Monday, July 9, 2018

TUESDAY TALES - "KNIFE" - More of Renovating the Billionaire

Welcome! Today's snippet is from "Renovating the Billionaire." Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and read the excellent stories there. Thanks for stopping by. 


As she loaded the freshly made apple pies into the back of her old jalopy, Jess made a mental note to order more pie boxes. The car wheezed it’s way to the top of Mountain View Road heading for Main Street in Pine Grove. She had three deliveries to make. One to Teatime, one to Pine Grove Inn, and the last one to Tavern on the Lake.
The leaves had begun to turn, giving her a sneak preview of the color season yet to come. While she loved three seasons, winter bore down on her like a bad dream. She shivered in anticipation of the cloudy cold days to come.
Jess reversed order today, ending up at Teatime as the last delivery. Carol and Martin Carver ran Teatime, a cozy, little cafĂ© with home-baked goods and exotic tea flavors. They also sold Carol’s crafts, unusual tea pots and artwork. Martin was filling a kettle when Jess entered.
The bell over the door drew his attention.
“Welcome, Jess.”
She smiled and handed him two boxes. He opened one and bent down to sniff.
“Ah, smells fantastic. You have the magic touch.”
“Just grandma’s recipe.”
 “How about a piece? On the house?” he asked, pulling a large knife out of the drawer. “And a cup of Earl Grey?”
Never having enough left over to make a pie for herself, Jess accepted his offer. Her mouth watered as she watched Martin cut a generous slice.
“I’ll get the tea,” she said, slipping behind the counter.
“Pour two cups. Time for my morning break.”
Jess ate slowly, savoring every bite.
“Heard about the rich guy who bought that old broken-down place on the lake?” Martin asked. 
Jess choked on a forkful of pie.  



Monday, July 2, 2018


Welcome! This week the word prompt is "worn." I have another episode of "Renovating the Billionaire" for you. More about Jess and her brother. 
Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and the wonderful authors there. Thanks for stopping by. 


Jess Lennox tied the apron around her waist. The bottom edge was a little frayed and the pink had faded to a dusty mauve color. Sure enough, it was worn, but it was her grandma’s and it held a special place in her heart.
“Wearing the lucky apron? That means something good for breakfast,” he younger brother Will said as he straddled a rickety chair in the tiny kitchen.
“Nope. Means fresh apple pie for The Cozy Kitchen,” Jess said, pulling a rolling pin out of the drawer.
She smiled behind her hand. “And maybe apple pancakes if a certain brother behaves.”
“Apple pancakes?” A smile broke out on his face.
“Yeah. I have some leftover apple pieces. Ones that broke. You know how fussy Amy is about her apple pies. They have to be perfect.”
“I’ll take the imperfect ones. My stomach doesn’t know the difference.”
Jess melted a small pat of butter. One glance told her she was getting low. She’d have to make do because Amy wouldn’t pay her ‘till the end of the week.
“We should get a cow,” Will said, adding milk to his coffee.
“You want to milk it everyday?”
“I would. Then we’d have as much milk and butter as we need.”
“Butter doesn’t come from a cow. You have to churn it,” Jess said.
“Bet you’d get great butter in a couple of minutes in the blender or that fancy mixer you use for bread dough.”
She smacked him lightly on the back of the head.
“What was that for?”
“For being smarter than your sister,” she said, patting his shoulder.
“I may be smarter. But there’s nobody nicer.”
She chuckled. “Figure that earns you another pancake?”
“Uh huh.”
“Well, you figured right,” she said, pouring batter on the skillet. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Welcome! This week the word prompt is "naked" - tee hee. I've got another installment in the as-yet-unwritten story, "Renovating the Billionaire." 


   After dark on a hot night, there was nothing Jess liked better than to get naked and jump into Cedar Lake. If she was still awake after midnight, she’s ride her bike down to the dock. After checking to see if any lights were on in the houses hugging the lake, she’d slip off her clothes, and lower herself down the ladder.
   One time she’d cannonballed in, not expecting to make such a big splash. The noise woke one of the neighbors. He burst forth from his house, brandishing a gun and hollering. She’d hidden underneath the dock until he left.
   He must have been poking around for twenty minutes. She shivered, but kept still, praying he wouldn’t discover her. He didn’t. When he left, she climbed out quietly, threw her clothes on and hightailed it out of there as fast as she could.
   It was two years later before she tried it again. This time, she eased into the water with nary a splash. Jess did the breast stroke, cutting silently through the water. She stopped at a boat moored near the west side. 
   Hanging on to the anchor rope, she stared at that huge monstrosity, shadowed in the moonlight. At night the old, broken-down house looked eerie, scary almost. The dark windows with their trim painted white resembled huge eyes.
   The house had history and a faded charm that still spoke to Jess. Never mind the hole in the roof, or the bats making their homes in the eaves. Forget the peeling paint, the broken front steps. This house had potential. It haunted Jess’s dreams regularly.
   She pictured it returned to its former glory, pure white paint, immaculate front porch sporting three antique wooden rocking chairs. One for her, one for her brother, Will, and one for the love of her life, a man like no other.
   In her imagination, the third chair sat empty for an eternity. Prince Charming went out of fashion decades ago. Why should a poor, no-account like her expect to find one?

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Monday, June 18, 2018


Time to take a pass at a new story. This will be part of "Renovating the Billionaire", a new Pine Grove book that will be coming out in two months. 
Jess is taking a break from work and goes for a stroll through her old neighborhood. 

Jess sucked on a piece of onion grass as she headed for Huddle Road. She’d lived there for the first fifteen years of her life. Then her mom shot her dad and went to jail. She and her little brother were shipped off to foster care until she was eighteen, when she got a job and custody of Will.

They had to leave the charming little farmhouse with a Dutch door in the back and a small barn. As she rounded the bend, the old general store came into view. It had closed not long after she left. The Mountain View section of Pine Grove, despite it’s elegant name, was run down, decrepit. Her old house, now bank property, had a few broken windows and a hole in the front steps. The porch sagged. The house seemed sad.

Jess smiled as she sat, cross-legged, in front of it and remembered some happy times there. Even the old general store brought good memories. Mr. Franklin, who owned it, would give her a licorice stick free from time to time. She’d been his favorite because she had good manners.

He died in the store of a heart attack. No one wanted the place and now it was dying, too, just like the man who had built and run it for fifty years.

“Why does everything have to change? Why can’t good things stay the same?” she asked a butterfly fluttering in her face.

She and Will lived in a small apartment in a rundown house. Jess baked pies and cakes for the local restaurants and Will did carpentry. Together they eked out a living. The aroma of baked goods distracted her from her shabby living quarters and early wake-up time. As grandma always said, “there’s good everywhere, if you look for it.”    

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Monday, June 4, 2018


Welcome! This week's word prompt is "silly." Again, we have an excerpt from Sandy & Rafe: Second Place Heart. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales and the great stories there. Thanks for coming! 

Once the second apartment was almost finished, her fiancĂ© cooled. His late nights became the norm. They stopped eating dinner together. Sex slowed down to once a week, if that. When she took his white shirts to the laundry, she detected a faint, but distinct, sweet scent that was not Lyle’s aftershave.
Sandy dredged up every justification imaginable. Eventually, she stopped believing her own mantra. Desperate, she called her brother. After rattling off a list of Lyle’s offenses, she waited.
“What do you think?” She chewed her lip.
“The guy’s definitely fooling around.”
“Really?” Her voice dropped.
“I can’t hide the truth from you, sis.”
“Really?” she asked again, hanging on to one last shred of hope.
“You don’t want me to lie, do you?”
“No, no, of course not.”
“Do you care?” her brother asked.
“Do you love this guy?”
She hesitated. Had she ever loved him or had she simply fallen in love with the picture he’d painted of the future?
“I don’t know.”
“At least you’re being honest. If you don’t love him and he’s being a douche, leave. Don't be silly. You’re not married.”
“Don’t you think we should try to work it out?”
“Why,” Bill asked.
“To save our relationship?”
“What relationship? He used you to fix up his house and get him tons of free publicity. If there’s a relationship there, I’m a kangaroo.”

Monday, May 28, 2018


Welcome! This week the word prompt is "leaf." I am moving on to a new story that I can only do for this week and next. It's called Sandy & Rafe, and it's part of my second-chance romance series, Echoes of the Heart. This story has not been published yet. Here's this week episode.


Eleven months ago. Behind the scenes at the reality TV show, Marriage Minded.
“Lyle, Rafe, Lyle, Rafe? Bill, help!” Sandy moaned into the phone.
“Okay, give me the shit on these guys,” her brother Bill said.
“Lyle is in real estate. He’s funny, nice, and keeps talking about our future. He wants to renovate old buildings in Detroit and start a renaissance there. He said we make a good team.”
“Sounds good. And the other guy?”
She sighed. “He’s so sweet. He’s French Canadian. He’s an architect. I think he really loves me.”
“Architects don’t make crap. Real estate is where the money is.”
“But Rafe…”
“You asked my opinion. So, you like this Rafe guy better?”
“I did, until Lyle told me Rafe only went on the show to get his green card.”
“What? Fuck that. Easy choice, Sandy. Dump the Rafe guy. That’s all you need, a guy who sleeps with you for six months, gets his green card, and takes off. And don't count on him turning over a new leaf.”
“He doesn’t seem the type.”
Bill snorted. “Yeah. Right. Like an asshole like that is gonna show his hand?”
“But he’s been so nice.”
“Who do you love?”
“Both, I think.”
“One more than the other? Come on, Sandy. No one loves two guys exactly the same.”
“Guess I’m leaning toward Rafe.”
“Mr. Green Card? Forget it. If you think you could do marriage with this Lyle guy, then pick him. The other one looks like a phony.”
“Thanks, Bill.”
“Hey, what are brothers for?”

Monday, May 21, 2018


Welcome! This week's word prompt is "mirror." You'll find it at the end of this piece from No Regrets. Don't forget to scroll down and return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by. 


When he hit the NFL, Nick had convinced himself he’d put Lizzie Wenner behind him, left her in the dust, gotten over her, whatever you want to call it. He dated top models and actresses, too. He’d made headlines with gorgeous women on his arm. Sure, they weren’t as smart as Liz Wenner, but they were arm candy.
His father appeared envious of his son’s lifestyle, while his mother kept asking why he didn’t marry one of those sought-after women? He didn’t have an answer. There was something about a smart woman that still appealed to him. And he’d yet to meet one who was as smart as Lizzie.
He’d finally convinced himself he’d gotten her out of his blood. Until today. He couldn’t believe his eyes. There she sat, as prim as ever, sipping coffee and reading, just like old times, except more beautiful than he’d ever seen her. The skinny girl he remembered from high school had put a little meat on her bones, and in all the right places.
His heart jumped to life, beating faster, pumping blood to various parts of his body as his gaze stole over her. Hadn’t he forgotten her? He thought he had, but he’d simply cemented over his feelings. In one second, the hardened covering had fallen away, crumbling into a million bits.
She was a professor with a Ph. D, teaching at Yale. This was a hundred times worse than her simply attending that esteemed university. He groped for a phrase that surpassed ‘out of my league’ but couldn’t find one. He grinned. In seconds, Lizzie would probably have four that described their disparity. 
Helpless to control his emotions, Nick wanted her all over again and laughed, as if he even stood a sliver of a chance. If, by some miracle, he had a shot, losing her this time wouldn't mirror the last, it would be a whole lot more painful.