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Fiction Friday: Looking for Beta Readers

I have the second book in my Flames series, Flames of Renewal, edited per my critique partner’s feedback and am now looking for more readers. I’m mostly looking for someone to point out plot holes, inconsistencies(with characters or plot), anything that just doesn’t feel right. Since it is the second book in the series, there are references to events from book 1 and you see a lot of the same characters. Still, I don’t know if it’s necessary to have read the first book. But, that’s something else I’d like to know, if there’s anything confusing to someone who picks this up first.

So, anyways, a summary:

James Brooke, the chief fire investigator for Crystal Glen, has carried grief with him for a long time. Losing his wife and son at an early age changed the way he looked at life. He buried their memories deep, thinking it the only way he could continue on. And he always thought he had a content life, even if it wasn’t full of happiness.

Tereza Takoda has suffered from her own loss. She once knew James, and was best friends with his wife. Losing her sent her on a wandering route through life until she found her own happiness with her husband and children. Losing half of her family, her husband and following that, her daughter, but gaining a young child from that, she’s not sure where to go now. Home seems to be the only place where they might all be able to heal and leave the old wounds behind.

Tereza doesn’t expect to see James again, or for him to instantly recognize her. Neither of them expect the sparks that fly between them. But, with trying to be everything her granddaughter and son need her to be right now, she doesn’t know how she would make a place for a new relationship. Or if it would even be a smart thing to start. Still they cannot seem to stop from growing closer together, even as trouble starts rearing up around them. Can they face it together, or will this put out the flame that was growing between them?

Yeah, that needs work, but you get the idea, right? If anyone’s interested in giving feedback on this story, let me know in the comments below.

Teaser Tuesday: “Between Us”

I was going to share another snippet from Guarding the Heart today. But, I just sent Healing the Heart to my beta reader, so it’s closer to being ready to publish. Whereas Guarding the Heart still has another round of edits to go through before it will even be ready to send to my critique partner. So, instead you get some more of Healing the Heart. I’d like to have this out before the end of the year, but that of course depends on when I get it back and how much I need to fix. Warning: There is mention of domestic/child abuse at the beginning of this snippet.

Jared watched Greg leave the clinic with his mother and his heart twisted. He knew what the boy would go home to and anger for his mother rose up. She could get him and her daughter out of their situation. It wasn’t so black and white. She lived daily in fear of her husband but had even more fear about leaving him.

What would it take to get her to accept her husband was an abusive bastard, and they didn’t deserve this? One of her children dying? Being beaten so bad they could never recover? He’d seen too many come through in the same situation. It broke him every time. Just because he’d survived it didn’t mean the rest would be so lucky.

He clenched his fists at his sides and leaned against his desk. That didn’t do anything to push all those feelings, all those memories away. Melanie’s steps approached his office, and he took a deep breath. He couldn’t deal with her now. He had told her to come to his office. He’d done this to himself.

At the knock on the door a moment later, he said, “I left it open for a reason.” Footsteps sounded then a soft click as the door closed. Still he didn’t face her.

“You could have let me know I’d be working under you. Did you have all the staff call you Dr. J, so I wouldn’t know it was you?”

He shook his head. “They’ve always called me that. So do our patients. I didn’t realize it would still matter. It’s been almost six years.” It was childish to not look at her while he spoke, but he wasn’t sure if he could and remain detached. He continued to face the wall. “I figured you’d moved on.” He did finally turn around. “You went right back to him after all.”

He saw the shock in her eyes a moment before she asked. “What are you talking about?”

“You know exactly what. You kept him between us the whole year we were together. He broke your heart and then you went running right back to him as soon as I left.”

Teaser Tuesday: Healing the Heart – Calling Beta Readers

Usually for Teaser Tuesday I share a snippet from whatever WiP I’m editing. Today I’m doing things a little different. I’ve finished revising Healing the Heart, the second in my Gilbert, Co series, after getting it back from my critique partner. So, now I’m looking for a couple beta readers. I currently have one lined up. But, I’d like at least 1 or 2 more.

As I said, Healing the Heart is the second book in this series. There are some references to Duty to Protect, the first book, but it’s not totally necessary to have read it first(Not that I’ll mind if you want to go pick it up and read it though 😉 ). If you have read it, you’ll know Melanie is Garren’s ex-fiancée. Well, there is another man from her past, too, and he’s back now.

Melanie Griffin, a well-respected surgeon at the city’s best hospital volunteers her time at an inner city clinic. There she runs into another doctor, Jared McDermott, who she has a history with. Between bickering with him, she realizes not all her feelings for him have been buried. And that’s not all the trouble she faces.

Jared McDermott swore he’d gotten over Melanie Griffin since the last time he walked away from her. They could never seem to stay away from each other, even if he knew nothing good could come of it. Especially when he had to focus on raising his younger sister. But, he pulled both of them out of the pit of their childhood and was ready to help others as well. So, he knows he’s staring disaster in the face when Melanie starts volunteering at his clinic. But, he can’t turn away from it or her.

After treating the victim of a brutal assault, an obviously troubled boy, Melanie realizes intervening may have brought her into deeper trouble than she can handle. In the meantime, things get more serious with Jared, and she isn’t sure what’s more dangerous to her well-being; the threats against her or what Jared could do to her heart. Jared wants to do everything to keep her safe and with him, but he just might be holding on too tight. Will they be able to come to terms with each other before it’s too late?

If anyone’s interested in reading and giving some feedback let me know.

Teaser Tuesday: “Family”

I finished polishing up Healing the Heart last week. I’m still looking for beta readers for that if anyone’s interested in reading and giving me feedback. It’s the follow-up to Duty to Protect and is Melanie’s(Garren’s former fiancee) story(and another character that doesn’t show up in the first story.

Today I’m sharing a bit from the MS I’m currently editing, Guarding the Heart. This is the first in my BC Security series. This snippet is from close to the beginning.

“Does she get everything she wants?” Casey asked, coming up behind them.
He saw Alex’s back stiffen, knew he hadn’t heard him approach. Then, his friend was turning to him. Hannah was already sliding down from the pony’s back and climbing through the fence. “Uncle Casey,” she cried, throwing herself at him.
“Hannah Bana,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. The nickname had started a couple years ago when he’d called her Hannah Banana and she’d tried to repeat it. Just her smile always made him feel better. It had from the first time he’d held her.
She giggled. “You’re silly, Uncle Casey. I’m a big girl now. I don’t need a silly nickname anymore.”
“That’s right. You’re all grown up now. Are you ready to ship out to college?”
She giggled again. “I’m only six. You’re being silly again.”
Not too many people had ever accused him of that. But, from her, it sent a jolt of warmth through him. Along with the pain of knowing he’d never have this for himself. That had died with Marie.
“Why don’t you go in and see if Mom has dinner ready,” Alex suggested.
The little girl ran toward the house. Casey had sobered by the time he straightened. “We need to talk.”
Alex nodded. “Let’s walk. Sarah will call us when dinner’s ready. I’m sure she’ll set a place for you once Hannah tells her you’re here.”
“I don’t want to intrude.”
“You never do.” He let out a breath and ran a hand through his hair. “You know you’re always welcome here. You’re not an intrusion.”
“I know. I’m still not used to it. Family. Being welcome. It’s not easy for me.”
“It should be.” He sighed. “So, what’s going on?”
“I got all our bills paid, but the next ones aren’t going to be if we don’t get another job soon. I called George. Turlington has blacklisted us. That’s why we can’t get any jobs.”
Alex leaned his arms against a fence and stared out at the horses grazing there, many of them heavy with foals. “It’s what we figured. Don’t really care to have the confirmation though.”
“At least we know. We just have to figure out what we’re going to do.”
“What can we do, Casey? We can’t force people to hire us.”
“George said he’d help us until we got some jobs. I don’t want to take it. He’s done so much already.” Casey rapped his fist on the top rail of the fence. “I hate that he’s brought us to this. What right does he have?”
Alex pushed away from the fence. “At least you finally stopped blaming yourself. But, it doesn’t solve the problem. If George wants to help,-”
Casey shook his head. “No. It’s not to that yet. I have my savings. It’s just sitting there. I can dip into it first.”
Alex turned to him. “No. You were saving that for a house. I won’t let you do that.”
“I was saving it to get a house with Marie. That’s not a possibility anymore. I won’t let you dip into yours. You have a family, you need it for them. I don’t need it for anything.”
“You are so damn stubborn, Case.”
“It doesn’t matter, Alex. I don’t need the money. My apartment’s over the office, and George bought that building for us. The only thing I need money for is food and stuff. Hell, I eat more here than anywhere else. I should be paying Sarah for feeding me.”
“You know she’d never take it.” Alex slapped his shoulder. “We might as well head up. Dinner should be ready soon.”
“We haven’t figured out what we’re going to do yet.”
“It sounded like you already figured it out for yourself. Come on.”

Teaser Tuesday: Jared’s Past

I have another teaser from Healing the Heart for you today. I’m back to polishing this up for beta readers, so anyone who is interesting in reading and giving feedback, let me know. This is the follow-up to Duty to Protect, and while it does make references to the first book, you don’t necessarily have to read it first.

If you’ve read snippets I’ve shared for Wippet Wednesday, you may recognize this character.

She trailed off, her eyes locked on something past him. He started to turn then a big hand came down on his shoulder. He started to tense until the voice said, “J-Man, why didn’t you tell me you were coming in?”

He let out a breath. “Blayze. I mean, Carlos.” He still forgot the man had gone back to his birth name after leaving the gang. “This is my…this is, Melanie. She’s been volunteering at the clinic.” He couldn’t believe he’d almost called her his girlfriend. They’d never labeled what they had. He hadn’t wanted to.

The man smirked though as if he understood. “It’s been a long time, J. You don’t come into my place near enough.”

“I’ve been busy.” He didn’t interact with people from his old life much outside of the clinic, either. How else would he be able to say he’d put it behind him? Melanie still stared at the man behind him, and Jared imagined he did make a strange sight. His dark skin was tattooed, his arms, his hands, even his neck. In the restaurant, he always wore a nice button-up shirt and slacks, but it didn’t hide all of it. How many businessmen did she see who were covered in ink?

“Mel, this is Carlos Armas. I’ve known him a long time, and he owns this place.”

She closed her mouth then and held out a hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Armas.”

He laughed but shook her hand. “Call me Carlos, please, and it’s my pleasure.”

“How’s Brent?” Jared asked. Shadows flitted across the man’s eyes, then they were blank. Not good apparently.

“Haven’t spoken to him recently. I need to get back, but I hope you enjoy your dinner. You’re welcome here anytime, J.”

Jared nodded, but Carlos reached across the table to take Melanie’s hand. It looked strange seeing her perfectly smooth hand in his rough scarred one. Jared felt a spurt of jealousy then Carlos released it and stepped back. “Take care of my boy here.”

“I’ll try to. He doesn’t make it easy.”

Carlos headed back toward the kitchen. Jared turned back to her and saw Melanie’s gaze on him. “What was that about?” she asked. “Who’s Brent?”

“His brother. We used to…run together,” he said, not thinking of a better way to phrase it. Brent had gotten him into the Coyotes, through his older brother. Carlos had made him think he could get out of it when the time came.

“He seems like a good guy,” she said, covering his hand with hers.

“He is. Once you get past the tattoos.”

“I didn’t even notice. He has tattoos?”

She couldn’t hide the smile at her lie though, and Jared laughed. With that, all the awkwardness disappeared. Why hadn’t he made her smile sooner?

Writing Wednesday: Raining Revisions

Not even sure what to say about this week, really. Thought we were going to get some storms yesterday. Never quite happened. We did have quite a bit of wind yesterday and some rain. There’s a tree down by the road that got hit by a car a few years back. It kept leaning farther and farther into our yard. Well, last night it finally came down. Didn’t hit anything else when it fell at least. but, the pup seemed very unsure about even going into the yard.


Then, this morning I walked down to get the mail(since I realized I hadn’t gotten since Friday) Had a letter from the sheriff’s office. I get to report for jury duty in September. The week of my anniversary. I also have the kids’ yearly check-up scheduled for that Friday. So, I have to figure out how I’m going to get the kids to school, get down there(a good 1/2 hour drive…and I don’t drive), and make sure there’s someone here when the kids get out of school. And what to do about kids’ appointment at the end of the week. My mom lives closer, so I might be able to stay there for the week, but that doesn’t help with the rest of it. Trying to look at it as research, since a lot of my stories involve the law in some way, but still not looking forward to it. The last time I was in a courtroom was when I was about 12 and went with my grandma for Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

But, for right now, it’s Wednesday, which means it’s WiPPet Time!! I just finished the first draft of Protecting the Heart on Monday. So, I’ll share some from the final chapter of that. Declan’s just woken up in the hospital. I have 7 sentences(8+1+7=16=1+6=7)

He’d make sure she got some sleep. Once he saw her and saw for himself she was fine. “When can I get out of here?”

“Mr. Portor, I dug a bullet out of your chest less than twenty-four hours ago. You’re lucky you’re still alive.”

“Okay. But, when can I go home?”

Apparently Declan isn’t too fond of hospitals. 😉 These former Marines really don’t make good patients. 🙂

As for my progress so far this week. Well, let’s just say, last night I made it through half of today’s editing time. So, yeah, I’m ahead on things(also, why I’m actually able to work on this earlier in the day than I have been. The writing is going slower than I’d like, working on one for an hour a day(worked more on Monday because I was up early, words were pouring out, and I was so close to finishing), until I meet my weekly goal on it. Only about 1/3 of the way to my goal on Shed Some Light, which is second on my list. So, we’ll see.

  • Write 5000 words between 5 projects – 4150 words between 2 projects. This number is obviously different from what pacemaker has for each of my projects. the 5k is more of a minimum goal for me.
    • Protecting the Heart – 3059 words & finished! My initial goal was 80k, this came in at just over 68k. I’ll probably add more in revisions, though. – It was time to move past his own mistakes. Time to move on and let Piers do the same. They could never be together. All they did was hurt each other. *From epilogue, which is a short scene written from Xavier’s POV & set up for book 3. 😀
    • Shed Some Light – 1091 words – “Why do you even care? You’ve already told me I’m an idiot.””Yeah, at the same time I said I loved you,” she said, shoving against his chest. “Or did you conveniently forget that part?”
  • Stained by Ashes – finish revising Chapter 19 and any more I get back this week. – I finished Chapter 19 on Monday. I currently have through Chapter 25 back. Transcribed all the notes into the master document. And started revising Chapter 20 this morning.  Added 7 words on Monday and cut 34 today, so a total of -27 words for the week.
  • Healing the Heart – finish rewrites – got this done and cut 1875 words from it(this involved cutting 2 complete scenes out and changing a bunch of other stuff). Now to do the search 7 destroy then send it to beta readers. So, if anyone’s interested(might help if you’ve read Duty to Protect but probably not necessary) let me know.
  • Guarding the Heart – layer in world building details – haven’t touched this yet. Probably not until after I get Healing the Heart polished
  • Defending the Heart – finish Piers’ back story, start Spenser’s – making progress on Piers’ back story. A little over 4 handwritten pages. He’s just met Xavier and the other guys. It took me 8 pages to get to this point in Xavier’s story. Still hoping to at least finish it this week.
  • Side Projects – add 2500 words – I’ve added 652 words to Dance with the Devil. A little over 100 more words to meet my goal on it. Then, I’ll move on to the others. – “So, the punching bag kissed Devil on the throat, huh?” *walks away whistling. Just leaving that there with no context. 😀
  • Read: Writing Vivid Characters – 75% – At 62% Most of this is stuff I already know/do. Though, there are a few things I hadn’t thought of.
  • Listen: Targeted(Kendra Elliot) & In His Shadow(Tiffany Snow) – I finished both of these. I didn’t have a lot left on Targeted(which I really enjoyed), but I just didn’t want to stop listening to In His Shadow. There were a few things about the romance, I’m not quite sure about, but it’s the first book in a trilogy, so I’ll see where it goes. I started listening to A Dark Mind(T.R. Ragan) this morning. A little over 2 hours into it already.
  • Read: Finish Virtually Yours, Try with Me(Elyssa Patrick), Changing His Game(Megan Erickson), Patterns in the Dark(Lindsay Buroker), The Walls Around Us(Nova Ren Suma), Once in a Lifetime(Jill Shalvis), & the Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C(LeighAnn Kopans) – I finished Virtually Yours(liked most of the stories in it. LOVED Wish I Might by Kait Nolan and Lip Service by Wendy Sparrow). Also finished Try with Me(liked this one, though it felt like there wasn’t a lot of conflict through most of the middle. Then, the end…I just bawled. Which I’ve felt the need to do for a while, so this was a good thing). I’m almost finished with Changing His Game and loving it.

Love seeing blue so early in the week! And a good bit of green too.


Fiction Friday: The Choice Ready for Beta Readers

I just finished revising The Choice, per my critique partner’s comments and cleaned it up. This is the first in my Kurztown series, set in small town Pennsylvania. It’s a contemporary romance that sits at a little under 68,000 words.

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

If anyone is interested in reading this and providing feedback, let me know either by leaving a comment here or emailing me at fallonrb@gmail.com. It has a bit of an alternating timeline and is more on the steamy side than sweet.

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