Cheerleader Dad for 99 Cents This Week #MFRWHooks,

Now sitting at the table with her allowed him time to study her high cheekbones and smooth skin. Loose strands of hair escaped their braid. She had the face of an angel. It’s even prettier up close. Dangerously so.

Though Jessie had seen Alex several times he’d been unprepared for her mother’s delicate, natural blond beauty. Alex’s curly brown hair and dark brown eyes would mature into beauty, but couldn’t be as striking as her mother’s blond hair or dark-lashed amber eyes. Lily seemed skittish, maybe as aware of him as he was of her. She didn’t look directly into his eyes, almost as if she was shy.

“Mr. Richmond–” she began.

“Uh,uh. My friends call me Jesse, remember?”

Her brows arched, her mouth quirked to one side. “How do I know I’ll be your friend?”

For a moment he wanted her to be more than his friend. What would she think about that?

Mr, Richmond, you’ll probably need help getting uniform things together for Jaycee. I’ll be glad to help. You’re welcome to join Alex and me, if you wish.”

“Thanks.” He grinned at what he thought might be a favor as much as a challenge. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d shopped for girl’s stuff. He hoped he would be near his mother or sisters when the time came for bras and such. His mother had already had the talk about feminine stuff with Jaycee. Supplies purchased by Jesse’s older sister occupied their shelf in Jaycee’s bathroom. Embarrassing area of thought for an unmarried man, even one with two sisters and a mother.

Lily wondered if the red staining Jesse’s face and neck had anything to do with the fact that their knees and legs kept touching. Surely he wasn’t embarrassed by the closeness, or was he? Maybe he would have preferred to be in a more adult setting, or with a more sophisticated companion.

He probably had women trailing after him. She’d be willing to bet he knew how to please a woman. He’d know those special places to touch, to… Lily flushed as heat swept her body. She tried to avoid looking at the man who had innocently stirred her fantasies, awakening feelings long buried.

She’d learned most men didn’t understand her need to stand on her own feet or her devotion to her daughter. They wanted more than she was willing to give, too soon.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” She had to apologize for her lapse of attention. The man spoke and she hadn’t heard a word he said.

“Guess I was boring you.” He raised a dark eyebrow.

“No, really, please go on.”

His grin was winsome as he shrugged. “Taking over the dairy farm implements company and moving have taken a lot of my time, but Jaycee has been great about everything. She’s really a little trouper. You’ve been a godsend, Lily. It’s too bad my daughter didn’t have a mother like you.”

Immediately, Jesse wished he could take back that last admission. He hadn’t mentioned Jaycee’s mother to anyone outside his family and he wasn’t ready to discuss her with a stranger, especially one as sweet and innocent as Lily seemed. Especially one who made him think about satin sheets, and the way her body would look in his bed, the way her hair had smelled of sunshine and wildflowers when he’d held her for that second in the gym.

Lily was nothing like the self-centered woman who had placed her career over him, marriage, and raising his child. If I were going to choose a mother for Jaycee, I’d have chosen someone like Lily. Lily seemed like the kind of woman to spoil and make babies with. Get a grip.

“So you’re a farmer? An Engineer? An inventor?” Resisting a smirk, Lily raised an eyebrow at the idea of Jesse as a farmer. He’d do a lot for dirty jeans, or even overalls with no shirt. She must be losing it.

“Used to be, yes, and sort of. Your turn to fess up.” Jesse grinned at her. “What about you?”

“You want to know what I do when I’m not chauffeuring my daughter around? I plan fund raisers for charities and decorate offices and areas needing a special touch.”

“I’ve never met anyone who made a living like that in such a small town.” He didn’t know small town charities paid salaries or needed much specialty decorating. She seemed to have plenty of time to take the girls where they needed to go. For that he was grateful. She’d make a perfect wife and a good mother for Jaycee. Dependable, caring, loving. Too bad he couldn’t just shop for the woman he needed and make a practical arrangement. No one would lose, everyone could win. Whoa. Too much, too fast. “You’re an interior decorator?”

Lily smiled. He seemed more concerned than nosy. “Not exactly. I’m on retainers for two hospitals and several civic groups. My salaries are more than earned when I save money by finding donors of services and items and get publicity for all concerned. I make some of the things. I donate some. Patrons hire me on a personal basis and pay well when they need someone to decorate their homes.”

“What does Mr. Alexander do for a living?” Though Jesse had the impression from Alex that there was no father in the picture, he wanted to be sure. He couldn’t exactly ask, “By the way, do you have a husband who’ll be jealous if I spend a lot of time with you? Hit me if I touch you?”

“There is no Mr. Alexander in our lives. I support my daughter and me.”

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The Rabbit and the Fox & Bears and Elves?


2 Excerpts:

The Rabbit and the Fox
Melba Moon

It had been years since he’d been this close to home. RT McCombs drove south along the Blue Ridge Parkway. He’d left Bakersfield four months ago, following the trail left by the hacker who’d stolen information from his clients, information they wanted back. He’d been closing in on her in Nashville when she’d vanished. It had taken months and a new linguistics data analysis tracker to pick up her trail.

The drive through the Chattahoochee National Forest signaled he’d soon be on familiar home ground. The word tasted strange on his tongue. Was it home, really? Would it ever be home again? Bitterness filled his mouth. No, Nantahala wasn’t home. It hadn’t been for many years. He’d stayed away, would still be away if this job hadn’t dragged him back. He pressed the button on the wheel to activate his Bluetooth device. He’d make the obligatory call to Jason, the head of the Southern Dominion, and let him know he was back, if only briefly. His older brother liked to keep his thumb on the pulse of the collective, so he wouldn’t appreciate a stray wandering into his territory, even if the stray was his baby brother. The call went to voicemail and RT hung up without leaving a message. Time enough to contact his brother after he arrived in Nantahala.
Tracking the little rabbit from Reno to Nashville had been easy, but just when he’d been ready to spring, something had spooked her and she’d gone underground. She’d cleaned out her bank account, what little there had been in it, and gone off the grid. Using the new tech tracking software he’d developed, he’d finally picked up her trail. Damnedest thing, the little bunny had surfaced in Nantahala, Georgia. This time she wouldn’t get away. She’d landed right in his home territory. He knew the area like the back of his hand. He’d grown up here. His family lived here. Never mind that he hadn’t been home in years. Nothing ever changed in Nantahala. The Dominion, old as the forest itself, still sheltered there.

Old secrets, traditions and values flourished here. Home, he’d come home. As a courtesy he’d stop by the Homestead and let his mother know he was in town. Then he would find out just what she was up to in an out-of-the-way little town like Nantahala.
The homestead, tucked into the side of Panther’s Peek, looked just like any other expensive vacation cabin nestled against a mountainside, but RT knew better. The large rustic cabin with two storied glass walls looking over the valley below hid a secret, one that no outsider ever learned about, the Southern Dominion.

What had once been little more than a fox hole in the side of the mountain had expanded to a cavernous size and housed the headquarters of the southern collective. From there Jason ran the Dominion as the mega consortium it had grown into, with few outsiders any the wiser. Hundreds called the Dominion home, and at any given moment dozens housed there. The entire southern half of the mountain was honeycombed with warrens.

RT turned off the Blue Ridge Parkway heading home. He let the windows down and drew in deep breaths of the fresh mountain air. His body responded to the fresh fragrance of Spring in the mountains, his skin tingled, the hair along the back of his neck stood on end. The animal in him stretched and pushed, seeking freedom. Too long, it complained. Too long since it had been allowed to run free. Soon, RT promised and clamped iron hard will on the little rogue seeking to escape. He turned south, leaving the Parkway and heading toward the Georgia line and home. His nose twitched with the familiar scents of the North Georgia Mountains. He picked up Highway 19 and drove faster, his instincts sharpened. The air carried
the very embodiment of the Dominion. Only a member of the collective would recognize the subtle essence wafting through the gentle mountain breeze. His brethren gathered more than usual. Their pungent scents carried on the wind. Only his sensitive nose allowed him to separate and identify each individual. They were moving south like he was, converging on the encampment. He scented links, wolf, bear, deer, beaver and more, all moving steadily toward the Dominion.
Something was up.


Tears for the Past
Georgiana Fields

For being early spring, the stifling heat had Douglas Benge dripping in sweat. Of course wearing a fur coat on the inside didn’t help matters. He inhaled, taking in the smells of the forest and the stench of the gut pile at his feet. Flies swarmed around the mess. He noted a few maggots squirming on what he made out to be the large intestines, so the body wasn’t that old. At least scavengers hadn’t carried it off.
“What’s your take, Doug?” Mathew Autry asked. “You know Mayor Dumbass is going to have a field day with this.”
Doug chuckled. There was no love lost between the Sheriff and Nantahala’s mayor, David Wolverton. Those two have been at each other since high school. And they thought bears held grudges. “From the scent, I’d say we have another bear mauling. My question is, where the hell is the rest of the body?”
“I can answer that question, gentlemen,” a woman said as she stepped from behind a bush.
“This is a crime scene!” Mat yelled.
“Detective Isabell Halifax, GBI.” She flipped out her badge. “My partner is at the other scene.”
“GBI?” Mat crossed his arms over his chest. “This is my town, my crime scene.”
Of Mountains and Mysteries
“And you are?”
“Sheriff Mathew Autry and my Deputy Doug Benge. I did not notify the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. So what the hell are you doing here?”
“That is correct, sir.” The woman glanced between Mat and Doug.
Doug took in the woman’s healthy figure and muscular arms. Her light brown hair she’d pulled back into a ponytail. He noticed she wasn’t painted up, either. He couldn’t understand why women thought they had to cover-up their beauty with paint. He breathed her scent deep into his lungs. Human, with an overlaying scent of something lethal. He inhaled again, trying to distinguish the scent. His canines lengthened and his nails itched. One thing for sure, she wasn’t a frigging bloodsucker, but it didn’t mean she wasn’t in league with them.
“I don’t plan to seize your crime scene, Sheriff Autry. This happened to be my weekend off. I wasn’t expecting to stumble onto a murder.” She glanced between Mat and Doug. “As you said, Deputy, bear attacks are on the increase. Looks as if you have a rouge with a wicked sense of humor.” She turned and pushed through the thick underbrush.
“It’s either Sheriff or Mat, you can call me sheriff.” Mat grumbled something about intruders and uppity GBI agents as he followed the detective. “You coming, Doug? Or are you just going to stand there?”
Yep, it was going to be one of those days. Doug trudged through the underbrush. His keen hearing picked up a murmured conversation up ahead. Sounded like Mat was pissed again. Nothing new there. Hell, Mat had been more of a bear than Doug since Mat’s 13-year-old son Gabriel took an interest in Wolverton’s 15-year-old daughter, Arabella. That was saying a lot, seeing Mat was human.
Doug stepped into a clearing at the edge of Crying Woman Falls, where his sight promptly fell on the Elf, leaning against a tree. Doug knew he’d scented danger on the woman.
Isabell whirled around in time to see the deputy shift into the largest frigging bear she’d seen in her life. The massive black bear reared back, standing on his hind legs. He had to be over ten feet tall, and she guesstimated he weighed about eight hundred pounds.
She was so dead.
But instead of killing her, he batted the sheriff, knocking him several feet backward. To make matters worse, her partner, Rowan, decided to fling a fireball at the bear. She snatched her firearms, pointing one at Rowan and the other at the deputy.
“I will so pepper your asses if you don’t put your dicks away, or would you both prefer I hand you a magnifying glass so you can see who has the biggest?”
“Damn, lady, I like your gumption,” the Sheriff cachinnated. Once he’d gained control of his laughter he pushed to his feet then stomped out the small brush fire Rowan started. “Doug, shift back.” The Sheriff cocked a black eyebrow at her. “Hope you don’t mind a little nudity.”
“Not at all. Seen one prick, seen them all.”
“You haven’t see—”
“No, not a word.” She cut off Rowan’s comment. She wasn’t in the mood to hear what he had to say, not after spilling her coffee, then refusing to get her another cup. The man knew she couldn’t function without her morning dose of caffeine.



Posted in Paranormal, paranormal short story anthologies, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


I am borrowing this one!

Beth Warstadt

I come from a long line of grudge-holders. With a few remarkable exceptions, my family members have turned blaming others for their unhappiness into a fine art. Which is why something I heard today in the movie “The Light Between Oceans” means more to me than merely another line in another movie.

Rachel Weisz’s character is married to a German man in Australia in the years after World War I. He is not a very popular guy, so in addition to the hardships he faced in Germany during the war, he is treated badly by the people where he lives, including being shunned  by his wife’s family.  She asks him why he is such a happy person in spite of all that he has endured. He answers:

You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day, all the time. You have to…

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Growing up Overby in the 1940’s and 50’s

Growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in Augusta, Georgia.

Mama and Daddy at 22Mary Parents RET 0008

When I was a kid Daddy drove a truck for the Augusta Arsenal and Mama was a homemaker. I really don’t remember living at my grandmama’s house, but I do remember staying with her when Mama had my sister, Carolyn. I was 3 ½ and stayed there for several days while Mama spend the usual 3 days in the hospital and then was on bed rest at Grandmama’s house. Mama didn’t have easy pregnancies. She grew up next door to  McKeown’s Florist in Augusta, Georgia. That Florist played a part in my parent’s meeting.

Mama’s sisters gave me plenty of attention while Daddy worked and went to the hospital to see the baby.  I slept with Grandma and the baby slept between Mama and Daddy. That I really do remember. There was a lot of snoring at night!

We had a small house in a neighborhood of houses build for married families of soldiers. That I learned later was a version of the “projects”.

We were a one-car family, which I believe was true of most families at that time. Mama didn’t drive. She loved to tell everyone I liked riding the bus to town and to see Grandma. I do not remember entertaining the other bus passengers, but she declared that I would stand in the front of buses and sing “Jesus Loves Me” and tell stories. We must have made an interesting picture, since she was all of 4’ 10 1/2” and I weighted 30 pounds by the time I started school. I was the smallest one in each class every year.


Mary Sister 8x10 0009

I remember having to watch my little sister while Mama cooked. She would sit me in a kid size rocking chair and put my sister in my lap. Then she’d tie us in, so I wouldn’t drop the baby and she could watch us. I was all of four and that wasn’t my favorite thing to do. I do not remember a playpen or a crib at that time. Check the image of her in my lap. there was 3 1/2 years difference in our ages.

Daddy helped Grandmamma deliver flowers that had to be on people’s doorsteps or at hospitals and churches on Christmas morning. Santa was pretty tired by the time he and Mrs. Clause put our toys under our tree but they were there when we got up. !

More to come!

Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab

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Time for a Sale! 99 Cents for 7 Days Only

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Blogging again! Romance Lives Forever. Drew faces Kayelle with honest anwers

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The Perfect Book To Put You in a Thanksgiving Mood!

Some folks happily go home for Thanksgiving or host their families, excited to see everyone. What if you haven’t gone home for a holiday in years? What if you have gone home but found being with family stressful? Some of the characters in this book love holidays and look forward to them. Others have been estranged and dread going home.

You will love this book with its stories of family, love, and reconciliation. Some stories will surprise you! All will involve you!

One young man has been away in prison. One woman resents her stepmother. Could you forgive your sister for trying to seduce your fiance? Would you allow your EX husband to share Thanksgiving with your family? Go grab this book!

Posted in Family life, Holiday stories, sad scenes, Uncategorized | 5 Comments