Thank you, Brenda, for having me as a guest for “Fearless Friday”. I signed up to be a guest on your blog thinking, ‛I’ve done some pretty brave things’, and I have. I’ve bungee jumped and lived to tell about it. I stood in front of my graduating class and gave the valedictorian speech. I’ve even performed in front of crowds playing an accordion. Those were all scary at the time, but I didn’t wonder later how I managed to accomplish them. Looking back, I had been nervous, yes—but not fearful.
After searching in all the dark corners for the bravest thing I’ve done, I would have to choose the point where I took up the reins of my life and said, “This isn’t working—things need to change.” Walking away from a broken marriage with two kids in tow wasn’t brave, it was self preservation. The fearless part came later. It came when I realized I couldn’t raise my kids on minimum wage and minimum child support. That the only chance I had to become independent would be to move away from family and friends and begin a new life in Texas.
After the move, I cleaned house and cooked to pay room and board while I went to school. But there were other expenses, so I worked part time drafting to make ends meet. Eventually, I graduated with an Associates Degree in Computerized Architectural Drafting and Design (CADD). I found a good job, saved my money, and after four years of sleeping on a friend’s couch, my children and I moved into a home of our own.
I bought a magnet when I first came to Texas that said, “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” I put it on the refrigerator as a reminder that I couldn’t go back. Moving forward was my only option. I’ve been in Texas for twenty years now, and I realize those first four years away from friends and family were the most terrifying and lonely years of my life. Somehow, I moved through them as though I was fearless. One foot in front of another. One day at a time.
Eventually, life took another turn and I found I had the opportunity to chase an old dream – to publish the stories I kept locked in my heart. This latest adventure has just begun, and I hope I can face this challenge as fearlessly as I faced my struggle to bloom in Texas.
Passage - blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.
A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.
Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.
Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
“Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
“Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
“Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
“I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.
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