Tuesday Tales: From the Word BRANCH

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Our word prompt is BRANCH. I’m continuing with Pumpkin Spice. Anca is with Aunt Selma as they await her surgery.

“I’m at a loss here. Where do you expect me to sleep?”

“Dr. Tanner has offered you a bed. You’ll be right next door.” She frowned. “You do remember Walt, don’t you?”

Remember Walt? How could I not remember him?

“He’s a wonderful doctor. The best one I’ve ever had. So kind and understanding. He even makes house calls.” She frowned. “I did tell you he moved back last fall just before I went to St Thomas for the winter, didn’t I?”

“I don’t think you did.”

I would’ve recalled something like that. Was it possible that she was losing control over her short-term memory? Seventy-seven wasn’t that old. But it was the age at which Hester Cole had died. I shivered. This had better not be a premonition. A person didn’t need to be a witch or possess magic to have premonitions. Everyone had them eventually. It might be nothing more than deciding not to wear the blue heels one morning and almost twisting an ankle on the way to work—a sure thing in the wrong shoes. Sometimes, it was a feeling about a place or a person … and at others, it was such an intense sense of déjà vu, that I wanted to run away and hide.

“Well, he’s been my doctor ever since he came back,” Aunt Selma said, grounding me once more. “Erin and Seamus are adorable, as are Snap and Crackle, although Pop has his moments, but he’s still so young. They frequently visit the cottage. Hester likes them, too.”

If the bird approved, how could I not? Erin and Seamus were strong Irish names, good for children, but Snap, Crackle, Pop? Those had to be the family pets. No one would name their kids after the sound effects of a certain brand of cereal. But stay with him and his brood? Never. I would deal with my aunt’s delusions as soon as she was back on her feet. Perhaps Walt … Dr. Tanner … could recommend a good gerontologist. It was a popular branch of medicine now that people were living longer. I’d studied delusional behavior in seniors but, it was never a good idea to practice on family.

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Monthly Blog for August 2022

Hello everyone. It’s so nice to be back again after a brief vacation. and what makes it even more wonderful was discovering that one of my books, Fire Angel, is one of the member spotlight books for August! I don’t know who my guardian angel is here but thank you so much! This was what I found on the website along with this month’s writing prompt.

Sincere congratulations to Austin Kleon for his book, Steals Like An Artist, which has also been selected,

Fire Angel was the first book I ever authored and published. Sadly, the publisher, Crimson Romance, is no longer in business, but the book is still available. It has a new cover and was edited when I got my rights back, but it’s the same basic novel–with a few curved tossed in. This is a direct link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DLK8J6Q

So why did I start my post with this? Because it leads directly into the August 3 question:

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original, or do you try to give readers what they want?

Back in 2013 when I first drafted the novel Fire Angel, there had been a string of unsolved arsons in our area. Many of them were never solved. Since it was my very first book, I wanted something that packed a punch, but the publishers who had agreed to publish the book wanted less punch, more romance, and only two points of view. So, in the editing stage, I had to eliminate the third point of view. Unfortunately, for many readers of the original book, it was too easy to guess the identity of the Fire Angel, and that affected their ratings of the book. Long story short, when Crimson was bought out, I eventually got my rights back, and using the original manuscript and comments from the posted reviews–I did listen–I revised and edited the book which I then released in 2018 as part of the Vengeance Is Mine Series, books linked by the need for revenge. To my knowledge, the revised and edited version is the only one currently available. It has lots of grit and punch, some romance, three points of view, and a new, much stronger, ending.

It’s hard to believe that I’ll soon be an author with ten years of writing under my belt, having begun writing in September 2012. I have published forty novels, many of them parts of one of my seven series, and am working on my forty-first now, part of my Cocktails for You series, created during the pandemic when everyone needed a laugh. Those books are the only ones I write in the first person. As a rule, they are shorter than my other books, all under 80,000 words, some of them only novellas. They are quick reads without any complex plot webs, designed strictly to entertain, no thinking required.

Each time I start a book, I think about what I want the book to do. Do I want it to be a mystery? Is it meant to make people laugh or cry? Do I want to teach them something about the past the way my Canadian historical romances do? Or do I simply want them to feel good and relax? While I try to consider and be mindful of what readers want, often my tape measure comes down to one thing. What story does my muse want me to write? Because that’s the one that will get written.

I pride myself on the originality of my stories. There are no cookie cutter romances, no cut and paste mysteries. Each book has a uniqueness that I value and hope my readers do, too. As an author, I do pay attention to honest reviews, but in the end, I must be true to myself.

Read about this topic from others by checking the list here. https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Tuesday Tales: From the Word CRAZY

Welcome to August and this week’s Tuesday tales, based on the word CRAZY. I’m continuing with Pumpkin Spice, and I have a surprise for you. The cover is ready!

“If I had the power to do so, I’d shrink that bully’s testicles to the size of peas and then shove them down his chauvinistic throat,” Clara declared. “The minute he took over the bar, he started treating you and the other women working for him like chattel, as if, like the stools and the rest of the furniture, you belonged to him, and he could do whatever he damn well pleased with you. You did the right thing by walking out on him. Of course, I would’ve poured that pitcher of martinis over his head on my way by. You should ask your aunt and her Wiccan sisters to curse him for us. Would she do that?”

I shook my head. “As much as I would enjoy seeing Stan taken down a peg or two, the Wiccan Rede, their moral code, is very specific when it comes to harming others and stresses personal responsibility and integrity.”

She harrumphed. “Fine, if they say so, but that’s crazy. Some people don’t deserve compassion. They could benefit from a dose or two of their own medicine. Witch or not, your Aunt Selma is the nicest old lady I’ve ever met. What are you going to do?” She placed the bowl of popcorn on the table and muted the television.

I’d taken Clara to visit my aunt at Easter last spring, They’d hit it off with Clara claiming to have heard Hester—no doubt to humor my aunt. A few weeks later, Aunt Clara had visited Boston, loading up with goodies from Vintages. Clara was the consummate salesperson, and if claiming to believe in ghosts helped with sales, she was all over it. She’d picked up several questionable items from estate sales. No doubt they’d all be gone by Halloween. Lots of people believed in the supernatural. Why was I so determined that it didn’t exist?

“What can I do? I’m going back to Salem. I’ll stay as long as she needs me. She isn’t getting any younger and living by herself … I doubt I’ll come back to the bar, but if I can’t find anything in Salem…” I shrugged.

“Sweetie, you can always work for me. I’m considering opening a second location in P-town next year. Think of it. You can manage this place for me—open a consulting room in the back. That degree of yours shouldn’t be wasted. Imagine buying new-to-you clothes and cleansing your soul. Recycling your wardrobe and your attitude. The possibilities are endless!”

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Murder is Scheduled for Monday. What’s on your Agenda?

FIRST DAY RELEASE! Loads of NEW cozy mysteries to enjoy. Only #99cents or #Free with Kindle Unlimited. The second set in the Diehard Dames Amateur Detective series: MURDER IS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY. /mybook.to/DiehardDames2

Get ready for more cozy mysteries!

Step up and enjoy a delectable feast of cozy mysteries with these Diehard Dames. Our stubborn and determined female amateur detectives will prove they aren’t the weaker sex – regardless of their age or physical abilities – especially when it comes to cleverness and brain power. Come along as our ladies solve (at least) five different dire dilemmas. Will their ‘helpers’ and the professional detectives get in the way? Read on and find out!

MURDER IS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, a savory selection of ‘Whodunnits’ by some of your favorite award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Authors, perfect to enjoy any day of the week.

NEW! Dani Haviland: Never a Dull Murder (An Arlie Undercover Cozy Mystery)
How do you solve a murder when there is no weapon, witnesses or DNA? The case gets even more difficult for the Anchorage detective when he gets ‘help’ from the victim’s friends…and an adorable bear cub!

Winifred’s secret lover was safe in Witness Protection until someone found him, trashed his garden, and ended his life. Will amateurs solve the case or get in the way?

NEW! Denise Devine: Shot in the Dark (Book 1 – Girl Friday Cozy Mystery Series)
Tall, dark, and classically handsome, the private detective’s ego is bigger than his brain. Will his Girl Friday step up and solve his case – and get him out of the county jail?

Meet Stella James: She’s out-of-work, dead broke, and out of options until she snags a job as an office go-fer with her stepbrother, Randy, a private investigator. He’s tall, dark, and classically handsome, but his ego is bigger than his brain and it soon gets him a free vacation at the county jail when one of his female clients ends up murdered – in his bed. Stella is faced with a choice – find the real killer or risk losing not only her new job but her boss as well.

Susanne Matthews: Prove It!
High school sports can be more dangerous than you think!

When Liam ignores the threats to stop running, he’s left for dead by a hit and run driver. When his friend investigates, he goes missing. Now it’s up to Hannah to find the missing boy and whoever is responsible for his disappearance before they strike again.

NEW! Nancy Radke: Any Lucky Dog Can Find a Missing Child
Who killed the town’s favorite coach?

Sometimes help comes with curves and other times with four paws. Will the new sheriff be smart enough to accept their assistance in searching for the farmer’s eight-year-old son?

NEW! Katy Walters: A Duke’s Binding Love
The Chief Librarian has been murdered. Could the seventh Duke of Pemberton convince his fellows that a young woman was the best replacement? A Regency Time Travel story.

His Grace, Augustus William George Ashbury, the seventh Duke of Pemberton, is horrified when informed of the brutal murder of his Chief Librarian. Not only has he lost a friend but also the only man he knew who had the knowledge and skill to renovate the ancient books in the Duke’s library. Augustus has his staff, family, and friends search high and low for an able substitute but to no avail.
But then his steward discovers a possible replacement. However, there are three stumbling blocks. The first is the replacement of a young woman. Would the male members tolerate a female assistant? The second setback is the young lady lives two centuries in the future. Gus has the means to overcome the first two issues, but the last obstacle is the most difficult; how would the woman react?

Get your copy today! /mybook.to/DiehardDames2

Here’s a sneak peek at Prove It!

Knowing his mother was probably pacing the house and checking the clock every two minutes, he crossed the road and turned west, heading back to the farm. With the wind at his back, he would be home well within the time he’d allowed himself. He’d only gone a mile or so when the skies opened once more, showering him with a cold drizzle, but he barely broke stride. Running in the rain was nothing new, but at the moment, it felt as if he were caught inside a cloud, making visibility poor. If Mom was looking outside, her anxiety meter had gone sky high.

He was less than a hundred yards from his own driveway when the bright LED lights of an approaching vehicle blinded him. There weren’t many of the newer trucks or SUVs in the area, and given the height of the lights, it had to be one of those. Blinking rapidly since the beams pierced his eyes with their intensity, he slowed his pace and relaxed. Despite the mist, there was no way the driver could miss him—his jacket had to be lit up like a Christmas tree.

Liam chuckled softly. Whoever was behind the wheel probably thought he was some kind of idiot. He didn’t care. There was something exciting about braving the elements. The lights vanished as the vehicle disappeared in a trough on the hilly section of the road. Lost in the music, Liam was startled when the lights appeared again, moving toward him faster than they should be. What kind of fool sped under these conditions?

His inner sense of preservation warned him, and after yanking the earbuds out, he inched farther to the side of the road, but the dark pick-up increased its speed. Liam sucked in a breath, surprised by how cold he suddenly felt. The tension in his gut increased. Terror filled him as that note came back to him. Who knew he would be running tonight? Everyone. As Erik had reminded him, his routine was well-known.

Tamping down his panic, Liam moved as far to the edge of the ditch as he could. Unless the driver were under duress and had lost control of his vehicle, which was unlikely given the road conditions, whoever was behind that wheel was aiming right for him. If this was some crazy game of chicken, he wasn’t interested in playing. And if that’s what this was, then the jacket his mother had thought would protect him had just made him a target—a great, big, neon-orange bullseye.

Waving his arms frantically and screaming his lungs out, he stopped within a few yards of his own laneway, standing as close to the slippery edge as he dared, praying he wouldn’t end up at the bottom of the embankment. It was a moot point when the dark-colored truck caught him in the stomach, veered away from the edge of the road, and tossed him into the air as if he were nothing but a rag doll. The full frontal impact with the pavement snapped his head back uncomfortably, his melon bouncing twice before coming to rest on the blacktop, blood pouring from his nose and mouth, his chest on fire, filling him with agony.

The sound of a metal door slamming kept him from succumbing to the darkness all around him. Everything seemed surreal. Was that the hoot of an owl? Footsteps, slow and measured, the click of hard heels on the pavement, floated toward him. The driver was coming to help him. Liam wanted to turn over, to sit up. He couldn’t stay here on the road like this, but his body refused to obey him. The footsteps advanced. Why weren’t they running, hurrying toward him?

A foot caught him in the ribs, adding to his suffering, and flipped him onto his back. Blood from what was most likely his broken nose and the various cuts and scrapes on his face slipped into his mouth, the coppery taste making him gag. Didn’t Mom always say head wounds bled more than any others?

A low moan escaped him, the sound swallowed by the ambient sound of the wind and the truck engine. Liam opened his eyes, but with the blood in them and the rain on his face, he couldn’t focus. All he could make out were the silver-capped, pointed toes of black leather cowboy boots, their heels shining incongruously in the light from the flashlight aimed at his face.

“Too bad you didn’t listen, kid,” a gravelly voice said. “Didn’t want it to come to this. It’s nothing personal, but you pissed off the wrong people.”

The pointed boot caught him forcefully in the ribs again, bringing with it excruciating pain, raising his body up and then letting it flop back down again. The back of his head struck the tarmac hard, sending knives of agony racing along his spine, this anguish almost too much to handle.

Departing footsteps, as slow and measured as they’d been before, echoed on the road, and the vehicle door slammed shut once more. The truck moved away until the sound of the engine was just a memory. He fought to open his eyes, but the rain intensified, as if Mother Nature shared his distress.

Deep cold and numbness erased some of the pain. Was this how it all ended? Thoughts of his mother flooded him. She would never get over this. Losing both her sons at nineteen was more than any mother could handle—and his dad? He would blame himself for not leaving the car.

The owl—was it the one he’d heard earlier?—hooted again. Blood filled his mouth and throat, making it harder to breathe, harder to swallow, and he choked. He tried to turn his head to the side, move his body to crawl off the cold, wet surface, but nothing worked. Where was he? In the middle of the road? The truck had flung him up in the air like garbage and left him to die. Why? What could he have done to deserve this? Would the next vehicle even see him?

An engine, one badly in need of tuning, approached, its steady throb moving closer and closer. It would be upon him in no time. His head swam. This was it. Gone without ever realizing any of his dreams. The blackness edged closer, threatening to take him with it, but Liam fought to stay conscious. On the verge of losing the battle, the squeal of brakes pulled him back.

“Oh God, Liam,” his father’s cry penetrated his consciousness, the agony in his voice almost too much to bear.

Liam wanted to speak, wanted to tell his father how much he loved him and how sorry he was for everything, but he couldn’t fight anymore, and the pain and blackness overtook him.

Don’t miss your copy of Murder is Scheduled for Monday, Diehard dames 2. https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Scheduled-Diehard-Amateur-Detective-ebook/dp/B09S6MFM5D/

Tuesday Tales: From the Word HOT

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Wow! The last week of July. Where has time gone? This week, our prompt is the word HOT. I’m continuing with Pumpkin Spice. Mea culpa for being a few words over the limit.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Stan hissed, clearly missing the point. “Put her in one of those rehab facilities for old people.” He crossed his arms over his puffed-up chest. “She’s an aunt for Christ’s sake. It’s not as if she’s your mother.”

I saw red, my cheeks so hot I could fry eggs on them. “She put her life on hold to raise me. I will not abandon her in her time of need nor shove her in a nursing home to tend bar for you. In fact, I’ve had more than enough of you, this place, and this damn cat suit.” I glanced at the clock. 12:15 p.m. “Since I haven’t had a break since I started my shift at four, I’m clocking out now. Melinda can take over. I’ll leave the costume in the locker room.” If he could be unreasonable, so could I.

“You can’t do that! Quit now without notice, and I’ll see you never work in a bar in Boston again,” he threatened.

That was it. He’d pushed one too many buttons. The temper I’d held onto narrowly exploded. I pulled off the stretchy bracelet that held the key to the cash register and handed it to him. “Have it your way. There’s a dozen martinis all set to go in the blender. Make sure you deposit my last paycheck. Melinda can even have tonight’s tips. I’m out of here.”

I spun on my heel and walked out from behind the bar, his “Anca, don’t you dare walk out on me,” following me out.

I went down to the locker room, stripped off the despised costume, and dressed in the jeans and sweatshirt I’d worn to work. Grabbing the reusable shopping bag still holding the dinner I hadn’t had time to eat, I emptied my locker, slammed the door shut, ignoring the tears slipping down my cheeks. Why was I crying? Certainly not because I was leaving this place. I should’ve left when Mick had.

Grabbing my purse, I went out the back door and headed home. While the idea of staying in Salem didn’t thrill me, the thought of coming back here, my tail tucked between my legs, begging for a job I hated, didn’t excite me either. I’d burned that bridge to the ground. The only thing I could do was move forward. Every journey started with one step, and this was mine.

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales: Picture Prompt Week

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. It’s picture prompt time. I’m continuing with Pumpkin Spice. Here’s the image I selected.

“And I have an obligation to my aunt. You may be my employer, but you aren’t my boss. My aunt is family and needs me. This is just a job. Like it or not, I’m going.” I stomped my foot for effect, not that it would do much good. “Fire me if you aren’t happy, but I’m going home.”

He cursed and grabbed my arm. I shook myself free.

“For God’s sake, calm down. The last thing I need is you making a scene. Your aunt’s in Salem, right? That’s only half an hour away. There’s no reason why you can’t just commute. At this time of year, the scenery’s gorgeous—all that red, gold, yellow, and orange. It’ll be a relaxing drive. If it’ll help, you can start at four and leave at ten during the week, but I need you here for your full shift on the weekend. I’ll even let you use your cellphone if you feel the need. If I could, I’d keep you until closing tonight. The place is hopping.” He grinned. “Now, are we good? So what if the old doll fell? She’ll be back on her feet in a day or two.”

I fisted my hands at my side before I punched him, wiping that self-satisfied grin off his face. It wouldn’t take much for me to do it. I’d never liked the man, and he wasn’t improving his chances that I ever would.

“We are most definitely not good,” I ground out through clenched teeth, “and I seriously doubt we ever will be. The old doll, as you called her, is very important to me. She’s broken her hip and requires surgery.” My jaw was so tight my face ached. “She won’t be back on her feet for weeks. She can’t stay alone, and I intend to stay with her.”

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales:From the Word ANGRY

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, the place where a select group of authors share their work in progress with you. This week’s word is ANGRY. I’m continuine with my new romanic comedy, Pumpkin Spice.

“I’m sorry to bother you this late, but your aunt slipped earlier this evening and fell down the outside steps. Her neighbor heard her calling for help and phoned 9 1 1.”

I gasped, yanked back to reality. Aunt Selma, actually my great-aunt, was in her sixties, but she’d never seemed old or fragile to me. Still, a fall down the steps at her age could spell trouble. “Is she okay?”

“She’s broken her hip. We’ve scheduled surgery for tomorrow. She’s upset and concerned about the house and her cat. I’d like to speak to you about her prognosis and her recovery. How soon can you get to the hospital?”

“Me? Why me?”

“You’re her only living relative, aren’t you?” he challenged, knowing damn well it was true.

My spirit plummeted as I guessed what was coming next. Aunt Selma wouldn’t be able to live by herself until she was fully healed, if then. I’d wanted an excuse to get away from here, and now I had one. Be careful what you wish for. I was about to be plunged into my worst nightmare—Cole Cottage at Halloween with the man who’d broken my heart. Could things get any worse?

“The soonest I can get to Salem is tomorrow afternoon. How long will she be laid up?”

“I’m not sure. That’ll depend on what arrangements we can make for her care. That house of hers is riddled with stairs.”

“I know, but there’s a main floor bedroom she can use. It’ll take a little reorganizing…”The room off the kitchen was currently used as an office. The first thing I would do was pull the house from the tour and temporarily close down the bar.

Stan came into the room, saw me on the phone, and glared at me, his face reminding me of the red Angry Bird.

“Walt, I’m at work and I have to go. I’ll be there around noon tomorrow, and we can discuss what has to be done. Please let my aunt know I’m on my way.”

“I will. She’s quite concerned about Peanut. It seems she was out looking for her when she fell. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He ended the call. Peanut? I vaguely recalled my aunt mentioning that she’d gotten a new kitten back in August, one someone had abandoned near the cottage. I was pretty sure Calliope, now well past her prime, couldn’t be too happy with that.

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales: From the Word CELEBRATION

Good morning. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Our word today is CELEBRATION. I’m starting a new story, a romantic comedy called PUMPKIN SPICE. It will be part of my Cocktails for You series.

“Drinks up,” I shouted across the bar into the crowded room. With the weather still mild, the garage doors to the patio were open, doubling the capacity of The Gilded Griffon. Thankfully, there was only one more costume-themed weekend to get through this year.

If anyone were to ask me to name my least favorite time of the year, it would be the so-called Halloween season. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the colors associated with autumn, but the unnatural interest in ghost, goblins, witches, vampires, shapeshifters, and the rest of the undead left me cold. Maybe it was because I’d grown up in Salem, the town that drew curious tourists intent on learning all about the misfortunes of others, like my great-great-great-aunt Hester Colton who’d been arrested for witchcraft. She’d been one of the lucky ones, released and sent home after months of incarceration and torture, but her last years had been spent alone, waiting for a husband who never returned from the sea, shunned by family, former friends, and neighbors alike. Today, Cole Cottage, managed by my Great-aunt Selma Cole, was open to the public. While visitors trooped through the house all year long, this month was always the busiest, and I avoided the place the way I had everyone and everything at the height of the pandemic.

I reached for my glass of soda, took a sip, and satisfied that all of my customers were okay, I turned to the next chit of orders. Tonight’s special, the Pumpkin Spice Martini, was a big hit.

“Boy, will I ever be glad when tonight’s over,” Melinda said, pulling on the bowtie that was part of the Hugh Hefner styled bunny costume she wore. “This damn thing is intent on strangling me.” She hung another order chit on the carousel and reached for the tray of martinis I’d set on the bar. “If it weren’t for the tips … Next year, I’ll demand a say in the costumes we have to wear.”

I laughed. “I agree. If I have to hear one more comment about what a cute pussy I am, I swear I’ll scream.”

Melinda laughed. “Well, at least most of you is covered. If it were any colder out, I’d have frostbite!”

“If it were colder out, the patio would be closed, and it would be like an oven in here. The suit may cover more, but the rubbery material itches.”

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales: from the Word EASY

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Why is it that the older you get, the faster time flies? Here it is the end of June. Half of 2022 is over and done. Soon, we’ll be talking about Christmas again. For my Canadian friends, enjoy Canada Day on Friday, while I wish my American friends a Happy Fourth of July on Monday.

This week’s word prompt is EASY. This is the last post from Trouble with Eden, my contemporary romance.

Jackson’s books sold well, and with the money from the sale of the condominium and what he’d gotten from his mother, he wasn’t financially strapped in any way and was willing to invest not only his time but his money into the business.

Now, she felt confident that they would be able to make things work. Not only had he listened to her, he’d accepted her opinions and had treated her like an equal, the way Dad always had. This time, instead of acting on Dad’s suggestions, she would be taking the lead. She’d known from the start that Jackson would be as different from Jeff as day from night, and he’d proved it.

But it hadn’t been his decision to leave Toronto, the garage, or his books that had filled their lunchtime conversation. He’d wanted to talk about Dwayne, probing her memory about her father, making her dwell on the happy recollections from her childhood. It had been so easy to talk to him, to share all the memories that would’ve brought her to tears a few days ago. The burgeoning attraction she’d felt yesterday had grown exponentially. Could something more come of it? Might Lorraine and her crazy idea about them fated to be together, as her mother and Dwayne had been, have merit?

After they’d finished eating, E J had taken Jackson through the house to see Dad’s oil paintings, explaining what memories they’d captured. She’d taken him into her own room, expecting a comment on the pink canopied bed and frilly drapes, the same ones her mother had chosen all those years ago, the ones she’d been unwilling to change, fearing it would sever her from her mother’s memory once and for all. She’d forgotten about the small, framed sketch Dad had made of her dressed as Tinkerbell for Halloween when she was six. That had been just after they’d moved here… before Mom has lost the baby. There’d never been a second one, and then uterine cancer had taken her.

“You know, I could use that image to create a character in my new book,” he’d said, examining the sketch. “Would you mind if I reproduced it?”

“If you want to,” she’d tried to be nonchalant but was secretly pleased he would want to add a drawing of her to his books. No one else would know it was her, but it would still be a thrill to see one of Dad’s drawings in print.

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales: From the Word RAKE

Welcome to the first official day of summer, and this week’s edition of Tuesday tales. Our word prompt today is RAKE. I’m continuing with Trouble with Eden, my contemporary romance.

Jackson raked his fingers through his hair, uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation, but determined to be heard. “Like you, whatever Dwayne was thinking when he drafted his will is a mystery, but rest assured, it’s not my intention to take anything away from Eden.” He preferred using that name for her. “In fact, I’d like to make things easier for her. You say she belongs here, and yet I feel a sense of belonging as well. Call it an instinctive recognition of home. Like a salmon swimming upstream to spawn.” Or an elephant finding his way to the graveyard when it was time to die. He shivered.

“When I got word of the bequest, I knew in my gut it was where I was meant to be.” He paused and cleared his throat. Time to lay it all out there and see what Eden’s friend really thought of his chances. “Don’t you think Eden and I can coexist here? Share the business like she and Dwayne did? Share this house, too? It’s certainly big enough. We’re both alone, or so I’ve been led to believe. Neither of us has any other family. I could move into the apartment. Don’t you think we can make all this work? I’ve washed my hands of Toronto and all the sad memories there.”

“So, you are planning to stay here.” She cocked her head. “I suspected as much when you asked to have your med file updated. I used the business address instead of this one, but if it all works out, that’s an easy fix.” She drank from her cup once more and broke off a piece of the pastry. “You’re right about this being a big house. Dwayne’s grandparents built it just after the war. They had four kids. Sadly, Dwayne’s father was the only one to have children, and it looks like you’re the last of that line.” She buttered the scone, added a dollop of jam, and popped it into her mouth. She swallowed. “Try the scones. Betty is the best cook in the area. I don’t know about the apartment though—you must go down five steps to get to it, something that won’t be easy with a wheelchair, but Betty might not want to give up her new home. She and Eden came to an arrangement that gives her the apartment as part of her salary.”

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales