Grief Gone Public

I recently read a blog post about a family who wrote an obituary calling out bullies. The obituary was for a teenager who had committed suicide.

Here’s the post (which includes the obit) from a blog called For Every Mom: http://foreverymom.com/family-parenting/sadie-riggs-obituary-is-going-viral-and-we-all-need-to-read-it-to-our-kids/

I spotted it in my Facebook feed and I hovered, considered whether I wanted to delve into this world I try on a daily—minutely—basis to avoid/forget/ignore.

I scrolled past. I came back. I hovered some more. And finally, I took a deep breath and clicked the link. And afterward, I closed it, shut down my phone, and went about my day, pretending I wasn’t thinking about what I just read.

About making sure your kids are aware of, understand the consequences of bullying, of suicide. The article cried out for all parents to talk to their kids about such important, life-altering matters.

Let’s be honest: My daughter has been slapped in the face with suicide. She understands better than the vast majority of kids her age what it feels like when someone close to you chooses that path in life—rather, to end their far-too-short life in such a way. She watches her parents, her grandparents, our friends, aunts, uncles, everyone around us struggle with managing the fall out created by suicide. It’s been fifteen months, and we still deal with it, some of us still haven’t fully accepted it, and all of us wish on a daily basis our lives—his life—had not taken that sharp curve that occurred when my son decided ending his life was the most optimal answer at that moment in time.

I feel reasonably certain this will not be my daughter’s first choice—or even on the list of options—in the eventual likelihood of her life becoming seemingly too tough to handle at some point down the line.

But that’s just her. What about other kids, the ones who were my son’s friends, or any child who has ever experienced something so difficult they are seriously contemplating a choice that has consequences that can never, ever be undone?

For the record, we have no idea why my son made such a monumental, earth-shattering, and incredibly wrong decision that day a little over a year ago. We have no proof bullying was involved. During the week after it happened, other parents from his school went online, screamed bullying, called the local media, and attempted to pull together a rally or picket line at the school to protest … what, I’m not sure.

Can schools do more to be on the look out for bullying? Yes. Can parents? Yes. Can everyone? Yes.

We can also conserve more water, eat better, spend more time at home and less at work … the list goes on. No one is perfect, and everyone can do something better.

Do I believe my son was bullied to death? No.

Am I being naïve or living in denial? Possibly.

What we do believe, in retrospect, which really sucks, because damn, if only we’d acknowledged these things a year, a month, an hour earlier…what we do believe is that he suffered from mental illness. Depression, maybe. Probably. Likely. There definitely were demons in his head. Loud, obnoxious, insistent monsters who convinced him they were right over all the people around him, people who loved him, who only wanted the best for him. Who wanted him to hang out on this earth for far more than thirteen pitifully short years.

Once upon a time, he was an easy-going baby. Took to breast-feeding with ease. Slept through the night before I went back to work. Smiled a lot. Was incredibly smart, super happy. I remember someone—no idea who—warned me that if he was an easy baby, he’d be a difficult teen.

Oh, were they ever right.

I’m pretty sure it started in fourth grade, but was definitely in full swing by fifth. And controlled his life by seventh, which is when the demons finally won.

Those bastards.

The anger. The misery. The refusal to be talked down once he’d worked himself up over something incredibly small or petty or insignificant. In November, 2015, four months before he’d make true on his words, during a heated argument with his dad and me, he screamed, “I wish I could kill myself.” Furious at such a horrible proclamation, we sent him to his room, told him he couldn’t come out again until he was reasonable. We didn’t know that to the demons whispering in his head, that was reasonable.

We thought he was being an angsty teenager, and we event said we couldn’t wait for him to outgrow this phase, so he’d be fun to be around again.

But he never outgrew it, and those asshole demons won. Somehow, some way, they convinced him he’d be better off—we’d be better off—without him.

They were wrong. And now it’s too late to convince my son, to somehow figure out how to prove it to him.

But it’s not too late for you, if you’re reading this. I have no idea how to shut up those demons—whether external or internal—but I do know what this world will be like if you let them talk you into leaving it.

It will suck. So much more than it does right now.

So talk to someone. Anyone. While I don’t know how to fix it, I know there are experts who can. Talk. To. Someone. And most importantly: Keep living. You’ll be glad you did.

I promise.

If you need them, here are a few options. I do not condone any over the other. I’m just giving you choices, because the demons aren’t right.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

https://afsp.org

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

http://www.sprc.org

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention.htm

 

 

 

Sexy Bad OMG

Final SBR Logo

Once upon a time Garrett Frost, bad boy of professional golf, found out he had a two-year-old daughter.

Okay, okay, it wasn’t that long ago. His escapades are still in the media, and his sponsors are all in a tail spin, but his daughter sure is cute.

That’s where I come in. I’m his nanny. The kid’s nanny. Of course, I’m not his. He’s older, my employer, totally off limits. And I can’t forget that, even if he makes me want to fall for him with every lingering gaze, each secret touch.

He’s trying so hard to reform his professional image and be the father his daughter deserves. If anyone knew he was screwing his nanny it’d be all over the media, ruining his sponsorships, and affecting his relationship with his daughter. Or worse, convincing everyone we could be a family.

But Garrett Frost’s family is the game and his daughter. There’s no room for me. So why does it feel like I’ve finally found my forever?

Sexy Bad Daddy Cover_Amazon.jpg

Chapter One

ERIN

“I gotta pee,” I tell my best friend Danny, who nods without taking his gaze off the flat-screen TV behind the bar, where a hockey game is in the last few minutes of the third period. And it looks like St. Louis is winning by a goal. Danny’s not going to be fun to be around if his precious Chicago Black Hawks don’t pull through.

I make my way through a throng of people, most of whom are as focused on the TVs as Danny—did I mention we’re in the playoffs?—until I reach the restrooms located in a far back corner of the bar. After taking care of business, I head back to my drink and my buddy, but I’m waylaid by an arm snaking around my waist.

“Hey, beautiful. Can you do us a favor?”

This Romeo with his paw on my person is good-looking, I guess. He has short, dark hair and a few days’ growth on his cheeks, and a dimple flashes when he grins at me like he doesn’t care that his hand is resting on my hip more intimately than a perfect stranger has a right. I feel the bulge of muscle under his designer golf shirt and note the watch on his slim wrist is Rolex.

I sure as hell can’t afford the labels he’s wearing, but it’s hard not to notice when you’re surrounded by it every day. And when you’re a nanny to the upper-echelon-with-kids, well, let’s just say that some of my charges will, on their sixteenth birthdays, drive far nicer vehicles than I ever will in my lifetime.

The guy seated across from him in the booth has dark hair, too, and wears glasses; Armani, I think. I’m not usually into eyewear, but they work for him.

“Probably not,” I say as I step out of his grip and he flexes his fingers, snagging my belt loop and pulling me back to him.

“Come on, it’s easy,” he says. His partner shakes his head and takes a swig of beer.

“What?” I ask, watching him through narrowed eyes and twisting out of his grasp again. The bar’s packed, so I could easily fade into the crowd at this point, but I’m the adventurous sort, so I stick around.

“I’m Garrett, and this is my brother, Painter.” He waves at Mr. Eyeglasses, who lifts his hand in greeting.

“Painter, like your parents pre-determined your profession?” I ask.

“That never gets old,” the brother says, looking at Garrett instead of me.

“It’s spelled with a Y,” Garrett explains to me.

I clear my throat. “Um, right. Sorry. Nice to meet you guys.”

“No sweat,” Paynter-with-a-Y says.

“So anyway, Paynt here thinks I’m not nearly as good at picking up the ladies as I am,” Garrett says.

“Actually, what I said was, you shouldn’t be,” his brother corrects him. “He sleeps around too damn much,” he explains for my benefit.

I bite my lip to keep from laughing. I’m guessing they’re drunk, or at least Garrett is.

“So tell me,” Garrett says, glancing up at me with puppy dog eyes that no doubt are at least partially to blame for the whole sleeping-around-too-damn-much issue. That muscle tone under his shirt certainly wouldn’t be a deterrent, either.

“I have a boyfriend,” I blurt. Danny’s not remotely my boyfriend—he’s more like my sibling, or maybe the perfect just friend to tag along when you want to hang out at a sports bar—but I need an out here. I know my own shortcomings when it comes to good-looking, older guys who smell like money. Best to put up that wall before this conversation goes any further.

“Too bad,” Garrett says. “But for the sake of argument, pretend you don’t. If I hit on you, would you go home with me?”

Before I decided to try to grow the hell up and get my life on track, the answer might have been yes, but for all the wrong reasons. Not anymore, though. I’m a new woman. A better woman.

“She’s hesitating.” Garrett stabs his finger at Paynter. “Told you. They can’t resist me.”

“You’re such an ass,” Paynter says.

“Nah, I’m living the dream. Just because you’re tied down to a goat and a hot executive doesn’t mean you gotta beat up on my perfectly satisfying lifestyle.”

A goat and a hot executive? I can’t decide if I want to stay and learn more or run away.

“I’m not sure I like you referring to Chloe as a ‘hot executive,’” his brother says.

Garrett lifts his bottle like he’s saluting me. “For the record, it isn’t what you’re thinking.”

“So it’s not something to do with a threesome between him, a woman in a pencil skirt, and an animal?” I ask.

Garrett roars with laughter while his brother shakes his head and mutters something about rumors and a game of telephone.

“I mean, hey, whatever floats your boat,” I add. “I’m not one to judge.” Like I have any right to.

Once he catches his breath, Garrett turns his focus to me again, and I’m momentarily drowning in gorgeous, glassy, blue eyes. Holy crap, they’re beautiful. I take back my “I guess” about this guy being good-looking. Those eyes are straight off a romance novel cover. Does he wear colored contacts?

“So, back to you, beautiful. What’s your name?”

“Erin,” I say before I remember that I’m a changed woman.

“She has a boyfriend, dumbass,” Paynter says.

“Score!” Garrett and Paynter both shout at the same time, and they—along with pretty much everyone else in the bar—leap out of their seats, high-fiving and clunking their beers together. I’m guessing the Black Hawks tied the game.

“Yes,” Garrett yells, and he sweeps me into a hug, one of those full-body embraces, where every inch of me is touching every inch of him. And it makes me tingle in places that are not supposed to feel that way about guys like him. He’s loaded, he screws around too much, and he’s way too confident. Not. My. Type.

Not anymore.

“Boyfriend, remember?” I manage to choke out, my pitiful attempt to convince him to let me go despite my hands clinging to his beefy biceps.

My phone vibrates in my back pocket, and Garrett finally releases me. I tug it out and glance at the screen. “Oh crap, this is my one night out all week, and now it’s getting cut short.”

“Why’s that?” Garrett asks, blatantly looking at my phone.

“The wife of the family I nanny for wants me to call her. Usually, that means they’ve had as much as they can take of their kids and they want me to rescue them.”

“You’re a nanny?” The intensity of his blue-eyed stare makes my insides squirm and wiggle like Jell-O. No, no, no. I don’t hook up with guys like him.

“Yeah. Real glamorous, I know. But it pays the bills and gives me a place to live.”

“I need a nanny.”

Oh shit. Not only is he hot—and screws around too much—but he’s married with kids. Not in a million years.

I wave the phone, which starts ringing. It’s Mrs. Danish. Guess she couldn’t wait for me to call her. “Already employed. Sorry.”

I turn away to answer the call. Maybe if she hears all the noise in the background, she’ll cut me a break and let me stay a little longer.

“Erin?”

“Hi, Mrs. Danish. Sorry, I’m watching the Black Hawks. They just tied up the game, so it’s a little loud right now. I can call you back when I leave.”

“No, that’s quite all right. This won’t take long. You’re fired.”

“Huh?” I twist around so I’m facing Garrett and his brother, like that’ll somehow help me hear her better. Because surely she didn’t say what I think she said. Garrett’s watching me, his brow furrowed, but I’m too stunned to walk away from his obvious curiosity.

“I said, you’re fired. I’ll leave a check for this week’s pay and a substantial severance on the dresser in your room. I’d like you to be out by morning. Actually, tonight would be better.” Her husband is talking in the background, and she snaps at him to shut up.

“Why?” I finally manage to ask. This has been my best nanny gig to date. Mrs. Danish is normally a sweet woman with curly, dark hair and generous curves, while her husband has graying, thin hair and an even-keel disposition. Other than their overfull social calendars, working for them has been a breeze. And let’s be honest: The only person I hang with on the reg is Danny, so even the fact I tend to watch their kids every evening as well as day doesn’t bother me.

Mr. Danish says something again, and his wife’s voice is this low, stage whisper as she says, “It has come to our attention … that you have a history of, er, dallying with the husbands of your employers.”

Well, shit.

“Who was that?” Garrett asks when I tap the screen of my phone to disconnect the call. I don’t answer right away, and he pushes an icy cold bottle of beer into my hand. “Here. You look like you need this.”

I lift it to my lips and chug, letting the carbonated, hoppy drink numb my senses. When I finally stop to catch my breath, I’ve drained more than half the bottle.

“Wow,” Paynter says.

“So, bad news?” Garrett asks.

I stare at my phone. “I just got fired.” I don’t know why I tell him. I don’t know him, and when I leave this bar, I’ll never see him again. I should make my way back to Danny, so I can cry on his shoulder. He’ll tell me I’m an idiot for continuing to try to stay gainfully employed in a profession that clearly doesn’t want me, and I’ll tell him I’ve vested too much of my life into this nanny gig and if I switch careers now, I’ll have to start at the bottom, and who the hell wants to do that after eight years of doing something they love?

“Why?” Garrett says.

“Er…” I can’t tell him why. There’s too much backstory, and besides, it isn’t true. Well, not entirely. I may be into older guys, but even I have my limits. Mr. Danish is nice, but he reminds me of my grandpa. A paunch and a propensity to blather on about insoles are definitely not turn-ons for me.

“So why’d they fire you?” Garrett asks again. I don’t have to answer. I could just walk away. And start updating my resume.

Again.

Instead, I say, “They, um, don’t need me anymore, I guess.”

“And they chose to call you on Friday night to tell you this? Are you getting two weeks’ notice? Did they find a replacement? This seems awfully abrupt, doesn’t it?”

“Why are you so concerned?” I knew I should have walked away. “Look, I need to get back to—”

“Because I need a nanny. I’ve been interviewing them for—how long?” Garrett looks at his brother, apparently waiting for an answer.

“At least a couple months. You’re damn lucky your brother works from home and thinks your daughter is cute as hell,” Paynter says.

“Right. So anyway, I’m curious. What should I be looking for in a nanny? Every one I’ve interviewed hasn’t felt right, y’know?”

“Actually, I do know. You definitely need to click with the person. And so does your child. You have just one?”

“Yeah, a daughter. She’s three. And Paynt’s right. She’s cute as hell.”

I smile. Of course she is.

“So you need someone who’s good with toddlers. Who will get down on the floor and play with them at their level, as well as teach them. Someone who will take her to the zoo and to see Sue, the most complete fossil of a T. rex ever found. At this age, they should get a healthy balance of fun and education to help prepare them for school in a couple years.”

He’s giving me this look, a combination of respect and maybe admiration, and I hope that’s not attraction, too, because this is definitely not going anywhere.

“Anyway, I need to get back to my, er, boyfriend—” I practically choke on the word because trying to picture Danny as my significant other makes me puke in my mouth a little. “So, um, good luck in your nanny search.”

I take another swig of beer and place the bottle on the table before walking away. Garrett calls out, “Wait,” but I ignore him. Given the reason I just got fired from yet another nanny gig, the last thing I need to do is consider offering up my services to a man with bedroom eyes and guns made for holding up a woman while he fucks her against the wall.

Read the rest June 6:

SEXY BAD DADDY

And when you’re done, join us in the Sexy Bad Lounge, where we talk about all sorts of sexy bad things…including when the next book will be out!

~~~

SEXY BAD SERIES

Sexy Bad Neighbor

Sexy Bad Daddy

Coming Soon … Sexy Bad Boss

 

Sexy Bad Cover Reveal!

 

Title: Sexy Bad Daddy
Authors: Misti Murphy & Tami Lund 
Genre: Romantic Comedy
 
 
 
 
Once upon a time Garrett Frost, bad boy of professional golf, found out he had a two year old daughter. 

Okay, okay, it wasn’t that long ago. His escapades are still in the media, and his sponsors are all in a tail spin, but his daughter sure is cute. 

That’s where I come in. I’m his nanny. The kid’s nanny. Of course, I’m not his. He’s older, my employer, totally off limits. And I can’t forget that, even if he makes me want to fall for him with every lingering gaze, each secret touch. 

He’s trying so hard to reform his professional image and be the father his daughter deserves. If anyone knew he was screwing his nanny it’d be all over the media, ruining his sponsorships, and affecting his relationship with his daughter. Or worse, convincing everyone we could be a family. 

But Garrett Frost’s family is the game and his daughter. There’s no room for me. So why does it feel like I’ve finally found my forever?
 
 

 

 
 

 

Misti Murphy & Tami Lund
They live on opposite sides of the world, but an eighteen-hour time difference doesn’t stop these two obsessed authors. They write, they debate over storylines, they thoroughly enjoy the process of gazing at hot men while trying to come up with cover ideas, they fall in and out of love with their characters, and at the end of the day (which day is anybody’s guess), they create sexy bad books for your reading pleasure.
 
 
 
 
 
PS – If you haven’t yet read Sexy Bad Neighbor, what are you waiting for?
sexy-bad-neighbor-3d

 

Road Kill: No Jury Would Convict Me

Dear MDOT (also known as Michigan Department of Transportation—or, in some (many) circles, Michigan Department of Torture),

On any given day, my feelings for you are little more than a basic dislike. Sort of like the way I feel about that first mosquito of the evening in the summer, the one that’s warning me that I’ve got about ten seconds to take cover, because I’m about to be eaten alive by its brethren. What’s really annoying about that damn mosquito is that gorgeous summer nights in Michigan are rare, and we are reluctant to give them up, even for blood-sucking mosquitoes. Bring on the DEET.

If only there was MDOT DEET.

You see, right about late April, that general annoyance turns into hardcore, absolute loathing. As the orange construction barrels come out and my commute grows longer and longer and LONGER, I run out of ways to occupy my time while I SIT IN TRAFFIC. And since it’s frowned upon to scroll Facebook while you’re on the road, even when you’re practically parked in the middle of the street, I tend to start daydreaming. And since you are first and foremost in my thoughts these days, I’ve begun to imagine what MDOT employees’ lives are like.

I imagine what it’s like to work for a state-funded road construction company in January, in the Midwest. On a frigid day where the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue, unobstructed by a single cloud. It hasn’t snowed in a few, so the roads are clear, dry even. And there’s no precipitation in the forecast for at least thirty-six hours. No need to call in the salt truck and snowplow drivers, no need to replenish the supplies. So you have nothing but time on your hands…

“Hey, Joe, let’s play that Game of Thrones game.”

Joe jerks out of his snooze, the front legs of his chair hitting the linoleum floor with a thwack. “What the hell you talking about, Frank?” he demands while rubbing sleep out of his eyes.

“You know, where we look at the map and decide where to set up construction next spring. And our goal is to fuck up as many commuters as humanly possible. Remember when we came up with that seventeen-year I-75 project?” Frank’s bobbing his head, practically panting like an eager puppy, ready to play fetch.

“Yeah, that was pretty genius,” Joe says with a chuckle, as he recalls last winter, when they played this same game. “Okay, okay, let’s play. Who gets to go first?”

“Here’s a piece of paper. Whoever can draw the most convoluted detour route wins. Ready? Go!”

“Shit, I always suck at this part.” Joe shakes his head as he stares at his drawing. “Look, I took drivers a really direct way around the construction. No closed roads or anything. Man, I need more training.”

“Let’s see if we can fix that. Here, take these darts. Now, let me set up this dartboard. What’s that look like to you?”

Joe lifts his hand and points at his palm, at the base of his thumb. “Southeast Michigan.”

“Yep. And see this road?” Frank waves his finger up and down, indicating north-to-south.

“Yeah. That’s M5. Isn’t that a fairly new road? We aren’t planning construction already, are we?”

“Oh, hell yes we are. Not just construction, but we’re closing the fucking road. Those commuters are getting way too comfortable. We need to shake things up a bit. Now, how good a dart player are you?”

Joe grins and smacks his chest. “Pretty decent, actually. I’ve won my family’s annual tournament seven years’ running now.”

“Excellent. Here. See how many roads near M5 you can hit. For every one you get, we’ll shut it down for approximately the same time we expect the construction on M5 to take. Bonus if they’re north-south routes, like M5.”

Joe whistles. “Damn, you’re cold-hearted, Frank.”

With a wicked grin, Frank says, “That’s why I work for MDOT, Joe.”

 

Disclaimer: I’m sure MDOT employees are lovely people who do not throw darts to determine which roads they should close or repave. Heck, they may even read romance novels. This is simply the mental meanderings of an author stuck in rush hour traffic…again.

 

Living With Grief

It’s Sunday morning. I’m stretched out on the couch wearing comfy pajamas, a super soft fleece blanket draped over my legs. It’s dark outside, a rainy, overcast day. There’s no one else awake at the moment. I’m trying to write a book, but every time I glance up from the laptop, my gaze focuses on a family pic, one that includes my son.

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve felt the waves of grief crashing over me. Admittedly, it’s been nice. Grieving is exhausting and if I’m really being honest here, I’m kind of sick of doing it. I’m not foolish; I know it will never go away, but I do welcome that time when it doesn’t encompass my life, when it isn’t a major player in every moment of every day. That will happen at some point, won’t it?

It’s coming again, though. I can feel it. That lurch in my chest on Saturday as I dusted the mantel, over which a gorgeous black and white pic of my two children hangs. I think they were five and two or maybe six and three in that picture. Her arms are thrown around his shoulders and they’re both smiling, so obviously happy. Like at that moment, they knew they had their whole lives ahead of them–together–and in general, it was gonna be positive. It’s amazing how swiftly such an outlook can change, isn’t it?

My daughter is starting to talk about her brother with more frequency lately. I know this is good, because I know she’s still grieving too, and she’s struggling to figure out how to get on in this world in a capacity she never, ever expected: as an only child. I know she’d sure as hell rather not have that status. Besides wanting her brother back, she doesn’t like having all the attention focused on her, plus I know she feels this new sense of obligation to be “good” for the sake of her parents’ sanity. So not fair to her. To any of us.

But it’s hard, so very hard. I’m not there yet; I can’t talk about the good times, the memories. I can’t look at the pictures for more than a moment.

Two of my nieces spent the night this weekend, and I pulled out his bike so they could all go bike riding. Just cleaning it up; greasing the chain, putting air in the tires, wiping off the dusty seat was hard, because it makes me remember. His birthday, when we gave him that bike. His surprise and elation; it hadn’t been what he was expecting, but he’d been thrilled. We’d nailed the birthday gift that year.

And now we have an extra bike taking up space on the back porch.

Even though one of my nieces is the tallest and therefore would have been most comfortable on his bike, my daughter claimed it as her own. She does that; what’s his is now hers, and she’s not really interested in sharing. I get it, although I’m not like that. I’ve been more inclined to throw things away—because what the hell am I going to do with them?—whereas she collects mementos, physical reminders of the memories. I don’t begrudge her this, nor was I about to suggest she let the taller girl ride his bike. Those seats adjust, and mine worked just as well for my niece.

And then they were off, riding up and down the street, armed with sweatshirts to protect them against the slight nip in the spring air. Enjoying themselves, the comradery. Life. The way kids should.

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund writes books, drinks wine, wins awards, writes blogs, and occasionally sends cool newsletters. Signup here: http://www.subscribepage.com/Tami_Lund

The Reluctant Wife Is Reluctant No More

Happy Release Day to fellow author and friend, Caroline Warfield! The Reluctant Wife (Just the title alone makes me want to read it) is available for your reading pleasure right now. You know you want to…

It’s Launch Day!

Caroline Warfield is over the moon to finally be able to release The Reluctant Wife into the wild.

This sweeping story carries readers from the edge of Bengal to Calcutta to the Suez and across the desert, to rural England while two people stumble into love in spite of themselves.

The hero, a clueless male with more honor than sense, never stops trying to do the right thing. Imagine his shock when he realizes people actually depend on him!

The heroine is a courageous wounded duck with more love bottled up than she finds comfortable.

Along the way it features a meteor shower, a tragic asassination, colonial officials, steamboats, narrow minded officers’ wives, herbal remedies, a desert bivouac, a court martial, interfering relatives, a horrific fire, and camels.

The self important villain, rotten to the core, makes the hero miserable in both India and England, until the hero brings him down—with a little help from family—in the end.

And last but not least, it features two charming children, one a precocius little girl who pushes the hero to do what is right even when he is confused about what that is. Caroline Warfield Reluctant Wife

The author dedicts this one to her father, the constant soldier, who understood duty and loyalty as few people do.

Thank you for joining the celebration. Tell us about your favorite story elements. Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments.

She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. You can enter it here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/2017blogtourpackage/   The prequel to this series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always FREE. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/

The Reluctant Wife

Children of Empire, Book 2

Genre: Pre Victorian, Historical Romance

Heat rating: 3

Pub date: April 26, 2017 (today!)

Children of Empire

Three cousins, torn apart by lies and deceit and driven to the far reaches of the empire, struggle to find their way home.

Book 2

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Find it here: https://smile.amazon.com/Reluctant-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B06XYRRR1R/

Caroline Warfield PhotoAbout Caroline Warfield

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale and an Amazon best-seller. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.

Website http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

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Email warfieldcaro@gmail.com

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Caroline Warfield Reluctant WifeExcerpt

The ballroom at Government House, Calcutta, 1835

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance.

Are you as ready as I am to keep reading? Grab it here: https://smile.amazon.com/Reluctant-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B06XYRRR1R/

Carolyn Warfield Release Day Promo

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NEWSLETTER

Cinderella

Easter Dresses, Baskets, Eggs, and Memories

Another Easter mass under my belt. Another round of tears, another giant wad of used tissues stuffed into my purse (I should probably clean those out). Another what? Fifty or so more to go, if I’m lucky? Oh the irony in that statement.

Now I’m home, changed from the pretty dress into my fave comfy pants, and I’ve made myself a mimosa, which I’m sipping while I wait for the family to converge for Easter dinner. Yeah, we’re hosting this year.

Mimosa

There’s a ham in the smoker, and the husband made a carrot cake from scratch that I’m probably a tad too excited to try. Carrot CakeHe’s making a salad as I type, and we’ll also have Brussels sprouts, deviled eggs, and plenty of booze. Lent is officially over, after all.

I think I’ve earned this mimosa. It’s the second Easter for which we only had to fill one basket, hide eggs for one kid. Not that my son would have been into egg hunts this year anyway. He would have been 14, and I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of its-not-cool-anymore cutoff before that point. We’ll see, I guess. My daughter is 11, and while she seemed to enjoy the holiday tradition, I’m pretty sure she’s at that denial stage I call I-don’t-want-to-give-up-childhood. I suspect by next Easter, she will have moved into I-don’t-want-to-be-a-kid-anymore.

Not that it will stop me. I’ll still make her a basket, although it will be nice not to stress over getting those plastic eggs hidden before she wakes but not so early that the wildlife get to them first. That’s assuming, of course, the weather cooperates enough to hide them outside. I live in Michigan, after all; it’s a crap shoot each and every year.

Death affects the lives of the living in so many ways we cannot possibly anticipate. And when it’s a premature death—say a 13 year old—it’s so hard, because damn it, this was not part of the plan. This isn’t how life is supposed to play out. I’m not supposed to become frustrated until I’m reduced to tears during every single holiday.

Last year, I took everything as it came; I had no real expectations, other than the understanding that I would be devastatingly sad, would undoubtedly cry. But otherwise, I was laid back, enjoyed what I had: my beautiful daughter, my husband, my dog, my family and friends.

Now it’s year two, and it’s a new season, new ballgame. We’ve already been through this once, so now I have … expectations. I want my daughter’s Easter basket to be awesome; I want her to be surprised by the colored eggs hidden in the yard. I want us to dress up in cute dresses and take a family pic because it’s so rare we actually do so. Plus, maybe if we take enough of these pictures, I’ll get used to seeing only one kid.

And naturally, with expectations come frustration and potential heartbreak. The husband who didn’t want to help stuff plastic eggs (“Isn’t she too old for this?”); the kid who didn’t even want to go to church, let alone actually wear a dress. And then take a picture with mom? Are you kidding? My husband spent half the mass whispering to her about why taking a picture in our Sunday best was so important to me, and in the end, I told her I already had a Facebook post prepared (“Reagan only wears dresses for weddings, funerals, and Easter mass. And she wonders why I want to take a pic?”), and that was what convinced her to laugh and throw her arm around my shoulder so we could capture such a precious moment forever.

IMG_7196So here we are. I got the picture. This mimosa is damn good. And we’re figuring it all out, one holiday at a time…

Happy Easter, for those who celebrate. And happy life, everyone.

 

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When your kid commits suicide, you spend a lot of time wondering what if…

What if you’d left work early that day?

What if you’d called/texted and asked him to walk the dog?

What if you’d called/texted and asked if he picked his sister up from the bus stop?

What if you’d called/texted and asked what he wanted for dinner?

What if the dog had realized what was going on and barked incessantly?

What if, four months prior, when he’d gotten so angry he shouted, “I wish I was dead!” you’d sent him to counseling, instead of told yourself, “He’s being an angsty teenager. This will pass.”

What if you’d been a better parent?

What if you’d figured out how to be a stay-at-home-mom?

What if you’d kept going after undergrad, so you had a better job and more flexibility, so you could be there for him more frequently? Or less frequently?

What if you’d waited another six months to start trying?

What if you’d only stopped at one?

What if you’d not allowed him to close his bedroom door when you were home?

What if you’d insisted on more frequent family dinners?

What if you’d pushed him harder to join clubs/sports/anything?

What if you’d asked more questions about school/life/friends/anything? What if you’d not given up when he said, “Fine?”

What if you’d let him play “mature” video games sooner? Or later?

What if you’d lived in a different city? Different state?

What if he had different friends?

What if you hadn’t yelled at him that one time four years ago? Or two days prior?

What if you’d encouraged him more often? Or less often?

What if his math grade hadn’t dropped to a B the week before? What if you hadn’t made such a big deal about it when he made all A’s? What if you didn’t make a big enough deal about it?

What if you’d insisted he practice more frequently, so he made first or second chair in jazz band?

What if you were a better athlete growing up, and maybe more likely to pass those genes onto him?

What if you and your husband expressed more affection? Or less?

What if you’d said “I love you” one more time?

What if you’d figured out how to make his sister less annoying (in his eyes)?

What if you had been aware of any possible bullying going on in his school?

What if it had occurred to you to send him to a different school?

What if there had been signs?

What if you didn’t realize there were signs?

And on and on and on and on … This is what suicide victims leave behind. This is what their parents go through every single day, from the moment it happens, for the rest of their lives. This is what their aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins go through every day. This is what every adult who played any sort of role in that kid’s life goes through every day. This is what their friends struggle with, as they try to maneuver through this fucked up life, made a thousand times worse when they lose a comrade in arms.

Every. Single. Day.

For the rest of their lives.

If you think suicide is the answer to your problems, you’re wrong. Those demons in your head aren’t real. We are. And we care. So. Damn. Much.

#dontdoit

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