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Author Update

Yes, I am still here, still creating, revising and publishing on WordPress…obviously.

Creations are still bubbling forth on my WIP (work in progress), working title-Countess of Change, still in first draft, but I have progressed to Chapter Seventeen. Planning on 20.

Still revising Gray Lace, progressed to a word count of 60,000. Yes, this is my fourth novel, originally published in 2015. I now own the rights, so I decided to fix my infamous page 178. This is where Catherine Randolph enjoys some she-crab soup. In 2015, she was served a bowl of she-crap. Still nearly as important, there are a few other improvements.

Still publishing the beginnings of Gray Lace Revised.

Still, I thank you, dear readers. Your numbers are increasing.

Now, about Chapter Four, more later, but this is the headline quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“The bravest are the most tender. The loving are the daring.”

Still…Egad and Enough

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Gray Lace, Part Twenty

At the end of our chapter three Trevor meets the enemy. The certainty he feels for Catherine mixes his attraction with a fear for her safety. Page 36-37

After hearing her screams, he attacked the slippery bluff and made it to the top. He turned left while he bent to swipe off the mud and twigs from his legs, but more importantly, he listened and gathered oxygen and information. He headed forward as male voices were heard among the insect calls and otherwise peaceful evening.

Through the low limbs hanging over the bend in the road, he spied four large men in a semi-circle far too close to Catherine. With her back to a tree, she stared them down with amazing courage, without showing the fear she must have have had inside.

“Come now, Miss Randolph, let’s be on our way. You know the boss wants you back south.”

“Yeah, we’ve chased you through these hellish swamps long enough, my young pretty morsel. It’s back to Charleston with you. Go get her, Mack.” The smallest of the four stepped forward, but then he fell on his face. A shot had erupted the early evening and blood rapidly stained Mack’s already dirty shirt.

Leaving Catherine alone with promises of their return, the remaining three disappeared into the the thick undergrowth.

Trevor stumbled from behind his cover and approached Catherine with soothing phrases, gathered her trembles in his arms, and pledged something ridiculous like, “You’re safe now.” He had no idea where the shot had originated. Who were those men? How did they know her? For heaven’s sake, why did their boss want her in Charleston?

He did know his sense of falling had returned, but falling into what? The only certainty he knew swirled around her safety.

Egad! Enough…until next time.

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Gray Lace, Part Nineteen

Egad! Trevor again attempts to kiss Catherine, before scaring her back up the swampy bluff from the lake and into real danger.

page 36

“That key tickled, now that I think about it. At the time I was terrified of you and well, everyone,” taking a breath, she was went on, “Thank you.” She leaned forward, closer to his cheek.

He sensed her intention, so he adjusted and aimed a bit lower. Hoping she wouldn’t change her mind, he landed on her closed mouth and left a tender kiss. He floated above and over, giving her time, giving her several short pecks on her cheek, eyebrows, and nose. Since she didn’t bolt or slap him, he reached for the brass ring. He returned to her mouth and delightfully found it open, for him. He allowed his tongue to begin a gentle exploration.

She stiffened and her mouth formed a line as straight as the latitude line on a map grid. He wanted to kick himself for frightening her, even that move might have made her scurried away.

While he analyzed that possibility, she did scramble to stand and she reached for the roots protruding from the slippery bluff. She climbed up, using all four lovely limbs. Once she made it to the top, she stopped and turned to stare down at him, and fortunately for his British constitution, his sense of well-being, she smiled and disappeared.

That one smile warmed his heart, his belly, and other surrounding parts. He sat there placing her on his list of blessings. Listening to her retreating footsteps, Trevor enjoyed the remains of the spectacular sunset.

Unitl he heard her scream.

Enough! Until next time.

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Gray Lace, Part Eighteen

While mentally reviewing changes in his life, Trevor experiences a flashback from his past. He brings himself back to the present to grasp a sweet vision of his future.


Pages 34-35

The last time he had felt certain was the morning of The Change. He had been chasing his younger brothers through the garden paths. There was security in that memory, but the day of The Change, his grandmother had stepped into his path and blocked his chase, his joy, and as he later discovered, his childhood. She didn’t display her usual naughty-boy-you’ve-been caught look. The sadness on her face slid down his spine when she addressed him as “Your Lordship”. She had always called him Trevor or Dear Coffman. That time she presented him with a formal curtsey. “I have sad news about your father.”

“Mr. Coffman?” Catherine had her hand on his arm and he returned to the present, but his eyes continued to fall into her sensational swampy green pools of peacefulness.

“Trevor. When we’re alone, please, call me Trevor.”

“Should I really?”

“Please, let me hear you say my name.”

After hesitating, her mouth started a warm smile, “Trevor.” Quickly she removed her hand and stiffened. “I shouldn’t, besides we won’t be alone. This is, well, I’m not sure what this is.” She stood and announced, “I need to get back. The Garretts need my help.”

“Garretts? Oh yes, I met Joann Garrett this morning.”

“They’re the cooks. I help them in the kitchens and serving the hunting parties.” After a frustrating sound, she turned and looked at him with a tender fondness and he felt his certainty of falling strengthen.

“Please, don’t go, not yet.” He touched her hand and nudged her back down beside him. He smiled his thankfulness when she bent her knees and sat. “I’m worried about your boss, Mr. Mercer. Don’t let him find again and force his type of employment on you. I might not be able to claim you.” He bowed his head toward her as if to keep the wildlife from hearing. “I might not be available to drop my key again.” He tried a sly grin and he hoped he’d see her smile. When it did appear, he knew she could do better, but he still enjoyed her tiny grin.

Enough! Until Later.

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Gray Lace, Part Seventeen

Trevor jumps from analysis-paralysis into positivity. He trades sunsets for kissing and explores the mysteries in his heart before life smacks him upside his head in part eighteen.

Pages 33 and 34

Shaking away strange images coming from the lodge, he moved with furtive steps down the steep, muddy slope hoping not to startle her. That hope disappeared when he snapped every branch he had clung to while trying to avoid a landing with a loud, muddy splash.

She stood and together they sputtered their greetings, apologies, and laughter.

“Hello,” she said.

“Sorry I startled you,” he said.

“No, you didn’t. I heard you coming,” she laughed.

“I hope I didn’t frighten you,” he laughed.

Trevor’s attention was drawn to the scene behind her. “Oh, my God, look!” He whispered. The sunset was not only magnificent, but it had turned the entire lake into a swirl of pinks and blues. A graceful crane dipped low in his flight, searching for his evening dinner.

Catherine had turned to admire it and he heard her draw in a breath of amazement. Without going through his usual analysis, he watched his arms slide around her waist and his hands land gently on her stomach. His head lowered and he placed a sweet kiss below her left ear.

She jumped out of his loose embrace and turned to face him. She slapped her neck where his kiss and briefly rested. Haltingly she explained in a whisper, “Mosquito.” By the time she finished the third drawn out syllable, she had stepped back the same number of steps, then punctuated her statement by falling over a log.

Impetuous, he was never impetuous. Why did he kiss her? His hands were on her waist, for God’s sake!

He rushed to her and offered his hand to assist. “Here now, let me help you up. Are you all right? I’m so very sorry.” He managed to get her to her feet and they gently sat on the offending log together. “Miss Randolph,” he began.

She smiled.

He softened his voice. “I have no idea why I would do that.”

He felt her finger on his lips, effectively stopping his apology. She nearly stopped his breathing.

“You know why.”

Egad! and Enough! Until later.


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Gray Lace, Part Sixteen

Trevor steps into a world of oddities: rude women, random gunfire, and bare feet. He decides it is worth it.

pages 32-33

Thankful for slipping out without being stopped for ridiculous conversation, he marched down the long front porch and passed two women employed by Mercer, but definitely not in his kitchens.

Much to Trevor’s surprise and mortification , one woman raised her gown and displayed a knickers-free show. The other glared at him, while the first laughed at his startled and fearful face. She then turned her lusty display toward the lake.

Yelling out at two fishermen in a small nearby boat, she declared, “See what you’re missing? Seeing what you’re giving up for a dead fish?!” She disgustedly tossed down her skirts and continued, “Well, it’s the last time, fool.” Together, the women marched past Trevor and entered the lodge, one still laughing and the other still in a bit of a snit.

His thankfulness for knowing Catherine sent him swiftly down the steps. The little bits he knew of her told him of her goodness as well as her beauty, which exceeded far and beyond anything he had just witnessed. Elation returned as he followed the sandy road with the grassy center line. During his rapid march, he couldn’t help from forming a comparison between Catherine, Eloise, and Mercer’s women. Good Grief!

The target range could be heard on his left as he admired the breeze dancing on the lake off to his right. He heard the tree limb snap before the gunshot registered his fear, before he dove for the grass, and counted his loud heart beats.

Again? He had been shot at again? No, Mercer’s laugh and those of a few others could be heard through the woods. The target practicing fools had taken too much special lemonade.

This time it was an accident. Right?

He stood slowly, then walked quickly to Catherine. He found her below the high road and down the bluff, sitting on a fallen tree trunk, sinking her delicious bare toes in the lapping shore waves. Would Eloise ever have taken off her shoes? Would she ever go bare footed?

Egad! and Enough! For now.

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Gray Lace, Part Fifteen

Trevor Coffman takes us into his private “wouldas, couldas, shouldas”, before exploring his new opportunities and adventures in our Carolina swamps.

Trevor allowed his lake blue eyes to stare back at himself from the small dressing table mirror. Shaving was difficult while grooming for an appointment at sunset. Recalling the gunshot had his straight edge razor jumping, threatening his tender skin.

What had Catherine said? She’d been truly shaken, but had she talked about Cranfield and a pinecone? What on earth! Planning to question her further, he was pleasantly excited to see her again. When was the last time euphoria flowed through his system?

It had been too long. God Knows. He had been too exhausted with the business of responsibilities and family rights. He shook his shoulders to cast off the feeling as his clean, but wrinkled, linen shirt slipped over his head. Mercer had promised laundry service, but evidently ironing was not included in this swamp.

His euphoria followed him around the tiny room. He bent over to yank boots over his clean socks. Cranfield’s sister, Eloise, appeared uninvited in his mind and the positive feelings faded. Trevor rested his elbows on his thighs and lifted his head to stare at nothing. The wall supported a cheaply framed print of the Swiss Alps. He briefly wondered why anyone would decorate a hotel in the swamps with mountain scenes. Trying to cool off the guests? The snow stared back, but he wasn’t cooled nor was he in the alps.

His mind walked into that stuffy, overly furnished, formal parlor, sipping weak tea, trying to compliment the Cranfield family cook for the far-too-sweet cakes, and making inane comments about the weather. Eloise had sat as straight as any slide rule, or ledger page. Together they waited for her mother to complete a conversation that didn’t need remembering. Did Eloise say anything that afternoon? Was she shy? Did she look at him or even move? She had blushed when he entered the room.

Was that an acknowledgement of everlasting love and devotion?

Who mentioned marriage first? It was her mother. Yanking his mind back to the swamp, Trevor groaned outloud.

He abruptly stood and had intended to pace the three or four steps it would take to get to the door, but his unbuckled bootstrap slapped hard against his knee and forced the important question to slap back.

How did he manage to become engaged to that stiff woman?

Trevor violently banged his fist against the wall. Damn! He was broke. He needed Eloise, no, the Cranfield money.

The late afternoon sun slanted a reflected glare off his mirror. He put the Cranfields and their money on the back burner and smiled as the warm bliss returned. Trevor left his room, locked the door and headed out to the front. His objective was the Gray Lace cottage down the sandy road to his left.

Egad! Enough! (until later)

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Lord Bryon wrote, “Adversity is the first path to the truth.” Of course, that makes me think of our January 6th nightmare. Hopefully the various commissions will get to the truth, although, I do think it was documented well enough.

I digress.

Lord Bryon’s quote headlines Chapter Three in my Gray Lace novel. Trevor discovers through the adversity of being a target of aggression from his future brother-in-law, that there’s little truth in his marriage engagement. Engagements should be a time to learn the truths of one another.


I digress, again.

In Gray Lace, Chapter One, William Jennings Bryan starts us off with “Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.” Trevor chooses to keep an open mind during his strange adventure.

Chapter Two – “A man must make his opportunity, as oft as he finds it,” Frances Bacon. Catherine usues her opportunities to repay Trevor’s kindness.


Enough! (more to come)

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Gray Lace, Part Fourteen

Wrapping up chapter two, Catherine convinces Trevor that evil surrounds them both. Yet, the sunsets are still beautiful in their Carolina swamp.

Shaking her head violently, she tried again to convince him of the truth. She needed him to believe the meanness which she had heard. The hunters were loud and out of sight, but likely to reappear, and bring the rest back with them.

“Quickly, get behind that tree and stay terribly still,” Trevor pushed her back into the underbrush and she froze under his choosen barricade, just as a few came into view.

“Ah, there you are, Coffman. We heard the shot. Did you get that bear? Where is it?” An excited George grabbed his arm.

Trevor smiled at George’s eagerness, but addressed all of the hunters. “No, gentlemen, no such luck for me. Although, Cranfield thought there was one. He and a few others followed what they thought were the signs of the bear’s quick retreat down that northerly path over there.”

“Well, then, off we go, gentlemen,” George started the march down the trail. “Keep up, Coffman.”

“I’ll be right with you. Nature calls, I’m afraid.”

One of the older hunters started laughing. “Relish those calls from Mother Nature, son. I wish she would call me more often. Now, shake off that extra bit of British piss and help us find that monster.” As he walked away, he added, “I surely hope Cranfield didn’t wound it. He’ll be a terror to catch, but easier to track.”

Catherine waited for an extra moment after she heard Trevor’s cough as a signal. “Miss Randolph?” She took in more oxygen as she crawled out of her safe haven and stood. A warm whisper startled her exhale. “I’ll see you at sunset?” He softly brushed a few grains of sand from her face and placed a sweet kiss on her cleaner cheek and then he was gone.

She watched him go, and then gently rested her hand on her face and tried to retain the sweetness.

Egad and Enough! (until later)

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Gray Lace, Part Thirteen

While returning to the kitchens, Catherine discovers a chance to repay Trevor for saving her. Her weapon of choice… a pinecone.

She hated leaving the Garretts with all the packing and cleanup, but the urge to run overcame her good heart. She crouched low and moved quickly as possible. Jumping out of her skin with every snap of a twig and birdcall, she finally made her way to the bend in the road, half way back to the lake. A sudden flash of sunshine hitting metal had her stopping, kneeling, then nearly eating the sandy soil under the large red-bush tree.

Through the thickness of her surroundings she studied the silhouette of a familiar hunter sitting on a wide tree trunk. His weapon rested against his forest furniture as he stared at a narrow flowing stream. Overhead shadows from the giant wingspan of a turkey buzzard alerted Catherine to turn her head. To her right, across the sandy road, stood a fellow hunter, aiming his gun at Trevor’s back. Catherine grabbed a nearby pinecone and threw it straight up in the air. His weapon jerked upward and fired. The blast had the forest wildlife screeching and screaming. She covered her head and neck with her hands and prayed.

“Oh my God, Coffman, um…did you see that bear?” Catherine imagined the series of strategic thoughts swirling around Edgar Cranfield’s cries, as he jumped over thickets and across the road to reach his intended target. “I nearly hit him. He was enormous. Well…maybe not that big, but at least he was interesting and worth the effort.”

Catherine stayed as still as possible while winching at each lie and attempted cover of fault. She stayed where she had thrown herself and hoped Trevor would sense the duplicity.

“Cranfield?” Trevor’s jumpy sounds came from her left.

“Did you see which way it ran? I can’t believe I missed it,” Cranfield whined.

A few others arrived to investigate the shot they had heard. There were questions for Cranfield and Trevor about the bear’s size, color, and direction. The voices faded down the northerly path and Catherine dared to wiggle her toes. A frightening rustling sound commanded that’s not all she’d better move.

“Peculiar resting place, Miss Randolph,” joked a pleasant whisper.

She saw the offered gloved hand and decided to chance it. He helped her to stand and together they began to brush off the twigs and dirt. He gently removed leaves that had attached themselves to her sleeves. She nervously followed his lead and started on her blouse. Her focus moved to his shy grin. She felt warm in spite of the stiff afternoon breeze. Grabbing his arm for support, she slightly weaved toward him.

“Are you going to faint? Please don’t do that. Do you need some water?” He swiftly surveyed for any company and questioned, “Why are you here, anyway?”

“No, I don’t faint. I won’t. Listen…um, you must realize that man tried to shoot you, don’t you?”

“What? No, Cranfield’s a terrible shot, but he wouldn’t, not intentionally.”

“Yes, he did,” she gave him a speculative grin. “I threw a pinecone to divert his aim.”

“Pinecone? No, he was just excited because he thought he’d finally spotted a bear,” he put his hands on his hips, looked around in thought. “Pinecone, really?”

She decided she could enjoy his blue eyes, lake eyes, even if he did think she was crazy.

Egad! and Enough! Until Later…

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