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Archive for April, 2018

A to Z Challenge – Z is for Megan Luzat

Name: Megan Luzat

Age: 27 years old

Description: Megan is average height with a lean but strong build. She has curly blonde hair and brown eyes.

Short Bio: Megan is the middle child of Adam and Jennifer Luzat. She had an older brother, Warner, and younger sister, Micaela. Her family lived pretty much paycheck to paycheck. Her brother wasn’t exactly responsible, so she found herself in charge of both her siblings most of her childhood, until she was almost twelve, and he died of a drug overdose.  By the time Megan was sixteen, and Micaela would have been fourteen, Megan was the only child her parents had left.

Megan worked hard to make sure she didn’t let her parents down. She got a job to help out, studied hard, though she knew she wouldn’t be able to go to college. And then she met Callum Riley. He was involved with the man she blamed for her siblings’ deaths, which would have been enough to set her off even if not for the fact he was a drug addict.

But, she saw more under that. And couldn’t quite help falling for him. She saw him trying to be better, but nothing seemed to be enough to pull him all the way out. Then, he was arrested. And at the same time, Megan realized she was pregnant. Instead of telling Callum that, she broke off all contact with him, wanting to give her child a stable life, and she was sure Callum would only continue to choose drugs over them even after he was released.

Her parents came together to help her see her dream, becoming a firefighter, after her daughter, Kaelin, was born. After a couple years, she transferred to the smaller fire department in Crystal Glen when there was an opening there.

Snippet:

Mark turned to Kayla, and surprisingly, his jaw loosened. “Brooke.”
She smiled at him. “Hey, Mark.”
“Uh, the guys at the station miss you. You haven’t stopped by for a while.”
She grinned. “Only the other guys, huh?”
“What would I miss about you?” He scratched at the back of his neck, and his lips twitched. “We got a new transfer to the engine crew when Garro came over to rescue, Megan Luzat. I can rag on her.”
Her eyes went wide, but James knew it was feigned. “They brought someone in to replace me?”
“Even Garro can’t replace you,” Mark muttered.
She grinned. “I think that’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me, Mark.”
James noticed the firefighter’s face flush slightly then he pulled his sunglasses off and winked at her. “I’d say sweeter, but your man might punch me. Or arrest me.”
“I wouldn’t bother,” Adrian said. “I’d let her kick your ass.”

Sunday Summary: Showing

We had our first actual showing on our house Thursday afternoon. So, we spent most of that day making sure the house was cleaned up and in decent order. Which meant I fell a bit behind on my writing goals that day. But the people who looked at the house are apparently interested. Just waiting to hear more about that. Of course, we can’t finish applying for a mortgage to get the new house until my husband is back to work full time. Usually that would have happened earlier this month. Right now, they’re saying it might be the second week of May. He’s been looking at new jobs, so hopefully we won’t have to go through this unemployment mess every winter.

I did manage to catch up on my goals on Saturday. And I only have a little to finish up this month. Though there’s a couple things I just won’t get to. That’s okay. I’ll carry them over to next month.

Color Code:

Finished/Monthly Goal Met

Progress

Nothing Done

Set Aside

Plotting:

  • Primary: Nowhere to Run – Outline
  • Secondary: Craving You – Outline
    • This week: Jeff’s backstory, Jakob’s back story, Plot summaries, Story Toolkit(2 sheets) – finished all the back stories, finished plot summaries
  • Tertiary: Flames of Knowledge – Outline Acts 2, 3, & 4
  • Stretch: Heart to Heart – Brainstorm

Writing:

  • Primary: Flames of Knowledge – Chapter 21/42 – 33508/~35000 words
    • This week: Get through Chapter 20 – 20/20 chapters drafted
      • “Don’t you dare,” they said again, taking in the more individual details. “This is beautiful.”
        Connor shook his head. “It’s wrong.”
        Ames turned to fully face him. “You’re wrong,” they snapped. “This is perfect. It shows them just as they are.”
  • Secondary: Side Projects – 3350 words – 3444/3350 words
    • This week: Kayla & Reese – 1000 words(or finish 1st draft), edit & polish – 551/1000 words
  • Tertiary: Jonas & Isaac – 15 pages – 15.63/15 pages
    • This week: 2 pages – 2.91/2 pages
  • By the Gun – 2000 words

Editing:

  • Primary: Stained Blood – Beta edits
  • Secondary: Flames of Renewal – Send to Betas(if anyone’s interested in giving feedback, let me know. You can find a summary here)
  • Tertiary: Short Story Collection
    • Mistaken Meeting
    • Hang On 
      • This Week: edit 4 scenes & polish – deleted 1 scene – 4/4 scenes, added 282 words, polished 49/49 items – -319 words
    • Bree & Jenny
  • Stretch: Law of Choice – send to CP

Reading:

  • Read: 20 books – 23/20
    • Love on the Tracks(Tamsen Parker) – Started this Monday night. Finished it Sunday afternoon.
    • House Rules(Cathryn Fox) – Started this Sunday afternoon. Finished it Sunday evening.
    • Dead Wait(Stacy Green) – Read this Sunday evening.
    • It Takes Two to Tumble(Cat Sebastian) – Started this Sunday night. Finished it Tuesday night.
    • Shameless(R.G. Alexander) – Started this Wednesday afternoon. Finished it Wednesday night.
    • Touch the Sky(Christina Lee & Nyrae Dawn) – Started this Thursday afternoon. Finished it Saturday afternoon.
    • The Brightest Sunset(Aly Martinez) – Read this Saturday afternoon.
    • Some Like It Charming(Megan Bryce) – Started this Saturday night. At 51%
  • Listen: 5 books – 17/5
    • The Duke’s Perfect Wife(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Friday afternoon. Finished it Tuesday morning.
    • A Mackenzie Family Christmas(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon.
    • The Seduction of Elliot McBride(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Tuesday afternoon. Finished it Wednesday afternoon.
    • The Untamed Mackenzie(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Wednesday afternoon. Finished it Thursday morning.
    • The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Thursday afternoon. Finished it Saturday morning.

Social Media:

Crafting:

  • Knit: Dunfallandy Baby Blanket
    • This week: Finish border, side 2 – 27/56 rows done
  • Crochet: Boxy Blanket
    • This week: get through row 50

WeWriWa: “Hold Still”

Welcome back to another visit with the Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I fell a little behind on my writing goals this week. We had a showing on our house on Thursday, so most of that day was spent cleaning. But, the good news is they’re really interested. So hopefully we’ll be hearing something soon. And I’m working on catching up on the writing this weekend. And now, here’s the next bit of Hawk’s story. This picks right up after last week’s.

“Then, you’re going to have to hold still while Medusa does it. You think that will be much better?”

“Yes.” She at least wouldn’t ask invasive questions. She already knew the answers to most of them, so it wouldn’t matter. I’d lied to too many doctors over the years to be comfortable around them. I tripped; No, my father didn’t hit me; I’m just clumsy, really. I doubted they’d ever believed me, but they had still sent me home with my father.

A smile cracked Wraith’s face. “You might be the only one who thinks that.”

Will they talk him into going to the hospital instead? Is he going to be okay? I’ll have more next weekend.

A to Z Challenge – Y is for Mark Young

Name: Mark Young

Age: 34 years old

Description: Mark is tall and muscular. He has blond hair, that he keeps buzzed short, and blue eyes. He has several tattoos, though they are mostly covered when he has his firefighter uniform on.

Short Bio: Mark is the second child, but oldest son, of Timothy and Monica Young. His sister, Maura, is less than two years older than him. His brother, is a little more than three years younger than him. The two boys never quite got along. Their father barely spent time with them, putting work ahead of everything else. Their mother tended to ignore them as well. Instead it was usually Maura who took care of them.

Mark met Deena Chase when he was in high school. They started dating and stayed together even after he joined the Marine Corps. He met Nolan Hunter there, as well as Erin Zernig. There were others, but those two were more than comrades-in-arms, they were good friends.

He proposed to Deena after his first enlistment term was up. She said yes, thinking it meant he’d be staying home. And was quite upset when he told her he’d re-enlisted. They started fighting every time they managed to talk and weren’t in a good place the next time he deployed. And one night, he and Erin did more than play pool together. He was ashamed of what he’d done, and yet it happened once more, after they lost another comrade and comforted each other.

When he got home, he came clean to Deena, hoping he’d be able to earn her forgiveness in time. She threw the engagement ring at him and would not speak to him. Finally, one of the times he called, her brother answered the phone and told him she was dead. Because of him.

Then, he was wounded in action, his leg shattered from an explosion that also took the life of Erin and others. He was discharged and after healing, he tried to move on with his life. His friend, Nolan, was up in Crystal Glen and suggested he come up there. He ended up joining the fire department there, where they worked together.

Snippet:

James stepped out of his car to find a crowd already gathered in the cemetery. He hadn’t expected to feel anything but sadness and anger while here. Yet seeing so many people who came out to help, filled him with even more.
Some of these people he didn’t even recognize. Adrian’s family probably. The first person he did recognize, Mark Young who used to work with Kayla, stood near a tree staring off at a small group raking away some small debris laying around the graves. Caitie stood in that group. She looked a little different out of her uniform. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and she wore a blue tank top with a pair of denim shorts.
He stopped near the tree. “Mark. You’re not on shift today?”
The man turned his head away from the group. “Nope. Tomorrow.” He had sunglasses pulled down over his eyes, so James couldn’t see them, but there was a tightness to the firefighter’s jaw. “Sorry about what happened here, Brooke. Some of the other guys plan to show up too if you need the help.”
Emotion nearly overwhelmed him. He should have known he didn’t only have to count on his own family. There was the fire family too. He’d always be a part of it even though he wasn’t actively fighting fires now. “Thanks, Mark. I appreciate it.”
“Whoever did this is the lowliest sort of scum. Desecrating graves. It’s despicable. I’d like to-”
“Might want to watch what threats you make, Young,” a voice said from behind them. “There’s lots of cops present here.”
James turned as Adrian walked toward them, an arm around Kayla’s waist. “Your whole family show up to help, Adrian?” he asked.
Kayla snorted. “This? I don’t think that’s even half of them.”
“You didn’t even meet Mom’s side yet,” Adrian said.
“There’s more?” she groaned.
He laughed and bent down to kiss her. “Don’t worry. It’s smaller.”
“Not saying much. You have thirteen freaking cousins.”
He chuckled. “You’re still stuck on that?”
“I don’t have any. Except,” she added, glancing over at James.
“It’s okay,” James said. “You didn’t know him.”
Mark stepped forward and stuck his hand out. “Riley.”
“Young,” Adrian responded in the same brisk tone, but he took his hand.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Y/Why”

“You can’t be here,” Jonas said, wrapping his fingers around his phone and bringing it closer to him. Who should he call, though? He didn’t want to bring his mom or sister here if this man meant danger for any of them.

“Yet I’m here,” Isaac’s father said with a sneer for Jonas. “Are you going to come over here and stop me.”

Yes, that was exactly what he wanted to do. But, he knew he couldn’t. From the gleam in the man’s eyes, he knew that, too. He didn’t want to take his gaze off him, afraid he’d strike again. But, he needed to do something. He dropped his gaze quickly and brought up recent calls. His brother’s wasn’t the first one on the list, but it was easy to find. He tapped on it to make the call then flicked his gaze up again.

“Your boyfriend obviously wants to get both of you killed.” Isaac’s father was already coming around the couch. Jonas could hear his brother’s voice through the phone, though. He knew he didn’t need to say anything. Toby would hear what was going on. He would come. Isaac’s father jerked the phone from Jonas’ hand and threw it across the room. Jonas didn’t see where it landed, but it didn’t matter.

“You shouldn’t have done that.” Jonas didn’t have a chance to answer before pain rushed through his face. . Another blow sent pain screaming up his leg. The room spun around him, and all he could grasp was Isaac calling his name.

“Why do you do this, Dad?” Isaac asked, as Jonas tried to cling to consciousness. “Why?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Uh oh. I’ve known this moment would happen from the time I started the story(it’s one of the only parts I did know). Getting there I wasn’t so sure about. But, we’re there now. And I managed to work it into today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt of theming the post with a word starting with “y” and either starting or ending with “why”. I kind of cheated on the first part, but I started each paragraph with a y-word.

Fiction Friday: Hang On – Searching

I have another new scene from Hang On for you this morning. Next month I’ll be doing Story a Day again, so my Fiction Friday will be from one of those prompts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He was gone.
I still couldn’t believe it. I’d gone up the trail, looking for some sign Ian had been through there. But, there was nothing. No bag left behind, no rope anchoring him in. Absolutely nothing. I saw Deputy Henry coming back down the trail, but he claimed not to have seen anyone. He’d been called out about a call about some suspicious behavior but there’d been no one around.
If there’d been no one around, I didn’t understand who would have called that in. It’s not like there were any residences up this way. But, that didn’t matter. Ian was out there somewhere. What if he’d fallen and gotten hurt. I knew better than anyone how easy that could happen.
It had almost happened to me, but Ian had been there to catch me. There was no one to catch him.
It had taken some arguing this morning for the sheriff to even send anyone out here to look into things. In fact, the arguing had started with deputy Henry just for me to get to speak to the sheriff. Sheriff Miller had been a little easier to convince. He’d known both Ian and me since we were little boys. And he’d obviously seen how distraught I was.
I hadn’t been able to sleep at all through the night.
The sheriff hadn’t understood why his deputy had given me a hard time about reporting him missing. And he’d sent two other deputies up to look around on the trail. I’d wanted to go with them. But, Sheriff Miller had put a restraining hand on my shoulder and kept me right there. He’d asked me questions about the day before, and I gave him whatever answers I could. But, I didn’t know anything. Ian hadn’t been upset, we hadn’t argued, nothing had been out of the ordinary when I left for work that morning.
And I’d still been sitting there at his desk when one of the deputies radioed in to say they’d found signs someone had been up there and might have fallen.
I was pretty sure my heart had stopped beating right then. I wasn’t sure it had picked up again even as the sheriff put together a search team and we headed up the trail. I saw what had the deputies concerned, the scuff marks near the edge of the trail, what led to a sharp drop off.
“Ian would not have started a climb from there,” I said. “He wouldn’t have even been climbing by himself. None of this makes sense.”
Deputy Henry sent me a baleful look. “I thought you guys were all into that free climbing shit.”
“We don’t climb by ourselves. Never. What don’t any of you understand about this? If Ian went over the side, someone fucking pushed him.”
I didn’t realize I was yelling until the sheriff put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Calm down, son.” I wasn’t his son, but he’d always called me that, even if I didn’t need a second father in my life. “We’ll figure out what happened, but you need to calm down, or I’ll send you home with Deputy Holtz.”
I’d gone to school with Larinda Holtz, but I didn’t want to go home with her. I wanted to go home with Ian. “I was going to ask him,” I choked out. “Last night. I’d figured out the perfect way to propose to him. But, he wasn’t there.”
Then, I was sobbing. I knew the deputies and other searchers were looking at me, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Ian was gone, and right now, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see him again.
The sheriff patted my back, but even in this state, I could tell he wanted to be anywhere else. I tried to get myself under control, but when one of the deputies called, “We’ve got blood,” I started shaking so hard, I was sure I’d just fall over.
“Get him out of here,” the sheriff said, pushing me off on Deputy Holtz.
I didn’t have much strength to fight as she started to lead me back down the trail. Still, I tried. “I’m not going to lose it, Larry. Please. I need to be here.”
“Sorry,” she said, only keeping a tighter grip on my arm. “Sheriff said to get you away from here, so that’s what I’m doing. I am sorry, Aidan. I always liked Ian, too.”
They were already talking like he was dead. But, he couldn’t be. I didn’t know how I could keep on living if he was dead. So, that meant somehow he still had to be alive. I had to believe that.
And maybe if I believed hard enough it would be true.

A to Z Challenge – X is for Alex Reed

Name: Alex Reed

Age: 25 years old

Description: Alex has red hair and blue eyes.

Short Bio: Alex has only made a very brief appearance in the series, so I don’t know much about him, other than he’s a police officer who answers to Adrian.

Snippet:

At the knock on his office door, he spun around. “What?” he snapped.
The officer at his door took a small step back. “The sketch is done. The boy knew a lot of details and that other woman from the school helped. The Amber Alert’s been issued. We’re getting ready to put out the BOLO. Everyone will be on the lookout. Thought you’d want to see the sketch too.”
“Of course, Reed.” He glanced at the handout the man passed over, but nothing about the face looked familiar to him. “Fax a copy to Lieutenant Shae Magaldi with the Erie Drug & Vice Unit. She has contacts in Pittsburgh and might know something. Have her call me with anything.”
“Yes, Sergeant,” the man said then ducked out of the office.

A to Z Challenge – W is for Scott Rowe

Name: Scott Rowe

Age: 49 years old

Description: Scott is tall and muscular with reddish-brown hair and gray eyes.

Short Bio: Scott was adopted by Curtis and Lauren Rowe when he was younger than he can remember. They had also adopted Pamela around the same time, but the two would never have been mistaken for biological siblings. Her skin, darker than any of her family members’, would have made that mistake hard to make. But, they never thought of each other as anything but siblings.

When Pamela fell for a man who didn’t appreciate her, Scott tried to go to her defense. But, the man left, leaving Pamela pregnant. He did what he could to help her, as did their parents, and her son, Austin. But, there was only so much time between that, his own family, and his shifts with the fire department.

He married Marcy, and they had three children: Asher, Maureen, and Sawyer. He still stayed close with his sister and nephew, even after Pamela married Jai Melnik and he adopted Austin. Scott climbed the fire department ladder until he became lieutenant of the rescue squad. He’s been there quite a few years and very happy with it.

Snippet:

The other two men looked at her, their faces closed up. James took her hands in his. “Nothing we can say yet. I can’t handle this one.” He glanced at the two men then back to her. “Since we’re involved, I can’t be on it. I’m going to call Kayla. She’ll do the walk through and share her findings with me. I’d do it myself but Marshal Haig will take any reason to chew on me. I’m not going to give it to him.”
“Haig’s a prick,” one of the other men muttered. Teresa saw the name Wilson on the tag on his shirt.
James’ lips quirked. “That does seem to be the general consensus.” He must have seen the confusion in Teresa’s face. “He’s the marshal the state usually sends out. Let’s say we don’t see eye to eye on a hell of a lot of things.”
“Is he coming out for this?”
James shrugged. “Depends how much damage was done. If only a little, they won’t bother. I am going to call Adrian in.”
“Why?” the other man asked. “If the marshal doesn’t come out, there’s not much reason for the cops either.”
He nodded at Teresa. “She’s been having trouble recently. This could be connected. If it is, I want him on this.”
“Just because he’s with your niece,-”
“No. Because he’s a good cop. What’s your problem, Rowe?”
“Nothing. You’re right.”
James put a hand to Teresa’s shoulder. “I’m going to call Kayla and Adrian. I’ll be right back, okay?”

Writing Wednesday: Warm Up

It’s finally started to warm up here. It was really nice Monday. Nice enough I took the pup(ok, he’s 2.5 so he’s not a puppy anymore.) for a walk. It was going pretty well. Then, we walked past a yard with four dogs running around. There was a toy poodle, Chihuahua, yorkie, and another small dog. The three smallest came right into the road after us. And there was my dog, who is at least twice the size of any of these dogs, cowering away from them. And they’re running in circles around him. He’ll jump all over our lab, who is quite a bit bigger than him. But, these little things had him terrified. I was going to come back up the road, but decided to take another route to avoid them. It ended up being a little over a mile walk.

It was raining yesterday, so we didn’t go for a walk. And today looks to be the same. But hopefully we’ll get in at least one more walk this week.

When he doesn’t have a person to cuddle with, he’ll take a pillow

Writing’s going fairly well this week too. Steady at least. I’ll get more into that below.

For now, it’s WiPPet Wednesday again. Today is the 25th, so I have 2 snippets with 5 paragraphs each. First up is Jonas & Isaac. Isaac’s shown up at Jonas’ mom’s house, and they’re sitting on the couch together.

“I’m heading out,” Arcelia called from the hallway. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

“But, Arce,” Jonas said, putting a whine in his voice even as he winked at Isaac, “that doesn’t leave us many options. You never do anything.

“Exactly my point,” Arcelia said primly. “I sit on that couch, too.”

Isaac snorted out a laugh and leaned into Jonas. “It surprises me how much I’ve missed the bickering between you two,” he said after they heard the front door close.

Jonas laughed and turned into him. “that’s not bickering. It’s some friendly sibling teasing. I didn’t realized how much I missed her while I was gone,” he admitted. “Emails and video chats just weren’t the same.”

And from Flames of Knowledge:

“Silas made them.”
Ames glanced over at him and saw a faint pink tinge to his cheeks. And, yes, his ears were certainly red. “You’re blushing. Why are you blushing?”
“No reason,” Jeremiah insisted. “Not a single reason at all.”
Yet, Ames found their lips curling up. “Really? It certainly sounds like there’s a reason.”
“Nope,” Jeremiah said firmly, though his cheeks reddened more. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Silas didn’t…never mind,” he said quickly, obviously realizing he was about to give himself away.

So what exactly did Silas do while making this treat that Jeremiah brought to work? I’ll just leave that to your imaginations. 😉

And now for my progress so far:

Color Code:

Finished/Monthly Goal Met

Progress

Nothing Done

Set Aside

Plotting:

  • Primary: Nowhere to Run – Outline
  • Secondary: Craving You – Outline
    • This week: Jeff’s backstory, Jakob’s back story, Plot summaries, Story Toolkit(2 sheets) – finished all the back stories
  • Tertiary: Flames of Knowledge – Outline Acts 2, 3, & 4
  • Stretch: Heart to Heart – Brainstorm

Writing:

  • Primary: Flames of Knowledge – Chapter 21/42 – 29676/~35000 words
    • This week: Get through Chapter 20 – 18/20 chapters drafted
  • Secondary: Side Projects – 3350 words – 3320/3350 words
    • This week: Kayla & Reese – 1000 words(or finish 1st draft) – 427/1000 words
  • Tertiary: Jonas & Isaac – 15 pages – 13.79/15 pages
    • This week: 2 pages – 1.125/2 pages
  • By the Gun – 2000 words

Editing:

  • Primary: Stained Blood – Beta edits
  • Secondary: Flames of Renewal – Send to Betas(if anyone’s interested in giving feedback, let me know. You can find a summary here)
  • Tertiary: Short Story Collection
    • Mistaken Meeting
    • Hang On 
      • This Week: edit 4 scenes & polish – deleted 1 scene – 2/4 scenes, added 105 words
    • Bree & Jenny
  • Stretch: Law of Choice – send to CP

Reading:

  • Read: 20 books – 20/20
    • Love on the Tracks(Tamsen Parker) – Started this Monday night. Finished it Sunday afternoon.
    • House Rules(Cathryn Fox) – Started this Sunday afternoon. Finished it Sunday evening.
    • Dead Wait(Stacy Green) – Read this Sunday evening.
    • It Takes Two to Tumble(Cat Sebastian) – Started this Sunday night. Finished it Tuesday night.
  • Listen: 5 books – 14/5
    • The Duke’s Perfect Wife(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Friday afternoon. Finished it Tuesday morning.
    • A Mackenzie Family Christmas(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday afternoon.
    • The Seduction of Elliot McBride(Jennifer Ashley) – Started this Tuesday afternoon. On Chapter 11/30

Social Media:

  • Primary: Post 5 regular weekly posts – 17/21 posts
    • This week:
      • Writing Wednesday
      • Fiction Friday
      • Stream of Consciousness Saturday
      • Weekend Writing Warriors
      • Sunday Summary
  • Secondary: A-Z Challenge – 22/26 posts
  • Tertiary: Patreon – 2/3 posts

Crafting:

  • Knit: Dunfallandy Baby Blanket
    • This week: Finish border, side 2 – 13/56 rows done
  • Crochet: Boxy Blanket
    • This week: get through row 50

A to Z Challenge – V is for Avery Takoda

Name: Avery Takoda

Age: 6 years old

Description: Avery is short and thin with straight black hair and brown eyes.

Short Bio: Avery is the daughter of Samantha Takoda, Teresa’s daughter. She didn’t know her grandmother for the first six years of her life, though. Her mother basically lived on the streets, when she wasn’t crashing with Joel Mathis, a man Avery had never felt comfortable around.

Her mother sent her to another woman’s house one night. She promised to come. But, she never did. Instead, a couple men in uniforms came to the woman’s door and started asking her questions. When she told them who Avery was, they took her away and eventually to her grandmother’s. She was afraid the older woman would leave her or send her away as well, no matter how many times she promised that wouldn’t happen.

Things started to change after they moved north to Crystal Glen, but she still wasn’t sure she could trust how good things seemed to be.

Snippet:

“I need to get going.” Teresa adjusted the purse on her shoulder and once again tried to pry the little girl off her leg.
“I don’t want you to go.” The whine behind the words nearly had a headache blooming behind her eyes. “You said you weren’t going to leave me.”
Teresa sighed. “I’m not leaving you, Avery. I’ll only be gone a few hours. You have to stay here until I get back.”
The girl’s bottom lip trembled. “That’s what Mommy said, too. She didn’t come back for me.”
There it was. The reason she’d barely left the house since they moved back to Crystal Glen, and not without the girl in tow. She knelt down to the girl’s level. “Nothing is going to happen to me. I promise you. I have to go though.” She chanced a glance at her watch as she reached around to hug the girl. No way would she make it on time now. “If I don’t go, they might not going to let me keep you. Chris will stay with you. You know Grandma Caridi always has fun stuff for you to do. It will be okay.”
“Your grandma’s right,” another woman said, stepping into the hallway. “I got lots of fun crafts to do. Why don’t you come into the kitchen with me?”
The girl hesitated still then she nodded and slipped her hand into the other woman’s. Teresa let out a breath. “Thanks, Mom. I should only be a few hours.”
“We’ll be fine. You’ll get back when you get back.”

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