Back to Top

  

Romantic & Western headerbarSuspense Novels

Category: Writing News

 

In September, in Canada, we have two statutory holidays. The first one is Labour Day. It was voted as a legal holiday, July 23rd, 1894. It’s held on the First Monday in September. This year it’s Monday, September 6th. This holiday celebrates the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. 

 

The second holiday is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is a new holiday recently voted on by the government. It will be the last day of the month. This year it will be held on Thursday, September 30th. The federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal people, established, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” It’s a commitment to reconciliation and ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools in Canada is never forgotten. This day provides an opportunity for each Canadian to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event.

Summer is racing toward the end. Children are already back in school, some wearing masks, some not. 

 

Covid cases have been rising for the last few weeks and with cold weather ahead it becomes more concerning. And the variant, Delta, is affecting more and more children. Forest fires continue. As well as hurricanes and floods. These are world-wide issues. I send positive thoughts to all those affected. 

 

All these challenging events affect my writing. I’m overwhelmed and find it difficult to get lost in my story and I’m worried about the upcoming months.


 

 


I’m plugging slowly along at my editing, but I have difficulty concentrating. However, I think I have finally come up with the title for the book, Witness to Murder. Maybe I’ll work on a cover.

Here’s an excerpt from Witness to Murder. 

Excerpt from Murder Off-Leash.

Dog training (Obedience): Command: Go at the leash

“Is the dog his?” Pete nodded to where the animal sat with his head on the man’s lap. 

“Yeah, I guess. Behaves like he belongs here.” 

“Yeh, man, he does. Whattcha gonna do with him?” 

“Me? With who? Oh, the dog? How the hell should I know? I figure he might have seen the murder. Hell, he might be our only witness. Don’t suppose downtown will buy into keeping him as a material witness...” Mitch raked his gloved hand over his hair. 

“Doubt it.” 

“How about convincing downtown to pay for kennel fees? Just until we find someone to take him. Think that would work?” 

“Once again, I doubt it. They’d think you were nuts.” Pete said. 

“They think that already. Maybe I’ll try finding a relative, or maybe one of those snoopy neighbors.” 

“Eh man, not very likely. Too bad. He’s a nice dog, but not many people are going to want an Irish wolfhound. They usually like small dogs, or shepherds.” Pete replied. 

“That what he is? A wolfhound? He is damn  big. Maybe I could find the nearest SPCA and drop him off...Someone’s bound to want a great dog like him.” 

“The SPCA will probably put him down in a couple of days, if no one adopts him. That’s what they do, ya know.  You don’t know much about animals, do you?” 

Mitch shook his head. “Nope. Never really interested me. Maybe you could take him?” 

“Sorry, nope. I live with my family. Remember? There’s five of us and Ma has a poodle.” 

Mitch felt his brows furrow. He resented Sanchez for living at home and having a large, loving family. He resented what his own family, and that ex-wife bitch, had done to him and how he didn’t have a home anymore. Anger began to rise inside him as he thought about it. He punched his right hand into his palm. Life outside his work sucked. In fact, he didn’t have one, but that was his choice...at least that was what he told himself. 

“Why don’t you take him?” Pete interrupted. 

“Huh?” 

“The dog. Why don’t you take him?” 

“No damn way. First, my landlady says no pets, and my room’s too small. And second, dogs and me don’t get along too good. One bit me once. Since then, I firmly believe that dogs should always be kept at a safe distance.” 

“This one looks pretty friendly.” 

Mitch scowled. He’d have to figure something out. Right now, the dog was the least of his problems. 

“Yeah, well I’ll worry about him later. Right now I better call this in, then we’ll check the roof. You might want to pick up that umbrella in the hall. It might belong to a witness, or the murderer. The lab guys can dust it for prints when they get here.” 

He picked up the receiver and dialed the number. The guys uptown weren’t going to like this. They weren’t going to like this at all. In fact, they were going to be downright pissed off. The idea had been to keep the guy alive, at least until after he testified. That’s why he and Sanchez had been assigned this damn babysitting job. They’d even had a heads-up there might be an attempt on his life and the guy still got knocked off. 

Damn, it was hot. Mitch wiped his forehead again. He probably wasn’t even going to get time to change his damn shirt. This thing would take all night and probably straight through the next week or two. He’d screwed up. The case would be dismissed due to lack of evidence and the racketeers would be back on the street by tomorrow. No way should the killer have gotten to the perp, not if they’d been doing their job. It was almost like the guy had inside information. 

Mitch sighed. He knew he should mention the girl, but this looked like a professional hit. If she saw anything, the shooter would probably be looking for her, too. Mitch wanted to get to her before the killer did. 

He was convinced there was an information leak in the department. There had been too many coincidences, even before his brother was shot. Dom’s death had just reinforced his conviction. IA had investigated but never come up with anything. Mitch didn’t want any information leaked that might give the killer a headstart in locating the witness. Mitch wanted to find her first and see what she had to say, either about the murder or what she had seen. 

Damn, maybe he was kidding himself. Maybe he just wanted to see her again.  


Beverley Bateman Blogger

This month, I’m only doing my Group Blog on September 18th   at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/  

 

Please follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday and the third Saturday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for writing tips, hints, and guest authors. I have a great group of authors and their new books this month. And post your thoughts on the blog post, or anything else you have on your mind. 

 

And check out my newsletter this month. https://beverleybateman.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=59d3bc1ca47b46363bacc673f&id=d54f2401ab 

 

Not only running late again, but this summer I have very little writing news.

Our temperatures continue to set records, staying in the mid to high Celsius. We have daily high heat warnings. I live in Alberta, and with the high temperatures and no rain, we have a few forest fires in the north. Our neighbors to the west in British Columbia are setting records for forest fires and the amount of acreage burnt. Firefighters from Mexico and Australia have been deployed to BC to help get the fires under control. The smoke from all the fires blows across and covers our province. For weeks, as well as heat warnings, we’ve had smoke advisories recommending we stay inside. We’re not even supposed to walk our dogs. So poor Benji only gets a couple of quick trips daily. 

 

 

 


Our area opened up the Covid rules. Now it’s no masks except on public transport and government buildings. On August 16th there won’t be any Covid rules. If you’re a contact of Covid you don’t have to isolate. No size limits on group sizes. Since they opened up, our daily Covid cases have increased. We were down to 2 active cases and now we’re up to 103 active cases in our town. Some businesses have decided to require masks or ask for proof of immunization, but the government isn’t recommending it. They say we can’t beat Covid, so we need to learn to live with it. I don’t disagree with the theory, but we need to take baby steps and learn how to live with it. It’s also against CDC, public health and WHO recommendations. 

My editing is going slowly, like at a snail’s pace and my muse hasn’t returned so even less writing.


 

 


 

I’m still crawling through edits so here’s another excerpt from Murder Off-Leash.

Susan turned, looked toward the play area, and called out. "Hank! Hank, honey, we’re going."

There was no answer.

"Hank. Hank. Where are you?" Susan raced outside. The play area was empty.

"Hank!" She screamed. Terror grabbed her body and squeezed tight.

There was no sign of Hank or the dog. Not a sound. It was deadly quiet.
              Mitch heard her screams. He raced past Susan toward play area. and was right beside her. The kid had to be around.

How could he have let a little boy disappear? Some cop he was. It was beginning to look like Maria was right when she said he was a lousy cop as well as a lousy lover

"It’s okay, Susan. He’s around here. If anything had happened, we would have heard Wolf bark."

"Maybe he shot Wolf before he had a chance to bark. Maybe he’s shot Hank. Hank!" Susan screamed.

"We would have heard the shot. Or we’d see Wolf. He’s not going to lug a dead dog anywhere. Besides, he’s not after Hank. He’s after you. He would keep Hank alive to get to you."

"Hank! Where are you, honey? Don’t play games with Mommy. Please honey." She raced down the outside of the motel. Her eyes brimmed with tears

Mitch matched her stride. "Hank! Hank, where are you boy? Wolf! Here boy."

"He’s found us, and he’s got Hank. I’m sure I heard someone last night." Susan’s voice rose to a high pitch.

"No. There was no one there last night. He wouldn’t have found us — you, yet. There hasn’t been time and I haven’t given out any information. It will take him a couple of days to catch up. Trust me."

"Right, I should trust the guy who let a murder occur in front of me. Hank! Hank, please honey! Answer Mommy! Oh God, please let him be alright. He was in the play area a minute ago. I shouldn’t have left him alone. I should have been in there with him. It’s my fault. If anything’s happened to him, it’s my fault. I can’t even take care of my own son."

“You’re a great mother. We’ll find him.” Mitch strode  around the motel building. The kid had to be here. Maybe he was playing hide and seek. There was no way the Iceman would have found them yet. No way. He wasn’t that good. Was he?

Susan followed after Mitch. "Hank! Wolf! Hank! Where are you?"

"Hank! Hank, where are you?" Mitch yelled.

It seemed like an eternity, but in about five minutes they had circled the motel twice, with no sign of Hank or Wolf.

"He’s gone. He’s been kidnapped. I know it." Susan ran her fingers through her hair, tears streamed down her cheeks.

Mitch pushed Susan in the direction of the cafe. "Look, I’m going to check out that grove of trees over there. Why don’t you go back to the cafe and ask if they’ve seen him, or if they’ve seen anything suspicious?"

If he found anything in those trees, he didn’t want Susan with him.

"Are you sure?"

"Uh huh, positive. He and Wolf may have gone back there. You know, maybe they were hungry again. I’ll also ask the motel clerk if he’s seen anything."

Susan started running toward the cafe. "Please, please God, let him be there."

Mitch heard her praying as he headed for the grove of trees. He was doing a little praying of his own. He walked slowly through the trees, looking for any sign a boy and a dog might have been there. He believed they had just wandered off. Where would a boy and his dog go? He glanced back at the cafe to see if Susan had found them...

Part of him was looking for Hank and the dog; the other part was still reeling from that kiss. The result from that kiss was screwing up his ability to concentrate. He’d done it partly to throw her off balance, but also because he desperately wanted to kiss her. He’d wanted to do it from the first, when she ran into him at the bottom of the stairs. He still remembered his reaction to her lips when she was lying on top of him, her lips millimeters from his. The memory of her haunted him, even when she wasn’t there.

But it had backfired. That kiss had thrown him totally off balance. He didn’t want anything to do with her. He didn’t want any relationship with any woman, particularly this one. And after that kiss, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to just walk away from her.

She had responded to his kiss, almost without hesitation, which had surprised him. He’d actually expected to get his face slapped. When she hadn’t and he found her receptive, her body warm and sensual moving against his, white heat roared through his body.

He enjoyed her kiss and her body. It was a new feeling he hadn’t experienced before. He had never felt anything like this with Maria. He had pushed himself away and turned his back on her. He couldn’t let her see how she affected him.

He finished checking the small grove of trees and breathed a sigh of relief. Not that he’d really expected to find anything, but you never knew. There was still no sign of Hank, Mitch was starting to get worried. He didn’t figure the Iceman could have found them yet, but... he headed back to the motel.

"Mitch, I found him! He’s here! I’ve found him!" Susan shouted and waved from the front of the cafe.

"Where was he?" Mitch loped across the clearing to her.

Inside he found Susan on her knees, hugging Hank. She was laughing and crying as she touched Hank’s face and rumpled his hair. Wolf sat quietly at Hank’s side, panting and drooling, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth.

"They were in the cafe, just like you said. Honey don’t ever do that again. Mommy was so scared." Susan kissed Hank on his cheeks, forehead, and mouth and hugged him tightly.

"Wolfie wanted something to drink tho I went in and athked the lady for some water. They were really nice and gave me a big bowl and everything."

"That was nice of you and them, but you should have told me where you were going, honey." Susan kissed Hank on the top of his head as she stood up.

"I didn’t want to bother you and Mr. Pellagrino. You were fighting. And there wath a man watching uth. I got thcared."

"We weren’t fighting. We were just having a discussion, but it’s okay to interrupt. You bother Mommy anytime, promise? Promise me you’ll always tell me where you are. Promise?"

"I promith."

“What do you mean a man?” Susan suddenly realized what Hank had said. Her face froze as terror crept back across like a dark shadow.

“He wath watching uth from the treeth.”

“Who was it? The Iceman?” Susan stared at Mitch. Her voice climbed up an octave.

“No. I’m sure it wasn’t.” Mitch watched her pull Hank tightly against her.

“Then who? Is there someone else on my trail?”

“Probably just a coincidence.”

“You think? I mean you really don’t think it was someone watching us?” Susan stared at him, waiting for his response.

“I really don’t think so. Come on, let’s blow this place.” Mitch tried to sound convincing. Was there another guy? Did the Iceman have a partner? What if they had been found already?

Beverley Bateman Blogger

This month, I am part of N.N. Light’s Mystery Suspense Mini event, August 16th at 9 am at https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/mystery-and-suspense-bookish-event. Drop by for a chance to win a $66 Amazon gift card. The Rafflecopter direct link is https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db7750127

 

Please follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday and the third Saturday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for writing tips, hints, and guest authors. Check out the exciting authors and their new books this month. And post your thoughts on the blog post, or anything else you have on your mind.

 

 

 

Running late this month. I’m going to blame it on the summer heat and the Canadian July 1st and American July 4th holidays. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and stayed safe.

We have been breaking heat records up here with temperatures around 39 Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit. 

Our area is going to Stage three of Covid opening, which means no masks except on public transport and government buildings. Some businesses have decided to require masks or ask for proof of immunization. Hopefully it works out and we can enjoy the summer. I’m still a little cautious. We’ll see how the next few weeks go. 

Last month I listed my limited goals for the summer. I’m hoping my muse likes the heat and returns home. I have finally started to write and edit. Fingers crossed I can keep it up. One on my challenges is doing blogs and book tours and websites, etc. If I spend my writing time doing them, I don’t have the energy, time or focus for the real writing. So, I’m cutting back on PR for now. 

 

 


I’m busy editing and rewriting Murder Off-Leash. It’s my temporary title.

I’m trying to come up with a better one. 

Here’s an excerpt.

Susan fumbled for the key. Her left hand still gripped the dog leash. Her other hand automatically tried the doorknob, fully expecting it to be locked.

 

It clicked opened.

 

She frowned and hesitated a second. That was strange. He always kept it locked.

 

A soft popping sound came from inside the room.

 

A low guttural growl became a snarl. The giant wolfhound yanked on the leash, dragging  Susan reluctantly through the doorway.

 

She let out an involuntary gasp. At the far end of the room Mr. Andrews, still sat in his favorite chair. He was slumped forward, dark blood matted the back of his head. The man behind the chair turned, his gun pointed at her.

 

Their gaze locked briefly. Susan shivered as she stared into his cold, pale blue eyes.

 

Wolf barked furiously. He strained at the leash, attempting to lunge forward. He jerked her closer to the man. He fired at her but missed when Wolf jerked her off balance.

 

In that split second, the animal’s shaggy head rubbing against her waist, Susan Brown, single mother and professional dog walker, knew the true meaning of terror.  Her chest contracted. She heard a scream.

 

It couldn’t have come from her. She couldn’t even breathe.  She felt frozen, unable to move. She offered up a wordless prayer that her legs would move. She turned and felt a flash of relief when they responded. Yanking at the leash with both hands to get the dog started, Susan raced out the door and down the apartment hallway. Another shot missed her.

 

Oh God, I’ve got to get to Hank. I can’t let anything happen to my son. He’s too young to be without his mother.

 

Her pulse pounded in her ears, terror clutched her throat, her thoughts on her son she ran. The enormity of what she had just witnessed sank in. He would be after her, probably speeding silently down the hall behind her. Even if she got away, he’d have to find her. He ‘d have to kill her.

 

The dog’s leash was still wrapped tightly around her hand. Wolf whined as he tried to return to his master. Her mind fixed on her son, sweet, loveable Hank she dragged the dog along with her. . She had to get to Hank. If the killer shot her, what would happen to her son?  No father, and then no mother. Even if she escaped the killer would hunt her down. He’d find out about Hank. He might try to get to her through her son. Oh God, and then he’d kill them both.

 

Prodded by fear for her son, Susan rounded the second-floor landing, feet barely touching the floor. 

 

Damn, the dog is slowing me down.

 

She should let go of the leash, but it was wrapped too tightly around her hand. She would have to stop to release it. So, she kept running, dragging the reluctant, barking wolfhound behind her.

 

She didn’t see the man until she landed on top of him at the foot of the stairs. The three of them collapsed in a pile. Man, woman, and dog, all leashed together. Susan's gaze met his glare. She found herself staring into deep, Mediterranean-blue eyes. Her stomach contracted in a spasm of cold recognition. Then the terror blasted back, full force.

 

This had to be the worst day of her life.

 

“What the hell’s goin’ on?” He snapped.

 

Susan struggled against him. The dog leash, tangled around their legs, held their bodies firmly together.

 

The frantic dog continued to bark and struggle for freedom. The result pulled them even tighter together. The barking , the heat, the sweat, and the closeness surrounded and compressed her so she couldn’t breathe.

 

With supreme effort, spurred on by terror, Susan managed to get her feet solidly on the floor and slide out of the tangled mess. She hit the floor running, raced out the door, down the few steps and into the descending darkness of the humid, crowded, New York Street.

 

“You! Stop! Wait! Stop! Damn it!”

 

July rain spattered her face,  dripped off the end of her nose and chin. Behind her, she could hear him swearing and the dog barking. Free of the dog she sprinted through the crowd, down the street and around the corner. Her feet pounded  against the pavement as she pushed past blurs of people, lights, and buildings. She vaguely heard the angry voices as she shoved her way through the crowd, slamming bodies that were in her way and for the first time she could remember, she was glad of her height and her long legs. They rapidly covered the distance between her and Hank. Once they were safe, she’d take time to figure out a plan.

 

She felt badly about leaving the dog. Poor Wolf...he was such a sweet animal. Now he’d lost both his master and the only other person he knew, his dog walker. Hopefully, someone would be found to look after him, but that wasn’t her concern. Not now. Her mind was unable to focus and kept flitting from one idea to the next. She had to maintain her concentration and come up with a damn plan, for the sake of her son.

 

She didn’t slow down until she neared the apartment building. She jogged up the steps and into the building. She stopped and waited. She peaked outside. No sign of the killer. Hopefully, she’d have a little time to work out a plan.

 

The youngest of four, her family usually helped her solve her problems, even helped her make decisions. Until she was thirteen and was left home alone with her mother, they had done everything for her.  She had finally realized she was responsible for her own life and needed to take control of her own decisions. It was slow work. When she was under stress she reverted to her engrained patterns of behavior, wanting someone else to take the responsibility. 

 

She sighed because  she not only had to fight this battle alone, but somehow, she had to make sure Hank was safe. If she contacted her family the killer might even track them down and use them to get to her.

 

Who knew what a cold-blooded killer might do to keep from getting caught?


 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

I am managing to keep up with my blog and some great author guests. You can still follow me follow me there Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for writing tips, hints and guest authors. Check out the exciting authors and their new books this month. 

This month, I am continuing my book tour with Silver Dragon June 14 to July 14.

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/death-southern-style-book-tour-and-giveaway


 

Happy Summer!

May News I thought Covid was on the decrease. It’s been over a year and we now have the vaccines, but we are in a third wave and most places appear to be at the moment. Yesterday we had our highest number of total cases yesterday since the beginning last year. New cases keep coming every day, and most of them are the variants. Younger people are getting Covid, and they may die.

 

I’ve had my second Covid immunization, but I’m still concerned because cases keep rising. I don’t socialize or if I talk to people, it’s with a mask and six feet apart. I haven’t eaten out in over a year. Indoor dining is closed again.

 

People talk about getting back to normal, but I don’t see that light in the near future. We are entering our third lockdown, including schools, personal fitness and non-essential stores.

 

I also have some additional family health issues for a month or two. And while we don’t have snow, but we are still getting very cool temperatures.

 

My muse appears to be staying way and the result is a difficult time writing. I manage a few words and that’s it. No motivation and difficulty focusing. I don’t have a new book or one even close at the moment. So, check out my website and my books.


 


Since I have nothing new to share and I’m not feeling spring-like yet I thought I’d share the one thing that brightened my day this week.

Tiger Gives Birth to 3 Cubs at Toronto Zoo After 104 -Day Pregnancy.

Mazyria the Amur tiger, who gave birth to three cubs in 2013, is now a mom of six after giving birth to another trio of tiger cubs on April 30 at the Toronto Zoo 

 

And here’s the article and a video as well.

https://people.com/pets/amur-tiger-gives-birth-three-cubs-toronto-zoo/

 

 


 

This month, again, I’m a little overwhelmed with some family issues and lack of focus so I’m only doing my Group Blog on ‘Does writing change the author? Do you think your writing has changed you in any significant way?’ May 22nd at  https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 

 

I am managing to keep up with my blog and some great author guests. You can still follow me follow me there Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for writing tips, hints and guest authors. Check out the exciting authors and their new books this month. 

 


 

Victoria Day

Happy Victoria Day to my fellow Canadians

and

Happy Memorial Day to my US friends! 

Memorial Day

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

We had a huge snowstorm last week for two days and about seven or eight inches of heavy wet snow. Followed by several days of cold, windy, rainy days. Our last lockdown is starting to open up June 1st.  

 

WE raced home last March 20th to cross the Canadian border before it closed. And it’s been closed ever since. I’ve done quarantine, isolation, masked, shutdown and social distanced. It’s been fourteen months. Between Covid and a cold winter I’ve been affected like so many other people. I’m hoping with summer approaching I’m going to get back on track. I’m beginning to feel more motivated. Enough that I’ve set up at schedule for the next month. I’ve rethought Lydia’s story and come up with some draft notes. That’s a good start. And I plan on writing one hour a day for four days a week. Not lofty goals but more than I’ve done for quite awhile.

 

I also plan to edit Death Awaits, one hour a day four days a week. Since I haven’t managed any amount of successful writing for a long time, I’m hoping these are reasonable goals and I can fit them in with summer activities like gardening.

 

I’m hoping my muse is also ready to put in an occasional appearance and help me with writing Lydia’s story.

 

I’m still having issues with motivation and difficulty in focusing. I don’t have a new book or one even close at the moment, but I’m hoping to change that soon. In the meantime, check out my website and my published books.

 

 


 

This month, again, my PR is being cut back again. I’m hoping to put my energy into writing instead.

 


I am doing a book tour with Silver Dragon June 14 to July 14.

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/death-southern-style-tour-sign-ups


 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

I am managing to keep up with my blog and some great author guests. You can still follow me follow me there Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for writing tips, hints and guest authors. Check out the exciting authors and their new books this month.

 


Welcome to Summer!

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

April Showers I can’t believe April is here. We’re a quarter of the way through this year. Spring was supposed to be March 21, but we brought April in with a snow squall. I was raised on the prairies and I’d never heard of a snow squall. I couldn’t believe the wind warning and the heavy blowing snow. We had a fifty – seventy vehicle accident that morning. Winter appears to have passed and spring may be popping its head up occasionally. (fingers crossed) 

Easter is in April this year. Also, we get our second Covid vaccine this month.  It will be nice to feel ninety-five present protected, even though we’ll still mask and social distance. 

Covid appears to be increasing again, mostly with the variants, even with more people are getting vaccinations against it. With spring and warmer weather coming, I’m still beginning to feel things may improve. My muse is back but not working yet. I think it’s sort of a post Covid response.

I’m drafting notes, starting to write. Not a lot, but more than I have been. I’m also taking a break from my novel and writing a novella. We’ll see how it goes. I’m doing a one hundred words a day and Word by Word.


 

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Here’s another excerpt from Death Southern Style.

Marie L. growled a low guttural sound deep in her throat and stood up on the bed. 

Julie Ann rolled over and automatically moved her hand toward the dog. “It’s okay. Good dog, good girl. Go back to sleep.” She closed her eyes. 

Marie uttered another growl. This time the hairs on the back of Julie Ann’s neck stood on end. She could hear a noise downstairs. Footsteps? A door? 

Damn, she’d forgot to put the chair in front of the front door, but she’d put the new lock on. 

She laid quietly, patted Marie and shushed her. She could hear a creak on the stairs. 

She reached for Marie, but the dog jumped off the bed and ran toward the stairs. 

Julie Ann hesitated then moved to the closet and pulled the hangers aside. She closed the secret room door and climbed on to the cot. She wrapped her arms around her legs, listened and waited. She couldn’t believe someone was back again, especially after the attack on Savannah. The stakes appeared to be getting higher. Perrine had died but that wasn’t enough. What did they want? What were they afraid she knew and might expose?

She heard Marie growling and barking.

A man’s voice shouted, “Go away and get out of here. Damn dog, go.”

The barking continued. 

Julie Ann heard steps come into the bedroom. The cupboard door was opened and slammed shut. The man swore and stomped off into Perrine’s room. Marie continued to bark and follow him. Julie Ann could tell where he was by the sound of his feet. She wasn’t sure but it sounded like he might have a limp.

Maybe he had a bite on his ankle.

She sat quietly and shivered at the sound of someone wandering through her home, sure that it was the same man who had killed her mother and probably attacked Savannah. He probably had a gun. She offered up a silent prayer that he didn’t decide to shoot Marie.

Why was he back here? This was the third time. He hadn’t found anything on his previous visits so the only reason she could think of for this one was that he wanted to kill her. There was no other motive she could think of and so far, no one had found a motive for any of the killings. Why?

Maybe Connor was right – maybe she should move to a hotel.

No, she wouldn’t let them chase her out of her home. Besides, she was safer here anyway. If they wanted her dead, they could find her in a hotel. They had the first night. And she might not have the same safety she had here, in Perrine’s secret room. Still shivering she listened to the steps move downstairs and out the door, Marie barked at his heels.

There was silence, then a scratching at the closet door.

“No, Marie – go away.” Julie Ann whispered. 

Marie continued to whine and scratch. Julie Ann jumped up, opened the door and let the dog in. “Shh, be quiet.”

Marie jumped up on the cot and snuggled next to Julie Ann. Julie Ann patted her absently, “Good dog, good girl.”

Everything had gone deadly quiet.

She waited for another few minutes. There still wasn’t a sound. “Okay girl, let’s check and see if he’s gone.”

Julie Ann slid the door open and slipped out into her bedroom. She stopped, pressed her back against the wall and listened.

Silence.

“Okay girl, we’re going downstairs to make sure he’s gone, so no barking.”

The house was in total darkness. Julie Ann crept out into the hall and down the stairs. Silence echoed through the house.

She flipped the light switch. A soft yellow light flooded the room. There was no one there. The front door had been closed and locked. He’d picked the lock. She should get a new one with a bolt.

Julie Ann noticed a scrap of paper caught under the front door frame.

He must have dropped it when he left.

She scuttled across the room and grabbed it. It was folded in squares. She opened it and read it. Blindly she reached for a chair and collapsed into it, the note clutched in her hand.

I can’t continue. The guilt is too much.

I don’t want to live without her.

This is the only way I can escape.

 

Julie Ann


 

April - Marcia Anderson’s Go Pets Blog https://marciajames.net/blog/ 

April 1 - Darlene Fredette’s Blog A Day in the Life Spotlight https://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com/2021/04/a-day-in-life-beverley-bateman.html 

April 17 - Group blog How do you choose your characters' names? Are there any you avoid?) https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 

You can still follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. Have a good month. 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

March is Women’s History Month. Also, The Ides of March and St Patrick’s Day. It’s a busy month. 

 

Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women's Day on March 8. 

 

There’s a saying, ‘If March comes in like a Lion it goes out like a Lamb.’ I think with the Polar Vortex, rain, and wind that qualifies as coming in like a Lion. Let’s hope for spring and March leaving like a lamb. 

 

Covid may be starting to improve. People are getting vaccinations against it. We’re still wearing masks and social distancing. I’m beginning to feel things may improve and my muse is back from a winter vacation. 

 

I’ve started to write. Not a lot, but more than I have been. I’m also taking a break from my novel and writing a novella. We’ll see how it goes. 

 

I do a BIAW and many of the participants are saying they aren’t motivated, can’t focus, or aren’t interested in writing, or their story. For many the Covid has affected people, writer, emotionally and mentally. As Covid retreats I hope our writers become more normal and excited about writing.


 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

U.S. Cover

Here’s another excerpt from Targeted.

 

A few minutes later Janna swung up on Blaze’s back and trotted out the gate. They continued to trot for a short distance while Janna got the feel of the saddle and his gait, then she nudged him gently. Blaze broke into a cantor and headed toward the trail and up the hill. Within minutes she’d adjusted to his gait.

The familiar scent of pine trees reached her nostrils, the smell of the outdoors. A breeze ruffled her hair. The silence was unbelievable. You didn’t get that in the city and you never got complete silence.

“Let’s go, boy.”

Blaze increased his gait to a gallop. His hooves pounded across the dry ground. Janna tightened her grip on the reins, enjoying the freedom as she rode past familiar parts of the ranch. It felt good. She’d missed this. Maybe she could keep the ranch and spend a few months of the year here.

Yeah right—never going to happen.

Besides, there was Kye. She had been sure she was over him, but he still caused emotions she didn’t want to feel. Anytime he was around those damn feelings kicked in. She wanted him to hold hr, kiss her and make love. She remembered their lovemaking. Oh yeah, did she remember their lovemaking? 

And then there was the fact someone was trying to kill her. If she hung around very long they might succeed. Of course, they’d tried once in Seattle so they could try again wherever she was. She wouldn’t be safe until whoever it was, got caught. 

She gave herself a shake and concentrated on the ranch as they rode. She tried to remember the layout as they galloped along. It had been a long time since she’d ridden around it with Duke and she’d been a lot younger. Back then she hadn’t paid too much attention where they rode. She enjoyed riding and being with Duke.

Janna pulled lightly on the reins and Blaze veered to her right.

The sun beat down on her back. It felt good. So did the fresh air and the smell of cattle when she rode past a small herd. A little later she recognized the fencing between Duke’s place and the Hawkins ranch. Colorado spruce dotted the landscape along the fence. Farther along Janna spotted Green Mountain ash on a small hill. Janna smiled. She’d even remembered the name. Gradually things were coming back to her. There were some good memories here.

The motion of riding in the saddle felt soothing. She needed to do this more often. She’d forgotten how much she’d enjoyed her time on the ranch and she loved riding.

They headed toward the grove of tall pine trees at the back corner of the property. The tall trees were bunched close together. No sun got through their thick branches.

The grove bordered the Blackfeet land. It was the burial ground for Blackfeet chiefs, medicine men and other elder tribe members and was considered a sacred grove, a holy place. The Native Americans came here for guidance and to talk to their elders. It was on Duke’s property. Somehow the Blackfeet had never registered their claim and the grove became part of the ranch property. But Duke had always respected the Native American claim to the land, and they had free access from any side of the grove.

Now with Duke gone and her life being threatened the grove could also be in danger. She needed to protect it.

Janna reined in Blaze and halted a few hundred yards away. Leaning forward on the saddle horn Janna stared into the grove of Lodgepole and Ponderosa pine trees.  They stood tall and stately, crowded close together to form a dark impenetrable forest. Other people, like Kye, said the souls of past native chiefs lived there and could only be seen by members of their tribe or the owner of the ranch. The story went that the spirits sometimes helped people with difficult decisions.

She’d asked Duke about it once.  He’d told her the spirits lived in the grove and sometimes appeared to him and talked to him. He’d smiled and said, “If I have important questions, I ride out there.”

“Do they talk to you?”

Duke shook his head.

When she’d been a child, she’d hoped to see them. Now, as an adult, she’d dismissed them as a myth.

A shivered shook her spine. Smoke or low clouds formed amongst the trees.

Were their people there, in the smoke?

Hazy figures gradually took the wispy forms of the native Blackfeet chiefs and elders. A chill crept down her spine. Duke had been telling the truth. Now they stood tall among the trees regarding her.

Janna squinted into the darkness and swallowed several times.

Was her mind playing tricks?

The leader was dressed in the full Blackfeet chief regalia. A couple of others appeared to be medicine men and one was a woman. 

They waited.

“I’m Janna. Duke left me the ranch.”

The forms, or spirits, as she was beginning to think of them, nodded.

“He’s dead.”

They stared at her.

Of course, if he left the ranch to her he was dead. They must think she was a complete idiot.

They appeared to be waiting for something—questions? Comments?

“Was Duke murdered?” It popped out of her mouth and shocked her.

Where had that come from?

The elder in the center nodded. The others followed in agreement.

Janna sat stunned. “Was it a robbery?”

This time they shook their heads.

If you believed in the spirits and what they had acknowledged, Duke had been murdered. Kye was right, but then he’d probably checked it out with the spirits, too.

“Who did it?”

They stared at her.

Okay, they didn’t speak.

“Am I in danger?”

They nodded.

She sat quietly staring into the grove.

“Should I keep Eli with me?”

This time they smiled and nodded.

“I am going to sell the ranch. Many people want to buy it. One of them is a government agency.”

The spirits shook their heads.

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t sell to them. What about the conglomerate that wants to buy it?”

Again they shook their heads. The smoke began to dissipate.

“I have more questions.” Janna watched the smoke disappear.

 

The dark forbidding grove stood tall and imposing. After several minutes she turned Blaze toward the ranch. Maybe the spirits only answered so many questions or stayed for so long. The encounter felt surreal. Janna tried to digest what had occurred.


 

Other than my group blog on my blog, March 23rd, I’m not doing a lot of guest spots this month.

You can still follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. Have a good month. 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

Well, Covid is still with us. Many of us are in lockdown. We’re having a cold spell for a couple of weeks, where I live. Lows of -4 F and highs of 0 F. I don’t know about you but I’m suffering from Covid fatigue and I think Covid brain. I also think I’m developing the characteristics of a hermit. The only exercise and fresh air I get is walking the dog.

2020 was a difficult year. The most challenging I remember, and the challenges are not over yet. We’ve got a few months to keep ourselves and our communities safe, so wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. 

I do believe that 2021 will be a good year, certainly a better year. There is a vaccine. Actually, there are two vaccines and maybe more coming. In four or five months we should all be able to receive the vaccine. A new normality could be starting to set in by then. 

And February is the shortest month of the year. So, keep a positive thought. Hopefully the ground hog won’t see his shadow and winter will be almost over. 

I am starting to write routinely again. I’m working on the draft of a novella but not finished and no cover. I’m hoping to get back to working on Lydia’s story. So, I’m going to promote one of my books I really like. Hope you will too.


 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

U.S. Cover

Here's An Excerpt

Someone had shot her back tire. Janna gripped the wheel to keep the vehicle on the road. She debated whether to try and outrun the shooter, wherever he was, or find cover. The windshield shattered as a third bullet entered the passenger side. 

So much for outrunning the shooter. 

She scanned the area and spotted an outcropping of rocks a few feet ahead on her right. She aimed the vehicle in that direction.

Two more shots, and both the back tires went down. 

Definitely find cover. 

Janna ducked low behind the steering wheel until the vehicle reached the rocks. When the car stopped, she grabbed the keys from the ignition and her purse and dove out the door. Bullets bounced off the rocks behind her as she scrambled for cover. Whoever was doing the shooting was serous. Anyone of the shots could have hit her. 

She reached the rocks, keeping low until she got to the middle where she curled up as tightly as possible, her back against a rock. Her heart pounded in her ears, her breathing came in gasps. This was getting to be a habit. First someone tried to kill her in Seattle, and now, out in this god-forsaken country. 

What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me? Was it the same person who shot at me in Seattle? That doesn’t seem likely, but who even knew I was coming here? Maybe it’s someone just trying to rob a stranger.

Yeah right, be honest, Janna, does this road look like many strangers came this way? And if they did, would they have a lot to steal? You really think this person selected a spot in the rocks where he would have a good shot at my vehicle. Coincidence? Not damn likely.

At least she’d worn boots and jeans—even if they were designer jeans. Now they were filthy, and so was her red sweater and jean jacket.

Another shot hit the rock behind her. She rolled over onto her stomach, shaded her eyes, and squinted into the sun. He must be up on the cliffs straight ahead. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have glimpsed a light, maybe a reflection off his scope.

Terrific! Now what? My gun is in my purse. I could fire back, but that would be a waste of bullets at this distance. 

She yanked out her cell and punched in 9-1-1.

Damn—no reception.

A pounding pulsed through the ground and came closer. Janna could feel the vibrations. It felt like horses. She glanced around, without raising her head, to see what was coming.

Suddenly there was a hand in front of her face.

“Grab it and jump on.”

The deep, rumbling voice was not asking. It was an order.

Janna grabbed the strong hand. In one smooth motion, she swung up behind a man on his horse. Seconds later, she had her hands wrapped around his well-developed, muscular chest, as the big chestnut thundered across the ground, out of the bullets’ range.

The man wore a leather jacket over a sweater. Her hands slid under the jacket for better grip. Even through the sweater she could feel sinewy muscles. She laid her head against his back and his braid. She took a breath in, inhaling the rich scent of leather, trying to calm her racing heart rate.

She glanced behind her. The cliffs were fading into the distance. The muscles of his well-developed shoulders bunched and relaxed as he led the horse at a gallop across the field. She felt safe for some unfathomable reason.

He had a familiar woodsy scent that made her think of sex under pine trees, not that she’d ever made love there. In fact, her sex life was pretty negligible these days.

They’d been riding for several minutes when Janna leaned forward. “You can put me down any place. I can manage now.”

“Really? And just what are you going to do out here, miles from town, by yourself, with someone shooting at you?”

The voice was deep, but soft, and rolled over her like warmed brandy. It triggered something in the back of her memory. The earthy scent, the sinewy body, the braid, the voice… She knew this person who had ridden up out of nowhere to save her.

“I have my cell. I’ve already called 9-1-1,” she snapped.

“And did you get an answer?”

Janna yanked her cell phone up where she could see the screen again and re-tapped in 9-1-1. And then there was that famous phrase—No Service.

There was a deep chuckle. “That’s what I thought. There’s no service in this area. The mountains block it.”


 

I’m not doing a lot of guest spots in February. I don’t have a new book this month but you can find me at a few places. I’d love to have you drop by and say “hi.” You might also be eligible for gift certificates at some of these sites: 

 

February 1 - I’m guest blogging on Amber Dalton’s blog at https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/2021/02/01/characterinterview-targeted-by-beverley-bateman/

February 13 – I’m on Pam Thibidoux’s blog at  http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

February 19 – I’m a guest on Dee S. Knight’s blog at http://www.nomadauthors.com/blog/

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

Happy New Year! Good-bye 2020!

Whew! We made it. I don’t know about you but I’m suffering from Covid fatigue. I also think I’m developing the characteristics of a hermit.
2020 was a difficult year. The most challenging I remember, and the challenges are not over yet. We’ve got a few months to keep ourselves and our communities safe, so wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. 

 

I do believe that 2021 will be a good year, certainly a better year. There is a vaccine. Actually, there are two vaccines and maybe more. In four or five months we should all be able to receive the vaccine. A new normality could be starting to set in. So keep a positive thought. 

 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

I don’t make resolutions anymore. I always broke them within a few weeks and then forgot about them.

I switched to setting goals. I set goals for the year and dates to assess and revise them throughout the year. 

I set personal goals, like nutrition and exercise. This year I might have to set one to re-learn socialization. 😊 I set business and writing goals, marketing goals, like learning how to do Amazon Ads, figuring out meta data, and word counts for writing a novel. I also set reading goals. I may also think about goals to survive Covid in the next few months. 

 

I’m blaming it on Covid, but December I spent online shopping for Christmas, doing baking, cooking, etc. My writing was limited. I did manage a few short stories and I belong to 100 words a day and managed to scratch those 100 words out but that was it. I’m hoping I start January energized and enthusiastic. I also hope my muse will return, even if it wears a mask and maintains appropriate social distancing, and I’ll finish Lydia’s Story. I’m working on that story, slowly. In the meantime, I’d love to have you read Death Southern Style. It’s a fun paranormal, romantic suspense set in New Orleans. 


 

Here's An Excerpt

There was a fine dust on counters and doorknobs from the forensics team. She’d clean it up later.

After programming the coffeemaker, she popped a slice of bread in the toaster. When the percolating stopped, she poured a cup of strong, black coffee, buttered the toast and carried both outside to the courtyard.

In broad daylight it looked like it always had when she had come out here. Her mother loved the courtyard. She remembered thinking about how they had spent many a pleasant hour chatting away while digging in the dirt, planting bulbs and enjoying the color of the flowers and the deep scent of the begonias. She took a deep breath. She remembered there had been the scent of begonias in the air last night, right before her mother showed up.

She put the plate on the rock ledge, sat down with her mug in both hands and took a sip of steaming coffee. She stared at the place where Mom had appeared. The clouds were gone, sun was starting to warm up the air.

Would she show up again? Maybe she had been dreaming. No, Mom had been there. Julie Ann breathed in the scent of the begonias and felt a hand on her shoulder.

A sharp bark broke through her reverie. She lowered her coffee mug. A small, brown, mixed breed dog sat a few feet away. It barked again.

“Well, hi there, fella. Where did you come from?” Julie Ann dropped one hand from her mug and wiggled her fingers. The mongrel jumped up and moved closer so Julie Ann could scratch behind the dog’s ears.

A smile played with her lips while Julie Ann rubbed his or her head and scratched under its chin. “Good boy, good doggie. How did you get back here?”

She looked around, wondering if there was a hole in the wall somewhere. The only way into the courtyard was through the house or the walkway between her house and Martha’s. But there was a wrought-iron gate that blocked the entrance to the courtyard. She could see the gate was closed.

“So how did you get in here?” She rubbed the dog’s head. “It wasn’t through the house and you may be skinny but not skinny enough to slip through the wrought-iron. Did someone drop you over the wall?”

The dog growled in pleasure and rolled over to have its belly rubbed.

“So, you’re a girl. I guess us girls need to stick together. I wish Mom was here, too. I thought I felt her again, for just a second. I can’t believe how empty my life is and will be without her.”

The furry mongrel raised her head, crooked an eyebrow and looked at her.

“Oh God, I miss her.” Julie Ann bent down and wrapped her arms around the dog. The tears overflowed and she wept into the dog’s neck. “I, I really ... really miss her. She taught me how to live life to the fullest and how to be happy. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and to trust my instincts.”

The dog sat patiently while Julie sobbed. Gradually the sobs quieted. Julie Ann finally released her hold on the dog’s neck and sat back.

The dog put one paw up on Julie Ann’s leg.

Julie Ann gave the dog a hug.

“Mom, where are you? Why did you leave me last night? I need you to tell me who is after us and why.” Julie Ann wiped her face and bent down to pat the dog. “You think I’m crazy – right? But she really was special. She came back last night to warn me. I just wish she’d told me what to watch out for.”

The dog sat up on her hind legs and rested her head on Julie Ann’s knee.

“You are kind of cute, you know. I can’t figure out how you got in here. Are you lost? Maybe I should put an ad in the paper. Do you want something to drink?”

The dog looked up at her and whined, then rolled over to have her tummy scratched again.

“Okay, girl, let’s get you some water. Have you got a name?”

Julie Ann searched for a collar but didn’t find one.

“No? Maybe I’ll call you Marie, Marie Laveau. They say she was my great, great grandmother you know. Not really on my side, but on Perrine’s. Maybe she sent you here to protect me, except Perrine wasn’t my birth mother so I’m not sure how that works. I know it’s just a made-up story, but Marie helped the sick and the poor, and you helped me cry again and move ahead with my grieving. So okay Marie L., let’s go get some breakfast.”

The dog followed her obediently into the kitchen, her short stubby tail wagging in the air.

Julie Ann glanced down at the animal.

“It’s probably coincidence, isn’t it, you showing up in the courtyard right after Mom appeared, and in the courtyard? And yes, I know I’m being silly. You’re a stray dog who probably dug your way into the courtyard.”

The dog bounced in front of Julie Ann as she walked into the kitchen and then slowed down and let Julie Ann pass her. Julie Ann felt a cloud of love touch her when she passed beside the dog.

“Mom?”

Here’s the link to order. 

 

 

 


 

I’m not doing a lot of guest spots in January, but you can find me at a few places. I’d love to have you drop by and say “hi.”

 

You might also be eligible for gift certificates at these sites: 

 

Spotlight NN Light’s New Year’s Fete https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/new-year-new-books-fete I’ll be there January 13th

 

February 1 - I’m guest blogging on Amber Dalton’s blog at https://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/  

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

It’s December and I send out my newsletter this month. I’ve included a short Christmas story and a recipe in it. Different from the ones I’m putting on my website. If you’d like to check them out sign up for my newsletter. Go to my website https://www.beverleybateman.com/. Check the headings and click on more. Click on Newsletter Signup in the drop down box and sign up. 

 

HoHoHo! Can you believe it’s December and we’re almost through 2020? It’s been a year like no other. Covid completely disrupted everyone’s life and routine, schools, jobs, and businesses. It changed our eating and exercising habits. sIt changed how we shop and how we celebrate. At least it was supposed to, to save lives. It also introduced a new fashion statement – masks. I have several in different colors and one with dog paws on it. Like most people I don’t enjoy wearing them because it makes breathing difficult and talking to each other a little challenging, but it saves lives. And even with a vaccine they say we’ll still need to wear them. The one plus is the regular flu cases are way down. And it did bring a lot of families closer as they biked, played games and walked together. 


 

Writers and authors have been affected by having their children at home, having to work from home and maybe doing less actual in person research. Or like me, suffering Covid brain – sitting at the computer and staring at and my muse isn’t there. Off social distancing, I guess. I’ve also watched a lot more TV. I signed up for NaNo but I’m only going to end up with half a book. I know there are lessons to be learned and I hope some of it makes society better. 

The doctors and scientists have learned more about Covid and a vaccine is on the horizon. Welcome 2021! 

Hopefully life will slowly return a new normal. My muse will return, even if maintaining social distancing and I’ll finish Lydia’s Story.

Here’s the link to order. 

 

 

 


 

THE CHRISTMAS RISK

Dr. Allie Parsons clutched the steering wheel and stared out into the blinding Montana whiteness. Heavy snow swirled around the SUV. The road had disappeared. Barely moving, Allie had no idea where she was driving. She’d never seen anything like it, certainly not in New York.

A storm warning had been issued that morning, but she’d been determined to make the home visits after clinic. The city girl hadn’t realized what a storm warning in this country meant. She did now.

Luke had ordered her not to go. Allie didn’t respond well to orders, and they’d had a discussion. Allie inched through the wall of whiteness and remembered her response. She needed to get that attitude under control.  Her response to his order had been, “I’ll do whatever I want. You’re not going to order me around. I will make the home visits.”

“Stupid woman,” he mumbled. He strode out of the house. The door slammed behind him.

She had no idea where he’d gone. He’d wanted to do the visits, but he had a previous appointment. Surely, he wouldn’t hold this against her permanently. She would have to apologize when she got back - if she got back safely. Hopefully, he’d be there. After her last disastrous relationship, she had trouble with trust, but she really loved Luke. She just had problems with commitment.

Tomorrow was Christmas Eve. She didn’t plan on making any more visits for at least three or four days. And if Luke wanted to do the visits in storms from now on, she was more than willing to let him. This was his country. He’d been practicing here for years and knew the country, the area and the patients. She didn’t. She’d learned her lesson.

“Whoa.” She clung to the steering wheel as the vehicle plunged into a snowdrift. She shifted into reverse. The tires spun briefly and caught. Luck was with her. She back on something more solid.

What if she got stuck? She didn’t even have a shovel. How long would the heater work? Was she willing to risk her life in a Montana blizzard, and if she was willing to take that risk, why wasn’t she willing to take a risk on the man she loved?

The snow continued to swirl around the vehicle. The small gifts wrapped and decorated in Christmas paper, piled up on the passenger’s seat, shifted and a few moved closer to the edge of the seat. Her patients had pushed them on her with wishes of a Merry Christmas. She knew they were all homemade, and it caused warm, fuzzy feelings inside. People here welcomed you and really cared about their neighbors. One gift would be Annie’s homemade herb tea. Mrs. Maclean would have shared a jar of her crabapple jelly. And elderly Mrs. Jones knitted woolen slippers. Allie smiled. This didn’t happen in New York.

The wind whistled around the outside of her SUV, sending chilly whirls down her spine, even though the heater blasted warm air into the cab. She checked her GPS. It said she was half a mile from home. She took a couple of deep breaths as she inched her way straight ahead. She`d made it back.

Her GPS told her to turn right, into the driveway. There were no lights visible. Luke wasn’t home yet. He must be really angry with her. She didn’t blame him. Hopefully he would be back soon.

It had hit her on the way home. Loving Luke was a much better risk than the winter storm. He’d asked her to marry him. She said she needed more time. It wasn`t that she didn`t love him, but did she want to live in this desolate country? Could she leave her parents? She missed them, especially at Christmas.

Life was a risk. She’d realized that today as she drove through a storm, not sure she’d make it home. Some risks were worth taking. She loved Luke. She wanted to be with him, and that risk seemed a lot less than the risk of losing him and a life together.

Had he gone to his parents? A cloud of darkness draped itself over her.

Last year at this time she was going through treatment for breast cancer. Another risk. They’d found a small lump during her routine examination. Her fiancé at the time, a doctor specializing in dermatology, had bailed because he couldn’t cope.

Sorry, darling, but I’m just not cut out for this. Good luck with the treatment. e’s gone off and not told her where he was going. S

She thought back to last year.

 

Her friends had backed off because many of them had been friends with both her and her fiancé. So last Christmas had been spent without her fiancé, without many of the people she’d considered friends, and going through surgery. Thank heavens for her family. Her parents had been there for her every minute of the journey. Christmas had been somber but filled with love. She missed not being with them this year, but she had Luke. Didn’t she?

The SUV slid down the driveway; at least, she guessed it was the driveway.  The snow was so deep, it was hard to tell, but she brought her vehicle to a halt in front of the house.  Stepping out into foot-deep snow, she plunged around the truck to open the passenger door. She grabbed her medical bag and dropped her small gifts inside it. Then she fought her way through the wind and snow to the front door, the snow drifting over the tops of her boots.

She hesitated. It would be cold, dark, and lonely inside. Hopefully, Luke would come home soon.

She shoved her key into the lock and opened the door.

It was warmer than she expected, but very quiet. She dropped her bag on the bench inside the door and flicked on the lights.

“Surprise!”

Luke moved quickly to her side and wrapped his arms around her, planting a kiss on her partially open mouth. “Thank heavens you’re home and safe. I was so worried.”

“Thanks for worrying. I won’t do that again. I promise. I love you.”

Luke’s eyes widened. “I love you, too.”

“Merry Christmas, dear,” a middle-aged woman hurried across the floor to hug Allie.

“Mom? Dad? What are you doing here?” Allie turned in Luke’s arm as her parents enveloped her in a group hug.

“Luke asked us to come. He sent us the tickets and picked us up at the airport. He said it was a surprise. Was it a surprise?” Her mother asked.

“Totally, I still can’t believe you’re here.” Allie hugged her parents back, kissing her father and then her mother. “I can’t believe you’re here, in Montana.”

“Last year was a difficult time for you. One day about a month ago when I called, you weren’t home. I talked to Luke. He said you were doing well, but you missed us. We missed you, too. We wanted to be with you for a happier Christmas this year.”

“Family’s important,” Luke said. 

Allie smiled at him. “But not everyone believes that or supports a person no matter what.”

Her mother grinned. “I couldn’t believe this man. We’d never met. That was the first time I’d talked to him, and he went ahead and arranged everything. He even picked us up in Bozeman.”

“It wasn’t a big deal.” Luke shrugged.

“Yes, it was, and it’s the best gift you could have given me.” Allie smiled up at Luke, her eyes glistened, holding back tears. “And Luke was right. I am doing great, and they say I’m clear of cancer.”

“That’s wonderful, dear. You look glowing. Is it the weather or the man?”

Allie felt the heat race to her cheeks. She glanced over their shoulders at the man she’d fallen in love with, a man who didn’t panic when the word cancer was mentioned, and a man who brought her parents for a visit.

“Well… Luke was right. To make this Christmas perfect, I needed my parents here, plus the man I love. When I was out in this storm, I realized that some risks in life aren’t worth taking, like a Montana snowstorm. Other risks, like love, are worth it.”

“Really?” Luke had a huge smile on his face. “Since you seem to be receptive to taking a risk, this might be my chance. Alexandra Parsons, will you take a risk and marry me?”

He pulled a ring box from a pocket and opened it. “I can go down one knee if it would help?”

Her parents stepped back, grinning from ear to ear.

“You kept the ring in your pocket?”

“Darling, I wasn’t taking any chances. If you ever said yes, I wanted to be able to put the ring on your finger right away.”

Allie laughed. “Then, yes.”

“Yes?”  He grabbed a hand and slid the ring on her finger. “I love you so much, and we can get married right away, while your parents are here.”

“Yes, Luke Hawkins, I will marry you, whenever you want.” She threw herself back into his arms, then pulled his head down and kissed him, checking the ring on her finger over his shoulder. She would be Mrs. Luke Hawkins soon. It felt so right.

Her parents laughed and hugged each other.

Allie had never been happier. She glanced out the window. The snow had stopped. A glistening white blanket covered the yard, shining like diamonds. In the big sky, stars added a magical glow.

With a loving family and a man who loved her, there was no risk. This was best Christmas ever.

You can follow me and check out where I’ll be this month with Death Southern Style – and be eligible for gift certificates at these sites. 

 

https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/amazon-holiday-2020

https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/bookbub-holiday-2020 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors.  

Homemade Eggnog (8-10 Servings)

4 tbsps (60 ml) + 2 (30 ml)tbsps sugar   2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream

6 eggs separated                                   6 cups (1500 ml) milk

½ cup (125 ml) brandy or rum                Fresh grated nutmeg

 

Put 4 tbsps (60 ml) of sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until mixture is thick and lemon colored. Beat in brandy.

Gradually beat whipping cream into egg yolk mixture. Then gradually beat in milk.

Put egg whites in a second bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually beat in the remaining two tbsps (30) ml sugar until stiff. Fold into milk mixture. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg.