I'm glad you're here and hope you take a moment to look around. Decadent Publishing's Give a Reader a Reader is a special kind of giveaway - a present with a bonus. I love it when there is something a little extra and in this case is it is far from little. When a bonus pops up within my writing that is a special treat as well.
A Story Within a Story
As the holidays approach and the world gets a little crazy, I am thinking about all the things that make me smile. Mostly family comes to mind, the fun, the annoying, and even the slightly off kilter relatives that always seem to pop out of the woodwork for the big holidays. I’ll always remember the first time my quiet and conservative husband met my family. All he could say was, “They’re so loud.”
What else should I have expected from a man whose relatives speak to the person directly across the table or on either side. No shouting across the room. No spontaneous games of pillow football. And heaven forbid, no unplanned wrestling matches. The unexpected that pops up whenever my relatives gather always seemed like a bonus to me. With the hub’s family, we know what to expect: quiet chatter, good food, a gentle catching up—which is nice, don’t get me wrong. But with mine, a feeling of expectation hovers, that Christmas morning edge no matter the time of year. Will Cousin Kelli finally bring a guy younger than her father to the party? Will Uncle Blake and Uncle Cain slip a bit too much brandy in the eggnog and get Grandma tipsy? Such gatherings are never dull. We have much the same things as at my husband’s gatherings, tons of good food, laughter, a time to catch up, but the sense of what will happen next can’t be ignored. And that is a special thing to me. After more than a quarter century of married life, my quiet, gentle man is now usually smack dab in the middle of whatever chaos occurs, a giant grin on his sexy face as he shouts across the room and encourages complete abandon and unmitigated joy. Have to a man who can be the well-mannered engineer in one setting and the favorite crazy uncle in the next. Who could ask for a better bonus than that?
Perhaps that is part of the reason I adore a bonus. It’s like opening a gift and finding not only what you had hoped for but a little something unexpected and sweet that the giver has slipped in just because he knows you’ll love it. That’s the way I feel when a story emerges within a story. The Millionaire and the Girl Next Door demanded that the hero solve an old mystery surrounding his new home. The locals all claim that an axe-wielding ghost haunts his property, but he doesn’t believe until she comes to him in his dreams. Jake struggles to find a way to help her find peace without losing himself to her pain.
The Millionaire and the Girl Next Door Blurb
Tired of chasing his family’s need for money and power, millionaire Jake Wescott heads to Freewill, Wyoming and the beautiful piece of heaven that calls to him.
The girl next door, Christa Dunham puts family first, and she’s determined to protect them from the city boy before he ruins their hunting grounds or steals her heart and then walks away when the lonely nights get too long.
Neither of them expects the attraction that pulls them together nor the lost spirit who wants to drive them apart. Confronting the past leaves them both anxious to find a love beyond a lifetime.
“Forget it, Wescott. It was a dream.” He spoke aloud, hoping he would believe it, but when sleep returned, so did the nightmare.
He stood in the corner of a small, dimly lit cellar. The rock walls crumbled in places, and the air felt damp. He shivered when a rat scurried past. The door opened, and a dark haired man entered dressed in Puritan clothing. The stranger carried an old-fashioned lantern in his hand. The additional light revealed a fragile looking woman huddled on a thin pallet against the opposite wall. Her clothes bore the signs of repeated struggles, and bruises marred her fair skin and emphasized her large gray eyes. Jake could not understand the man’s mumbled words, but he could clearly hear the girl and feel her stress as if it were his own.
“Please, let me go. I promise no one will ever know. Please!”
Her words became sobs, her body a trembling mass. He wanted to comfort her, to protect her, but he could not move, his boots frozen in place. When the other man crossed the room and jerked the woman to her feet, fear escalated to hysteria. She fought hard, screaming and clawing at her attacker until he slapped her. The blow slammed the girl’s head into the stone wall.
Appalled, Jake could only stare helplessly. The beating continued until the assailant shoved the woman on the pallet and fell over her, struggling to hold her down while he fumbled with his trousers. Sickened, Jake forced the dream away, unwilling to witness what came next.
He awoke calling the woman’s name, but when he tried to repeat it, it hovered unclear on the edge of his mind. Adrenaline filled his system, making his hand tremble. He drove his fingers through his still damp hair, seeking to calm the anger and frustration circling in his head and gut. Although the clock said it was barely dawn, a faint light filtered through the windows. There was no chance in hell he could go back to sleep. Jerking on a pair of running shorts and a clean T-shirt, he woke Bud and headed out the door. With luck, a run would blow away the feeling of disgust the dream had left behind.
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