Thanks for having me, Sarah. I hope you had a great Christmas.
Before the lights have even dimmed on the Christmas tree—which they seem to do the minute the presents have gone from underneath—I begin thinking about the New Year. I don’t make resolutions anymore, at least not out loud where anyone I don’t pray to can hear me, but I do contemplate what I might do differently after the ball drops. Here is my list so far.
- I will write every day. Unless I don’t feel like it, then I will sew. Either way, I will Have A Good Time.
- I will laugh out loud every day.
- I will find the joy in whatever I’m doing and pursue it.
- I will sing because I like it. I’m not any good—matter of fact, I’m beyond awful, but the term “joyful noise” crops up occasionally in the Bible, and I’m pretty sure it’s about me.
- If I screw up, which I’m assuming I will do on a regular basis, I will not beat myself up over it.
Oh, there, that’s it for me, and I think that last one is most important. One reason I will screw up so often is that I’m not good at very many things (This is fine with me, by the way; I have no problem with average.) and if I stop making messes, it means I will have stopped trying new things. This takes me back to Number Three, about finding…well, look up there, you can see it. Or to Number Two, because maybe laughing at myself is a central part of the laughing. Or Number Four, because any time I sing, it is a screw-up. Or Number One, because both my quilts and my books have…er…errors in them, but they are such fun to create. They are all about Having A Good Time.
Of course, there are caveats that go along with it. You know, Don’t Hurt Anyone. Don’t…well, I guess that was the one that counted. Happy New Year. Have A Good Time.
Oops, almost forgot (well, okay, not really), One More Summer will be out from Carina Press on January 2. Here are some Buy Me! links. I hope you do and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.
I’d love to have you visit my website http://lizflaherty.com/ or http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/ where I hang out with some of my best writer friends.
Grace has taken care of her widowed father her entire adult life and the ornery old goat has finally died. She has no job, no skills and very little money, and has heard her father's prediction that no decent man would ever want her so often she accepts it as fact.
But she does have a big old house on Lawyers Row in Peacock, Tennessee. She opens a rooming house and quickly gathers a motley crew of tenants - Promise, Grace's best friend since kindergarten, who's fighting cancer; Maxie, an aging soap opera actress who hasn't lost her flair for the dramatic; Jonah, a sweet gullible old man with a crush on Maxie.
And Dillon, Grace's brother's best friend, who stood her up on the night of her senior prom and has regretted it ever since. Dillon rents Grace's guest house for the summer and hopes to make up for lost time and past hurts - but first, he'll have to convince Grace that she's worth loving...
“This is supposed to be a prom.” Dillon pushed aside his dessert plate. He gestured toward the backyard. “The dance floor waits.”
Grace got to her feet. “Remember how fragile these glass slippers are.”
He nudged one of her bare feet with the toe of his sandal. “Damn near invisible too. Isn’t technology something?”
Dillon and Steven had placed citronella torches in the yard, and the scent of the oil blended with that of the flowers. The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” filled the air and Dillon put his arms around Grace’s waist. Gently, not pulling her close. She rested her hands lightly on his shoulders, suddenly shy. Other than aerobics classes in the church basement that Promise had dragged her to, she hadn’t danced since high school.
As they moved across the lawn, however, his arms tightened and her hands crept up around his neck, the left one with its glaring white bandage held palm out. His muscled legs moved against hers, but the motions they made were liquid, graceful, and she wished whimsically for a waltz and a flowing dress.
The song changed, and he sang close to her ear. The grass dance floor was cool and damp beneath her feet, the star-filled sky a splendid ceiling, the flickering torches the most romantic of lights, the subtle scent of roses a seductive aroma. Almost against her will, Grace’s eyes drifted closed as his lips lowered to hers. The ambiance was lost on Grace as Dillon’s kiss took over her senses. All she felt were his hands splayed on her back, his body flush with hers. All she smelled was the pleasant mingling of charcoal smoke and Irish Spring soap that lingered on his shirt and his skin. She tasted only his mouth, flavored with wine and coffee, and she couldn’t get enough of it.
After the third kiss, when her insides were a roiling mass of sensation and emotion, she murmured, “Geezy Pete.”
He said, “You got that right,” and stroked a hand up her back. “What’s this? You didn’t wear a bra to the prom?”
She brought her injured hand into his line of vision and waggled it. “I couldn’t fasten it.”
His hand came around between them to cup one small, denim-covered breast. “What a shame.” He found her nipple and worked the bead of its tip between his fingers.
A low moan slipped uncaught from her throat. Clutching her composure like a lifeline before it disintegrated completely, she said, “The music’s stopped.”
“Do you really think so?” he whispered, and teased her lips with the tip of his tongue until they opened.
They had danced their way to where they stood among the trees. When she opened her eyes again, she caught sight of a torch to their left, anchored into the ground beside the single step that led inside the gazebo.
“No decent man in his right mind’s going to want you, girl.”
“No, Papa,” she whispered, caught in the horror, and moved restively in Dillon’s embrace.
“Gracie?” His voice was soft, gentling.
“I need to go in.” The words sounded much more urgent than the situation demanded, but she couldn’t unsay them.
“Okay.” He answered immediately, and turned her toward the house, but didn’t release her. “I’ll take you back.”
Steven and Promise weren’t on the back porch. The candles had been snuffed, but the dishes remained on the table. “Leave them,” Dillon said, leading her firmly past the mess and into the house. “Steven and I will take care of it. You go on up.”
She nodded and moved toward the stairs, but turned when she stood on the second one. “Dillon?”
“Yeah?” He smiled at her, the expression not erasing the frown of concern between his eyes.
“Thank you. The ‘prom’ was wonderful.” Without waiting for a reply, she ran the rest of the way up the stairs.