Exposed

Hours of enjoyment, that’s what was waiting for me in this boxed set. A Romantic Suspense collection.

Off the top, I have to say – I appreciated the clean-ness of these books. I find that when it’s less than clean (for me anyway) it’s like going to a party with a spot on the front of your favorite outfit …..  it takes the shine off the whole experience. I love an awesome,  distraction free, tale of mystery and intrigue.

These books were well written, with interesting characters, and a fresh slant on the idea behind the stories. I’m a fan of all three attributes but fresh slant is my favorite.

It seemed like before I knew it, I was finishing the last book. I’m a chain smoker when it comes to books. Finish one and light up another. I think I’ve mentioned I’m an addict.

I’m always sad when a story comes to an end. For a few seconds anyway.


Speaking of addictions: that reminds me……. of a idea I’d better save for the next post.


 

So….. back to books

Exposed

Exposed

A Boxed Set Book Bundle Collection of Romantic Suspense with seven great books

Hallowed Ground – Mary Alford …… Erin is devastated when Blake, her CIA partner, is killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan and she’s grateful to have the support of Blake’s best friend and fellow agent, Jax.  The team is sent to Afghanistan on a mission to find  Blake’s killers but it’s a set up. This realization set in when their unit was attacked and  none but two survived.  The details of their deployment could only have come from their superiors. With no idea who to trust, they carefully start digging and uncover more lies. Did Blake discover something he shouldn’t? Or was he part of something worth killing for? Working with Jax to find the truth has Erin realizing for the first time, Jax is a good man.

Fire – Lynette Bonner …. Kyra is a teacher by trade but helps out with manicure’s on the side. It’s a shock, on the first day of school, to see a new student in her class, looking much like a younger version of the good looking guy in her shop on Friday, the one who asked her out. Case Lexington is just as shocked to see Kyra and is living with fear she will blow his cover. He’s posing as a student, to help umcover the source of the drug supply killing local teenagers. Kyra wants to do her part in this search, motivated by the drug related death of her brother. Case is attempting to discourage her, afraid for her safety. A mere student has no credibility so, as a last resort,  he chooses to keep an eye on her by working with her. Not an easy thing to do. It’s been a very long time since he met a woman who could catch his interest, and she thinks he’s a student. The next shock is the source of the fatal drugs.

Jill Came Tumbling After – Lesley Ann McDaniel …. Jill Martin, a single mother of two, is looking for a job, after finding the courage sever ties with her alcoholic husband. Jobs are scarce but there is a new factory in town and, in spite of her obvious lack of skills, they hire her, effective immediately. Working to get the offices up and running she begins to see things that don’t seem quite right.  She is smarter than expected and  manages to figure out they are planning something that will be a hazard to the whole town, She’s torn between the need to tell and the need to keep her job. If they notice her discovery …. will she even live to tell?

Deadly Exposure – Lisa Phillips …. Bradley Harris comes home from deployment to discover his sister, a US Senator, has been abducted and the FBI suspect Alexis, her best friend and former aide. The whole town holds Alexis in contempt, but, knowing her as well as he does, Bradley has doubts about the accusations against her. Once he uncovers the truth behind her fall from grace, he wonders if any of them will survive the fallout.  Getting his sister back and saving Alexis too – seems like an impossible challenge.

Dead on Arrival – Angela Ruth Strong …. Peruvian Princess, Maritza Rosado and her father land in Washington DC and instead of the usual presidential welcome, they are  greeted with a gun battle that kills her father and his body guard and has Maritza running for her life. Hiding out in a soup kitchen is not going well, she’s been recognized by Levi Parker, fresh home from a mission trip to Peru where he learned of her.  Terrified to trust him, she does anyway, and venturing they discover someone has taken over her country. Not only that, they killed her father and want her dead. Devastation is finding out the betrayal is at the hands of someone they both trusted.

Termination Dust – Alana Terry …. Kimmie is afraid to move away from her abusive step father after the death of her mother. She is old enough to leave and make a new life for herself but she is afraid she would be forced leave her little brother behind, and he  would pay the price, in escalated abuse, for her actions. The family has lived in isolation and secrecy for so long, she can think of no one she can turn to for help.The local State Trooper suspects the truth of the situation and is trying to offer acceptable support,  encouraging Kimmie to leave before the abuse escalates. It happens, before her plans are in place, – she is forced to grab her little brother and run for her life.

For Love or Money – Virginia Vaughan …. Amy Sullivan left everything  behind with the lure of a family connection. When an aunt she didn’t know existed, contacted her  requesting a visit, it seemed like a dream come true. While finding a family connection is important to Amy, it’s not easy learning to love a stranger. Inadvertently she discovers there  is more to the situation than she has been led to believe. Her aunt has been hiding the fact she has terminal cancer. Amy was there for her mother and is determined she won’t be shut out now. Despite the growing closeness in those final days, it’s a shock for her to learn she has been left with a sizable inheritance. It’s an even greater shock to   discover someone wants it enough to kill her to get it.


‘Til next time – Happy Reading!

Here’s hoping you are also experiencing many hours of good reading. I don’t want to be the only one finding exquisite treasures, not when there are so many to be found.

 

Raising Attabury

It’s always an experience to read one of Staci Stallings books. Her characters face some of the many aspects of life in a way that feels real.  Sometimes they make good decisions, and sometimes, they don’t. Their journey has ups and downs that most of us  can relate to.

Staci always knows the ending when she starts and works steadily toward that destination. This leaves the reader with a very connected feeling. Everything has a reason, and the story is always going somewhere, somewhere worthwhile.

It was a while after download and I had forgotten what the book was about, From the title I thought it was about raising a child and that wasn’t appealing to me in that moment. It was passed over a few more times before I took a closer look, and discovered the story had nothing whatever to do with raising kids.

Raising Attabury

Raising Attabury is about the compulsion to restore a beautiful old home, even though it has fallen into such disrepair that it seems like a very bad idea.

It’s the story of a relationship that started out to be a match made in heaven but now… heaven feels like it’s a long way away.

It’s about rumors of ghosts, buried treasure, and bitter old ladies that scare the children.

It’s about beautiful endings and hard won battles.

 

 

Flowers in The Snow, and more

This is going to be another, very basic, catch up list.

Distracted by a great number of compelling reads, there was not much writing going on this summer, and the lineup of finished books is growing longer.

The books on this list were well worth reading and I wish there was time to enlarge on them all, as enticement.

There is no time though, there are more almost ready to be added. What can I say, I’m addicted.

One book I would recommend is Flowers in The Snow. It follows, in a way, after The Book of Negroes.

I mentioned The Book of Negroes several posts ago and noticed very little traffic on it. I wasn’t sure whether readers were distressed to see something, seemingly, politically incorrect, or if there were other reasons.

Several weeks ago, at our writers group, it was my turn to present a reading for critique. I revised the post a little, for clarification, and mentioned that the Book of Negroes was  the record book of black loyalists taking advantage of an opportunity for relocation. Relocation sponsored and paid for by the British Commonwealth. There are two versions of the record book: the British version kept in Kew London, the American version kept in Washington DC.

The response to my reading was positive and several said they felt inspired to read the book as well.

One of the books in this new list has a character, a literature professor, teaching her students to notice how much can be learned by reading books thoughtfully.

That’s why I don’t shy away from tough subjects. There is much to be learned from them.

Learning is always a good thing.

Some of the books in this list are more thought provoking than others but there is still something to be gained from all of them.

I’m hoping you will feel inspired.


Flowers in the Snow The Edenville Series – Flowers in the Snow book 1 – Danielle Stewart

 

Finding Faith  Love’s Compass – Finding Faith book 4 – Melanie D. Snitker

The Face of the Earth  The Face of the Earth – Deborah Raney

 

Nearly  Nearly – Deborah Raney

 

Glamorous Illusions  Grand Tour Series – Glamorous Illusions –  Lisa T. Bergren

Where the Hurt is  Where The Hurt Is – Chris Kelsey

Tides of Deception  Lantern Beach Series – Tides of Deception book 1 – Christy Barritt

If You Believed in love   If You Believed in Love – Staci Stallings

Sorrowful Road  Detective Allan Stanton – Sorrowful Road book 3 – Alex MacLean

IntroductionsIntroductions to four spunky female sleuths – Christy Barritt

Squeaky Clean Mysteries – Hazardous Duty book 1

A Holly Anna Paladin Mystery – Random Acts of Murder book 1

The Sierra Files – Pounced book 1 (spin off of Squeaky Clean series)

The Worst Detective Ever – Ready to Fumble book 1

New Year's Revolution   New Year’s Revolutions – Chautona Havig

The Nostradamus Equation Sam Reilly –  The Nostradamus Equation book 6 – Christopher Cartwright

In Honor Bound   The Chastelayne Trilogy – In Honor Bound book 1 – DeAnna Julie Dodson

Happy, and inspired, Reading!

Chasing Charlie

Chasing CharlieNow and then we meet a book with huge impact…. this was one of those books for me, and I know I am not alone in that.

Vince Glaser is buried in work, as lead investigator on his tightly knit FBI team. His personal life is tough. A messy divorce followed by the tragic death of his ex wife and he is a single father struggling to make life work for his six year old son.

Angela Hawkins, head strong and capable, has been Vince’s partner and best friend on the job. He owes her his life after being shot during a suspect encounter. He would have died if not for her quick action.

In the three years since his divorce and harrowing experience with death, their friendship has deepened and could possibly turn into love, but neither one of them has been willing to go down that road.

Lately, Vince has been experiencing severe abdominal pain, nausea, and weight loss,   troubling enough to seek medical help. The diagnosis – Pancreatic carcinoma. Six to eight months. Devastating news. What about Charlie? He has suffered so many losses in his young life, how can Vince leave him like this? How can he tell him his father is dying.

How can he tell his team and the rest of his family he is dying, and there is so little time left.

This was a compelling story I could not put down.

Vince is determined to do whatever it takes to have more time with his son. Quitting his job, chemo therapy, whatever it takes.

His team is devastated and determined to do whatever they can to support him in his fight to live a little longer, for Charlie.

Angela is there for him, like she has always been, but it creates a tension between them. Latent feelings of attraction are fanned into flame with new circumstances. It’s impossible to spend this much time and care this deeply without thinking about wanting more.

Vince is determined he can’t ask someone to start a relationship with him under these circumstances. Angela is determined she wants to be there for him no matter how much time is left. There is no communication, on this subject, happening between them but the mindset is still affecting the ease of their friendship, and in Angela’s case – her relationships at work.

This is so well written that it was impossible not to be drawn into their lives. When they cried, I cried along with them. All of their lives have been forever changed living through this experience. My life has been impacted by living it with them.

Highly recommended. I hope you will read it too.

An insightful look into the world of love and cancer.

Lori Wick – another favorite

Lori Wick is one of my long time favorite authors. Back in the day when I was borrowing library books I would read everything they had for her. It’s been awhile since I last visited a library and I’ve gotten behind a bit. That’s why it made my day to see Promise Me Tomorrow show up as a BookBub suggestion.

I hope you will stop by to meet Lori, if you’ve never read any of her work. And if like me, you’ve read her work but it’s been awhile, join me in getting reacquainted.

With another one added to the growing list of recommended authors, maybe it’s time to start a Favorite Authors page, to help keep track of them all. Most likely it will be coming soon.

Thinking about discovering new authors reminds me of a hand out from a library a lifetime ago. It was a large card with a list of favorite authors in the most popular genres. I loved that card. It provided treasured insight and expanded my horizons.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found choosing books can be a difficult decision. Part of the reason is because I want an excellent experience with every book. This was even more of a need in the early days when the check out limit was three; that’s when the recommendations list really helped me zero in on good ones. Of course, once they raised the check out limit to as many books as you can carry, selection decisions weren’t as critical. With that many possibilities, a few duds wouldn’t be leaving me with the tragedy of nothing to read.

 

Promise Me Tomorrow  Rocky Mountain Memories Series – Promise Me Tomorrow book 1 – Lori Wick …. Katherine Taggart, nicknamed Rusty for her red hair, loves the children in her aunt and uncle’s orphanage and they love her right back.

Chase McCandles, a director for the orphanage, is impressed by her take charge attitude and her easy rapport with children. He is even more impressed when he sees the way his son takes to her. He offers her the job of replacement nanny when a sudden need arises but Rusty is having serious reservations about saying yes, knowing there will be fireworks over differences in parenting styles. Would they survive the conflict? Will her tender heart for the needs of a little boy let her say no? Will Chase ever see her as more than a nanny?

October  October – J. Grace Pennington …… this is a story of unique friendship, discovery, loss of innocence, and a broken heart: An intriguing new girl shows up in church, she carries herself like a princess and Emily is fascinated. Friendship is not quite that easy though, with this illusive princess. But when finally it begins – it’s magical. Life through October’s eyes seems to open up whole new worlds to her friend, and yet, the world that is her is a closed to everyone. This was an emotional read but it touched a deep place, and made me glad for the experience.

Words   Words – Ginny L. Yttrup ….. Sierra Daw has escaped to a  favorite forest where she can privately lose herself in grief on the anniversary of her baby’s death. Out of the corner of her eye something catches her attention but when she focuses, there is only a fleeting glimpse of a young girl. Concerned about seeing a child alone in such a remote location, she investigates and discovers a hiding place in a hollowed out tree. Now she is on a mission to find a child her heart knows is in trouble and needs to be rescued.

Kaylee runs when the woman sees her. She’s intrigued after witnessing such grief but terrified to stay because of what would happen if her captor discovered she had left the cabin.  The tree is the secret place where she can write out words and  hide the  dictionary – a gift from her mother before she disappeared. Kaylee hasn’t spoken since,  but she has words.

 

Two Rivers  The Peacemaker Series – Two Rivers book 1 – Zoe Saadia …. centuries before the US  became a nation there was a confederacy called The Great League of the Iroquois, composed of five nations. After many years of destructive,  retaliatory fighting between the five nations, they came to an agreement and their constitution was born. It worked so well that it maintained perfect balance between the them and their success was evident to all. Many scholars believe this was noticed and so it became the example followed for the writing of the US Constitution.

This series attempts to recreate the events leading up to this Iroquois agreement. Historical books in a similar theme seem to be a popping up regularly just now, but this series is unique in it’s handling of history and is definitely worth reading. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

 

Forgotten and Remembered  Love’s Second Chance Series – Forgotten & Remembered: The Duke’s Late Wife – Bree Wolf …… Graham is crushed by the death of  his wife and has withdrawn from  life, closing out even his daughter. There is pressure on him to take a new wife as a mother for his daughter so when he notices the interaction between a young woman and the children surrounding her, an idea begins to form in his mind.

Rosabel, has been taken in by her disapproving aunt and uncle after the death of her parents.  A life of total obedience to their unreasonable ways is torture. She is exploring ways to gain her freedom from them when a complete stranger asks for her hand in marriage. Who is this man, why would he offer for her, and what will life be like in this marriage? Better or worse? Will she be sentenced to a marriage of convenience or is there a chance for a real marriage with the duke?

 

The Indigo Rebels   The Indigo Rebels: a French Resistance Novel – Ellie Midwood ……. Three siblings, each of them with different temperaments,  all find themselves caught up in the Resistance movement, in one form or another. Germany has invaded France, hardships prevail, and their houses are taken over by high ranking military men. This causes problems on the one hand while on the other, it supplies opportunities.

I enjoyed this book for the strong and varied characters. It also had a different slant on the war and was unlike anything I’ve read so far. It drew me in from the beginning and came to an end all too quickly. There are sequels and I hope to read them too.

Happy reading! I hope you are discovering a growing list of authors that you love.

 

 

Wilma Derksen – writer, communicator

I want to share another awesome writer with you.

We were privileged to have a local celebrity, Wilma Derksen, as speaker at two of the writer’s events I attended this spring. Hearing Wilma was a first for me, and I was impressed. She is wise, has a sweet spirit, and relates well to her audience. I can see why she is popular and in demand.

Wilma’s writing career started with a tragic event in her life, the disappearance  and murder of her young teenage daughter, Candace. The purpose of the first book was to help her make sense of the tragedy, and to assess it’s effect on her family. Publishing and making it publically available brought help and healing to many of those facing similar circumstances. It was also found to be a good resource for those working with victims of serious crime.

The first book was Have You Seen Candace. It was followed by three others, all dealing with other aspects of the coping process. Wilma is tenacious and forgiving, willing to share her secrets with us – and did, in these books. The Way of Letting Go, Confronting the Horror, and Unsettled Weather.

Have you seen Candace   The opportunities as a result of these books have been amazing. She’s had invitations to speak in unexpected places. Her books have been used as educational and training resource material. She’s been given many, and varied, teaching opportunites. There have even been awards.

I’ve had the privilege of reading two of her books, so far, but will list the rest of them for you anyway.

The Way of Letting Go   The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk Toward Forgiveness

Confronting the Horror   Confronting the Horror: The Aftermath of Violence ….. The Victim’s Journey Through the 15 Elements of Serious Crime

Unsettled Weather  Unsettled Weather: How Do I Forgive . …. a group study on forgiveness using a story telling method

 

The next two are the ones I’ve read, and will probably read again. Unlike the first books, these two are novels. Story seemed to be a good way to share some of the wisdom she’s  gained walking through this life of hers. In case you are wondering, these books are not biographical. I know, it feels like they are.

Path of the Heart  Ava Series – Path of the Heart book 1 …..  is the beautiful story of a neglected little girl who loves and feels loved, by her grandmother, a wise woman sought out by many in the community. They come by way of a special path through the forest, knowing she can help them because she has seen an angel.

Echo of the Soul  Ava Series – Echo of the Soul book 2 ….. there is oppression in the community. An overbearing man, and his wife, have moved in and taken over. The man, secretly a liar and a cheat, has bullied people into following his dictates. The path has never seen this much traffic, so many coming to see the wise woman who has seen an angel. She has had many answers for them in the past, they are convinced she will have an answer for this too.

These last two books are already available on Amazon. It’s hoped the rest can be made available soon; as well as the new book that’s about to be released.

I hope these books will inspire and encourage you in your journey.

Happy reading, for a brighter tomorrow.

Books to address the tough subjects

 

I wasn’t sure…. in the first few pages…. if I could read this book, but I persevered and was glad I did. Really glad. I would like to recommend it to you, too.

Coming Home Again tells the story of rape, and it’s devastating aftermath, in a way that we can bear to hear the worst and still keep reading. I had to check to be sure it was fiction because it is presented in a way that feels very real. (The best stories have you doubting they are fiction.)

As mentioned, at first I didn’t think I could read this book. I was about to delete it unread but remembered there must have been a good reason why I downloaded it in the first place. So I kept reading, and I’m glad I did. I find books like this one are a positive part of my healing journey. It seems they show up at just the right time with an answer to the current question plaguing my mind. I love how that works.

T.I. Lowe gives statistics that tell us millions of Americans have been victims of rape and attempted rape. A third of them have suicidal thoughts, and more than ten percent of them have attempted it.

I think it’s important for all of us to read this kind of story because it helps to give us an understanding we may not already have. If we can understand the reason behind behaviours, the ones we probably even find offensive, it can be life changing, for everyone. Knowing more, we may even recognize abuse while there is still time to intervene. That could be life saving.

For the victim. it’s important to know they are not alone in this experience. Secrecy is a big part of the abuser’s tactic and it’s easy to believe no one else knows or cares.

I like the writing technique in this book. Details of the story are passed out in  manageable bites. And in some of the more graphic places, she gives you a  clear choice – to read or not to read.

This story gives us hope…  there is life after abuse, we don’t have to be broken forever.

 

Coming Home Again A Coming Home Again Novel – Coming Home Again book 1 – T.I. Lowe…….  young teenage sisters fall prey to the wishes of a handsome, charming college age young man their mother introduces to their home. She charges him  with oversight of her family while her husband works and she is off pursuing her self-indulgent lifestyle.

Savannah is distressed at the inappropriate ways this man interacts with the girls and  she goes to great lengths to avoid him. Mostly it works.

Her father notices her disappearing act and is distressed by this behaviour. He tries to put an end to it  but doesn’t think to ask any of the right questions about why it’s happening in the first place.

Her mom seems to be oblivious to everything, in her self absorption, and does nothing.

Then comes the horrendous weekend that changes their lives forever. Mom must have finally noticed something amiss, because on her return from vacation  she  sends  the young man away.

It’s too little too late, the damage is already done.

At the first opportunity, the girls pack up and leave, hoping to escape the demons haunting them.  After all this time away, it still feels impossible to go back to the place of unbearable memories, even to bury the loving father they haven’t seen in years.

Will they survive this reunion? Savannah has serious doubts.

This is actually a pretty upbeat book considering the nature of the subject matter. Kudos to the author for the way she handled it.


I have read several more books that touch on difficult subjects but I think I will keep them for another post.

Wishing you the very best in your journey.

 

I want to tell you a story

I want to tell you a story, hopefully, one that will build on my last post, and clear up some misconceptions.

It’s about one of my cats. Kitty (as I called him – mainly because my landlord called him Sylvester, a name I didn’t like and didn’t have the courage to try to change), Kitty had been someone’s pet, an abused pet, one who learned to be terrified of all things human.

We discovered him living in the bushes across the back alley, wild and hungry. He could be coaxed out with food, if it was placed somewhere he considered safe, so we fed him.

I found it hard to see him in such distress and set out to woo him into trusting me. It worked, gradually his trust grew to the point that he was eating inside, then living inside – sleeping on the furniture, and finally, on my lap. His trust grew to extend beyond me to my husband, and to our landlord.

Kitty learned to trust the three of us but that was as far as it ever went. He was gone in a flash if anyone else came around, and he was like that for as long as we had him.

The thing is, he didn’t stop to make a judgement call. He had no idea if encountered humans were good or bad, and he didn’t care, he wasn’t taking any chances.

His fear was the result of what had been done to him in the past and had nothing whatever to do with anyone in the present.

That’s the spot I find myself in today. My trust issues and panic attacks are the result of what’s been done to me in the past. The present can inadvertently act as a trigger but other than that, it has no bearing on anything.

Triggers aren’t restricted to strangers, either, they often happen in the presence of people I know and trust, they can even happen when I am alone, maybe reading, thinking, listening to the news, any other activity, really. On top of all that, most of the time I have no idea why.

So, when my talk of trust issues has you worried you are being labelled as a bad guy, please, let that worry go. I don’t stop to make assessments and then act on my findings. Triggers happen when they happen, for reasons all of their own, and they create awkward moments.

Like the one that happened on a day when I was hurrying across a lobby. I spotted a man standing by the door and stopped dead in my tracks. I have no idea what that was about. I had to do some quick, and tough, self talk….don’t just stand there, keep walking.

I can tell you, there were no assessments made that day. He could have been a very good guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featuring Staci Stallings…Part 1

Out of curiosity, after downloading yet another Staci Stallings book, I searched my downloads to see how many other Stallings books are in my Kindle collection. There have been nineteen since 2012, and only three have been mentioned in this blog. It’s time to change all that.

As an encouragement to writers out there, Staci’s website tells the story of beating the odds while breaking the rules of formula writing. She was also a pioneer in self publishing, before self publishing was even a thing.

Formula writing includes external conflict, Staci’s writing uses internal conflict. That makes her writing a blessing to many because as readers we can relate to characters facing many of the same hurdles we do.

So, without further ado, here is the list, or at least part 1 of the list.

More Than This  A Novel – More Than This …… Jake likes the anonymity of the dark corner of the coffee shop, a quiet place to sit with his laptop writing the novel that will have his name in lights. At least he’s hoping it will.

Liz and Mia make a game out of examining customers, trying to guess who they are and what they are about. They think the mysterious Jake could be clandestine CIA or something equally exotic. In an attempt to find clues about him Liz makes excuses to refill his coffee cup, succeeding only in breaking his concentration.

A Work in Progress Faith series The Faith Series – A Work in Progress book 1 … Rebecca has never been one of the beautiful people, instead she finds herself forever doing the alone thing, watching the beautiful people enjoying relationships, wondering how they do it.

Eric is drifting through college, not really settled on anything, looking at relationships as something to give him credibility with the world in general. Rebecca notices him after a disastrous meeting involving spilled hot chocolate, he’s cute, quirky, and interested in her roommate.

 

To Serve and Protect The Courage Series – To Protect & Serve book 1 …. Jeff endures much good natured  teasing from his friends over his inability to strike up a conversation with a pretty woman. Reluctantly, he joins a celebratory night out on the town after graduation at the fire academy.

Lisa is buried under piles of work in her ad agency and does her best to avoid the  awkward situation that will be her sister’s bachelorette party. Things are even worse when the girls move over to join the firemen’s table.

 

Eternity friendship series The Friendship Series – Eternity book 1…. Aaron has given up on life and girls since the love of his life left him for someone else. He’s stuck in a job he hates and the only bright spot at work is Harmony, a friend who has always been there for him. Unfortunately for Harmony, she loves Aaron but doesn’t expect he will ever feel the same way about her.

Aaron has a new roommate, Drew, a talented landscape artist who would like to start his own company and Aaron can see he would be great at it.  Drew has met someone special and is on a hot date. I have a feeling I know who that someone will be, and Aaron won’t be happy.

 

Deep in the Heart  A Novel – Deep in the Heart…… Maggie has successfully applied for a nanny position she desperately needs. What she doesn’t know – the strict house rules have been responsible for the short tenure of the all previous nannies, and there are bets she won’t last either. In the meantime, the children are starved for simple connection   and there is something about her that causes them to cling to her.

One other thing she doesn’t know – the handsome hired hand, who does funny things to her heart…. he’s actually part of the family… and he’s engaged.

 

Cowboy - Harmony series The Harmony Series – Cowboy book 1 ….. Beth is struggling to make a life for her little daughter, stuck in a diner trying to make ends meet, flooded with grief after the death of her husband.

Ashton’s life has been destroyed by the death of his best friend and biggest fan. Tempted to end it all on a rain soaked road, he stops at a diner for a cup of coffee. What he doesn’t expect, as he sits in his misery, is a perceptive waitress wanting nothing from him but the unburdening of his broken heart. She remembers the pain of running to escape and wanting it all to end.

It’s complicated…but I feel better now

It really is complicated, and it’s causing discomfort – like a pebble in my shoe. The pebble moves around a bit and there are periods of relief, but lately it’s been sitting in a tender spot and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on.

This latest state of discomfort started with a conversation back in December, just before I left on my winter road trip to British Columbia to spend Christmas with family.

I was telling a friend about some of the people I hoped to see along the way, including some of my work clients I’ve never met in person. I was startled by her quick response – but you are still married.

My instant reaction was an emotional – what’s that got to do with anything? I felt like I was being wrongly accused of something.

I haven’t been able to get this conversation out of my mind and it has become the proverbial pebble in my shoe.

There are two things troubling me about the conversation – the thought patterns behind her comment, and the trigger behind my reactive response.

My weak and ailing marriage fractured more than two decades ago and I have been on my own for at least half that time. The relationship is dead and buried. Divorce is not a reality only because I have been reluctant to address it, (the reasons behind that need to be explored, another day) so I am not sure why she thinks the lack of a divorce is a relevant issue.

Also, as I’ve shared in other posts, I have major trust issues with men and have been actively avoiding any chance of another relationship. My friend knows this too, so – where is her thinking coming from?

I feel bad about my reaction to her because it is not one she has ever seen from me. I expect she felt a little like she’d been punched. That’s the trouble with triggers, reactions to them are unpredictable and often painful to the person on the receiving end.

As I think about all of this, I am reminded of similar conversations with other people in other settings. Conversations that were distressingly perplexing because I couldn’t figure out the reasoning or motivation behind them. In every instance I felt like I was being wrongfully accused of something. And, in some cases the conversations became quite emotional.

Maybe that’s the trigger, feeling wrongfully accused. I will have to think some more on this, at a later date.

Now, after a week of letting all of these thoughts simmer, I expect my friend has moved on and forgotten all about this brief conversation, and I need to do the same.

The exercise of thinking and writing my way through this issue has been more than beneficial. The proverbial pebble in my shoe has ceased to be a bother. My original thoughts on this subject have been replaced by today’s much more coherent offering and I am left with new, and healing,  insights into both sides of the conversation.

It occurs to me that the thoughts expressed by the other party in these conversations may have stemmed from the space they are in personally, and had little to do with me at all. Maybe I need to stop making everything about me. Maybe I need to pay more attention to the pain of others and give greater consideration to things going on in their lives.

The benefits of understanding have also been reinforced. Understanding why seems to take the heat out of certain thoughts and emotions and allows me to move on to a healthier place.

This has been a productive exercise. It looks like I will be doing it again soon.