Wood and metal groaned overhead as the opening in the roof of the vintage camp trailer widened, allowing in a sliver of light. Alex slowed the saw, careful not to buckle or splinter the wood. Katherine shifted her weight to the other foot, sweating profusely in the hot trailer, standing toe-to-toe with Alex. Noonday sun glinted off the edges of the silver roof, nearly blinding them both as the opening for an air-conditioning unit grew in size.
Katherine’s eyes narrowed as she watched the saw vibrate in Alex’s hands. No matter how hard she tried to focus on the growing hole in the ceiling, those hands, so familiar yet changed, drew her in and she couldn’t look away. Then again, she was afraid if she took her eyes off his hands for one second, she’d be transfixed by his upper arms, flexing and tense, working to control the saw as it cut through the roof of the trailer.
She wiped her forehead with her shoulder. The man was handsome as sin, she had to admit, but he was also a mystery, and that felt strange since she’d once identified with him more so than anyone else on the planet. She’d been intimate with the teen-age Alex on multiple levels, yet she hardly knew the man he’d become.
Fate had been unkind, throwing them back together, but it couldn’t be helped. Katie was eyeball deep in this RV park project, and she knew she needed Alex’s help, but it was a bitter pill to swallow, considering their past.
Holding the roof panel so it didn’t twist as the opening neared completion, Katherine gritted her teeth and squinted behind her safety glasses as sweat rolled down the middle of her back. Any second now the pieces of roof metal and wood would give way.
How this whole working together thing could continue, she had no idea. Was she going to keep watching Alex, waiting for him to give in to the sexual tension sizzling between them? Because if that was the case, she just might implode. Or would she simply get it over with and throw herself at him? Finally just appease her tormented hormones, come what may?
With a groan of bending steel and a splintering crack of wood, the roof panel came loose. Katherine gripped it over her head in her gloved hands, careful not to cut herself, as Alex set aside the saw to help her lower the raw edged square of roof into the small trailer. With a sigh of relief, the couple made eye contact, sending sensual sparks flying.
Maybe Alex would get tired of working on the trailers, Katherine worried, watching his jaw clench. He must be sick of her worrying and obsessing over details, not to mention the unrelenting heat. She knew she could be cantankerous when she was overheated and stressed out. On the other hand, he wasn’t Mister Congeniality these days either. He’d much rather smart-off when things got serious, rather than have an actual conversation. Was it fair to expect her to forget what he’d done, just pretend it had all never happened? He’d been the one to dump her, after all.
Hometown Girl Again
COMING JUNE 2018
I'm sure many of you busy readers use a planner to stay organized, especially since there are so many fun and easy options available right now. Allow me to introduce Melissa at Dorky Doodles. She's our guest blogger this week, and she's going to tell us about how she uses printable planner stickers. Included in her post is a link to BOHO-CHIC PLANNER STICKERS! Take it away Melissa...
This particular sheet of stickers works best in a mini-sized planner. All the stickers are smaller and fit great on little pages. I like the mini Happy Planner from Me and My Big Ideas , but they’ll would work in any smaller planner.
Set your printer to photo settings but make sure you choose “matte” as your paper choice (it prints differently for glossy paper). Then all you need to do is make sure the paper is facing the right direction in the paper tray and hit print! So easy, right?
But my absolute favorite part about cutting out planner stickers is that I can tell my kids that I’m “very busy”, then watch one of my favorite shows while I cut, and it’s not like I’m technically lying. It’s great!
Now that all your stickers are cut out, you’re ready to use them in your planner. Use as many as you want because you can always print and cut another sheet! You can store the leftover stickers in a small container to use later. And since the stickers are individually cut you’ll never have to worry about storing a huge, but mostly empty sheet, because all those in-between bits are in the garbage where they belong!
I love writing fiction, but let’s face it, sometimes reality is far more interesting. My mother always says “Truth is stranger than fiction”, and I wholeheartedly agree!
Most of you know I live in a forty-foot travel trailer with my husband and dog. If you follow my Instagram posts, it would appear as if we load our lives into the RV, pull up stakes, then roll out of town and into a blazing sunset. But allow me to fill in a few of the blanks. Below is the reality of just one leg of one journey.
First of all we decided to get a new trailer hitch to pull the fifth wheel. According to Youtube, installation is a one-man job, and takes ninety minutes. Let’s just say it took us two days, and leave it at that.
We always plan to load up one day and leave the next morning, mostly because it always takes an entire day to get ready to pull out. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a bunch of stuff we don’t use and I hate trying to pack things we will need within an hour, but whatever the reason, getting ready to leave takes time. We tend to live in one place for at least a few months before moving on, so when we get ready to leave we get prescriptions filled, fill the propane tanks, take apart and pack up the patio, do laundry, clean out the fridge, organize the underneath storage, sweep off the slides (which doesn’t stop a ton of dirt from falling into the trailer) and make sure everything in the cupboards is able to withstand an earthquake without falling out, popping open, or crashing down.
So as per the plan, the day before departure, we took the vehicles in to top off the tanks and check them over. Surprisingly, on the way to do this, the Fuel pump went out on the truck! It’s not like it has to pull the house or anything, but yes, there was some panic involved. Luckily it was nothing that finding a good mechanic and driving three hours to get the part couldn’t fix. We simply moved our schedule back half a day, and took it in stride.
The next morning as we waited for the mechanic to finish up, we hit a slight snag when the top of one of the slides got stuck and wouldn’t slide in, but Steve climbed up into the tree next to the trailer and shoved it with his foot while I pushed the button, and it complied and glided inside. Now the only problem was Steve left standing six feet up in a tree, but he doesn’t want me to talk about that part, so I’ll move on. Even with truck trouble and all, we still managed to be hooked up and ready to roll by five PM on the planned departure day. Yay for us!
We hit the open road in good spirits, but a few hours out we hit a problem, which was minimal, but frightening. A long tale on one of the tie down holding the Polaris Ace on the trailer behind my car, came out and flapped down the road behind me like a ten foot tail. Since it was already dark at this point, I couldn’t see it, but believe me, I felt the yank when I ran over said tail with the trailer. It took some hazard lights and going forty miles an hour on the freeway, as well as a few more violent tugs on the trailer as I ran over it again and again, before we limped into a rest area and retied the dang thing. I may have been a little shaken up, but I think by this time, considering it was well past ten PM, stress and exhaustion could have been as much to blame for my state of mind.
I’m happy to report that we made it to our KOA destination at eleven o’clock sharp, and the slides opened with ease. The furnace purred to life, and our bed never felt so sweet. It’s always strange to me to drive for hours yet sleep at home.
The next morning Steve had to replace a hose on one of the airbags on the back of the truck (they keep the trailer from jerking the truck around) but he fixed that after only two hours laying in the gravel under the truck in frigid twenty degree wind, because he’s amazingly handy and I love him.
All went well on the road until we arrived in lovely Monongah, West Virginia, (pronounced mon-on’-ga) where we had a spot reserved, or so I thought, in a small RV park on top of a grassy hill. When we called for directions, because believe me, you need directions to find Monongah, we were told that they were over booked but they’d be happy to set us up in one of the their overflow spots in “town”.
I don’t know anyone who considers Monongah much of a town, first of all, but long story short, in the country, don’t ever have high hopes for anything called an over flow spot. I’d like to say that the hair-raising trip down the impossibly narrow and winding mountain roads with a giant trailer in tow was the scariest part. I’d also like to say that our disappointment with the camp site, which was actually a construction company storage yard with a plug in and sewer connection in one corner, was the worst part. I’d even like to say that parking directly behind a fire station seemed like the worst idea. (This was confirmed when the sirens went off at 2 AM) But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that backing the trailer up and over the uneven hump and into the parking spot was by far the most horrifying part of the day.
I’m no engineer, but any onlooker would have paled at the angle the truck and hitch were to the trailer, at one point. Once the trailer was settled onto the level concrete, however, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until I stepped inside, that is. The lurch the trailer sustained as we backed into the parking spot had tipped over the fridge, and it lay tilted at a forty degree angle, on the end of the dining table, with food spilled and smashed all over the floor.
At this point, I could only curse and hold the top of my head in place with both hands, but Steve quickly picked his way through the food and righted the fridge, which luckily was no worse for wear. (I may have been the one who forgot to latch it in, but I won’t admit it, and I won’t forget again.) We had to level the trailer and put out the slides before I could do much clean up. As a side note, Bingo was very unhappy that the pickle jar had ended up in his food dish.
After the mechanic debacle the day before, the five hour drive that morning, and the nerve-wracking arrival, I was admittedly in a stress coma as I cleaned up broken jars of salsa, smeared containers of humus, bags of shredded cheese, cans of soda, cartons of milk, and both the drawers of produce, but I couldn’t help but wonder where the rest of the food that had filled our residential size fridge, had gone. I clearly remembered a carton of raspberries, a dozen eggs, a package of hamburger, and other assorted food that had been in the fridge that morning. Where on earth had it gone?
I looked under the couches and behind the table, in the pantry and washer/dryer closet, but I couldn’t find the food. I had finally decided, after an hour of clean-up, that I had completely lost my mind, when I opened the large freezer drawer to get some ice cubes for my orchids, and there was the missing food! As the fridge had tipped, the freezer drawer must have rolled opened first, catching half the food as it slid out of the fridge above, but then was pushed closed again as the fridge finished it’s decent onto the end of the dining table. The carton of eggs had even been kind enough to fall directly into the ice cube bin, allowing me to dump the whole thing into the sink for a semi-painless clean up. (Note, frozen egg yolks don’t easily wash off)
So to wrap up, though I feel very lucky to have the wonderful life I lead with the ones I love, when you see lovely photos of folks flying down the road with their homes in tow, looking so carefree and happy, picture their sleep interrupted by fire sirens, their dishes wrapped and packed away, their flowers pots and picture frames wrapped in towels and tucked safely in the kitchen sink, and their fridges holding on for dear life.
International Women’s Day, March 8, is a day to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness, and to highlight gender parity gains. Parity is defined as: Equality, the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay. International Women’s Day is a celebration of how far we’ve come, as well as a chance to improve our situation.
Love on the Line, my fourth novel, is the story of a women’s struggle to find balance and equality in a career where women are rare; where her size and even her appearance, can derail what she hopes to achieve.
Andrea is fresh out of college, from a small town, and has never been away from home. Her estranged grandfather, Buck, offers her a job as his assistant engineer building a pipeline, and she jumps at the chance to try something different. But there’s more to the story. A long-standing rift has divided her family, and Andy is anxious to find out more about her grandfather and his job, without alienating her mother. She also doesn’t expect to be attracted to a coworker.
Our story as women isn’t about just our career choices, but also about being accepted, and balancing our work, our family, and our relationships. In the book, Andy, encounters plenty of resistance, but she also finds a way to contribute her unique point of view and keep a sense of her femininity, while becoming an accepted and valuable member of the team.
It’s fairly easy to find things we want to accomplish in this life, but being a woman throws us a different set of challenges, be that finding a bathroom, being smaller in stature, or even being denied positions of influence. So how do we cope, while still making progress toward our goals? We keep working at it! We offer our unique perspective and give a hand up to other women. We speak up and we participate, no matter who thinks we should not.
I hope on March 8th you celebrate the achievements of women world wide, as well as the women in your life. Take this day to see us ladies as a vital force in the universe, continually moving forward. Celebrate our unique abilities, and speak up and be heard!
And don’t forget to read Love on the line. :)
Leaning into the electric drill, Katherine watched as the screw unwound from the corroded metal trim edging the vintage camp trailer. She stopped just short of the screw dropping, to expertly slip one hand under the drill. The screw fell into her palm and she reached to open her hand over the plastic yogurt container on the rolling cart, then turned her attention to the next screw in the long row.
Burt wiped his hands on a rag and shuffled across the garage. “That trim is more delicate than it looks,” he said. “I don’t like to let it sag while I work.”
Another screw dropped into the container and Katie straightened, leaning back to survey her work. “Makes sense,” she muttered, unable to keep from cringing at the million screws left in trim of the 1954 Anderson trailer. Even though she was catching on quickly, she’d likely still spend most of the day simply removing trim. Burt had explained that this was the first step of removing the outer skin of the camper, and it had to be done.
Three days ago when they started, she’d been shocked to learn they would be stripping her newly purchased camper down to the wood studs. Somehow the word restore didn’t seem like it should mean completely disassemble.
She dropped another screw into the yogurt cup, determined to pick up her pace. The more Burt told her about trailer restoration, the more she wanted to get on to the next step.
Puffing out a long breath, Katie wiped her forehead once more. “Half the joy is in the ride,” her mother used to say. “Slow down, don’t just focus on the finish line or you'll miss everything along the way.”
With a frown she leaned into the drill once again. Her mother was gone, and the work needed to be complete so she could get this camper down the road. Her new glamping park wasn’t going to build itself.
Hometown Girl Again- COMING SUMMER 2018!
“That looks good to me,” Bobby said, tilting his head to one side. His breath wafted around him then was wisped away in the stiff breeze.
Chad pulled the rope tighter across the truck bed, wondering if he should make another pass across the Christmas tree for good measure.
“Seriously, I’m ready to go, it’s cold,” Bobby continued with his teeth chattering. “We’ve been out here for hours.”
Stepping back to survey his tie-down job, Chad scoffed. “It has not been hours.”
Bobby pushed up his thick glasses with the knuckle of his red index finger, offering only a sniff in response.
Chad decided the nine-foot tree was secure, so he motioned for Bobby to get in the pickup. Julia would be pleased that he’d found a nice tall, full Christmas tree.
Soon the truck was heading down the dirt road of the Christmas tree farm toward the highway. Chad glanced toward the little man in the passenger seat. “Are you warming up?”
Bobby shrugged and shifted in his seat, holding his fingers out to the heater vent.
Chad arched one brow and glanced both ways before pulling onto the highway. Bobby had been antsy all morning, something was up. “Who put a burr under your saddle?” he asked.
“A burr?” Bobby asked, scrunching his nose.
Chad shook his head, resigned to let Bobby be Bobby.
Finally the truck pulled up in front of the restored Victorian home that Chad and Julia called home. The passenger door flew open and Bobby jumped out almost before the truck came to a full stop.
“Slow down Bobby!” Chad hollered, concerned about the little man. But Bobby was already around the back of the truck untying the ropes holding the Christmas tree. By the time Chad put the truck in park and caught up, the ropes were a tangle of knots.
“What the—” Chad started, but he knew better than to expect an answer from Bobby. Pulling a deep breath in through his nose then blowing it out his mouth, he worked to remain calm. Bobby was definitely in fine form. Ready to try again, he took the tangled rope from Bobby. “Go on inside and see if Julia is ready for the tree.”
“Okay!” Bobby cheered, then sprinted across the snow-covered lawn, leaving deep boot prints behind him. With a clatter he was across the porch and through the door, dropping the gingerbread-trimmed screen behind him with a bang. “Miss Julia…” his voice rang from the house.
About the time Chad got the rope untangled and the tree freed, Bobby was back.
“She’s ready,” he wheezed, holding one hand to his chest as he gasped. His breath puffed around them like a cloud.
Chad opened the tailgate and motioned for Bobby to get the top of the tree, then he gave the trunk a good hard tug.
Misunderstanding Chad’s instruction, Bobby ran behind him to the other side of the truck bed, completely missing the top of the tree as it slid off the tailgate and onto the ground.
The jolt of the tree dropping to the driveway caused Chad to jerk to a stop and nearly drop the trunk end. “Bobby!” he bellowed.
“I got it, I got it,” Bobby cried, bending down, but he couldn’t seem to find a good handhold on the prickly tree.
Chad glanced over his shoulder, working to keep a hold of the weighty trunk. “What are you doing back there?”
Flustered, Bobby finally tugged the tree up from the driveway and tucked it under his arm. Wanting to make up for lost time, he hurried across the yard, passing Chad in the process, pivoting them to face the wrong direction.
“Bobby!” Chad thundered, clomping a hole in the snow as he spun, grunting and grappling with the tree truck.
“Sorry,” Bobby called, continuing his momentum to run a full circle around Chad until the older man was once again in the lead and they faced the house.
When they reached the porch, Chad paused to heft the tree up and head up the steps, but Bobby didn’t stop. Shoved from behind, Chad fumbled up the steps, barely managing to keep his footing and carry the tree. “Bobby, stop!” he thundered, bringing the other man to a stop just before the tree trunk rammed through the screen door. “What is the matter with you?” Chad shouted over his shoulder as Julia hurried to open the screen door.
“I’m cold,” Bobby grumbled, dancing from one foot to the other. “Let’s get this thing inside!”
Chad glance d at Julia and rolled his eyes, then gave the tree a solid tug to fit the fat bottom branches through the doorway. Bobby rushed in behind him like a caboose, and Julia closed the door.
Julia pointed toward one corner of the living room turned flower shop. “I have the spot all ready.”
Before Chad could take a step, Bobby rushed forward, causing the men to drag the tree over the back of the sofa.
Julia worked to cover her grin as boots shuffled on the hardwood floor and the men grunted and cussed, wrestling the tree back into position. In the corner, Chad bent to place the trunk of the tree into the stand Julia had prepared. Grunting and straining under the tree, he tightened the screws. "How does it look, is it straight?" his muffled voice called, and only his rear end showing under the branches.
The second the evergreen was upright, Bobby turned to Julia. “Can we have those cookies and hot chocolate now, Miss Julia?”
Julia grinned. “Sure, come on into the kitchen.”
Bobby let go of the tree and hurried toward the kitchen, gabbing excited to Julia about finding the tree.
“Bobby? Julia?" Chad called from under the tree…
Gloria pulled up behind the house and puffed out a long breath. Her shift at the spa had been a busy one and her feet ached like the dickens. Tugging her keys from the ignition, she shook her head, remembering Beatrice’s visit that afternoon. Lizzie’s mother had a way of dominating the scene.
As she stepped out into the chilly November evening, Gloria chuckled at the thought of Beatrice marching into the spa like a bomb hitting its target. The woman had the tact of a steamroller.
A gust of wind whipped a lock of curly red hair into Gloria’s face, making her shrug deeper into her coat and pick up her pace toward the house. No sleeping dogs obscured the back step tonight, she noted. Fergus must have let them in to sleep in the mudroom. “What a softy,” she murmured, shaking her head.
Cautiously she stepped in, navigated past the sleeping dogs, and closed the back door, keeping the creeks to a minimum. Tiptoeing, she headed through the living room and quietly opened her bedroom door. Snoring sounds came from her Grandfather's room across the hall, so she relaxed, relieved that she'd not disturbed his sleep.
In her room, she shook off her coat, then used one toe to pry the other heel from her winter boots. Dropping onto the end of her bed she huffed out another long sigh as she watched her stocking-clad toes wiggle, enjoying freedom from the heavy boots.
It was guilt-free crafting in her mind, because she needed a planner. It was practical. Unlike her card making, which had to be vigilantly controlled or the time and funds spent went wild.
She flopped back onto the bed to stare up at the cracked ceiling. Christmas was starting to pop up everywhere, like flowers in the spring. Soon the community would be eyeball deep in decorations and holiday activities. She loved Christmas and normally looked forward to the hubbub and chaos, but this year…
See more about the upcoming pageant craziness, along with a whole new Hometown Series romance in the novel Christmas in Smithville, coming soon to Amazon.
Lizzie opened one eye. Sure enough, faint morning light glowed behind the bedroom curtains. Careful not to wake Elliot, she stretched under the covers, dreading the cold outside her cozy bed. Too bad the farm animals didn’t understand weekends, she reasoned, she could use another hour of sleep.
Tentatively she reached one foot out from under the covers. Cold air raced up her ankle causing her to wince. Elliot snorted in his sleep and adjusted his pillow, and it took all Lizzie’s will power not cuddle up to his big warm back and go back to sleep.
Finally she sighed and counted to three, then jumped out of bed, danced across the cold floor, and raced to tug on her jeans. Moving as quickly as she could, she pulled a sweatshirt over her head and opened the door to head downstairs. She loved her old house, but winter mornings were definitely chilly.
In a daze, she started coffee in the old percolator, and once it was bubbling on the stove, she plopped down on the bench in the mudroom. Outside would be even more cold than upstairs, and she took in a deep breath, trying to collect strength to face the day.
The ancient sagging door creaked open, dropping a shaft of light into the barn. Ingrid, the favorite of her two alpaca’s, lifted her head and hummed good morning.
“It may be cold,” she mumbled as she reached for the pitchfork, “…but this is still my favorite way to start the day.”
One wheel of Tara’s cart at the craft store knocked rhythmically, thump, thump, thump, causing Isabelle to giggle and clap her chubby hands.
Tara shook her head. “Oh yes, this is great fun, isn’t it?” The baby grinned, showing her two new bottom teeth.
Ignoring the clanking wheel, Tara turned down the Christmas isle. Now that it was November she was on the lookout for decorating ideas. Filling the Bed and Breakfast Inn with cozy Christmas items was a favorite chore, and the endless options on the shelves made her pulse race.
She reached out to touch a plastic flocked pine bow. There had to be fifty to chose from, not an easy task. Finally she tugged a few from the basket, taking her time to separate them, careful not to knock any more glitter than necessary on the floor.
“Is that a no?” Tara chuckled. The baby fussed and arched her back, pushing at the cart handle. Tara put the decorations in her cart and turned to head toward the check out. “Okay, okay, I know you’re tired of this,” she soothed. “But someday you’ll love shopping here, I promise.”