Tag Archive: Light the Way Home

What Does August Hold?

(Heart in sand on Atlantic coast -Depositphotos)

I’m capping off my birthday week celebration today with family dinner with my guys, but we have a little while until our early dinner. It’s been a good week, and I’ve spent some of it looking at the new month ahead. I have my writing goals, of course, but I admit to being really distracted the last few days. I have a store of photos for hero inspiration, current and future, and periodically, I stumble across a photo I’ve loved previously and wish I had a story for the face. Well, this week, a cover designer I liked was finishing out her going-out-of-business sale, which is sad. The exciting part, though, is that she had a cover design with this same man, and it’s just gorgeous. I still don’t have a story to go with his face, but I bought the cover anyway, and now my brain is busy trying to figure one out. That wasn’t on the goal list for this month. Or even this year. But I couldn’t let him go, so I’ll let my brain work on it, but I need to keep going on the goal list.

While I get in a little work on that list, I have a little story snippet to leave you with for the week, from Hunting Medusa.


Kallan wiped his sweaty hand down his jeans, hoping the shriek of the Medusa’s alarm shutting off hadn’t wakened her. He didn’t want her prepared for an attack. He’d prefer to kill her quickly and get the hell out. He could be back in Baltimore by supper tomorrow with the amulet in hand for Uncle Ari to destroy, ending the protective spell for the rest of the Medusa’s descendants.

He touched the doorknob, felt the locks disengage beneath his hand, then turned the handle and swung the door wide.
Silence greeted him, and he took that as a good sign. No creaking came from upstairs, as there would be if she’d wakened. Good. Nevertheless, he stepped inside cautiously, listening hard. He took another step after a few heartbeats, trying to remember just where the kitchen table and chairs stood from his limited view the day before.

He made it past the furniture and paused to listen again. Still nothing. He frowned. With the power off, the house was too quiet. Surely the sudden and complete silence would wake her, even if she hadn’t heard the brief noise of the alarm shutting down. He slid one foot forward on the smooth wooden floor, and suddenly she was there. Fiery pain shot up his left arm. He grunted, realized she’d stabbed him deeply. He swung his other hand up, managing to hit her on the side of the head.

She cried out but didn’t go down, swinging her blade again. He caught her wrist, but she managed to get another slice to his already-injured forearm before he yanked her arm behind her.

Her booted foot connected with his knee—hard—and he bit back a string of curses at the pain, but didn’t let her go. Why wasn’t she barefoot? If she’d been sleeping, she should be barefoot. His left arm was nearly useless, blood pumping steadily from his wounds, so he crowded her up against the nearest surface. The refrigerator. He shoved hard, hearing her moan when he twisted her arm a little more.

Her blade hit the floor between them. She kicked backward again, and her foot hit his knee from the other side this time.
“Dammit,” he muttered, flattening her between his body and the appliance’s cool metal surface. His arm burned, warm blood dripping from his fingers.

“Get off me, you murdering bastard,” she said, her words slurred slightly from her face being mashed into the refrigerator.

“Well now, that’s not very nice. Especially since I’ve never murdered anyone. Yet,” he added darkly, tightening his grip on her wrist. The bones in her arm were fragile and he was fully aware he could crush them, render her arm as useless as she had his. But he didn’t. He wasn’t Stavros.

“You’re not going to start with me, either, Harvester.”

Mouthy. He grinned at the back of her head. Even trapped and defenseless as she was now, she didn’t stop fighting, even verbally. He had to work to keep from laughing as she continued to threaten him. No one had warned him the Medusa would be talkative. Or soft, he realized when her bottom shifted back into his groin. He concentrated on breathing evenly when his nerve endings all came to life. He’d never imagined he might be aroused by the Medusa.

“Wh-what are you doing?” she asked suddenly.

Kallan realized he wasn’t moving—or most of him wasn’t. He shut his eyes for a second, clenching his jaw. Her ass now cushioned his throbbing erection.

“Hey!” She shrank closer to the fridge, making a soft sound when the move forced her arm higher behind her.

He shifted, easing her wrist a little lower. This wasn’t going at all as he’d imagined it. “Stop moving.” He forced himself to unclench his jaw.

“If you think I’m going to make it easy for you to kill me, Harvester, you have another thing coming.” She didn’t stop wriggling.

Growling, he flattened her completely between his body and the refrigerator again.

She froze, and he could feel her pulse beating crazily in the wrist he still held. Fear? He imagined that was one cause. Anger too, probably.

He doubted she was having the same unexpected reaction to him that he was to her.

Not that it was a bad thing that she wasn’t suddenly aroused, too.

He just needed to stop thinking about it.

Concentrate on the task at hand.

Kill the Medusa.

Feel how soft her ass was against him. If he shifted his hips just a little—

No. He growled again, and she shifted, just as he’d imagined so her softness cradled him even more.

“Get off, Harvester,” she whispered.

“Stop calling me that.” He hated hearing it from her lips for some reason. Yes, it was what his name meant. It was what he was destined to do. But the contempt in her tone… He didn’t like it at all.

As though the Medusa had room to be contemptuous of him.

“It’s your name.” Her voice was stronger now, as if she’d somehow sensed his unexpected inner struggle. “Why shouldn’t I use it?”

“You won’t be alive long enough to worry about it.” He ignored her behind against his groin for the moment and took a slow breath, trying to remember his plan.

Get in, find her, kill her, get the amulet, and get out.

Well, his plan was not going very well at all.


What are your plans for this hot week? Are you on track with your goals, or have you been sidetracked by shiny new things, too? Are you looking for another shiny new read? Maybe Light the Way Home will fit the bill.

This is the last week you’ll hear me talk about my birthday till next summer. I got a gorgeous box of chocolates from someone I work with the other day–these chocolates are so beautiful, it’s a sin to eat them, but I will, eventually.

My cheesecake will be here this week, but because my birthday falls on the busiest day of the week for the day-job, we’ll have birthday dinner and cake on the weekend next week. I’m still pondering dinner, but the cake was already decided on.

Today’s post really is about gratitude, not birthdays, though. I always try to find things to be thankful for, even on the hard days. Today I am grateful for a couple of things:

  1. My next door neighbor. She is an older woman who lives alone, though occasionally her son will stay with her for a few days. I sometimes take her dinner, but usually we visit in the yard. I worry about her right now, with this wretched virus still on the loose, and don’t see her as often–because of this virus, I’m trying to have as little physical contact with the rest of the world as possible, and her adult kids mostly are doing the same to avoid carrying any germs to her. I happened to be hauling trash out this afternoon, though, and she was working in her garden. It was 99 degrees here at that point, so it was hot, and she was in full sun. Just walking out the door into our carport, the heat and humidity just about took my breath away. But we got to chatting anyway, and I was reminded how nice it is to have a good neighbor. She welcomed us when we moved here almost twenty years ago, when her kids still lived at home, and mine were in grade school. We talk gardens, and flowers, and anything else under the sun, and it’s nice to be able to do that, even if we have to keep our distance right now.
  2. My garden. I have eight or nine tomato plants just going to town right now. The yellow cherry tomato plant looks like it’s done, and one of the Roma tomatoes looks like it might be giving up the ghost after just a few tomatoes, but the others are just kicking into high gear. (I swear my grape tomato must have a couple hundred tomatoes on it, and I’ll have to start freezing tomatoes much sooner than usual to keep up.) My herbs are big and sprawling, and some are blooming so the honey bees are all over them right now. And my hibiscus is absolutely loving the hot weather. It’s got a couple dozen flowers blooming and tons of buds all over it. It makes me happy when that starts to bloom every summer. The flowers are big and pretty. What’s not to like?


Before I go figure out some supper, I have a little story snippet for you, from Light the Way Home.


Lucie should’ve known nap-time would be an issue.

Hayden frowned at her from the foot of the steps, hands fisted at his hips. “I’m not tired.”

She tamped down a smile at that bald-faced lie. “I promised your dad we’d do nap-time, and I don’t break promises, buddy.”

The little boy’s expression shifted to something different, more cunning. “You said you take naps.”

She smiled this time. “I do.”

“Then you gotta take one, too. Wif me.”

Gotcha. “Well, first I have to clean up our lunch mess.”

His frown returned. “You hafta nap, too.”

“Are you going to help me clean up in the kitchen?”

“’Kay.” He trotted toward her again, startling her.

He was good. She restrained a sigh and followed him into the kitchen. The clean-up wouldn’t take long really. She might actually have to take a nap, or at least lie down with him. Wouldn’t be the first time–just the first time in a couple of years–she’d been outsmarted by a pre-schooler.

Hayden actually did try to help, putting his plate and cup in the dishwasher, and his napkin in the trash, plus a bunch of crumbs on the floor. Lucie ruffled his hair. “Thanks, buddy. Now it’s time.”

He didn’t argue, just led the way upstairs, but he came to a stop in the doorway to his room. “I don’t think you’ll fit in my bed, Lucie.”

“I don’t either, buddy. But I can sleep on the sofa.”

He narrowed his blue eyes. “But then I can’t see if you’re nappin’. You hafta nap up here. I’ll get you one of Daddy’s pillows.” He ran across the hall before she could stop him, then reappeared, dragging a pillow with him. “Here. You can sleep beside my bed.” He swung the pillow toward her.

Lucie caught it. “Okay.” There was no point arguing. If she lay down next to his bed until he fell asleep, no big deal.

Hayden climbed up onto his bed and wrestled the blankets for a moment until he could slide between them. “Right there,” he said, pointing at the floor beside his bed.

She put the pillow down, then tucked his blankets around him. “Okay. Close your eyes.”

“When you do.”

She smiled. “All right.” She lowered herself to the floor, winking when he leaned over to watch, then stretched out. “All right, I’m going to close my eyes. One, two, three.” She shut her eyes, listening to him flop down and sigh. “Are your eyes closed?”

“Yep. Have a good nap, Lucie.”

“You, too, Hayden.”

For a few minutes, she listened to him fidget. Then it got quiet. She smiled again.


She winced. “Yeah, buddy?” She kept her tone low.

“I’m glad you moved here. Micah is too.” He sounded drowsy.

“Who’s Micah?” She should’ve let that go instead of keeping him talking.

“The lightkeeper.”

“Oh.” That explained that. “Okay, sleepy time,” she whispered.

“’Kay,” he whispered back.

This time when it got quiet, it stayed that way. She relaxed, listening to his even breathing. She needed to finish lunch clean-up. And maybe think about supper. She wondered what was in Nate’s fridge and freezer. Maybe after nap-time, she’d take Hayden over to raid her fridge–she probably had something in it that would need to be used up soon. She couldn’t remember right now what she’d picked up at the store.

She jerked awake, then blinked up at the small face hovering above her.

“You really took a nap.”

Lucie took a slow breath. “I told you I take naps.” She just hadn’t meant to do it today.

Hayden smiled, still hanging over the side of the bed. “I din’t believe you took naps.”

She reached up to tweak his nose, making him giggle. “Now you know I don’t lie.” She pushed upright. “Okay, buddy. Time to think about what you’re having for supper.” As she got to her feet, he scrambled out of bed.

“It’s not suppertime yet.” He caught her hand.

“I know, but if I figure it out now, you’ll be able to eat on time.” She bent to scoop up the pillow from the floor. “Can you put this back for me? I want to wash my hands.”

“’Kay.” He took the pillow and hurried across the hall while she went into the bathroom next door.

Her shoulder-length hair was a mess from her unplanned nap, so she did her best to finger-comb it into order again, then headed downstairs with Hayden, who plopped onto the sofa with a book while she continued into the kitchen.

No meat in the fridge, she discovered, so she opened the freezer. Plenty there, but now that she stood in front of Nate’s food, she remembered the chicken in her fridge. No defrosting necessary. Plus veggies in the crisper. She could roast them all together and have dinner in one pan. Less clean-up later.

“Hey, buddy!” She turned away from the fridge and came up short when she found Hayden a foot away, a book in one hand. “Oh, there you are. We need to run over to my place to get some things for supper. Let’s get your jacket.”

“What’re we havin’?” He followed her into the mud room and dropped his book on the bench inside the door.

“I’m going to roast a chicken and some veggies to go with it. Are you a good baker?” She helped him into the jacket, then tugged her sweater on.

“I help Grandma bake cookies.”

She made sure the back door was unlocked before she shut it behind them. “Well, that’s excellent. I was thinking maybe we could bake a cake for dessert.”

“I like cake.”

She laughed. “I bet you do. Come on, let’s do this.”

In under ten minutes, they were back at Nate’s. Hayden pulled up a step stool to the sink, and she let him ‘scrub’ potatoes and carrots with the vegetable brush while she prepped the chicken.

“What can I do next?” he asked when she handed him a towel and took over the veggies.

“Hm, let me think about that. After your fingers are dry, why don’t you get your book from the mud room until I get this into the oven? It’ll only be a couple minutes, and then we can mix up the cake.”

“Okay!” He swiped at his hands with the dish towel, then threw it at the counter before he ran to the next room.

Shaking her head, Lucie quickly finished cleaning the potatoes and carrots, then added them to the roasting pan, sprinkled some salt and pepper over everything and drizzled a little oil before she covered it and put it into the oven. When she turned around, Hayden was seated at the table, but instead of looking at his book, he watched her. She smiled. “Do you like icing on your cake?”

“Oh, yeah!” He nodded solemnly. “Chocolate is the best.”

“You think so?” She congratulated herself for thinking to grab the cocoa powder while they’d been at the other house. “Well, we might be able to do something about that.” She winked at him when his eyes rounded.

He helped with the cake, too, dumping cupfuls of ingredients into the bowl for her, though she had to admit it wasn’t as big a mess as it could have been. Teddy had been a much messier kitchen assistant. Lucie slid the cake pan into the second oven less than fifteen minutes later.

“Okay, now we mix up some icing, and clean up our mess, and we can actually read some of that book before the cake is ready to come out. What do you say?”

Hayden rushed at her and wrapped his arms around her legs. “Thank you, Lucie!”

She bent and gave him a hug. “You’re welcome.” Her chest squeezed a little, too, but she ignored it. “Thanks for being such a good helper. Okay,” she said as she straightened, “let’s make our icing, and then clean the table so we can read.”

She needed more than a nap, she mused. She needed a good night’s sleep to make up for last night. She was being too sentimental. A full night’s sleep, and she’d be as good as new.


I have a guest blog post scheduled this Thursday, July 30, at Delilah Devlin’s blog, so I hope you will pop over and check that out, too. There might be a prize.

And maybe pop by my Facebook page on my birthday. I’m thinking about virtual cake (no calories!) and cocktails in the evening. Maybe a couple of party games, too. See you there!


Almost There!

Yes, I’m still thinking about birthday cakes. So many different varieties, shapes, sizes–yellow sheet cake, triple layer chocolate cake, angel food. And most of them I love. I’m not a fan of peanut butter icing (it’s okay, more for you!), but there are almost no limits to the kinds of cake I would eat, or have eaten in the past.

When I was younger, my mom had a friend who made a rum cake one year when we visited. There was rum in the cake (I can still remember how moist that cake was), rum in the creamy filling between the layers, and rum in the frosting. You could probably get a good buzz from that cake if you had enough. I remember my first bite kind of took my breath away, with all of the rum in it. I kind of wish I had the recipe now to make it myself to find out if it is really as good as I remember.

My mom used to make fruitcake at holiday time. I’m not talking about the gross, hard, dry things they sell at the grocery stores in December. I’m talking about moist, rich cake full of different fruits and then soaked for a couple of weeks in bourbon or some other alcohol. They were amazing! I did find a decent fruit cake recipe some time back, but have lost it since, so I haven’t made any in ages. I miss that one.

I tend not to make my own birthday cake, though. Usually I pick up something pretty at the grocery store bakery. Sometimes they’re good, but usually not all that memorable. I’ve finally narrowed down my cake choices to one for this year. I love Junior’s Cheesecake, and my very favorite flavor is their red velvet. It is definitely a splurge, but the way this year has been, I’m okay with that. Plus I’ll send half of it home with the boys so I won’t be tempted to eat it all. Half of a cheesecake isn’t quite as bad as a whole. Right? Plus it’s so decadent, it doesn’t need ice cream. Though I do also love ice cream with cake, like the one below.

(Cake and ice-cream – Depositphotos )

It’s been very hot here the past few weeks, steady temps in the 90s, and the last couple of days, it’s hit 100 degrees, even if only briefly. Today’s high (so far) is 102, but it’s clouding over, so maybe if we’re getting a thunderstorm, that will cool it off a tad. At least until tomorrow which is supposed to be even hotter. I’m so happy we have working air conditioning.

This afternoon, I have a little snippet from one of my shifter manuscripts to share with you.


Piper realized she was staring and dragged her gaze away from Joe’s wide chest, back to the book on her lap, flushing hotly. Holy shit.

He cleared his throat. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you were in here.”

“It’s your house,” she mumbled. She heard a soft sound and hoped it was his shirt going on.

“And you’re a guest here.” He cleared his throat again.

She dared a peek and found him watching her, hands in the pockets of his low-slung jeans, a faded blue t-shirt stretched over his chest. “Don’t be silly. You should be able to do as you like in your own house. And we’re only here for a few more days.”

He exhaled roughly. “Really?”

“I spoke to someone this afternoon at a complex in Auburndale, near the office. They have a vacancy.”

“I’ll go with you to look at it.”

She frowned. “That isn’t necessary.”

His mouth flattened. “It is. Is it a shifter complex?”

Piper narrowed her eyes at him. “That doesn’t matter.”

Irritation sparked in his eyes. “It matters, Piper. You can’t take your child somewhere that’s not secure.”

She clamped her jaw shut. Telling him to butt out of her business would be stupid at this point. Without his concern, she’d be scrambling to feed Keely on tips and less than minimum wage hours at a seedy, dive diner. She forced herself to take a slow breath.

Joe sat on the low table in front of her, and she noted the softening of his mouth. “I just want to be sure you two are okay.”

“Why?” She blinked. She hadn’t meant to ask that.

“Because you don’t have anyone else to do it.”

She looked away, stung.

He touched her knee, and she slanted a wary glance at him. “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Like I wouldn’t do it otherwise. If I’d realized sooner–”

Piper closed the book and got to her feet. “I’m not your responsibility, Joe. Not the annoying tag-along little sister.” She ignored the burn in her chest and turned away.

He caught her upper arm and swung her back as he stood. “Don’t put words in my mouth, Piper.”

She opened her own mouth to say…something. But she didn’t know what, and it didn’t matter–Joe kissed her. Kissed. Her. Hard, open-mouthed. For a second, she froze, and then realized she was kissing him back.

Stupid, Piper.

But oh, holy hell, could he kiss!


Now I need to go figure out some dinner, something that doesn’t involve turning on the stove and making the house warmer than it already is. Do you have a favorite birthday cake memory? Or just a cake memory that makes you happy? Heck, even a favorite kind of cake.

In case you need something to read this week while you’re cooped up indoors to avoid the excessive heat, I’ve love if you checked out Light the Way Home. Hope it’s cooler this week where you are!


( Chocolate cake and sparkler – Depositphotos )

Yes, it’s July, which means my birthday is coming soon, so expect lots of cake pictures the next few weeks. Since it’s still Independence Day weekend, the sparkler cake seems appropriate today.

There are actually a fair number of family birthdays this month, though even in a normal year, we don’t gather for celebrations, because our family is so spread out geographically, cousins, siblings and aunts all over the country. This year will be just immediate family, as is the norm now, but I remember kid-age birthdays when there would be grandparents and occasionally some cousins and aunts and uncles crammed around the table for cake, sometimes sleepover with best friends who shared in the cake. Mom used to bake our birthday cakes, and we got to choose what kind, and whatever we wanted for our birthday dinner. I had a lot of lasagna and manicotti birthday dinners.

I haven’t thought far enough ahead to figure out birthday dinner yet, plus this year my birthday falls on a Tuesday, which is generally our busiest day of the work week at the day-job, so birthday dinner will probably happen the prior weekend, unless I’m doing extra day-job hours. Don’t know that quite this far ahead. I have already decided on my birthday cake, though, which is good, because I’ll have to order it ahead so it can be delivered on time.

I’m still working through revisions this week, but before I get back to them, I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa to share with you.


“Does it work?”

Of course he knew why she cut her hair so short. She hadn’t had to spell it out for him earlier. “Yes.” Somehow, his knowing and understanding without her having to explain that when her hair was this short, it couldn’t turn into snakes didn’t make her feel better.

“When did you figure that out as an option?” His tone was conversational, as if they were instead sitting on her front porch, talking about the weather, rather than five feet from where he’d be handcuffing her to the bed for the night, and not for anything really fun.

She debated her response and finally decided it didn’t matter if he knew more about her now. This man wouldn’t be scared off, after all. He only intended to stick around long enough to find a way to steal the amulet and kill her, not long enough to develop a deeper relationship. “When the second man flipped out and ran away.” Which was when she’d stopped dating seriously.

He was silent for a long time, and she thought perhaps he’d given up on the conversation. “Most human men might be a little unnerved by it,” he said finally.

A short laugh escaped her. “Unnerved? No, this was total mental meltdown. Run away screaming like a girl, never come back meltdown.” Which the Harvester wasn’t doing. Instead, he was being nice. It was almost enough to make her want to cry. Almost. She hadn’t lost complete control to her cursed hormones yet.

Kallan’s fingers squeezed her wrist gently. “Had you talked about any of this to him before then?”

“Yes, and I’m sure he thought I was crazy. Not crazy enough to stop dating completely, but a little touched. The snakes, though…” She swallowed. “The snakes convinced him I wasn’t lying. Or maybe he just thought he’d had a hallucination. I never got the chance to ask, really.” The old pain reared its head when she remembered the way Austin had vanished from her house and her life, almost as fresh as eight years ago.

Warm fingers slid further between her own so his palm touched hers. “He was the second, huh?” He squeezed again, just lightly, sending heat up her arm. “I guess that put a real damper on dating.” His thumb stroked over the back of her hand and up the side of her index finger. “And explains the vibrator.”

She shut her eyes, smiling reluctantly, despite the pain.

“And the romance novel.”

She frowned up at him. “Those are good reads, I’ll have you know.”

“With sex in them.”

She sighed. “I guess I have to give you that one. Still good stories.”

“You know there are drawings and sculptures of the original Medusa, with the snakes and her still very beautiful face.”

“I’m aware.” Her jaw clenched, and she glared at the floor. “Not too many men are in the market for a woman so dangerous, however. Not to mention going out in public like that would be like sending out a worldwide bulletin to your family: ‘here I am, come kill me’.”

He nudged her shoulder with his own. “I’m attempting to cheer you up, Andrea.”

“It’s not working, but thanks.” A larger divot had appeared in the floor, and she slid her shoe forward to touch the mark with the toe.

Kallan released her hand and put his arm around her shoulders. “Should I distract you in a different way?”

“I thought we agreed that wasn’t happening.” She didn’t move away, though she knew she needed to. Before her hormones really kicked in. She rubbed the bigger dip in the wood floor with her toe again.

“Stop glaring holes into the floor,” he murmured, nuzzling the top of her ear.

“Better the floor than you, wouldn’t you say?” She tilted her head away from him, but he just bent to the side of her neck.

“You smell good.” He licked her skin, sending a shock through her. “Taste good.”

Andi jumped when his other hand settled on her thigh. “Harvester.”

“That isn’t going to work,” he whispered, nipping her throat.

“Neither is this.” She resisted the need to whimper when his teeth grazed her neck in advance of a slow, open-mouthed kiss over the same spot.

He squeezed her thigh lightly, and heat shot into her middle.

Well, okay, maybe it was working. A little.

When he tilted her back, she let him catch her mouth. Just for a minute. She wouldn’t admit it to him, but this really was a pretty good distraction.


Who else has a July birthday? How do you celebrate? Big party? Just you and your nearest and dearest? And what kind of cake are you having?

While I go back to work on Medusa #2, maybe you’re looking for something to read right now? Light the Way Home is available wherever books are sold, so if you click the title, you’ll be able to find your favorite bookseller. Hot single dad, a haunted lighthouse, and a woman who is just passing through, it’s a quick, light read to while away a hot summer afternoon.


I’m a day early this weekend, but it’s for a good reason. My youngest son’s birthday is today, and we have our birthday dinner planned for my regular posting day tomorrow. And in a few days, my birthday month starts, so expect to see lots of pretty cake pictures. I’ve already decided on my actual birthday cake, too–last year I was in New York City for my birthday and brought home the best cheesecake in the world for my birthday cake, and I think I’m going to splurge this year and have them deliver it since I can’t go there to get it. That’s a good self-gift, yes? Now I have to narrow down my choices, but I have a little time.

I’ve whittled down and fine-tuned my writing goals for the year now, to a list I think is manageable and achievable for the next six months, and moved some things to my list for 2021 (much too soon to work out that list quite yet, though!). Obviously, I’m not thrilled that the original list is off the table, but I feel good about what I kept for the rest of the year, and I’m already working on it.

Before I go back to my Saturday chores, I have a little story snippet for you, from Light the Way Home.


Nate breathed easier when he drove the truck onto the island from the ferry. Mort gave him a thumbs-up, so he waved, then steered toward home.

He hoped Hayden had behaved. It had been a long time since he’d entrusted his son to anyone besides his parents. He hoped Lucie was really up to the task.

When he got to the house, the porch lights were still on, but he couldn’t see more than faint light around the curtains downstairs. He climbed out of the truck, exhausted. He couldn’t even summon the energy to square his shoulders for whatever he might find inside.

The house was quiet. Completely silent. He shut the door softly behind him, toeing off his sneakers and shrugging out of his jacket before he headed into the kitchen. The supper dishes stood in the drainer. He frowned, then continued to the living room. Where he found Lucie sound asleep on the sofa. The ugly orange and brown afghan he kept draped across the back of the sofa was tucked up around her shoulders, and a lock of her dark hair had slid forward, over her cheek.

He hesitated, hating to disturb her sleep. He glanced at the clock. Almost two. Fuck, it was later than he’d realized. No wonder he was so tired. He rubbed one hand down over his face and took a slow breath. He’d just let her know he was home, and she should stay where she was. He bent over and touched her shoulder.

Lucie jerked awake, sitting up so fast she almost knocked her head against his chin before he straightened.

“Whoa,” he said softly, holding both hands out. “Easy, Lucie. Just me.”

Her wide eyes squeezed shut for a moment, and she let out a quick breath. “Sorry. You startled me.”

“It’s okay. I just wanted you to know I was home. Lie down, go back to sleep, it’s late.”

She met his gaze, her sleepy green eyes searching. “How is your dad?”

Tension squeezed his chest again. “He was in recovery when I left. The doctor pinned the bones in his leg back together.” He sat down on the coffee table.

Lucie surprised him by reaching over to pat his knee. “You must be very worried. I’m sorry.”

He caught her hand. “Lie down, Lucie. Or I can make up the bed in the guest room.”

“I can go back over to Harry and Mindi’s,” she said, covering a yawn with her free hand. “You should get some sleep. I imagine you’re exhausted.”

“You, too. Thanks for staying with Hayden. Did he give you any trouble?”

“Of course not. We played some picture dominoes, then read a couple stories, and he was out.”

“You didn’t have to wash the dishes.”

A faint smile touched her mouth. “I needed something to do. And I love your kitchen. You did that?”

Nate nodded and gave her fingers a gentle squeeze. “Go back to sleep, Lucie. Really.”

She shook her head, yawning again. “I don’t want to be in your way, and I have a bed just a few yards away.” She smiled once more.

He realized he was still holding her hand and released it, standing. “You aren’t in the way. I really appreciate your help.”

She eased to her feet, too. “If you need a hand again, let me know.”

Her smile faded. “No, no kids.”

“But you’re good with him.”

Her mouth turned down a little. “I dated someone for a few years who had a son a bit older than Hayden.”

“I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.”

She shook her head. “Old news. But I do miss Teddy sometimes.” Her smile this time was forced. “Let me get my shoes and sweater on, and I’ll get out of your way so you can sleep, too.”

Nate closed his mouth on a curse. He hadn’t meant to make her feel bad. “Lucie.”

She glanced back over her shoulder.

He didn’t even know what he’d meant to say, and it didn’t matter when a loud rumble of thunder shook the house.

Her eyes widened, and she looked toward the back door as a bolt of lightning flashed over the sky. Right before the rain started, pouring down in a deluge. “Shit,” she whispered, her shoulders slumping.


What are you up to this weekend? Instead of chores, I’ve been wishing for a beach break, but I’ll have to just imagine I’m getting to read on the beach for now. And maybe I’ll spike my lemonade today, too.


Hiya! This is just a quick post to share a fun event I am participating in, now through Sunday. This features thirteen authors with seventeen books, all including fathers to celebrate Father’s Day! There will be a different group of authors featured each day, and I am in the Friday group. Plus there are goodies to be had.

Check out the event page.

And then maybe you want to enter to win a copy of all the books featured in the event? Of course you do.

I’m a little nervous, because this is the first event I’ve done in a long time with someone else at the helm, so do me a favor and check it out. I’d love for it to be super-successful. Plus what’s not to love about a great dad?


I have an old 80s song stuck in my head this week, “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters. My shiny new website has launched, and it is so pretty! I love what my web designer did for me, and I hope you all like it, too. Check it out here.

I’m in the middle of the last couple weekend chores right now, so this post is just a fly-by. I have a quick excerpt from Light the Way Home for you today.


“I really do appreciate this, Lucie,” Nate said from where he stood at the sink.

“It’s nothing, Nate,” she said lightly. “Keeps me from having to spend endless hours on job search sites and getting more depressed than I already am.” She kept her head down as she buttoned her sweater up to her chin.

“It isn’t nothing to me.”

His firm, quiet tone snared her attention, and her mouth went dry. The shadows in his brown eyes made her curl her fingers around the edges of her sweater to keep from reaching out.

“I’m not accustomed to asking for help.” He cleared his throat. “I appreciate it.”

She swallowed. “It’s no problem,” she whispered. Dammit–hot, attracted to her, and vulnerable. Shit, that was trouble. She took a slow breath. “I’ll see you in the morning then.” She inched toward the door.

A hint of awareness darkened his eyes, but he stayed where he was. “Good night, Lucie.”

She took two more steps, clearing the doorway to the mud room, and a little relief sank into her belly. Until she heard footsteps behind her.

Within reach of the back door, she whirled. He stood at the open doorway of the kitchen, undisguised desire in his eyes this time. Her heart skipped a beat, and she felt a quick rush of excitement that she tried to squash as he stepped into the mud room. She held her breath as he took another step. One more. Until he stood a foot away, and her breath rushed out.

He studied her face for a long moment, and she wondered what he saw, what he was looking for. Impulsively, she moved closer to him, noting the way his eyes rounded, and she stretched up to brush a kiss on his mouth, lingered for a second, then stepped back.

“Good night, Nate,” she whispered, reaching behind her for the doorknob.

His dark gaze followed her out the door, and she turned away, a smile curving her lips.


It’s an absolutely gorgeous Sunday here, and I am going to enjoy having all the windows open while I get to work on some revisions, once I get the laundry into the dryer. What are you up to this week? Something fun, or drudgery? If the latter, I hope you find time for the first, too! Have a great week!





It’s a gorgeous Sunday here, and my lilies have buds all over them. My mom had them planted at our mailbox when I was growing up, and the ones in my garden came from her mom’s garden, so when they bloom every year, they make me happy for multiple reasons. I’m watching them daily to see how close mine are to blooming. Probably not quite yet, a week or so, I think, and then happy orange flowers will brighten our side garden for a couple of weeks.

Each month means something different for each of us, good and bad. June here is my youngest son’s birthday (plus some other extended family birthdays), as well as the beginning of my least favorite season (but it does mean my herbs and veggies will be happy). A few years back, it meant a week-long writing retreat with friends; we haven’t done that in a while, and I doubt we will any time soon in this new normal. When we were kids, June was the beginning of summer vacation, which was full of possibilities and always seemed to long at the beginning, but too short by the end of it. Do you remember? The past few years, June has meant updates to my website, and that is true again this year. I’ll have a shiny new design launching in the next week or so.

Many years, June means a trip to our local Ren Faire for their annual Celtic Fling, especially the Friday night concert to kick off the weekend if they bring in one of my favorite bands, Gaelic Storm, which happens with some regularity. Last year one of my girlfriends and I went to see them there, and I am disappointed we won’t get to do that this year. But better safe than sick. So I’ll play a couple of their CDs instead, and pretend later in the month that I’m seeing them onstage again. I actually realized that they are probably the band I’ve seen the most (I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen them, to be honest). Either them or Trans Siberian Orchestra, but I’m pretty sure it’s Gaelic Storm.

Now I feel the need to play some of their music, so I’ll do that, but before I go, I have a little story snippet for you from Light the Way Home.


Hayden waved up at the tower, and Nate glanced over his shoulder to the hazy shape of Micah silhouetted against the window. “Come on, Hayden, Grandma’s waiting for you.”

“’Kay, Daddy, I’m comin’.” His son ran a few steps to him, and he scooped the boy up into his car seat. “Buckle me in!”

He smiled as he did so. “I heard a rumor there might be a surprise waiting for you today.”

“A s’prise?” His son’s eyes rounded. “What kinda s’prise?”

“If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?” He ruffled his son’s untidy hair. “You’ll have to wait and see. Hands inside the ride.” He shut the door and rounded the truck to his own seat. As he slid in, he caught a movement from the corner of his eye and looked over at Harry and Mindi’s–Lucie stood at the sink, head down. He started the truck, and she lifted her face, looking first at the truck and then away–toward the lighthouse, where Micah still stood.

When she looked at him again, he saw her frown. He waved, smiling grimly and wondering if Lucie believed in ghosts.

“Bye, Lucie,” Hayden shouted, waving wildly.

Even though she couldn’t possibly hear him, she smiled and waved at Hayden as Nate backed the truck out of the driveway.

When he parked at his parents’ a few minutes later, he was still wondering–not everyone could bring themselves to believe in things like ghosts. Harry and Mindi had lived on the island long enough to have gotten over that, but if Lucie didn’t believe… Well, it didn’t matter, because she wouldn’t be here long. Just curious, he supposed, stopping the truck behind his father’s. It was always an interesting conversation with newcomers, about the lighthouse ghost.

Growing up on the island, he’d known about Micah all his life. His ex had thought it was sad and romantic–until she left, just like Micah’s lost wife had done, escaping the island with a new man and leaving Nate and Hayden behind.

He frowned, pushing open his door. It was better that she’d gone when she did–better for Hayden because he was so young.

“Gram!” Hayden shouted as Nate opened the passenger door.

Nate glanced over his shoulder and saw his mother waving from inside the house. “Let me get you unbuckled, buddy, and then you can go see her.” He unclipped the harness and hefted his son out of the truck, giving him a little bounce just to hear him giggle, before setting the boy on his feet. He followed his son to the back door, noted his dad’s silhouette in the open workshop door out back, then shifted his attention to his mother, who’d opened the screen door to let Hayden inside.

“Take your jacket off, Hayden,” she called as he rushed past her. Her gaze landed on Nate. “I hear you met the house-sitter.”

He blinked. “I don’t think she’s exactly house-sitting.”

“Really?” One of his mother’s eyebrows winged up. “What is she then?”

“Friends with Harry and Mindi.” He shrugged.

“Hm.” She glanced over her shoulder at a thump from the next room. “Hayden?”

“I’m good.”

Nate repressed a smile. “I can get him in a few hours, maybe before he destroys the place.”

Ida Baxter laughed. “Too late.” She met his gaze again. “Is she pretty?”

Oh hell. He shrugged. “I guess.”

His mother’s eyes narrowed a tiny bit. “Hayden likes her.”

“She played with him.” He lifted one shoulder a little again. “She’ll be gone soon.”


He ignored the speculative look in her eyes. “I have a client appointment before I head back to the shop. I’ll pick up the human wrecking ball by four-thirty. Thanks, Mom.”

She sighed as he turned away. “We’ll see you then.”

Nate didn’t look back–he’d learned a long time ago not to encourage his mother when she started wondering about his love life, or lack of one. And no matter how pretty Lucie was, he wasn’t in the market for a relationship, and she wasn’t staying on the island. Problem solved.


In case you like Celtic music and somehow haven’t heard Gaelic Storm yet, you should check them out. And if you haven’t read Light the Way Home yet, I’d love if you checked that out, too.

What does June mean to you? Something fun? Birthdays or anniversaries? More yard work? I’d love to hear from you.



( Depositphotos.com )

I’m past my normal blog day this week, and I’m sorry. the last couple of weeks at the day-job have been kind of busy. Theoretically, we get to catch our breath for a few days, but my two teammates are off the rest of the week, so it’ll just be me the next two days. Luckily, it isn’t as insanely busy as last week, so I’ll be fine.

I think I mentioned that I was working with my web designer on a fresh look for my website, and we’re nearly ready to launch the shiny new design. I’m very excited, partly because, well, who doesn’t like a nice remodel? And partly because it gives me a reason to have a little party. I’ll have more details on that maybe in my next post or two, so stay tuned.

I’m keeping this one short and sweet since we’re mid-work-week, but I still have a little story snippet for you, from Hunting Medusa.


Medusa knew he was coming. She always knew when the next one approached to try to kill her. But she had not been ready to die—until now.

While listening to the soft, sneaky sounds of his footfalls on the rocky path, she studied the golden goblet. It had not rid her of Athena’s curse, but it would help her daughters. As long as one of them had it, the amulet would stop them all from suffering constantly as she had all these years, limiting the effects of the curse to only a few days each month for the keeper of the goblet. Until the Goddess forgave Medusa’s foolish bragging.

Her killer drew nearer, still attempting to be quiet. Something about his deliberate pace—unhurried, careful—made her grateful she had already finished her protective spell for her children. This one would not have died as easily as the rest.

She looked around, from one statue to another—men of all ages and sizes, various weapons in their hands or tucked into their belts, all wearing the same horrified expression. Her eyes burned. She knew she was a monster. She had known not to brag so about her hair. Athena did not suffer braggarts. She had ruined Medusa’s hair, had cursed Medusa to live in exile this way—on this Gods-forsaken island, with no company but her own—as well as all her offspring.

Medusa despised living this way. She was not meant to be alone. She had never enjoyed her own company more than others’. When this hunter came, she would let him kill her.

He did not come into the clearing as the others had, charging forward recklessly. No, he came in with his back to her, watching her reflection in a shield. Clever, this one. She pretended to not have seen him, very aware of each step he took.

Soon. It would be over soon.

And she could not wait for the torment to end.

When he came nearer, she closed her eyes and prayed to Athena for forgiveness.

His blade whistled through the air. Closer, closer…


If you’re looking for a nice light, quick read for a warm afternoon, Light the Way Home is out now at all your favorite booksellers. Clicking on the title will take you wherever you want to go shopping.

Here’s hoping the rest of your week is smooth sailing!



( motivational poster – Depositphotos )

Here in the U.S, we’re finishing up a three-day weekend today for Memorial Day. For some, even though it’s meant as a remembrance for service people who lost their lives at war, it’s still a working weekend, for others, it’s about kicking off summer, and for some, it’s a combination of all of those.

Where I am, we’re still under a stay-at-home order, which suits me fine, since the number of new cases of this virus are still holding pretty steady in my county. It was also grocery week, and I took advantage of delivery from one of the two places we shop, then headed to the other all masked up. I also spent this afternoon and evening doing some necessary gardening. My tomatoes are in, the weeds are out. I did, however, pick up too many tomatoes (I can’t even believe I’m typing that, there is no such thing as too many tomato plants, right?), so I shared with my neighbor, who doesn’t get out. Now she’ll also have fresh tomatoes in her garden in a couple of months.

Everyone does something different for pleasure–weeding is not one of those things for me, but a necessary evil so I can enjoy my tomatoes and fresh herbs all summer. For me, relaxation means family time, reading or writing, always music, and sometimes a favorite show or movie. Tonight’s show was After Life with Ricky Gervais. I’ve never been a huge fan of his, but we laughed our way through An Idiot Abroad a couple of years ago, so when  friend talked about how much they loved this show, I added it to my Netflix list. There are parts that are depressing, appalling, just plain awful, hilarious, and some so sweet, they’ll break your heart. We finished the last couple episodes from the second season tonight, and I have a terrible headache from sobbing through them, but I can’t wait until the next season.

During the past couple of months, I know people have been doing a lot of different things for enjoyment, sometimes an old hobby, sometimes something new. What are you doing right now when you need a few minutes of you-time? Are you turning to something you already loved before this pandemic, or have you picked up something new to make you feel better?

I’m going to go get something for my headache before I call it a day, but before I go, I have a little snippet of Light the Way Home for you.


Nate schooled his expression to neutrality before turning around. Hayden’s chin jutted stubbornly, and his blue eyes narrowed. “I’m saying Lucie might be busy right now,” Nate said evenly. “Maybe we’ll see her outside tomorrow.”

“I can knock on the door.” His son crossed his arms on his chest, covering the spotted blue dog graphic. “She said we’d play later, and it’s later.”

“We can check, but, buddy, you have to promise not to be upset if she’s busy. Plus it’ll be suppertime soon, so we’ll be busy here, too.”

Hayden’s chin jutted out further.

“Just don’t get your hopes up,” he said, trying to keep his tone from dropping in defeat.

Hayden bolted for the back door.

Nate followed more slowly, picking up his son’s jacket from the chair inside the door. By the time he reached the bottom step, he heard his son’s voice, then Lucie spoke in reply, though he couldn’t hear the words. When he cleared the lilac bushes, he expected to see Hayden’s shoulders droop.

He was a little surprised to see the two of them walking into the middle of the neighboring yard while Lucie bounced the big yellow ball on one hand. Huh. He would’ve bet on her putting Hayden off. He paused at the open gate between the yards to watch them. They’d stopped, and she crouched in front of Hayden, who chattered a mile a minute. She nodded as she rose.

Hayden jogged backward a few steps, grinning, then held out both hands.

Lucie gave the ball another bounce before she tossed it to him.

His son caught it, giggling. “Too easy,” he shouted. He jumped once, then moved a few more steps away from her. “Ready?”

“Ready!” She leaned forward and held out her hands.

Nate wished he could see her expression.

Hayden lobbed the ball at her, and she caught it before it hit her in the face. He smiled and shook his head when his laughing son danced backward a couple more paces. “Throw it again!”

“You sure you can catch it so far away?” The tease in her voice made Nate relax. Lucie Russo might be a nice woman. Mindi and Harry trusted her, which meant she was okay.

But she seemed to be enjoying his son, genuinely enjoying him. Maybe she had nieces or nephews–she was comfortable, chatting with Hayden as they played catch.

He leaned on the fence to watch.

“Daddy, come play with us!”

Lucie straightened and looked over her shoulder, eyes widening.

Nate felt a little kick in his gut at the appealing image–pink cheeks, green eyes that tipped up at the outer corners, full lower lip dropping a tiny bit. Lucie Russo was pretty.


In case you’re looking for something new to read, the book title above is also a link to all your favorite booksellers where you can find it.

So what are you doing for enjoyment right now? When you need a few minutes of escape? I’d love to know.