Venice: City of Romance or a Murky Mess?

My husband and I just finished our tour of Italy. The one place I wanted to spend quality time was Venice, a city that survives all odds. Built on a eries of low mud banks constantly beaten by the tidal waters of the Adriatic the brigthly colored facades still stand in their architectural glory.

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And I wanted to walk in the same footsteps of William Shakespeare centuries ago.

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After boarding a ferry we went from the train station across the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. The boatmen had a muscle building tasks of tying the old-school rope instead of nylon. The earthy scent and squeaking of the line as the man wrapped it around a dock post helped distract from the constant downpour of rain.

The croweded pathways didn’t detour me from appreciating the streets made of water, or the black gondolas as the black and white striped shirted gondolier manuevered visitors through the narrow watery alleys.

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Much to my disappointment many of the churches and museums didn’t allow photographs. The art work of Venice and architecutre of the buildings cannot be adequately described…you must see them in person.

Oddly enough my favorite store consisted of Murano glass products. The beauty of the clear and brillant glass made by Venetians since 1291 helped me to decide on gifts for many family members.

Our time in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region was too short. I wanted to spend more time exploring and maybe going over to the glass factory in the small cluster of islands, Murano.

 

all rights reserved jj Keller

 

 

 

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Italy: An Experience

Ciao! My husband and I returned from our Italia vacation. The international travel was from his bucket list and although the country isn’t a fav of mine, I am a fan of distinct architecture and classic art work.

Our pilots, on air Italia, were exceptional…coming and going. We prepared for the extended flight, but jet lag zapped our energy straight away. After a sluggish first day, we walked and walked, climbed and slid on the wet stones…loved every minute. Our hotel, while the small room had a water spotted ceiling and no air conditioning, the location near the Trevi Fountain couldn’t have been better…and was guarded by the military,

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because of this building.

Trevi Fountain, just a few steps away, is the largest and most famous fountain since 1762. Central Figures are Neptune flanked by two Tritons-one trying to master an unruly seahorse, the other leading a quieter beast. Symbolizes the two contrasting moods of the sea.IMG_1471.JPG

The Pantheon is my favorite building in Rome (outside the museum). Roman temple of all the Gods designed by Emperor Hadman in AD 118. The temple is fronted by a massive portico, with a screening by a cylinder fused to a shallow dome. The oculus lets the only light inside. 7th Century Christians made the structure into a church and today is lined with tombs and monuments to Raphael. There is a strict dress code and they didn’t allow women with no shirt sleeves or dresses/skirts above the knee to enter. IMG_1455.JPGIMG_1453.JPGAmazing!

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we retired. Tomorrow we travel to the Amalfi Coast.

Road Trip to Old Stone Fort

The setting for Mystic Love was created from a road trip my family took a few years ago.

We were driving to Florida for spring break and took a rest stop in Tennessee. I’d been reading about ley lines and how the underground alignments of places hold a mystical power. And what do you know–Old Stone Fort Park was at the next exit.

Fee paid and car parked we shed our over coats and embraced the warmer temperature. The boys wanted to go to the site and get it over with

Instead we walked the trail that looped around. At the entrance of the ceremonial site were two mounds of soil, perfectly formed. The park had been created during the Woodland period so pedestal mounds…much like Native American burial grounds found in the northern Indiana area of my parents homestead… were typical in a religious place.

I stood in the center of the religious area and closed my eyes. I let the sounds of rushing waters from the Duck Rivers and the birds cooing in the leafless tree branches surround me. Earth scents from the warm fresh breeze, mixing with the fallen leaves and pungent waterfalls took me to another place. Peacefulness beyond anything I’d experienced before set over me. I could almost feel the magic in the area.

Until, my eldest son shouted into my ear.

The spell was broken, but I’ve never forgotten the special emotions I experienced.

Do ley lines hold mystical powers?

Mystic Love

Ericka Gilmore dabbles in life and death when she tries to conjure a ghost lover. But when flesh and blood, Joe Reeves appears on her doorstep in the midst of a storm, she has to rethink her destiny.

A car accident left the former cop with the ability to foresee death. No longer willing to watch people he cares about die, Joe goes in search of a shaman to remove his “gift”. His remedy until then is to avoid all relationships. But like a lightning strike, he experiences a strong connection with Ericka. A nearby mystical ley line could be Joe’s solution if he and Ericka combine their gifts. But her secret past and his fear of seeing her death keep them at odds.

Rating: Spicy 
Page Count: 282 
Word Count: 68692

978-1-5092-1060-2 Paperback 
978-1-5092-1061-9 Digital

Excerpt

She threw herself against her dream lover, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His lips were cold, but perfect in form. At first, his mouth didn’t move, but after a couple of seconds, he pressed into her. She flicked the tip of her tongue over his mouth, outlining the curves, and then slid it between his lips. His tongue played with hers. Sharp, decadent longing powered through her.

Wait a minute, he didn’t taste like she’d imagined. He tasted like mint and human. She touched whatever smooth cool skin she could find available between the coat and his neck and shoulders. Strong and virile hot body. She inhaled, taking in his scent; fragrant late fall wind and the odor of male sweat.

Sweat? Wet skin? She licked her lips, savoring the zest. A spear of lightning brightened the sky. Six foot three. Left ear piercing. Broad chest. Wrangler posture, with one knee bent.

Her heart thumped harder, pounding strong in her chest.

Whom had she kissed?

****

Joe supported her, keeping her in an upright position. Definitely a her as supple breasts snuggled tight against his chest. Her robe opened, and he fought the urge to remove his own garments to feel her warm body against his, flesh to flesh.

Lips tasting of wine connected with his, insistent and passionate. Six months ago, he embarked on his solo quest, but it hadn’t been so long that he couldn’t remember previous intimacies, and those encounters didn’t compare to her lavish kisses. Whew, hot, he’d go with the flow for a little longer.

She jerked, and then shoved him away. Sadly, the kiss had been a mistake, and from the flash of surprise crossing her face, she’d realized it as well. The pale blue, almost white, towel came loose from her head. She snapped the cloth off. Sexy dark ringlets fell in twisted disarray to her shoulders.

Joe had been lucky enough to catch a joyful kiss and snuggle. He’d delighted in the touch of her lips, the scent of her womanhood, and her wonderful nipples piercing into his thin, sodden shirt. Enjoying the mistake and resulting benefits, he grinned.

The gleam in her eyes went from surprise to anger. With a shaking hand, she wiped her luscious pink mouth.

He stood in a quandary and debated how to explain. Under the circumstances, she wouldn’t accuse him of a forced entry.

“Sorry. No lights. I didn’t hear a security system buzz. I would’ve shouted.” He took a step. “Instead of coming inside.”

She retreated.

Damn. He’d be sleeping in the rain after all.

 

Mystic Love

 

Last Chance at Love

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When Alyson McLeod returns to Jove, she never expects her high school sweetheart to knock on her front door. Sam’s arrival stirs memories she thought she’d banished long ago and awakens a fiery need no other man has been able to conjure.

The phoenix tattoo on Sam Crown’s arm immortalizes the woman he loved—and lost—long ago. Alyson’s return should excite him, but instead, she awakens a guilt he’s not sure even love can overcome.

Can these star-crossed lovers finally find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart forever?

Last Chance at Love

Review:
I just finished reading Last Chance at Love. I truly enjoyed it.
I loved that sexy cupid at the start,
the gorgeous art work Sam and Alyson made,
Tina’s growing understanding,
and the depth of the emotion as the story built to resolution.
A feel good factor of 10.

Daisy Banks
A Gentleman’s Folly

Last Chance at Love

Trade Agreement

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Falling in love with the next door neighbor–impulsive.
Kidnapped by her ex-husband–startling.
Traded for contraband on the high seas—definitely unexpected.

 

Photo-journalist, Georgina Barrister, realized she had little time left in this world when her ex-husband handed her over as partial payment for a shipment of illegal imports. Apparently being the perfect wife, the perfect hostess, and the perfect lover, wasn’t enough for him. How would she escape, while on the high seas?

Special Agent, Jake Callahan has always believed love at first sight is impossible, until he meets Georgina Barrister Kaplan. His assignment, to follow a high seas trafficking case and she was a prime suspect. 
Will he rescue her from the Russian pirate or will they lose their lives and a chance at happiness?

 

Larkspur/LASR said: She is a first class storyteller with a unique way of telling it. Her love scenes are evocative, sensual and sizzle on the page, while her romance between our hero and heroine is sweet and sensual.

BEST BOOK: Long and Short Reviews

Chapter 1

Atlantic Ocean

Shivers cascaded over Georgina’s body, the November cold penetrating her thin dress. She braced herself against the bumpy jolts as the speed boat hit rough water. The night was moonless, deep black ink surrounded them. The closer they got to the freighter, the faster her heart beat, a quick cadence to match the waves hitting the side of the vessel.

Georgina drew in a shaking breath and tried to lessen her grip on the rail of the boat as they pulled beside the ladder. Her fingers ached with the chill of tension. She glanced at the freighter. It was oh-so tempting to simply fall into the water, but she’d freeze to death or get eaten by sharks. No, the only logical means of escape was catching a ride on the gray metal whale floating in the dark night, on a black ocean, surrounded by a mysterious fog.

She glanced at Kandi, her ex-husband’s current femme-de-jour, dressed in a sleek strapless azure dress and spiked heels, then to Tristan himself. She’d loved him once, but now even looking at him made her colder. His fingers wrapped around the rail of the freighter’s ladder. He grabbed her hand and tugged her from the seat.

No.

Her spine tingled with dread. Tristan couldn’t be trusted. She knew better.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Georgina said. “You can let me off at the next port.”

Tristan gripped her hand tighter and pulled her toward the ladder. “Can’t.”

“Why not?” Georgina jerked Tristan’s arm, ready to throw him overboard. Did demons sink? Her stomach tumbled. Getting on that freighter would be a mistake.

Kandi slid beside Tristan and snarled, “Just get on the ship, Georgina, or I’ll throw your spoiled ass overboard and you can swim back to Virginia.”

Shocked at Kandi’s language and the threat, Georgina glared.

“It’s too late. There’s no going back…not for Gemma either,” her ex-husband spewed.

Damn him for using her best friend as a pawn.

Georgina’s heart rate went tachycardia. She blew slow breaths trying to slow the pace. She released his forearm, sat down on the padded boat seat, and crossed her arms.

“Georgina, climb the ladder.” Tristan’s jaws snapped together.

Kandi sighed and tapped her foot on the metal rail of the rocking boat.

Had Tristan really kidnapped Gemma? He had to be bluffing, but Georgina’s heart rattled against her chest. What if Gemma wasn’t safe? She’d already lost one baby, she couldn’t lose another. “I
decline.”

Tristan gripped her arm and jerked her upright. She reached up with her other hand and dug her nails into the tender skin of his palm.

“She’ll go,” Kandi said.

Georgina sneered at the two, pivoted, and clutched the nearest brass rung.

The three-inch heels clipped the metal, and she slipped on the third rail of the ladder. Determined, she tightened her hold and stepped to the next rung. Homeward bound. A precarious scramble on steps or fear of the unknown wouldn’t prevent her from returning to her little house and Jake. Thoughts of the sleepy little town of Nero intruded. She’d often complained about the boredom and photographing nothing but dog and garden shows. Well, she’d trade her current situation for some of that routine any day.

Jake, her lover. Her heart clutched a little in her chest. Was he searching for her? She maneuvered up one more rung. In the back of her mind, she hoped Jake would come to her rescue.

A wintery breeze blew up her dress and she shuddered. She was beyond chilled in the clingy little dress. She clutched a metal bar and pushed the hem down. Her foot slipped, and her spiked heel dug into Tristan’s fingers. She applied as much pressure as possible.

Tristan roared. He slapped her rear with such force she pressed flush against ladder. “Keep going, Georgina. Move it.” 

Bastard. She stepped to the next bar, releasing his hand.

Finally, she reached the top. Two goons, heavyweight bookends with matching blank
expressions, hauled her over the rail. Tristan crawled on deck and helped Kandi onto the platform.

“Come.” One of the goons, with a melodic Russian accent, motioned with his head.

It didn’t sound like a request.

The men led them down a staircase, through a corridor, and into a square, frigid room. A stainless steel table and two metal chairs were the only furnishings. One seat was occupied by a man she assumed to be Aleksandr Stypopas, the captain of this fine vessel.

Like the gentleman he was, Tristan sat down on the other chair. A bottle labeled IKON Russian vodka sat in the middle of them like a referee. Kandi stood behind Tristan, her hand resting easily on his shoulder. Georgina stood to the side, as close to the door as possible.

While the men talked, in Russian or Ukrainian, Georgina deliberated how to convince Aleksandr to return her to the States. He was as dark and mysterious in appearance as the freighter. His shaggy black beard seemed blacker as a result of the elegant gray shirt and pants covering his thin body. Would this nightmare ever end? It had to be a dream, because Aleksandr was wearing Armani for God’s sake, at midnight, on a freighter, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He didn’t look like a man who did favors out of the goodness of his heart. Would he want money? She didn’t have anything to offer. Or did she? She shuddered at the thought. A raised voice captured her attention. What had she missed?

There was a palpable sense of menace in the air.
Had they walked into a trap? Would they all be killed?

Aleksandr’s voice was oily and his smile– insincere. “Kaplan, we’ve been comrades for almost a year. Why the mistrust?”

“Do we really trust one another, my friend?” Tristan took a sip of vodka.

From Georgina’s viewpoint, Tristan’s hand appeared to be trembling. Damn. There were some underlying messages being sent back and forth that caused her alarm radar to go off. She glanced at Aleksandr. He was smiling. Like a crocodile.

Okay, Tristan, it’s time to leave—now! You’ll have to drop me off at the next port.

“Are you calling me a thief?” Aleksandr’s deep, heavily accented voice filled the tiny room like a sonic boom. He bolted to his feet and his chair clanged to the floor. The angry red glow on his face, either from the heated argument or from the drink, accentuated his gray appearance. His lips virtually disappeared into the mass of black facial hair as he sneered.

Tristan’s face remained calm. “Of course. Aren’t we all? We take items and sell them for a profit. The buyers are not important, nor the nationality, nor the cause, nor how illegal the goods. We steal them for the thrill of making a deal. For money.” His blond cropped hair, light crystal-blue eyes, and winsome smile widened, giving him the appearance of the boy next door.

Georgina stared at his devilish dimples while trying to get a grasp on the situation. She’d fallen in love with his dimples, before she’d fallen in love with the man. Now she looked past the façade and wondered how she’d been so foolish.

“I’ve never cheated anyone in my life, and I resent the implication, Kaplan.” Aleksandr nodded his head to one of his henchmen at the door. Georgina’s fight or flight urge was strong. She tensed and glanced at the exit, calculating whether she could get to it before the goons caught her. What she would do after reaching the entrance, she didn’t know. But she desperately wanted to go through that door.

“Please accept my apology. I meant no offense.” Tristan calmly lifted his half-empty glass of liquid fire and held it out to Aleksandr, for a customary salute.

Aleksandr stared at Tristan, a long, intense, soul-searching glare. “Ah, none taken. However, I do insist the whore be given to me as a fair trade agreement.”
Aleksandr slid his black-eyed gaze down Georgina’s body and came back to stare into her eyes. His thoughts about her were as clear as the vodka between them: brown hair, heart shaped face, an ordinary body, and not worth his time. The brunt of his perusal landed on Kandi. Georgina’s heart rate slowed from its marathon speed. Aleksandr lifted his chair and lowered to the seat.

Kandi gasped, edged closer to Tristan, and reached toward her diamond and jade bejeweled bodice. She tossed her long auburn locks out of the way and pulled the limited blue silk material of the strapless dress higher, trying to cover her endowments as much as possible. Her nipples protruded further as a result of her efforts. She folded her shaking hands at her waist.

“Consider it done,” Tristan said, the words ice cold.
“Tristan!” Kandi screeched, her voice, shrill and full of shock. Her pale pink lips quivered, and her bare shoulders twitched back and forth. Tristan had offered her as a door prize.

Could this be happening? The scene was a Saturday B-movie event. People in real-life did not trade off their friends or family to get a shipment of…of…of whatever obviously illegal thing they were exchanging. The goods had to be contraband to make Tristan sweat. Georgina knew him well enough after six years of living together to recognize the signs of his anxiety. Regardless of how calm he appeared, he wasn’t in control of the situation.

Aleksandr’s eyes glittered with dangerous ecstasy. He turned his cold, calculating stare onto Tristan and leaned back in his chair. His jacket gaped, revealing an old fashioned .44 revolver in a gray holster strapped to the side of his chest. Her father had one just like it in his gun cabinet. The racketeer’s don’t-mess-with-me attitude made him the perfect bad guy for any mafia movie.

Georgina tried to ignore the chills running through her body. She pushed a dry wind-blown strand of hair behind her ear. In an effort to appear to be in command of her emotions, she clasped her hands in front of her and waited.

Kandi’s brown gaze turned toward Tristan. She reached over and grabbed his arm, spilling vodka onto the table top. He peeled her fingers loose one by one.
“You can’t do this!” Georgina didn’t care how much she angered either man. Part of the reason she had filed for a divorce concerned Kandi and all of the Kandis before her. But she was still a human and Aleksandr, regardless of his designer suit, was scum.

“Shut up, Georgina,” Tristan barked.

Aleksandr’s glance took in the clear pool of vodka, and a scowl formed on his hairy face.

Apparently he valued his alcohol.
“How barbaric. Stop this right now, Tristan,” Georgina reasoned, hoping he’d understand this was illogical and perverse.

The oppressive atmosphere grew weighty and thick. Sympathy coursed through Georgina. The black Russian wouldn’t give Kandi the spa treatment on this tub as she’d had on Tristan’s yacht. Tristan had to do something. Why didn’t he act?

“It’s done. Take her away,” Tristan spoke softly, as if the words were for his ears alone. He lifted his hand to his mouth and sucked the alcohol off. The goons started toward the door.

Georgina glanced at Tristan and witnessed the truth in his eyes. 

 

Trade Agreement can be purchased at: THE WILD ROSE PRESS or any other reputable book vendor.

 

Voted #3 best of the best books of 2009 by LASR. 

How important is a story title?

Is a title of the book more important than the cover?

Would you consider reading The Mud Dungeon with a shirtless man on the cover? What would be the draw? The man or the idea something existed in a dungeon made of mud?

What about a title, The Killing Hotel with a basket of red roses on the cover? Do they even go together?

What is your idea of a good title for a story about second chances? Here is the blurb:

When Alyson McLeod returns to Jove, she never expects her high school sweetheart to knock on her front door. Sam’s arrival stirs memories she thought she’d banished long ago and awakens a fiery need no other man has been able to conjure.

The phoenix tattoo on Sam Crown’s arm immortalizes the woman he loved—and lost—long ago. Alyson’s return should excite him, but instead, she awakens a guilt he’s not sure even love can overcome.

Can these star-crossed lovers finally find happiness or will a wicked matchmaker’s antics keep them apart forever?

I titled the book Second Chances because the couple has a second chance at renewing a love and the “messenger in training” had a second chance at getting the black off her soul. However, there is a freighter full of books with this title. My own publisher has a book in their store with this label.

So my editor and I came up with a list of possible name selections.

Here is the excerpt of Last Chance at Love for you, it’ll give you a better idea of what we were considering.

EXCERPT:

Alyson swung her attention from her laptop to the handyman bent over the kitchen cabinet. Chris’ powerful, flawless arms enabled him to wield the screw gun like a pro, and durr, durr, durr added a pleasant melody to the room.

The maple cabinets had been an impulse purchase, but she rather liked how the lighter color made the space appear larger. A bonus to having her kitchen updated, Chris modeled the hero in her current book. His white T-shirt pulled taut across his broad shoulders as he stretched to secure a bolt from a toolbox a foot away.

Jeans sheathed his tight, perfectly formed rear. His thick thighs enabled Chris to lift heavy pieces of lumber while her hero’s enabled him to hold the heroine against the wall during a hot, sexy, clandestine encounter. Chris’ dark blond hair, styled in a buzz cut, accentuated his sharp cheekbones and granite jawline. Her hero had light brown hair that touched the tips of his ears. However, the cheekbones and stubborn jaw…the same.

In a lot of ways, Chris reminded her of Sam Crown, her boyfriend at Chilton Academy nearly thirty years ago. Sam had been the love of her life, the man who’d created a cancer in her heart no other man had been able to cure. Returning to her hometown had stirred memories of their ill-fated romance, and she’d embedded some of those details into her book. In doing so, in giving fictitious-Sam and fictitious-her a happy ending, maybe she could finally eradicate him from her thoughts.

She scooted her chair away from the dining table and evaluated the renovations. The noise and scenery inspired her. She wouldn’t leave the area despite the strong odors of glue and dust. She had to think of another job to keep her handyman on site after the current project ended on Friday. At least long enough for her to write twenty thousand more words. She hated the thought of her “hero” leaving before her book was finished.

The whirring of the motorized tool ended, and wood particles flew into her nostrils. A couple sneezes had her frantically searching for the napkin she’d left amongst the clutter on the table.

“Ms. McLeod?” Chris’ resonant voice matched his six-and-a-half-foot frame. The scent of man-sweat radiated from him, so unlike anything she’d become accustomed to over the course of her marriage. Jasper, her ex-husband, was the type of man to hire people to shift a piece of paper from one side of the desk to the other, so she’d rarely seen him perspire. Not even after he’d played polo, but he’d sure been sweaty when she’d found him naked in their marital bed with his assistant.

She looked away from the carpenter’s sculpted upper torso, and he chuckled, his tools clanking and tingling. Oops. She hadn’t looked away quickly enough.

She lowered her gaze to the keyboard. “Yes, I’m sorry, Mr.—”

“Please, call me Chris.” He nodded to her laptop. “How’s the book coming?”

She glanced into his eyes. The blue-grays were so reminiscent of Sam’s. She had to get a grip on her overactive imagination. Would she see Sam’s face in everyone, all over town? One of her high school friends had told her Sam moved away, hadn’t been seen since the funeral.

“Ma’am?”

“Sorry. Great. Good. The best one yet.”

Chris looped a thumb through a hanging hoop on his leather utility belt. “I’ll have a substitute here tomorrow. My son has a doctor’s appointment, and I need to check on another project. Sam will manage the installation of the countertop. It’s a simple task. He’ll arrive around ten in the morning.”

“No problem.” Good God, even her old flame’s name came into play.

“The sub’s my dad.” At the mention of his father, pride splashed across his roughened features. “He’s a professor.”

“Architecture or construction?”

“He’s a math professor at West Indiana State University. He’s been teaching a reduced load of classes this semester and going stir crazy with nothing to do. This project came at the perfect time.”

She wanted to jot down notes about mannerisms. Some of his phrasing was priceless. She lifted scattered papers and searched for an ink pen. Finding one, she slid a glance at him, put ballpoint to notepad and quickly scribbled to get the ink to infuse.

“I understand that happens,” she mumbled. “Maybe he needs a hobby?”

Wiping his hands on a red, thin square towel, he smiled and showed off his pearly whites. “Oh yeah, a hobby would be good.” He pointed to her computer, the cloth waving like a banner. “Is that the type of book you write? Hobbies?”

Heat infused her cheeks. She’d just finished a sex scene for the vamp character. Nope, not a book about typical hobbies. “Not exactly. I—”

The ding of a cellphone sounded and a light shone through his jeans pocket. He dug the phone out and glanced at it. “Excuse me. I need to take this.”

The younger man swiped a finger across the screen, and after a few mumbled comments, glanced at her as he took a few steps into the corridor. He wouldn’t have privacy in the Echo Wall hallway.

Alyson put the pad of paper in front of her keyboard and focused on the computer screen.

“Dad, Mrs. Clydesdale called and said you ditched her.” He paused.

She leaned forward, wanting to know more. Might be useful information for her book.

“Yes, she does look like her name, but you can’t keep dating women one time and…” Chris exhaled. “No, I don’t want to hear about that aspect of your life. I know. I’ll meet you at the usual place. Someday maybe we could meet at a coffee shop instead. Yeah, I miss her too. I’ll be on time.”

Alyson choked back a chuckle and lowered her laptop’s screen. In her own style of shorthand, she jotted notes. Busy trying to catch up from the previous interaction, she failed to hear more of the conversation. Usually, she couldn’t care less about other people’s phone discussions, but for some reason, the dialogue between Chris and his father had piqued her interest.

“Time to leave?” she asked when he returned.

“Yeah, something came up with my dad.” He tucked his phone back inside his pocket.

She smiled, hoping to reassure him she hadn’t overheard his conversation, at least not all of it. “I understand about complicated families.”

He nodded. “Oh, I forgot you’re a widow too, so you understand. Even after a year and a half my father’s adapting. He and my mother were really tight.” Chris packed up his tools. He slid screwdrivers into the loops of his utility belt and plunked heavier items into the metal toolbox.

She didn’t want to correct him about her single status. Perhaps her brother, Grayson, had declared her a widow. He’d arranged the construction company. Maybe Grayson didn’t want his friends to find out she’d left her husband. Divorcees had their own set of barriers and stigmas.

She dreaded the questions, the ones her friends would ask. From her experience, people were either predominately nosy or, the polar opposite, caring.

Chris looked barely twenty years of age, too young to lose a parent. Then again, maybe his parents had him later in life.

He returned to the table. Tools were no longer distributed throughout the kitchen. A sudden sense of loss snatched the warmth from her.

She slid the notepad forward. “I’m sorry about your mother. How did she pass?”

Chris hoisted his toolkit. “Cancer. She was an amazing woman.” His cell phone dinged. “Dad—Sam—will be here tomorrow around ten to do prep work and accept the delivery of the countertops.” He nodded toward the panel truck in the driveway, visible through the kitchen window. On the side, “Stiles Construction and Remodeling” was written in bold black letters over a sun rising on a blue sky. A ladder sat on top. “But we’ve remodeled a couple of kitchens, so he has skills.”

“Okay, thanks. I look forward to meeting Sam.” She stood, wishing she’d made more notes about the way Chris talked, some of the charming language he’d used and his magnificent facial expressions, but she always had next time.

* * * * *

The next day, Alyson tossed clothing on her king-sized bed. She’d collected a lot of designer eveningwear during her ten years of marriage. She selected a dress for the upcoming Wish Upon a Star charity event but added most of her gowns to the donation pile. She probably wouldn’t use formal attire as often now that Jasper was no longer dragging her to one black-tie affair after another.

With a smaller closet, she should have thinned out the older garments before moving back to Indiana. She’d donate the unused clothing to a local woman’s shelter. From the height of the pile, she’d need a truck to transport them. Most of the dresses could be converted into casual wear or business attire if their new owners were so inclined.

Dressed in her camisole and panties, she tried on summer outfits to determine if she needed new sizes. She didn’t want to think her hips had expanded or back fat had appeared. As a realist, she understood changes occurred in a woman’s body as she aged, but she didn’t want to admit she couldn’t keep a husband or that she’d gained weight in all the wrong places.

A knock sounded on the front door.

She glanced at the oversized medallion clock. Nine. Chris’ dad wasn’t due to arrive for another hour.

Her sleek emerald robe hung off the edge of a beige barrel table. She grabbed it and slid her arms into the sleeves as she scurried down the hallway and into the dining room. She bypassed the security panel and eased the white plantation shutter open to peer outside.

Her heart thudded to a stop. “Sam,” she whispered, not truly believing what she was seeing.

The man on the porch was Sam. Her Sam. The love she’d never been able to forget. The one–who’d broken her heart over two decades earlier.

You don’t meet Christina in the excerpt. She’s learning how to cleanse her soul in heaven. Yeah, she was a bad girl and oh so full of character. I can’t wait for you to meet her.

Considering the characters, the plot, and the setting we came up with the title Last Chance at Love, because it might very well be the last chance for Sam and Alyson to rekindle their romance.

Let me know what you think about the title…and the story.

Here’s the cover. Do you think it goes along with the title?

LatChanceAtLove-300x454

Where to buy:

Last Chance at Love

http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/jjkeller.htm

All Romance Ebooks

Amazon

Kobo

Cobblestone Press Inc.

BN-Nook

http://www.jj-keller.com

Fantasies with spice and humor.

TWITTER http://twitter.com/jjKellerauthor

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/pages/JJ-Keller/263353331459?v=wall

WORDPRESS https://romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

BLOGSPOT http://jjkeller.blogspot.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

GOODREADS:

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomjj_Keller

Last Chance at Love October 2015

 The Valkyrie and the Marine, Pippa’s Rescue, Memory of Love&

Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book, Prop in the movie RED. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint. 

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