Monday, September 17, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "MAD" #romance #smalltownromance #lovestory

Welcome to Tuesday Tales. This week's word prompt is "mad." Join me for another sneak peek into "Renovating the Billionaire."
Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for coming. 


Dressed in a three-piece suit, Stryker Alexander West stood outside the main room in the Pine Grove town hall building. As Jess approached the doorway, he blocked it. Raising a powerful arm across the empty space he grinned at her. But his smile didn’t make it to the ice blue eyes staring at her.
“Listen, sweetheart, blocking the destruction of that old pile of junk isn’t a good idea.”
Bristling, she pushed past him, shoving him out of the way.
“Really, honey. Do the smart thing. Give me the demolition permit.
She turned, fire spitting from her eyes. “I’m not your sweetheart. I’m not your honey. And I don’t give a damn how many people bow to your money and power. I’ll never, and I mean never, change my mind. I’ll never sign a permit for you to destroy that charming piece of history. So get over yourself and get out of my way.”
“We’ll see about that,” he said, a mocking smirk slapped across his face. He grabbed her arm and whirled her around. “If someone gets hurt in that old place. I won’t be responsible. It needs to come down before something bad happens.”
He stood so close to her, she could smell his spicy aftershave and feel the warmth of his breath. What was she doing, noticing his broad shoulders and perfectly shaped scruff? The man was a menace, a power-hungry monster with no taste and no regard for history or beauty. Still, there was something about him, drawing her. She raised her gaze to his.
“Is there something about the word ‘never’ you don’t understand? Now move your sorry ass before I call the police.”
He jumped to the side with a slight bow to let her pass.
“This isn’t over, blondie. Not by a longshot.”
Every curse word she knew sounded in her head, but she kept walking. She refused to give him the satisfaction. Angry? An understatement. Madder than she’d ever been, she couldn’t figure out if her temper a reaction to his uncouth ways or her body’s betrayal.   

Monday, September 10, 2018


Welcome to Tuesday Tales. This week, the word prompt is "bridge." I'm coninuing my story, "Renovating the Billionaire." Here's a taste. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and the fine works you'll find there. Thanks for stopping by.


Outside the Cozy Diner, Jess stood, half-hidden by an oak tree. A fancy car stopped just before the bridge over Cattail Creek. A man got out of the front seat and opened the door for the man in the back. What’s the matter? Doesn’t he have hands? Can’t open his own door?
The tall, dark-haired man strolled to the center of the bridge, leaving his car blocking traffic. Jess chided herself. There was no traffic at seven a.m. on a Tuesday. As she watched him, the corners of her mouth turned down.
Mr. Fancy Pants. Thinks he owns the town. Thinks he’ll tear down that house. Well, he’s got another think coming. She kept her gaze on him, tall and striking looking. Just the way he walked, almost like a swagger, exuded power. She guessed he had confidence to burn.
Checking her watch, she noted she was five minutes late, but couldn’t take her eyes off the man on the bridge. Even though he was wearing sunglasses, he shaded his eyes with his hand as he looked across at the old, dilapidated house. Pompous. In love with himself.
Put-down after put-down came to mind, yet she couldn’t take her eyes off him. She had pies to deliver. Can’t be wastin’ time gawking at the fancy man here to destroy my dream. Maybe he’ll fall in the lake. She grinned at the image of the big city man, soaking wet, his perfectly-tailored suit, ruined and clinging to him. Water dripping down his face into his scruff.
The picture of Mr. Big Shot, rumpled, wet, and disconcerted started a sensation in a place she didn’t expect. Yep. The one word she didn’t want to admit when conjuring up the image of him wading out of the lake was, "sexy." Damn sexy.
She shook her head to clear her mind, then turned away. She started up her old rust bucket just as he returned to the backseat of his car. Jess set her lips in a firm line and steered her car to Maple Street for her next delivery. The sooner Mr. Big Bucks left town, the better.

Monday, August 20, 2018


Welcome! This week I continue with another installment of "Renovating the Billionaire." Thanks for stopping by. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. 


   Afraid to camp outside the old house, Jess sat cross-legged by the hedge on the side. There was a truck in the driveway and two men stood on the gravel, talking. She could barely hear snatches of their conversation.
   “Not worth it,” one said.
   “His funeral,” the other one replied.
   The men laughed, then approached the back door. She held her breath as they went inside. Were they looking the place over to demolish it? They couldn’t do that. She’d see to it that the old house survived.
   Something in her life had to go right. Since her mother killed her father, life had been one giant tornado, tossing her and her little brother, Will, this way and that. If she were being honest, she’d admit that her life had always been in turmoil. Her mother had simply changed the game, the focus, and eliminated one villain, only to supply another one –want.
   It was ten years ago, and she hadn’t stopped paying for it since. Up at sunrise to bake pies and cakes to sell to restaurants and cafés, Jess would finish her deliveries by ten, then hustle over to Itchy Redmond’s house. She’d make breakfast for the old man, help him with his mail and housework, then prepare lunch.
   After lunch, it was time to head to Martha Stover’s. She’d draw a bath, cook dinner, chat with the old woman while she knitted, and clean her humble home. By five, she’d return to her tiny apartment. After making dinner for herself and her brother, she’d read for an hour then go to bed.
   At five, it started all over again. Jess made barely enough for the rent and utilities. Will’s spotty carpenter and handyman jobs paid for food and gas. She’d almost stopped dreaming of a better life.



Monday, August 13, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "SOUR" - #romance #billionaire #lovestory

Welcome! It's time for Tuesday Tales. This week we have more of "Renovating the Billionaire." Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and the wonderful stories there. Thank you for stopping by. 


Jackson Brody got out of the car. His right-hand-man, Charles, followed. He backed up to get a full view of the old house. His gaze took in the side. The roof, missing a dozen shingles, had a hole in it big enough to fit a golden retriever. The paint on the walls had peeled off ages ago, leaving raw, weathered wood. Every window pane had been broken. Jack figured there would be rocks on the floor of every room. What was it about a window that tempted a boy to throw a rock through it?
The side of the house he faced had outside cellar doors like in “The Wizard of Oz.” The shrubs once hugging the side of the house had grown unruly. Some had grown up to partially cover windows on the first floor. Others had had the good grace to die and turn yellow or brown.
The grass hadn’t been mowed in at least six months, maybe longer. The mansion had gone to seed, as they say. It was a sorry specimen.
“Well, Charles. What’s your take?” Jack scratched his stubbly chin.
“Well, sir. First, we must repair the roof. Fix that hole, add a few shingles. Then the windows. Trim the shrubs and hedges. Not sure if you should paint or simply reside the entire building.”
“And how much would you estimate that would cost?” Jack asked, kicking aside some stones.
“Oh, dear. I have no idea. Probably a lot.”
“Like how much? A hundred grand? Maybe two?”
“Then there’s the inside.”
“Of course. Yes.”
“If the outside looks this bad, what do you think the inside looks like?”
Charles covered his eyes with his hand. “I can’t imagine.”
“You want me to renovate?”
“It’s got great bones. What did you want to do?”
“Tear the damn thing down,” Jackson tossed off in a sour tone before heading for the car. 



Monday, August 6, 2018

Howdy! Welcome to Tuesday Tales. This week we have another snippet from "Renovating the Billionaire." This one is about Jackson Brody, our hero. Scroll down to return to the great stories on Tuesday Tales. 


Jackson Brody, billionaire inventor and designer, grew restless. He pushed up from his posh leather chair and went to the window.
“Damn it, Charles, I told Aunt Mary to sell that monstrosity years ago!”
“Yes, sir.”
“Now she’s gone and the damn thing is mine. I don’t want it. And, from the pictures the real estate agent sent, its falling down, full of holes and reeks of animal pee.”
“Not exactly in the Brody image is it?”
“You can say that again. I want it demolished. Taken down. And thrown in the garbage.”
“You can’t exactly throw a thirty-room house in the trash, sir.”
Brody turned to face his right-hand man. “I can and I will.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Charles said, making a hasty exit.
Jack Brody had spent his summers in that house. Dumped there by parents who made no bones about his birth being a mistake, he’d been taken in by a woman he thought was his spinster aunt. Jack had played there in the woods with the local children, getting filthy, hunting for frogs, and listening to the hoot of a nearby owl at bedtime.
The house had held happy memories, until Mary’s death. Her siblings had cornered Jack, demanding he pay for her burial and set them up in style. He remembered the conversation. 
“Mary took you in. She didn’t have to. You’re no blood relative. Somebody had to look after you,” her brother James had said.
“She was my aunt. I presumed my father’s sister,” Jack replied.
James shook his head. “Nope. She’d been your father’s mistress, until she got too old. Then he ditched her and found a younger playmate.”
Horrified by the truth, Jack rejected her relatives. He’d come to despise the house where he had had so many happy memories as a child. When she died, Mary left the house to Jack. Now it had to go, and with it his family's shame. Then he’d wash his hands of this sordid business forever.

Monday, July 30, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "PUZZLE" - #smalltownromance #romance

Welcome! This week our word prompt is "puzzle." I am continuing the story "Renovating the Billionaire." I hope you enjoy this snippet. Please scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and the awesome authors there. Thank you for stopping by. 


Pine Grove Mayor, Grey Andrews, was nursing a cup of coffee when Jess entered the Cozy Cupcake. He nodded to Jess, who took his gesture as an opening. After she placed her pie boxes on the counter, she pulled out a chair and joined him.
“How come the guy who inherited that awful house on the lake didn’t put it up for sale yet?” she asked him.
“I think he’s going to keep it.”
“Keep it?” Her eyebrows rose.
“Yeah. Maybe tear it down.”
“Tear it down? No, no. He can’t do that.”
“Why not?”
“There’s an ordinance or something about that, right?”
“Only if it’s a landmark, and that old place isn’t. At least not as far as I know,” Grey replied.
“Yeah. Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
“No, thanks. I’ve got to get back. But what’s this about landmarks?”
“We have a committee, at least we had one, before Jonas Setton died. He’d pick the buildings we’d landmark. Once a building is declared a landmark by the town, you can’t tear it down. And any renovation has to be true to the time period.”
“So who’s doing it now?”
“No one. Why don’t you come to the next town meeting?”
“Sure. You can see how it’s done.”
“Do you have someone to take Jonas’ place?”
“Nope.” Grey narrowed his eyes. “Would you be interested?”
She dropped her gaze to her hands. “I might.”
“Good. Come to the meeting. I’ll bring it up and you can volunteer.”
“I just might do that,” she said, rising.
Grey reached out and closed his fingers over her arm. “It puzzles me why you’d want that job.”
“I got my reasons,” she said, smiling.
He let her go and Jess headed for her wheezy old car and home to bake.

Monday, July 23, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - Picture Prompt - More of "Renovatingg the Billionaire."

Welcome! Thank you for coming. This week is picture prompt week and only 300 words allowed. We have another snippet from "Renovating the Billionaire."  Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. 


Jess gazed at the plates and cups on the knickknack shelf in Laura Dailey’s kitchen. With a sigh, she smiled at the older woman.
“Sometimes I wish you were my mother.”
“Hush! Don’t say that. Your momma did the best by you she could.”
“Yeah, I know. Still. It’s hard sometimes.”
Laura gave the young woman a brief hug. “I know sweetie. But you’re doin’ real fine. Your pies and cakes are as good as mine.”
“Not yet. But someday they will be.”
Laura glanced at her watch. “Going to visit your ma today?”
“Yep. It’s Tuesday.”
“Bus’ll be there in fifteen.”
“Oops. I’d better go.”
“You go on. I’ll deliver these to the Cozy Café when they’re cool.”
“Thank you.”
Jess slipped her worn leather purse over her shoulder. She checked to make sure she had a bag of Twizzlers, her mom’s favorite candy. It was all she was allowed to take into the prison.
The sun broke through the clouds as she made her way to the stop, across the street from the bank. Bus pulled up not thirty seconds after she arrived.
Fishing around in her pockets, she’d forgotten to count out her change. She rummaged through her bag for a few crumpled bills. She counted out twenty dollars and ten cents.
“Don’t worry about it,” the driver, Dale, said, taking her money. “I’ll lend you the rest.”
“Dale. You gotta stop doin’ that.”
“Can’t have you standin’ up your ma now, can we?”
She smiled.
“Course, if you’d go out with me, just once, all those debts would be forgotten.”
Her face heated at his stare. “We’ve been over that. I’m not dating anyone. I told you.”
“One day, you’ll change your mind.”
“Not likely.”
“I’m a patient man.”