Injured ballerina Savina Lombard seeks refuge on her cousin’s ranch outside Morgan’s Crossing, Montana Territory until her foot heals. A dashing horse breeder/trainer arrives for his annual summer visit. Estefan del Vado comes from a family who raised championship trotters and his goal is to prove to his father the value of his cross-breeds. To accomplish that, he needs to win one of the season’s pacer harness races. On the Rolling M Ranch to train, he’s distracted by the delicate beauty who is determined that trick riding will be her new career. Using her dancing skills atop galloping horses is sure to win her a spot in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West exhibition. For a few glorious weeks, they share an enjoyment of the horses and getting acquainted. But when the time comes to pursue their separate goals, Savina and Estefan are split apart, geographically and emotionally. How will they discover a path they both can walk?
I had so much fun linking Jillian Jeffrey, a character from my first book, Keeper of My Heart, with the second book in my “Like No Other” Series. My readers wanted Jill’s story told, and I’m happy they insisted.
Could one little mistake derail everything she’s worked for?
Undercover journalist, Cameron Phillips, is known for his forthright exposé articles uncovering scandals of New York City’s rich and famous. Using the pseudonym Eagle Eye to hide his identity, he is free to wield his finger pointing, no-holds-barred articles at leisure.
Jillian Jeffrey, teen fashion industry’s latest darling, has a heart for the less fortunate. Her goal is to raise enough money for fashion icon Anna Delany’s, Like No Other charity foundation. The donation will not only keep the charity afloat, but will place Jill in the running for a coveted position on LNO’s board of directors.
In a moment of weakness, at the charity gala, Jill reluctantly accepts a bet from her ex-boyfriend and uses a homeless man to raise twenty thousand dollars. Unknown to Jill, the homeless guy is the cynical, undercover journalist, and Jill has just become his latest exposé target.
In a twist of fate, Cameron is soon hired to shadow Jill as she volunteers with the charity. Shorthaired and clean-shaven, he looks nothing like the bearded, disheveled man Jill had encountered the night of the gala. During their time together, he not only discovers the noble reason behind the bet, but witnesses first hand his article’s negative impact on her business. Faced with the prospect of losing her, will Cameron come up with an antidote for Eagle Eye’s toxic exposé before Jill loses everything she’s worked for?
“Okay. I admit it. I was having coffee in the bistro near the park when I spotted you. So, I followed you here.”
An incredulous expression crossed his face. “You do see the weirdness in this don’t you?”
“I felt badly for what Sandra said last week.”
“It was the truth, wasn’t it?”
“To a point, but—”
“Look. An abandoned subway is no place for a spoiled socialite. This place is dangerous.”
“You think I’m spoiled?”
“Yes and twenty thousand dollars richer.”
“The twenty thousand was for charity.”
“I guess that made what you did to me okay?”
“No. Of course not.” She sighed. “Look, I admit that I’ve done fairly well for myself. But it hasn’t always been that way.”
“You’re a Jeffrey. It’s always been that way, sweetheart.”
She pulled her hands away from the flame and clasped them to her chest. “What do you mean?”
“Wealthy, wrapped up in yourself, and according to the society pages, One of New York City’s wealthiest families back in town,” he mocked. “Everyone who’s anyone in this city knows about the Jeffrey girls of Scarsdale.”
“Oh, of course, them.” First Mark and now him. No wonder he had ill feelings toward her. He thought she was one of those Jeffreys.
“So, you think because of that you know me?”
“Not you personally, but…” He shrugged.
“When you’ve met one high society dame, you’ve met them all. Is that it?”
“Dame? Now there’s a word.” The corners of his mouth lifted. “First hobo and now dame. You and your friends should get out more.”
For one second, all she saw was his to-die-for half-smile. That along with his disheveled appearance was quite a package.
“Well, according to your earlier comment, my friends and I get out plenty.”
He gazed down at her. His crooked smile still played around his lips and his eyes held a sudden twinkle that disarmed her. But she couldn’t help notice the note of disdain behind that charming twinkle. She’d used him, coaxed him into a glamorous environment, then humiliated him. It probably wouldn’t make any difference as to what he thought of her, so let him think what he wanted.
Darcy Flynn is known for her heartwarming, sweet contemporary romances. Her refreshing storylines, irritatingly handsome heroes and feisty heroines will delight and entertain you from the first page to the last. Miss Flynn’s heroes and heroines have a tangible chemistry that is entertaining, humorous and competitive.
Darcy lives with her husband and a menagerie of other living creatures on her horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. She raises rare breed chickens, stargazes on warm summer nights and indulges daily in afternoon tea.
Although published in the Christian non-fiction market under her real name, Joy Griffin Dent, the empty nest was what turned her to writing romantic fiction. Proving that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Stay in touch with her latest happenings by signing up for her newsletter here.
I have my very own Fourth of July story that contains more than one type of sparks. Sparked by Fire is the fourth (see a pattern?) story in my “Dorado, Texas” series of sweet historical romance stories.
Ivey Treadwell, cook at her family’s boarding house, wants to accomplish something big. For now, she satisfies herself with improving on the traditional recipes for the boarders by adding gathered herbs and spices. An incident with a broken pot causes her to see Berg Spengler, the town’s blacksmith, in a new light.
Stigmatized for his huge size and blamed for his brother’s injury, Berg has discovered being alone is safer for his heart. But when he sees interest spark in Ivey’s eyes, he decides to take a chance and approach her. The pair discovers an attraction that heats up each time they are alone together. Will Ivey convince Berg his wandering days are over and his home is here with her in Dorado?
For those who love to read a series from the start:
The collection titled A Year of Romance includes the first four holiday-related stories of the “Dorado, Texas” series: Wandering Home, Storybook Hero, My Heart Knew, & Sparked by Fire. (also available in print from Amazon)
6 stories by 6 Authors for ONLY 99 cents!!
Take a trip to fascinating, breathtaking, beautiful Africa, without ever leaving your home! These stories will send you on a journey filled with danger, love, and excitement. Travel from Casablanca to Morocco, across the plains of the Serengeti, to the ruins of Carthage, from the desert of Algeria, to the shores of Tripoli. Six international romance authors share spellbinding love stories told across time.
PREORDER LINK Amazon Releases July 14th
Dangerous Liaison – Historical Romance by Denyse Bridger
In late 1942, Casablanca, liaisons can be deadly, especially those that involve intelligence the Germans are willing to kill for…
A Pirate’s Lady – Time Travel Romance – Lynn Crain
Amanda Hoskip, a Time Travel Bureau agent, is intent on discovering who is tampering with time. But when she’s captured, she must pretend to be the wife of fellow agent and rescuer, Trevor Haines, which seems impossible because he thinks she’s failed her mission.
Dying to Love You – Contemporary Romance with Paranormal Elements by Alicia Dean
To avoid purgatory, unloving and unlovable Autumn Baines is sent to the Serengeti where she must perform a selfless deed and find someone to fall in love with her. What she didn’t count on was falling in love herself, or that her selfless deed could save a life, but sentence Autumn to eternal damnation.
Treasured Times – Romantic Suspense – Gemma Juliana
Nerissa Noir is a woman with many secrets. Leon Rizzo intends to figure them out, without revealing his own. From the shops of the exotic souk in Tunis to the ancient ruins of Carthage and beyond, deadly mysteries must be solved before time unravels… can they trust each other?
The Ravine of the Wild Woman – Historical Romance by Marie Laval
Algeria, North Africa, 1865.
Lenora Sharp is Azerwal’s perfect woman. Brave, determined and unconventional, she is also related to the man who stole his name, his childhood and his identity – the very man and he has vowed to destroy, even if it takes him all the way to hell. Will love get in the way of revenge, or will Azerwal lose his soul before he loses his heart?
An Object of Desire – Romantic Suspense by Jenny Twist
Two students on holiday in Morocco discover that two sinister looking characters are following them. They meet an attractive man who offers to take them to their next destination. All seems well until one of the girls disappears.
Find excerpts and more here: World Romance Authors
Angels Fly is the third book I wrote, but it is the first one that was published. Prior to this I had written high fantasy romance—think fairies, were-creatures, witches. With Angels Fly I wanted to combine two genres I enjoy reading, a contemporary romance with fantasy elements.
After her husband’s death, Kelly believes her romantic life is done. Until she reconnects with her girlhood crush on social media, and as fate would have it, he lives across the street.
James is over the whole true-love thing. His grasping ex-wife tore that belief out of him. Then he finds out his first love moved to San Diego, and their attraction burns as hot as ever.
What they don’t know is that Fate didn’t bring them together – the Guardian Angel Corps did, led by two unlikely Cupids – Kelly’s late husband and Zane, a rough and tumble, 19th century cowboy.
The Wild Rose Press (all formats)
She flashed a bright smile at her old friend. “I sent a friend request to Susie Davidson, and I want to see if she’s responded.”
“Susie Davidson,” Grace’s voice dripped with disdain, “we didn’t badger you into doing this so you could reconnect with Susie Davidson.”
“Hey, what’ve you got against old Susie? She was an integral part of our nerd squad in high school,” David said. “Right, Kel?”
When she didn’t reply, he glanced over at his old friend to see her frozen at her computer, all the color drained from her face. “Kel, what’s wrong?”
“I didn’t hear from Susie, but I did get a message from James Flynn,” she whispered.
David jumped to his feet and peeked over her shoulder at the computer screen. “Yummy James Flynn from Rye?”
Grace snickered, “Sounds like a sandwich. I’ll have a Yummy James Flynn on rye. Hold the mayo.”
Kelly and David swung their heads in unison to stare at her.
“What? It’s not my fault you two come from a town named after a bread.”
David shook his head mournfully and intoned, “Californians.”
“Native, baby.” The blonde woman grinned playfully, “And don’t you New England Yankees forget it.”
“What does he say, Kel?” David asked with interest.
Kelly gulped, “He wanted to get in touch and maybe meet for a drink.” She twisted her head to look up at David, her eyes huge on her pale face, “He lives here, David. In San Diego.”
After working in business world for years, I became a school librarian, and am now living my dream as an author. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.
I wrote this book for people who have lived through what Aidan calls their “worst things” that’s ever happened to them and come out the other side whole or want to come out whole. I wanted to write about hope and courage and, most of all, love in the face of grief, sadness, and loss. And I wanted to do it with some humor and dignity for the characters.
Former social worker Roxie Fisher believes she’s cursed to never find happiness. An invitation to Cupid’s Café isn’t going to change that. All the same, what else does she have to lose?
Widowed accountant-turned-firefighter Aidan Craig never turns down a dare. An invite to Cupid’s Café is an offer he can’t refuse. He never expected the social worker who helped him through his darkest days. Now she’s the one struggling and he’s compelled to help.
They experience an immediate attraction, but Aidan swore never off relationships and Roxie can’t imagine daredevil Aidan being interested in her. Will they both lose out on a chance at true love?
When they climbed into the truck, he started it and she turned to him, a frown puckering her brow. “Did I do something wrong?”
“Of course not. You’ve been perfect. Why?”
“Because you’ve been really quiet since we started taking the camp apart. Is something bothering you?”
I might’ve screwed up and fallen for you. But, he couldn’t say that. He still didn’t know what to do and he didn’t want to lead her on. Wasn’t that what he’d been doing, though?
The first time they made love, it just happened. But, after that? He’d been actively pursuing her since then, trying to seduce her, to prove to her he wanted her.
Even though it would make him a lousy human being, he wished he could say it was because she’d presented him with a challenge. But that wasn’t it at all, no matter what he’d tried to tell himself.
He glanced over at her. “Nothing wrong here.”
Reaching over, he switched on the radio and they listened in silence for the better part of forty-five minutes.
They’d be at her house soon. She sat on her hands, looking down at her feet. She looked uncomfortable, and that was his fault. He hadn’t said a damn thing to her the whole way home.
When they arrived at her parents’ house, Aidan climbed out of the truck and fished her backpacks from the back of the truck.
“It’s fine. I can carry those,” she said.
“I’m taking them in for you, Rox. No arguments.”
“But… then I’ll have to introduce you to my parents.” She glanced back at the house, then back at him, shuffling her feet.
“So, let’s go. What’s your mom’s name?” He started up the concrete walk leading to the front porch, expecting her to follow.
“Meredith.” She hadn’t moved.
“What are you waiting for?”
“An act of God. Earthquake, volcano. A lightning bolt or something showy.”
He went back to her, put a hand on the small of her back and gave a nudge. “Come on. What about your dad?”
“Oh, you can’t meet my dad. Like, literally. He doesn’t talk to me, so if I take you in there, plant you in front of the TV and say, ‘Daddy, this is Aidan, the man I’ve been sleeping with,’ he’ll nod and say, “Uh-huh.’ There’s no point.” She stopped halfway up the walk.
“Why doesn’t your dad talk to you?”
“It’s complicated. He doesn’t know how to handle me being depressed. So, he… doesn’t handle it at all.”
It wasn’t that something seemed off here, it was all a little screwy. Like he wasn’t seeing the whole picture, just bits and pieces. He took her by the arm and tugged a little. “I’m carrying your backpack inside. Let’s go.”
“I carried it out of the house without your help when we left.”
“You weren’t my girlfriend then.”
She stopped, and even him pulling on her arm didn’t budge her. “So, I’m your girlfriend now?”
He inhaled, ready to deny it, to say he’d misspoke, but the words didn’t come. His lungs deflated like a balloon. Yeah, that’s pretty much where things stood. And maybe that wasn’t so awful. Maybe it could even be a good thing. “I… Let’s just get you inside. I want to meet your mom.”
Just then, an older woman stepped out on the porch. She looked like Roxie, with the curls and the green, almond shaped eyes. “Come on in, you two. You’ve been creeping up the sidewalk for ages.”
Roxie’s legs started working again, and Aidan followed her up on the porch. Her mom wrapped an arm around Roxie’s waist and pulled her close.
“Aidan, this is my mom, Meredith. Mom, this is my friend, Aidan Craig.” He couldn’t help but notice she didn’t call him her boyfriend. He should’ve talked to her before declaring them in a relationship, he knew that.
Meredith held out a hand to him and he shook it. “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Fisher.”
“Oh Lord, don’t call me that. Meredith is just fine.”
“Meredith.” He gave a nod and a smile, while he berated himself internally. Why had he called Roxie his girlfriend? Because that’s what they’d been acting like, maybe. They’d made love again just hours ago. In a world where he hadn’t lost his wife, where he hadn’t sworn to never become involved with anyone again, he’d be happy to call her that. Now, it made him happy, but it also scared him.
Author Landra Graf is joining me to give away two intertwined heart necklaces and two $10 Amazon Gift Cards.
Enter Rafflecopter contest here
Lori Sizemore writes sexy and snarky romantic comedy. She adores all things story and geeks out about craft books, writing classes, and how-to blog posts daily.
When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family, playing video games, or crocheting. Sometimes all three at once, as she’s a master multi-tasker.
Most marriages in the late 1800’s were actually arranged marriages. I wanted to use a local tie to Creed’s Crossing, WY. It didn’t take me long to decide to use a young woman from Franklin, VA and have her discover that her father has arranged a marriage for her. Then the fun began.
The historical seesaw into the attitudes of the time, living conditions, along with the social customs, and characters with a sense of humor was all I needed to create this story of the early 1890s.
Zadie Larkford, recently graduated from an Eastern women’s college, lives a quiet life in her hometown of Franklin, Virginia. Content to spend her days painting by the river and watching her friends marry, she is shocked to learn that her father has promised her hand in marriage to a complete stranger. Ultimately unable to disobey, she leaves her childhood home to travel – unaccompanied – to Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming to meet her betrothed.
Preorder on Amazon only 99cents until June 27th
Duncan settled his horse before making his way to his cabin. Opening the door, he encountered the water on the floor where it had come through the open window. One more thing in my day that is not going well. First I get soaked and now this? He left his packages on the table and grabbed his dirty clothes to mop up the water. If I’m stuck inside, I might as well do my laundry. With the worst of the water soaked into his clothes, he pulled off his wet shirt and tossed it with the others. From the shelf near his bed, he lifted the last pair of clean pants he owned and left the last clean shirt where it was. He certainly didn’t need to be dressed to do his laundry. Then he tossed a few pieces of wood into his stove and began to heat some water. While he waited on the water, he unwrapped his food items. The way they’d been bundled, the only things that had become wet were his sweet sticky buns and the paper that held the corned beef.
If he cooked the beef right away, the water wouldn’t matter, and certainly he could eat a dozen slightly waterlogged buns before the day was finished. One cookie was also a little damp. He shoved that cookie into his mouth as he poured the hot water into the washtub.
By the time he’d finished doing his laundry, his stomach was loudly protesting. He sat at his table and ate three of the cinnamon raisin buns and washed them down with leftover coffee that had been there since morning. He loved those sweet treats more than anything he could remember eating at home. Sorry, Mom. Even soggy, these are the best.
It was then it dawned on him that he had letters from home. He had tossed them on his bed as he had gathered his laundry. Collecting them, he chose to first read the flourished handwriting from Franklin, Virginia. From my future bride?
He opened each piece of mail and spread out the damp pages on his table, and then poured the last bit of coffee into his cup. The cabin was hot from the stove, so he opened the front door, hoping that the roof over the porch was enough to keep the deluge of water from entering.
Raindrops hitting his metal roof told him when the rain had eased up and when it returned to a full downpour. His parents had a standing seam roof, and he remembered hearing the dissonance of rain on the roof. But his childhood home had an attic to deaden the sound, and this cabin had nothing to suppress the cacophony. He covered his ears and realized it did nothing for the situation.
Perspiration ran down his chest and soaked the waistband of his pants. He downed that last bit of coffee and made another pot. Pumping another pan full of water, he added the corned beef. He figured he might as well fix the meat. It certainly wasn’t going to get any cooler anytime soon.
Satisfied, he picked up the one letter written in an elegant script and sat on the bench on the front porch. Rain sheeted off the roof and onto the ground. He lifted the scalloped page to his nose and sniffed. “Humph.” Not even the slightest scent of perfume. “I thought women were supposed to scent their letters.”
The rain had caused the ink to bleed on the page, but it was still very legible. He read the note, and when he reached the part about her refusal to slop the pigs, he couldn’t stop his laughter. As his composure returned, he read the rest of his letters. As usual, his mother missed him. And his father’s note was brief, but mostly about herring and the number of pounds per day that had been caught. The only other letter that captured his interest was from Dr. Gregory Larkford, promising his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Zadie was apparently spoiled, but from the father’s letter, she was learning how to manage a household and do the associated chores. The father also spoke about his daughter’s talent. Apparently she was quite gifted.
Duncan went inside and checked on the stove. He fixed another cup of coffee and then found his box that contained pen and paper. So many times while plowing he’d given thought to how he might woo his bride. But after reading the letter from her father and Zadie’s own letter, all thoughts of pressing and sending her the pretty orange and yellow flowers that grew in the fields left his mind. She wasn’t going to be impressed with a few dead flowers.
He stifled his laughter and figured he could give what he’d received from her. He opened his box of stationery, withdrew a sheet of paper, opened his inkbottle, and dipped the nib of his pen into the liquid.
Dear Miss Zadie Larkford,
I don’t own any pigs.
Mr. Duncan Lord
E. Ayers lives in a pre-Civil War home with a rescued dog and cat. Her idea of a perfect day is spent at the keyboard, coffee in hand, and everything in the house actually working as it should. Unfortunately old houses never cooperate.
The Baron’s Cufflinks is the third book in the Oak Grove Mysteries, and Harmony Duprie is up to her usual antics. I fell in love with Harmony when I wrote the first book in the Oak Grove Mysteries series, The Marquesa’s Necklace, so I enjoy writing her stories. As I often tell people, I’d like to spend an afternoon sitting on the bottom step leading to her apartment, sipping ice tea, and chatting about everything and anything. You could say that this book is the product of one of those chats.
What starts as Girl’s Night Out ends in murder, and Harmony Duprie is a suspect.
She’s innocent, but with no alibi, the sheriff’s department won’t remove her from the list of suspects. It doesn’t help when a waitress from the bar gets beaten up and the only clue is a slip of paper with Harmony’s name on it. Throw in a rookie deputy set on building his reputation and Harmony must tread carefully.
But caution isn’t Harmony’s middle name and she plunges head first into danger to defend her honor.
What she finds is a web of half-truths and suspicions implicating several law enforcement agencies, with Jake, her ex-lover, stuck in the middle of it all.
It didn’t take long for a warm body to slide into the barstool next to me. The middle-aged man with a bad comb-over hairdo and bulging stomach wasn’t my type at all. But Tiffini would talk to him.
“How’s it going, Sugar?” he said. “Buy you a drink?” He’d already had several drinks based on the smell of liquor on his breath.
I smiled and waved my beer bottle in front of his face. “Thanks! How about the next round?”
He waved to get the bartender’s attention and pointed to me. “Another of those for the lady.”
I wouldn’t be drinking it, but I didn’t stop him.
“What’s your name, Sugar?” he asked.
God help me, I giggled. “Sugar will do fine for now. What’s your name?”
“Dave.” He took a swig of whatever poison he was drinking. “I haven’t seen you around here before.”
He looked like a Dave. His wife—yes, he was wearing a wedding ring—probably called him David when she was mad at him. “I’m new in town,” I said. And giggled again. “Thought I’d get out and make some friends.”
Dave grinned widely. At least he had a full set of teeth. “Why don’t you come over and join me and my buds?”
I glanced over towards the table he indicated. The three men looked like clones of Dave. None of them appeared to be dangerous. It would likely be a waste of my time, but I picked up my beer and slid off the barstool. “Sure.”
He grabbed my second beer and his own drink and we made our way across the room. One of them grabbed an empty chair from a nearby table. “Sugar, meet the guys. That’s Bill, Harry, and Lamar.”
They could have been Mo, Larry, and Curly for all I cared, but I grinned as I settled into one of the empty chairs. “Nice to meet you.”
“Sugar’s new around here,” Dave announced. “So, I volunteered us to make her feel welcome.”
I fluttered my fake eyelashes and giggled. “Sure is nice of y’all to let me join you.”
I did my best impression of Tiffini flirting with all four of the men and discovered, to my surprise, they were actually fun to talk to. I think they were surprised at my knowledge of Steeler’s football, and that made Tiffini more of a friend than a target. The chair they’d given me had a view of the front door, and as was my habit, I’d been keeping an eye on it. It had opened and closed many times, but this time was different.
Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests.
P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:
Why I wrote the book:
An editor talked about doing a medical-based boxed set. She asked if I’d be interested. I said yes and thought about doing a hospital mystery – disease, murder, etc. Then I thought about cloning and the possibilities for illegal cloning. I started to research it and found the subject fascinating, both the pros and cons. We didn’t end up doing the box set.
Nurse Evie Dalton succumbs to greed and a chance to work with sexy Dr. Adam Marsden. She accepts a position at an isolated hospital with an onsite animal farm, screams in the night, and mysterious limos arriving in the dark. People disappear and turn up dead. There’s no way to leave and no communication outside the town. Dr. Adam Marsden left his past behind. Now he has it all; a great job, money, and a chance to buy his own hospital. But he hadn’t counted on Evie Dalton. Because of him, she’s at risk and might be the next victim.
On the way to the shower she heard a car. She detoured to the window, opened the curtains slightly and watched two limos pull up beside the hospital. Nine or ten people got out and disappeared into the back wing. They appeared to be both men and women. Most of them carried small black bags. The limos backed up, turned around and left.
Now what would all those people be doing going into the hospital? They didn’t look like patients. What else could they be? They were obviously going to be there for a while since their transportation had left.
They’d gone into the back wing; one of the wings Evie hadn’t been shown.
Evie let the curtain close. She frowned, chewed her lower lip, and tried to figure out what they might be doing. Her mind was a total blank. She shrugged and gave up. Maybe she could ask Adam. He might know.
In the shower she let the hot water pulsate against her skin and turned so the water hit directly at the base of her neck. It might help to wash away some of the stress. She’d talk to Adam tonight. He’d have some answers. She could trust him. He’d give her a logical explanation and make her feel better.
She glanced out the window again. This time an ambulance slipped quietly through the dusky night. It slid up to a large door down from where the other group of people had entered. Evie couldn’t resist. She stood to one side so she wasn’t reflected in the light and let the curtains almost close together so she wouldn’t be noticed. She watched the ambulance attendants open the back door and remove a stretcher. They carried it inside. By the shape, it appeared to be a body under the covers. She couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman or even if it was dead or alive.
Things got more curious. Evie was sure there was probably a good explanation, but what kind of surgery would they be doing on someone brought in by ambulance out here? To the best of her knowledge, they didn’t have staff working in the operating rooms at night. Warren said he worked nights. She should go down and ask him what a group of people and a body did at night.
Evie turned away from the window. A scream pierced the air. A chill ran down her spine. She stopped and listened. It wasn’t repeated. She wasn’t even sure if it was human. It might have been an animal. Maybe a wild animal.
What was really going on here? She felt like she should do something, but what? She didn’t know what it was or even where it came from. She couldn’t phone anyone. There really wasn’t much she could do.
A residual chill still claimed her body as she buttoned her blouse. Her mind tried to figure out what was going on at the hospital. She’d ask Warren about it next time they talked. Right now, she had to hurry so she’d be ready for Adam.
It wasn’t just her over active imagination. That scream had been for real. Something unusual was going on and they didn’t want people to know about it.
* * *
On the other side of the hospital another black limousine eased to a stop in front of a side exit door. The hospital door opened and Grethe Byrne stepped out, reflected in the yellow light. She allowed the door to close behind her. The light was extinguished. She stood in the darkness. She’d been waiting for the limo to arrive but didn’t want to call attention to it.
The driver unwound himself from the front seat, stood up and adjusted his cap. Then he strode around the front of the car across the headlights and along the side toward the back. Reaching the door, he opened it and stepped back.
A slender woman, maybe in her mid-thirties, wearing a simple, but very expensive designer black suit and hat, stepped out and tripped up the stairs in her four inch heels. Diamonds flashed on her wrist and her ears.
The driver closed the back door.
When she reached the top step she turned toward the driver. “Charles, check with my husband in about a week. I should be ready by then.”
“Yes ma’am.” He nodded, slid back behind the wheel, and turned the key. The engine purred quietly as it slid down the driveway. The taillights disappeared into the night.
Grethe Byrne watched the car fade away.
“You have what we want?” the woman asked.
“Of course, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” Nurse Byrne snapped.
“No. I mean exactly. Do you have exactly what we ordered? White blonde hair, sky blue eyes, IQ of at least 130?”
“Yes. Don’t worry. It will be exactly what you ordered. Did you bring the balance of your payment? In cash and small bills?”
“Yes of course. I’ve kept my part of the arrangement. You had better keep yours.” This time it was the woman’s turn to snap.
“We stand on our reputation. We deliver what we promise. We’ve had no complaints so far.” Nurse Byrne punched in the code to unlock the door. Light flooded the area again as they entered the hospital. Nurse Byrne whisked the woman down the corridor and toward the back rooms.
“Your room is through here. I’m sure you’ll be very comfortable during your stay with us. I have the papers for you to sign.”
“What papers? I should have my lawyer here to review any papers before I sign them.
Nurse Byrne fixed her with an icy stare. “I really don’t think you want your lawyer or anyone else to know what you’re doing, do you? You know what the consequences might be.”
Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author who writes romantic suspense and medical thrillers. She’s the author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She also enjoys watercolor painting, glass fusion and tai chi. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs in southern Alberta.
When widower Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers Grandmother Gertie’s final request was for him to find a missing relative and a stash of WWI jewels.
Torrie Larson, single mom, is trying to make her landscape center and flower arranging business succeed while attempting to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria in the 1900s.
Together, the rich Texas lawyer and poor landscape owner team up to rescue the last rose and fulfill a dead woman’s wishes. But in their search to discover answers to the mysteries plaguing them, will Rich and Torrie also discover love in each other’s arms? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?
“Okay, the blue shirt with the gray slacks doesn’t make you look as stiff and lawyerly-looking as the white shirt does,” Marlene said. “Too bad you don’t have any softer-colored shirts.” She dangled three other ties in her hand she had brought along with her.
Rich glowered at her. “Lawyerly-looking? Softer colored? Are they even words? All I want to do is not look like an affluent stuffy lawyer with a stick up—”
He stopped and looked over at his small daughter, then continued in an irritated voice. “I want to look dressy, but not straitlaced or smug. You know what I mean.”
“But you are a stuffy lawyer, and it’s no secret your bank accounts won’t bounce, you dolt,” Lulu said with a huff. “I thought you and Torrie were going out as friends.”
He looked at the elderly housekeeper. “We are. But I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable, and I want to feel casual, but well-dressed.” He picked up a blue and white striped tie and held it to his chest. All three females groaned. He chose a darker blue one and the groans grew louder. He glared at them. “I’ll have you know some of these ties are pure Italian silk and cost a fortune. To some people, neckties are a symbol of success and authority.”
“Then send them back to Rome and let the Pope bury the lifeless-looking things.” Lulu rose. “They look like they should be on a corpse.”
Rich looked at Marlene. “Can you believe I’m paying her to insult me?”
Lulu snorted. “No, Perry Mason, you’re paying me to feed you, do your laundry, and oversee the household. The advice is free.” She headed for the door. “I’m going home, kids. See you in the morning.”
“I can’t wait,” Rich muttered and followed it with a dismal shake of his head.
Lulu paused and offered him a don’t-you-dare-tangle-with-me stare, then looked at Estella with a tender, warm, grandmotherly smile. “Your daddy doesn’t realize the only reason I take his grief is because I love to be with you, doll face. Tomorrow we’re making brownies and Perry Mason here is getting zip, zero, none, nichts, nada.” She headed out the door.
“Stop calling me Perry Mason!” Rich shouted at her retreating back. He heard her cackling laugh as she hustled toward the stairs.
With a degree in journalism and communications, Judy Ann Davis has written for industry and education. She enjoys writing short stories and novels with a touch of romance and mystery—and lots of comedy. She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and divides her time between Central Pennsylvania and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.