get them dug back out of the garden, put into pots, and back in the greenhouse before the chill hit. With any luck they’ll survive all the disruption.

So what am I doing as far as writing?

LADY CALLOWAY

I’ve finally figured out how to wrap it up, which has been my hold up on this particular project. The lady is being quite obstinate about cooperating with me.

Not that her husband is any better.

However, with a little luck, Lady Calloway should be finished by the end of next week. Unless she decides to pull another stunt I’m not expecting.

In the meantime, my editor is looking over the next book in the Esperance series–Too Many Talents. This story picks up right after Viviane, First Lady, continuing Viviane’s story and bringing in the new heir of Clan Belfort–a little boy of almost 11, who is not necessarily happy about it.

While it seems having paranormal Talents would be fun, getting a handle on them can be quite a pain. Just ask Viviane and Connell.

Want a bit of a peek?

TOO MANY TALENTS

Viviane–First Lady of Clan Brannach

“Viviane, Duncan is worried about you and has me worried, too.”  

“Worried? Whatever for?” she asked.

“I know how you feel about your Talents, but hiding from them isn’t the answer. And neither is running away and pretending they don’t exist. Duncan and I feel the loss of control you are experiencing is coming from something besides the porting aspect of your Talents.”

“I don’t know what you mean, Jareth,” she answered sharply.

 “Yes, you do, Viviane. Since we’ve been home you’ve been resisting your Talents, and fighting them, especially during training. They will win in the end. In the meantime your control will get worse and worse, until it is manifesting more unpredictably, even when you’re not working with it. With the strengths you have, you will hurt someone, while trying to deny your heritage.”

“But Jareth…”

“Your Talents have to be trained,” he stated emphatically. “There is no escape from it. You have to let go of your fears and put your entire will into your training. It’s the only way to gain control before you do irreparable harm.”

“I don’t want these Talents, Jareth! I never have! Why won’t they go away and leave me alone?”

“We may never know the answer as to why they developed, but since they have, you must treat them responsibly. You wouldn’t hand a child a live blade and expect him to use it properly, would you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Your Talents are exponentially more dangerous than the deadliest blade ever forged. Just as it would be irresponsible to hand a child a sword and let him run through the house with it, chasing the staff, and playing guard, it is ever so much more dangerous to have you, with so much untrained Talent, manifesting uncontrolled.”

Connell, Heir of Belfort

“But Mom, why do I have to go live with Grandpa? I want to stay here with you,” Connell complained for the hundredth time.

“You know why, young man,” his mother scolded. “And as soon as your father and I can take care of everything here, we’ll join you.”

“But how long will that be?” he asked, rolling his blue eyes at her. “I don’t know why we have to go anyway. I don’t want to be First Lord.”

“Now that is enough. We don’t have time for this. You’re ten years old and you know better.”

“I’m almost eleven,” he countered.

“Then start acting like it,” his mother snapped, exasperation beginning to show.

“But what about all my friends? I won’t have any friends there,” he continued.

“I’m sure you’ll make new friends.”

“But I like my old ones.”

“Connell, find something to do besides complain, or I’ll find something for you to do.”

“Fine!”

The little boy of almost eleven spun on his heel and ran out the door. Arriving at his favorite spot by the stream, he dropped down onto a large gray boulder and fought back the tears. No, he would not cry. Selecting a flat stone from the bank, he skipped it expertly across the water.

He wasn’t sure how long he’d been there before he heard someone behind him.

“Connell? Can I sit with you?”

Great! The voice could only be little Nell. She was all right for a girl, but, well, she was a girl. And she was always trying to help him with whatever he was doing. Two years younger than he was, they’d grown up together in the village, and he’d always liked her, even though she could be annoying.

“I guess. Sure,” he answered with a sigh.

He turned to give the little blonde, blue-eyed girl a hand so she wouldn’t slip on the bank. Once seated on the rock bench, she smoothed her flowered frock down over her knees.

“What are you doing down here? I thought you guys were moving.”

“Mom’s mad and told me to find something to do. So I came down to skip stones.”

“I could never do that. Can you show me?”

Even if she was a girl, Nell took his mind away from his problems. They skipped stones until the light began to fade.

“We should probably go back, Nell,” he told the little girl. “Mom was mad before I came down here. If I’m too late getting back, it won’t help anything.”

“Will I see you before you go, Connell?” she asked.

“I guess. We’ll be here a few days yet, and anyway, I’ll come back sometimes.”

“Can I still be your friend when you’re First Lord?”

“Of course. Why couldn’t you?”

“I don’t know. I just wondered. Thanks, Connell.”

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but in this case I believe they are mistaken. Mother Nature was definitely having a temper tantrum last night. We had thunderstorms all night, which resulted in lightning running in on the phone lines.

With the phone system taken out, the DSL blasted, two desktop computers and a laptop out of commission, this morning has been quite busy. Fortunately the rest of the house wasn’t damaged, and using my mobile as a hotspot we are in communication with the rest of the world.

My husband, wizard that he is, has gotten the phones back online with a temporary fix. Let’s here if for wizards! Of course, with all the outages around, the carrier won’t be able to come out and do a proper job until early next week.

After all the fireworks last night, today is beautiful and sunny, which was not expected after looking at the forecast yesterday. I guess Nature got her ill temper worked out last night and decided to give us a break for a day or two.

Fortunately, all my book files and WIPs are backed up on a thumb drive, so in case of something like this, I’m covered. With any luck at all, I’ll have one of those WIPs finished and ready for its first edit next week. Keep your fingers crossed…

How about an excerpt? An early peek at this work in progress?

LADY CALLOWAY

In a country that’s not quite England, and a town which just misses being Victorian London, Kerrick Calloway trudged wearily up the walkway to his home.

“Paradise preserve me,” Kerrick muttered, shaking his head and running his fingers through his sandy brown hair. Hadn’t today been aggravating enough already?  

His wife greeted him with a kiss which barely grazed his cheek, irritating him even more.

“What’s wrong?” Liora, his wife asked, her gray eyes stormy and troubled. “Why are you angry?”

Shrugging her shoulders under her thick auburn hair, she began to turn away, as she waited for his answer. His arm shot toward her, his hand grasping her jaw firmly as he turned her to face him.

“Why? I just want to know why I can’t have a proper kiss from my wife. After working all day, it would be nice to feel my wife cares for me, instead of feeling she simply tolerates me.”

Releasing her with disgust, he started toward his study.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Liora replied. “Of course, I care for you. Every day I meet you at the door with a kiss.”

“You call that a kiss?” he shouted, turning back towards his wife. “That’s the sort of kiss you’d give to a brother or father, not the kiss a husband expects from his wife.”

“What’s the difference? I greet you each and every day to show you I love you. Does the kiss matter so much?”

“Yes, it does matter that much!” he shouted in anger. “A man expects a few niceties when he gets home, and a proper kiss from his wife is one of them.”

“Why are you going on so much about a kiss? You know I love you.”

“Do I?” Kerrick asked, exasperated. “And how am I supposed to know that? Your kisses are sisterly at best, unless I press the issue. And in our bed, half the time I feel I’m committing rape. You agree to sleep with me, but show no passion for me. Can you even feel passion?”

Suddenly wanting to know if she could show anything at all, he pulled her to him roughly, one arm firmly around her waist, the other twined in her hair turning her face to his. He kissed her savagely at first, his mouth hard on hers, demanding, before his kiss became more sensual. At first she tried to struggle free, and then, for a brief moment, he felt the beginnings of awakening arousal, before she stiffened into her usual stance—endurance.

“Don’t, Kerrick,” she pleaded with him as he released her. “Please, never do that again. I can’t bear it.”

Wishing you all a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend!

And as always…

Don’t Forget…

…to Share the Romance…

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