Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Tuesday's Writer's Tip Middles and Planning ahead #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Writing #Middles #Planning

 If you haven't planned your story before you began, once the opening is finished, you will need to know where you're going. Planning ahead is a good thing to do. Think about those big pieces such as the dark moment, the crisis scenes and use the middle to lay subtle plans for reaching them and also for making sure what you're writing will make suense when  you reach those scenes. You'll need to be subtle when you plant the clues along the way. Pushing them in the reader's face will probably stop them from reading any more. There's also something that youcan keep as a trick or a twist to surprise the reader. In my current WIP, I didn't have the twist until I reached near to the last scene in the book and I realized I must have had this in mind all the time. When I realized this, I had to go back and clean up some of the more blatant hints and blur them somewhat. So doplan ahead, keep things subtle and if you discover a twist, keep it secret.

 

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Monday, August 2, 2021

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Reading #Writing #Thoughts - Olympics

 Meander 1 - Reading - Am reading Mercedes Lackey Valdemar series and enjoying them again. When August arrives, I'll be reading other authors for a short time since these will be new releases.

Meander 2 - Thoughts - The Olympics - Been watching and enjoying most of the events I've seen. I must admit there are some I don't understand one bit. The scoring puzzles me. These are things like soccer, rugby and fencing. Though I do like towatch fencing as it brings memories of when I was learning how. Also saw how much pressure there is on the athletes to shine and to keep going. I also wish there were Olympic events for the mental as well as the physical.

Meander 3 - Writing - The next to last draft is progressing very well and have almost one chapter finished. There will only need to be a final read through to find thise little errors and word choices. Also getting rid of as many its as possible.

 

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Sunday's Book Dragons of Fyre #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #fantasy romance #dragons

 

After escaping from the temple of Fyre, Drakon returns to his home to find only two people and a yellow dragon. He and the Old One learn as much as they can about the land at present. The lord of Sea Cliff Tower has gathered the remaining dragons at his keep. On learning the High Peaks Tower’s red dragon is with egg they arrange her escape and rescue her eggs. Now they must find a way to defeat their enemy and return the dragons to the other towers. Arana, sold by the temple priestesses to the slavers is bought by the lord of High Tower and made a part of the family. Before they are able to adopt her the lord of Sea Cliff Tower invades and destroys the family, taking her and her friend prisoner. Drakon is sold. Arana because she can speak to the dragons is made a slave care-giver. She saves a green egg and raises the green dragon. After helping the High Peaks Tower’s red dragon escape she is in danger and must find a way to escape. Her attempt to ride the green dragon succeeds and she arrives injured and ill. Once she recovers she and Drakon attempt to find a way to rescue the other dragons of Fyre.

Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2016
Verified Purchase
Another from the prolific and multi-talented Janet Lane Walters. This tale is the next part of an on-going series set in a colorful, sexy, dangerous fantasy world which put me in mind of fantasy in the tradition of Conan the Barbarian. Here we have telepathic dragons, who have many magical properties in their enchanted hides and who were my favorite characters. There are also high priestesses, wizards, and warlords all warring with one another, seeking control over the world and seeking to turn the sentient beautiful dragons into mere commodities--their hides have proved to be magically valuable. The heroine is strong, inventive and brave. The hero is a wounded warrior, recovering all his faculties after enslavement as a teen-ager. The villain--well, I'm waiting for him to get his in the next installment. This is very readable and would make a great graphic novel
Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2019
Relatable characters, comprehensive world building, and of course, dragons make this a fast-paced, fun read.

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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Saturday's Blurb Book by Amara Dey #MFRWAuthor #Paranormal #Decagon series #London #Dance teacher

 


NO MERE MORTAL – Decagon Book 1

By Amara Dey

An Overview

 

Venus Myles, orphaned at birth, is a London-based dance teacher and unaware of her divine lineage – that is, until a strange encounter thrusts her into a world of gods and magic.

 

She learns from Bolt, a disgraced deity from the planet Decagon, that she is his realm’s savior, and a passionate connection sizzles between them.  But when Bolt unexpectedly disappears, a determined Venus travels to Decagon to find him and learn more about her destiny. 

 

Assuming, of course, she can escape the powerful and deadly witch Ansa, who wants her dead, find Bolt, and tap into her dormant magical abilities. 

 

And do it in time to stop an apocalypse that will destroy her, Bolt, his world, and his kind.

 

https://amazon.com/author/amaradey

https://amazon.co.uk/author/amaradey

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Mere-Mortal-Decagon-Book-ebook/dp/B07MLMQYYJ/

https://www.amazon.com/No-Mere-Mortal-Decagon-Book-ebook/dp/B07MLMQYYJ\

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-mere-mortal-amara-dey/1130327026?ean=2940156307777

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/no-mere-mortal

Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday Amara Dey is visiting and Talking abotu Who She Was Before #MFRWAuthor #Finance #paranormal romance #Good guys vs bad guys

 

About AMARA DEY, the Author

 

Hi, I’m Paranormal Romance Writer, AMARA DEY, and in my fictional world, the normal and paranormal collide to enchant you.  (https://www.amaradey.uk). 

 

I hold a Degree in Business Studies and have worked in the Secretarial/Admin side of finance, law, and law enforcement over the years.  (www.amaradey.uk/bio). The last two organizations deal with good and bad guys, and my stories have those in spades.  And so yes, righting wrongs and punishing the bad guy is strongly reflected in my writing. 

 

There is romance, adventure, battles, monsters, and heroes.  But at the end of the day, good wins over evil – always.  

 

My stories are a mashup of steamy romance, gods and magic, and life-threatening situations.  NO MERE MORTAL, Decagon Book 1 is my first novel.  And my only release to date and Extasy Books publish me.  There are three books in this series. The second is finished (not sent to the publisher yet), and I have started on the third.  Fans of sexy paranormal action-packed romance will love this series.   (www.amaradey.uk/series-and-extracts#Extract1).    

 

Then it is on to a children’s paranormal adventure – working title – THE MIDNIGHT PEOPLE that I have plotted and am itching to write.

 

You can find me here:

https://www.facebook.com/amaradeyauthor

https:///twitter.com/AnnDrayton5

https://www.amaradey.blogspot.com

https://www.amaradey.uk

 

And check out the NO MERE MORTAL book trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bd6KyNmdgU

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Thursday's Opening Scene Temple of Fyre #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Fantasy #Romance #Temple #Stones

 Ria stuffed the scroll she’d taken from the shelves beneath her caftan and tightened the sash to make sure the cylinder holding the rolled papyrus remained hidden. Beads of perspiration covered her forehead. She rubbed the sleeve of her robe over her face. The night air held sultry remnants of the heat of the day. Usually, the thick walls of the temple complex kept the rooms and corridors cool. Tonight was different. The usual night breezes were absent, so the heat remained. Perhaps the approaching solstice was the cause?

Or, maybe her fear of discovery caused her heart to thump against her chest and her muscles to tighten into confining bands? She was in a place where she had no right to be without the presence of one of the priestesses. Acolytes were forbidden full access to the scrolls in the scriptorium. She drew a deep breath. She’d acted out of necessity. The scroll beneath her caftan was one she’d discovered during another of her night searches. She wasn’t permitted to read this one, but she had, and the words stirred questions her tutors refused to address.

On the morrow, her ability to control the flames of the fyrestones would be tested. She would be ordered to call flames from a pair of scarlet crystals and blend her blaze with those raised by the priestesses of the circle. Then, the chief priestess would assign her a task. Ria believed the things she’d read in this particular scroll would help her during the ordeal. The test was not without risk. One slip and the flames she sought to control could turn her into a living torch.

She crept to the scriptorium door and peered into the hall. With senses alert, she listened and searched the shadows cast by the flickering torches on the white plaster of the walls. Sensing no one was nearby she scurried along the corridor toward the living quarters of the priestesses and acolytes. With luck, she would reach her room without being discovered.

Her hand pressed against the scroll she wanted to read again. The words of this particular one were vastly different from the lessons she’d been taught by the priestesses. Had they lied? Were the ways to use the fyrestones described in these writings true, or were they only a fable invented by some ancient scribe?

There were other scrolls which told tales that seemed unreal. The aged priestess in charge of the scriptorium had laughed when Ria asked about dragons with eyes the color of the scarlet fyrestones. The old woman scoffed when Ria showed her passages describing wands wielded by wizards that sent lashes of bright or dark flames to control people.

There was no one she could ask if this scroll contained truths. Questions weren’t encouraged. Still, she wanted to believe what she’d read in this scroll about the uses of the stones. They told of helping the people, and that appealed to her.

Ria sighed. Since the day she’d been bought from the slavers by the chief priestess, her life, though interesting had been lonely. Not for her the crowded classrooms, or the dormitory where she could form friendships with the other acolytes. She had her own chamber and a private bathing room. During her lessons, she’d been the only student. Even her meals had been taken with the priestesses, not the other acolytes.

Why had she been kept isolated from the other acolytes? What make her so different? Like Ria, most of the others had been brought to Rosti by the slavers. At twenty, she was a year or two younger than most of the young women who had entered the temple with her.

She’d learned to call fire from every color of the crystals and learned how to blend the flames to form sheets of fire. She could impose maps and pictures on the sheets and knew the ways of sending spears of flame to various places. From the tiny flames of the white, to yellow, orange, and scarlet fyrestones, her progress had been steady.

A peal of laughter made her stiffen. She ducked into a shadowed alcove. After the evening meal, acolytes were to be in their rooms, not wandering in the halls. A pair of senior priestesses, their orange robes gleaming in the light from the hall torches, appeared. The women hurried past Ria’s hiding place and entered the harras.

Ria trailed behind them. The noises from the studs’ quarters stirred her curiosity. The men seldom left the harras, except for exercise in the garden, or when they were summoned to the room of one of the priestesses. Until Ria passed her final test, she wasn’t allowed into the rooms where the men were kept. Several times, she had spied on the studs, but only during the day, and never in the evening when the priestesses visited. She paused beside the beaded curtain and peered inside.

Her eyes widened. Most of the men were nude or scantily clad. Priestesses reclined on low couches. Studs offered beverages and finger foods. Ria watched as one of the men fondled a priestess’ breasts. Another man swayed to the sound of a flute. He held his organ in his hand. Ria felt a stirring low in her belly. Her breath caught in her throat.

Malera’s husky laughter rolled toward Ria. Before the chief priestess could discover her, Ria ducked into the hall leading to her chamber. When she reached the doorway, she carefully parted the beaded curtain and slipped into the room. If she’d been caught, Malera would have been furious. The chief priestess’ temper outbursts often ended in an injury for the culprit.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Wednesday Seducing the Doctor #MFRWHooks #BWLAuthor #Romance #Doctor #builder

 

 

Join the authors at #MFRWHooks here http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com for some great excerpts. Mine is from Seducing the Doctor. They knew each other years ago and she had a crush on him.

BLURB:

“You’re next.”

Those words send Matt Blakefield fleeing his brother’s wedding. Marriage or even falling in love is the last of his desires. What he wants to learn is the identity of the owner of the house he wants to use as a make-over for the magazine he edits, Good Livin’. A fall rainstorm and a pine tree sends his motorcycle into a spin and into the arms of an old acquaintance, a girl he hurt in high school.

Cassie Moore has borrowed a cabin from one of her partners in a cardiology practice to come to terms with a broken engagement. The news came via an email. Her fiancĂ©e had married another woman just weeks before their scheduled marriage. The appearance of Matt at her door brings an old attraction into full bloom. She realizes love is lurking but he’s a player and she needs to forget the connection.

Is it possible that a weekend of love can become a lifetime?




EXCERPT:

When Cassie reached the main room she popped the movie disc in place, filled the second flute with champagne and selected a truffle. As she savored the rich chocolate she draped the afghan over her shoulders and reached for the remote.

A rumble of thunder drowned the opening music of the movie. A loud crash made her jump. Had lightning struck nearby? She crossed to the window and turned on the yard lights.

A heap on the ground near the end of the driveway caught her attention. A movement made her realize she saw a body.  She grabbed a yellow slicker from a hook near the door, slipped on her sneakers and opened the door.

Moments later she clattered down the steps. Rain pelted her. She raced to the figure. As she drew closer she saw a man wearing a helmet and leather jacket. A motorcycle rested against the lone pine tree beside the drive.

Cassie crouched and felt for a carotid pulse. The steady beat against her fingers reassured her. When she grasped his shoulder he groaned. Her breath escaped on a sigh. She needed to see if any bones had been broken and get him out of the storm. While she was a doctor, hearts not bones were her specialty.

“Where do you hurt?”

He groaned. “Everywhere.”

“Can you move your arms and legs?”

He complied. This time his groan emerged louder and deeper.

“Try to sit up.”

Slowly he eased into a sitting position. “My bike?”

Cassie choked back a laugh. How like a man. “Before you worry about your wheels you need to get out of the rain and be checked for other injuries. Can you stand?”

“Probably.”

With her help he stood and swayed. He clutched Cassie’s shoulders. They nearly fell but she steadied him.

“Easy.” She put an arm around his waist. “Did you lose consciousness?”

“Don’t think so. Had the breath knocked out. Stunned a bit.” He drew a breath. “Must have been a deer.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The thing on the road. Big. Dark. Saw the creature in a flash of lightning. Couldn’t stop.”

Cassie peered toward the road. If he’d broadsided a deer, the animal would be on the road either dead or badly injured. She saw no sign of one. The motorcycle had crashed into the tree where the road curved. Had he been more than stunned? Was he drunk? Was she a fool for taking a stranger into the cabin?

She could leave him at her car and run inside for her keys. They could drive to town. Except she wasn’t dressed for going to town or for entertaining a guest.

“Where are we going?”

“To the cabin so I can check you for injuries.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

His deep voice held a quality that sent heat rushing through her veins. She faltered. Why the reaction? With all the recent developments she should avoid thinking of any man as attractive until she recovered from the pain of Tim’s rejection.

She helped the stranger through the wind driven rain to the roofed porch. The protection from the steady downpour was welcome. She opened the door and they stepped inside. Water beaded on her yellow slicker and his leather jacket. Pools collected on the slate foyer floor.

She shivered. “Cold.”

“Makes two of us.”

Cassie released her hold on him and dragged a metal kitchen chair with a padded seat and back into the entrance. She wished for her medical bag so she could do a complete assessment but the bag was at her apartment. While she couldn’t check his blood pressure or listen to his heart his pulse beat strong and steady. For the rest of the exam she could improvise.

“What year is it?” She asked the first question to check his mental status.

He answered with month, day and year.

“Where are you?”

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - In The Middle - Looking Ahead #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Writing #Middles

 In each scene you write, you need to be looking ahead to what will come next. Now you don't have to spell this out in bold letters but little hints as to a coming event are good and will propel the reader forward. You need to make sure what you are planning for the next big scene or the little scene is consistent with your characters. You can also use this time to make minor changes in a character to make the next big scene seem right for the character. There's nothing more upsetting to a reader than to have the consistency broken by a character taking a step that they know wouldn't happen.

Also remember as you move from scene to scene that the appearance becomes darker and darker. The characters are coming to a time when they must make a choice that will impact their lives. But don't make the scenes so dark there doesn't seem to be a way out. There always has to be a little way forward.

 

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Reading #Writing #Thoughts

 Meander 1 - Reading - After the flurry of new books I'm back to reading old favorites and filling in the spots of an author I stopped buying in paper. I'm reading Mercedes lakey Vlademar series again and am enjoying visiting old friends.

Meander 2 - Thoughts - On Critiquing - Am reading manuscripts for a contest and am having difficulty in knowing how to let the authors know their word needs help. This can be difficult as there is no give and take between us. I try to read once as a reader and a second time as an editor. The second reading is the one where I can find and point out problems. The first one had character flaws and the second one as far as I can see has no plot. There is one more to go. I can understand how an editor feels when she faces a new manuscript. There's hoping for the wonderful story and there's the let down. I can see why geriatric rejections are sent.

Meander 3 - Writing - Incal is moving forward. Have finished four chapters of the final re-write and there are eight to go. Takes almost a week to do each one but hopefully the finished product will be wonderful. Then I can start something new. There are three scheduled fornext year and I don;t know what they will be.

 

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sunday's Book Temple of Fyre #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #fantasy #romance #jewels

 







Sold by her family to the priestesses of the Temple of Fyre, Ria soon masters using each of the four fyrestones, white, yellow, orange and scarlet. Her curiosity leads her to the archives and there, she learns things that disturb her. There are no men serving as priests but in the past there were. Men are kept in the harras where the priestesses visit. On the day of her testing she is ordered to perform a task she dislikes and refuses to destroy a town. Many of the priestesses fall into unconsciousness. Melera, the chief priestess, beats and banishes Ria for the carrion crows to consume. Ari was abandoned as a child and found by two elderly firestone miners. He has pursued this and is the best of the finders. He goes to the temple to sell the stones he has gleaned. On leaving, Ria attempts to steal the fyrestone he has worn since the day he was found. He thinks she is a boy and a thief and he takes her to his room at the inn. On discovering her identity, he refuses to turn her over to the priestesses and they leave town. They are searching for the fabled blue fyrestones. They also learn to use them they must be bonded physically, emotionally and spiritually. Can they learn to master the blue stones and defeat Malera so they can rule the temple with love and understanding?

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Books by Joanie MacNeil are featured on Saturday's Blurbs #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Scotland #Men of Honor

 

A Sense of Duty - Book 2: Honorable Men: The Scots - Regan

Carefree and used to a nomadic lifestyle, Regan MacInnes returns to Braemar, Scotland to get to know his eighteen-year-old daughter...a daughter he didn’t know existed.

What he doesn't count on is being bewitched by Australian widow Hannah Lindsay. Hannah has no room for a man in her life. Her goal is to sell the bed and breakfast, her late husband's dream, and move back to Australia to be with her family. She is so focused on her plan that not even the likes of handsome and charismatic Regan MacInnes can stand in her way.

https://books2read.com/A-Sense-of-Duty

 

 

A Traditional Affair - Book 1: Honorable Men: The Scots – Galen

Within the imposing halls of historic Carabrae, Scotland, Australian Kate Fielding finds herself caught in an unusual love triangle. 

 

Dark and dominating, traditional Scot Galen MacBain is intrigued by the outspoken young woman who stirs both his demons and his passions. Marriage to Kate would provide him with an heir and a father for her child. Kate cannot accept Galen’s convenient proposal. Though her baby would inherit the wealthy MacBain estate, her marriage to Galen would be for the wrong reasons.

 

Their lives are pitched together in a push and pull search for love, trust and family values. Will this modern and determined young woman resist the temptation to accept Galen's proposal of marriage?


https://books2read.com/A-Traditional-Affair

 

No Boundaries

Paige Delaney is more woman than Jack Shannon wants in his life, though he needs her award winning skills in web design.

Paige believes her sexy new boss thinks he's God's gift to woman.

Both are single parents with shattered dreams and damaged hearts.

Jack moves into his new house to find Paige is his next door neighbour. Is fate or their teenage children conspiring to push them together?

https://books2read.com/b/3krwDR

 

 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Joanie MacNeil is visiting and talking about her latest release #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Romance #Scotland #Honorable Men series

 

1. Tell me about your latest release? Genre?

 

My latest release, A Sense of Duty, is a contemporary romance and the second book in the Honorable Men series. The story is set in Braemar, Scotland. I think readers will relate to this tale of mending damaged hearts and healing from past hurts.

 

 

2. Where did the idea arise?

 

Many years ago I visited Braemar briefly as part of a tour of Scotland. I returned the next year and stayed overnight in a lovely old cottage converted to a Bed and Breakfast, an ideal location around which to set a story. And I couldn’t resist writing a contemporary Scottish hero.

 

As for the scenery, traveling over snowy mountain roads into Braemar was a new and exciting experience for someone who isn’t used to snowy weather.

 

Later that year, already thinking about setting my story in the town, an unexpected opportunity arose to revisit. I decided to take advantage and refresh my memories. I based Lindsay House loosely on the two-storey B&B. Though I was disappointed that accommodation was unavailable, I was fortunate to book a room at the Fife Arms for a few days. The hotel also features in my story.

 

3. How much research was involved? Did you stay on point or be distracted by wanting to look at just one more thing?

 

I’ve visited all the places mentioned in the story, and soaked up as much as I could. I took notes on the surroundings to bring the setting to life. I wrote the story when the location was fresh in my mind. As a tourist, I particularly enjoyed visiting both Blair Castle and Braemar Castle. Each has its own style and were built for different reasons. Braemar Castle was within walking distance, and I enjoyed a day trip by coach to Blair Castle. No doubt some things have changed since I visited the area all those years ago.

 

The one more thing I didn’t do: I was curious about the duck pond, tucked away on the edge of town, and decided to take a walk and check it out. The pond seemed close enough on the map, but the afternoon was drawing to a close, and I’d had enough adventuring for the day. I changed my mind and went back to the hotel, leaving Braemar the following day. I was happy with all the information I’d collected.

 

 

4. How long did you take to write the book?

 

As I wrote the book many years ago, I can only guess at how long it took to write. Maybe around 12 months, more or less. I’ve re-polished the current edition, though didn’t change the essence of the book at all.

 

 

5. Now a bit about you. How long have you been writing? What is your Sun Sign?

 

I began writing in the mid-1990s. My first book was epublished on a floppy disc early in 1999, when epublishing was a fledgling industry. Look how far it’s come! I had more books published in the following years, but lost my way with my writing career for about ten years, though never wanted to let it go. Must have been my stubborn streak. I’d always anticipated I’d be back. In August 2014, Books We Love published two of my previously published novels, No Boundaries and December Heat Wave. My most recent novels, A Sense of Duty and A Traditional Affair are the last of my earlier novels now published by BWLPublishing Inc. https://bookswelove.net/macneil-joanie/

 

 

I’m looking forward to working on two brand new stories for publication next year.

 

My Sun Sign is Cancer. My birthday is 22 July, so depending on which horoscope I read, I may be a Leo. I usually read both, out of curiosity. There are occasions when one rings more true than the other…or not at all. I did read my horoscope years ago after a major upheaval in my life. I couldn’t believe how much it related to me.

 

 

6. Do you write in a number of genres or stick to one?

 

Contemporary romance is my favorite. Many years ago, I considered writing a time travel. I can’t see that happening for a while, though the interest remains, and I still have my rough notes…somewhere safe.

 

 

7. Where on the internet can you be found?

 

www.joaniemacneil.com

https://www.facebook.com/romanceauthorjoaniemacneil/

https://www.instagram.com/joanie_macneil_romance_author/

https://www.pinterest.com.au/joaniemacneil/romance-author-joanie-macneil/

https://twitter.com/JoanieMacneil

 

 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thursday's Opening Scene from Seducing the Doctor #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Romance #Baker #Cupcakes #Investigator

 Jules Grayson sat behind the mahogany desk in his office. “Why me?” He propped his elbows on the leather desk pad.

“Trust me,” Tony said.

Jules glared at his friend. Trusting others might be someone else’s nature but not his. “Why can’t one of the others be best man at your wedding?”

“They come in pairs. Lauren doesn’t want her friend to feel out of place. You’re the only bachelor left in our circle.”

And he intended to stay that way for a long time. “Why do I have to meet her now? The rehearsal will suit me.”

Tony grinned. “Trust me. The trip will be worth the time. You’ll like Grace.”

Jules straightened. He had once known a girl named Grace. She’d been the only female to turn him down. Just thinking about her brought memories of a time and place he didn’t want to remember. “I really don’t want to cross the river until the trip is absolutely necessary.”

“Just for the weekend meet and two days for the wedding. You can manage.” Tony rose. “What do you have against the village?”

“Do you have to ask? The group home. Remember how your father had to rescue me from that…that…her accusations.” Jules grasped the steel letter opener. “I’ll come. Some time on Saturday, do the meet and greet and leave Sunday morning.”

Tony paused at the door. “There is a plus. To reach my house you don’t have to enter the village.”

“Go. Let me finish some work.”

“Saturday.”

“Yes and I’ll bring the wine. Found a new shop.”

Moments after Tony left Mrs. Jamison entered with a stack of mail. She dropped the pile on his desk. “Buzz when you need me.”

“Will do.” He slit the top envelope and groaned. Not what he wanted to see. Before leaving for her honeymoon, Allie Blakefield, editor of Good Eatin’ had given him an assignment. Having contracts signed wasn’t his usual chore for the Good Magazine Group but he’d agreed. Allie wanted the owner of Sweet and Spicy Cupcakes to agree to a feature.

With three letters and four phone calls the woman owner’s answer had been no. A visit to the bakery might do the trick. He didn’t want to go there. The bakery was in the village he didn’t want to visit. Allie returned on Monday. Today was Friday. He sucked in a breath. Never leave a job undone was his rule.

His hand hovered over the phone. A call hadn’t worked. When Allie had asked he’d figured obtaining the contract signature was a no-brainer. What bakery wouldn’t want to be featured in a national magazine? He’d had a failsafe plan. Mail the contract. Make a phone call or two. Answer questions. Contract signed. Hadn’t happened. The time had arrived to use some personal charm.

Jules buzzed Tony’s cell. The moment his friend answered, Jules’ gut clenched. Though he hated asking he would. “Tony.”

“Are you backing out?”

Jules chuckled. “Not happening. Just wondering if I could stay tonight. I’ve some business fro Good Eatin’ across the river today.”

“No problem. I’ll call Lauren. What time will you arrive?”

“Around noon. I’ll drop off my bag, see to business and swing back.”

“Good enough. TGIF. I’ll be home around three. Good luck with your whatever.”

“Sales pitch for Allie.” Jules disconnected. He shoved two copies of the contract in his briefcase and tended to the rest of the mail. Nothing urgent. The clock chimed the half hour.

With briefcase in hand he paused at his secretary’s desk. “I’ll be out of town until Monday. Buzz my cell of anything needs to be handled quickly and I’ll check in with the service. Take the afternoon off.”

“Will do.”

Jules waved. When he thought about his destination his stomach churned. Though he didn’t want to spend time in the village of his nightmares he had to finish the task. Lately he’d grown to hate the investigative work. Was a career change possible? He had other skills and knowledge.

After a stop at his apartment for clothes he sat behind the wheel of his Jeep. He clutched the keys in his fist. Waves of nausea assaulted him. He gulped a breath. He could do this. Two events had forced his tip across the bridge to the Hudson River village where he’d grown up. On the say he’d left he had hoped never to return.

Trouble comes in threes. Business and a wedding weren’t the problem. Trouble existed in the memories of the place where his life hand imploded.

His weekender and briefcase sat on the passenger’s seat. He’d packed enough clothes for the weekend.

You can do this. The words spiraled in a never ending chain in his thoughts. He shoved the key in the ignition, revved the engine and drove from the underground garage. As the vehicle emerged into the light, Jules grinned. Something about being higher than the taxis and sedans made him feel powerful. He wove through the lines of cars and headed for the upper level of the George Washington Bridge. Hard rock poured from the speakers.

A glance at the sky showed clouds gathering. Snow predicted meant an early covering to white over city sidewalks and brown suburban lawns.

Not long after hitting the Palisades Parkway the feeling of doom he’d pushed aside leaped into his thoughts like the demons kids feared lurked in closets or under beds.

He gripped the wheel. The vehicle veered right. If he didn’t calm down he would run off the road or into another car. He spotted the turnoff for an overlook and pulled into the parking lot.

Get a grip.

Jules climbed down and walked to the railing at the edge. He stared at the gray waters of the Hudson. A blustery wind slapped his face. Across the river he saw the skyline of the city where he would rather be.

You can do this. The mantra ran through his head. He revised his plans. He would drop his clothes at Tony’s, charm the owner and obtain her signature. No sweat.

He strode to the Jeep and entered the flow of traffic. After leaving the Parkway he sped along the winding road and finally found the turnoff into Tony’s street. He reached the development and located his friend’s massive house. He pulled into the circular driveway, grabbed the overnighter and walked to the house.

Lauren answered the door. She held her nephew on her hip. Jamie burbled. “Ju. In. In.”

“Hello to you.” He tapped the small boy’s nose and kissed Lauren’s cheek. “I gather you were warned.”

“He phoned. Good to see you but you make me lose the bet.”

“How?”

 

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