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.
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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.”
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