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Monday, July 30, 2012

Beyond the Book: Strawberry Soup?

Hello, readers.  My name is Rachel Amos Hayes.  Elaine shared my story in The Sentence.  Today I'd like to share a little experiement with you.  I found a recipe for strawberry soup that I love.  Yep, strawberry soup.  You make it in seconds and eat it cold.  Clint (my husband) took one bite and poured his into a glass and drank it, but it's really a soup.  It's delicious, but the ingredients may surprise you.  Are you ready?  Here goes.

Strawberry Soup

2 cups strawberries
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon sugar

  Place strawberries and buttermilk into a blender or food processor and puree. Sweeten with sugar to taste, blend and either serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator

If I hadn't tasted this I never would have thought it would be so good.  If you try it, let me know if you like it.

By the way, today is the last day of the Astraea Press book sale.  Most of their titles are only .99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Thrill Elaine by picking up a copy of one of her books.  Maybe The Sentence.


Hello and welcome to Rebecca Royce's blog tour. Rebecca is giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate and an electronic copy of The Warrior Book 1 to one lucky commenter, so follow the tour and comment often.  You can find her schedule here:

1.Rebecca, for the benefit of those who don’t know you, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’ve been a published Romance author since 2009.  My writing tends to be paranormal but I’ve also been published in fantasy and science fiction.  My stories range from sweet to highly erotic.  This book, Subversive, is a Young Adult story and part of a series called The Warrior.

Also, I’m a mother and a wife.  I love theater, movies, and travelling.

2.What do you think makes a book a page turner?

I think that a good story, with lots of suspense and the possibility of love really makes the pages turn.

3.Good answer. How many WIP do you have going at the same time?

Just one. I can never handle more than one at a time.

4.Where do you get your inspiration?

I don’t know.  I think it has to be a compilation of a lot of things that ultimately ends up in a story. But one particular source? I have no idea. 

5.I don't really know myself.  Which genre appeals the most to you?  The least?

Paranormal.  The least? I’m not sure.  I read everything!

Thank you so much, Rebecca.  Readers, here's a blurb from Subversive.

Rachel Clancy has been through a lot. She’s been sent to fight vampires, lost two boyfriends—one to a vampire and one because of his daddy issues—and now she is trying to lead a secret revolution that could change Genesis, her home, forever. Her confidence is shot, her hands are shaking, and she hasn’t felt a real emotion, except for anger, in a long time.

But Rachel should never be counted out. She sees things others can’t, even if her ideas are considered downright traitorous. There is an important life for Rachel to lead in the world, even if its filed with vampires and werewolves instead of romance and flowers. Rachel has always had to fight, she’s good at it, and the evil that has stalked her hasn’t forgotten her name.

Author Bio.

As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.

Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They live in northern New Jersey and try not to freeze too badly during the winter months.

She's in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She's been told she's a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.
In Rebecca Royce's world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

Links and Works:

Current and Upcoming Works
The Outsiders
Love Beyond Time
Love Beyond Sanity
Love Beyond Loyalty
Love Beyond Sight

Westervelt Wolves
Her Wolf
Summer’s Wolf
Wolf Reborn
Wolf’s Valentine
Wolf’s Magic
Alpha Wolf
Angel’s Wolf
Darkest Wolf (coming soon.)

The Warrior

The Conditioned
Eye Contact

Sexy Superheroes
Screwing the Superhero
Banging the Superhero

Other Works
Behind The Scenes
First Dimension
Yes, Captain
Return to the Sea
One Night With A Wolf
Another Chance
Light Me Up
I’ll Be Mated For Christmas

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Still on Sale

Astraea Press is having a sale.  Almost everything in their catalog is on sale for .99.  Yep, 99.  Not much to discover a new favorite author.  Er, why not give me a try?  Only .99.  Here's an excerpt from Never Trust a Pretty Wolf which is an Astraea release.  In this excerpt, my hero and heroine are leaving on a once in a lifetime journey, never expecting that both of their worlds will soon undergo a cataclysmic upheaval that will change them forever. 

He saw the blue Mustang sitting at the red light. When the light changed, Liesel wheeled into the parking lot. The minute she opened the car door, Andy started to do a slow burn. Today she wore jeans and a tight yellow tee shirt that hugged her breasts and looked so good on her his mouth started to water. She had put her hair up as she had done the previous evening. He was sure she knew how it showcased the graceful, feminine curve of her pretty neck.

or at

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample: The Table in the Window

Welcome to Sweet Saturday Sample.  Did you know that Astraea Press is having a sale?  From now until the end of July most of their books are on sale for only .99.  You can afford less than a dollar to find a new favorite author.  With any luck, maybe it'll be me!  My sample today comes from my Christmas release with Astraea.  It's called The Table in the Window.  Yeah, I know, but it's on sale too.  In this excerpt, my hero and heroine slid on some black ice and landed their car in a ditch.

Marley shifted in her seat and bit her lip. “Er, how far are we from civilization?”

Rob tried not to laugh, but he did anyway. “Not too far. I’ll have to call a wrecker to pull us out.”

Marley smacked his shoulder. “Don’t laugh at me, mister.”

That made Rob laugh again, but he stopped laughing after trying in vain to find a wrecker to get them out of the ditch. “Everyone is either closed or out on other calls,” he explained.

Marley’s eyes looked as big as saucers. “Will we be okay out here until daylight?”

They would if they had gas to keep the heater going but he had been in such a big hurry to get to his grandmother’s house he hadn’t bothered to go by the gas station. He had intended to stop at a truck stop on the way back home.

Marley took the news better than he thought she would. She groped for his hand in the dark. “I don’t think it’s snowing as hard now so I guess we can walk to the nearest truck stop. They aren’t far apart on the interstate.”

“I don’t know. It’s awfully cold out there.”

In the end, they decided to walk. “Walking will warm us up,” Marley argued, “and I really don’t want to stay here all night. It’s too much like a horror movie to suit me.”

“Are you afraid I am ze vampire in disguise?” He showed her his teeth. “Or perhaps you fear ze werewolf?” This time he howled at her.

Marley laughed. “Your accent is awful, and you forgot about zombies. I’m scared of zombies.”

“What about mummies?”

“No, not so much.”

He stuck his hands out in front of him and lurched toward her. Marley screamed and gave him a push that caused him to laugh until his sides hurt. “That’s one reason why I like you, Marley. You always make me laugh.”

The Table in the Window can be found at  or at

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fashionista Friday: Let's Go Retro

With the retro craze in mind, I found some things I really like.  Keep in mind that in the 1950's everything matched. Therefore, my purse probably wouldn't have done, but I like in the modern world.  My dress comes from  Here's what the website had to say:

Wonderful Duchess SIlk Satin Dress with Fifties Inspiration.
We are so proud with the charm, fit and execution of this dress which we have developed from vintage inspiration. The wonderful olivey/pea green colour of the Italian Duchess Silk Satin is divine. The perfect fit and tailored splendour is executed with precision.
A carefully fitted bodice which falls below the waistline, with a soft square neckline and gentley gathered skirt part. The dress falls well below the knee, and is lifted out with a net underskirt. Fully lined in Black
Couture bow belt in Silk Gazar enhances the wasp waist.
CB invisible zip.
Dress fits true to size.

My shoes are from  Notice that they match the belt.

Last, the purse is from  I truly like this, maybe because the dots break up all that black.

This dres haz my aprovel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Free Book Offer Ends Friday at Noon

Want to win a free copy of either Her Kind of Man or Never Trust a Pretty Wolf?  Go to    and leave a comment for the reviewer.  That's all there is to it.  I'll draw a name on Friday and post it on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beyond the Book: Red's My Color

Hello, readers.  My name is Kara Cochrane.  Elaine told my and my husband's story in her book Her Kind of Man.   She got a new review last week, a wonderful review.  The reviewer said, 'The author did a great job of pulling me into the story, emotions and all.'  You can read the whole review at

Elaine said you'd leave a comment for Julie, the reviewer, she'd pick one name on Friday and send that person a free PDF copy of her latest book Never Trust a Pretty Wolf.
Today, I 'd like to share a picture of my red dress with you.  Red is one of my favorite colors because it makes me feel happy.  LOL.  It doesn't hurt that red makes my eyes look bluer and suits my hair and complexion.  Here's the dress.  I just love it. It has a pretty cutout on the back.

Ross insisted that I buy the dress to wear to a party at my sister's house.  I really didn't want to go because at the time Kelly and I weren't getting along too well.  You see she stole my fiance Brandon from me and then married him.  Here's an excerpt to tell you about that party.

By the time Ross finished the afternoon milking, the temperature had fallen to several degrees below zero, and the weather report called for snow. Kara had turned up the heat and lit a fire in the living room, but the house still felt chilly. She heard the back door open and shivered as a cold gust of wind blew around her ankles.
“Ross? Come and have some coffee to warm you up.”
Ross washed his hands at the kitchen sink before he kissed her. “It’s bitter cold out there.”
He sat down at the kitchen table and waited for Kara to fix his coffee. She set it in front of him and took a seat beside him. “It’s too cold to go out tonight. Let’s skip Kelly’s party and stay home.”
Ross ignored her as he cradled his hands around the warm cup. “What did you buy to wear?”
“I got a red jersey dress, but didn’t you hear me? It’s too cold to go out.”
Ross hesitated. “If anyone besides Kelly was giving the party I’d agree with you, but, baby, you have to go to this one.”
“But, Ross, I don’t want to go.” She set her coffee on the table with a thump. “Kelly stole her house from me. I don’t want to go there as a guest.”
Ross’s face tightened. “What you don’t want is to see Brandon and Kelly happily married, right?”
Kara recognized a kernel of truth in what he said, but she’d die before she hurt him by admitting to it. “I can’t lie to you. It hurt when she took Brandon, but I’ve got you now. Things are different.”
“How are things different?”
Kara drew circles on the table with her finger and refused to face the emotion flaring in his eyes. “Well, you know. We’re married now. We’re making a life together.”
“Sit on my lap,” he directed as he took her hand and pulled her around the table. “I like the idea of sharing my life with you.”
“Aren’t you afraid your mother will see us cuddling again?” Kara teased.
“No.” And to emphasize his point he kissed her.
Kara rubbed his shoulders. He did have great shoulders. “I haven’t thanked you for what you’re doing to the house.”
“I want it to be nice for you. It may not be what Kelly has, but I want you to be as proud of the house as I am of the cows.”
Kara kissed the side of his face. “I did mean to ask you about something.”
“What, honey?”
She settled herself more firmly against him and nuzzled her face against his. “Don’t you think we should add one more bedroom too? If we had a boy and a girl, we’d need three bedrooms. Then what would you do for an office?”
She felt the muscles in his shoulders and thighs go rigid. “You’re not…?”

Her Kind of Man is available at and most other retail outlets as an ebook or trade paperback.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Wonderful news.  Her Kind of Man got a wonderful review.  Check it out at In part the reviewer said, 'The author did a great job of pulling me into the story, emotions and all.'   
Thanks so much for checking it out.  Leave a comment for Julie, the reviewer, and  on Friday I'll pick a winner who gets an electronic copy of my latest release Never Trust a Pretty Wolf.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Great news! Astraea Press is having a sale. All of my Astraea books are on sale for .99. If you ever wanted to check one out, this is the time to do it. The sale is good at all online retail outlets.My Astraea books are:

A New Dream
Never Trust a Pretty Wolf
The Sentence
The Table in the Window (short story)

Today's excerpt is from Never Trust a Pretty Wolf. In this excerpt, Liesel is apprehended by the bad guys chasing her.

Heart pounding, she practically ran from the store. As she charged past a black SUV, the door opened. Three men stepped out. "Hello, Mrs. Wolf," one called.

Carl! Liesel felt almost lightheaded as adrenalin flooded her body.

Sweet Saturday Sample: Meet William Wolf

Welcome to my blog.  I have some great news to share.  Astraea Press, publisher of Never Trust a Pretty Wolf, The Sentence, A New Dream, and The Table in the Window is having a .99 sale.  Almost everything in the store is available for .99, so this is a great time to stock up.  Naturally, I hope you'll put my books on your list. 

My excerpt today is from Never Trust a Pretty Wolf.  Pretty Wolf is a romantic suspense novel.  In this excerpt I'll introduce you to William Wolf, my heroine's ex-husband.  Carl works for crime boss Joseph Wolf.

Carl reluctantly approached the pool area. He saw William lying in a lounge chair beside a tall, red-haired woman whose bikini barely covered the essentials. Occasionally, William’s fingers ran up her arm and across her chest toward her breasts. At the last
minute, he’d draw his hand back and grin at the guards lounging around the pool area.

Nobody seemed to mind. In fact, most of the guards seemed happy to watch the show. He’d give anything in the world if Joseph hadn’t assigned him to William with instructions to monitor his son’s activities and report on them. Loyalty to Joseph ensured that he’d do his job to the best of his ability, though. He cleared his throat as he approached William. “Sir, I have some interesting news for you.”

William pushed his sunglasses on top of his head. “Okay, shoot.”

“Maybe we could talk privately.”

William slapped the woman on the leg. “Scoot.”

The woman meandered toward the pool house and William said, “Talk.”

“One of our Atlanta contacts faxed me a copy of an APB that was issued in South Carolina yesterday. The authorities are looking for Liesel Wolf in connection with a murder.”

“Well, how about that?” William laughed, startling Carl whose skin started to crawl. “Maybe old Liesel picked up a few tricks while we were married. Tell you what, Carl, my wife and I have some unfinished business to take care of. Find her for me.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

When he turned away, William jumped up and made a beeline for the pool house. Not much of a mystery what he’d be doing in there. Carl went inside the house and called to Hans, “I’m going out for a minute. You need anything?”

“No, I’m good.”

Carl got in his car and drove toward Joseph’s house. Joseph would want to hear this news right away. He sighed. Joseph asked only for a man’s loyalty. As long as a man did his best for Joseph and didn’t betray him, he could have a nice life making good
money to share with his family. But William…

He prayed every day that Joseph’s health remained robust for many years to come because when William took over, loyalty wouldn’t mean a thing.

Never Trust a Pretty Wolf is available for .99 at most ebook outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fashionista Friday: That's Different To Me

Recently, I was preparing a presentation on Muslim culture for my high school students.  While doing my research, I examined some of the clothing worn by Muslim women.  It started me thinking about the differences in fashion around the world.  How do you like this traditional Indian outfit?  This is something a bride might wear.  Here’s a description of the gown from the website: Look ravishing with this yellow saree in net. It has all over kundan & antique work making it very elegant. The border has big stone work motifs and the inside of the saree is full of scattered buttis. This saree also has an unstitched matching blouse which finishes the look of saree.  Find it at 

This next outfit is something a Muslim bride might wear.  Some brides wear a head scarf called a hijab and some don’t.  Those who do are concerned with modesty.  Here’s one who did.  See it at

My next offering is something from Chinese fashion week.  I seriously doubt that most Chinese brides can afford a dress like this, but isn’t it spectacular?  See it at

Lastly, how do you like this couple who live in Ghana?  I saw many different styles when I went looking for some pictures, but these people are real.  I imagine lots of people use outfits like this when they get married.  Read about the wedding at

Sence I lik fashun, I wuz going 2 rite the post, but typin is 2 hrd.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What An Awesome Review!

Her Kind of Man does it again!  Another great review from The Romance Reviews.  In part the review said, I was hooked on this book from the moment that the first secret came out. I absolutely could not put the book down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.  You can read the whole review at  Her Kind of Man is available at

It's also available at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dangerous Temptation

Welcome to my blog.  Today I have a special guest for you.  Her name is Kitty Barton, and she's going to teach us how to create an alpha hero.  After you read what she has to say, go to and see what I said on her blog.  Kitty, thank you so much for coming.  Tell us what you have to say.

Hi Elaine, thanks for allowing me to guest post on your wonderful blog today.

Today I'd like to discuss how to create an aplha male.

It is no easy feat and takes a lot of practice.

One of the biggest secrets is to give him such a strong presence, which all other characters react to.

I'll share an example from my Dangerous Temptation Preview so you can see first hand what I'm talking about, and then we will go deeper into the subject at hand.

The clearing fell silent as a man with shaggy, dirty blond hair which reached his shoulders approached with a wide, purposeful stride. His shoulders were back, head held high and chest out. Piercing green eyes zeroed in on her. She inhaled a sharp breath and felt as if his eyes stared through to her soul. She shifted on the balls of her feet and licked her bottom lip.

Ean’s body went rigid and a look of caution crossed his face as the man approached them.

“Evening,” The stranger greeted with a lazy drawl. His eyes never left her face. “Who is this exquisite young lady?”

To her chagrin she felt her cheeks heat up.

His eyes settled on Ean’s hands on her hips.

“Why are you here?” Ean stared at the man, jaw tight and moved Kaitlin closer to his body, which caused her to brace her hands on his chest and gasp.

“Who’s this?” She pulled back.

  “Cadmon Quinn, Madam.” He bowed. ”It's a pleasure to meet you.” He grabbed her hand and brushed a kiss on the back of it.

  Her eyes widened as butterflies brushed inside her stomach. “Smooth.” She slipped her hand free and rubbed it down the side of her dress to stop the tingles and shake off the electric jolt.

“She’s charming.” A corner of his mouth tilted. “Perhaps she will save me a dance?”

  “She has a name.” She removed Ean’s hands from her hips and then turned to face Cadmon. “It’s Kate. Use it!” She raised her chin and planted her hands on her hips.

“Call me Cade.” He flashed an amused smile.

“What do you want?”  Ean stepped between them and squared his shoulders.

  “I wanted to introduce myself to your lovely cousin.” He sidestepped Ean with a smile, and then twirled his forefinger through one of her banana curls, giving it a light tug. “Interesting choice.”

Her pulse quickened.

“I won’t let you or my father put her through anything else.” Ean took Kaitlin by the elbow and stormed away.

She glanced back at Cadmon, who continued to watch her as he swaggered over to the elders and picked up a tall glass of red wine. He saluted her with the drink and then sipped it.

She swallowed and turned around to break the eye contact. 'Is he a natural charmer or is it an act?' She hadn't seen him talk to anyone else. 'Maybe he’s the silent type?'

We see right away that Cadmon is an alpha male, first because the entire clearing went silent at his approach.  Second because instead of waiting for a sign from Kaitlin that she would allow his hand holding, he did it anyway. Thrid because of how he neatly and deliberately ignored Ean by sidestepping him to address Kaitlin.

You can't deny that Cadmon has a very strong presence either. Everyone reacted to it instinctively.

I've also taken it a step further and show the beginning chemistry between Kaitlin and Cadmon. She's now thinking about him, despite her cold shoulder act.

So, what characterizes an alpha male? Obviously the strong presence. But, there is also the pure confidence he exuded. There was no hesitation on his part, every move was deliberate as was the dialogue. He draws attention from everyone near him. He's both charming and charismatic as well.

The above is their first meeting and taken from chapter five of my Danerous Temptation Preview which can be found by clicking this link.

Thanks for spending time with me today everyone. Feel free to ask any questions and don't forget to check out Elaine's post over on my blog today.

About the author:

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature. Whether it's a moon lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side.

Growing up no matter where she was physically, she always had at least one book in her hands and spent every free moment lost in a book. It's only natural that as she grew up, her passion for reading grew into an even stronger passion for writing Paranormal Romances. She is a proud member of PNRWriters, RB4U, SheWrites,and NaNo. She is an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups.

Favorite personal quote:

"An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

Can be found on:

Kitty, thank you so much.  You make the process so simple.  Readers, don't forget to pick up your copy of Dangerous Temptation. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Release Day!

Today is usually the day for Beyond the Book, but it's also a special day for my friend Jennifer.  Her very first book released today, and I wanted to tell you about it.  First, here's a little bit about Jennifer in her own words.

Jennifer Rae Plizga Gravely

Born in Ohio but raised in Pickens, SC, I graduated from Converse College with a triple major in history, politics, and English before earning my Masters in Education in the mid-1990s.  A sports enthusiast, I returned to my high school alma mater to teach and coach volleyball, winning four state championships.  I live with my husband, daughter, nine beagles, and two cats.

Want to hear about her book?  Here's a blurb and excerpt from her book Knight of the Dead.


Persephone Richards is in a pinch. With a wrecked car and bills stacking up, the income from her job at the daycare isn’t enough. Mark Lawrence needs a sitter for his little girl and Persephone is perfect for the job. What begins as an employment opportunity leads to romance. However, a secret Persephone hides threatens the happy ever after and puts the three of them in danger.

Knight of the Dead

 Chapter One

Persephone stared beyond his bald head as he peered at the insurance claim form. The office stretched deep behind him. Each of the three identical, black metal desks arranged in a vertical row held laptops humming in sleep mode.

Closed doors, presumably leading to executive offices with huge picture windows overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, lined the west wall, whereas framed landscape pictures of local waterfalls decorated the opposite, windowless side. An ugly wooden counter separated the shabbily-furnished waiting area in the front from the modern underbelly of the insurance office.

“How do you say…” The saggy-jawed, low-level car insurance agent pointed his jagged fingernail to the first line on the paper before looking into her blue eyes.

“It’s Persephone.” She brushed her deep red mahogany hair from her shoulders. Then she repeated the words she’d uttered a million times. “You know, the Greek goddess of the Underworld.” Wearing black mules with one-inch heels, she straightened to a full six feet.

“Afraid I don’t. Weren’t interested in school much,” he drawled. His crooked smile widened as he focused on her face and then her body. She wore a black belted sweater coat, a gray ribbed sweater over a lacy black camisole, and skinny jeans that hugged her lean body. “But come to think of it, you look like a goddess.”

She had heard that a million times too. “Thanks.” Persephone tapped the form on the counter between them to refocus his attention like she did with the preschool children at the daycare where she worked. “About my claim.”

“I might be able to help a sweet young thang like you, Per-per-se…” The wrinkles spread across his baldness like ripples in a pond.

“Persephone,” she repeated. “Persephone Richards.” The nerve of the man to hit on her and not even be able to pronounce her name! “I need the money for the repairs on my car. The front bumper is held on by wire! Wire!” She threw her arms over her head in disgust. “I’ve called several times, and each time I’ve been brushed aside. I want the money owed to me.”

“Can’t help you, Miss Richards.”

Persephone squared her shoulders. “Then I need to talk with your manager.” This peon couldn’t solve the problem anyhow.

“Mr. Franklin’s not here,” claimed the middle-aged man in a blue button-down shirt, which barely covered his beer paunch. “Lunch time.”

“I want the money owed to me by your company.”

“Sorry. No can do.” He shrugged his shoulders and smirked. “Next.” He gestured to the old woman behind Persephone in the waiting room.

“I need it by tomorrow.” Her eyes grew wild, and she pounded her fist on the counter as she punctuated each word. “Your company owes me the money.” The coffee mug holding black pens overturned. “I want it now.”

As the mug crashed to the worn pine flooring, the short bald man took a cowardly step backwards. “I’ll get someone.” He scurried away past the desks and made a left out of sight.

Persephone twirled around to check the clock over the couch in the front room but couldn’t make out the digital reading because of the glare of the winter sun glinting through the huge picture windows. The barren branches of the azalea bushes lining this section of downtown Keowee reminded Persephone that winter’s trials would give way to spring’s glory. However, patience wasn’t a quality she possessed in abundance at this point in life.

Stepping forward with her hand shading her eyes from the noonday sunlight, Persephone slipped on a pen. As she leaned over to massage her ankle, her hobo bag fell from her shoulder, spilling its contents to the floor. Her cell phone and a tube of lipstick slid under the counter to the other side.

Persephone straightened before moving around the counter to retrieve the items. Despite being in an area reserved for the agents and officials of the insurance office, she felt no remorse in peeking at the “Reserved for Office Use” area on the form she filled out earlier. Under the comments section in black ink she read the words, “Low credit scores; bad risk. Deny claim.”

Persephone seethed with indignation. Since when did being a little behind paying bills make you undeserving of money owed to you legitimately. She wasn’t trying to get a policy from this huge chain company but rather collect the money owed to her because of the carelessness of one of their policy holders.

Without hesitation, Persephone grabbed one of the black pens and scratched through the negative comments on the form.

“What are you doing on this side?” shouted the bald man unnecessarily. He stood right beside her. “Give that to me.” He snatched the form.

“My credit, or lack thereof, shouldn’t influence whether or not I get the money.” Persephone stomped her foot in anger. “The accident wasn’t my fault.”

The man flinched. “Mr. Franklin’s coming back. I hear the door now.” He scurried away into the mouth of the cave like a cockroach.

To Persephone’s surprise he returned directly with a taller, thinner man dressed in a tan overcoat. With a long, narrow face and beady, dark brown eyes, the fifty something man had about him an air of arrogance. Persephone attacked. “I want the money owed to me by your company.” She put her hands on her hips.

“Our policy in certain cases is to require that you get your vehicle repaired first, and then we’ll talk about reimbursement.” He removed his tan leather gloves and held them in his left hand.

“That’s not right.” Her blood boiled, steam pouring from her ears like a cartoon character. “I’m driving around in a car that’s held together by superglue and wire.”

“Not my problem,” he said as he dismissed her. “Kindly step back to the other side.”

“If I don’t?” She leaned forward. She wanted to drop an anvil on his head.

“Bill.” He turned to the bald man standing near the first desk. “Call the police.”

Persephone waivered. Hitting the man would give her great pleasure but wouldn’t remedy the situation. “You’ve not heard the last of me.” She wagged her finger in his face. Spinning on her heels, she stormed toward the front doors, scanning the area for something to break. She had to settle for wiping her hands across a side table, scattering magazines to the floor.

“If you return,” the manager bellowed as she slammed through the front doors with both hands, “we’ll have you arrested.”

See you next week for another edition of Beyond the Book.