Saturday, April 15, 2017

First Chapter of Timeless Bond

Wow! The Timeless Hearts Series is moving right along! As you may know, I've teamed up with three other authors for this series, with each author writing a minimum of three books. The series as a whole revolves around the fictional town of Heartsbridge, Texas, and two women with magical watches that send people through time to meet their heart's true match. Each book in the series is a standalone, but some authors (including me) have created their own mini-series within the series with their characters. 
Tomorrow we release Book 7, Timeless Hero, and I've just completed my second contribution to the series, Timeless Bond, which comes out on April 30th! 

The series is currently only available on Amazon, but once each book's 90-day exclusive obligation is over, it is my understanding that each author will publish their books wide. (Barnes&Noble, iBooks, etc) That means the first book should be rolling out at other retailers around the middle of May. 

Today, I've got the first chapter to Timeless Bond for you. Enjoy! 

"She gave up on herself, but he’s not going to give up on her."

Chapter One

“I’m going to do this, and no one is going to stop me or talk me out of it.”
Amber Milligan paced the slick faux-wood floor in the living room of her tiny apartment, holding her cell phone to her head. She could almost glide across the floor in her fuzzy socks. Her other hand trembled as she stuck the end of a cigarette in her mouth and took a long drag.
“Have you completely lost your mind, Amber?”
Her cousin, Ashley, screeched in a raised voice through the speaker of the phone.
“I’ve had enough. There’s nothing anyone can do for me. I’m not exactly sure yet when and how, but I thought you should know, since you’re family. I was hoping I could count on you to help me figure it out.”
Amber exhaled, then took another quick drag before squashing the cigarette butt next to the half-eaten sandwich on the plate that sat on the coffee table.
“Are you smoking something? Don’t lie to me that you’re not. I can hear it in the way you’re breathing. I’ve warned you before, those things will kill you.”
Amber laughed. “Like it’s going to make a difference in the end.”
On the other end of the line, Ashley huffed. “You’re right about one thing, Amber. I’m family, not to mention your best friend, and that is exactly why you are out of your mind if you think I’m going to support you in this cockamamy idea. I understand things are rough, but there’s got to be a different solution.”
Amber stared up at the ceiling, her eyes stinging from the second-hand smoke that hovered in the air. She blinked away the burning feeling and sniffled. Why couldn’t anyone understand?
Maybe it had been a stupid idea to confide in her cousin what she’d planned to do. It was probably better if no one knew. Truth be told, though, she was scared, and she’d wanted to tell someone. Clearly, telling Ashley had been a mistake.
“Amber, don’t do anything impulsive. Do you want me to come to Texas? We can talk and have girls’ night, like we used to.” A slight laugh came from the phone. “If you want, I’ll invite my friend, Morgan, too. I know you and she got along really well before.”
Amber nodded. She hugged her arm around her waist and continued pacing the room.
“Sorry. Yeah, I heard you.”
She reached for her pack of cigarettes on the table, glanced at it, then tossed it aside. Maybe later she’d smoke the entire pack. Right now, she’d only get another scolding from Ashley about the dangers of smoking. She squeezed her eyes shut and laughed silently.
“What happened with that guy you were seeing, Chris?”
Amber opened her eyes at the unexpected question. She clenched the phone in her hand, pressing it against her ear.
“It didn’t work out.” No need to go into detail. 
“You said you really liked him.” Clearly, Ashley was trying to change the subject and divert her away from the reason for the phone call.
Amber ran her hand under her nose. “Yeah, well, some things just aren’t meant to be. Especially not for me. I certainly can’t have a long-term relationship with a guy, now can I?”
“Did you tell him?” Obviously, Ashley was ignoring the last remark.
Amber paused. “No, I never told anyone, other than you.”
After a slight pause, Ashley continued in her enthusiastic voice, “Well, if you really like this guy, maybe you should tell him. Maybe you two could get back together.”
Amber shook her head. She held her free hand up in front of her face, rotating it to study her trembling fingers without really seeing them.
“It’s really not fair to him, is it? Even if he does know. Either way, it’s too late for that. He’s moved on.”
“How do you know?”
Amber shook her head. Ashley was always so optimistic.
“The last time I saw him was a few weeks ago. He showed up out of the blue to tell me he’d moved on, that he’d met someone and he was going to a better place.” She laughed, a dry, sarcastic laugh. “Sounds like what I want to do, too.”
Despite all her efforts, the tears began to fall. She squeezed her trembling lips together, as well as her eyes. “I wish I had been honest with him, of all people. He really was a good guy.”
“Amber, you need someone like that in your life. It can make a world of difference.”
Amber scoffed. “Not in my case. Besides, I messed up too many times. It’s too late for me.”
“Stop talking like that.” Ashley’s voice rose. She was getting agitated. Good thing she was hundreds of miles away in California. “It’s never too late. What exactly happened between you two?”
Amber shrugged. It really wasn’t important. Her only regret was that she hadn’t been honest with Chris.
“I didn’t talk to him at all after we broke up.” She laughed softly. “Actually, I’m the one who broke it off. To this day, I’m surprised he didn’t break up with me first. I was horrible to him.”
She cleared her throat, which had developed a painful lump, making talking difficult. She swallowed before she continued. “When I told him I didn’t want to be together anymore, I asked him to come and pick me up from a party later that day. On the way there, he was in an accident. His friend, who was driving, got killed.”
A soft gasp came from the speaker. Amber didn’t wait for a comment from Ashley.
“Chris pretty much fell off everyone’s radar after that. He was in the hospital for a while, then in rehab, and he refused to see anyone, especially me.  Then he showed up out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, saying he forgave me for everything, and to have a good life. He disappeared after that.”
“And now you’re trying to find him? Why would you do that unless you think you want to get back together with him?” The hopeful tone in Ashley’s voice was unmistakable.
Amber laughed. “No. You’re the one who brought him up, remember?” She ran her hand through her hair, pushing the strands out of her face. She’d recently gone from having black hair to dying it a coppery color, and she’d cut half the length off. No use having all that hair, anyway.
“I want to disappear, like Chris. He sounded weird, like he knew he’d never be coming back. He was happy and upbeat, not like the angry guy he was weeks after the accident.”
Amber heaved a sigh, then stared up at the ceiling again. 
“How’s your friend, Morgan? She had a baby a few years ago, didn’t she?”
There was a silent pause on the other end. Amber held her breath. Would Ashley go along with her and change the subject, or would she insist on talking her out of her plans?
“Morgan is doing great. Her son, Logan, is almost three years old now. She’s happily married and living on a horse ranch in Montana. Can you believe it?”
Amber sighed. “Chris is originally from Montana, too.”
Ashley giggled, which sounded more like a cover-up for thinking she’d said the wrong thing. Ashley was clearly under the impression that she hadn’t gotten over the break-up. While Chris had been a great guy, and she’d messed up big-time, it was better that they’d gone their separate ways.
It wouldn’t have been fair to him if they had stayed together. She should have never gotten involved with him in the first place. There was only one thing she regretted where he was concerned.
“Those Montana cowboys sure are the best.” Ashley’s cheerful voice blared through the phone. “One of these days, I’m going to find myself one like that.” She laughed. “Although, Gabe was a bit strange at first. He kept joking with Morgan that he was from the nineteenth century.” She giggled. “More than likely his brain cooked a little too long in the desert heat.”
Amber’s eyes opened. Her forehead scrunched. “The nineteenth century? Sure does sound crazy.  Does he think he time traveled?”
She frowned. Chris had said something rather odd to her the day he’d told her he’d forgiven her.
“Chris said something weird to me, too, that he was going to a different time and place. It must be a Montana thing to say when they want to be left alone.”
Ashley sighed dramatically. “Gabe was the real deal. A genuine cowboy in every way… well, except that he was nuts and talked about time travel.”
“And Morgan trusted him?” Maybe he’d seemed safer than her previous relationships. Ashley had told her years ago that Morgan had been in an abusive relationship with her son’s father.
“She trusted him enough to marry him. She really likes that he’s old-fashioned in the way he acts and thinks. Truthfully, it’s really very appealing. Not like some of the guys I’ve gone out with over the years. It turned out that he owns a huge ranch in Montana. They’re both madly in love with each other.”
“Well, I guess fairy tales are real, then,” Amber mumbled. “As long as he doesn’t decide to time travel again and go back to where he came from.”
Ashley laughed, obviously recognizing the sarcasm. “If he does, I’ve already told him and Morgan that he needs to send one of his friends my way.”
There was a long pause, then she said, “Amber, I’m going to book a flight out to Texas. We need to talk face-to-face. I don’t like talking on the phone like this. You’re really scaring me with what you said earlier. Promise me you won’t do anything impulsive.”
Amber scrunched her face. Why had she even opened her big mouth at all? She should have simply carried out her plans quietly, without dragging anyone with her.
“I’d like to see you, too, Ashley. Then I can explain everything better, and I hope you’ll be my friend and support me. In the meantime, I’m going to see if I can find out where Chris went. I think it’s important for him to know the truth.”
“Okay.” Ashley sounded hesitant. “I’m running late for work, but I will call you later when my shift ends, all right?”
Amber nodded.
“All right?” Ashley repeated, a bit more forcefully.
“Yes, all right.”
“Hang in there. It’s going to all work out, you’ll see.”
Amber ended the call. She fell back against the couch and raised her eyes to the ceiling, staring into nothing. She ran her hand under her eyes and blinked away the new threat of tears. She couldn’t go on like this. Each day was worse than the one before.
 “I just came from a little town in the middle of nowhere called Heartsbridge. I need to get back there, but first, I wanted to tell you I’ve moved on. No hard feelings. We all make mistakes, but it’s time to forget about the past and move forward. I’ve made a choice for a positive change in my life, and I hope you will, too.”
Chris’s words echoed in her mind.
“If only you knew, Chris. I can’t move forward. I’m glad you did, though, and found happiness.”
Amber clutched her phone in her hand, then raised it to look at the screen. She wasn’t going to wait for Ashley. It would be several days at the earliest before her cousin would even get here. Besides, she’d only try to talk her out of her plans. She’d already made up her mind, and no one and nothing was going to change it.
It was time to carry out her plans, no matter how scary it sounded. She wasn’t going to waste away in this college town with nothing to do while she waited. In the end, it really wouldn’t matter, but there was some unfinished business to take care of first.
Amber tapped the button on her GPS app, and typed in the word Heartsbridge.

© Peggy L Henderson 2017

This text may not be copied or shared without permission

If you missed my first book in the series, Timeless Healing, you can get it on AMAZON

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring into Romance!

Spring into Romance with these FREE or $0.99 books from twelve romance authors of various genres!

1)   Marilyn Vix
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Everything For Love (Time Rogues Series #1) ($0.99)

2)   Jana Janeway
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Mengliad (The Mengliad Series Book 1) ($0.99)

3)   Helen Christian
Genre: Paranormal Romance
The Late Shift
Collection of PNR stories from Multiple Authors
 (FREE) with newsletter sign-up

4)   Jessa Chase
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Heart, My Home (FREE)

5)   Cindy Baker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
We Can Laugh Together Too ($0.99)

6)   D. N. Hoxa
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Heartbeat (Morta Fox Book 1) ($0.99)

7)   Jessie G. Talbot
The Kid’s Table ($0.99)

8)   Lee Sutherland
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Undead Love ($0.99)

9)   E.C. Sheedy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
California Man ($0.99)

10)    Naomi Stone
Genre: Romantic Modern Fairy Tale Short
Three Wishes (FREE)

11)    Rica Grayson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Trouble Next Door ($0.99)

12)    Peggy L Henderson
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Yellowstone Heart Song (FREE)

Monday, February 27, 2017

First Chapter in Timeless Healing

I've joined up with four other western romance authors  to bring you a new series of western TIMELESS HEARTS, and there are 12 books currently planned (3 from each author). The series starts with a prequel that sets up the time travel premise, and is FREE to download on Amazon!  The first book released on Feb 12, 2017, and a new book will be released every week for then next three weeks, and then every two weeks after that. My first book in the series, TIMELESS HEALING, comes out on March 5th, and today I'm sharing the entire Chapter One.

Click here to go to the Timeless Hearts page on AMAZON to get the free prequel and check out the other books that are out so far in the series. 

Timeless Healing - Chapter One

His hands gripped the steering wheel as if his life depended on it, and he stared straight ahead down the long stretch of the two-lane highway that disappeared into the far horizon. Chris Hawley shifted his tired gaze to the rearview mirror. The road was as empty behind him as it was up ahead. The last car had passed him a good ten minutes ago.
His old truck got him from one place to the next, but it wasn’t the most comfortable ride. The shocks were worn out, turning every bump in the road into a reminder of why he was driving through the middle of nowhere in the first place.
Chris moved to adjust his position on the bucket seat. The motion brought a dull ache to his knee, and his foot pressed down on the accelerator to alleviate the discomfort.
The V-8 engine roared to life and the old truck surged forward. Chris pulled his knee up to take his foot completely off the gas, then slammed on the brake. He swerved into the opposite lane. His upper body jerked as he overcompensated to straighten the vehicle back into his lane, which made the seatbelt cut into his collarbone. Chris hissed a curse.
He leaned forward, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment, then looking out the windshield to focus on the road ahead. He tapped the gas and the vehicle answered immediately. His fingers once again wrapped tightly around the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. The dull throbbing in his knee increased. Not much longer and the pain would become unbearable.
A sign sped past him that read:
Heartsbridge 5 miles
Population 8000
That wasn’t the name of the town he’d been given when he’d been told he’d find a man who went by the name of Doctor Feelgood. Chris’s eyes dropped to the passenger seat. He released one hand from the steering wheel and reached for his phone, which luckily hadn’t launched off the seat a minute ago. Blinking to focus his eyes, he tapped the screen to find his GPS app. Before he’d left his apartment early this morning, he’d typed in the location. It looked to be at least another forty miles up ahead.
Chris cursed again, tossing his phone back onto the seat. After a quick glance out the windshield, he leaned forward to reach for the knob that opened the glove compartment. The stupid thing liked to get stuck. He pounded on it with the side of his fist until it finally budged. The compartment door sprang open, and several pieces of paper, probably the truck’s registration among others, fluttered to the floor. An orange prescription bottle rolled out and dropped to the ground.
He leaned down as far as his seatbelt allowed, trying to reach the bottle. His fingers nudged it, and the blasted thing rolled under the passenger seat. Now he’d have to pull over to retrieve it.
He straightened, looking out the windshield. His heart leapt in his chest as a car came directly at him. The driver honked, and Chris swerved for the second time in less than a few minutes. He gritted his teeth as his heart continued to hammer against his ribcage.
He laughed and eased off the gas, then leaned his head back against the headrest as he inhaled a deep breath. He’d often thought of finding a way out, but this wasn’t the way to go. Not in his truck, and not by putting someone else’s life in danger in the process. With his dumb luck, he might survive a second car crash.
The first buildings of the town of Heartsbridge moved by, and Chris slowed the truck even more. The last thing he needed was to get pulled over by a cop for speeding. He had a court date next week. He didn’t need to add a second one to his itinerary.
Why he even had to show up in court and give a statement was beyond his comprehension. It had been nearly six months since the accident. He’d been questioned ad nauseum by the cops while he lay broken in a hospital bed, and again during his months of rehab while he learned to use his leg again. Stupid bureaucracy. Why couldn’t they just leave him alone so he could forget?
Chris punched his fist against the steering wheel and clenched his jaw until his teeth hurt. He turned the wheel hard enough to where the tires squealed, and pulled into a parking spot in front of a building with a large sign that read Heartsbridge Diner. The place didn’t look busy judging by the lone car a couple of spots over. He had no plans of going inside anyway. He needed to get his prescription bottle and then get back on the highway.
After unbuckling his seatbelt, he leaned over the center console and fished for the bottle that was somewhere under the passenger seat. Several failed attempts later, he sat up and opened the car door. His knee throbbed and so did his shoulder.
Pushing the squeaky truck door fully open, he stepped out, grabbing hold of the door as a surge of dizziness rushed through his head. He’d definitely been in the truck too long. Stretching his legs for a minute might do him some good. He glanced at the gas gauge. Probably wouldn’t hurt to fill up on the way out of town.
Chris looked around. There was a post office next door to the diner, and a few shops along the street. Several cars rolled up and down the main thoroughfare. Testing his equilibrium, he let go of the door and moved around the back of the truck to the other side. Movement out of the corner of his eye made him look up.
A woman walked up the street toward the diner, wearing jeans and a plain-looking pink blouse. Her auburn hair was tied back in a ponytail, and swung down her back like a pendulum with each step she took. She seemed to be moving faster while staring straight at him. Chris stared back, then shook his head and opened the truck’s passenger door. He didn’t need to draw anyone’s attention.
The dull pain was back in his knee as he bent to reach his hand under the car seat, groping for the bottle that contained what he needed to find relief. Finally, his fingers wrapped around the little container. By the sound it made, there were only a couple pills left, which was the reason he was making this long drive in the first place.
Finding someone who’d prescribe him more of the medication he needed to dull the pain in his leg was getting harder and harder. His doctors didn’t understand that he needed the pills, and had refused to refill his prescription months ago.
His hand trembled slightly while he opened the bottle and dumped the contents into his palm. He stared at the two round, yellow pills. The doctor before last had given him the pale-green ones, which were stronger than these. That’s why he’d run out so fast. He’d needed to take twice as many to have an effect on the pain. He seemed to be getting worse, not better.
His head throbbed as he threw the pills into his mouth. He tilted his head back to make them drop down his throat, and swallowed. If he sat in his truck for a few minutes and let the meds take effect, he could be on his way and have a full bottle again in a few hours.
“Excuse me, you look like you could use a glass of water, or maybe some coffee.”
Chris turned his head to the sound of the voice. The redhead who’d stared at him a minute ago approached. She looked at him with uncertainty in her eyes, despite the smile on her face. Her hand clutched something around her neck, tied by a blue ribbon. She stopped in front of his truck and waited.
“I’m good,” he said.
He stepped away from the truck and slammed the door shut hard enough to make the window rattle. Another wave of dizziness hit him, and he swayed slightly as he moved around the back of the truck to get to the driver’s side. The woman was already standing by the door.
“You really look like you could use a cup of coffee. You look a bit tired.” She plastered on that smile again. There was a definite note of uncertainty in her voice, and it showed in her eyes, too. She tilted her head slightly, and frowned, as if she’d rather not be talking to him.
Chris blinked to clear some of the fog from his brain. It didn’t help. He’d been up since before the crack of dawn. Maybe a cup of coffee wouldn’t be such a bad idea, after all.
“It’s on the house,” the redhead coaxed.
“On the house?”
She held out her hand. “I’m Moira Lockhart. I own the diner here. I was just coming back from running a quick errand, and –” She broke off her thought and dropped her gaze downward to the thing around her neck she kept concealed in her hand. Her eyes abruptly lifted to his face again. “And I noticed you standing there, looking tired.”
Chris wrapped his fingers around her smaller hand and shook it. “Chris Hawley. How would you know if I look tired or not from all the way over there?” He nudged his chin in the direction from which she’d come.
Moira Lockhart slipped her hand from his and waved it in front of her face in a dismissive gesture. She laughed. “When you run a diner, you see plenty of people every day. Many come in after miles and hours on the road, looking for that cup of coffee to wake them up again.”
Chris glanced at the empty parking spots. Good thing he’d apparently missed rush hour. He nodded at her.
“All right. Maybe a quick cup of coffee’ll perk me up again.”
Moira smiled. She let go of the pendant around her neck. It wasn’t a pendant, however, but an antique-looking watch. The hands whirred rapidly around the clock-face. The thing was obviously defective, or maybe the batteries were about to go bad. Not that he cared.
When the woman made no move to head toward the front door of the diner, Chris raised his brows. Their eyes met. She still wore that look of uncertainty, as if she was trying to reach some kind of conclusion about him.
“I don’t need that cup of coffee,” he said to help her out if she’d changed her mind about offering him some.
She blinked and shook her head. “No,” she said quickly. She held her hand out in the direction of the diner. “No, come on in. I wasn’t sure you were the kind of person I should be –” She broke off again, not finishing her thought. She laughed again. “Never mind. This is how it’s supposed to be, and who am I to say otherwise, right?”
Chris stared at her. “Right,” he answered slowly, letting the word trickle from his lips. This woman clearly needed more customers. Her lack of business must have made her a bit wacky.
He limped after her, stepping into the empty diner, despite a little voice nagging in his head that he shouldn’t. He had somewhere else to be.
“Take any seat in the house,” Moira called, much more cheerful than she’d sounded outside. She moved around the counter and poured a cup of coffee.
Chris limped up to the counter, and took a seat in front of her. Moira set the cup down for him.
“What happened to your leg, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Chris clenched his jaw. He stared at the wisps of steam that rose from the cup and curled in a spiral fashion into the air.
“Car accident,” he mumbled. Memories flashed before his eyes that he’d rather not see, but they surfaced every time someone asked him about his leg, or why he favored his right arm and had a slight bulge in his collarbone.
“When did it happen?” Moira poured herself a cup of coffee and looked at him with wide, expectant eyes.
“Six months ago. I got out of rehab for my blown knee and collarbone just recently.”
“Must still hurt pretty bad, huh?”
He stared at her. Why was she asking all these questions, and why was he even answering a complete stranger? The shrinks had already forced him to talk and relive that night over and over. Why couldn’t they let him forget? He ran a trembling hand over his face and through his hair.
“Yeah, it hurts.” More than anyone will ever understand.
His voice was nothing more than a rasping sound. Bitterness consumed him, followed by agonizing heartache. No matter how many pills he’d swallowed, the pain – both physical and mental – from the night of the accident, hadn’t gone away. He’d never told anyone the reason why he and Eric were in that car in the first place. Everyone simply assumed they’d been two stupid college kids, out drinking and driving.
Moira’s hand reached out and covered his. Chris flinched and pulled back.
“I saw you take those pills, Chris. I really don’t think you should be driving right now. I’ve got a comfortable couch in the back room. You can lie down and sleep for a while.”
Chris blinked at the dizziness that was growing more pronounced. The pills must be starting to work. He usually didn’t take more than one, unless he was at home, but for some reason, finishing off the bottle had seemed like the thing to do. He’d be getting a new bottle shortly.
“I’ve got somewhere to be.” He waved her off, and stood from his chair. His hand reached out to grab for the edge of the counter when his head spun more than before. He really shouldn’t have taken both pills.
“I insist,” the woman said more forcefully. “Or I’ll call the sheriff and tell him you’re driving under the influence.”
She didn’t waver when he stared at her. He didn’t need trouble with cops. An hour’s rest couldn’t hurt. He’d still get to where he needed to be to collect his prescription. No doubt he’d be spending the night in a motel room anyway. It would be too far to drive home.
“Maybe just for an hour,” he conceded.
Moira nodded, her satisfied smile back. Chris’s eyes were once again drawn to the timepiece around her neck. Those stupid clock hands hadn’t stopped moving. 
“Doesn’t that watch bother you?” he asked when he moved around the counter and followed Moira down the corridor past the diner’s kitchen.
“No.” She glanced over her shoulder, still smiling. “It doesn’t always do that. Today must be your lucky day.”
She opened the door to a small office. The couch sitting against the far wall beckoned. Chris stepped into the room and headed for it. He let himself drop onto the soft cushions, then looked up at Moira, who’d stopped under the doorframe.
“Thanks for letting me crash for a while.”
She nodded. “No problem. Get some rest, and when you wake up, I’m sure things will look a whole lot different than they do right now.”
Chris leaned back and closed his eyes. If only that were true.

Purchase the book on AMAZON

© Peggy L Henderson 2017
This text may not be copied or shared without permission