Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crafts and Craftie Ladies

Hi everyone!
Rhonda Gibson here.

I was thinking... yes a dangerous task I know anyway ... I was thinking, what do my sister Craftie ladies do for fun when they aren't writing? Then I got a little more specific, what kinds of crafts do they do?

You see, Winter time is when I craft the most. My favorite craft to do is beading. I make beaded jewelry. I'm not real fancy but I do have fun with it and it relaxes me. Just this last week, I made a pair of earrings and a bracelet for a friend for a birthday present. She loves lighthouses and the color blue. I was going to post a picture but it doesn't look like it will let me here... so if you want to see it go to Rhonda's Ramblings and have a look.

Now on to what some of my Craftie Ladie friends are crafting!

Debra Ullrick reported that she enjoys drawing. She does Western Art with charcoal.

Christina Rich says my youngest dd and I love making scarves. See their creations here.

Jo Ann Ferguson enjoys knitting, lately she's been making personalized Christmas stockings for each new member of the family (baby or bride/groom).

Cheryl St. John makes jewelry and Valentine's once a year.

Allie Pleiter says "Most of you know how passionate I am about knitting.  I've written a knitting and travel blog for three years: I'm NEVER without yarn and needles!"

Deborah Hale here: "I used to do cross-stitch. The last projects I did were individual stockings for my four children. I would love to get back to it and scrap booking if I had more time. About the only crafts I do these days are sometimes at Christmas when I make an ornament or two for my tree. This year I made half-a-dozen new decoupage egg ornaments which turned out really nice. Here's a link to a picture from Cheryl's Christmas tree tour"

So now it's your turn! Tell us what crafts you enjoy doing!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Allie Pleiter on Labyrinths

Walking a labyrinth has been a spiritual practice for thousands of years.  While most follow a traditional design, they come in various forms and sizes.  While I found them intriguing from a graphic standpoint, and I am a lover of ritual, I never quite did get the point of them until one summer back in 2001 when I was well and fully stumped.

Normally, I have a plan for everything.  Only this time, an issue so pervasive and painful had swamped me into an utter stupor.  I couldn’t see my way clear to any kind of solution.  It was then that a friend suggested the spiritual practice of walking a labyrinth.

I admit, I thought it a little “woo-woo” at first.  Still, I figured thousands of years of faithful souls can’t be too far off course, so I went to and found several close to my home.   Some were rudimentary, others were strikingly ornate, but all followed the same pattern designed to weave the walker in and out along a path to its center and then back to the outside.  The trick to these paths is that it’s always unclear how far you are in your journey.  Sound a little like life?

I felt silly the first time I did it.  I expect everyone does.  As I walked along, slowly, I felt my stress subside and my spiritual ears perk up.  I was spending time paying attention to God, and that is always, always fruitful time.

I had several “aha” moments during that first walk, and I’ve never failed to come away with something important any time I’ve walked a labyrinth.  In fact, I became so enamored of the practice that I bought I little personal one to use when I cannot get out and walk.  It’s meditative qualities have brought me great insight and valuable peace.

I expect my hero from Family Lessons, Mason Wright, would have benefitted greatly from such a practice--if anyone could have ever convinced him to try it.  The poor man is so tied up in knots of pain that I think it would take an acre of labyrinths to get through to him.  Good thing he has stubborn, won’t-back-down woman like Holly Sanders to keep chipping away at that mile-deep armor he wears around his heart.  How does she get through?  Well, you’ll have to wait until next month to find out.  Maybe you could walk a labyrinth while you’re waiting....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sweetheart Bride Interview

How exciting to have Nick Santiago, the hero from Sweetheart Bride by Lenora Worth a February 2013 release from Love Inspired Romance .

1.  Nick, tell me the most interesting thing about you. Interesting. I’m not that interesting. I’m from Texas, I’m Hispanic and I work all the time.
2.  What do you do for fun? Fun? Work! My work is my fun. Probably why my mama keeps fussing at me to settle down. But I have to admit—meeting Brenna Blanchard in the tiny town of Fleur, Louisiana has been fun.
3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it? Telling Brenna the truth. I’m an architect, mostly for commercial buildings, but I came to Fleur to renovate the old Bubois place, known as Fleur House. Brenna is helping me. She’s amazing and I really like her, but what if she finds out the truth about my past?
4.  What are you afraid of most in life? See above. I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’ve been trying to make things up to my family for years now. Will I ever find any peace? I’m afraid of losing Brenna.
5.  What is the most important thing to you? Well, my work and my family. I feel so guilty and I want to make them proud. But Brenna is becoming very important to me, too.
6.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? Old coffee table books on design and architecture. I love revisiting old places and renovating old homes.
7.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? That day so long ago that changed my life forever. Right now, I’d like to change my fear of falling in love.
8.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I don’t have time for pets but I used to love horses.
9. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I’d go back to Old Mexico and visit the places my ancestors created. I’d learn so much about how our customs merged with Texas culture—it’s a big, bold place and my culture played a large part in that. I can’t wait to show Brenna all the things I love about San Antonio, Texas. Think she’ll be willing to meet my family?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Featured Book: Sweetheart Bride

Saying goodbye to Fleur, Louisiana, was all part of Brenna Blanchard's grand plan. Coming back to the quaint tiny town after a failed art career and broken wedding engagement, however, was not. When architect Nick Santiago recruits her to help restore a beautiful old mansion, it's just the distraction she needs—and growing close to handsome Nick is an unexpected bonus. Except, he has a heart in need of restoration, too. All business, the only thing Nick can't manage to construct is a life outside work. Unless Brenna can finally help him arrange his priorities—with love as number one.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ask Elnora--About Dolphins--Lenora Worth

I have a thing for dolphins. I don't do the word-for-this-year kind of stuff, but if I had a word I'd chose the word "dolphin". I fell in love with dolphins when I first started seeing them years ago at the beach. Then we went to one of those Seaworld show and I got wet by the dolphins. I've loved them for a long, long time. So one of my biggest thrills is seeing them out on the bay. I watch for them and sometimes they oblige me by showing up. I've talked about dolphins here before. But I thought about what dolphins have taught me--

1. Patience. It's nice to sit still sometimes and just watch and wait. God tells us to be still and know that he is God. Elnora has never been very good at sitting still, but I'm learning.

2. Strength. The dolphins are strong and sure. They can be playful and swift or they can be sneaky and hard to find. They know when to play and they know when to go to deep waters. We have to be strong and swift at times--when life is pulling at us like a tide, and at other times, we need to go into our upper room and be alone away from the pull of life. The dolphins go underwater. I call this going "underground."

3. Routine and a plan. The dolphins follow the tides and live by the rules of the sea. They have an instinct that allows them to be friendly to humans but also allows them to swim away from most dangers. We need a routine of sorts to keep us on track with our faith and we need a plan that allows us to stay out of the path of things that can lead to trouble.

4. Serenity. Dolphins are some of the most docile creatures I've ever seen. That teaches me to be at peace, to let go and breathe, to push through worries and fears and keep on swimming against the current. Not an easy task for a drama queen who can throw a hissy fit at any given moment.

I look toward the dolphins as my calming symbol. I love them because they are God's creatures. He sends them to me to make me stop and watch. What kind of animals do you love? What creature brings you joy?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sandra Orchard here.

Last week I had the privilege of talking about writing with clients and volunteers at a local hospice.

The picture depicts my daughter and I with a few of the wonderful volunteers. I loved hearing how clients were writing stories and journals and poems to pass on to loved ones.

My husband's grandfather had a rich and varied life that spanned two continents, and before he died, he wrote a detailed family history from the time he was a boy. My mother-in-law then translated it into English, added old photographs at appropriate points, then had it printed and bound for every family member who wanted one.

It's a fabulous history of several generations that my children treasure. I wish I had something similar from my own side of the family, but unfortunately my parents didn't tell many stories about their growing up years.

My mom was evacuated during WWII in England and she told us later that Dad had never wanted her to talk about it, because he didn't want us, as children, to worry that it might happen to us.

For my own children, I wrote little notes to them every few days, or weeks, from the time they were infants until they were old enough to start recording their own memories. I compiled them into scrapbooks alongside photographs, and news articles of events of the day such as the Berlin wall being torn down and the first Iraqi war.

With changing technology, journals, letter-writing and the occasional photograph, which were once treasure troves of history for future generations, have given way to blogs and emails and digital images that are as fleeting as the delete button, a crashed hard drive, or changing computer platforms. While on the one hand the internet gives us unprecedented access to historical documents that preservationists have made into digital copies, our personal histories, it seems to me, have become somewhat less anyone who's lost a hard drive full of photos can attest.

Your Turn: Are you doing anything special to help pass along your experiences and memories to future generations? 

Sandra Orchard writes romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and Revell Publishing (DeadlyDevotion debuts June 2013). Married with three grown children, she lives in rural Niagara, Canada, where many of her novels are set. She enjoys offering her readers bonus features to enhance their experience of her books. You can check out these, along with other resources for readers and writers, at her website: or connect at:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pamela Tracy here.

It's Presidents' Day.  For most people, it's a "Oh, yeah, that holiday."

Not for me.  See, eight years ago my son was born on Presidents' Day (good thing I had the day off!)

This past week my son came home with an assignment for Presidents' Day:  write a report about a president.  It has to be at least eight sentences.  My son is seven, (back then Presidents' Day fell on the 21st), so I get to help.  The writer in me is like "This will be so much more fun then adding two digit numbers!"

My favorite president is Theodore Roosevelt.

My son has never heard of him...yet.

My son said, "I'll do George Washington."

Ooookay.  (I'm thinking BUT everyone will be writing on George Washington).

I said, "If you like the name George, why don't we do George W. Bush, who was president when you were born.

So, I'm getting to teach my son what writers do.  We research.  We look for interesting facts that not everyone knows. 

We'll look for things that appeal to second graders.  Things like playing little league, being a cub scout, liking history, having brothers and sisters, etc.

This morning, I rolled out of bed, pushed aside a towel on the floor that my son had put there so he wouldn't step on lava (yes, he has an imagination) headed for the kitchen, stepped on a lego, noted the homework spread on the table, and didn't think, "Oh, yeah, that holiday."

Happy Presidents Day!
And, by the way, which historic president is your favorite.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Final Resort Interview

Today we're welcoming Ava Stanton, the heroine of Final Resort, written by Dana Mentink, a February release by Love Inspired Suspense

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.   
1.    Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. Whisper Mountain was our family ski resort until my mother died and it all started to slip away. I came home to sell the property when my uncle told me he found a way to save Whisper and us, some priceless treasure that he’d got in a bid on an unused storage space and squirreled away somewhere at the resort. I didn’t believe him, until he was abducted right in front of me.

2.  So, during the book you met Luca Gage.  Tell us a bit about him.  What was your first impression?  When did you know it was love? I already knew Luca. He was my teen crush. We met when his family came to stay at our resort during our high school years. Luca is from a different world, a wealthy family, siblings who love and support him. We have nothing in common and that’s what I kept telling him, and trying to tell myself, but Luca didn’t pay any attention to my objections. He’s like that.   
3.  What strengths/skills do you have?  What is your greatest weakness?      I’m independent (Luca would say stubborn)which is both a strength and weakness. Trusting people is hard for me because of leftover scars from losing my mother.  
4.  What scares you? Nothing that I’ll admit to. Does that make me stubborn or stoic?  
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be more open to others.
6.  Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? It’s at the bottom of the lake where my mother drowned.
7.  Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?  I picture myself rising up through fathoms of cold water, rising towards the person that God made me to be, desires me to be. I’m not there yet, but I’m beginning to feel the warmth on my face as I get closer and closer to Him.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.     “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding the one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” We’re all chasing something, for my uncle it was treasure, and for me? I’ve got plenty of things that I put between myself and God.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? A candy bar because you can take it with you to the top of a snow topped mountain and eat it there. Candy for your mouth while you take in the eye candy God made for all of us to enjoy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Featured Book: Final Resort

Ava Stanton has no need for love or tales of hidden treasure—until her uncle is kidnapped at her family's ski resort. Now she needs help from professional treasure hunter Luca Gage…the man she'd tried to forget. Signs point to a fortune hidden in the mountain, and Ava and Luca need to find her uncle before his assailant finds them. As their search for treasure draws them closer together, Ava must decide how long she'll run from love. She doesn't have much time, because something is buried under Whisper Mountain—and someone is willing to do anything to get to it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ask Elnora--about love stories--Lenora Worth


Darlings, did you like our lovely Valentine story? I sure did. There is something about a continuing story that keeps people coming back. Even in a simple love story, there is one element that is very important. Conflict. I call this emotional suspense. We have to engage the reader by engaging the emotions. It's not so much what your character is doing. It's how he feels when he is doing it. Feeling plays a part in every action we take, from getting out of bed to going to the grocery store.

So... Lets talk about feelings. Some of us have fragile feelings. Some of us hide our true feelings. Some can't feel anything anymore. We create characters who are true to life. What do you think makes a good character?  What about feelings? What about emotions?? Let's discuss. How are you feeling today?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happily Ever After in Cupid's Cove-Happy Valentine's Day!

"Well, this is very interesting," Mr. Valentine's rusty voice broke into Duncan's thoughts. "It's about time somebody in this town kissed Lacy."

The old man's voice doused Duncan like a bucket of cold water. He stumbled backward.

But Lacy caught him by the sleeve. "Mr. Valentine, what...why?" she stammered.

"I think you two should come inside the log house with me. I was going to do some dusting and rearranging before I opened up for tourists today. I figure I'll get plenty of business during this unusual cold snap. People need something to do when they can't be at the beach." The older man waved them inside. "Come on. I have something to show you two."

Lacy would not release Duncan's sleeve and nearly dragged him inside.

Duncan thought about the past twenty-four hours. Why should he think it strange to end up in the old log house with Mr. Valentine on Valentine's Day? And with a determined Lacy holding him there, what chance did he have?

The older gentleman flipped on some lights and rifled through a stack of framed photos. "Here it is." He turned the photo toward him and Duncan saw one of those old black and white photographs with poker-faced people dressed in 19th century clothing. This couple, however, managed to look as if they liked each other.

"This is the wedding photograph of Mr. Ainsley Duff and Miss Lorena MacIver." Mr. Valentine shook his head. "The two of them fell in love but a war, the Civil War, interrupted their courtship." Mr. Valentine turned the photo toward himself and gazed at it. "You see they were in love, but Ainsley did not believe in secession. So when this state left the Union in 1861, he refused to enlist in the local militia. If he hadn't left on his own, they would have run him out of town."

Duncan didn't know what this had to do with him. Yes, he'd gone off to war, but he hadn't left a sweetheart behind...

"You're probably thinking what does this have to do with me, aren't you, Duncan?" Mr. Valentine looked at him over his half-glasses.

And for a minute he was back in ninth grade in Mr. Valentine's history class. "I went to Afghanistan, sir, and so did Rick." But I came back and he didn't.

"When Ainsley returned after the war, he had to put up with worse than you have, my boy. People were angry. The South had lost and everyone considered him a turncoat." Mr. Valentine looked him straight in the eye. "He never gave an inch. He told them all if they had a right to fight for secession that he had a right to fight for the Union. And he'd come home and they better just get used to it. He went straight to Lorena and began courting her again."

In spite of resenting this history lesson at such a moment, Duncan had to admire Ainsley's guts.

Mr. Valentine laid down the framed photograph. "Miss Lacy, I think you've been rooming with Daisy Mae?"

Lacy nodded woodenly.

"I suspect that she's said some hard things about Rick?" the older gentleman went on.

Duncan cringed inwardly. I'll bet.

"Yes," Lacy murmured.

"Well, I can shed some light on that. It's called consider the source. Daisy Mae was in love with Rick all through high school. I don't think she ever got over him, not even when he married Angie."

Mr. Valentine again looked Duncan in the eye. "And if you remember, Duncan, she was never a friend of yours in high school. Do you recall the time in the school cafeteria that you put her in her place in front of everyone for picking on that student with Down's Syndrome?"

"What? Daisy did that?" Lacy sounded upset and shocked.

Duncan nodded, remembering that day. Daisy had looked ready to spit in his eye.

And Lacy swung toward him and hugged him. "I'm so glad you stood up to her. I had no idea."

"Now young man," Mr. Valentine skewered Duncan with his steady gaze, "you've been letting your survivor's guilt play along with Daisy Mae's campaign to run you out of town. I don't know why she decided to do this, but spite is unpredictable and recognizes no bounds.

"Ainsley didn't let them run him out of town and they tried more than just gossip in those days. Stand up for yourself, young man. And face them all down. Most people in this town don't like what Daisy Mae has been saying. Hold your head high, that's my advice, my boy. Rick would tell them all off for you--if he could."

Duncan stood rooted to the spot, memories flowing, streaming through his mind. The regret, the guilt was hard to let go, but suddenly he felt something he hadn't for a long time. He got mad. He wouldn't let that spiteful Daisy get to him.

"Thank you, Mr. Valentine," Duncan said, offering the man his hand.

"Thank you, my boy, for your service. And I thank God that you came home safe. You stand tall and the town will come around." He held up the photo. "And Ainsley won the girl, you see." Mr. Valentine winked then.

Duncan grinned and then looked down at Lacy, the prettiest girl in Cupid's Cove. "I hope you don't have plans for tonight, Miss Lacy," Duncan said, "because I have some that include you."

Lacy chuckled and then accepted Duncan's hand. "You can tell me all about it while you help me at the bakery."

Mr. Valentine's laughter followed them out the door. And Duncan felt it in his heart, his much lighter heart. Thank you, Lord, for a wise old history teacher. Then he bent down to steal a quick kiss.

Lacy laughed and ran ahead, pulling him along.
Hi, leave it to a Love Inspired Historical author me, Lyn Cote, to add a touch of history.
We hoped you've enjoyed our Valentine Serial, Love at Cupid's Cove!--

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love At Cupid's Cove--Valentine Serial Day 13


Duncan stopped. He was standing beside the old historic log home that was just down the street from Lacy’s shop. It had the huge cascading Bridal Bush in full bloom that his mother loved. And as Lacy moved toward him he suddenly had an image of her as a bride. His bride. He shut that down immediately. It wasn’t something that could ever be. Wasn’t something he could ever deserve?

Lacy marched right up to him, her eyes alive with a fire he’d not seen there before. “Oh Duncan, I can’t let you walk away like this. For the last couple of days I’ve heard more whispers and talk about you than I care to hear. But maybe that was a good thing because it’s becoming clear to me that you are carrying a burden that you aren’t meant to carry.”

Duncan’s heart was slamming against his ribs as he studied Lacy, wanting so much to pull her into his arms and be free from the guilt and sorrow that blanketed him, suffocated him. But no, he shook his head. He’d prayed for answers, for help and God hadn’t sent it. He’d prayed for Missy to forgive him but—      

“No,” Lacy broke into his thoughts. “Don’t shake your head. Please listen to me, Duncan.” She stepped up close, obviously not caring that they were on the street and everyone could see them.  She placed her hands against his cheeks and her beautiful brown eyes shimmered with more gentle kindness than he’d felt in so long. “My heart breaks for Missy Taylor and that she lost her husband,” she said, as if reading his mind. “But the truth is, she is hurting, grieving and she and others—including you—are blaming you for something that isn’t your fault. You have to let it go. God will heal her wounds with time."

Duncan’s throat tightened with emotion so strong he couldn’t help himself, he pulled Lacy into his arms and laid his head against her sweet, cupcake scented hair. Felt her heart beating in time with his. Closing his eyes he tried to process all that she’d said. And suddenly he realized that maybe God had been listening to his prayers—that maybe in the darkness of his guilt God had sent help, a ray of hope… God had sent Lacy, this beautiful, shaft of sunlight into his world when he’d most needed someone to believe in him.

But could he believe what she was telling him? Could he let go of the guilt eating at him?   





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love at Cupids Cove --Valentine serial, Day 12

 by Roxanne Rustand

      Duncan stepped out of the bakery door and into the chilly, early morning darkness, still stunned by that earth shattering kiss.
      What had he been thinking?
      He'd told himself that he was going to Lacy's bakery just to talk.  That's all.  A few minutes, and then he'd walk out of her bakery and out of her life.  She'd been so sweet, so caring, that she deserved to know exactly what kind of man he was.  He'd even been waiting at the door when she arrived at 5am, so none of her customers would be around.

      But once again he'd found himself caught up in the fresh radiance of her smile.  The sparkle in her eyes.  Until meeting her, he'd been sure he would never again feel a moment of true happiness, much less find himself laughing aloud. 
      Yet just by pitching that silly  cupcake at him, she'd awakened a part of him that had been lost in the suffocating darkness of his guilt and sorrow.

      Instead of following his plan, he'd found himself volunteering to help out in the kitchen--though opening a roll of refrigerated cookie dough was the limit of his culinary expertise. Then they'd inadvertently bumped into each other, and he'd completely lost control.
      If he lived to be a hundred, he would never, ever forget that kiss.

     She tasted like sunshine and innocence, sweet as the confections she created in her bakery.  He'd felt as if he'd been waiting all his life for her, and in that moment he'd been overwhelmed with joy. 
      But it was impossible to hope for anything more.
      "Duncan! Wait."
       He looked over his shoulder and saw her marching after him, a determined expression blazing in her eyes. He sighed and pulled to a stop.
      She'd insisted that their kiss wasn't a mistake.
But her shop was a popular destination for everyone in town, so surely she already knew the gossip. Didn't she understand how hopeless a relationship with him would be? 
       She'd made her life here in Cupid's Cove. 
       It was the last place he could ever stay...
       Because the locals knew exactly what kind of man he was, and they would never let him forget it. 
      And he couldn't fight the truth.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Love at Cupid's Cove--A Valentine's serial--Lacy Williams
He moved, or she did, and their lips brushed in a tentative, seeking kiss. Slowly, Lacy raised one hand and threaded her fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck.

Noise rushed in her ears, as if she’d turned on all of the electric appliances at once; heat flushed through her like she was standing in front of an open oven door.

She could feel his tension, his muscles coiled to move away. Duncan was a man who kept things so tightly bottled inside… until she felt him break, and he crushed her to him.

Moments—or eons—later, he ended the kiss, pressing her head to his broad chest, tucking her head beneath his chin.

“That was a mistake.” She was so close that his words rumbled beneath her cheek. Stubble from his jaw caught in her hair, tugging the fine strands at her temple.

“It doesn’t feel like a mistake,” she said, heart now pounding with more than adrenaline from their kiss. Somehow, she’d found a way inside the walls he kept up to protect himself. Would he push her away?

She wrapped her arms more tightly around his waist, willing him to hold on to her.

“It does to me.” Gently, he set her away from him.

She blinked beneath the harsh kitchen lights, away from his warmth and the protection of his arms.

“I would never… purposely… do anything to hurt you.”

Then why was he pushing her away? It had to be some misguided sense of honor, because of what everyone in town thought about him. Everyone but her.

“Duncan, wait—”

He turned away, one hand on the back of his neck. Headed for the door. “I shouldn’t have come. I should—we should stay away from each other.” He sounded so determined, but she also heard the thread of doubt underscoring his words.

Luckily for the both of them, his statement only sparked a new determination within Lacy—to find a way to make things right for him.

Start at the beginning:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love in Cupids Cove - Day 10 by Lisa Mondello

 Love in Cupids Cove - Day 10 by Lisa Mondello

             “What? No cupcakes?” he said, sliding into one of the stools ahead the counter as he looked around.
            “Heaven’s no.  I just got here.”
            “None left over from yesterday?”
            She made a face.  “What do you take me for?  I bake fresh daily.  Nothing but the best for my customers.  I donate whatever is left over to a local youth center every day.  They don’t have a lot of money and it’s a great and safe program to keep kids busy after school.  Kids don’t mind if they’re eating a day old cupcake or cookie.  Truth be known, neither do I, but I don’t sell them that way.”
            He smiled at her.  It was that same turned up look he’d given her the day they’d met.  “You’re rambling.”
            “I suppose I am.”
            She glanced at the clock and sighed.  “And if I don’t get started on muffins, there won’t be any in the case for when my customers arrive this morning.”
            “After I pour us some coffees, why don’t we talk while I help you?”
            “You really want to help?”
            “Why not?  I’ve baked cookies before.”
            She gave him a challenging glance.
            “Okay, I’ve watched while someone else baked cookies.  But I ate a lot of batter because, you know, you have to test it to make sure it’s right.  And I’ve watched.  I’ve learned a lot.”
            “You keep your fingers out of my batter bowl and I welcome your help.  How about you start by handing me that stainless steel bowl over on the shelf.”
            “These?” He pointed to the smaller bowls in the middle of the shelf.”
            “Not unless you want me to run out of muffins by eight o’clock.  Here, let me get them.”
            He shook his head and reached on the far end of the shelf for the bigger bowls she’d been after.  “That’s okay, I have them.”
            Their bodies both moved too quickly.  Lacy’s hip grazed a stack of smaller bowls and started to upend them.  Duncan’s muscled arm clipped a container of kitchen spatulas.  He quickly moved to catch them before they fell, knocking against Lacy.  The stainless bowls fell to the floor with a crash as Duncan grabbed the container of spatulas and righted the spatulas on the shelf.
            With adrenaline rushing through her veins, Lacy looked up at Duncan.  He was entirely too close to her.  He wasn’t touching, but she could feel the heat from his skin penetrating her own skin, which was chilled from the morning air.
            Their eyes locked and for a moment she saw a different kind of man staring back at her.  He wasn’t the angry, tortured soul who’d come back to town, wanting to be left alone.  He wanted something else.
            The fallen bowls forgotten, Duncan lowered his head to Lacy’s and placed his hands on her shoulders.  “I’ve been wanting to do this since the moment I peeked through the store window and saw your smiling face.”

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