Journal Jots – Blog

Welcome to my Journal Jots blog! This is a broad mix of what’s on my mind, allowing me to feel a little bit closer to some of the most important people in my life—YOU! From news on sales, freebies, giveaways, new releases, and excerpts from works in progress … to my thoughts on my walk with God, daily devotionals, or photos of my family, this is where you’ll find the most current glimpse into my books and my life. I invite you to subscribe in the “subscribe” box on the right side of this page to automatically receive an email whenever I post a blog. Till then, God bless and HAPPY READING!

Friday, July 28, 2023

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


Heeeere’s Henry…
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
My Novels!

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:

LiteraryScape Inspirational Moment
from A Light in the Window

(Monday, July 24)



Free Book Discussions on Daughters of Boston Series & Contest Interview!

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.


July 28thA Light in the Window
August 4thA Passion Most Pure
August 11thA Passion Redeemed
August 18thA Passion Denied
August 25th –  Interview WITH CONTEST (Details to come)


Anyone can listen to the podcasts on the LiteraryScape Book Club, either on their favorite podcast platform or on the LiteraryScape website. Plus, you can also view the videos on Rumble.



The FREE Writing Romance Mastery Summit is Coming Aug. 21-25!


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?


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.”


Chapter Twenty-Five

“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.

It didn’t.

“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.”

Tuesday, June 13, 2023


Happy Summer to You & Yours

What I’ve Been Up To …

Historical Christian Romance Webinar, Win Free Edit or Character Named in Henry’s Story & Signed Paperback Copy

Coming this August … The Romance Writer’s Super Stack w/ 3-Chapter Edit

2nd Excerpt from A Dare and a Prayer


Happy Summer to You & Yours!

Can you believe summer is only days away?? But I’ll tell you what, in Lake of the Ozarks, it is full-blown, so thank you, Jesus! Eighty-degree temps and lots of sun, so the Lessmans are kicking off the season with a bang, and here’s just a quick glimpse:


What I’ve Been Up To …

As you all know, I spent January through March with my family in warmer climes, so I didn’t get much writing done, but it was soooo worth it!

Once I returned home to Lake of the Ozarks in April, I promise you I hit the ground running on Henry’s story, and let me just say that I haven’t had this much fun since writing Charity’s story, A Passion Redeemed. Maybe that’s because I see Henry as the male component of Charity, and y’all know just how much I LOVE writing about that girl! 😉

In addition to that, y’all also know how much I LOVE writing a bad-boy hero, and sweet mother of Job, that is Henry to a T (for “Trouble”)! And because he is a bad boy, I’ve had a few more opportunities to write kissing scenes, and I sure don’t have to tell you how much I LOVE to write those. That said, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at a kissing scene in an excerpt at the end of this blog, so I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! 😉

I’ve also had ample opportunity to get back to nature with wonderful things like walks in the woods with my grands or even piddling with my own gardens, small though they be. The first one is my main rock garden, which has a chipmunk family living in it, and the second pic is my kitchen garden, which is right out my kitchen window and a heck of a lot better than staring at a wall! And HALLELUJAH … this is the first year I’ve been able to keep the deer from chomping my hostas by stapling almost invisible garden netting to our wooden walkways, so thank you, Jesus!!



Historical Christian Romance Free Live Webinar, Win Edit or Character Named for You in Henry’s Story & Signed Copy

Cover Photo


Hey, READERS … do you just want to join in on a Q & A with me and other authors to win a character named after you in Henry’s story and a signed paperback? Simply contact me via the CONTACT tab of my website to let me know you signed up for the free live webinar as a “Reader” and will attend, and you’ll be entered in the draw.

Hey, ASPIRING AUTHORS … do you dream of becoming a historical Christian romance author? Do you want to learn from award-winning authors of historical Christian romance? Then join me and other authors for a free live webinar that will fill you in on all the details for the upcoming Historical Christian Romance Writers Summit.

NOTE: Journal Jot subscribers who sign up for and attend the free webinar are eligible to win a 1-chapter edit from yours truly. Simply contact me via the CONTACT tab of my website to let me know.

Either way, join me for a FREE LIVE WEBINAR & Q&A on JUNE 19 AT 4 PM EST with:

  • Julie Lessman – Romance-ology 101
  • Crystal Caudill – Picking the Write Fight
  • Misty M. Beller – Finding Your Target Reader
  • Mara Eller – Take Your Romance Novel Beyond the Formula
  • Thomas Umstattd Jr. – 7 Secrets to Amazing Author Websites
  • Melissa LaShure – Host and Creator of HCRW

NOTE: Registration for the Historical Christian Romance Writers Virtual Summit opens on June 19th following the live webinar.

Plus, webinar attendees will be invited to a free critique session with an award-winning author in the historical Christian romance genre (guess who!).

Attendees will also be among the first to purchase Sara R. Turnquist’s plotting notebook. This is an incredible writing tool, sold for the first time during the HCRW webinar and summit!



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.


Sneak-Peek Excerpt from

A Dare and a Prayer

SETUP: Henry and his pilot friend Lieutenant Shane (Preacher) Kelly take the heroine, Lieutenant Amy Leigh MacArthur and her nurse friend, Lieutenant Lilly Wong, on a surprise picnic after their volunteer work at Camp Susupe. But when Preacher and Lilly decide to take a walk to pick flowers, leaving Amy alone with Henry, she’s more than a little nervous over being alone with the man she’s not only regrettably attracted to, but swore to avoid at all costs.



Amy gulped, throat convulsing as she peeked over at Henry, who was watching her with a patient smile while pouring himself more wine. “They’ll be fine, Amy,” he said softly, his rare usage of her name giving her shivers that flashed first warm and then cold.

She swallowed hard. Yes, but will I be … ?

He held the bottle out. “Need a refill?”

She shook her head so vehemently that he laughed, the sound booming through the forest.  Not much of a drinker, huh?”

“No”—her chin nudged up—“Are you?”

He studied her with a quizzical look, as if gauging his response. “Not really. Can’t drink before a mission, you know, which is most of the time; only on the rare nights we’re off, like tonight.” Ramming the cork into the bottle, he stored it back in the knapsack, then held the cup in a teasing toast. “But did more than my fair share in college, I’m afraid, which drove my parents up the wall.” He wrinkled his nose as he stared into his cup. “No question about it—I was a wild one back then.”

“But not now?”

He took a long, slow drink of his wine, watching her over the rim of his cup before setting it aside. “I can be, I guess.” Positioning the knapsack behind his head, he laid back, long legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles. “At times. But the military has a way of quashing that, you know.”

Oh, and thank God! Her fingers shook as she put her cup down, aware that being alone with Henry Dennehy while drinking alcohol on a blanket wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done. She buffed her arms as if she were cold despite the fact that the temperature was still hot, but then Henry Dennehy had that effect on her, she supposed. Cold chills that flashed into warm ones way too easily.

Striving for the same nonchalance that he seemed to own, she leaned back on her hands to take in the sunset, which had deepened to shades of fuchsia and violet. “This really was a wonderful idea,” she lied, foot twitching as she sat with legs extended and crossed at the ankle just like him.

“Was it?”

“Sure,” she said, avoiding his gaze, wishing more than anything that Preacher and Lilly would suddenly appear. She glanced at her watch.

“Then why do you seem so nervous?” His voice was soft and low, completely void of his usual tease.

“I’m not ner—OH!” With a loud squeal, she all but catapulted over to Henry, clutching to his side as she stared in horror at a tiny emerald-green frog with a bubble-like bulge on his throat, right where her hand had been. She shivered as she quickly wiped her hands on her khaki slacks. “Oh, I can’t stand to be around slimy things!”

A husky chuckle rumbled near her ear. “Well, I’ll take that as a compliment, then, Princess, since you’re practically sitting in my lap.”

Heat gorged her face when she realized she was butted up right next to him, thigh to thigh. With another tiny squeak, she tried to lunge away, only to have Henry halt her with a firm hand to her arm. “It’s okay, Amy, I’m not going to bite.” His gaze dropped to her lips and back, the twinkle in his eyes practically blinding her. “Unless, of course, you want me to …”

Shooting straight up like a German buzz bomb, Amy leapt off the blanket, causing the little frog to bolt back into the woods, much to her relief. She put a shaky palm to her chest, nearly hyperventilating.

Henry’s laughter only broiled her cheeks all the more as he slowly rose to his feet. “How ‘bout I make a deal with you, Princess. You sit in my spot, and I’ll sit over there,” he said, nodding toward a boulder about twenty feet away.” Sauntering over to the rock, he sat down and hoisted his tin cup in the air with a grin. “But I gotta tell you one thing for dead sure, Amy Leigh MacArthur. I do believe I love teasing you more than just about anything.” Eyes dancing, his gaze flicked to her lips and back with a crooked smile. “Well, almost anything …”

Ignoring his last statement, Amy buffed her arms again, glancing at the spot where Preacher and Lilly had disappeared. “They should be back by now, shouldn’t they?”

“Nope.” Henry checked his watch as he took a swig of his wine. “They’ve been gone all of ten minutes, Lieutenant, so I suggest you sit back down and finish your wine”—he scrunched his nose in tease—“might take the edge off, you know?”

Yeah, she knew. Heart racing, she sat next to the knapsack where Henry had been, as far away from the frog as she could possibly get. After all, with the frog long gone and Henry on a boulder twenty feet away, she was relatively safe, right? Expelling a wobbly breath, she reached for her cup and began to sip, a whole lot more relaxed than before. “So,” she said, finally enjoying the warmth of the wine now that both Henry and the frog were no longer a threat. “You said you drove your parents up the wall in college, and from the little I know about you, I’m guessing that included both grade school and high school as well?”

He grinned as he raised another toast with his cup. “Well, well, now, the lieutenant is finally feeling safe enough to toss a few grenades at the poor and vulnerable pilot.”

She giggled as she took another hefty swig of her wine. “‘You, Lieutenant Hotshot, are neither ‘poor’ nor ‘vulnerable’ from the tales I’ve heard. Rather, rumor is that’s a title reserved for the women you pursue.”

“Ouch.” Sucking air through a clenched smile, he scratched the front of his neck.

She laid back on the knapsack like he had, limbs finally limp without a twitch as she stretched out. “So, your parents—are you close to them?”

He stared out toward the sunset as if thinking about her question. “Yeah,” he said with a tight smile, “I am. But in different ways.”

She cocked her head, her curiosity aroused. “What do you mean?”

He laughed as he took another drink. “I mean I love them both very much, but I’m more comfortable with my dad than I am with my mother.”

She continued sipping, enjoying the warmth as it slid down her throat. “How so?”

“My dad is easy. No nonsense, no games. When he tells me to do something, I do it. Because I respect him.”

“And your mom?”

Chuckling, he shook his head. “She’s a piece of work.”

Her eyes went wide. “You don’t love her?”

He scowled. “Of course I love her—there’s nobody in the world like her.” He issued a grunt accompanied by a smile. “Thank God.”

“Then why thank God that she’s one of a kind?”

He appeared to think about the question for a few moments, eyes in a squint as he twirled the tin cup in his hands. “Because she’s got a mind like a steel trap and a bite just as bad. Which would be just fine and dandy if she let things alone, let a person live their own life.” He upended his cup, his voice veering toward sharp. “But she doesn’t.”

Amy tipped her cup straight up as well, surprised that it was all gone. “What do you mean?”

He pinned her with a pointed glare, his gaze suddenly sparked with an annoyance she hoped wasn’t directed at her. “She’s controlling. Oh, it’s all out of love, to be sure, but a man needs to find his own way, not be pushed by a woman.” He scowled. “Especially by a mother.”

She blinked several times, struggling to sit up. “But love is a powerful motivator, Henry. Can’t you overlook her pushiness to see how much she loves you?”

“No!” His vehement tone shocked her, stilled her as she stared, her pulse thudding hard.

“I am my own man, Amy,” he said, thumb bludgeoning his chest, “the only person who will decide what I do and when. Not my mother, not my father, not my sister and not my grandfather. Nobody.”

Her heart squeezed as her voice drifted out on a whisper. “Not even God?”

He observed her, his chest rising and falling with a weary sigh, as if he just realized how his answer might affect their relationship. And then, as if he’d decided, his jaw calcified. “Especially Him.”

She caught her breath, heart twisting as tears glazed her eyes. “Oh, Henry…”

He glanced at his watch. “They’ll be back soon. We better pack up.” Jumping up, he strode over to snatch up the knapsack, mouth compressed and body stiff.

Rising, she moved away, flustered that she’d obviously upset him, but even more so over his blatant anger towards God. Her heart broke all over again for this man she’d been so intent on avoiding, wishing there was some way she could help.

Tears pricking, she bent to pick up the open bag of Cheetos at the edge of the blanket …

And then … screamed like crazy! “Eeeeeeeek!!! Heart in her throat she bolted into Henry’s arms, shocking him as much at it shocked her. “An alligator!” she rasped, clinging to him with all of her might.

His arms swallowed her up, and she let him, fear disarming her as she peered over her shoulder at the animal who was easily four feet long, his snout buried deep in the Cheetos bag.

“Shhh, it’s not an alligator,” he whispered, easing her further away from the animal while his head tucked tightly against hers. “It’s a monitor lizard, Amy, and he won’t hurt you.” His low chuckle blew warm against her ear. “Although I can’t say the same for the Cheetos.”

For the first time, she didn’t laugh at his humor, too terrified to do anything but shake. “H-How d-do you know?”

“Because they’re native to the island and so friendly, some people keep them as pets.” He stroked her hair, and she closed her eyes, allowing him to cocoon her with his safety and warmth, a warmth that was suddenly in league with her own, whether from the wine, his touch, or both. She felt the callouses on his palms as his hands slipped to her neck, massaging until a fire lit within, pooling heat in her belly. His tone soothed and she pressed in, wondering why it suddenly didn’t matter that she was in Henry Dennehy’s arms. Her pulse skipped a beat when he kissed her hair—once, and then again—before those deadly fingers roamed to draw her closer.

 Her breathing grew shallow as his mouth ventured on, caressing her neck, her jaw, then luring a soft moan to her lips when he suckled the lobe of her ear. “Henry, no,” she said, her voice little more than hoarse consent when he cradled her head to nuzzle her brows, her eyes, the curve of her cheek, the shape of her jaw.

“Amy …” he whispered, fondling her lips with such tenderness, they parted in ready assent, his mouth mating with hers in gentle exploration that robbed her of any desire to say no. Pulse throbbing, she returned his kiss with such passion, his raspy groan tangled with her own, unleashing a firestorm of heat that sealed her surrender.

“Yoo-hoo, Mac—wait till you see the flowers we found,” Lilly called from somewhere in the woods, and Amy froze, her body paralyzed for one excruciating moment before she thrust Henry away. Body humming, she stumbled back, the air in her lungs so ragged, she could barely catch her breath as Lilly and Preacher emerged from the woods, mere shadows in the dusky light.

Spinning around, Amy emptied both tin cups and tossed them in the knapsack before snatching up the blanket with such speed, dust and dirt whirled in the air. She avoided Henry’s gaze as she frantically folded it, thoughts of the lizard long forgotten as the memory of Henry’s kiss obliterated all else from her mind.

“And the lettuce tree?” Lilly continued, close enough now that Amy could see the excitement on her face, “it tastes okay, I guess, but Shane found a breadfruit for me, so I brought half of it back for you. Because I swear, Mac, I bet you’ve never tasted anything so good in all your life.”

“Is that so?” A nervous giggle tripped from Amy’s lips as she all but pelted the folded blanket at Henry, ignoring the satisfied smile on his face. Against her will, her gaze snagged on the lips that had just devoured hers not mere minutes ago, and heat instantly scorched her from head to toe. Striving for composure, she faced Lilly with a weak smile and a quivering palm to her stomach.

Unfortunately, Lil, I bet I have …

Friday, April 7, 2023


Happy Easter to You and Yours

What I’ve Been Up To

3-Chapter Edit by Yours Truly for Aspiring Authors

The Romance Writer’s Super Stack

Excerpt from A Dare and a Prayer


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For Marcy, the blackest day of the year was always Good Friday.
More often than not, the weather was foul or overcast, and from childhood,
she’d always felt a sense of foreboding on that day, in particular.

She’d never forgotten the mournful look on her mother’s face
when she said Jesus had hung on the cross from noon until 3:00 p.m.
From that moment on, rain or shine, there were no more insidious hours in the year.
She never understood until she was older just why it was called “Good Friday,”
for the mood of the day was anything but good.

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman


Happy “Best” Friday!

You know, Marcy and I have a lot in common when it comes to Good Friday. Growing up, it always seemed to be a pretty dismal daydark and somber—and anything but “good,” given the fact that Jesus died on the cross.

But as I grew older, it wasn’t just “Good Friday” anymore—no, it became the BEST Friday of alla time of reflection and remembering exactly what God did for us in setting us free to be all He intended us to be.

A number of years ago, our pastor told a wonderful story, whichno surprisehad me sodden with tears. It seems there was this elderly couple celebrating their 65th anniversary, and so the family held a large party for them with lots of family, friends, food and presents. The old couple were ushered in, tottering ever so slowly to two chairs at the front of the auditorium. Holding hands, they sat and watched the celebration with tired but contented smiles, enjoying the music the family had selected from the couple’s era.

All at once, the couple’s song began to play, and the man wobbled to his feet, offering his sweetheart a gnarled hand. Frail fingers took his as she rose, legs unsteady but smile sure, the two shuffling in a circle at an unhurried pace. Their arthritic bodies were jerky, slow and stiff … until the man leaned close to his wife’s ear and whispered something that brought a shy smile to her lips.

Their laughter was soft and low and so intimate, those watching felt almost an intrusion. All at once the man dipped his wife back with shaky motion and then again with a grace that seemed impossibly smooth. Before everyone’s eyes, their dance seemed to whirl into the past where he was tall and handsome and she, small and shy, the beauty who’d first caught his eye at summer ice cream social.

Time fell away, taking with it the aches and agony of age while they moved as one, fluid and fearless like the young lovers they used to be. Remembering a past that had brought them so much joy.

Remembering. That’s what it’s all about for me at Easter. Rememberingreally remembering—how Jesus took me from the darkness into His glorious light. Remembering that without Him, I would be lost. But on Easter—oh, precious Easter—I am miraculously found!!!

May each and every one of us take the time to remember this Easter and be found anew, resting in the arms of a gracious Savior and a truly glorious God.


What I’ve Been Up To!

Every January through March, Keith and I head south to spend time with family and friends in Florida, where to be honest, I don’t get a lot of writing done. Almost none, actually, but I DO get to spend a lot of time with God, family, and friends and just recharge for the rest of the year.

Somehow I did, however, manage to write three chapters in Henry’s story, A Dare and a Prayer, so I’ll include the VERY rough draft for that at the end of this blog to give you a little sneak peek as to where I am heading. I’m shooting for release in October, so prayers for supernatural productivity, creativity, and anointing MUCH appreciated so maybe I can get it out sooner! 🙏

But I DID get to do a ton of fun things with family and friends like hold a baby alligator on a Everglades Tour, go pirating on a pirate cruise, take a family photo, and spend LOTS of time with my grands, which is one of my favorite things to do! So here’s a tiny glimpse of what I’ve been up to:


3-Chapter Edit for Aspiring Authors!


Hey, would you be interested in having me edit any three chapters of your manuscript? Well, if so, you do NOT want to miss the sweet deal below for the ROMANCE WRITER’S SUPER STACK!

I’ve been blessed to be a part of a truly FABULOUS writer’s resource that includes my “how to” romance-novel workbook, ROMANCE-OLOGY 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets. This super-duper resource is called THE ROMANCE WRITER’S SUPER STACK.

You’ll learn all about it below, but what I want you to know up front is that if you opt for the ROMANCE WRITER’S SUPER STACK and you are subscribed to my newsletter, you automatically get a 3-chapter edit on your romance novel by yours truly. So check out the sweet deal below because it’s only good for THREE MORE DAYS since The Romance Writer’s Super Stack ends Tuesday, April 11 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

So, if you purchase the Super Stack, please CONTACT me through my website to let me know, and I’ll put you down for a 3-chapter edit whenever you’re ready for it, okay? Hope I get to read your novel!


The Romance Writer’s Super Stack

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 $49BUT … THE DEAL ENDS ON TUESDAY, APRIL 11 AT 11:59 PM EASTERN, SO DON’T MISS OUT!

Look, I’ll be the first to say that my road to publication was neither easy nor cheap. Factor in thousands of dollars for writers’ conferences year after year in order to attend writers’ workshops galore, fees for contests, big bucks for writers’ resources, paid critiques, and dues for various writers’ clubs and organizations, and we’re talking EXPENSIVE! And don’t even get me started on the wear and tear of rejection anxiety!
Which is only one of the many reasons why I jumped at the chance to be a part of the Infostack family, and I’m hoping you will too!

Honestly, where can you get all that is offered in the The Romance Writer’s Super Stack (a $1,525.89 value) PLUS have a published author edit the first three chapters of your romance novel, all for only $49??? My memory’s not real great, but I’m pretty sure I purchased an author paid critique at my first ACFW conference for way more than that. Not to mention the fact that editing/proofreading can (take my word for it — I’ve been there) run into thousands of dollars.
So … what are you waiting for? This is your career we’re talking about here, my friend, so why not jump-start it with one of the best writers’ resources on the planet?


Excerpt from A Dare and a Prayer

Chapter One

Saipan, Mariana Islands, east of the Phillipines, November, 1944, (Note: This novel begins months prior to the end of Book 2, A Hope and a Prayer)

“I swear it’s downright criminal. Nothing but sheer luck because you’re not that good-looking, Dennehy.” Lieutenant John “Jackpot” Duckworth shook his head as he handed over a twenty-dollar bill to his copilot Lieutenant Henry Dennehy in the mess hall of Kagman Field on the island of Saipan, obviously disgusted with losing another bet.

Henry laughed. “I may not be, Jackpot, but Private Tootsie certainly is.” Scrubbing the head of the scruffy Yorkshire Terrier who sat obediently at his feet, Henry slipped a piece of his biscuit to the little guy who ranked as the unofficial mascot of the 6th Night Fighter Squadron. Ever since the pup had pilfered some of Henry’s Tootsie Rolls from a care package his mother had sent, Tootsie had more than earned his name, getting so violently sick, Henry had rushed him to the hospital. The skin-and-bones little mutt had quickly won the hearts of everyone there, including Henry. But it was Henry who took care of him, and Henry whom he followed around like a shadow. Which suited Henry just fine because he was crazy about the little pooch.

Snatching the bill from Duck’s hand, Henry dove into his eggs with gusto. He was always ravenous after an all-night sortie over Saipan, the largest of the Mariana Islands, where his squadron worked nightly to provide fighter defense against Japanese night air attacks. He downed a hefty glug of lukewarm coffee before flashing a cheeky grin to Duck and the rest of the guys at their usual table by the door. “And it’s not sheer luck, Jackpot—it’s sheer skill, although Tootsie is a definite plus.” With a flick of his fingers, he folded the twenty and slipped it into the pocket of his olive drab shirt before chomping on a piece of shoe-leather sausage. “And for your information, I believe the ladies beg to differ.”

“Hate to say it, Duck, but he’s right.” Lieutenant Stuart Leroi elbowed Duckworth before upending the last of his orange juice. He swiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Both Tootsie and Hanky-Pank are better looking than you,” he said with a wink, utilizing the crew’s nickname for Henry because of his notoriety with women, “not to mention smarter since he’s got more of your money that you do.”

Lieutenant Louis Lizotte laughed as he popped the rest of his biscuit in his mouth, sympathy lacing his tone while he smiled at Duck. “Regrettably sad, but true, my friend.”

Laughter circled the table as Duckworth grimaced, their entire squadron well aware of Jackpot’s propensity to gamble, betting on anything from the mess menu that day to how many Bed-check Charlies they’d spot on missions at night.

Henry grinned. Or as in today’s loss—which nurse or USO hostess Henry could charm next.

“So, you engaged now or what?” Duck said with a scowl as he pushed his half-eaten tray away with a groan, his bet that Henry couldn’t turn the head of his favorite nurse leaving him as cold as his uneaten eggs.

“Naw.” Henry waggled his brows as he wolfed down a piece of biscuit. “But she did promise to name her firstborn after me.”

“Dollars to doggies she’d rather have her firstborn with ya,” Lieutenant Wade (Cowboy) Walker said with a wayward grin, his Texas drawl thick as he tossed a piece of honeyed biscuit into his mouth.” He winked at Henry. “Or me.”

Stu chuckled. “Now that’s a safe bet, Duck, if you’ve got any more money to spend.” Pushing his tray away, he lounged back in his chair with a fold of thick arms. “I swear Hank and Cowboy see more action on the ground than they do in the air.”

“Uh … speaking of action …” Duckworth’s voice trailed off as he sat up straight, gaze glued to the open-flap door of the mess tent where a group of nurses entered for breakfast. “Look who just walked in …” His voice took on a breathy quality that made Henry grin as he glanced up at the woman who had stolen Duck’s heart—and every other man’s on the airbase, apparently. “It’s her.”

Her. Amy Leigh MacArthur, the newest nurse at the hospital, and the one woman every man on base considered utterly untouchable. Pretty, brilliant, and fiercely devoted to her calling, Nurse MacArthur was a girl who emanated the aura of a saint. Henry squinted to assess her while all the other guys gawked outright, their table suddenly as still as if they were in a church.

Henry’s mouth compressed. Yeah, she was pretty in an unassuming way, he supposed, for a girl who didn’t wear a stitch of makeup. Deep auburn hair that seemed aflame and eyes as green as the limestone forests that capped the chain of volcanoes of the Mariana Islands. But not overly so, he decided, and certainly the least attractive of the five nurses now seated at that table.

He fought off a shiver. Definitely not his type. Too wholesome, too innocent, and deep down he sensed, too much trouble. And yet, he was reluctant to admit, she exuded a pull that could halt a soldier’s pulse. He expelled a slow, uneven breath. Maybe it was the fact she seemed to be a ray of hope in a totally bleak environment, a touch of purity in a violently evil situation. Whatever the draw, Amy Leigh MacArthur was a magnet in a glass case that no man dare approach.

Henry shoved his tray away and lounged back in his chair with arms braced to the back of his neck. “Oh, for crying out loud, Duck, why don’t you just ask the woman to dance at the next USO event?”

Duck’s jaw dropped as he stared at Henry outright. “Are you out of your pea-pickin’ mind?” He leaned in, fingers gripped to the table as he enunciated every word. “That’s-Amy-Leigh-MacArthur!”

Henry blasted out a sigh of frustration that a mere girl could hamstring so many men. “She’s a girl, Duck, just like any other.”

Cowboy blew out a long, slow whistle. “Sorry, old buddy, but this is where you and I part ways. I agree with Duck. Hear tell she plans to become a nun or a missionary or something like that after the war, which means that thar woman is as untouchable as Lady Liberty, and I’ve heard stories to prove it.”

Henry grunted. “And as stone cold, no doubt,” he said, annoyed that any woman—other than his sister Hope, who was in a class all her own—could ever be put on a pedestal like that. He wrinkled his nose as he stared at her. “Although even Lady Liberty has a torch aflame.” He winked. “For the right guy, that is.”

Duck gaped, mouth as wide as his eyes. “Oh, and I suppose you’re the right guy?”

Henry shrugged. “Could be, I guess—if I was interested, which I’m not.”

Jackpot leaned in with a gleam in his eyes. “Care to put your money where your mouth is, Hanky-Pank? Because I gotta feeling I can make my money back and then some.”

Henry blinked, caught off-guard by the sudden challenge in Jackpot’s eyes, as if he had a couple of aces up his sleeve. Shooting a glance at the table of nurses, Henry had a gut feeling he should just shut up and walk away, but then that was something he’d never been very good at. Not with his cousin Gabe, a pipsqueak of a girl who’d pushed him around when he was young, or with his mother—two women that had always tried to ride roughshod over him. He fought off another shiver. Dear Lord, that was the last thing he needed! “No thanks, Jackpot, she’s all yours.”

Duck laughed. “What, you afraid, Dennehy? Scared that a little woman will finally put you in your place?” He reached in his pocket and pulled out two more twenties, slapping them on the table. “Forty bucks says you’re chicken.”

Henry chuckled, the sound more grunt than humor. “No, Jackpot, I’m just not interested, so put your money away.”

Henry’s pulse stopped when Gator slapped two more twenty on top of Duck’s. “I think Duck may be right, Hank. My money says you can’t do it. How ‘bout you, Cowboy?”

Cowboy studied Hank with a half-lidded look while he rolled a toothpick in his mouth. “I’m inclined to agree with the boys. You’re good, Hank—but nobody’s that good.” He glanced over his shoulder, gaze darting to the table of nurses and back. “Here tell that filly’s shot down more flyboys than the Japs.” He tossed his own money on top of the others with a goading grin. “I dare you, Dennehy—prove us wrong.”

Challenge rose up in Henry’s chest as he observed the table of nurses, all of them glancing their way.

All except one.

“What are the terms?” Henry asked, determination steeling his jaw.

All three pilots glanced at each other before Duck finally spoke up, chin thrust high. “Get her to dance with you at the next USO event next week—”

And kiss her there,” Gator interrupted with a smirk—

“Without her slapping you silly,” Cowboy added with a sly grin.

“Do that, Hanky-Pank …” A slow grin slid across Duck’s face, his tone as smug as his look. “And get her to fall for you—confirmed by one of her friends, of course—and you can pocket $120 big ones … along with our unending admiration.”

Henry fought a gulp, gaze darting toward the nurse’s table and back. The edge of his lips curled in a grin that belied the queasy roll of his stomach. “Double it,  boys, and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

His friends traded smirks before Duck finally sealed the dare with a dip of his chin. “You’re on, buddy boy, and no chickening out for any reason, agreed? If you lose, Dennehy, you pay us $80 dollars each.”

“Agreed.” With an easy smile, Henry casually lifted Tootsie onto his lap as if his heart wasn’t thudding double time against his ribs. “After she eats and unloads her tray, I’ll show you boys how it’s done, all right?”

Jawing with the guys about the close call they’d had chasing a Japanese Irving fighter in and out of clouds, Henry bided his time lazing against the wall with one eye on Miss Amy Leigh MacArthur while he petted Tootsie to sleep in his lap. The thrill of his buddies’ dare surged through his veins like adrenaline, making him antsy to get started, but he sure didn’t have long to wait. The girl in question suddenly shot to her feet like a rocket, causing a commotion at her table before she bolted away with her tray.

“Well, boys, I believe I’m on.” Scooping Tootsie up, he handed him over to Cowboy before picking up his tray. “And to prove I can do it on my charm alone, I’m leaving the pup here.” Giving the terrier a quick rub, Henry zeroed in on the back of Nurse MacArthur’s head as she hurried to unload her tray at the dishwashing station. All at once, he imagined that thick victory roll unpinned and spilling russet curls over her shoulders. His heart stalled at the thought as he pushed in his chair a tad too quickly. “I don’t like taking advantage of you boys, because it’ll truly be painful to do—like taking candy from a baby.” He gave a quick salute before turning to follow her, grinning as he shot a cocky wink over his shoulder. “Good thing I have an insatiable sweet tooth, eh?”

Tootsie in his lap, Cowboy plucked the toothpick from his mouth. “Oh, and Hank?” he called, “one more thing.”

Henry paused, hip cocked in a half turn. “Yeah, old buddy?”

Scratching the back of his neck, Cowboy offered a cocky grin. “Cain’t swear to it, of course, Hanky-Pank, but a buddy of mine worked with that filly in Hawaii afore she came here. Claims rumor has it her godfather is the Big Chief.”

Henry blinked, the blood slowly siphoning from his face. “The Big Chief?” he whispered, his voice little more than a squeak. Eyelids sinking closed, he dropped his head while the boys yucked it up but good.

The Big Chief.

Henry couldn’t hide the gulp this time.

Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific.

General Douglas MacArthur

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Okay, guys, start saying those prayers for supernatural speed, productivity, and anointing so I can get this puppy to you this summer rather than this fall! 😉

Hugs and Happy Easter!



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