I’m so excited with the next book in the Love’s Infestation Series. The title is Spots Before Marriage. I’m hoping to have it ready for release by June. It’s coming along well and I’ve already got the cover for it. I’ll reveal that in a couple of weeks.
If you’ve read the first book in the series, Mold and Marriage, you already know the hero. He’s Dr. Keith Austin. He wasn’t the best guy to start with but he had some growth during the book so I decided to make him the hero in the next book. To do that he had to have a total change of heart. Who can do that on their own? No one.
So, he had to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Since I didn’t want the second book in the series to be a salvation story, I wanted a lighter tone to the book, I had to have him come to Christ between the books. And thus Keith’s Coming was written.
Don’t know where to find it? That’s cause I’m sneaky and want you to read Mold and Marriage. Keith's Coming is a free book you can get at the end of the book. There’s a link to a free download of it. Here’s the cover for Keith’s Coming.
So, The premise for Spots Before Marriage. Poor Whitney, who isn’t a dog person, has two pregnant Dalmatians left to her by her brother who moved away. Between them they have 14, count ‘em, fourteen puppies. Get it, Spots.
Here’s a taste, the opening scene of Spots Before Marriage.
Keith Austin looked up from the sandwich he was struggling to keep together. It seemed to be too full of meat, cheese and veggies. His eyes widened at what was coming toward him in leaps and barks. A mass of tumbling, spotted puppies, all dragging leashes, yipped and barked, eyes seemingly glued to his lunch.
Then they were on him. There hadn’t been time to get to his feet let alone move out of their path. Keith couldn’t tell how many there were. All he could tell is that there was a roiling mass of white with black spots all nipping, trying to get to the roast beef he clutched in his hands.
“Down! Get down. Sit.” Keith didn’t know if was the words that did it or his tone, but several of the puppies plopped their bottoms down on the grass, the park bench or his shoes. That his feet were in them didn’t seem to matter to the puppies.
Deciding that the sandwich was better left to the dogs he began tearing bits off and feeding them to the ones who were sitting. Soon all the puppies were quiet, poised around the bench hoping for another bite. He counted. Stunned at the final count of fourteen Dalmatian puppies.
“How’d you do that?” A woman’s voice called across the lawn. Keith looked from the dogs to her limping toward him. She was petite, not so much in height although she wasn’t overly tall. Instead the young woman was small boned and thin, nearly frail looking. That her knees were skinned and bleeding definitely added to her fragility.
The statement was met with a look that said, ‘obviously.’
“These all yours?” He waved a hand at the puppies who all jumped up and began dancing around, yipping and biting at each other. “Sit,” Keith ordered. It didn’t work as well this time. They seemed to know he didn’t have any more food he was willing to give them.
Both he and the young woman began grabbing the leashes for each of the dogs. It took a while but they managed to get a hold of them all before any of the puppies ran off.
“Come on,” Keith said. “I’ve got a first aid kit in my car.”
“You carry a first aid kit? I’m surprised. Most guys wouldn’t think of it.” They began the trek across the grass to the parking lot.
“Hazard of the profession. I’m a doctor. Keith Austin. I’d shake your hand, but mine, and yours are full.” He lifted the leashes a bit.
“Whitney Houston, and don’t say it. My folks were huge fans. They were delighted with a girl after three boys. They’re all married. I have three nephews and two nieces. None live here in town now. That’s how I ended up with all these.” She waved a hand indicating the puppies.
Helped a friend with a sad chore yesterday. It was the husband of my best friend, Brenda. She passed away from cancer on March 24 while I was in Israel. I wasn't able to go to the funeral as I was still there.
Coming home to deal with the grief was difficult. All the closure events had been completed and the times I would have spent in fellowship with Ray and the boys were absent. I've been able to find comfort with a mutual friend, Mary. Brenda, Mary and I met weekly over a number of years since they retired from their teaching positions.
Yesterday, I helped Ray bag up Brenda's clothing for donation. Another friend was there to help and we were able to get it all bagged and ready to put in the back of the pick up truck in two hours. You may not think that was much of an accomplishment but you have to realize, Brenda loved to shop, loved clothes and NEVER, EVER got rid of anything.
When we were done the pick up bed was packed full, tightly, with large black garbage bags. There were two bags in the cab of the truck also. I took a large bag of gently used tennis shoes to the YMCA for the donation box there. This was after 2 teenage girls who wear the same size had made a large dent in the quantity of pairs.
Through the work, we laughed as we remembered Brenda and commented on the overabundance of numerous similar items she had. There were at least six green print purses. I think every spring she bought a new green print purse as a nod to the change of seasons.
We remembered other snippets of our lives together, too. Maybe you think it strange that such a sad chore can be filled with joy and laughter. Shouldn't it be a time of grief?
My mother died in 1994 of cancer, so I've been down this path before. The day I realized that she was dying I went to the church I had gone to as a child. I needed someone to speak to about the thought of losing my mom. Even though I didn't live in the town anymore and wasn't one of the Pastor's flock he was gracious enough to speak with me.
What he told me impacted my life then and I've shared it a number of times since.
Everyone does about the same amount of grieving. Yes, there are exceptions when people get stuck in their grief, but for the most part it's true. The difference is when the grieving occurs. It is either done before the death or after.
In my mother's and Brenda's cases, the grieving was done before. We realized they were dying. There was time to process that fact. There were things needing to be done and care for the dying given. Nights spent awake thinking about the impending death. Watching the loved one decline in health and increase in suffering. While death is never a relief we come to the realization that our loved one is too young to die but to sick to live.
In God's mercy He calls them home. We don't want them to go, but we also don't want them to suffer.
I also have friends who have lost loved ones suddenly. It's so painful to watch them go into the grieving process as it comes on so quickly like a tsunami rather than a rising tide of gentle waves.
So we are grieving for Brenda. I'm fighting my tears now as I write this. I will miss her the rest of my life. But I will also laugh at her foibles and remember, with joy, raising our boys together and all the phone calls and times we spent in each other's company.
As I told Brenda, the last time I saw her. "It wasn't supposed to end this way. I love so very much."
Love and marriage coming to us inspired by many things. Who would have thought that mold, spots and mice would bring love and marriage? Well, they have. The Love’s Infestation Series debuts with Mold and Marriage the love story of Kyria and Mark.
They meet as Mark treats Kyria for injuries she received in a bomb blast. His attraction doesn’t end when she’s released from the hospital. So where and why does mold influence their relationship? Buy the book and find out. It’s .99 for Saturday and Sunday. Then the price goes up to $2.99. It’s also free for KU readers.
Also, for the weekend two books are FREE.
I've placed Chasing Norie and Redeeming Love for free in honor of the holiday. Grab them before Monday if you've not read them.
Happy Resurrection Day
And Mark thought his high priced education kept him from doing this sort of thing.
Can't wait to read this book? Become an Advanced Reader and help proof the book.
Mark stood and looked around. A box with a pizza was on the coffee table with only two slices eaten. Several Chinese food containers and other takeout boxes along with empty glasses and soda cans shared the space. None of the containers had more than a few bites missing. A prescription pill bottle was lying on its side with the top and a few pills scattered nearby. On the floor were several more pills. He picked up the bottle. It was the pain medicine he’d ordered when she left the hospital. He knelt beside her again.
“Kyria,” he said. “Kyria, how many did you take and when?” She didn’t answer. “Kyria, Kyria. Wake up. How many and when did you take them?” Mark tapped her cheeks.
“Take what?” Her words were slurred.
“Your pain meds.”
“When I got a drink of water.” Kyria tried to roll onto her side away from him.
“Do you need an ambulance?” Steve asked from behind him.
“Let’s see if she can walk. It might be that she just took a couple too close together. I’d rather not take her to the hospital. She’d be classified as a drug overdose and that would follow her the rest of her life.”
“Help me get her up.”
The men gently helped her to stand, Mark cautioning Steve about her injuries. They were glad she was wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts. Kyria protested that she wanted to sleep. They walked her around the living room a couple of times. She leaned heavily on them. Then she stopped and stood up straight.
“I need to excuse myself for a few minutes. I’ll be right back.” Kyria stepped away and proceeded to collapse when her legs buckled.
“She needs to…” Steve looked at Mark. “You’re the doc. You get to help her.”
“Um, the nurses take care of this, not the doctors.”
“You’re closer to a nurse than I am. I just take care of people’s pets when they can’t.”
“Okay, but help me get her to the bathroom, will you?”
Steve beat a hasty retreat once they had her standing in the bathroom. Mark, very uncomfortable, helped her with the boxers and onto the stool. He left in a hurry telling her to call when she was finished. The men stood outside the closed door in an awkward silence.
They heard a flush then water running. Mark opened the door and peeked in. He could feel his face heating up. Leaning over the sink, her head against the mirror, Kyria was washing her hands. The boxers were on the floor and the t-shirt barely covered her bottom.
“Um, Kyria, do you need any help?” Mark pulled his head back hoping she could put the boxers on by herself.
“I can’t get my pants. Can you help?” Each word was slurred into the next.
Steve shot Mark a look of amusement. “I never thought I’d be glad I wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor.”
“Thanks.” Mark went into the bathroom keeping his eyes away from Kyria’s body. Snatching up the boxers he held them up to her. She lifted a foot and held it out toward him. Swallowing, he slipped the Tweetie Bird boxers onto the foot. Kyria put that one down nearly pulling Mark over since he was holding the shorts at arm’s length. She lifted the other foot. He slipped the boxers over it and when her foot was again on the floor he stood and exited saying, “You can do the rest. I’ll come back in a moment.”
“Man, is your face red,” Steve said when Mark was in the hall leaning his forehead against the wall.
“I’ll bet. How embarrassing. I’m embarrassed now and she will be if she remembers this. Her boxers had come totally off. The t-shirt covered the essentials, but just barely.”
The sound of her collapsing brought them into the bathroom. Picking her up between them they managed to get her from the bathroom and at Mark’s direction into the bedroom. Between them they managed to pull the covers away, lay her down, then as she snuggled into her pillow, tucked her in.
“She’s not in any danger, so I think it might be best if she sleeps it off.”
Steve looked at Kyria, Mark and then at the bedroom door. “Um, I need to get back to work. Here’s my card,” he said pulling it from his shirt pocket. “It has my number on it. Call if you need me.”
“All right, thanks for the help.”
“You’re welcome. Ms Metcalf is a model tenant. I hate to see her like this. Oh, that one’s Mini and the other is Cece,” Steve said pointing to the grey tabby cats who had jumped onto the bed and were snuggling close to Kyria. “I can let myself out.”
Dr. Mark Jenner thinks Kyria needs some 'real,' as in not hospital, food.
Mold and Marriage Kindle release April 15. $0.99 for 2 days then $2.99 there after.
“Hey, beautiful. How about some grease?” Kyria looked up to see Dr. Jenner holding a bag and cardboard tray with two drinks. He smiled a hopeful smile. She knew he was trying to cheer her up.
She smiled knowing it didn’t reach her eyes. “I can hear some veins clogging, but yeah.”
Mark came over, set the bag on the table, and handed her the drinks. “I’ll just get this yuck out of here.” He took the supper tray and left the room quickly returning, pushing the door nearly closed behind him. “Nurse Gadsden is on duty tonight. We’ll have to eat this quickly and get rid of the evidence. She doesn’t approve of Micky D’s.”
“What are you still doing here? I thought you would have gone home by now.” Kyria said as she looked into the bag. “What’d you get?”
“Pulling a double shift for a friend. Big juicy cheeseburgers, large fries, cookies and chocolate shakes.”
Kyria laughed. “Grease, sugar and chocolate. What a wonderful meal.”
Mark watched as she dug around in the bag. It seemed every emotion she had was expressed to the max. As he’d held her when she cried that afternoon he knew her heart was breaking for those who had died and the loved ones left behind. Now she was stuffing french fries in her mouth with joyous abandon.
“Hey, let me have some of those.” Mark reached into the container and pulled several fries out while she batted at his hand.
“I thought you got these for me?” Kyria teased.
“Only half are for you. The other half are for me.”
“There’s another container in the bag. These are mine.” She held the fries away from him.
“But yours might be better.” He pretended to struggle for them.
“Stop, get your own. I haven’t had real food since I got here.”
“Okay, you win.” Mark pulled fries and the burgers from the bag. He handed Kyria one of the burgers and settled in to eat his.
“Oh my, this is good.” Kyria took another bite.
“Yeah, nothing like a big honkin’ burger,” Mark bit into his.
Mark turned to look at the door the burger still at his mouth. Kyria had a huge mouthful. Nurse Gadsden stood there with hands on her hips and a frown on her face.
“Yes, Ms Gadsden? Is there something you need?” Mark asked as he chewed.
“I thought I would take the supper tray, but I see it’s already gone.”
“Yes, I thought Ms Metcalf might like some outside food.” He took a big bite of he burger.
“I see. At least I’ll know where you are if you’re needed, Dr. Jenner.” She turned and left the room.
Mark and Kyria look at each other. Both had mouths full of cheeseburger. They covered their mouths as they fought not to laugh and spit it out.
“Busted,” Mark said when he finally swallowed.
Kyria swallowed and laughed.
Mark wanted to lean forward and kiss her. What had brought that thought on? She was just a patient. She’d be leaving the hospital soon. The thought sobered him. He wanted her to be released, but didn’t want not to see her again.
“Oh, that was so good. Thank you, Dr. Jenner.” Kyria was leaning back in her chair with a satisfied grin. Mark again felt the pull to kiss her.
“Kyria,” he started, then his cell phone rang. After taking the call he said, “Well, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ve gotten good reports on your physical therapy results. We’ll start planning your release.”
“That sounds wonderful. See you tomorrow. Sleep sweet.”
“You, too.” Mark left thinking he was glad he succumbed to his urge to bring her the fast food. He should keep things strictly professional between them. It was only the attraction of a pretty woman who needed him. Funny, it was usually the patient who was attracted to the doctor.
“Oh no, look at that!”
Dr. Mark Jenner turned from looking at the patient lying in the hospital bed to the television on the wall. There was a news bulletin and, though the sound was muted, they could see there had been an explosion in one of the downtown high-rises.
“Turn up the sound,” Mark said.
“We don’t have many details as of this time as the police, fire and rescue personnel are just arriving. The KRTV studios are in the next block so we heard and felt the explosion. As you can see the entire front of the Dressler Building has suffered extension damage to the first three floors. We have no idea how many people have been injured or killed, nor do we know what or who caused the explosion.”
The announcer paused, looking off camera for a moment. “I’ve been instructed to move so the rescue vehicles can approach. We’ll keep you appraised of this developing situation as soon as we know more. This is Kelly Miller reporting for KRTV.”
Mark looked back at the man whom he had been giving discharge instructions to.
“Holy cow,” the man said. “That looks bad.”
Mark’s phone cheeped. He drew it from the pocket of his lab coat. The text read, All physicians to the ED stat. Explosion with multiple casualties.
“I need to go. They’re bringing the injured here. A nurse will be in shortly to finish with the instructions, then they’ll spring you from this joint.” Mark patted the elderly man on the arm in farewell and left the room.
He jogged down the hall and called, “Keith, hold the elevator.” The surgeon he often worked with stood in the opening and stepped in as Mark passed into the car.
“Did you see the news flash?” Mark asked. He began buttoning his coat. He didn’t want it to get in the way as he worked on a patient.
“No, just the text.” Keith punched the button to the first floor.
“Explosion at the Dressler Building. The entire front for three floors is badly damaged. There will be a lot of casualties.”
The door opened and Mark and Keith got off and hurried to toward the emergency department. Several nurses were speaking with people waiting to be seen. Some were being referred to the medical clinic down the street, explaining the influx of trauma patients and the extended wait time that would result for less severe cases.
Mark slashed his identification card through the locking mechanism and the doors opened. They went in and over to the radio center. Several operators were speaking with EMT’s on the scene and typing notes into their computers.
Mark and Keith looked at each other listening to the chatter and getting an idea of the types of injuries that would be coming in. Three more doctors came through the doors and stood nearby doing the same thing.
Several people had already been pronounced dead at the scene. Mark gritted his teeth. He’d known just from seeing the destruction to the building that there had to be fatalities but never even having a chance to try to save the lives bothered.
“ETA three minutes on two ambulances,” the head radio operator said. “In first female, mid-twenties, burns and shrapnel from glass and metal to her back. Multiple internal injuries from impact with possibly a parking meter and parked car.”
“I’ll take that,” said Mark. “Which room?”
“Trauma three. It’s set up for burns.” The operator began reciting the details of the patient coming in the second vehicle as Mark walked toward the ambulance bay to meet it.
Even though the day was cold, he went outside to wait. The area always smelled of gas fumes. It didn’t take long. The scream of the siren came first, then the flash of red lights. As soon as the ambulance stopped in the bay Mark pulled its door open allowing the crewman to jump down and begin to pull the gurney from the truck.
“Multiple second degree burns to her back and extremities. Possible fracture to thoracic vertebra. Shrapnel type wounds to the same.” He continued outlining the injuries and vital stats as they jogged toward Trauma Room Three pulling the gurney along.
It just might be a miracle if this young woman lived, Mark thought. As it was she would have a long, hard recovery if she managed to pull through. He began praying in the back of his mind as he issued orders to the staff gathered in the room.
Soon her clothing, what hadn’t been shredded in the blast, was cut off and multiple IV’s had been started. She was lying on her stomach as the damage to her back was extensive and needed treatment first. Mark ordered blood-work and X-rays, then stepped back to allow the portable machine into the room. He surveyed her back, arms and legs.
He picked up the telephone and called the university. The burns and cuts might benefit from the experimental skin gun that was awaiting FDA approval. It was a miraculous new machine that used stem cells to treat burns.
After the X-rays were complete the young woman, Kyria Metcalf, was surrounded once again by nurses and Mark gave instructions on how he wanted her treatment to proceed. Keith came in saying his patient had expired and he wanted to know if he was needed before the next ones arrived.
Just then Kyria jerked and began thrashing and groaning in pain. As those gathered around the bed touched her to stop her movements she began screaming.
“We need her sedated stat,” Mark shouted giving orders for the anesthetic to be administered. Within a few moments she calmed and went still.
Mark rubbed a weary hand down his face as he reviewed the reports of the cases he’d handled of the explosion victims. His most serious case was that of Kyria Metcalf. He still wasn’t sure if she would survive or not. She was a very damaged young woman.
He looked at her personal information. She was twenty-six. If she lived she’d still be in the hospital on her birthday. She might even spend it in the drug induced coma they had placed her in. It was next week after all.
It's finally here. Today I and thirteen others leave for a 10 day trip to Israel. I've always wanted to go since I was a young teen in Mrs. Aneger's Sunday School class. I strayed for a number of years and finally came to a full understanding of a relationship with Jesus in my early thirties. Now I get to realize a life dream, or as we say these days a bucket list box gets checked off.
The past few weeks have been tough. The cares of the world have dampened my enthusiasm for the trip. I had the influenza for two weeks. My bestest friend is dying of cancer. I most likely will not see her this side of Heaven again. My mother-in-law has been in the hospital. She's 95 so that is always concerning. I'm doing the final things for Mold and Marriage to be released in April. Needless to say it's been a tough few weeks.
So now I'm ready. The suitcase is packed. The carry-on case ready for it's final items to be placed in and it zipped up. My cat is pressed up against me as tightly as he can get. He's 19 1/2 with separation anxiety and not the best friends with my husband who isn't going along. For 10 days there will be an uneasy truce between them. Luckily, I have a friend who comes in about every day and loves on him some.
I'm going to be blogging every day during the trip. Rather than post here I've set up a page on this site to post images and comments. The link is above but I'll post it here, too. I hope you enjoy my thoughts as I and our group travel the Holy Land.
Israel March 2017
Mold and Marriage is at the editor and the cover is ready. If you receive my newsletter (you can sign up by clicking the Subscribe button) you already know how lovely it is. The couple look like I think Kyria and Mark both look like and there is a scene in the book that the background reminds me of.
The release of Mold and Marriage is set for and April 15 release in Kindle. Happiness for tax day. During the next few weeks I'll be posting some snippets to wet your appetite. Print version will follow shortly.
Just to update you on the print of Chloe's Sanctuary, I came down with the influenza and have been pretty sick and trying to get Mold and Marriage ready for release. I'm still working on Chloe's print versions. Learning a new formatting within my writing program as the formatting program I used isn't available any longer. Learning curve is pretty steep to get all the details right. Just about done.
And Now The Reveal
Sign up for Sophie's Special Emails. Twice a month subscribers will receive special content, previews, offers, etc.
Sophie Dawson is my pen name. The real me is the wife of a farmer in western Illinois.
I have two grown sons, one of which is married to a wonderful young woman. They gave us the most wonderful granddaughter ever in November of 2010. I'm not the least bit prejudice. :)