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Excerpt from Back from the Brink, one of the four short stories in Love Speaks Softly to the Heart.
Chelsea’s cell phone pinged as she stepped through the coffee shop’s door. She pulled it out of her handbag. A text message from her mom.
“Ooofff” Colliding with something solid, she came to an abrupt halt, lowered the phone and dropped it back into her purse. The utility cart full of dirty dishes, cups and eating utensils rattled with her impact.
A tall, thin dark-haired man in a well-worn gray tee shirt, faded jeans and worn sneakers was bussing the table beside the cart. She narrowed her eyes. There was something familiar about him even though his side was turned to her and she could not see his face. Then he turned his face toward her and she gasped.
The color drained from his face. “Chelsea?”
Her heart stopped and then pounded. Tyler Stevens’ blue eyes had lost their sparkle and his handsome face had become gaunt. Her eyes took in his thin frame again; he had once been muscular and strong.
“I—I’ve got to get to work. Nice seeing you.” He turned his back on her and continued removing the dirty dishes, glasses, cups and cutlery from the table.
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Excerpt from Left Holding the Bag, one of the historical short stories in the collection Stories of Hope.
Lucy Mae Logan approached the bank and gasped. Her body jerked.
“Oh, there you are, just as we planned.” The dark-haired man who had barreled into her exiting the bank touched the brim of his gray Stetson. Her heart pounded under his piercing blue-eyed gaze.
Lucy Mae’s chest tightened. She clutched the handle of her purse in her left hand. “What?”
The man looked back over his shoulder and then looked at her again. “Here, hold this.”
He shoved a brown leather satchel toward her. Her jaw dropped and she grasped the handle with her right hand. Her body jerked to the right with the weight of the satchel. He sprinted off the boardwalk, around the hitching post, grabbed the waiting Palomino’s reins and swung into the saddle.
Six shooter drawn, bank president Howard Wallace rushed out onto the boardwalk and fired a shot missing the man on the horse by just a smidge.
The man winked at Lucy Mae. “You hold on to that satchel and I’ll be back for it, just like we planned.”
Lucy Mae blinked and bit into her bottom lip. The boardwalk seemed to shift under her and Main Street swirled around her. “We what?”
The man tapped the horse’s sides with his heels. The horse lept into motion and carried its rider west down Oak Meadows’ dusty main street.
“Miss Lucy!” Howard hissed, towering over her. His dark, flinty-hard eyes might as well have sent sparks shooting out at her. “I never would have expected you to be an accomplice!
“An accomplice?” she squeaked.
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Excerpt from The Imaginary Friend, one of the collection of short romances in Romance on the Run.
“But, Mom,” Jaylynn protested. “Trevor Channing is real. I saw him early this morning. He disappeared down a hole in the street.”
Sienna Evans glared at her ten-year-old daughter. “Did you get up out of bed and go outside?”
“I got up out of bed when I heard noise. I stood at my window and watched.”
Sienna planted her hands on her hips. “Then how do you know his name?”
“I saw him and his green truck outside the school on Thursday and went over and talked to him.” Jaylynn sat down at the kitchen table. “He’s not married. I asked him.”
Sienna’s brows shot up. “You left the school yard to talk to a stranger and nobody stopped you? I’ll have to call the principal’s office on Monday. They shouldn’t allow students to leave the campus. And you shouldn’t have done that.”
Tears spilled over Jaylynn’s face. “I’m sorry Mama. Does that mean I don’t get any dessert after dinner?”
“On, honey.” Sienna approached her daughter and kissed the top of her head. “I just worry that someone’s going to steal you. Then I’d be heartbroken. Don’t do that again when you’re talking to real people. And I’ll be happy when you outgrow imaginary friends.”
“But Mama, he’s real…” Jaylynn’s voice trailed off and her eyes darted back and forth.
“What is it now?” Sienna crossed her arms in front of her chest and tapped her foot. “You’ve got something on your mind.”
Jaylynn bit her bottom lip. “I invited Mr. Channing to dinner tonight.”
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A homeless alcoholic finds hope in the spirit and magic of Christmas.
Excerpt from Aunt Zelda and the Real Santa.
Zelda Zane pursed her lips and heaved a sigh. This was most disheartening. In all her sixty-five years, she’d never seen a more perfect Santa and there he was dirty, disheveled and passed out in the planter on the pedestrian mall outside Bull’s Eye Discount Store. There was nothing sadder than a person who was lost and caught in the web of a downward spiral. For this man, that was about to change.
“Get up,” she ordered.
The big, white-haired man’s eyelids fluttered open. His eyeballs rolled back in their sockets and his eyelids shut again.
“Oh no you don’t.” Zelda planted her hands on her hips; her purple handbag dangled on its purple straps in the crook of her left elbow. “I know you have a hangover and that you were probably drinking all night. I bet you’ve been drinking most of your life away. Get up anyway. This is the last hangover you’ll ever have. I have a job for you.”
Find Aunt Zelda, her niece Chrissy and Sam Turner, the man who thought he was hopeless on Amazon.
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