Author Archives: Mary Jane Morgan

I have a new grandson and I might have trouble finding the time to write! His older sisters are in love with him and so is his Mimi — that would be me! Here is a picture of the snuggle bunny being held by my oldest two granddaughters. My youngest granddaughter comes to town in a few days to see her cousin. Yes, this little fella will definitely be spoiled!!

 

 

lilyandmax maxhome

SHELBY’S GIFT – first scene of book

 

 

Taking a deep breath, Shelby Harrison laid her hand over her bulging stomach, felt the baby’s solid kick, and smiled.

“You’re not doing your panting.” Ben covered her hand with his, grinning when the baby kicked again. “Pretty awesome, isn’t it?”

Shelby nodded, tears momentarily filling her eyes. When she’d agreed to be a surrogate mother for her sister, Debbie, and her husband Ben, she’d never dreamed Debbie wouldn’t be alive to see her baby.

Shelby hoped the baby was a girl, a little girl who looked just like her mom. Shelby swallowed back tears, remembering only too vividly the car accident that had killed Debbie over four months ago.

Thank God Ben had taken an active role in this pregnancy or Shelby didn’t know what she would have done.

The baby kicked again and Shelby was reminded of beginnings, not tragic endings. “The Martin baby is getting too big for her britches.”

“Then you’d better practice your Lamaze techniques so you’ll be prepared to help get her out in a few weeks.” Ben patted her stomach. “Now breathe deep. Let me see that diaphragm move.”

“Breathe deep, the man says.” Shelby shot him a withering look. “I don’t have a diaphragm anymore. I don’t have anything down there but baby. I’m beginning to think I may never even see my feet again.”

Ben looked down at her feet. “You don’t want to see them. They look like blown up latex gloves.”

Shelby grimaced. That’s exactly what they felt like too. She couldn’t believe her life, couldn’t believe she was due to have her sister’s baby in only six weeks. And she certainly couldn’t believe she was about to bring an infant into the world who had no mother, only an aunt whose life was so busy she had no business even owning a parakeet.

Her throat burned with emotion and she fought for control. Her sister was supposed to be here, damn it, helping her through this, being her coach. It was not supposed to be like this.

Shelby sucked in a deep breath and reminded herself why she’d done this.

Debbie hadn’t been able to carry a baby and had begged Shelby to be a surrogate mother so that she and Ben could have a biological child. Shelby had desperately wanted to help her sister and Ben start their family. She’d known it would be a difficult nine months. But she’d been willing to do this for her little sister, the little sister she had always taken care of, had always been so close to they could tell what the other was going to say before the words were out.

The plan had been to carry Debbie and Ben’s baby for them, hand the bundle of joy over to her proud parents, and then get on with her life as an account supervisor with a prestigious advertising agency.

Now everything had changed, and for the first time in her life Shelby felt truly overwhelmed. Suddenly she had to get out of this mommy class. She wasn’t a mother. She was a career woman, a tired-to-the-bone career woman who wanted this over with. She struggled to a sitting position, not quite able to sit up straight. “I need to go. I have to call a client about a meeting tomorrow.”

Ben frowned. “Class isn’t over.”

“It is for me. Now help me up.”

Standing, Ben held out a hand and hoisted her to her swollen and achy feet, then followed her out of the room.

Opening the door for her, he escorted her out into the crisp autumn evening. She lifted her face to the cool breeze and fought back tears for what seemed like the millionth time that day.

Ben rested a hand on her lower back, her achy lower back. “I know this is hard, Shelby. You’ll never know how much you doing this means to me. If I didn’t have my baby to look forward to, I don’t know what I’d do.” Ben swallowed hard several times, obviously fighting his emotions, and gazed out over the parking lot at the bright orange sunset.

He glanced down at her. “Debbie and I wanted a baby for years. You made that possible. Try and remember that these last few difficult weeks.”

“I know,” Shelby said with a sigh. “I’ll be okay. I need to go home and rest.”

A look of concern furrowed his brow. “What can I do to help you?”

Shelby swiped away a tear with the back of her hand. Ben put his arm around her shoulder and she leaned against him for a moment. He was a good man, strong and solid. No wonder Debbie had loved him so deeply. He would be a good daddy. Debbie would have been a terrific mom.

Swallowing back tears, Shelby straightened and patted Ben on the chest. “I’m okay. I’ll be here next week. Same time, same place, bigger tummy, even more swollen feet.”

He chuckled. “We’ll get through this together. Go home and prop up your feet.”

She sighed wearily. “Sounds like a plan. And I’m going to do just that, right after I talk to my client and pound some sense into him. The man wants the most ridiculous logo for his new brochure you’ve ever seen. We’re meeting tomorrow afternoon, so I’m giving him some more options tonight to think about.”

“Promise me as soon as you’re out of your meeting with him tomorrow you’ll go home and rest,” Ben said. “I’ll bring over pizza so you won’t have to do a thing for dinner.”

When she started to protest, he waved her away. “It’s the least I can do. Now go.”

Shelby opened the door to her Camry and scooted in, being careful not to hit her stomach on the steering wheel. Lord, at the rate she was going, she wouldn’t be able to drive the last month of this pregnancy. She’d always kept her five foot, two inch frame in tip-top shape, but no matter how good of shape she was in, there was only so much room for a baby in her small frame.

Groaning, she started the car and headed for home, glad that the day was over except for a phone call, and even more glad that Ben was bringing pizza over tomorrow. It would be a long day with several important meetings and she’d be glad she didn’t have to worry about dinner.

She supposed her assistant, Charles, could handle one of those meetings, but she didn’t want to turn anything more than she had to over to him. He was already breathing down her neck, just waiting to pounce on any loose ends and make her look bad. The tighter rein she kept on him the better, lest he get the idea he could take over her accounts.

She wished she could trust him because she’d never felt so exhausted. The next six weeks were going to be really rough, but she was starting to realize that having this baby and giving her up wouldn’t be a piece of cake either. Even though she kept reminding herself she had never wanted to be a mother, lately she’d been feeling a subtle shifting of emotions.

During the last few weeks, she’d noticed an attachment beginning to unfold with the infant she nourished within. When she prodded on her bulging stomach, she could feel the baby’s tiny feet and bottom as it pressed against her.

She was sure the baby was a girl, even though she and Ben had decided against an ultrasound. Ben wanted to be surprised, said it gave him more to look forward to.

Shelby wondered if the baby would have her and Debbie’s brunette coloring with dark eyes or her dad’s blonde hair and blue eyes. “Oh Debbie,” she murmured, rubbing her tight stomach. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I want you here for your baby’s birth. She needs her mommy. And I need my sister.”

 

First Professional Review of LONG ROAD HOME

LONG ROAD HOME is the first book of my Crystal Springs/Coming Home Series. I was so pleased to get my first professional review today. Thank you Julie’s Book Reviews for this wonderful review!

Brett and Megan are complex characters, facing real world problems, and their love connection with each other is believable, gripping, and complicated. The emotional conflict is well developed and believable-it pulled me in and held me as I rooted for them to succeed by overcoming obstacles. The characters, setting, and dialogue are rich and believable.
The author either did her research or knows her stuff which adds authenticity to her story and makes it very engaging. I enjoyed this book a great deal and was satisfied with the ending. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a story full of twists and turns, sex, mystery, and true love. This book has it all and more! It is like a modern day Romeo and Juliet set on a horse farm.

COMING HOME Blurb, Book 2 in my Crystal Springs Series

Francie turned as Dottie struggled to a sitting position, wincing with pain. “My son’s going to be spittin’ mad,” she said, a look of worry cutting through the pain etched on her face.

“I’m sure he’ll be upset,” Francie said, “but surely not mad. It’s not your fault.”

The woman scowled. “Trust me. He’ll be mad.”

“Oh.” Francie practically bit her tongue to keep her thoughts to herself. The guy sounded like a real peach. Thank God he’d signed the permission note for his daughter to take riding lessons, or this could get ugly real fast. “I’ll call him if you give me his number,” Francie suggested, stroking Dottie’s arm.

Dottie blanched. “Not a good idea. He doesn’t want Chloe riding, especially jumping.”

“He signed his permission,” Francie reminded her. “And accidents happen.” Not that this had ever happened before, thank God.

“He didn’t sign it. I did.” Dottie’s mouth set in a firm line, whether in pain or defiance, or both, Francie wasn’t sure…

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I always knew that Sadie, my 2-year old German Shepherd, was smart enough to think, even reason to a certain degree. We were playing fetch/tug-of-war the other day with two toys. One was a rubber bone and the other was a tug toy. After taking turns retrieving both objects, Sadie took the rubber bone and hid it behind my dining room table, trotted back out looking perfectly innocent, and grabbed her tug toy. We continued playing fetch with the tug toy for quite a while. She certainly got what she wanted!

What has your dog done to show that he/she is smart and can actually think to get what he/she wants?

Fact is Always Stranger Than Fiction…

…and that can really be to a writer’s advantage!

Take the lady who tried to slide down her ex-boyfriend’s chimney naked and got stuck! Yes, you read that right! Twenty three firemen rushed to rescue her. I feel quite confident they jumped on that fire truck and blazed through town — siren wailing, hearts pumping — ready and eager to save the naked damsel in distress!

Once there, they were forced to chisel away the fireplace mantel piece by piece to find the body. The naked body.  Slowly she began to emerge — soot-covered feet first, soot-covered calves next, soot-covered….Well, you get the picture!

What would POSSESS a woman to try and slide down a chimney under ANY circumstances, let alone the chimney of her ex-boyfriend, in the dead of winter, and in the raw?

I’m tucking this away in the corner of my mind for possible use. After all, this was an ex-girlfriend, and ex-girlfriends have a way of showing up in the wrong places and at the worst times and making total fools of themselves, especially if they are naked and a camera crew is waiting to snap their picture!

 

Thoroughbreds versus Quarter Horses

In LONG ROAD HOME, a contemporary romance and the first book of my Crystal Springs/Coming Home Series, you will meet several Thoroughbreds horses and a few Quarter horses. Here in Oklahoma, we’re proud of both! However, it’s the versatile Quarter horse that Oklahoma cowboys chose (and still choose) to ride. After all, Quarter horses are built to be good cutting and reining horses! They are compact horses that can stop and start on a dime and beat just about any horse in a quarter mile race. Thus their name.

The magnificent Thoroughbreds are also loved by many, but for different reasons. Thoroughbreds are bred to run! And run! And run!  They are the perfect horse if you want to compete in not only racing but in hunter/jumper events. Their long legs are good for not just running longer distances, but also jumping. And because of their long legs, they are almost always taller than Quarter horses. While Thoroughbreds are gorgeous animals, those long legs are one of the reasons they are not the best choice for cutting cattle or reining events. Most Thoroughbreds stand at 17 – 19 hands high, while a typical quarter horse is usually 15-16 hands high. This can vary, but you get the drift. Short legs, short fast sprints. Long legs, long races and sailing gracefully over jumps.

LONG ROAD HOME is set around Thoroughbreds, both their racing and also hunter/jumper events. 

Which breed is your favorite, Quarter horse or Thoroughbred?

COMING HOME (Book 2 in my CRYSTAL SPRINGS series.

For those of you who have read my first book in this series, LONG ROAD HOME, here is a blurb about the second book, COMING HOME, due out at the end of December.

COMING HOME

When Francie Bennett’s father is diagnosed with dementia and she discovers she’s pregnant by her cheating ex-boyfriend, she leaves college to help take care of her ailing father and have her baby.

Matt Richardson lost his father and wife to preventable accidents and will do whatever it takes to keep his daughter safe, even forbidding her life’s passion — riding horses. When his mother sneaks Chloe to a riding lesson, Matt feels like he’s lost control, and there’s nothing he hates worse.

Eventually, Matt gives in and allows Chloe to take riding lessons but only under one condition: he’s always there. Unfortunately, nothing has ever affected his feeling of being out of control worse than falling for the fiery, red-haired riding instructor whose life revolves around horses.

As her father worsens and her due date nears, Francie is determined to prove she can handle everything by herself, even if that means keeping the man she cares about at a distance. But when Francie’s life takes a dangerous turn, will she let Matt in and allow him to help her? And will the power of love be strong enough for Matt to finally overcome his deepest fears?

lilyandbellabackside

I love this picture of my two youngest granddaughters — Lily holding Bella’s hand. I think Lily is really liking that she’s not the youngest for once! Bella absolutely ate up all this attention from her older cousin. Such a sweet (and a tad sassy with those tutus) feeling to this picture, don’t you think?

Life seasons…

Fall is in full swing. Here in Oklahoma we should see our peak time in about a week or so. As tree leaves change to brilliant reds, yellows and oranges, the hummingbirds know it’s time for their long migration across the ocean, butterflies are flitting around our fall flowers taking in life-giving food for their migration, and squirrels are burying nuts in a frenzy of activity.

And while fall marks the end of summer, it also marks the beginning of winter. The whole world sees spring as a new beginning, but fall has its own beginning. Every season of life has a beginning and an ending. We all know how difficult it is to see the closure of a relationship as a new beginning, even the closure of life itself as a new beginning, but if we can be still and breathe in love, allowing that love to flow through us, the blessings this life has to teach us will flow in and through us and guide us to our new beginning.

For me, that’s what life is – seasons, one after another, surrounding us, filling us, and allowing us to embrace a newer depth of understanding ourselves and the lessons we are here to learn.

Mary Jane