November 16, 2013

Why Digital Rights Management is Bad

I thought I was going to have to return Game of Thrones (today's BookBub deal) to B&N, because do you think I could get that little stinker open? Nooooo! Argh!

Reader for PC kept going in circles wanting me to enter my Adobe ID and password again and again, while Adobe Digital Editions kept insisting the book was registered to another user account. And my Sony Reader (which reads e-books very well, thank you very much) kept insisting the book was "restricted."

I found one piece of help in the Adobe forums (here's the thread: I did what the instructions said, including the technical things like deleting certain folders from my registry (shh, if my husband reads that I went into the registry, he'll poop his pants). And then I reinstalled Adobe Digital Editions without registering it to my computer (that's important, apparently). 

Then I imported the book to Adobe Digital Editions. Looked good so far--no little warning symbol, anyway.

Here's the part that really hurts my brain: it wanted a username or some such thing and an unlock code. Never heard of an unlock code. Back to Google. 

In another thread on the Adobe forums, I learned that the unlock code is the number from my credit card on file with B&N. Would've been nice if they'd just said that! Actually, it would've been nice not to have to enter my credit card number to open a book I've bought and paid for. Grrr.

Now, do you think that most readers would go through all that just to read a book? Do you think they'd ever buy a book from that publisher again?

This, people, is one of the many reasons I hate-hate-hate DRM.

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November 08, 2013

My First Book Signing at Black Bear Books

What fun we had at Black Bear Books in Creston last night! 

This shot is of my friend Connie and me. She was kind, brave, etc. enough to stand up with me and do the introductions. She's also the one who convinced me my first-ever book signing is a Big Deal and that I shouldn't wear my usual jeans (thank goodness for friends like her).

*waves at Connie*

To the right, just out of the picture, you'll have to imagine about twenty ladies in the audience who braved the snow and rain and slush to come celebrate with me. (The camera flash somehow got turned off, so we were lucky to get a clear  photo.)

Some notable guests: Sharen, our high-school principal, whose knowledge of school administration was a tremendous resource for me while I was writing Over the Edge; my daughter Betty, who helped edit Rocky Road; Julie, who told me she's writing a novel of her own; and all the ladies who wanted their books signed to loved ones for Christmas gifts (I'm not telling who they are for obvious reasons.)

My author friends were full of good advice to help me prepare, like that I should stand (as opposed to hiding behind the table), and as you can see, there I am on my feet right out in front. And they said to bring lip gloss, which I did, even though it decided to hide in my bag and I didn't actually get any on my lips.

The reading went so much better than I could have hoped. I probably won't ever be an audiobook voice talent, but people were chuckling, and I didn't pass out or anything drastic like that. One thing I would do differently is to practice reading with the corrective lenses I intend to wear. I wear glasses at home but wore contacts last night, so imagine my consternation when I suddenly had to hold the book at arm's length like, well, a woman of a certain age. The difference in vision was a bit distracting, and I skipped a line and had to back it up for a second. Well, everyone knows for sure that I'm not perfect!

In the little red heart-shaped bowl on the table, you can see Hershey's Kisses, which are probably the most wonderful little things ever. After I gave a little talk about my crazy, highly not recommended route to being published, I used the kisses as bribes to get people asking questions. And boy, once the first person got a kiss, everybody wanted one. ;-) It was a lovely, lively discussion of books, writing, and publishing.

Afterward, people got to try the brownies Paula (the bookstore owner) made especially for the occasion. I somehow didn't end up getting one, which I'll have to remedy soon, because people are reporting those brownies are the absolute best thing they've ever put in their mouths.

Oh, and I continue to be awestruck by this... all the books in stock sold out again! Luckily I had a few extra ones I brought with me just in case, so there are still a couple of copies in the store. Good thing I was thinking big. :)

I want to give a huge thank-you to the staff of Black Bear Books and to all the lovely ladies who came to my signing, and to Connie for standing up and speaking with me, and to Brenda for helping to make everything run smoothly. You all really made it a special night.

*blowing Hershey's Kisses to you all*

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November 01, 2013

My Very First Book Signing!

You're invited!

Come for the brownies, come for the free coffee, or come just to watch me read a scene aloud before a live audience (an event that could be funny all on its own, never mind that it's a scene from a comedy novel).

Or come to do some Christmas shopping, because books make wonderful Christmas gifts.

See you there! :)

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October 05, 2013

Thoughts on the Hollywood Stuntz Fiasco

The idea for this post came from a combination of events. The first was the news coverage of the incident that took place between Alexian Lien and the riders of Hollywood Stuntz; the second was the new and unusual (to me) behavior of drivers of several cars with whom I was sharing the road while on my motorcycle.

I ride a sport bike. But I’m not one of “those” riders. You know, the obnoxious ones who are on a power trip and deliberately intimidate everyone around them? I’ve never even met one of “those” riders. In fact, if I were in a bike gang, it would be about as wild as a gradma’s version of the Wild Hogs  (yep, I’m a middle-aged dork and quite happy about it).

In my experience, most motorcycle riders are decent people who want to enjoy being on their bikes, and they actively avoid crashing or causing someone else to crash. I mean, there’s no way around the laws of physics, and if you attempt to violate those laws on a bike, you’re going to get hurt, right? As seen in countless video clips of disastrously ending bike stunts in the news and on the aptly named show Dumbest Stuff on Wheels.

I’m saddened that to some people, who may have heard of or personally interacted with “those” bikers, it’s impossible to see the difference between a grandma on a motorcycle and a hooligan on a motorcycle (granted, when I’m on my bike, there’s not much to indicate there’s a polite little grandmother underneath all the protective gear). That point was made clear to me just after the news story went viral. Prior to that, car drivers drove normally around me; and if I came up behind one that was traveling a bit slow, I’d wait for a safe spot to pass and then pass it. But the last few days, the moment I near a car from behind, the driver will immediately signal to the right and then slow even more and pull half onto the shoulder in an effort to let me by.

Maybe some bikers would like that.

I don’t.

I don’t like the idea that people fear for their safety in the presence of any biker (especially me!) because of the widely publicized actions of a group of criminals (a lot of the riders involved in the news story, including the one who was hurt so badly, have criminal records and extensive histories of traffic violations). Bikers are not all like that. No more than car drivers are (and really, most bikers are also car drivers, especially in places that have winter or even rain).

It’s so sad that we tend to stereotype people. I don’t know that there’s a way to fix that. But maybe this post will help someone out there stop feeling unnecessarily afraid of perfectly nice people who are happy to share the road with everyone equally.

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September 07, 2013

Send Me Your Photos :)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

*crossing my fingers and hoping really hard that you do*

Help me fill up my Book Sightings gallery with photos from all over the world.

Take a snapshot of yourself holding one of my books (or more than one, because that would be pretty sweet), and post it online and then send me the link to it here  (or just let me know you have a picture, and I'll give you my e-mail address so you can e-mail it to me). Then I'll post the photos on my Book Sightings page.

Ready? Set? Click those shutters!
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September 05, 2013

The Lovely Lizzie

This new character, Lizzie (named after the lovely Liz Dent), has got all sorts of ideas fermenting in my mind for Jocelyn and Adrian's as-yet-untitled story. Wa-hoo! :)

It's OK that the book doesn't have a title yet. Something will pop out at me from the pages while I'm writing when the time is right, and I'll just know. At least, that's how it's worked so far. *crosses fingers*

In other news: After a short wrestling match with the Google+ comment system, I'm happy to say I disabled it for my blog. Now you don't need to belong to Google+ to comment, and I can actually see the comments people have made. It was a case of too much technology being a bad, bad thing. Gee whiz.

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August 30, 2013

Through the Glass by Lisa J. Hobman

Yay, Lisa J. Hobman's Through the Glass is releasing today!

Reasons to buy it:
Lisa is smart, witty, and entertaining; and she knows lots of great words like lassie and bollocks. And her characters are yummily British and Scottish. :)

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: August 30, 2013
Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-52-3 ISBN 10:1-939217-52-0
Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-51-6 ISBN 10:1-939217-51-2

Through the Glass
It was love at first sight for Jim.  Felicity was his dream girl.  Beautiful, intelligent and talented.  Sadly for Jim he didn’t quite meet with the approval of Felicity’s mother and eventually she succumbed to the pressure of her mother’s expectations.  Jim relocates from London to the Scottish Highlands to try to rebuild his life and mend his broken heart when an unexpected visitor brings painful memories and tragic news.  Jim has to fight with his own desires to make the right decision.  He lost Felicity once.  Can he survive losing her again? 

About Lisa J Hobman
Lisa is a happily married Mum of one with two crazy dogs.  She especially enjoys being creative; has worked as a singer and now runs her own little craft business where she makes hanging signs and decorations for the home. Lisa and her family recently relocated from Yorkshire, England to their beloved Scotland; a place of happy holidays and memories for them. 
Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics.  The story in her debut novel has been building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white; working full time as a High School Science Learning Mentor and studying swallowed up any spare time she had.  Making the move north of the border has given Lisa the opportunity to spread her wings and fulfill her dream.  Writing is now a deep passion and she has enjoyed every minute of working towards being published.  Novels two and three are works in progress so watch this space!

How to contact Lisa J Hobman

Chapter 1
February 2009 - The break up
“So, that’s it then, Flick?” Jim raised his arms in exasperation. “You’re leaving? You’ve completely given up?” He was past trying to convince Flick that they could make a go of it; work things out; get through this and come out the other side stronger. The past few months had been one argument after another and Flick had spent less and less time at home.
“It’s for the best, James. And please don’t call me Flick.” She sighed, “It’s not my name. Not anymore. I grew up. It’s good in the adult world you should visit sometime, you might like it.” She snorted derisively.
Jim shook his head; sadness oozing from every pore, “Aye, well you’ll always be Flick to me. And I’ll always be Jim. What’s with all this ‘Felicity and James’ bollocks anyway?” His accent always became stronger when he was angry. This was one of those occasions when the true Scotsman came out fighting. His chest heaved as he tried to calm the storm raging beneath his skin.
He almost didn’t recognise the woman standing before him in their bedroom; her fitted designer clothes complete with pearls and a shoulder length smooth sleek hairstyle. Such a contrast to the girl he fell in love with. Back then it was all flowing blonde waves and long, floating skirts. She was softer then; in every way.
“Well, as I said James, Felicity is my name…Flick was left behind at university. She was doe-eyed, foolish and rash…look, there’s no point us going over old ground,” she pulled the handle up on her wheeled suitcase, “I’ll be staying with Polly and Matt for a while whilst I figure out my next move.”
Matt had once been Jim’s closest friend but that friendship had somehow fizzled as his relationship with Polly had intensified. That saddened Jim.
Felicity went on, “Nilsson-Perkins have offered to help find me a new place near the city centre so I can be closer to the main gallery.” She wandered over to him and placed her hand on his arm. “It’s for the best, James. I think you know that deep down.”
He looked, pleadingly, into her eyes, his chest still rising and falling at a rapid rate. “For whom? For me?. I don’t think so.” His voice cracked as he shook his head; he stared intently and for several moments she seemed caught in his eyes. He thought he saw her shield begin to melt but she shook her head and looked away.
Turning back to him she shrugged her shoulders. “It was inevitable when you think about it. We’re from two different worlds…we want completely different things, James.” Her voice softened as she squeezed his arm. Her blue eyes, however, that were once full of love, were ice cold.
She wheeled her case toward the bedroom door and turned back to face him one last time. Her eyes were glassy with unshed tears now and Jim was relieved to see some, albeit small, expression of human emotion from the woman he had witnessed, slowly, becoming some kind of hard, Siberian robot.
“For what’s it’s worth…James…I do love you. You were my first love and so I probably always will. I just feel like…” she paused, clenching her eyes closed as if to find the strength to carry on speaking, a tear escaped. “Like maybe we’re not good for each other. We’ve grown apart. I’m ambitious and you…you want babies and the white picket fence thing…I’m just not ready…I’m not sure I ever will be. In a way I’m doing you a favour.” A sob escaped her throat as she spoke, “This way at least you get to meet someone new and have children anddo all the family things that I’m just not capable of.” She sounded to Jim as though she was trying to convince herself.
Jim’s lower lip began to tremble. “I don’t want anyone else…it’s you. It’s always been you.” He clenched his jaw. “What I don’t get, Felicity, is that you wanted those things too. We were both on the same page. I don’t understand how we changed.”
“We didn’t change. I did. Like I said, I grew up.” She shook her head. “I know that you haven’t changed.” She snorted. “Sorry, Jim but it’s true. In all these years you’ve kept the same hairstyle, the same clothing and the same laid back attitude. You still work in the same second hand book store, you still drive that ancient Land Rover and you still take that bloody dog everywhere you go! You’re not a student anymore, James. Maybe I want more, huh? Maybe I want someone who makes an effort!” Her voice gained an octave as her emotions began to get the better of her.
Jim widened his eyes in horror. “Whoa! Now just hang on there, lassie!” He held up his hands and his stomach knotted at her stabbing words as they sliced at his heart.
He stepped toward her. “You can’t say that I don’t make effort. Just because I’m in no way materialistic doesn’t mean I don’t care. I love you. I always have. You are my world! I don’t need things, Felicity, I need you!” His heart ached as it bombarded theinside of his chest. “I’ve done everything in my power to make you happy. I don’t know what else I could have done. And for the record, I’m not the one who’s given up here!” He raised his voice too, finally giving in to the pent up frustration he’d been harbouring.
“James, we want different things, accept it. Move on…please!” She opened the door and he made a grab for her. She swung around and crashed into his arms. Without thinking he took her face in his hands and kissed her with all the passion he could muster. To his amazement she didn’t slap him; she kissed him back. Dropping her suitcase she seemed overwhelmed by desire, anger, passion, lust, whatever the hell it was; she grabbed at his dark, shaggy hair as he ran his hands through hers; desperate to express his love for her; desperate to make her change her mind.

He moved from her mouth to her neck, his kisses urgent. Her head rolled backward and she moaned, grabbing at his T-shirt and pulling it over his head in one swift aggressive move. Before either could realize what they were doing or how they got there, they staggered backward and tumbled, wrapped around each other, onto the bed; their lips locked as their tongues danced and probed each other’s mouths.

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August 17, 2013

Contest and Giveaway: Name my Fictional Town

Contest and Giveaway: Name my Fictional Town

I’m doing something different (for me, anyway). My usual method of writing a novel is to get to know the characters and situations and things and then pick out names later as they strike me.

But as I was planning the Harrington series (linked stories about two sisters and a brother who fall in love—with other people, that is—in a small town in British Columbia), the characters started naming themselves left, right, and center.

Weird. But I like it!

I know the town they live in, as I live in one very much like it… *wink*. Still, on the pages of my manuscript, this quiet little town so prone to hilarious incidents and simmering secrets has the unflattering moniker TOWN.


Normally, this would be fine. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, though. Maybe it’s that all the characters have chosen proper names for themselves right from the start. How can Jocelyn and Adrian, Adhelle and Blake, and Skeet and Lia possibly be living someplace called TOWN? Doesn’t it just seem wrong somehow?

Well, this can’t go on any longer! So I’m asking you, dear readers, to help me name the Harrington family’s little hometown.

What’s in it for you, you ask? :-)

  • Everyone who suggests a name for TOWN in a comment on this post will have a chance to win an autographed print copy of the first book of the Harrington series.
  • The person suggesting the winning name will have a character named after her/him (nice or not-so-nice, winner’s choice, if the winner would like that).
Sound good? Then scoot down and leave a comment!

Legal stuff:

  • This contest starts 7:30 a.m. August 7, 2013 and ends 12:00 p.m. August 17, 2013 Mountain Standard Time (GMT minus 7 hours).
  • This contest is void where prohibited by law.
  • To enter the contest, you must make your suggestion for a town name in a comment on this post.
  • Just so everything’s absolutely legal in Canada, the winner(s) will be required to answer a skill-testing question (hint: it will be 1+1=___). Canadian contest law is kooky like that.
  • The winner of the autographed copy of the book will be chosen randomly by the slips-of-paper-in-a-bowl method.
  • The winning town name will be chosen by me (Susan Lohrer) on the basis of which one works best for the series.
  • Entrants’ information will not be used for anything other than contacting entrants to arrange shipment of the book to the draw winner and/or discuss naming a character after the entrant with the winning town name.
  • The winners will be announced in a comment on this post August 17, 2013.
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August 06, 2013

I'm on Ron Vitale's Blog Today

I'm over on Ron Vitale's blog today, and we're talking about the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing. There's some good information for authors, so make sure you pop by and have a look.

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July 31, 2013

Why I'm a Romantic (guest post by Ron Vitale)

Have you ever wondered what a man is thinking? Of course you have. It's the standard question for a woman to ask a man: "What are you thinking," right? And what does he say? "Nothin'." Argh. But today, right here on this blog, we finally have the answer to that all-important question that's been burning a hole in every female mind for millennia. Many thanks to Ron Vitale for sharing what romance really means from a male perspective. :)

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Why I'm a Romantic

I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm a romantic. I decided a long, long time ago to embrace life and to live it to the fullest. But on seeing Richard Linklater's most recent film, Before Midnight, I have come face to face with the delusional yearnings of my youth and the hard, cold reality of the present. Bills, arguments, lack of sleep, screaming kids, work upon work, and a whole list of stresses, make me ask: Am I still a romantic and would I recommend others to be the same?

Once Upon a Time

Back in 1992 I graduated with both an English Literature and French degree and thought I'd be a novelist, making my living doing what I love. With a not so great economy, I went on to graduate school and earned my Masters in English Literature. In 1995, while still in graduate school, I met my wife and we've been together for 18 years, 5 months, 4 days and give or take a few hours (we just celebrated our 13 wedding anniversary).

Both of us are extremely creative and over the years we've done some cool things together. We went to France in 1999 and I proposed to her during the last total solar eclipse of the millennium in Reims. Over the years I have worked hard to remain romantic, to keep the spark of our love alive. One time that sticks out in my memory still makes me smile on seeing how her face had lit up. When she came home from a rough day of work, I had taped dozens of business cards to the ceiling with thread. Each card was taped to the back of another and they all had funny and cool sayings on them. As she walked through the room, Pat Benatar's "We Belong" blasted out from speakers. 

In our early years together, I would do cool and exciting things for her and she would surprise me with fun moments and gifts. (One of my favorite gifts she gave me is a bubble frame that has pictures of my son when he was under 2 years of age. Each bubble contains a tiny memory from the picture: A piece of pasta in the bubble pic of the first time he ate pasta with sauce all over his face or a seashell from our trip to the beach). I look back at all of these memories and am so amazed and happy with how great times were. 

Dark Days and the Storms of Life

And then, what happened? Months before our son was born my grandfather died, two months later my grandmother passed on and then another two months passed and my father-in-law was also gone. Three months later my son was born. Both of us knew little, if anything, of what parenting truly meant.

Over the next two years, my wife's grandmothers passed away and between work, stress and raising a kid, there didn't seem to be much time to be romantic any longer. In 2007 our daughter was born and over that time, my wife had lost her job, found another and we worked hard and harder to make ends meet. With lack of sleep from the kids being sick or up, I was irritable. Yelling and fighting took place more often than not and the joy in life just didn't seem to be there any longer. Granted, there would be pockets of fun, but my wife kept asking me: "Why does it have to be this hard?"

I didn't know the answer but started hearing stories of divorce within our own circle of friends or I'd hear my coworkers' similar stories. But I hung in there and then came my dreaded mid-level crisis. When I turned 39 years old, my brain seemed to go into overdrive: I kept wondering what had I done with my life? What ever happened to me writing books? What about going back to Europe? What about other hopes and dreams?

My wife's job made a turn for the worst and the stress in the household was at an all-time high. And here's the secret: Both my wife and I started thinking: "Would it be easier if we separated? What if we got out of all of this and moved on?" All of what we had and all of what we had wanted when we were in our 20s seemed so far away. 

The Journey Is the Destination

Both my wife and I have had thoughts of quitting the marriage and of giving up. We've been honest about it to each other. The stresses of life can be overwhelming. (And I've been told my older couples that the problems we have now in our life will only get more complicated: "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.)

In all the stress, my wife and I had started to tune each other out. It can become so easy to think negative thoughts and to roll your eyes up to the heavens and say: "Here we go. I've heard this all before." We fought, argued, and kept talking.

One day it hit me: I had made a choice a long, long time ago. I chose to love my wife. And each day I choose to do so through both the good and the bad times. I did not know what that meant 18 and a half years ago. I am human and make mistakes. I sometimes say stupid and hurtful things. I sometimes do dumb things. My wife has done and said hurtful things as well. But there's a key lesson that I want to share with you. When I was in Catholic high school, I met a priest who told me that love is "seeing good in someone and actively helping to see that good grow."

That is what I do when I choose to love my wife each day. I am a romantic, but life isn't all about romance. Life is about pain and joy. It's a mixture of both that is so sublime and amazingly wonderful. I believe each of us has a choice to make: To let go and allow the storms of life to wash over us, bending like a tree in the wind, or we break like the old tree that is uprooted from the hurricane. We fall over and give up and separate. I pray that I can always see and to remember the importance of accepting that life is hard. Marriage is hard. Raising children is ten thousand times harder than I ever could have imagined (yet amazingly rewarding at the same time). But in the end, wouldn't it be wonderful to know that we loved, for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part with the person we once used to see the sunrise with when we were young? That's what I choose each day. And that's what I'm a romantic.

Ron Vitale is the author of the dark fantasy series Cinderella's Secret Diaries who believes in love and its power to transform the world.

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July 25, 2013

Release Day: Over the Edge

Celebrate with me! It's release day for Over the Edge!

Before anyone assumes anything, I should probably make it absolutely clear that there was a lot of research that went into this book (I've never been a high school principal or a telephone actress, for example). And though the lovely Sharen Popov, principal of my kids' high school, helped a lot with brainstorming the scenarios Kat gets herself into, of course Sharen herself would never find herself in the hilarious predicaments we put Kat in. And the person who was my resource for all things to do with being a telephone actress, well, she shall remain unnamed though deeply appreciated. And I'm sure there's a real town named Craigmont, but mine is fictional. Also, no trees were harmed during the writing of this book (admittedly, some will be harmed for the sake of the print edition). There. That should keep everyone in real life out of trouble, yes? Needless to say, Over the Edge was loads of fun to write. I hope you like it, too! :)

New release:

Over the Edge, a romantic comedy from 5 Prince Publishing.

"Susan Lohrer is a bright new talent who is going places."
London Times best-selling author Katie Fforde

"Susan is so funny, she had me howling."
—best-selling author MaryLu Tyndall


Excerpt of Over the Edge

Kat shifted her wrists in the steel handcuffs. Rough, ancient bark pressed against her cheek, and the damp air intensified the resinous tang of the virgin forest. She’d been here since dawn—long enough to be on a first-name basis with Harvey, the Douglas fir. Which, if she let herself consider for more than a minute at a time, was kind of a weird development for a grown woman who had a respectable career. She’d consider it in more depth later. Right now she had enough on her mind.

A gust of coastal wind snatched her hat, and chilly rain plastered her hair to her scalp and trickled down her neck, making her teeth chatter. Nearby, a group of men wielded wrenches on a logging machine that refused to start. One of her students, the school board superintendent’s son, retrieved the hat and plopped it back on Kat’s head.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered, “they’re not going to get that machine going anytime soon.”

Alarm nibbled the back of her mind like a classroom gerbil gnawing a toilet paper tube. “There’d better not be a reason you know that.”

He laughed. “I’m just saying.” Then, calling to his friends, he trotted off.

Kat wondered whether she’d still have her job at the end of the day.

The superintendent had made it clear she’d lose it in a blink if the kids did anything more than show up, and Kat had made them promise not to chain themselves to any trees. So far, all they’d done was text the protest’s breaking news to their friends… unless they’d messed with the equipment before she got here this morning. The thought made her stomach feel like she’d eaten fir needles for lunch. She stared up into the dense boughs radiating from Harvey’s trunk high above her.

“You don’t think the kids wrecked that machine, do you, Harv? I mean, they know my career is at stake here.” Harvey only sighed in the wind, branches waving toward the broken-down machine. Yeah, it had Kat a little worried, too.

She flexed her shoulders, stiff from the hours she’d spent shackled to the tree. She wasn’t against logging; she lived in a wood-frame house and used reams of paper. What school principal didn’t? And the logging industry in Mills Creek fed a lot of families.

In the last few hours, she’d had a chance to reevaluate her reasons for chaining herself to this tree. This was about so much more than the environment. It was about standing up for someone who couldn’t stand up for herself. Or in Harvey’s case, himself. It was about choices that had been taken away from her. It was about the fact that sometimes, no matter how wrong you were, you couldn’t undo what you’d done.

Her goal wasn’t to stop the logging, this community’s lifeblood. It was to protect something beautiful and precious. If she could win this one small battle, do this one small good deed, save just this one tree, maybe it would somehow make amends in her heart for what she’d let happen to her family.

A Jeep rattled up the steep gravel road and pulled off on the landing, followed a few seconds later by a police car. The sun chose that moment to peek through the saturated clouds scudding across the sky as though to mock Kat, and she clenched her jaw.

A man exited the passenger door of the Jeep. His footsteps scuffed on the dirt road. Craning her neck, she peered through slanting late-afternoon shadows, making out only his easy gait and the set of his broad shoulders. Had they brought in a negotiator? He leaned into the police car for a minute, then stood, head down, hands on his hips, like a man bearing a heavy burden.

She almost felt sorry for the guy. She might look like a waterlogged rat at the moment, but he had no idea what he was up against. A tiny smirk crept over her mouth.

Now that this block of forest had been opened up to clear-cut logging, Harvey would have to watch while his family was torn away, one by one. She knew how he felt because the same thing had happened to her, until she had just one family member left. And she and Lacey weren’t even on speaking terms at the moment.

She dug her fingers into Harvey’s sturdy bark. “What am I doing talking to trees instead of making things right between Lacey and me?”

Soft footfalls on the carpet of needles behind her.

She straightened as much as she could. The chain connecting the two sets of handcuffs slipped and pulled her down with it until she had to slump against the tree trunk.

“Kat, what are you doing?” He sounded as exhausted as she felt. Sounded… disturbingly familiar.

That voice. Evan. Here? Memories grabbed her heart and sliced through it like the blade of the nearby feller buncher waiting to chop the young trees from their roots—if the loggers could get it running again. She strained her eyes to the left, looking without turning her head.

Evan was watching her, jaw clenched, rainwater slicking his blond hair.

She blinked the water from her eyes.

He was still there.

Not a gorgeous hallucination. A gorgeous reality. Her pulse whumped in her ears.

What was she doing? That was easy—she was running away from her failure to keep her family together. But what was Evan doing?

“If you can’t figure out what I’m doing, I’m not going to tell you.” She stared straight at Harvey’s unforgiving bark. Nice. Even the tree had given up on her.

The chain slipped downward again, pulling her into an awkward crouch.

Evan laid his hand on her shoulder. His fingers brushed her cheek, heat rushed through her, and she shivered. This was why she hadn’t dated since they broke up the second time. No other guy even came close to making her feel the way Evan did, and when it came to relationships, she couldn’t settle. Too bad Evan was too pigheaded to try to make it work when the going got tough.

“Peg asked me to come talk to you.”

She shot up and hit the end of the chain, jolting her shoulders just about out of their sockets, and plopped to the ground. The spongy earth soaked the knees of her jeans.

“Why? What happened?” There was only one reason Peg Kelly would send Evan five hundred kilometers north to the remote town of Mills Creek, to find her on a cut block another twenty kilometers up a treacherous logging road. “Is Lacey okay?”

She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead on Harvey’s trunk, her heart aching for her kid sister. She never should have sold their house and moved so far away. But when the job came up, she couldn’t rationalize staying in Craigmont. Staying was something a mother might do, but Kat was Lacey’s sister.

Please, let her be okay.

Evan made a sound like he was grinding his molars. “I don’t know.”

He didn’t know or he wasn’t telling her? Her temples throbbed, and the wind crept up the sleeves of the thick flannel jacket under her raincoat until she shuddered with the cold and the wet.

“C’mon, Ms. Cherish, hang in there,” called the superintendent’s son, who might have sabotaged the feller buncher and cost Kat her job. Though, when it came right down to it, Kat was responsible for the actions of her students simply because she hadn’t forbidden them to come.

This had gone too far. It started with the pregnancy and ended with Kat losing her sister and the man she loved. And all Kat’s running away from the truth had gotten her was being handcuffed to a tree and risking her career. She had to stop running from her mistakes.

Besides, her bladder threatened to burst if she didn’t visit a washroom soon.

She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. Opened them and made eye contact with Billy, the head of the logging crew.

“I’m ready to negotiate.”

A collective moan rose from her students.

Billy hitched up his pants and sauntered over.

“What can I do ya for, Kat?” He grinned, showing off his new false teeth.

She gave him a thin smile. “Leave fifty percent of the trees in the block, and I’ll walk away without another word.”

“Haw, haw.” He shook his head. “We got the stumpage rights to the whole mountain. You can’t win this one. Why don’t you just take your pretty little head back to the school and teach those kids to read and write, and let me do my job. You know we put in more new trees than we harvest.”

Her teeth chattered. “Because these trees aren’t just a bunch of unprocessed lumber. Animals live here, for one thing.” He snorted, and she narrowed her eyes to silence him. “And you know what happened after they logged above the Harrison Creek watershed.”

He opened and closed his mouth. One point for Kat. An entire community lost its sole water supply in that fiasco, and the residents ended up taking a government emergency fund to move their homes and businesses to another location an hour away. The way Billy’s jaw was working, she knew he didn’t want a Harrison Creek incident on his hands.

“I can’t leave half the trees.” He jutted out his lip.

“Twenty-five percent, then.” She glanced at Evan to gauge his mood. He had his hands shoved practically elbow deep into his pockets, and a little muscle beside his mouth twitched. On a scale of one to ten, he was at a seven. Something was definitely up with Lacey, something bad. She had to move this along.

“What do you say, Billy?”

“Twenty percent.” No hesitation.

“Including Har—this tree?” She arched a brow toward Harvey.

Billy spluttered. “You know how many board feet are in that tree?”

She was sure he’d tell her. And she was just as sure she’d take his next offer so she could get back home to her sister. She never should have left.

“Twenty-five hundred. I like you, Kat. Everybody does. But you can’t go interfering with the livelihood of half the families in Mills Creek. No can do.”

“Ten percent, and you leave this one.” She pointed. The gesture fell flat when the chain pulled taut after half an inch. She angled her head to indicate the majestic height of the Douglas fir.

Hand to his bristly chin, Billy paced back and forth. She saw his daughter among the group of students. Watching him, waiting with Kat, hoping he’d make a fair choice. Billy’s daughter clasped her hands in front of her heart and stared for all she was worth at her father. He stopped, and his head swung over to where the kids were. The moment he saw his little girl, Kat’s battle was won.

“Ah, hell. We’ll leave ten percent of the trees”—he tugged off his hat and flung it to the ground—“and that one.”

The kids roared and herded around Kat and Billy, and he grumbled and scowled in an effort not to grin as his daughter ran to him and hugged him.

Finally, he recovered his wits enough to ask about the key to the handcuffs.

It was safe, tucked way down in the front pocket of her jeans. Heat rushed up her neck. No way was she asking Billy or any of the kids to go fishing in her pants, no matter how many trees were at stake.

Evan bent his head next to hers. His breath caressed her neck. His unique scent, sawdust with a hint of masculinity, tried to weave its old spell around her. “Where’s the key?”

“Jeans pocket.” Her voice croaked. “Right front.”

“Want some help?” He slid his hand to the front opening of her rain slicker, and his touch, even after so long, made her stomach wrench into a two-stranded knot of awareness and the urge to run.

She couldn’t exactly run, and twenty or so pairs of eyes had homed in on every movement like the sharp gazes of adolescent hawks. She closed her eyes.

“Just get it over with.”

Evan’s breath hissed in, and he pulled back. With minimal contact, he stuck two fingers into her pocket and extracted the key. Then, as the kids began wandering off, somehow having sensed the excitement had passed, he unlocked the left cuff. It sprang open, and the chain clanked to the ground, tugging on her right wrist. He slapped the key into her free hand, sketched a salute to Billy, and marched off to the Jeep.

“Wait.” Kat fumbled with the key, but her cold fingers might as well be sticks. The Jeep engine started. “Wait, would you?”

She finally got the lock open and tossed the second set of cuffs down as she whirled to catch Evan before he could drive all the way back to Craigmont without telling her what had happened to her sister.

As she turned, a grade-A head rush slammed into her. She stumbled. Her foot hit something hard, and she threw out her hands and managed not to fall facedown in the mud.

The idle of the Jeep’s engine sped up as though Evan intended to leave her here not knowing what he’d driven all this way to say.

She bolted upright, swiping her dirty hands on her coat as she sprinted for the Jeep. As she reached it, she banged her fist on the driver’s-side window. Evan rolled it down. “I have to go. You gonna be okay?”

Sure, she’d be okay. She was perfectly capable of saying good-bye to the man she’d loved but couldn’t be with, getting into her car, and driving back to her house to call Lacey.

But that would mean running away from yet another piece of her past. And she realized she didn’t want to run anymore.

Buy the e-book now*:
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble
All Romance

*Print edition will be released at the end of August 2013.

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July 09, 2013

Ever Thought You Could Write a Romance Novel Better Than ____?

I was watching Dumbest Stuff on Wheels again (I know, something's seriously wrong with me), and of course it made me think about writing. Not much doesn't. :)

So many people say they got started writing romance when they read a somewhat poorly written one and thought, "I can do better than that." And so they tried. And the result was invariably not better than that.

I wrote a few stories like that, but fortunately a computer crash obliterated them. Trust me, the world is a better place because of it. I wrote them without training, without any of the tools and equipment that belong in a writer's toolbox, without forethought. They were disastrous! Because...

I wrote just like the people on Dumbest Stuff on Wheels. It's how a lot of people write, at least when they're starting out. (And then they self-publish, which is a disaster beyond the scope of this post.)

But what if people read a poorly written novel and thought, "I would never try to do that... without the proper training and equipment."

Do people ever think that? I mean, this post was sparked by a discussion that went: "OMG, how is it legal for them to air a show like this?" "Maybe it'll stop someone from being stupid." "No, it'll encourage stupid people to do stuff they wouldn't have thought of otherwise." "But it's funny." So maybe nobody would ever think that. After all, I may think it now, but I didn't when I started writing.

Maybe we writers actually need that sense of wonder and confidence that goes hand in hand with "I can do better than that." Because all too soon we turn neurotic and paranoid even while pretending to have that famous, possibly mythical, protective coating of thick author skin.

What do you think? Would we be better off with a lot more preparation going into writing, or is it better to jump in armed with just a truckload of enthusiasm? Perhaps more important: What do you think when you watch Dumbest Stuff on Wheels?


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July 05, 2013

Encore! by Bernadette Marie

What a great year this has been for the lovely, talented Bernadette Marie. :) And here's another re-release, the next book of her hugely popular Matchmakers series: Encore.

If you like contemporary romance with characters so real you fall in love with them, you'll love this series.

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: July 4, 2013
Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-58-5  ISBN 10:1-939217-58-X
Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-57-8  ISBN 10:1-939217-57-1
Purchase links: (coming very soon)
iTunes (coming very soon)
Amazon (available now!)

Newly unemployed concert pianist, Thomas Samuel has spent
most of his adult life escaping his upbringing. He’s become an expert at hiding
his feelings and remaining professional. But when he meets cellist Carissa
Kendal he’s faced with one emotion he can’t escape—love.
Carissa hadn’t expected her mother to take on the art of
matchmaking and she was convinced she wasn’t very good at it. Strong minded
Carissa had her work cut out for her with the emotionally scarred Thomas, but
love always wins in the end—or does it?
By the time Thomas realizes his past does not define the man
he has become it might be too late. Big venues and scenic places might just win
over the heart of Carissa and take her away from him—unless he hurries and
faces the man who ruined his career and convince Carissa that every
performance, even love, deserves an encore.

About Bernadette Marie:
Bernadette Marie has been an
avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook
with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing
started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old
typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back
porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22
In 2007—after marriage, filling
her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children—Bernadette began to
write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12 books.
In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.
In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing
house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released her own contemporary titles. She
also quickly began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.
In 2012 Bernadette Marie began
to find herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and
Noble to name a few. Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with
the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope
that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.
Bernadette spends most of her
free time driving her kids to their many events—usually hockey. She is also an
accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. An
avid reader, she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever

Author Contact Info:
@writesromance on Twitter

EXCERPT of Encore:

Chapter One

Her young student pulled the bow across the strings of the
violin, and the sound was pure evil. Carissa Kendal winced, then quickly
smiled. She’d get it in time. Eventually, they all got it if they stuck around.
The dropout rate of students was the one dark cloud over her
next venture, the Kendal School of Music. It had been her dream to teach music
in her own school, and she was about to dive into it. She’d hoped her mother
would want to be by her side more, but Sophia still had Hope to raise. Carissa
had accepted that, but to have her mother call up an old friend to help her
wasn’t settling.
Did Sophia not think she’d look him up? That she wouldn’t
find out who he was?
At the moment, he was nobody. Every musical endeavor he’d
pursued in the eight years since the renowned tenor Pablo DiAngelo’s ensemble
broke up had failed spectacularly.
Why was Sophia soft on him? Her mother’s name carried far
more influence than that of the failed pianist, and it would have given
Carissa’s music school all the prestige it needed.
The student pulled another evil note and snapped Carissa
from her thoughts.
“I’m never going to get this,” the young girl complained
with her nose wrinkled.
“You will. If you want to, you’ll get it.” She smiled
encouragingly, remembering when she’d been that young girl. “You need to
remember to practice the material I give you.” Carissa raised her eyebrows with
the subtle demand.
“Okay. I promise I’ll be better next time.”
“And if you practice, that will always be the case.”
As her student gathered her instrument, Carissa marked off
her lesson sheet and handed it to her.
They left the study of the old boardinghouse, where Carissa
lived with her grandmother, and stood by the door as her student’s mother
walked toward them. Carissa gave the girl a squeeze on her shoulder.
“She’s doing wonderfully. A little extra practice each day
will help,” she said. “Don’t forget your peppermint on your way out the door.”
The young girl fished in the bowl for the right piece of
candy as Carissa opened the front door. The violinist’s mother handed Carissa a
check for the lesson.
“Thank you, Carissa. She enjoys her lessons very much.”
“I’m pleased to hear that. We’ll see you both next week.”
As the woman and her daughter descended the front steps, a
man paid a cab on the street in front of the old house. He stood with his
suitcase in his hand and looked her way.
He was tall and too thin for her taste, but he looked almost
regal in the way he carried himself. He removed his sunglasses and stroked the
wisps of dirty blond hair from his eyes. She almost didn’t recognize the man
from the pictures she’d seen on the Internet.
He looked like a blond Jimmy Stewart, and her stomach did a
little flip.
“Hello,” he called as he neared the house. She smiled
despite her misgivings. He even walked like Jimmy Stewart.
Like most of Pablo’s ensemble, he’d always walked behind the
man with the million-dollar smile, never next to or in front of him, not like
her mother who had been paraded on Pablo’s arm. It was no wonder she hadn’t
recognized him.
She extended her hand to him, and as his fingers enclosed
hers, she gulped in air. He was strikingly handsome. She hadn’t expected that.
To have played for Pablo, as Sophia had, Thomas had to be
tremendously talented. Yet would the curse that hung over his career affect her
music school?
“You must be Thomas Samuel. I’m Sophia’s daughter, Carissa
Kendal. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

When Sophia Kendal had said her daughter would meet him at
the boardinghouse in Kansas City, he hadn’t expected she’d look like the woman
standing before him. The woman before him stood erect as a dancer. Her hair
fell to the middle of her back like an ebony waterfall, and her dark eyes were
soft. She wore a flowing, orange blouse and a long skirt of the same orange,
mixed with earthy browns that swirled around her calves when she moved.
She was mesmerizing.
“Please come in.” She stepped back through the door. Heat
rose on the back of his neck as he passed by her. “My mother says you’ll be
staying with us until you get settled.”
“Uh. Yes.” He felt like his tongue had swollen. “I’m sorry
if I seem out of sorts. I knew Sophia for so long that to think of her as your
mother, well, that’s a stretch for me.”
Carissa smiled at him again. “I was seventeen before she
adopted me, so I can understand. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it out for their
“Yes, so am I.” Had he made that wedding, he’d have made it
his business to become more familiar with the dark beauty who, with the most
subtle gesture of tucking her hair behind her ear, had his pulse climbing.
Guilt halted his thoughts. He should have been at the
wedding because he’d promised Sophia he would be. It was just another broken
promise, and he feared he would let her down again. And given his past, he had
no business fantasizing about Carissa—or any woman. It could end only in
heartache—or worse.
~ ~ ~

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July 02, 2013

Win an Autographed Copy!

A quick giveaway! Pop over to Goodreads and enter to win an autographed copy of Rocky Road (Canada and US).

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June 13, 2013

Rerelease of Matchmakers by Bernadette Marie

I'm ecstatic to announce the rerelease of Bernadette Marie's Matchmakers. Bernadette is an amazing contemporary romance author (a big part of why I'm so happy she's my publisher, too). But you'll see for yourself when you read the excerpt. :)
Way to go, Bernadette! Happy Release Day!

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: June 13, 2013
Digital ISBN 13:978-1-939217-56-1  ISBN 10:1-939217-56-3
Print ISBN 13:978-1-939217-55-4  ISBN 10:1-939217-55-5

Cellist Sophia Burkhalter thought ten years in Europe
performing with an exclusive ensemble would have made it clear that she wasn’t
a candidate for her grandmother’s matchmaking. After all, she’d walked away
from the man she loved, leaving him back home in Kansas City.
David Kendal had fallen in love with Sophia, a match
orchestrated by her grandmother and his aunt. However, the unexpected
appearance of the daughter he never knew he had—and Sophia’s sudden, subsequent
departure for Europe—thrust him into the role of single father.
Carissa Kendal has only ever wanted the best for her father.
It doesn’t take long for her to realize that the very woman who broke her
father’s heart might be the one to make them a real family.
Can Carissa and the women who originally played matchmaker
to the duo convince them that love is worth a second try? Or will careers and
past mistakes tear them apart forever before they have a chance to reconcile?

About Bernadette Marie:
Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age
of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share
with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer
before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times
of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first
work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years. 
In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic
entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write
seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12
books.  In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published
author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened
her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary
titles and began the process of taking on other authors in other genres. 
In 2012 Bernadette Marie found herself on the bestsellers
lists of iTunes and Amazon to name a few.  Her office wall is lined with
colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the
very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.
Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to
their many events—usually hockey.  She is also an accomplished martial
artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.  An avid reader,
she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever afters.

Author Contact Info:
@writesromance on Twitter

EXCERPT of Matchmakers:
Sophia filed off the airplane
along with the other groggy passengers. The red-eye flight to Kansas City had
knotted up her stomach. What in the hell was she doing back here?
Perfect persuasion and just the
right amount of guilt had gotten her on that plane. Perhaps the tightening of
her stomach wasn’t the flying—it could very well be that she’d returned to the
very place she’d run from ten years ago.
She’d run from a man and
shattered the hearts of people she loved. The guilt stung a little deeper. She
should have come home years earlier.
Sophia followed a small group of
women from the plane into the ladies’ room. Exhaustion weighed down her
shoulders. Within the hour, she’d be at her grandmother’s house, tucked into
her childhood bed, and asleep. In the meantime, she splashed cool water on her
face to keep herself alert.
She dried her face and hands and
adjusted the scarf at her neck to ensure it hid the secret she kept from the
world. She picked up the carry-on luggage at her feet and headed toward baggage
The husky voice was soft and
male and made her knees weak when she heard it. She knew that voice as well as
she knew her own. The knot in her stomach returned, but this time it was like a
fist in her gut.
She turned to see him standing
there in his pilot’s uniform with his suitcase at his side—David Kendal, the
very man she’d run from so many years ago.
He took his pilot’s hat off and
revealed the dark, wavy hair that she’d once run her fingers through. It was
now speckled with hints of sophisticated silver. His uniform was striking on
him—just as it had always been. Even in the early morning hour, she felt her
skin tingle when she looked at his broad shoulders and knew what it was like to
rest her head against his chest.
“David.” His name floated from
her lips in a sigh. Ten years had passed since she’d last laid eyes on him, and
now he was as large as life standing before her.
“I thought that was you on the
plane.” He was walking closer to her, and her trembling knees wouldn’t allow
her to run the other direction.
The scent of his cologne washed
over her. His dark eyes were smoky and wide as she watched him take in the
sight of her.
“You look wonderful.” He stepped
closer, and Sophia gripped her bag tighter and tried to swallow the ball of
fear that had lodged in her throat. He gripped his hat tighter. “I’ve been
following your career.”
“Really?” The muscles in her
shoulders tensed. “Why?”
“Why?” He chuckled and took one
more step closer, and her throat constricted. “Sophia, you’re…” He shrugged as
though brushing off a thought. “You’re very talented.”
Sophia shook her head, trying
desperately to remove all thoughts of him from before—of what she’d lost. She
sighed. “David, it was nice to see you. I really need to get my luggage.”
She turned from him, head up,
shoulders back, and strode toward the elevator, stepping in as the door closed.
She leaned her head against the back wall and closed her eyes.
How was it possible that after
ten years he could stir such feelings in her? Sophia took inventory of what she
was feeling. There was a surge of attraction between them. Then the anger she’d
felt for years accompanied the thought of him. She’d walked out on him. His
betrayal was much stronger than the attraction. It had given her purpose to
make something of herself. Her success as a concert cellist sprang as much from
her desire to succeed as it did from a need to escape her feelings for David.
Sophia opened her eyes when she
heard the elevator doors open. The small group of others who had been aboard
the plane with her stood watching the empty luggage carousel go around. Sophia
waited for her cello case to arrive in the oversized luggage. It killed her to
have to check the instrument, but there were no other choices. It was times
like this she wondered why she didn’t play the violin. She could carry that
onto the plane.
Relief flooded her as a man
brought her the case. She quickly opened it and examined the instrument to
assure herself it had arrived in one piece.
Her trip was to last two weeks.
She’d wanted to pack only one bag, but against her better judgment, she’d
packed two. When the two suitcases dropped to the carousel, she pulled them off
and stacked them. One hung from the other, and she slung her carry-on over her
shoulder. With a grunt, she hoisted her cello to her side. She started toward
the curb to collect a cab.
Footsteps clattered on the tile
floor behind her.
She wouldn’t let herself turn to
see him hurrying to her.
“Let me help you.”
“I travel like this all the
time. I do not need your assistance.” Her voice was cold.
“I wouldn’t be a gentleman if I
didn’t offer to help a lady in need.”
“A gentleman?” He’d already
taken her suitcases from her and wheeled them out to the sidewalk. “Mr. Kendal,
I assure you I do not need you.”
“No, you made that perfectly
clear when you disappeared and left your engagement ring in the sink.” He kept
walking, forcing her to follow.
“Where are you going?” She tried
to keep up with him, but his long stride kept him a hefty distance ahead of
He pointed off into the parking
garage. “My car is parked just over here.”
“Your car?” She trotted to catch
up with him. “I’m taking a cab.”
“I don’t want you in a cab in
the middle of the night,” he said, unwavering from his path.
She grunted and quickened her
step again.
“I don’t care what you think—”
“I know.” He darted a stare in
her direction.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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