So many of you wrote me privately and/or commented on my post about helping to move my sister-in-law into an assisted living center. I knew Sharleen was conflicted about the move–not wanting to leave her home of 40+ years, but I was happy to find her engaged with other residents every time I visited–whether whupping unsuspecting victims at Scrabble or amassing hoards of dimes from competitive Bingo and Skip-Bo (whatever that is).
She truly seemed to be doing well…until she wasn’t.
Sharleen passed away peacefully at her daughter’s home on Wednesday morning, surrounded by family. She began having trouble breathing the evening before and went into the ER. The doctors tried a number of things, but nothing seemed to help so they told the family it was time to call in hospice. My sweet niece took her mother home and Sharleen was gone the next morning. At peace. With my brother.
I’m sad, but very glad she didn’t suffer. I’m sad because I’ll miss her presence in my life and because I know her passing signifies the end of Easters-at-the-Ranch.
But I’m happy she’s no longer sad. I’m happy picturing her spirit rejoined with my brother’s. I ran across a couple of great photos I’d like to share with you. They make me smile. I hope they do you, too.
I’m off to learn lots from other Indie authors at SF UnCon.
Happy Book Birthday, BLACK HILLS BILLIONAIRE–Black Hills Rendezvous, Book 2!
I can’t believe it’s been three years since the second book in my Black Hills Rendezvous series came out. Shane and Jenna were two of the most complicated protagonists I’d ever written at that point. Their histories were difficult and entwined in a way that made predicting a happy ending nearly impossible to envision. They came soooo close to meeting, falling in love and living a fabulous life until something unthinkable happened, until a dark force ruined everything.
But when Shane’s best friend sets the game in motion in BLACK HILLS BABY (Book 1), they’re given a second chance–if Shane can get past the guilt he carries from a deathbed promise he made.
Here’s one of my favorite snippets to feature: their First Kiss.
Q: So, when is a first kiss not a kiss? A: When you’re in the Mystery Spot.
“As you can see, this was the bedroom. We’ve removed the furniture to avoid injury, but just imagine what a nightmare it must have been to sleep in a room that seems to be constantly shifting from side to side. We call this the dizzy room for a reason, so don’t be surprised if a stranger is suddenly holding on to you for balance.”
She took a deep breath and walked straight to the middle of the room. Almost instantly, her equilibrium went haywire. She stepped on what looked like a level surface and felt her foot drop a quarter of an inch. Just enough to throw her balance off. She staggered, which prompted Shane to dash into the room.
“Watch out,” she warned.
He weaved to the left like a drunk after a long night at a bar. “Holy crap,” he muttered. “What the he–?”
She grabbed his arm and pulled him closer to the wall. He looked slightly dazed. “Wow. What is it?”
“You’d have to ask my dad. Unfortunately, I think the secret went to the grave with him. All I know is it’s very effective. I’ve seen people bob and weave all the way back to their car. I’ve done this tour so often I barely feel it unless I’m in the middle of the room.”
He put a hand to his forehead. “I’ve got the spinners. Like those nights in college when you drank too much then lay down in bed and the ceiling was going around in circles.”
He looked at her so intently she realized she must have said the word aloud.
“Sorry. Wrong thing to say.”
She shook her head. “It was a long time ago. Shall we finish the tour? There’s an exit through the back, but since I have to lock up, I think we should go out the way we came in.”
His usual serious look was back on his face. He nodded and pushed off from the wall to lead the way. He only made it a few steps before listing sideways, like the Titanic after meeting the iceberg. She tried to keep him upright, but his momentum was too great. They both staggered a few steps then crashed into the wall. The wall with the drawing of a four-poster with a patchwork quilt on it, and they landed smack dab in the middle of the one-dimensional mattress.
“This was your plan all along, right?” Shane asked, wrapping his arms around her to keep steady. “To get me in bed?”
She laughed to keep her panic at bay, but to her surprise she didn’t feel the usual fear that came when someone got too close, too fast. In fact, she liked the feeling of being in his arms. Warm. Secure. Protected.
“I’ve seen the same thing happen to other people. Perfect strangers. Dad used to say it was all about a person’s polarity-–positive and negative.”
His eyes were such a deep, yummy brown. Like chocolate syrup. “Does that mean one of us is a magnet and the other iron filings?”
She knew which she’d be. “Maybe we’re both iron filings being drawn to the giant magnet in the wall.”
He arched his neck to look over his shoulder, his skepticism clearly back in place. Laughing, she put her hands flat against his chest and pushed back. She waited for her balance to return, the way it usually did, but if anything, she was even loopier. Her hands wouldn’t leave his shirt. Her breath was shallow and shaky. Because she knew he was going to kiss her.
Kiss. His mouth touching her mouth. No. She didn’t kiss. Or touch. Or… But no words of protest made it out before his lips touched hers.
First, we agree to let an overgrown squirrel predict the weather, then we blithely allow the flower industry, candy makers and greeting card people to run rampant over our hearts.
Speaking of hearts. Did you hear that the candy makers who supply the bulk of the world’s supply of that Valentine’s Day staple “Conversation Hearts” blew it? Whoever decided to sell the company to another company too inept to look at a calendar–V-Day is FEBRUARY 14th, people…well, not my problem. https://www.delish.com/food-news/a22577659/necco-candy-hearts-shut-down/
I bought early because some traditions–even the silly ones–must be adhered to. 😉
One GOOD thing to come out of this Valentine mayhem is celebrating Romance Novels. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Boy meets girl. They have issues. True love prevails. They live happily-ever-after. People who don’t read romance novels call that a formula. I call it magic. Reading can be magical. A good book can transport you out of a life that might be missing conversation–let alone conversation hearts–into a world of rich emotion, forgiveness, and joy. There may even be chocolate.
And here’s my Valentine to you: 50% off BOOKS II AND III of the Love, Montana series in the Tule Publishing BookStore, using the code: LOVE50 (copy this code then click the links below)
(The code is good for both titles: please share the love! Since Book I – HER HERO TO LOVE – is still FREE for one…more…day, that means you can read the entire series for less than a bag of Conversation Hearts. ;-))