…I’m writing again.
Hello! Is anyone still with me? I’ve been away much longer than I intended. Life changes have really thrown me for a loop in recent years and I’m trying, yes trying, to get back on a secure footing with my writing…beginning now.
Who remembers my first release? That’s right. Zakia and the Cowboy.
Zakia and the Cowboy is the book that started me on a course of manic writing that kept me busy for years. Friends called me a writing ninja, lol. Then disaster struck…and struck again, and again. I won’t bore you with all the sordid details, but most recently, I’ve had to learn to walk again as a septic infection in my hip almost killed me. Yes, I went into septic shock and almost died. Ended up in the hospital for ten weeks. But I didn’t die. So I am thankful. I don’t appreciate having to use a walker or wheelchair to get around, but I finally got my driver’s license back and with it a certain amount of independence.
And I can still write. To prove this, I am determined to release Abby’s story, The Seduction of Abby Kerrigan, and the final book in the series, A Thunder Creek Christmas, this year.
The Seduction of Abby Kerrigan is almost half written. I’m going to work on it more tonight. Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter, although the wording might change during the editing process. Heck, I may even decide to rewrite it before then. 🙂
Abby Kerrigan sat by the front window in her father’s house, her computer on her lap as she searched for jobs in the area. But her heart wasn’t in it. She shut it down and set it aside to stare out the window.
She loved it here on the Manning ranch in Alberta, Canada. Her father, Cameron Manning, had made sure their mother and all three girls learned how to ride and shoot. Abby could lasso a cow just as good as any of the wranglers, although hanging onto said cow and not falling off her horse was still a definite problem. She didn’t have the muscle the wranglers did, and didn’t want to be muscular. Although she sure loved looking at the way those cowboys filled out their jeans. Maybe even drooled over one a time or two.
The girls had also learned to enjoy the winter months, so different from their native Ireland. Skiing, snowmobiling, ice-skating, snowshoeing…it was all terrific fun. And everyone had made her feel so welcome, but it wasn’t home. It wasn’t Ireland. She missed her family and her friends there. And if she went back to Ireland, she’d surely miss her family here.
Lynne and Rena weren’t around much any more as they were married to handsome, hardworking men. On top of that, both sisters had babies on the way, which secured their spots in the family, to Abby’s way of thinking. Even her mother and Cam had married after all those years apart and were expecting, a boy this time, and only one. But Abby, the youngest of the Kerrigan triplets, felt at a loose end, as if life was fast slipping right by her.
She wanted to go back to Ireland and run the Bistro that Lacey, her mother, had started when she and her sisters were still little girls. She didn’t want to disappoint anybody by leaving the ranch, as her parents rejoiced in having their family near, so how could she tell them what she wanted to do without making it seem as if she didn’t like the ranch? If she stayed, she’d be nothing more than a glorified babysitter for everyone. What she needed was to get out and meet people. Maybe then she’d find the man of her dreams. But what if this fantasy man was in Ireland?
Laughing at the direction her thoughts had taken, she decided a cup of tea was in order. She went to the kitchen and put the kettle on to boil. She was rummaging through the cupboards for a snack when the doorbell rang and she smiled, looking forward to having some company. It had to be family as rarely had anyone else ever ventured out to her father’s house.
She walked to the front door and checked the peephole before unlocking it. After all the trouble her family had had this past year, Abby wasn’t about to open the door to just anyone. The man standing on the front step looked familiar, but she couldn’t quite place him. “Who’s there,” she called.
“Mark Matthews. I’m looking for Cameron Manning.”
Abby unlocked the door and opened it. “I remember you. Weren’t you the photo-journalist who welcomed us at the airport?”
He smiled. “One and the same. How are you adjusting to ranch life, Abby?”
“What makes you think I’m Abby?” she asked, since she was identical to her sisters in looks.
“Well, truth be told, I’ve kept up with your family and, as you’re not wearing a wedding ring and definitely aren’t pregnant, I assumed you were Abby, the only single lady left.”
“Good powers of observation. What brings you out this way, Mark?” she asked as she opened the door wider and motioned for him to come in.
“I’m looking for your father. Is he home?”
“No, most of the family went to Fort Macleod for the day. A country music jamboree or something,” she replied as she pushed the door closed.
“You not into country music?” he asked.
“Not enough to spend the entire day listening to it. I was just making a cup of tea. Would you like to join me?”
“Sure, if I’m not imposing.”
“Not at all,” she said as she led the way to the kitchen. “It’s nice to have the company.”
“You probably won’t think so when you find out why I’m here.”
“Sounds scary,” she said as she made the tea.
Mark nodded. “Scary enough that I’m out trying to track Cameron down.”
As he sat down, Mark pulled a letter-sized envelope from his back pocket and laid it on the table.
“Dad has his cell phone. Want me to call him?” she asked as she set their cups on the table.
“I hate to interrupt his day off, but this is important. If he could meet me at the park gate that would be great.”
Abby grabbed the house phone and dialed. As soon as he answered, music blasted across the line but she couldn’t hear her father. “Dad? Are you there?”
“Abby? What’s up?”
He must have moved away from the music as she could hear him now. “Dad, we have company, the photo-journalist who met us at the airport last year. He needs to see you right away. He says it’s important.”
“I’ll be right there.”
“No, he said he’d meet you at the park gate…Dad?” He’d already hung up. She turned toward Mark. “He’s on his way home.”
“Maybe that’s for the best. What I have to show him is not for public consumption.”
“Could I see what you have?”
Mark slowly stirred milk into his tea before he answered.
“I’d rather wait until your father arrives, if you don’t mind. Saves me from doing the telling twice.”
“No problem. It is him you came to see.”
“I’ve been trying to work up the courage to come see you, but I’m not so good with the spoken word. I can write and write and words never fail me, but in person? Nope.”
“Why courage? I don’t bite, kick, or scratch,” Abby said with a grin aimed his way.
“Ahhh, that’s good to know.” He smiled, picked a cookie off the plate, and bit into it. “Mmmm, these are good.”
“An old Irish recipe. Irish Oatmeal Lace. They’re gluten free and I love them.”
“My mom has Celiacs and is always looking for new recipes. Could you write it down for me?”
“Sure.” She grabbed a pen and paper from the bureau and wrote from memory.
“There you go.” Abby ripped the page from the spiral notebook and passed it to him. Their fingers touched and seemed to set fire to her very soul. What the heck? She glanced over at Mark, but nothing in his expression was amiss. It must have just been me jolted by that spark.
“Thanks.” He read it and then folded the paper and stuck it in his shirt pocket. “You have beautiful penmanship. The letters almost flow off the page.”
“Uh, thanks, I think.”
Mark looked over at her and smiled, a smile that lit up his eyes and had two cute dimples appearing in his cheeks. “If you read some of the scribbled notes I’ve had to work with, then you’d realize that was meant as a compliment.”
“Oh. Okay. Then thanks.” She heard a vehicle stop out front. “That must be Dad. I’ll go see.” She stood and headed for the front of the house, but the door opened before she got to it and in walked her father and mother.
“Hi, Abby. What’s up?” asked her mother.
“I’m not sure. Mark wanted to wait until Dad was here.”
“Where is he?” her father asked.
“In the kitchen. I’ll make more tea.”
“Thank you, dear. I could use a cup,” said her mother.
For the first time since Mark showed up, Abby worried about her mother. This pregnancy had been difficult for her and Abby hoped Mark’s ‘important news’ was good news.
Mark stood and shook hands with her father and mother as they entered the kitchen.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your day, but I felt this was important.”
“Sounds ominous. What have you got, Mark?” Cam asked as they sat down.
Mark picked up the envelope. “This came to the office addressed to me and marked as personal and confidential. It’s a photocopy of the article I wrote about you and your family last year, but with one major difference, as you’ll see. Mrs. Manning, please don’t look unless Cameron thinks it’s okay.”
“Call me Lacey. Now I’m really curious.”
Cam opened the envelope and pulled out the single sheet of paper. He held it by one corner and unfolded it, then gasped and turned pale. Abby snatched the paper from his hand, looked at the defaced picture, and promptly fainted.
I hope this has whet your appetite for more of our Thunder Creek family as they embark on another adventure. Will keep you updated. in the meantime, happy writing. 🙂