Writing is a process. Some books seem to come easy and write themselves, while others take a bit of work—writing and re-writing. Sometimes I feel like dancing for joy when I do a readthrough, and other times I want to pull my hair out when it just doesn't seem to work, but regardless, I love what I do, and I love to give my readers a little something special. So this is the place to take a first look at my current works in progress.
Please note, any sneak peeks posted here will be a first draft, unedited look of what I'm working on. Some scenes might not make the final cut. The snippets might have errors. The final published work could be changed in full or in part.
Current Sneak Peak at, A Love Like This. Book 4 in my Cedar Point series
Kasey glanced around the ballroom of the glitzy Seattle country club as people mingled, thinking she should have stayed home. While she knew almost everyone in attendance, fancy parties with live music, flowing champagne towers, and servers in black tie just seemed, well… too much for her, she supposed. Still, Doctor Harrison was retiring, so being there was the proper thing to do since her parents were away on vacation, making her the sole Albright family representative.
Walking over to one of the elegantly adorned tables, she smiled at Karley Robinette. They’d never been school friends since Karley was older, but they were friendly acquaintances, and Kasey liked her. “Hi. Is it okay to sit here?”
“Sure is.” With a tap to the back of the empty chair next to her, she said, “Have a seat.”
“Thanks.” Feeling out of her element, Kasey gracefully sat. Or at least she hoped it was graceful. “How are things going at the Iron Rose?”
“I’m happy to report they are going great.”
“Yeah. When I decided to come back to Cedar Point, I wasn’t sure opening up a gym would go over well, but”—Karley grinned and gave a little lift of her shoulder—“it has.”
“I’m so glad.”
“Thank you.” Shimmering sky-blue eyes locked on her. “How about you? Are you happy at Mason’s shop?”
“I am.” Kasey smiled. “He has asked that I take over as manager.”
“Wow, that’s awesome. Are you going to do it?”
When she finally blew back into Cedar Point, she needed a job, so she took the first one she could find. Though the truth was, when Kasey was a kid and envisioned her future, it was under the bright lights, never, ever had she pictured herself as the manager of a chocolate shop, but things change, and she enjoyed working for Mason and adored Breck.
“I think so,” Kasey said before her gaze bounced over to Chief Harrison and Danica, who was leaning into his side as Felicia Sands sauntered up to the two of them.
Karley shook her head after she looked over to see what had garnered Kasey’s attention. “Is it me, or is that just too unbelievable.”
“No, I’m with you,” Kasey said, “the woman is something.”
“Something? You are too nice. Brazen hussy was what I was thinking.”
Kasey chuckled. She couldn’t help it.
“What?” Karley smiled as she glanced at her. “I could have said—”
“No, it’s okay.” Kasey held up her hand.
“Well, you know what they say. If it looks like a duck and all.” Karley returned her attention to a giggling Felisha, who had strategically placed a palm over the plump mounds of cleavage she had on display. “I wonder if that woman will ever get a clue? I mean, seriously, she has to know Gage and Danny are a thing.”
The police chief must have put an end to the scene since he maneuvered Danica through the crowd.
“I don’t think Felicia cares.”
Karley’s brows pulled down when the owner of Carter Construction walked in, and Felicia turned her sights on him. “One day, someone will smack the fire out of her for flirting with their man.”
“No doubt,” she agreed, wondering if Karley and the guy who happened to be a Chris Hemsworth lookalike had something going on.
He smiled, nodded, and then glanced around, not really paying Felicia any attention.
Kasey arched a brow. One thing was for sure; no one could deny the man cleaned up nice. Gone were the worn jeans and steel-toed boots, and in their place, Carter sported a flawless coal-black suit with polished loafers.
“Hey,” Breckin greeted, waddle/walking over in a long, sage-green dress, with fluttering sleeves, her very-there baby bump leading the way.
“Oh, hi!” Kasey jumped up and gave her a quick hug. “I wasn’t sure if you would make it.”
“I know, you and me both. Mason is worried about too many activities and wearing me out.”
“He’s just protective and wants to make sure you and the little one are okay.”
“I get all the concerns, trust me, but I can’t stay home with my feet up all the time either.”
“You want to sit with us?” Karley asked, turning in her seat.
“I’d love to, but we are with Gage and Danny.” Breckin pointed a few tables over, where Mason and Gage were now chatting, Danica smiling up at them as the man himself glanced back at his wife, then said something to Gage before he strode to their table.
“You doing okay, babe?” He placed his arm around Breckin.
“And the Jelly Bean?” His palm rested overtop her rounded belly. “She good in there?”
“She’s fine, Mase. Everything is fine.”
He brushed a kiss across Breck’s cheek then turned his attention to say hi to Karley then her, before looking back at his wife. “We better take our seats and get you off your feet. We don’t want your ankles to swell.”
“All right.” Breck grinned up at him, then said as she slipped her gaze to Karley and her, “I’ll speak with you guys later.”
Kasey finger waved, watching the two of them go, a sadness that always lurked around every corner, popping out to greet her. Her melancholy wasn’t because of Mason and Breckin, she was glad they were so happy, but seeing how in love they were seemed to stir up a tangle of things from the muck of her past she’d rather not bring to the surface.
“You okay?” Karley asked, pulling her attention back to her.
“Mm. Just tired, I guess.” And that wasn’t wholly a fib. She wanted to be curled up on the couch, watching Heart of Dixie on Netflix, not in a little black dress, hanging a fake smile on her face.
A formal seven-course dinner later, Doctor Harrison stood, tapped his fork against his crystal glass, and said, “If I could have everyone’s attention?”
The room quieted as they all adjusted to look at the distinguished man.
“I just wanted to say how honored I am you all came here tonight to celebrate another milestone with me. I’ve been so privileged to know all of you and to be able to do what I love for over thirty years. But, it’s time now to pass the baton to the younger generation. So, while you all know we are here for my retirement, we are also here to celebrate the changing of the guard, so to speak.”
The man glanced around, then said, “Starting next month, Doctor Caleb Novak, one of Cedar Point’s very own, will be taking over the practice at the medical clinic. Caleb, will you stand?”
Kasey gasped, then placed her hand over her mouth, frantically looking in the direction Sean Harrison had. Four tables away, Caleb stood, ran a palm down the front of his white dress shirt as if straightening out any wrinkles in the material, then smiled. “I’m honored as well, Doctor Harrison.”
“Let’s all show this young man our gratitude and appreciation, and when you see him around town, make him feel welcome,” Sean said with a lift of his glass.
Unable to stop herself, Kasey mumbled under her breath, “Excuse me,” got to her feet, being none too quiet about it either, and quickly made her way to the door, pushing it open.
Once in the hallway, she pulled off her heels and ran barefoot down the carpeted corridor. Sprinting, she hit the foyer, going out the front doors of the club, demanding the valet get her car, then began pacing the concrete sidewalk, her head spinning like a top.
Caleb’s the new doctor?
Placing a clammy palm on her forehead, Kasey gnawed on her bottom lip. Am I going to pass out? She bent over, grabbed onto the edge of a tall planter for support, and wished the kid who parked her car would hurry up.
Worried she would hyperventilate, she focused on taking a breath in. Then out. In. Then Out.
A few seconds ticked by, though it felt like a lifetime as she focused on each of her breaths.
When the world stopped whirling, Kasey opened her eyes. “Where did he park my car, in the north forty?”
Her grumblings came to a halt, and her lungs seized when a deep-rasped, “Kasey?” struck her back, making her straighten then slowly turn.
She was nineteen the last time he saw her, and he didn’t think he’d ever see her again, but there she was, in front of him. For a split second, Caleb was unsteady, as if he stood on the deck of a ship tossed about on rolling waves, but he somehow managed to pull that well-crafted façade of indifference around him like armor and shored himself up. But the armor quickly cracked. He wondered if she still smelled of warm honey and delicate flowers, fighting the urge to tug her into his arms, burrow his nose into her neck, and find out.
“Caleb,” she whispered as though it was hard to say his name.
Taking one step closer, wishing he could find the words, he failed as he just stood there, staring at her like a blind man who had miraculously gained his sight.
Kasey had always been beautiful, but now? Well, the woman before him was stunning with her single pop of fuchsia rebellion streaked in her dark-sable hair. And those burnt sienna eyes captivated him.
Greedy to soak the vision of her in, Caleb noticed that light smattering of freckles over the bridge of her cute nose, too, but the sparkle of the tiny diamond stud on the gentle curve of her nostril was new.
His gaze fell to her perfect bow-shaped lips, the feminine line of her jaw, and the creamy hollow of her throat…
He yanked himself out of the stupor. “What are you doing here?”
“I-I…” Kasey glanced down, making him bring his attention to bare feet and pretty toes, which she wiggled, the toe ring she wore shimmering in the waning light, then she lifted her right foot, leaned, and slipped her black high heel on before putting her left shoe on as well, but she never looked up at him. “I live in Cedar Point, and Doctor Harrison is my doctor, so…”
“You’ve been in Cedar Point?” The knowledge was like a sledgehammer to the gut—wham!
“I’ve been home for a bit now.”
Attempting to shake off the blow, he managed, “How long?”
“Two years, I guess.”
She gave one barely perceptible lift of her head.
Caleb choked out the reoccurring word zipping through his brain, “Why?”
She glanced at him then away, that mix of sorrow he’d witnessed years ago due to Jacob’s nightmare, which destroyed her was still present, and something else he couldn’t quite pinpoint. “Why did I come home?”
His ‘why’ had encompassed a hundred questions, but he nodded, though he realized she wouldn’t see it since she was flicking a leaf on one of the flowers in the planter, so he said, “Yes.”
He took a step closer as if approaching something in the wild. “Tell me.”
“Why are you back?” Incredulity dripped from the tone as her attention came to him and stayed.
“I—Something just—Doctor Harrison—” He sighed. Not only were his thoughts so numerous and rapid-fire fast he could scarcely make sense of them, but Caleb also seemed to be tongue-tied too. “I guess I—”
Kasey crossed her arms, fingers digging into her sides in an attempt to hold herself together. “It doesn’t really matter.”
Not only was she feeling lightheaded, but she had the bonus of trembling from a weird sort of adrenalin shot at the shock of seeing him, but she was caught—helpless to do anything. Without touching her, Caleb Novack had trapped her there, looking at her with those eyes.
“It does matter. We have so much to talk about.”
“I don’t think—” The breeze lashed strands of her long hair across her neck, which Caleb gently brushed away, his light touch sending a chill over her too warm skin.
“I need to go.” She hopped off the small ledge of the sidewalk, heading over to an old Ford Escort which had pulled up, the young valet clambering out from behind the wheel.
“Wait.” Chasing after her, Caleb wrapped his fingers around her elbow, stopping Kasey’s progress, pushing his panic back over the fact she was leaving. “Stay.”
When she tugged, he had no choice but to let loose. And hadn’t that been the story of his life when it came to her, forever letting go whether he wanted to or not?
“I can’t, Caleb.”
Brow furrowed, he watched her slip into the vehicle—the sound of her car door squeaking closed a finality he couldn’t overlook. She had been so close, yet so far away.
“Nine years,” he mumbled.
That’s how long it had been since he’d suffered the worst of it, and with her, he should be used to the pain, but yet an old ache cropped up, surprisingly sharp and harsh, making him drop his head and close his eyes. Kase.
“Why, why, why?” She pressed the gas pedal down, one hand wiping the tears away in stilted movements—her other white-knuckling the steering wheel. “You were doing okay until he showed up.”
The lie she told herself made her cry harder, so hard in fact, she had to flip the blinker on and pull over to the side of the road before she did something stupid, like rear-end the car in front of her.
Kasey bent forward and placed her forehead on the wheel—a torrent of tears dripping from her face. She’d trusted a total of three men in her life, and the only one who had yet to let her down was her father.
“So many thin-things went wr-wrong,” she managed past the sobs.
As she’d done more times than she could count, Kasey wondered if she wouldn’t have been better off, if all those years ago, she’d kept those blinders on, never seeing, never noticing…him.