Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Logan Bodine from “Claree’s Plan” by Sunny Marie Baker

Hello blog-readers. I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger today on Bonnie Phelps Blog.

I’m author, Sunny Marie Baker and I’ve just released Book Two in the Texas Strong Series, Claree’s Plan.

Claree May Whitney needs a husband and she needs one right now!

My interviewer thought maybe you’d like to get to know a little more about the hero in this book, Logan Bodine. So, she’s put a few questions to Logan and here’s how he answered.

Logan, you’re one of the main characters in Claree’s Plan, Book Two in the Texas Strong Series. How do you feel about that?
Well, ma’am, I was a bit surprised the author would choose me for that role. I’m not a rough and tough old west cowboy, just a simple farmer trying to make enough to keep going from year to year.

What type of farming do you do, Logan?
Corn. I got a sweet deal workin’ with a man out of Houston. He makes a fine corn mash whiskey and sells it to all the fancy hotels around.

What kind of deal are you talking about?
Well, see I don’t have the wagons to tote the harvested corn to Houston, so Luther he brings his teams to me. When the harvest is ready he shows up and we load the corn on his wagons and he transports it back to Houston. I take a bit less money this way, but it works out better for me in the long run.

Sounds like you have everything to your advantage?
It’s best for me and I don’t have to leave Lottie home alone.

That’s my ten year old daughter.

So you’re married?
No, ma’am, well, I mean I wasn’t until Claree showed up.

All right, Logan you’re going to have to explain that comment.
Reckon so. It was a day people write about in them dime novels, ma’am. But it wasn’t only a damsel in distress, which she was for sure, but I was in a bit of distress myself.

Care to elaborate?
(Logan laughs). I’d got into a ruckus over at the Blue Boot Saloon. Me and one of the boys trashed the place pretty good. Malcolm, he’s the sheriff, arrested me on account I’d started the whole thing. And damn, told me if I couldn’t pay for the damage, then I’d be his guest for the next two weeks.

What does this have to do with Claree? I’m not following you.
Well, ma’am, my fine was seven dollars. That was a big chunk of coin, and I didn’t have one penny of it. And I damn-well couldn’t be away from my farm for two weeks. And all the time the charges, over at the Sweet Dreams boarding house, was mounting up for the Montgomery sisters lookin’ after my girl.

Go on, Logan.
I’d been behind bars for two days already and frettin’ ever’ minute about the corn in my fields gettin’ eat up by bugs. Then out of the blue, in walks this lady, covered in dust and lookin’ a bit worn. She’d come in on the stage, she said.

Yes, ma’am. She was askin’ the sheriff if there was any eligible men in town, she was needed a husband real quick.

She wanted to marry just any man?
Seems she’d been bartered by her father to marry up with a man Claree deemed completely unsuitable for marriage. She figured if she wed someone else, someone of her own choosing it would make null and void the marriage contract her father signed on her behalf.

That sounds crazy, Logan. Don’t you agree?
It was crazy, all right, but she was wanted a husband and I was spittin’ to get out of jail.

Don’t tell me, you married Claree right then and there?
We agreed she’d pay my fine to the sheriff and the boarding fee for Lottie, and I’d become the husband she was seeking. There was a catch though.

A catch?
It was to be a marriage in name only. An exchange of service in reality. She’d tend to the house chores and give Lottie the woman’s influence she was in desperate need of, and I’d provide her a place to live and the husband to debunk her daddy’s poker deal with this feller, Angus MacGregor.

A marriage in name only? How’d that work out, Logan?
Well, ma’am, at first it worked out fine. We each found our niche with each other and everything ran pretty smooth, except for Lottie’s tricks.

Lottie’s tricks?
Lottie weren’t none too pleased about a new woman in the house. See, she’d been in charge of that since she was five years old . . . when she was left with no mother. Lottie didn’t cotton to some other female comin’ in and takin’ over.

Is that what Claree did?
Oh, not even close. She did her best to make Lottie feel needed and important. In truth Claree depended on Lottie to teach her all there was about livin’ and workin’ on a farm.

Did she win Lottie over?
Not by a long short. Lottie played the worst trick ever on a day Claree when down to the falls to bathe. That was when things began to change for all of us. Yep, that was a monumental day. That one and the day Angus MacGregor showed up mad as a hornet and out for revenge.

Login, please tell us what happened.
Nope, don’t reckon I can share that part of the story with you, ma’am. That’s gotta be left for your readers to find out for themselves when they turn the pages of Claree’s Plan. (Logan grins and winks.)

Well, there you have it, blog-readers; Logan has given us some insights to his and Claree’s story, but left a lot to the imagination. The only way to find out all the twist and turns is to read Book Two in the Texas Strong Series, Claree’s Plan. Oh, and one footnote. Logan has a secret. A secret he must share with Claree knowing it could forever destroy any bond between them.

“Claree’s Plan” is available through:

**Book One in the Texas Strong Series, Cora’s Promise.
Cora keeps her promise to a dying friend and delivers Berta’s most cherish possession to a man she’s never met in Rabbit Glen, Texas. Now what? Cora has no thought. She has no plan. She has nowhere to be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Opal, a misunderstood fairy, from “The Badass Fairies of the Wabash” by Molly Daniels

Whispers Anthology, Coming October 2018:
There’s a whisper in the wind. The whisper of adventure, a whispered secret, the whisper of a tortured soul. What will it be saying to you?

Visit Molly Daniels’s WEBSITE for publication details.

The Badass Fairies of the Wabash by Molly Daniels (short story)
Trouble is brewing along the Wabash River. A young fairy who’s recently released from Solitude, is rebelling against her new duties in the Three Bridges area. When the High Council intervenes, will things improve?

I’d like to introduce Opal, the misunderstood fairy.  Since she doesn’t get to defend herself in the story, I thought I’d give her the chance to explain her side of the story.  Ready, Opal?
I guess so.  How did you get holier-than-thou Diamond to release me from Stonehenge?

I reminded him you’d been locked inside for nearly two years. Your punishment was supposed to only be a month. Were the Druids kind to you?
No; they were horrible.  Being locked in the ground and trapped in stone was awful.  Why couldn’t he have sent me back to L’Arche, where I spent my Solitude?  At least there I had access to the water, and be above ground. My wings are so dusty.  I don’t know how long it will take to get the dirt from behind my ears.  Have you ever taken a dust bath? *shivers*

Let’s back up and bring the readers up to speed.  You saved a human’s life and were granted your own territory to patrol.  What went wrong?
For one thing, Turquoise (Opal’s supervisor) refused to grant my request to be near the water.  He sent me to patrol this boring strip of highway with a lot of twists and turns, lined with cornfields, soybeans, and trees.  After three days of seeing nothing but four cars, a herd of deer, various rodents, and uppity tree nymphs, I went off in search of more action.  How was I supposed to know some stupid human would try to take a turn too fast and play chicken with an oak tree?

What is your connection to Chel?
That phony?  He doesn’t even have the right to call himself a fairy!  He’s a Faxie, since his grandmother was a Pixie. I discovered him mixing potions to hide the fact his powers are nearly useless. At first, I simply helped test his concoctions, and discovered one of them caused me to not care about anything.  When he refused to give me more, I blackmailed him Threatened to expose him to the High Council. But Tanza and Tsavorite caught on….and Dominic blabbed when I interfered with his scheme to get two humans to fall in love. Since when is that a fairy’s job?  I thought the Cupids were in charge of that department.

It was my understanding it was part of Torque’s ruse to catch you.
(Sigh)  It worked.  Now my pretty pink wings are more of a dusty rose; I’ve developed allergies and the skin between my fingers itch; my glossy hair is limp.  I want to return to L’Arche and have the island gnomes pamper me.

Since you brought it up…..what is your disdain for humans?
One of my first assignments was to protect a young college boy.  He was so earnest about his education, so dedicated to his ambition….all I wanted to do was to be able to help him.  This is stupid. Quit using your psycho-babble on me.

Just because you made a mistake….Opal, everyone makes mistakes at one point or another.
(Scoffs)  Not the high-and-mighty High Council.  You saw what they did to me. I’m tired of everything going ‘just right’.  Why not liven up the action? I’ve found it’s more fun to create chaos in the world, instead of peace.  Peace is boooorrrring.

Opal….you’re seriously telling me you’d rather be bad than good?  
I’ve watched enough human TV to know the villians have all the fun. Sometimes they even have the best wardrobes.

You don’t look very well-dressed-
That’s because Steven Spielburg hasn’t read this story yet. You wait and see...he’ll cast Lana Parillo (Wicked Queen in Once Upon A Time) or Angelina Joli to play me.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I sincerely doubt that’s ever gonna happen. We’re a small independent press; I don’t see any Hollywood producers ever taking notice of this tiny book of stories.
Maybe I’m in the wrong business….let me talk to Diamond, and I’ll be your agent!

What about the fact you’re a fairy and only two inches tall?
So I’ll have to have help….I’m sure Chel and I can figure out a way to get a producer’s attention.  Maybe hypnotize a human agent for a few hours. Or go to Disney and pitch the idea.

I think this interview’s gotten out of hand. In the meantime, Whispers is set to release sometime in the next month through First City Books.  Did you read the other stories in the book?
I think your other story, Spirit Pottery, is a little hokey. Why couldn’t Zach (the ghost) have tossed Trevor down the stairs?  Or Caleb (the old soldier ghost) scared him out of the studio? But nooooo….it’s all about loooove.  (makes gagging noises). At least Brooke’s story is on the right track.

You’re hopeless, Opal.  Emerald? She’s ready to return to her post. I’m finished with her for the moment.
Emerald?  Why am I being released to Emerald?  He’s a hard-nosed, stick-up-his-butt, no nonsense jerk!

That was a condition for your release. You’re under my supervision now. One misstep and it’s back to the druids for you.

(sulks)  It’s not fair.

Just goes to show, crime doesn’t pay.

“Whispers” is available through:


Connect with Molly Daniels

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Read Lights Out in the Expanding Uiverse #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen

What if today was "lights out?"

Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen
If you knew this was your last day to live, what would you do? Would you face the end with a clear conscience? Would you fight for one more day? Look for that person you wronged and make it right? Run away? Turn and fight? What would you do? In Lights Out by Kayelle Allen, the hero knows his end is near. Instead of running, Tornahdo makes a choice. He will face death with a clear conscience and the knowledge that his death will serve mankind. He will join... GHOST CORPS

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die. Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die. When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on Enderium Six. He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists. Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see. To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive...

Excerpt, Lights Out by Kayelle Allen

The air reeked of antiseptic and starch stiffened the pillowcase. If only the mind-numbing jabbering would stop. Tornahdo pried open his eyes. The flattened blood bag above him, stenciled equipment and gray walls screamed military hospital. He'd died. Again. Spanish curses slipped out. His abuela would've taken a switch to him. He made the sign of the cross and kissed his fingertips. After yanking the tube out of his arm, he pressed a thumb over the entry point. Thankfully, this time, he wasn't writhing on the floor in agony. Well, not yet. A faceless android in a Ghost Corps uniform loomed over a bank of equipment displaying Tornahdo's name and vitals. First impression was right. Military hospital. The weapons-grade yapping continued. "Did you hear?" a youthful voice bragged. "He killed six of 'em last night." "Yeah, but they don't stay dead. They never do." "If Ultras didn't come back to life, their plasma wouldn't bring our own people back." The transfusion of enemy blood healed the hole in Tornahdo's arm in seconds. He thumbed off the red smear and rolled over on the gurney. An open door led to a sink and toilet built to let gravity do its work. Which meant this was a planet. You hadn't lived until you were in space, floating in zero gravity while your body's final twitches sent your corpse spinning. Notices on the wall confirmed this was San Xavier in the Colonies of Man. Same place he'd bought it the first time. This was getting old.

Lights Out part of the Science Fiction/Space Opera anthology The Expanding Universe Vol 4
edited by Craig Martelle Available Sept 17, 2018 Exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited


Peek Inside Lights Out

Go behind the scenes with the world and characters of Lights Out with an exclusive illustrated PDF book. Nothing to sign for or opt in to get. Just click and read:

Read Lights Out in The Expanding Universe #SpaceOpera #NewRelease by @KayelleAllen

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi and Space Opera with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran who's been married so long she's tenured. She is the author of seven books, three novellas, and multiple short stories.

Kayelle's Contact Information

Friday, September 14, 2018

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “His Midnight Sun” by Viviana MacKade

Today on First Kiss Friday we welcome author, Viviana MacKade, and an excerpt from her Romantic Suspense, “His Midnight Sun (Crescent Creek Book 3).”

Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.

Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?

Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.

Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?

First Kiss Excerpt
Summer nodded and stretched her arms over and behind her head, half yawning. “One day, I’ll ask to hear your story, Aidan Murphy. All of it, so maybe I’ll be able to figure you out.”
He stood still as a rock for one heartbeat. “One day,” he said then, leaning forward and close. “I’m afraid I’ll want to tell you.”
Ah, hell, there he was again, pulling the rug of ease from under her feet. Heat crawled on her face, she felt it and swore at it through breath that came in short and fast. In the dim light of a September moon, his eyes shone like dangerous jade. “Why?” she said in a wavering voice.
“Because I think you will not judge, nor run.”
“Should I?”
“Because I’m a midnight full of nightmares and menace while you’re a spring morning sun. They are mutually exclusive, only pain comes when you try to put them together.”
Why did it feel like they were talking about something critical, something with the power of changing the course of their lives? And why did she want to challenge his words? “There are places in the world where the sun is up at midnight so, you see? Not mutually exclusive.”
“I can destroy your light,” he murmured, so low and pained, so strained and hurtful she struggled to breathe and barely managed a whisper. “I can lighten your darkness.”
“What’s left of me without it?”
“You give yourself too little credit.”
Away, far away, someone boomed. It might have been the people playing cards. Might have been an alien invasion. To her, nothing beyond those eyes, and deep voice, and words barely spoken existed.
She sat at a garden table surrounded by friends but she felt alone, nothing real but him, his mouth, his eyes almost challenging, bearing on her. He mesmerized her, confused her with all she felt: unsure, willing, terrified, tempted, needy.
He inched closer, closer, or maybe it was her. Until his lips brushed hers. Warm. Delicate. Gentle.
She inhaled his scent, closed her eyes to focus on the heartbreaking tenderness of the moment, on the shattering power of an innocent kiss. When the contact broke she still didn’t move, clinging to the sultry memory of it, to the cloud of promises but eventually, she had to surrender to the absence of it.
Summer opened her eyes to Aidan, struggled to put together words that had to be said, fought a stab of panic when he stepped back and she saw, really saw, his face. Dark brows hung low, his soft lips pressed together, his eyes were of hot stone. If he were anybody else, she’d have sworn he was freaking out. Big. When he rose and walked inside the house, she had to muscle air in and force her entire system to come down from cloud nine and ease up.
What happened?
What had just happened?
And why he looked at her with sheer panic booming on his face? He’d bared his heart one moment, then boom. He ran away.
Summer shook her head to reset reality.
It was not how people behave after a kiss. Right? A little more than a peck on the lips, if she had to be honest, which came as unexpected from someone as intense as he was. Not a big deal. Yeah, kind of mind blowing and soul shattering in its effects but still a peck, and he’d ran like she’d demanded marriage.
It needed to be talked through because come on, it was plain odd and she hated unsettled, odd things.
She got on her feet and made her way inside trying to avoid whoever’s eyes and gaping mouths. Because they were at a party in a house garden with other people, not exactly Times Square, so of course they’d all seen, and of course they were staring.
Holy. Crap.
She hurried her steps, opened and closed the glass door behind her, careful not to awake the children. After a brief wandering through the house–yeah, she had to chase after the man who’d kissed her, go figure–she found him in the hall, taking his keys from a little wooden bowl and her usually mild temper bubbled.
She might be a klutz with men, way out of her element when kissing Mr. Hot. She missed the logic behind him, kissing her, and was kinda freaked out by it, but she’d never run away. “I can’t believe you’re running,” she said, crossing her arms on her chest.
He pushed his keys in his pocket and stood there, staring at the white wall.
“What happened? Not only you, leaving but…” she swallowed. “You kissed me. We kissed, actually.”
He didn’t move nor answer but his stance was stiff, his entire body so rigid it tugged at her heart. When you’re a doctor, you recognize fear when you see it and boy, was he afraid.
Summer stepped toward him, took one of his hands in hers slowly, like she would approach a wild animal, gauging his reaction, fearing rejection, fearing everything else. And drew a relived breath when he tightened the hold.
As he still denied his full attention, he raised their linked hands, seemed entranced by it, as if they held every answer in the world. Then he brought them up until his lips touched her hand, his eyes closed.
Then he turned around and walked out, leaving Summer with nothing to contemplate but a door, nothing to fight but the tears burning in the back of her eyes.
Minutes passed; astonishment did not. It lingered on her as a mixture of surprise, pain, curiosity, fear, a mess she had no clue how sort out. Sort him out.

“His Midnight Sun” is available through:

Connect with Viviana MacKade

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Margo Simmons from “Secret Desires” by J.L. Regen

Nothing in Margo Simmons’s life comes easy. She can’t claim the inheritance on a condo apartment her uncle has left to her until she is gainfully employed in a job for a year. She meets the man of her dreams but anguishes over a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife. With great difficulty, she becomes the guardian to a recently orphaned child she had been tutoring. Margo evolves from an insecure, newbie elementary teacher into a woman determined to fulfill the secret desires locked in her heart. My story speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.
J.L. Regen’s book was inspired by a real life story of lovers who join hearts against many odds. She lives in the New York metropolitan area, is a published photojournalist, has short suspense stories online, and has taught English as a Second Language to students around the globe. This is her first contemporary romance. She has also published three nonfiction books and is crafting a historical suspense set in World War II.

Today we’re talking to Margo Simmons from “Secret Desires” by J.L. Regen. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.

What is your relationship status?
I am happily married to a man who courted me with flowers, wine, dancing, and many romantic interludes. We just celebrated our 14 wedding anniversary.

What is your best memory to date?
My wedding day is one of my best memories. I felt like a princess in my gown and waltzed around the floor with my new husband. It was an exhilarating experience.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is coconut sorbet. I could eat it by the gallons. It is a nice intermezzo between courses as well.

Are you close to family?
I only have one family member left and, yes, we've become close. He's the patriarch of the family. A great husband and father who is now fighting back as he recovers from a bout with throat cancer.

What is your most prized possession?
My most prized possession is a teddy bear that one of my students gave to me. He greets me each morning.

If someone from your past showed up, who would you most want it to be, and why?
I'd want it to be my mother. She was my best friend and I miss her greatly.

Name three of your favorite things.
I have many interests--photography, yoga, and horseback riding are my three top ones. My passion is travel, which I've done as a writer, teacher, and photojournalist.

What kinds of things do you always carry in your pockets or purse?
I always carry a notepad in my pocket so that I can jot down ideas for my present and future novels. I get some of my best ideas on long walks.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I'm a morning person. I get up early, do my errands, and when I'm not teaching, turn on my pc early to compose my thoughts and write. I don't like burning the midnight oils because past a certain hour, the mind wanders and thoughts get jumbled. However, I have been known to get out of bed in the middle of the night to write down an idea.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
When I have a free day, I like to take a yoga class, read, write, and talk to a friend.

“Secret Desires” is available at:

Connect with J.L.

Friday, August 3, 2018

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Waking Dream” by J.J. DiBenedetto

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome author, J.J. DiBenedetto, and an excerpt from his Paranormal Mystery with elements of Romance, “Waking Dream (the Dream Doctor Mysteries, Book Four).”

After nearly a decade of visiting other people’s dreams, Sara Alderson thought she had made peace with her supernatural gift. Until one night, while watching her husband dream, she saw someone else watching him, too: a mysterious woman in a red dress.

The woman in red keeps appearing in the dreams of Sara’s husband and his co-workers. Sara doesn’t know if this mystery woman is trying to steal her husband, drive him mad or something even worse. All she does know is that now she has something she never imagined: a nemesis. And the only thing more dangerous than a nemesis who shares her ability to step into other people’s dreams, is one who knows far more about that ability and how to control it than Sara does.

First kiss excerpt
Part one…
I need some water before I can properly fall asleep.  I get up, open the door and tiptoe out, down the hall, to the stairs.  But there’s already someone downstairs, and – I don’t know why – I stand perfectly still and silent on the top step. 

It’s Grace, pacing back and forth near the front door, looking quite impatient.  I don’t know why I don’t call out to her, but some instinct is telling me not to.  A moment later, there’s a hand on my shoulder, and I look up into Maggie’s tired and windblown face.  They must only have gotten back from nighttime skiing a few minutes ago.

“I was looking for David,” she whispers into my ear.  “He’s been in the bathroom downstairs for a while now.”  And now I think I know why Grace is pacing, and why in that particular spot.  I put a finger to Maggie’s lips.  We both hear a door open, and then David comes into view.  He’s heading straight for Grace.  Of course he is.

He stops about six inches away from her, right under the mistletoe.  They stare at each other for a minute or two; it’s too far away to judge the expressions on their faces.  Finally, in response to some unspoken signal, they come closer – closer – then their lips meet.  The kiss lasts for just a second, and they spring apart like a pair of repelling magnets.  But then, after another minute or so, they come closer again.  This time, Grace puts her arms around him, pulls him tightly to her.  Then she grabs his hand and places it – oh, God, I can’t believe she’s doing this! – on the back of her neck.  She holds it there, exactly in the spot that Brian always touches me.  The spot that makes me swoon when it’s touched just the right way.  And now she’s running her hand through his hair; again, just the way I do with Brian.  They do say that children copy their parents.

She tilts her head slightly to the side and goes in for another kiss.  This time it’s much more serious, and it lasts a lot longer. 

They break apart again, more slowly this time, and it’s hard to be sure with the distance and the dim light, but I think they look more confused than anything else.  I turn away to look up at Maggie, and her face is unreadable too.  “Go back to your room,” I whisper fiercely.  “Don’t let them see us!”  I follow my own advice and scamper back to my bedroom, closing the door softly behind me.
Brian’s looking confused.  “Where’s your water?”

“I got distracted,” I say, and I listen until I can hear Grace’s bedroom door open and close before I go back to bed and join Brian.  I wonder if I should even tell him, at least right now.  Obviously I can’t keep it from him – she’s our daughter, not my daughter.  But I don’t want him to overreact.  We’ve talked about the subject a little, and – probably because it’s always seemed like just a theoretical discussion about something that’s not going to come up for years and years – we’ve always both been calm and reasonable about it.  But that’s theory.  When a real boy has his actual hands all over our daughter’s physical body – even if neither of them had any idea what they were doing – I’m afraid calm and reasonable may go out the window.   

“By what?”

I can’t keep it from him.  “Our daughter’s first kiss.”

Part two…
I let myself drift back…
…This isn’t right.  Mom and Dad think that Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery are home.  They have no idea that Belinda and her brother Vince are home alone, and they definitely have no idea that Vince is throwing a party.  I don’t know why I’m even here.  I don’t want to be at a party with a bunch of juniors and seniors I don’t even know.

We’re sitting in Belinda’s kitchen, just her and me.  “So how big is this party supposed to be?”

Belinda shrugs her shoulders.  “You know Vince.  It could be a hundred people.”  A hundred?  Now I really don’t want to be here! But I don’t want to leave Belinda all alone.  She’s my best – my only close friend at school.  I can’t ditch out on her.

Here comes her brother now, with one of his friends, a short, stocky guy I think I’ve seen in the corridors at school.  They’re each carrying two cases of beer – I wonder which one of them has a fake ID, or maybe they got somebody to buy it for them?  They set the beer down on the kitchen table right in front of us, and open one of the cases.  “Here you go, ladies,” Vince says, handing Belinda and me each a can.  I don’t want – I’ve never even had beer before!

But everyone else is opening theirs and toasting each other.  I – I don’t have to, but Belinda’s my friend, right?  I open mine, salute them and take a sip.  I barely swallow it down without spitting it out; how does anybody drink this stuff?  Belinda doesn’t like it much more than I do, but she forces her beer down, and I follow suit while the boys laugh at us. 

“Hey, Belle, why don’t you put out some food?”  She’s told me she hates being called Belle, but she’s not going to get her older brother to stop doing it anytime soon.  I go to help Belinda set out several bowls of chips, and then she goes up to her room to change.  That’s all I need – not only will I not know anybody, but I’m going to look like crap compared to everyone else.  I thought my sweater was cute, but I’m sure Belinda will be back downstairs in five minutes with an outfit that puts me to shame.

And I can’t even borrow anything from her – she’s only a couple of inches taller than me, but she’s at least three sizes bigger.  Oh, well.  As I watch her go up the stairs, I see something hanging from the ceiling at the foot of the staircase.  Mistletoe.

I start to wonder who hung it there when there’s a hand on my shoulder, and I turn to see Vince.  He’s not much taller than Belinda, but he seems bigger somehow, or maybe that’s just my imagination.  I can smell the beer on his breath; we’re only a few inches apart.  He’s looking up at the mistletoe, too.  He puts an arm around my waist and pulls me still closer.  I let him; he is cute.  And I’ve never had an older guy show the slightest interest in me before.  Is this why he didn’t complain about Belinda inviting me?  Does he have a – a thing for me?

He’s leaning in towards me, coming closer.  I tilt my head up to meet him, I close my eyes, and I feel his face just an inch from mine, then his lips are touching mine, and – I – God!  I go limp, I don’t respond, but I don’t have to; his lips and his tongue are doing all the work – then from out of nowhere there’s a voice.  Belinda’s voice, loud and shrill: “Jesus, Sara!  Get your tongue out of my brother’s mouth!”  And then I feel her hands on my shoulders, pulling me away from Vince.

I don’t look at her; I run straight into the kitchen, grab my coat from the back of the chair, and I’m out the back door before anybody can say another word… 

“Waking Dreams” is available through:

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Meet the Characters – An Interview with Devyn Nash from “A Taste of Tragedy” by Kim McMahill

Morgan Hunter sacrificed everything for her career. She had yet to encounter anything she wasn’t willing to do to succeed...until now. When she uncovers evidence that the healthy foods she’s been hired to promote may be dangerous she must reevaluate her priorities. As questions mount and the body count rises, she finds herself caught in the crosshairs of an organization that will stop at nothing to hide its secrets and protect its profits. With no one else to trust, Morgan is forced to seek help from the man she drove away, but whom she never stopped loving.

Today we’re talking to FBI Agent, Devyn Nash, from “A Taste of Tragedy (Risky Research Series Book 2)” by Kim McMahill. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.

What is your relationship status?
For the first time in my life I’m in a healthy relationship with a wonderful man. The main problem, though, is that he lives in another state so we don’t see each other as much as I’d like.

What’s people’s first impression of you?
People see me as a no nonsense, hard-as-nails FBI agent. Most think I’m cold and unapproachable and few try to get close to me. That impression was so ingrained for so many years that I was starting to believe it, and then came Gage…

Name three of your favorite things.
Nothing can compare with the object of my affections, Wyoming Sheriff Gage Harris, but I also love raw chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate and peanut butter ice cream straight out of the carton.

Name three things that tick you off.
I have little tolerance for bullies, hypocrites, and weasels of the humankind.

What are you most afraid of?
I’m most afraid of failing. In my line of work, when I fail people die.

Are you close to family?
I was an only child, so I didn’t have much family to start with. I was very close to my parents. When your dad is in the military and you live all over the world it’s helpful if your mom is your best friend. Unfortunately, my parents died in a boating accident, at least that’s what the authorities claimed, shortly after I graduated from high school.

Do you care about what others assume about you?
I never cared about what others assumed about me until recently. As I mentioned earlier, I’m pretty infatuated with a handsome and rugged lawman, and I finally have a girlfriend in my life for the first time since college, so I’m definitely trying to be a better person.

What kinds of things do you always carry (in pockets or purse)?
I don’t carry a purse since I need to keep my hands free in case I have to reach for my gun or take down a slime-ball. I go through life pretty lean. My badge is usually clipped to my belt and I have a phone in one pocket and a little cash stashed in another.

What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
Until my current partner, Nick Melonis, I went through a new partner about every six months. I was starting to take it personally, and I couldn’t help but doubt myself. Was I that hard to be around? I still worry that my new man and best friend will leave me like everyone else in my life, but the longer they stick, the more my confidence grows.

What would make you completely happy?
First, I have to bring to justice a deadly group who has been manipulating the diet product industry for profit at the expense of many lost lives. Once that’s done, if I could spend the rest of my life with Gage Harris, I would die a happy woman.

“A Taste of Tragedy” is available at:

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