Holiday

I feel very fortunate for who I am and where I grew up. I haven’t known hardship. I haven’t had anyone hate me just because my skin was white. I haven’t felt less or been denied a job because I didn’t look like 90% of the work force. I’ve never worried that someone could think me stupid simply because I fall into a particular ethnicity.

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up as an African-American. I won’t even pretend I can truly comprehend what a huge group of people have had to endure because they were different. But Martin Luther King, Jr knew and fought the good fight. Not only do I admire what he did to advance the equality of so many but my heart aches that he layed down his life for what he believed in.

This is so much more than a day off from work/school. It’s a chance for us to celebrate a wonderful man’s legacy and remember all he gave so others could have more.

I hope all of my American friends are enjoying the 4th of July surrounded by the love of family and friends. And I just have to give a shout out to all the soldiers who are in foreign lands away from those who love them so I can enjoy the freedom of celebrating. May God hold each and every one of you in his care until you’re returned safely to the arms of your family.

With that said, I thought I’d share a few Independence Day factoids with you! Have a good one everyone!

1. Independence Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not declared a legal holiday until 1941.

2. Fireworks were made in China as early as the 11th century. The Chinese used their pyrotechnic mixtures for war rockets and explosives.

3. $128,800,000 will be spent importing fireworks from China, representing the bulk of all US imports. By comparison, US exports only 13,500, 000 in fireworks with the bulk going to Germany. (2002)

4. Uncle Sam was first popularized during the War of 1812, when the term appeared on supply containers. Believe it or not, the U. S. Congress didn’t adopt him as a national symbol until 1961.

5. There are many precise rules for taking care of the American flag. And speaking of flag traditions, we’re sorry to report that contrary to legend, historical research has failed to confirm that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag.

6. 125,000 US flags flew over the Capital last year at the request of House and Senate members. On July 4 alone, 1,200 were flown at our nation’s capitol. (From the U.S. Capitol Flag Room.)

7. $272,000,000 were spent on shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers. (1997)

8. Not all members of the Continental Congress supported a formal Declaration of Independence, but those who did were passionate about it. One representative rode 80 miles by horseback to reach Philadelphia and break a tie in support of independence.

9. The first two versions of the Liberty Bell were defective and had to be melted down and recast. The third version rang every Fourth of July from 1778 to 1835, when, according to tradition, it cracked as it was being tolled for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.

10. The National anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner is set to the tune of an English drinking song (“To Anacreon in Heaven”).

11. The iron framework of the Statue of Liberty was devised by French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

12.  More than 66,000,000 Americans said they participated in a barbeque. It’s probably safe to assume a large number of these events took place on the Fourth.

13. Father of the country and architect of independence George Washington held his first public office at the tender age of 17. He continued in public service until his death in 1799.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL MY BLOG READERS!

 

MH900313820I can’t let today go by without telling everyone how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful mom. She raised 5 children (each of us a year apart … you do the math … FIVE teenagers! And she survived!) She’s been wonderful as I’ve become a mom. She hangs back until we ask for advice and then gently shares her wisdom. Mom lives far away from me and though we don’t talk on the phone very often, I think about her every day.

But 28 years ago when I married Mr. Nina another wonderful mom came into my life. I’m so fortunate to have someone else who loves me unconditionally, supports and encourages. I truly am doubly blessed.

Though my life is in complete turmoil, these two women have stepped forward to do what they can to bring order to the chaos. They both bring me to tears every day and I don’t think they realize how much their love and support has meant over the past few months as the bottom tumbled out of our world.

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I also have three beautiful children, one love-sick son-in-law whom I adore and a cute-as-a-button-never-stops-running grandson.

I have a trunk full of all the cards and little goodies my children made for me when they were little and though it is in storage at the moment, the memories never fade. Little Boy Blue (who’s now 22) made me a hand pressed in plaster that hangs from a pretty ribbon. Beautiful Girl (now 24) made me a clay mask of her face in second grade and painted it all kinds of whimsical colors. Baby Girl (who’s now a mom) weaved a yarn thingy that fits just perfectly over my body moisture bottles that sit on my bureau. There are countless gifts of weaved baskets, clay pots, and a wooden treasure chest … all gifts my children made and gave to me on Mother’s Day. They are more precious to me than all my fine jewelry.

Now that they’re older, my children give me gifts of words. Hallmark cards scrawled with a little note at the end, loving words from the heart that make me cry. Every. Time.

And despite all the other #%@^ of my life … all these things I hold onto ever so dearly and realize how truly blessed I am. I know many of my blog readers have moms looking down on them from heaven. The reminder that everyone’s days are number makes me appreciate the small gesture of love even more.

If you’re a mom … Happy Mother’s Day. And I hope this day finds you counting your blessings as well.

This week before all Hallow’s Eve I wanted to share with you some interesting facts about Halloween. (And don’t mind the sexiness … the guys just haven’t been around for awhile and thought they’d just hang around and visit.)

1. Halloween’s roots can be traced back to Celtic culture in Ireland. According to their “Druid” religion, November 1st was New Year’s on their calendar. The celebration would begin on October 31st, and last into the following day. The spirits of all who died in the prior year, would rise up and roam the earth on this night. (That’s one heck of a party! And after a night like that … it’s the morning after that would bring the walking dead!)

2. The first Halloween celebration in America took place in Anoka, Minnesota in 1921. (I’m thinking they danced around a bon fire and made sure this guy was around to make sure it all stayed safe.)

3. Druids wore masks on Samhain to protect themselves from goblins, ghosts and evil spirits because it was believed the dead walked the earth. (And I’m thinking a little blindfold on Halloween might be juuuust enough.)

4. Vampire bats are real and they do drink blood. They live in Central and South America and feed on cattle, swine, and horses. Whether there are real human vampires depends on who you talk to. (And if there are vampires and they looked like Alex O’Lauglin … I’d happily let them take a bite out of me!)

5. Halloween’s colors are black and orange. To Pagans, orange represents strength, valor and energy. Black absorbed and banished evil. Non-Pagans viewed orange as the color of autumn and harvest; black as signs of death and malevolence. (Sometimes all you need is black and white.)

6. The original Jack-o-Lanterns were mangel-wurzels, large yellowish beets. According to legend, Jack was a mean spirited Irishman who outsmarted the devil. When Jack died, he was denied entrance to both Heaven and hell. The devil threw him a lump of coal to guide Jack on his eternal earthly journey and he put it in a mangel-wurzel.(Tht’s right sweetie, stay close, I won’t let you get lost in the dark.)

7. In an early form of trick-or-treating, Celts costumed as spirits are believed to have gone from house to house engaging in silly acts in exchange for food and drink. (I wonder what sort of acts this guy is up to?)

8. 90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids’ Halloween trick-or-treat bags. (Maybe we should bind his hands to be sure he’s a good boy. 😉 )

9. Halloween is second only to Christmas in spending. Consumers will spend over $2.5 Billion during Halloween. That’s a whole lot of candy, costumes, decorations, and party goods. (Pshaw… it’s the margarita mix and salt! Yee Haw!)

10. A man in Rhode Island broke the pumpkin record this year, growing a gourd that weighed 2009 pounds! He smashed the former record of 1818 pounds grown by a couple in Quebec, Canada in 2011. (Yeah, yeah, whatever … how about handling this guy?)

11. More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billion pieces – enough to circle the moon nearly 4 times if laid end-to-end. (How about I wrap myself around this man candy just once?)

12. “Witch” comes from the Saxon word meaning “Wicca” which means wise one. Witches were thought to be wise enough to predict the future. (I’d just like this guy to work his magic on me!)

13. The world’s fastest time to carve a pumpkin recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records was 54.72 seconds by Stephen Clarke of the US. (Sorry, Stephen, there’s not one woman walking this earth that thinks 54 seconds is a good time!)

NOTE: No Ouji boards were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Welcome to our annual Halloween blog hop. There are all kinds of authors to visit … all kinds of prizes to win along the way … including our grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite. If you’ve stumbled here without jumping on the bus (or if you lose your way) click HERE to start at the beginning.

Our hop runs from now until SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 at 3 pm EST so you don’t have to enjoy all the yummy Halloween goodness all at once.

Once again this year I accepted the challenge and let a “word generator” tickle my Halloween muse. I’ve been challenged to write a short scene using a BODY GUARD, WEREWOLF and DENTIST as my characters. I need to work in the characteristics of DRIVEN, DIRTY and LIFELESS. And it all has to take place in a THICK FOREST. Please enjoy this excerpt:

Catherine ran blindly through the night. Though a full moon hung in a cloudless sky, its light didn’t penetrate the dark forest. Branches slapped against her face and tangled in her braids. Tree roots grabbed at the hem of her skirt and the toes of her boots, but determination kept her on her feet. She had to keep moving—had to reach Elijah.

She hadn’t been in time to save Doc Nichols.

Though she’d arrived in Colorado six months earlier, Buzzard Roost’s local dentist had met their stagecoach, overlooked her dirty eastern high-society dress and her little brother’s cranky attitude and settled them into a small cabin just off the main thoroughfare. A second cousin to her late father, Doc Nichols had given her a job and a new start. Now he was dead and Elijah was missing and Catherine didn’t know if the future she’d seen in her dreams would become her reality this All Hallow’s Eve.

Catherine hadn’t believed her visions were true until tonight when she’d arrived home from town, her arms filled with local produce and kitchen staples. Discovering the cabin door ajar and the cloying aroma of an animal filling the small space, she’d known instantly the wolf she’d trusted had somehow come for Elijah. She’d run to Doc Nichols for help, only to find the first of her nightmares played out in gruesome reality.

There had been no doubt Doc Nichols had been killed only moments before she’d arrived. The stench of death and evil still hung like a moldy curtain in his small office. Blood oozed in a rusty puddle from his torn throat, his lifeless eyes and gaping mouth beseeching her to save him. But she hadn’t believed her dreams and had never warned Doc Nichols of the malevolent forces hell bent on destroying his little town. Catherine didn’t have time for guilt— nothing could undo the horror that had befallen the dentist—but there was no way she’d let the same fate come to her little brother.

Grabbing the good doctor’s spare pistol from his desk drawer, Catherine had bolted into the forest. She’d never been to Elijah’s favorite fishing hole. Didn’t know in the inky blackness if she was even on the path. Driven by love. fear and instinct, she pushed through the unfamiliar forest. Her brother was only nine. Sassy and full of anger at their circumstances—he was all she had left in this world. She’d give her own life if she could save him from the death she’d seen in her dreams.

Until this night when she’d sensed the wolf, Catherine hadn’t wanted to acknowledge the visions she’d recently experienced weren’t the nightmares of a woman on the brink of insanity. At twenty, she thought the murder of her parents and the trip across country had triggered the violent dreams. Images of torches and thick forests, angry men and vicious wolves, blood and death had filled her nights until she’d feared falling asleep.

And then just last month she’d seen the wolf of her dreams on the far side of the river as she’d been gathering water. With eyes the blue of a cloudless sky and a coat that rivaled the purest of snow, the animal had watched her every move. At the time, there had been no fear, only the overwhelming sense of peace, as if the animal were a body guard protecting her from harm. It had come nearly every night to watch her from afar and she’d taken it as a good luck omen.

Catherine wondered now if she’d invited the monster to steal everything from her.

And then she heard him howl. Not the playful wail of a wolf calling his pack, but the plaintive call of distress. Catherine quickened her pace, tripping in her haste to find Elijah, her knee coming down hard on a rock. Ignoring the pain, she followed the sound, pushing herself to save the brother, somehow knowing the wolf called directly to her.

She was out of breath and nearly panicked with worry when she finally broke into the clearing. The ebony surface of the fishing pond that had brought her brother such joy over the summer now sat still as death, its ebony surface broken only by the reflection of the moon—and the ghostly specter of the white wolf standing over Elijah’s still body.

Even in the muted wash of the moon, Catherine knew the dark shadow running across her brother’s forehead and down his cheek was blood. It had soaked into the soft chamois of his shirt, prickling her soul with dread. Instinct took over as she raised the pistol, not sure the lessons Doc had given her could bring down the animal from this distance. It didn’t matter, she had to try— Elijah’s life depended on her bravery.

The wolf sprang and Catherine closed her eyes and pulled the trigger. The bullet missed its mark and she heard the wolf land not two feet from her in the spongy moss on the edge of the pond. Bracing herself for the inevitable attack, she brought the pistol up to shoot again, opened her eyes and gasped at the sight of a man standing naked before her, his shock of white hair nearly luminescent in the moonlight.

“Catherine, I didn’t hurt your brother. I’m trying to save him—trying to save both of you.” He took the pistol from her trembling fingers. “Someone killed the dentist and tried to kidnap your brother. I—”

She pushed past the man and ran to her brother’s side. Falling to the damp earth, she cradled Elijah in her arms, tears stinging her eyes. The blood on his head had dried, but he was so still, his tiny chest barely moving. She searched for claw or teeth marks, but found none. “What did the wolf do to Elijah?”

The man knelt next to her, careful to shield his nakedness from her. “I did nothing. Men were in your cabin and I ran them off and brought the boy here. They must have knocked him out. I haven’t been able to rouse him. I knew you’d find us if I called for you.”

“You? But I thought the wolf—”

“Catherine, I am the wolf. A werewolf. Both man and beast. I’m the one who’s been watching over you. I’m not sure why fate has brought us together, but I know our paths are as connected as your heart is to your brother.”

A gunshot rent the stillness of the forest.

He took Elijah from her arms and pulled her to her feet. “And so our journey begins … run!”
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Happy Halloween! I hope you enjoyed that little Halloween excerpt.

 *** CONTEST IS CLOSED ***

So what’s your favorite part of this spooky holiday? Leave a comment on this blog post between now and SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 at 6 pm EST and you’ll be entered to win:

A signed copy of my erotic suspense “Healer’s Garden”
goodies from my prize closet
(shipping to US or Canada only. An international winner gets a $15 Amazon gift card)

One winner will be chosen at random from all commenters this weekend. Best of luck … and enjoy the rest of the hop!


Welcome to our annual trick-or-treat contest. 13 “houses” to visit, LOTS of chances to win, including a grand prize of an engraved iPad ereader and a basket full of author goodies.

To begin playing, just pick an item from my goodie bag list below send me a note with your selection to Nina(AT)NinaPierce(DOT)com. Yep it’s that easy to enter from here. If you want to visit all the houses you can start over at Sam Cheever’s house and follow the links from one website to another.

**Please take some time to look around each site. Some of the authors will be providing fun tidbits and free stories for your reading pleasure! If an author looks like someone you’d like to read, consider signing up for her newsletter. Also, some of the authors are holding a special, in-house contest to increase your chances of winning! ***

On Halloween night at Midnight, EST each author will choose a winner from the emails sent to her and send the name to Sam Cheever. On November 1st, Sam will pick the winner of the grand prize basket from those 13 winners. The more houses you visit … the more chances you’ll have to win.

GRAND PRIZE BASKET INCLUDES:
Engraved iPad ereader
E-books from various authors
Signed copies of print books from various authors
Enough promotional swag to fill your trick-or-treat bag

In addition to the grand prize basket, there will also be a bonus prize awarded to the winner of the Author Island drawing this year, which is an extra stop at the end of the street.

*** Only one trip down the street and you must be
at
least 18 years of age to play! ***

Good luck everybody and have fun!

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Please choose one of the following destinations for your trick-or-treat pleasure:

1. XTC Resort, Key West (Maid for Master and Invitation to Ecstasy )
Claire’s bare feet tread steadily along the sandy path. Shafts of sunlight flickered in the cool shadows of the palm fronds. Lush leaves of thick underbrush tickled along her breasts and belly, raising goose flesh. Never had she been so aware of the sensations playing over her body. Even as the warm breath of the ocean breeze danced with her hair, caressing her sensitized skin like a lover’s touch, peaking her nipples and stroking her damp folds, Claire tried not to condemn herself for what she was about to do.

2. South Kenton, California (Shadows of Fire )
The pines opened to a small clearing. Morning fog hung heavy over the river running placidly behind their log cabin. Normal men would have found tranquility and sustenance fishing in its icy depths, but in the year they’d lived here, he and Josh had barely spent time on its banks. That’s why it surprised Reese when his eyes immediately fixated on the figure hunched on the boulder. He stared, not sure she wasn’t a mirage. He shoved the car in park and shut off the engine.

Alex had come to him.

3. Garden of Serenity (Healer’s Garden )
They rode through the fields bareback, climbing into the hills. The grassy fields gave way to palm trees and exotic vegetation Jahara had never seen. Emerald leaves fringed large flowers in all shades of the rainbow, their honeyed aroma filling the air in a sweet fog. Birds hidden among the foliage warbled and sang, permeating the jungle with their melodious tunes. It was a banquet for the senses and she closed her eyes, committing it all to memory.

4. Cutler, Maine (Blind Her With Bliss , Deceive Her With DesireCheat Her With Charm)
The musty scent of the earth mixed with the heady aroma of Julie’s perfume wrapped around his nose and made him lightheaded with anticipation. Her warm breath tickled his neck, leaving gooseflesh in its wake. She barely weighed anything, but the heat of her pressed against his back made the walk through the lush ferns very pleasant. Though he’d only been here once before, Damon had honed his sense of direction in the army and found the isolated waterfall someone at the radio station had told him about without having to retrace his steps. It had been winter the first time he’d come here on snowshoes, crisp and refreshing—solitary. This day, the lush foliage of summer and Julie’s company made the visit so much more inviting.

5. Lonesome Fork, Montana (Bonded Souls, Bonded by Need)
The morning had dawned bright and clear, the sun winking off the four inches of new snow like millions of diamonds, but she’d been too exhausted, unmotivated and sore to get out of her pajamas before lunch. Jayda suspected her achy thighs and butt had more to do with the two rides on the mechanical bull and not the romp with Cole in the backseat of his car. But a girl could fantasize.

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Send your choice of one of the destinations to me in an email Nina(AT)NinaPierce(DOT)com The contest is open until midnight EST on Halloween. All participants emailing me will also be entered to win this additional prize:

Nina’s Personal Halloween Prize Pack
* Digital copy of my vampire novel “Shadows of Fire”
* $25 Amazon Gift Card

So I’m dressing up as Cleopatra and going to parties in my thrown (okay … an electric wheelchair, but hey, it works). Do you have your costume ready to go?

When I was a kid Halloween was very low budget in my house. We lived in the country so there weren’t a whole lot of houses around, which meant my siblings and I weren’t overly invested in donning costumes to visit a dozen houses. But we knew we wouldn’t be successful gaining access to the candy stashes if we didn’t at least put forth some effort. So my costumes usually consisted of my dad’s oversized suit jacket, some charcoal rubbed on cheeks and chin for a beard and a stick thrown over my shoulder with a bandana hanging from it. Not the most inventive, but hey, it got the job done at 4:00 Halloween night.

When my children were young we lived in a neighborhood by the elementary school. LOTS of parents and children roamed the streets. It looked like the trick-or-treating scene out of ET (one of my favorite movies of all time). I was the one who stayed home and doled out candy … in costume of course (a witch dress and hat that slipped on after dinner with no hassles and served me for many, many years). The pumpkins the family had intricately carved were lit up in the front window. But still … it was all for one night and low-tech. The pumpkins were recycled the next day. No fanfare. No hassles.

NOW it seems Halloween has gone the way of Christmas. What’s up with all the decorations people put on their front porches? Everything from blow up pumpkins to witches stirring cauldrons (a mere $160 at Wal-Mart thank you very much). Seriously? I can barely get decorations up for Christmas and then they stay there until nearly Easter. Do neighbors actually expect people to put the cornstalks up around the porch posts and fall leaves in the window boxes?

Lord help me if that’s the case. I’m soooo not into that. When did Halloween become this crazy commercialized holiday? It seems to have snuck up on me like last year’s extra weight and I’m not very happy about either situation.

Even costumes are crazy. Rarely do I see the sheet over the head costume of my youth. (Hey, don’t knock it. If four other siblings do this it means everyone can hit the same house several times to get the good stuff … who would know?) Now, babies show up at my door dolled up like pea pods and cows. Yeah, they’re adorable, but we all know it’s not that 18 month old who’s snarfing down the candy. And don’t be coming to my house with the four year old sibling who’s holding a second bag for baby sister. Cut me some slack. If you can’t eat it … you don’t get to trick-or-treat for it.

I know. I’m the Scrooge of Halloween. I’ve completely lost the spirit. The Grinch of Samhain who’s heart just isn’t in it. I just can’t help myself. I’m feeling the pressure to keep up with my neighbors and I don’t like it. Hey, the mall is decorated for Christmas. Maybe I’ll just put up my Christmas decorations as well and call it good for the year. What do you think?


Since tomorrow is my weekly Six Sentence Sunday post, I thought I’d give a shout out to my mom and all mom’s out there a day early!

Can a get a w00t! w00t! for anyone who grew up with a most awesome Mom?

I’m one of 5 children and we’re all a YEAR apart. Yes, my mother has a direct ladder to heaven for surviving 5 teenagers in her home! A lot of people blame the problems of their lives on their mothers. Ya know … I can’t say that. I’m sure my mom yelled. I’m sure she lost her patience with us. But truly … I don’t remember any of that. All I can remember from my childhood is her laughing. Mom giggles at everything.

My mom’s gone through some tough times, but she’s always been there for me. I love her and appreciate her so much. Unfortunately she lives really far from me. Last month Mr. Nina and I went south to visit her for a week. We had a wonderful visit. But it was waaaay too short. I can’t spend tomorrow with her, but she will be in my heart all day! And these flowers are for her (because she LOVES tulips):

So give a shout out to your Mom. What’s so special about her? How about a print copy of Dangerous Affairs to a random visitor who comments on this post between now and SUNDAY, MAY 13 at 8:00 pm EDT. (Shipping to US only … international winner will receive a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card) So what do you have to say special about your mom?

I’m going to admit right here that I’m horrible with history. I remembered enough of it in high school to do well on the tests and promptly forgot it. As an adult I regret not seeing the value of understanding my country’s history. But eh, what does a 16 year old know about a 50 year old woman’s regrets? LOL!

But Pearl Harbor Day has become a personal experience for me that has touched my heart. Ten years ago today, I was in Hawaii visiting Mr. Nina’s great uncle. Though the man wasn’t in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, his boat was the first to arrive in the harbor. I can’t imagine the horrors he saw that day. He doesn’t talk about it.

But the morning of December 7, 1991, he pulled a ballcap out of a box in the hall and reverently placed it on his head. It was embroidered with the name of his ship. He wore it only one day a year. We bundled into his car and parked with all of the other visitors and stood in the very long line with the general public at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Uncle Caesar didn’t think he was anyone special. But as sailors walked by, they stopped and saluted him. Every. Single. One. At one point someone offered to escort him (and his guests) into the VIP area, but he refused. That section was for the real survivors of that day he said.

We sat through the memorial with the rest of the general public. And though I don’t remember the details, I do remember realizing how history was coming to life for me and how moved I was by the number of lives sacrificed that day. We went from there to a small pavilion where plaques for each of the ships and their crews were displayed. Uncle Caesar walked from stone to stone, standing at each for long quiet minutes. I was so moved by the respect the general public offered these men who very obviously were doing the same. I was in tears watching all of this unfold.

We didn’t go out to the memorial. The line was too long and Uncle Caesar and his wife had been out many times. Instead, he drove us to the military base nearby. We drove around looking at the buildings that still stand as a memorial to the attack. Broken windows, scarred brick walls, destruction everywhere. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like on that day. We did stop at one of the lesser known ships that is still in the harbor and spend time there. Uncle Caesar would not talk about that day. He didn’t share what happened when he arrived in the harbor. But I felt it in his solemnity.

I am grateful we got to share this day with a sailor who was actually there. I feel blessed I got live history on that day. Uncle Caesar is still alive and living in Hawaii. His health is not good and though he is not at the memorial today, I have no doubt he is spending time remembering.

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Welcome one and all. This weekend I’m doing something a little bit different. I’m participating in a blog hop with all kinds of authors offering all kinds of prizes. If you happened upon my blog first, please do start HERE and join in on the fun to be eligible to win a Kindle 4!

Since this is a Halloween blog tour, I can’t resist sharing some candy …

I have no doubt this tooshie is popular on our hop today. But isn’t he worth another look?

Ah hem, okay, back to our regularly scheduled tour … Participants were offered the opportunity to “roll” a scene generator and challenged to use the words offered in one scene. Of course working it into a Halloween theme gets me extra points. (I totally made that up! *vbg*) But here are my characters: VETERINARIAN, DEMON, BOUNTY HUNTER and I somehow I had to incorporate the personality traits SMUG, OBSESSIVE, SHIFTY and it all had to take place in a SALON. LOL! I’m always up for a good challenge. Leave me a comment to know what you think and you’ll be entered to win a set of my romance trading cards(which you can check out HERE) and an ebook of BLIND HER WITH BLISS, the first book in my Tilling Passions series.

Please enjoy my story …

I slammed into the salon, the cheery bells announcing my arrival.

The day had dawned way too early after a night that had ended way too late. But calves didn’t arrive at the convenience of veterinarians. It felt like I’d no sooner fallen exhausted into bed when the alarm screamed at me to begin another day at my practice. I’d started my morning under a cold spray of water from a water heater my landlord had yet to fix. Add the burned toast and grinds in my watery coffee and I’d barely been coherent enough to change the flat tire I’d no doubt acquired at Old Man Corey’s farm the previous night.

“What the hell, Delanie Shepherd? You look like something one of your horses trampled. And I wouldn’t call a flannel shirt and jeans much of a costume.” My best friend, Peggy sauntered out of the back room, the sexy demon costume hugging her curves, reminding me I’d forgotten to buy candy for the trick-or-treaters who would be knocking at my door tonight.

“Don’t give me a hard time. I’ve had a crappy morning and I’m already running late. I told you I’d pick up little Oliver on my way to the office.”

“Of course I remembered. I’ve got my little guy. We’ve done some special bonding this morning commiserating about his surgery.” Peggy was obsessive about her ten cats. As responsible as she was, she always felt neutering was cruel form of toruture. “Why don’t you give me thirty minutes to work at trying to give that hair of yours a little style and maybe find you a sexy doctor’s costume you can wear for the day?”

The bell over the door rang.

“No time this morning. I’ve got shots to give and testicles to remove. Busy. Busy.”

“Ouch! I’m glad I’m not one of your patients.”

A low groan rumbled in my chest. That toe-curling Irish accent could belong to only one man. So not who I wanted to run into after I’d barely gotten two hours of sleep. But I pasted on my best I don’t care smile and turned to find Heath McTabbit in all his six-foot-something-mouth-watering glory standing there in a Hans Solo getup. The Bounty Hunter costume made the local pediatrician appear even more dangerous. The smile he flashed seemed to reach down and grab the pit of my stomach, pulling it into a hot lump in my throat.

“Are you emasculating all males you come across today or targeting specific ones?” he asked.

“Only males with shifty eyes who have no control over the libidos.” I shot back.

“Dr. Heath,” Peggy cried. “I’m so glad you could stop by this morning to pick up our basket of goodies for the children’s party this afternoon. Let me get that for you.” Peggy disappeared into the back room.

I rolled my eyes at my dear friend’s obvious attempt at matchmaking. Happily married, Peggy hated that I hadn’t found my Prince Charming. “I think Peggy’s arranging more than hair today.”

Heath stepped closer to me, the heat of his body buffeting me through the thin flannel of my shirt. The fresh scent of his cologne assaulted my nose, making my knees go weak. “I for one am glad she did. You seem to avoid me every time we’re in the same room.”

I backed up, only to find he’d trapped me between the free standing hair dryer and the wall of his body. My heart hammered in my chest and I suspected by the way his gaze dropped to my throat that he could see how he affected me. “That’s not true. I do not avoid you. I’m just…a busy woman.” A lie. There was something about my younger brother’s best friend that I found unsettling. Heath McTabbit never missed an opportunity to single me out at parties. But our five year age difference made me feel awkward and uncomfortable. In our small town, I had no desire to be the grist for the rumor mill that never stopped.

He toyed with my hair, his mesmerizing blue eyes raking my face. “Prove it. Find some sexy costume and join me at the Halloween dance tonight.”

“Heath…” I dragged his name over my tongue, trying to make my lips form the word no even as my head screamed yes.

“Stop worrying about other people, Delanie. Don’t think what’s right. Think about this.” His mouth came down hard on mine, not some soft exploration, but a full on assault that had my eyes falling shut and overwhelming me with the dizzying softness of his lips. He tasted and nipped before slowly easing back enough to talk, his breath feathering over my swollen mouth. “Say yes, Delanie.”

My lids fluttered open, my mind overwhelmed by his heat. His taste. His smell. “Yes, Delanie.”

The smug smile lighting his face, stole what little breath I had left. “Then it’s a date,” he said dangerously quiet in that Irish brogue that promised wicked tricks and sinful treats.

Peggy’s squeeing brought me back down to reality. “Well it’s about time you two figured this thing out.” She held up a basket of cookies and the cat carrier.

Peggy may have been wearing the demon costume, but when Heath winked, I was sure I’d just made a date with the devil.
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