Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallow-reading!

(Disclaimer...I'm no poet. LOL!)



As witches and pirates roam the streets asking for different foods,
Read old Halloween stories to give it a different mood.

Tell frightening stories of old, when a campfire lit the night.
Or describe the horror of finding a body before the morning light.

The headless horseman and even monsters under the bed,
will make the bravest listen with dread.

These things are legends, their stories found in a book.
If you are wise, you'll crack open the pages and come take a look.

So make Halloween the day they'll remember with stories of the past.
For today is the day they let their minds roam, until reality returns them at last.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In Honor of Halloween





In honor of Halloween, I'm giving you a free coupon from Smashwords for Stalking Sydney. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94064 and enter code EA69F at the checkout. This is ONLY good until November 1, 2013.

NOTE: If you don't like getting Smashwords coupons because it's hard to download the book to your Kindle, check out this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/pc. You can wirelessly transfer your book to your Kindle FAST. Just follow the directions.

If you'd like to know how to transfer your books to your Kindle (or Nook--the directions are almost the same), the directions are here: http://sweettalebooks.com/copyingtokindle.html.

ENJOY!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Christian Snippets: ''Lighting the Darkness"

This story starts out as heart-wrenching, but with the help of a minister and a supportive family, turns into a wonderful story with a happy ending. Enjoy!


Blurb:
Second grade teacher, Rebecca Albertson, lost her daughter and husband on the same date, two years ago, and her grief now consumes her life. On the anniversary of her family's death, she finds herself at a dinner party at her brother's home, right along with the new single minister, Reverend Mark Andrews, from her brother's church. Mark tries to get her to live again, but she keeps the wall up in her heart, holding God accountable for her family's deaths. But it seems that God has a plan, and no outside force, including all the single women vying for Mark's attention at the church, can hurt this budding romance.

~~~~~


Excerpt:
Two years of loneliness while waiting for a prayer to be answered was a long time. Rebecca Albertson lifted her eyes toward the giant oak tree filled with colorful leaves waving in the slight late-afternoon breeze with the sun shining down on her. Events from the past two years consumed her. Everything wonderful had ended on this exact date in October.

The swing attached to the tree swayed in the wind. She imagined her beautiful daughter, Abigail, on that swing, for she would've turned six a week ago. The image of her little four-year old daughter lying in a hospital bed attached to tubes filled her mind. Rebecca lost everything in her life the instant her daughter died. As soon as she'd died, Rebecca's husband, Rob, had turned and left the room in anger, only to die in an automobile accident while heading home. Two lives lost less than an hour apart. This thought of the two-year anniversary was too much for Rebecca to bear.

With the overwhelming sadness weighing on her shoulders, she sat on the swing while the autumn leaves drifted down around her. She lowered her head into her hands, the tears finally making their way onto her lashes. Why did God take everything from her?

"Rebecca," she heard, knowing it was her brother Will. "We're ready to eat." She felt a hand on her shoulder, helping her to her feet. Will's arms pulled her in for a hug while she cried. Cruel fate dictated that she'd end up at this very spot on her daughter's death date. It was Abigail's favorite place in the world…that swing.

"I'm always here if you want to talk about this," he said.

She took a breath and tried to stop crying, but the tears trickled down her cheek. "I don't want to burden you." She backed away and wiped her cheeks, trying not to cry. "Besides, you have three wonderful children to concentrate on, and with Eloise expecting your fourth…" She tried to hold back her tears, but as she took in her breath, a sob escaped, making way for many more gasps between the tears. "Your family will be wonderful," she managed to eek out.

Will looked down at his shoes, and Rebecca knew she'd said something wrong.

"I'm sorry," she said, sucking up her tears. "I don't mean anything by it."

"It's been a tough two years." He lifted his eyes to hers and she could see the tears he tried to hold back. "We all miss them. But we have company and I don't want them waiting for dinner."

"Company?" She had to concentrate on the present. "You didn't tell me you were having company. Maybe I should just go home."

"No, you need to be here. These are fun people." He put his arm over her shoulder and guided her up the hill toward the house.

"Please don't tell anyone what today means," she said, wiping her cheeks. "I want to move on and put this all out of my mind."

"I won't tell if you won't tell."

As soon as they entered through the sliding glass door to the dining room, Rebecca headed off to the side into the restroom to wash her face. No one needed to know she'd been crying. She took time to pull herself together, but really wanted to be alone.

Who did Will invite to his home for dinner? She thought she'd be the only guest, but he seemed to have forgotten to tell her more.

Her stomach fell just thinking about it. What if they were single men and he was trying to fix her up? She really hated being single. If Will had done that, she'd just refuse to go along with his plan. Maybe she should call their parents from their Florida retirement home and tell them to come back to Indiana to get Will in trouble.

Determined to eat and run, she walked out of the bathroom and right into the chest of some man. Single, no doubt. She glanced upward…blue eyes, brown hair and about five or six inches taller than she was. He was also incredibly handsome, looking like a model. There was no way this guy was single, either. He was too beautiful, probably a player.

"I'm sorry," she said, backing off. "I didn't know you were there."

A soft smile lit his lips. Slight dimples graced his cheeks, making him even more attractive. "It's okay," he said. "Dinner's almost ready." He extended his arm, to shake her hand. "I'm Reverend Mark Andrews, the preacher at Will and Eloise's church."

A preacher? He couldn't be a player. But he was just too good looking, the type of man she could hardly speak to because his beauty would overwhelm her. However, she could put it in perspective, because she'd known a lot of preachers in her life, thanks to her dad who was also a preacher. A preacher would never hit on her, so she relaxed and shook his hand. "I'm Rebecca, Will's sister."

"With your blonde hair and blue eyes, I should've noticed the family resemblance." He put his other hand on hers. "I've heard good things about you."

She didn't believe it. "Oh really?" She doubted her brother told him anything, other than how sad she was.

His blue eyes smiled right along with his lips as he leaned closer. "According to Will, you're one of the best second grade teachers they have in the entire district. What he told me is very good and nothing about how you used to tease him when he was younger."

The thought surprised her. Her eyebrows rose, studying his face. "Will told you that?"

The man laughed. "He didn't have to. That's usually how it goes." He backed away, moving his warm hands off hers. "Save me a seat."

"Sure." She watched him enter the bathroom and shut the door, not sure what had just happened. The feel of his warm hand still lingered on her skin, making her wish she knew him better.

As she headed into the dining room, she saw another couple, as well as Will, his three young children, and his wife, Eloise, who looked like she could give birth at any moment. The women were setting the table with the food in the center, making Rebecca feel guilty for not being inside to help.

"Put me to work," Rebecca said to Eloise.

"It's all done." She rested her hands on her stomach. "Are you better now?"

"I guess so. Thanks for giving me some time."

"That's what I'm here for."

Rebecca leaned closer to Eloise's ear. "Will didn't tell me there were other guests coming."

"I know. He wanted to surprise you, since you're always alone. You needed fun people around you today, he said." Eloise rolled her eyes. "Men. They're insane."

"Definitely true." Rebecca forced a smile to her lips, but wanted to run away. Before she could even inch toward the front door, Reverend Andrews entered the room. He had some sort of charisma, because every person seemed to cheer up and speak to him. How could he be the life of the party, given he was a minister? Although, when she thought about it, her dad seemed to have that charm, too. Maybe it went with the job.

Eloise addressed the group. "After the blessing, we'll eat."

"I'm hungry now," six-year old Ben said from beside Rebecca. He was blond, just like the rest of Will's family, with big blue eyes. Even Eloise was blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Ben had two sisters, Emily, who was eight, and Jenny, who was four.

"In a minute," Eloise said. "Reverend Andrews, this is yours." A pained look crossed her face. She closed her eyes for a long moment and took a breath, then seemed fine again. But Rebecca knew better. Eloise was good at hiding labor pains and her labor was usually quick. Rebecca needed to keep an eye on the woman, surprised Will didn't say something. He was a family doctor, doing well in his own practice, so she figured he'd know if something was going on.

They all bowed their heads and Reverend Andrews said a quick prayer. No sooner had he said 'Amen' than Eloise screamed and fell to the floor on her knees.

"Oh, no," Will said. "Not now." He seemed more than irritated and Rebecca was ready to let him have it. Eloise needed him and he could be nicer.

"Sorry. This wasn't my idea," Eloise yelled.

He and the other two men helped her to her feet and out to the kitchen floor, because she refused to go any farther. "I can't move," she said. "This kid is coming fast. I can feel it."

Interesting dinner party. It definitely wasn't as sad a day as Rebecca had anticipated.

~~~~~


Buy links:
 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
 Kobo
 Apple
 Diesel E-books
 Sony e-book Store


God bless you!
Eryn Grace

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cool game to play!!!





Come on over to the newly designed http://sweettalebooks.com/ website and see what's new!  And yes, those pictures at the top of the website pages are from our trip to New Mexico at the beginning of this month.  We saw the Balloon Fiesta...simply amazing.

This blog as an RSS feed, the latest book published, and a great welcome are all featured.  If you look at the welcome section, you'll see a small note about a game.  It's a wonderful game (Dancing with Shadows).  I'm trying to figure out where to put it to be more prominent, yet fit with the feel of the new site.  So right now, it's a small comment and also shown on the links page.

Here's the direct link to the game:  http://sweettalebooks.com/game.html.  See if you can figure out how to navigate through this thing (after the ad).  I promise your mind will be challenged!

Take care,
SweetTale Books

Monday, October 21, 2013

Start Your Week With Romance: 'All for Aaron'

Our son has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.  He has some idiosyncrasies, and the older he gets, the more he becomes 'normal.'

Because of our son, I wrote this book.  Some of the reviews say it's not true to fact, but I've found with kids on the Autism Spectrum, (and I've known quite a few), every kid is different.  Each of these special people will develop at their own rates, and depending on the severity of the child, they could grow by leaps and bounds if given the right instruction.

In this book, Aaron has been given no help from birth, until he gets to the teacher that will change his life, and his mother's life.

This romance is a special book to me, because it reminds me of our son, who's now 21 and ready to graduate from college, four hours from our home.  It's amazing...and I thought he'd never be able to cope with middle school, high school, or even drive a car.  He has a driver's license and will have to relearn how to drive, since he's been in college without a car.

The overall goal of this book is to show the romance, and how there's hope in a situation such as this.  These children are special and really can become the best thing to happen in a mother's life.

Enjoy, 'All for Aaron.'





Blurb:
When Kelly Foster divorced, her senatorial-hopeful ex-husband paid off the judge and Kelly's lawyer, enforcing unbelievable rules, including the fact that she may never date and her son has to attend a school for the profoundly autistic. If she breaks any of the rules, her autistic son will be taken from her and put in an institution, where she'll never see him again. But when Kelly meets her son's delectable teacher, Dr. Drew Miller, she has to keep her distance for her son's sake, sacrificing her own happiness with the man of her dreams.

~~~~~


Excerpt:

"I'm sorry. Aaron usually listens to me." Kelly Foster Hunter bent down, watching her four-year-old blond son stare at the lights in the hallway. "Aaron, can you hear me?" She stood with Dr. Johns, the principal of the school, embarrassed by the cooing noises coming from her son's mouth. "I'm so sorry." She covered her eyes, not knowing what to do.

The principal touched her arm, making her move her hand. "Mrs. Hunter, it's okay. This is normal behavior for an autistic child." Dr. Johns turned toward a man joining them. "I'd like to introduce you to Aaron's teacher, Dr. Miller. He's been at this school for the past three and a half years."

Straightening up, Kelly faced the adorable teacher, taking in his brown hair, electric blue eyes, and high cheekbones. If she were allowed to flirt, she decided he would be the type of man she would single out first. She could see the muscles in his arms, even though he was wearing a nice dark blue suit, setting off the color of his eyes. If she didn't stop staring, she'd soon be swooning over this man.

She caught her breath and smiled. "Hello, Dr. Miller. It's nice to meet you." She shook his hand while he returned her smile.

"Nice to meet you as well, Mrs. Hunter." He raked his eyes down over her, making her aware of the expensive suit she had to wear for her job. He probably thought her to be rich, but she was anything but rich.

Kelly faced him with a grin, challenging the man who gazed at her a little bit too long for her liking. It suddenly hit her that this man might even be on her ex-husband's payroll, so she had to be careful. She wasn't going to let him think she would bow to any man…especially someone who worked at Waltman Academy, the exclusive school for autistic children Aaron was ordered to attend.

Dr. Johns bent to talk to her son, who was still watching the ceiling light while moving his fingers slowly in front of his face. "Hello, Aaron. This is Dr. Miller."

Dr. Miller knelt to talk to the young child. "Aaron, can you look at me?" Aaron ignored Dr. Miller, who touched her son's arm. "Aaron, I'm Dr. Miller." He gently moved Aaron's face to meet his, and Aaron lowered his eyes, avoiding all eye contact.

"He won't look at you," Kelly said.

"It's typical for autistic children because it can cause anxiety. I just wanted to see what he does if I make him look at me." Dr. Miller moved his eyes to Aaron's and Aaron turned away. "I think we have a lot of work to do, but at least he knows I'm here."

Aaron looked upward and cooed at the ceiling. He moved his hand up to his face and stared at the light through his ever-moving fingers. Dr. Miller took the child's hand away from his face, while the boy watched the lights. The teacher then studied Aaron's eyes as if he was checking them for responsiveness. It made Kelly wonder about his background.

Dr. Miller finally moved Aaron's hand back to its original position, stood and faced Kelly. "He'll be fine. I'll be here after school and we can talk about what I observe today." He took Aaron's hand and walked toward the classroom with him.

"Thank you," Kelly said. "I hope everything goes well. If not, you can call me at work, and I'll be here as soon as I can."

Her eyes met his as he turned and stopped for a long glance one more time. She could feel them connect to each other in a strange way. Dr. Miller grinned as he turned, then took Aaron into the classroom.

Kelly sighed and mentally wrote him off, just like all of the other men she'd met since before the divorce. It was too risky even to think of dating anyone, thanks to her ex-husband and her current situation.

She watched them walk away then turned toward Dr. Johns. "You'll call me if anything happens, right? You should have my work and cell numbers."

"Yes, Mrs. Hunter. If we can't reach you, may we call your ex-husband?"

The thought just made her angry. "No. We just got divorced, and if I show any type of weakness, he'll take Aaron and put him in an institution. Call me for everything and don't bother Richard. I've also taken my maiden name of Foster, so if you want to put that in your records, I'd appreciate it."

"Yes, we can do that. Aaron's name will remain Hunter, right?"

"Yes. Thank you." She shook Dr. Johns' hand and left, with her poor young son in the care of total strangers for the first time in his life. But she had no choice, because the court and her husband demanded it for the divorce.

~~~~~

Buy links:
 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
 Sony e-book Store
 Kobo
 Apple Store
 Diesel E-books

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Christian Snippets: 'A Guardian Angel's Kiss'

This book came from the heart. No, it's not a personal story, but one conjured up in my head. I hope you enjoy it, because this one will make you feel good in the end.



Blurb:
When Gina Russell learns she's pregnant from a rape, she loses all hope and contemplates the worst sin of all--suicide. God intervenes and sends her a guardian angel in the form of Dr. James Pierce, who gives her the strength to fight the rapist's threats and hope through the word of God. However, with all her baggage, she knows she's not the one for James. When the rapist is finally behind bars, she'll be an unwed mother…without her guardian angel.

~~~~~
Excerpt

Gina Russell took a deep breath and sucked up her tears, dialing the number on the mysterious Christmas card. It rang twice and she hoped no one would answer.

What was she thinking, calling someone she didn't know?

As she moved the phone away from her ear to hang up, she heard a man's voice. "Hello?"

She couldn't be rude.

Gina cleared her throat and returned the phone to her ear. "Can you tell me who I'm calling?" She winced, knowing that was a stupid comment.

The man's laughter surprised her. "I think you dialed the number," he said. "Do you know what number you called?"

She rattled off the digits on the card. "Is this the right number?"

"Yes, that's my number. What's your name?"

"Gina." She knew better than to give her full name, living in the city. Chicago was nothing like Des Moines, Iowa, where she'd grown up.

"Well, Gina, how can I help you?"

She glanced around the room at all the packed items and sighed, thinking she just sounded stupid. "I'm not sure. What's your name?"

"James." He chuckled again, and for some reason, the sound seemed to give her peace in her heart. He sounded young and handsome, but she immediately put it out of her mind. No man ever gave her the time of day, because she'd been told often enough by her mother and her sister that she wasn't worthy of any man.

Maybe she was so lonely that anyone who connected with her would give her peace. That must be why his laughter calmed her heart.

"Well, James," she said. "I seemed to have gotten a Christmas card from you, even though it's only the beginning of December. It's a nice card, and you signed it that you had great news." She looked down at the envelope. "But it was sent to some administrative assistant and got in my mailbox by mistake." Tears burned behind her lids, but she forged on. "I'm no longer an…" She felt her throat constrict from her sadness, hardly able to speak. "Uh…I'm not an administrative assistant any longer." Sobs overtook her and she covered the phone until she collected herself, then moved her hand away. "I don't have a job, so you sent this beautiful card to the wrong person."

"Aren't you with Nativity Church?"

It was too difficult to force her lips into a smile, the tears instead making her frown. "No. But they're down the street." She tried to suck up her tears, but it wasn't working. "I'm sorry."

"I'm not sorry. Why are you crying?"

As she wiped her tears, she walked to a chair in the living room and sat down. "Do you really want to know?"

"Yes, I do. What's the matter?"

She heard something clink in the background over the phone, figuring he was probably busy. "Well, I lost my job, and really have nothing to live for any more, but it's not your problem. Bye, James. I hope you have a great life."

She moved the phone away from her ear, but heard him yelling. "Wait! Gina. Don't hang up yet!"

Her eyes closed from the tears but she decided to keep talking to this man. She moved the phone back to her ear, not certain she wanted to tell him anything. "Why?"

"I want to talk to you in person. I have to…uh…straighten out this problem with my bookkeeping. Can you wait until I get there?"

She shrugged, even though it just delayed the inevitable of what she planned to do. "I guess so."

"Where do you live?" he asked.

It didn't matter if he knew. She probably wouldn't be around to answer the door and he could find the body.

A stranger. Left to clean up her mess.

"Four doors down from the church in apartment 2C," she said.

"Wait for me. Don't do anything until I get there. As a matter of fact, can you do me a favor?"

She crossed one arm over her chest while holding the phone, hoping he didn't think of her as a 'favor' type of girl. "That depends. I'm not a call girl or anything, so you can forget that."

His laughter filled the phone lines. She liked hearing his laugh, so she decided then and there to hear him out.

"No, that's not what I'm asking," he said. "Can you watch television and tell me what the weather's going to be this week? I don't have time to check right now, and I really want to know."

"Why don't you watch it for yourself?"

"I'm at work and can't do it. Please? I'll be there in about fifteen minutes. Just talk to me until I get there. Please?"

She looked over to the amber bottle of prescription pills on the counter. "I guess I can. But I have something to do, so I can't take long."

"Just give me fifteen minutes. It won't make a difference to wait that long, will it?"

She sighed, thinking about it. "No one cares. Why should I?" With the sadness choking her, she forced herself to breathe, the tears falling even harder.

"I care. Do it for me. You sound like a nice person and I have to meet you. You might be my soul mate. You might be my reason for being on earth. Please?"

What should she do? The guy was a stranger. What if he worked for her old boss?

No, he couldn't be. She was just being paranoid.

"Gina, just stay on the phone with me," he said, bringing her out of her thoughts. "I have to make another call, but hang on, please?"

"Sure." The phone went dead, just like her goal for her life. She was alone once more, the pills calling her name.

But she'd promised James. She couldn't do anything just yet. He wanted to know about the weather, so she had to concentrate on that job for now.

Gina turned on the television and flipped it to see the weather, checking the local snow reports. It was a few weeks until Christmas and the snow was dumping on the Chicago area already. She hated snow and she hated the dark of winter.

The phone clicked to life. "Gina," James said on the phone. "Are you still there?"

She wiped her tears. "Yes. It's going to snow all week. I hate snow. I hate winter. I hate December and Christmas." She cried harder, letting her head fall to the back of the chair. "I hate myself and everything."

"Stay on the phone with me, will you?"

After lifting her head, she flipped the dial to see what was on, hitting only commercials. "Why?"

"Because I care. Like I said before, you might be my soul mate. Now, tell me what you ate today?"

"What I ate?" She felt confused. "Don't you mean what I drank?"

"Drank?"

"Yeah. I hate alcohol, but I figured it would go well with the bottle of pills."

"What pills?" he said in a very angry voice. "Gina, what pills did you take?"

"None yet. They're on the counter."

"Don't take the pills. Promise you'll wait for me." His voice sounded urgent, but she didn't know why.

Strangers didn't care. Even people she knew didn't care. What was up with this guy?

"Why should I wait?" she asked.

"Soul mates, remember? If you take the pills, I'll never know what you're really like and I want to know. Promise me."

She could hear a car engine in the background. "Don't come over here. I'm fine and you don't have to worry about me." Unshed tears filled her eyes again, while the lump in her throat multiplied in size. "No one should worry about me." She almost choked out her response.

"Why do you think that?"

"Well, my boss fired me yesterday. When I told him about the baby—"

"Baby?"

She leaned her head back with a sigh, thinking about her horrible life. "Yeah. Baby. I never slept with any guy by my decision, but he had other plans that weren't very nice, a little over a month ago. He yelled at me yesterday and told me his wife wouldn't appreciate him getting me pregnant and his other girlfriends would be jealous. I had no idea he was even married or dated around. I certainly didn't want to date him."

"What happened next?"

"He fired me and told me to disappear from the earth, or he'd do it for me by the end of the week." She wiped her cheeks. "When he forced himself…" She gasped a breath, remembering back. Don't fall apart now. She couldn't back down from what she wanted to do, or her old boss would do it for her. She had to collect herself. "It was horrible."

"That sounds evil. Let me help you. How old are you?"

"Twenty-six." She grunted her disgust. "How many virgins do you know at twenty-six? I mean ex-virgins?" She sobbed again. "It wasn't my choice. It's not fair."

"No, it's not. How much did you drink today?"

"Just a small glass. It didn't taste as good as I thought it would." Sobs wracked her gasps. "I'm such a loser. I can't even drink well."

"No, you're not a loser. God doesn't make losers. Gina, turn the television to a movie for me. I want to know what you're watching, word for word. You're helping me."

She wiped her cheeks, trying not to cry. "A movie now?" She flipped through the dials. "What kind of movie?"

"All types of movies. What do you like to watch?"

A sudden thought made her smile. "Do you like chick flicks?" She knew she'd gotten to him, because he sounded very masculine.

"Well, sure, I guess." He paused. "What's a chick flick?"

She chuckled, throwing her head back. "You don't know?"

"No. I've been kind of busy with my life. What's a chick flick?"

James was an intriguing man. She didn't want to hang up on him, but wanted to know more. "How many women have you dated, anyway?"

"One, in high school, but that doesn't matter."

Only one woman? That seemed odd, because he sounded much older than high school. Maybe he'd married the woman. "Yes, it does matter. If you've ever dated a woman, you'd know what a chick flick is. It's a sappy movie made for women. It makes you cry, because it usually has a happy ending. The plot is usually very weak, with few subplots. There's a lot of talking and secrets, and you can watch five minutes, take a twenty minute break, then come back, not missing anything."

"Sounds like a soap opera."

The sound of his voice made her wonder what he was really like, deep down. He sounded so calm and seemed able to take any situation and make it better. As she glanced toward the kitchen counter, she rethought the pills. Maybe she'd wait until she met this guy.

"Sort of like a soap opera," she said. "They're not my favorite, because they're fluff. I like mysteries or thrillers. They're more fun because you have to use your brain."

"I agree with you. I like brains, too. You sound very bright."

She sighed again, realizing she wasn't for him. She had baggage no one needed, and really wasn't very bright. "Not really. I didn't finish college, because I ran out of money."

"What was your major?"

She looked down at her stomach, her problems filling her mind. "Elementary education. I would've made a terrible teacher."

"Why do you say that?"

"I'm not good with kids. They hate me."

He chuckled, the sound warming her heart yet again. How could one man take a bad problem and turn it around like that, just with his laughter? She almost felt hope when she talked to him.

"That might be a problem if you don't think you're good with kids," he said. "I'm sure it's not as bad as you think and I doubt they hate you. What do you look like?"

She felt the tears again, wiping them away before they fell onto her cheeks. "I'm ugly, according to Daniel."

"Daniel?"

She thought back to his angry face from the day before. "The ex-boss. He said he only used me for something to do. I didn't even interest him."

"I'm really glad you're done with him. He sounds pretty evil to me, because I can tell you're something special."

She didn't believe him, so she stayed silent. While flipping the channels on the television, she found a good mystery and described what was going on. She even explained what was going on during a commercial.

"So what do you look like?" he asked again, interrupting her rendition of the music on the commercial.

"I'm a redhead with medium length hair, blue eyes, and a round face. I look younger than I am, but that doesn't matter. Looks don't matter to me. So what do you look like?"

James laughed again. "But looks don't matter?"

"Nope." She was hardly that superficial.

"Okay, let's see. I'm thirty-two, about six feet tall, brown hair, and green eyes."

"Are you dating or married?"

He was silent for a moment. She hoped she didn't hit a sore spot.

"No," he said. "I think I told you that already. Did you eat or drink anything other than the alcohol?"

"No, and you only told me you dated one girl in high school. You didn't tell me if you're still dating her or married her. Are you on drugs or something? Even I remembered that and I had something to drink."

His chuckle filled the phone lines, making her grin. "You're very funny. No, I'm not on drugs. I don't even drink because it affects my performance at work. I just pulled into your apartment building. I'm coming upstairs in a few minutes. Don't be afraid, because it's just me."

It suddenly occurred to her that if he knew Daniel, he might be after her. It was a stretch, but if he had someone send her the card…she couldn't risk it. "Wait. Are you a masher or a serial killer? Strangers aren't to be trusted. I learned that the hard way. Don't come up here. I trust no one."

She could hear his laugh in stereo from the hallway and over the phone.

But wait. The card was a religious card, and Daniel would never have one of his minions send something like that. So maybe James really did come to rescue her? Or was he playing games? She doubted it, just from the card and the fact that she loved hearing his voice. It was as if he was sent to give her inner peace, and the Christmas card telling her he had great news was the real deal. If she hadn't called the number on the card…she couldn't think about it.

"No, I'm not a serial killer," he said. "I'm just a good guy who has a great job helping people. Where are you from?"

"Des Moines. What do you do for a living?"

He didn't answer. Instead, the doorbell rang. "Gina, it's James. Can you open the door, please?"

He didn't sound like he was shoving a knife attached to a note into her door like she'd found from Daniel that morning. She had to trust someone. She was tired of fighting and she needed help.

Gina moved the phone away from her ear. "Prove it. What do you look like?" She stood from the chair and walked to the door, trying to look out the peephole. However, she couldn't see anything.

He chuckled again. "Brown hair, green eyes, six feet. Can you open the door?"

"Answer the door already," old Mrs. Wilkins yelled from down the hall. "I'm trying to watch my game shows."

While unlocking the door, Gina wondered if she should care what she looked like, but decided it didn't matter. James wasn't a model, so she'd just kick him out after a few minutes. She had to pay those bills, and those pills were calling her name again.

She turned the doorknob and felt her mouth drop to the floor. The most gorgeous brown-haired, green-eyed man stood in front of her, with major muscles and a masculine face. He was dressed in scrubs…and that's when it hit her. He was there to take her to the looney bin. It really wasn't her lucky day.

~~~~~
Buy links:
 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Kobo
 Barnes & Noble
 Sony e-book Store
 Diesel E-books
 Apple


God bless you!
Eryn

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Mystery Mentions: 'Dating a Spy Isn't All Fun and Games'

When I first published this book, I put it under Markee's name. But then, I started publishing other mysteries and decided it should be under Andie's name. So I re-edited it, put on a new cover, and put it out only under Andie Alexander.

It's a fun book, about the underground business in Washington, DC. I worked in DC as a Math Stat, years and years ago. It's an interesting place to visit, let alone work there.

So enjoy, 'Dating a Spy Isn't All Fun and Games'!



Blurb:
Ex-beauty queen contestant Lauren McDonald is thrust into the spy underworld when her boyfriend's job starts to seep into his personal life, making her the conduit for the transfer of information from one enemy to another. Her life can never be the same again when she agrees to marry Shawn (her boyfriend) and become an agent, just to save her life and the United States. But the odds are against her, and those dreams of a peaceful married life go right out the window when she finds out the true mission of the enemy.

~~~~~
Excerpt:
"There's a mime convention in town," Mitch said to me. "That'll be fun to watch. I bet if you tell them you were a beauty queen, they'll put on fake crowns and wave."

My ex-husband was turned in the seat in front of me on the Metro while we rode from Northern Virginia to work in Washington, D.C., on a Monday morning in May. Mitch was gay, announcing it the minute after we said 'I do,' seven months earlier. The marriage was annulled the day after my 'new best girlfriend' and I shopped till we dropped in Vegas, so it wasn't a total loss. However, he did get better deals on women's bikini underwear than I did, and I'll never forgive him for it.

He looked up from the newspaper he was reading, staring behind me. "Hey, someone's watching you."

"Who?" I started to turn, but Mitch touched my arm, still staring behind me.

"Don't look," he whispered. "You're such a typical blonde. It's an older military guy, with dark hair and dark eyes. He's wearing business casual, an upper end dark red polo, and stone colored pants." He studied the man for a while. "He's wearing a wedding ring, or I'd be over there chatting him up." Mitch licked his lips and winked, making me scoot down in my seat.

"Any response?" I asked.

"Yeah. I'm feeling the heat, and it's in a good place."

"In him," I whispered. Mitch was so ready for a homosexual relationship; it was scary. He'd date anything.

"Oh, right." He studied the man for a moment. "He knows I'm watching." Mitch looked out the window. "I'm close to my stop. What will you do if the guy follows you?"

The subway slowed. "Ask him out, just to make you jealous."

"He's married."

"So? I'd be the kept mistress." I smiled. "Then I'd date Shawn on the side, keeping me very happy."

"Did you ever notice how much Shawn and I are alike? We both have dark brown hair, very blue eyes, and are both handsome and very sexy."

"He's straight. That's a major difference."

Mitch stood up. "Yeah, or I'd ask him out." He chuckled as he walked off the subway.

I was afraid to turn around, concerned because the seat beside me was empty. However, if the man wanted to talk to me, he certainly could've moved next to me at any time.

My stop to change trains came, and I figured I'd lose the guy as soon as I got off the first train. But, as I left the first train and waited on the platform for the second train, I felt his eyes watching me while I tried to ignore him.

After a few minutes, my next train came. I got on, heading east. I wanted to lose him, so I found a seat next to a very pleasant woman. Because she was reading, I acted like I was studying my calendar. If I didn't make eye contact with the man, he didn't exist, in my mind. Beauty queen training didn't prepare me for anything like this. Darned beauty queen training. World peace my foot. This was one guy I didn't want to meet or make world peace with.

The trained slowed, the driver yelling out the stop for Union Station, which was close to my work. I stood up, stepped closer to the door, and happened to glance behind me. The stalker stood two people back, watching me. The color red lit up in my head from the terror I was experiencing. I suddenly wished my beauty queen talent had been self-defense so many years before, instead of singing Jingle Bells while throwing fake snow into the air and wearing a parka in the middle of August.

Just as I got into the station and headed up the stairs, my cell phone rang. Once I checked the identification, I realized it was Mitch, so I answered it. "Did you miss me already, or are you having a pseudo-male ego crisis?"

"Very funny," he said. "Is he still following you?"

I glanced behind me. "Yes. Even after changing from the yellow to the red line on the Metro at Gallery Place."

"Don't take any back alleys to work to meet with your drug contacts."

I laughed at his attempt at humor. He knew beauty queens didn't do drugs. It would ruin their complexion. "Like I'd do that. Do you think I should worry?"

"Yep. I didn't like how he was watching you. Be careful and call the cops if he tries anything."

"Got it." We said goodbye and ended the call.

I suddenly felt very alone with someone following me to work. I didn't have to just feel it, because it was true, terrifying me.

I snapped back to reality. It was possible the guy worked in the same area where I worked and I just hadn't seen him before. I was probably overreacting. It was all Mitch's fault, because beauty queens could be naïve, according to Mitch.

With a major hair flip to show my self-confidence, I walked upstairs from the subway through Union Station, passing shops. I headed out to the street, a little over a block from my office. My phone vibrated and rang in my pocket, so I grabbed it and opened the thing. From the identification screen, it was my true love, Shawn, so I pushed the talk button.

"Good morning, sweetheart," I said. "How's work going?"

"I've been here since three this morning and nothing's going right. Tell me you're beautiful and wearing a sexy red dress with your diamond tiara from your beauty queen days? You are meeting me for lunch, right?"

I glanced around behind me, heading toward my office building. "Yeah, but no red dress. I left the tiara at home. Try black slacks and a light blue blouse."

"Close enough." He listened for a moment. "You're out of breath. What's going on?"

"I seem to have an issue."

"Issue?" I heard him take a bite of something, probably a breakfast bar. He loved breakfast bars, but to me, they tasted like cardboard and bark. He really needed someone to cook for him, and I really wanted to be that one.

"Someone's following me," I whispered.

"Where are you?" His voice sounded serious.

"I have about a block to go. I just left Union Station."

"Keep walking. I'll take care of it." He ended the call and I stared at my phone. What could he possibly do?

He worked as a computer analyst in a governmental contracting firm closer to Dupont Circle. Lately, his hours were horrible, working seventy or more hours a week with one day to completely crash, usually at my place so I could take care of him. I knew how to cook well, so he'd relax and I'd wait on him. It was kind of fun, because he was really a nice guy.

I headed toward the building where my job as a mathematical statistician for the Bureau of Labor Statistics was located. I may have been blonde and an airhead, but I wasn't stupid.

As I walked, I saw my building within running distance. However, I also saw the mime group heading toward me—white faced, gloved, and all wearing black and white striped outfits with black hats. Of all times for the tourists to interfere. There were at least fifty of the beasts heading my way, making believe they were pulling on ropes, stuck in a room, or walking across a tightrope. My life could be on the line and these people were acting stupid. I could run out into the street, but I'd learned that the fastest way from one point to another was in a straight line. Besides, there were so many mimes; they were also walking in the street and winding between stopped cars at the red light. I had to get past the mimes. Not a fun thing to do.

I quickened my pace and dodged mimes, certain the scary man was following me. Every time I looked back, he was getting closer and closer. As I made my way through imaginary ropes and balancing sticks, I realized these people were just weird. I hated mimes, now more than ever. They weren't on my 'world peace' list, either. So I kept my mind on the prize—getting away from the man stalking me.

As I glanced behind me, I saw the stalker getting closer. I kept walking as fast as I could, stopped suddenly by a stupid mime with some sort of weird fetish. He moved closer to my face, acting extremely surprised. He embraced me, and as I tried to get out of his grasp, he planted one right on my lips.

"Watch it, buddy!" I pulled away and glanced backward. The man on my tail was mere inches from me, his arm outstretched to touch me. But fortunately, he was being held back by a tickling mime. I took off running, glad I was wearing my required governmental sneakers every female employee wore, to save their good shoes from wear and tear on the sidewalks.

When I was about ten feet from my office door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Lauren McDonald." He spun me around and reached for my earlobe. Just as I tried to back away from his scary dark eyes, a black unmarked car screeched to the curb and two men in black suits jumped out. They grabbed the stalker, threw him into the back seat, and sped away.

Every single one of the mimes put their hands to their mouths, overacting their surprise, while the rest of the crowd, mainly governmental workers, began clapping for the mimes. The crowd cheered them on, not realizing my stalker had just been kidnapped.

I stared, not sure what to think. The man knew my name, he touched my shoulder, and he looked driven—scary driven.

~~~~~
Buy links:
 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
 Kobo
 Diesel
 Apple
 Sony e-book Store


Have a super week!
Andie

Monday, October 14, 2013

Start Your Week With Romance: 'Touchdowns & Potions'

Welcome to Monday!  It's a great day...I hope.

Today, we're looking at Touchdowns & Potions, a fun book with some 'different' characters.  Enjoy!




Blurb:
Real estate agent Jenna Steele has been chosen to sell professional quarterback Andy McKnight's huge home in order to make enough money to send her adopted sister to a prestigious university. But she hates professional athletes, considering them lazy and playboys in real life while making millions for entertainment purposes. When he convinces her he does have a heart and a conscience, she falls in love with the man who drives her crazy and doesn't wear a watch. There's only one problem—Jenna's wrists have been splashed with a home remedy love potion by an older client, and now all men are falling at her feet, willing to kill to date her. She knows that once the love potion wears off, Andy will be gone and she'll be forced to find a job out of state just to survive the bombardment of the paparazzi and Andy's friends.


~~~~~


Excerpt:

"Will you look at that stud? If he's the owner of this mansion…" As Jenna Steele turned off her air conditioning and parked her car in the driveway, she licked her lips and stared at the sexy man on the porch in awe, taking in his huge, well-defined muscles and adorable face. He looked like he'd just gotten out of bed, wearing only dark blue shorts in the morning August air.

Although she'd sworn off the good-looking macho type of man, she wished she could make an exception—he was that incredible.

The man's dog ran out of the house and off the porch, barking, then jumped up on Jenna's car door. His vicious teeth were bared, making Jenna move toward the passenger's seat.

Jenna wound her window down an inch and shouted toward the man, over the loud animal. "Are you going to help me?"

The man shook his head. "No, he's my watch dog and you're a stranger."

What a scummy man. "Very funny." She looked out her window. "He's scratching my paint!"

"Killer. Down," the man said, not even raising his voice. The dog dropped to the ground, sauntered to his master and sat beside him. "You can get out now."

She still didn't trust the monster beast, not wanting to get out of her car. They could turn on strangers at any time, from what she'd seen in the past. "Are you sure he's not going to eat me?"

The man laughed, bent down and stroked the dog's fur. "No way. Killer's no killer."

The whole situation made her angry, but she let it go. If he was the owner of the home, she had to remain professional. She was a real estate agent and he was her potential client. Her job depended on this sale, considering she'd lost two other sales that week. The company's new 'three strikes and you're out' policy was getting too close for comfort.

Jenna grabbed her purse, day planner, and client portfolio, then opened the door and got out of the car. While shaking her head, she studied the scratch on her door, running her fingers over it. What was she going to do? She didn't have the cash to fix the thing, nor did she have the time. However, she couldn't get angry, because he was, in fact, a potential client.

After smoothing her blue skirt, she shook back her hair and approached the man. "I'm looking for Mr…" She opened her portfolio and glanced at the name. "Andy McKnight."

"That's me," the man said with a grin. "You must be from We-Sell Lincoln Realty."

"Yes, sir." She reached out and shook his hand, the heat from his fingers searing her skin. Even sexier up close, he made her catch her breath while staring at his brown hair and very blue eyes. His chiseled face was bronzed with slight stubble on his chin, his smile revealing his incredibly white straight teeth.

She took a small breath, unable to shake the power this man had over her. "I'm Jenna Steele. It's nice to meet you."

His face turned puzzled. "Do you know who I am?"

"Sure. You're…" She checked her portfolio again. "Andy McKnight." Turning her gaze to the mansion sitting in front of her, dollar signs danced in her mind. "You want to sell this beautiful home, right?"

"Yes, I do. I'm building something further out and need more space."

She jerked her head toward him. "More space? Do you have a family?" The place was already enormous.

"No, no family, but I have goals for my future and need more space."

She wanted to ask him what he was talking about, but kept it to herself, wanting to see the inside of the home before she asked more.

His warm hand gently took her elbow and directed her toward the house, making her feel uncomfortable, so she moved away from him. His hot touch was more than she'd bargained for. She had to keep her distance and keep her eye on her goal—getting the commission from the house and keeping her job.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

Didn't he ask her that before? What was his problem? "Andy McKnight."

"At least you didn't have to check your files again," he muttered. "Have you ever heard of me before?"

"No, sir. My boss handed me your file and now I'm here. I'm to assess your home and see who can sell it for our company." She had to give herself an out in case she was out of her league. She'd been with the company for only a few months, and given the size of the home, she may not have the connections to sell the place.

As they climbed the steps to the porch, the dog followed along. Andy opened the front door and they entered the foyer off the kitchen. With cathedral ceilings, light wood and dark trim, the house was gorgeous, originally, but, at this moment, it was a disaster. What seemed like hundreds of beer cans littered the floor, with pizza boxes and trash of every type strewn everywhere. It looked like no one had cleaned for months. The dog went right to work, sniffing and hunting for any stray food.

"Sorry for the mess," Andy said. "The maid hasn't been here for two days."

"Two days?" Jenna glanced around the room. "You did all this in two days?"

His hand touched her back, directing her away from the open door. Jenna stepped over a black lacy bra, turned to Andy, then pointed at the bra. "I take it this isn't yours."

He laughed as he closed the door. "No, not mine. That belongs to a friend's—"

"A friend of yours?" She lowered her voice and glanced around to see if a woman was nearby. "I can come back at another time if you want." She had to remain professional, giving her client some space. At least that's what she'd been taught.

Andy laughed again. "No. You don't understand. A friend of mine has someone in one of the bedrooms in this place. It's not what you think."

Jenna crossed her arms over the brown leather portfolio she was holding. She hated people like this—no ambition, no drive, and no schedule. He let someone else entertain a woman in his house and didn't seem to care. It was horrible to waste one's life, playing all day. For most people, she'd dive right in and try to help them, but this man seemed to be a spoiled brat. She made a mental note not to be the one to sell his house. They couldn't fire her for refusing to even try, could they?

He ushered her into the living room, and with the sweep of one arm, pushed everything from the couch onto the floor. "Have a seat. Want something to eat or drink?"

"In this place?" Jenna answered, wrinkling her nose. "I mean—no thanks." She wiped crumbs from the dark gray leather couch and sat on the edge so she wouldn't get anything stuck to her skirt. How could anyone live like this?

Andy sat in a chair across from the couch. "You're going to be my real estate agent, right?"

Jenna looked around the room then sat in her seat. "Like I said before, I'm to assess your home then see who can sell it. From what I see in this place, I'm not sure We-Sell Lincoln Realty can deal with your living habits. Do you always keep it this messy?"

Andy glanced around the room. "It's what I pay the maids for."

"How many maids do you have?"

"Three. They come once a week and were here two days ago."

"Once a week, and they were here already?" The place was a pigsty.

"I'll call them to make a special trip today. This is worse than usual. The guys—"

She looked around to see if anyone else was nearby. "Guys?"

"Yep. We had a late night last night and were just blowing off some steam."

"On a Sunday? A late night?" Her hand pointed to all the junk. "This looks like more than just some steam to me. Sir, if you want us to list your house, you'll need to keep it cleaner than this. I can't risk my job because you're a slob."

He tilted his head and studied her. "How long have you lived in Lincoln?"

Why would he want to know that? She didn't answer right away, utterly confused. "Well, I've lived in Nebraska all my life, but only in Lincoln for three months. I'm originally from Omaha. Why do you ask?"

"Oh, that's why you've never heard of me." He gave her a knowing look.

"Are you an egotist millionaire? Is that why you want me to recognize who you are?"

He grinned, shook his head and cleared his throat. "Not at all, except for the millionaire part. I've just never found anyone who didn't know Andy McKnight before. So you don't have me on some sort of pedestal? You just think I'm a slob."

"Pretty much." She glanced at her watch. 8:15 a.m. She'd only been in the home for seven minutes and she knew exactly what she thought but had to remain professional. "Look. I have work to do. Can we move this along, please?"

"Sure. But first, I want you to guess what I do for a living."

These games were going to make her late.

She sighed, then glanced around the room. "You're a professional pig?"

"Ah, very close," he said, grinning. "But not quite. Try again."

She thought for a moment. "You don't have a job that requires a schedule because it's after eight and you're not at work."

"I'm usually at work by seven but because we worked late last night, I have the morning off."

"Oh, so this is kind of like a vacation?" she asked, now understanding him better.

"No, I have a vacation beginning in the late winter or early spring. That's when I go on real vacations, away from Nebraska."

"Hmmm. So you're not a teacher, or you'd have your summers off." She looked all around the room. "You're in an expensive house, worth at least a half million—"

"Probably more, and my new house will have a pool and be much, much bigger. They've already started construction, and it should be done in the next month or so. I'm going to move my furniture to the new place as soon as it's ready."

So he really was a millionaire. If she didn't need the money or her job so badly, she'd be out of there, not willing to deal with guessing his occupation just to make him feel superior. "Let's see. You don't strike me as the doctor or lawyer type, and I know surfer dudes don't make millions."

He laughed. "You think I look like a surfer dude?"

She raked her eyes down from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. "You're the spitting image."

"That's hilarious. I wanted to do that for a living, but Dad told me to go to college, so we compromised. I went to the University of Southern California."

"In what?"

He lifted a finger and grinned. "I can't tell you until you guess."

More games and the clock still ticked. "Let's see. What other professions make someone worth millions of dollars so they can sit around in filth?" She glanced at him for a moment. "A movie star?"

"Nope. I'd probably be in California or near a movie shoot for that."

"Right. I should've guessed. That only leaves sports, as far as I can tell, because I highly doubt you have any sort of professional job like an executive or a thief. They don't take vacations in the late winter."

"You're right about that one," he murmured. "And you're right about sports. Now, which one?"

"Not golf, because you'd be taking the whole winter off. I doubt you'd be training in the summer for any type of winter sport, and you probably wouldn't be worth millions. Baseball is out, because you'd be working in springtime. That leaves—" Oh no. Not that. Please not that. "—football?"

Andy grinned. "Yes, ma'am. My favorite game and I'm with the Lincoln Goldsparx. In case you didn't know, that's a professional football team."

"Oh, I've heard of them. My dad watches sports, but I don't follow it at all."

He winked and grinned. "Now, what position?"

Jenna clutched her blouse closed at the neck. "Excuse me? I'm not that type of girl!"

He shook his head and chuckled. "Not sexual position. What position on the field?"

She moved her hand off her blouse. "Oh, a stupid jock question."

"Stupid jock?"

"Yeah. I hate jocks, and always have. Especially football jocks—no offense."

"No offense? Normally, I'd be offended, but in your case…" He glanced down over her. "I'm intrigued. Why do you hate football jocks?"

"I've hated them ever since high school, when the ditzy cheerleaders flaunted their bodies to the stupid football jocks and they fell for it. They could've cared less about brains and were only after one thing."

Andy moved to sit beside her on the couch, making her feel rather uncomfortable. If he weren't handsome to begin with, it would mean nothing. But he was the type of man most women swooned over, and the sensual heat radiating from him was almost more than she could bear.

"Brains are my favorite," he said. "I never liked cheerleaders because there was nothing to them. I went for the college-bound girls because they were more interesting." He lifted his hand and stroked her hair, making her jump at his touch. "Did you go to college?" he asked, amused.

Her eyes widened as she stared at him. "Sure did, why?"

"I love college girls." He leaned closer, nuzzled his nose into her hair, then kissed her cheek and moved down her neck. "You smell so nice."

She closed her eyes for just a brief moment because it felt so good. As soon as she realized where he was headed, she got her wits about her and moved away to the far end of the couch.

He shifted closer to her, making her face him, unable to move. She really wanted to run out of the room, but his blue eyes seemed to melt her heart for some reason, and she couldn't break that grip.

"Brains, ambition, desire…" His warm hand reached up and stroked her cheek in small but deliberate movements, his eyes glancing toward her lips then returning to her eyes. "Such pretty and soft brown hair, beautiful green eyes, curves in all the right places…" He moved his lips closer so she could smell his minty breath. She stared at his gaze, unable to pull away, as he peeked into her soul and his lips inched toward hers.

Her heart beat double-time and the butterflies in her stomach seemed to take over. His touch was warm on her lips, controlling her every movement with his tongue and making her want more. She wanted him to touch her everywhere, not stopping until she'd had her way with him. His arms surrounded her back and she desperately wanted to return the favor, but kept her arms still.

When he moved down to her chin and her neck, it was almost more than she could handle. Jenna reeled to her senses, hopped to her feet and faced him, her hands on her hips.

"Mr. McKnight! I'm a professional and I'd appreciate it if you'd treat me as such!"

Andy looked surprised. "I'm sorry?"

"You're right, you're sorry. Now, do you want to sell this house or what?"

"Yes, I do."

~~~~~
Buy Links:
 Smashwords
 All Romance eBooks
 OmniLit
 Amazon
 Barnes & Noble
 Sony e-book Store
 Kobo
 Apple Store
 Diesel E-books


Have a great week!
Markee