Heeeere’s Henry … Cover Reveal for A Dare & a Prayer!
What I’ve Been Up To …
Free Book Discussions on Daughters of Boston Series & Contest Interview!
Inspirational Moments From My Novels!
The FREE Writing Romance Mastery Summit is Coming Aug. 21-25!
Coming this August … The Romance Writer’s Super Stack w/ 3-Chapter Edit
Excerpt from A Dare and a Prayer
Cover Reveal for A Dare & a Prayer!
I am soooo excited about Henry’s story, and after you see my cover model below AND read a new excerpt at the bottom of today’s blog, you will be too! I was hoping to have the final cover for you today, but there’s been a delay, so instead, I’ll have it for you in my next Journal Jot in approximately two weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that Journal Jot email! Till then, here’s the jacket blurb:
He’s a hotshot who takes up a dare.
She’s an aspiring missionary who wants to beware.
But will love become a gamble with a dare and a prayer?
Lieutenant Henry Dennehy is a cocky and carefree fighter pilot in the Pacific Theatre of WW2, known for scoring big, both in the sky and on land. But when his buddies offer a bet he can’t refuse to turn the head of the “untouchable” nurse at 369th Station Hospital—a woman who’s shot down more flyboys than the enemy—he’s bound and determined to win. Problem is, if he wins the dare, will he lose at love?
Lieutenant Amy Leigh MacArthur was on her way to the mission field when she detoured to fight for her country instead, an Army nurse whose interest lies only in healing the wounded and teaching orphans to read. Certainly not in men, and definitely not in Henry Dennehy, the boy who ridiculed her years ago as a shy and homely teen. But when Henry pursues her and won’t take no for an answer, Amy finds a way that gives him no choice. Until, that is, love does the same for them both.
Tentative Release date is Sept. 15th, but no later than Oct. 1st, and a pre-order discount will be available soon!
And HERE’S our cutie — Lieutenant Henry Patrick Dennehy!
What I’ve Been Up To …
In between cranking out Henry’s story, I’ve been having a blast with my family on the lake, so here’s a wee bit of what we’ve been up to:
Lots of boating with son, daughter-in-law and four grands!
A visit to the Dogpatch Arcade!
A sunset cruise with my daughter and son-in-law.
A tuckered out grandson after a busy day!
Inspirational Moments From
Want to read some realllly cool spiritual moments from A Light in the Window and The Daughters of Boston?
Well, now you can because LiteraryScape Book Club is featuring a different inspirational moment from each of the above books every Monday, the first of which you’ll find at the following link for A Light in the Window. It’s a pretty cool feature that I absolutely love, so I hope you will too. You can read the blog or listen to the audio at the following link:
I am excited to announce that LiteraryScape is featuring The Daughters of Boston Series and the prequel love story, A Light in the Window, for it’s book-club selection this month. It’s a fun way to reconnect with the O’Connors, so I invite you to check out the discussion at the link below on each of the following dates.
Boy, do I have great news for all you aspiring writers out there! The Writing Romance Mastery Summit will take place from August 21 through 25, 2023, and I can promise it’ll be a top-notch event. The Writing Romance Mastery Summit is bringing together the biggest names and most knowledgeable experts to share their best secrets. And the best part?
IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE!
YES, you heard me right — I have a free ticket waiting for you to attend (you’ll learn more about this in my next Journal Jot), and here’s just a small sample of what you’ll learn during the summit sessions August 21-25:
- Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets
- Structuring Your Scenes with a Dominant Emotion
- 7 Elements of Scene & Sequel
- How to Write to Market
- Query Letters
- How to Pitch Your Book to Agents
- How to Train the Amazon Dragon
- Plus, much, much more!
If you’re serious about writing, publishing, and marketing your romance novels, this is a must-attend event, so watch for all the details in my next Journal Jot!
2nd Chance Coming this August
for the Romance Writer’s Super Stack
w/ 3-Chapter Edit
Okay — it’s not often I get excited about writers’ resources, but this is one deal I wish I had had when I started out! Trust me when I say, Infostack’s ROMANCE WRITER SUPER STACK has what it takes to help you craft a page-turning romance, build heart-pounding tension, and create swoon-worthy characters.
And, to me, that shouts value. A total retail value of $1,525.89, to be exact … and all for only $49! AND … to sweeten the deal, I am once again offering a 3-chapter edit to anyone who buys the ROMANCE WRITER SUPER STACK, so keep your eyes peeled right here on Journal Jots for when the super stack goes on sale for the last time in August, so check for details in my next Journal Jot.
Sneak-Peek Excerpt from
A Dare and a Prayer
SETUP: Henry is walking Amy back to her quarters when they get into a fight over the kiss he gave her in the last excerpt I shared in the previous Journal Jots HERE. The following excerpt begins at the end of a chapter that is in Henry’s POV and continues with the beginning of the next chapter in Amy’s POV.
Blasting out a sigh of frustration, he gouged fingers through his hair, his anger tapering off when he realized they wouldn’t get anywhere with both of them shouting. “Look, Amy, I’m sorry if you’re upset,” he said quietly, “sorry if I read signals you didn’t intend to send, but the truth about that kiss is that you came on to me as much as I came on to you because whether you want to admit it or not, you liked it as much as I did, and I dare you to deny it.”
“Ohhhhhh!” Amy spun around and kicked at a rock, tears filling her eyes and dousing her temper because she knew he was right—she couldn’t deny it, but oh, how she wanted to! She clutched her arms to her waist, hating the fact that she’d gone and done exactly what she’d vowed she wouldn’t do—give Henry Dennehy an “in.” In one jagged beat of her heart, the memory of “the kiss” invaded her mind, and shame broiled her cheeks.
An “in” in more ways than one …
She bowed her head, hand to her eyes. Over the last week, she’d done everything in her power to purge him from her mind, but the memory of that kiss refused to comply, haunting her day and night until she wanted to scream. Months of spending time with him at Camp Susupe, on base, at mess and chapel, had softened her toward him, his easy nature, his ready humor, his dogged resistance. But it had been his love and compassion for Li, Koyu, Kei, and the children, and his sweet affection for Sister Genevieve and the sisters that had stolen her heart, along with the wild little boy she saw so often inside of the man.
Even so, she’d held her emotions at bay, unwilling to fall for a man with more faith in himself than in God, more interested in women than in just one. But then that kiss had sealed her doom, and now the very notion that she was falling under his spell completely overwhelmed her. Shoulders slumping in defeat, she had no power over the tears that slowly trickled her cheeks.
“Amy,” he whispered, his voice suddenly closer than before, “don’t shut me out, please. I care about you—more than I ever expected to, so I’m asking you to give me a chance.”
A chance. She slapped at the tears on her cheeks. Unwilling to turn around, she raised her head, as stiff as the fists clenched at her sides. “What? To break my heart like you do every other girl?”
She startled when he gently turned her around to face him. “No,” he said softly, stepping back to bury his hands in his pockets, looking more like an uncomfortable little boy than the confident Romeo who wreaked havoc on women. Those broad shoulders lifted in an awkward manner. “I mean, that’s not my intent,” he said, voice fading to low, “at least not anymore.”
She folded her arms to her waist, as tight as the clip of her voice. “Then, what exactly is your intent, Henry?”
Even in the moonlight, she could see a ruddy blush creep into his face as he gave another shrug. “I don’t know,” he said with a cuff of his neck, gaze pinned to his boots rather than her face. “I just know that I like you—a lot—and I enjoy your company.” He finally glanced up, his serious gaze locking onto hers. “I guess I just want to get to know you a whole lot better, that’s all.”
“You mean romantically.” Her tone was flat.
The edge of his mouth tipped up in a near-crooked grin. “Well, yeah—I mean after that thunderbolt of a kiss—come on. I’m pretty sure deep down, that’s what we both want, isn’t it?”
Her heart cramped. Oh, Henry—I do. But not ultimately with you …
He moved in once more to buff her arms with those magical hands, true to their skill when she felt the heat begin to build all over again. His voice was a mastery all its own as if massaging her like those practiced fingers. “I want more than kisses, Amy—I want you. Your laughter, your keen mind, your purity and your deep faith, your love of children and innate giving to others, and especially your heart for Li and her sisters.” As if feeling her weakness, he slowly pulled her in, his breath warm against her ear before he teased it with his tongue. Her eyelids weighted closed like lead as her breath grew as ragged as her resistance. “I want all of you, Amy Leigh,” he whispered, skimming her jaw with his lips before taking her mouth with his own.
She caught her breath as that same traitorous sensation of fire kindled deep in her belly to capture her all over again, rendering her too weak to fight the pull of his arms, the press of his body, the taste of his mouth mingling with hers.
They were both breathless when he finally pulled back to touch her forehead with his, her body thrumming while his hold remained as possessive as his kiss. “Please, Amy, give me a chance,” he whispered, leaning to nuzzle his way to the lobe of her ear, gently taking it in his mouth with a groan that matched hers to a rasp.
Nearly gasping for breath, she pushed him away, stunned at the control he seemed to have over her. This may be what her body wanted, but she knew to the depth of her soul it wasn’t what her heart wanted and more importantly, what God wanted either.
Resist the devil and he will flee.
Battling a hard shiver, she squeezed her eyes shut and prayed, arms shaking as she held him at bay. Lord, help me, please …
“Amy? What do you say?” He broke her hold when he slowly slid his arms to her waist to draw her in once again, his whisper warm against her skin. “Give me a chance, please?”
Her eyelids flew open and alarm curled in her stomach when his eyes sheathed closed, his body leaning in for another kiss.
“No!” she shouted, no longer concerned with who might hear or who might see. With a ferocity she hadn’t known she possessed, she slammed her palms to his chest so hard, he literally stumbled back, mouth hanging open in shock. Backing up considerably she bludgeoned a stiff finger in the air. “You’re a devil, Henry Dennehy, and if you ever touch me again, I will scream my fool head off, do you hear?”
His gaze quickly darted up and down the nearly dark road before facing her again, scratching the back of his neck with a hint of that crooked smile he wielded against her and every other woman. It shadowed his lips with tease despite a telltale groove between those golden-blond brows. “Uh, I think everybody heard, Princess,” he said with a touch of humor he apparently hoped would soften her stance.
“You can smirk all you want, Hotshot, but you and I?”—she waved a hand between the two of them—“we’re done.” She spun on her heel to walk away.
“Amy, wait,” he said in a near plea, his hand mere inches from grasping her arm before she jerked away and opened her mouth to scream.
“No, wait!” He distanced himself on the double, palms in the air. “See? I’m backing off, okay? So don’t scream, please?” Huffing out a blast of surrender, he raked a shaky hand through his hair. “Look, Amy, I won’t touch you again, I swear, but I have a duty to escort you to your quarters, so please, can’t we at least discuss this while I see you home?”
Arms barricaded to her chest, she assessed him through narrow eyes, wondering if she could ever trust a man like Henry Dennehy. A melancholy sigh slowly seeped through her lips when she suddenly realized she couldn’t even trust herself with a man like him. “Yes, we can discuss it, Lieutenant, as long as you stay six feet away.”
He blinked, that formidable jaw disengaging once more before it snapped shut in a tight compression that told her she’d effectively engaged his temper. He slammed his fists into his pockets and started walking, gaze straight ahead.
Good. Temper she could deal with. Passion, apparently not. She followed safely beside him.
Silence ensued for almost half a block before he finally spoke. “You know, Amy, there’s one thing I don’t understand. I like you—a lot—and you like me too—I can feel it. Plus we have this chemistry like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and I know you feel it too. So, enlighten me, please, as to why you won’t give me a chance?”
She peeked at him out of the corner of her eye, silently thanking God for giving her the strength to say no. “How many reasons do you want, Lieutenant?” she asked innocently, biting back a smile when his jaw steeled all the more.
He threw his hands up, his sarcasm as thick as the humidity fogging the air. “Oh, why spare me now, Princess? Just shoot me with everything you got, so you can watch me go down in flames.”
“Well, for one,” she said carefully, “I have no intention of falling in love anytime soon or even being in a romantic relationship with a man because I plan to be a missionary after the war. And secondly, even if I was interested in a romantic relationship—which I’m not,” she emphasized with a dip of her head—“it would be with a man who’s as committed to his faith as I am, and we both know that’s not you, Henry.”
“I have faith,” he said with a crimp of his brow, a definite pout in his tone.
She softened her voice with a smile. “In yourself, Henry, unfortunately, more than in God.”
He shook his head as he slashed his fingers through his already disrupted hair. “Sweet mother of Job—you sound just like my sister.”
“Thank you!” she said with a grin.
He seared her with a half-lidded look, enunciating each word with attitude. “It-wasn’t-a- compliment.”
Her shoulders lifted. “I guess not to you, but it is to me … and therein lies the problem, my friend.”
His brow jagged high in accusation while his tone taunted. “I thought we couldn’t be friends.”
“Whoops.” She nibbled on the edge of her smile. “My acquaintance, then.”
His eyes narrowed considerably as he shifted his weight to one leg, hands moored low on his hips. “I think you’re being awfully cavalier about this, Amy”—he jerked a thumb to his chest—“at my expense.”
Her smile died on her lips, allowing the affection she felt for him to bleed into a mournful look. “You’re right, Henry, I am being cavalier, but only because if I don’t make light of this, I’m going to break down and cry because I really do care about you.” She paused for a moment before continuing on, hoping to lift his ego, if not his spirits. “Because as much as I hate to admit it, you’re right about the chemistry between us—you make me feel things I never knew I could feel—utterly exhilarating, intoxicating, and euphoric things—”
He stopped dead in his tracks to stare at her like she’d gone as balmy as the weather. “Are you serious? Then why on earth—?”
“Because you’re a temptation I simply cannot afford, Lieutenant, so there’s no reason to continue our friendship because honestly?” She offered a tiny shrug, sympathy lacing her tone. “I can’t trust you to keep your hands to yourself, Henry. Nor can I trust myself when I’m with you, because yes, we do like each other—a lot—which makes even friendship at this point too dangerous to contemplate.”
“Wait.” He put a hand up, eyes gaping along with his mouth. “Are you saying we can’t even be friends?”
She bit her lip, realizing how extreme that sounded. But then the way he made her feel when she was in his arms was extreme too, so she couldn’t risk it. Head bowed, she peeked up beneath her lashes to soften the blow of her words. “We were never supposed to be more than acquaintances,” she said quietly, “remember? Our agreement?”
He gouged the road with a hard kick, sending dust flying into the air. “To the devil with our agreement, Amy—you’re being ridiculous!”
Her chin nudged up a fraction. “No, Lieutenant, I’m being safe.”
Looking away, he cursed under his breath. “For crying out loud, MacArthur, you’re acting like I’m trying to get you into bed.”
Her breath hitched in her lungs, the very thought sending both warm and cold chills on a collision course within. She swallowed hard, well aware of his reputation with women. “Well, aren’t you?” she asked quietly, praying that he wouldn’t lie.
Burying his hands in his pockets, he looked away, shoulders sagging enough for her to notice. His chest rose and fell in a weary sigh as he chafed the back of his neck. “Yeah, I guess so”—his voice trailed off—“at least eventually …”
She slowly expelled the breath she’d been holding, both shocked and relieved that he’d been so forthright, a true victory from what she knew of him. “Thank you for your honesty, Henry.”
He grunted. “Yeah, but it doesn’t get me very far, does it?”
“Farther than you think, Lieutenant.”
He glanced up, body stilled as if he dare not breathe. “What do you mean?”
Drawing in a deep breath, she released it with an affectionate smile. “It means, truth happens to be a weakness of mine.”
The edge of his lips tipped up as a twinkle lit in his eyes, revealing one of the things she loved best about him—his ready sense of humor. “You mean besides me?”
She rolled her eyes for effect, grateful when it earned her a husky chuckle.
Gaze down, he kicked at the dirt with his boot, no anger anywhere in sight. “So … where do we go from here, Amy?” he asked quietly, smile fading into a rare sobriety as he looked up with the barest hint of hope in his eyes.
Oh Lord, if only he lived for You …
Her sigh lingered in the thick night air. “We’ll remain acquaintances, like we did originally when I tried so hard”—a hint of tease lightened her tone—“unsuccessfully, I might add, to keep you from worming your way into my heart.”
His hand slid to massage his temple as he met her gaze head-on, that deadly trace of a smile flickering at the edge of those full lips that had lured her into caring way too much. “So, I actually made it in?”
Her smile was tinged with a trace of tears. “You did,” she whispered, “and onto my prayer list as well.”
He managed a half grin as he shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Oh, goodie.” His ribcage expanded as he inhaled a deep draw of air, releasing it again in apparent resignation. “So, Lieutenant, just so I don’t blow it again—what does ‘acquaintance’ entail this time?”
“Group functions only—not couple functions like before with Lilly and Preacher.”
Hands back in his pockets, he peered up with solemn eyes. “So, the different shifts continue, then, like this last week at Camp Susupe?”
She tugged at her lip with her teeth. “I think that’s best, because I just can’t afford to be alone with you, Henry.”
His gaze lowered as he nodded. “But we can talk, tease, kid around like before?”
She nodded. “Sure, in a group.”
He looked up. “What about our project for Li and her sisters?”
She hesitated, loathe to cause any more upset for either of them. “We can still do all that in occasional meetings with Sister Genevieve since I think she needs to be involved too, don’t you?”
“Yeah.” He huffed out a noisy sigh. “Well, now that you’ve effectively crushed all my hopes and dreams and set them ablaze—”
Her lips squirmed. “Better than setting our passions ablaze.”
He grunted. “Speak for yourself, Nurse MacPriss.”
She jutted her chin up with an impish smile. “I am.”
“Yeah, I know.” His smile was flat as he motioned his head toward the nurses’ quarters down the road. “Let’s get you back to your quarters so we can get you into bed.” Smile dry, he slid her a wayward look that tumbled her stomach. “Alone—unfortunately.”