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Manspread – the Sequel by Barbara Wallace

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There’s been a few changes in the Wallace household since I wrote my original Manspread blog last month.

“What?” you say. “Did your husband reduce his clutter?”

Don’t be silly. My dining room table is still ground zero for paper boat construction, and we still have the world’s largest collection of sailing magazines.

No, the big change since I wrote my original blog is that Manspread Man (husband’s new official nickname) has discovered Ebay.  It started with the purchase of an adorable table top cabinet to hold his paper boats.

pretty boats

I should have known that one little purchase would open a dangerous door.  This is my family room now.  choo choo

That’s right.  Manspread has started collecting model trains with a vengance.  Every other day a new piece arrives – a box car, an engine, a piece of track – and the set up grows a little larger.  “I’m recreating my childhood memories,” Manspread tells me.  All I know is that his childhood memory is taking up half

Manspread Man. Painting courtesy of my niece.

Manspread Man. Painting courtesy of my niece.

the room, and blocking access to my chaise lounge.  When yet another locomotive arrived the other day (bringing the total to eleven) Manspread just flashed a sheepish smile and said, “I may have a problem.”

Ya think?

But, as he pointed out the other night, I love him.  (And he’s a good sport to put up with these blogs too.) What’s a few (dozen) trains or model boats right? Besides, I think the model phase might be winding down.

After all, it’s almost boating season.

Millionaire for Cinderella

 

 

When she’s not battling manspread, Barb Wallace can be found writing her latest sweet romance.  Her next release, A MILLIONAIRE FOR CINDERELLA, will be out in June.  Look for it in select retailers or pre-order your copy online.  

 

6

Complain Much? by Samantha Hunter

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We all do it. Some of us do it waaaay too much. Complaining, that is. I had a very complainy day last Monday, which led me to write this blog.

It’s normal, it’s human, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing to do, unless we lose control of our complaining. We all have a bad day or two, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing that — worse to hold it in, like trying not to sneeze. But when is complaining a reasonable thing to do, and when do we go over that “too much” line?

complainEven as we count our blessings, we all can have a bad day and need to acknowledge that. It relieves stress to share, and to get support, or know you are not the only one. Personally, I find people who never complain difficult to relate to because no one is happy all the time; in some sense, complaining shows we are human and connects us to others who can “relate.” But where’s the line and how do you tell?

I read two articles in Psychology Today and The Atlantic that offer a few pieces of advice.

The key, of course, is awareness — how can we become aware of how often we are complaining? The Psychology Today writer uses a bracelet that she moves from arm to arm every time she catches herself complaining. Or, you could also keep a log, orcomplaining2 perhaps put a dollar in a jar every time you complain. Or make a red check on the calendar for each complaint you catch? Of course, that’s so old-fashioned. Perhaps there’s an app that could help us Keep Track? (I tried using this and found it hard to figure out, but I’m not much of an app person — you might have better luck). If you are brave, you could ask a family member or friend to nudge you when you are complaining too much. ;) (Poor Linus…)

Perhaps instead of just not complaining, we need to learn to complain better. The Atlantic article says, “Those who complained with the hope of achieving a certain result, the study found, tended to be happier than those who simply did so for its own sake.”

So it’s better to complain in order to get ideas to solve the problem that’s making you complain in the first place. I think this is a good self-awareness question — am I complaining to get some advice, or just to let off some steam?

But complaining “just because” is okay, too — in limited amounts. The Atlantic article points out that “complaints don’t necessarily need to achieve results in order to be beneficial—one of the most common reasons people complain is for catharsis or emotional release….”  We all need to let off steam now and then — but perhaps we do that too much, especially online (sometimes I think Social Media should be called Complaint Media). Or quietly, in our heads, undermining our day. The trick is getting a handle on that.

The general conseComplaining_0397ff_164028nsus is that complaining less, for most people, or complaining better, can make you happier (and perhaps the people around you, too). Personally, I am making sure I don’t complain on social media more than once a week – when I post something, I want people to get something out of it, some value. And on a daily basis, I’m trying to be more aware of my complaining. On the occasional really yuck day, I’ll also give myself a break.

Do you feel you complain too much? How do you know if you are complaining too much, or complaining in a reasonable way? How can we become more aware? Any ideas for keeping track or changing habits?

 

 

 

 

8

An African Love Story

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Wedding st Leopard Tree Lodge AustraliaWith the reissue of A Leopard Tree Lodge, set in Botswana, and digging out books for neighbours who are going on safari in Kenya later this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the time I spent in Africa.

I left home when I was 20 for Zambia, where I was seretary to the Director of Game and Fisheries . It was a dream job. You never knew what was going to arrive in the office.

One day it would be a parcel of old stockings – still arriving years after an appeal for them to help restrain the animals being relocated as the waters rose behind the new Kariba Dam.

One day is was a Night Ape, a species of Bush Baby – a tiny ball of fur with huge eyes – that was going to the world famous zoo in Jersey

There were trips from the Ministry to the Headquarters at Chilanga where I met the tiniest orphaned elephants. They are unbelievably cute, quite hairy and with eyelashes that are inches long.

On one amazing occasion the Chief Game Warden flew his secretary and me to the Luangwa Valley in a plane given to the Department by the World Wildflife Fund for game counting.

We were there to work, of course – not game counting, but hanging curtains! One of the safari camps, built alongside the Luangwa river, was being opened up for the season and we were there to do oversee the houseeeping, but oh boy, it was amazing.

The Luangwa Valley was – and is – one the richest wildlife areas in Africa and I saw everything but a lion on that trip. The animals were incredible but the birds… The birds are breathtaking.

511y4thQH9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_I met the best beloved in Zambia (an expat like me he was out there constructing reservoirs) and our next African stop was Botswana where I set A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge. We lived on the edge of the desert and the cattle grazed not on grass but on the leaves of the Mopane tree. It was all baboons in the kopjes and moths the size of birds. If you stood under the mopane tree by our front door you could hear the caterpillars crunching through the leaves!

From there we went to Kenya (the setting for my first book, An Image of You). We were living at 6000 ft above sea level in an old settler farmhouse out the bush and in the clear, cool dawn we could see the sunrise turn the snow pink on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro over the border in Tanzania.

We could sit there, too, and feel the rush of cool air as the clouds rolled over the next hill, down the valley and over us. The scent of the earth when it rains after long hot days brings it right back.

Africa, I was once told, is a love affair that never leaves you. And it’s true.

For news of Liz’s books, follow her on Twitter @lizfielding

Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lizfieldingauthor

Sign up for her newsletter on her webpage at http://www.lizfielding.com

 

 

 

 

10

Broads, or an English springtime walk, by Kate Hardy

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Kate HardyIn my part of the world, there’s a series of waterways called The Broads. They were basically formed by people digging peat (used for fuel) during Roman to Medieval times, and over the years the area flooded (though it was thought until the 1950s that they were naturally formed).

We had a walk at the weekend near South Walsham, in a place called Fairhaven Water Gardens, and it was just lovely. All you could hear was birdsong. So I thought I’d share it with you today :)

We wandered along the river until we came to the King Oak. Apparently it’s over 950 years old (and was a sapling when William the Conqueror came over – now there’s food for thought). And did you know that an oak tree can draw up 50 gallons of water a day during the summer?

mar south walsham 1

 

 

Next we came to the ice hole – used right up until the 1940s (when refrigeration came to the big house, and over the years the hole was blocked by leaves falling in the autumn).

mar south walsham 2

 

(Just to keep this vaguely literary – my friend Nicola Cornick wrote a fabulous book with an ice house scene (The Wayward Widow) and I always think about that when I see ice houses or ice holes!)

I took an arty shot of the trees for my daughter, as the teens didn’t come with us this week.

mar south walsham 3

 

And then we came to the broad itself – very pretty.

mar south walsham 4

Another wander through the trees… (All right ,and another arty shot where I was focusing on the reflections.)

mar south walsham 5

 

And then we came to some lovely woodland flowers – what I guess Wordsworth would’ve called ‘a host of golden’ (but we weren’t lonely as we wandered…)

mar south walsham 6

And some gorgeous English primroses.

mar south walsham 7

And finally some blossom to tell us that Spring was definitely on our way.

mar south walsham 8

Do you have signs of spring (or autumn/fall, if you’re in the southern hemisphere)?

HARDY-BachelorAtHerBidding-SMALL

it started at a weddingKate’s latest releases are Bachelor at her Bidding (the cake book) and (at the beginning of April) It Started At a Wedding… (which, if you love Italy, wedding dresses and toffee, will be right up your street). You can find out more about the books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/) – or find her on Facebook

A Monday Laugh

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Happy Monday everyone!

I love to laugh and share a laugh more than anything. I think laughter is good for the heart and soul.  And sometimes with my day job, I have to find ways to laugh. I’m sure my boss is secretly happy that I now work from home because I know I laugh at the weirdest things. But, to be honest, sometimes, I don’t know of any other way to cope. Anger isn’t my thing.

This weekend, I discovered a commercial that will keep me laughing and smiling for some time.

 

Sometimes I go back to SuperBowl commercials or I pick up my battered copy of Bloom County comics compilation for a laugh. Bill the Cat’s antics always have me ROFL.

What makes you smile or laugh during the day if you need it? Anyone remember Opus and the gang?

 

Abbi :-)

Racing to the Finish Line

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I hate to see my books end. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love meeting deadlines, ticking things off to do lists…getting the balance of my advance. LOL But there’s a sadness involved with leaving beloved characters behind.

That is particularly true with Devon Donovan’s story, HEAD OVER HEELS FOR THE BOSS, because it’s the last of the Donovan Brothers novels. More than that, though, I’ve lived with these stories for DECADES. The first two books were stories I knew Harlequin would  never want from me. There was no “home” for them. So for over ten years I’d think about them and sigh.

Along came epublishing and they found a home at Entangled. Not only did I spend the past year and a half with three sexy brothers and three fun heroines, but also the brothers had a mom who appeared in all three books. She gets married in HEAD OVER HEELS FOR THE BOSS. It’s a wonderful event, but it was one more way for me to feel the stories from the series coming to an close as everyone’s life found meaning and purpose and just about everybody found love.

I’ll also miss the Dinner Belles, the nondenominational women’s group that made the lunches for after funerals and the dinners for wedding receptions held at the fire hall. But they also held fundraisers that included things like the Dunk the Clown booth where Finn and Ellie had held their infamous competition.

Then there’s Charlotte Simmons and Alice Lenosky, the town gossips. I’ll miss them because I don’t get a chance to redeem them. I’ll miss Brett the bartender, the cashiers at O’Riley’s market, and Joni Zimmerman who made the great donuts.

It takes a village to write a small town romance series. LOL And it’s not easy to walk away from those people who made up the town. And the people who were close to or who made up the heroines’ friend pools.

Especially Barbara Beth Rush.

Barbara Beth is a woman who dresses a little too Dolly Parton, yet gives the best makeovers to everybody else. She hugs everyone. She can get in your business and make you feel like you should thank her for interfering. She’s loud but funny. And has a heart so big there isn’t anyone in town she hasn’t helped at one time. Or anybody in town who doesn’t love her…Except she never found a hero…

Hey, maybe there’s one more Donovan book after all?

Happy Reading

susan meier

 

Sugar and spice and the F-word

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MichelleD

Remember that childhood rhyme:

 

What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice and all things nice

That’s what little girls are made of.

 

Hmm…I’m not so sure, you know.

I spent the weekend before last at the Australian Romance Readers Convention (which was great good fun), but a topic was raised—involving the F word—and it started me thinking…

It happened during a panel I took part in called ‘Love, Categorically,’ with Melanie Milburne, Rachel Bailey and Kandy Shepherd. Funnily enough it was about category romance. :-) But one of the questions we were asked was: Did we identify as feminists? We all answered that we did. We were then asked: How do you square your feminist principles with writing romance?

You know what? That is a big, big question. We could’ve stayed there for hours discussing the issue and trying to nut it out, but sadly we ran out of time. The fact of the matter is that some romance novels display a feminist sensibility and some don’t. As Isabel Fahri (granddaughter to Betty Friedan and avid romance reader) has said: “I’ve certainly read romances I put down out of disgust at the weak women who cling to a man, or the women who let themselves create an identity inextricably linked to a lover’s. But all sorts of novels can have those problems, and all genres cover a wide swath of opinions and themes. That sort of anti-feminism isn’t inherent to the romance genre. It’s more endemic, and that’s much, much worse.

The question is such an interesting one to me because I very firmly believe that it’s not genre fiction’s job to incorporate a political ideology. We’re probably all aware that fantasy and political correctness don’t necessarily travel hand-in-hand. BUT, as a feminist, I certainly don’t want to write anything that can be construed as denigrating to women.

Naturally, so much of this depends on what your definition of feminism might be. I’m reading Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist at the moment and she quotes Su, interviewed by Kathy Bail in DIY Feminism (sorry folks, bad language alert) who said that feminists are, “just women who don’t want to be treated like shit.” I have to admit  that, while crude, I like the simplicity of that definition.

At it’s most basic, though, I simply believe in equal rights for women and men. Of course, now I want to know what everyone else’s definition of feminism happens to be. :-)

Victoria Dahl gave a great keynote at the convention too on Unsympathetic Heroines, which has made me think even deeper about the issue. Maybe I’ll chat about that next time. :-)

 

In Search of Dessert

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by Donna Alward

I’m in search of dessert! I’m at a loss as to what to make for dessert for our Easter dinner this year. So I’m looking for YOUR recipes! And there’s a prize! Just go ahead and use the rafflecopter widget to enter for the prize, which I’ll choose at random. Leave a link to the recipe in the comments.

And if I pick YOUR recipe to make for our dessert, after Easter I’ll highlight it, and you, on my website.

Ready? Go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am Tone Deaf by Denise Eagan (with giveaway!)

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Today’s Guest Chocolate is historical author Denise Eagan.  Keep reading all the way to the end, because she’s got a special giveaway as well as an excerpt from her book Shadows of the Soul.  Welcome Denise!

Thanks to Chocolate Box Writers for having me here! I’ve been looking forward to it. So today I thought I’d talk about writing and music.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Popular_Science_Musical_Test%2C_1931.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Popular_Science_Musical_Test%2C_1931.jpg

First of all, you have to understand that I am tone deaf. Seriously, terribly, tone deaf, the kind of singer that makes people pull out their hair and run away screaming.  When I was young, though, I didn’t believe that. As a teenager I even taught myself to play the guitar and I wrote songs. The problem was I never noticed when the guitar was out of tune, much to the torment of my poor, suffering family. Then one day a friend of mine told me, as were were singing in the car, that I had actually hit all the notes. She was cheerfully amazed. And very drunk. Point drilled home.

After that, the only time I questioned my tone deafness was when my first son was born and I sang him to sleep with the theme to Gilligan’s Island. It was the only song I could remember all the lyrics to. Besides “Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale” is kind of writerly. And it worked! Like a charm. Quickly. Very quickly. Insanely quickly.  As in, I never got anywhere near the fateful crash part quickly. In later years my son claimed he went to sleep in self-defense. Rotten kid.

I tried, but never managed it, with my youngest son, who cried from the moment he was born until he could speak. His first complete sentence? “Something’s wrong.” Yeah, kid I know, I know. I gave up. These days I only sing in the car with the windows rolled up.

So, with that kind of history, you might think music wouldn’t matter to me. But that is dead wrong. I love music. I have a Sirius subscription. I use it in all sorts of ways, like as motivation. How can a person hear Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” and not want to do great things? Or Katy Perry’s “Roar”? I use music to exercise by, too, like Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch My Breath” both for content, and for the tongue in cheek joy of it.  I have playlists for long drives, and playlists for romantic dinners. I even have cooking playlists, which for reasons I can’t explain include Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Mostly though, I use music to write.

It’s a little perplexing, I know. Even I thought so until one day my husband and I were discussing a song we both loved. For me it was about the song’s message. He, however shrugged, and said he liked the melody but had never listened to the words. Wait? What? People don’t listen to the words? But. . .but then why bother?

And then I had an de-epiphany (in that I’d had this epiphany many times before, in different ways): I may like a song’s melody, but what I key into is the lyrics. To me songs are just poems put to music, and poems are, to quote one of my favorite authors, Mary Stewart, “the best words in the best order” (Nine Coach’s Waiting). Good lyrics inspire me.  I have a playlist for every book I’ve written, which I put on repeat until the songs melt into the background. When I’m stuck or going off track, I’ll pause for a minute, focus on the music, and it centers me in the story once again.  For my current release,  Shadows of the Soul my playlist is 8 songs long:

“Iris”Goo Goo Dolls

“I Knew I Loved You”Savage Garden

“Crash and Burn”Savage Garden

“How You Remind Me”Knickleback

“Against All Odds”Phil Collins

“Escape”Enrique Iglesias

“Hero”Enrique Iglesias

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”Aerosmith

Like all the songs in all of my playlists, these hit certain aspects of the book for me, or brings out certain emotions. “How You Remind Me” is very tortured-hero. “Against All Odds” is the black moment in this book. “Iris” is quintessentially how the hero, Luke, feels at the beginning of the book. As a child he was psychologically tortured, leaving him feeling disconnected with people in general and himself in particular. His character arc is about him becoming in touch with himself and his own humanity.

The plot however, is most captured by “I Knew I Loved You”. Basically Shadows of the Soul—set in Iowa 1871–is a story about the sister of a small-town preacher who discovers that her imaginary friend is real. Only, however, after he’s used their telepathic connection, which she is not fully aware of yet, to seduce her. Considering that her childhood obsession with her imaginary friend has earned her the term “mad” in her small town, she’s less than when Luke finally confesses:

“And other people? Can you read them, too?” Beth asked.

Luke blinked, hesitating for a second. “No. Only you.”

“Only me.” Her mind churned along, trying to grasp something important, just out of reach. “How long have you known this?”

“How long?” He stared over her shoulder into the distance as if he thought to find an answer there. “From the beginning.”

Pictures flew through her mind as that “something” came closer—of the fire, of the boy in the corner—“Since you came to town.” But that wasn’t true, either. . . .

He shifted his gaze to meet hers, his eyes narrowing. “Before that.”

Before that? But how—” The boy in the corner, crying—a memory. But only of the mind, not from experience. She was a little girl again, alone in her room crying over her Pa’s death when suddenly she had a vision of a blond boy in a corner. He looked ever so sad, ever so alone, in need of a friend. Death’s pall hung over him—and over Beth. Their pain crossed the distance between them—not a room, or a street, or a town or a city, but over a thousand miles, almost half a continent. Why, oh why had God taken Papa from her?

The boy who her imagination created spoke in her head. Oh, she’s so pretty!

Who? Who are you? Who’s talking to me?

You can hear me?

I can hear you. I can see you. Why are you crying?

She’s dead—

He’s dead—

I miss her so much.

I miss him, too.

Later, much later, other voices followed, real voices, attached to the taunting faces of very real children. “You’re mad—Beth Hartwell’s crazy, a loony, loco—” And Jo’s voice, stern: “You can’t talk to people with your mind, Beth.” And David’s voice, kinder, but just as firm: “It’s your imagination, Bethany. You may have an imaginary friend, but you must keep it to yourself.” Followed by the children again— “She’s crazy. Don’t play with her—she’s crazy . . . crazy . . . crazy.” It echoed in her mind. A chill ran across Beth’s skin and the hair on her neck rose as she came back to the present, staring into the eyes of her imaginary childhood friend, full grown.

“It’s you. Oh my goodness, it’s you. You’re real!”

***

Luke peered at Beth, marking both awe and bewilderment in her blue-gray eyes. He would open his mind to read her thoughts if it wouldn’t in turn make her privy to his. He couldn’t risk it. She’d come near enough to the darkness already; any nearer and he might lose her.

“Why?” she sputtered. “How? Where did you come from? No . . . this isn’t real. It can’t be! I made you up. Everybody said so. You’re not real!”

His heart seemed to lodge in his throat. He swallowed several times, but it refused to settle. “I am.”

“But you can’t be! How could I talk to somebody over a thousand miles away? Oh no, you’re lying, I know you are. You talked to people in town and decided . . . decided . . . to use that information.”

The awe faded and lines of tension formed around her mouth, her eyes. Why? Did she feel hope also? Joy from meeting him at last? Confound it, he couldn’t tell. “I don’t know how. All I know is that we did. We do.”

She peered at him for a minute, then shook her head. “I don’t believe you.”

Her voice was flat, final, and Luke flinched. She might as well have said she didn’t believe in him. For a few heart-stopping seconds he deliberated the truth of it, as if he might be only a figment of her imagination. Ah but not possible, for he’d left behind hundreds of dead bodies as proof.

Closing his eyes, Luke summoned up images from his childhood, after Aunt Millie’s death and before the war, when he was yet innocent of true wickedness and dead-set on proving Aunt Vicky’s ravings to be false. Wasted efforts, wasted time. “You had a doll with a gingham dress. When you turned nine you wished to embroider a blue rose on it despite your future sister-in-law’s counsel against it, for she said that everyone knew that blue roses didn’t exist. You told her you didn’t care, that there ought to be blue roses and that God had made a mistake. You vexed her so much that she sent you to your room and bade you copy Bible verses until you learned not to question the wisdom of your Maker.”

Beth’s lips quivered. “Jo told you that.”

Holding her gaze, he continued. “Instead, you scribbled a full page ranting about Jo’s tyranny, in which you included every cuss word you knew.” He smiled. “Chiefly such things as dirty and muddy and poopy, since you didn’t actually know any cuss words. It made me laugh, which made you laugh. Afterward, you burned that sheet fearing that if Jo or David found it you’d fall deeper into disgrace. Then you copied the verses.”

Tears trickled down her face. “That same year,” he said, “you decided to share our connection with your family and friends. They did not respond enthusiastically, or even amicably, as you expected. Instead, they insisted that you’d created me. You refused to denounce me, but you did decide that as my creator you could name me. Your brother was reading you A Christmas Carole by Dickens at the time and you named me Timmy after Tiny Tim. I hated it.”

“But you wouldn’t tell me your real one—”

“Because I hated that more.” Lucas, for Lucifer. Devlin, for Devil. Wilson had been right.

“Sometimes,” she said, “it felt like you were there right next to me, like you were part of me. Whenever I was downhearted or cross or lonesome I’d call on you. You always brought back my cheer. But then you left.” She wiped a sudden tear. “You left me all alone.”

Her anguish seized his throat and squeezed. “I had to,” he said in a voice so low he almost couldn’t hear himself speak.

“They said I was mad.”

“I told you they were wrong.”

“You left and I had no choice but to believe them.”

“I vowed to return. I made you that grass ring and you gave me your oath that you’d wait for me.”

“Wait for you!” she yelled. He winced. “Wait for you! Luke that was ten years ago!”

“I’d no notion of how long it would take.”

“I thought you a figment of my imagination. At times I thought I was crazy. Did you not know that? Couldn’t you feel it? You left and I tried to reach you again and again and again.” She was truly crying now, and the pitch of her voice rose with rage, yet was marbled by pain.

“Beth, I couldn’t. I had to discover—”

“Where have you been all this time? Why didn’t you come? Why didn’t you tell me—Dear Lord!” She sprang up and away from him. “You did come. You’ve been here a month. You’ve known all along who I was, but you never mentioned it, not once. You knew and you didn’t tell me.” Her eyes widened and Luke clenched his teeth. He’d no need to read her mind to trail after her rushing, writhing thoughts. “And then last night you planted all of that in my mind.” She held a hand to her throat. “You used our connection, our years of friendship, everything you knew about me to . . . to seduce me. Had you told me the truth about yourself, I’d have been prepared, I might have resisted it. You knew that, too.”

He was losing her. It didn’t make sense. This was their destiny; shouldn’t she understand? “No, that’s not what I meant.” He stood. “Let me explain.” He stepped toward her.

“No!” She backed away. “Don’t touch me! Don’t you dare touch me! You’re not real.”

“Beth, honey, you’re confused. You’re not thinking clearly.”

“Yes, I am! For the first time since you arrived my mind is crystal clear. My thoughts are my own thoughts. Not yours, but mine.”

“Beth—”

“Bethany? Luke? What’s going on here?”

Luke whipped around. David was walking toward them, stepping around gravestones as his eyes, somber as a judge’s, flickered from Luke to Beth. Marking Beth’s tear-stained face, David’s expression softened. He pushed by Luke and drew her into his arms. “You’ve heard, I take it. I’m sorry. I hoped to tell you myself.”

Beth leaned into him and Luke’s chest tightened. Damn David! And damn her for accepting solace from David while rejecting his efforts. How easily she forgot David’s complicity in her so-called madness!

“Heard what news?” she asked, as Luke glared at them.

David offered her his handkerchief. “About Janice Whitcomb. Isn’t that the reason you’re weeping?”

“Janice?” She stared at David. “What’s wrong with Janice?”

“There’s been another murder. Janice Whitcomb is dead.”

Yeah, I should mention there’s a killer on the loose too!  So, are you inspired by music, too? Are there songs that you use to cheer you up? To motivate you? That help you sort through difficulties, or are just so wonderful you belt them out when you hear them? Leave a comment and register to win an e-copy of Shadows of the Soul and an Amazon $10 email gift card. Make sure to leave contact information!

DeniseEagan_ShadowsOfTheSoul_200pxWhat happens when you find out your imaginary friend is real?

She thought she’d imagined him. . .
Beth Hartwell is a little bit crazy. Or so her hometown of Mayfield believes, due to her long-ago obsession with her imaginary friend. Although in 1871, at the age of twenty-two, Beth has long since forgotten him, the phrase sticks to her like prickles to wool. If she’s ever going to be normal, she must marry a nice, normal man, have nice, normal children and live a nice normal life. She’s one reluctant yes away from accepting the only man who’ll take her, when handsome, mysterious Luke Devlin comes to town. Upon touching him, visions of fire beset her, along with a deep, unexplainable familiarity. . .

But he was real. . .
Calamity and suffering follow Luke everywhere he goes. An orphan from birth, Luke was raised in the shadow of a mad aunt who insisted that he was evil incarnate—Satan’s son. After years of seeking proof that she was wrong, he finally accepts her ravings as prophesy. To fulfill that prophesy, he must claim his “dark angel,” the little girl with whom he had a telepathic relationship as a boy.

Trapped between love and a prophecy
Unfortunately Beth, a midwife and sister to the town’s preacher, is hardly “dark.” In order for Luke to win her, he must use everything in his arsenal, including seduction, lies and trickery. In order for Beth to pull him out of the shadows, she must uncover the secrets behind his sad, dying eyes. As the battle lines are drawn, however, a murderer strikes in Mayfield and the town accuses Luke. . .

If you can’t wait for the giveaway, no worries.  You can purchase SHADOW OF THE SOUL for Kindle right now by clicking here.  To read more excerpts from this and Denise’s other titles, visit her website at www.deniseeagan.com

 

 

 

 

 

Paris/Book Giveaway Winner! by Samantha Hunter

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