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"Pyrotechnics" -- After Jaycee Stevens manages to escape her alcoholic father by getting a college scholarship, she’s determined to concentrate on becoming a journalist and forget about love, but she’s tripped up by a poor little rich boy named Bud Stanton. Bud hides in a bottle like Jaycee’s old man, he’s arrogant, selfish and everything she despises in a person, and she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anything. Can these two flip sides of the same damaged coin stop fighting long enough to find out if they have a future together?
"Safe Harbor" -- Cal Pardue and his grandfather have taken care of each other just fine without any women in their lives, until Hurricane Katrina destroys their house and forces them to live on their crab boat. When Amos has to go into a nursing home after a hip injury, Cal is suspicious of Jasmine Gregory, the beautiful but annoying social worker who takes a shine to his grandfather. When circumstances throw Cal and Jasmine together on the boat in the middle of a storm, they discover their animosity stems from a mutual attraction neither of them wants to admit.
Romance anthology published by L&L Dreamspell. I have two stories featured.
A variety of romantic tales by L&L Dreamspell authors. Available in trade paperback and Kindle.
From "Safe Harbor":
“You need to give the girl a chance, Cal.” Amos Pardue eyed his grandson from under bushy gray eyebrows. “I didn’t trust her at first either, but she kinda grows on you.”
“A fungus grows on you too, but that don’t make me want anything to do with it.” Cal leaned back in his chair beside Amos’s hospital bed, one heavily muscled arm behind his head and his customary scowl darkening his features.
“Why can’t that know-it-all mind her own business and leave us be?”
“She’s just trying to be helpful, boy,” Amos said. “And she does know a lot. They don’t give them college degrees to just anybody you know, and I hear tell she’s already got one and working on another.”
Cal rolled his blue eyes heavenward. “All that means is she’s good at taking tests. Don’t impress me none.”
“No surprise there. Not much does,” Amos muttered.
Cal got up to stare out the window that looked out on the courtyard in the center of the nursing home’s grounds, his scowl deepening at the sight of Jasmine Gregory, the cause of his foul mood. She was wheeling Mr. Sampson into a shady spot by the fountain, sucking up to him the same way she did to Amos. Laughing at everything they said, flashing her cover girl smile at them and tossing those long black curls every chance she got so they’d get a whiff of that damn vanilla scent that followed her everywhere.
“I’m telling you, Pops,” Cal said. “She thinks you got money or something you might leave her in your will. Why else would she be so nice to an old geezer like you?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, boy,” Amos said. “In the first place, she knows I ain’t got nothing to leave nobody ‘cept that boat of ours, plus I ain’t planning on kicking the bucket no time soon. And thanks a dadblasted bunch for that geezer remark!”
Cal turned from the window and walked back to the bed. “Sorry, but it’s the truth. The only reason a girl like her would be hanging around here all the time is because she thinks she’s gonna get something out of somebody.”
Amos looked at Cal and sighed. “You’re wrong, boy. She’s just a sweet girl who volunteers here because she likes talking to old folks. And she’s really been helping me with my therapy so I can get outta this place and get back to work.”
Cal’s stomach knotted the way it always did when Amos talked about leaving the nursing home and working again. With bad knees from years of hard work on a crab boat and now a broken hip to recover from, he’d be lucky if he was able to ever walk at all, let alone work on the boat again. That was one of the things about Jasmine that made Cal so mad. She kept giving Amos hope for things that weren’t possible.
“Pops, just promise me you won’t let her talk you into nothing without asking me about it first.”
Amos’s face wore a scowl that was identical to Cal’s. “I don’t need permission from you or nobody else for what I do, boy. I’m pretty sure seventy-five makes me of legal age.”
They glared at each other a few more seconds, then Cal shook his head and walked to the door. “I’m going to get some coffee. Try not to elope with her before I get back, okay?”
“No promises, boy,” Amos said with a chuckle.