Memorial Day

For those who observe, have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day!

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This May in the Shenandoah Valley

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April (May) day.
~Robert Frost

(Image from a past spring of my Abraham Darby rose, and below of my Bathsheba climbing rose taken last spring. Both are from David Austin)

May is a balmy, blissful, sometimes treacherous month. This May has been stressful on various fronts. I sometimes feel as if I’m clinging to a wind-tossed bough. Why the heck did they rock that poor baby in the tree tops, anyway? Crazy nursery rhyme.
Cold winds blasted my darling buds and frost struck not once but three times, after early spring warmth had lured everything out. My roses suffered. I even had iris buds freeze for the first time and the peonies were knocked back or out. Asiatic lilies froze beneath their covers… Weather can be sinister, and yes, I take it personally.

Despite a perilous spring, abundant beauty cloaks our green valley and my beloved garden is rebounding–including the roses. I’ve mulched them with rich wormy compost, added organic rose fertilizer, and I’m using Garden Sentinel, a new biofungicide/bacteriacide spray from Gardens Alive, an organic company. Its based on a naturally occurring bacteria and is fighting the black spot that struck after frost damaged their leaves. I also use liquid kelp to give them a boost. If the Japanese beetles arrive again in a plague of Biblical proportions, there are organic products for that too. Mostly I do hand-to-hand combat.

On the family front, May hit hard when our oldest daughter Alison, in her late 30’s, was stricken with a blockage in her colon and underwent emergency surgery. She went from not feeling well to being in severe pain in a matter hours. Thank God she had a highly skilled surgeon who got her through the surgery and successfully removed the mass. However, pathology reports said the tumor was cancerous and it had spread to one of the several dozen lymph nodes the doctor also removed, so she will have to undergo chemotherapy this summer. He assures us that chemo has come a long way in recent years and he’s confident she will make a full recovery. We pray so with all our hearts. If you have an encouraging cancer survivor story to share please do. We’ve lost too many dear friends and family to this monster.

Of course, we’ve still got Covid to hide from. Virginia is among the worst states for it, but we have a new C-word to worry us. I’m thankful for modern medicine. This is scary.
I’m also open to good rose growing suggestions.
And God bless us everyone.

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I Love the Dark Prince – It’s his Birthday!!!

Today, May 29, 1630, Charles Stuart was born at Saint James Palace in London, United Kingdom.  His father was Charles I and his mother Henrietta Maria of France.  As their eldest surviving child, he was Prince of Wales and due to become King. He was a very large baby and due to his mother’s Medici blood very dark, causing him to be called the Black Boy as a child. He was also a taller man than most of that time. He was an intelligent and serious boy that his mother joked she sometimes felt he was far older and wiser than she. Below is Charles’ Coat of Arms as Prince of Wales.

Coat of Arms of the Stuart Princes of Wales (1610-1688).svgAs Prince of Wales, he was destined for the throne, but  forces were already in play that would delay that destiny for some time.

The court masques were the most splendid of the occasions on which Prince Charles observed his mother and father. These entertainments were made up of a lavish combination of drama, opera and ballet, ingenuity used on their effects. So, the young Heir Apparent must have soaked in these grander times for later his own court was called the Merry Court, or that could possibly also be attributed to the Puritan Oliver Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell was the man who murdered his father and took control of the new government. On January 30, 1649, at 2 PM at the Palace of Whitehall, his father, Charles I, was beheaded, and Charles went into exile, roaming Europe with his Royalist supporters. He was to learn early the way exile was to be. When to Cambrai, then a Spanish territory, they found the gates to the city closed to them and had to wait ‘long into the afternoon’ before being allowed admittance. In exile, Charles suffered many hardships, but finally on September 10, 1658, Sir Stephen Fox approached him with fantastic news. A week earlier, Oliver Cromwell had died.

Charles was invited to return to England and was restored to the throne in May of 1660. without an ounce of bloodshed. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on April 23, 1661. He was to sire many illegitimate children but never an heir to the throne.

Charles wearing a crown and ermine-lined robe

Charles suffered a sudden apoplectic fit on the morning of 2 February 1685, and died aged 54 at 11:45 am four days later. He was King during the Great Plague and the Great Fire. He was, by all accounts, a good, fair king with a quick-witted tact. He was called the Merry Monarch.

This is severely limited account of a man who falls in there with Elizabeth I and Henry VIII in the public’s memory. I’d like to have gone on, but if you are interested, you might pick up the book by Stephen Coote, “Royal Survivor”.

Thanks for dropping by today.  Have a fab Friday! and a super weekend!


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Daddy & I Discovered Brazer Burgers

In early August in 1964, graduation from Mercer University loomed immanent for me. Daddy drove me to Lawrenceville, Georgia for a teaching job interview. I hated driving, and we had to take the 1950 Ford, Daddy’s pride and joy and a stick shift.

Old Ford 1950 exposed






Mama had to work at the Mercer Library, or she’d have been with us. Since Daddy would start graduate school in September, he hadn’t started back to school yet.

Grandma O and the boys

Looking for a better image

We talked about everything, especially what I should and shouldn’t say to the Superintendent of schools for Gwinnett County. I remember little about the interview but that the Superintendent commented on how young I looked. After asking questions, he explained that there were no vacancies for an English teacher at high schools. I was disappointed, but I had sent out dozens of applications and still had hope for a job in the Fall.


Lawrenceville was a small town built around a courthouse square. My family wasn’t big on eating in restaurants. We scrimped and saved every penny. Because we were hungry and Daddy wanted to check out the town, he and I stopped at a Dairy Queen/Brazer Burger and ordered a burger each. He planned to check the Ford place to price cars, since I would need to buy one soon. It was a wonder we hadn’t packed sandwiches, but Mama usually took care of that, and I was too excited to think about anything but finishing my classes and getting a job. The fast food joint had an order window but no inside dining room. That was the best burger I had ever had! Daddy added all the offered condiments, and I added mustard and pickles. I remember how meticulous he was as he prepared that burger. Actually he was always like that about food. We probably added Cokes, small ones, but no fries.

That trip to Lawrenceville would not be our last one.

Mary lives north of Atlanta, Georgia where she tutors, edits freelance and for a small publisher, and writes the stories her characters make her write. She doesn’t have a muse. She has pushy characters.
Mary writes southern fiction.
Love, Lust, Southern Comfort and Sweet Tea!

Twitter Mary Marvella@mmarvellab

Protecting Melissa, Book 2 of the Protective Series

Cost of Deception Book 3 of the Protective Series




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Seeking Rachel needs your vote!

**Seeking Rachel needs your vote!**

My Regency Inspirational romance, Seeking Rachel, is a RONE nominee. This qualifies Seeking Rachel to continue to the reader voting phase of the 2020 RONE Awards.

The voting schedule for Seeking Rachel in the Historical Novella Category is:

**WEEK 6:  (May 18th – 24th)**

**Historical: Novella**

**Seeking Rachel by Josie Riviera**

How to Subscribe to D’Intale Magazine:

Step 1: Registration

Go to D’Intale Magazine and fill in the requested details.

Step 2: Verification

After hitting the Create new account button, you will receive two emails at the address that you entered when registering (if you’re using gmail, check your Promotions tab). Find the one with subject “Account details for username” (if you don’t receive it, check your spam folder) (the link itself will be different):

And here’s where you vote for Seeking Rachel:


Many thanks in advance.

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Posted for Toni V. Sweeney:

Recently, I finished reading Black Hats, a delightful fantasy in which Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson head to New York City to help out the son of their own pal, “Doc” Holliday.  It’s fiction, of course, but there are many actual facts woven into that thoroughly-engaging narrative.

How much do we really know about these three men who have become legends, their names synonymous with the Old West, courage, honor, and death?

We’re all familiar with the gunfight at the OK Corral, and the many movies and TV series about them, but what are the little-known facts about their lives?  With the aid of the Google search Engine, (and Wikipedia) here are some things I found.


The man who would become the marshal of Deadwood was born in Monmouth, Illinois, and named for his father’s commanding officer in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).  Wyatt had a half-brother and sister and five full siblings.  In 1865, he got his first job as a driver for Phineas Banning’s Stage Line in Imperial California.  In 1869, he got his firstacquaintance with working in law enforcement when his father became constable of Lamar, Missouri.  In 1870, at the age of 22, he married Urilla Sutherland only to have her die ten months later in childbirth. From 1875 onward, he appears in various court cases and newspaper articles as the arresting officer in Wichita and Dodge City.  In 1877, he left Kansas for Texas, where, in a saloon in Ft Griffin, Texas, he met a young gambler named “Doc” Holliday.  Wyatt and his brothers moved to Tombstone in 1979 and the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral occurred in 1881. The Earps and “that would eventually cost Morgan his life and severely wound Virgil.

Though he never again had a legal marriage, Wyatt wasn’t immune to women’s charms nor they to his. In the West at that time, common-law marriage w…well…common. In 1888, he was said to have “cohabited” with several prostitutes during his sojourns in various states, but when Wyatt lived in San Francisco, he settled down with Josie Marcus, who remained with him for the next 46 years, so guess one could say he wasn’t particularly promiscuous.  During that time, he participated in the Gold Rush, wrote his memoirs, and became friends with many movie stars, including a young extra named John Wayne who would model his own screen persona after Wyatt.

Wyatt died of prostate cancer in 1929. Of the trio, he lived the longest.  William S. Hart and Tom Mix were pallbearers at his funeral.  He was cremated his ashes buried in a Jewish cemetery because Josie was Jewish.

Forty-eight actors have portrayed Wyatt Earp in the movies and on television.


“Bat” Masterson wasn’t even born American, being one of eight children born to his parents in Quebec, Canada. Early in life, he changed his name to “William Barclay Masterson” because he hated the name “Bartholomew.”  The family moved from Canada and finally settled in Kansas.  Bat was a buffalo hunter and army scout before his first gunfight in Sweetwater, Texas.  In 1877, he moved to Dodge City where his brothers were lawmen and eventually became a deputy for Wyatt Earp.  Later, he was sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, South Pueblo, Colorado, and marshal of Trinidad, Colorado.  For several years in between, he earned a living as a gambler before visiting his old friend Wyatt in Tombstone and becoming involved in the infamous gunfight.  In 1891, he purchased the Palace Variety Theater in Denver and married actress Emma Walters.  He also managed the Denver Exchange Club.  He began writing for George’s Weekly, a sporting newspaper and opened the Olympic Athletic Club to promote boxing.  In 1902, Bat arrived in New York City where he was appointed deputy marshal of South New York by President Teddy Roosevelt until 1912.  During this time, he would purchase old pistols in pawnshops, carve notches into their handgrips, and sell them as his own to suckers eager to own a “piece of the Old West.”

Bat may not have died with his boots on but he died at his typewriter, of a heart attack while working on a column for the New York Daily Telegraph, for whom he was a sportswriter.  He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

Nine actors have portrayed Bat Masterson on screen and television, and he has been featured in Dell Comics.

“DOC” HOLLIDAY (1851-1887):

The cousin of Margaret Mitchell and reportedly the model for Ashley Wilkes in her novel Gone with the Wind, John Henry Holliday was born in Griffin, Georgia and grew up in Valdosta.  In 1872, he received a dental degree from Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery and opened a practice in Atlanta.  That same year, he was also diagnosed with tuberculosis. His mother had died of the disease when he was 14 and it’s believed he contracted from her.  Given only a few months 14 to live, he moved to the Southwest because of the warmer, drier climate, opening a dental office in Dallas.  Finding no patients who wanted a tubercular dentist, he turned to gambling for a living, instead.  Subsequently, he lived in Cheyenne, Denver, and Deadwood, where short-fuse temper, the drinking he said helped control his cough, and a fatalistic attitude of not caring whether he survived or not, contributed to a reputation as a gunfighter.  In 1877, he saved Wyatt Earp’s life in a gunfight in Dodge City and the following year, Wyatt returned the favor and a friendship was born.

Perhaps not as popular with the ladies because of his ill health and/or temper, “Doc” had a long-term relationship with Mary Katherine Hornoy, also known as Big Nose Kate.

Because of his friendship with the Earps, he was also present during the OK gunfight and was tried with them for the deaths that followed.  Big Nose Kate later reported that after returning from the OK Corral episode, he went to his room and wept.  Now dependent on whiskey and laudanum to control his symptoms, Doc spent his last years in Glenwood Spring, Colorado, where he died at the Glenwood Hotel at the age of 36, the first and the youngest of the three to die.  He was buried the same day in Linwood Cemetery.

Twenty-one actors have portrayed “Doc” Holliday on the screen and TV.

Quotes about the three:

“There are those who argue that everything breaks even in this old dump of a world of ours. I suppose these ginks who argue that way hold that because the rich man gets ice in the summer and the poor man gets it in the winter things are breaking even for both. Maybe so, but I’ll swear I can’t see it that way.” (These were also Masterson’s last recorded words, in the unfinished column found in the typewriter he was using that he was writing when he died).

“No man can have a more loyal friend than Wyatt Earp, nor a more dangerous enemy.”

—Bat Masterson (a variation of a line describing to Sulla, a Roman general in 83 BC)

“Doc was a dentist, not a lawman or an assassin, whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman, whom disease had made a frontier vagabond; a philosopher, whom life had made a caustic wit; a long lean ash-blond fellow nearly dead with consumption, and at the same time the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun that I ever knew.” —Wyatt  Earp, in John Myers’ book Doc Holliday.

(Quotes are from articles on these subjects may be found on the Wikipedia website.

Photographs are in the public domain in their country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer. U.S. work public domain in the U.S. for unspecified reason but presumably because it was published in the U.S. before 1925. Source:

Around the time Wyatt Earp was dying in California, back in Hahira, Georgia, Dylan Roth and Jules Mercier were about to embark on the mystery that would come to light a century later and compel their descendants to search for the truth about the two men. In Bound By Love, DylanRoth II and Letty Mercier in the Twenty-first Century, do exactly that.


That bed was a magnificent specimen. Wood, with a headboard as tall as I was, scrolled and carved with roses and vines. The footboard was shorter, only waist high and plain. All the artistry had gone into the panels at the head. It was a double bed but looked small compared to the king and queen-size versions now available.

I tried to imagine sleeping in a bed this confining, with a body so close to mine each of us only had about two and a half feet of personal space.

At that moment, Letty shifted her weight and I glanced at her.

If it were someone like you, I thought, I wouldn’t mind the lack of space.  Yes, indeed, in your case, Miss Letty, constriction would be downright welcomeWhat the hell am I thinking

I forced my unexpectedly lascivious thoughts back to business.

“No closets, but I imagine there were wardrobes in each room to hold clothes.” I studied the bed, running a hand over the curving edge of the top boards. “I think this might be salvageable. If dry rot hasn’t set in.”

“Or damp from that hole in the roof,” Letty said. She stood at the foot of the bed, hands resting on it. It must’ve been around four feet high. She looked as if she were peering over a fence. “I hope not. I’d love to keep this for myself.”

I had a flash of her lying in it, that copper hair vivid against white sheets. I shook my head.

“You don’t think so?” She sounded disappointed.

“I’m just wondering who we might get to see about restoring it.” I definitely wasn’t going to say what I was thinking. “What was that?”

I whirled, looking at the door. Out of the corner of my eye, I’d seen a flash of something white and fluttery in the doorway.

“What?” She looked in the same direction.

I walked to the door, peering out, up and down the hall.


“I thought I saw…” I looked up at the gaping hole. “The roof’s open. Probably a bird got in and was flapping around trying to find its way out again. Guess we’d better watch where we step. There may be droppings.”

We went into the smaller room. The door was missing its knob and lock.

“Looks like someone tried to force it open.” I indicated deep grooves cut around the hole where the lock had been.

The door was in such bad shape it was a little difficult to tell, but I guessed it had been locked and the doorknob removed because that was the only way to get the door open. Whoever had done it must’ve been desperate, for the door was battered and chopped as if someone had taken an ax to it.

There was a large, dark spot on the floor, almost two feet long, an irregular wet-looking splotch with spatters, as if something containing liquid had been dropped, splashing and running before soaking into the wood. All the floors were hardwood and probably had originally been well-varnished. They were still glossy in places. Whatever had been spilled here had ruined the finish on this one.

I’d swear it hadn’t been there when we came in.

Letty knelt, peering at the stain. She touched it, then looked at her finger. There was nothing, of course. The stain had long dried.

“It looks like blood.” She shivered.

It did. Now I could see that it was a very dark red, looking almost black against the wood grain.

“Probably a cat or something caught a bird and dragged it up here. Or rain flooded in here from that hole in the roof. Don’t worry, we can replace that section if the stain won’t come out.” I caught her arm, helping her to her feet. “Come on.”

She went out with me, looking back at the spot until we were in the hall.

Bound By Love is available from:

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New Release! Recipes from the Heart

Recipes from the Heart is a #1 New Release on Amazon!

Only 99¢

Are you drawn back to certain recipes because they bring up memories?

A heartwarming story is the hallmark of a romantic read, and every one of my books contains a recipe submitted by a reader, my beloved mother or grandmother, or friends in Ireland.
Now these recipes are all together in one book for easy referral.

Savor the magic of my sweet reads—from Tudor to Contemporary, Holiday to Homemade fudge.

Enjoy your happiest moments spent in the kitchen, and bring back the joy and memory of my sweet romances, and the recipes created by my characters.

Each recipe is a grand celebration of love.

Available in ebook, paperback, and Large Print paperback.

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Choosing a Villain for a Story

Mary Marvella

A romantic suspense requires a bad guy, the person who threatens the hero and/or heroine. A great romantic suspense requires a strong and intriguing bad guy and a strong hero and heroine .

Protective Instincts Final Full Cover_ 1.1In Protective Instincts, Book 1 of the Protective Series, someone wanted to kill Brit, my heroine, but who? She told me she was a widow, so I searched for the person who killed her husband years ago. Maybe he was back in the picture. That person needed to be a professional killer, but I didn’t want the same kind of killer I had seen before. What if he killed each person in a different way? Hmmm. With that question details began to bombard me and Douglas Drake came to life in my mind and on the pages. He had to be the best at what he did and thoroughly dangerous and a tad crazy. His personality and backstory revealed themselves as I put him through his paces. I couldn’t reveal all he told me, but I got a good feel for him. He wanted to attack Brit in her classroom and try to rape and kill her. That could work. Though I couldn’t allow that, he had to try and I needed a way to stop him!

Sam, the father of one her students, had let me know he found her attractive, but the scenes with my hero and heroine doing the flirting thing was much too same old stuff. I had read scenes like them more times than I could count. I liked the story and my characters, but something was missing.

After I finished the original version I had an epiphany, or rather Douglas goaded me by saying the book was boring. Both of my parents had died and my husband and I had separated and I was marking time with my revisions and edits. I challenged Douglas to try to write the story better if he thought he could, and he did! He did things I had never seen a villain do in a romantic suspense and Brit and Sam rose to the occasion and became stronger from necessity!
The more I wrote the more Douglas told me about his childhood and what he valued and what needed. I had written the story and thrown Brit and her hero into dangerous situations, but Douglas challenged them in more ways than one. Some of my critique partners consider Protective Instincts his book. Sam and Brit disagree. I am stopping now to avoid a spoiler.

You can find Protective Instincts

They met because he had premonitions and she was in peril. But you will never believe why they fell in love. Paranormal romance at its best. 

After mourning the loss of her husband, Brit Roberts manages to pick up her life as a teacher for a rural Georgia High school. Things are fine until anonymous phone calls turn creepy and her life is endangered. It’s not until Sam Samuels, shows up to check on her that she finds a little peace, if not a slight attraction to the handsome yet meddling security specialist. 

Sam Samuels isn’t just the father of one of Ms. Robert’s students, he’s a man with premonitions so strong, they make him ill. So when he meets his son’s teacher and pain kicks in, he knows something’s awry but can’t put his finger on it until he interrupts an attempt to kill the teacher. Sam makes it his personal goal to protect her, only he didn’t count on falling for her. 

Someone wants Brit, and now Sam, dead too. Could the death of her ex husband be part of the reason? Can Brit and Sam navigate a relationship despite both of their headstrong natures?

Mary lives north of Atlanta, Georgia where she tutors, edits freelance and for a small publisher, and writes the stories her characters make her write. She doesn’t have a muse. She has pushy characters.
Mary writes southern fiction.
Love, Lust, Southern Comfort and Sweet Tea!

Twitter Mary Marvella@mmarvellab


Protecting Melissa, Book 2 of the Protective Series

Cost of Deception Book 3 of the Protective Series


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Perfect for Mother’s Day

Perfect for Mother’s Day and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Pick up your ebook copy of Seeking Rachel, my Regency inspirational romance, today!

When faith is adrift, the heart is the compass leading the way home.

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By TONI V. SWEENEY (Posted by Linda Nightingale)

A couple of weekends ago, I took a walking tour of Wyuka cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.  It took over three hours of walking along ancient brick-cobbled roads through acres and acres of pine, cottonwood, and cedar trees with the sun filtering through leaves and dappling the ground stone garden surrounding us.  At the end of that time, I was a so tired I was ready to tell my guide to just dig a hole, stuff me into it, and leave me there.  He didn’t; so, I came away informed and a little awed by what I had seen.

In 1869,  two years after the founding of Lincoln as the state capital, the Nebraska legislature passed an act to provide the city a State Cemetery.  The first site was along Salt Creek near the State Asylum but because there was a danger of flooding there, 80 acres were purchased east of the city. 

Wyuka hold a vast number of personages, known and unknown, of all races and creeds, infamous and famous.  Here can be found a friend of Charles Lindbergh, killed in a plane crash, his tombstone a wooden airplane propeller, along with a letter written by the famous pilot.  Actor and singer Gordon McRae makes his final resting place here, the opening bars of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” inscribed on the stone. (Picture 2) A black soldier who fought with the Union army during the War Between the States shares the ground with a loving couple who have a stone bench near their site, inviting people “to Sit.” (Pictures 3 & 4)

Nearby a picnic table and benches do the same. A ton granite monolith in the shape of a tree trunk, symbolizing death and resurrection marks the Hathaway family plot. (Picture 5) Mass murderer Charles Starkweather and several of his victims rest in the same hallowed ground.  An American soldier who died fighting in a regiment sent to fight the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution rests under a shady shrubbery.

Angels, shrouded figures, and animals hovered over markers. A Grecian monument marks the grave of Robert Allington, engineer, chemist, inventor, and entrepreneur, who entered the University of Nebraska at age 16 and went on to become a multi-millionaire though paralyzed with polio.  Many victims of the 1917 Spanish influenza, as well as three governors are buried here.  Other stones bear a single word…”Mother”…or perhaps the most poignant of all…” Our Baby” (Picture 6) One marker bears a page from a letter written by the deceased to someone. (Picture 7) There’s a memorial to the Holocaust, firefighters, 9/11, as well veterans of other wars and conflicts. Mausoleums and crypts, built like Roman tombs into the hillsides, their walls covered with soil, gather in little communities all their own, and a water tower, which was used to irrigate the grounds, looms as round and imposing as an ancient Norman castle.

I didn’t finish the tour so ‘ll have to go back for the rest.  As soon as I get the energy.

In my novel Bound by Love, the departed don’t have graves, for no one knows where their bodies lie.


 After a nasty divorce, Dylan Roth is back home, joining his dad and brother in the family construction business. He’s assigned to the renovation of the old Mercier house, which is being filmed for the TV show Dream Homes, Unlimited. The last thing Dylan wants is to fall for Scarlett “Letty” Mercier, but an undeniable attraction is making it hard for him to say no to the redheaded beauty. When he learns the Roths’ and the Merciers’ pasts are entwined, he starts digging, and family history can no longer stay buried. Dylan and Letty are bound by a haunting secret that threatens to keep them apart unless they can break the ties of the past.


“Mother, whatever you’re cooking up, forget it,” I said. “Letty Mercier and I are not going to be romantically-inclined toward each other any time soon.”

“If you say so, dear.” She went back to the paper, laying aside the comics and opening Parade magazine.

“Don’t do that,” I warned. She’d used the same tone she always did when I said something and she refused to argue because she knew better. “I…no, never mind. Dad, What’s the deal here?”

“What do you mean, son?” Dad looked up from the want ads.

“Quit it. You know exactly what I mean. What’s this thing you and Letty keep hinting at? The bygone you two are letting go by. The reason her father might worry about her staying with us?”

Dad didn’t answer.

“You may as well tell him.” Mom looked around the page she was holding. “It’s unfair to keep Dylan in the dark, especially since Letty obviously knows.”

Dad didn’t answer. Instead, his mouth tightened into a sudden straight line.

“He has a right,” Mom went on. “So simply state it plainly…about your great-grandfathers, and the scandal, and everything.”

“Scandal?” I looked from him to her and back. “What kind of scandal?”

Dad sighed. “Why bring it up?”

“You already have,” she answered. “By not bringing it up.”

“So there really is some deep, dark secret?” I asked. “A skeleton in the Roth closet…and the Mercier one, too?”

“I don’t know why it has to be dug up at this late date.” Dad folded the newspaper and dropped it onto the lamp table in a gesture just short of throwing it. “Why can’t we simply ignore it and—”

“You realize you’re only making me more curious,” I told him. “What happened?” His expression was so serious I had to laugh. “Come on, Dad. What could be so bad? Did Great-grandpa Roth run off with Great-grandpa Mercier’s wife or something?”

Mom drew in a sharp breath.

For a full minute, Dad studied me silently before he answered.

“On the contrary. He ran off with Great-grandpa Mercier.”


Bound by Love is available from:








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