Christmas Wishes Blog Hop!

Christmas Wishes

Randomly selected winner of free eBook copy of THE P.U.R.E. is:

URB!!

Congratulations! I’m emailing you now to take of the fulfillment. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented!

randomBTSblogHOp***

Welcome to the Christmas Wishes Blog Hop, sponsored by Book and Trailer Showcase (BTS), Coffee Beans and Love Scenes and Full Moon Bites. Many thanks to our sponsors who are offering the following awesome GRAND PRIZES:

Kindle Paperwhite with book bundle

Nook Glow-Light with book bundle

or a $90 giftcard for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Just in time for Christmas, too. Either keep or re-gift. We won’t tell anyone.

To enter for the grand prizes, head over to BTS’s website and enter via the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BUT before you go, I am offering a prize to one lucky commenter (international ok)–

A free ebook copy of my novel, The P.U.R.E.,
a romantic mystery with a healthy dose of humor.

Here’s the blurb:

No one ever said Gayle Lindley’s first job would be a killer.

Fresh out of college, Gayle’s career path should follow the yellow brick road straight to the top. Thanks to a menial errand gone wrong, a wayward tongue, and a randy supervisor who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, Gayle’s stuck in corporate hell.

Discovering a company secret only turns up the heat.

The one part of her life not going down in flames is her friendship with the gorgeous, but intensely private, Jon Cripps. Jon would make the perfect consolation prize for Gayle’s pity party if dating a co-worker wasn’t career suicide. Then again, with all Gayle has been through, maybe falling in love is the lucky break she needs.

Hitting the cool sheets with Jon soothes her mind and body, but it also enrages whoever’s behind the smokescreen she’s uncovered at work. Someone is willing to kill to protect their secrets, and Gayle and Jon are the targets.

With both her heart and livelihood at stake, Gayle’s early career-limiting moves could turn into life-terminating ones.

To enter my giveaway, tell me in the comments below if you’ve ever been in a workplace romance and if so, what happened? (Yeah, I’m nosey.) Please be sure to leave me your email somewhere, either in the comment form or in the body of the email so I can contact you if you win.

Now, hop on over to one of the many other participating blogs in the hop:

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Backroads Errand (Breast Cancer Awareness short story)

This story got pulled from the contest site (at least as far as I could tell because my link went dead and a site search proved unsuccessful) where it won best amateur short two years ago. We were tasked to write a story based on the awesome photograph by Ms. Villenueva below. The piece is still on the other two judges’ sites as far as I can tell, but I’ve never published it on my own.

I thought I’d post it today as sort of a breast cancer awareness PSA because my mother is three-time survivor and I’m due for a mammogram, so it’s on my mind. I’ll just state upfront that this particular story is fictional (thank goodness), though the area and character accents described are very real (with some name changes). My mother’s health is currently fine, I’m very happy to report.

Hushed Recall by Aggie Villenueva
(Click to go to purchase site for the print)

Backroads Errand

“When you see the red wagon wheel on the left side of the road, turn right and you’re there.” My mother’s thin voice had detailed the ten mile route to the only country store that carried her beloved Tastee Cakes. During her better days, she drove herself once a week.

I hadn’t lived in the back woods of North Carolina in over two decades, so I’d taken meticulous notes. Five turns, she’d told me, marked by a graffiti-covered boulder, a burnt trailer, a bait shop named Frosty’s, a volunteer fire station and a red wagon wheel.

After several wrong turns, I pulled into Lou’s Little Store and began my search. I scanned the most logical places, but couldn’t find any Tastee Cakes.

“Can I help you find somethin’, honey?” A blonde wearing foundation a shade too dark called out from behind the counter.

“I’m looking for Tastee Cakes.” I don’t normally ask for help in convenience stores. I shouldn’t have to because it’s supposed to be convenient which is supposed to mean easy to find.

“Sorry, we’re all out.” The woman walked to where I stood and pointed to a rack on my left. “But we got Little Debbie’s right here. They’s just as good.”

“No. I don’t want anything but Tastee Cakes. Are you sure you don’t have any in the back?” I began to gnaw on the inside of my mouth as I considered the consequences of returning empty-handed.

“I’m sure.” She shrugged and returned to her station behind the counter.

“Could you please check?” My breath came faster and my voice rose.

“There’s nowhere to check, honey. What you see is all we got.”

I caught a glimpse of a nearly naked man on the pages of the magazine she flipped. “Do you know any other places near here that sell Tastee Cakes?”

“No. Sorry. I think you should just try the Little Debbie’s. They’re fine.” Another naked man flashed by on a new page.

Hysteria shoved at the edge of my self-control. Between clenched teeth I said, “I don’t want Little Debbie. I want Tastee Cake! My mother used to come here every week for them. She doesn’t eat much these days, but I know she’ll eat one of those.” I choked back the tears that formed. If I hadn’t allowed myself to cry thus far, I’d be damned if I’d do it over a cupcake.

She put down her magazine and looked at me with new interest. “Is your mamma Miz Carolyn Teague?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, well why didn’t you say so? I got Miz Teague’s cakes right here.” She pulled out five packages of chocolate cup cakes and two coffee cakes from a box beneath the counter.

The cellophane wrapped treats caught the light and winked at me. “Oh. Oh, thank you so much.”

“You tell your mamma we’re prayin’ real hard for her.”

I nodded and fished out my wallet. “How much?”

She patted my hand, smiled and shook her head. “We don’t never charge for these.”

I exhaled the breath I hadn’t even realized I’d held and gave her a long teary smile. “Thank you.”

“See you next week?”

“I hope so.”

My mother’s cakes in hand, I began my trip home, making a left at the red wagon wheel.