Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three Truth's and a Lie with Rachel Van Dyken

Our very own Rachel Van Dyken joins us today :) Lets see if you can guess her lie :)

My great grandmother was an Indian princess

I met Howard Schultz the owner and CEO of Starbucks downtown Seattle in pikes place market and gave him a high five

Even though I grew up on a farm I can't drive a stick shift

I tried out for a part in twilight before the books were very big and thought hmm thus movie seems ok I guess I mean vampires? Really? The part was for Rosalie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What's New?

Five years ago, Lord Henry left Lady Emmaline alone to face society’s scorn after the two were found in a compromising position.  Now Henry has returned to London as the Duke of Salle, determined to win back the woman he never forgot.

Lady Emmaline believes herself to be happy as a resigned spinster. Though her days are no longer filled with callers and balls, she has found her place in society and has no interest in romance. Her vow to withstand Henry’s renewed advances slowly crumbles, however, under his persistent and unwavering charm.

Finally, they believe, the ghosts of their past have been banished.  That is until a new scandal threatens to separate them. This time, forever.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flashback Friday

They’re two people caught between friendship and something more; they can’t move forward, and they can’t let go.

Drawn together from early childhood, Sean McGee and Melanie Mitchell seemed destined for each other. But at age thirteen, Melanie was wrenched from the people she loved and forced onto a path she loathed. Sean was no stranger to people leaving, but losing Melanie devastated him. When she suddenly reappeared in Orson’s Folly, Sean was overjoyed. The Melanie who came home, though, wasn’t the same girl. She’s got a harder edge and she’s obviously hiding something, but Sean no longer knows how to reach her.

Returning to Orson's Folly as an adult, all Melanie wanted to do was forget the years she spent away. But she soon learned that going home didn’t mean she could return to her old life—or her childhood sweetheart, Sean. Even their mutual attraction to one another hasn’t rebuilt the bond of trust and closeness they once shared. It’s been seven years since she returned and now everything Melanie wants to forget has broadsided her. She must confront her demons and relive her past in an unexpected way or risk losing the only man she’s ever loved. But even if she succeeds, Sean might be lost to her anyway.

Twenty-two years earlier
Sean sat on a big gray rock overlooking the camp. For days, he’d
watched the cattle being rounded up and the calves driven into chutes
where the hot irons would brand them with marks that told who they
belonged to. Everyone said it didn’t really hurt them but they always cried.
And one time when he looked at his mom she had tears in her eyes, too. It
also stunk when the brand was burned into the hide and the smell made
him sick at his stomach.

His Aunt Alice told him that was just ranch life and he’d best get
used to it because he’d be doing it soon enough. He didn’t like Aunt Alice.
She was creepy. But his mom wanted him to be polite so he listened when
Aunt Alice talked to him and never gave her any backtalk.

He could ride a horse. He’d been riding since before he could
remember. But his dad said he had to wait another year, when he would be
eight, before he could help round up the cattle. So Sean just sat and

The rounding up and branding had stopped suddenly yesterday
afternoon, though, with a lot of yelling and scurrying, when his brother,
Ryan, had returned to the camp calling for their dad. Then everyone with a
horse had ridden off into the hills really fast. They’d been gone a long
time. Sean had sat on the rock and waited because that’s what his mom
had told him to do just before she rode off to find some lost cows. The
back of his neck had tickled like ants were crawling there and he hadn’t
liked that.

It had been dark when his father came for him, but Sean had never
considered moving from the rock where his mom had left him. His
daddy’s face had been very sad as he’d told Sean that his mother wasn’t
coming home. There had been an accident and the river had taken her
away. Sean had asked if she would be back the next day instead and his
dad had hugged him hard, and said his mom was in Heaven and couldn’t
come home ever again.

Later, Ryan had brought him a hotdog and some beans. He’d even
cut the hotdog into pieces and mixed it in with the beans the way Mom
had always done it. Ryan had sat with Sean for a long time. He hadn’t
cried but he was sad. He’d said that their mom was dead, but she’d wanted
Sean to know she loved him.

Ry had helped Sean get his sleeping bag ready for the night, and
then he’d lain next to him talking about the stars the way their mom
always did. Sean hadn’t fallen asleep and he didn’t think his brother had,

After he ate the oatmeal Ryan made him for breakfast, Sean had
climbed back on the big gray rock because that’s where his mom had put

The branding was still stopped. The people riding out were sad and
when they came back to the camp, they didn’t bring any cattle.

“What do you think’s happening?” The little girl with hair the
color of sunshine climbed onto the rock next to him and sat down,
dangling her legs over the edge.

“Ry says they’re looking for my mom because she fell in the
river.” Sean turned to look at the girl.

He’d seen her around with her father, Mr. Mitchell. Sometimes she
sat in front of him on his horse. Her hair was really bright yellow, kind of
like Sean’s own hair. But his skin was dark and hers was very white. Her
big blue eyes made Sean think of the sky. She was little and delicate like
the china doll his mom had on her dresser at home.

Sean couldn’t stop looking at her.

“My name’s Melanie.” She kicked her feet back and forth. “Do
you think they’ll find your mama soon?”

Sean lifted one shoulder. “I don’t know. Ry says she’s dead.”

“Oh.” Melanie looked at him. “When my cat was dead, we put her
in a box and buried her in Mama’s rose garden.”

“I saw a dead calf once.” Sean stared out over the prairie. “It was
just layin’ there. Its nose was blue and it looked kind of flat, like an old
balloon. Dad called Mr. Tom and he put it on a truck and took it away.”

“Oh.” She picked up a stick and threw it off the rock into some
prairie grass. “What do you think they’ll do with your mama?”

Sean shrugged again. “Dunno. I just wish—wish she could come
home again.” His chin quivered and his eyes filled with tears, and he
clenched his jaw tight. He didn’t want to cry in front of Melanie.

She moved closer to him and put one of her thin arms over his
shoulders. They sat like that for a while. Her body was warm and he didn’t
feel so alone with her there.

“Look!” Melanie pointed excitedly toward a bluff not far away.

A big bay horse stood watching them, head up, ears pricked
forward. The light breeze stirred his mane and tail, but otherwise the horse
was completely still.

Sean thought he’d never seen anything so powerful. The horse
snorted and tossed his head, then wheeled around and left the bluff.
Melanie’s innocent smile lit her pale blue eyes from the inside. “I
want to ride a horse like that someday. I bet it’d be fun going real fast on
his back.”

That was when Sean decided he liked Melanie with the sunshiny
hair even more than he liked horses.

Chapter One
Present Day

The letter sat next to the register behind the bar. It might as well
have been a rattlesnake. It bore a sender’s name but no return address,
though it was postmarked in Des Moines, Iowa. Denny DeVayne; Mel
couldn’t remember if she’d ever seen her brother’s name written out
before. She had seen his freakishly neat handwriting, and recognized that
now. But he was part of the life she’d walked away from the second she’d
turned eighteen, some eleven years earlier. Nothing good would be
contained in that letter and she didn’t want to open it. So, treating it like
the snake the letter reminded her of, Mel went out of her way to avoid it.
She should just chuck it in the trash unopened.

But something stopped her. So it sat. Later, she would take it up to
her apartment and put it with the other unopened letters; the ones she’d
received since early May.


With a whistle on his lips and a spring in his step, Sean crossed the
short distance from stable to house. It had been a good day. If he was very
lucky it would be an even better evening, as long as he got his sorry tail to
Valentine’s where Mel was tending bar.

Rounding the corner of the house, he pulled up short at the sight of
the gawky redheaded teen leaning against the railing on the back step. His
chin was propped on one hand. With the other hand, he fiddled with an
MP3 player. When he saw Sean, he popped out his Earbuds.

Tinny voices and a heavy metallic beat blasted from the tiny
speakers, painting the insane image of an all-cockroach rock band in
Sean’s head. He raised an eyebrow. “Kid, you’re gonna go deaf.”

“Hi, Sean.” Ricky laughed nervously. “You sound just like Da—
ah, Justin.”

Sean suppressed his smile at the kid’s near slip of the tongue.

Though they weren’t related by blood, he’d settled into the role of Ricky’s
big brother over the past year and a half, and it felt pretty good. The boy’s
mother wasn’t in a position to take care of him and his grandparents had
rejected him. Too bad for them. They didn’t know what they were
missing. But their loss was the McGee family’s gain.

“Get locked out?” asked Sean.

Ricky looked up at the kitchen window, a pensive expression on
his face. “They were doing it again. I didn’t want to go in.”

Sean sighed. He didn’t have to ask who “they” were or what they
were doing.

Right on cue, the clatter of cookware being slammed together
filtered through the kitchen window. Sean shied away from the back of the
house in case the sound was followed by something heavy.

“I don’t need a babysitter!”

He flinched at the angry voice of his sister-in-law, Sandy, currently
the sole feminine touch at the Cross MC ranch. He didn’t have to ask who
she was yelling at. Only one person ticked her off that much these days.
“I’d just feel better if you weren’t out here alone.” And there he
was, Sean’s brother, Ryan, trying to placate with a calm tone.

Sean grimaced and glanced at Ricky. “They been at it long?”

Ricky lifted his shoulders and heaved a huge sigh before he settled
into a resigned slouch. “Since before I got home from work about ten
minutes ago.”

The sound of breaking glass was followed by an angry shriek.

“Oh! You are such a bossy mule!”

“What in Sam Hill are you two doing in here?”

“Oh, jeez. They got Dad’s attention. Now I don’t want to go in
there.” Sean cocked his head at Ricky. The kid’s face was crowded with
angst and confusion. It was hard enough being a kid of just seventeen
without wondering if his happy home was going to remain happy,
especially when the boy hadn’t had anything close to a happy home until
he’d been almost sixteen. Sean shot him a conspiratorial grin. “If I show
you the alternative entrance, do you promise not to use it for sneaking out
at night?”

Ricky nodded emphatically. He gestured at his dark jeans and
western shirt, the unofficial uniform for his job as busboy at Valentine’s
Bar and Grill. “I just want to get out of these geeky clothes so I can chill.”
Sean tilted his head the other way. “I don’t know. . . .” Then he
grinned again, because he really did know. Ricky was a pretty good kid,
who tended to hang at home rather than go out and get in trouble. Sean,
himself, had raised more Cain as a kid than Ricky did.

“But I’m fine,” said Sandy in the kitchen.

“Come on.” Sean led Ricky to the far side of the house.

The cottonwood tree had been standing since before Sean was
born. It now soared close to a hundred feet with an impressive canopy that
spread like an umbrella over the southern exposure of the house. That just
happened to be the side Sean’s bedroom window faced. And one of the
tree’s branches just happened to be growing right outside his window.

There had been a few times as a teen when Sean had felt the need to sneak
in after curfew.

He smiled, remembering how it had never done any good. Every
time he’d made the climb to his window in the dark, he’d invariably snuck
into his room to find his father lounging on his bed waiting for him. And
one time in the middle of winter he’d come home to find Justin had nailed
his window shut. After that, he’d taken his dad’s advice to use the phone
when he was going to be late.

Sean cupped his hands beneath the lowest branch. “I’ll give you a

Ricky hesitated for a second. “I’ve never climbed a tree.”

It was always the little things that were the most telling. The little
things that showed this kid hadn’t had anything close to a normal
childhood. Every time one of those reminders popped to the surface, Sean
felt the need to choke the living crap out of someone.

But now, he only shrugged. “Time to learn. See that lowest branch
there? Grab onto that, wrap your knee around it, and pull yourself up.
Then look for the next highest branch and do the same thing.”

Ricky placed a foot in Sean’s hands and Sean pushed him up. Then
Ricky shimmied to the next branch. Sean smiled with approval. The kid
was a natural.

“Sean, what are you doing out here?” The too-shrill voice of his
sister-in-law was out of her normal character and somewhat akin to having
shards of glass shoved beneath his fingernails.

He tried to smile but it felt weak. Slowly, he turned around. “Hi,

Fixing him with a knowing glare, Sandy folded her arms over an
enormous belly.

Sean couldn’t keep his gaze from wandering there with a sort of
morbid fascination. Man, had she gotten bigger since breakfast? And was
it . . . moving? Sean’s stomach did a little flip of its own. “Wow! You’re
looking really great.”

She stared at him in narrow-eyed silence until he looked away.

“You didn’t answer my question. What are you doing back here?”
“I was just checking on some—things.”

“Checking on teaching Ricky how to climb in your window?”

Busted. Sean tried his most engaging smile. When she only glared
at him, he gave up and sighed. “Okay, when I came in from the stable, he
was just sitting out back because you and Ry were fighting. We wanted to
give you some space.”

“We weren’t fi—” Sandy blew out a long, slow breath. She rubbed
her forehead then ran her hand through her dark hair. “It’s okay. I know
I’ve been mean lately.”

“No, not really—”

Her eyes narrowed.

“Okay, maybe a little. You’ve got a lot on your mind.”

“And an overprotective husband.” She smiled. “I love your
brother, Sean, but he’s driving me crazy. If he can’t be with me, he makes
sure someone else is with me. I’m never, ever, alone. I’m not going to

Sean smiled. “I can talk to him if you want.”

She made a face and shook her head. “He’ll just say I went running
to the Great Voice of Reason.”

Sean chuckled at her use of Ryan’s nickname for him.

“It’ll be over soon.” Sandy caressed her belly. “Then he’ll be able
to be overprotective of the little one.”

More likely, his brother would just be doubly protective of the two
of them. But Sean kept the thought to himself.

“How’s my horse? How’s Domingo? Ryan won’t let me even go
visit him.”

Sean’s heart softened. He knew Sandy missed her horse. She and
Ryan would never agree when it came to keeping the big roan. But
everyone thought she was showing good sense to stay out of the stables
completely in the last weeks of her pregnancy.

“I give him his daily apple and I swear he looks over my shoulder
to see if you’re behind me.”

“I didn’t think I’d ever miss riding so much.” She sighed wistfully.
“Is he getting enough exercise?”

“Every day.” Sean frowned. “But I’ve been thinking of seeing how
he’ll take to Ricky. I’ve got a rehabber coming in Monday and it’s going
to be pretty intense for a while with that one.”

“Oh, Ricky’s fantastic with horses. I think it’s a good idea to see
how Domingo likes him.” Squeezing her eyes shut for a moment, Sandy
rubbed her temples.

“You okay?” Sean took a closer look. She suddenly seemed very

“Yeah,” she answered slowly. “Just a little headachy. Oh, and Dad
and Ryan are going up to Jackson tomorrow to see the accountant about
Ricky’s trust fund. Ryan’s going to ask you to babysit me.”

Sean smiled. “And you don’t like the idea.”

She heaved a sigh. “I’ve resigned myself to it. The thought of
driving all the way to Jackson makes me nauseous. But they won’t leave
me home alone, even though I’m perfectly capable of calling for help if I
need to. Besides, according to the doctor, we’ve got at least three weeks.

So you really don’t have to do anything but work with the stock the way
you normally do.” She grinned. “You seeing Mel tonight?”

Her hormonal mood shifts were sometimes difficult to keep up
with, but this time, it had been fairly straightforward. Okay, sister,
consider the subject changed. He lifted a shoulder. “Maybe.”
Sandy fixed him with a knowing look.

Sean rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes.”

“You get around to giving her what she really wants yet?”

Sean blinked. What did Mel want? Had he missed something?

Sandy laughed. “Never mind. I can see you haven’t. If you need a
birds and bees conversation. . .” She winked. “You should probably see
your dad, since me and Ryan failed safe sex one-oh-one.” She patted her

“Oh jeez!” He backed away a couple of inches. Man, he hated
these conversations. Sean felt the heat rise into his face, and settled his hat
lower over his eyes, refusing to take her bait.

Sandy’s laughter echoed against the back of the house. “Sean, I
love you, but you are about as slow a mover as your brother is a fast one.
How did you two turn out so opposite?”

He shrugged and shifted his feet.

Sandy pointed at the tree and smiled. “I’ll let you get back to
checking on things. You don’t want to rush and end up falling.” She
stepped to the base of the tree and peered upward. “Dinner’s on the table,

“Yes, ma’am.” Ricky’s voice filtered through the few lingering
autumn leaves.

Sean watched her waddle away. Shaking his head, he leapt into the
air and snagged the lowest branch, swung his leg up and over, then pulled
himself upright. Grabbing the next branch, his grip slipped and he almost
fell. Almost being the important part, he acknowledged once he secured
his position.

Climbing the tree again felt pretty good.


Melanie slipped Sean’s favorite draft in front of him with a smile.
Just being near him made her heart somersault. His pale blond hair, so
similar in shade to hers, was longer than usual. It curled on the ends and
she wanted to get her fingers tangled in it. His jade green eyes watched her
hand where she was wiping up a few droplets of water. She wished he’d
watch something other than her hands, but she seldom caught him
checking her out these days.

“Ry’s got me on Sandy-babysitting-duty tomorrow morning.” He
swirled his beer, eyes down. Amber liquid sloshed against the edges of the
mug. Mel reached for the rag beneath the bar, just in case, but he stopped
the restless movement and took a drink.

“It can’t be that bad. It’s not like she’s a little kid you’ll have to
chase around or even entertain.”

“That’s what she told me.” When he looked up, his engaging grin
was back. “Though I’m not so sure about not having to chase her. She’s
been on a tear through the house lately, getting the nursery ready, re-doing
her and Ry’s room. She reorganized the kitchen cabinets and cleaned up
the pantry today. Dad keeps complaining that he can’t find anything in the

Melanie giggled. “Maybe she’ll clean out the attic tomorrow.”
“Aw jeez, I hope not. Ry’ll kill me.” Sean took a drink.

“It’s a light crowd tonight,” Mel said, running a forefinger along
Sean’s arm. “LeeAnn can close. Would you like to come upstairs for a

He looked past Mel to the other barmaid. “How’s she working

Mel shrugged and followed his gaze. LeeAnn Shannon wore her
dark auburn curls in a pony tail that sprayed from the top of her head like a
fountain. She wore heavy blue eyeshadow and dark eyeliner, probably
under the mistaken impression that so much blue highlighted her pale blue
eyes. She was full-figured and her tight blue jeans only emphasized the
outline of her wide hips. A skimpy green top hugged her bustline just a
little too tightly, showing off an extra roll under her bra. Earrings that
appeared to be made of multicolored confetti strung together by thin gold
wire dangled from her earlobes, almost to her shoulders. Mel could only
hope pieces of that confetti didn’t drop into anyone’s drink. She’d stopped
asking the girl to wear something with less likelihood to shed after her
third day working at Valentine’s, since LeeAnn apparently wasn’t
listening anyway.

Mel sighed. Sandy wouldn’t have tolerated the blatant defiance.
LeeAnn’s smile looked a bit forced as she slammed a shot down in
front of one of the regulars. Mel wondered what the man had said to set
the other girl off this time. She didn’t field the sexual innuendo and
sometimes outright lewd suggestions very well.

Mel looked back at Sean and shrugged. “Well, she’s no Sandy but
she’s a body to help with serving when she doesn’t call out.” Rubbing a
finger back and forth along Sean’s arm, Mel was pleased to see
goosebumps rise beneath her touch. “So how about it? You want to have
some dessert in my place?”

Sean rubbed his chin, his “no” tell. Disappointment flared before
he even answered. Most times she hated that her grifter father had taught
her to read people so well. It usually just made her disappointment double
up on her.

“I’d better get home.” Sean drained the last of his beer. “I don’t
know what time Ryan wants to get started tomorrow but I’ll have stock to
take care of before they leave.”

He glanced up at her and smiled. It was far from the look of heated
desire she craved.

“I’ll walk you out.” She wished her heart didn’t feel like it had
been trod on. Rejection sucked.

Mel snagged her sweater from just inside the kitchen while Sean
waited. She crossed the room wishing she could carry off Sandy’s sexy
saunter. Maybe then Sean would really see her. Sometimes he made her
feel like someone’s vanilla-cream little sister.

“How’s the horse rehabbing going?” she asked as they traversed
the parking lot.

“Really good, actually.” As he always did when talking horses,
Sean became animated. “One of my rehabs is about to be put up for sale.
Got some weight back on her. Sweet-tempered little thing now no one’s
beating on her. I almost want to keep her for you.” He shrugged. “But you
never really get much chance to come out and ride, I guess.”

Mel’s heart did a cartwheel. “I could make time to come out. If
you’d like me to, that is.” She looked up at him as they approached his
truck. “Would you like me to?”

Sean rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah! If you come out before
next week we can see if you and Lacey get along.”

Gosh, he looked so happy. And that made her happy. When he
leaned in for a kiss, she took a step forward and tucked herself tightly into
his solid embrace where she always felt safe. He sucked in a breath but
didn’t pull back. Feeling a little bold, she snaked her arms around his
waist and slanted closer still.

The kiss started out very chaste as usual, but Mel was feeling
courageous for once. As he began to pull back, she outlined his lips with
her tongue. His hands on her shoulders tightened and he pulled her back
against him, deepening their kiss, stroking her tongue with his. His breaths
came in ragged gasps and he trembled.

Score one for the home team. Finally.

Mel’s nerve fibers buzzed like a hundred honey bees hitting the
mother lode of purple flowering clover. She clutched his waist, shivering
at the way his muscles jumped under her hands.

Sean slipped his hand beneath her sweater, around to the small of
her back, and pulled her closer. His hand was hot through the thin material
of her blouse.

A physical ache spurred by emotional need welled within her.

With a low, feral moan against her lips, Sean turned them around
and pressed her against the door of his pickup. Her toes barely touched the
ground. Mel angled her head for a deeper kiss and wrapped her arms
around his neck. Sean hissed through his teeth when she wiggled.

He pulled back slowly, holding himself completely still for a
minute. Then he let her slide down his body until her feet rested on the
ground again.

“You’re killing me here, Mel,” he whispered, his voice quaking.

“One of these days, we gotta do something about this—you and me.”

“It’s not so late yet. My room’s still open.”

That was the moment she lost him and she could have kicked
herself. He stepped back a foot or so, kissed her on the forehead. His
guard was back in place. They had just shared a very passionate embrace
and he’d definitely been turned on. Now, if he felt any sort of desire for
her at all, she couldn’t see it. Or feel it, the way he kept himself angled
away from her. Darn it! He was so careful with her. Always keeping
himself just one or two steps out of reach.

Mel sighed. She couldn’t remember a time since they’d been
teenagers when she hadn’t wanted to be Sean’s girl. Yet they never
seemed to get beyond a few heated kisses before he hightailed it in the
opposite direction. Sometimes it was hard to tell if he really wanted to kiss
her or if he was just being polite.

“Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” As always she felt a little
anxious about his answer, though she usually tried to cover her anxiety
with an attitude of nonchalance.

He smiled and gave her a peck on the cheek with one last warm
hug. Then he rubbed the back of his neck and cast a sheepish glance her
way. “Hope so.”

She breathed more easily when she caught his “yes” tell. He
always seemed just a little on the shy side when he said yes to something
that was important to him.

Sean waited for her to cross the parking lot again before he left. He
probably didn’t know she routinely stood at the door and watched his
taillights disappear.

Mel slid the sweater from her shoulders. A white envelope fell to
the floor and she groaned. Her brother’s letter. LeeAnn must have seen it
by the register and slipped it into her pocket.

Shaking her head, she tore open the envelope as she walked into
the kitchen. The letter was typed and unsigned. If not for the address on
the letter, written in her brother’s familiar careful script, it might have
come from anyone. But it had come from her brother, and read simply,
“You should be interested in this.”

Wearing a frown, she looked in the envelope, and pulled out an
article cut from a newspaper. For no reason other than this was her family,
her hands were shaking as she unfolded the clipping. The headline was to
the point: Prominent Oklahoma City Attorney Indicted on Adoption Fraud
and Baby Selling Scheme.

Letter and article slipped from Mel’s frozen fingers.


The sitting room light was still on when Sean pulled in to the ranch
yard. That meant Ryan was waiting up for him. Aw, man, just what he
probably needed and didn’t want. Sean kicked the door of his truck closed
with more force than necessary.

“Dang, bro. Shoot it and put it out of your misery already,” said
Ryan from the shadows.

Sean almost dropped his keys. “Jeez, man. If you’re gonna jump
me, can it wait ’til we’re inside? It’s freezing out here.”

“It’s October. It’s supposed to be freezing.” A lighter flared,
harshly illuminating Ryan’s face in the glow.

The acrid smell of a cigar wafted over Sean. “Didn’t you eat
enough smoke when you worked in L.A.?” He started walking for the

Ryan took a puff. “You’d think. But I guess a year or so of chatting
with Dad on the porch while he lights up got me in the habit.” He took
another puff. “So what’s eatin’ at you tonight?” He stared at the lit end of
the cigar. The gesture was so like their father’s, Sean groaned.


“Horse puckey.”

Sean tried to remember why he’d missed his brother for sixteen
years. He sighed. May as well get it over with. “It’s Mel.”

Ryan frowned. “Get in a fight?”

“Nope. We never fight.” Sean blew out an exasperated breath.
What the heck? Maybe talking it out would take some of his edge off.
“She keeps hinting at wanting something more.”

Ryan stepped back to eye Sean with a critical eye. “More than
what? Like she wants to get married?”

Sean stopped walking at the bottom porch step. “No, not exactly.
As in she invited me to her place tonight, and not so we could watch a
little TV.”

Ryan’s mouth fell open. The cigar he’d just lit tumbled to the
ground in a shower of sparks, and with a muttered oath, he stooped to
retrieve it. Then he scrutinized Sean. “And yet the man came home.
Interesting. So, you told her no?”

Sean nodded.

“Why?” Ryan’s gaze drifted below Sean’s waist. “Everything—
ah—all . . . works, right?”

Irritation flared. “Yes. Everything works. Get your mind out of the
gutter, man. It’s not always about sex.”

Ryan’s face registered total disbelief. “It’s almost always about
sex. You’ve been . . . um, seeing Mel steady for over two years now,

Here it came. The big brother lecture about getting laid. Sean lifted
a shoulder. “Yeah, ’bout that.”

“And you’ve—never?”

“Nope. Never did the deed,” Sean said impatiently. “Satisfied?”

“No, I’m not satisfied!” Ryan took another puff of his cigar. Then
he frowned. “Ah, when you say never, do you mean never-never or just

Sean glared at his brother, just for one second wishing Ryan was
back in L.A. “Jeez, Ryan! Not that it’s your business, but yes, I’ve had
sex. It’s just—things are different with Mel.”

“You don’t like her?”

Sean turned, looked out into the darkness. “I love her. I want
everything with her. I want what you and Sandy have with her.”

“Then I don’t get it,” said his brother, as if the answer was just that
simple. “Ask her to marry you.”

Sean turned back. “I got nothing to offer her, Ryan.”

There. Now it was out. Sean didn’t know what was up with Mel
lately, but something was off and he felt like they were drifting in separate
directions. Yet he couldn’t begin to sort things out and fight for her
without having his own life together. Every time he tried to bring up the
possibility of a future together, she turned it around and made it about
something physical. She clearly wanted a physical relationship, and so did
he, but he wanted more than that. Sean wasn’t made for casual. He was
done with unsatisfying, going-nowhere relationships.

Ryan looked stunned. “Nothing to offer? There’s your share of the
ranch. We’re turning things around. You’ve got your horse rehab business.
You earn a decent income. You’ll be able to take care of a family.”

“And we can share my bedroom here, all cozy with everyone in the
main house.” Sean blew out a frustrated breath and kicked at the dirt. “It’s
already crowded with you and Sandy, Dad, Ricky, and now your baby on
the way.”

“That can change, Sean.” Irritation had crept into Ryan’s voice.
“You don’t have to live in the main house to keep working the ranch.
Heck, live in town at her place. Just get engaged, let her know you want to
be with her. The two of you can work out the details later. And for the
love of mercy, when she asks you up to her place again . . . go.”

Sean shook his head. “Can’t.”


“Because Mel’s worth more than a few vague promises and getting
hot between the sheets. I thought you would get that.” Sean turned on his
heel and stomped onto the porch and through the front door, leaving Ryan

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Three Truths and a Lie with Sherry Gloag

Sherry Gloag lives in the beautiful English region of East Anglia, England, next to an old Roman track that runs from the coast to mid-Norfolk.  Apart from writing contemporary sweet romances she has recently tried her hand at writing Regencies.  Astraea Press is releasing her latest, Vidal’s Honor, on November 1st, which is one of the Twelve Dukes of Christmas series.  When she is not writing, Sherry enjoys creative crystal craft work.

Can you guess her little fib?

Although I am a Scot, I was born in England then spent my childhood in Scotland.

From the age of ten I went to school in England.

I aced English grammar in school.

I climbed a 60 foot copper beach tree when I was eight, and when my mother came looking for me stood up right and the top and waved to her.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's New?

Can you find true love in a kiss?  How about a dozen?

Lucy Duckworth is comfortable with her life and in her own skin, and her habit of picking up orphaned cats is noble.  Yet when her roommate asks her to fill in at a kissing booth during the Winter Carnival, Lucy’s even-keeled existence suddenly tilts.

Matthew Kincaide has one simple motto:  live off the land, keep your head down, don’t talk a whole lot and never trust a woman.  Divorced and not about to give a female control over him again, all he wants is to deliver his animals for the petting zoo and go home.  Too bad his annoying brother coaxes him into buying tickets for the kissing booth.

Lucy’s and Matthew’s first kiss ends with a violent sneeze, but she can’t forget that first lip-tingling, take-me-away moment.  Though Matthew’s shocked by his first reaction, he lines up for a second chance.  Surely lightning can’t strike twice.  Will winter fun and a random accident derail their quest to find out how many kisses it takes to fall in love?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three Truth's and a Lie with Kelly MArtin

~Kelly Martin is a writer, blogger, mommy, teacher, wife, and sleep deprived lady (not necessarily in that order). She writes Young Adult/Christian fiction. Her first book, CROSSING THE DEEP, is available now. Her second book, SAINT SLOAN, is coming late winter 2013. For more information on her, please visit her blog at or follow her on twitter: @martieKay.

Now for the fun. See if YOU can guess Kelly's little lie :)

*I was sixteen years old when I saw my first movie in a theater.

*I have a tiny blue scar on my forehead.

*My favorite movie is Toy Story.

*I've only had one wreck in my life. The participants in that wreck (excluding me) were named: Mary, Joseph, John, and Jesus.