Passionate Vision…Prologue

 

PV FINAL

 

Prologue

 

“How about we get some ice cream tonight?” Claire’s father asked her.

She pushed back from the table. “Deal. I’ll help Mom clean up so we can get out of here faster.”

Her mother laughed. “You two go. Your father needs some fresh air and I do better without you underfoot.”

“Looks like it’s you and me,” Claire said to her father. When they were in the car, she turned and asked, “Why did Mom say you needed some fresh air? Is a case giving you problems?”

Her father was a detective with the NYPD. But he was also a witch…just like her. Her mother was an everyday average person with no powers other than loving them both unconditionally.

“Don’t worry about it, honey,” her father said, his hand reaching over to pat her thigh and then stopping before contact. She felt bad about that but was glad he understood too. “So, what kind of ice cream are you in the mood for?”

“Hard, not soft serve.”

“That goes without saying,” he said. They lived in Brooklyn and could go into the City anytime they wanted, but she liked staying in their borough.

Once her father parked at their favorite place, they got out and made their way to the counter. “I’ll take a scoop of chocolate and one of coconut in a waffle cone.”

Her father shook his head. “Just like your mother with the coconut. I’m old fashioned and I’ll take one of chocolate and one of vanilla in a waffle cone too.”

With their cones in their hands, they turned to leave, when a man rushed down the curb coming out of nowhere and bumped into her. Her father reached out and grabbed her to keep her from falling and in that moment Claire was slammed with every case he was working out in his mind.

Dead bodies flashed before her eyes. A child that was beaten and left in an alley. The homeless being questioned. Prostitutes walking around the precinct. The images just went on and on flashing everywhere.

Her father released her arms that he’d been holding, but she couldn’t move. Her face was pale—she knew it because she felt dizzy.

“I’m sorry,” her father said, but he took her arm again and led her to the car. He moved as fast as he could, but it didn’t stop more images from floating before her eyes. Past and present. She wasn’t sure how she knew that, but she did.

When they were seated in the car, her father turned the air conditioning on full blast to cool her off and said, “Put your head between your knees and close your eyes. Take a few breaths.”

Claire did what she was told. She knew it would help. She’d done it enough in her life when this happened.

“I need to touch something happy,” she said.

She heard her father get out of the car while she stayed in that position, then come back and put something in her hand. It was a dandelion and it worked. In her mind she watched its growth, the blossom, the fluff, then the wind blowing it away. Children picking them and pursing their lips as they made wishes.

All the things that were carefree and fun and her racing heart started to slow.

“I’m better.” She lifted her head and turned to look at him. “How do you do that? How do you look at that every day and deal with it?”

“It’s not like that for me,” he said. “You know that. You’re stronger than me. Your powers. I have to center myself to see things and even then it’s not all at once. I touch you, and it floods your body. The older you get the stronger they are. I’m worried about you, Claire.”

She snorted. “I’m kind of worried about me too. It’s hard to not touch people, to be careful of that every moment, but most times I don’t see things like that.”

“I know. I think it’s time your mother and I have a talk with you about some options.”

“What kind of options?” Her father started their car, their ice cream cones long gone. She’d dropped hers and she wasn’t sure what happened to his. “Guess ice cream was a bust tonight.”

He shut the car off. “Wait here.”

When he came back a few minutes later he had two cones in his hands. The same flavors that had fallen to the ground. “What did you tell them? I’m sure they asked why you were back again.”

“I said that you were training for a speed eating contest and were too embarrassed to say all four of these were for you.”

Her jaw dropped. Her father was good at making her laugh. “That’s mean.”

“It sure is,” he said, taking a bite of his. She did the same while he drove the few minutes back home.

“What are you going to tell Mom? She doesn’t understand.”

“She does understand. She might not feel or experience things like us, but she understands. Don’t you ever forget that.”

In the house, her mother took one look at her and then her father and said, “It’s time, isn’t it?”

“I think so. We had a little incident.”

“I’m standing right here,” she reminded her parents. “Time for what?”

“That you finish your last two years of high school at the Witches Academy in New Orleans.”

“You’re joking, right? That is where Zion and Madeline go,” she said of her cousins. They lived not far from the school and knew all along they’d go there. She didn’t see her cousins often, but they talked a lot.

They and their younger sister Abigail were all witches too. Her father’s sister, Emily, was a witch, but not Emily’s husband Anthony Batisti. He was as Italian as they came and she always thought it was funny they moved to Louisiana.

But her Uncle Anthony was family oriented and he wanted what was best for his son and two daughters when he realized they were witches like his wife. That meant having them be around more of their own kind.

Unlike Claire.

She was the only witch in Brooklyn that she knew of other than her father. It’s not like she announced it to anyone and never would, but she figured she’d know if there were more. She’d be able to feel it or sense it like she could with the rest of her family.

“We aren’t joking,” her mother said. “I’m going to miss you, but we can’t leave like your aunt and uncle did. Your father’s career means too much to him.”

“I can retire in ten years,” he said. “It’s hard to give that up. But you need more than I can give you. You need to be around others and you need someone to show you how to focus and control your powers.”

“I don’t want them,” she said, her eyes filling with tears.

“Then you need someone to show you how, if possible, to turn them off,” her mother said.

Her father looked hurt by those words, but at times she really wished she could do that. “I know I should go,” she said.

“School starts in a month,” her mother said.

“I’ll start making the calls in the morning,” her father said. “You shouldn’t have any problem getting in once they know you are a cousin of Zion and Madeline. If you want, why don’t you call your cousin and let her know. I’m sure she’ll ease your mind.”

“Maybe,” Claire said, standing up and hugging her mother. She hadn’t done that in a long time, too fearful of the images that would appear in front of her eyes. The sight of things no one saw but her.

And when her mother hugged her back all she saw was relief and happiness. Sadness and the past of the two of them playing through the years, but glimpses of peace in everyone’s eyes for the future.

When she stepped back she knew her father wanted a hug too, but he’d never ask. He couldn’t control what went through his mind any more than she could control the absorption of others’ thoughts, pain, grief, sorrows…visions.

“Once your mother gets everything arranged, we’ll fly down and get you settled. It’d be nice to see my sister again anyway. We all need a vacation and we might as well plan it now. It’s going to be fun. It’s a new adventure for us all.”

“Adventure is a good word for it,” Claire said but wasn’t sure she was feeling that excited over it. She’d miss her friends, the few she had, but she’d move on too.

Not many understood her and never would because she still had no intention of telling a mortal she was a witch, and if that meant being alone then so be it.

Grey’s Blind Date Discovery- Prologue

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Prologue

Dr. Grey Baxter walked away from the patient on the operating table at Albany Med and pulled his mask off as he got to the door. He removed his gloves and gown and put it all in the red biohazard bin, then went to the locker room.

It was his last surgery of the day and he needed to clean up. He’d shower after each surgery if he could, but there was never time.

After his shower he was walking to his locker with a towel around his waist, rubbing his hands over his short hair. The old white hospital towel had already made a few passes over his dark brown hair which was more than enough to get the excess water out.

“What are your plans tonight?”

He turned to see Dr. Ed Clover, the anesthesiologist that was in the last surgery with him, standing there having come out of another shower. Too bad Ed didn’t care to put a towel around the waist of his bulging belly. Maybe it didn’t fit. Didn’t matter, but common courtesy was to cover up. At least in Grey’s mind.

“I’m going back to the office to finish up some paperwork and then I’ll probably go home and relax. It’s been a long day.”

Ed snorted. “You had what, three surgeries today? You’re young. That’s nothing.”

“That’s easy for you to say. You just sit there monitoring vitals and oxygen. I’m bent over a body cutting and snipping, drilling and hammering.”

These were common words and jokes they used often with each other. Grey wouldn’t want the responsibility of putting someone out for surgery and waking them up.

“I’ve been in four today,” Ed said. “I’ve got you beat. Come have a drink with me later. Be my wingman.”

“Wingman?” Grey said. “I’ll pass.”

Ed was forty-five or thereabouts, balding, a good fifty pounds overweight, and had scars on his face from acne as a kid. The only reason Ed dated as much as he did was because he was fast to tell women in the bar he was a doctor.

“Then just have a drink with me. You don’t need to pick anyone up, though it might lighten your mood a bit if you did. When was the last time you got laid?”

Grey moved away from Ed and went to his locker to get dressed. As luck—or not—would have it, Ed followed along, having the locker two down from him.

“I don’t share that information with people,” he said.

Because he was embarrassed to say how long it’d been. He hadn’t been on a date in over six months, sex had been longer. Not that he wasn’t fielding offers left and right, but he had standards.

Half the time he just wasn’t interested in going out and meeting women. The other times he was too tired.

He’d been there and done that. He had a woman and asked her to wait for him and she didn’t. She moved on and left him heartbroken. He’d never been able to find another woman to fit what he was looking for and was pretty sick of trying at this point.

“I bet it’s because you’ve got a secret life that you keep hidden.”

“Yeah, that’s it,” Grey said. Was this guy for real?

“All the women want the surgeons. You’re the ‘don’t kiss and tell type,’ aren’t you?”

“That’s me,” he said, getting dressed faster than normal. He didn’t have the patience for this conversation.

“If you change your mind I’ll be at City Line for happy hour.”

Grey nodded his head, slipped his shoes on, and then left. He wasn’t changing his mind.

When he got back to his office he almost ran into Cori Reynolds. She was running in front of him in a hurry like she always was, trying to see her husband, Jack, a fellow orthopedic surgeon in the office.

“Sorry, Grey,” Cori said, the ponytail holding her red hair swinging around her head. Normally she was dressed in her nurse’s scrubs with wild prints and colors, but she looked somewhat normal today in black pants and a purple and black top. Just her bright purple shoes were the only thing out of place.

“No problem,” he said.

“You know what it’s like when you want to see your man,” she said, giggling. She was always smiling and giggling. “Well, not a man for you. At least I don’t think so. I mean a woman. But if it is a man, well, same thing.”

He laughed, he had no choice. “I like women just fine, but don’t have one to rush to like you do.”

“We need to change that for you,” she said. She was almost running to keep up with his long stride. She was probably used to it since Jack was six foot five and Cori was probably barely five foot.

“I’m happy the way I am.”

“Aw, now I know you’re lying. You’re not happy because you don’t smile.”

“Not everyone smiles when they’re happy,” he said back and put a smile on his face for her.

“Yes, they do. Just ask Jack. He never smiled until he met me.”

She spoke the truth. Jack had been a loner in the department when he relocated here over six years ago. The guy barely spoke, let alone smiled. But now that he’d been married for years and had a four-year-old little girl, he smiled more often than not.

“He got lucky with you,” Grey said, speaking the truth. Cori was great. A little out there but had a heart of gold.

“Yes, he did,” she agreed. “You could get just as lucky. I could help with that.”

“No,” he said fast and moved to the door of his office. “I’m good. Have a nice visit with Jack.”

He went in and shut the door and let out a breath. Good grief, what the hell? What was everyone’s obsession with his dating life and trying to get him to go out?

Picking up chicks and getting set up on blind dates were for losers. He’d done it enough and was over it. It was almost as bad as dating apps.

No, nothing was as bad as them.

The truth was, he just had a hard time connecting with women because he was determined to not get his heart broken again.

Fierce-Ella…Prologue #Mgtab @Natalieann121

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Are you ready for a teaser of Fierce-Ella? Here is the prologue!!

Prologue

Ella heard the knock at the door and lifted her head from the pillow. “Yes?”

“Can I come in, Ella?” her mother asked.

Her mother normally didn’t ask, but she guessed storming out of the living room and slamming the door was enough for everyone to ask permission if she wanted to be bothered. She didn’t usually lose her temper like she had, as she prided herself on being calm, cool, and collected at all times. Even as a teen.

Someone had to be the stable one of the Fierce Five and it was always her.

She had twenty minutes up here to get it out of her system, but it didn’t seem to be enough with her mother knocking on the door ready to barge in even if Ella told her no.

She flopped her head back down and wiped her tears on the pillowcase, then flipped it over and rolled off the bed. “Just a minute,” she said. She knew her mother was impatient, but she would wait when she thought one of her children needed it.

Walking into her bathroom quickly, she blew her nose, knuckled away a few more stray offenders, and splashed her face with cold water.

It wasn’t helping. She still looked like she’d been balling her eyes out in her pillowcase and she wondered why she was trying to hide that fact from anyone.

Because she never cried. Ever. It was a sign of weakness, and being the only girl of the Fierce Five made her want to be even stronger than them. She wanted to be Superwoman and they could be Batman’s sidekicks.

She went back into her room and looked around to make sure nothing was out of place, not that it ever was. She was extremely organized. She’d had no choice. That was how she was able to figure out if one of her brothers tampered with anything in her room.

“Hi, Mom,” she said, opening the door.

She turned her back and walked to her bed, then sat down and picked her pillow up, hugging it to her chest. She didn’t often show a vulnerable side, but she felt the time called for it since they all knew she was throwing a “hissy fit” as Cade shouted to her when she stormed out after his announcement.

She hadn’t realized her mother had her hands behind her back until she sat down and pushed them out in front of her, bearing her gift like the biggest prize in Charlotte, and said, “I brought us chocolate to share.”

There was a king-sized Hershey bar staring at her. She wanted to growl at her mother for tempting her, but instead reached for the whole thing and opened it up, then broke a piece off. “I’m not sharing.”

Her mother patted her hand. “You’re making a bigger deal out of this than it is.”

“I don’t think so,” she argued. “Why can’t I have anything to myself?”

“Ella. I get it. But you knew that one of the boys was going to go to the same college as you. We’ve been talking about this for a good year.”

She sniffled some more. She was hoping she could avoid it. She’d been so good at talking her brothers and parents out of everything, or talking them into something. No one gathered information and planned it out like her.

“Why Cade? Of all of them, why him? I’ll never get a boyfriend now,” she said as more fresh tears rolled down her face.

“First off, Cade is the best choice because, between you and me, I think he’s the one that might need someone to watch out for him, not the other way around. But don’t you dare tell a soul I said that.”

Ella felt her lips twitch. “Probably. But he’s also the worst of them when it comes to me around guys.”

“Well, now. You did that to yourself, Ella.”

She narrowed her eyes at her mother, who just continued to stare at her with a cocky smirk on her lips. “I don’t need them watching out for me or scaring everyone I like away.”

“You’re the youngest of five. Four older, bigger brothers who are going to protect and watch out for you your entire life. If you find a guy and he can’t handle your brothers, then he’s not worth it.”

She’d always thought the same thing, but it was getting annoying. “I had to all but beg someone to go to the prom with me this year. Do you know how humiliating that is?”

“Again,” her mother said, “that’s your own doing. It’s just a date. Your brothers wouldn’t terrorize a boy for one date. At least I don’t think they would. No, they wouldn’t.” Her mother’s head was shaking side to side after it’d been bobbing up and down.

“It’s not my fault that most guys are intimidated by me. If I use the logic of them having to accept my brothers, then they have to accept that I’m a strong woman.”

“Oh, Ella,” her mother said, patting her leg this time. Her mother was always touchy feely…unlike Ella herself. “You have so much to learn. You’re a strong woman and it’s a great trait to have. One I have myself. But when you find the right man, you’ll find you don’t always have to be so strong.”

“I don’t think so. I’m not ever relying on any man for anything.”

Her mother rolled her eyes. “You’re young. You’ll figure it out. Trust me, there’s time to find a guy, and when you do, you’ll find all these things you thought you wanted to be won’t make a difference.”

She didn’t believe a word her mother was saying. “I doubt it.”

“Trust me, Ella. Your time will come and when it does, it’s going to knock you and that pride of yours on your skinny little butt.”

 

Holiday Love #mgtab @NatalieAnn121

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Sometimes failed relationships are needed to make the next one count.

Dr. Owen Taylor is on the fast track to running the Radiology Department at one of the top ranking cancer centers in the US. Plans of a family are in his future, just not his immediate future. That is until he finds himself a single father and failing miserably at juggling it all, forcing him to return home to Upstate New York needing help.

Jill Duncan had plans of her own. But time, money, and a failed marriage squashed her hopes like a soldier’s boot on a cockroach during an apocalypse. When a new doctor shows up at her job, she starts to think that old saying “better late than never” just might apply to her, if only she could get over her own insecurities.

Deserve A Chance…Prologue

It’s that time again…where I post the beginning of my next book.

Deserve A Chance is the 5th book in the Lake Placid Series and will be live on December 12, 2017, but is available for pre-order right now!

Prologue

 

Zach Monroe heard the door shut softly and rolled over onto his other side, assuming Amber slipped into the bathroom quietly like she had the last few mornings they’d been together.

Who would have thought this convention in Vegas would’ve turned out like this?

He never figured he’d find someone that he had so much in common with, someone he enjoyed being around who talked as much as him.

Someone he didn’t want to be without. All from a trip he hadn’t wanted to attend in the first place.

Love at first sight? No way. He’d never believed in it.

Until he saw Amber sitting by herself at the bar with a beer in her hand Tuesday night.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t love. Maybe it was more like instant attraction and deep lust. That was more like it. More like how he classified any relationship he’d ever had.

They shared a few beers, then retired to his room. The only time they’d been apart since was during the actual convention.

He must have fallen back to sleep because the next thing he knew, the sunlight was coming through the large window in his room, reflecting brightly on his closed eyelids. They’d been too busy to shut the blinds. He wondered if anyone had caught a glimpse of them last night, then smiled and decided he didn’t care in the least.

Turning on his back, he opened one eye to the space next to him. His other eye popped open when he saw it was empty.

Slowly, his hand slid over and felt the coolness on the sheets. There was an eerie silence in the room right now that sent his heart thumping.

He sat up and looked at the dresser and saw the drawers all neatly shut like they had been when they went to bed.

Swinging his feet to the floor, he walked naked to the bathroom and noticed the door open and a damp towel hanging. She must have gone for coffee, he thought.

Only something was telling him otherwise.

Opening the first drawer where she’d put the change of clothes she’d brought with her when they met up last night, he found it empty, so he opened another, hoping against hope, but he knew in his heart that it would be bare.

He was just ready to look in the hallway when he realized he didn’t have a stitch of clothing on, so he grabbed his jeans and a shirt, not even bothering to button or zip anything.

As he suspected, she wasn’t in the hall either.

He showered and dressed, then made his way to the front desk. “Hi, could you tell me if Amber Dustin has checked out?”

The young woman looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t give that information out.”

He stopped for a second and then asked, “Can you tell me if there is even an Amber Dustin staying here?”

He just realized he never found out what hotel she was in. They’d spent the entire time in his, and she always had a change of clothes with her when they met up each night.

“Sandy,” he said again, reading the name on her tag. “I know you’ve seen her with me. Here’s her picture to refresh your memory,” he said, giving her a charming smile that used to melt his grandmother’s heart when he was a kid. He’d pulled his phone out and showed her the picture he’d snapped of him and Amber sitting on the couch in his room.

Sandy looked right and left, then started to punch a few buttons. “I’m sorry, there is no one staying here by that name.”

“Is there anyone here with the name Amber?”

“I’m really sorry, but I’ve said more than I should already.”

Zach sighed. He knew the rules but had been hoping he could sweet talk Sandy just the same. He’d done it before. He could talk a saint into handing over his robe on a cold winter’s day, but right now he just didn’t have it in him. Bitter emotions were creeping up his spine, turning sour in his mouth.

“Thanks, Sandy. If she comes back, will you give her my card?”

Zach pulled it out and handed it over. Not only had Zach realized he didn’t know the hotel Amber was staying at, but they’d never exchanged numbers either. How could that have slipped his mind?

Probably because they were so in tune with each other when they were alone that details like contact information never came up. Or maybe it was the excitement of meeting up each day like strangers in the night.

Yeah, he was losing his mind.

The convention! He rushed through the doors of the main room to see if she was around. It was early yet, but maybe she went back to her hotel to shower and change for the last day.

She never showed.

By the end of the day, he’d given up. He’d asked a few people from the medical side of the convention who she was. Showing her picture around and hoping against hope he hadn’t been played.

Plenty had seen her, but no one knew anything else. No one knew where she was, where she was staying, or where she worked. The coordinator said that he couldn’t give out that information no matter how much Zach tried to bribe the man.

How could he not try though? There was this magical pull she seemed to have over him clouding all reason.

By the time he boarded his flight back to Virginia, he knew he was going to be on a mission to find her. Part of his job was finding and recruiting talent from all over the world, even when they didn’t want to be found. This should be a piece of cake.

How could she have done that? Just leave the way she did without a word. They still had one more night left in town.

Why would she have just disappeared like that? Didn’t she feel the same connection he did?

Once he got back to his office he was going to dig right in. And when he found her—because he would—she would have some explaining to do.

No one played him and walked away. Not again. Never again.

If you’d like to be an ARC reader, please read this information and contact me.

Pink Explosion

October 1st is around the corner. We know what that means, right? Yeah, it’s the 10th month of the year. Yes, fall is in full swing. And yes, football Sundays with family and friends. But what normally happens in October is an explosion of pink.

Everywhere we turn we’ll see varying shades, ribbons of every shape and size, key words like ‘hope’, ‘strength’, ‘courage’, ‘survivor’. Even funny catchy knick knacks with saying like this.

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I used to hate all the pink in October. It was just a reminder of the battle my mother had lost. I didn’t need that reminder in October; I had it all year round. Why do most people tend to forget about pink the other 11 months of the year?

Then I realized it’s not about other people. It’s about all those women (and men) who have been affected by breast cancer. I’m sure everyone out there knows someone. If you’re reading this and you don’t know someone, well now you do. Me! (BTW that’s my travel mug)

About two and a half years ago I got the devastating news that I too was one of those women that was going to be told she had breast cancer. But it wasn’t so devastating, really. It was actually expected. You see, I already knew I carried the BRCA1 mutation. I’d been watched and screened carefully for over 15 years. So when it was caught, it was caught early with a great prognosis.

My mother battled breast cancer 4 times until she passed away at the tender age of 48. It will be 20 years this December. Her prognosis was never that great. They didn’t have the knowledge of genetic testing back then, or the technology to catch it before it could even be felt (like mine). Now they do though.

Why?

Because when October comes around, the word gets out. People spend money and buy all those things. Businesses donate proceeds of items specifically sold for breast cancer awareness. And all that money, and all that exposure and all that knowledge will help the next generation of men and women.

So with that being said, I no longer get annoyed when I only see pink so widespread in October. Instead I run out and buy as much as I can because I know every little bit counts. I carry my travel mug around so when someone laughs at it, I laugh with them.

I wear the pink and diamond sapphire engagement ring on my ring hand daily that my husband gave me for Mother’s day weeks after my diagnosis. And when someone comments on it (because it’s a pretty speculator rock and people always do) I tell them what it symbolizes.

I spread the word, my message and all those before me and after me, with pride. I no longer get annoyed with a pink explosion in October, but try to sprinkle it around when I can, then blast it like everyone else in October!

Give Me A Chance…Chapter 1

It’s that time…time for the next chapter of Give Me A Chance. You can read the prologue that was posted last week here.

The first chapter is called:

Desperate

Fourteen years later

 

Max Hamilton walked into the restaurant and looked around for a quiet, out of the way booth. Finding one in the back corner, he stepped over and waited for his nanny to show up. He’d left the house before her and ran to the hospital for a quick check on a patient.

He looked up when the young waitress came over. “Hi, can I get you some coffee?”

“That will be good. I’m meeting someone, if you can bring two over.”

“Sure, no problem.”

She walked away and he sat there dreading the conversation he knew was coming. One that he’d been avoiding for months. If he could find a way to avoid it altogether, he would.

“I hope you haven’t been waiting long, Max,” Jennifer said as she slid into the side opposite him.

“I just got here a minute ago. Coffee is on the way.”

“Thanks. I don’t have much time actually. I promised the kids I’d get them by ten.” She stopped and looked at her watch. “I’ve got about thirty minutes.”

“We can order as soon as our coffee arrives,” he said, not liking that she was going to rush out on him, too. Never a good sign. “What do you need to talk to me about?”

“Max,” she said patiently. “You know what. You’ve been avoiding me and this conversation for too long.”

He knew it, and hated that she called him out on it, but she’d been the kids’ nanny for years. And she was always to the point, one of the traits he admired so much.

They’d always gotten along so well and he knew this day would come—no matter how much he tried to convince himself otherwise.

“What can I do to change your mind? You name it.”

“Max,” she said, sighing loudly, then pausing while their coffee was delivered.

“Are you ready to order?” the waitress asked.

“French toast for me,” Max said. He’d been dying for it and he didn’t often get home-cooked food. At least not for breakfast.

“Scrambled eggs and toast,” Jennifer added.

Max watched the waitress write it down efficiently and then head off behind a swinging door.

“I’ll pay you more. Do you want more room in the house? I can redo your suite, add more space. You name it, it’s yours. Don’t leave, Jennifer.”

She reached over and placed her hand on his. “Max, this is hard for me too. I promised you one year and it’s been longer. I love those kids like they’re my own, but I need to leave.”

“Think of the kids then. They’re going to be heartbroken. Do you want to disrupt their lives even more?”

He knew it was a low blow and he was begging, but he wasn’t beyond doing what he needed to assure she stayed. He needed her too much right now.

She laughed lightly and he felt his teeth grind. It was the same little laugh she always gave when he knew he was going to lose. “The kids will be just fine. They’ve adjusted well to the move, and you know that.”

“They haven’t,” he argued. “They hate living here.”

That wasn’t technically true. They just hated riding the bus every day and having all their friends far away from their house on the lake.

“Well, so do I,” Jennifer said. “I hate this cold and I want to be gone before the next winter. I had planned on leaving this past summer and training someone new before the school year started, but you talked me into staying for that. I want to be home by Thanksgiving. I miss my parents.”

He knew she was close to her family and felt bad she didn’t get to see them as much, especially since they were getting on in age. “I’ll fly them here.”

“You know what I mean, Max. I understand why you left New York City. I get it. I get everything you’ve had to do and you gave me more than I asked for to make the move with you. I did it for the kids. They didn’t deserve what happened in their life any more than you did, and I thought coming along would help.”

“It did. It does,” he amended, running out of things to say to convince her not to leave.

“They’re old enough now. They don’t need me as much as you think.”

“Eleven and nine aren’t old. They still need someone.”

How was he going to find someone on such short notice? Thanksgiving was only a month away. How could he do this alone?

“You know what I mean. There isn’t much for me to do during the day. You don’t need a nanny anymore. You need more of a housekeeper, cook, and nanny combined. That’s not me.”

“I’ll hire someone to come in and clean the house.” He was getting desperate. “I’ll get you cooking lessons.”

She laughed out loud and he didn’t care if he’d insulted her. She wasn’t the best cook and he knew it, the kids knew it, and even Jennifer knew it herself.

“I’m sorry, Max. I’m not going to let you talk me out of it this time. I’m officially giving you one month’s notice. I will ask around to see if I can find someone and I’ll help any way I can, but I bought my ticket and I’m going home a few days before Thanksgiving.”

He watched as she stood up. “Where are you going?” She couldn’t just drop that bombshell and leave, could she?

“If I stay here, you’ll only try to talk me out of it.”

“It’s worked before,” he said, smiling briefly. Damn her for seeing right through him.

“It has, but it won’t again. I’m going to pick the kids up from their friends’ house and then we’ve got errands to run and projects to work on. I’ll see you home after you make your rounds.”

She walked away from him before he could say another word. Homework projects, too. This was getting worse and worse. Now he needed someone that could help with that.

A few minutes later their breakfast was delivered, and the waitress started to look confused. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes,” Max said. “She just had to leave. Please give her meal to someone else if you’d like. It’s a cold day out. If you know of anyone in need of food, I’d hate to see it go to waste.”

“That’s very kind of you,” the waitress said. “Actually, we do have a shelter a few blocks away. I’ll just put this aside for them to send over with the leftover baked goods that don’t sell by the end of the day.”

Max frowned. He’d always had a good appreciation for food. “It’ll be cold by then. No, that won’t do. How many beds in the shelter?” he asked, curious.

“I believe ten,” she replied.

“Is it possible to cook up nine more meals and put it on my tab? I can drop it off when I leave if you give me the address and let them know I’m coming.”

“I can do that. Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.”

Max watched the waitress walk away. It was nothing for him to do this, something he’d done often in New York.

Food was a simple thing and something that was easy enough for him to do. He’d seen his fair share of homeless and hungry kids during his residency. It wasn’t a sight he’d ever forget.

He dug into his French toast like a starving man, then fought to chew and swallow it past the lump in his throat, wondering what the hell he was going to do now.

He was trying to figure out how so much of his life had changed in the last two years. He never expected to be in this situation, let alone in a different city.

A single parent now, a demanding job, and even though he’d thought the move would slow his workload down, the opposite seemed to have happened. A small tourist town, combined with his reputation, and people were willingly traveling to see him now, using the excuse to vacation at the same time as they recovered. Why he never thought of that before was beyond him.

Still, he couldn’t do it alone. He couldn’t be there for his kids and support them at the same time financially like they were accustomed if he didn’t work. His practice would never survive. He had employees counting on him, too.

His children had already had their world upturned before the move. He’d needed Jennifer on board to create some stability in their life.

He would forever be grateful for her being there over the last eight years, but now he needed to figure out what to do when she left.

He picked up his coffee and took a sip. It was even better here than it was at home. Maybe she was right, maybe he did need to focus on a housekeeper who could watch after the kids, rather than a nanny that hated to cook and clean.

Maybe it was time for a change, even if it was one that was being forced on him.

 

 

A Day of Thanks

Now that I’m stuffed like the turkey I cooked earlier, I thought I’d take a moment and give thanks to all my readers out there.

Publishing a book has always been a dream. Now I can say it’s a dream come true.

So to all of my readers, thanks for keeping me going, buying my books and letting me know what you think of them.

I hope your day was one to be thankful for too.

Second Chance

second-chance1

Secrets, lies and mystery mixed in with the daunting possibility of a future happiness.

Nick Buchanan has struggled to put the past behind him. No matter how hard he’s tried and how hard he’s worked, the one day twelve years ago when he found out his neighbor had gone missing has haunted him. Made him wonder if he was to blame, and he’s never forgiven himself.

Mallory Denning has hidden for years by escaping a fate worse than death in her eyes. She’s managed to recreate herself and move on. Only part of her is never going to be able to move forward, not until she can come to terms with her past. When Nick shows up unexpected, everything she worked so hard for is threatening to come back to the surface. To suffocate and possibly make her run again.

Can Nick convince her to come out of hiding? Can he convince her to trust him again?

 

All My Love

All My Love(1)

All alone in the world, Jordyn Montgomery is desperately trying to find something about her lineage. With her life in flux, she packs everything up and heads for a new city labeled on a postcard in a mysterious package that she discovered after her mother’s death. Maybe she’d have more luck there, even if it was only a hunch.

Drew Palmer has always been close to his sister. When she moved away, he’d thought he could handle it, only he couldn’t. It didn’t take much to convince his father—the only other immediate family he had remaining—to pack up and move close to her.

Drew isn’t looking for love, or a relationship, just a good time. He’s young still, almost thirty. Plenty of time for that down the road. Except sometimes when you aren’t looking, that’s when love slams into you full force.