Excerpt 2 from You Belong To Me

Excerpt 2 from You Belong To Me

 

Another excerpt from You Belong To Me

Noticing movement through the gallery window, he rapped on the door. Erin opened it with a smile and invited him in. “I’m just hanging a painting. There’s some coffee in the little kitchen back there to your right. Help yourself while I finish this up.”

Colin couldn’t help but notice her curves – in all the right places. To distract himself, he said, “I brought the donuts,” holding up the bakery box. “Do you need any help?”

“No, I do this all the time. I’ll be done in a minute. Go on, get some coffee.” She eyed the bakery box he carried. “Dinkel’s?” she asked. When he nodded, she added, “My favorite.”

“Mine, too,” he said, glad he’d taken the extra time to drive there on his way. Through the gallery to the back, he turned into the little kitchen, spotted the coffee center and poured two cups.

“There,” she said, walking into the kitchen, brushing off her sleeve, “I’ve just been putting up some things to replace what I sold last night.” She took the cup of coffee he offered her and set it on the counter, dropped two lumps of sugar into it and topped it off with some milk from the tiny refrigerator. “How about we raid the goody box first, then do the tour?” she asked.

They sat at the little table in the corner of the kitchen. Erin untied the string on the bakery box and opened the lid. “Cinnamon sugar,” she said and laughed.

The expression on her face – one of pure delight – stopped his heart and he knew he was here for more than the paintings, more than the investment opportunity. He’d convinced himself on the drive over that she wasn’t his type. But now he wanted to get to know her.

She brought out some paper plates and napkins and took one of the donuts. “Do you want one of these or some of this…” she asked, pointing into the box.

“Apple Cheese Stollen. It’s my weakness.”

“Let me cut you a piece.” Using a knife from the drawer in the counter she cut him a large wedge, set it on the paper plate and sat down across from him.

When she bit into her doughnut, she closed her eyes and seemed to savor it. Crumbles of cinnamon and sugar on her lips caught his attention and when she caught them with her tongue, he imagined licking them off himself. Breaking into his fantasy, she said, “You’re a Harvard grad, aren’t you?” Was there a hint of disdain in her tone?

“Does it show?” he said.

She smiled. “Not so most people would notice, but you can’t fool a Boston College girl. You guys were always easy pickups.”

Colin laughed. It had been a long time since someone made him laugh. Erin’s intelligence and wit surprised him.

“What do you do, Colin?” she said.

“I’m a lawyer,” he said.

She hesitated before she said, “You mean divorces, stuff like that?”

He laughed. “God, no! I’m in mergers and acquisitions. Pretty boring stuff, really.”

“So why do you do it?”

“Well, it’s not boring to me. Only to the poor sucker who has to listen to me talk about it when I get on a roll. So, I’m not going to talk about it, now. The last thing on my mind is business. So tell me what brought you to Chicago.”

It was as though a cloud passed in front of the sun the way her expression changed. She reached for her coffee cup – her hand trembling – gripping the cup with both hands. All the laughter disappeared from her eyes.

“I needed a change of scenery,” she said and took a sip of her coffee.

Waiting to see if she would say more, he didn’t respond. Her eyes darkened and sadness filled them, but she recovered her composure and said, “It’s not a big deal, it was just time to move on to new territory.”

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How Many (Summer) Ways Can I Procrastinate? #amnotwriting

Yes, I’m doing it (but at least I recognize it). I’m procrastinating. With my writing. Sailboats on Keuka Lake

It’s August and it feels like September. So I’m feeling the end of summer approach and wanting to grab every minute of it I can. I’m not writing because I’m:

  • sitting outside reading a good book
  • tending the garden
  • sipping wine on the back porch
  • taking a walk
  • making S’Mores around a fire in the backyard
  • star gazing
  • going to the lake
  • diving off the back of the boat

What summer activities are you imbibing in that keep you from writing?

 

 

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Music Monday – Songs of Summertime #Music

The lazy days of summer are here and having an impact on my productivity. Gardening, hanging out at the lake, reading my latest Kindle purchase on my back porch; these activities are calling my name. I may even take every Friday off for the rest of the summer.

There’s a feeling of freedom that come with summer, too, and probably harkens back to the carefree days of summer breaks from school. And music was the background of our lives – still is. So here are some summertime songs that you may or may not remember (depending on your age!)

Summer Love – Justin Timberlake 2007

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams – 1985

Summer Breeze – Seals and Crofts – 1975

Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful (even i was just a little kid when this came out)1966

And this little classic – Summertime (from Porgy and Bess) sung by Ella Fitzgerald in 1968

 

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Tools of the Trade

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrenchFor years, I’ve written everything using MS Word. And I’ve mastered it, mostly. Sure there are some obscure features that I can never find that once time each year that I need them. And there are certainly more hidden, funky, options than I will ever use. But most of the time I write happily along with the basics.

When I decided to self-publish my first novel, I did some research and realized that Word was not very good for formatting output for the Kindle and other ebook devices or sites. And, of course, they all have a different format. Grrr. So off I went in search of a tool that would take my Word doc and transform it.

Jutoh was the tool I chose, and it worked pretty well. The only thing I noticed after I imported my doc was that all the place names (Boston, Chicago, etc.) were replaced by blanks. Huh? Okay, so I had to edit the whole book to find all those places where this occurred and fix them. But the export did what is was supposed to do and evenmy TOC was correct.

But now, I’m hearing a lot about Scrivener. It seems to do everything but write the story for you. And it exports into the proper formats! Oooooh!  As a self-professed geek, I had to have it. So I have just downloaded the free trial and installed it. I’m about to start using it.  I’ll report back and tell you what I think in a week or so.

Do you use Scrivener?  If not, what tools do you use to help you with your writing or publishing?

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Sneak Peek – The Dream Maker

My posts have been few and far between as I’ve been writing and editing up a storm on my new WIP, tentatively titled, The Dream Maker. Here’s a sneak peek:

Mayan ColumnAlexis rolled her shoulders trying to relieve the ache that ran from her neck to the center of her back. They’d searched through two of the three books found in the first urn and hadn’t found a thing that made sense to either of them. Nothing that helped them understand why they were there or what they should do.

“Okay, let’s go through this last one and if we don’t find anything, we’ll have to get out of here and regroup,” Elliott said.

“I wish we knew what we were looking for. This seems so pointless. Why couldn’t Su-Son just tell us where to find the Firestone and what to do with it? I don’t understand why we have to feel our way through all this. They must know what’s going on. Why don’t we?”

“I don’t know for sure but I’ve been wondering about the same thing. I have some thoughts about it.”

Alexis waited for Elliott to say something more, but he just opened the third book and began scanning the bark-paper pages.

“Are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?” Alexis leaned closer to Elliott to get his attention.

He looked up at her. “What?”

“You were saying you had some thoughts about why we…”

“Later. We have to figure out what’s in these books. The air isn’t getting any better in here and those soldiers out there are circling the temple and we have to find a way out of here.”

“Fine.” She was exasperated with him, but he was right. They were in danger. Maybe more danger than they could handle.

They worked together reading through the last pages of the book. Alexis scanned down the page and at the very bottom saw the symbol for Atlantis.

“There! Urn number ninety-nine.” She stood and walked to the wall of urns, scanning for the right one.

Elliott stood beside her. “Ninety-nine is the numeric representation of Pure Energy in Sacred Geometry,” he said.

She looked up at him. “Where do you get this stuff?” She shook her head. “Never mind.”

Elliott helped her drag the urn to the center of the room and held it while she worked at unsealing the lid. When she opened it, she was disappointed to find another book inside. But when she pulled it out, she noticed two stones in the bottom of the urn.

She reached in to get one and it started to glow with a blue light that seemed to come from the very core of the stone itself.

“Oh, my god,” Alexis yelped. She pulled her hand out of the urn.

“What’s wrong?” Elliott leaned over the urn to look inside.

“That stone. It was lighting up.”

Elliott reached into the urn and pulled out both of the stones. “You must have activated some kind of energy field when you got close to them. They aren’t doing anything now.” He opened his hands and showed her the two stones lying inert in his palms, one dark red and one a deep purple.

“This one looks like tourmaline,” he said, holding out the hand with the red stone. “And this blue flecked one might be lapis lazuli. They’re interesting choices…”

“What do you mean?”

“See if one calls out to more than the other. Place your hands over mine about six inches above the stones.”

What did he mean, see if one called out to her? She was hesitant. She had been able to push aside what Su-Son had said about her ability with crystals while they were scrambling around looking for a link to the symbol in the first temple. It was just another archeological quest. Even when she and Elliott had exhibited those freakish extra-sensory powers, she had focused only on what they would find.

But now, she was going to test this whole idea that she had some kind of energy in her that would do…what? Light them up? Would they be warm to the touch?

“Come on, give it a try.” Elliott broke into her thoughts.

Alexis reached her hands out and held them, palms down, above the stones. As soon as she was within about twelve inches of the stones, they both began to glow from within, as though a light was shining from the inside out. But when her hands were held above the stones, the blue one – the lapis lazuli – sent a warmth up into her palm.

“The blue one is heating up. Do you feel it?” she asked.

“No. The red one feels warm to me. Here,” he said, offering her the blue stone.

When she took it in her hand the light brightened.

“See if you can control that light, Alexis.”

She looked up at Elliott. He was waiting expectantly for her to do something. His dark eyes were focused on her face, not on the stones. There was excitement flowing through him, as though he had made a great discovery. And then she sensed another emotion – he was trying to hide it – love, desire.

“Don’t,” she said, turning away from him. She clamped her hands closed in fists and the stone in her hand began to pulse.

“What’s wrong?” he said, walking up close behind her.

“I can feel what you feel.” She turned and faced him. “Don’t love me, Elliott.”

His expression changed, a tight-lipped hardness replacing the joy she had seen only a moment ago.

“Put the stone in your pocket. We have to take this book and the stones and get the hell out of here.”  He turned away from her, placed the book in his pack and started putting the lids on the urns they had opened. She watched him roll them back into place, the muscles in his arms flexing as he moved the heavy pottery jars. Pain and disappointment poured from his heart, igniting a fiery anger inside him.

“I don’t hear anything outside right now. They could be gone, or they are hiding somewhere, waiting for us to show up at the campsite.” He kept his back to her.

She didn’t want to hurt him, but she had to. It was the only way to save his life.

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Excerpt from the WIP Sequel to You Belong To Me

Still posting excerpts, so I’ve chosen to post a sneak peek at my current WIP, the sequel to You Belong To Me. Nathan Taylor has just return from several years in Africa as a member of a traveling physicians group and has just concluded an interview with Elizabeth, who is now the Director of a Women’s Health Clinic that she founded after her stint in rehab (see this backstory in You Belong To Me.)

 Dr. Nathan Taylor ducked into the men’s room off the lobby of the Women’s Center. As soon as the door closed behind him he slumped against the wall and waited for the dizziness to pass. When he could open his eyes without the room spinning in front of him he took the two steps to the sink and splashed cold water on his face.young businessman having chest pain

Damn it! He was going to beat this. He’d suffered for months now trying to shake this thing. The stress of the interview – something he could certainly handle under normal circumstances – had taken a toll on his system. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the bottle of pills he carried with him, emptied two into his trembling hand and swallowed them down without any water.

Reaching for a paper towel to wipe the perspiration from the back of his neck, he wondered if he was fit for this job. He hadn’t worked since he got back from Africa and it was killing him to be idle. But he wouldn’t endanger a patient, either.

After a few minutes, his hands stopped shaking and the strength returned to his legs. He smoothed down his hair and emerged in the lobby just as Elizabeth and Claire were walking out the front door. He stood watching them as they strode down the front walk, thankful for his timing. When they had disappeared in Elizabeth’s car – a brand new Mercedes, he noted – he left the building and headed home.

His apartment had the sparse look of a demo model. There was furniture, but he’d lived in refugee camps for so long he’d barely accumulated anything personal except his collection of photographs of the people he had met – and loved – in those far away countries.

Nathan walked straight to his bedroom, stripped, showered and fell into bed. It was only six o’clock, but sleep came to him easily.

When he awoke, the sun was shining in the window and a glance at the bedside clock told him he’d slept for fourteen hours. No nightmares. No dreams at all that he could remember.

Kicking off the blankets, he sat up on the side of the bed and waited for the dizziness, but it didn’t come. He felt pretty good this morning. Fourteen hours of sleep will do that.

He stood and looked around the room for a pair of jeans. The clothes he’d worn to the interview were strewn across the straight-back chair in the corner.

The interview. He was going to practice medicine again. His chest expanded and he sensed a bit of his pride returning after a long hibernation. He had been nervous about the interview – and more so when he met Elizabeth. That woman with the dark, spiky hair and stormy gray eyes had held his whole future in her hands. But it had gone better than he anticipated.

He moved into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. When he opened the front door to pick up the morning paper from the stoop, the air smelled sweet and fresh. He hadn’t paid attention to the rest of the world while he’d been so sick, and now it was as though the coming spring was a harbinger of his own renewal.

With a fresh cup of coffee in hand, he sat on the couch with the paper, but he didn’t even look at it.  In a little more than a week he would start at the clinic and he needed to get all of his strength back – to wean himself from the pills and to get his body clock regulated to a normal work day.

While he rested he could start making a list of the things the clinic would need. He would start with the basics, then he’d build from there. It would be good to get back to medicine again, back to having some purpose in his life. Being with other people who shared his ideals would be a welcome change from the isolation he’d felt since he’d been back in the States. An ache bloomed in his chest as he remembered the last person that had shared his goals.

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They Almost Make You Believe… excerpt from You Belong To Me

In this excerpt from You Belong To Me, Colin and Erin go out for drinks with another couple. It is the first time they have a real conversation with each other.

Kyle pulled Marilyn into his arms and kissed her. “Marilyn and I are going out for a drink and I invited Colin to join us. Why don’t you come with us, Erin?”

She glanced at Colin. He nodded. “Grab a coat, we’re just walking up to Harry’s.”

She hesitated and Marilyn jumped in, “Come on, get out of here for a while. You’ve worked so harCouple with glasses of champagne on dated this week.”

“Okay, I’d love to go,” she said. She hadn’t been out to a bar in ages. This would be good for her. She was cooped up in her little apartment or the gallery most of the time.

They walked the several blocks to the masculine but elegant bar, and sat at a table for four. Erin and Marilyn sat across from each other while the men flanked them on either side.

The waiter approached them and asked for their orders.

“What would you like, Erin?” Colin asked.

“I’ll have a Guinness, please,” she said.

Colin ordered a scotch on the rocks. When the waiter left Colin said, “I’m surprised you ordered that.”

“You expected me to order a watery white wine, I suppose?”

Colin laughed. “Yes, I guess I did. Where did you learn to like dark beer?”

“Stout,” she said.

“Okay, stout.”

“At O’Reilly’s Famous Irish Pub,” Erin said, delighted to tease him.

“Hmm, a relative of yours?”

“My dad owns it. I practically grew up on Irish beer.”

“Just when I think I’ve got you pegged, you surprise me,” Colin said, leaning closer to her.

Erin laughed. “You have me stereotyped, huh?”

“No, I didn’t mean that.”

Erin raised her eyebrows at him. “Well, yeah, maybe I did,” he admitted and shrugged.

“Don’t let him bullshit you, Erin,” Kyle said. “He has his world perfectly ordered and he’s trying to figure out where you fit.”

Erin laughed, and turned to Colin. “Do you?”

“Do I what?” There was something sultry in the tone of his voice.

“Have your world perfectly ordered?” She laughed at the sudden change in the expression on his face – like he’d been accused of something criminal. Then he broke out in a huge smile.

“I am sometimes a bit anal. But I think that beats being the ultimate slob, like him.” He laughed as he nodded toward Kyle.

Erin looked at Marilyn and they both burst out laughing. Erin had heard the stories of Kyle leaving dirty dishes in his home office for days; searching high and low for a single shoe and finding it under the bed. Marilyn always had a story to tell about Kyle’s habits when she came into work in the morning.

“Anal isn’t the word for it,” Kyle said. He turned to Erin. “He’s a perfectionist. He probably has his pens lined up parallel to his desk blotter. And I know he’s a fanatic about his clothes. God forbid he should wear something twice in the same month.”

“You have that many clothes?” Erin asked. Tonight he wore a three button, pale gray suit, a darker gray dress shirt with a woven stripe, and a black and gray swirl-patterned tie. Very designer, if she knew her clothes…and she did.

“Hey, what is this…pick on Colin night?” Colin said, chuckling.

“Okay, okay, we’ll let you off the hook,” Kyle said. “I need to say hello to someone at the bar, anyway.” He held out his hand to Marilyn. “Come on honey, let’s give Colin a break.”

They left the table and Erin watched them walk over to another couple at the bar. Kyle held Marilyn’s hand, and Erin envied her that. Envied her the love that shined so clearly in Kyle’s eyes whenever he looked at Marilyn.

She turned her attention away from them and back to Colin. He’d been watching her.

“They’re a nice couple,” Colin said, as though he had been reading her mind.

“They almost make you believe…” And there she was, sharing her innermost thoughts with this man again. What was it with him? He held her gaze, as though he could see right inside her head. “Believe what?” he said, his voice a whisper that sent a shiver through her, a shiver that made her aware of her own sexuality for the first time in…too long.

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