Friday, March 30, 2018

Simplicity ~ Devotion ~ Carol Kinsey ~ Giveaway


an Easter devotional from Carol Kinsey


My husband is the youth pastor at our church. I jokingly call myself the “Get one free.” While he’s the one on staff, I have the privilege of working along side him in ministry as a volunteer. One of the responsibilities we have every year is to help our high school youth group put together the Good Friday service. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. It is the day we reflect on Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, before the celebration of His resurrection, which we celebrate on Easter.

Every year, I work with the teens to create a reflective and evangelistic service. This year, we have written what we are fondly calling, “An Easter Carol.” It is a combination skit and worship service. For the past several weeks, the teens have worked hard to sculpt a powerful message of redemption and hope. I have been amazed at the passion God has put in the hearts of these teens to vulnerably share their testimonies, teach God’s Word, shine God’s love, and to do it excellently, with humility.

One of the things I love about working with teens is the passion and excitement that exudes from them when they let God use them. They aren’t caught up in program and methods. They aren’t worried about time. They’re not trying to be politically correct. They are simply pursuing Him.

A.W. Tozer, in his book, The Pursuit of God says, “Now as always God reveals Himself to ‘babes’ and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.” Tozer adds, “When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself.”

The message of Christ is simple. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3, NASB). Sometimes it’s easy to get so bogged down adulting (a new word created by millennials), that we forget what’s really important. Knowing God.

Good Friday and Easter are my two favorite holidays. They can be summed up in two short sentences. Jesus died. Jesus rose. It’s simple. Our Creator is a loving God who sent His only Son to pay for our sins on the cross so that we might know Him. As you reflect on the simplicity of God’s gift this holiday weekend, I pray that you will find joy in knowing He is all we need.

An author friend of mine once told me my writing is “unapologetically Christian.” Her compliment was a huge encouragement to me. While I want my novels to be action packed, suspenseful stories my readers can’t put down, my number one priority is that my writing brings glory to my Savior, Jesus Christ. I want it to represent truth, to be honorable and pure. I don’t want to write anything that would make a person stumble morally. Philippians 4:8 says, Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (NASB). Writing brings me joy, and much of that joy comes from seeing my writing used as a tool to encourage my readers in their walk with the Lord, answer tough spiritual questions, and help non-believers understand what it means to be a follower of Christ. Philippians 4:8 is my standard and I pray that God will use my books not only to entertain but to bring glory to Himself.

About Witness Protection:
“There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed.” Ty Westgate is an ex-lawyer living under witness protection. Brooke Dunbar is a young nurse, struggling to find hope and healing from her past. After four years in hiding, Ty puts his faith in Christ and realizes his moral duty to tell his unsaved parents about Jesus. While this step of faith holds eternal significance for Ty’s parents, it also puts Ty’s life in jeopardy. Together, in this fast paced novel, Ty and Brooke work to unravel the truth behind Ty’s adversaries. Will Ty’s decision to share his faith cost him his life? Will Brooke learn to trust the One Who can heal her past? The price of freedom may be too high.

Buy Link for Witness Protection:
·       Amazon 
·       Barnesand Noble 
Where to find Carol:
·       GoodreadsAuthor Page 

About Carol:
Carol Kinsey lives with her husband and their two daughters on a farm in rural Ohio. She and her husband have been involved in youth ministry for over twenty years and currently serve at a small country church, which inspired her first published novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple in 2013. She has also published Witness Protection (2017), Greater Love (2015), and Until Proven Innocent (2014). Carol is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Along with her fiction, Carol is published in several nonfiction venues. In 2016, she launched a homeschool writing curriculum, Creative Writing Through Literature. She is also a contributing author for Relationships Under Construction, an internationally used abstinence curriculum, and has written for Heartbeats. She has a passion for writing exciting, Christ-centered literature that uplifts, encourages, and gives glory to God. For more information, visit

About the Giveaway:
Carol is generously offering an autographed copy of her book Witness Protection to one of this blog's readers … US only, please. To enter, just leave a comment below with your contact information and answer the following question (optional): What first comes to your mind when you think of this Holy weekend? Giveaway ends one week from today, on Friday, April 6, 2018, at Midnight, CDT. 
Bonus: Become one of this blog's followers (see sidebar) and mention it in your comment, for an extra entry in the giveaway.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Interview with author Anne Baxter Campbell, plus giveaway

Interview with author Anne Baxter Campbell – 

 Anne Baxter Campbell is a mom, grandma, great-grandma, friend, and writer who seeks to love God more than all of these put together. She lives in Northern California with the sweetest dog on earth and one queenly cat.
Welcome, Anne Baxter Campbell! We’re spotlighting your book, Blessed by Time, a book I find fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it before. Give us the back-cover story.

Thanks for the invitation, Peg. You are such a blessing!

The back cover says:
A child’s faith, a woman’s grief, and a man’s search.
Sarah Johnson is a woman deep in grief over the loss of her only child, three-year-old Tamara. Six months’ time hasn’t lessened the pain. She left for work one morning and hasn’t been seen since. Her husband Paul, professor of languages and counselor at Arizona State University, also grieves, but he’s moving on. How far on? When Sarah disappears, he’s suspected of getting rid of her in favor of a luscious redhead. How can he convince the police he’s innocent? And where―or when―on God’s green earth did Sarah go?

I've read this book, and loved it. I'll be reviewing it in another post later. What inspired you to write Blessed by Time?
That’s a really good question, but I’m not sure I have a really good answer. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved books about time travel. And I’ve always thought it would be especially great to go back to the first century and meet Jesus. And then there’s that passage in Matthew 15 about the Canaanite woman....

Ah. So how did you come up with this premise? What genre does it fall into?
I probably slipped into this premise by accident―due to my time travel fascination and my love of the first century history. As to genre, I’m not positive where the publisher (Elk Lake Publishing House) will land it. I’m sure the first label will be Christian fiction, but the next callout could be fantasy (due to the time travel) or women’s fiction (due to the nature of the book).

What surprised you the most during the writing of this book?
That a villain might turn his life around.

I loved the way you handled that. What kind of research did you have to do?
This isn’t the first book I’ve written about things in the first century, so I’ve amassed a bunch of research on that time period, from the internet to a few books, all about foods, customs, apparel, Jewish laws, etc. I just had to do a bit more on Tyre itself. Fascinating city, by the way. You should look it up!

I'll do that! What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
My aim is always to walk the readers just a step or two closer to the Lord who loves them so very, very much. Also―there’s hope for marriages that seem to be failing, especially the ones who have suffered the loss of a child. I’ve heard estimates from sixteen percent to eighty percent. Even one percent is too many. Maybe some couple will see themselves in the place of Sarah and Paul and seek help―both from God and from a counselor.

I pray you're right. If you had a choice, what would be your ideal writing place?
Right where I am right now―in my living room in a recliner by the fireplace with my laptop and my dog, Meggie Wigglesworth.

Sounds pretty cozy to me. What ministries are you involved in … and why?
Oh, my! Well, quite a few, really. I’m a lay speaker in my church, and once a month I travel to a small church in little town about forth miles to the south, Maxwell, CA. They don’t currently have a pastor, so five of us have been sharing the load. In June, they get an official pastor, but he also serves four other churches, so I’ll keep helping out as needed.

And then there’s a little widows’ group I began. We call ourselves “US,” which stands for “Unintentionally Single.” We meet monthly at a café for lunch. You might think that this would be a tough venue for women who occasionally suffer a round of the weepies, but it hasn’t been that way. We talk a lot, laugh a lot, and hug a lot.
Other than that, I’m on a couple of committees at my church, on the Grand Jury for my county, and play pinochle sometimes at Senior Citizens. Not that playing pinochle is a ministry.

Ha! I've never played pinochle. What talents do you have, aside from storytelling, that is?
Lessee, talents, talents, talents. Hm Do I have any? Well, maybe speaking, although a lot of butterflies accompany me wherever I do speak. I enjoy singing, but my voice isn’t all that dependable anymore. Frogs in the throat, you know.

Yeah, I know, same here.Did you have/do you have a day job? How did it influence what, or how, you write?
I did have a job, or career I guess. I was an engineering technician, from which I retired a few years back. Lots and lots of writing and research, which has stood me well, except sometimes I want to put too much technicality into the prose. Oops. It’s a lot more fun, though, to write fiction than technical papers and letters.

Oh, I'd have to agree with that! Finally, Anne, tell us about your next project.
I have hopes it will be a book about a teenager and her family. It was published before by a different publisher, but they took it off line. I’ve submitted it to Elk Lake, but they haven’t decided yet to publish it. I call it Once Upon Some Holidays. It begins on a Christmas Eve where the teenager (Jillian) has been grounded, but instead of another day of trying to talk her Mom into letting her go to a class party, she’s confronted by a disgruntled angel. Her guardian angel, in fact, called Harold because God thought it was cute when, as a little girl, Jillian had thought the old song went, “Hark, Harold the angel sings.” The angel informs her she’s a spoiled brat and he’d just as soon be in the company of Hitler, Stalin, or Kim Jong Un.

Oh, my goodness! I think I might like to read that one. Thank you, Anne. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you.

Readers: Blessed by Time will be available on Amazon Friday, March 30!

Thanks, Peg. The questions have been fun―and thought-provoking for me. You got my old synapses snapping. By the way―I’d be willing to give a free signed book to one of your readers. Anybody wanta take a chance on me?

We sure do! And here's how:
Simply leave a comment below—with your contact information—and answer the (optional) question: What things grab you on a book cover?
Giveaway ends one week from today, April 3. 2018, at Midnight CDT. Winner will be drawn on the 4th, and notified via email.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Story Behind Entrusted ~ Julie Arduini

Welcome to the 'Everything Old is New Again' feature here on Whispers in Purple. Today's guest blogger is author Julie Arduini, who shares some background into the writing of her book ENTRUSTED, including an excerpt from Chapter One. Enjoy!

The Adirondacks - image from
Entrusted is my first “baby,” and I think back on this book with so much love. It took over two decades to write, mostly because I had to surrender the fear I had about writing for the public. However, it was in 1994 when I first visited Speculator, New York in the Adirondack Mountains that the idea for a story came to mind.

The real Speculator is a rural place where there are no stop lights in the county. It’s a mountain town where everyone knows each other, and they help each other out. As I walked past the businesses and viewed the mountains surrounding me, I got thinking. What would happen if someone new moved to town to make changes? What if they were from the city?

Once I started writing, there were several re-writes. Once I started writing with the goal to have it published, the story centered on Jenna Anderson, a city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio who moved to Speculator Falls after one phone interview. She’s the new senior center director and she has a lot of ideas to bring the once-closed building back to life so the members can thrive. Ben Regan is the town grocer and councilman. He lost his grandfather and his ex-girlfriend left town without saying goodbye. Ben hates loss and change, so he decides to shut down. He started with closing the senior center. Once he hears Jenna’s moved to town, he doesn’t want the center open. The two clash, but as they are thrown together for various community projects, they form a friendship. However, Jenna’s desire to belong and Ben’s goal to stop change threaten them.

It's the first of three romances in my Surrendering Time series. They’re all available on Amazon, and Entrusted is a free e-Book for those who subscribe to my free newsletter.

About Entrusted:
Jenna Anderson leaves her Ohio hometown for the unknown in Speculator Falls. She's determined to make her new job as senior center work and become one of the locals.

Ben Regan's family is the backbone of Speculator Falls and he's made a vow to protect the rural village. When his grandfather passes away and his former girlfriend leaves without even saying goodbye, Ben's determined to prevent further transition in his life.

But Jenna produces a lot of change for Ben in a book about surrendering the present fears we have about change and wanting to belong.
Entrusted Excerpt

Less than five minutes inside Speculator Falls village limits and the whirl of police lights invade my rearview mirror. Great. Just how I wanted to start my new life—with law enforcement tapping on my driver window. I push the button and form a strategy as the glass partition disappears.
“Officer, it’s not my fault.” My stubby index finger points to the GPS on the dashboard. “The GPS made me do it.”
The woman with sunglasses and a ponytail eyes the interior of my Chevy Cobalt and then rests her stare on me. “I’m not an officer. I’m the sheriff. Did that flower box do something to make you crash into it and split it into pieces?”
I attempt to hand my license and registration to the good sheriff.
She blocks my hand and shakes her head before pushing the documents back my way. “Oh, I know who you are.”
Is that a smirk?
“So, Ohio. GPS devices don’t work well in the Adirondacks. It’s too rural to pick up a signal. Even so, your attention needs to be on the road. You just reached Speculator Falls, and I’m already on the scene for property damage.”
I’m pretty sure she’s trying to hide a grin.
We both turn our gazes to the flower box ruins on Route 8. Purple and yellow pansy remnants scatter past the debris. I’m thankful that’s all I hit.
Glancing over to the shiny badge that reads C. Rowling, her attempts to be tough appear as successful as my goal to arrive looking like I belong. Instead the sheriff gets a messy glimpse of the truth—I’m a city girl without a clue how to navigate the mountains.
“I’m sorry, I feel awful about this. My name is—”
She surrenders to a full smile, takes the sunglasses off, and faces me. “Jenna Anderson from Youngstown, Ohio. Sara Bivins told me you were moving here today.”
My shoulders relax, I’m pretty sure this woman in a bland uniform isn’t going to haul me off to jail over the cracked flower box. “That’s me, new girl ready to put roots down in Speculator Falls—”
A black four-by four-truck squeals into place next to the squad car. A door slams and within seconds a well-built man who looks about thirty jogs from his truck to us. Half a minute later my car has the whiff of woodsy cologne that follows him.
“Carla, Howard Wheaton told me someone plowed through my grandfather’s handiwork. I presume this is your perpetrator?” He commandeers our conversation. His face is so red it resembles my Ohio State sweatshirt.
The sheriff pivots to the angry but tantalizing smelling man. “Hello, Ben. The situation is under control.” He almost loses his fading New York Giants baseball cap before he finally stands still. He has enough beard stubble to cover a chin dimple, but not enough to hide a bobbing Adam’s apple. “Really? Because this mess of flowers says otherwise.”
She hesitates. “Ben, this is Jenna Anderson, the new senior center director. She lost control while she tried to figure out what was going on with her GPS. I looked at the box, and I think it’s repairable. You love doing that sort of thing, so how about you fix it?”
Thank you, Sheriff Carla Rowling.
I can’t help it, but I smile. I think this woman might be my first new friend.
Ben whips off the hat and twists it until his knuckles bulge. “I’m sorry, destroying property is funny to you?”
I want to say something brilliant. More than eight hours on the road leaves me a little lost, GPS ineffectiveness aside. “At least I hit his box. Not him.”
His Adam’s apple movement seems to escalate. “My grandpa is dead.” He points the hat at me to emphasize each word. “You better hope this box isn’t.” He turns back to the sheriff. “Carla, I’ll repair it.” Then, directs his milk chocolate colored eyes toward me. “You, city girl, watch where you’re going. The people who belong here don’t need a GPS.” He pivots in his tattered sneakers and heads to the injured flower box. As fast as he comes on the scene, he leaves.
Carla offers her hand. “Welcome to Speculator Falls.”
ENTRUSTED eBook purchase link:

ENTRUSTED softcover purchase link:

Julie Arduini Newsletter---Free Entrusted eBook:
About Julie:

Where to find Julie: 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Why is Reading Christian Fiction Important for Youth? ♦ Glenn Haggerty

 Why is Reading Christian Fiction Important for Youth?

 by Glenn Haggerty

Jesus said that living in God’s word (hearing, reading, studying and doing) is crucial to discipleship (John 8:31-32) Children need reading skills to study God’s word for spiritual growth. Christian fiction applies biblical principles to middle grade and teen characters with both positive and negative examples helping kids think through issues and form their own conclusions. Often Christian books include excellent discussion questions. Jesus used the power of story to teach and explain spiritual truths. As children transition through the teen years and into adulthood, they need to embrace their own relationship with the Lord.

As kids read more, they become better readers, enhancing academic performance. However, the converse is also true. Therefore encouraging children to read is an important parental responsibility. Good fiction also enables the vicarious experience of different times, locations, cultures and perspectives of other people when kids can’t or shouldn’t experience them directly.
Author Eddie Jones, among others, says that “readers become leaders.” This seems self-evident when you consider the volume of information that most leaders must assimilate and analyze to make informed decisions.

Pure Entertainment. Recreational reading has brought joy into the lives of countless youth (and adults alike) for generations. What is more entertaining than curling up on the couch with your favorite snack and beverage and vicariously entering into a great story with a positive message of hope!

Therefore, I write to entertain and encourage students with inspirational fiction with an edge. I want people to finish my stories saying, “Awesome book!” and, “Yes. I can do this life thing too.”

A mom left a testimonial on my blog site, saying her teenage son hated reading. She picked up "The Last Thing I Remember” by Andrew Klavan, at the Christian bookstore  and gave it to her son. She said “He read it in two days! He said, ‘it was impossible to put down.’ And this non reading boy became a reader.” My latest endeavor is Chase, Intense Book 3, and I’m hoping I can get the same reaction from my student—and adult readers!

 Chase, Intense Books 3:
Setting: Small Town in the Appalachian Mountains
  “There they are.” Chase’s voice rolled up the slope. Even hollering his voice sounded flat and lifeless like someone had drilled a hole in his body, and his soul had leaked out.

Drugs infiltrate Tyler Higgins’ middle school turning ordinary kids into brain dead druggies. When his friend is infected, Tyler decides to cut the small town drug flow by ratting out the dealer before it’s too late.

Shadowing drug runners is risky business. A bowhunter has already disappeared, and Tyler’s true adversary remains veiled. After his first spying mission misfires, Audrey, his classmate, volunteers to help, but Tyler can’t imagine where this mission will lead. Everything goes sideways, but he doggedly follows the twisting trails, risking his friendships and his own neck. In the end, he isn’t sure who he can trust or if he can rescue anyone—including himself.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo and iBooks

About Glenn:

Glenn writes inspiring adventures with an edge. No matter how dark the day, finding hope to pursue the prize is the core of all his novels and studies. He is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), a graduate of Vision Loss Resources and Bethel Seminary, the father of six and grandfather of seven.

Glenn likes tandem biking, kayaking, and daydreaming and lives in Minneapolis with his wife. He is also an award-winning author with short stories published in SplicketyHavokCadet Quest and PartnersChase, the third book in his Intense series is scheduled for release April 1, 2018. You can visit him at  and reach him on Facebook at, and on Twitter, @grhaggertyjr

Monday, March 19, 2018

Does God Pursue Us? ♦ Carrie Daws ♦ Giveaway


Does God Pursue Us? – with a Giveaway

by author Carrie Daws

Have you ever taken the time to consider how much God pursues us? If a person walked away, what kind of plan does He put in motion to watch over them? Protect them? Love them? In my Crossing series, I wanted to investigate what that might look like, and what might happen if a family committed to serving where they saw God working. Some of the answers for Amber Griffin are found in a room covered with purple and white pansies.

CROSSING VALUES, Crossing series book 1
For years, Amber traipsed around the Northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refused to let anyone get close to her. As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, she decides to take a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she's ever known before. Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. Feeling like she's entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of fairytales, she watches for cracks in the façade. Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge. Or could she be wrong? Could they be genuine? Could this family hold the key to what she's seeking?

God rewrote Carrie’s dreams to include being an author. With a background in weekly devotions, a mentor and several friends encouraged her to try fiction. The writing monster that she now barely keeps contained was born. Since then, she’s completed several books including her new romantic suspense, the Embers series. To learn more about her books, click here. (LINK:

Carrie is offering copies of Crossing Values to TWO of this blog’s readers. To enter, just leave a comment and your contact information in the section below. Giveaway will run one week from today, ending at midnight on Monday, March 26, 2018, Central Time.

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Petty Cash" ~ Leeann Betts ~ Behind the Story ~ Giveaway

 Please welcome author Leeann Betts for the Everything Old is New Again feature this week, and the 'Story Behind the Story of her book Petty Cash. Take it away, Leeann!

The Story Behind the Story – Petty Cash
By Leeann Betts

My parents once owned a timeshare property in Hyannis, Cape Cod, back when timeshares were overpriced and didn’t hold their value. In fact, this particular property was so bad in the years after they bought, that they couldn’t even get anybody to rent it for their week, which happened to be the last week of August each year.

I actually went and stayed in this condo one year because I hated the idea of my parents losing money, and I wanted to see how bad it could be that nobody would rent.

Well, it was bad. Tired. Worn out. Almost but not quite sagging. Perhaps sagging emotionally.

However, I had a blast that week, swimming, shopping, seeing the sights on the Cape. So, when I was looking around for ideas of where to send Carly this time around, Hyannis came to mind.

Mind you, I have her staying in a much nicer house, overlooking the beach, in a fictional town, but my time on the Cape provided some insights into the setting.

Leave a comment and enter to win a free print (US only) or ebook copy of Petty Cash. Details below.

About the book:
Petty Cash, book 7 in By the Numbers series featuring Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, finds Carly headed off for another mystery. She and hubby Mike travel to Cape Cod as emotional support for their daughter Denise and her dentist husband Don who finds himself in the middle of a potential practice dissolution. But when their host fails to make an appearance, and a tropical storm blows through the area, things are topsy-turvy. Then when their host’s body washes ashore, Don is suspected. After all, they’d had several arguments witnessed by a number of people. Can Carly figure out who the real killer is before her son-in-law is shanghaied into a life sentence?

Chapter 1

“Ooh, some days I could just kill that man!”
Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant by day and wife, step-mother, and grandmother all the time, sighed and closed the computer file she’d been reviewing when Denise’s call came in. “Calm down, and tell me what’s going on.”
A long quiet filled the line—well, not exactly quiet, given the voices intruding in the background—from Denise’s end of the call. Don, her husband and Mike and Carly’s son-in-law, asked about a clean shirt. Margie, eight going on twenty-eight, nattered on at her younger brother Toby about not drawing on the walls.
Several gulping breaths, reminding Carly of a drowning goldfish, filtered through before Denise continued, her voice a notch lower than before. “Don’s partner. Maurice, but everybody calls him Mo.”
“Don is nearby, right?”
“Right. And I don’t want him to know I’ve been talking about Mo.”
“Why ever not?” Carly closed the cover on her laptop. If she didn’t, she’d think about all the work that needed doing and not concentrate on Denise’s call. Which would merely lengthen the conversation. “Is it a secret?”
“No, not exactly, but Don doesn’t want gossip to start. You know how it is in a small town.”
Carly resisted the urge to snort. Although married to a native for eleven years, the residents of Bear Cove, Maine, a tiny hamlet of less than four hundred souls at the height of lobster season, still didn’t think of her as “one of them”. “Understood. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever sit around and chat with folks from Riverdale.”
“True. But they do go outside the town limits occasionally, and since they don’t wear signage indicating where they live, you just might bump into one of them.”
Carly chuckled. Denise ran into much the same attitude about the fact she’d swooped in and stolen one of Riverdale’s most eligible bachelors, although the residents did at least treat her better than out-of-towners, as they called anybody not from Riverdale.
Unlike Bear Cove, whose town motto—if they had one—would be: if you don’t live here, go away.
“So what can you tell me? Other than you have homicidal thoughts about the man.”
“He has been so unreasonable lately.”
“Maybe he’s under a lot of stress.”
Now Denise did snort. “Stress? Why do you think people become dentists instead of medical doctors? No emergency calls. No late night outings. Closed on weekends. Four weeks of vacation every year.”
“Point taken. So if not stress, what?”
“I think he’s always been this way, and we’re just beginning to notice.”
“Unlikely but possible.” Carly chewed on the end of a pencil, wishing she’d brought in a granola bar and soda on her last trip to the kitchen. “What are you going to do about him?”
“Can’t do much, can I? He’s Don’s partner, not mine.”
“How has he been acting?”
“Coming in late. Leaving early.”
“Maybe he has a girlfriend.”
“The last time he asked a woman out on a date, he talked about it for a week before and two weeks after. But he never got up the nerve to ask her out again, so that was the end of that.”
Carly pulled open a desk drawer. Maybe she’d left a candy bar or a package of crackers. Nothing. She sat back in her chair. “Okay, so not a woman. What else?”
“He got angry at a patient last week for being three minutes late to her appointment. Her car wouldn’t start and she had to call a tow truck. She called the office, and the receptionist assured her she was fine. But he tore a strip up one side of her and down the other when she came in. Threatened not to treat her and to charge her for a missed appointment.”
“That does seem overboard.”
“And after he spent fifteen minutes haranguing her in the waiting room, in front of other patients, he finally agreed to see her.”
“Okay, so he had one bad day. What else?”
“Don says one minute he’s smiling and jovial, the next he’s sullen and moody. He said it’s like walking on eggshells around the office. And he’s taken to wearing these old red rubber boots everywhere. I saw him in the grocery store last week and commented on them. He looked down at his feet as though he didn’t know what I was talking about. And now Don said he wore them in the office and refused to change into his regular shoes. Said he left them home. But Don saw them under his desk.”
“I expect your hubby is bringing this stress home, and so now you’re unofficially involved. Well, has Don asked Mo what’s going on?”
“Sure. And Mo says everything is fine. Not to worry. Or he turns it back on Don and accuses him of meddling in his private life.”
“Could he be on drugs?”
“Don isn’t sure. But get this. This is the strangest thing of all.”
Carly leaned in as though Denise were in the room with her. “What?”
“Yesterday, Mo asked Don to meet him for coffee. Don went. In fact, he was fifteen minutes early. But Mo was walking out of the coffee shop, red in the face, angry. The veins in his forehead were bulging, Don said.”
“Maybe Don got the time wrong.”
“He thought so too, but as he walked in, he checked the text Mo sent him. He was early.”
“Maybe Mo’s fingers were faster than his brain that day. Happens to me all the time.”
Denise sighed. “Mo admitted Don was early. But he said he was done sitting around and waiting for Don to grow up and take responsibility. Implied he’d been carrying the practice all these years, and Don did nothing to bring in patients.”
“Well, Don and you and I know that’s not true.”
“Don tried to get him to sit down and talk like adults, but Mo took offense to that. He shoved Don aside and said he never wanted to see him again.”
Carly exhaled. That was one thing she liked about working alone—no partners or employees to deal with. “Sounds like Mo wants out of the partnership.”
“Sounds like it.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your troubles.”
“You’d think that was the end of it, but it isn’t. Today Mo texted Don and said he was sorry and wanted to see if they could patch things up between them. Invited us and our guests to spend a week on the Cape at his summer home. Said he has a six-bedroom house, and we can fill up five of them.”
“I’d take that as an apology and jump at the chance.”
“So we asked Tom and Sarah to join us, and to bring Bradley so he could spend time with our two. And we wanted you and Dad to come, too. I’d feel better if we had several calm males there in case Mo gets weird again. Please say you’ll come.”
Carly opened the joint calendar she and computer programmer husband Mike kept and scanned the days ahead. “When do you leave?”
“Wow, that’s not much notice.” She ran a finger along the week. “But our schedule looks pretty open for the next few days. I have to be back to testify in a big court case on the day after Labor Day, though.”
“Yeah, the kids start school that day, too, and Don has to be back to work, too. Tom and Sarah will also leave on Monday. I’m hoping we can at least have a party or picnic to celebrate the end of summer before we all scatter to the four winds.”
“Then we have a plan.”
“Great. Tom and Sarah are driving down today. They’ll stay here overnight, and we can connect with you at that restaurant on the highway in Augusta around ten. The kids will be ready for a bathroom break by then, and I’ll be glad for a coffee.”
“We’ll be there. Looking forward to seeing everybody. It’s been a while since we did anything together.”
Carly hung up and opened the cover of her computer. Mike would be home soon, and hopefully he’d be excited to hear about their impromptu vacation. Surely he wouldn’t blame her for looking for a mystery where none existed.
After all, this wasn’t her idea.
So if they found a mystery, it couldn’t be her fault.

About Leeann:
Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released seven titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published two books on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold and More Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at All books are available on in digital and print, and at Smashwords in digital format.

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About the Giveaway:
As stated above. Leeann is giving away a free print copy (US only) or a digital (eBook) copy of Petty Cash to one of the readers of this blog. To enter, just leave a comment below with your contact information (so we can notify you if you win).
Giveaway ends one week from today on Monday, March 19, at Midnight O'clock. Winner will be drawn the following Tuesday. We're eager to hear from you!