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A-Z Challenge: E is for Erik Matthews

E

Erik Matthews glanced at the man sitting across from him. It still all felt surreal. None of this could be happening. It shouldn’t be happening. “I still don’t see how I can help you,” he told the man. Detective Duval, he’d introduced himself as. Erik had never expected to have a cop sitting in his kitchen. Especially not a detective from Farmington. They weren’t even in his jurisdiction. But, he was here with an officer from the Aztec police department. One of the few the small town their ranch was located outside of employed.

Erik didn’t want to look at Officer Timmy Lorman, either. But, that was more personal. He just couldn’t stand him.

“I told you,” the detective said, “We’re here to talk to you about the deaths of Lauren and Adam Matthews.”

Erik felt something burning a trail up his throat. He’d wanted to vomit ever since he’d gotten the news. Had wanted to hold his son, cry with him. “My daughter-in-law and grandson,” he choked out. “That’s who they are.” Who they were. They were both gone now, and the cops in Farmington had been holding his son, so he couldn’t even see him, see how he was holding up.

He was sure it wasn’t good.

“Yes, Mr. Matthews. We’re sorry for your loss.”

He wondered if they’d said the same to Jason. Or if they’d just started shooting questions at him like bullets. It made his chest ache. If he hadn’t just been in for his yearly physical, he might think he was having a heart attack. But, the doctor assured him his was strong and healthy. No, this was just grief.

“If I could tell you something, I would,” Erik assured the men. “Lauren was a sweet girl. We were glad to have her in our family. And Adam. He-” Erik choked up, trying to get the words out. “He was so full of life. How are they just dead?”

“That’s what we’re trying to find out. What can you tell us about your son’s relationship with his wife?”

“What does that mean?” He could feel his face heat, almost felt his blood boiling. His blood pressure was good, too, the doctor had said. Good thing he wasn’t having it measured now. “They were in love. Anyone who looked at them could see it. They were all happy. Jason loves…loved,” –damn that was hard to adjust to, thinking of Lauren in the past tense–“his wife. And his son. They were a happy family. They were talking about adding to their family.”

“That could stress anyone out, especially if they aren’t on the exact same page. Are you telling me they never fought? Not even once in their–” the detective flipped through a notepad– “two and a half year marriage.”

“No, I’m not telling you that. Every married couple fights. And Jason can have a temper. Sometimes it gets loose from him.”

The officer nodded, and Erik wanted to wipe the smug look off his face. “I told ya, Detective Duval, we had to haul the boy in more than once for fighting.”

Erik’s face tightened, and he wanted to lash out at the man. “And how many of those fights did your own boy instigate, Timmy?” he questioned.

Officer Lorman’s face darkened, going hard. “We’re not here about Rodney. We’re here about what your son did.”

Now, Erik did lunge up from the chair. But, before he could reach the officer, the detective stepped between them. “All right. That’s enough. I said, that’s enough,” he repeated, pushing Lorman back a little when he tried to step forward. “I’m here to try to solve a double murder, not play referee to whatever bad blood you two have. We only called you as a courtesy,” he addressed Lorman. “If I have to, I’ll take him to our station for any further questions. I’d rather not, though.”

Lorman sneered at Erik. “I’ll wait for you outside. Don’t let him fool you, though. His son ain’t no angel.”

“He ain’t a demon, either,” Erik said, just as Lorman exited his kitchen.

“Will you sit down, Mr. Matthews?”

“Not if you’re going to accuse my son of being a cold-blooded killer as well.”

“We haven’t accused him of anything yet. Now, Mr. Matthews, please sit down.”

Erik did, though he wouldn’t call himself calm yet. If the detective hinted one more time that Jason could have done this, he might come completely unglued. Yes, his son had a temper. And he’d come by it naturally, through the blood.

The detective smiled at him slightly. Erik figured it was to put him at ease. It only sent a chill down his spine, like a bug crawling along his nerves. “So,” the detective said, “your son works on the Owl Crest Ranch, just outside of Farmington. Is that right?”

“You already know that, or you wouldn’t be asking.”

The smile faded a little from the detective’s face, but he pressed on. “But, you have your own ranch right here. Why isn’t he just working for you.”

Erik’s hand balled into a fist on top of the table. The detective was certainly good at hunting out and attacking a sore spot. “Didn’t want to work for his old man. Said I was too critical, and he wanted to be my son, not my employee.” The words still burned in his gut. He’d wanted to pass the running of the ranch on to his son. But, he left to work for a stranger instead.

“So, you two fought about that?”

“Not particularly. He wanted to leave. I wanted him to stay. In the end, he left.”

The detective scribbled something on his notepad, and Erik really wished he could see what it was. Make sure he wasn’t shining an ugly light on Jason. “What about siblings? You have two daughters as well, right?”

HIs shoulders tightened. “What do they have to do with any of this? Kirsten doesn’t live here anymore.” And, God, he wished she’d leave that loser boyfriend and bring her daughter here to live. “And Sophie’s home from college for the summer, but she’s out with the other hands right now.” She actually did want to work with him, so that was something at least.

“Just trying to establish a pattern,” Detective Duval said. “Did he fight with his sisters very often?”

Erik didn’t like where this “pattern establishment” was going. He’d rather have it stated out plain. “They had the usual sibling arguments. But, if you’re asking f he ever hurt them, struck them. No. Not since he was maybe eight. Jason never needed to be told many times that something was wrong. He might yell, but he’d never hurt a woman. Not on purpose. And he certainly wouldn’t have hurt his son, no matter what her bastard father might have told you.”

“There are reports of CPS being called out there.”

“On unfounded charges. Every single one of them.”

The detective’s lips twitched, and Erik guessed he’d already looked into that and found the same thing. “Still, there’s a pattern of behavior. We’ve heard from more than one person that he tended to lose his temper easily. He could have been stressed, maybe she was being critical, like he accused you of. Maybe he just snapped.”

“No,” Erik growled, lunging out of the chair again. “Don’t you come into my house and try to spread that filth. I told you he didn’t do it. He never would have done that. He loved them, both of them. He wouldn’t have…” He choked on the words then pointed at the door. “Get out.”

The detective flipped his notepad closed and slowly rose to his feet. “That’s all the questions I had anyway. I’ll let you know if I have more, Mr. Matthews.”

Erik stood right where he was until the detective had left the house, until he heard the car start and head down the drive. Then, he sank back into the chair, his head dropping into his hands. His shoulders started to shake, and for the first time since they’d gotten the call from Jason, he let the tears fall.

Note: This is some of the back story to Chasing the Ghost, Book 4 in my Gilbert, Co series. Jason’s still running from his ghosts when that story starts, and some even more dangerous threats.

A-Z Challenge: D is for Declan Portor

D

Warning: Mention of suicide in this one.

“Alaina, will you calm down? Tell me what’s wrong.” Declan ran a hand over the side of his freshly buzzed head. He hadn’t even been back stateside for a week yet, and he’d just talked to his sister a couple days before. For her to call again so soon…it had worried him when the sergeant had said he had a phone call.

“He…Dec…Mom.”

“Just breathe, Alaina. What did Jacob do now?” Declan didn’t exactly have any love for his stepfather either. And he knew Jacob felt pretty much the same way toward Declan. The other man had never been able to buy him, or even Alaina, off with gifts, like he had their mother. They’d seen past that, though, to see he was nothing like the man their father had been. But, Declan wasn’t the one who had to live with the man. Alaina did. For at least another year, until she turned eighteen.

If he’d ever thought that man had even raised one finger against either of them, he’d do whatever it took to get them safe. But, as far as he knew, Jacob had always stuck to words to hurt. Alaina’s sobs only grew harsher, though. He’d faced insurgents, IEDs, that blasted heat, but it was Alaina’s sobs that made his knees weak with fear.

“Please, Alaina. A mhuirnín. Talk t’ me.” He could hear his accent get thicker as the fear crept up. He couldn’t beat it back down, though.

“Mom. She…she’s dead, Declan.”

Everything inside of him went numb. No, that couldn’t be. He’d just talked to her that last time he’d called Alaina. She’d seemed a little off, distant. But, she’d been like that a good bit since his father had been killed. He’d tried to cheer her up, but he could hear Jacob in the background berating her and belittling him. The first thing he wanted to do when he got leave was go home and wrap his hands around the man’s neck.

That probably wouldn’t go ever well.

“I found her when I got home from school today.” She was still crying, but he could understand her words better now. “She was laying on the couch and wouldn’t wake up. Her medicine bottles were all empty.”

His stomach clutched hard at that. Last he knew, she had prescriptions for anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and sleeping pills. How many of each of those had she had left? “Where’s Jacob?”

“He…he’s here. They called him at work. He wasn’t happy to leave.”

He burned at that. Nothing was ever important enough for him to leave work for. His head was ringing, trying to process it all. “I don’t…I’ll find a way to get home. I have leave coming. I’ll try to get it moved up. There has to be something. How’d this happen, Alaina?”

“It’s been really bad, Dec. She wouldn’t tell you how bad. He’s been just…I need to go. Please come home, Dec. I need you.”

***

“I’m not taking her.”

Declan stared across the table at his stepfather. “What do you mean? You have to take her. You’re her guardian until her eighteenth birthday.”

“Your mom didn’t have a will. She should have at least thought of it after your dad got himself killed. She never did much of that.”

Declan was surprised he hadn’t ground his teeth down to nubs yet. He’d been home for two days. His mother had only been in her grave for two hours. His stepfather had dragged him from the reception dinner after to have this talk with him. And he’d already made more than one comment, basically calling Declan’s mother stupid. And now he was blaming his dad for his own death.

“Leave Mom out of this. She was a lot smarter than you’ve ever given her credit for. She was hurting, and you took advantage of that. And my da,” he added, “was killed doing his job, protecting other people. So, you can just leave him out of this as well.”

“You’d better be showing me more respect, boy. I would have figured your precious military would have pounded that into you by now.”

He didn’t have a fucking clue what he was talking about. “The Marines taught me to respect those who deserve it. You drove Mom to this. You certainly don’t deserve anything from me.”

Jacob let out a snort. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, boy. She didn’t have a backbone, or she never would have been so weak. I didn’t do nothing to her. Never laid a damn hand on her.”

There was more than one way to beat someone down than with your fists, though. But, this argument wasn’t going to get them anywhere. “Back to Alaina.”

“I told you. I’m not taking the girl. I’ve spent enough years paying for her. She’s not mine. I’m not doing it any longer.”

Jacob pushed up from the table then, and Declan could only stare at him. He’d only just turned twenty-six. He’d just re-enlisted for his third term in the Corps a little over a year earlier. How was he supposed to raise his little sister? That’s what this meant, wasn’t it?

He scrubbed his hands over his face and thought back to how Alaina had been since he’d arrived in town. Clingy, particularly when Jacob was around. How she’d told him how bad things had gotten recently.  How Jacob would lock her in her room for hours for something as simple as talking back. How he made her do all the chores around the house, or he’d withhold her money for her lunch at school.

He’d figure things out. But, even if Jacob hadn’t refused to take her, Declan didn’t think he could have made himself send his sister with that man. Not even for another year.

Somehow, they’d make it work.

Note: Declan shows up partway through Guarding the Heart, and has a larger part in the end of it. I’m currently working on his story, Protecting the Heart.

A-Z Challenge: B is for Brian Sharrock

BBrian hurried into the hospital, wishing the revolving doors moved just a bit faster. He hadn’t stopped since he’d come out of his Introduction to Criminal Law class and seen the text message from his mother-in-law. He’d always thought his worst nightmare would be a message saying his father had finally managed to kill his mother. Now, it was steady contractions. Active labor. Hospital. And he was a good two hours away. When not in the middle of a class.

“Ashley Kalish,” he said, leaning against the reception desk. Then, he shook his head. “Sharrock. It’s Sharrock now.” That was still hard for him to believe. Not that they’d had a lot of time to savor it before he’d had to leave.

“You family?” the receptionist asked.

“I’m her husband. She’s having a baby. My baby. I need to know where she is.”

“Brian.”

He spun at his mother-in-law’s voice. “Adreanna. What are you doing down here? Ashley? How is she? Oh god, did something happen? Is it the baby?”

Adreanna Kalish laughed and set a hand gently on his shoulder. “Slow down, Brian. I came down here to call you and see how far away you were. Since”– the corners of her mouth tugged up into a grin –“last time I spoke to you, you were just leaving Pittsburgh. Which means you should still be at least half an hour away.”

His cheeks heated a bit. He may have driven a little faster than the posted speed limit as much as possible on the way up here. “I needed to get here.”

She slid her arm around to his back and guided him toward the elevators. “Like I told you when you called me back, she could be stuck in this stage for a while. There was no need to speed.”

“Is everything okay? Is she having problems?”

Adreanna laughed again. “Nothing like that. Most women aren’t lucky enough to have speedy labors.”

He tried to let that soothe him, but he hadn’t even been this nervous when he’d been waiting for his acceptance letters to law school. And he’d been pretty damn nervous then.

They stepped ino a room, and Adreanna announced “The daddy’s here!” Then, she brushed her lips over Ashley’s forehead. “And now, I’ll go find your dad and leave you in Brian’s hands.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Ashley choked out.

She left the room, and Brian took her place beside the bed. He hated seeing the tears in her eyes. “it’s going to be okay, Ash.”

“I wasn’t sure you’d make it,” she admitted.

“I promised, didn’t I? That I’d do everything to get back here in time.” She nodded but didn’t say anything, and he wiped away the tears that had spilled over.  “We haven’t even been married six months. I can’t believe you’d think I’d start breaking my promises already.”

She let out a watery laugh then squeezed his hand hard. “Do you need the nurse? The doctor? Drugs? What do I do?”

She laughed again, this one a little stronger. “The nurses keep coming by to check on me. It’ll be fine. There’s no need to panic.”

Maybe not for her, but he couldn’t bear to see the pain on her face. And know there wasn’t anything he could do to help. “There has to be something I can do.”

“Just stay by my side. That’s all I need right now.”

***

“You need to get going, Brian. You already missed classes on Thursday and Friday. You can’t miss any more.”

Brian glanced over to where Ashley sat in the glider then back down to the baby he held. “You guys need me here. I can-”

“Do not even say it, Caleb Brian Sharrock. You’ve tried that before, and I didn’t let you get away with it then, either.”

He winced when she used his full name. She knew he hated when she did that. “Never use his name for me again, Ash. Please.” His father had only been buried for about six months, and hearing his name still made a shudder go through him. It had taken a couple weeks to get almost all his professors to call him Brian. There was only one who was still holding out this semester.

She pushed herself up out of the chair. She was still moving slowly, and he wished he could take away the lingering discomfort for her. “I’m sorry, Brian,” she said, taking the baby from him. It was probably almost time for her to wake up and eat again. “But, you’re not throwing your future away.”

“You are my future. Both of you. Law school will still be there when I won’t be missing all of her firsts.”

“We could come back with you. Your mom’s doing better on her own. The school’s giving me three months paid time off.” That was one of the nice things with her working for a private school. They were a lot more accommodating than the public school would have been able to be. “By the time you go back in the fall, we’d be able to figure something else out.”

Brian shook his head. “Even if you were down there with me, I’d never see you. When I’m not in class, I’m studying. Or I’m sleeping. I’m lucky to find the time for that or eating. I miss you, Ash. Now, I’m going to miss Alyssa, too. Maybe it would be better for me to stay here.”

“Absolutely not,” Ashley insisted. “I told you on our wedding night that if you threw this away, I’d divorce you. That still holds true. I even have an in with a lawyer.”

“I’m not a lawyer yet,” Brian said, rolling his eyes toward the ceiling. “And there’s certainly no way I’d oversee my own divorce.”

“And I wasn’t taking about you,” Ashley said, a smile playing around her lips. “Patrick’s been by to see your mom and me almost every day you’ve been gone. I’m sure if I asked him, he’d take care of everything.”

Brian could only stare at her for a moment. “You’re not serious. You can’t be.” His own mentor. He wouldn’t do that to Brian, would he?

Then, Ashley started laughing. “I haven’t talked to him about it, because you are going back to school. So, it’s a moot point.”

His lips twitched. “Now, you’re using legal speak against me? Not far, Ash. Way to turn a guy on as you’re pushing him out of the house.”

Ashley laughed and leaned into him. “When you come home for Spring break, I promise to make up for it.”

He groaned. “Not fair. Not fair at all. That’s more than two months away.”

“I think you’ll survive. And when you are back up here, I’m sure Mom can watch Alyssa for one night. I’ll need some time alone with you by then.”

He still didn’t want to go. But, Ashley was right, he always seemed to be. And if he didn’t go back now, he never would. And becoming a lawyer had been his dream for almost longer than he could remember. And now it had become Ashley’s dream for him as well. And he’d promised to do all he could to help make her dreams come true. So, he couldn’t let her down.

Brian showed up in the first story in my Kurztown series, First Choice, Second Chance, which had a split timeline. In the “past” scenes, he came off as a bit of a slacker. Then, in the “present” scenes, he’s one of the small town lawyers. He seems all settled down, so I didn’t think he’d really have a story to tell. He proved me wrong. I wrote a prequel to First Choice, Second Chance(well, it actually takes place between the two time lines), which is actually what leads up to this one.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Food

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is food. I’m not sure exactly where this one is going to go. Let’s see, shall we.

So, food. We’ve all got have it, right? If not, we’d starve. And that wouldn’t be much fun. And some of us do eat for that: fun. We could get by with just what we need. But, most of us eat for more than that. There’s the social gatherings where we consume a lot more than we probably should, especially around the holidays.

I like food. Eating it at least. Don’t care as much for cooking it. For a long time, I mostly only cooked stuff that came out of a box or can. In the last year, though, I’ve started planning out most of our dinners. I say most, because I only plan for Monday-Thursday. Friday we either go out(if we’re out getting groceries) or we have leftovers. Okay, and a lot of time the kids choose cereal that night. I’ve gotten a lot of recipes from Allrecipes.com and for this past Christmas, I got a Dump Dinners cookbook from my Mom. There are some nice and easy recipes in there, though there were a couple that didn’t turn out right.

I don’t always incorporate a lot of food into my stories. I mean the characters have to eat, so there’s usually at least a couple scenes that mention food. And I mostly write contemporary romance(and romantic suspense, but even that is in a contemporary setting), so it’s normal for the characters to go on at least one date. Which usually involves food. This is fine, particularly if ‘m sticking with them going to a small restaurant. But, when it gets fancier, I can be at a loss. I mean, for me, Olive Garden is a fancy dinner. So, there are a lot of diners and small or family-owned restaurants in my stories.

The diner in my Kurztown series is based on the one that used to be in my hometown. Yes, I said used to be. Now, it’s a Subway. I combine that with a few other small places, like a restaurant in the town where I live now. A lot of the places in this series are like that. Which makes sense, since I did base the whole town on the town I grew up in. I always wonder if other people from there will recognize those places.

And, I’ve gotten off food now, I guess, as I just finished my breakfast, too(honey wheat bagel with peanut butter…one of my go to breakfasts).

Word a Day: Day 6 – Family

I haven’t done the last few days of the Word a Day blog challenge. I could come up with some excuses for it, but really, just couldn’t think past a vague idea for any of the words. And I didn’t feel like putting that much pressure on myself, after finishing one blog challenge in January and getting ready to do another in April(which I’m really looking forward to doing). Anyway, so I probably won’t post anything for every word this month. But, if that day’s word strikes me somehow, I will.

Anyway, today’s word is Family. I could probably go on and on about family; the ones we’re given and those we make. This is a theme that finds it’s way into a lot of my writing. My characters come from quite a variety of families. Some big, some really small. Some loving and accepting, others judgmental or cold.

My own family situation is probably not all that unusual, not in this day anyway. My parents got divorced when I was seven. I was daddy’s little girl and took it especially hard. My mom got remarried a year later. I didn’t always get along with my stepdad, but he’s the one who was there…for everything. A lot of the stepfathers I write are actually based on him and the relationship I have with him.

My dad would probably blame my mom as the reason he was never around. But, the fact is, she did everything she could to make sure we did see him. He was the one who was always cancelling his weekends with us. The one who always seemed to have something better to do than spending time with us. And when we were there, he seemed to think we always had to be doing something, when all I really wanted to do was spend time with him.

I have two older sisters. And, again, we haven’t always gotten along. Though I was always the quiet one, so most of the fighting happened between them. Even now that we’re all in our 30s, most of the fighting still happens between them.

There’s a number of cousins, both first and more distant, but we call all of them cousins, because otherwise it gets rather confusing. So, some of my bigger families in my stories have been based on them.

Overall, I have one of those fairly close-knit and supportive families. They may not always agree with your decisions, but they’ll still be there to support you.

When I first met my husband’s family, at least his dad’s side, it was a lot like going to my own family. And they accepted me right in, too.

Like I said, I write about a lot of different types of families. And sometimes that means meshing together very different experiences. I deal a lot with these different families in my Flames series. Like in Flames of Restoration, there’s a lot about the families we make. Nolan and Mark consider each other brothers after serving together in the Marine Corps and now working together for the fire department. Flames of Restoration is Nolan’s story, but this part deals with Mark and his thoughts about his own family, and how he can make things work with Caitie who had a very different family experience:

He’d never wanted kids. Hadn’t thought he’d be any kind of father. He hadn’t exactly had the warmest upbringing. And he didn’t want to turn out anything like his father. They may not be estranged anymore, but they were never going to be close. He wouldn’t want his kids to feel that way about him.
His kids? Why was he even having these thoughts? Him and Caitie hadn’t really talked about kids before. He knew she loved them, at least all her nieces and nephews, and her cousin’s kids. And, God, were there a lot of them.
But, they’d just moved in together a couple months ago. They weren’t even engaged. That had his chest tightening again. He’d thought about it. But, it was too soon, wasn’t it? It hadn’t even been six months since their one night stand at Kayla and Adrian’s wedding. He let out a soft snort at that.
Like one night ever would have been enough with her.
His breath caught at that. There were some days he wasn’t sure any amount of time would be enough with her. What did that mean, though? Certainly not that they could make a marriage work. Were they too different for that? Just look at their families. Hers was large, Catholic, close, loving. His was small, he doubted his parents believed in anyone but themselves. They were cold and about as far apart as they could get. How could people coming from such different directions make anything work?
And that thought just about ripped his heart from his chest. He wasn’t going to let his family take one more thing from him. They had nothing to do with whether or not him and Caitie worked out. She may end up walking away from him one day, but it wasn’t going to be now. And if now was all he’d get, he’d hold onto it as long as he could.

I could probably say more about different families, and my own, but this is already longer than I figured.

JusJoJan: Day 15

Welcome back to day 15 of Just Jot It January. Today’s prompt is leadership, but, yeah. I’ve got nothing for that. Instead, how about a little story. No, not the ones I usually write. This actually happened last night.

So, the girl’s 2nd grade teacher sends home a homework calendar for every month. Mondays are for reading 10-20 minutes(this is laughable if you knew how much my daughter reads). Tuesdays is math, either a sheet sent home or they can do problems on a site that has math games. Wednesdays is to do an activity from a spelling tic-tac-toe grid. And Thursdays there’s usually a writing prompt. Yesterday’s prompt was:

Ricky wore a mustache so he could look like his dad. Who do you want to look like? What could you wear?

So, first of all, she decided this was too hard before she even tried to think of anything(this has become an issue lately, and she’s even said she’s not smart enough to do something, which really bothers me, but that’s not what I’m getting into today). So, I had to try to calm her down and then asked her if she wanted to look like anyone. She said no. So, I asked her why not. “I want to look like myself.”

Now, I think that’s a perfectly good answer. So, I told her to write that down.

I imagine, however, her teacher isn’t going to agree with me. Back at parent-teacher conferences in November, her teacher showed us something the girl had written in response to a story they’d read. And said her response didn’t actually answer the question. Except…it did. Just not in quite the way the teacher had meant for it to be answered. But, the girl has always looked at and thought about things differently. So, I didn’t really see the problem with her answer then either.

But, I guess we’ll see when she gets the paper back what her teacher thinks about this answer.

JusJoJan: Day 5 – 2016

We’re only 5 days into 2016, so I’m not sure how much I can really say for today’s Just Jot It post.

I was thinking about sharing a teaser for my upcoming release today. I still don’t have a solid release date for it. Shooting for March or April hopefully. I did get together a cover for it, at least. I have 2 more stories in the series, and I’m hoping to release them in pretty quick succession, probably 1 a month. They’re only going to be available on Amazon, so they’ll be up for Kindle Unlimited. My other series are on all vendors, but they’re on-going ones. These ones will likely just be the three books, so they’re more contained, so I’m going to try it with them.

And 2016 is also the year when we add to our family. No, we’re not having any more human children. Not sure my sanity could survive that. But, we did add a new furbaby to our household. We just brought him home today.

riding home

riding home

Still currently nameless, though I do have a list to choose from. Now, to just pick one.

And as for that snippet:

“Last time I saw him he tried to kill me. Why would you put something like this past him?”
The sheriff pushed his hat back on his head. “That was a misunderstanding, William. He was angry because he thought you tried to steal his girl.”
“It was no misunderstanding. That’s the lie Ma prefers to believe. Thomas is always angry. I don’t think he knows anything else.”
“Knowin’ that, you should have more sense than trying to go after him without more proof. I can’t haul him in because you say so. I’d have to find him first.”
William clenched his jaw, his fist tightening at his side. “He’s capable of this. He wants me to know he’s around. What if it’s Anna he comes after next? He’s tried to take her from me since I met her.”
“He wouldn’t dare do that. He has to know you’d never stop hunting him down if he hurt her.”

Monday Mumbles: Late

I’m late to getting around to posting today. Dinner’s almost ready so I’ll probably be getting around to posting this even later. Most of the time,  I just wouldn’t bother posting by this time, but I want to try to post every day if I can.

Part of why I’m so late is the fact I slept late. Late is relative, of course. For me, it means falling back asleep after waking up at 3. Then turning off my alarm at 4 and going back to sleep again. And waking up again around 5:45 and thinking,  ” crap,  kids are going to be up any minute. ” I still wanted to get my writing done for the morning though. So, I did that while they got dressed for school and had breakfast. Managed over 800 words before I had to take kids down to get on the bus.

I also got the first chapter of a manuscript back from my beta reader last night, so I decided to do those edits this morning after kids left for school. I’m planning to work on those as I get them back. After that, I started a read through of the third novel in my Flames series. That was taking a while, even though I only planned to get through the first 25% today, so I started doing one other thing on my to do list after reading a chapter. Did still manage to meet my goal for the day.

And among all that, we finished rearranging or room to make space for the new puppy’s crate. That is finally done at least. Good thing since it looks like we might be able to bring him home earlier than we thought.

Check out the other participants for Just Jot It January here. Maybe they weren’t late getting to their post.

WeWriWa: “Phoebe”

Welcome to the first installment Weekend Writing Warriors of 2016. Last month, I started sharing from Come Back Down, the sequel to Into the Sun. I’m hoping to make a whole series of these novellas. Today’s snippet takes place shortly after last week’s.

   ”Phoebe.”
I heard the voice, but I didn’t respond to it. I wasn’t even sure he was talking to me at first. That used to be the only name I went by. But, now, and for the last five years, it was only when I went into town that I ever heard it. Everyone else called me Birdie.
But, Trace was turning to look at the guy behind us. He knew my real name, even though he never used it, either.

Who is this guy and what could he want? Why doesn’t anyone call her by her real name? I’ll share the next 8 sentences next week, and you just might find out.

I’m joining another blog challenge. Why not, right? I’m already doing RoW80(new round starts Monday), planning to do the A-Z challenge again in April. and after uncovering some old poetry notebooks, I’m thinking about participating in the OctPoWriMo this year as well. What can I say? I have a thing about challenges.

So, now I’m joining Just Jot It January. I may not post every day, but I’m hoping to at least most. I missed yesterday’s since I didn’t see it until this morning. I may include it with another post for that day(if that’s a problem, someone let me know please).

Today’s post always coincides with the Stream of Consciousness Saturday, which I’ve thought of joining before but never have. Today’s prompt is pause/paws, which works out well.

We’re getting a new dog. It’s something we’ve talked about for a while. We had to put my old dog, Shadow, down a few years ago. She was probably about thirteen years old. I don’t know for sure. I got her from a local humane society in 2000. They said she was about 2.5 years old then. She was mine from the minute my mom and stepdad brought her home. Followed me around everywhere. Which is how she got her name, not just because she was black.

She was a bit neurotic. Terrified of storms. She stuck even closer to me then. Always had to be right next to me. Even when we lived in an apartment and had two floors. Even though going up and down wasn’t easy on her aging joints. She really was my shadow. And she wouldn’t eat if I wasn’t there. We’re also pretty sure she was abused. Terrified of most men. And empty 2-liter pop bottles. You couldn’t even walk past her with one without her cowering away.

We still had her when we got our next dog, Lady. Another black dog, a lab this time(Shadow was a chow mix). They tolerated each other. Shadow was probably eleven at that time.

We’ve been a one dog family for the last several years. But, Lady is totally my husband’s dog. She mostly ignores me…unless I have food. But, she’s very protective of our son.

So, we’ve talked about getting another dog. Not sure how Lady is going to handle that. But, we took her to meet the new puppy, and she behaved a lot better than we’d expected. So, hopefully when he’s at our house, she’ll do all right, too. It may take some adjusting, though.

We aren’t exactly sure what the new puppy is. His mother is a staffordshire terrier. They got her from the same humane society I’d gotten Shadow from, and she was apparently pregnant when they got her. So, we don’t have a clue what the father is. The puppies have a bit of a lab look to them, though.

We’re getting the runt of the litter. He’s black(I’m noticing a trend here) with white down his chest and on his front paws. I was able to hold him in one hand the other day. We can’t pick him up for another two weeks, though.

So, now I need to come up with a name for him. Thought about something that goes along with Lady, like Duke, Earl or Baron(so it would be the lord and lady). I also have a thing for Irish names, so I looked through those. One stuck out: Kerwyn, which means small, dark one. Which fits on a couple levels. Who knows, I may think of something else in the next 2 weeks. And, of course, Shadow wasn’t named until we’d had her for about a week. So, maybe he’ll find a way of telling us his name.wp-1451671066497.jpg

shortly after we got her, running toward me.

shortly after we got her, running toward me.

with our lab mix, Lady

with our lab mix, Lady

Sunday Summary: Christmas Approaching

You can tell it’s getting closer to Christmas. Well, not by looking outside, since it’s been about 60 degrees out this weekend. But, we had a Christmas party for the kids at the fire station Wednesday. Yesterday we had my niece’s birthday party and Christmas with my dad(Amazon gift card. Yes!) after that. Today is another Christmas party at the Moose Club. Then, I think we’re pretty much done until the week of Christmas.
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I have most of the shopping done but absolutely none of the decorating. Haven’t even pulled the tree out of the closet yet. Guess I’ll have to actually do that this week(decorating is my least favorite part, which is why only the tree and stocking will likely go up).

Goals have been going pretty well this week, too.

  • Love Who You Love – finish backstories. Start Outlining. – Got this all done. Ready to start writing
  • Chasing the Ghost – finish 2nd round revisions. Start Polishing round. – finished 2nd round revisions. Not quite halfway through polishing though
  • Come Back Down – get to 6000 words – just a little past this
  • Read: Word-loss Diet – 45% – Got to this
  • Read: Finish Dirty Thoughts, Dash of Peril(Lori Foster), Fix You(Mari Carr), A Harry Situation(Kristy K James), & The Iron Daughter(Julie Kagawa) – finished all of these and started Bloodlore (Krista Walsh)
  • Knit: Brimmed Hat finished this.

No color coding this week because we still haven’t made it home today. Christmas party at the Moose Club and elections at fire department. Except about time elections were supposed to start, got a call to help a neighboring department with a fire. So got started about 4 hours late. So posting from my phone.

It was nice enough we went to the park for a bit after the party. And we had a little shadow.
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Goals for next week:
• Love Who You Love – 5000 words
• Chasing the Ghost – finish polishing
• Come Back Down – get to 7000 words
• Read: Word loss Diet – 70%
• Read: Bloodlore (Krista Walsh), Sparks Fly (Mari Carr), Fey Touched(Erin Zarro), Unbreak Me(Lexi Ryan), Only Mine (Susan Mallery)
• Crochet: Twist’N Shout Hat
• Loom: Hat

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