Thursday, December 27, 2012

Get a new ereader for Christmas?

A few friends of mine have gotten together to offer you some great books. 22 Authors – 26 E-book Romances – Two Grand Prize Winners!

Two lucky winners will be filling their new toys with free romance e-books. First prize 15 titles. Second prize 11 titles. How do you win? Simple. The contributing authors have posted the blurb from their book at their websites and have asked a question about the blurb. Answer the question in a comment at each site. Each question answered is another entry toward one of the two grand prizes. And that’s not all. Many of the hops along the way are offering individual prizes as well. So be sure to visit as many as you can. The winners will be announced on the 30th.

Check out all the links over at Mac's Mad Mania. Here's the link: http://mackenziecrowne.com/wp/
Good Luck to all that enter!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Congratulations to our winner

Congratulations to Jerrie Alexander whose name was drawn to win a copy of Nancy Jardine's newest novel, "Topaz Eyes". I hope you enjoy your book and will drop back by and let us know what you think.

Again Congratulations, Jerrie!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Welcome Nancy Jardine

Hi Tessa, it’s lovely to be visiting your blog today. I’m loving going to new places, and meeting new people on my min-launch tour for my latest release- Topaz Eyes – from Crooked Cat Publishing. I’ve got my gorgeous friend, Teun Zeger from Topaz Eyes, in tow so that we can all get to know him a little better.

(PS. If your readers want to know more about Keira Drummond, or the exiting places they go to –Heidelberg, Vienna, Amsterdam, Edinburgh-on their quest for the Tiru Salana jewels, you can find the URLs of those guest blog posts on my own blog http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com Check the list for what’s on each day during the tour from 3rd – 17th Dec)

But Teun’s champing at the bit, so let’s get to know him!

You’re a pretty cool guy to look at, Teun Zeger. I can easily see why Keira Drummond is very taken with you. Oh my! Don’t you blush now, no embarrassment is intended-but tell us a bit more about yourself.
Nice compliment, thanks. I’m not really into media exposure, but here goes. People tend to think I’m Californian, though I was actually born in Rochester, Minnesota, and lived there till I was about eight. After my father and mother divorced, Mom took me to live in Sonoma, California. I guess I’ve acquired a bit of a Californian accent.

It’s definitely there! So, what do you do, apart from trekking around the world looking for lost jewellery?
My job, you mean?

That’s right; tell everyone what you’re normally involved in. I believe you’re a scientist of some sort?
Yeah. I graduated in chemical sciences at UCSF, worked for a few years in one of the university research laboratories in San Francisco. Then, an opportunity came my way to open up my own research lab in San Fransisco, so I jumped at the chance.

A man on a mission?
You could say that. It was damned hard work at first, and leisure time was a rarity.

Surely that didn’t make Jack a dull boy? I couldn’t believe that! Though, since you’ve never been married, I’m guessing there wasn’t much time for relationships?
You’re getting personal now! I’ve had a few short term relationships over the years, but the job had to come first.

It’s hard to credit such a good-looking guy as you has got to the ‘thirty plus’ and not been nabbed yet. Does your work still drive you?
Sure-though weirdly enough-now that I’ve got a second lab in Boston and a small satellite one in London, I’ve actually got more time than I used to.

How does that come about?
Great managers! A few guys who studied with me at UCSF have come on board to run the labs. That frees me up to generate business and tend to the marketing side; I’m not so involved in the actual research now. Though, it does mean I travel more to drum up contracts.

Am I correct in thinking that means it’s easier for you to pair up with Keira Drummond to find those long-lost family jewels?
Oh, yeah! I’m still dealing with business during our search, though Keira’s getting a lot of my attention.

From what I’m hearing ‘lot’ is definitely the word. I believe big romance is on the cards? What’s Keira like?
TMI! I can’t tell you all my thoughts about her on a public blog. She’s totally gorgeous in every way. I’m definitely smitten by her looks and don’t have a problem admitting it! But it’s not just her gorgeous eyes, and face, and umm… her body. Just everything about her is dazzling. She’s committed to her work and to our search, too, and I really like that as well.

Is it a case of love at first sight?
It’s a bit early to ask that. One look at her bowled me over, though, but you know how life is. Not everything about our first meeting went smoothly. The quest for the Tiru Salana jewels is causing us all a hell of a lot of stress, my third cousins included. Keira doesn’t trust me, yet…and I have to be honest and say I’m not that sure about some of her motives either.

Oh, oh! That sounds intriguing. But that’ll just be temporary hitches?
Well, I could tell you more…but that would spoil the enjoyment of reading Topaz Eyes. What I will say is the thrills and spills I’ve had already with Keira have been very exciting! No more time for questions just now though-I’m off to collect Keira. We’ve a fabulous collection of jewellery to find!

Thank you, Tessa for the opportunity to share Teun with your readers. I’d love to know what they think of him.

*Giveaway*

What would be your visual image of Teun, since I’ve given few clues in the above interview? Please leave your answer in the comment box, and your email address, to be entered into the draw for an e-copy of TOPAZ EYES. (Draw will take place on 13th December)

Blurb:

A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg embroils Keira Drummond in the search for a mysterious collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor; a hoard that was last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910.

Who among the progeny of Geertje – hitherto unfamiliar third cousins brought together for the quest – can Keira rely on? Distrust and suspicion among them is rife.

Which one is greedy, and determined enough, to hire thugs to tail her… and worse… as she travels to Vienna and Minnesota? Can Keira even trust Teun Zeger - a Californian she is becoming very drawn to – as they pair up to unearth the jewellery?

As they follow a trail of clues, will they uncover the full collection before the hired gun kills them? Details remain furtive and undisclosed until danger and death forces their exposure. And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?

Greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust, and love.

Excerpt:

“Would you ditch the mystery, Jensen, and just enlighten me as to what you think I have that interests you? And tell me why you couldn’t have asked for it in the letter you sent to me? I came here of my own free will – granted – but I’m not hanging around any longer if you’re going to drag this out, for I’m damned sure I’ve no idea what you’re referring to.”
Jensen’s reply lacked emotion, his face a blank screen, his gaze focused on Teun as Keira regarded the by-play.
“Teun. It may come as a surprise to you, but you actually know more about this invitation than Keira. At least you knew from my letter I had something of family interest you might be glad to take back to the USA with you. Keira had no such suggestion made to her.”
Tension rose in the room, which didn’t only radiate from Teun.
Keira sat uneasy, also unwilling to be in the dark any longer. “Would you please explain why you think I may have something you want, Herr Amsel?” She found herself reluctant to use his first name, considering the antagonism now mounting.
“All in good time, Keira. And please call me Jensen. I don’t set out to be anyone’s enemy. I believe each of you can provide access to items belonging to the collection. All the pieces are likely to vary in monetary value but, viewed as a complete entity, it will make an impressive display. It’s a historic set… and unique.”

Author Bio:

An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the fabulous castle country of Aberdeenshire – Scotland. Her husband mans the kitchen, her offspring only an hour’s drive away. When time permits, ancestry research is an intermittent hobby. Neglecting her large garden in favour of writing, she now grows spectacularly giant thistles. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing.

A lover of history, it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel, The Beltane Choice, also published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

Nancy Jardine can be found at:
http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com
http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com
http://facebook.com/nancy.jardine.56
Twitter @nansjar

Topaz Eyes is available from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Topaz-Eyes-Nancy-Jardine/dp/1908910585/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1 and www.crookedcatbooks.com

Book trailer Youtube video for Topaz Eyes can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgPf5kTAyi4&feature=channel&list=UL

For all of Nancy Jardine’s books see: http://amzn.to/wwaGCv

Thanks for stopping by Nancy. Remember you must leave a comment to enter. What a great story to find in your holiday to be read pile!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Welcome December

Tis the season of party and laughter, but there is something wonderful about the solitude of nature. December finds our year coming to a close and with that the days growing shorter. As I stand on my deck and look back over the pasture, I marvel and the shaft of sunlight sending rays of gold through the pines illuminating the hard killing frost that layers the ground.

The grass will be gone from this point forward. We'll have to haul hay and break the ice in the water troughs for the cattle. Hard sometimes routines, but it will give us moments away from the computer to reflect. In the silence of nature so much is being said. If you listen closely, you can hear the tweet of song birds, the honk of geese flying over, and the song of the wind as it moans through the forest, lamenting its short stay before the heat of summer returns.

Do not fret the dwindling hours of daylight or the lack of warmth, because we are about to be reborn in a new year full of promises. So in these last days of 2012, make a list of all the things you accomplished. Look back at them and know you did well. Raise a cup to those who took their last full measure on this earth and speak their names so they will never be forgotten. Drink to your health and those around you. Embrace the child with in. Live, Love, and enjoy because the holidays are for all of us beast, human, nature - a reminder that life goes on.

Happy Holidays,
Tessa

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Welcome to the Winter Wonderland Blog Hop

Welcome to the Winter Wonderland Blog Hop.

Today, all you have to do is read my little taste of Christmas out on the Glory B Ranch and leave a comment. If your comment is the top winner, you'll get a $100 dollar gift card for either Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Second and Third place winners get a $50 dollar card all from Crimson Romance Authors listed on the blog. Be sure to check everyone's post and have a great time. Enjoy the holidays and dive into some fantastic books.

A Glory B Christmas

A cold wind shook the panes of glass in the living room. Instinctively, Glory Beebe Hargrove pulled the quilted bits of calico tighter around her body. She loved the holidays, always had. For as long as she could remember the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas and on to New Years held a magic all its own. Even now, the house seemed filled with the smells of the warm chocolate chip cookies, roasted turkey and its trimmings, plus the promise of Alma's secret holiday cake that was squirreled away in a rustic old tin with a sleigh scene from Currier and Ives. Everything, in one word, was perfect. She glanced down at the sparkling diamond and band of gold and thought about the man she married. Travis had proven beyond measure as a husband and partner in their business of raising bulls for the rodeo.

Across the room, the tiny white lights, embedded in the branches of the evergreen, blinked merrily. This year, there was so much more joy in the walls of the little ranch house that it threatened to burst. Grave Digger had done them proud on the rodeo circuit. In fact, Jon Parker had called the other day and offered them a contract on two more bulls from their herd. Travis and Mickey were in cahoots talking up another bull riding clinic. Of course, she was pretending to be hard to get about it. A grin tickled her cheeks causing her dimples to show. Yes, the make-up loving and coaxing on Travis' part was so much fun she was going to hate to give in. Yes, everything seemed to be falling together so nicely. She let out a deep breath and hoped what she planned to tell Travis tomorrow wouldn't rock the apple cart.

Tossing off the blanket, Glory moved to the tree and lay down on her back so that she could stare up into the branches and watch the lights flicker across the years of ornaments while the radio in the kitchen softly serenaded her with a host of carols.

"Glory?" Travis sleepy voice drew her eyes to the doorway. His footsteps were so soft she hadn't heard him come down. Hair mussed, a hint of shadow from his beard gracing his cheek brought a quickening of her heartbeat.

"Down here." He yawned and glanced down at her. "What 'cha doin' on the floor?"

"Wishing," she murmured.

The roguish grin that touched his face was one of his best endearing qualities. Her heart turned over as she held his heated glance for a second. Reaching out, she patted the rug beside her. "Come on down."

Travis raked his hand through his disheveled hair and moved to the spot. She heard him grunt as he got down and wiggled beneath the branches. "Is this some sort of Beebe ritual?"

Glory giggled. "Yeah. Ever since I could look over the counter and help Alma roll out those cookies, I've spent Christmas Eve up till midnight laying here, making wishes."

"All right, what do I do?" "Shh. Christmas wishes are the most special of all. They only work in silence when your heart is free of worry. Let your mind go. Watch the lights blink and listen to the words in the music. You'll know when to wish, because your heart will tell you."

"Gotcha."

They grew silent. The sounds of the carols drifted in over their soft breaths. Her eyes were drawn up the tree toward one glass ornament, that of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child. As she stared, Travis' hand encircled her fingers. Her heart filled with such unconditional love that a knot formed in her throat and a single tear of happiness ran toward her hairline. She didn't think she could love a man as much as she did Travis. It seemed like only yesterday she was standing outside of the Tomahawk Motel, honking the horn, and screaming out her love for him while the cars on the road came to a stop. He had proposed, right then and there to the applause and shouts of half the town of Palmer. In the distance, the clock in the dining room began to chime twelve. Glory closed her eyes and knew exactly what to ask for.

"Hey now," Travis whispered. "No crying on Christmas morning."

Glory heard him scramble out from under the tree and opened her eyes. His outstretched hand beckoned to her. "Come here, darlin'."

Scooting out, she let Travis help her up. His warm arms curled protectively around her body. Her head upon his chest, she listened to the beat of his heart. "I love you, Travis." Her arms went around his chest and held him tight. "I love you so much, sometimes it just hurts."

"Glory? Glory, honey, you're spooking me. Is everything all right?"

She sniffed and nodded.

His hands stroked her back as he spoke. "I know there's been a lot of changes. Things are going to get better. Mickey and I, well we've just gotta do that bull riding clinic this spring. Parker's counting on us." "I know. I just won't be able to help as much."

His hands stilled and she pushed away to turn toward the tree. "I've something for you."

"Can't it wait?"

She shook her head. "I thought maybe it could, but not now." Kneeling, she searched through the brightly colored packages for something in particular. "Besides, the clock has struck. It's Christmas." Her smile broadened as she saw it. Extending her arm, she looped her fingers through the brightly tied ribbon and pulled it free. Rising, she held it tenderly in the palm of both of her hands. "Merry Christmas, Travis."

He stood and looked at her. His face twisted in confusion as he looked at the carefully wrapped gift.

"I want you to know that I gave you my heart that night in front of the Tomahawk and you've always been there to protect me. Now, I'm doing the same for you."

"Protect me?" He shook his head. "I don't get it."

"You will. Open it."

He wore a mask of bewilderment as he pulled loose the bow and peeled away the edges of the paper to expose a small rectangular white box. "I guess it's too small to hold that new Stetson I've been wanting."

"It is."

"Belt buckle?"

"Nope."

"Spurs?"

"Not a chance."

He sighed and she watched his skillful hands lift the top away. On bated breath she watched as the tissue paper crackled, then was brushed aside. His glance ricocheted to her face. "Glory?" Then he looked back down, his eyes widening.

"There are two."

"Yes, I don't know which one," she said.

Blinking back tears, he slid his hand inside and brought out one tiny pink bootie and another in blue. "Are you telling me what I think you're telling me?"

She nodded. "The doctor said early in the summer. I know we said we'd wait. " She lifted her shoulders. "I guess the good Lord saw fit to change our plans."

"You're all right, aren't you? I mean your momma..."

"I'm fine." She put a hand on his arm. "Well, if you skip what the smell of bacon does to me in the morning."

His arms found her and drew her close. "Forget the Stetson, the buckle, and the spurs. I love you, Glory. I'm so glad you're my wife." He kissed her slow and sensually making her toes dig into the carpet so she wouldn't fall down. When it ended, he scooped her up in his arms and headed toward the stairway.

"Don't you want to open the rest of your gifts?"

Travis shook his head. "What you just gave me will last a life time and I'm gonna thank you good and proper, Mrs. Hargrove because this trumps any gold belt buckle."

To read about Glory and Travis' love affair, purchase your copy of Eight Seconds to Glory at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble with the links below.

http://www.amazon.com/Eight-Seconds-to-Glory-ebook/dp/B008PW2WNI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349625650&sr=1-1&keywords=eight+seconds+to+glory

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eight-seconds-to-glory-tessa-berkley/1112418277?ean=9781440555893

http://ebooks.crimsonromance.com/product/eight-seconds-to-glory

This story comes in Nook versions, Kindle versions, and now in print through Amazon.

Thanks for reading and leave a comment! Happy Holidays from my house to yours.
1. http://sharonclare.com/blog1/crimson-wonderland-blog-hop
2. http://kwana.com/
3. http://lynncahoon.wordpress.com/blog/
4. http://tessaberkleyauthor.blogspot.com/
5. http://rtwolfe.com/
6. http://blog.erinrichards.com/
7. http://www.mjschiller.com/#!home/mainPage
8. http://terriponce.com/crimson-wonderland-blog-hop/
9. http://www.sylviefox.com/
10. http://www.ashlynmathews.com/

Look for the next ten authors coming soon. Don't forget to comment.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crimson Blog Hop!

I'm pleased to announce I'm joining Crimson Authors for a blog hop beginning November 17th and ending November 21st. 

So, what's a blog hop?

Well, several authors get together and write about a topic. You come by read and make comments and your name is entered into a contest and drawing.  Our topic will be based on Winter Wonderland.

I guess by now you are wondering what you'll win?? One lucky winner will win a $100 gift certificate for either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Two others will receive $50.00 gift certificates. With over 40 authors participating, lots of exciting things will be happening. Won't you join us??

Look for the first ten sites on November 17th. I hope to see you here.


Tessa.
Fall in love with the touch of a brim.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Traveling Wednesday....

Once every few months, I take time to get together with another write and work on up coming submissions. Sort of plan your strategy day. When we lay out our calendars and our lists of stories, it rivals the Eisenhower's planning of the invasion of Europe for D-Day. So, today is that day.

If you live in Tidewater Virginia and happen to be in Barnes and Noble at Greenbrier between 11:15 and 11:45 look for the short person wearing a black T shirt that says 'WRITER'. Come up and say "Hi, Tessa."


Leaving you with a snippet of My Crimson release  Eight Seconds to Glory...



He caught her gazing into his eyes. Those limpid pools of blue held a secret desire. He
looked closer hoping to see what it might be. He took a deep breath, like a man prepared
to leap off a tall cliff, and held it. The air between them seemed charged with a different
type of electricity. Anticipation curled up his spine. She was so beautiful. Standing there
in an over-sized pajama top and shorts, she looked better than any of those models he'd
seen strutting underwear on TV. His body thought so too, for his libido seemed to roar to
life.
One arm reached out and encircled her shoulders. He felt her lean into him and place
an open palm on his chest, which did little to still his wildly beating heart. Without a
word, he lifted her off the ground and into his arms. Concentrating on her face, he moved
toward the bed. One knee upon the mattress and the springs murmured, welcoming his
weight. He stopped, wondering what she might think, but the gentle curl of her lips put
his mind at ease.
Glory's arms didn't move as he placed her down. He stared at her; a soft blush of want
covered her cheeks and her eyes focused on his lips. This was the moment of
commitment. If he had any doubts, he should say so and not further disappoint her. But
the words didn't come. Spellbound, he stared at her open expression of desire. The gap in
the V of her T-shirt gave him ample view of the rise and fall of her breasts, and he
realized she felt this, too.
“Make love to me, Travis.”
“Glory.”
Her fingers found his lips. “I'm a big girl. I know what I'm asking.”

Hope to hear from you all soon. 

Tessa..

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn

My husband's grandfather had a unique saying. "You can fall anytime of the year, but Autumn comes only once." As I watch our leaves begin to turn here on the East Coast, I'm struck by how this season has lost the word "autumn" to become just fall.


Autumn has a crisp sound. It sings to my soul. It speaks of days gone by when the neighborhood children would get together and we'd rake leaves making forts to play in. After a week, the decomposition of the leaves would settle the huge piles from shoulder to waist. Another week and they'd be to our knees. At that time they would be raked into a pile to do the "Charlie Brown" jump in before our parents place them in the outside rubbish bins to burn.


Autumn's days would dwindle. Dusk came quickly. By 4:30, we'd be inside or on the back porch doing homework while she smells of hot hardy meals drifted out the screen door to tempt us inside. Sweatshirts would give way to light jackets. Which we worried would ruin our outfits for All Hallows Eve. You couldn't give any hints. Your outfit was as top secret as any government covert operation. Oh, the memories, the fun shared in a community.

 Ah, Autumn, I remember you well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday's Romantic Snippet



Her brow furrowed with curiosity as his features took on their own tortured look. The pinch of his brow, the sag of his mouth, the wounded look in his eyes as if she had shot his horse. Hope rose in her breast. “Ty, is there something you want to tell me?”
          He stood and walked toward the window. Her heart skipped a beat. Turning, she placed the cup on the nightstand, then rose, pulling the sheet behind her and wrapping the cotton cloth around her naked form. As she moved, the cotton let out a sad sigh as it pulled along the wood. Lily made a knot of the excess material around her small breasts and stepped behind him.
Her body pressed against his back, Lily slid her arms beneath his and encircled his chest. She closed her eyes and rubbed her cheek against the roughness of his red bib yoked button shirt.
          “Yes, Lily, I got something to tell you. Something I-” his words seem to choke.
          Her hand opened and pressed against his chest. She held him close, praying that her body could melt into his and they’d become one. Her lips pressed against Ty’s back. Her hands moved up toward his shoulders. Beneath the folded back edge of the bib on the left side, Lily’s hands ran into a point of metal.
          Her fingers stopped. A sudden rush of terror poured into her belly and swirled. She lifted two fingers, then three, and touched a cold star-shaped marker. A cold hand wrapped around her heart and crushed the small bit that was left. When she remembered to breathe, the gasp rushed in with a shutter.
Ty’s hand clasped over hers and held her fingers against his chest. Lily could feel the tense tightening of his muscles. With his hand against hers, he slowly turned to face her. Lily couldn’t look at him. The thought of the pain searing across her features would reveal too much of her feelings.
          “Lily,” his voice grew husky.
          “No,” she whispered. Her hands sought the flap and pulled the bib away.
There, on his chest, a silver metal star cut from the circle of metal proclaimed the horrid truth. Lily took her finger and traced the letters, Texas Ranger.



To purchase your copy of Incident At Cold Creek Tejas Conspiracy book 1 for $8.99  and now in print for $14.99 please follow the links below.

http://passioninprint.com/ShowBook.php?10=TB_COLDCREEK  

http://www.amazon.com/Tejas-Conspiracy-Incident-Series-ebook/dp/B008C1HH14/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339861239&sr=8-1&keywords=Incident+at+Cold+Creek++Tejas+Conspiracy

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tejas-conspiracy-tessa-berkley/1111606001?ean=2940014729031

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-tejasconspiracyincidentatcoldcreek-832993-154.html

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Afternoon at the Westerns

Welcome to Saturday afternoon at the Westerns. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of ice tea and enjoy a chapter of Eight Seconds to Glory a contemporary western romance set in Colorado on the Glory B Ranch.

“Go on now with the both of you.” Alma shooed them from the kitchen.

He waited outside while Glory picked up the laundry basket containing the sheets and
three sets of towels. Hearing the screen door slam, Travis looked back. His hands
tightened on the head of his walking stick. This spoke of being wrong. He couldn‟t rein in
the feeling of uselessness that followed. It should be him. He should be the one carrying
the basket. Yet, he didn't trust his own unsteady steps. She must have sensed his
dilemma. She looked up and smiled.
“It's not heavy.”
Travis brushed off her words and asked, “Which way?”
“Just this way.” She gave a nod toward a small, single-story bungalow painted a
sunny yellow similar to Glory‟s home. The little house was tucked beneath two tall oaks
and behind a small shelter that led to a pasture full of yearly cattle. Great, he thought to
himself. Then pushing the negativity aside, he realized that seeing the steers each day
might lessen the fear that seemed to brand him a coward. He fell in step beside her.
“Alma has a unique accent,” Travis said, as they walked beneath the shade of the old
oak trees that bordered the lawn. “I can't quite place it.”
“It's Cajun,” Glory responded. “Alma and her husband were from a small island just
off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.”
He felt his brows arch. “Colorado to South Carolina, it's quite a haul.”
“Alma's husband, Jim, was in the air force with my dad,” she replied pushing an
errant strand of hair back behind her ear. “When her husband was stationed here in
Colorado, Alma moved onto the ranch to help my mom and she's been here ever since.”
“Nice. Her husband work around here?”
“No, Jim died oddly enough in a hurricane. He'd gone back to Charleston to close the
deal for the home they sold there when Hugo roared through; he didn't get out in time.
She's never wanted to go back. She says the ocean took her life that day, so she will stay
here and make a new one.”
“I'm sorry,” Travis whispered, wishing he hadn't pried so hard into her business. “I
didn't mean to—”
She stopped and shifted the basket on her hip. “You weren't prying, Travis. It's a
natural question. I am glad that you asked me and not Alma though.” Her fingers found
his arm and beneath the cotton of his shirt, Travis felt his skin warm. “Alma still gets
misty-eyed when she speaks of Jim.”
“He was a good man?”
“The best.”
She drew her hand away and disappointment swept over him.
“Let me open the door,” she murmured. Bending her knee, she balanced the basket
and stuck the key into the lock. A smooth turn of her wrist and the lock tumbled. “Here
you go, keys to the mansion.”
Travis scooped the house keys from her hand, stepped out of the way so she might
enter, and followed her inside. While Glory teased about the small home being a
mansion, to him it seemed just about right. After living in an efficiency apartment with room enough for a bar stool and a bed, the large living area felt like the Taj Mahal. A
sofa, chair, TV—by golly he‟d hit the big time—even a fireplace complete with a mantel.
He thought perhaps he‟d stepped into one of Norman Rockwell's paintings. Stepping to
an end table near the arm of the sofa, he picked up a framed photograph of two men in air
force uniforms standing in front of a jet. One black, one white, but their arms were tossed
around each other signaling a deep friendship.
“My dad and Jim,” Glory whispered. “They were the coyote and roadrunner.”
She caught his bewildered look and smiled. “My dad was the coyote, the cunning
hunter. Jim,” she pointed to Alma's husband, “he was the fast one. He would swoop in
and cover my dad's back when they flew missions in Nam.”
“Ah,” he replied, the light dawning on him.
“In the background you might catch the two characters from the cartoons they painted
on the plane.”
Travis turned it toward the light and caught the outline of the bird, his feet a whirl of
circles as the coyote leaned toward him. “You miss him?”
“Yes, I do.”
Her soft voice was honest, yet the way she spoke indicated a recent hurt. Curious,
Travis wanted to ask her about her dad, but when he turned around and caught the slight
shimmer in her blue eyes, he stopped. Now was not the time to bring up her sorrow. He
watched her shake off the melancholy and step away.
She took a deep breath and continued on. “Alma keeps some chairs in the pantry. You
can use them on the porch.” Her voice echoed as she walked toward the rear of the house
and placed the basket down on a chair. “It's a very compact home, but you'll find
everything you need.” Glory moved toward the archway against the left wall. “Your
kitchen and pantry are through here,” she backed up three steps and opened a door. “A
full bath and shower. You know, of course, laundry is done at the main house.” Then
moving toward the last door against the back wall she pushed it wide. “Bedroom.”
Travis ambled over and stood beside her, peering into the large room that contained a
bed, dresser, and small table. “Very nice,” he nodded.
“There's a double closet over there,” Glory leaned in and pointed along the back wall.
He stepped closer to take a look and felt her shoulder against his chest. The warmth of
her body moved through his shirt to saturate his skin. Travis's heartbeat quickened
against his chest. A soft rush of air moved from his lungs as certain regions that had so
long been ignored stirred to life. Her head turned toward him. Those sapphire eyes gazed
up into his and showed no fear.
Close up she was more beautiful than he could ever imagine. The scent of her hair
filled the space between them with the hint of honeysuckle. Without thinking, Travis
lifted his hand and pushed a streamer of gold behind her ear. “Just like silk,” he heard
himself whisper aloud, and for good measure he grazed the edges of his knuckles down
her cheek. His knees nearly gave way when she closed her eyes and leaned into the stroke
of his hand.
Threading his hand along the back of her neck, he gave merely a hint of pressure and
her head tipped up. Her eyes opened; he could see the blue turn to velvet as she
dampened her dry lips with the edge of her tongue. With a slow, steady measure, he lowered his mouth toward hers, watching, waiting for any sign of protest. Just a whisper
away and with nothing to stop him, Travis's lips brushed hers.

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