Friday, November 15, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
If you start to revise before you've reached the end, you're likely to begin dawdling with the revisions and putting off the difficult task of writing.
- Pearl S. Buck
Thursday, November 14, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Writing is an Adventure by @lcrandallwriter

by Walt Whitman
I write.

Yes, I’m a writer. I can say that out loud.

I love writing and presently write primarily romance. I like to write about relationships and the conflicts, obstacles, growth that go along with them. I have about fifteen books and novellas published. I say about because I’m afraid I might miss one or two in my calculations. And I’m not done. I have a plan. It’s written down on a blue piece of thin cardstock and in my journal. I created that plan a year ago, and at this point, have accomplished some of the seven projects planned. When I put it down on paper and considered it, I thought it would be something that would take me through about five years. And who knew what would occur after that?

Then something happened.

My list contained projects for books in paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance, a screen play (what the hell?), and women’s fiction. But a quirky-for-me thought popped up. The idea of writing a sci-fi romance tickled my imagination. Whoa! How fun, I thought. That thought was followed by the fairly new phenomena that keeps suggesting trying new things with a, Why not? (similar in nature to the What the hell? sentiment.) At that point, a favorite author of mine spoke up, reminding me of something important.

              Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself
I am large, I contain multitudes.” –Walt Whitman

My friend Walt was right. I have many parts. One of them wants to write sci-fi romance, and her name is Kelynn Storm. So while she is me, author Lynn Crandall, it is fitting that I give her her own name, my pen name, and follow a new interest. I have research to do and brainstorming to get busy with – as soon as I complete two more books in my new contemporary series, Love in Dunes Bay – but Kelynn will have her story. In fact, though not a sci-fi, she wrote her first story for the Common Elements Romance Project, which features the stories of more than seventy authors and five common elements in each one: a key, a stack of books, a character named Max, a haunted or presumed to be haunted building, and a lightning storm. Kelynn’s contribution is a novella titled Touch of Breeze. Here’s a blurb: 

by Kelynn StormA rare white were-jaguar, she’s on a mission to save her twin brother from certain death. She didn’t plan on teaming up with a Jag Guardian who would just as soon break her heart.

Mortician London Satos works with the dead by choice. Using her were-jag ability to witness their final moments, she helps them pass over in peace. Those special moments contrast greatly with the life she leads haunted by an ancient Japanese spirit with revenge on his mind. On top of that, her twin brother is missing. Just when she thinks she has enough on her hands, Breeze Dawson stumbles into her path. Compelled by a guilty conscious, she thinks she must help him survive the evil spirit, but it doesn’t stop there. She is forced to team up with him to rescue her brother from an evil madman intent on using him to fulfill a diabolical prophesy.

Recently suspended from his job as a Jag Guardian, were-jaguar Breeze finds himself looking for anything to distract him from his troubled life. So when the beautifully captivating mortician needs help fighting battles on several fronts, he finds himself embroiled in a murderous plot that not only threatens his Guardian team but the supernatural community in general. Together, Breeze and London race to locate the mad man’s stronghold where he’s holding London’s brother, all the while fighting mutual attraction that will only complicate everything.


I hope you’ll pick it up and give Kelynn’s voice a try. She’ll show you that writing is an adventure. For me, a pantser, there isn’t much set out for what’s ahead in a story. For me personally, it seems to be the same. So one thing I would like to emphasize for writers and just anyone living: never say never. Never say you would never be able to give a presentation or write women’s fiction or create a podcast or anything else. Stay open and let all parts of you express their desires. You might just add something entirely different to your list of things to try and have fun doing it.

Follow all the stories in the Common Elements Romance Project as they release by visiting the website, and sign up for monthly giveaways. Learn more about my writing on my website. Find images related to Touch of Breeze and all my books at Pinterest. Follow me on my Amazon Author Page and Kelynn Storm's Author PageBookbub and Kelynn Storn's Bookbub page, and Goodreads. Interact with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @lcrandall246 . I'm always eager to hear from readers.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | By: Lynn

Tuesday Special: Release Day for Then There Was You

Lynn Crandall


Runaway bride Cherish Moss never anticipated the outcome of her wedding day. Will she regret the path not taken or embrace new adventures and opportunities ahead? Opposites attract in Lynn Crandall’s Dunes Bay novel debut, a truly unputdownable story.

by Lynn Crandall

Cherish Moss is well aware that most people would do anything for the life she has: accomplished attorney, daughter of a wealthy family, and hours away from her wedding day. But on the inside, she is barely breathing and no one even notices. When she leaves her fiancé at the alter she waits for the feeling of remorse…so why as she runs out of the church and down the street does she feel like she’s reclaiming her life?

Grayson Steele is hiding out having left his dream job in Chicago as an investigative reporter. After exposing police corruption, the threats on his life came fast and furious and now he has to not only protect himself but his family too. He’s not interested in a relationship. He can’t be, because he won’t put anyone in danger. But after meeting Cherish at a local bar, his longing for her is intense and it won’t go away.

The timing is all wrong for them both, but Grayson and Cherish must face the unwanted fate they helped create or follow their hearts to survive.



Amazon        Apple         Nook


After cutting her writing teeth as a feature writer for commercial and trade magazines, a reporter for newspapers and radio, and an executive editor for a communications company, award-winning author Lynn Crandall tuned her voracious appetite for stories to writing contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. In her books, she enjoys taking readers on emotional journeys with relatable characters who refuse to back down, and face challenges and tribulations with heart and soul. She believes every love has a story, and hers is with one handsome husband and a large, beautiful circle of family, including her cat, Winter.

Website        Facebook        Instagram        @lcrandallwriter 

Pinterest        Amazon Author Page        Goodreads        BookBub


Monday, November 11, 2019 | By: Lynn

Monday Morsels: Cravings by @lynncrandallwriter

...a taste of romance


CRAVINGS
by Lynn Crandall

If it weren’t for her parents—correction, fake parents—trying to take over her life, maybe even trying to kill her, Kennedy would burst out laughing. The situation was all so surreal. Laughter would be better than giving in to the urge to curl up into a ball and cry. What good would that do?

So she sat there in Lara Monroe’s kitchen wearing her best stoic face and not saying a word while Lara, Tizzy Sands, Asia Blue, and Asher Monroe, members of the were-lynx colony that rescued her two weeks ago from William Carter Enterprises’ drug research project, chatted about the handling of her day for her. She suspected they meant well; they just wanted to keep her safe and away from her adoptive parents. Muscles throughout her body tensed at the idea that they didn’t trust her. But the truth lying in the bottom of her stomach reminded her that from the first moment they’d released her from the cage at William Carter Enterprises, she hadn’t trusted them, either.

That day two weeks ago was the day everything she’d known as her life crumbled beneath her. When she’d learned her real parents were not dead and had not abandoned her either—both lies from her fake parents. When she’d learned the colony leader, Casey Mitchell, might be her brother. Yes, they were both black, but that didn’t mean they shared DNA. Heck, before her fake parents had handed her over to William Carter’s experiment, she hadn’t even known other were-lynxes existed. She’d been told she was one of a kind, a lone freak. But there were more freaks, At least a whole colony of them. And maybe none of them were freaks, but just another species. For a brief moment after her rescue she’d been at once shocked and encouraged by the discoveries. She wasn’t sure what was the truth. At least the one about Casey, her sibling or not her sibling, would be cleared up as soon as the results from their DNA testing returned. As for his colony, so far, the eight were-cats were very real and very interesting, and each one had their own special ability beyond their preternatural senses, just like she did.

But the whispered voices when she was out of the room and the pointed looks they shared between them clued her in that they were assessing if she was genuinely trustworthy or a plant, gathering information to report back to The Nexus Group, a group of people who were interested only in acquiring more power and more riches, regardless of the pain and chaos they caused. The group her parents belonged to.

Hurt stung her heart at the situation. The colony cats didn’t know how she’d longed for a better life away from her parents and among people who would actually care about her. She was assessing them, too. It was the prudent thing to do. Things were very confusing, but so far, other than treating her like an object, they hadn’t given her any reason to want to leave, especially not to return to her old, unbearable life.

“Kennedy, did you hear me?” Tizzy poked her once then smiled, her big eyes the color of cognac peeking out from the blond bangs that swept across her forehead. She tossed her head, and her short hair gleamed in the sunlight slanting in through the kitchen window.

“Oh, sorry. I was zoning out.”

Smiles, understanding and sweet, came her way from the three female were-lynxes. Asher just stared at her. Which was okay, because all the smiles made her stomach tighten.

In the two weeks since her rescue from the insane project aimed at turning were-lynxes into warriors and headed by the now-dead kingpin of The Nexus Group, William Carter, she’d gotten so much understanding and sweetness she dripped with it. She knew she should be more grateful. They’d been so kind. They’d even taken her shopping to buy a new wardrobe since hers was left behind. But in her whole life, kindness and caring had been absent. Memories of her adoptive parents’ idea of showing their love slivered through her mind, making her shiver. Memories of them forcing her to stand in a corner for hours, all in the name of helping her reach her potential. The things they made her do growing up were done out of love, they’d said. The training, the fasting, and harsh treatment were good for her, they’d said. And finally she’d come to understand that even gestures that seemed soft and fuzzy would be followed with something painful. Soft and fuzzy was just a way to catch her off guard and administer pain. So was it any wonder she felt at once skeptical and appreciative about the colony’s treatment of her?

“That sounds fine. I’ll spend the day with Tizzy in her elementary classroom.”

“Right. I’ve already cleared it with my principal. With your bachelor’s degree, I was able to get you certified quickly as an aide, so you’ll fit right in.” Tizzy slanted her head and beamed. “It will be fun having you there.” Tizzy was a beigeish lynx who also had a very dramatic, very enthusiastic human side.

Kennedy gave a smile back but couldn’t muster much enthusiasm. Her fingers began following a familiar pattern of touching each one to her thumb, first one direction then back again. It kicked in without conscious thought as a response to stress. Just as did her counting. Focusing on the number of crackers in a bowl when she was nine had helped prevent her fear of lack of food later from overwhelming her completely.

Asia rubbed her arm soothingly. “This is a hard time, I know. But we’re just trying to keep you safe.”

Kennedy shook her head. 

“Oh, I know. I appreciate all you’ve done, all of you.” She lowered her gaze to the table. It was the truth, nothing to hide there. But still, the raw reality of her life throbbed through her painfully as if she were still living in that life, under her adoptive parents’ thumb, being prepared to help The Nexus Group expand its power. As before, living with her fake parents, she was being handled, like an object. An object with no last name, because the one she’d known for all of her twenty-two years of life was fake. An object that was told how her day would be spent and only as she needed to know. No chances were taken that she would have an opportunity to share information with the enemy—Jonathon and Kathryn Novak, her so-called parents, and other members of The Nexus Group, the group everyone in the colony wanted more information about from her. Her special cellphone, the one her parents had complete control over, had been taken from her when she’d been crated by TNG. It had not been returned to her in the rescue. The colony didn’t want her near one or near a computer. Like TNG people, the colony was keeping her isolated, at least until she gave them information.

She felt their frustration that she couldn’t fill them in. She’d never been told much, and parts of her memory were like dead computer cells—dark and nonfunctional.

She picked up her breakfast dishes and joined the others in cleaning up. Then she went to her room and closed the door behind her. She glanced around, near-panic seeping through her veins. This handling was all too familiar. Different in that these people showed compassion. But so close to her old life that she couldn’t breathe. She needed air and right now.

Kennedy quietly slid open the window, grateful Lara’s apartment was located on the first floor, climbed over, and jumped the short distance to the ground.

Her skin itched, and the longing to shimmer—to change into her lynx form—pushed up her adrenaline several notches. The urgency in her gut sent her racing down the street, past the line of apartments, past the strip mall, until finally she found an alley to disappear into while she made the transition. She pulled at her sweatshirt, then stopped. She caught a whiff of another were-cat.

“What are you up to, Kennedy?” It was Asher Monroe, a were-bobcat who was one of the colony cats and Lara’s brother, standing at the opening of the alley.

She sagged to the ground, clothes still intact. She watched him shuffle toward her and with little effort tamped down the adrenaline surge she’d been running on. She was all about control of her body and its mechanisms and emotions, thanks to her training with her fake parents and her handlers with The Nexus Group.

Asher’s blond hair caught a glimmer of sunlight, and suddenly, it was all she could focus on. The mussed-up look fit his devil-may-care expression. His broad shoulders and muscled biceps under his jacket spoke volumes about his fit physique. She might be numb inside, but she wasn’t dead, and her rapid heartbeat proved it. “I’m not up to anything, you idiot. I just needed some air.”

He looked down at her, his eyes a startling, pale yellow rimmed in brown, and chuckled. “I get that.” He squatted near her, not so close that her invasion alarm went off but not so far that he felt impersonal. “The colony can crawl down your neck without knowing it, but they mean you no harm.”

She sent him a glare. “What are you, the sentinel? Making sure the subject doesn’t escape?” Her remark landed hard, she could see that in his eyes, but she wanted him to know no one was pulling the wool over her eyes. They didn’t trust her any more than she trusted them.

Asher shook his head and pursed his lips. “You’re a tough one, aren’t you,” he stated rather than asked. “It should be obvious to you that these people are only protecting you and exercising caution. It’s prudent to do so. A skilled lynx knows that.”

The dried autumn leaves in the alley suddenly lifted on a cold breeze and whirled around briefly before scattering at their feet. “You didn’t answer my question. Are you the designated tracker?”

Want to read more?

by Lynn Crandall
Kennedy, just Kennedy, recently dropped down into the rabbit hole complete with no surname and landed in an entirely different life than the one she’d been living for 22 years. That’s when she learned her parents were people who had been given the job of raising her and keeping from the truth—her real parents were alive and she had been groomed to progress the plans of a secret group. It was also the day she learned her life was in jeopardy and she could trust no one, except maybe the brother she hadn’t known she had, Casey Mitchell, and his colony of were-lynxes.

Always a charmer, Asher Monroe, a were-bobcat who belongs to Casey’s colony, is willing to help her investigate her past. As a sports writer, he is skilled at ferreting out the truth. He’s also willing to use his special ability of “nudging” others to do what he wants so he can learn as much as he can about Kennedy and her life before. He needs to discover whether she is a threat to the colony or simply a lost soul.

As their needs for truth take them into escalating danger, their individual woundings expose what really brings them together and pulls them apart.

Kennedy Monroe doesn’t know who to trust when she learns she’s been living a lie for 22 years, but wouldn’t it be nice if fellow were-lynx Asher Monroe could be her safe place in a world full of danger? Looking for truth, they face their individual woundings that expose what really brings them together and what pulls them apart.

Amazon        Simon and Schuster          Apple          Barnes and Noble

📚  Find Lynn Crandall here:

Website         Facebook          Pinterest         Instagram         Amazon Author Page

Goodreads         Youtube         Twitter         BookBub


Friday, November 8, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or  the tools) to write. Simple as that. 
- Stephen King
Thursday, November 7, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Welcome Back to Brandywine Valley with Saralyn Richard

The Write Way Café welcomes Saralyn Richard, who returns readers to the last place anyone would expect a murder and Detective Oliver Parrott's jurisdiction.

Tell us a little about A Palette for Love and Murder.
by Saralyn Richard
COMING IN 2020!
     Welcome back to Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania. The scenery is lush, the mansions are huge, and the secrets run deep. Detective Oliver Parrott’s next case takes us to the ancestral home of Blake Allmond, a renowned artist, whose paintings have been stolen from the studio on his property. Before Parrott can get a foothold on the case, Allmond is murdered in his second home in New York’s Gramercy Park. It’s out of Parrott’s jurisdiction, but he can’t help thinking the two crimes are related, and he’s got the itch to work on both.
     What Parrott doesn’t realize is that Blake Allmond’s life is full of mystery, and the theft of the paintings turns into a treasure hunt and search for a killer—and then the investigation becomes personal.

How is this book related to Murder in the One Percent?
     In Murder in the One Percent, we meet Detective Parrott, a former college football star whose fiancée is serving in her second tour of duty as a Navy helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. Parrott’s just been promoted to detective in the swanky Brandywine Valley, where people spend more on their horses per month than Parrott earns. His strong moral compass and dedication to the job bolster him as he investigates an apparent murder in a country mansion following an elaborate party. His job is made harder by the pressure brought to bear by the rich and powerful one percenters, who close rank on him at every turn.
     After Murder in the One Percent was released, I began receiving feedback from readers who wanted “more Parrott.” Apparently Parrott’s struggles with the “establishment” has resonated with readers, and he has become a hero to root for again. Parrott’s character, his relationship with Tonya, and the exotic location of Brandywine Valley offer fertile ground for another mystery.
     In A Palette for Love and Murder, Parrott trades horse folks for art folks. Some of the same characters reappear in the new book, but the sequel can also be read as a stand-alone.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of A Palette for Love and Murder
     I’ve visited Brandywine Valley many times. It’s one of the most naturally beautiful and serenely peaceful places I’ve ever been, the last place someone would expect a murder to occur. Because of the rustic landscape and wonderful light, the area attracts artists, many of whom have achieved success among America’s best. The Brandywine River Museum, one of the best regional art museums in the country, inspires me with its collections, as well as its educational features. My visits there have motivated me to write about the Brandywine art community.

Who is your favorite character from A Palette for Love and Murder and why? 
     You’re asking me to choose a favorite from among my children—quite impossible to do, since I love all of my characters for varying reasons. Of course, Parrott is a favorite, and in this book we see him at his worst and at his best, as he meets challenges, both professional and personal. Tonya, who is back from Afghanistan, plays a larger role in this story, and I admire her strength and resilience. Another favorite is Elle Carmichael, Blake Allmond’s live-in girlfriend, who has reinvented herself once before, and finds she must do so again.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?
     The obvious answer to this question, when the book is a murder mystery, is the murderer, and there’s no way I would spoil that. There are characters whose flaws stand out, and I wouldn’t want to go on vacation with them or work at the desk next to theirs. But none of my characters are all bad, and none are all good either. Everyone has an intriguing role to play.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
     I’m incredibly fortunate to have the advice and expertise from two talented artists, Jack at my publisher, Black Opal Books, and Rebecca Evans. I wanted a cover that would tie in with that of Murder in the One Percent, but one that reflected the sinister nature of the art world in A Palette for Love and Murder. The cover you see is the culmination of many discussions, and ultimately Rebecca’s finish. If you look closely, you’ll find the artist’s palette is more than just globs of paint.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book.
     Without giving too much away, I’ll say that many of the experts I consulted in the writing of this book came from such diverse occupations as:  banker, baker, death services manager, priest, entertainer, community college student, veteran, artist, police detective, and butler.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
     I’m an avid lifetime reader, so there are many writers whose works have inspired me—Agatha Christie, Michael Connelly, John Irving, Barbara Kingsolver, to name a few. But the writer who has taught me the most about the craft and the process is the amazingly talented Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, The Promise, and The Glovemaker. Ann’s wisdom extends from the esoteric to the mundane. I can’t imagine this journey without her.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies? 
     I teach creative writing and a “literary tapas” class, in which we explore pieces of literature using the Socratic method. I’ve worked as a legal secretary, party consultant, babysitter, teacher, administrator, and school improvement consultant. I make delicious salads and Star Wars pancakes. I also have more than a passing interest in fantasy football, although I’m not a football fan.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published? 
     My main advice to writers, and part of every assignment in my creative writing class, is to have fun. If you’re not having fun while writing, the reader won’t have fun while reading your work. Part of having fun is being open to trying new things, both in writing and in reading.

What can readers who enjoy your books do to help make them successful? 
     Word of mouth is the best way to help a book to be noticed and read. I’m so grateful when readers recommend my books to book club members and other readers and write reviews. I love to hear from readers, too, and I enjoy attending organization meetings or book discussions, either in person or by FaceTime.

What can we expect from you in the future? 
     A Palette for Love and Murder will be released on February 15. Next is a stand-alone mystery that takes place in an urban high school. My current work in progress involves friendship, bullying, and murder. Someday I’d like to complete a historical novel I started long ago, based on the 1900 Storm in Galveston, Texas.


Someone comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.

by Saralyn Richard
When old friends gather for a weekend retreat at a country mansion, no one anticipates how their lives will be changed—or that one of them will turn up dead. Remote and serene, the Campbells’ horse farm is the perfect setting for a lavish party. The guests, members of the country’s elite wealthiest one percent, indulge in gourmet food, fine wines, Cuban cigars—but greed, lust, and jealousy insinuate themselves into the party.

Playboy and ex-Secretary of the Treasury, Preston Phillips, brings his new trophy wife to the party, unaware that his first love, the woman he jilted at the altar years ago, will be there, enchanting him once more with her timeless beauty. A snowstorm, an accident, and an illicit rendezvous later, the dynamics crackle with tension.

When Detective Oliver Parrott is charged with solving the untimely killing of one of America’s leading financial wizards, he realizes this will be the case to make—or break—his career.


Amazon         Barnes & Noble        Black Opal Books        Website bookstore


Watch for A Palette for Love and Money
coming in February 2020!


     Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a writer who teaches on the side. Winner of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Readers’ Choice 2019 Award, and first in the Detective Parrott series, Murder in the One Percent pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful rich.
     Kirkus says about it, "An Everyman detective is asked to solve a murder in a wealthy community in which ample motives and abundant resources make everyone a suspect. Detective Oliver Parrott, who takes charge of the case, is so struck by the partygoers' consensual impressions of the selfish businessman that he realizes the case may be more about who didn't kill Preston than who did."
   Reviews, media, and tour schedule may be found at www.saralynrichard.com.
   Saralyn's children's book, Naughty Nana, is narrated by the fluffy sheepdog puppy who "just wants to have fun." The now not-so-naughty Nana leads a busy life as a tourism ambassador and guest "barker" at schools and libraries.
   A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn continues to write mysteries. Look for A Palette for Murder in 2020. Her website is www.saralynrichard.com.

I enjoy meeting readers through social media. Here are my links:

Twitter        Facebook       LinkedIn        Pinterest

Instagram       Goodreads

I am available to meet with book clubs and organization members. Contact me at saralyn@saralynrichard.com.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Tuesday Special: Rogue's Holiday

REGAN WALKER


by Regan Walker
Even a spy needs a holiday…

Robert Powell’s work as a spy saves the Cabinet ministers from a gruesome death and wins him accolades from George IV. As a reward, the king grants him a baronetcy and a much-deserved holiday at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where he thinks to indulge in brandy, cards, good horseflesh and women.

But when Muriel, Dowager Countess of Claremont, learns of Sir Robert’s intended destination, she begs a favor…to watch over an “errant child” who is the grandniece of her good friend living in the resort town. Little does Robbie know that Miss Chastity Reynolds is no child but a beautiful hellion who is seemingly immune to his charms.

Chastity lives in the shadow of her mother and sisters, dark-haired beauties men admire. Her first Season was a failure but, as she will soon come into a family legacy, she has no need to wed. When she first encounters Sir Robert, she dubs him The Rogue, certain he indulges in a profligate lifestyle she wants no part in.

In Brighton, Robbie discovers he is being followed and senses the conspirators who had planned to murder the Cabinet have discovered his identity. Worse, they know the location of Chastity's residence.         

Excerpt

Grillon’s Hotel, London, 1820

“I’ll return in a moment,” said Chastity as she rose from the table where she and Rose dined in their shared room. 

Rose looked up, her fork paused in midair. “Are you going out…alone? You’re not dressed for town.”

Chastity considered her drab brown cotton gown that she had changed into thinking she would remain in their room. “No one will see me save the desk clerk to whom I will direct my inquiry.” The carriage ride to London had been plagued with muddy roads and much rain, and the drafty lobby had left her chilled. The fire kindled for them had begun to warm her but a glass of sherry would go far to completing the process.

“Do you wish me to accompany you?” Rose cast a look of longing at what remained of her braised veal.

“Nay finish your meal,” Chastity said, crossing the room to the door.

“Hurry back,” urged Rose. “I peeked under the silver dome that hides the sweetmeats. A most delectable selection.”

“They will go well with what I have in mind.” As she reached for the door handle, Crispin, who had been curled up before the fire, raised his head and opened his golden eyes briefly considering her before returning to his nap. The bumpy carriage ride to London had not been to his liking either.

Closing the door behind her, Chastity entered the corridor devoid of heat. She drew her shawl tightly around her and hurried downstairs to the lobby. She was dismayed to find no one at the front desk.

A single footman stood just inside the hotel’s entrance. She hastened toward him. As she did, she collided with a hard body, the impact forcing the air from her lungs. Stunned, she backed away, trying not to fall. With her eyes downcast, she placed her hand over her racing heart.

The first thing she noticed as she looked up from the tiled floor was a pair of black Hessian boots polished to a high gloss with a silver-white braid circling the top, ending in shimmering tassels. Boots that could only have been the creation of George Hoby, the first bootmaker in London, who had acquired a few of her father’s designs.

From the boots, her gaze traveled up long, muscular thighs encased in tight buckskin breeches. Hands fisted on narrow hips and an impatient sigh suggested he thought her in the wrong.

Impudent man! Oaf! He had run into her!

Her scrutiny continued up to the black claw-hammer coat he wore over a cinnamon suede waistcoat. His cravat was simply tied yet stylish.

“Well, Miss, have you had your fill of me?” he said in an amused tone.

Chastity met hazel eyes rimmed with green and pierced with shards of gold. A chiseled face with a strong jaw was framed by wavy dark brown hair and trim side-whiskers. Altogether an attractive man if she didn’t consider his smirk.

She could not abide men who thought themselves desired by all females, which he clearly did.

“What?” she said, her voice dripping sarcasm. “Is there to be no apology, no begging my forgiveness for nearly knocking a lady off her feet?”

“A lady?” His gaze boldly traveled the length of her. “If you be a lady, you are a very pretty lady, indeed.”

She glared at him, dismissing his compliment as insincere, one he likely gave to all women to whom he liberally doled out his charm. She would not be diverted by such undeserved flattery. “Pretty or plain makes no difference, sir. A gentleman who causes distress to a lady will make amends.”

“Not to put too fine a point on it, Miss, but whatever were you thinking darting across the lobby without a care of where you were going?”

So, there was to be no apology. Worse, a scold. “I knew very well where I was going, sir. It was you who apparently did not.”

“Very well,” he inclined his head, “if you insist. Allow me to make amends.”

Without warning, he took her by the waist and forcibly drew her to his chest, pressing his lips to hers in a burning, invasive kiss that left her breathless and her lips throbbing.

When he finally released her, she backed away, stunned, and covered her pulsing lips with her fingertips. Never had she been kissed in such a manner. And in front of a footman!


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Regan Walker is an award-winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. Her stories often feature a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for special assignments. Each of her novels includes real history and real historical figures as characters. And, of course, adventure and love, sometimes on the high seas!

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Monday, November 4, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: Dark Justice


...a taste of romance

DARK JUSTICE
by Angela Smith

Luke—Twelve Years Ago

“All rise for the jury.”

I stand, my legs unsteady. The jurors filter in, one by one, their eyes downcast. Those who look, only glance at the prosecutor. Not me or my defense attorney.

Wayne’s breath hitches. It’s a whispery whoosh, a sound he likely doesn’t realize he’s made, but it tells me everything I need to know. I almost collapse in defeat.

He thinks they found me guilty. And by their expressions, I agree.

I size up the crowd gathering in the courtroom. Most of them sit on the prosecutor’s side. Clint is there. Once my best friend, but now I’m convinced he’s a killer. He’s next to Lauren. The love of my life and the one I presumed would stand by my side forever. But since she believes I killed her sister, I guess I can’t blame her for turning her back on me.

But Clint? Fear curls my spine. He’s charming, I’ll give him that, but he’s an absolute psycho. Nobody in Lauren’s family will listen, especially Lauren. And before all this, I wouldn’t have believed Clint is the killer. He killed her sister. How do I know she won’t be next? How can I protect her if I’m locked in prison for the rest of my life?

The judge drones on about the charge, then asks the jury if they’ve reached a decision. Wayne shifts and gives me a blink that tells me he wants to make sure I’m aware of what’s going on. I’m eighteen, for God’s sake. How could anyone my age understand criminal justice?

He’s warned me of how you can never predict a jury, but this group of fourteen holds their heads high as if they’ve never been surer in their lives. Two of them are alternate jurors, so it’s up to five men and seven women to decide my fate.

An older gentleman hands the bailiff the verdict. I hold my breath, and the judge reads. “We the jury find the defendant, Lucas Donovan Fuller, guilty of murder.”

Gasps fill the room. Chaos erupts, at least in my bones. More like a commotion, nothing too disastrous to alert the judge, and something he’s probably accustomed to. He only regards the crowd. A lot of loud talking, crying, and my mother’s wails. He’s way more patient than me and waits for everyone’s reaction to subside.

My muscles grow weak. I badly want to sit and wonder when I’m allowed. I want to reach out to Lauren. Tell her I’m sorry this happened, I didn’t do it, she has to trust me, and please, please don’t trust Clint. I open my mouth to say these things, but my attorney stations his hand on my shoulder, as if his one palm is going to keep me silent.

He warned me over and over not to react. I’m not allowed to speak. I am barely allowed to move, and I can’t look her way, although I shift to do so. The bailiff puffs out his chest and walks closer, as if I’m going to bolt.

“Calm down,” Wayne says. “We still have punishment. Don’t make a scene.”

Why shouldn’t I react? This is life changing. My life is over. I’m going to prison. The judge hasn’t declared a final sentence but after everyone’s testimony, I’ve started to believe my own guilt. I’m likely going to prison for the rest of my life.

****

Luke—Present Day

Luke Fuller’s pen scribbled across the page. His heart hammered while he wrote the words, ears filling with the deep drum of his heartbeat as if he was re-experiencing the event. Tired of writing, he shut the notebook and tossed it on the wrought-iron table beside him, along with his cap and shades. He stood and opened the grill to check the ribeye.

Food would be ready in a few minutes, and all he needed was right here. A little salt and pepper, paper plates and plastic forks to eat with, and a cooler full of drinks. Even a hundred feet from the river, the bullfrogs’ croaking put him at ease.

A sound he never expected to hear again.

He closed the grill, grabbed a beer from the ice chest, and lounged on the patio chair. It took a while for his heartbeat to settle. Writing these memories was difficult, harder than he expected, and his body ached from the flashbacks.

The sun descended, a showcase of gold fueled by rain clouds and humidity. He loved the open porch and didn’t want a screen to filter him and the outdoors. With bug spray, sleeping out here at night was a dream come true, despite the oppressive mugginess. Lightning flashed in the south, implying the much-needed shower was near. Nothing better than the clatter of rain on the roof.

Even the mosquitoes avoided the Texas July heat, but he’d take heat over the prison cell where he’d spent the past twelve years of his life. He’d take it over that any damn day.

LED lights strung across the porch offered a soft glow to ease him come sundown. He hated the darkness. Too many reminders of prison and the things he wanted to forget. But this darkness out in the country was peaceful, welcoming, different. Almost bearable.

A car drove up, the headlights zipping through the trees. His muscles tensed. He studied the nearby monitor attached to the front security camera. The car parked, the lights shut off. His lungs tightened, burned, then disintegrated when the woman stepped out and sauntered to the back.

She remembered. Friends always came to the back door. But she was no friend.

Want to read more?

by Angela Smith
She’s in love with her sister’s killer...
Lauren has loved Luke since first grade. They planned to marry—until he murdered her sister. The moment he was sentenced to prison, Lauren fled with her secret baby and made a new life. Now she’ll do anything to keep their daughter safe. But her hard won peace shatters when Luke is exonerated, and it sets her on a path of mixed emotions to discover the truth. Letting a killer into their tightly knit family is out of the question. Or is it?

She almost destroys her life by threatening his…
Prison stole his future with Lauren and twelve years of Luke’s life, so the last thing he needs from her is a knife in the back or a gun in his face. Lauren believes he killed her sister, and he has no plans to pick up where they left off. Luke can’t afford to trust her, but he wants nothing more than to convince her he’s worth fighting for.

Their daughter is in danger… 
Luke is heartbroken when he learns they had a child together. Now his daughter is in danger. Lauren trusted the wrong person for far too long, but he hopes she’ll now trust him. Luke will risk everything to keep them safe. And Lauren will risk everything if she lets him into her heart.

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Friday, November 1, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe
Writing permits me to be more than I am. Writing permits me to experience life as any number of strange creations.
- Alice Walker, author "The Color Purple"