Thursday, August 30, 2012

What's New?

Heartfelt by Kay Springsteen

The story that began on a North Carolina beach with a blind marine, a divorced mother, and a child with Down syndrome continues as the young family struggles to adapt to a new addition. Now eight months pregnant, Trish worries about her baby, her daughter, and her husband. But maybe she should be more concerned with herself. Dan struggles to prove himself at work in the face of what others consider his disability. As he wrestles with his job, he is also concerned with life at home and the impending birth of his son. How will he connect with a son when he’ll never even be able to play a game of catch with him? 

To Purchase $2.99

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's New?

Anna Broche is at the cusp of adulthood as a Shaker woman while the nation suffers through the upheaval of the Civil War. Her life is her community and the dancing that frees her spirit. A vision from an angel calls her to serve God, but the voice of a dying soldier who manages to crawl to safety makes her question her future.

Anna nurses wounded soldier Daniel Greenleaf back to health, and their forbidden attraction grows in her celibate, Shaker community. She is unsure of Daniel's feelings for her with only a stolen kiss between them. He returns to his home and waiting sweetheart and she to her life. But with a change of plans, Daniel ends up back in Anna's life again, and jealousy and calling war with love.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flashback Friday

A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed -- both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

Chapter One

Evanston, Illinois: 1869
I burst into the house. Keeping the flimsy telegram envelope,
I dumped half a dozen packages into the maid’s waiting arms.

“Where’s Father? I need to speak to him.”

“He’s in the library, Miss Lily. With Mr. Todaro.”

Oh, bother. I didn’t have time to deal with Emil Todaro, my
father’s lawyer. He was the last person I wanted to see—but that
couldn’t be helped. Thanking Etta, I raced down the hall. Father
turned from his roll-­‐‑top desk, spectacles perched on his thin nose
and hands full of rustling papers. Todaro rose from an armchair
with a courteous bow. His silver waistcoat buttons strained over
his belly and his balding head shone in the sunlight. I forced myself
to nod in his direction and then planted a quick kiss on Father’s
leathery cheek. The familiar scents of pipe tobacco and bay rum
soothed my nervous energy.

“I didn’t expect you back so early, Lily. What is it?”

With an uneasy glance at Todaro, I slipped him the
envelope. “The telegraph messenger boy caught me on my way
home.” My voice dropped. “It’s from Uncle Harrison.”

Father poked up his wire rims while he pored over the brief
message. His shoulders slumped. “I’ll speak plainly, Lily, because
Mr. Todaro and I were discussing this earlier. My brother sent
word that George Hearst intends to claim the Early Bird mine in a
Sacramento court. Harrison believes his business partner never
filed the deed. He needs to prove our ownership.”

“Hearst holds an interest in the Comstock Lode, Colonel.”

Todaro had perked up, his long knobby fingers forming a steeple.
The lawyer resembled an amphibian, along with his deep croak of a
voice. “His lawyers are just as ambitious and ruthless in court.”

Father peered over his spectacles. “Yes, but I have the
original deed. I didn’t plan to visit California until next month, so
we’ll have to move up our trip.”

“Oh!” I clasped my hands, a thrill racing through me. “I’m
dying to visit all the shops out there, especially in San Francisco.
When do we leave?”
“We? I meant myself and Mr. Todaro.”
I stared at the lawyer, who didn’t conceal a sly smirk. “You
cannot leave me behind, Father. I promised to visit Uncle Harrison,
and what if I decide to go to China?”

“Lily, I refuse to discuss the matter. This trip is anything but
a lark.”

“It’s a grueling two thousand miles on the railroad, Miss
Granville. Conditions out west are far too dangerous for a young
lady,” Todaro said. “Even with an escort.”

“The new transcontinental line has been operating all
summer. Plenty of women have traveled to California. I’ve read the
newspaper reports.”
“I’m afraid the Union and Central Pacific cars are not as
luxurious as the reports say. You have no idea. The way stations
are abominable, for one thing.”

I flashed a smile at him. “I’m ready for adventure. That’s
why I’ve considered joining the missionary team with Mr. Mason.”

Father scowled. “You are not leaving Evanston until I give
my approval.”

“You mean until you dissuade me from ‘such a ridiculous

“Need I remind you of the fourth commandment, Lily?”

“No, Father. We’ll discuss this later.”

My face flushed hot. Annoyed by being reprimanded in
front of Todaro, I ignored the rest of the conversation. I’d always
wanted to see the open prairie and perhaps a buffalo herd chased
by Indians, the majestic Rocky Mountains and California.

California, with its mining camps, lush green meadows and warm
sunshine, the cities of Sacramento and San Francisco that had to be
as exhilarating as downtown Chicago. I’d pored over the grainy
pen-­‐‑and-­‐‑ink drawings in the Chicago Times. Uncle Harrison,
who’d gone west several years ago to make a fortune and
succeeded, for the most part, would welcome me with open arms. I
plopped down on an armchair and fingered the ridges of the brass
floor lamp beside me. Somehow I needed to persuade Father to
allow me to tag along on this trip.

When Mr. Todaro’s bulky form disappeared out the door,
Father glanced at me. “All right, my dear. Let’s discuss this
business about California.”

Heart thudding, I stood up. “Why do you need Mr. Todaro,
Father? I don’t trust him one bit. Uncle Harrison has a good lawyer
in Sacramento.”

“He insisted on accompanying me. Emil has a quick mind in

“Maybe so, but—”

“I wouldn’t be alive if not for his help. He pulled me out of a
heap of bodies at Shiloh, remember. I know you don’t like him,
Lily, but I will keep him as my lawyer.”

Frowning, I swallowed further protest. True enough, I
disliked him. Something about the bulbous-­‐‑nosed, oily man sent
shivers up my spine. I crossed to the window, remembering the
time I’d seen Todaro aim a kick at my pet lizard in the garden.

Telling Father about the incident now would make me sound
childish and petty.

Etta carried in a silver tray of refreshments and set them on
the table between the desk and the leather sofa. I sank into the soft
cushion with a whoosh. My feet still hurt from my downtown
shopping venture and several hours of errands.

“I bought the handkerchiefs you wanted, Father, and that
brass letter opener. I found a pearl brooch at Marshall Field. The
silver setting looked inferior, though.” I plucked up a golden-­‐‑
crusted pastry filled with creamed chicken and dill. “My
seamstress had no open appointments today, and I couldn’t find
one straw hat that I liked at any of the millinery shops.”

“If you’re serious about China, you’ll have to give up your
notions of fashion.”

“I suppose,” I said, licking a spot of gravy from my thumb.

“That young man has filled your head with nonsense, in my

“Charles is dedicated to God. The China Inland Mission has
accepted him, did I tell you? Now he’s raising funds for his

“You’ve never been dedicated to working in Chicago among
the poor. Charity begins at home,” Father said. “Your mother was
devoted to the Ladies’ Society at church.”

“Her charity circle sewed clothing and quilts. I can’t even
thread a needle.”

“So we agree.” Father snagged a handful of candied
almonds. “You need to gain valuable skills here in Evanston, or at a
finishing school, before you run off to China.”

“I’m too old for school! I’ll be twenty in a month—”

“Ripe for marriage, then, and giving me grandchildren. I’d
rather dandle a baby on my knee than read letters about you
starving in a foreign country. I’m not going to allow you to wed
Charles Mason, either. He might be full of the Spirit, but he’s more
interested in using your inheritance for his own purposes. I never
detected any love in him for you.”

His final words stung. I couldn’t protest much, either.

Charles was a decent man, a hard worker, dedicated to his calling,
but admiration wasn’t the best foundation for a love match or a
lasting marriage. Father might be right about Charles’ interest in
my inheritance, too, which nettled me. I changed the subject.

“Tell me about the Early Bird mine, Father. Is it like the
Comstock Lode?”

“Quicksilver. Your uncle is set on new technology, hydraulic
mining. It uses high pressure jets of water and is quite expensive.
He knows more about it than I do.”

I chose a toasted point topped with cheese, tomato and
spinach. “Then I’d better travel with you to California so I can ask
him myself.”

“You need to stay here where it’s safe.”

“But you cannot protect me from the world forever, Father. I
must choose a path—”

“Keep praying, Lily. The Lord will show you the way.”

Father bit into an apple cinnamon tart. “If you truly loved Charles,
you’d have accepted his marriage proposal right away.”

After gulping some chilled lemonade, I set down the glass.

I’d prayed on my knees every night and morning, waiting for some
sign, but nothing changed. I didn’t love him, and didn’t share his
missionary dream. If I rejected him, I might be stuck in a loveless
marriage to someone else. If I married Charles, perhaps my
inheritance money would come to good use once I turned twenty-­‐‑
one. But I’d be thousands of miles away from home, among
foreigners, and might never see Father again. Neither choice led to

Tiny dust motes danced in a ray of late sunshine beaming
through the window’s lace curtain. Cicadas droned outside among
the trees. The mournful sound, buzzing low and then high, sent a
shiver down my spine.

Waiting for an answer to prayer led to frustration, but
perhaps that was best. For now. “My pet lizard lost another clutch
of eggs a week ago to a badger. I shot the creature—”

“With what?”

“Your Army revolver.”

“Good heavens, child. That weapon has a nasty kickback,”
Father said grimly. “It might blow your hand clear off. Promise me
you won’t handle it.”

I didn’t want to admit that I had lost my grip on the
revolver, and gagged on the rank smell of gunpowder. I’d also been
shocked by the tremendous bang that deafened me for several
days. Still, I was reluctant to promise anything in case of any future
predators harming Lucretia or her eggs. Rising to my feet, I rocked
back and forth on my heels.

“Did you forget about my early birthday present?”

“No, but don’t think you’re going to distract me about that

“I will promise not to touch it, but only if you hire a different

Father coughed hard, his mouth full of tart, and swallowed.

“No, Lily! I will not bargain with you. This notion you have about
Mr. Todaro is foolish. Don’t worry your pretty little head about the
Early Bird mine any further.”

My chest tightened. We’d never quarreled over anything
this serious before, not even Charles. Father had often given in to
my whims. Something about Emil Todaro soured my stomach.
Perhaps that was the Spirit at work in me. I decided to stand firm.

“I’m sorry, Father, but even Uncle Harrison said Mr. Todaro
is not trustworthy—”

“I refuse to hear another word on the matter.”

Scowling, he returned to his desk and barricaded himself
behind a flimsy newspaper. His stubbornness matched my own. I
paced the library, slowly perusing the crammed bookshelves, and
traced a finger over the globe’s continents and oceans. The sphere
spun on its stand with a low hum. I stole a glance at Father. He
rustled the thin pages, as if awaiting my apology. No doubt he was
unhappy with me, but my feelings intensified about Todaro. I
could not shake my conviction despite the commandment to honor
and obey a parent.

Tired of counting the sofa’s brass tacks, I toyed with some
wilting flowers in a vase. Silence reigned. I breathed out a deep
sigh and moved to the window again. Twilight made it easier to
study Father’s reflection. At forty-­‐‑six, he was too young to be
widowed. Mother’s unexpected death had stunned him so soon
after his return from serving the Union in the War. A sore hip
bothered him on occasion, brought on by bone-­‐‑chilling winter
nights, damp or soaked tents, marches over difficult terrain or long
horseback rides. Deep worry lines tracked his face, iron gray
streaks in his hair and beard made him look years older. We shared
the same pride, loyalty and tolerance of faults in others.
Emil Todaro was an exception.

Drumming my fingers on the window, I heard the parlor
clock strike half past six. “When are you and Uncle Harrison due in
court in Sacramento?”

“He didn’t mention an exact day or time in that telegram.”
“How long will you be gone?”

“A week or two, I suppose. We leave in three days.” As if
sensing a truce, Father pulled a desk drawer open. “Here is your
birthday present, Lily.”

I kissed his cheek again and accepted the package. Slipping
aside the silky ribbon, I tore the wrinkled rose-­‐‑scented tissue to
reveal a beautiful red leather-­‐‑bound sketchbook. The cover had
stamped golden scrollwork. Each creamy watermarked page
begged for sketches or soft watercolors. Remorse filled me. I
shouldn’t have caused him so much heartache.

“Thank you, Father. What’s this?”

A brief inscription filled the inside cover. I read in silence,
my throat constricting with more guilt. Presented to Lily Rose Delano
Granville. Treasure all that is precious to you, and you will have treasure
for years to come. From your Dudley.

“Why did you sign it that way? I haven’t called you Dudley
in years.”

“You scrawled it on all the sketches your mother sent.” His
voice gruff, he tugged at a loose strand of my curly blonde hair
when I leaned to kiss his cheek. “You remind me of her so much.
She sent your drawings with her letters. They cheered up the men
in my regiment, too, whenever I shared them. Forgive an old man
his memories.”

“You’re far from old age. Perhaps I’ll go sketch in the
garden. I’m expecting Charles to call today or tomorrow.”

“He hasn’t come to ask my advice, or for my blessing.”

“I think he’s afraid of you—”

“How can he face heathens then, in a foreign country? You
ought to meet other men in the world. Better men, who have a
fortune of their own.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps you’ll meet better lawyers in

“Don’t be impertinent.” Clenching his pipe in his teeth,
Father picked up his newspaper once more. “That won’t serve you
if you’re serious about becoming a missionary.”

“Would you rather I follow Aunt Sylvia on stage?”

“Harrison and I disowned her, in case you forgot!” Father
knocked pipe ash over his papers and spluttered with anger. “I
would lock you in a nunnery if you ever disgraced yourself that
way—don’t you dare say we are not Catholic, either.”

Heat flared in my cheeks. He knew me too well, since I’d
almost lobbed that volley. Guilt seared me again when he picked
up his paper with shaking hands. I hadn’t meant to upset him like
this. We both needed some time to recover, so I fled to the garden.
The French doors rattled shut behind me. Crossing the flagstones, I
clenched my fists around my new sketchbook. Father would
recover his good humor before bedtime. I tiptoed past the kitchen
window. The clink of china and flatware drifted to my ears along
with their low voices while Etta and Cook prepared the evening’s
meal. My heels sunk into the soft grass. I passed the rose-­‐‑covered
trellis and then perched on an ironwork bench, the metal warm
under my fingers. Lucretia scurried out from a hedge’s thick
foliage, eyes blinking. She froze, staring at me, when I opened the
book to the first page and slid a pencil stub from my pocket.

I needed something to make me forget the argument with
Father. Capturing the lizard’s familiar form, I filled it in with dark
cross-­‐‑hatching and smudges. What a beautiful creature. My friends
kept Persian cats or lapdogs, but lizards held a special fascination
for me. Exotic, alluring with their patterned skin texture and
independence from humans. Lucretia flicked her tongue and
scuttled away, alarmed by some noise in the distance. The setting
sun glowed dull red and orange past the shadowy trees, casting
golden beams over the garden. The aroma of roast chicken, thyme
and sage reminded me of dinner.

Rising to my feet, I groped for my mother’s necklace which
held the tiny watch that Charles had given me. I must have left it
upstairs on the dressing table. Tinkling water spilled from a
cherub’s pitcher into the fountain. I sat down on the bench again
and added ferns and shadows to my sketch.

Minutes later, a loud crack echoed in the air. The odd sound
lingered. It reminded me of the revolver’s shot when I’d killed the
badger. Had it come from the house? Closing my book, I hurried
through the garden. Two shadowy figures slipped off the side
porch and fled toward the street. The taller one wore dark clothing.
I recognized the shorter man as Emil Todaro by his frog-­‐‑like gait.
Rushing after them, I witnessed their mad scramble into a waiting
buggy. The team shot forward under a whip’s cruel lash.

Why had the lawyer returned? What did they want?

I climbed the steps to the side door and found it locked.

Scurrying around to the back of the house, I tried the library’s
French doors but they didn’t budge. My heart jumped in my throat.
I picked up my skirts, raced around to the front door and flung it

“Etta! Etta, where’s Father?”

The maid poked her head out of the dining room. “In the

“I saw Mr. Todaro leaving with another man. Did you let
them in?”

“No, Miss Lily. I did hear the Colonel talking to someone,

“Didn’t you hear a loud bang?”

“I did, but I thought it was Cook with her pots. I was in the
cellar fetching more coal.” Etta trailed me through the hall. “Is
something wrong?”

“I’m not sure.” The library’s doorknob rattled beneath my
fingers when I twisted it open. I peeked inside the dim room. “Are
you all right, Father?”

An odd smell tickled my nose—gunpowder. I swallowed
hard, my throat constricting, staring at how Father was sprawled
over his desk, head down, one arm dangling over the edge. My
head and ears thrummed when I saw papers littering the floor. The
safe door stood ajar, the drawers yanked open every which way. I
took a step, and another, toward the pipe that lay on the plush

Persian carpet. His crushed spectacles lay beside it. Father’s hand
cradled the small derringer he’d always kept in his desk drawer. Its
pearl handle gleamed above a stack of papers, stained dark

A fly crawled over Father’s cheek. Etta clawed the air, one
hand clamped over her mouth. I saw a tiny blackened bullet hole
marking his temple, and wet blood trickling downward. Frozen in
place, I heard a shrill scream—my own, since pain raked my throat.
Everything swirled and a dark void swallowed me whole.

To Purchase

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's New?

Captain Kelly Bonham, a NATO electronics intelligence officer and combat zone veteran, agreed to adopt a war dog, but when Pojo arrives he’s not at all what she expected. This German Shepherd isn’t interested in rolling over for a tummy rub; he’s a working dog, a retired bomb sniffer who saw his handler cut in half by an anti-personnel mine in Afghanistan. That’s serious trauma, and Bonnie wonders if his canine brain is still fully functional.

Now she’s shaking it down with a dog who has more teeth than the law allows. A dog whose behavior is puzzling, threatening, maybe even unhinged. And battered by the war herself, all she has to bring to the fight is electronic gadgetry and what’s left of her self-confidence.

Will the war ever be over, even on the home front? Can she rescue this war dog … or will he rescue her?

To Purchase

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flashback Friday

Wehrmacht Major Faust has a dangerous secret: he likes England. But it’s May 1940 and his Panzers are blasting the British Army off Dunkirk’s beach, so he keeps his mouth shut even though it hurts. When the Waffen SS try to murder their English prisoners of war, Faust helps the POWs escape. Now it’s treason, with his neck on the line.

Then a friend gets him drunk, straps him into a parachute, and throws him out over Oxford during a bombing run. He’s quickly caught. Because he helped type the battle plan for the invasion of England, Faust cannot allow himself to be broken in interrogation. Two German armies depend on it. But every time he escapes, someone rapes and murders a woman and the English are looking for someone to hang. He’s risking disaster if he stays, someone else’s life if he runs, and execution by the Gestapo if he makes it home.

Major Stoner, professor turned British intelligence officer, sees three possibilities. Faust perhaps was joyriding in that bomber, as he claims. Or he’s on a reconnaissance mission for the German invasion. Or he’s a spy. Stoner must break Faust to learn the truth, no matter how it strains his old heart. He must save England, and his granddaughter.

Their battlefield is confined to a desktop. Only one of them can win. Someone must break. Someone must make a Deal with the Devil.

To Purchase


28 May 1940
Seven kilometers east of the Aa Canal, France

Fear squeezed the prisoners in an iron and icy grip. Clarke
could smell it, more pungent than stale uniforms and fresh sweat,
taste it in the dust caking his face and lips. The other British officers
sitting in a huddle around him stared at the dry turf between their
knees or off into some unknowable vacuum. None would meet his

“How many of us are there?”

Beside him, Brownell shrugged and swiped at his brow with
one sleeve. With his hands bound it looked as if he shielded his face
from a blow. It grated on Clarke’s nerves, revved his rumbling

“Does it matter?” Brownell asked.

“It does to me.”

Brownell shot him a look, not so much baffled as vexed.
Good; a fight was better than collapse. They’d argued often in the
last weeks, as their steady school-­‐‑age friendship underwent some
sort of relational twist while the British Expeditionary Force
retreated across France. But Brownell held his peace. He half-­‐‑rose,
dark eyes scanning the small crowd and lips moving. Clarke’s
temper twisted, bitterness rising at the sight. Brownell had a well-­‐‑
deserved Oxford first in mathematics, but he still counted like a

He didn’t deserve to be murdered.

Not far from Brownell, in the midst of a small emptiness left
by the lower ranks, a light colonel with tired eyes slumped over his
lap, epaulettes drooping to match his mustaches. He was the senior
officer in the group. He should take command, organize a fight. All
they had to do was get one man outside the guards’ field of fire,
and they’d have a chance. A suicidal chance, but better than being
murdered without a struggle.

But he just sat there, staring into space. Around him, none of
the many second lieutenants lifted their chins. One young subaltern
wept. All huddled together, as if needing warmth even in the direct

Beyond their circle, two grey-­‐‑clad soldiers lounged on
ammunition crates behind a tripod-­‐‑mounted machine gun. They
weren’t typical German Army soldiers, although the uniforms and
weapons were the same. These were something new the Germans
had invented, something called the Waffen SS, whatever that

Clarke lit his last cigarette, the binding cord cutting into his
wrists. They weren’t soldiers. They were criminals—murderers
dressed up and playing soldier, like a bunch of teenaged hoodlums
wearing Dad’s collar and tie whilst robbing the corner sweet shop.
It was ludicrous. Obscene.

“Do you want to use my fingers, too?”

Brownell’s cautious settling back ended with a thump and
one savage word. “There’s twenty-­‐‑two of us.”

Clarke’s swearing was whole-­‐‑hearted and much lengthier.

“Wonder who’s going to dig our graves. Think they’ll make us dig
them ourselves?”

“Shut up, Clarke. We don’t know anything for certain.”
Brownell crossed his legs again. His shoulders and bound hands
drooped, as if the knowledge he denied was heavier than he could

“The blazes we don’t.” Clarke took a long drag, yanking the
smoke into his lungs until he choked. “Wonder how our kids have
Brownell peered up at him without turning his head.

Clarke flicked ash. “The last photo Cezanne sent, Bobby
looked as if he’s overflowing her lap. I tried to figure out how tall
that would make him. But it wouldn’t matter if she’d taken his
photograph against a yardstick. I have to measure my son against
my leg or it means nothing.”

“You should have taken the leave.”

In February, with the invasion season in cold storage, the
48th (South Midland) Division had offered its staff and line officers
a brief visit home. None of them had seen their families since the
previous September. Brownell had gone and now his wife was
expecting their second baby. Clarke had made a point of staying
with the troops, who hadn’t been offered the option.

Now Cezanne would never have his second child, never
have the daughter she wanted so terribly—unless she remarried.
And that thought, more than his impending death, made Clarke
squeeze his eyes shut and swallow the tightness in his throat.
“I know.” He glanced from his cigarette to the turf. Maybe
starting a grass fire would help them escape. More likely the
Germans would let them burn.

“Clarke, you’ve always been a blooming fool.”

“I know that, too.”

Angry voices rose, climbing over each other, not close but
loud. Clarke stared past the machine-­‐‑gun emplacement to the
command tent, camouflaged beneath wispy trees. The Germans
inside had to be shouting toe to toe.

“What do you think the row’s about?” Brownell asked.

“I hope it’s about us, and I hope the German Army chap

Brownell lifted his head. “You think so?”

Clarke shrugged. “Don’t recall much German from school,
and I can’t make out their words even if I did. They could be
arguing about us, their orders, or a skirt, for all I know.”
Brownell’s head sank again.

The voices fell silent. The tent flap whipped aside and two
German officers emerged. The Army officer, a non-­‐‑com’s side cap
replacing the usual peaked cap, stalked toward the huddled
prisoners, his riding boots raising puffs of dust. The Waffen SS
officer, Greis, followed more slowly, a little smile curving the
corners of his narrow lips.

Clarke’s heart sank. It was only too obvious who had won.
Near the edge of their huddle, the Army officer stopped,
legs spraddled, hands on hips, staring in a slow sweep as if he
wanted to impress every man on his memory. His face was pale,
with scorching blotches of color in his tanned cheeks. He breathed
as if he’d been running.

“What do you think?” Clarke glanced at Brownell. He froze.
Brownell’s staring eyes were huge. His mouth hung open for
a long moment. Then he snapped his jaw shut and wet his lips.


But the Army officer was issuing orders, German words
stuttering in a staccato rhythm like a machine gun, and Brownell
swallowed the rest of his sentence. Automatically, Clarke turned to
see what the fuss was about—and smashed into the German
officer’s smoking glare, aimed right at him.

“You,” he said in English. “Come on. I don’t have all day.”
Two of the Waffen SS soldiers waded into the sitting
Englishmen, grabbed Clarke by the arms, and heaved him to his
feet. So this was it; he’d go first. His legs were asleep, but he’d go
die before he’d take any help from these murderers. He shook off
their arms, dropped his cigarette butt, and forced his tingling legs
to carry his weight as they escorted him, one on either side, to the
German officer.

Halfway there, he glanced back at Brownell. His mouth was
open again and he was half on his feet, legs beneath him as if for a
sudden push. Clarke shook his head—Brownell needed to save his
major effort for his own life, not waste it on a fool’s attempt at
gallantry—and mouthed goodbye. Without waiting for a response,
he turned away.

It was a ruddy awful way to part.

When Clarke turned, he was eye to eye with the German.
Although they weren’t close and sunshine blazed between them,
there seemed barely room between their bodies to breathe. The heat
of the German’s anger smoldered still, like a flare not quite burned
out. But his brown eyes were clear and even a trifle desperate as he
gazed into Clarke’s, as if he awaited some response and they were
all running out of time.

Clarke sniffed in his face.

The German turned away. Was it Clarke’s imagination, or
was the tinge of color in those cheeks even darker? He could only

“Right,” the German said over his shoulder, “come on.” He
led the way to his open staff car, on the far side of the tent.
The SS guards crowded Clarke on either side, forcing him
along. He passed close enough to Greis—the murderer—to punch
him. It was tempting, but Clarke resisted. It would only get him
killed sooner.

The guards put Clarke into the front passenger seat of the
staff car. A layer of dust coated the faded interior. The officer slid
behind the steering wheel. Greis sauntered to the driver’s side and
leaned one gloved hand against the door panel as the officer started
the engine.

“Are you certain you can handle the prisoner alone?” A
mocking half-­‐‑smile still adorned Greis’s lips, the smile of the
winner. He adjusted his black leather gloves, never glancing at
Clarke. Despite the smile, there was no humor in his narrow
hatchet face, only contempt. “Perhaps I should have one of my
soldiers accompany you.”

Clarke seethed. He should have chanced a punch.

The officer shifted gears. “Your soldier’s welcome to run
along behind.”

The smile slipped by a hair, then resumed. Only now it
seemed fixed.

The officer released the clutch and gunned the engine. A
spurt of dust slewed over Greis’ polished boots and up to his
squenched eyes.

Clarke stared back at Brownell’s strangely hopeful face until
the encampment was cut off by rising ground. Then he swung
about. The dusty road rolled toward the staff car then vanished
beneath it. Strong sunlight baked the interior, and he smelled fresh
sweat along with the mechanical blend of oil and petrol. The engine
vibrated up his spine, tapped against his eardrums.

One man. One pistol. No rifle, no tommy gun. No guard.
After the wisecrack at Greis, he’d regret killing this man. But
he’d do it. A single pistol wasn’t much firepower, but with it he
could take this one, then return to the encampment for the
prisoners. They didn’t have to die today.

The Wehrmacht officer took the road over the crest of a
small ridge and down into a grove of trees. To their left, the land
dipped into a shallow valley, matted with brush and low trees that
swarmed up the slope to the road. To their right, the trees
thickened into a forest toward the ridge’s crest.

Under the midday twilight of that canopy, the Wehrmacht
officer steered the staff car onto the verge and killed the engine. In
the silence, Clarke listened to his heart beating and knew with cold
certainty he didn’t want to die for the hopeless defense of France.
He twisted his wrists, trying to break the cords, but they only cut
more sharply. The silence was so deep he thought he could hear the
German’s heart, too; then Clarke wondered if the man even had

He faced the German as he, too, slewed in his seat. Again
they stared at each other, and Clarke took stock of his new captor.
This was the man he had to defeat, even kill, if he and the others
were to live.

They seemed the same height, an inch or so beneath six feet.
But while Clarke was solid, the German was more slender,
shoulders tapering to hips, which needed suspenders. His face
echoed that line in a wedge shape, broad at the forehead and
narrowing through well-­‐‑defined cheekbones to a pointed chin. His
brown hair was dark, the color of cocoa, and combed back from his
high forehead in the Continental fashion. A formidable reserve of
energy fired his eyes from within; even sitting motionless behind
the wheel of the car, he seemed to vibrate like a tuning fork, and
Clarke wondered how he kept his hands still.

Like most modern German officers, he was clean-­‐‑shaven, his
uniform tailored although not of the highest quality. The Iron Cross
ribbon, red and white and black, decorated his left breast pocket;
the knotted silver cords on his shoulders were bare of insignia, in
the manner of a major. His earlier anger had drained, leaving his
brown eyes clear, and Clarke knew he wasn’t imagining the touch
of derision now in their depths.

For one crazy moment, Clarke believed he had known this
man at some point in their past and he had only to sweep away the
agitation to remember a more innocent age. But of course it was
impossible. His subconscious thoughts were returning—to
Sandhurst, University College, Eton, or even his father’s estate, this
German officer symbolizing someone haunting his memory. One
thing for certain; this man didn’t have the polish of rank. There was
an earthy edge beneath his combat-­‐‑hardened sophistication.
Clarke pushed the thought aside and cleared his throat. “Is
this it, then? Shot while attempting to escape?”

The German produced a pack of cigarettes and shook one
halfway out. “Do you use these things?”

Clarke fought his pride—he didn’t want to accept anything
from a German—but his sudden nicotine craving was stronger. He
took the fag and the light that followed, and cradled it in his bound
hands for a drag. “A last cigarette?”

“Every condemned man deserves one.” But the German’s
tone was light.

“It’s not a joking matter.”

This time the German’s stare was considering. “You’re
right,” he finally said. “It’s not.”

“I know what happened at Guise.”

“So do I.” The German seemed to reach a decision and
opened his door. “Step out. I want to show you something.”
Clarke hesitated. The German shrugged, drew his pistol,
snapped the magazine from its butt and pocketed it, and tossed the
gun itself onto the dashboard. “We don’t have much time. Come
on.” He closed the driver’s door softly and stepped to the opposite
verge of the road.

For a moment Clarke stared, flabbergasted. But he wasn’t
hallucinating. His only guard had unloaded his only weapon and
turned his back. The shelter of the trees was on his side of the road
and temptingly near. But his curiosity won the brief struggle. There
had to be a reason for this otherwise senseless behavior, and Clarke
wanted to know what it was. He followed the German to the
opposite side of the road and stood beside his enemy.

The German cupped his cigarette in his left hand, glowing
edge toward his palm, and gestured to the shallow valley at their
feet. Neither hand left the deepest shadows spread by the trees

“See them?”

It took a moment. Then a motion caught his eye. The valley
was alive with camouflaged yet shifting forms. He peered closer
and made out netting, a half-­‐‑track, machine-­‐‑gun nests, hammocks.

“On the left,” the German continued, “those are Greis’s
Waffen SS troops, from the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.” He paused
for a drag. “Undoubtedly some of the best soldiers I’ve ever seen.”

“That, too.” He pointed with his chin. “On the right, those
are elements of my own division, the First Panzer.” He peered
sideways at Clarke through the gloom, smoke drifting from his
mouth. “A Wehrmacht unit.”

Clarke peered back, his mind blank.

The German sighed. His gaze dropped openly to Clarke’s
upper-­‐‑sleeve regimental insignia for the Royal Warwickshires. He
straightened and grunted. “Infantry. Oh, frag. I’ll try using small

Heat climbed Clarke’s neck. “Is that an insult?”

He got another sideways stare. “If you’re in any doubt—”

The German took another drag, eyes slitted against the smoke.

“We’re all tired, you know. The campaign hasn’t been long—”

“Six ruddy weeks.”

“About right—but we haven’t stopped until today. Are you
catching on?”

“No,” Clarke snapped. “I am not catching on. What are you
getting at?”

The German closed his eyes. “The two units haven’t joined
up well, have they? You could march a brass band through there at
full volume and nobody would notice.” Again the sideways glance.

“Especially if the brass band in question kept to the Wehrmacht

Clarke got it. “Did you have any particular brass band in

“Progress.” The German nodded once. He ground the butt
of his cigarette underfoot without ever showing the fire edge to the
valley. “Three days ago, Greis—the pig back there—”
“I know who he is.”

“—murdered thirty British officers at Guise. He didn’t have
facilities to hold them; he didn’t want to spare the troops to guard
them. He claimed he had orders and it was in retaliation for the
officers he’d lost in combat. So he ordered them shot.”

“I know.” An admission of knowledge seemed to be the only
intelligent thing he’d said all day. He dropped his own cigarette
and asked the question that mattered most to him. “Did he make
them dig their own graves?”

“French privates,” the German said, his tone cool but not as
cool as it sounded. “The mass grave was multinational. I heard him
give the order, I saw the massacre, and I saw the grave filled. Well,
the situation hasn’t changed. He’s amassed British officer prisoners,
whom he particularly hates because you didn’t flock en masse to
the Anglo-­‐‑Saxon banner Hitler waved. He doesn’t have facilities
prepared for you, and he doesn’t want to spare the troops to guard
you or move you to the rear. He still claims he’s under orders,
although I let him know I couldn’t find any reference to them at
headquarters. And nothing else I said made any difference, either.”
Clarke fought his mulishness. His decency won. “Thank you
for trying.”

The German gave him a puzzled glance, then pulled a
penknife from his pocket and sliced through the cord binding
Clarke’s wrists. As he folded the blade away, he nodded toward
the distant glint of water. “That’s the Aa Canal.”

“I know what it is.”

“Just checking. We have orders to stop there.”

Clarke stared. “Can’t imagine why.”

“Neither can I.” The German shrugged. “It’s a mistake, of
course. If we truly wanted to destroy you, we should keep going all
the way to the beach and drive you into the water.” His sideways
glance this time was a curious mixture of pride, shame, and
defiance. “You and I both know the B.E.F. doesn’t have the
firepower left to stop us.”

Just another German after all. “That’s your opinion and not
any sort of fact.”

The German grinned. In the shadows and gloom beneath the
trees, his face lightened as if by magic. They had to be close in age.
A vague tremor of unease made Clarke’s fingers tingle; he refused
to call it envy. While he had frittered away his—and his wife’s—
youth in an all-­‐‑out assault upon law-­‐‑court silks, this German had
learned how to live. While he had developed a career, this man had
developed his character.

“I expected no less from you,” the German said. “Our orders
come from the highest. They say stop at the Aa Canal—so no
matter what we think, we’ll stop at the Aa Canal. And that

“—that means,” Clarke interrupted, “anyone down on the
beach will be out of range of your artillery.”

The German nodded. “So long as the brass band reaches the
canal before, oh, five o’clock tomorrow morning. That’s about how
long it will take us.”

So there it was. This German major offered life and
freedom—for him. Not for Brownell, nor the colonel with the
drooping shoulders, nor the weeping subaltern or anonymous
lieutenants squatting on the scuffed turf. Clarke tried to harden his
heart. He couldn’t.

He cleared his throat. “Why are you doing this?”

This time, the German’s sideways stare was compounded of
equal parts derision and hilarity. He shook out two more cigarettes,
passed one to Clarke, and lit both behind the cover of his turned
shoulder. As an afterthought he handed over the remainder of the
pack and the matches.

“Do you remember the cricket match against Cambridge?”
he asked.

Clarke forgot the landscape and even the doomed prisoners.
He stared at the German officer and it was as if a spotlight slowly
illuminated the man within his memory.

“Of course,” the German continued, “I couldn’t follow
cricket in those days. For that matter, I still can’t. But even I knew
we were in deep trouble. We were so far behind we could barely
see daylight.”

The face in Clarke’s memory wasn’t sophisticated or battle-­‐‑
hardened. It was a younger face, uncertain, wide-­‐‑eyed, softer about
the edges, but nevertheless the same. The body was more slender,
bulked out by a cheap, rusty-­‐‑black academical robe, the thinner
arms juggling an armload of used poetry textbooks. Even the
memory made Clarke sneer. And in a heartbeat he was ashamed of
the sneer and of himself.

“But then the coach sent you in to bat,” the German rambled
on, oblivious, “and it was as if the whole field came alive, the
spectators, the team, everyone. You strode onto the pitch with your
head in the air, the bat in your hand, a swagger in your step, and
for one shining moment there was no doubt within the entire of
Oxfordshire that you could do it.” He shrugged and flicked ash.

“We still lost the match, of course, but I have to admit you looked
magnificent just walking onto the field.” No sideways stare this
time; the German turned to face him squarely. “Do you recognize
me yet?”


“—yes, that grubby foreign exchange student, the one who
was too poor to buy a sweater for the winter.” He dropped his half-­‐‑
smoked cigarette onto the verge and stepped on it. “I never forgot
you, Clarke. Of course, there’s a world of difference between the
upper classes laughing, and the lower-­‐‑ and middle-­‐‑class sources of
their amusement.”


“Don’t bother.” The German turned and strode back to his

Clarke thrashed his memory and dredged up a name.

“Faust—your name’s Faust.”

“Really.” Major Faust retrieved his pistol from the
dashboard of the staff car and handed it butt-­‐‑first to Clarke, his left
hand hurling the loaded magazine into the deepest grass within the
shadows of the forest. “I don’t have anything heavier with me, so
that’s the best I can do for you. The evacuating British troops are
massing on the beach outside Dunkirk. I suggest you get down
there as soon as it’s dark. There should be enough soldiers who
haven’t lost their Lee Enfields to make a raiding party and rescue
the encampment. Who knows, they might even have some

Clarke ignored the pistol in his hand and stared at Faust. It
was an insane risk, the sort taken by the legendary Dr. Faustus—a
practitioner of dark, mysterious metaphysical arts, someone who
commanded the sun and the moon, the winds and tides, the forces
of Mars, with utter disregard for his own future safety.
Clarke shuddered.

Still oblivious, Faust opened the car door and paused, one
foot on the running board. “At Guise, Greis waited until a few
minutes before midnight before opening fire. But there’s no
guarantee he’ll be so patient this time. He thinks I’m taking you to
headquarters for interrogation, so they won’t expect you back and
they won’t wait. Wear something over your face, and I might get
away with this.” He stepped into the staff car. “Good luck, Clarke.
My regards to Brownell after you rescue him.”

“Wait.” Clarke didn’t recognize his own throttled voice.
“Why are you doing this?” Even as he said it, he knew it wasn’t the
best way of asking his question, it wasn’t even the proper question
and in his current agitation, he didn’t know how to rephrase it. But
Faust was pressing the starter and his moment was over.

Faust rolled his eyes. “You don’t have time for this. Oh, and
if you get a chance, put a bullet through Greis for me, would you?”
He shifted gears and the car rolled forward. “Pigs like him give all
us Germans a bad name.”

The staff car disappeared around the next bend, leaving
Clarke standing in the middle of the shadowy road. He desperately
wanted the answer to his question. He’d never hear it now, and
that bothered him most of all.

He fell to his knees in the long grass, scrabbling for the
loaded magazine.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What's New?

Danielle Inero is the only female dragon in existence. Destined for greatness, her parents have done everything in their power to keep her grounded and in the dark of the true power within her. She's in an arranged engagement with her best friend Tyson of the Terran, but in love with her other best friend Ethan, who is Oceina. Her fiancee Tyson doesn't seem to mind because his eyes are on a beautiful girl named Maya. Ideally, there shouldn't be a problem.

But politics soon turn everything ugly as the three friends must find a way to make their dreams come true, as well as dodge the backlash of their actions. The governing officials of the dragon world know about the three youth's destiny, one that is based on an ancient prophecy. While some nations will do everything in their power to make this prophecy a reality, others will do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tracy Krauss on Wind Over Marshdale

Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy KraussWIND OVER MARSHDALE came about in ‘spurts’. I started writing this story simultaneously with several other novels - at one point I was writing five different books at one time. Perhaps this one went through the most changes, and certainly was ‘shelved’ more often than the others. Three of those five went on to get published, and it was then that I could concentrate on making the final revisions to what I felt was my most poignant and perhaps controversial work yet.

The book does contain what some might consider ‘touchy’ subject matter; racism and spiritual warfare, among others. Racism is never pretty, but I’ve tried to portray it in an honest way. No matter how much we want to believe racial prejudice is dead, it is unfortunately very much alive. In WIND OVER MARSHDALE, a Cree man and his family move to a small prairie town. It is, in fact, the place of their ancestors, but despite modern sensibilities, many of the ‘white’ population can’t see past their own stereotypes. Added to the mix is a family of Chinese ancestry, whose ancestors arrived before many of the European pioneers, yet they too are still seen as ‘foreigners’. 

Another potential hotbed of discussion is the inclusion of various spiritual belief systems. The hero is caught between his Christian beliefs and the strong pull of his ancestral heritage as a Cree medicine man. There are many different views about where native spirituality fits into modern life, especially that of a practicing Christian, and the book does not try to address the issue in terms of what is ‘right and wrong’. Instead I focus on the individual struggles faced by the characters and let readers come to their own conclusions on the matter.

The pastor of the church also struggles with hidden addictions that eventually bring him to ruin. I wanted to show the frailty and humanity of even the most ‘upstanding’ and seemingly religious individual, highlighting the fact that, “man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”.

I find that I often like my current release best, and in this case, it’s true. This book is another complex look into the difference between the outward and the inner man. I had a lot of fun writing it since it includes so many interesting characters and situations. The town drunk, an aging gossip, a sexy cowboy, psychotic twins, a love triangle, the occult … this book has a bit of everything. The setting is based on my own hometown of Mossbank, and although the landscape and even some of the history are authentic, the characters are either from my imagination or a compilation of interesting people I’ve met in my travels around the small town Canada. Enjoy.

Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy KraussBlurb: Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.  A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth/ Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Purchase HERE

Friday, August 10, 2012

Flashback Friday

Fridays here on the blog will now dedicated to sharing older AP titles with you :) Each week a new title or two will be here for you to check out :) Hope you enjoy :)

A New Dream by Elaine Cantrell
Genre: Sweet contemporary Romance

Length: 222 pages
Purchase HERE

Blurb: After an auto accident destroys his pro-football career, Matt McCallum struggles to find a new dream for his life, but nothing engages him the way football did. After a stint in rehab, he takes a job managing a grocery store where he meets Violet Emerson.

Violet works in the bakery department, but her dreams carry her far beyond the doors of Chef’s Pantry. As soon as she can save the money, she plans to open a catering business. And she thinks the new manager’s broad shoulders and blue eyes are simply divine.

Thrown together at work, Matt and Violet find a common dream for their lives, but a loose end from Matt’s past returns to jeopardize their future. Will love be enough to save their new dream before it turns into a nightmare?

The red convertible cut a path through the moonlight, its
headlights dancing along the arched limbs of the trees above the

“Oh, Matt, it’s such a beautiful night,” Stacey declared with
a sigh. “I’m going to miss you when you leave tomorrow.”

Matt reached for her hand and brought it to his lips. “I’ll
miss you too, but if I don’t report on time, I’m in trouble with the

“That’s what I get for falling in love with a pro football
player,” Stacey teased, her blonde hair turned to frosted silver by
the light of the full moon above them.

Matt squeezed her hand that wore his engagement ring. “It’s
too late to back out now,” he teased. “You’re mine.”

“Mmm, do I like the sound of that!”

The car rounded a curve, and without warning a deer
bounded across the road.

“Look out!” Stacey screamed.

Matt braked sharply to avoid the animal. The tires slid on a
patch of loose gravel in the road, and he lost control of the
convertible. It fishtailed and started to spin in the road.

Matt hauled the steering wheel to correct the slide, but it was
useless. The car turned around once more and skidded backwards
for a short distance before it charged off the road. It jumped a steep
ditch and went airborne. All Matt could see was a blur of trees and
darkness as the car careened into the woods. It made a lazy turn in
the air and came to rest bottom side up.

The last thing he remembered was the sound of Stacey’s


Marilyn McCallum drew a deep, shaky breath and groped
for her husband’s hand. “We’ve been waiting for hours now,” she
quavered. “What could be going on in that operating room, Rod?”

Rod never answered. His face contorted and he sprang to his
feet as a nurse approached. “Would you like some more coffee?”
she asked.

“We’d like to know about our son,” Rod answered. “Is
everything okay? He’s been in there so long.”

Nurse Whittaker patted him on the shoulder. “Please, don’t
worry. Dr. Williams is the best doctor on staff. He’ll do everything
he can.”

As she bustled away, Stacey Thomas, who sat beside
Marilyn, dropped her head into her hands. Marilyn tried to ignore
the smear of blood across the girl’s back. She swallowed hard
against sudden nausea. Stacey was fine even though Matt’s fate
was still up in the air. “Hang on. It can’t be long now.”

Tears slid down Stacey’s face. “This isn’t the way the day
was supposed to end. Matt and I had a beautiful time, but now…”
A tall man in sweat-­‐‑stained surgical scrubs approached
them. “Mr. and Mrs. McCallum?” The doctor’s voice brought all
three of them to their feet.

“How is he?” begged Marilyn, her eyes anxious, wide, and
staring in her white face.

“Better than I expected,” the doctor admitted. “His left leg
was mangled from the knee down. It took a long time, but I think
we’ve saved it. He has four screws and two plates, and he’ll
undoubtedly have a limp for the rest of his life, but we did save his

“He kicks with his right leg anyway,” Rod muttered.

“Ah, well, that’s the other thing I wanted to talk to you
about. I’m sorry, Mr. McCallum. I saw him play last year, so I know
he had a wonderful career in front of him, but in spite of everything
we did, his right leg was hurt too bad to save. We had to amputate
right above his knee.”

“At least he’s alive,” Marilyn sobbed as she rhythmically
shredded a tissue. “I don’t care about his leg; I just want my son to

“I can almost promise you he will,” the doctor comforted
her. “Barring unforeseen complications, he’s going to be fine, and
as soon as his leg heals we’ll fit a prosthesis on him and teach him
how to walk again.”

“When can we see him?” Marilyn begged as she wiped away
her tears.

“He’s in Recovery now. We plan to put him in ICU until he’s
stable. The last thing we need is an infection, and we can watch him
better there. We’ll let you know as soon as he gets there. Then you
can see him for a minute.”

Rod groped for the sofa and fell backwards onto the
miserable thing. “The best kicker in thirty years,” he whispered,
quoting what a sports announcer had said on TV only hours earlier.
“The best kicker in thirty years, and now they have to teach him to
walk again.”

He jumped up as if he’d sat on a porcupine. “I’m going
home, Marilyn. Are you coming?”

Marilyn’s eyes bugged. “Are you serious? I’m not leaving
until I’ve seen him.”


“I… I’ll… go with you. I need to tell my parents Matt’s out
of surgery.”

Marilyn watched in amazement as Rod and Stacey hurried
away and sat back to continue her vigil alone.


Matt awoke early the next morning because the dull, aching
pain in his legs made him sick to his stomach. Must have been one
rough practice, he thought. He didn’t much want to get up yet. He
still felt tired out and kind of …heavy. Yeah, that was it; he felt
heavy. Too heavy in fact to bother opening his eyes, but Stacey was
holding his hand, so he forced himself to wake up.

A short, round, little woman, not Stacey, held his wrist. The
way she looked at her watch he decided she must be taking his
pulse. Where was he? What had happened to him?

He had to clear his throat before he could speak. “Who are
you?” he croaked.

She beamed at him as if he had done something wonderful.
“Oh, you’re awake now. I’m Nurse Whitaker. How do you feel?”

“I’m tired, and my legs hurt. Where am I?”

“You had a car accident last night, Mr. McCallum.” She
pulled a sheet and a thin white blanket across his chest. “You’re in
the hospital.”


“Your girlfriend is fine. Don’t worry about her.”

Matt closed his eyes for a moment and rubbed his throbbing
temples. “I don’t remember what happened.”

“That’s normal. You may never remember everything.”
Matt tried to sit up, but he couldn’t muster enough energy.
“What’s wrong with me? Why is it so hard to sit up?”

“Oh, that’s because of the medication we gave you to help
you rest.” She patted his arm and checked an IV that he hadn’t
noticed until she touched it. “We didn’t want you tossing and
turning all night.”

“What’s wrong with me?” he repeated.

“Shh, don’t worry about that now. The doctor can talk to
you later when you feel better.”

Matt didn’t like the blank expression on the nurse’s face at
all. I must be hurt pretty bad. “No, tell me now,” he insisted.

Nurse Whittaker stuck a thermometer in his mouth. “You
have some trauma to your legs, Mr. McCallum, but the doctor says
you’re going to be fine.”

Matt spit the thermometer out. “Trauma to my legs?”

“Yes, sir, and I’d rather you talk to Dr. Williams about it.”

It’s bad. It has to be. “Tell me,” he demanded.

“Mr. McCallum…”

Matt forced himself to sit up. His head spun and made his
stomach turn over, but he managed to pull the sheet off his right
leg. Wow, he must really be out of it. It looked like most of his leg
was gone. He shook his head to clear away the cobwebs and looked
again. His leg was gone!

He started to shake and grabbed the nurse by the arm.

“Where’s my leg?” he cried.

The nurse took a look at one of the monitors in the room and
called, “Jenny, would you bring me another dose of Mr.
McCallum’s medication?”

A nurse arrived with a syringe which she injected into
Matt’s IV. “There you are,” she soothed. “You’ll be comfortable in a
few minutes.”

Dizziness washed over Matt. “What did…you…give…me?”

“Something to make you rest,” Nurse Whitaker answered.
“You go to sleep and don’t worry about a thing. We’re taking very
good care of you.”


Stacey shuddered and splashed some more water on her
face. The nausea had passed now. She staggered back into her
bedroom and threw herself across her bed. Matt’s legs looked
horrible! She’d give anything not to have been at the hospital when
the bandages came off. It had been bad enough when a sheet
covered Matt, but to actually see his mutilated legs turned her
stomach and made her feel faint.

She knew one thing, though. Until this afternoon she hadn’t
really understood that Matt’s football career had ended. Oh, she
realized he had lost a leg, but somehow it hadn’t been real to her
until she saw it for herself.

Rolling over, she curled into a tight, little ball. She had had
such fun going places with Matt. People always recognized him
and wanted his autograph. He had plenty of money too, and he
wasn’t stingy with it. The fame and money had thrilled her, but it
was all over and done with now. No more autographs or big

Her stomach lurched again. She had more than just fame
and money to worry about. Matt had wanted to kiss her this
afternoon. In fact, when the doctor came in to take off Matt’s
bandages he had caught her sitting on the edge of the bed kissing
Matt. The doctor had kidded him about it, but she hadn’t minded
being interrupted at all. She…didn’t like to touch him too much

Her thoughts drifted to the afternoon of their accident. Their
parents wouldn’t approve, but she and Matt had gone to Greenville
and checked into a luxury hotel that morning. They had spent his
last day of freedom in bed together. She drew a deep, shaky breath.
The day had been everything she’d dreamed it could be. Her body
tightened with the faint echo of passion. Matt was a good lover.

Oh, why did they have to have such a terrible accident? What
would happen to Matt now? Her engagement ring winked and
twinkled as it caught the light. She stared at it for a moment and
began to cry.


Matt stared at the empty physical therapy room and took a
sip of the hospital brew the physical therapy assistant had given
him. It could use a little work, but it did have a much needed jolt of
caffeine in it. He sighed, blinking away sleep. Why’d they schedule
him so early in the morning? He could have slept a little longer. It
wasn’t like he had anything to do.

The door opened with a click, and a tall, well-­‐‑built, young
man with dark hair entered the physical therapy office.
The man poured himself a cup of coffee. “Who’s the new

The physical therapy assistant, Betty she’d said her name
was, shoved a folder at him. “Matt McCallum.”

“Oh, yeah. Man, that’s a shame.”

Betty scowled at him. “It’s always a shame when people are
hurt as bad as he was, Being a football player doesn’t make him
any different from anyone else.”

“I know and I didn’t mean anything bad. It’s just that he
played one year of pro ball, and it looked like he was going to be
one of the greats. Now, he’s here to get fitted for a prosthesis.”

“Well, I think he needs some counseling. He has that dull,
withdrawn, shell-­‐‑shocked look on his face.”

“Most amputees feel that way in the beginning,” the man
answered. “We can schedule him with Dr. Whitney if we need

Matt’s fists clenched. Didn’t they know he could hear them?
Didn’t they know how it made him feel for them to talk about him
like he was an old, washed up nobody?

The man picked up a file and joined him in the waiting area.
“Hi, Matt. I’m Sam Dickson.”

He held out his hand, and Matt took it briefly.

Sam indicated the file in his hand. “It says here you got the
bandages off yesterday and that the stump is nicely healed. Is that

Matt shrugged. “I guess.”

“Your other leg is banged up pretty bad too, so we have to
work with that as well, but the sooner we get started, the better off
you’ll be.”

“That’s what they say.”

Sam nodded. “Okay, today I’ll show you how to take care of
yourself. After that we’ll fit you for a temporary prosthesis.”
Matt’s head spun; he swallowed hard and focused on a bar
mounted on the wall to steady himself. “All right.”

Matt was a quick study. He paid close attention when Sam
showed him how to clean and protect the stump. Then, Sam passed
him the sock that went over it. “You put it on,” he said.

Matt repressed the shudder that shook him as he pulled the
sock on and smoothed it. “Very good,” Sam approved. “I hope
your motivation is this good once we get you up to walk.” He
laughed. “As a former athlete, a physical task might be more
appealing than what you just learned.”

Matt drew a deep, shaky breath. Of course he was
motivated! It humiliated him when anybody saw his legs or had to
help him get around. He was desperate to regain some control over
his own body.

A tall, striking brunette passed through the room and
waved to Sam who grinned and waved back at her. “Gorgeous isn’t
she?” he asked Matt, the look on his face reminding Matt of a
gamboling, goofy puppy. “Layla is her name. I’ve been trying to
get her to go out with me.”

Matt barely glanced at her. “Yeah, she’s pretty.”

Sam eyed Matt with a quizzical expression on his face.
“That was sure lukewarm, buddy. A woman that drop dead
gorgeous ought to get your heart pumping. Are you worried about
women now that you’ve lost your leg?”

Matt’s face colored, but he made no reply.

“Man, you need to think about how lucky you are. I know
you’ve lost a lot, but you can still be with a woman and father
children. Hurting your legs doesn’t mean the romantic side of life is
over for you.”

Matt raised his eyes to Sam’s for the first time. “You left out
one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Not too many women are interested in having sex with a
cripple. Seeing a stump like mine is a good way to kill the

Sam squatted down so he and Matt were on eye level with
each other. “Matt, the nurses said you’re engaged. Have you talked
to your fiancĂ©e about all this?”

“That won’t be necessary. Stacey was with me yesterday
when the bandages came off. She turned as white as a sheet and
said she had to go home. A messenger brought her engagement
ring to me this morning.”

Matt cringed when he saw the look of pity of Sam’s face.
His stark, unemotional rendering of the facts hadn’t fooled the

Sam slapped his shoulder and said, “Not all women are like
that, buddy. Some of them will stand by a man through thick and
thin. Next time you’ll choose better, right?” He stood up and took
hold of the handles on Matt’s wheelchair. “Let’s see about fitting
that prosthesis so we can get you walking again.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's New?

A Collie Rescue by Lindsay DownsA Collie Rescue by Lindsay Downs
Genre: Mystery
Length: 90 pages
Purchase HERE

Blurb: Former Army Sergeant Sandi Charleston, diagnosed with PTSD and homeless barely survives day to day. By a miracle of fate, she meets Taz, a uniquely special collie, who helps turn her life around. It's only through him she finds the courage to go head to head with her worst enemy-terrorists bent on mass destruction.

Bound by a special love to help and protect each other, side by side these two unlikely partners willingly march forward into battle. A fight to the death neither is sure can be won, but fighting as one, they will try.

Kidnapped and forced to reveal what she knows, Sandi realizes there is only one individual who can save her. It's not the government, but her new best buddy. Together they defeat the enemy proving once again that battle buddies come in all shapes and breeds.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The last time Detective Genie Green let a man humiliate her was her college sweetheart—never again. Yet, when former high school lothario Rafael Santiago returns to town as the consulting detective on her case, Genie’s rule of never allowing another man to best her is challenged. Can she trust him long enough to solve this case and get the glory?

Rafa can’t seem to outrun his delinquent past. When The Snakes, a criminal organization he used to belong too, begin murdering people from his hometown, he has a chance to right some of his past wrongs. Will arresting the murderers be enough to redeem him, or will a certain beautiful detective pay the ultimate price instead?