A snippet from Heartfelt, due out Fall 2012:

After giving Trish a quick kiss through the passenger window, Bella galloped off. Trish watched until her daughter’s red T-shirt blended with the other red-shirted day campers. Sending Bella to Camp Laurel had been a huge step in the process of letting go of the child to let her make her own way in the world. But it hadn’t been an easy one. If Trish had her way, her daughter would stay by her side, safe and protected.

“You have that same look on your face every time we drop her off,” murmured Ashley from behind the wheel of her midsize sedan.

Startled by the observation, Trish slumped back in her seat and sent her friend a sideways glance. “What look is that? And how do you know what I look like anyway, since I was looking out the window?”

Sunlight filtered through the windshield and flashed off of shiny red nail polish as Ashley pointed to the side view mirror. “The look that says you want to go with her and make sure she doesn’t have to fight any battles today.”

A soft laugh escaped Trish’s lips. “I guess I just got so used to doing it from the time she was little.”

Ashley lifted an eyebrow. “It’s the same look you lay on Danny when you send him off for the day.”

The laugh stuck in Trish’s throat and she nearly choked on the indignation that rose like bile. “I do not look at Dan like that. He’s the most capable man I’ve ever met, even without his sight.”

“Well, there’s capable and there’s… capable.” Ashley shrugged and turned the ignition key. “And there are definitely things you shelter your man from the same way you shelter your daughter.”

The thought of needing to shelter Dan from anything was ludicrous. He’d walked blind through a hurricane to save Bella, for Pete’s sake. Trish shook her head. “You’re crazy.”

“Am I?” Ashley spun the wheel and they made a left onto the road that would carry them to Morehead City. “Why didn’t you tell Dan about your appointment today?”

Trish puffed out her cheeks and then released the breath through pursed lips. “Because I’m having a sonogram. The last one before I deliver, barring any problems.”

“Trish, that’s a big deal!” Ashley spared her a brief glance before returned her eyes to the road. “Why wouldn’t you want Danny along?”

This time the chuckle that squeezed out wasn’t so amused. “You’re kidding, right? He can’t see the pictures.”

“Oh, like you couldn’t describe them to him in exquisite detail.”

They turned onto the four-lane Atlantic Beach Causeway and the buildings they passed became a blur of rental condos and charter fishing outfits. A pawn shop advertised military surplus items. Close enough to Camp Lejeune that personnel willing to make the nearly hour-long drive lived there, but with perfect access to beaches and ocean fishing, Morehead City was an odd mix of tourists and Marines.

Trish swallowed over the lump of emotion in her throat. “It hurts him… Ash. It hurts him that he’ll never see the baby. It disappoints him when the baby stops moving and he can’t feel him kicking.”

The tires hit the long bridge and began to sing along the pavement as they left the causeway behind. The fishy smell of the ocean hit her nostrils and her stomach began to protest. Trish closed her eyes. Probably even before the road whine began, Dan would have known exactly where they were if he’d come along. Sounds and smells. That was how Dan found his way most of the time. Sounds, smells, his sharp memory. His guide dog, Jack. Her arm and her descriptions. Even Bella was learning to adapt to Dan’s blindness, though that was a doubly good thing since he required her to talk more and her speech had improved as a result.

They approached an intersection in time for the light to flash up to yellow and then red. Ashley eased off the accelerator, sending another quick look in Trish’s direction as she braked to a stop behind a sporty red SUV. “And you know this how?”

“It’s all over his face.” Trish sighed. “He couldn’t feel the baby kick this morning.” The baby had been so active but the minute Dan had touched her belly, all the internal pokes and jumps and waves had stopped—almost as though someone had waved a magic wand. Dan had grinned and shrugged but his brow had pinched ever so slightly and a small sigh had escaped. It broke Trish’s heart every time that happened, and lately she’d seen it happen a lot.

Still time to read the first three installments in the Heartsight stories before Heartfelt is released! Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sweet Saturday Sample from Heartfelt

Happy Father’s Day weekend!

I just got a contract for Heartfelt, the next in my Military Romance, Heartsight series – visiting some dear old friends…lots of them, actually.

Dan eased a breath out and he steered her toward the kitchen table. “Okay, so let’s sit down and you can tell me what’s up. What’s this about a job offer?”

“Jay’s going to help me by cleaning the rooms during the week and doing some of the cooking,” said Trish brightly. She startled Dan by directing him to the seat Bella usually sat in. Then she settled in her own chair with a lot of grunting and heavy breathing.

“I’m off until school starts again and I’ve been told I’m a fair cook, so I’m happy to help,” said Harris from across the table, apparently occupying Dan’s seat.

“It was a stroke of genius on Ashley’s part to think of Jay when Dr. Peroli told me to take things easier.” Trish squeezed Dan’s hand.

“Pure genius,” Dan found himself agreeing through lips stiffened by his strained attempt at a smile. He’d be certain to thank the little mastermind for being such a good problem solver later.

“And convenient that Jay was at loose ends.” Trish giggled. “Well, convenient for us anyway.”

“Yes… ah… convenient.” He nodded toward the seat across the table. His seat across the table. “Thanks, man.”

“Hey, can’t let Montgomery House close for the summer when I’m right here, ready and able.” Jay laughed softly.

Ready and able, huh? Dan opened his mouth. Closed it again and forced a smile. In the face of his wife’s tangible excitement, it was apparent that suggesting they should shut the B and B down until the baby came wouldn’t go over well. He’d do better to keep his mouth shut.

Even if hiring a man to do Trish’s job did feel weird and uncomfortable.

<><>And if you haven’t read the beginning of this continuing story, Heartsight and Operation: Christmas Hearts are still on sale at Amazon. <><>

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Sweet Saturday Samples

By the time they reached the front porch, Justin had regained his internal balance. She did that for him. Just being with her made him not want to waste even a second of their precious time together. By some kind of unspoken agreement, they both stopped just outside the front door. In silence they moved into each other’s arms. The kiss started out with gentle caring, but quickly heated. With the slightest pressure of his lips, Beth parted hers, and he sampled her honey-sweet essence. Craving more, needing her with every part of him, Justin slipped a hand beneath the jacket she wore and gripped her along the rib cage. With a soft groan, she bent backward, exposing her neck to his trailing lips.

The porch light flared and she jumped back, pulling from his embrace with eyes somehow wide and blinking at the same time. “What happened? What is that?” She stared at the yellow bulb as though just learning about electricity.

Justin chuckled. “That’s my mom keeping her promise to your dad and looking out for your virtue.”

“My virtue?” Beth turned her blinking gaze onto him. “My virtue was in danger?”

Justin offered a shrug. “Getting there. Definitely getting there.”

A slow grin spread across Beth’s face. “Fa-ar out…”

<><><>Abiding Echoes<><><>

Love is family…
The McGee family is devastated when their beloved patriarch, Justin, suffers a heart attack. Having lost their mother too soon, Ryan and Sean can only pray for their father’s recovery.
Love is endless…
Justin knows how much his children love and need him, but he’s tired and they have families of their own now. Watching his sons with their wives is bittersweet for him, because it makes him miss his beloved Beth all the more. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about her… want to be with her.
Love is timeless…
And suddenly, she’s there. With him, beside him in some strange way he doesn’t understand. But speaking and reminiscing with her about the day they met and how they fell in love seems more real than the heartbroken family holding vigil at his bedside.
Love is abiding…
Justin’s love for Beth has only strengthened over their years apart and he’s longed for the time when he’d see her again. Finally, that time is here. Who has the greater claim on him, his family… his grandchildren… or the love of his life?

ABIDING ECHOES – COMING THIS SUMMER FROM ASTRAEA PRESS

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Sweet Saturday Sample/Abiding Echoes Excerpt

From my July release! Abiding Echoes:

Part of his mind recognized a hospital room, though it had been a while since he’d seen one from flat on his back. The ceiling seemed farther above him than it should have been, and the walls surrounding him felt tight, as though he was looking upward from the bottom of a long shaft. A movement to his right caught his eye, and Justin became aware that he wasn’t alone.

Turning his head slightly, his gaze locked on the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen in his life. A riot of blonde curls reminded Justin of a lion’s mane as they cascaded to her shoulders. Her lips curved gently upward and her emerald green eyes crinkled at the corners.

“Hey there, cowboy. I see you’re awake.”

“Dilly?” Justin tried to smile through the fog of confusion.

She laughed, a full-bodied sound that he remembered well. He closed his eyes again and let it wash over him like a babbling brook through a dry desert.

“And who else were you expecting?”

Justin frowned, trying to understand what was going on, but his mind felt as leaky as a rusty old bucket with holes in the bottom.

“Where am I?” he whispered. “What happened?”

“You’re in the hospital,” she said, scooting her chair closer. “You had another heart attack… a bad one this time.”

Beth touched him on the arm and he jerked. Her hand was warm and firm.

“You’re real?” he murmured, trying to recall why he thought she wouldn’t be.

Her lips tilted upward again and nodded.

Memory filtered in. Something had happened… the river. They’d had a funeral. He frowned. Hadn’t they? Or had he lost his grasp on what memories reflected reality? “Why are you with me?”

She shrugged. The wide lacy collar of her yellow dressed slipped off one delicate shoulder with the movement. “I’m just keeping you company while you’re here.”

Justin was afraid to ask but he supposed he had to know sometime. “Am I dead, then?”

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If you haven’t read the first two in the Echoes of Orson’s Folly series, find them out on my Amazon page!

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