Sara Daniel Romance Author

Friday, June 24, 2016

Genuine #Regency Behavior in #RegencyRomance with author Vonnie Hughes

Guest Post by Vonnie Hughes

Well, here we are at it again. Everyone involved in writing Regencies at some stage or other comes up against the argument - what is genuine Regency behaviour and wording, and what is not?

On the loops we complain about 21st century attitudes and words creeping in to our Regency books. There are two sides to this story.

I'm all in favour of genuine. I cringe when a so-called Regency miss gets 'feisty' and wants to go out in the dead of night to teach some young buck a lesson. If she was of good birth, she'd be too closely guarded to get the chance to go fluttering around on her own at night. If she was careful of her reputation she simply wouldn't go out asking for trouble - it wouldn't occur to her. But there are ways around scenarios like this. They just have to sound 'period.' And there must be a VERY good reason for her to flout convention. Not just a yearning for excitement.

I don't go a bundle on the covers of books where shirtless guys bearing marked resemblance to gypsies (the old tall, dark and handsome I guess) leer down the genetically enhanced nippled decolletage of simpering young women in the throes of passion. At least I think it's passion. Some of 'em look constipated.

But I am all for writing books that are exciting for 21st century readers to enjoy. That's what it's about. A writer is an entertainer.

So a Regency author has to tread a fine line between what you can get away with (or what your editor lets you get away with) and still have that authentic flavour of the early 19th century. You can't disappoint your readers. And you mustn't have them chucking your book at the wall and saying, 'This is not Regency.' Do them the compliment of understand that many Regency readers are VERY knowledgeable about the period. They know the difference between a landau and a lorgnette. Or buckskins and a bufflehead.

I think any writer has to treat his/her audience with respect. As for Regency, it's a crowded Regency world out there at the moment and you don't want your reader defecting to a more authentic writer.

How to zap up the excitement? Don't look at me. I'm a dull, prissy writer. But I'd suggest a hero, heroine and villain out of the ordinary, or a setting that's really unusual like somewhere on the hero's Grand Tour or the cold Yorkshire moors. No more Almack's. And best, of all, I'd suggest a mystery or a crime with a villain that's not quite a villain. You know, a man who under other circumstances could easily be a friend, but he took a wrong turning. You can wring a lot of angst out of someone who is almost likeable.

The picture above is a genuine Regency miss c. 1806. She's an interesting young lady. You get the impression there are lots of secrets behind the eyes. Most all, I like a heroine with guts. Nobody wants to read a book with no conflict or danger or excitement. And I think the young lady in the sketch has a great story behind her.

~Vonnie

Here is a little from Vonnie's latest Regency.

In the aftermath of a vicious rape, Juliana Colebrook shuns all men apart from the injured soldiers she nurses. Orphaned and alone, she desperately wants to leave Portugal for the protection of her relatives in England. However, there is still one man who invokes her admiration: Brigade-Major Colwyn Hetherington, with his self-deprecating sense of humour and innate sense of duty.

So when Colwyn is offered a dream job managing a large estate in Wiltshire, Juliana asks him to escort her back to England. But Colwyn has troubles of his own and when he is forced to reveal the nature of his woes to a stunned Juliana, everything changes. Mired in danger, who can Juliana trust? And what of Colwyn’s warning that families bring only trouble?

When Brigade-Major Colly Hetherington meets Miss Juliana Colebrook, he gives her a black eye. After the Battle of the Douro on the Iberian Peninsula he is severely wounded and only semi-conscious, but he is still coherent enough to know that he is behaving just as his father had predicted when he threw Colly out of the family home five years previously. Colly cannot be trusted around women.

Miss Colebrook, however, sees in Colly a wealth of kindness and a willingness to assume responsibility. She observes that he cares about the soldiers serving under him. If only…

Buy Links Amazon - Waterstones

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Time Travel 101 from @sharonledwith #YAlit #timetravel

Guest Post by Sharon Ledwith

Legends. We love them. We can’t get enough of them. In fact we NEED them. Legends connect humanity in ways we can’t fathom. A legend, by definition is a story handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis, although not verifiable. In book one of my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Amanda Sault, her four classmates, and two tag-along adults are whisked through an arch they find buried in an overgrown garden, and transported to the mythical continent of Atlantis. They’ve been summoned to become Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force known only as Belial. Oh, BTW—they’re not just any Timekeepers—they’re the Last Timekeepers. No pressure, right? Well, maybe a smidgen.

The Timekeepers first mission involves going back to 1214 England, actually Nottingham to be precise. There, Amanda and her time traveling cohorts meet an adolescent Robin Hood, although he is known as Robyn Hodekin to the people of Nottingham. So here’s the rub—in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, what’s myth and what’s made-up? That’s when it’s up to the reader to seek the truth and dispel the lies.

Here’s a little help:


Robin Hood—if he did exist—was known by many names. Robyn Hode, Robert Earl of Huntingdon, Robert Fitz Ooth, and Robert fitz Odo to name a few. The first written references to our hero are brief. The earliest comes in the poem Piers Plowman, written in 1377 by the London cleric William Langland. One of his characters, an idle priest, says in passing, “I know the rhymes of Robin Hood,” but that is all. The oldest surviving substantial account of Robin Hood in his wider setting was printed in 1510, and is called A Geste of Robin Hood, the word Geste probably meaning a tale of heroic exploits. BTW—“Robin Hood in Sherwood stood” was one verse found preserved in a scrap of manuscript from Lincoln Cathedral, and was dated around 1410.


Mortimer’s Hole—The Mortimer and his hole in my story is fictional. The real Mortimer’s Hole is a 98 metre long man-made tunnel that takes you from the foot of castle rock up to the Upper Bailey in the castle grounds. It is named after Roger Mortimer. On the night of 19th October 1330 one of the most dramatic events in the history of the castle took place when the supporters of 15 year old King Edward III entered the castle through a secret passage —now named Mortimer's Hole. They captured Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who had usurped the young King and were ruling England in his place. Mortimer was taken to London where he was executed. Mortimer's Hole was probably used as a food chute in medieval times.

Nottingham caves—Totally factual! Beneath the houses, shops and offices of Nottingham lie hundreds of caves. Few people in Nottingham are aware of this labyrinth, which exists underneath the city streets, and fewer still have visited them. Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain. People have worked and lived in them for over 1,000 years. None of these caves were formed naturally. They were all cut into the sandstone by the city’s inhabitants for use as houses, cellars and place of work. Each cave in unique and created for a specific purpose, some have elaborate carvings, pillars and staircases. Take a virtual tour if you dare: http://nottinghamcavessurvey.org.uk/


Knights Templar— The Knights Templar trace their origin back to shortly after the First Crusade. Around 1119, a French nobleman, Hughes de Payens, collected eight of his knight relatives, and began the Order, their stated mission to protect pilgrims on their journey to visit the Holy Places. Knights of the Order wore white mantles, assigned to the Templars in 1129 at the Council of Troyes and surcoats quartered by a red cross, a symbol of martyrdom, probably added at the start of the Second Crusade in 1147, and were heavily armored knights from the aristocracy with war horses. Knights had to wear their white mantles as all times, even when eating and drinking.



The Rockyard Inn—The name is fictional. Much of the history of the Inn is very poorly recorded. An archaeological dig in 1974 proved conclusively that the location of the original Brewhouse could only be that of the caves of Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, the Inn that exists there presently. This established that the Castle Brewhouse existed prior to 1189AD but the first dated reference is to be found is in the records of the City Council for the year 1618. The parochial rights to the area now known as the Brewhouse Yard did not in fact belong to the Castle but passed backwards and forward over time between the Priory of Lenton, The Knights Templar and the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Here’s an excerpt from The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:

Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.

She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.

Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.

This was just the beginning.

To read more of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis or purchase a copy, please click a vendor's name
Mirror World Publishing - Amazon US - Amazon CA

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books.

Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sunday afternoon sit-down dinner #Pork #recipe @sloanetaylor2

Guest Post by Sloane Taylor

Once in a great while I'm compelled to cook a Sunday afternoon sit-down dinner like the one mom used to make. These aren't her recipes, but they are close. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Braised Pork Loin
Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Applesauce
Steamed Asparagus
Crisp White Wine


Braised Pork Loin
3 – 4 lb. boneless pork loin
3 tbsp. lard or solid shortening
2 med. onions, peeled and sliced
1 lg. shallot, peeled and sliced
2 med. carrots, scraped and chopped
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
¾ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Melt lard in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Adjust the heat so as not to burn any part of the roast.

Set the meat on a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Return the roast to the pot along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Cover tightly and braise in the center of the oven for 1½ hours or until a sharp knife inserts easily.

Set the roast on a cutting board and tent with foil. Skim fat from the braising liquid. Strain the liquid and vegetables through a sieve, pressing down hard with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible before discarding the pulp.

Slice the pork into serving pieces and lay them on a platter. Moisten meat with a little of the sauce. Pour the remainder in a gravy boat and serve on the side.

Mashed Potatoes
1 small russet potato per person
Chicken stock
Butter
Sour cream
Milk
Pepper
Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Pour one inch chicken stock into saucepan. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then place in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by one inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 - 25 minutes. They are done when a fork inserts easily into a potato.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in the milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Homemade Applesauce
6 lg apples cored, peeled, and coarsely sliced*
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1½ tbsp. soft butter

Combine all ingredients except butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer 15 – 20 minutes or until apples mash easily with a fork.

Stir in the butter.

Mash with a potato masher. For a smoother texture pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and puree for a minute or so.

Turn into a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe also freezes well.

*Mix it up with a variety of apples to improve the flavor. Use six different types

Steamed Asparagus
Photo by SOMMAI
1 bunch asparagus
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
Water
2 tbsp. butter
Metal vegetable steamer

Add chicken stock and dry vermouth or wine to a medium size saucepan. Insert vegetable steamer, then add water to just below the bottom holes.

Snap off the ends of the asparagus and trim the spears to fit your saucepan. Add spears and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, adjusting the heat to a strong simmer. In 4-5 minutes the asparagus should be crisp tender.

Lay asparagus in a serving bowl. Spread the butter over them and serve.

I'm already looking for leftovers!
Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog http://sloanetaylor.blogspot.com every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor currently has five explicit romance books released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors.

Subscribe to Sloane’s newsletter. Connect with Taylor on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Soul of Flame - New @WiccanHaus from @MerrynDexter @DecadentPub #shifterromance #pnr

Soul of Flame
A Wiccan Haus story
By Merryn Dexter
Releasing June 10th 2016
  
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
ISBN: 9781683610366
Word Count: 28,200
Cover Art: Fiona Jayde

Blurb

Exiled from her clan by a suspicious queen, fire fae Ceara finds peace among the humans and a role within an elite rescue team. Following a tragic accident, the deaths of her team and the loss of her powers, Ceara is sent to the mysterious resort of Wiccan Haus to heal.

Kidnapped, abused and cursed on escape, black jaguar Shimeer Neguar is desperately seeking the cure which will re-unite him with his shifter half. Wiccan Haus is his last hope, but he is horrified to discover his nemesis is also a guest on the island.

When a huge black jaguar attacks Ceara, she hopes for death and an end to her suffering but the shifter fails to bite. The staff on the island want him banished, but understanding Shim has been the victim of another fae, Ceara intercedes on his behalf and he is permitted to stay, as long as he stays away from her.

The smoke and spice scent of the fae is driving Shim crazy and he can’t keep away from her. Can he reconcile his feelings and the Fates’ desire for them to mate with the fact that she is the image of the woman he loathes?

Ceara begins to fear the worst, the magnetic shifter who haunts her thoughts and inflames her passion is the key to a prophesy that threatens her very existence.

Can two broken souls find healing and love at Wiccan Haus or is their fated union the key to their destruction?

Buy Links

About the Author
Merryn Dexter is a military spouse who, after a varied employment career (from selling sandals to old ladies with bunions to being a health and safety coordinator for a construction company), is thrilled to be pursuing her dream career as a romance writer. She likes The Winchesters, Spike, Hotch, Loki and watching complicated European Noir. Her hobbies include crying at books, crying at movies, crying at tv serials (there’s a theme!) and believes all stories should have a Happy Ending.  

Contact links

Excerpt
A rustle in the grass disturbed her. She raised her hand to shield her eyes. The sun shone high overhead now, dazzling her. Sitting up, she faced the noise and frowned at the tall man prowling through the meadow in her direction.

Jet-black hair lay close to his scalp, and his golden-brown skin glowed in the sun. His body flowed with the inborn grace of a shifter, and thick corded muscle packed his shoulders and arms. Dressed in a white T-shirt and cargo shorts, his feet bare, he ate up the distance until he paused at the edge of the circle. The lines feathered around his eyes and two deep grooves etched between his dark brows spoke of age and experience. A scruff of beard graced his jaw and upper lip, flecks of silver glinting in the bright sunshine. His jade eyes gave her the final piece in an unwanted puzzle. The jaguar.

Although he remained outside the circle, his presence unnerved her. The hairs on the back of her neck bristled, things long dormant stirring deep in her belly. Rising to her feet, she drew upon every harsh lesson learned at court. Women of the Emerald did not get intimidated by walking beasts—no matter how attractive. Not possible.

His gaze traced over her naked form, she fought the urge to preen beneath his attention.

“You were told to stay away from me.”

“I was.” His deep voice rumbled in his chest, and her nipples pebbled in response.

Words flooded her mind. Primal, base, earthy. Nothing like the preening fools at court nor the softer humans she’d met. Hard, strong, resilient. A man worthy to stand beside the daughter of a queen. His presence prickled over her skin like fireflies dancing in a dusky evening sky.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fast and Furious Meal Prep from @EMMAJLANE #souprecipe #mysteryauthor

Guest Post by Janis Lane

How do you plan your shopping? Sit down and figure out a week of meals? Grab what’s on sale at the grocery store? Buy a week’s meat and plan the rest around that? At my house we build in left-over meals and give them equal importance to the food at first appearance. After a delicious pot roast, potatoes, carrots, next day is planned a favorite, Pot Roast Soup.

Easy peasy to make when you have the broth, meat and three of the veggies already there.

TONIGHT’S MENU

Leftover Pot Roast Soup
Salad
Corn Bread or Sesame Seed rolls


Leftover Pot Roast Soup
1 – 2 cups cubed pot roast
½ cup cooked or 1 cup fresh cubed potato
½ cup cooked or 1 cup fresh onion, sliced
1 cup carrots, cooked and diced
8 oz can tomatoes diced.
1 cup total fresh or frozen green beans, peas, broccoli bits, corn*
Broth from the previously cooked pot roast plus 1 cube beef bullion
1 cup water, more if you like extra broth.
1 sprig fresh thyme or pinch dried, remove sprig before serving
½ tsp. chopped fresh basil or dash dried, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat 35 to 45 minutes. Ideally everything in your soup is cooked or fresh, but the flavors need to blend. Stir occasionally.

Do not add water at the last minute. Make that decision at the beginning of your prep.

*Careful not to add too much. Remember - this is a soup, not a stew.

While you wait, use your favorite corn bread recipe and prepare a simple salad.

Quick Salad
Lettuce, Romaine, Buttercrunch, or one of the dark salad greens. Iceberg is okay
Canned peaches or slices of fresh apple/pears/oranges/ avocado/ fresh or canned pineapple
Dollop cream cheese or a small slice cheddar
Sprinkle of nutmeg

Arrange lettuce on a salad plate. Top with fruit. Add the cheese and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dessert
Cookie and one cup of your favorite ice cream

Any pot roast left over? Freeze and serve at a later time over baked potato.

Please allow me to introduce you to my latest cozy mystery, a Detective Kevin Fowler short story, for your reading pleasure.

Can reality be bridged by the distress of an elderly woman?

A handsome new neighbor sneezes when he enters the home of an elderly woman who owns only glass cats.

Is there a romance beginning between both her neighbors?

The death of a greedy, abusive nephew is rendered poetic justice.

Detective Kevin Fowler investigates.


Read more about the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon.



Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spicy as Sunny Lanee.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.ed potatoes.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Jazzed Up Chocolate Cake #recipe from @amontgomery8

Guest Post by Anne Montgomery

Cake

One of the finest inventions known to man.

Unfortunately, too often cake is a second thought; a mere conveyor of mounds of icing and cute decorations. In the interest of cake, and understanding the fact that few of us have time to make the confection from scratch, here’s a simple way to – I can’t help it – have your cake and eat it too.

This recipe was created by my foster son Troy who is working hard to become a pastry chef.

Jazzed Up Chocolate Cake
1 chocolate cake mix (use Devils Food)
Eggs, oil, water: according to box directions
1 cup walnuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix the cake as directed on the box.

Finely chop the walnuts. You can also use a food processor. The idea is to reduce them to tiny pieces. (It’s the oil in the walnuts that makes the cake rich.)

Stir the walnuts and mini chocolate chips into the batter, pour into prepared pans, and bake according to the directions on the box.



You can eat the cake plain, or decorated as Troy has done to his masterpiece.

We like a not terribly sweet vanilla buttercream. Use whatever frosting works for you or plop on a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Just remember, it’s all about the cake.



While you enjoy a slice of the delicious cake you've created, how about a glimpse into my latest novel?

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician...and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

BUY LINKS
Sarah Book Publishing
Amazon

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Unforgettable You #newrelease #sweetromance from @MarciBoudreaux

New Release from Marci Boudreaux

When life throws a widowed innkeeper and a world-famous movie star together they share an unexpected romance. But is their love strong enough to survive their real lives?

Desperate to keep her ailing mother-in-law, Doreen, in the woman’s home, Carrie Gable agrees to board a handful of Hollywood’s most elite actors at the manor. Despite her resentment of the demands being placed upon her, she can’t help but be taken in by actor Will Walker.

Will, in a last-ditch effort to save his career, has agreed to a project he has no interest in. The more time he spends with his egotistical co-stars, the more drawn he is to Carrie. Long nights spent talking about the paths their lives have taken make him realize he’d rather have a simpler life, but his ties to L.A. aren’t as willing to let him go.

With the temptation of stardom pulling Will in one direction and the need to care for Doreen tugging Carrie in another, the couple struggle to hold onto the happiness they were missing until finding each other.

Excerpt:

“It must be heart-wrenching to see Doreen fading away like that,” Will said.

Carrie’s face sagged. “It isn’t easy.”

“It’s a lot of work trying to keep up with her.”

“Sometimes,” she said dismissively as she walked to the refrigerator and looked at the menu. She looked at the clock again and laughed bitterly. “Well, I won’t be slow roasting chicken tonight, will I?”

“I’m worried about you.”

“About me?” she asked lightly. “Why?”

“This is a lot for one person to handle.”

“I’m fine.”

“You keep saying that.”

“Because I am.”

“Carrie.” He coaxed gently.

Turning from the fridge, she seemed to plead with her eyes. “What do you want me to say, Will?”

“You can start by telling me how you are doing.”

“How the hell do you think I’m doing?”

He took in the deep creases on her forehead and the puffiness of her eyes. “Not nearly as well as you’d like everyone to believe.”

“Falling apart is not an option right now.”

“Well, burying it isn’t either.”

Carrie opened her mouth as if to argue with him but, after a moment, she stepped back putting space between them. He watched her pull out a Dutch oven and carry it to the sink, then fill it with water.

Moving to her side, he looked down at her. “Can you just talk to me? Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“What I’m thinking?” she asked and laughed softly. “I’ve spent the last two years pretending that my dead husband is at the grocery store,” she sat the pot on a burner, “returning Doreen’s insane purchases, picking her up from all over the county after she’s driven off to some place that no longer exists, if it ever did exist, but somehow it didn’t seem real until today.”

“The disease—”

“I know,” she said, turning to look at him. “I know what it does. But I never really felt it. Pretending Mike is running errands, taking away her access to money, hiding the car keys, it all seemed so ordinary. Laundry? Check. Dishes? Check. Lie to Mama? Check.”

Fresh tears shimmered in her eyes before she turned toward the drawer with the hidden stove knobs. Another preventative measure to stop Mama from turning on the heat.

Carrie tried several times to get the knob in place but it resisted her push, refused to fit. Cursing under her breath, she slammed it down and turned to face him. “I’ve read the books, done the research, even talked to support groups and doctors, but nothing they said could have possibly prepared me for that.” The tears that had made her eyes shine fell down her cheeks. “Nothing could have prepared me for her not knowing who I am.”

“I’m sorry,” he whispered as he reached out to her. When he wrapped her in his arms, she leaned into him and buried her face in his chest. A sob escaped her, causing her shoulders to shake. He soothed her by whispering softly and running his hand over her back.