Thursday, May 30, 2019

Awesome Excerpt Thursday ~ The Man with the Tool Belt Chronicles book II by Stefan Angelina McElvain

The Man with the Tool Belt Chronicles book II by Stefan Angelina McElvain

Cougars, adult, erotic romance, erotica

If hubby can’t manage it—get the man in. Satisfaction’s guaranteed. What’s the problem?

All of his clients tell William Harder he’s a great handyman and should work for himself. He decides to give it a try and discovers the true meaning of get the man in—especially with his female clients.

Wearing his tool belt, he’s ready to impress and goes the extra mile.

About the author

Stefan Angelina McElvain is fascinated by adult erotica, especially when blended with fantasy, the paranormal, and science fiction. Think--Isaac Asimov meets Emmanuelle, or Doctor Who teams up with Dan Dare. Well, that’s the goal.

Stefan is now retired, living in the South Bay, Los Angeles. He’s married, with two sons and two grandsons. Born in the middle of England in the early fifties, he grew up in a town steeped in history with a haunted castle, hidden passageways, and a double-spiral staircase in the local church tower. He relocated to Los Angeles in the late eighties.

Stefan has a first degree from Manchester University with joint honors in Physics and Electronic Engineering, and a Master’s in Business from the University of Southern California.

You can contact the author on Facebook.        or Twitter @stefanangelinaM


I phoned my regular customers and told them, “I’m going freelance.” To a tee, they all said, “It’s about time. We have your number. We’ll call.”
Idiot me thought they’d phone the next day. How stupid could I be!

I took a job at the local coffee shop, cleaning tables to pay the rent.

A month went by, and finally, I had a couple of calls.
Mary was the first.
She phoned me. “Willy, it’s Mary. There’s a blockage in the downstairs bathroom.”
“Don’t worry. No job’s too small... or too large. My call-out fee is thirty dollars.”
“That’s too low. When can you be here?”
My shift ends in half an hour.
“I’m finishing up a job. I can be there in an hour. Same address?”
“Yes, I’ll be expecting you.”
It took me forty minutes to get there. Traffic was light, but it still took me forever. I forgot what a nice neighborhood she lives in. Good, I can park in the driveway. I put on my leather tool belt, picked up my toolbox, and knocked on the door. I’m late, and she’s right. I’m underselling myself. This is close to where I live, and it took ages to get here. I could easily lose fifty minutes each way. That makes it less than fifteen dollars an hour. I get paid as much cleaning tables.
“Willy, thank God you came. I’m at my wit’s end. The bathroom is at the end of the hallway. It doesn’t work.”
Mary was five-feet-one and wearing a loose brown top with a wraparound caftan skirt. I guessed her age as late thirties.
She’s kept herself in shape... short dirty-blonde hair, green eyes, and a dimple in her left cheek when she smiles. It’s slightly off-center—sexy cute. She’s hot. How come I never noticed how alluring she is on my previous visits? Focus. I’ve a job to do.
I gave her a hug. She melted into me, and I whispered, “Don’t worry, Mary. It’s not the end of the world. I’ll fix it, or my name’s not Willy.”
“I knew I could rely on you.”
She squeezed my ass, and I responded by giving her a peck on the cheek.
Mary smiled and said, “Follow me, it’s this way.”

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Writing Warriors Wednesday ~ A Kiss is Just a Kiss

Little girl’s dreams are built around it. Boys brag about it, and it is the force driving every book I write. It is all about the kiss, not just any kiss, ‘the kiss’.  Sounds like a pretty weak way to drive anything, but that us my focal point. The first kiss and then the renewal kiss. In any romance, the basic bare bones plot is usually the same.  Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back.  Obviously, there are a million variations of this, but the core is the same. So for a writer to truly translate their vision, we must have a focus.

In my first series, ‘Trust Me,’ the entire novel started out as an image in my head. Two people, breathless and desperate to kiss each other but unable to act on their feelings, I focused on the single image rolling all of the possibilities in my head, why wouldn’t they be able to fulfill their desires? What was holding them back and what would make them so desperate to act? Where did the need to be in the others embrace stem from? What were the consequences if they acted on their desires? The answers to each of these are, of course endless, but in the end, Trust Me was born. The two people became Rebecca Gailen and Eric Stiles, the scene wound up in a very different place than I imagined it, and the consequences were shattering to both of them.

Eric sat for a moment, letting the advice settle in his gut before he rose from the table. He made is way down the hall and over to the kitchen. He popped a few quarters in the vending machine his mind heavy in thought.

Just promise me, if you find her you won't walk away…
Then the world literally stopped. I looked up, and there she was smiling at me as she said hello.
I wish that were true

He made his way back to the conference room, two sodas in hand. He rounded the corner and bumped into someone. He heard a gasp, and he turned. Her blue eyes looked at him in terror.


He'd scared her again.

Damn it what was she doing out here alone?

She was breathless, and he watched her body begin to quake. Her eyes watering, she looked to him, helpless. He grasped her hand and scanned his ID before he led her into an empty conference room. She propped herself against the wall, and he shut the door. Her trembling worsened while tears slid down her cheeks.

He pulled her into his chest, wrapping his arms around her protectively until the trembling passed. She clung to him, and he pulled her tighter against him, kissing the top of her head.

After a few minutes, she seemed to calm. Eric looked down at her, his hand grazing her hair. She met his gaze, her cheeks still wet with tears.

"Okay?" He gently wiped her tears away with his thumb.

Quiet desperation shone back at him, and he drowned in her eyes. His heart refused to be ignored. The walls he'd so carefully built crumbled like ash. Eric leaned down, pressing his lips against hers, his hands pushing into her hair. He covered her mouth, and a rush of fire swept through him. Her lips were warm and sweet. She opened up to him, and he pulled her closer to him, devouring her mouth. They melted together into one enduring embrace.

She pulled away, their lips parted, and his heart screamed in protest.

"We can't do this," she said in a breathless whisper. His forehead rested against hers, eyes closed, fighting the need to kiss her again. "Eric…"

"If it was anyone else…" his voice a deep growl talking his way back from her warmth, "Rebecca I--"

Her warm hand rested against his cheek and stabs of pain pushed at him like his heart was being ripped from his body. He tried to catch his breath. Her eyes were brimming with life, pain, and unquenchable warmth.

She rose up on her toes. His arms still wrapped around her, she kissed him once more. Full of emotion and regret, her lips fit within his. She broke away and lowered herself back to the ground. Unable to pull away from her eyes, he could see the strain and exhaustion she fought to hide. His hand grazed her hair, and her eyes closed.

Like the screaming of an alarm, his cell phone rang. Her eyes opened, looking at him with strength, hiding the pain and fear only he could see. Her shoulders squared, her back stiffened, and her arms dropped from his chest.

Eric kept her resilient but anguished gaze. He dropped his arms from their protective position around her. She took a step back. His cell phone rang again. She took another step and turned toward the door. He struggled with not being able to touch her or hold her. She glanced back, but within seconds, she disappeared. It was torture beyond his imagination, and it was killing him.
His phone rang again, and he pulled it from his pocket.
"This is Detective Stiles."

So that was the beginning of the Trust Me series or at least the kernel of inspiration.  Now that was not the first kiss, nor would it be the last, but it is a crucial part of the plot. First kisses, as I stated, are of monumental importance to me. They have to be perfect. They have to feel honest, real, and natural. One of my pet peeves is to have a kiss feel rushed or awkward, or when as the reader I am saying – where the hell did that come from. There has to be a build-up, tension, and finally, the explosion that lifts the character's story to the next level.

In Shockwave, the first kiss is the turning point in the novel. It is the place where the reader is finally satisfied by the flirt. Kate Weiss and Jack Tucker are from two different worlds, he is always in the spotlight, and she is always behind it. At the beginning of the story, Jack and Kate hate each other until Kate is attacked by a group of thugs.  From there, the flirt is on, and in this scene, the readers are given what they have been hoping for…

It took a little time, but they managed to make their way out and hail a cab back to the hotel. Stumbling into the hotel laughing, they managed to navigate their way to the elevators. They stepped in, and concurrently forgot the floor of their rooms.

“Twenty-three Three is sticking in my brain.” She leaned against the back of the elevator.

“Twenty-three Three it is,” Jack pushed the button and leaned against the wall next to her.

“You’d think they would put it on your key or something.”

“What’s your room number?” His brain flipped like a coin in mid-air.

“2509.” He looked at her with a smile. “Seriously?”

She reached forward, pushed the button for twenty-five. He laughed.

“What’s your room number, Tucker?”

“Ah…I…well…I have no fucking idea!”

“See!” She stepped back, leaning next to him. “So I don’t want to hear any sass out of you about my 23!”

“My sass will remain closed.” The heat of her body made his head spin more than it already was.

“That’s why!”

“Why what?”

“I finally understand why she calls you Sass. I didn’t see it before, but now I definitely agree that you are…”

Abruptly the doors opened, and they turned to move out of the elevator. He realized they were on the wrong floor and pulled her back.

“What are you doing?”

“Twenty-five, remember, not twenty-three.”

“Oh yeah,” She turned to him with a lopsided smile. It hit him like a hammer. He realized it was the first time he had ever really seen her smile.  It lit up her face, and he couldn’t help but smile back. “Do you know that saying?”

“What saying?”

“The whole, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas thing.”

“Yes, I am familiar with it.” The doors of the elevator opened again, and he gently turned her around, moving her forward into the hallway.

“Well, you need to make sure you understand that saying because well…” She rummaged through her pockets for her key. “I am breaking so many rules right now, you wouldn’t believe.”

“Rules?” She stopped at her door leaning against it, key card in hand.
Jack watched her struggle to maintain her mental and physical balance.

“Yes, rules. Many, many rules.”

“What kind of rules?” Warmth enveloped him. Her scent and deep eyes drew him in, and he was powerless to resist.

“Important rules.” His palms rested on the door trapping her between his arms, and a deep sigh escaped her lips. “Very important rules.”

“Kate,” He breathed her in, just inches away from her lips, her emerald eyes shining brightly up at him.


“Forget the rules.” He caressed her cheek with his thumb, his heart pounding against his chest. Jack let go of his fear and covered her mouth with a passionate kiss.

He expected the moment of surprise. Then she kissed him back, her arms wrapping around his neck, pulling him closer. After a hesitant but passion-filled exploration of the other's lips, their touch parted, and he bit back a groan. He didn’t want to stop. He wanted to keep kissing her forever.


In my new book, Finders, Demonologist Luke Melloy cannot afford to be in love. It is a hazard to his job and his soul. A missing part of his life he has learned to deal with… Claire Westin is too busy for love, she has a career, goals, and a notorious family name to escape. Funny how fate has other plans for this pair.

They laid in silence. Luke focused on his breathing and thought she’d fallen asleep. When she turned to face him, he opened his eyes, seeing her beautiful face just inches away. His heart raced, and he begged it to calm. The need to touch her scorched his body, and he held back.

“Can you feel it?” Claire said, her voice barely audible.

The question threw him off. Everything about Claire threw him off. In a desperate attempt to remain in control of his colliding emotions, he responded, “feel what?”

Her soft and yet piercing gaze studied him. He could almost hear her mind working as she stared through his mask. A mask, until now, no one knew was there. She shifted slowly, her hand rising from the down bedding before gently laying against his cheek. “Feel this.”

With her touch, his world rolled and surged. His energy aligned into a powerful rush of endorphins and strength. Closing his eyes, he savored the surge, like taking in pure oxygen after years of suffocation. “Yes.”

“What,” she started, and he watched her take a breath of air. “is it?”

Her sweet breath on his chin, her lips brushed against his in a hesitant kiss. The union sent sparks flying through his core, and without thought, Luke claimed her mouth with a fiery need. Taking her into his arms and rolling her beneath him, he could feel her desire, feel the heat boiling in both of their bodies. She opened to him, her nails curling into the back of his neck, demanding his attention, and he devoured her mouth in response.




“Claire,” Luke said, forcing himself to pull back from the elation. His body groaned in response.

“I know,” Claire said, breathless and panting. “I know we have to stop.”
Luke met her eyes, seeing clarity, and understanding he wasn’t expecting. “I don’t…”

“I understand, Luke,” she said, her thumb stroking his cheek. “It’s complicated, and things are complicated enough right now.” He collapsed against her, breathing in her scent. “Your being here, holding me in your arms is enough for now.”
A little steamy, right-- Well all of that flirting tends to build up a little tension…and POW!

The kiss is a powerful weapon in the romantic suspense, more so than in other genres. The kiss is a prize, a reward for hard work, and a job well done. You have managed to stay alive, here is your treat…you get the girl/guy!

Every writer has something that propels them forward, the kernel of truth they search out.

I ask you, with the utmost sincerity, what is more, honest than a kiss? You cannot fake a kiss, not a real one anyway. A real kiss has the power to sway opinions, cease and cause wars, make you faint, swoon, and or gag. For me, the kiss is the first breath of love, it is an act of passion, and most of all, awareness.  There is no way to deny, retract, or ignore a real kiss, not even if you want to.

The core of my writing is the kiss in all of its glorious forms, whether is it a first kiss or a kiss. Goodbye, it is always memorable. It is my job to make you remember why.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Teaser Tuesday ~ You Never Could Be


 A passion-fueled encounter in the corridor of a hotel convention room reveals two anguished hearts struggling to reconnect despite life’s difficulties. Will Carlisle, the eye candy of the office, is every woman’s dream, tall, handsome, and dashingly charming. Sara Rozek never guessed he has secretly wanted her for months now. When a bad day falls upon them and Will breaks the reins of his own restraint, she sees the burning passion in his eyes, and there is no denying the mutual attraction. Will and Sara’s start quickly runs awry, and Sara becomes convinced she was played for a fool. Will begs her to listen to him, but she turns away in fear. Can Will mend her broken heart, or will the passion they shared vanish forever?

Excerpt ~

Will finished his conversation and hung up his phone, having booked himself on the next available flight. Highway assistance had solved their lug nut challenge. They were back on the road to the airport. Sara saw the exit and glanced at him with a grin, her stomach churning. His phone beeped, he glanced at the screen with an audible sigh.

“Is everything okay?” Sara asked.

“Uh, yeah. It’s fine.”

“You don’t sound so convinced.”

“I’m not.” His focus went to the window, a deafening quiet lying between them once again.

“Are you going out of the same terminal?”

“Yeah, I think so, American.”

She grabbed her drive-thru pass and headed to the terminal. They reached it, but the curbside thorough way was closed. She pulled into the garage and found a space. She exited the car unwilling to break the boundary of silence he’d put up and wordlessly popped the hatch.

“Make sure you get a new tire, you shouldn’t be driving on the donut for longer than a day.” He came around the side, pulling his luggage from the back.

“I will.” She pulled her fingers against her hair. The tension was killing her. Sara had enough. “Will…”

“They’re replacing me.” Her blood turned to ice.


“The phone call, it was Regan. They decided to split the departments, and my position has been absorbed into the transition.” Unable to deal with the news without emotion, she turned away from him. “There are a couple positions available in Phoenix. They are setting up interviews for me.”


“I’ll announce it Monday, they want me to work through the transition so probably a few weeks.”

“I can’t believe this is happening. Will, you’ve been—“

“It’s okay, Sara. It’s not personal, we knew with all of the changes stuff like this was going to happen.”

“Yeah, but not to us.”

She saw him take a deep breath before he closed the hatch. Her emotions rose in her chest again, and she wasn’t sure what to do. She did her best to gulp it back.

“Well, at least you’ll be around for the next few weeks, so I can still harass you when needed.” She meant for the statement to be light, but it came out like a final farewell. “You’ll have to come up with an excuse to come to visit. I’m sure the group of us can come up with a plausible justification.”

“I’ll be around.”

“I know you will, you’re always around when I…we need you.” His eyes bore 
through her. Sara’s body involuntarily tightened. “You’d…uh…you’d better get going, or you’re going to miss your plane again.”

“Yeah. I think I would have a hard time using the flat tire excuse twice.”

“Have a safe trip.” She stepped into him, wrapping her arm loosely over his shoulder in a hug. Her heart raced at the solid heat of his body against hers. 
“Let me know if you need anything. Seriously, if you need anything, just call.”

“You too.”

She nodded and went to step back, his hand lingering on her hip. She hesitated, he moved. She took another step back. He threw his laptop case over his shoulder and unfolded his luggage before waving goodbye.

A heaviness settled in her chest, forcing a deep sigh. Her mind felt thick. She pulled herself away, turning to get in her truck. She lifted the handle when the smacking of hurried footsteps against concrete got her attention.


She spun on her heel, following his voice around the truck.

“Did you forget something?” He didn’t respond just kept walking, a startling determination in his eyes. She waited in open confusion. He kept coming. Before she could react, his hand curled around the back of her neck. His mouth crushed hers with a heated demand. Giving her no choice but to give in.

She opened beneath him, and his tongue dove into her mouth. He shifted his arm, wrapping it around her waist, resting at the small of her back. His mouth still dominating her attention, his overpowering torso pressed her against the truck. She was trapped, unable to escape his possessed siege of her mouth.

The kiss broke. They both gasped for air. Will’s eyes searched her face. His fingers kneading her neck. He wordlessly pulled at her lips. Her hands balled against his chest.

She took another gasp of air, looking up into his heavy-lidded eyes.

“Don’t go.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.” His voice, deep and gritty, seemed to caress her body like rolling thunder. She shuddered, and he captured her lips again, this time with gentle persuasion. He pulled back, and her heart sighed. “Let’s get out of here.”



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Monday, May 27, 2019

Romine Reviews - How to Cope with Intense Drama and Survive by M Lemont & Taylor Green

Every 13 minutes someone in the United States dies by their own hand. More than 41,000 died last year and 1,400,000, suicide attempts.
One out of every four people suffer from some form of mental illness and go undiagnosed until tragedy strikes. If you know someone that has been emotionally abused, have had abusive parents, like a stepmom or stepdad, or know someone with severe mood swings, or a person who’s been bullied, they could be affected and have a mental disorder. This book is not a manual, inspiration, or a self-help guide. It is based on a true story of how one woman found the courage and strength to survive the cruelty and emotional trauma of her family. It’s an intense real-life drama, intriguing and poignant; it deals with serious challenges related to mental illness and could be upsetting for some people who have endured similar incidents of trauma.


It took me a long time to read this book. When I was reading How to Cope with Intense Drama and Survive, I found myself gripped and propelled forward with a pace and nuance I have rarely experienced. I love to read. I am a writer, so I read a lot. This review is difficult, not in the sense that I have anything negative to say, but I am somewhat speechless. As a woman who has a family history filled with current and past mental illness, this was a very difficult read.

The narrative is enthralling and concise. The descriptions are horrific and mind-blowing. The emotional upheaval I experience throughout this book is unmatched thus far in my lifetime. The only thing I can equate this book to is the ocean. Beautiful, clarifying, refreshing, and inspiring. In the same breath, this story, like the ocean, is overwhelming, thought-provoking, real, emotional, horrific, and powerful.

How to Cope with Intense Drama and Survive is the closest dual sided narrative about mental illness in the world. Leaving out the medical jargon and social stigmas it tells the hard, ugly truth. Pulling you in and not letting go, even when you walk away from reading it for a while. It changes your perspective, your empathy, and your understanding of the devastation mental illness has on not only the person but the people surrounding them.

A few years ago, I watched a scene in one of my favorite shows, The Blacklist. In it, the Main Character describes the aftermath of suicide.

Have you ever seen the aftermath of a suicide bombing? I have. … The shock wave knocked me flat, blew out my eardrums. I couldn’t hear. The smoke… It was like being underwater. I went inside. A nightmare. Blood. Parts of people. You could tell where (he) was standing when the vest blew. It was like a perfect circle of death. There was almost nothing left of the people closest to him. 17 dead, 46 injured. Blown to pieces. The closer they were to the bomber, the more horrific the effect. That’s every suicide. Every single one. An act of terror perpetrated against everyone who’s ever known you… Everyone who’s ever loved you. The people closest to you… the ones who cherish you… are the ones who suffer the most pain, the most damage.

This emotional speech shook my core. This book flattened me.

Kudos to M LeMont and Taylor Green on such a masterpiece. Well done. 

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday Seven ~ May 25th 2019

Happy Saturday, what have you been up to this week? Here is a rundown of highlights for the week. I hope you find them useful in your life! My goal as a person and a writer are to always Pay-It-Forward, so please let me know how I can help you. YES, YOU!
Enjoy your weekend & this post! Amazing things to come!

What am I Reading? -  I have been reading one particular book on and off for a few weeks now. It is a great book but man, tough. How to Cope with Intense Drama and Survive by M LeMont & Taylor Green. This book is well, it is enthralling and not for the faint-hearted. Not because of any horrific physical reasons but the mental and emotional upheaval of the story. Read more about it in my upcoming review.

What am I Listening to? –  I have been listening to a lot of talk radio as of late. Politics and Sociology, in general, is one of my fascinations. In today’s world, one of social media documentation of every freaking word, hiccup, and mis-step the ‘opinion’ has become king, and facts have become an afterthought. This makes all media in general very versatile and yet also very jaded. With everyone inputting their opinions into their particular media form. Again, making for an enthralling mix of left, right, black, white, gray, and green. (analyze that statement for a minute).
·    What Quote am I pondering? –  The RIGHT doors will open for the RIGHT version of you. ~ Kinda goes along with ~ The universe will only give you what you can handle. ~

·    What am I Researching? – Pickle Juice – Y’all just went – what? Well, I was at the dentist the other day, and an older woman said she was feeling a lack of energy and she needed to go drink some pickle juice. I got curious and Googled it. I suggest you do the same. Pretty interesting. I even found out that our favorite sports drink Gatorade was born from the consumption of pickle juice by football players! Go figure!

     CoconutOil – I knew coconut oil is awesome, but I found another use I did not know. Last year I started oiling (using coconut, oil or grapeseed oil to detoxify the yucky stuff in your mouth) it worked pretty well. After a recent trip to the dentist, I found out that brushing with coconut oil can help reduce and strengthen your gum line. People who brush with coconut oil before they brush with their favorite toothpaste were able to stop their gums receding and repair the strength of the remaining tissue.

        Amazing what you can learn at the dentist!

·    Yummy Meal of the Week – Egg Salad, yes is my favorite item this week. I was craving it on Monday, and I crave it often, Could be my amazing mixture of Olive oil Mayo, Garlic Mustard Aoli and perfectly hard-boiled eggs. Sometimes I leave out the mustard and add some pickle relish just to mix it up.

·    What did I Learn? –   I learned that spring cleaning is not only something you do to your residence. Spring cleaning is something that you can do with your life and your mind. A few times a year, my house gets cluttered, and I have this urge to clean, purge, and rearrange. This is very cathartic, and I feel renewed when finished. This is something I do mentally, as well. I evaluate my current life and activities. Good and bad. Positive activities and negative. Taking a look at what I am doing, when I am doing it and the results. Sometimes things need to be rearranged, cleaned and purged. Rearrange your schedule to when you are most productive. Identify who or what is draining your mood and or your energy. Purge the negative and focus on the positive. Clean out your insecurities, negative thoughts, crappy habits, and clean out your mental closet. What gives me joy, and how can I do more of that?

·    What am I Watching? –  The OrvilleMany of you may, or may not know, I have a HUGE intellectual crush on Seth McFarlane (Creator or Family Guy, American Dad, Actor, writer, etc.). The Orville is his latest project, and I’ve heard mixed reviews. I’ve had absolutely no time to watch anything lately and was honestly trying to avoid watching it out of fear. I am such a fan I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. This changed the other night, and I watched a few episodes. I really like it, but not for the reasons you would think. I am enjoying the show overall. Its Star Trek throwback with a mix of the realistic dialog is very entertaining. What I love about the show is the transparency of its message and humor. Seth is a genius at taking the world and tilting just enough that you are laughing and thinking at the same moment. It is his gift. The Orville is definitely a labor of love for him, you can see it in the careful planning and execution of the production. It is not the best show on television, but it is the one with the most genuine artistic heart.  

        I also watched My Strange Addiction on Netflix with my kids. All I am gonna say is people are freaking weird and everyone needs therapy.

Have any thoughts on my week’s activity or want to make a recommendation? Drop me a line or a tweet. Never want to miss a blog post or a Saturday Seven? Join my mailing list, and I will be happy to send it straight to your inbox!

Check out a recent Podcast I was interviewed on ~ Write Away Podcast 

**Special Treat! ~ If you haven’t seen it yet, please check it out my teaser trailer for Finders!

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Awesome Excerpt Thursday ~ Redeemed, book two in the Matawapit Family Series by Maggie Blackbird

Tile:  Redeemed, book two in the Matawapit Family Series by Maggie Blackbird

Tagline:  A single woman battles to keep her foster child from his newly paroled father—a dangerous man she used to love.

Blurb:  Bridget Matawapit is an Indigenous activist, daughter of a Catholic deacon, and foster mother to Kyle, the son of an Ojibway father—the ex-fiancĂ© she kicked to the curb after he chose alcohol over her love. With Adam out on parole and back in Thunder Bay, she is determined to stop him from obtaining custody of Kyle.

Adam Guimond is a recovering alcoholic and ex-gangbanger newly paroled. Through counseling, reconnecting with his Ojibway culture and twelve-step meetings while in prison, Adam now understands he’s worthy of the love that frightened him enough to pick up the bottle he’d previously corked. He can’t escape the damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son—and Bridget.

When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.


Bridget held Kyle’s hand and led him down the hallway to the same door they’d opened during their last visit at the Children and Family Services building. Instead of Thursday morning, they were meeting on Wednesday during her lunch hour. Once she got clearance from the board of directors, she’d rework the visitation to late Wednesday afternoons.

When they opened the door, Adam stood on one side of the room, and Mrs. Dale sat on the chair she’d previously used, the one by the pop cooler.

Bridget’s gaze whipped back to Adam. It’d been almost a week since she’d last seen him. He still had his cream-colored cowboy hat, the one with the curling brim that made the waves of his hair kink in every direction. A tank top hugged his dark skin. A jean shirt caressed his broad shoulders.

Adam nodded. His dark eyes brightened at Kyle.

“Go ahead. I’ll be right there.” Bridget managed to eke out the words while pointing at the chair beside Mrs. Dale.

Kyle inched toward his father. His lips spread into a big smile, flashing his missing tooth.

“Hey.” Adam shifted to his haunches. “How ya doing?”

“Awesome.” Kyle ducked his head and blushed.

Bridget sat. Kyle’s bashfulness was a good sign. She choked the handle of her travel mug. Maybe too good of a sign. If Emery was present, who’d previously visited convicted felons in prison during his discernment at seminary, he’d tell Bridget that Adam deserved this chance.

She gave her head a good shake, anything to get rid of Emery’s nagging voice.

“Thank you, Dad.” Kyle clutched a bag. “May I have this one?” He held up a monster cookie, his favorite.

“You can have ’em all. I made them for you.” Adam led them to the small table.

“Really? Let’s color this one.” Kyle pointed at the Z Men coloring book.

“We sure can.” Adam set his big hand on the back of Kyle’s chair.

Against her will, Bridget’s skin warmed. Kyle used his imagination wonderfully, and she prohibited him from becoming absorbed in TV, computers, or other technological devices. Jude felt the same way and limited his children’s time in front of the too-many screens available to youngsters.

For Kyle’s sake, she should buy a house. Not only would he benefit, this might help her chances at keeping him permanently. With a home, he’d have a backyard to play in.

The real estate market was expensive, but Bridget could broker a sweet deal on the condo to acquire a sizeable down payment for a house. She’d paid off the truck early, leaving her a bi-weekly mortgage payment and the usual bills.

Children and Family Services provided an allowance for Kyle’s care. She did dig into her own wallet for his golf classes. Then there was soccer. Kyle’s first year of hockey had kept him amused this past winter.

As the director of the Aboriginal Student Center at the university, Bridget made an excellent salary that afforded her many extras. Even with Kyle’s extracurricular activities, a house was doable.

Mrs. Dale continued to take notes, peeking over her clipboard at Adam and Kyle. “How are you today, Ms. Matawapit?”

“I’m good. How about you?”

“Busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day.” Mrs. Dale ticked off a box on the sheet of paper.

Bridget snuck a peek. The woman whom Adam referred to as The Hawk had checked off still uncomfortable regarding Kyle’s progress with his dad. Bridget glanced up at Kyle coloring away and grinning at Adam, both quietly laughing. Adam held a red crayon Kyle had picked out, and he helped color the picture.

She shifted, clicking her nails against the bottom of the chair.

“I went swimming…I went for a ride on Uncle Darryl’s four-wheeler…I helped Grandpa polish the important cups after church…I got to watch the stars come up…” Kyle kept coloring. “I always get to watch the stars come up. I never see them here. They’re really bright and pretty at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. There weren’t any dancing lights this time.”

“Dancing lights?” Adam also kept coloring.

“Yeah. The green dancing lights in the sky when it’s dark.”

“He means the aurora borealis,” Bridget piped in.

“Yeah, that’s the big name Mom calls it.” Kyle giggled and gazed up at Adam.

Through his dark lashes, Adam peeked at Bridget. More than peeked. His tender look caressed the bare skin of her arms.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt.” Bridget fumbled to call up the notes section on her cell phone. “I have to write a few things out I need to get after work.”

“I don’t mind.” Adam’s tender gaze kept stroking the gooseflesh peppering Bridget’s skin. “You can join us if you want.”

Bridget almost dropped the phone. “I’m fine. I need to make a list.” Dammit, she hadn’t meant to snap.

Mrs. Dale’s bemused expression bordered on laughing at Adam.

What was the caseworker finding amusing? Adam had a right to try. Kyle was his child. The words Bridget had furiously typed on the phone blurred. Where was her brain? Adam didn’t deserve sympathy. He was a big boy and could defend himself.

“A wise decision.” Mrs. Dale wrote on her clipboard. “Men who’ve been in the system a long time never change.”

“Thank you for your observation, but remember, you’re Kyle’s caseworker. I’m quite capable of handling my own personal life.” Bridget made sure iced coated her words.

Mrs. Dale’s prim mouth moved into a half-moon. Her beady eyes remained gray cement. “I quite agree. If I didn’t, you wouldn’t be Kyle’s caregiver, would you?”

Was that supposed to be a threat? If the old witch thought to stick her nose in the inappropriate place, she was pulling out the gloves on the wrong person. “Adam asked if I’d care for Kyle. Your supervisor agreed.”

“Yes, she did, based on my recommendation after I interviewed you in my office and assessed your home.” A warning lingered on Mrs. Dale’s words. “You have an excellent job. A condominium. A splendid mode of transportation. You’re…well, you’re not like…you do well for yourself…” She sniffed.

What had Mrs. Dale meant? There was a ton of racism lingering in the non-aboriginal population of Northwestern Ontario. Bridget had run into those who’d divided the Indigenous people into the good tax-paying Indians who fit neatly into Western Society, and the drunken, drug-addicted, homeless bad Indians who were a drain on the taxpayers. She was nobody’s good little Indian.

As for tonight, Bridget had promised Adam she’d go to The Gator. If Mrs. Dale found out, she’d probably class Bridget as another drunken Indian who relied on the handouts of society. The hard-assed woman might even terminate Bridget as a caregiver for Kyle.

She must talk to Adam after. Going to The Gator might prove too risky.

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Author Bio:  An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes.  When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

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