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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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Abiding Echoes/Sweet Saturday

Jim nodded toward the mountains in the distance. “See those specks flying up there?”

Beth squinted. A pair of birds circled, so far away they were tiny as ants. “Are those…vultures?” Her stomach did a slow flip. Had someone or something else been killed up in the hills?

“Nope. Those are eagles.” He shaded his eyes with one hand. “I’d say bald eagles.”

She followed his lead and shaded her eyes with one hand. “You can tell from here?”

“That they’re bald eagles and not goldens? Nah.” Chuckling, Jim dropped his hand. “But I know bald eagles tend to range up that way…near the Green River. I see ‘em up there a lot…soaring and gliding. I had a Shoshone friend once who told me eagles are considered of the earth by not in it…kind of spiritual overseers.” He watched them for a few minutes in silence as he rubbed his fingertips along his jaw, obviously deep in thought.

In turn, Beth studied Jim. She supposed it wasn’t exactly ironic that father and son would both have an appreciative affinity for flying objects. Had Jim ever taken Justin kite flying?

He sighed deeply and returned his focus to Beth. “You know as high as they are, they can still spot a trout flashing too close to the surface just begging to be their next meal? They’ll glide up in the sky for hours waiting for it…or they’ll set up in a tree perfectly still makin’ sure their shadow doesn’t fall across the river. Soon as they see that sparkle of scales, they’ll be on that trout like a lightning bolt.”

“They just wait? They don’t go hunting?”

Jim shrugged, more with his face than his shoulders. “That is hunting for them. Never seen an animal with so much patience as an eagle.” He gazed into the distance again. “I reckon the view from up there likely makes just as good a reward for all that patience as the meal itself.”

A breathy laugh escaped Beth’s lips. “Heights kind of make me dizzy.”

He swung his gaze back in her direction and winked. “Guess it’s a good thing you have your feet on the ground then. But whatever view you like best, patience earns the reward in the end.”

She stared at the eagles. From so far away they barely seemed to move. They appeared to have just been suspended against the sky.

“I think I’ll go pester Mary about baking some oatmeal cookies.” Jim pushed off the fence and tipped his hat at Beth. “Justin’s in the cow barn pulling a calf.”

Beth stared after Justin’s father as he ambled to the house. His gait was steady if a little slow and tired. Before he opened the back door, he tossed a casual wave in her direction. She raised her hand but he was already stepping through the door. A chill tickled the base of Beth’s spine.

Patience…not even close to her strong suit. But if she listened to Jim McGee, very rewarding to enjoy the view while she waited. If only she knew what she was waiting for.

She turned her head and stared at the cow barn. What exactly was pulling a calf?

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From WIP Abiding Echoes, Book 3 in the Echoes of Orson’s Folly series:

Chills worked along Beth’s spine where Justin rested his hand as he guided her to the kitchen. She knew the way by now but suspected if he hadn’t helped her along, she might have walked in a tight circle in the foyer until she dropped of exhaustion.

He talked as they went, his voice deeper than normal and a little husky. “I pulled some chicken from the freezer this morning so it should be defrosted. Want to help me fry it up?”

“Fry it up?” Panic fluttered up from her stomach. “You mean like—cook it? In a pan?”

Justin flashed a grin. “That’s usually what ‘fry it up’ means, yeah.”

Well, here was her chance to tell him she didn’t know how to cook, and he could have a good laugh at her expense.

But then they were in the kitchen and Justin dropped his hand from her back as he crossed the room. A searing smile in her direction when he pulled out a frying pan sent tingles from Beth’s fingertips to her center and back. Justin set the pan on the range with a clatter and then walked to the refrigerator and pulled out a white serving plate on which rested a whole raw chicken minus feathers and head.

Beth took one look at the pale whitish pink meat and shuddered. Oh, she’d rather go back to kissing Justin. She didn’t…really need to eat to survive, did she?

He set the platter on the counter next to the range and pulled a knife from a butcher block holder. Then he looked over at Beth, obviously expecting her to join him by the dead bird.

Bile rose in her throat. “Ahh, was that—ummm…walking around here at some point?”

Glancing at the chicken and then back at Beth, Justin broke out in laughter. It was a few minutes before his guffaws subsided enough so he could speak. “No, with chicken, you’re pretty safe. My mom refuses to keep chickens on the ranch.”

“I like your mom already,” Beth muttered under her breath, sending a mock glare in Justin’s direction.

“She’s going to like you, too,” murmured Justin, turning back to the chicken on the counter and deftly wielding the butcher knife.

Beth’s breath caught. She hadn’t expected him to hear her. The sharp knife sliced easily through the meat as Justin separated legs and wings from the body, and then worked on the thighs. She didn’t want to watch but his movements were so self-assured and easy, she found herself mesmerized. Still, she should contribute to dinner, but the problem was she had no idea what she could contribute. So, she hovered in the middle of the kitchen. What did Justin expect her to do? Before she could put voice to the question, he answered as though reading her thoughts.

“There’s a potato bin in the corner.” He pointed with the knife. Beth hastily shifted her gaze to the direction of his gesture and away from the gross piece of chicken skin that clung to the tip of the knife. “Can you grab us a few and peel them for mashed potatoes?”

Peel them? Beth worried at her lower lip as she crossed the kitchen to the bin and lifted the top. An earthy smell wafted up, not unpleasant but certainly a scent she’d never have expected to discover in a kitchen. She stared at the pile of brown tubers. They’re just plants, or parts of plants, anyway. The problem was, she hadn’t a clue how to remove the peels. Casting a surreptitious glance over her shoulder, Beth noted Justin had finished cutting up the chicken and was systematically rinsing the individual pieces at the sink and setting them into a bowl. She shifted her gaze back to the potatoes. How many should she peel? How many potatoes would two people eat? Surely not more than one each.

That decision made, she reached in and plucked two fairly large potatoes from the bin and shut the lid. The next problem hit her as she turned around, unsure of where she should carry her prizes. Where exactly did one peel potatoes?

Justin finished rinsing the chicken, set the bowl aside, and looked up, smiling when he caught Beth’s eye. He motioned for her to join him at the sink. His eyes fell to the potatoes she carried and he raised a brow. “Not very hungry?”

Actually, she was starving, Beth realized as her stomach grumbled softly. Justin’s words seemed to indicate she hadn’t chosen enough potatoes so she shrugged and played the helpless female card. “I couldn’t carry them all.”

“Gotcha.” Justin winked as he crossed the room to the bin, returning in short order with two more potatoes. “Do you use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife?”

Beth stared, unable to form an answer to the question, simply because she had no early idea what a vegetable peeler was. And while she could guess what a paring knife was, she had no idea how she would use a knife to remove the peels from the potatoes. She opened her mouth to explain, preparing herself for his ridicule, when he simply pulled open the second drawer down next to the sink and rummaged through the utensils until he found what he wanted. After he pushed the drawer shut, he held up an instrument that looked like a knife with a split in the middle to form an inverted blade.

She eyed the tool with suspicion. This must be the peeler, though it looked more like a knife that someone had turned inside-out. It didn’t look all that complicated to use. But it did look sharp. She accepted it with two fingers, not having a clue what she was going to do with it.

Beth cleared her throat. “Justin…um, I don’t—cook.”

He stared, his face showing no expression at all. Then he tilted his head and his forehead knit into a confused frown. “Oh. You don’t cook.” He sounded like she’d just confessed to having arrived from Mars.

She let out an impatient sigh. “I—actually I don’t know how to cook. I…never learned.” She averted her gaze, waiting for his laughter. When none came, she chanced a look at him.

Justin’s eyes twinkled and he wore a bemused smile. He rubbed two fingers along his jaw as he studied her. No doubt contemplating how utterly useless one female could possibly be.

She offered him a weak smile and a tiny shrug. “Sorry.”

He stared a miniscule second longer before he moved, and she had no time to register the intent in his eyes before his lips had claimed hers. He moved closer, crowding her against the cabinet. This was no gentle lead-up to passion. It was fervent ardor, unleashed and wild.

Raw hunger of surged through Beth. Of their own accord, her hands snuck upward along Justin’s taut chest, where she fisted them in his shirt and clung as he took her on another heated foray into the land of longing.

Justin stroked his tongue along her lips and she shivered, parting them beneath his touch, granting him access. Pressing herself shamelessly against him, Beth was convinced the flames of pleasure licking at them would soon ignite. And she didn’t care. She understood, without knowing how, that on some level she’d always belonged to Justin. She’d only been waiting to find him.

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FROM WORK IN PROGRESS, Abiding Echoes(Justin and Beth)…

(available now)

Hope you enjoy!

“You ate my ice cream,” he murmured in disbelief. Where had she found room in that tiny body for roughly six scoops of ice cream?

Laughing softly, she guided the cone to his lips and he slurped the last of the French vanilla scoop. The sugar cone tumbled from Beth’s fingers as she leaned forward and pressed her chilled lips against his. When she parted those lips and invited him in, the sweetness lingering there tantalized his palate.

Justin hovered at the edge for just a moment, parried with her teasing tongue while he tunneled his hand through her silky curls to gently cup the back of her neck. Holding her still, he gave himself over to the moment and tasted every bit of her mouth. He would have urged her closer, pulled her into his lap, but she was already there, leaning into his kisses, giving more of the sweetness he’d just plundered.

Beth crawled up Justin’s body and clung to him like a cat, and he swiveled in his seat so the steering wheel would stop crushing her in the small of the back…not that she appeared to notice. He kept one hand buried in her hair while he allowed the other one to travel beneath the hem of her blouse and tickle her spine.

Never in his life had Justin experienced such a rage of passion surge through his blood. Never had he been as aware of another person as he was of Beth. His whole body strained against the boundaries of decency as he explored her softness with his hands and mouth.

He pulled back, gasping for breath as consciousness of where they were filtered into his overheated brain. Beth flopped back into her seat, her green eyes nearly glowing with stirring emotion.

“I’m sorry,” began Justin, feeling the need to apologize more than the sentiment behind the apology itself.

“I’m sorry, too,” murmured Beth, a curving her lips upward.

Her words turned his heart to lead and it sank to somewhere near the vicinity of his stomach. But she snagged his fingers like a frog snapping up a fly. Then she gently tugged his hand and placed it over her heart.

Her chest rose and fall rapidly with the deep gasps of air she drew in. “Feel that?” Her voice was as unsteady as he knew his would be if he could speak.

Her heart leaped so violently against his touch, he wondered if he wouldn’t soon be holding it in his palm.

“So…” she whispered. “Maybe we should establish what it is we’re sorry about.” She touched the fingers of her free hand to his lips. “Because I’m only sorry that we have to stop.”

Justin stared. No other woman.

She eased up on her hold on his hand and laced their fingers together, sending a pointed glance across the baseball diamond. “So…did you bring me here so we could play ball?” Her hair spilled to her shoulders and shrouded her face like a veil. She shook it back but it only fell forward again.

“No,” answered Justin quietly, reaching out to push the hair from Beth’s face so he could see her brilliant green eyes. “But I didn’t stop here to make out like teenagers at a drive-in, either.”

Interest flickered in her gaze and her lips twitched into a smile. “You still have drive-in theaters here?”

“Not in Orson’s Folly, but up in Oslow there’s one still operating.” He grinned. “Why? Got a sudden hankering to see a movie?”

Beth twisted in her seat and shifted her gaze to stare out the window for a few heartbeats. Justin held his breath. She was definitely up to something now.

The gaze she leveled on him seared him with heat and captured his imagination with its suggestion of wildness. “I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t see much of the actual movie. I’d much rather save the money and make out under the stars tonight.”

Justin stopped breathing. Oh, man. From zero to engines revved and ready to go in six words or less. He had to get away from the enclosed space with her or they’d quite likely get picked up for public indecency. He popped open the door and hopped out, striding on shaky legs to the back of the truck. He took his time searching through the brown paper sacks for his own impulse purchase, hoping to recover his self-control before Beth climbed from the pickup to join him.

“What’s that?” she asked as she approached, eying the roll of red tissue paper wrapped around two balsa-wood sticks. Squinting at the label, she read, “Sky Master?”

Grinning, Justin grabbed the spool of string from the bag and headed for the center of the ball field.

“Wait a minute!” she cried out from where he’d left her. “Wait…you brought me here to fly a kite?”

Justin glanced over his shoulder but didn’t stop walking when he noted her trotting to catch up.

“You ever flown a kite?”

“Ah…” Beth chuckled nervously. “Not since I was about ten. And it landed in a tree.”

Suddenly he was on top of the proverbial world. “Then it’s time you try again.” He gestured to the open field. “See? No trees. Nothing to get snagged on.”

Beth stood stock still except for two slow blinks of her eyes. She swallowed once, and then launched herself at him. Justin dropped the kite kit and stepped back with one foot to avoid falling over as he opened his arms. She was warm and squirmy and laughing…happy. And when she drew back to gaze into his eyes, she’d lost the little line that had been pinching her brow since they’d run into Alice in the general store.

Leaning forward again, she laid her lips on his for a quick, hard kiss that was somehow more intimate than the hot and heavy caresses they’d just shared in the cab of his pickup. Then she pulled out of his arms, bent to retrieve the kite and grabbed his hand, taking off for the center of the field. “Come on,” she said, laughing. “I wanna fly this kite.”

As Justin joined her in a flat-out run, he noticed the little things. The glint of gold in her hair as it bounced against her shoulders…the warmth of her hand in his…the delighted peal of her giggles when she turned and caught his eye.

No. Other. Woman.

<><><><><><><>

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A Sweet Sample of Lifeline

So, answer the age-old question: How old do you have to be before your parents stop looking critically at the way you dress?

Throughout Ryan’ʹs life, his father’ʹs commanding presence had filled every room he entered. Some things never changed, even after a heart attack, so Ryan was glad when Justin made himself comfortable in the chair by the window.

“I want to talk with you. I know your brother warned you to keep me out of it.” He snickered. “Thinks I’ll live longer if I don’t get upset.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Can this wait until I’m wearing pants?”

“We can talk while you get dressed.”

Ryan stared.

His father shot a pointed look at the towel. “What? You got something under there you didn’t have when I was changing your diapers?”

Muttering under his breath about a few more inches and a lack of personal space, Ryan pulled on his briefs, then hauled on a pair of well-­worn blue jeans with holes in the knees.
Justin ran a critical eye over his son’s choice of attire. “You know, you can get a decent pair of jeans at AJ’s General Store for under twenty bucks.”

“These are my favorite jeans, Dad.” Ryan shoved his wallet into the only pocket without a gaping hole. “I’m just breaking them in.”

Justin shook his head. “Looks more like you’ʹre breaking out of ʹem, but suit yourself.” He drew a deep breath, let it out slowly. “I figure your brother caught you up on some things.”

Ryan fastened the button on his shirt cuff without looking up. “What he told me, Dad, was you had a heart attack and wouldn’t let him call me.”

“Wasn’t any point. It was over almost as soon as it started. I wasn’t in the mood for any deathbed nonsense.”

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Sweet Sample Saturday: Lifeline Echoes Page 99

So, I decided to try a Page-99 Test today. The scoop is, open any full length book to page 99 and if you like that, you will probably like the rest of the book. So, here it is. Let me know what you think of my p. 99.

Lifeline Echoes, p. 99

A plush, dark towel slung around his hips, Ryan was using another to dry his hair while he contemplated the insanity of having stayed up all night. His bed now looked mighty appealing.

He slid open the dresser drawer and grabbed a pair of dark briefs, pausing when he saw the folder. With one trembling finger he traced the upper edge. The bold black lines of the capital A on the tab sliced through his conscience like hot wires. Ryan squeezed his eyes shut against the onslaught of feelings he preferred to keep buried. He opened them abruptly. Man! What had he done by getting involved with Sandy? It felt a little like . . . cheating.

He picked up the folder, swallowing past the lump of emotions lodged in his throat. Opening it, he saw pages and pages of his own handwriting. Notations of leads which hadn’t panned out, her name, given to him by one of her sympathetic coworkers: Allie Whitman. Beneath all that, more pages of handwritten notes, the details he remembered of all their conversations, written when he’d been unable to walk, just so he’d have something to hold onto. He shuffled through them once again, those well-­worn sheets of yellow paper.

He’d fallen in love with her, asked her to marry him. Yet he had nothing tangible of her. When he’d needed her, she hadn’t been there. She’d completely disappeared, almost like she never existed. The guys had teased him about hallucinating for months until he’d gotten more careful about looking for her.

And now . . . Sandy made him want to throw it all away. Seven years of searching for someone who must not want to be found. Who was he cheating on if she’d left him first?

“Sandy,” he whispered. He was cheating Sandy if he moved forward with her before letting go of the past he still struggled with.

“You and your brother square things up?” Justin’s gravelly voice came from the doorway.

Ryan jumped “Stop my heart first next time, will ya?”

LIFELINE ECHOES available now:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Also available, ELUSIVE ECHOES, Sean and Mel’s story.

New reviews for the Echoes series:  Lifeline Echoes http://bit.ly/oN0olX  Elusive Echoes  http://bit.ly/qtwvuf

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Six for Sunday

From Lifeline Echoes – and this week I scrolled through with my eyes closed and highlighted a piece – so this is literally chosen blindly (and then trimmed to 6 sentences lol):

“What was the weirdest run you ever did?”
He laughed again. “This is L.A. There’ʹve been a lot of weird runs.”
“Tell me.”
“I think the strangest was the time the house began shooting at us.”

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If It’s Sunday, This Must Be Six (Sentences)

This week’s six is from Lifeline Echoes, Ryan and Sandy’s story.

Watch for Elusive Echoes, the story of Sean and Mel, to be released this Tuesday.

><><><><><><

Sandy swiveled in Ryan’s direction, saw his contented smile, the glint in his eyes. Her gaze lowered to his awkward seat in the saddle. “You weren’t watching the horses, were you?”

His smile widened and the green of his eyes darkened. He shrugged, sweeping his eyes downward, pausing occasionally to rest on her lips, her chest, her legs where they met the saddle. “I can’t imagine why I’d want to watch horses when I can look at you.”

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Ryan McGee’s Despair

How about a glimpse into Ryan McGee’s worst nightmare?

He stood against the back of his brother’s truck, staring in the direction of the mountains where he knew Sandy waited, unable to communicate, perhaps trapped, likely injured. But it wasn’t the intimidating behemoths of rock he struggled in the dark to see.

It was her face he conjured.

Sandy’s face, with the chicory eyes flashing fire at him on a mountain road. Sandy, flirting with him at her bar, performing a sexy song and dance. Sandy looking over her shoulder with that half-smile, enticing him to follow her. With eyes darkened by passion when they kissed. Her face showing her vulnerability while she slept. Eyes that held compassion for a defenseless baby animal. Her face, streaked with soot and set with defiance. Her face lit by concern as she sat a vigil by his bed in the hospital. Then as he’d last seen her, eyes filled with hurt…….

Available now: Lifeline Echoes, from  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble  (Author-rated PG for mild violence)

Coming soon Elusive Echoes – Their love has always been on simmer…will it survive when the heat is turned up?

Also available:

Spirituality and Writing

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When I was a child in Sunday School, I remember being taught the song How Great Thou Art. This is a Christian hymn, based on  poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg and set to a Swedish folk song. The words still often flow through my brain today, when I look around and see the Creation of our Maker.

Since I’m a Christian and today is Good Friday, I thought I would take a moment to acknowledge my Lord and Savior. The stories that emanate from within me are there, I am convinced, because He puts them there. I am able to write them, I am certain, because His hand guides me. I’ve made some side trips in my journey to writing, am likely still making them. But the journey will end the way He has determined it should, and the road will be much more easily traveled if I follow the map He has handed me. That’s not always easy. In a world where sex sells more than sweet, where graphic and vulgar language is acceptable for children to speak on the streets, not only to each other, but to adults, it’s hard to find a writing niche. I do my best, and try to stay true to my values but it does become a temptation to see if my sales would increase if I included a hot sex scene or or two, or if I portrayed my heroes as rugged, cursing alpha males with attitude. I actually did try that with the initial version of Lifeline Echoes, and with the encouragement of a great childhood friend, Jeanne, and my editor, Stephanie Taylor, I cleaned that story up into something I would have been happy for my very conservative mother to read. And so far, this novel hasn’t been out a month but the reviews are terrific. It seems people are reading the novel and seeing the story.

Thanks to the vision of Stephanie Taylor, driving force behind Astraea Press, with her recognition of the need for sweeter, cleaner reads, I was able to get back on the road I believe God intended for me to travel all the time. Feel free to stop by and check out the many offerings by Astraea Press. Stephanie has found a wonderful collection of authors, who feel the same way about romantic fiction as she does.

Post a comment below for a chance to win your choice of either Heartsight or Lifeline Echoes in PDF.

Excerpt from Heartsight

“We’re not too late, Dan! We can’t be!”

He understood. Failure wasn’t an option on this mission. But
even though he’d only been here a couple of days ago, he hadn’t explored much with Bella. Even if things hadn’t changed much since his own childhood, those memories were long dim.

They needed a miracle.

An edgy feeling started in between his shoulder blades. It
moved up to the back of his head and drilled its way into his brain. It was exactly the feeling he used to get on recon missions in-­country, the feeling that told him he’d missed something and needed to take a second look.

He turned around, placing his back against the base of the
lighthouse, trying to conjure the picture in his mind based on long
ago memories. Nothing filtered into his awareness.

“God, if You’re there, this would be the time for a miracle,” he
whispered.

Purchases of Heartsight made through the Astraea Press website generate a $2 per copy donation to the USO Wounded Warrior program until June 1, 2011.

*****

And now, I hope you will enjoy an excerpt from my latest release, Lifeline Echoes

“You’re awfully quiet.” Sandy struggled to keep her voice casual.

“Tired.”

“Umm, yeah.” She watched him set the brake and turn off the engine, moving as if in slow motion. Not just tired. Drained. Ryan walked her up the steps to her apartment. After she unlocked the door she turned into his arms. His kiss went from soft to heated then back to gentle.

She leaned into the kiss, enjoying the feel of his muscular arms beneath her hands. She hated having to let him go.

“I wanted to watch the stars come out with you, Chicory,” he whispered.

She looked up. Even with the ambient light from town, the sky was overflowing with visible stars. “I love the stars. There are so many they almost. . .”

“. . . blend together.”

Electrical current raced along her spine. “Yes,” she whispered, wishing she could see his face.

Ryan turned Sandy so her back was to him and slid his arm around her waist while they enjoyed the view from her tiny balcony. “My mom used to tell us stories about the sky and the stars,” he murmured, his breath warm against her neck. “She said the night sky was one of God’s favorite old blankets, keeping everyone here on Earth safe and warm. And the blanket has these tiny pinholes worn in, like some comfortable blankets do. The lights we see are little glimpses of heaven on the other side of the blanket.”

“Ryan, that’s beautiful.”

“Next time, we’ll get it right.” He turned her back to face him, kissing her with slow, sweet longing. “I’ll see you tomorrow,Sandy.”

Available now:  Lifeline Echoes at Astraea Press.

And watch for Sean’s story, coming soon from Astraea Press.