Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Post Holiday Surprise for All of You...

I know, the holidays have come and gone, but tonight, I've decided that I'm going to do something I swore I would not do until after I had signed a publishing contract. (I have "NOT" done so at this time, just to be clear!)

But, considering the amount of fans, friends and family who have supported me - including a lot of people I've never spoken to, and some that I haven't met until recently - and a number of people asking me if they could read my first book before it was published, I have come to a major decision.

I've decided to break my own rule of not sharing an excerpt, or anything related to the actual story line itself, in a fully public area and give all of my readers here a taste of my actual writing style. I know I have a few people who read my blog that are not on my personal profile's friends list, so I thought I'd give y'all a sneak peek into No Regrets.

This part is from Chapter 8, and the leading lady's cousin isn't impressed with who she has fallen in love with...

The memorial service was late the next morning, on a cloudy and cool day that matched Marti’s mood. Upon entering the church, she saw Ewan right away, with the rest of Miranda and Ralph’s employees.
Their eyes met for an instant and her grief hit him like a punch to the stomach. All Ewan wanted to do was hold her and he couldn’t. It wasn’t the right time or the right place for it. Her face was pale, her hair pulled back into a severe bun, and the black of her skirt and sweater made her appear smaller, more delicate.
He could sense her pain, and watched helplessly as she started to cry while “Amazing Grace” was sang by the choir with her youngest brother’s arm around her shoulders as she let out her sorrow, his own fingers clenched around the back of the pew in front of him. Sheryl, who sensed his anguish, reached over and patted his hand several times during the service.
After what seemed like hours, the minister led the way down the aisle and out the door, the pallbearer carried the urn and the family followed him. Marti’s eyes met Ewan’s briefly before she followed her parents out the door.
The graveside part of the service was short, the family decided that everyone could express their sympathy at the wake instead of the cemetery.
Everyone gathered at Grandpa Charlie’s house. It seemed all of his friends and family had brought food, more than enough to feed everyone assembled. People gathered in small groups, expressed their sympathy and talked about Nana Alicia with the family.
Ewan managed to find a spot by Marti not long after he arrived. She was standing with Miranda and her aunt Doreen in a corner away from most of the mourners, not saying anything and listened to her cousin and aunt talk quietly.
Miranda surprised him, and Marti, when she gave him a big hug after he expressed his condolences. “Thanks for coming, Ewan,” she said softly and patted his arm with a watery smile on her face. “Ewan has been a godsend, Mom,” she explained to Doreen. “He helped keep things organized at the office, and was the one keeping us all up to date on things happening there, but only after I twisted his arm.”
He shot his boss a stern look. “The office can run by itself for a few days. I didn’t see the need to bother you with work while you were busy and upset,” he said in explanation as Doreen excused herself and slipped away to greet more mourners.
“Thanks for doing it anyway. I know I kind of pushed you harder than I should have for updates.”
He shrugged. “It's the least I could do.” His eyes finally met Marti’s. “How are you holding up, Shorty?” he asked her gently.
She ducked her head and started playing with her rings. “I’m alright, I guess.” Her voice was almost inaudible and he could tell she was fighting tears.
To hell with it, he thought. He slid his arms around her and placed a soft kiss on top of her head. She returned the hug, squeezed him back with all of her might, more upset than she let on to everyone else. She started to cry and her sobs were muffled against his neck.
Over the top of her head, his eyes met Miranda’s, and he saw his concern for Marti reflected in the blue-gray depths of hers. Miranda lifted her hand to touch Marti’s shoulder, but when Ewan shook his head slightly, her hand stopped in mid-air.
The look told her that he would take care of her cousin, even if he was the last person Miranda expected Marti to turn to in her grief.
There was something in Ewan’s eyes that made the question of his true relationship with Marti tingle at the back of Miranda’s mind once again. Marti’s reaction didn’t seem typical of her normal behavior either. She normally tensed up when anyone but her family and closest friends tried to touch her, yet she was seeking comfort from someone she had let the world believe she barely knew.
The expression on Ewan’s face didn’t hide much. He was worried about Marti, which was okay considering they knew each other, but there was also a strong sense of protectiveness toward her emanating from his body. Miranda saw a layer of defiance in his eyes and appearance, as if he was telling her and the rest of the world that Marti was in his protection, no one else’s.
Her steely blue-gray eyes narrowed slightly at him. He met her gaze and his black irises shot her warnings not to say anything to upset Marti. She wisely kept her mouth shut, but Ewan knew he’d pay up for his boldness later. Miranda was not one to back down, and he knew when it came to Marti, all bets were off. She was like a mother bear when it came to her favorite cousin, and Ewan knew he had crossed the line in Miranda’s mind. Marti was an adult and could make her own choices, even if her family didn’t see it that way.
Marti’s tears were starting to turn to hiccups by this time. She turned her head slightly, observed the look passed between her cousin and the man she loved, and knew Ewan was in deep trouble with Miranda. Their secret was out, and although she was relieved about it, she felt shimmers of impending doom heading for both of them.
She pulled back slightly and tried to ease the strain of the moment by putting distance between herself and Ewan, but the damage was already done. He wouldn’t let go of her and his arm stayed gently secured around her waist as she met her cousin’s eyes.
Miranda reached out and tucked a loose tendril of hair behind Marti’s ear as she unsuccessfully tried to smile down at her cousin. She was too angry to say more than, “We will discuss this later,” in a hiss with a glare directed at Ewan before she turned and marched away.
Marti shivered. Miranda’s wrath was at its worst when she spoke quietly instead of screamed. She looked up at Ewan. He gave her a half smile as encouragement, but it didn’t ease her sense of the train wreck that was about to befall him at Miranda’s hands. Defying her was asking for a nuclear bomb to go off in one’s lap.
“I’ve never seen Miranda that angry,” Marti said in an undertone.
“She should mind her own business and leave you alone,” Ewan shot back quietly. “You’re an adult, and it’s none of her concern who you’re seeing.”
She stared up at him for a moment. “I know, but I’m more bothered by the fact that she is your boss and won’t hesitate to fire you for this.”
“If she fires me, she fires me. I can get another job almost anywhere and if I can’t, I have some money saved up to hold me over for a while.” His arm tightened around her waist. “If she thinks she’s going to chase me out of the province, she has another thing coming.” His forehead nuzzled hers. “The only way I leave the area is if you’re coming with me. I’m not leaving you behind, no matter what she wants to think.” He placed a soft kiss on her nose. “I love you too much to leave you because one of your family members doesn’t like me.”
Marti sighed softly. “I love you too, but you don’t know what Miranda is like when she gets a bee in her hat. She’s terrifying when she’s livid at someone.”
Ewan shrugged. “The only person who scares me is my grandfather, and Miranda’s temper is nowhere near a match to his. He just about disowned me when I told him I wasn’t going into the oil industry like the rest of the family, but I went down my own path despite his anger. He’s more accepting now, but at the time, he was fit to shoot me, literally. I’ve faced bigger and meaner than Miranda, trust me.” He kissed her softly and rested his jaw against her temple.
“Aren’t you forgetting your dream to open up your own agency?” Marti pointed out, a reminder of Miranda’s threat from weeks before.
He shrugged again and tightened his arm around her waist. “I have enough experience and enough of a reputation to get work in another place even if she does start causing problems for me. Besides, Ralph and I get along, and he has already given me a letter of recommendation, just in case I wanted to move on sometime soon.” He caught sight of Miranda’s glare from across the room. “Something tells me I’m going to need it.”
At Marti’s glum expression, he whispered, “I won’t go far, I promise, and if I do, you’ll be coming with me, remember? I was thinking along the lines of seeing what was in Wolfville so you wouldn’t have to drive down here every weekend, and we would be able to see each other every day.”
Marti stared up at him, shocked. “You would move up there for me? Even if you couldn’t get another job?”
He nodded and she cuddled up to his side.

I hope y'all enjoyed the little glimpse of what happens in No Regrets. 

Have a wonderful night, everyone! And if you're in the Maritime Provinces, I hope y'all are safe and warm. That blizzard was a doozy!

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