Sweet Saturday Samples

Do you have a favorite color? Perhaps a color you know makes you look your best when you wear it? The heroine in my upcoming Christmas Regency The Toymaker apparently does…

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Ivy shrugged into her Spencer jacket and ran her fingers along one of the sleeves, swishing through the rich Egyptian blue velvet and smoothing the nap as she went. Her forehead pinched into a sudden frown. Blue again. Surely Madame Duroche had been mistaken. Ivy most certainly did not choose only shades of blue.

She tugged open her wardrobe and peered inside. An ocean’s worth of blue fabric stared back at her. White muslin day dresses boasted powder blue satin ribbons. Shimmery satin gowns in cornflower blue, walking dresses in every hue from the brilliant azure of the sky on a clear summer day to the washed out blue of forget-me-nots at the edge of her favorite glade. Perplexed, Ivy could only stare at the clothing she no longer recognized. Not a dab of sage or a slip of jonquil. Had she really chosen all that blue?

A solitary Spencer jacket in burgundy wool lay folded atop a muslin day dress in deep rose. The gift her mother had brought back with her from Bath only the day before. Ivy ran the tips of her fingers along the collar. The delicate stitches were hardly visible. The garment was quite lovely.

And yet, Ivy had chosen the Egyptian blue.

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Sweet Saturday Samples/Christmas in September

From upcoming Christmas Regency release: The Toymaker

The neat row of dolls regarding him from his work bench reminded Phillip of the debutantes lining the walls at the last ball he’d attended… four, no five years earlier. Of course, those young ladies had been wearing fashionable white or washed-out blush-colored gowns in delicate silks and lace. He stepped back and considered his own line of debutantes, rather liking the bolder colors Monique had used for their dresses — emerald green, apple red, sapphire, amethyst. They looked a bit forlorn, a little like some of the ladies who were never asked for a dance. Maybe he should consider creating a line of men to go with them.

Silly! What young girl would want to play with a doll fashioned like a boy? He shook his head at his momentary flight of fancy and picked up a palm-sized slice of wood, already smoothed with a garnet file. The French finish would take quite some time, since each coat of shellac would need to dry thoroughly before the next could be applied. The rubbing pad of soft gray wool had already been dampened with oil. Phillip picked it up and dipped it into the basin of shellac. Next, with gentle wiping movements, he applied a thin coat of the finish to the block of wood.

As he worked, his mind drifted back a few days… to Madame Duroche’s shop and the lovely but conservative young woman he’d managed to irritate with his choice of color. A smile lifted his lips and a chuckle escaped. Angry as a cat that had been doused with water, that one had been. A deep rose blush had colored her cheeks and her eyes had flashed just before she’d narrowed a blue-eyed glare on him. Phillip suspected only her need to maintain a sense of decorum in the presence of her grandmother had allowed her to hold her tongue.

But he’d been right. Her ire had heightened her color so she had not longer been pale and wraithlike. Such a complexion would wear well with the rich purples of the velvet Monique had offered. He had no idea why apparently she was having a difficult time of it, getting noticed by suitors, but wearing the amethyst would gain her some much deserved attention from young men of noble origins.

His hand slipped, marring the surface of the block of wood he held. Cursing under his breath, Phillip adjusted his hold on the block and drew the cloth pad over the piece of oak until the surface was once again flawless. He set the block onto the wooden rack to dry and picked up the next to repeat the process.

<><><><>A Lot Like a Lady – still 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

<><><>Recently released –
A little contemporary western magic!

<><>Just released –
more of the Conway family…
Semper Fi, Marine Families!

 

 

My titles are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

**Due to unforeseen family circumstances on the part of both Kim Bowman and myself, the sequel to A Lot Like A Lady has been delayed but we ARE hard at work on bringing you Annabella’s story. Please accept our apologies for the wait!

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Sweet Saturday Sneak Peek – The Toymaker…Regency Christmas Story

Just a work in progress at this stage, but to give you an idea of what I hope to have finished in the next week or so:

The Toymaker

About a foot tall, the doll had definitely seen better days. Her tattered dress had slipped off one shoulder, giving a view of a complex joint construction using string that had been run through drilled holes. A bonnet had been tied to the doll’s head but the edges of painted-on hair were easily visible. Probably once a chestnut brown but now chipped and fading, it reminded Angela of Kalie’s hair, especially with the single dark curl falling over the doll’s right eye.

“Her dress looks like Jane Austen’s,” whispered Kalie, fingering the soft muslin.

Angela tilted her head and took a second look at the clothing. The dress did look like it had come from the Regency period. Had the doll been made that long ago or merely dressed to look as though she had been?

“I think she was a Christmas doll.” Kalie slipped a finger beneath the hem of the gown. “Look at this lace around the edges.”

Angela bent to study the clothing. Almond colored lace rimmed the bottom edge, with only a bit of loosening in places. An intricate pattern of dark green holly leaves and red berries had been embroidered into the emerald green cloth just above the lace.

“It does look kind of Christmassy, doesn’t it?”

“That’s a penny wooden doll.” A petite woman with a gazillion wrinkles and snow white hair approached, hobbling slightly and leaning heavily on her cane. “That whole box came over from England probably a hundred years ago. We just picked it up from the James Merrick estate, a family who traced its roots back to seventeenth century England.” She smiled and held out her free hand to Angela. “My name is Caroline Roberts.”

Smiling in return, Angela shook the proprietor’s hand.

“What’s a penny wooden doll?” asked Kalie.

Angela’s lips tugged into a smile. Had her daughter actually forgotten her planned outing to the mall?

“Well, penny wood dolls started out in Germany in about 1810, but they quickly grew popular and then became available in most countries across Europe.” Ms. Roberts had apparently done her homework. Angela herself didn’t know much about wooden dolls but she could imagine such a toy being popular a couple hundred years in the past.

<><><><>Thank you for stopping by! If you like Regencies, A Lot Like a Lady is still on sale for 99 cents on Amazon.

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Sweet Saturday Samples

Great news this week! A Lot Like a Lady hit the number one spot on Amazon for paid Regency books. Kim and I are 100% thrilled! A huge thanks to everyone of our readers who helped put us there. So, for those who asked, the sequel, Something Like a Lady is in the works – a bit delayed due to some health issues in my family. In the meantime, how about just a little bit more from brand new Heartfelt before we move on into preparing for Christmas?

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Dan’s feet whispered across the carpet as he crossed the room and joined Trish on the bed. His face didn’t look as drawn, which meant the headache had definitely not left any residual symptoms. He’d seemed to have a good time over dinner with their guests, though every once in a while he’d furrowed his brow as though trying to work something out.

A giggle echoed from across the wall followed by a chorus of shushing.

“That’s a nice sound.” Dan laughed softly. “Jake and I had to have separate bedrooms by the time we got to be their age.”

“Lots of late night giggles?”

“Ha!” He punched his pillow, a smile curving his lips upward. “Hardly. When he was eight and I was eleven, we fought like rabid dogs. He was always bouncing around, jumping off things, pretending he could fly.”

“And you, of course, were completing your homework and then hitting the bed for a solid eight, right?”

Dan laid back and laced his hands behind his head. “Nope! Flashlight and book under the covers. But only if Mom didn’t catch me. Which, with Jake jumping and breaking things, was actually pretty often. So she’d come in, make him lie down and confiscate my flashlight.”

Trish touched the bedside lamp and darkness settled over the room. “Now, I know eventually you came up with a contingency plan. You’re too thorough not to have taken steps. Spare flashlights hidden away?”

“A couple… that is until Jake found them and ran the batteries down.”

Trish pulled the covers over her shoulder and snuggled against Dan’s warmth. She pressed her icy feet along his calf and he yelped but didn’t move away. “What did you do? Just wait for him to go to sleep?”

He sighed and shifted, wrapping his arms around her. “I was nowhere near that smart at eleven. So I usually pounded the crap out of him until the folks broke it up. Then I got in trouble for having one of Dad’s good belt-lights.”

Trish giggled. “So Jake was a little stinker.”

“Jake was a big pain in my—” Dan laughed. “Yeah, he was a stinker.”

He pressed a kiss to her temple but she could feel his emotional retreat. What was it like? To have memories from the time he’d had his sight, and at the same time knowing that the memories from the rest of his life would consist of everything but a visual image?

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Other stories in this series can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

Heartfelt on Sweet Saturday Samples

HEARTFELT Just released! The story that began in Heartsight, on a North Carolina beach with a blind marine, a divorced mother, and a child with Down syndrome continues as the young family struggles to adapt to a new addition. Now eight months pregnant, Trish worries about her baby, her daughter, and her husband. But maybe she should be more concerned with herself. Dan struggles to prove himself at work in the face of what others consider his disability. As he wrestles with his job, he is also concerned with life at home and the impending birth of his son. How will he connect with a son when he’ll never even be able to play a game of catch with him?

How about a little excerpt?

“Susan’s mommy had a — baby, and they don’t — go anywhere now.”

Ah, there it was. The inevitable kid conferences and situation comparisons. “You know, that’s probably because Susan’s dad is away right now.”

“He’s de-de…poid.” Bella slowed her steps and bent, probably to pick up one of her seashell treasures.

“Right, he’s deployed. Like Uncle Nick was last fall.” Dan sighed, hoping Sergeant Vance wasn’t in as much danger as Nick had been during his stint in the Middle East. Dan forced his thoughts back to Bella. “You know, taking care of a baby is really hard for one person to do.”

And Trish would be pretty much on her own with their baby at first, thought Dan for the millionth time. Not only did he not know much about babies, but the smallest task could turn complicated.

Jack gave a little woof and nudged Dan around some obstacle in their pathway. As far as Dan was concerned, the action merely drove home his point.

Just carrying the baby could prove problematic. Without Jack, Dan was on his own, with just the red and white cane. And he stumbled plenty. If he stumbled while carrying his child…

“So will he, Daddy?”

With a start, Dan realized Bella had asked him a question and he’d been so absorbed in his own musings, he hadn’t noticed.

“I don’t know,” he answered, wary of holding distracted conversations with his daughter. He’d once responded with what he thought was a noncommittal “sure” and found himself speaking to her class about military service.

She huffed an exasperated sigh.

Busted.

“Will the — baby like — me?”

“Of course he’ll like you. The baby’ll love you.” Dan slowed his steps as the beach became more uneven.

She kicked up some sand. “But will he be like me?”

Be like her? “Sweetie, the baby’s a boy… we told you this, right? That you’re having a baby brother, not a baby sister?”

“I know it’s a — boy, but — will he be a — retard like me?” The word rolled easily across her lips and hung in the humid air.

Dan’s knees threatened to buckle and he staggered. Jack whined, and Dan touched his head to tell the dog he was okay, though he was far from it. He took a moment to recover his thoughts before speaking. Just breathe.

“Where did you hear that word?” he asked softly. He was treading emotional water now, well over his head and barely keeping from going under. Reason told him nothing had changed, but the distant laughter of the family playing in the waves took on a mocking tone.

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To celebrate, the Kindle version of Heartsight is on sale for only 99 cents.

 

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