Monday, May 31, 2021

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters with Reading, Writing and Thoughts #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Reading #Writing #Blogs


 Meander 1 - Reading - Read some good books this week starting with Stacy Abram's new one While Jutice Sleeps= What a great book and an intriguing read. Couldn't put it down and it ruined my sleep that night. Book is powerful and many layered. Congrats. Also read two by Carly Phillips Simply Sinful and SimplySxabdulous. Both were quick and satsifying reads.I began reading some old favorites recently put on my Kindle. They're by Katherine Kurtz and are among paper books on my shelves. More about them next week.

Meander 2 - Thoughts - About Blogs. I have one I put posts on every day. On Fridays and Saturdays I feature other authors. Most of the time, they respond well before they are due and I'm able topost them on Saturdays which are my blog day wor working on the coming week. My last two ahve disappointed me in tha I've had to remind them. One finished and sent hers immediately. I'm still waiting for the second one to appear in my inbox. I hate not having the blog scheduled a week ahead. Now there is another thing I've noticed and that'show few of the people who are featured do any promotion. Some do and when that happens, there are more views and often comments. Many of the people who are featured don't even post a thank you. When I guest on another blog, I post the news on Facebook and Twitter. And I visit to see if there are comments and often post a reply. To me doing these things is common courtesy.

Meander 3 - Writing - I have begun the draft that's a writing one and a try to fill in the details and make the setting and plot make total sense and hang together. The rough draft is often sparce and some scenes are either a summary or a Scene to be written later note. I enjoy this draft and usually doubles the length of the rough draft. I will see what happens this time.

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday's Book - Tangled Dreams #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Romance #attorney #child psychology


Two reasons bring Cancer heroine Janine Rhodes to Fern Lake. The first is the Masters and Doctors program at the nearby university. The second is a letter from a dying woman. Since the courses she takes are weekend ones, she finds a job for the Grantlans a writer and a nurse practitioner caring for their toddler niece they recently adopted. While here, she is able to observe the son she gave up for adoption eight years ago and his attorney father. She is content just to watch until tragedy strikes.

When Virgo Nate Quinn learns about his son’s medical condition, he can barely hold on. Just a year ago, he lost his wife to cancer. His adopted son has become his entire family. When the doctor asks him about the child’s birth parents, he has no idea. He agreed to the adoption but only signed papers and took no other part in the process. Now he needs to locate two people.

Then he learns the identity of his son’s birth mother and knows she has been in the periphery of life. He acts rashly and then must find a way to make amends, especially when he learns more about her.

Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Rosemary Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars An Emotional Roller Coaster
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2020
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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Books by Eleanor Webster are featured today on Saturday's Blurbs #romance #Regency #double life

Caught in a Cornish Scandal


Will saving a stranger

Start a scandal?

With her family facing ruin, and desperate to avoid an arranged marriage, Lady Millie Lansdowne must work with smugglers. Millie knows smuggling isn’t going to be plain sailing but rescuing a mysterious gentleman in a storm embroils her in a thrilling family drama! Helping handsome stranger Sam recover is a risk to her plans—and her emotions. He makes her feel alive, but she will be gambling on her family’s future if she goes with her heart…



Debutante in Disguise


A society lady

…with a secret!

Determined to help people, Letty Barton has a double life—she’s a trained doctor! No one must know “Dr. Hatfield” is actually a woman. Called to an emergency, she comes face-to-face with her patient’s brother, Lord Anthony Ashcroft… They’d once shared a spark-filled flirtation—now he’s a brooding, scarred war hero. But how long will it be before he recognizes her beneath her disguise and the sparks begin to fly once more?



Her Convenient Husband’s Return


Her husband is back!

And everything has changed…

After Beth married her childhood friend to escape from debt, he swiftly returned to his life in London. But now Ren’s back as lord of the estate, and Beth’s heart pounds whenever he is near! She’s wary of expectations to produce an heir, for fear of passing on her blindness. But Ren’s hidden sensitivity is a surprise—could their arrangement become something much more passionate?


Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday Eleanor Webster is Visiting and Talking about Who She was Before #MFRWAuthor #Child psychology #Romance #Swaggering heroes #Regency


1.      What were you before you became an author? Did this influence your choices as a writer?


I have worked in a number of fields but spent most of my career in the K-12 education system. I am currently a school psychologist and worked for years as a school counsellor and special education teacher.


This experience influenced me in several ways. My students inspired me to persist, despite the rejections which so often come to the aspiring author. We ask kids to do hard things every day and I truly felt it was vital that I continue to pursue my own dreams, despite adversity.


I was drawn to romance to escape the mundanities of motherhood and the heart-breaking reality too often involved in school counselling.  Indeed, in those first years, I developed a split personality; educator and romance author. One was steeped in realism and the other swaggering heroes.  In my recent books, this split has diminished and my psychology background has taken a greater role in my writing. My characters have demonstrated the traits of PTSD and autism, although not diagnosed as such.



2. Are you genre specific or general? I don’t mean major genres but subdivisions or romance, mystery or paranormal.


To date, I have only published in Harlequin Historical, my novels set within the regency period. I know I will never write a true mystery, although I enjoy reading them. I find my characters come easily to me but I struggle with plots. While important in any genre, a strong, believable plot is truly vital for any mystery!

I chose Harlequin historical because I love history. My undergraduate degree was in history and I have truly loved immersing myself in these bygone times. I find that the Regency period offers me the opportunity for verbal wit and dialogue which I truly enjoy to both read and create.

However, more recently, I have felt a yen to move into contemporary romance.  My heroines are always strong and independent but their struggle against the constraints of the period feels hard for me as an author and I may move into a period which offers them greater independence and more meaningful choice.


3.      What is your latest release?

My latest release is Caught in a Cornish Scandal.   Desperate to save her sister from a cruel marriage, Millie chooses to smuggle off the Cornish coast. She meets Sam when she rescues him from the sea. Together they struggle to survive and stop the ‘wrecker’ luring ships to flounder against Cornwall’s desolate shore.

4.      What are you working on now?


My next Harlequin will feature a secondary character from Caught in a Cornish Scandal. Currently, it is not yet in its infancy, as I felt the need to pause and regain my inspiration. I am also a middle-grade author and am currently working on a book featuring an individual with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder. It is a sequel to an earlier publication whose protagonist was under the Autism Spectrum.


5. Does your reading choices influence your choice of a writing career?


 True confessions – I truly, truly admire fiction writers who tackle heart break and despair but I find myself reluctant to go there either in my writing or my reading. I tend to tackle the tough topics through non-fiction and research while using writing and reading as a form of escape. My childhood was enriched with the classics; Jane Austen, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Dickens combined with a smattering of Mary Stewart, Dorothy L. Sayers and Georgette Heyer. I am always on the look-out for wit and whimsey. I enjoy language and dialogue.


6. Where can we find you?


I love hearing from readers. Please check out my website at and my Facebook page at eleanorwebsterauthor


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Thursday's Opening Scene Forgotten Dreams #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #romance #Actor #Nurse practitioner

 Chad Morgan leaned against the wall near the French doors leading to the garden of the ball room. The scent of June roses drifted on the breeze. A distant hum of traffic rumbled beneath the pop songs played by the band. Dark clouds played tag across the moon carrying the promise of a coming storm. His thoughts approached another kind of storm, one burning in his gut.

Tonight was his to savor but the taste was sour. The celebration of his latest flick bored him. His body ached from the day’s six hour workout to keep his body fit for another action adventure as the unbeatable Storm. The fourth of the franchise his agent and the studio hoped would never end had been released today.

Music blared the latest tunes along with the series’ theme song. Couples gyrated to the pounding beat. Women wearing glittering gowns and men in dark tuxes turned like fragments of glass in a kaleidoscope. He released a breath. Just another Hollywood party.

In a silent salute, Chad raised his glass and sipped. He welcomed the burn of rum and cola. His drink and Storm’s favorite. Nothing effete about the kick ass hero, his way with women and his ability to hold his alcohol. What no one knew produced a chuckle. Unlike his on screen persona, the glass he held contained the first and last of the night.

He watched a curvaceous blonde weave her way among the dancers headed in his direction. She paused to lift a glass of champagne from a strolling waiter. Her top shimmered beneath the lights. The low swoop of the neckline barely covered her nipples.

Chad sipped again. He should know her…Her name was Mindy, Mandy, Bimbo. Just one of the latest crop of aspiring starring ladies who managed to attend every important party. She glided closer.

“Hiding in plain sight?” Her husky whisper left him cold.

“Observing,” he said.

His laughter raised a groan. “What do you see?”

He could answer with the truth but he wouldn’t. Truth wasn’t needed tonight. What he saw was false laughter, pretense and boring people. He looked past her. “The same thing I see at similar affairs. What’s your pleasure?” He had an idea but he wanted to hear her ploy.

Her smile held a promise he didn’t want. She ran her hand along his arm. “I’m tired of secondary roles.” She sucked in a deep breath and nearly exposed her nipples. “I hear there’s another Storm movie being cast.” Her fingers reached his shoulder. “You could let people see the chemistry between us. That’s how your last leading lady did.” She touched his lips. “I’m available.”

“Did Cindy really do that? I never guessed.” He fought the urge to laugh. Cindy’s agent and his had orchestrated the romance that had only been in the papers not in life.

He spotted the man he’s avoided all evening. Though he didn’t want to speak to Gregson, the man’s presence would chase this opportunistic female away. He stepped away. “Speak to your agent. Perhaps he can arrange a reading. Mine is on the way. He wants to talk.”

She pulled a card from her cleavage. “Give me a call. I promise you won’t be sorry.”

Gregson arched an eyebrow. “A new conquest? Time for some promo ops and rumors.”

Chad shook his head. “She wants to star in my next movie. Not happening.”

His slender, blond agent smiled. “Shame. You tempted?”

“Not interested. What’s on your mind?”

“You need to sign the contracts for Storm five and six. They want to start filming in September.”

Chad released the breath he held. “I need a break. I’m tired of being typecast.” Before the four Storm films, there had been spots in three other action films. He pointed to a trio of babes headed in their direction. “I’m also tired of being a chick magnet.”

Gregson scowled. “Goes with the territory. Think photo op.”

“Not the kind of life I want anymore.”

“What you want and what the studio demands shows you’re not reading the right script. Do number five and six and they might give you a chance to do something else. It’s the money, my friend. You opened in the top spot world wide this weekend. You need to keep doing what you do best.”

Anger bubbled closer to the surface. Chad feared erupting like Old Faithful. “I’m sick of Storm. I’m tired of kicking ass. I’m fed up doing the same scene with slight variations again and again. I want to do Rob’s book. You said the script was great.”

Gregson’s hand landed on Chad’s shoulder. “Not your style. I’ve shopped the idea. Had some interest but not with you in the lead role. Two more Storms and you’ll be on your way to the bank with millions. In two years we’ll ask again.”

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Melodic Dreams #MFRWHooks #BWLAuthor #Romance #composer #Occupational therapy


Join the authors at #MFRWHooks here  for some great excerpts. Mineis from Melodic Dreams Is the child who arrives on his doorstep with his aunt really his son?


When Maria and a child she says is his arrives on Jay’s doorsteps, he is in the middle of composing a musical. Though the four year old has his eyes, Jay can’t be sure this isn’t a scam.

He believes his dead wife took steps to rid herself of the child. A need for his assistance to help with childcare while she works is Maria’s reason for arriving in Fern Lake. She also believes her nephew should know his father.

Can Jay accept and learn to love his child and deal with the attraction to a woman who physically looks like his dead wife? Can Maria deal with his trust issues and a threat from her own family?


Maria walked up the steps and faced a massive wooden door. She rang the bell. Jamie danced from foot to foot. When no one answered she rang a second time. Her foot beat an impatient rhythm against the stone landing. Why was there no answer? Did Jamie’s father live alone in this imposing place? Where was the butler…or a maid? Her shoulders tensed. Other than the nasty things her sister had said and the information she’d read on the internet, what did she know about him?

As she reached to ring the bell a third time, the door opened. Maria stared at the man framed in the doorway. He was more handsome than the pictures she’d seen. Broad shoulders. Glowering. His shaggy blond hair added to his dangerous look. The rumpled shirt and slacks added to her impression. Brilliant green eyes held anger.

“What do you want?” he snapped.

Jamie squeezed her hand. “Don’t like him. He’s sour.”

She nearly laughed. Her mother had said that when Jamie had a tantrum. Though Maria’s body hummed with a desire to smooth the scowling mouth, she couldn’t. Touching him would be the wrong approach. She’d come for his help, nothing more.


* * *


Jay stared at the woman on his doorstep. For an instant he thought his dead wife had risen like a wraith to disturb his peace. Selfish, ego-centered and a thief. Delores had stormed off like a tornado ripping his emotions to shreds. His hands clenched sending arrows of pain up his arms.

“What do you want?” The sharpness of his voice made him step back.

“Don’t like him. He’s sour.”

The piping voice of the young boy diverted his attention from the look-alike. Was this woman attempting to pass off the boy as his? He knew the truth. Months after Delores’ departure and realizing she wouldn’t return, he’d sent a private detective to find her. He’d intended to present her with divorce papers. He had the report of her accident and death.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

“Maria Russo.” She pulled the boy forward. “This is Jamie, your son.”

Did she think he would fall for her line? Was she pushing her child as the baby Delores had aborted? There’d been no mention of a child in the report Amos Black had delivered. All there’d been was the article and a death notice from a small town newspaper. Delores had been the only fatality.

Jay rubbed his right hand with his left. By the time he’d read the report he’d been drunk. The scanty information had confirmed she’d had the abortion. No way was this child was his.

The boy raised his head. Jay grasped the door frame. Eyes as green as the ones he saw every morning met his. This had to be a trick.

The young woman kept her hands on the boy’s shoulders. “Jamie, no tears. It will be all right.”

“He’s mean. I don’t want a mean dad.”

“We’ve surprised him. Remember what we talked about during our trip here?”

The child toed the stone landing. “Maybe he didn’t know about me.”

“That’s right.”

And true, Jay thought. He drew a deep breath. Though the boy had the eyes and seemed the right age, this Maria was Delores’ sister. She could have known about his eyes. He couldn’t commit himself until he knew more.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - Approaching the Middle #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Writing #Middle


You've finished the opening scene or scenes of your book. Now comes the urge to tinker with this to make it more perfect. There is a problem with taking this step. You may never reach beyond that beginning to slog through the middle and reach the end. No matter how tempting you find this urge, the time to move on is now. You may have some ideas about fixing or changing the opening but resist. Move into the next part of yourstory and forget the beginning until you've reached the end. Yes, there may be changes you will want to make but wait. 

Let the beginning cool before going back to make changes or repairs. The time had come to write the middle sectionof your story. Here's where you do amny things like making your characters come alive, weave the plot and sub plots together and bring the scenery to life. The time to move ahead is not.

I had a writer friend who came to our critique group for years. I mean that literally. Each time, she read from the opening pages of her story. She never reached the middle though she talked about what she wanted to do there. Each new idea she had meant for her to go back to the beginning and try again. Sure her beginning scene won some contests but she never sold the book. All she had was an opening scene.

When I started writing, I did the same thing. Then I went to a day long workshop with a writer. I can't remember his name but he said one thing that stuck in my mind. "Once you begin the book finish the d---- book.

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Monday, May 24, 2021

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

 Meander 1 - Reading - More of Andre Norton this week. Four books that are with the same characters - Great stories.

Mender 2 - Thoughts - Sometimes I wonder about politicians. Are they all corrupt. How can they on a day after something happens condemn the person who was probalby responsible and then a week later do a U-turn about this. How can some of the work hard to deny what ahppened and what we all saw occur? Do their careers and lust for power matter more than the truth? It's beginning to look that way.

Meander 3 - Writing - I've finished the rough draft of Incal. As always when i begin, the chapters are longer and further into the book they become little more than scenarios. It's always this way. Now comes the fun of trying to make this into a book. As always when I do these multi character bits, there is a lot of loose ends to find. That's what the next drafts will do. Means re-writing from word one but that's part of my process.

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sunday's Book Forgotten Dreams #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Contemporary romance #Hollywood #Actor #Nurse practitioner


Chad Morgan is tired of his Hollywood life and his role as action hero Storm. He's ignoring the contracts for two more movies in the franchise. He wants to take a different direction and make a movie of his friend's book. He has bought the rights. But his agent and the studio want more Storm. His personal life is also bouncing from one woman to another. His thoughts have turned to Emma Grassi, the woman he left behind in his quest for fame. He decides to return to Fern Lake and speak to his friend and renew his friendship with Emma.

Emma is now a nurse practitioner sharing an office with her doctor friend. She has waited for Chad to return and has decided this isn't going to happen. She's decided to confront him and put an end to the dream she has remembered and he has forgotten. Life takes a twist when Chad 's auto accident on the outskirts of Fern Lake bring them together. She wants out. He wants in.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Saturday's Blurbs Feature Books by M. Lee Prescott #MFRWAuthor #Romance #Ranch #Secret baby



Emma's Dream:

A woman is the last thing on Ben Morgan’s mind as he comes home to Morgan’s Run, his family’s ranch in Saguaro Valley. Doctor’s orders, he’s home to heal, but the sooner he can get back to Santa Barbara, the better. Then he runs into Maggie Williams on Main Street, prompting vivid memories of a magical night, and Ben’s ailing heart skips a beat.

Father of her beloved five-year-old daughter, the eldest of the Morgan sons is the last person Maggie expects to have crash into her car and back into her life. For years, she has struggled to forget him and to make a life for herself and her daughter, Emma, the mirror image of a father, who is unaware of her existence. Now, here he is, looking more gorgeous than the day he ran out of town. Maggie swears Ben Morgan will never break her heart again.




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Lucy's Hearth:

Heart in pieces post-divorce, Lucy Winthrop visits her Uncle Ben Morgan’s ranch where she meets his younger brother, Richard. Her new neighbor back east, Richard is a self-made billionaire who goes after what he wants, and he wants Lucy. Back home in New England, they begin a white-hot love affair. As the heat pumps up, Lucy tries to step back, scared she is in too deep, too fast. Will this gorgeous Morgan man let her go? And, in pulling away, is she giving up a dream of happiness she never thought possible?

As Lucy and Richard’s love story unfolds, join another branch of the Morgan family in this first book of Morgan’s Fire!











Aria's Song:

Despite her incessant flirting, Aria Firorelli is actually quite inexperienced and clueless when it comes to men. Then gorgeous Jonas Miller breezes into town and sweeps her off her feet. When passion sparks between them, they share a sizzling night before he heads back east without a word, shattering her heart.

Now, after six months of radio silence, Jonas is back, living and working nearby and ready to rev things up again. Never! Aria swears. How stupid was he to leave her, and how can he win her back, Jonas wonders. Of one thing he is certain—he cannot live without the violet eyed chef who has captured his heart so completely.

Grab your copy of Aria’s Song and join the Morgans, Fosters and the Saguaro Valley community as Aria and Jonas explore the ins and outs of love in book 11 of Morgan’s Run!



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Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday M. Lee Prescott is visiting and talking about Who She Was Before #MFRWAuthor #reading specialist #romance #mysteries #non-fiction




What Were You Before


Day 1


1. What were you before you became an author? I have been a teacher most of my professional life—K-6, then reading specialist, then 20 years as a college professor. Did this influence your choices as a writer? I began writing seriously with a group of colleagues when I was a reading specialist exploring our students’ writing process. So, yes, that group started me off!


2. Are you genre-specific or general? I don’t mean major genres but subdivisions or romance, mystery, or paranormal. I have published nonfiction books in my professional role, but I also write romance, two series—Morgan’s Run and Morgan’s Fire -- and mysteries. My two mystery series are-- Ricky Steele mysteries and the Roger and Bess mysteries—and I have published several stand alone titles in both genres. I’ve also published one work of YA historical fiction.


3. What is your latest release? Aria’s Song, # 11 in the Morgan’s Run romance series.


4. What are you working on now? Two books—Lady Luck (#5 of the Ricky Steele books) and Greta’s Goat, # 6 in the Morgan’s Fire romance series.


5. Do your reading choices influence your choice of a writing career? Somewhat. I’m kind of an eclectic reader, but I do love mysteries and women’s fiction. I am drawn to stories about families and friends who support one another no matter what.


6. Where can we find you? Please visit my website , find me on Facebook and Goodreads and follow me on BookBub, and Amazon. I love to hear from readers! My email is

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Thursday's Opening Scene from Shattered Dreams #BWLAuthor #MFRWAuthor #Romance #medical #Female doctor #male nurse

Manon Lockley parked in the driveway of the small yellow brick ranch house she’d converted into an office for her medical practice. She slid from the driver’s seat and paused to inhale the fragrance of the June roses.

At the moment she felt like the White Rabbit. She was very late for office hours. Mrs. Patton, director of nursing at Fern Lake General had been admitted to the hospital this morning with chest pain. As her primary physician, Manon had remained to monitor the older woman’s condition and to work with the cardiologist to stabilize the hospital’s most admired employee.

Manon glanced at her watch. Well past three. How long would she need to stay? Her stomach grumbled reminding her she hadn’t eating lunch. Exhaustion caused by the emergency made her shoulders slump under the weight of the event.

She opened the door leading to the reception area. Hopefully her nurse/secretary had been able to reschedule the patients for another day.

The rumble of a motorcycle sounded in the distance. Her muscles tightened. Her fists clenched. Her heart pounded in an erratic rhythm. The roar of a bike never failed to flood her with memories she didn’t want. Those memories had been shattered years ago and still filled her with anger and grief.

Do not go there.

After sucking in a series of cleansing breaths, she entered and paused at the reception desk. The cheerful yellow walls brightened her mood. She glanced into the waiting room and saw just two people seated on the brown leather chairs. Manon smiled. Two to four patients was better than the dozen plus who had been scheduled.

Emma hung up the phone. “Finally.”

Manon nodded. “It’s been quite a day. Things here.”

“Relatively quiet. Managed to reschedule all but five of today’s appointments. Schedule will be tight for the rest of the week. How’s Mrs. Patton?”

“Stable. Angina. No cause yet. Tests to run before we know her course of treatment."

Emma smiled. “That’s great. Will be hard to think of the hospital without her at the helm. I wouldn’t be in school for my nurse practitioner’s degree if she hadn’t pushed me to try.”

Manon half-sat on a corner of the desk. “Did you know she plans to retire?”

“I’ve heard the rumors. They say she waited until she found the right replacement. I heard she made a recommendation to the Board. Someone from the city.”

Manon frowned. “How do you think the supervisors will feel about that?”

“None are qualified. Ruth has a doctorate. None of the others in upper management does. What have you heard? Any names?”

Manon rose. “No rumors but I’m not on the Board. Hope they bring the person on staff early.”

“Is she that ill?” Emma asked.

“She’s almost seventy. Time for her to relax. She needs less stress.” Manon moved toward the hall. “I’d better start. What do we have?”

“You’ve time to settle in. There’s a protein bar and pomegranate juice on your desk. I imagine you skipped lunch.”

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Rekindled Dreams by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWHooks #BWLAuthor #Romance #Contemporary #Second chance

Join the authors at #MFRWHooks here  for some great excerpts. Mine is from Rekindled Dreams where a Cancer woman meets an Aries man and they find a chance to love again.


JoinReturning to Fern Lake after ten years for the funeral of his cousin and teenage enemy, Simon Parker learns his high school sweetheart is nine months pregnant and seven months divorced from his cousin. Their meeting is complicated by her labor and driving her to the hospital. An attempted cheek kiss lands on her mouth and those old feelings resurface. Dana Collins responds to the kiss but Simon walked away ten years before when she refused to go all the way. In those ten years he has never tried to reach her. Her marriage to his cousin lasted less than two years and she knew she’d made a mistake. Can this pair put the past aside and let the embers of an old love be rekindled?


May touched Dana’s arm. “Simon’s here.”

Dana’s stomach lurched. Did she need to see him now? She had to leave. She couldn’t talk to Simon. She had loved him. After he left she had waited but he’d never returned. Then two years ago, she had married Randy. No matter how much Simon had disliked his cousin, his anger toward her would be a thousand times hotter.

What about her own anger? That night, Simon had demanded what she hadn’t been ready to give. He had left and she’d waited. Her anger had deepened. Finally she’d given up.

Praying for a quick and successful escape she tried to weave between the clusters of people. Instead of forward she was pushed back toward the coffin. She stared at her ex-husband and saw something she had forgotten. Though Randy’s coloring was darker, facially he resembled Simon. She felt ill when she considered the meaning. Why hadn’t she noticed before?

Her abdomen cramped. She drew a deep breath. Had labor begun? Of all the wrong times. She had to go home for the suitcase and the infant seat, call Madge, the doctor and a cab. With determination she threaded her way to the door.

* * * 

Simon couldn’t keep from watching Dana’s progress through the room. When Patricia confronted her he couldn’t hear what was said but he nearly intervened. Finally he saw Dana with his aunt and he attempted to leave his place behind the door only to be blocked by a cluster of chattering women.

He groaned. He needed to find a quiet place to think about Matt’s offer, his relatives and …about Dana’s reasons for marrying and divorcing Randy. Her pregnancy puzzled him. Knowing Dana, the coming child had to be Randy’s. The overheard comments Patricia had shouted at her father rose and brought a rush of anger. What had Randy done to make Dana walk away? Had he physically harmed her?

He pressed his hand against the wall. His actions of the past flowed into his consciousness. On graduation night Dana had refused his demand to go all the way. She’d wanted to wait until they finished college before making a commitment. He hadn’t been thinking beyond the moment. The next day he’d left Fern Lane and tossed away a college scholarship. He’d never reached out to her and had spent years nursing hurt feelings.

Simon smacked the wall. The gaggle of women moved forward. He saw Dana rush past and bolt through the door. Had she seen him? Why the grimace pulling her mouth into a tight line? Had May told her he was here? Dana owed him an explanation for her actions, one he intended to hear before he left town.

The anger from the past, stirred by his meeting with Paley and from being in Fern Lake coalesced. He strode to the foyer and pushed the outer door open. He scanned the parking lot for Dana.

She stood beside a blue sedan. He strode closer and saw she held a cell phone. Who was she calling? Probably her parents.

Intending to confront her before she left he stopped behind her. The phone fell to the ground. With a clumsy movement she bent to retrieve the object and failed to scoop it into her hand. She straightened and rubbed her belly.

Simon stooped and held the phone in his hand. “Looking for this?”

Dana pressed a button. “Madge, pick up. I think this is…Oh lord.”

Though the questions he wanted answered stormed his thoughts, Dana’s expression and the puddle forming around her feet told him there was trouble. “Are you?”

“In labor.” She fished keys from her purse. “Go away. I don’t have time now.” She bit her lip. Pain flared in her green eyes. She exhaled. “I have to go home.”

“Let me help you.”

“Simon, go away.” The keys clicked against each other. “I can’t talk now. Didn’t expect to see you. Come back in another ten years.”


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