Posts tagged with: small town romance

Welcome to Honey Bend

When I was a little girl, my grandmother, MotherGrant, had a huge garden. She and DaddyMike grew all the veggies they’d use for the entire year.

But that veggie garden was about survival. It was not about joy.

In the afternoons, after the other garden work was done, MotherGrant would spend a little time every day on her knees, on the outside of the garden fence, weeding and tending her flowers.

celosiaMotherGrant’s flower garden ran all the way down the edge of the veggie garden, in a glorious pile of colors and shapes, from the humble violet to the bawdy whore-of-a blossom on the Celosia cristata. That’s a picture of one over there on the left.

She called them Princey Feathers. Her name fit, don’t you think?

I was in the garden with MotherGrant by the time I could walk, and though she had no science, she had something better. She had a gift. She didn’t know the Latin names of the flowers, but the plants didn’t care about that.

She loved the flowers, and they loved her back.

She taught me to love them too, and years later, long after MotherGrant had gone to tend God’s garden, I went to graduate school to study horticulture, and then I became a grower in a big commercial greenhouse.marigold

Flash forward a few years. I was doing something different for a living, but I’d started writing fiction on the side. I was working on a dark romantic suspense series when Del walked walked into my mind.

I figured out right away that she was persistent, because any time I stared out the window at the field in front of my house, that field would fade away and I’d end up in Del’s greenhouse. She was a greenhouse grower, just like I’d been, and while she was innocently puttering around with pots of flowers, she’d swipe a dirt-covered arm across her forehead and start in, telling me how she had this story, and she wanted me to tell it.

Every time I went outside to dig in the dirt in my own garden, Del went with me, pestering me.

Del grew up in a small town in southern Kentucky, not too far from where I live right now.

That town is Honey Bend.

I wrote the start of Del’s story long ago, just to get her to shut up. But then I put it away and ignored it for the longest time. But I never forgot about it.

I told y’all in my blog on February 4th about my growing pains, going from dark romantic suspense Goth Chick to writing small town romance, and I promised to show you the cover today.

Grow on Me Honey 2 megs

Brilliant cover artist Lyndsey Lewellen at LLewellen Designs got just the right feel for Del’s story, Grow On Me Honey.

That’s Del, with her hero, Erik.

Sometimes I wonder if MotherGrant wasn’t the one nudging me all this time, telling me I should write Del’s story, because it was a part of who I am.

Every time I’ve typed a blog over the past eight years, I’ve felt like I was sitting down on the porch with friends, telling stories, snapping beans, and inviting y’all to come around and “set a spell.”

Writing about the town of Honey Bend feels just like that. I can’t wait to tell you more about Del and Erik, but for right now, I’ll leave you with the cover, and hope you’ll feel as welcome in Honey Bend as I do.

In the meantime, tell me, Bandits and Buddies..

If you read small-town romance, what is it that draws you to the genre?

Is there someone from your past who played a role in making you who you are now?

Or is there something from your childhood that’s a part of who you are now, the way MotherGrant’s flower garden became a part of me?

If you want to knowBarn welcome to honey bend 40 percent size when their story comes out, you can follow me on facebook at Author Cassondra Murray.

Or you can sign up for my newsletter here.

I’ll give away one more combo this month to a random commenter—a grab bag of two random books and a piece of swag from my conference stash!

The Faux Cinderella~Growing Pains of a Goth Chick Writer

It’s probably no surprise to any of you.

I’m guessing it was a surprise only to me.

Let’s Goth chick owlbacktrack here.

You see…Owls are my favorite birds.  Odd for that one in the photo to be out in the daytime…hmmm.

Most of my clothes are black.

I’ve never minded the whole “sleeping in a coffin” persona because it fit.

If I had no alarm clock, my natural creative cycle would run from about seven in the evening until about three in the morning. So I work as many—or more–hours as the next person. I just work when the sun is sleeping.goth chick trees

Bottom line? By nature I’m a nocturnal creature, and when I first started writing romance, it was in the middle of the night.

The story that first came pouring out of me was a romantic suspense. Think big city. Fog. The sound of a ship’s horn in the harbor. Evil peering around the corner, waiting to pounce.

I probably could have written true crime or hard-boiled detective mysteries. Heck, I like trench coats.

It fits with the whole nocturnal thing, don’t you think?

But see? I needed the happy ending. Even then, happy endings were all I wanted to read.

So I wrote romantic suspense—the best of both worlds, or so I thought. The manuscript that made me a finalist in the Golden Heart—which made me a Romance Bandit– was dark romantic suspense. I had a feel for it, based on the contest wins and the editorial feedback.

Flash forward a few years.

Goth chick degreeI was heading for the computer every day, but I was veering off to do something else. I got a degree. I landscaped properties. I studied wine. I gutted and rebuilt most of an old house.

I was stuck.

My best friends were writers. I talked a lot about writing.

Heck, I was writing. But I wasn’t writing books.

The truth is, I was avoiding it.

Finally I told my friends,“I think I’m not meant to do this. I need to stop saying I’m a writer.”

But my wise and discerning friend, Dianna Love said, “No, that’s not it. Cassondra, you need to write something else.”

Maybe it was the place I was in mentally. Maybe it was the tiGoth chick lightbulb momentme of year. Maybe it was the food I had for dinner or the phase of the moon. I dunno, but those were the best words anybody ever said to me.

Because I heard it.

When Dianna said, “you need to write something else,” I went to my suitcase (we were in some city at the time—I don’t remember where) and I dug out the books I’d brought.

They were light contemporary romance.

Small town romance.

I just stood there, shaking my head.

I got home from that trip, and I went to the pile of books on my bedside table. There was a stack on the back corner that was covered with dust.

And there were two stacks on the front that had no dust at all.

What was in those stacks?

Small town romance.

Jill Shalvis. Terri Osburn. Early Susan Crandall novels I’ve read a hundred times. Susan Mallery.

Happy endings wGoth chick omgith no big world threat. No murders. Real life, but not much ugly at all.

And the truth hit me.

Obviously, the reason I wasn’t writing was that I was avoiding the darker subject matter.

What was wrong with me?

Anybody who’s read the blog for a while knows that when I really write from the heart, what I write about is old houses. Barns. Tractors. Farms. Country.

Small towns.

Well, duh.

So the next day I took my laptop out to the deck, sat under the umbrella, and started typing, and I realized I had a big goofy smile on my face.goth chick blue fingernails

I looked down at myself and laughed out loud. I had on black jeans, a black shirt, and my fingernails were dark navy blue.

All the signs of a Goth chick were still there, but I was writing small-town romance just the same.

And I haven’t stopped since.

My first cover is almost done, and on the 20th of this month, I’ll show it to y’all. I want to show my cover here in the Lair first, because you’re my family. And because I still have this funky disconnect.

“Goth Chick Writes Small-Town Romance. Film at Eleven.”

Does that not sound weird to you?

So a while back, I had this website all planned out. Black. Gray. Fog. Intrigue. But I ditched it.

Now I have a landing page all set, and some awesome people are designing a new website for me…with nary a wisp of fog anywhere.

I feel like Cinderella, except…

I keeGoth chick wicked witchp waiting for the spell to break, and the dark Fairy Godmother to announce, “You cannot write THAT! You must write about BAD things, WICKED things, and good that triumphs over EEEEVILLL! It is who you ARE!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!”


My series is set in Honey Bend, Kentucky, not too far from where I live right now.

There’s a bunch of friends who’ve known each other since high school. There’s a few churches, a few decent bars, and in the town square, goth chick courthousethere’s a bunch of old men sittin’ on the benches outside the courthouse, whittlin’ and talkin’ and keepin’ an eye on their grandkids in line for ice cream at the Frosty Freeze across the street.

And there are some folks who really need to fall in love, but they’re not one bit interested in that at the moment.

There are barns, potlucks, and county fairs. There’s gossip, and there are good people.

That’s how I grew up. It’s what I know, and it’s where my soul goes when I want a smile and a good story.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to come around to this, since that’s what I’ve been writing about in my blogs forever.  But that’s what I’m writing in my books now too, even if I still have dark blue fingernails.

So while the Bandits are reinventing themselves, I am too.

I’m not sure how to integrate the black clothes with the small town stories, but it’s all me…maybe more of me than I’ve ever been before.

Barn welcome to honey bend 40 percent sizeThe first book in the Honey Bend series will be out this year.

I’ll announce it here of course. But if you want to know ahead of time when it’s about to be released, you can go to my temporary author webpage and sign up for my newsletter.

It would be great if you also like my facebook page .  I can’t promise I won’t post a photo of an owl or someone with blue fingernails on occasion.  My snarky sense of humor is not going away, and I still need a LOT of coffee to get going in the mornings.  But most of it will be fun, and I’d love to connect with you there.

I won’t bother you much with emails though.

Okay, well…I might bother you a little when the first book is released. I’m guessing I’ll be really excited about that.

I’ll show y’all the cover, and tell you a little about the book, in my blog on February 20th.  I can’t wait.

But in the meantime, to celebrate the reinvention of the Bandits and the reinvention of ME, I’m giving away a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble, and a surprise grab bag of two books and some goodies from my bottomless box of conference swag.

Have you ever gone one direction in life, only to figure out that you should be going a different way entirely?

Ever changed directions in mid-stream?

Have you ever reinvented yourself in any way, large or small?

What about your reading habits?  Do you read everything, all the time? Or do you go through phases–darker, grittier books for a while, then lighter, easier books?

Who’s your favorite small-town romance author?

Did you know any Goth kids growing up?  And did any of them turn out to be, by any chance, romance writers?

Oh yeah.  I’m on Twitter too…but I’m telling you..I need serious remedial help with that.  It might be funny….even when I don’t mean for it to be funny.  Just sayin.

Comfortable Choices

Sorry about the late blog, everybody!  My head was wrapped around a different day, but I’m here now and ready to roll.

Unknown-1There are certain books or videos I go to when I need to kick back, relax and read or watch something I know I’ll enjoy.  Anything by Georgette Heyer makes that list, and I’ve built up a good collection of her books.  If I want to see a smart, brave guy with a wicked sense of humor turn the tables on his snooty, condescending relatives, I go for The Unknown Ajax.  

Or I might reach for Frederica (love the way the Merrivilles upend Alverstoke’s neatly ordered and self-centered life) or, if I want something a little darker, Regency Buck (is the hero really a hero?  Or is he a villain in disguise), or, if I’m the mood for clashing swords, The Conqueror (can an invading Norman knight win the heart of a Saxon maid while his liege tries to win the country?).  

Those are my top four favorites of hers.

UnknownIn the clashing swords video department, with a touch of mystical fantasy thrown in, is The Thirteenth Warrior, starring Antonio Banderas.  Our frequent guest Gerri Russell recommended this movie to me.  I love the Viking elements and the evolution of Banderas’ character from scholar to warrior.  And, of course, the thirteen warriors risking themselves to protect a kingdom from bear cult marauders has a lot of appeal.

My all-time favorite ever book is To Kill A Mockingbird.  I was so disappointed that the museum in Monroeville, AL, was closed when we were in that area last summer.  But it’s not a comfortable choice.  It’s a thought-provoking book, a beautifully written book, with justice served at the end, but it’s sad, too.

Books or movies with a heavy eew factor also don’t make the list.  Eew moments are not relaxing.  Sagas also don’t qualify for me.  So the LOTR trilogy, book or film, doesn’t qualify as a comfort choice.  Now, there are some eew moments in The Thirteenth Warrior, I have to admit.  Sword fight are not, er, tidy.  But the rest of the movie outweighs the eew factor, so maybe it’s better to say the eew has to be outweighed by the fun stuff

images-2Boom, on the other hand, why, that’s very cathartic.  Hence the presence of SWAT on my comfort list and my video shelf.  It has lots and lots of boom and stars Colin Farrell as the sympathetic hero (Farrell’s character, Jim Street, played by the late Robert Urich, was my favorite of the TV SWAT guys).

Samuel L. Jackson is the tough mentor, Jeremy Renner is the sleazy bad guy, and Michelle Rodriguez is great as the kick-butt female cop. Maybe we should qualify this, though, by saying that the boom cannot be accompanied by the spurting blood and graphic depictions of injuries that some action films love to linger over.

doubledanger_200If I want romantic suspense, I reach for Dee Davis or Cindy Gerard.  I love Dee’s A-Tac series and Cindy’s Black Ops, Inc.  I’m so sorry to see A-Tac about to wind up.  But one of the joys of owning a book is the ability to read it again.  Pictured at right is Double Danger, the latest release in the A-Tac series.

MerelyMagic-SH-2Anything by Patricia Rice qualifies for the list.  One of my favorites is Merely Magic, the book that introduced the Malcolm and Ives families.  I loved the interplay of the siblings, the Georgian setting, and the mysterious man who threads his way through the series until he takes center stage in the final book.

Another favorite by Patricia Rice is an oldie, Denim and Lace.  It’s a western and opens with the heroine shooting the hero.  It has romance and boom!  What’s not to love?

51KMSQQBH2L._SY300_For superb writing, excellent performances, and a balance of comedy and drama, you can’t beat early Boston Legal.  If I’m in the mood for something like that, I might watch an entire disc at a sitting.  All three of us loved this show.

NightkeepersFor paranormal romance with a fabulous arc, hot romance and plenty of boom, I’ll take Jessica Andersen’s Nightkeepers.  Now that the series is complete, I can go from book 1 to book 7, secure in the knowledge that I’ll be happy when I get to the end.

It’s hard to pick a favorite book in that series.  The first, Night Keepers, is a wonderful setup for the entire series.  But I also love the fourth, Demon Keepers, for the geek-to-hero transformation of Lucius.  Choices, choices.

85459As our regulars know, I grew up in a small town and have one in my Protectors mage series.  So it probably isn’t surprising that I have a weakness for books set in small towns.  One I’ve read many times is Nora Roberts’ Northern Lights.  I love escaping to the little town of Lunacy, Alaska, and seeing the hero, Nate Burke, come back from personal tragedy in his new job as its top cop.

I don’t like the oversize paperback format (the picture at right is not distorted but proportioned for that format), but that’s not a problem on an e-reader, which is how I usually read it.  Yet the book stays on my keeper shelf because, hey, never know when the power might go out.  

I do like the Alaska setting.  One of my guilty pleasures is Alaska State Troopers on NatGeo.  I’m not sure why, except the setting.  I don’t watch any other police reality shows.  Except I did like Police, Camera, Action! out of the UK, which was shown on TLC for a while.  And, hmm, also not set where I live.

Anyway, getting back to the topic, I also love Nora’s Chesapeake series and her Sign of Seven trilogy.  And, of course, Chasing Fire, which is not set in a small town, as these others are, but features the small, close-knit community of the Missoula Smokejumpers.

These are some of my favorite go-to books and videos.  What are yours?  Do you go for pure romance or suspense?  Do you want some magic or some book thrown in?

I’ll give one commenter today a choice of a Protector or Renegade ARC.  The winner can also opt for a download instead of an ARC if downloads are available in the winner’s home area.

And tonight I’ll post my winner and Jennifer McQuiston’s from last month.  I just realized I hadn’t done that.  The announcement will be in the comments and will go up as a booty post.

If you haven’t already clicked “like” on my Facebook page and inclined to, you can find it here.



Close To The Edge (a series book)


Close to the Edge final front only

Sometimes an author builds a world that is so real it sucks me in. It holds my attention for the entire length of the book and often for spontaneous moments afterwards. I wonder about the characters. My brain will pull their images up as they move around the town and I think to myself, wonder what so-and-so is doing.

That’s great story telling.

It’s one of the things I’ve tried to emulate in my books. That sense of family or community or both.

In Kidnapped we learn that the heroine, Sami Edgars has three older brothers. (A friend once asked me why I give my characters so many siblings. My reply: “Sequels.”) In Hunted we get to visit the Edgars family once again as we learn Matt’s story. I’m currently working on the next book in the mix, Seized. It’s the story of the oldest Edgars brother Dave and his wife Judy. And yes, even the youngest brother, Luke will get his story.

In the Westen series, I wanted to address community as family. In Close To Home we meet some of the residents of Westin. The hero, Clint Preston, the new doc, and Emma Lewis, the single mom who works two jobs to support her twin sons and elderly mother.

You also meet Cleetus, a sheriff deputy; Lorna Doone, the proprietor of the Peaches ‘N Cream cafe; Harriet, the irascible nurse who drives Clint a little crazy; and Gage Justice, Emma’s cousin.

This week, the second book in the Westen series, Close To The Edge was released for sale on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple sites. This time Gage Justice gets his story. Here’s the blurb:

Close to home final small

After facing death as an undercover narcotics cop, Gage Justice has come home to heal. His recuperation is cut short by his father’s unexpected diagnosis of cancer and subsequent death. Now he’s honoring one of his father’s last wishes by taking over as the sheriff of his boyhood home, Westen, Ohio. Biding time until his father’s term is finished, he fights boredom more than crime in the sleepy little town—that is until one sexy little teacher-turned-Private-Investigator literally falls into his arms.

Bobby Roberts is looking for adventure. After giving up her own dreams to raise her two sisters after the death of their parents, she’s been trapped in a schoolroom for nearly two decades. The suffocating claustrophobia of the classroom has set her on a new career path. She arrives in Westen, complete with brand-spanking-new PI license, a handgun and a simple case—investigate a lien on property of a dead man.

Little does she realize her “simple little case” will lead her into the world of one sexy sheriff and the path of a murderer intent on keeping them both from discovering his secrets or stopping his plans that could destroy Westen.

Chris-Hemsworth-chris-hemsworth-32955844-1280-1024If you’ve read Close To Home, you’ll get to revisit with some of the zany characters who live in Westen in Close To The Edge, but you’ll also meet a few more intriguing characters. And if you’re wondering who I imagine in my head to cast as Gage Justice…well, who better than Chris Hemsworth? (photo courtesy of 🙂

You can get your copy at for Kindle or at for Nook.

Don’t forget to check out my website and sign up for the newsletter. (I promise only a few times a year!)


Do you like series books? Do you like seeing the town characters reappear in books? And since this is a launch party, We’ve broken out the Fondue. Tell me who you brought to the party, what kind of things you’d like to dip and what your favorite sauce is. 

So, in honor of another new book, I’m giving away signed copies of Kidnapped, Hunted and Close To Home, one to 3 lucky commentors. 

Welcome To Weston

Walking down Main street of the small Ohio town of Weston, you see the sign outside what looks like a 1940’s diner. There’s flowers in the window box and a sign inviting you in for “The Best Blue Plate Specials for 50 miles” painted on one of the plate glass windows. Suddenly a rotund woman with bright yellow hair opens the door. She’s dressed in a red and white stripped apron and has a smile that beams with friendliness.

Welcome to Weston! Come on in, the Peaches ‘N Cream cafe is open every day breakfast to dinner. I’m Lorna Doone, yep, spelled just like the cookie and I’m the owner of the Peaches ‘N Cream. Why don’t you take a seat here at the counter? I’ve got fresh pies going into the pie cabinet there. Apple and Pumpkin are the best this time of year. You can have a slice while I fill you in on what’s happening in town.

We have a new resident, been here for a few months. She’s kind of secretive, keeps watching people and writing stuff down on her big legal pads. At first we thought she was a lawyer or something, but turns out she’s a writer. That’s her over there in the corner, typing away on that laptop thingy, complete with earphones. Says she listens to music while she writes. Her name’s Suzanne Ferrell.

You see a dark haired woman typing away, stopping every so often to take a bite of the slice of apple pie by her elbow or sip her Diet Coke.

What does she write? Says she writes romance novels. Says she always likes Happy Endings. Good thing, because I like them, too.

Why is she writing in a little town like Weston? Well, I asked her the same thing a while back. Said she loves the people in town and romance can happen anywhere, not just in big cities or exotic places. You know what? She’s right. Take Weston. Seems like a peaceful little town with not much going on. But as my friend Harriett, nurse for the town doctor, says, “things aren’t always what they seem.”

 The door to the kitchen opens and a young woman with copper-red hair and burns-if-she’s-out-in-the-sun-more-than-one-hour complexion enters the dining room carrying two plates of what must be the day’s Blue-Plate special. She nods at you, but keeps moving to the two truckers seated in a booth near the windows.

That’s Emma Lewis. She’s the heroine of Ms. Ferrell’s latest book, Close To HomeEmma’s got a lot on her plate. The single mother of two precocious twin boys and an aging mother who is having trouble getting through each day, Emma thinks the last thing she needs is


 a man in her life, but I know better!

Emma smiles at you as she passes by on her way back into the kitchen.

See him?

Lorna points to the window. A tall, dark haired man strolls by, a rather serious expression on his handsome features.

That’s Clint Preston, nephew of our town doctor, Doc Ray. Clint came to Weston for the year to fill in as the town doc while Doc Ray takes a long needed vacation. Clint also needed a sense of peace and calm to try to find his passion for medicine, which was burned out by long shifts in an urban hospital’s ER. Now don’t you think they’d make the sweetest couple? Me and Ms. Ferrell had a long talk about the two of them. Seems the pair caught her eye too and she did some digging and decided they just needed a little push in the right direction.

So what happened? 

Well, all it took was two six-year olds and a huge tree…


Harriett tried to talk him out of it, but Clint was determined to investigate the situation at the twins’ home. It had been months since he’d really enjoyed taking care of patients. Holding the body of one dying child was enough for him. He wasn’t about to let anything happen to these boys now.

So, in the end, despite his nurse’s cryptic remarks that things were not always what they seemed, he and the boys headed across the street.

“Mommy is…” Brian said as he held Clint’s hand with his good one.

“…sleeping now,” Benjamin informed him from the other side.

“Who watches you when your mother is asleep?” Clint asked as they reached the old three-story colonial directly across from his clinic.

“Mama does,” the boys answered in unison.

Did this woman truly believe raising these boys in a small town protected them—that the safety of a small community negated the need for supervision? His blood started to boil again as his temper re-ignited.

The boys led him up to the front door. He followed them inside. The condition of the front parlor stopped him in his tracks. Either someone was attempting to knock out a wall, or the boys’ mother let them entertain themselves by hurling hammers into the drywall.

He took a step into the room, but two small hands stopped him, pulling him backward.

“We’re not allowed…” Brian began.

“…in the construction rooms,” Benjamin followed.

“I’m sorry boys.” Clint stepped back. At least the woman has some sense. “Why don’t you show me where your mother is.”

“Mommy’s upstairs,” Benjamin bounced up the steps, while his brother chose to hold Clint’s hand and walk up beside him.

Despite his bravado of doing things just like his brother, Clint sensed Brian probably needed a little more reassurance. He gave the younger boy’s hand a squeeze and smiled down at him.

Brian gave him a gap-toothed grin in return. “Mama will be surprised to see our…” He held up his arm. “What’d you call this?”

“A cast.” Clint couldn’t resist another smile. “And I’ll just bet she’ll be surprised.”

 “Mommy’s in here.” Benjamin stopped for a moment at the first door at the top of the stairs, then burst into the room. Brian dropped Clint’s hand and dashed in after his brother.

Laughter greeted Clint’s ears at the open doorway—rich, soft laughter, like the creamy center of a melted caramel. The kind of laughter that made you want to wrap yourself up in it and stay a while.

Clint stopped in the doorway, spellbound.

The boys sat on different sides of an antique four-poster bed, sunk knee-deep in patchwork quilts, sheets and what he would swear was an old fashioned feather-tick mattress. But it was the vision between the little boys that held Clint’s attention.

Emma Lewis had the same rich, dark, burnt-copper hair as her sons, and the burns-if-she’s-out-in-the-sun-longer-than-one-hour skin of most redheads. Beneath the wrinkled T-shirt and jeans she’d fallen asleep in, he could tell she was neither too thin nor too heavy, just the luscious type of figure Clint decided long ago he liked on women. She also possessed that wonderful laughter that had stirred more than his heart to life.

But when she raised the deepest cornflower-blue eyes to him, Clint nearly moaned. If he let himself, he could get lost in that open, clear gaze forever.

“Can I help you?” The remnants of sleep in her voice brought on visions of hearing her voice after a night of endless passion.

“I’m Clint Preston,” he started to explain.

“He’s Doc Ray’s nephew. And he’s a doc, too,” interrupted Benjamin.

“And he put this on my arm,” Brian added, not to be outdone by his brother.

“What?” Emma looked at her sons, finally taking in their casts and looking a bit confused. “What happened?”

“Apparently they decided to play skydivers while you were sleeping,” Clint informed her. Some of his anger was dispelled by the obvious motherly concern on her face.

“Where?” she asked, looking first at one cast then the other.

“Thompson’s tree,” the boys answered at the same time.

Emma sat straight up at this information. Her face changed from one of concern to one of maternal outrage. “The tall oak in front of Old Man Thompson’s barn? What were the two of you doing there? You know he doesn’t allow anyone on his property. That boar hog of his is dangerous!”

“But it’s the biggest tree, mommy,” Benjamin said, his head drooped with guilt.

“That’s no excuse, Benjamin Joseph Lewis!” Their mother gave the boys such an I’m-very-disappointed-in-you look that Clint wanted to grab them and leave.

His anger snapped back to life. “If you had someone watching them, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, coming to loom over the bed. “Setting limits, then yelling at them after they forget those limits is no replacement for actual adult supervision. Cases of neglect have been made on less, lady!”

Emma surged up in the bed, coming almost nose-to-nose with him. “How dare you suggest I neglect my sons. Not that it’s any of your business, Doctor, but for your information, I do have someone watching them.” Emma glared at him, her arms securely around her sons. “Mama watches them.”

“You can’t possibly believe they are safe running loose in this Podunk town while you sleep. You don’t deserve two great kids like these. Your lack of concern over their care is tantamount to neglect.”

“I don’t know who you think you are, Doctor, but no one accuses me of neglecting my kids.” She crawled out of the bed, to stand inches from him, her face flushed with her temper.

Then he remembered Johnny Wilson.

“I’m giving you one week, lady. Either you find more responsible child care, or I’ll have the county Child Protection Services here so fast you won’t know what hit you.”

“Oh, dear. This is all my fault.” A soft voice sounded from behind him.

Clint turned to see a tiny, white-haired woman standing in the doorway, wringing her hands.


That’s Miss Isabelle, Emma’s mother, but both boys call her Mama. Poor thing has been a bit forgetful since her husband Sherm died back in the spring. So once Ms. Ferrell had Clint and Emma meet, sparks certainly started to fly around here! The pair kept bumping into each other and sparring, until Clint did some digging on his own and Emma dispels his belief that she’s a neglectful mother, but he can see her situation is more critical than she wishes to face and finds himself volunteering to help care for her sons and the remodeling of her home.


A dark sedan passes by the Peaches ‘N Cream and Lorna visibly shutters.

That car’s been coming by here quite a bit lately. Something about it gives me the willies. Anyways, as Emma and Clint forge a relationship among our slightly off-beat inhabitants of Weston a menace from Emma’s past threatens her and her sons. Clint and Emma join forces to protect her sons and the love the couple has discovered in each other’s’ arms.

I can’t tell you any more, wouldn’t want to spoil the story for you.

Lorna smiles at you, a two-dimple smile.

Now, how about a slice of pie? The lemon meringue is just about ready to cut.


Hey everyone, I see you’ve met Lorna Doone. Her cafe, the Peaches ‘N Cream is the gathering place for the folks in Weston, it also tends to be gossip central. I fell in love with this little town and it’s not quite centered inhabitants. Actually, it reminds me of the small town where my parents grew up, only this is in rural Ohio and not rural Tennessee. I always found small town gossip and politics very fascinating. Close To Home is the first book in the Weston series,  a small-town contemporary romance series where “Things aren’t always what they seem“. 

I hope you’ll enjoy Emma and Clint’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!! Since this is a book launch, what are you bringing to eat or drink and who is you date??? I’m also giving away 2 Amazon gift cards in honor of Close To Home’s launch!!

I’m drinking Peach Belinis and bringing Clive Owen!


Amy Adams pic courtesy