I Love Fall. How about you?

Fall is finally here!

Except our days are still in the 90’s, but the evenings are cool and so refreshing. It is relaxing to sit on the deck and watch the squirrels scamper around and hide their food for upcoming winter.

The other day our community cat gave the squirrels a run for their money! Such is nature. Just so you know, all the squirrels were safe.

After a time, the cat stretched across the shaded grass and licked his paws. He was done. At least for the moment.

 

dreamstimefree_2300700

Fall has an energizing influence on me. I always wonder what’s around the next bend, so I’m anxious to get started. Place your coffee cup on one of the posts beside mine, button up your sweater, and jog down the lane with me. Breathe in crisp, cool air and enjoy a peaceful jog or a walk in the woods.

Perhaps we’ll run across a rock-laden stream to dip our toes into. I’m definitely reminded of The Smoky Mountains. One of my favorite places to unwind. One of my books is A Smoky Mountain Christmas, of course set in the Smokies.

 

Cornucopia

Isn’t this Cornucopia beautiful? They make such delightful decorations. Which reminds me, it’s time for a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. Warm and spicy from the oven, and the entire house has an incredible aroma. Maybe I’ll bake one or the other today. Who knows?

Our Authors of Main Street latest anthology, tentatively entitled Christmas Cookies, is scheduled for release some time in October, 2019. We’ll post when the book releases.

My contribution for the set is CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS. – which is the fourth and last book in the APPLE LAKE series. 

I hope you enjoy Luke and Ellie’s journey!

Christmas Blessings (small)

 

 

On another note, Stone of Truth is FREE at Amazon, until
Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 11:59 PM PDT.

1561056117 DIY for FB & Twitter

Stone of Truth will be FREE (at Amazon) for five (5) days. (NOTE: ONLY THREE MORE DAYS LEFT IN THE PROMOTION) Please grab a copy!
See promotion dates below.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SSK9BL7/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_GlrIDbA40C4NP
Free Book Promotion
My gift to you for my birthday. Enjoy!
Monday, September 23, 2019, 12:00 AM PDT
Friday, September 27, 2019, 11:59 PM PDT

 

What are your favorite things to do through Fall?

I wish you Music, Butterflies and most of all Love. 

Advertisements

Angel in Flight

On the way to Athens, Ga., that Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help question why Tabitha had to die so young. Death was no stranger to me. I’d seen it too many times before. I knew questioning God was wrong, but I was desperate for an answer. This was a passing of another loved one.

I’d spent the night before her services tossing and turning. I prayed for God to comfort Tabitha’s family, to make it through the funeral services with their sanity still intact.

Then, for some unknown reason I remembered the rainbow I’d seen two days before. I’d forgotten the rainbow. Nor did I make a connection between the two incidents until I remembered the experience the week before and my prayers.

My unanswered prayers. God had not kept all my loved ones safe.

I’d worked practically around the clock the previous eight weeks and missed being with my family. I needed a rest, but was reluctant to leave them for an entire week to attend a conference I’d planned months in advance. My husband instinctively picked up on my indecision. He insisted I go and forget everything, except to relax and enjoy the time away.

After arriving at St. Simons, and sharing the workshop experience with a treasured friend, I was glad I’d gone and delighted in new writer friendships developed throughout the week.

A fleeting late afternoon shower, sent my friend and I running for cover and certainly didn’t do anything to lift my dampened mood. After the rain, we joined the group heading for the auditorium anxious to listen to the speakers on our last afternoon at the conference.

After, my friend and I walked and talked sharing memories of the day, when suddenly I glanced upward and noticed a glorious rainbow brushed across the horizon.

IMG_3698a double rainbow

“Look at that beautiful rainbow.” I said. “Wait, there’s another one forming on the left. Have you ever seen anything like it? I wonder if a double rainbow has a special meaning?”

My friend lifted her hand to shade the sun from her eyes. “Oh It’s magnificent,” she said, then turned toward me. “You know what? I think that’s a sign something wonderful is about to happen.” She grinned as we walked toward the conference room.

I glanced down at my watch. The time was a little after five o’clock.

“I think tonight’s going to be special for us,” she said.

Indeed it was special, when that night we both won awards in the writing contests we’d entered.

We headed to grab a cup of coffee before returning to our room. “Still, as happy as I am, I can’t shake the feeling, even as supreme as rainbows are, there is something meaningful and sad about this one,” I said. “What are your thoughts?”

“You may be right,” she commented. “We can’t know the future.”

An old familiar feeling set in, and it knew it wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Since my early adult years, I dreamed dreams that sometimes came true. Later in life as I grew as a Christian, the visions and discernment began. Not understanding they were from God, I frequently became upset when they infiltrated my sleep and filled my heart.

“They’re gifts and blessings from God, honey, that’s why you see them,” my mom explained. “God doesn’t allow everyone to have dreams and visions as you do. He shows you these things so you will pray about them.”

It took many years for the impact of her words to fully register with me, to pray for guidance in the situation, when I felt the pull in my heart.

An urgency swept through me when I recalled the rainbow, and again, I felt honored and a responsibility to intercede in prayer. “Father God, I don’t know what this means or what is about to happen. Please send your Angels to watch over and keep my loved ones safe. I pray, Lord, you will prepare the heart of whomever is facing a trial and wrap them in your loving arms. Amen.”

When I returned home the next day, the answering machine bleeped repeatedly. One message was from my daughter-in-law. I called her at once. The tremor in her voice alerted me that something was terribly wrong. My heart hammered and my blood ran as ice while she spoke.

“I have some bad news. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you. Tabitha’s been in an accident…a horrible car accident. She was killed instantly yesterday afternoon, sometime between five and five-thirty.”

Within minutes of the time the rainbow appeared to me that previous Friday afternoon, my twenty-year-old niece’s fate was sealed.

I was in shock, heartbroken and angry that God had taken her. She’d been way too young. Unbelief pushed me to ask her to repeat what she’d just told me.

“Why, Tabitha? Oh, God why?” I questioned. I buried my face in the towel I was holding, and wept for Tabitha and the anguish I knew my younger sister was experiencing.

Tabitha had been an angel here on earth. Always a kind, considerate niece, and a sweet loving daughter to my now distraught sister and her family. I’d attended too many funerals in the past three years, and that she’d been taken so young, didn’t make any sense at all.

I left the funeral home and began the two-hour trip home. My heart was empty and I felt as though I were suffocating. I could only imagine the pain Tabitha’s parents endured. They had been so brave. Even though their hearts were crushed, they had smiled through the ordeal of thanking everyone who had attended her service.

I turned the radio up loud and tried to drown my thoughts. Deep down I knew nothing would ever be the same. I wanted to run, but there was no place to run, no place to hide. There was nothing I could do, except pray for them.

I scrambled to find the small notebook I always kept on the seat beside me and a pen. I scribbled words that flooded inside my head, which I had no control. God was giving me a poem for Tabitha. One of the lines in the poem gave me a peace that our Tabitha truly was with God.

A new Angel laughed, and beheld the King.

A still voice whispers reminding me of these words when I pray. “Not my will, Lord, but thine.” God had answered my prayers. Tabitha was safe. Safe in the arms of God. He had wrapped me in His loving arms and given me a measure of peace.

Tabitha’s early death reaffirmed we don’t have the promise of tomorrow. But God promises not to put anymore on us than we can endure, and that our children are gifts from Him entrusted to us for but a little while.

I believe God gave me the moment with the rainbow to wonder in and remember that it is only one of His promises.

What is Your Fear?

My dad was a farmer. He also worked alongside his dad and brother in their logging camp. They had Bee Hives, raised cattle and a few horses, among all else that entails farming.

I don’t recall ever seeing any of those men afraid of anything. They did what was necessary and never let anything get in their way. That I know of.

Who knows what fear lies in the hearts of men? Or women? Or children?

As a child, I was terrified of horses. Later, I overcame that fear and learned to love the beautiful animals.

I thought about how a young boy would fare if he were scared of horses too. That fear isn’t something easy to overcome.

This story came about thinking of how a young boy would deal with his fear of horses, and inspire other children. Or even a grown man.

I hope you enjoy this short excerpt.

 

bigstock_Cowboys_Young_And_Old_681538

A COWBOY’S HERO
CHAPTER ONE

Why was he so scared of horses? But then he knew why. Horses were huge and from the ground up, in his eyes, they were as big as mountains. Whatever else the problem was, he couldn’t seem to get past the fear.

“Everyone’s here and waiting, Owen.”

Owen sneaked a fleeting peek out of the window at the crowd that had gathered outside the barn.

His heart lurched. Why today? Why, when the boys from school were here? Why did he want to throw up at the thought of riding? None of them knew how his stomach hurled thinking of getting up on that skyscraper of a horse. He bit back thoughts of telling his mom to go without him, but he couldn’t refuse to join everyone on his eleventh birthday.

Especially not in front of the other boys. His classmates. Boys he had to face every school day. He’d never live down the embarrassment.

“Okay, Mom. Be there in a sec.” He rubbed the sweat from his hands on his jeans and walked to the door.

Owen manned-up and walked out to the barn, then waited for his mom while she double checked Frost’s saddle. His Nana and Papa had named her Frost because she’d been born on the first frost a year ago. Today they’d given Frost to him as a birthday gift. Little did they know the dread in his heart as Papa had handed him Frost’s reins.

Wishing the world would stop its spin, Owen waited as his turn came to mount. What would he do? The bile rolled in his stomach and slowly rose up his throat. He took a deep breath and scanned his school mates. All but one was mounted and ready for the morning ride and a picnic.

The one unmounted rider was Owen.

In a panic he approached Frost, a gentle Tennessee Walker. She flicked her head and snorted, as if to say, ‘It’s okay, Owen. Come on. Give it a try. Come on. You can do it.’

Owen put one foot in front of the other. He stopped two feet by her side. While flies crawled over Frost, she reacted by twitching, and swishing her tail much the way his heart was beating at the moment.

Oh, I can’t do it. But he had to. Had to. His classmates were waiting. Watching. Expectant.

With a trembling hand, Owen reached out and first touched Frost, then the saddle. He took a deep breath and eased his booted foot inside a stirrup.

 

CHAPTER TWO

Maddy’s heart broke for her son. The struggle he lived was real. Wasn’t eleven a mixed up age for a boy? Especially one as bright as Owen.

A memory of Scott, her ex-husband, flashed inside her head. Darn him anyway.

Owen had several issues he struggled with, but none as much as horse-back riding, which was somewhat due to Scott’s inadequacies as a father. Never had she known him to consider how his actions and words would affect his son.

If she ever saw Scott again, it would be too soon.

 

Until next time, I wish you Butterflies and Music. Most of all…I wish you love…

Summer is Upon Us

Here in Georgia, we’ve had drought, lots of rain, and now it’s humid. Melting in the heat as a snowman in the sun. I hope you are faring better!

We’re taking it a day at a time.

Here’s a peek at Choosing Ally.

Let me know what you think.

CHOOSING ALLY

Prologue
Love is more powerful than reason.
Tate Stone grew up chasing a dream. He was determined to rise above his family’s modest status in Marshville, Georgia.
Ally Matthews, who grew up privileged, chose to chase Tate Stone.
Since middle school, wealthy Lucas Marsh chose to befriend Tate Stone.
Both men disregarded a warning that one day their friendship would come home to bite them. Both were determined to guard their friendship, their bond against Lucas’s father, Judd Marsh, against all odds.
Ally and Tate disregarded speculation of a difficult involvement, and vowed to marry one day.
Lucas’s father, Judd Marsh, was a man who attained whatever he went after. And…he would do whatever it took to join Ally and Lucas, to bind their family’s bloodline.
Lucas hadn’t counted on falling for Ally, his best friend’s girl.
Tate hadn’t counted on Lucas as a bitter opponent for the love of his life.
Until Tate realized he and Lucas were in love with the same woman.
Tate would do anything to save his relationship with Ally. His dream. His future.
Until Judd Marsh dropped a secret in Tate’s lap.
Until Tate’s mother didn’t deny the secret.
Tate swore he’d get even with Judd Marsh if it was the last thing he did. Judd, with his high and mighty attitude, had glowered down that aristocratic nose at him for the last time.
A promise Tate made to himself. He always kept his promises.
Ally’s family was the second most wealthy family in Marsh County. Ally wanted Tate and a family, never mind how much her father protested.
Lucas wanted her because his father wanted the two together. He thought.
When Tate Stone’s mother lay dying of cancer, old man Marsh sent flowers, had even visited on one occasion. Oblivious to anyone else being in the house, twenty-two year old Tate overheard a discussion that changed his life forever.
Old man Marsh was his father. He was a slime-ball. Not once had he said anything to Tate about it. Heck, he barely knew Tate was alive.
Tate Stone grew up chasing his dreams on the wrong side of the tracks, while privileged Ally Matthews grew up chasing Tate Stone. They had each other in times of trouble and didn’t need, nor want, Lucas Marsh poking his nose in their business.
“Thinks he’s so high and mighty. Just because his old man, Judd Marsh, owns half the town doesn’t give him anymore rights than anyone else, to go around thumbing his nose at us,” Tate said. “We grew up being best friends. I guess that’s over now.”
“I don’t think he still feels that way, Tate. He’s changed, yes. You can’t hold a grudge against him forever, because of what his father is.”
“Yeah? Judd Marsh never once called me son or told me he loved me. He treated me as if I were dirt beneath his feet. The only time I remember him speaking to me, was the night I graduated Marsh High. Came over to shake my hand. Didn’t even put his hand on my shoulder. Some father. I want what’s rightfully mine, and I’ll see to it Lucas Marsh and everyone else in this town, knows I’m a Marsh. Not that being part of his family matters, or that I want to be his son, but Judd’s rubbed my nose in dirt long enough. He had to know I was his son years ago. It’s time he paid homage to the rest of his family.”

CHOOSING ALLY

CHAPTER ONE

Tate stepped onto Marshville’s cracked sidewalk. He felt home again. A home that he’d left to forget.
He wondered where Ally was these days. He hadn’t heard from her since he’d packed a duffle bag in the middle of the night, five months ago, and took off for Montana. Montana, where the skies were bigger than anything he’d ever seen before. Bluer than the open skies of his beloved Georgia.
Tate pushed open the door to the restaurant. Herrin’s. He closed his eyes and inhaled the scent. Fresh potato yeast rolls, creamy/cheesy seafood dish surrounded by mashed potatoes and baked on a wooden slab. He’d never forgotten that food. Too good.

***

Ally sat inside the cafe and stared out the window across the street. She couldn’t believe what she saw. Tate was back in town. Oh, Lord. Now what? As much as she’d cried and tried to reach him, he’d proven he could get lost and he’d done just that.
Okay, she could do this. If her legs would hold her up that is. What would she say to him? Would he even want to see or talk to her? She hadn’t been the one to leave, to break a heart. Tate had refused to believe she’d rather be with him more than Lucas.
Not in a million years would Lucas stand up to or would mean more to her than Tate. She hadn’t been able to convince Tate though. The Marsh’s had finally gotten to him. He’d given up. Given up on her and the life they’d planned.
She watched as Tate climbed back into his truck, then pull away.
Ally had a million questions for him and hoped he’d come into the café. When he didn’t, she paid her bill and slipped out the door, then headed back to her dress shop two doors down.
She called the one reliable person that kept up with everything and everyone in town. Flora, a cashier at Winston’s grocery store.

“Tate is staying in his family home. Won’t be here long though. He has to get back to Montana,” Flora revealed.

***

Tate had found work on a sprawling Montana ranch rounding up cattle. Not that he’d had to work, he’d saved more than enough to last until he could find something worthwhile. But it wasn’t in him to do nothing, to sit and simply fade away. For the first week, he’d done just that though. He’d fought off the bottle. Drinking his troubles away would do no good. Starting a bad habit wouldn’t change a thing.
He’d been determined to get his head on straight and keep it straight. Had to wrap his head around the fact that Ally and Lucas might eventually get together. He wasn’t going to stick around to watch that. Heck no. Not when she’d been the love of his life for better than seven years. Why would he go back? He had no reason to be back in Marsh, except to visit his mother’s gravesite, contract a renovation on the home he’d bought before leaving, then he’d head back to Montana. He’d made a new life. A life without Ally.
It hadn’t taken long for him to realize it would take a long time for this new place to feel like home. He had no friends and that, he supposed, would remain the same until he decided he could handle opening up to another set of friends. The other ranch hands had tried their best to befriend him. They’d shared their lives and asked questions of him. Questions for which he had no answer for them. He was a loner, and that’s the way he wanted to remain. He wasn’t ready. He worked long hard hours everyday. The ranch hands finally let him be.
He pushed aside the curtain and stared out the wide window of the motel at the vast land surrounding the small town of Deer Creek. He’d need to look for a more permanent place. One that would at least be better than the four walls he stared at everyday. The walls had begun to close in, even after a week. He was used to wide open spaces, thank goodness the motel was temporary.
It wasn’t home. The Georgia farm had been his life, though aspirations of a better life persisted.

CHAPTER TWO

 

Of all the people to run into, Tate hadn’t dreamed the man would be Lucas. He wasn’t about to back down. They both stood in Ally’s dress shop glaring at each other, while Ally grasped an armload of dresses, a frown on her face.
Ally had contacted him for help and he wouldn’t refuse his assistance. Whatever he could do to help her, he would. No matter what resentful memories the past held.
Tate’s temper reared, while battle-scars hammered in his taut stomach. “I don’t think you’re needed or wanted here, Lucas.”
“Stop, Tate.” Lucas said, with a sneer. “Nobody’s interested in your opinion. And as far as I’m concerned Ally’s fair game. Always has been.”
“Fine. Allow her to make the decision,” Tate said.
Lucas’ family had paid Tate good money while he worked for them over the years. He’d saved almost all, and that meant he could buy that little ranch, East of Marshville, he’d had his eye on.
Before Tate had taken off for Montana, the more Lucas had known about him, the worse he’d treated him. Tate hadn’t wanted Lucas to know his wants and desires. He’d kept them to himself.
Now, standing face with his old friend, and now the rival, Tate’s smoldering fuse was ready to ignite. He’d taken the brunt of Lucas’ verbal abuse more than once, and wished he’d never sacrificed his personal values for a fist full of Marsh dollars.
“Better get your priorities in order Lucas Marsh, and lock that temper of yours down. Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m here because Ally called me for help, and I won’t stand by and watch you use her again. By the way, she isn’t a game. Not someone to be won in a lottery. Better get used to it.”
“You left her, remember?” Lucas drawled.
“I’ll take care of Ally.” Tate studied Lucas with mild curiosity. Yes, he’d have to keep a close eye on Lucas. He’d seen the jealously brewing in Lucas over the years. He was an old friend, but the last two weeks before he’d left for Montana, their bickering over Ally had proven a flaming battle ground between the two of them.
“Keep in mind, Tate Stone, you were my employee. We’ll let Ally decide, when and what she wants to do.” Lucas threw Tate a sarcastic glance. “Who she wants to be with. I hardly think she’ll choose the wrong side of the tracks again.”
Tate felt the old chill spread across his chest. He wanted to kill Lucas. He clenched his teeth, and tightened his fists as he moved toward him.
Ally’s nerves bundled up around her shoulders, all the pent up anger exploded. The stack of dresses she’d thrown across the sofa, caught a cup handle, sending amber tea running onto the Persian rug—the one precious item she’d salvaged from the house. Another stain in her life.
“Stop it. What’s wrong with you two? My God, haven’t I enough to deal with without you acting like two juveniles in heat?”
Tate and Lucas exchanged murderous glances, each blaming the other for upsetting Ally.
Ally would rather have bitten off her tongue than ask. “Tate, mother’s plot is on the grounds, two-hundred yards east of the barn. I wonder if….”
“Use it, of course. I have no objections. Whatever you need,” Tate said.
Tate mentally kicked himself for not remembering before she was forced to ask. The graveyard was on the property, her family’s property, he’d purchased weeks before leaving for Montana. The oldest private graveyard in the county, of course she wanted to bury her Mom there. God, she was a proud one. He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss away the hurt. but he no longer had the right to do so.
“I’d like to buy back the house and land, Tate. Will you consider it?”
It probably wasn’t the house she wanted back but the memories. “Wha…what?” Tate’s heart jumped to his throat. No way was he selling. “Ally, you know I’ve already started renovation.” The plans, he’d waited for all these years. “Now Ally, honey. You know I said I’d help you out, but this is taking it too far. Besides, what would you buy it back with?”
“I’m not your honey any more. And who gave you privy to my financial status?” Ally seethed at his indiscretion. “Tate, please go, before we both say something we may regret. Is there nothing sacred in this town?” She turned to let both of them know their meeting was over, “Oh, Tate. I forgot. My lawyer called to say the papers I had him draw up on the house are ready to be signed. A little something we haven’t done yet and need to go over. When can you meet with me?”
Tate ran a hand down his face. “Ally. You had no right. You should’ve discussed your wishes to buy the house earlier. Before you went to the expense of hiring a lawyer.”
“Lucas tried to tell me how you were in the beginning. I should have listened, but I trusted you. I loved you. Now you’ve thrown my feelings back in my face. Because you lied, we fought. There’s no truth in you, you’ve always lied to me about him. I’m just sorry it took me this long to find out.”
“You’re wrong, Ally. I’ve never lied to you,” Tate said.
“You wouldn’t recognize the truth if it slapped you in the face, Tate. Why did you come back? You haven’t changed. You’re still the same rotten person you were when you left here five months ago. I’m warning you, don’t mess with me. You’ll be sorry you ever came back.”
Tate smiled, leaned over and nuzzled her ear. “I don’t think you’re in any position to be giving orders. Smile, Ally. Your peers are watching.”
In that moment Ally sent Tate an icy glare. “Play it for all it’s worth, Tate, because it’s the last time you’ll have the upper hand. I will get my family’s property back if it’s the last thing I do.”
Customers had gathered around the bottom of the stairs. All eyes focused on Tate holding Ally firmly by the elbow as he led her down the stairs.
Ally shook off Tate’s hold on her. “Everything’s fine folks. Let’s call it a night. Thank you all for coming. We’ll open again in the morning.”
Lucas glanced toward Tate’s thunderous glance in approval, taking the stairs two at a time chuckling to himself.
Tate smiled to himself. One down. Poor Lucas, he didn’t know he’d been suckered. Tate almost felt sorry for him. He must be getting soft in the head. But making the Marsh family suffer was part of why he came back wasn’t it? To suffer as he had? Each tick of the clock brought him closer to his revenge.

CHAPTER THREE

 

The emptiness mushroomed with each movement of the swing. She wished Tate had never come back. He’d only complicated matters, and she cursed him for arousing old feelings she’d rather have kept deep down inside. It was hard to hide her inner desire any more than she could forget the schoolgirl crush she’d had on him since the age of fifteen. Those burning kisses haunted her, so easily remembered, only heightened when she closed her eyes. The past wouldn’t let her go. Tate was trouble with a big T. Yet she couldn’t avoid drowning in those big blue eyes and wondering what it would be to feel those lips on hers again.
A week later Ally visited Tate. “We need to talk.”
Mistaking Ally’s mood, Tate decided to take matters in his own hands. He raked a big hand through his thick black hair shaking his head, in wonderment. He hadn’t come back to fall in love all over again. She sure was messing up his plans, still…She needed someone…and God help him he wanted to be that someone.
“I have an idea, Ally.” He flashed a smile and pushed a copper curl off her forehead. “I know a little place in San Francisco, where you can sink your teeth into the best Seafood ever. What do you say, ready to set the folks of Marshville on its heels?”
Ally cut her eyes up at him, holding back a smile. “It’s impossible, Tate. No. It’s too soon after mother. Besides, I have the shop to run, and you have a job on your hands, and…well, Tate…We aren’t on the best of terms.”
“Your assistant will take care of everything at the shop. You’ve already said Rona runs the shop as well as you. We’ll only be away for a couple of days, so what’s your next excuse?”

***

This would definitely stand the folks of Marshville on its ears. True, Ally had complete trust that her assistant at the dress shop could handle anything that came her way. Rona was her right arm at Matthews Real Estate. Extremely meticulous, on even terms with the clients–but the deal with Brian Associates…well, she was sure it would be cut and dried, but in the Real Estate business, it was a dog eat dog world, and she wasn’t about to throw away such a big deal. Her profit alone would amount to more than a years regular commission. Still, when she weighed her options, being with Tate won hands down.
It didn’t matter. The townspeople were going to gossip regardless, and since she had no one to answer to, she couldn’t think of any reason not to go. San Francisco, was a long way from here, but it might be what she needed to prove to herself there was nothing between them, and it would be good to get away.
“When do we leave?”
“I’ll make reservations out of Atlanta.” Tate’s cocky grin spread across his face. “Be ready in an hour.”

CHAPTER FOUR

Lucas pushed the old red truck as fast as he dared, hoping to reach Ally before someone else blurted out the news. First her mother, now Tate. He disapproved of their relationship, but she had to make her own mistakes. And as her friend, he’d be there when she needed him. Even if it included information about Tate.
The doorbell rang as Ally closed the last suitcase. “The door is open, Tate. You’re late.”
Lucas stepped over the suitcases, put two and two together and cursed. Tate’s suitcases were strewn over the road where he’d slammed into the tree.
“Lucas. Well…hi. What’re you doing here?
Lucas took both her hands in his. “Can we sit? I have some news,” he said, then pulled her toward the sofa.
One look at Lucas’s face, painted a picture that made her want to run. As blood drained from her face, her legs went weak. “What is it?”
“Ally, honey…there’s been an accident. It’s Tate. He’s been shot.”

 

I hope you have a wonderful July Fourth and Summer and hope the beach is calling you!

Sink your toes in the sand and rushing waves…

I wish you Butterflies and music. But most of all…Love.

Empty Nesting Children & Grandchildren

Cutting those apron strings can be difficult and lead to mixed emotions. Many of them.

It’s a struggle to say the least.

It’s also a time for parents to reconnect.

I don’t know how you feel, but an empty nest applies to Grandchildren as well as our Children.

Oh sure, your daily chores will lighten, but I’d rather have dirty dishes in the sink, loads of laundry and everything else that goes along with teenagers being themselves.

On the other hand, sending our children out into the world to learn, to grow, to be self-reliant are some pretty awesome, proud and healthy moments.

Our Grandson is headed to college in July, immediately after graduation in June.

I don’t know if he simply wants to get some college time behind him, or if he’s ready to assert his independence! It’s likely he also has a mixture of eagerness and maybe a few anxious thoughts.

Whatever he feels, we’re proud of our Grandson and stand behind him in any and everyway we possibly can.

Values Live On

This post isn’t meant to be preachy. Family has been on my mind a lot lately and how proud I am of my son and grandson.

What do we do that would make our ancestors’ hair curl? Granted our descendants manner of living was much more strict than today’s traditions. In many, many ways. We have grown as a culture, good or bad.

Maybe it’s the way we style our hair. Maybe it’s our choice of clothing. Could it be our choice of speech? The way we treat others? We can pray we’ve taught our children from an early age to choose well, to be at ease with life’s options.

And…there are options. Right and wrong choices.

Guidance and encouragement will teach our children to, hopefully, choose the right role models. Perhaps they’ll opt to model their lifestyle in the way we’ve demonstrated, perhaps it’s someone else.

Children do observe everything we do or say. The way we behave towards others. It’s our responsibility to instill good values in our children and grandchildren.

It isn’t our role to judge. When we engage, offer encouragement and support in their choices, we stand by the person they’re becoming. Right or wrong. Though we hope they choose effectively. Choices they make are part of their growth.

Yes, perhaps they’ll make mistakes, who doesn’t? How else are they to learn?

I’ve certainly gathered much knowledge from my own mistakes. We can only hope they learn from theirs.

Running From Time

If there’s one thing I’m unable to manage, it’s the number of stories colliding inside my head.

Characters are always in competition. Hello, she says. Hello, he says. I’m next. Me, me, me! Tell my story.

Every writer I know has the same issues with characters. Whispers in the ear and knocking on the door, inside our heads, are the upside and downside of being a writer.
The upside is there’s always another character plying for story priority. This is a good thing.

The downside is time. Time is the enemy. Yes, the enemy.

Life takes over and there is nothing we can do about that, except to block time to write. A little here, a little there. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, many words pour onto blank pages.

A few years ago I committed to write fifty-thousand words in a month. Well, I did. But about half way through the manuscript, there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to the remainder of the story I undertook. Other stories became priority, so the story lingered on my computer gathering dust until I could find time to make some sense of the clutter.

I will admit to writing fifty-thousand words in a month was a spur of the moment decision. A big mistake without a fairly good outline. While I write many of my stories by seat-of-the -pants, either before I begin, or at some point during writing, I do re-evaluate the storyline. I have much work to do on this story.

Here is a scene from NOT MY OWN.
As an only child, and estranged from her father for nine years, Megan Phillips finds herself the administrator of her father’s estate. In order to acquire the vast estate, which she has no desire to attain, until she learns she must accept responsibility of her seven-year-old half-brother, Adam. News of Adam comes as a complete kick in the gut.

NOT MY OWN

Despite the sunlight’s warmth spider-webbing across the gray marble floor, Megan felt a chill cut to her bones. Death hung in the air. She smelled it. Felt it. Her senses alive with familiarity.

Each click of her heels inched her closer to the hissing respirator of room 407.
Megan pressed three fingers against her temples, hoping to rid herself of the blinding headache.

Accommodating the Vail attorney’s request, providing closure to a chain of unhappy incidents in her past was not what she’d had in mind. Still she’d come. Facing the man in the bed would be the hardest thing she’d done since her husband and son’s death.
Uncertain of his feelings, Megan moved into the room and stopped beside his bed. She knew his illness was terminal, but was unprepared for what she saw. It was all she could do to keep from crying.

She was stubborn, and couldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her tears. With a smile pasted on her face, she walked forward and braved the sight of her father again.
Her breath caught at the blue eyes that once tormented her, staring back glazed in impending death. Anger and resentment passed like a storm in the night over their nine years of separation.

He’d been a virile, yet vain man. The salt and peppered hair that he’d cherished had turned to alabaster.

Thin, yellowed skin folded into crevices of his skeletal form and stilled bony fingers, did little to satisfy her need for revenge. What did it matter that he’d not known she’d become successful in spite of him.

Megan recalled her mother’s words. ‘Time waits for no man. Savor every moment.’ There would be no more moments for her, nor her father. No more time to ease the pain of separation and the precious lifetime they’d spent apart.

A lump rose in her. She felt cheated of the time they’d lost. Had her stubbornness been worth what she knew now to be the last days, maybe hours of her father’s life?

***

 Bret sauntered through the suite’s adjoining room while Megan sat and stared out the hospital’s window. Snow piled high on the window’s ledge and swirled from the winds that had the temperature dropping at an alarming rate.

Unable to get the husky feminine voice out of his head since their phone conversation, he stared at the petite vision before him.

“Ms. Phillips?”

“Yes.” Megan turned. “Mr. Evans?” A shock of sandy hair that fell forward on bronzed skin caught her off guard.

“Bret. Bret Evans.” Bret smiled, immersed in the scent of her perfume. He reached to shake hands but closed his right hand over hers. From photos of her, he’d known she was beautiful but in person, was even more so.

“Please…call me Bret.”

“Thank you. Is it possible to speak with my father?” Bret noticed her eyes and saw a deep hurt inside.

“I’m sorry. Your father has slipped into a coma. If only you could have gotten here sooner.” Bret didn’t know how she felt, but from the look on her face, she was clearly stunned at her father’s condition. “He asked for you.”

Thomas had discussed that they weren’t particularly close and that led Bret to wonder about their estrangement. Something definitely was amiss in their relationship. Bret reached for his briefcase. “Can we talk?”

Megan glanced toward her father and nodded.

Bret rang for the nurse, then led Megan to the elevator and down to the coffee shop. The mirrored elevator gave Bret a perfect view of Megan’s face. She was definitely a beautiful woman.

“To sum it up, Ms. Phillips, your father retained me as your attorney, at least until his estate is settled. Which is quite large, I’m at liberty to say. I’ll act as your attorney until such time you deem no longer necessary.”

Bret waited and watched Megan, as a hint of pain etched her face. “What your father has requested will no doubt come as a complete surprise. There is a matter of great importance that must be taken care of before we can get on with executing the will. My apologies.”

She stared into his eyes. They reminded him of a stormy blue sea, and probably just as dangerous. Surprised that suddenly anger replaced her professional attitude, so much that he had mistakenly seen her as someone who might only think of money at a time like this.

“Mr. Evans. For the record, I’ve no intention of accepting anything from my father. I have no need for an attorney. I came here to appease my father and you, since you were both so insistent.”

“But…”

“Mr. Evans. Whatever monies there are, can be distributed between charities of your choice. How my father’s estate is closed is of no concern to me.”

“Perhaps you’ll experience a change of heart after hearing provisions of the will.” Bret looked as though he’d tried to read her mind, but she’d thrown a wall around her.

“You’re the only person he trusts.”

“I have no reason to believe that line, since he knew nothing about my way of life the past nine years, but if I’m to get this over with, I’ll play along. Tell me. What is this I’m supposed to be so honored with?”

“I’m not sure if you were aware your father had remarried. From the marriage there is a child…a seven-year-old boy. His name is Adam. Adam Phillips.”

Megan’s eyes flickered. “So there’s a child. A brother.” She took a deep breath. “A child my father didn’t even bother to tell me existed.”

Bret ignored Megan’s comment and continued. “Adam is a well mannered, bright child for his age. He loves his father deeply and hasn’t a clue of how to deal with his grief. His mother abandoned him when he was a year old. So, you see the child has no one else which to turn.”

***

Suddenly the sound of Bret’s voice and his demeanor, made Megan nervous. She rose from her seat at the table and walked to the door, intending to end their conversation. But against her better judgment, the child, Adam, her brother, changed her mind.
She made here way back to their table.

Megan sighed and folded her hands on the table. “I’m terribly sorry. I had no way of knowing.” Why was he talking of this child when all she wanted was to get out of here?

“Look, Ms. Phillips.” Bret stuffed his hands in his pockets, stared out over the coffee shop and continued. “Please, may I call you Megan?”

The conversation wasn’t going in the direction she’d hoped. This was not good. She couldn’t shake the uneasiness.

“If you wish.”

“There’s no way to tell you except to ask you outright. Adam is in need of a mother. It’s pertinent we go before the judge before Thomas passes. Not that it’s impossible afterward, but the procedure is more simple beforehand.”

Megan gasped. “What does Adam have to do with me? Surely his mother can be found or there is another family option.”

“Well, you are his sister. And according to your father’s wishes, he’s chosen you, and only you, to care for his son.”

“Quite astounding for a man who hasn’t bothered to call, write or acknowledge the fact that I’m alive—in over nine years. I’m sure you know he disowned me when my mother died.”

“We talked, yes.” Bret stared over at her. “He had a change of heart.”

“He makes certain decisions when the situation benefits him.” She could almost hear her father talking to Bret. “Look. I was young and full of ideas for my own future. Not one he’d built for himself. He was never there for me, and now in death he wants to rule my life? I’m sorry. I can’t do it. I won’t. It’s impossible to mother a child I don’t even know. Besides, I know nothing of raising a child who may or may not want me around. Surely there are other family members.”

“None your father wanted to pursue. Adam’s grandparents could assume responsibility for the boy, but…”

“Well, then. You have your answer, don’t you?”

“Not quite. You see, they haven’t seen Adam since he was a year old. There were objections from his wife’s parents. Thomas was twenty years older than Adam’s mother and her parents grew bitter when she’d married him without their approval. Your father has no desire for his only son to be reared by the aging grandparents. Who, by the way, have had no contact with Adam since his mother left.”

“Is locating the mother out of the question? How do you know the grandparents wouldn’t jump at the chance to raise their grandson?”

“They don’t care about him. If they did, they’d have made provisions to visit him before now. No. The grandparents are not an option.”

“As I said. The child isn’t my problem…or my responsibility. At least they were aware of his birth, so the responsibility stands with them. Now if there isn’t anything else I can do for you, I’d like to get back home as soon as possible. You need to search for the boy’s family.”

“How can I help you reconsider?” Bret spread his hands on the table. “Perhaps you’d meet with me at Thomas’s home this afternoon?”

“And why would I do that? We have nothing else to discuss.”

Megan knew how her father worked and saw that Bret suffered at her father’s hand in not making the custody case easy. Why hadn’t Bret suggested he talk to Megan himself? Explain it all to her. Before, it was too late. Maybe he had, but now—it was too late.

Comatose men tell no stories.

“Adam is looking forward to meeting you, Megan. He’ll be home from school at 3:30.”

“So Adam knows about me? This is heartless. Why wasn’t I told about Adam when you first called?”

But, she knew. She wouldn’t have come. Would’ve refused to come.
Megan’s temple’s throbbed while her insides shook violently from learning she had family in this manner. She wasn’t so sure she wouldn’t crumble under pressure, but stood firm in her belief that family always came first. She was strong and would remain so…if possible.

Adam was her brother, whether she wanted one or not.

 

I wish you Butterflies, Music, and most of all…Love.