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View Full Version : Lightning Strikes! Round-robin FREE read May 13th-18th. Prizes to be drawn daily!



Inspired Romance Novels
May 3rd, 2012, 09:04 AM
Join the authors of Inspired for a round-robin FREE read, entitled Lightning Strikes, and help them decide which way the story should turn! Prizes will be drawn daily for those who participate!


After a storm, a major power outage leaves two at-odds neighbors dependent on each other. Forced to unite, will their animosity for each other crash like thunder or will they discover love as lightning strikes?



Find out May 13th through the 18th right here!

trinityhart
May 13th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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[I]Lightning Strikes


Hello and welcome! I'm Trinity Hart and I hope you enjoy the first segment of Lightning Strikes!

* * *


Indeed, it'd been one of [I]those days.

Hunger pangs sliced through Rachel Harman's abdomen. As a direct result of unavoidable, back-to-back business meetings, she'd skipped lunch. Breakfast had consisted merely of a granola bar and half-bruised banana consumed in a rush on the way to work.

The microwave glowed in Rachel's dim kitchen, spinning her pathetic, man-sized frozen spaghetti meal. But as famished as she was, she couldn't even think about visiting the grocery store, much less cooking something more appealing.

Her laptop waited on the table, more work to be done before the night was over. Emails that required responses, a column due first thing in the morning. If she was going to make assistant editor soon, there could be no slacking.

She leaned against the counter, tapping her fingers impatiently.

The unexpected rumble of thunder threatened and she glanced out her patio doors to discover dim, eerie skies. All at once, it was pouring, lightning flashing rapidly.

She rushed across the room to shut down her laptop. Boom! It seemed as if the entire building quaked a moment before her condo abruptly fell dark and the life zapped from her computer.

"Great!"

With a disgusted half-sigh, half-groan, Rachel fished around in the kitchen for a flashlight then also lit a candle. Next, since there was nothing to be done about the situation, she checked on her meal. Still half frozen in the darkened microwave.

"Can't I catch a break?" she grumbled to herself and slammed the microwave door, leaving the half-cooked meal inside. "What else...?"

Opening the unlit refrigerator, she considered her choices. A rotten apple. Lunchmeat turkey, but no cheese or mayo or bread for that matter. Nothing that could be cooked without the use of her stove or microwave.

She shoved the door shut and considered her options. Go out to eat? But it was pouring. So order in.

Fishing her cell from her purse, she first dialed the electric company and the automated system informed her she could expect a very long wait. Threatened by the blinking battery light on her phone, she hung up that cause and called the local pizza shop, only to learn they weren't taking orders until the power was restored. Then, in an cruel twist of fate, her phone died.

Her stomach knotted in pain. What now?

She sat at the counter, determined to believe this unfortunate event couldn't last long. After all, they rarely lost power in this part of the city, and it was always returned promptly.

Minutes ticked by. Somehow she managed to rest her head on the table and drift asleep. She awoke to a battery clock blinking seven o’clock in a stuffy, hot room. Without the air conditioner, the summer heat had slowly saturated her home.

At least the rain had slowed. She went to the patio door and cracked it slightly. In wafted moist air and the overwhelming scent of steaks sizzling on the grill.


Overcome by the compelling urge to shake her fist and rant and rave at the neighbor who lived in the condo above her, she clenched her teeth against hunger. The man was insufferably pleasant. Always smiling and upbeat and cooking out on his grill while blaring Christian tunes on his stereo system. Did Luke Ashton even work? Not much, if at all.

Now minus his music, he hummed and shuffled about. She heard the lift and fall of the grill lid and eyed her own grill in annoyance, which had run out of propane two years ago and she hadn't touched it since. She was far too busy with work and preferred meals that involved little prep and even less clean up.

Despite the annoyance of Luke's presence, inside had grown far too stuffy. Craving fresh air, she slid the door open wider and stepped out.

"Hello neighbor," he called down. "The storm was incredible, wasn't it? So beautiful. I love watching lightning shows, the more intense the better."

Incredible? Beautiful? Was he crazy? How could he be so outright cheery right now? She couldn't work, couldn't eat, couldn't even watch television or take a hot shower. And if she didn't finish that column, her boss would have her head. It definitely would cost her the promotion.

"Yeah, well, I love electricity," she grumbled.

"Rumor has it a transformer blew. It's a big deal. Could be out six, seven hours. Maybe even until morning."

"Until morning? Are you serious?" The breeze threatened her bun, whisking hairs from its neat containment as her empty stomach protested loudly. "I guess I better go out to eat then. Thanks for the information."

She started to head inside, but his words stopped her short. "I don't imagine too many places are going to be open for business without power. Besides, a whole new set of storms is due to roll in momentarily. Could get real nasty out. The weatherman is talking tornadoes. Come on up. I've fixed plenty enough for two."

"Oh I couldn't..." Didn't want to, either. She considered her situation a moment and quickly found a more appealing alternative.

Gage, one of her coworkers, lived on the other side of the city. Surely he still had power. They'd hit it off from the start and though it was nothing serious yet, they'd dated recently. Perhaps a drop-in visit, a more down-to-earth evening in contrast to the classy restaurants he escorted her to, was just the thing to boost the relationship to the next level.

Then again, maybe it was too soon for that sort of intimacy.

"Thanks for inviting me, but actually, I have something else planned for this evening."

In the distance, vicious thunder cracked as if in warning.

The sizzle of mouthwatering meat filled the air as he once again lifted the grill lid. "Whatever suits your fancy. But I'd hurry, before you get caught in the next storm. Offer stands, should you change your mind. Otherwise, it's going to be a lonely night."

* * *

Okay readers, it's your turn to decide. Should Rachel accept Luke's offer and join him for a meal? Or should she risk the weather and venture over Gage's?

From those who respond, one lucky winner will be drawn to receive a $10 Gift Card to Amazon.com. Winner will be chosen at 9 am tomorrow morning from those who post before midnight tonight.

Trinity Hart
www.trinityhart.com (http://www.trinityhart.com)


Good luck and enjoy!

Bonnie McCune
May 13th, 2012, 11:14 AM
Another bolt of lightning should strike very close, forcing Rachel to stay in the apartment building. As the day gets darker and she grows more desperate, she should wind up with Luke.



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[I]Lightning Strikes


Hello and welcome! I'm Trinity Hart and I hope you enjoy the first segment of Lightning Strikes!

* * *


Indeed, it'd been one of [I]those days.

Hunger pangs sliced through Rachel Harman's abdomen. As a direct result of unavoidable, back-to-back business meetings, she'd skipped lunch. Breakfast had consisted merely of a granola bar and half-bruised banana consumed in a rush on the way to work.

The microwave glowed in Rachel's dim kitchen, spinning her pathetic, man-sized frozen spaghetti meal. But as famished as she was, she couldn't even think about visiting the grocery store, much less cooking something more appealing.

Her laptop waited on the table, more work to be done before the night was over. Emails that required responses, a column due first thing in the morning. If she was going to make assistant editor soon, there could be no slacking.

She leaned against the counter, tapping her fingers impatiently.

The unexpected rumble of thunder threatened and she glanced out her patio doors to discover dim, eerie skies. All at once, it was pouring, lightning flashing rapidly.

She rushed across the room to shut down her laptop. Boom! It seemed as if the entire building quaked a moment before her condo abruptly fell dark and the life zapped from her computer.

"Great!"

With a disgusted half-sigh, half-groan, Rachel fished around in the kitchen for a flashlight then also lit a candle. Next, since there was nothing to be done about the situation, she checked on her meal. Still half frozen in the darkened microwave.

"Can't I catch a break?" she grumbled to herself and slammed the microwave door, leaving the half-cooked meal inside. "What else...?"

Opening the unlit refrigerator, she considered her choices. A rotten apple. Lunchmeat turkey, but no cheese or mayo or bread for that matter. Nothing that could be cooked without the use of her stove or microwave.

She shoved the door shut and considered her options. Go out to eat? But it was pouring. So order in.

Fishing her cell from her purse, she first dialed the electric company and the automated system informed her she could expect a very long wait. Threatened by the blinking battery light on her phone, she hung up that cause and called the local pizza shop, only to learn they weren't taking orders until the power was restored. Then, in an cruel twist of fate, her phone died.

Her stomach knotted in pain. What now?

She sat at the counter, determined to believe this unfortunate event couldn't last long. After all, they rarely lost power in this part of the city, and it was always returned promptly.

Minutes ticked by. Somehow she managed to rest her head on the table and drift asleep. She awoke to a battery clock blinking seven o’clock in a stuffy, hot room. Without the air conditioner, the summer heat had slowly saturated her home.

At least the rain had slowed. She went to the patio door and cracked it slightly. In wafted moist air and the overwhelming scent of steaks sizzling on the grill.


Overcome by the compelling urge to shake her fist and rant and rave at the neighbor who lived in the condo above her, she clenched her teeth against hunger. The man was insufferably pleasant. Always smiling and upbeat and cooking out on his grill while blaring Christian tunes on his stereo system. Did Luke Ashton even work? Not much, if at all.

Now minus his music, he hummed and shuffled about. She heard the lift and fall of the grill lid and eyed her own grill in annoyance, which had run out of propane two years ago and she hadn't touched it since. She was far too busy with work and preferred meals that involved little prep and even less clean up.

Despite the annoyance of Luke's presence, inside had grown far too stuffy. Craving fresh air, she slid the door open wider and stepped out.

"Hello neighbor," he called down. "The storm was incredible, wasn't it? So beautiful. I love watching lightning shows, the more intense the better."

Incredible? Beautiful? Was he crazy? How could he be so outright cheery right now? She couldn't work, couldn't eat, couldn't even watch television or take a hot shower. And if she didn't finish that column, her boss would have her head. It definitely would cost her the promotion.

"Yeah, well, I love electricity," she grumbled.

"Rumor has it a transformer blew. It's a big deal. Could be out six, seven hours. Maybe even until morning."

"Until morning? Are you serious?" The breeze threatened her bun, whisking hairs from its neat containment as her empty stomach protested loudly. "I guess I better go out to eat then. Thanks for the information."

She started to head inside, but his words stopped her short. "I don't imagine too many places are going to be open for business without power. Besides, a whole new set of storms is due to roll in momentarily. Could get real nasty out. The weatherman is talking tornadoes. Come on up. I've fixed plenty enough for two."

"Oh I couldn't..." Didn't want to, either. She considered her situation a moment and quickly found a more appealing alternative.

Gage, one of her coworkers, lived on the other side of the city. Surely he still had power. They'd hit it off from the start and though it was nothing serious yet, they'd dated recently. Perhaps a drop-in visit, a more down-to-earth evening in contrast to the classy restaurants he escorted her to, was just the thing to boost the relationship to the next level.

Then again, maybe it was too soon for that sort of intimacy.

"Thanks for inviting me, but actually, I have something else planned for this evening."

In the distance, vicious thunder cracked as if in warning.

The sizzle of mouthwatering meat filled the air as he once again lifted the grill lid. "Whatever suits your fancy. But I'd hurry, before you get caught in the next storm. Offer stands, should you change your mind. Otherwise, it's going to be a lonely night."

* * *

Okay readers, it's your turn to decide. Should Rachel accept Luke's offer and join him for a meal? Or should she risk the weather and venture over Gage's?

From those who respond, one lucky winner will be drawn to receive a $10 Gift Card to Amazon.com. Winner will be chosen at 9 am tomorrow morning from those who post before midnight tonight.

Trinity Hart
www.trinityhart.com (http://www.trinityhart.com)


Good luck and enjoy!

kmcmahill
May 13th, 2012, 01:36 PM
The Lightening has begun. I can't wait to see where it goes and to add my two-cents.

Inspired Romance Novels
May 13th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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As I'm not participating as a writer, I hope I can do so as a reader?
Because I don't much like the sound of the smug neighbour (and nor does Rachel, evidently), I think she should head across town - that option is dense with interesting possibilities.

Lynette Sofras




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Bonnie McCune
May 13th, 2012, 05:56 PM
I think Luke's just sensitive. His attitude toward Rachel is a cover-up. Maybe he can trail her and rescue her from an evil romantic interest when she goes across town? Or he can follow her and rescue her from a flash flood.


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As I'm not participating as a writer, I hope I can do so as a reader?
Because I don't much like the sound of the smug neighbour (and nor does Rachel, evidently), I think she should head across town - that option is dense with interesting possibilities.

Lynette Sofras




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slinkydennis
May 13th, 2012, 06:01 PM
I think she should leave to go to Gage's and find him in a compromising position with someone else. Then she should go back to the neighbors.

Inspired Romance Novels
May 13th, 2012, 06:12 PM
I think so too, Bonnie. I love the idea of him rescuing her!



I think Luke's just sensitive. His attitude toward Rachel is a cover-up. Maybe he can trail her and rescue her from an evil romantic interest when she goes across town? Or he can follow her and rescue her from a flash flood.

Inspired Romance Novels
May 13th, 2012, 06:13 PM
An interesting twist, Slinky. And maybe she can discover Luke isn't at all whom she assumed.

CapeFearLibn
May 13th, 2012, 06:20 PM
Look...the power is off. Luke probably had steaks in the freezer that he had to cook. She may not like the neighbor, but this would be a good reason to get to know him better. In such a storm, it's better to stay close to home. That's the realist in me....of course, going across town, in a storm, could lead to more drama--which makes good fiction, but not good reality!

Virginia C
May 13th, 2012, 10:38 PM
Luke would be a nice dinner companion - why not stay away from the storm and eat steak?

Inspired Romance Novels
May 14th, 2012, 09:02 AM
Congrats CapeFearLibn, you're my winner for this round!! Please email me at contact at inspiredromancenovels.com and let me know which email you'd like your gift certificate to go to.

Joan
www.inpsiredromancenovels.com




Look...the power is off. Luke probably had steaks in the freezer that he had to cook. She may not like the neighbor, but this would be a good reason to get to know him better. In such a storm, it's better to stay close to home. That's the realist in me....of course, going across town, in a storm, could lead to more drama--which makes good fiction, but not good reality!

Bonnie McCune
May 14th, 2012, 10:03 AM
DAY TWO: Lightning Strikes

The winner of today's session will get a hardcover copy of my book, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In."


Rachel gritted her teeth. She was so hungry, she felt she would pass out in a moment. So she called up, “All right. Since you already have dinner going, I’ll accept. I’ll have to take the stairs. See you in a moment.”

When Luke opened the door, Rachel first noticed the neatness of the apartment. Unlike some men, Luke evidently had some housekeeping skills. He ushered her to a small patio table set with country dinnerware, and, with a flourish, offered her steak, baked potato and salad. She had to admit to herself that the evening was turning out much better than expected. Dinner, a nice view, relaxation. Until Luke shifted on his chair as if suppressing an excess of energy.

“Let’s go exploring,” Luke said suddenly. “I want to see what’s happening. The neighborhood’s completely different with no power.”

“Are you nuts? It could storm again at any minute. And besides, I have a column due tomorrow morning. Even if I can’t use my laptop, I’ve got to write seven hundred and fifty words tonight.”

“Column? Are you a writer? Where do you work?”

“At This Week. Right now I’m just a staff writer but I hope to move up to assistant editor.”

“What a coincidence.” Luke stood to clear off the dishes to the sink. “I just was appointed publisher,” he called from the kitchen.

Publisher? Then this guy was the boss, the top in the pyramid. Rachel felt like disappearing. Whether she liked him or not, she was going to have to get along with him if she wanted to stay at the magazine. She pinned a stiff smile on. “I’d heard we had a new top gun. What plans do you have for the publication? Any major changes in editorial direction?”

“No. It’s fine right now, finger on the pulse of the city and all that. Anyway, I don’t believe in major upheavals when I first come on board.”

Only later, was the clear inference. I’d better polish my resume, Rachel thought, just in case. Now she had to make nice. So she agreed with his suggestion. “Okay. Let’s walk around. See what’s what."

Outside the storm had stripped leaves and small branches from trees, but a rare freshness filled the air. Rachel and Luke stepped to the sidewalk to join dozens of their strolling neighbors, people Rachel had seldom seen before. An old lady with a walker talked animatedly to a young man laced with studs and tattoos. Several people had set up lawn chairs on the parking strip to peer down the main street in search of the cause of the power outage. From yards came the sounds of rarely used instruments: harmonicas, guitars, recorders. Without electricity for televisions and other equipment, people had been thrown on their own resources; and they were acting like kids on an unexpected break from school. When Rachel and Luke dodged two skateboarders, they clung to one another and burst into surprised laughter.

He’s not such a bad guy after all, Rachel thought as she noticed the creases in his cheeks that marked regular amusement in his life.

Luke caught her elbow. “I’d better stay close to you. Especially if we want to cross the street. Let’s see if the local grocery is open.”

They paused at the corner of the main street. Without functioning stoplights, traffic was creeping along in both directions. Rachel was about to attempt a foray, but Luke held her back.

“What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“That sound. That cry. From over the way.”

Sure enough, if Rachel listened hard, she could hear a faint but distinct wail. “It could be a cat,” she said.

“Or a baby,” said Luke.

The sound increased in volume and now seemed more like a howl or a plea for help.

“Maybe someone’s in trouble,” Rachel said. “What should we do? My phone’s out of energy."

“We can’t just stay here,” Luke pointed out. “What if someone’s stuck in an elevator? Or a child’s parent has an emergency?”

The cry wavered and built like a siren. . .

# # # #

What's next? Do Luke and Rachel find out what's behind the cry? Does Rachel finish her column? Does she make good with her new boss's boss? Give us your suggestions for Tuesday's segment.

Bonnie McCune
Author, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In"
www.BonnieMcCune.com (http://www.BonnieMcCune.com)






Congrats CapeFearLibn, you're my winner for this round!! Please email me at contact at inspiredromancenovels.com and let me know which email you'd like your gift certificate to go to.

Joan
www.inpsiredromancenovels.com (http://www.inpsiredromancenovels.com)

Inspired Romance Novels
May 14th, 2012, 10:26 AM
Hmmmm...what an interesting twist, Bonnie. I love that he is the new Publisher. And is it a baby? Is it a cat? What do our readers think?

From those who comment before midnight tonight, I will be picking a winner to receive a print copy of Bonnie's book A Saint Comes Stumbling In. Winner will be selected tommorow at 9 a.m.

Good luck!


DAY TWO: Lightning Strikes

(The winner of today's session will get a hardcover copy of my book, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In."

What's next? Do Luke and Rachel find out what's behind the cry? Does Rachel finish her column? Does she make good with her new boss's boss? Give us your suggestions for Tuesday's segment.

Bonnie McCune
Author, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In"
www.BonnieMcCune.com (http://www.BonnieMcCune.com)

Virginia C
May 14th, 2012, 10:37 AM
Wow. This is getting exciting! What's that cry for help? I don't know either! But plan to check in tomorrow and find out.

Josie Riviera
May 14th, 2012, 01:12 PM
Let's hope that Luke and Rachel run right into Gage in their travels around town, especially if the storm powers up again. Then they can all be together and she can compare the two men.

Inspired Romance Novels
May 15th, 2012, 10:40 AM
I'm posting this for Carlene Havel, whose book, A Hero's Homecoming, is coming soon from Inspired Romance Authors.


Lightning Strikes--Segment Three

"Try to keep me from being run down," Luke gestured towards the pavement near the storm drain.

Rachel stepped a few feet into the empty street, watching for any oncoming traffic. She might be able to get that article written out in longhand if she sat up half the night.

Meanwhile, Luke stretched out flat on the wet ground and stuck his head over the curb. "Can you hear me?" he called. The response was a shriek, louder and obviously nearer than before.

Rachel waved her arms at an approaching car. However, the driver turned into a side street a block away and disappeared.

Peering into the drain intake, Luke thrust an arm as far as he could reach between the bars covering the drain. "Too far away," he said.

Luke sat up. He looked at his muddy hands and attempted to wipe them clean on the back of his shirt. He gingerly took a cell phone from a pocket and handed it to Rachel. "Try 911," he said.

Rachel fumbled with the unfamiliar phone. "All I get is a recording saying, all circuits are busy," she said after several tries. "I can't get through."

Luke looked around. "Where does the water go from here? Is there a culvert or a stream nearby? We might be able to come in through a back door."

Rachel tried to think, but she wasn't in the habit of searching out drainage pathways. "There's a manhole over there," she said.

"Perfect!" Luke went to the spot she had pointed out. "Let's see if we can get the cover off this thing."

This evening was becoming surreal. Rachel neither needed nor wanted to find out if the manhole cover could be removed. Surely Luke wasn't thinking of going underground?

Luke slid the big iron lid aside. "There's a ladder," he said, as he slowly disappeared into the dark hole.

Rachel remembered something she carried on her key ring. She leaned over the hole and said, "I have a flashlight. It's little, but throws out a pretty good beam of light."

"That might help." Luke's hand appeared. Rachel switched on the light and handed him her keys.

The next minute seemed to go on forever. Finally Luke climbed out of the manhole. "There's a cat down there with a whole litter of kittens," he said, wiping his hands on his muddy trousers. "Maybe this was a good place to live until the rain started. Now the water is rising. By the next storm, they'll be washed away." Luke handed Rachel her keys. "You'll have to wade over to where they are to get the kittens out."

"Me?" Rachel was stunned. "Why can't you bring them out?" The thought of climbing down under the street and sloshing through the water definitely held no appeal. What if there was a flash flood? What if the next storm started?

Luke smiled. "The ladder only goes down so far, and then you have to drop a couple of feet to the bottom of the drain. When you get ready to come back up, you'll have to reach up and catch the bottom rung of the ladder and then I'll help you up. I have enough strength to lift you, but there's no way you could haul me out of there."

Rachel wished she had turned down that delicious steak, or at least refused to take this walk. She didn't want the mama kitty and her litter to drown, but she surely didn't want to go fishing for them either. "How can we get the kittens out?" She couldn't resist stalling.

"Hand them up to me, one or two at a time. Take the mother out last. She won't give you any trouble once her kittens are safe. Animals have a way of sensing whether you're a friend or foe."

"Let me guess," Rachel couldn't keep herself from saying, "you were a Boy Scout."

"Eagle Scout, as a matter of fact. Come on, Rachel, where's your sense of adventure? You can do this."

Somewhere deep inside, a warning signal nagged at Rachel. She wanted his approval. Was it more than a desire to impress the new boss? Why did it matter to her what Luke thought?

Wishing she had at least changed clothes, Rachel looked down into the manhole. "Take time for your eyes to adjust to the dim light," Luke advised. "I'll be right behind you."

What next? Does Rachel risk going into the drain to retrieve the cat and her kittens? Is this as easy as Luke makes it sound? Can Rachel hang on to her flashlight along with an armful of kittens? Can she and Luke pull this off, or will they need someone to rescue them before long?


Carlene

Inspired Romance Novels
May 15th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Virgina C. you are our day #2 winner! Please email me at contact at inspiredromancenovels.com

Today we will be giving away 2 free downloads through www.inspiredromancenovels.com (usable anytime in 2012) to one lucky winner who comments. Winner selected at random.

Virginia C
May 15th, 2012, 10:51 AM
How cool is this??? I got an email about the update AND I'm a winner! I think Luke may be a winner, too. He's my kind of guy, a man of action! Gage is gonna miss out if things keep rolling along this way. Loving this! Virginia C

Bonnie McCune
May 15th, 2012, 10:52 AM
Luke is certainly unusual. Rachel's going to have to hustle to keep up with him. His willingness to help a cat shows his sensitivity to living things. I think he's a keeper. Maybe he can show Rachel what to concentrate on in life, rather than her hectic schedule. Bonnie McCune, author, "A Saint Comes Stumbling In"

DawnM66
May 15th, 2012, 12:52 PM
She should definitely go down, can't respect someone who'd leave kittens to drown but I'd expect her to drop the flashlight and end up in the dark.

Dawn

Bonnie McCune
May 15th, 2012, 05:52 PM
Those sewers are flithy. She should suggest getting a basket and letting Luke put the kittens in it and she can haul it up. OR because there's another storm on the way, they can get driven into shelter somewhere near the sewer. Or a little girl is hunting for her mother cat, and Luke and Rachel become big heroes. Or a reporter can spot them rescuing the kittens, and they can become semi-famous.

kmcmahill
May 15th, 2012, 06:19 PM
No one could ignore the kittens cries for help, so I'm sure Rachel will just buck up.

Virginia C
May 15th, 2012, 07:32 PM
I think Rachel must not want Luke to think she's a wimp, so maybe she'll be brave and save the kitties (if she can).

CapeFearLibn
May 15th, 2012, 07:55 PM
Whoo Hoo! Thanks so much. I have emailed you.


Congrats CapeFearLibn, you're my winner for this round!! Please email me at contact at inspiredromancenovels.com and let me know which email you'd like your gift certificate to go to.

Joan
www.inpsiredromancenovels.com (http://www.inpsiredromancenovels.com)

CapeFearLibn
May 15th, 2012, 08:03 PM
Rachel would seem heartless if she ignored the kitties' mews for help. I expect she might be klutzy though--fall off the ladder, drop into the water, lose the flashlight.

Josie Riviera
May 15th, 2012, 10:01 PM
Luke is a definite keeper. His priority is to help others. Now let's hope that Rachel doesn't drop that flashlight. :)

Bonnie McCune
May 16th, 2012, 04:04 PM
DAY FOUR EPISODE: LIGHTNING STRIKES

[Posted on behalf of author Trinity Hart, "Accident Waiting to Happen," www.inspiredromance novels.inc
Please excuse lateness and any errors; Trinity has had a medical emergency in her family. Yes, comments will be taken.]


Was she crazy? Actually considering this?



Thunder rumbled in the distance, warning of the approaching storm. If it was anything like the last, Rachel didn’t want to chance being caught in it. Especially not down a man hole.



Yet the cat’s desperate cry for help latched onto her heart. Luke was right. They couldn’t just leave those cats down there to die.



“Let’s hurry!” She rushed to the sidewalk and snatched someone’s empty recycling bin, then ran back.



Luke offered his hand as she lowered herself to sit at the edge of the manhole, feet dangling. She reached for the ladder, but Luke’s grasp did not release her.



“First a quick prayer.” The smooth, confident request caught Rachel off guard.



“Okay...”



His fingers entwined in hers, much like Rachel’s father’s had when she was a child. How she missed Pastor Charles Harman, his leadership and transparent faith.



Luke closed his eyes, but Rachel kept hers open, watching him. Her heart fluttered as he spoke and suddenly she realized why this man and his Christian music so grated her nerves on previous occasions. She missed her father dearly and hearing those songs reminded her of the man she’d lost to cancer.



“Lord, protect this woman. Keep her safe and if you could hold that storm off an extra minute or two, it’d help considerably.” He finished with a light chuckle, opened his eyes, and winked at her.



“Thank you.” Feeling as if something had shifted inside her, Rachel pulled free and reached for the ladder.



His prayer filled her with confidence and she charged downward into the dark hole as the kittens mewed and the cat cried frantically. “I’m coming, kitty kitty. I’m coming!”



“Take your time, concentrate,” Luke encouraged. “But hurry up.”



“Right,” she laughed. The stench was overwhelming as Rachel lowered herself from the ladder. Calf-high water rushed over her feet, destroying her favorite--very expensive--pair of suede flats. “Great.”



She flashed the light, searching for the endangered feline family. Spotted, the cat hissed at her, clearly terrified. “Hey kitty kitty.”





The darkness was terrifying. She inched forward slowly. “Shhh...it’s okay.”



“Everything okay down there?” Luke called.



“I don’t think the kitty likes me.”



“She’s scared. Just approach slowly.”



Rachel continued sweet talking the animal when suddenly it leapt at her. Thrown off guard, she screamed, stumbled, and somehow managed to catch the clawing, hissing cat, dropping her flashlight in the process. Thrown off balance, she plopped to her butt in the rushing water and it splashed around her.



“Rachel! Are you okay?”



Darkness engulfed her as she wrestled the unhappy kitty and managed to overtake it. Something--who knows what!--whooshed past her side and she screamed. “Disgusting!”



“Rachel! I’m coming down!”



“Don’t!” she called back, scrambling to her feet while gripping the furious feline in an unyielding hold. “I’ve got it. Everything is under control.”



She trudged back to the ladder and handed him up the unhappy cat. “Have fun,” she warned. “That lady is one crazy-mad mama.”



“I trapped her under the recycle bin. She’ll be fine once we rescue her babies. Hurry, it’s starting to drizzle.”



“I’m on it.” Rachel sloshed through the water back to the kittens. She gathered as many as she could hold and rushed back to the opening, then repeated the process.



Luke helped her to safety and she emerged from the manhole laughing. Together, they ran to the safety of their condo building as the storm brewed around them, the rain falling harder and harder.



They were both soaked by the time the made it inside with the recycle bin of kittens, the cat following closely behind.



“We did it! You did it!” With that, he leaned over, clutched her by the shoulders, and planted a quick kiss to her cheek.



“What was that for?”



“Good job.” He winked at her for the second time that night and Rachel’s heart started beating funny.



“Uh, thanks.” Suddenly, Rachel realized one minor issue. “But we aren’t supposed to have pets in the building.”



“Who cares? We’ll find them a home soon enough.” We. How had Rachel gotten herself involved in this?



“We’ll go to your place first and you can grab a change of clothes. Then we’ll go up to my place and feed our new shadow some steak.” He glanced back at the cat who trailed them. “She’ll be our best friend in no time.”



For some reason, despite knowing she desperately needed to write her column, Rachel went along with all the “we’s” and “ours.” Together they walked toward her apartment.



Rachel stopped dead in her tracks, shocked to find Gage standing there. “Rachel! I was worried sick about you. I heard about the power outages. You’re not answering your cell.”



Suddenly, Rachel was keenly aware of her tattered, disgusting appearance. She was soaked in sewer water. Scratched up from the cat. Her hair was all over the place.



Meanwhile, Gage appeared the epitome of polished, male perfection. He barely gave Luke a glance. “Are you okay? You look like something the cat dragged in.”



She laughed. “You don’t know the half of it. Right, Luke?”



“Sure.” She noticed her new friend hung back, giving her space. Rachel spun off in a quick explanation of their adventure.



“That’s quite a story.” Gage flicked the prowling cat a look of disgust. “Grab some clean clothes and I’ll take you to my place to shower.”



“Oh, um...” She looked to Luke, who was clearly disappointed with this turn of events, then down at her appearance, and quickly made her decision.



Will Rachel stay with Luke? Or rush off with Gage? And what about her column...will it ever get written?

Virginia C
May 16th, 2012, 04:46 PM
I really like it that Gage came to check on Rachel. It shows he cares about her and has the gumption to do something about it. But I like Luke, too. You could never go wrong hooking up with an Eagle Scout! And now she can see how both of them react with a rival to make them jealous. It's pretty cool that both men are seeing Rachel when she's not at her glam best, might change how Gage views her. I hope someone takes in the poor little homeless kitties.

Inspired Romance Novels
May 16th, 2012, 05:00 PM
So sorry for the delay in posting today and a special thank you to Bonnie for stepping up and getting our segment posted!

Congrats to DawnM66 who is yesterday's winner of two downloads from Inspired Romance Novels. Please email contact@inspiredromancenovels.com.

Today we are giving away one print copy of choice to a random winner who comments on today's segment. Good luck and enjoy!

DeliaLatham
May 16th, 2012, 05:54 PM
Rachel should definitely choose to stay with Luke - he's "da man," man! Gage already seems haughty and a bit callous. He makes red lights flash in my head. I don't trust that dude.

hotcha1
May 16th, 2012, 07:18 PM
Ppppppppppppppppppuuuuuuuuuuurrr hubba hubba!!

Josie Riviera
May 16th, 2012, 10:09 PM
So sweet of Luke to give her space but Gage showed up too late. Stick with Luke, Rachel!

Virginia C
May 16th, 2012, 10:37 PM
Okay, I'm changing my vote from undecided to LUKE. How can you not fall for a guy who is compelled to rescue a mother cat and her kittens? And enjoys adventure? Plus was an eagle scout? This could get a little sticky at work, but if Rachel doesn't get that article written pretty soon she may be looking for a job somewhere else anyway.

DawnM66
May 17th, 2012, 12:32 AM
Congrats to DawnM66 who is yesterday's winner of two downloads from Inspired Romance Novels. Please email contact@inspiredromancenovels.com.


Thanks very much, that's a great prize.

kmcmahill
May 17th, 2012, 10:13 AM
DAY FIVE – Lightening Strikes

“Thanks for the offer, but I can’t leave. We have to calm Shadow and her kittens down, get her some food and a warm bed to snuggle with her babies.” She looked at Luke and saw a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, I named the cat, so hopefully you’re correct and she’ll be our new best friend so the name will fit."

Gage took a step forward and reached for Rachel’s elbow and then pulled his hand back as he noticed a large brown splotch of something slimy on her arm. He retreated and frowned. “Well, it’s probably best if you don’t ride in my new car in your current condition, but I’ll wait until you get cleaned up and then we’ll go find some place to eat that still has electricity."

Rachel acknowledged she was pretty filthy, but was a little hurt that he prized his car’s interior more than her and he apparently didn’t even listen to the rest of her reasons.

“I really can’t. Once I get cleaned up and take care of the cats, I still have an article to write before morning and it’s beginning to look like it will be in long-hand if the power doesn’t come back on soon.”

“Don’t worry about the article.The power’s out so you’ve got a good excuse, besides I hear the new boss is the real touchy-feely type. He’ll probably give you a pat on the head and a goldstar and promote us all, including the janitor, to Assistant Editor. Maybe we should get him together with your annoying neighbor upstairs, Mr. Sunshine,”Gage sneered.

Rachel gasped and heat flooded her cheeks, but before she could utter a word, Luke stepped forward.

“I’m sure the new boss will be demanding, professional and a lot tougher than that or he wouldn’t have been put in charge of such a high-caliber publication.”

Gage turned to Luke and studied him as if seeing him for the first time. “Who are you and what do you know about our new boss?”

“Luke Ashton, annoying neighborand new publisher of This Week. And, for the record, that janitor could edit the heck out of any document I put in front of him.”


What happens next? Does Luke give Rachel a chance to explain why she found him annoying and to apologize? Or, does she think too much damage has been done, so tries to salvage her relationship with Gage? Does Luke take the high road or does he let his new staff squirm?

Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico and Desperate Dreams.
http://kimmcmahill.blogspot.com

Virginia C
May 17th, 2012, 10:33 AM
Gage's arrogant 'tude is a no-go with me. I say stick with Luke.

Inspired Romance Novels
May 17th, 2012, 11:00 AM
Yesterday's winner of a print book of choice from Inspired is Hotcha1! Congrats Hotcha and please email me at contact@inspiredromancenovels.com.

Today we are giving away a free download of Desperate Dreams by Kim McMahill to one lucky reader who comments. Good luck!

Joan

Inspired Romance Novels
May 17th, 2012, 11:04 AM
Gage has made quite a fool out of himself, hasn't he? Luke will understand, of course, once she explains. He's that kind of guy!

Bonnie McCune
May 17th, 2012, 12:14 PM
. . .don't say anything at all. Good advice for Gage AND Rachel. Now Rachel will have to scramble to explain to Luke how she talked about him before they met. But Luke's a good enough guy, he should forgive her. And she should scratch Gage off her list. Of course, maybe the two men will get into a battle! Or maybe lightning will strike close by again.

DawnM66
May 17th, 2012, 12:50 PM
Funny, I liked the idea of Gage at the beginning of the story, now I really don't like him at all. I don't think Luke's above letting them squirm for a few minutes but he seems like he has a good sense of humour and would let it go.

Josie Riviera
May 17th, 2012, 02:15 PM
Still rooting for Luke but we'll see what happens. :)

Virginia C
May 17th, 2012, 11:19 PM
Rachel's nuts if she takes off with Mr. Stuffed Shirt Gage. I hope she stays with Luke.

faerymom
May 18th, 2012, 01:01 AM
Okay I have to check this out cause Gage sounds like a nimrod in this... lol

Crystal

Josie Riviera
May 18th, 2012, 08:35 AM
She should explain her remark to Luke, that she’d complained about him being annoying to a coworker. She really should.

She loved her job and wanted to keep it, hoping some day to become assistant editor.
<O:p
But life wasn’t always about her, or, in this case, about her saving face with her new boss. And Luke seemed the type of man who was more interested in action than words.
<O:p
What mattered was getting the kittens and mama cat to safety.
<O:p
She turned to Gage. “I’m certain you can find your way home without my help. And there are plenty of excellent restaurants you’ll be able to enjoy, either with or without electricity.”
<O:p
He leered toward her ever-so-slightly. “You can grab a quick shower at my place, then we’ll enjoy dinner at an Italian restaurant by candlelight. Most women love a romantic ambiance.”
<O:p
Romantic ambiance? Was he kidding with those fancy words? He must be trying to impress the new boss.
<O:p
She glanced at the sky. The moon and several stars peeked through gray clouds. Finally, the storm was clearing out.
<O:p
Shadow rubbed against Rachel’s legs. She laughed, bending to rub Shadow’s fur. “So, you’ve forgiven me for taking your babies? Don’t worry, you’ll all be warm and fed soon.” She gestured toward the recycle bin Luke held, careful not to meet his gaze. The kittens mewed an impatient reminder.
<O:p
Straightening, she turned back to Gage. “Thanks for the invite, but I’m heading back to my apartment.”
<O:p
Gage eyed her steadily. “You mean I’ve come all this way for nothing? I’m starving and could’ve eaten dinner by now.”
<O:p
She shrugged. “You’ll have to blame your hunger on the storm. Now you’ll have more time to work on your article for This Week.”

Gage shook his head and flashed a cold smile. “Maybe I’ll write about two heroes who braved tonight’s storm to save the world.” He didn’t wait for a reply. He swung around and stomped to his car.
<O:p
Rachel shook back her wet hair, took a deep breath, and met Luke’s eyes. She’d avoided his gaze long enough. “I don’t feel like a hero,” she began.
<O:p
Luke met her gaze and held it. His eyes warmed. Carefully, he set down the recycle bin and straightened. Still holding her gaze, he entwined his fingers in hers. “A hero is someone who has
given her life to something bigger than herself.”
<O:p
She couldn’t help but grin. “I’ve heard that quote before.”
<O:p
Luke smiled down into her upturned face. “It’s a quote by Joseph Campbell. I’m an editor. I love books and reading, remember?”
<O:p
“Luke . . . I . . I want to apologize.” She lowered her voice. “I didn’t mean what I said about you. I judged you unfairly.”
<O:p
“Don’t apologize. I’m still giving you a gold star for tonight.” He winked, causing her heart to beat in that funny rhythm. Her stomach fluttered.
<O:p
She inhaled. After the rainstorm, the air smelled so fresh, so new.

“Good,” she said, “I’ve always liked gold stars the best.”
<O:p


THE END


<O:p
One lucky commenter will enjoy a free download from Inspired Books.

Thanks for reading our Round Robin version of Lightning Strikes!
<O:p
Josie Riviera
Josieriviera.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Josieriviera</O< o< html>

Inspired Romance Novels
May 18th, 2012, 09:29 AM
FaeryMom, I've selected you as my winner! :) Please email me at contact@inspiredromancenovels.com to claim your prize.

Thanks,
Joan

DolphinBaby
May 18th, 2012, 10:02 PM
Stick with luke

Inspired Romance Novels
May 21st, 2012, 10:54 AM
Yikes, I just realized I never announced our final winner for last week's event! Who gave me permission to start my weekend early?????

Sorry about that, folks!

Dolphin Baby, you're mine winner of the free download of choice from Inspired. Email me to claim your prize! contact@inspiredromancenovels.com

I do hope everyone enjoyed the short story. We all had tons of fun writing it and hope to continue the story soon!

Best,
Joan

Virginia C
May 30th, 2012, 09:56 AM
Fun for me, too. More Luke stories! MORE! M O R E!