Well, this has been lots of fun and I wish I could keep it going but unfortunately-or not-this is the final day. So, here we go with the rules and such:

Remember, the rules are really easy: Read the excerpt below and answer the question posted after it. See, that’s as easy as it can be. Send the answers to my email cerihebert@comcast.net and all correct answers will be put into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Finally Home. I’ll be posting an excerpt a day until Friday and the drawing will be on Saturday morning.

I mistakenly said that the final excerpt would be from Sweet Forever, but I had that wrong. I meant to say it’ll be from Where One Road Leads, now available in ebook at Samhain Publishing.

Good luck!


Krista watched as Matt tried to approach once more. She was amused to see him waylaid nearly every few feet. Of course she could’ve made it easy and gone to him, but she was really enjoying this and appreciated his efforts. Every time he caught her eye, he’d give her an exasperated grin. She’d shake her head and return the smile. His approach gave her such a warm, giddy feeling inside. She was more than a little nervous, thinking about the kiss they’d shared. Heat crept into her cheeks and she hoped he wouldn’t see her blush.

“Wow,” was all he said when he reached her. He took her hands and pulled her close and kissed her gently on the cheek.

“Yeah, who would’ve thought there was a girl hiding under those jeans and baseball shirts all those years,” she joked lightly and squeezed his hands.

Matt smiled. “I always knew,” he said softly. “Despite everything else.”

His words sent her heart scrambling for solid ground. Instead it felt like it was in an exciting freefall. She mustered up the ability to keep it to herself though. “And may I return the ‘wow’. You look very sharp in that tux.”

“A little overdressed, but how many chances would I get to dress up in this penguin suit. This is for a good cause.” His gaze swept around the room before returning to her. “Looks like a great success.”

“I’m happy. Lots of faces I haven’t seen for ages. Lots of unfamiliar faces too. I’m still trying to sort them out. We’ve had a lot of people asking for applications for various classes. I can’t wait for tomorrow when the real fun begins.”

Tomorrow would be one big open house for everyone. It would prove to be more important to the future of the center than this night. Tomorrow would be for the kids, an open house for everyone in Quail Ridge and the surrounding towns to see what they had to offer.

“Well, that’s more my speed anyway,” Matt admitted and pulled at his collar.

Krista laughed. He acted all uncomfortable in the tux but he looked incredible. She had to check her emotions.

“So, we have plenty of munchies at the buffet tables. Open bar, if you’re interested.”

“I’m more interested in dancing,” Matt said. “If you’d do me the honor.”

Of course the band was playing something slow and romantic. She couldn’t say no, she didn’t want to say no. So she nodded and let him take her into his arms. It brought back the kiss all over again, just feeling his hand at her waist, his other holding her hand tight. There was only a hair’s breadth between their bodies and the heat grew quickly. She couldn’t speak, but took a deep intake of breath. He smelled so good. She couldn’t identify the musky, subtle cologne but was drawn to it and moved closer to it a fraction, hoping he wouldn’t notice. By the way he increased the pressure of his hold she knew that he did, could probably feel her heart beat crazily against him.

She wanted to make witty conversation with him but found she couldn’t think of anything to say through the battle of nerves with good sense. Nerves were winning out.

“You did a wonderful job here tonight, Krista,” Matt said, his mouth so close to her ear. She liked the way his breath tickled against her face. It had been much too long.

“I had a lot of help,” she admitted. “I was never much good at planning parties. My idea of a gathering was a few friends over for pizza.”

“Then you’ve fooled me. This old mill never looked so good.”

“Please, may I cut in?”

The sound of Ricky’s voice was like a whip crack in the tranquil silence that had come between Krista and Matt. She tore her gaze away from its examination of Matt’s face at the sound of Ricky’s voice. She tightened her grasp on Matt.

“No, thank you,” she replied coldly, her voice low. She didn’t want any commotion this night. “Ricky, this isn’t the time.”

Ricky laughed and crossed his arms over his well-dressed chest. He looked better in a tux, more at home, than he ever did in jeans. Yes, he certainly had found his place in the world. It surprised her that he’d remained in Quail Ridge.

“Do you think I’m here to make trouble? Krista, come on, I have better manners than that.”

She doubted it. He looked like he’d already had a couple drinks in him. If he was so bold sober, then what would he be like drunk? No, she remembered what he’d been like drunk. She wore the reminders. Every day without her best friend was a reminder and not in the least, being robbed of her first child.

“You’re welcome to be here, Ricky, but please find someone else to entertain yourself with,” she said wearily.

Ricky chuckled. “You’re just so much more fun,” he replied.

Matt moved himself between Krista and Ricky.

“You need to leave now,” Matt said quietly.

Krista was grateful. She didn’t want to attract any attention. She glanced around the room. So far no one was looking their way, but Ricky’s voice had an edge to it and she was afraid that he would have no problem drawing attention. In fact that’s probably exactly what he wanted.

“Didn’t you hear her, Matt? She said I was welcome to stay. As long as I’m a good boy. But according to our dear Krista, I’m not capable of being good. And apparently you’re backing her up. What’s with you, bro? She killed your brother as surely as she killed Liz. That okay with you now? Because I’m sure as hell not okay with it.”


TRIVIA QUESTION: What’s Krista’s idea of a gathering?

Oh, what the heck, I’m going to give everyone another shot at the prize and throw in another short mini-excerpt, this time from Finally Home available from Whiskey Creek Press.


Torie let the words spill out. Alex remained silent as she told him of the childhood that, from the outside, had seemed so picture perfect. But really she was a little rich girl, who so many envied, without knowing the loneliness in her heart.

When the words stopped, Alex put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, his lips against her temple. She wished they could just stay put on the boulder, staring out at the wild beauty of the pond forever. But the hard, uneven surface made her rear sore, and she heard Mist stomping her hooves in the background.

She pulled away from Alex’s warmth.

“I need to go.” She sighed.

Alex nodded, his face full of concern. “You want me to walk you home?”

Torie looked at the golden sun, sinking nearer to the tops of the trees. With luck she’d make it home just in time for dusk to take over.

“No, thank you. You’d be walking in the dark if you did.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Alex replied with a smile, a smile Torie felt herself drowning in. He didn’t push the offer any further, though.

“Thank you again. Looks like I owe you another dinner.”

His smile grew wider. “Well, I’m glad we’re on good terms again.”

“You probably think I’m a basket case,” she said with a crooked grin.

“No, Torie, I don’t think that at all.” His voice was just a whisper as he leaned in closer to her.

Torie’s heartbeat pounded harder and louder when Alex touched his lips to hers, as gentle as the brush of a feather. The pressure grew, and his arms went around her as she pressed herself as close to his body as she could get. His mouth moved on hers, sensually touching the tip of his tongue to her full lips, until she responded with her own.

In his arms, she felt safe and wanted, accepted, for once, for who she was. He made her forget, at least for a moment, what faced her at home and what the future held for her now.

Reluctantly, she pulled back. Alex stood and held his hand out to her to help her up. She had a precarious balance up on the rock, leaning against his chest.

He backed up, stepping down the side of the rock with care, his hand tight on hers as she followed him. As soon as his feet hit the ground, Torie caught her toe on a crack in the rock.
For the third time in as many days, Torie found herself falling, and for the second time, Alex was there to catch her.


TRIVIA QUESTION: Where were Torie and Alex sitting?

Good luck to everyone and please come back tomorrow to find out who the winner is. And please remember to email you’re answers to cerihebert@comcast.net. Don’t put them in the comment section. Feel free to comment about other things however.



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