Book 21 preview

Here is a preview of Book 21. I would love to know your thoughts! Title and cover coming soon…

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Tommy watched Tessa’s surgery and ignored the pain in his whole body. He way over did it, but he couldn’t help it. This was Tessa. This was Jack and Stephanie.

He was incredibly worried about Jack, he worried that Brittany didn’t come to talk to him. That meant she was with Stephanie and it wasn’t good.

But he knew the best thing he could do for Jack was make sure his daughter got through this.

At least physically.

He knew the ramifications of what Nick did would reach much further than the physical trauma. He felt sick when he thought of what she must have gone through.

He watched the team closing and he sighed when he saw them put in the stoma and the colostomy bag. It should be able to be reversed, but it would be a few months at least.

He got up to make his way to speak with the surgeon and the room spun around him. He sat back down and took a few breaths.

“I brought you a wheelchair,” Enid said as she walked to him. “I think you’ve pushed yourself enough for just getting over a torn heart.”

Tommy smiled, grateful for her.

“Thanks Enid. It looked like everything went well,” he sat down gently.

“It did, but that little girl is one big bruise. I’d like a moment or two alone with the sick freak who did this.”

Tommy sighed.

“You’ll have to get in line. Has Dr. Young been able to come in yet?” he referred to the neurologist.

“I think he is going over the scans right now.”

Tommy looked at her.

“I’ll take you, but then we are going back to your wife. I don’t want to have to face her if you collapse.”

Tommy smiled.

“Thanks Enid. I owe you.”

“I won’t let you forget it.”

He smiled as she wheeled him to Tessa.

******

“You think it will hold?” Stephanie asked the surgeon. “You don’t think he will need a transplant?”

“I think it looks promising. The liver perked up considerably when we released the clamps and his vitals are holding their own. I don’t feel confident saying we won’t need to do more, but right now he is stable. We will watch his kidney function and make sure things are working. You can sit with him soon. I expect he will be sedated for most of the next few hours, but you can talk to him.”

“Do you want me to go speak with Dr. Williams? I need to run the echocardiogram and I don’t know how much he knows about this,” Dr. Kingsley asked.

Brittany walked to him while Stephanie hugged Sabrina.

“He is in pediatrics. He was consulting on Dr. Stephens’ daughter.”

Dr. Kingsley crossed his arms.

“I did not give him clearance to leave his room. He is nowhere near ready to do any work.”

Brittany nodded.

“I know, but this is our family. It would kill him to sit back while those we love are in trouble.”

Dr. Kingsley shook his head.

“It could kill him to push this. I will be in my office when he decides to come back. I have been your colleague for a long time and I don’t want to see anything more happen to any of you.”

“I know that and so does my husband. Thank you,” Brittany said softly.

The nurse came to take Stephanie and Sabrina to Jack.

“I’ll go find out about Tessa and I’ll let Tommy know about Jack,” Brittany said.

“You can’t walk around alone,” Stephanie said.

“She’s not,” Jade walked in. “I’ll go with you.”

Brittany smiled and they all left.

******

Jade looked at her phone as they made their way to where Tommy was. Brittany stopped her.

“What’s wrong?”

“I haven’t heard from Mike since I left with Jack. I know Bill was with him, but when I left, he was standing over Nick after shooting him. I don’t know what happened and I’m worried.”

“You saw what happened?”

Jade nodded and wiped her eyes.

“It was horrible. Tessa was as limp as a ragdoll and Nick just tossed her around. He was disgusting and I’ve never seen Mike so angry. I’ve also never seen him shoot anyone.”

Brittany walked her to the benches and they sat down.

“Hey, look at me and take a few breaths. I didn’t realize you were in the middle of all of this. Are you okay?” she smoothed Jade’s hair behind her back.

“I’m fine. Nothing happened to me. I’m just worried. I don’t think Tessa is going to be okay and I don’t know that my husband is going to forgive himself. All I could do when Nick shot Jack was try and stop the bleeding, but I had to do CPR and I couldn’t stop to help Mike. I just want to talk to him. I need to know he’s okay.”

“Then let’s do that. Let me call my brother as we head to Tommy.”

Jade nodded and they made their way while Brittany called Bill. She hung up and smiled at Jade.

“They are here together. Bill said he would meet us in pediatrics.”

“Did he say how Mike was doing?”

“No, he just said he would come there.”

Jade nodded.

“Okay.”

*****

Tommy sat in the hallway after he spoke with the doctors. He needed to go talk to Stephanie. He needed to talk to Jack.

The surgeon and neurologist went first because Tommy was simply too exhausted. He was struggling with his breathing and he was frustrated and angry with himself.

Enid went to help get Tessa settled into a room and Ron and Jenny were with her. Tommy knew Brittany was on her way, so he waited.

He waited and worried.

He was able to wheel himself over to the nurse’s desk and he looked up Jack’s chart. He didn’t know what had happened and he hoped it was something simple and nothing too serious.

He stood up and walked to the computer, logging in and finding the chart.

Tommy felt the tightness in his chest as he read the words and he scrolled through the notes and saw the prognosis.

Brittany and Jade made their way down the hall and saw him standing there.

Tommy logged out of the computer and looked up as he caught the eyes of his wife.

She ran to him as he gripped the counter and then fell to the floor.

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I’m human and I hate it

This week is my spring break.

I have been trying to get motivated to do a lot of things- I need to clean the house and organize my room. I need to grade a ton of student essays and shop for dinners for the week.

I need to take this week off and do all of the things I’ve been putting off.

And yet here I sit, on the couch, exhausted.

It’s times like this that I am reminded of my limits. This past month has reminded me of that more than anything ever could.

We brought home a new puppy and he has filled our house with love and laughter and crazy moment after crazy moment. He is a mini Mooch and we have definitely felt some of the heaviness at having to say goodbye to our boy lessen a little.

But he is his own little man and his personality is unique and beautiful, albeit a tad overwhelming. He has never ending energy and a rambunctious and playful spirit that is all schnauzer. He eats EVERYTHING and listens to nothing. He has trained us all very quickly :).

He is just as he should be.

Which brings me to my current state.

Exhaustion.

Having Multiple Sclerosis is a bitch. I hate it. I hate that it limits me and I hate that I have to acknowledge limits. I hate that my body doesn’t do what I want and I hate that I need to put it first.

I haven’t done a very good job of learning to handle limits. I have lived with MS for almost 12 years and I still don’t get it.

I get angry and anxious and frustrated. I am terrible to live with and annoying to be around and confusing to talk to. I get furious with myself and that is no good for anyone.

The biggest thing to suffer from this exhaustion has been my writing.

Hence the reason for this blog.

I think that’s been the biggest issue I’ve been trying to fix.

Writing has always been my escape. It’s been my therapy and my muse. It’s helped me to put things into perspective and it’s helped me to understand my feelings.

When I don’t write, I don’t have that clarity.

When I don’t write, I don’t feel well.

When I don’t write, I find myself a little lost.

So I am trying to write.

It doesn’t really work like that, but maybe I need to shake things up.

Whenever I get stuck in my writing, I take time to listen to each character. I spend time with each of them individually and see what they’re thinking. I try to figure out what they want and what they need. I listen and sometimes, one of them talks louder than the others. That’s when I know they have a story to tell.

So I guess I’m listening. I’m listening and I’m not pushing. I’m relaxing and I’m playing with Misha and I’m just taking time to breathe.

I want to do more. I want to write a blog every week and a chapter every day and be the best teacher and person I can be.

But I can’t do that.

I have limits.

I have MS.

I will allow myself some time to relax.

I will listen to myself.

Hopefully, Stephanie will kick me in the behind. Hopefully, Jack will cheer me on. Hopefully, Bill will help me up. Hopefully Julie will share a donut with me. Hopefully Mike will continue to heal and show me what perseverance really is and hopefully Jade will be there with a supportive and needed word of advice. Hopefully Brittany will remind me what true courage is and hopefully, and a little superficially, Tommy will give me one of his amazing hugs. (preferably shirtless).

Hopefully Bee will make me laugh and David will make my proud. Tess will make me hope and Josie will show me a fighting spirit. Hopefully Naomi will help me succeed because she is my hero, and the twins will continue to thrive and become unique individuals with hopes and dreams.

And hopefully Tramp can show me once again that sometimes all that’s needed is an ‘urf’ and a body wag and a nice long belly rub..

I’m trying.

I thank you for sticking with me on this journey.

Now I’m going to try and take a nap.

(((hugs)))

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Hi everyone!

So, His Heart has been out almost a month now. What do you think? Any questions? Are you ready for a look ahead?

I hope everyone is doing well

🙂

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Proposals

Writing a romance series, I have pondered many a marriage proposal. I try to make sure each and every one speaks to the personality and humor of the couple. I try to make each one unique and memorable, and looking back, I have things I would change and things I love, but ultimately, the words fit the characters and where they were at that moment.

One of my absolute favorite proposals happened later in the series.

Mike and Jade.

Their romance is one that reminds me of why I love writing these characters. It’s never too late to find happiness and we are never beyond hope.

Jade was raised with nothing. She had no family and therefore, no traditions and no memories. She felt like she wouldn’t have enough to offer her children, and her fears were suffocating.

Mike was also struggling. He lost everything in a marriage he thought was real and after that, he never believed he was worthy of love. Meeting Jade changed his life and when he held her in his arms, he finally felt like he was home.

Their proposal was so much fun to write because I was able to include every single character in the series.  Creating memories and traditions meant the world to Jade, and it meant the world to me to do it.

What are your favorite proposals from the series?

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“I’m not sure I understand where we’re going,” Jade said to Mike the next morning. He had told her he had a surprise planned, and to clear her schedule for him. He was driving them somewhere.

“The point of a surprise is that it’s a surprise,” he grinned. “Just go with it.”

She smiled and nodded.

“Okay.”

They made their way to Tommy and Brittany’s house and Jade looked at him again.

“I know, just go with it,” she said and laughed when he winked at her.

They parked and walked to the door and knocked.

Mike put his arm around her as the door opened and Ron stood there. He rolled his eyes and looked at them.

“Maybe you can convince him to do his homework. He is being absolutely ridiculous,” he said and walked in. Jade was confused, but followed Mike in. They walked to the kitchen and Jack was sitting at the table playing with a baseball. He had a baseball cap on and a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt.

“You have to finish your essay,” Ron said as he walked into the kitchen and sat down, picking up the newspaper and looking at it.

“I don’t wanna. I wanna go outside and play,” he said sullenly.

“You’re 14 years old. If you don’t get your grades up, you’ll never amount to anything,” Ron said.

“You’re impossible. I hate doing homework. I’m going to be a famous ball player and you won’t let me do anything. You’re killing me!”

Ron snorted and bent the paper, looking at him.

“Perhaps you should go out for the school play? Your dramatics are impressive.”

“Ugh!” Jack sulked and Mike led Jade into the hallway.

“What is going on here? Have we entered the twilight zone?”

Mike smiled.

“You wanted to know traditions and memories. We are going to take a stroll down the list and give you what you never had. The first was what it would be like to be nagged about your homework.”

Jade was speechless. She looked at Mike as he led her to the next room.

Bill sat nervously on the couch in the family room, his knee bobbing up and down as Tommy and Brittany stood and paced.

“What are your intentions with Julie?” Tommy asked.

“To have dinner?” Bill said.

“Are you a smart ass?” Tommy glared at him.

“No Sir, but I just wanted to eat. I mean it’s dinnertime and Julie likes food. I mean, not too much food or anything, but she eats me,” he stuttered and blushed. “I mean she likes when I eat her, with her. “

“Dad! What are you doing? You are humiliating me!” Julie cried as she ran into the room. “Oh My Gawd!”

“Julie, enough with the dramatics. Your father was simply asking this young man what his intentions were towards you,” Brittany said. “It’s a perfectly reasonable question.”

“I’m so sorry, Bill, we can just go,” she said and turned to him.

“You aren’t going anywhere until he fills out this questionnaire,” Tommy said. “I want you to list all of your history with each and every substance and then rate the list of questions with agree, disagree or unsure.”

“What? You have got to be kidding me. I am never going to have sex, ever!” Julie whined.

Bill and Tommy and Brittany all stared at her.

“What?”

Mike led Jade out of the room and she had tears of happiness in her eyes.

“The first time you would have brought a boy home,” Mike said. “Are you ready for more?”

She nodded and they walked into the den. Stephanie was sitting by the fire with Bee and David and Josie. They were all eating macaroni and cheese out of coffee mugs and Stephanie was telling them a story.

“You see, when there is a snow day and you get to stay home, it is the most amazing thing. We all cuddle by the fire and eat macaroni or drink hot chocolate or both. We play outside in the snow and make angels and build a snow fort and then run inside with rosy cheeks and gather by the fire to watch it burn. It’s the simple and best thing we do as a family and it’s the time the best memories are made,” Stephanie said and smiled at the children.

Mike led Jade out and made their way back to the living room.

“Getting a snow day and making simple memories with mom,” he said and wiped Jade’s tears. “Come on.”

“I’m not going to your parent’s for Thanksgiving. Your mother hates me and my cooking,” Elizabeth said as she and Evan stood in the room.

He sighed and took a drink of his beer.

“She doesn’t hate you, she just wants you to let her make the food.”

She glared at him.

“I could have a five star chef cook for me and she would say it was bad. I want them all to come here.”

He choked and she crossed her arms.

“I’m your wife, Ev. You have to talk to her for me.”

He sighed.

“I’ll try,” he looked at her and nodded. “I’ll do it.”

“Thank you so much!” she cried and hugged him.

Mike took Jade out into the hallway and she couldn’t stop smiling. He looked at her and nodded.

“One more,” he said and took her into the dining room where everyone was sitting at the table. Elaine was there and Jade looked at everyone she loved. Tommy and Brittany and Naomi, Stephanie, Jack, Bee and Tessa, Bill, Julie, David and Josie, Ron and Jenny, Evan and Elizabeth. Tramp sat in his bed in the corner of the room and watched them. There were two empty seats for them.

Mike turned to face her and she was speechless.

“Jade, I know how worried you’ve been about everything that’s happened over the past few weeks, and I realized, through watching everyone around us, that none of us have had a picture perfect upbringing. It might not have looked like the Cleaver’s, but to each of us, it was our best.”

“I asked everyone to help make some traditions for you. I know how much my dad fought with me to do my homework when all I ever wanted was to throw a ball around. I know how hard Bill had to work when he wanted to date Julie. I don’t think there is a scarier force to come against than Jack and Tommy, and believe me, I’ve seen scary.”

Bill and Julie laughed and Tommy and Jack glared at them.

Mike grinned and looked at Stephanie for a minute before he looked at Jade.

“One of the best memories I ever had was when I was in elementary school and we had a snow day from school. I would spend hours outside and when I came in, my mom would have a blanket and warm food ready by the fire. We would watch cartoons and it was the most amazing day. I looked forward to that, not so much because I got to miss school, but because my mom made it so special.”

Jade wiped her tears as he spoke and she was just overwhelmed.

“There was also the time when my dad wanted us to go to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and my mom put her foot down. It was the first time I realized how much my dad adored my mom because going against his mother wasn’t advised. He stood up to her and although we still went, my mom made the stuffing and when my grandma ate it and didn’t spit it out, the bond was formed.”

They all laughed and he took a deep breath.

“I asked our friends and family to do this for us because I can’t change the past. I can’t make your upbringing be different or give you the traditions and memories you so richly deserve. What I can do is show you that we are not the sum of the painful experiences we’ve had. Many of us have been dealt terrible cards, but we’ve turned them into gold. We will make our own traditions and our own memories and they will be shared with our children. We will love each other and respect each other and emulate the love and respect shown by those in this room.”

He got down on one knee and Jade covered her mouth. He opened a beautiful ring box that had a simple cut diamond solitaire.

“I don’t have much to offer you. I have more baggage than anyone should have to take on and I have issues, which at times seem insurmountable. What I also have is the love of an amazing woman. You are incredibly beautiful and kind and giving. You have taken my past and my burdens and have loved me through it all. I love you more than I ever thought was possible. It would be my greatest honor if you would become my wife. Will you marry me?”

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Release Time!

There has been a lot running through my mind as I have been preparing for the release of book 20. It’s been nostalgic, in a way, thinking of how much I have changed in the course of writing these books. Thousands of pages, hundreds of thousands of words, all written as a release for me.

This series has been my saving grace for a lot of reasons. It began as a method for me to heal after the loss of my dad, but it has become so much more. The emails and responses to the characters and stories have proven to me that so many of us have the same wants and needs.

We want to be respected, loved and understood.

For me, each character and their growth have represented a different point in my life, whether high or low.

Stephanie meeting Jack was the beginning of my healing process. Like Stephanie, I was at a low point in my life. I was lost and everything I thought about my life was suddenly different. I wasn’t sure how to move forward and I didn’t know exactly how to begin.

Stephanie allowed me to heal. Her stepping onto the ledge was my metaphoric ledge and Jack was her lifeline like this series was mine.

It wasn’t like I was lost and had nobody to help me. Just the opposite. I had and still have a huge support system and because of them, I had the courage to do what was in my heart.

I had the courage to show people my writing.

I had talked about writing a book before and I even shared small parts with my mom and dad, but they were shells of the characters I ended up using. It was a thought, a wish I had and never pursued.

With this series, I began to move forward. I began to find my voice again and as Jack and Stephanie fell in love, my mind began running through all of the possibilities which lay ahead.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I created Brittany before anyone else. That’s true, but I wrote the story of Jack and Stephanie with Brittany in the back of my mind. I needed to see where she fit.

She was the character in my heart that I needed to bring forward, but I wasn’t sure how.

When I created Tommy, I felt like my true purpose in writing this series was born. I found the way to bring Brittany to life and it was the story I had been waiting to tell.

Looking back at 20 books, I’m amazed at how far the characters have come.

Beginning this series with Jack, Stephanie, Brittany, Tommy, Julie and Bill, I am amazed at how far we’ve come. The family has grown and evolved with the addition of Mike and Jade and Ron and Jenny and all of the kids. Sabrina, Tessa, Naomi, David, Josie, Sara, Eden, Kevin, Tramp and Hope have kept the stories flowing and the family growing.

I hope you enjoy “His Heart” and I can’t wait to show you what comes next.

Please click below to purchase your copy today!

kindle  nook

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Peeps

I have spoken a lot about how Tramp came to be, and how he is the exact replica of my dog Mooch. What I haven’t really talked about was the inspiration for Jade’s cockatiel, Peeps.

Peeps came from my cockatiel growing up, Fluff. She was a single baby that hatched from a pair of cockatiels I had and bred for a few years during high school. The very last clutch the pair had produced only one baby, and she had a lot of trouble when she hatched.

My breeding pair, Sam and Bruce, were rehomed to a nice family and I had this sickly little bald hatchling that didn’t appear to want to give up.

We were in the middle of a move when she hatched and I had little hope for her survival. I hand fed her through the night and kept her warm and cared for through the day.

Each day we wondered if she would make it, and after a few weeks, it was clear she would.

She became our Fluff and she was the sweetest little girl we ever had. She was funny and quirky and she fit into our family perfectly.

I write Peeps as a friend to Jade and now a member of her family with Mike. Birds are not for everyone, but I have had them all my life and even though Fluff is no longer with me, I have had Tony for over 25 years and he is a trip. I adore all animals and each one has a forever place in my heart.

Thanks for asking about her and let me know if you have any more questions!

Here is “Fluff” or “Peeps”

fluff copy

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Answers…

First question:

Are Brittany and Tommy ever going to have a second child? It just breaks my heart that they lost a baby again.

Are any other couples going to have more kids?

Great questions…

As for Brittany and Tommy, I agree that it was heartbreaking. As for more kids, that’s hard to say. Tommy goes through something really major in book 20 and the answer to that may soon be clear.

As for other couples- I’ll say yes, but I won’t say who 🙂

Keep those questions coming!

 

 

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Getting ready

We are getting close to the release of His Heart. What questions do you have about the book? Any ideas as to where I’m taking the characters now? Any posts you want me to do?

Let me know!

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Broken

Looking for a stand alone sweet and romantic read? Check out my suspenseful romantic comedy, Broken.

An excerpt from Broken

It was an unusual specialty, he knew, but for reasons he didn’t like to share, it was his calling. He sat back at his desk and stretched his tall frame. He was the top infertility specialist in the country, a title he earned by hard work and intense research. He was the best, and he would tell anyone who listened. It wasn’t as if he would ever have a child of his own; he wasn’t the commitment type. He had plenty of chances to see what happened to a couple after they were blessed with a child and he just never saw that for himself. It wasn’t like he hadn’t had offers; it was almost a weekly occurrence that someone requested him as a donor. That would never happen. He was content with the direction his life had taken and he didn’t need anything else.

“Dr. Bryant, you have a patient in room 3,” a voice came through his daydream.

He pressed the button on his phone, “Thanks Susan.” He wiped his eyes and took a last sip of his lukewarm coffee. Time to make someone else’s dream come true.

******

She should leave. There was no reason for her to be here. This was a silly fantasy and she knew it would never happen. She cursed her best friend Carrie for talking her into coming and she cursed her again for bailing on her when some sort of emergency happened at her job. Some people just weren’t meant to be mothers and that was fine. She was happy with her life and her job and as much as she always pictured herself with a child, perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.

She ran her hand through her long chestnut locks and felt her tears prick her eyes. “Get a grip Frankel,” she said aloud. Her hormones were all over the place and being here, surrounded by pamphlets and photos of happy couples wasn’t helping. Lila Frankel wasn’t meant for that. It had taken months to make an appointment with the prestigious Dr. Bryant and she knew if she left, that would be it.

The thought didn’t deter her.

She just couldn’t do it. She would try to reschedule, or simply cancel. She jumped off the bed and went to open the door when her purse fell and the contents spilled over the floor. “Shit,” she swore and knelt down to pick everything up. She went to stand up just as the door opened and her head hit something and she heard a moan. She yelled and held her head and saw she had head butted a man in the crotch, right in the crotch. He was bent over moaning.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I think,” she stammered, rubbing her head.

“You think? Who head buts someone in the crotch? What is wrong with you?”

Lila got angry as she looked up and met his gaze. He had tears in his eyes as he tried to straighten up and she couldn’t help it, she burst out laughing.

David was speechless. For the first time in his life, he had no words. This woman had punched him in the groin and was now laughing. Was he being punked? He looked around for a camera.

Lila wiped her eyes, the tears from laughter coming even though she knew it was completely inappropriate. “I’m so sorry.” She hiccupped.

He scowled. “I can see that.”

“No, really, I mean, I just looked up and it was all crotch,” she giggled.

David finally focused on her and his breath hitched. She was beautiful, soft tanned skin and chocolate brown eyes. When she smiled, her whole face lit up and he found her attitude contagious.

“Did someone put you up to this? Brian or even Jeff? This can’t just be some random appointment,” he looked at her.

She swallowed and her mouth was suddenly dry. He was like an Adonis. He was tall and dark and handsome and he had a tiny dimple that, shit, it was like a headlight, mesmerizing her. She blinked and shook her head, the giggly feeling gone and something else was there, something much deeper. “No one put me up to this. I was here for an appointment, but I needed to leave.”

His eyebrows creased. “Why were you leaving? Are you okay? I didn’t keep you waiting too long, did I?”

“I’m fine. Look, I’m kind of embarrassed and I don’t think you being my doctor would be a very good idea.”

“So you’re firing me?” He pursed his lips.

What was his problem? “No, I’m just saying that if I choose to discuss such personal issues with someone, I would rather it not be someone whose crotch I just planted my face into.”

“Maybe this is what you do. Is this exciting for you? Do you make appointments and wait to man handle the attractive doctors? I am an extremely busy man. I don’t have time for little girls with crushes.”

She was flabbergasted. “Seriously? Did you seriously just ask me that?”

Okay, so perhaps that was pushing it, but he was angry at her attitude and a little turned on, a thought that irritated him. “What would you think if you were me?”

She crossed her arms. “Well, let’s see. Maybe I had an emergency, maybe I got cold feet, maybe I had to use the bathroom, or maybe I had a question. I wouldn’t think it was a conspiracy to feel someone up. And as for attractive, I’ve certainly seen better.”

He snorted. “Not likely.”

She crossed her arms. “You should talk to somebody about your lack of self esteem.”

She was feisty; he liked that. “So when you, as you put it, felt me up, did you like what you felt?” He smirked.

“Nope, felt like a banana pepper with a few pebbles attached,” she didn’t miss a beat.

Now it was his turn. He burst out laughing. “Banana pepper? That’s the best you got?”

She needed him to stop laughing because his dimple was making her insides melt. “Maybe it was more like a fig.”

“Maybe an eggplant?”

She rolled her eyes. “So this was fun, but now I really have to go.”

He went to move when he dropped the chart. They both bent to pick it up and he smacked his nose into her chest.

“Ow, shit,” she said and held her hand on her chest.

“Damn,” he said and rubbed his nose. “Are you okay?”

She rubbed her chest and he swallowed thickly. She needed to stop that, right now.

“No, you hurt me,” she said.

“Well you hurt my nose.”

“Right, because my chest is so hard?”

“I think a wire cut me.”

“I don’t wear under wire,” she said.

“I know, just wanted to be sure.” He winked.

“I think they are swelling,” she said and then realized her words. “Can you just go before I die of embarrassment?”

He smiled. “Do you want me to check them out?”

“I’m good, thanks.”

“Right, so shall we start the appointment?” He sat down on the chair.

“Not if you were the last doctor on the planet,” she said and stalked out.

David watched her leave and tossed the chart on the counter. Maybe he just dreamt that. No one could have such a weird experience. He chuckled to himself and moved to adjust his crotch. She really smacked him hard. Perhaps a warm bath was in order. He stood up and saw something on the floor. He reached down to pick it up and the door swung open, knocking him to the floor.

“Fuck, he said and saw her standing there again. “What is your deal?”

“I don’t have my keys, I must have dropped them,” she faced him and saw her keys on the floor. “There they are,” she reached for them and Susan opened the door, smacking Lila on the behind and propelling her to David. She hit his chest and he fell back, his head hitting the chair, knocking him out.

“Oh, shit,” Lila said and the next thing she heard was Susan calling for security. In no time flat, strong arms pulled her off of David and held her arms behind her back. That’s it, she was never even thinking of having a child again.

******

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A look ahead

His Heart is about the beginning of a new journey for the family. I have put them all through a lot, I know that. Each of the couples has faced unique challenges that tested their love and strength in each other and the world. When I think back to the beginning of the series, I am amazed at the things everyone has been through.

Moving forward with the series nine years has enabled me to have a new look on many of the stories and the couples. What happens in book 20 is a shock to everyone. I’m pretty sure the title and cover give much of it away.

It is Tommy’s story, and because of that,  it is Jack, Julie, Naomi and Brittany’s story, too. What happens to him shocks everyone and it will forever alter the make up of the group.

I am posting a flashback scene from the book that is part of exploring the way that Tommy has effected those around him.

I hope you’re as excited for His Heart as I am for you to read it. Please click the pictures below to preorder your copy today.

Thank you!

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Julie walked into the house after celebrating her high school graduation with friends. Tommy and Jack had taken her to dinner and then dropped her off at her friend’s house to celebrate. Jack had gone into work to consult on a case and Tommy was sitting in the family room, watching TV.

“Hey, I thought you would be out later,” Tommy smiled as she sat down and put her bag of things on the floor.

“I kind of wanted to come home and talk to you,” she said and pulled her shoes off.

“Sure, are you hungry? Do you want me to make you something to eat?”

She smiled as he went to get up and she shook her head.

“No, I’m not hungry.”

“Okay,” he moved and faced her, turning the television off. “What’s going on?”

She took a deep breath and stood up, pacing.

“Jules? You’re scaring me. Did something happen?”

“Yeah,” she turned and looked at him. “Mom and dad died.”

He raised his eyebrows and nodded.

“Six years ago,” he added.

“Right, and I was 12 and had no control over anything that happened in my life. I was sitting at Taylor’s house and there were so many people there talking about how excited they were to get away from their parents and move off to college and see how the world works without mom and dad watching over them.”

He nodded and looked at his hands.

“I’m sorry about that.”

She walked to the couch and sat down.

“No, you misunderstand what I mean,” she smiled. “I was thinking about the 12 year old girl I was and how infinitely worse my life could have been had you not stepped up and made a choice that changed all of our lives. I kept thinking that I’m the age you were when the accident happened and what you did by taking me in altered the entire course of my life. It was simply the greatest blessing I could have ever received.”

He ran his hand through his hair and shook his head.

“No, it wasn’t. What I did was selfish. I needed you to stay with me because I didn’t think I could survive without you. I looked at you as a connection to mom and dad and I desperately needed that. Everyone told me it was a bad idea and you would be better off with adults who could love you and care for you in a way an 18 year old boy couldn’t, but I refused to listen. I couldn’t lose you like I lost them. I needed to keep the family together and I needed you to help me survive.”

“Whatever the reason, it was you who saved my life. I am the woman I am today because of you and Jack and I know I will be okay because you are here for me. I have watched you become a doctor and you are pursuing this pediatric oncology residency and it’s everything you wanted to always be. Your compassion and intelligence is an inspiration to me and I know it’s time for me to move on to college, and I need for you to know it’s not because I want to get away, but because I want you to know you did the right thing. You and Jack have enabled me to be a strong and confident woman and I can never thank you enough for what you did for me. You make me feel important and loved and there are times I feel mom and dad in the room with us, laughing and cheering us on. I just wanted to thank you.”

He wiped his eyes and smiled at her.

“I have something for you,” he said and went to get a small box he had wrapped on the table.

“When I graduated high school, mom and dad gave me a picture of them to keep in my dorm room so I would always remember where I came from and who had my back. I know it was also because mom didn’t want me to forget to call every day, but I wanted to do something similar for you. Jack wanted me to give it you when you came home because he knew he would be out late, but it’s from both of us.”

He handed her a small wrapped box and she opened it, pulling out a bracelet with a locket attached. She opened it and saw a picture of her parents on one side and a picture of Tommy and Jack on the other.

“I just want you to know where you come from and how Jack and I will always have your back. No matter how old you get or how independent you become, we will always have a home for you. You always have somewhere you belong.”

She put it around her wrist and wiped her eyes.

“Thank you. I love it and I love you and Jack so much,” she walked over and hugged him and he smiled.

“Mom and dad would be so proud of you, Jules. I know it.”

She sat with him and they watched television and just appreciated all they had.

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